{ 1,071 comments… read them below }

  1. Jemima Bond

    What fun things are people up to this weekend? The thing we don’t talk about has been v stressful recently plus I am selling my flat and it’s tipping me into anxiety (it happens occasionally) so I’m looking forward to relaxing and not thinking about any of that.
    Today I’m going to a fabric/craft fair so might pick up some quilting bargains. Tomorrow my boyfriend is doing his intro day for two weeks as a military steward at Wimbledon – so next week I get to go! Grounds ticket for me and a friend, we’ll take a picnic, it’s wonderful.
    Right now I’m waiting for boyfriend to bring me a bacon sandwich and a coffee while I check AAM in bed!

    1. Caledonia

      I’m sorry work has been so stressful for you recently. Flat selling is the worst. Major jealous of your Wimbledon plans- I hope you, your friend and boyfriend all have a wonderful time!

    2. The Other Dawn

      My sister is coming in tomorrow and we’re going to see Chriss Angel at the casino and then play bingo. But today is the cleaning marathon. Weekend is half drudgery/half fun. Oh, and the start of a nasty heatwave.

    3. Almost Violet Miller

      Good luck with sorting everything flat-related!
      I’m off to our lake house alone to read and relax. Right now I’m sipping coffee on the beach and looking at ducks, giving them names and trying to figure out their family arrangements.
      Have a nice weekend y’all!

      1. Jemima Bond

        Duck-name suggestions:
        Donald
        Daisy
        Fergus
        Jane
        Percival
        Wakeen
        Tangerina
        Mrs Warbleworth
        Hoi-sin

        1. Almost Violet Miller

          Thank you! I hope you don’t mind if I use Tangerina for the single swan mother instead?!

            1. Almost Violet Miller

              All done! Both the duck and the swan families are so so lovely. I wish the duck food dispenser hadn’t been removed. But no worries, there’re well fed.

    4. Red Reader

      My folks were here overnight last night, so this morning we’ll all go out for breakfast before they continue their journey – they’re driving to Florida because my dad wanted to go to Disneyworld for his birthday. (As he does most years, haha.) He’s turning 70 next Friday :) I’ll be flying down Thursday to join them for a long weekend, so after they head out the weekend will mostly be trip prep and schoolwork – my first term at WGU starts tomorrow and I want to see if I can get the first draft of my essay for my first class submitted before I leave on vacation.

    5. Jemima Bond

      Just in case there are any fabric fans, sewists, other crafty types reading – I am at the textiles fair and have bought a length fabric to make a skirt. It has space otters on it. Space. Otters. That is all.

        1. fposte

          Somebody on spoonflower has it! It’s also sold through Etsy. It’s not the classic screensaver version but it’s still winged toasting appliances.

    6. Star Nursery

      Fireworks and free concert tonight. Swimming and maybe checking out a thrift store.

    7. heckofabecca

      We’re hosting a rant party! Everyone gets about 5 uninterrupted minutes with a captive audience to rant (usually about something that pisses them off, but positive rants about something awesome are welcome) about whatever. The listeners get to hear interesting new perspectives that they may never have considered, and it starts some great conversations.

      Good luck with your flat and I hope your sandwich was delicious :)

      1. Nicole76

        That’s an interesting concept and I like how it gives everyone a chance to speak their mind since in most groups there often tends to be one or two people who monopolize the conversation.

    8. Geillis D.

      It’s Canada day long weekend so we’re already in for a good start. Long walks, party tomorrow, catching up on my reading and some home renovations that I try not to get me down.

      Watched “set it up” last night, did not like it at all, and will probably write something on AAM as so many tropes in the movie god right against the grain of everything Alison has been advocating for.

    9. Maiasaura

      I’m chilling with my younger kid while my husband and older kid go protest today. It’s the big kid’s first protest. I’m torn between feelings of intense pride, and deep sadness that he lives in a world where this is necessary. Later this afternoon we are all going to go get pizza and do some more traditional kid stuff as a family.

      1. Artemesia

        My husband, daughter, SIL, granddaughter and baby grandson are all out there marching now. I cannot take the heat which is in the 90s where we are and so am making lunch for when they return. We all went on the women’s march together except for baby grandson who wasn’t on the scene yet.

      2. Anonymosity

        I wanted to march but the closest one is in St. Louis. I just couldn’t make it this time.

        1. Ipswich Texas

          There wasn’t a rally/march scheduled within 75 miles of me…so myself, my husband and a couple friends organized one for our little city of 28,000! We had 150 in attendance!!

      3. Overeducated

        I did that midday, we only attended the rally and didnt stick around to march but the whole family is BEAT. Sticking indoors for the rest of the day, making enchiladas and watching too much TV.

    10. Snark

      Went camping Thursday-today, going climbing today and replenishing my kitchen box (since we ran out of plates and ended up using paper towels), and tomorrow will revolve around the making and consumption of pizza.

    11. fposte

      It’s super-gross weather-wise so I’m sticking inside. I do need to make soup but I’m hoping to do that tomorrow morning before things heat up too badly. I did my quarterly finances already (love the quarterly finances!) and will be doing mostly house organizing, since the 4th means I don’t have as much work to prepare for next week.

    12. ArtK

      Going to a 4th of July pot-luck at a friend’s place this afternoon. Tomorrow, I’m a volunteer docent at a small museum dedicated to Walt Disney and his love of trains. After that, we’ll probably go out for a nice dinner at a favorite restaurant nearby.

    13. StellaBella

      I am in Portsmouth (England) at the Portsmouth Harbour Seafood Festival….with a friend doing her research on the cultural value of seafood festivals. It’s been great. Hot as heck (26C), but met some nice people including another American (my friend is Gambian). The American was from Norfolk, VA, his name is John in the US Navy. So all in all very interesting.

    14. Shannon

      Today I baked up a storm (literally 9 hours of baking) and tomorrow is a BBQ with the in-laws. I like them, they have a beautiful pool, and an even more beautiful liquor cabinet.

    15. NeverNicky

      Yesterday was spend geocaching and meeting friends in Leicester (UK). The city is really running with the whole Richard III thing – it’s good to see. And we had a lovely curry (Leicester has a large percentage of people whose roots are from the Indian subcontinent).
      Today we’re doing something similar in Lincolnshire before travelling further north for my uncle’s funeral tomorrow. I’m hoping that goes well but I have one cousin for whom I have low expectations for his behaviour, especially as he may well feel uncle’s will is unfair (for the record, my uncle knew exactly what he was doing!)

    16. I'll come up with a clever name later...maybe.

      I’m actually finalizing our plans for our first family vacation overseas. We’re headed to London in August. I am freaking out – both with excitement and nervousness. We’re buying all of our attraction tickets ahead of time (big money saver!) and I’m trying to get the itinerary squared away. I also need to figure out how we’re getting to the airport and back, how I’m getting the 4 of us to two of the attractions (need to figure out the train/bus schedule and get the Oyster cards), and who is going to water my tomato plants while I’m gone.

      1. London Actuary

        Which airport? If Heathrow, you can buy Oyster cards there and get the Piccadilly line into central London. If Gatwick, get the train. There are “express” trains from all the airports but they’re pricey and not always the fastest option depending on your ultimate destination.

        Also if there are 4 of you a Taxi may work out cheaper in total or just easier with luggage.

        1. Sprechen Sie Talk?

          You can use Oyster from Gatwick on the trains now too, just make sure you have enough money on the cards.

    17. Free Meerkats

      Finally time to look at this thread.

      I spent the weekend, starting Friday morning, at the racetrack flagging for the Northwest Historics Vintage races northwesthistorics dot com.

      Long three days, lots of cool cars that only come out once a year, good food, good people. Some rain and some crashes, but no serious injuries.

  2. Perpetua

    Who else has read Tell the Machine Goodnight after Alison’s recommendation?

    I finished it last night and I’m still processing a bit, but it turned out quite different from what I expected. I LOVED the beginning and I thought it would become one of my favorites (I like the topic), but as the book progressed my enjoyment kept decreasing, and the ending was very meh for me.

    What are your thoughts on it?

    (Also, on a somewhat similar-but-not-quite tech-related topic, I really enjoyed Touch by Courtney Maum, so that’s my recommendation if someone’s looking for a new book to read.)

    1. Thlayli

      I downloaded the sample chapter and thought it was good enough to pay for the rest … but apparently I have forgotten my password and need to reset it before I can pay … and then I forgot al about it til u just reminded me haha.

  3. Clio

    It’s the middle of a heatwave here. How do you keep yourself and your pets cool when it gets hot?

    1. nep

      I’ll be watching for suggestions here. High 90s + hot flashes = desperation and (not being flip here) suicidal thoughts.
      I like those ice packs that are generally used for injuries or what have you–placing them on pulse points really helps, even if only temporarily. Or just cold water run over the wrists (but I don’t want to waste water).
      If you’ve got a basement, can the pets hang out down there? Our basement is considerably cooler than the rest of the house.

      1. Lora

        Keep a BIG pitcher of water (just plain water with maybe lemon slices if you like that sort of thing) in the fridge at all times and just keep refilling it.

        Also, agua fresca. I made and drank a lot of agua fresca during menopause.

        And hand fans, you can get them cheap at World Market Cost Plus. Stash one in every bag you own.

        And those makeup remover wipes.

        Totally understand, dude. Where did this Vietnamese jungle come from? ….will Rambo / the guys from Full Metal Jacket maybe shoot me and put me out of my misery?

        1. Shay the Fae

          The pitcher idea is so good, but my fridge is kind of gross and I know the scent would seep into the water and I’m sensitive to that kind of thing. :(

        2. Artemesia

          Or buy every flavor you like of la Croix which stays fresh and bubbly and cold without refrigerator flavors. I also buy the two liter bottles of selzer for about 75 cents and then have cold selzer with a slice of lime and it is actually a bit better than a la Croix (plus keeps scurvy away).

          1. The Original K.

            My mother is obsessed with seltzer and while I’m not as obsessed as she is, I apparently did inherit at least a bit of the seltzer gene from her! I typically have two bottles in my fridge and it’s usually my with-dinner drink (I carry a water bottle around and drink that all day, and have the seltzer when I get home).

      2. Sugarplum

        If you’re down enough to have suicidal thoughts, please value yourself over wasting water. You can do something related to conservation when you’re feeling better. <3

      3. nep

        Using a freezer pack for a flash right now–such relief.
        I just saw online those packs that don’t require refrigeration–as with ice packs for emergencies, just twisting or banging them activates the cold. Think I’m going to get some of those this weekend for when I’m not near the freezer.

      4. foolofgrace

        Your mention of suicide is worrying. I’ve been there, although I don’t mean to imply I am in your exact situation, nobody can truly know your personal pain. Two things kept me going — one, my child would have thought it was his fault somehow if I harmed myself, and I refused to ruin his life that way, and two, I kept remembering that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I heard a piece on NPR about people who threw themselves off a bridge and lived — they said that halfway down they realized that their problem was actually solvable and they regretted their action. Problems can seem overwhelming (I lived thru those hot flashes too, they suck big time) but if you look back to when you felt very low at previous times in your life, you can realize that whatever it was, it did get better. Please just hang in there. You’re stronger than you know.

      5. Not So NewReader

        Oh nep, I hope you have a plan you will follow if those thoughts come back around. yikes.

        You do raise an important point, heat and sweating helps us to deplete our mineral supply quickly. I noticed when ever it gets hot for a long time, my ability to think slows right down and my body feels heavier, etc. This is what water loss and nutrient loss can look like. A lot of people notice a potassium washout because they get cramps from the knees down. And we washout other important minerals also. A drink with electrolytes in it might be supportive for some folks. As always check with a doc. Since I know I am venerable to cramps from the knees down I just grab a banana or a potassium supplement at the first twinge.

        One year I got seriously into cold soups. Because the veggies are ground up their nutrients can get into the body quicker. And cold is always good on a hot day. But there are some very nice fruit and vegetable drinks out now also. This is good for when I don’t feel like eating because HEAT and yet, I know I should try to eat something. It’s really easy when it gets very hot, not to want to eat too much. Then heat combined with lower food intake can really make us feel dragged down.

      6. fposte

        nep, please prioritize your health here. The amount of water you’re talking about is nothing; you can be a good environmental person and still wet yourself down! In fact, I will suggest cool showers and baths; if you want to be water-frugal, you can just dip back into the same water all day. I also have used a spray mister, like for plants–a quick burst on me, or on my sheets before I get into bed, can be really helpful.

      7. ThatGirl

        Instead of running water, wrap an ice cube in a paper towel and run it around your wrists, neck, etc. stick it in a little dish between swipes.

      8. Julia

        I’m so sorry. Heat sucks, I’m personally much weaker to it than to cold as well. I think my body can’t regulate outside temperature well, because my feet are still somewhat cold.

        Did you know that Seasonal Affective Disorder can hit some people in summer instead of winter? I recently found out and it made so much sense. I often don’t sleep well when it’s hot, even with A/C (right now I have an A/C-induced cold) and trouble sleeping often means bad mental health. I also wonder if the increased vitamin D causes some sort of shock reaction or at least depletes magnesium in our bodies too much, as vitamin D apparently needs magnesium to be absorbed, when we’re already sweating out minerals.

        Can you get some electrolyte drinks or mineral water high in magnesium? Or some supplements? If things don’t get better, please see a doctor about this. :(

      9. Belle di Vedremo

        Hey nep,
        Hope that you’re prioritzing your well being, and using what’s needed to maintain it. We appreciate all you bring to the conversation, and hope you’ll continue.

      10. Kat in VA

        I am less worried about wasting water and much more concerned about *you*. I’ve been depressed enough to court the idea of ending it all (my justification was that I’d save my family from the misery I inflicted on them). I am living proof that you can get all the way down, down, down that deep dark well – for two, long, miserable, gray years – and come out the other side healthier and happier.

        Very gently but strongly – I urge you to consider seeing a mental health professional if suicidal thoughts are becoming a regular thing. You can make it through this – but you might need assistance. There’s no shame in asking for help, and no one expects you to do this alone.

        I really do care, and I really am concerned. Again, I have been there. It’s not a place I would wish on my worst enemy. from an internet stranger who is worried about you.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      Air conditioning if you can. Central air, window a/c, whatever.
      Fans. Many animals may not like the fan, but once they figure out it feels good they’ll overcome their dislike.
      Plenty of fresh water.
      Stay in the shade when outside
      If you have a basement that’s cooler (and no a/c), go live in the basement for a few days.
      Limit activity to essential only.
      Kiddie pools outside (dogs only unless your cat happens to love water!)
      Absolutely do not leave animals or children unattended in the car.

    3. Caro in the UK

      I freeze fresh fruit (mango, pineapple and watermelon especially) and use it to make slushies or just eat them straight from the freezer.

      Also, I work from home and have been known to work with my feet in a basin of cold water under my desk to keep cool in a heatwave.

    4. Ann

      Make sure I have lots of water + ice. My cat drinks a lot more water when it’s hot, so I try and make sure that’s filled at all times (it’s a fountain so pretty easy to do). I’m making a grocery run this morning before it gets too hot and I plan on getting lemons for lemonade :)

      For my cat, I wrap freezer blocks (like the type you put in insulated grocery bags) in towels and put them where she likes to hang out. When we had chinchillas, we used to put ceramic tiles in the freezer, then put them in their cage. Left to her own devices she also likes to hang out on the wood floor (instead of the carpet) so I try and make sure there’s space for her in the coolest parts of my apartment to do that.

      I find with the humidity, turning the AC up only helps so much (plus my AC isn’t great) so I try and have lots of fans to keep air circulating.

      I also try and do all of my cooking in something like the InstantPot, so it doesn’t heat up the room as much as my oven does.

      1. Foreign Octopus

        I like this for the cats.

        I also put an ice cube in my cat’s water bowl every morning and sometimes in the afternoon if the heat is still there. That helps keeps her cool but she’s a tiny moron who looks to sleep in the sun despite being a white furred cat who is prone to sunburn so it’s like battling against the tide to be honest.

    5. Sled dog mama

      We have an industrial fan for our heavy coated dogs. They love it we put it right in front of their crates and often we’ll find them sound asleep during the hottest part of the day

      1. Shay the Fae

        I love those! We have 2 for the glass blowing hot shop. It’s so nice to be at the work bench closest too it.

    6. Red Reader

      When we had a “heat wave” in Seattle, I filled a couple of empty two-liter bottles 2/3 with water and froze them, and my cats cuddled with them. (So did my ex. :P )

      1. Belle di Vedremo

        Haven’t persuaded the cat to cuddle with them yet, but the humans do. Some with the frozen water bottles, some with freezer packs. Makes a big difference. We’re at more than twenty degrees above average right now, and it looks like nights won’t drop below 75 before Thursday. This is so out of the ordinary many of us don’t have a/c as there’s usually not much need for it.

    7. Thlayli

      Same. We left the lid off the fish tank yesterday hoping it would let the water cool down – and one of our fish literally jumped out into the table! Wtf!

      1. Myrin

        For some reason, that image just made me burst out laughing. The “Wtf!” really makes it!

    8. gecko

      Put out a ton of extra water for pets, and if you feed them wet food, put a little extra in there. My cat never wanted to come over to the cooled towels or anything I put around–but keep a close eye on them. The lethargy is ok up to a point.

      Try to maintain temperature control in your place. For instance if you have a well-insulated, small-windows house, leave the windows open at night if it gets a little cooler then, but the instant the sun starts coming up, close ’em and close those shades too. If you have a place built specifically for hotter climes, you’ll probably know all this already, but those windows are designed for air flow so keep the air moving.

      Don’t move around too much. Keep a fan going. When you get too hot, take a quick rinse or wipe a large surface area of yourself with cool water, then stand in front of that fan. You could even pop on some aloe gel (with all that cooling glycerin in it) and do the same. Take a nap in the middle of the day when it’s warmest. Drink a TON more water than you think you’ll need, and eat cold foods.

      Also feel free to just leave! See a movie if you can, shamelessly ask your friends with AC if you can hang out…

    9. Kit

      Pet cooling:

      -leave a closet door open in a shady spot or make a shady hideyhole with a cardboard box

      -put ice cubes in the water dish or fountain

      -broth ice cubes in a dish! Dogs like these especially

      -if you have window-sitting kitties, make them a little cardboard awning so they have shade with their breeze

    10. Anono-me

      When the weather was bad, puppy and I would go for a ‘wall’s in one of the big box pet supplies stores.

      1. Nicole76

        Great suggestion. Other stores that usually allow pets (although I always call to check first) are Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, and TJ Maxx / Home Goods.

    11. Shay the Fae

      I’m in a basement apartment, which my two long and doubled coated dogs appreciate. I have alarms on my phone to remind me to drink and to remind me to check on the various water dishes for the dogs. They are each currently lying on the cool tile, panting like mad. I took them out for walks before it got above ninety.

    12. Sandy

      Kill many birds with one stone: we have a sprinkler-shower in the backyard. Kid and dog get to get soaked outside and once the dog is good and soaked, I’ll give him a “bath”. He needs one desperately before I can *really* get his fur down from Wolverine-like levels.

    13. Falling Diphthong

      Our very fuzzy dog used to soak himself on morning walks, then remain wet the rest of the day.

    14. Sprechen Sie Talk?

      Here in London it really matters if its humid or not, and if there is a breeze or not. This year, so far, we have been lucky in that it cools off with a breeze at night that is in the right direction to pass through our house AND its been dry. Last year over a few 5-day periods there was no breeze, it was super humid, and the temp never dropped which made everything just awful and no one could sleep at night.

      We do the following:
      – we have east and west-facing windows so I pull the shades on the west side in the afternoon.
      – prep my vegetables and salads for the week so its grab-n-go, fix your own meal with components below
      – stocked up on rice noodles in advance because you can make them with just about anything and they just require boiling water
      – Grill the bulk of the meat for the week one night on the weekend. The garden is entirely in shade by 4 pm and gets really comfortable. We will also eat outside most nights.
      – I did bake this morning… but it was 8 am and still cool in the kitchen. After 10 am forget it
      – Three fans, all upstairs, although we only turn on the big boy if its really hot. Leave the back door open so the kitties can wander in and out as they please and get more air circulating. They like to sit in the shade in the garden dirt and come in for a drink, use the box, or lay under a fan for a bit
      – Switch to primarily wet-food for the kitties
      – Make sun tea as a nice alternative to plain water or sparkling water, and it uses up random tea bags I have floating around the house

    15. Triple Anon

      For dogs:

      – Kiddie pool filled with cool water
      – Games with the garden hose
      – Long walks in the early morning and late evening so he can get his exercise when it’s not hot
      – Frozen veggies! Peas, kale, broccoli, etc.

    16. CurrentlyLooking

      The people in my family are enjoying the AC (while watching the World Cup)

      My dog however likes to lay on the driveway in full sun.

    17. LemonLyman

      For pets, I purée veggies that I know my dog likes (carrots, peas, etc) and freeze them. Can be frozen in cubes but I get a little fancy and freeze them in Kongs or other treat dispensers. When it’s hot I give one to my dog and she enjoys licking the food out. It’s like a doggy popsicle. If you’re feeling lazy, baby food works well but can get pricy.

    18. Aphrodite

      I do have air conditioning, thank god, but before I will turn it on I:

      Keep a water pitcher filled and in the refrigerator at all times
      Keep heavy clear glass mugs (beer steins, more likely) with some water in the bottom in the freezer at all times
      Slice a cucumber and put the slices in individually-sized aluminum foil to cover them, then freeze. Use these on my eyes and/or forehead. Keep refreezing and using.
      Keep foil-covered large pieces of cardboard in windows or cover windows that get a lot of sun with foil (dull side out for good neighborly relations) all summer.
      Use window coverings all day for all summer.
      Have at least one fan in every room.
      For sleeping I like to get the rooms cold, then turn the air conditioning off. I then use two fans: a floor one to blow on my face and the Bed Fan (from Brookstone) to cool me under the sheets.

      For my cats, I keep plenty of water in the kitchen and bedroom. I may add ice cubes. But since the bedroom windows are covered with the cardboard and the drapes closed all summer, day and night, they tend to sleep in there.

    19. Gatomon

      For humans: a/c if available, swimming, cool baths during the hottest part of the day, cool water, fans, misting, etc.

      For pets: tile and stone naturally stay cooler if left in shady spots, so I’ve always set that out for my pets. Plenty of fresh water and no exercise during the hot hours. I used to have a chinchilla who liked a little room temp water on his ears and short vacations to the refrigerator if he started to heat up. I’d also chill a granite slab for him and plastic water bottles.

    20. Anonymosity

      I had to buy a new window AC for the front room, so I’ll be putting that in (by myself). Otherwise, I keep the curtains shut and have fans blowing as much air around as possible. My hair is up. I’m wearing shorts. When it gets too hot in the living room, I go in the bedroom, where the AC will keep the room nice and cool if I keep the door shut.

      I thought about getting a little pool, but eh. I don’t want to mess with it and it’s boring to just lie in it with nobody to talk to. As for cooking, I try not to do any, or I do it as fast as possible.

      Oh, and ice cream. :)

    21. Drop Bear

      A few tips from Australia:
      -spray bottle of water to keep wrists, back of neck etc damp or wet face washer to wrists etc
      -bowls of water for fan to blow over if not humid already, or wet tea towel over fan (don’t leave on if you leave the room)
      -freeze water in containers and put out for pets to lick
      -lie on the tiles
      -if you have a tub fill it and jump in and out through the day, if no tub quick drench under the shower (just tepid water)
      -sleep in the coolest room if possible
      -lots and lots of water
      -wear as little as possible – a sarong is good around the house and can be soaked then wrung out to help with cooling
      -go to shopping centres (malls), cinemas etc
      -do as little as possible – it’s ok to lie on the floor and watch crappy tv – that’s what we do all summer -nothing else explains cricket :)
      -cover windows, block drafts under doors
      -salads and fruit are good food choices
      Good luck!

    22. Anono-me

      I almost forgot, here is a tip for people, at least the ones who wear bras.
      Wear a bra that has a little bit of fabric in the center so that makes a little pocket. Put a small frozen water bottle or a freezer pack. Ice cubes work well also, but leave wet splotchy marks on your shirt.

      1. Anono-me

        Put a small frozen water bottle or freezer pack IN THE POCKET.

        Sorry. Sleepy typing leads to silly typos.

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        That’s the only way I was able to sleep last year – put on sports bra and stuffed a small frozen freezer pack in there. It was enough to get to sleep at least.

    23. SewAnxious

      highly recommend frozen water bottles (wrapped in a towel or sock) for the pets to lay against. also you can get those 12×12 marble tiles pretty cheap at home depot or such. those stay pretty cool, or you can pop them in the fridge/freezer for a bit as well. it’s a nice cool spot for pets to lay.
      a big bowl of ice set in front of a fan will help blow cool air at you or the pets. I’m also a big fan of those gel ice packs

  4. DanaScully

    I’m struggling with Nice Day Guilt. Unfortunately my chronic illnesses don’t kindly give me a day off because the sun is shining. I wish they would!

    There is so much pressure from people to Do All The Things over the summer, but sometimes staying in bed with the curtains closed is all I can do.

    If you can relate to this, you’re certainly not alone. If you have chronic illness sufferers in your life, please try to be patient and understanding.

    1. nep

      Sorry you’re struggling with this. I hope the people in your life will be patient and understanding, and respect your need to lie in bed with the curtains closed. Sometimes it is the only right thing.
      I can relate for sure. Wishing you healing and deep relaxation. Peace.

    2. misspiggy

      Fellow Nice Day Guilt sufferer here. It’s definitely worse in the summer.

      Recharging spoons is a totally valid activity, which I try to categorise alongside exercise, food and hygiene. Yes I am lying in bed rambling on the Internet, and it’s very important that I do so!

    3. Bibliovore

      Mr. Bibliovore just left to work the book fair. Waiting for my meds to kick in. All I see is piles of unfolded clean laundry.
      People coming over at two o’clock and a night thing.
      to do-
      load the dishwasher
      put away the COSTCO stuff from yesterday.
      fold and put away the laundry.
      finish the loads.
      Make hardboiled eggs for the week.

    4. Detective Amy Santiago

      I just slept for pretty much 12 hours straight. I’ve been struggling all week and just couldn’t force myself to get up and do anything today.

    5. Sled dog mama

      I understand and sympathize, on the days I can I assuage my guilt by simply sitting in a sunny corner or outside if I can. I find it helps to remind myself that I am enjoying the nice day in the way it works for me which is not the same as the way others enjoy it.
      Yesterday we had friends over for dinner and sat around talking in the AC while the kids played until 10pm, the next door neighbors were outside in bathing suits having a bonfire. It sounded like the neighbors enjoyed themselves I would have been miserable so I try to see the nice day thing the same way it’s not worth being miserable to try to enjoy a day the way someone else does, I enjoy it the way I can.

    6. WillowSnap

      Don’t feel guilty. Not all people do well in the sun and/or heat. Taking care of yourself and knowing your limits is important.
      I get migraines at inopportune times, and they’ve ruined vacations, days off and once made me pass out on a sailboat! And all I can do is lay there in the dark while everyone else is out having fun. Not great but they do pass.

    7. Cheshire Cat

      No need to feel guilty about listening to what your body needs to recharge! I’m reading in my living room, & when I feel the need for sunshine I look out the window for a few minutes. ;)

      It’s been an exhausting week and going outside in the heat and humidity will sap what little energy I have today.

    8. Sami

      I totally understand that feeling.
      I finally have a relatively comfortable chair for my deck and I like to sit outside and read or fool around on my iPad. My dog loves it too. She has a little hammock-type thing and when she’s not bebopping around the yard, she sits next to me.
      I don’t do well in this kind of heat and humidity, so we’ve been enjoying the A/C.

    9. Koala dreams

      I feel with you. I’ve spent the entire weekend indoors. In my case it’s not other people who complains, it’s me feeling sad that I don’t have any energy for outdoor activities.
      Hope you feel better soon!

    10. Kat in VA

      I relate. I have several sports-related orthopedic injuries (and the titanium in my x-rays to prove it). Some days I’m just hurting too much to do anything other than mindlessly surf the web. The HusbandMan gave me some creeping crud that some office warrior gave HIM so I’m also fighting being ill. The weather is blindingly hot, and the calls from our kids to hit the pool are making me feel guiltier by the minute. I compromise by sitting in a zero-gravity lawn chair, surfing my phone, and snoozing while they play with their dad. I can’t be actively involved most of the time, but I can still at least be out there with them. Do what you can, take care of yourself, and to heck with anyone who wants to guilt you with Nice Day Guilt.™

  5. Llama Grooming Coordinator

    Good morning! (And happy summer!) Let’s do this running thread, guys.

    It’s hot enough that I’m literally planning to tag along on my friend’s Sunday long run at 5 AM. I’ve had to learn how to be a morning person already between The Place We Don’t Speak Of and workouts, but 5 is still kind of out of my league. (Fortunately he lives down the block.) If you’re also under this heat wave (and if you’re in the US, you might well be), how are you guys coping?

    I mentioned late that my club did its first official team race last Sunday (in New Jersey. In late June. In the late afternoon. On a 90-degree day), and it went…fairly well on my end! We did decently for a small club with primarily marathon runners, but I was hoping I’d do better and pull us up a bit higher. (I ended up being our team’s third scorer and still going sub-17, but I really wanted to go under 16:30. Basically, they average your team’s top five times, so if I’d gotten another 10 or 20 seconds off we would have dropped 2-4 seconds off our team time.) That race is odd in that either people do REALLY WELL (like me – I ran a PR there last year and this year) because of the fast course or REALLY POORLY because of the time it’s run.

    (Final note: I’ve been batting around the idea of doing a blog. Should I go for it?)

    1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      It sounds like you did remarkably well in your race last week given the weather conditions. My schedule calls for me to start marathon training in two weeks, so I’m selfishly kind of hoping that the worst of summer blows itself out in the next two weeks since my heat tolerance isn’t the best. (Probably unrealistic, but we did have that one freaky summer a few years ago where the temperature never went above 82F after July 25).

      I sometimes toy with the idea of starting a running blog too. What hangs me up is that I’d basically be talking to myself–none of my friends are runners and I’d be too lazy to market it, so I would have no readership. I also wouldn’t want to be pressured to write on a regular schedule. But I would read yours!

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        I remember that summer! (I’m kind of hoping it happens again, but I’m not holding my breath.)

        I’m actually fairly unusual in that I really enjoy at least shorter races in hot weather. And I’m naturally more of a night owl, so I usually have decent heat tolerance. So this was kind of in my wheelhouse. I’m not exaggerating when I say people either tear it up or fall apart, though – having done the race three times so far, it really does come down to how well you can deal with 90ish temps.

        As for the blogging? I’d almost go more observational (and humorous). I feel like there’s enough people posting inspirational stuff and advice (both of which I’m bad at), and more importantly I’m a Millennial and therefore I believe that everything I have to say is important and should be broadcast to as many people as possible.

        (That last sentence may be an indication of the way I write!)

        1. Justin

          I’ve had many a running blog. Mine linked here is mostly running (sometimes Other Thoughts).

          Start one, it’s fun.

          I ran 68 miles this week to start my own marathon training (Hartford on 10/13, NYC after that). Over 70 next week for the first time in two years (when I was at my best). Feeling healthy and strong. For now!

          1. LGC

            …I feel tired just looking at your fall plans! (Also holy shit man what’s up it’s been a while it feels like) Like, right now I just have up to September planned out (club half, then Bronx, then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯), and I feel SO AWKWARD because I actually have a better idea of what I’m doing next spring.

            As for writing, I’m still On The Fence, but…you know what, forget it, I have like five billion ideas bouncing around in my head anyway, I’m just doing it and damn the consequences. (And definitely reading yours when I have a chance!)

      1. Llama Grooming Coordinator

        IT IS GOING TO BE 100 DEGREES TOMORROW AND THAT’S JUST TOO MUCH FOR ME

        Although this morning was less bad than I thought it would be. I should have gone long today.

    2. runner

      I don’t know if you guys follow the NYC tri which is tomorrow and is going to be awful in the high 90s/100s. I’m wondering if they are going to shorten the run course as they’ve done in previous years. Sort of glad I’m not doing it this year (I usually start late and am slow, so really get hit with the heat during the run). Also, many, many athletes forget to hydrate adequately on the bike and then pay during the run.

      1. LGC

        If they don’t, it’d be crazy – it’s supposed to top out at 102 where I live, and I’m in the suburbs! I get that some people are purists about triathlons (notably Ironmans), but also it’s legitimately dangerous. Hopefully no one gets seriously injured.

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      On the subject of running: I received a bizarre solicitation in the mail today from a life insurance company promising discounted rates for runners. But in order to qualify for “advanced” savings for my age group, I have to be able to run an 8 minute mile.

      I couldn’t run an 8 minute mile if someone set me on fire. But I could roll out of bed and run 13 miles cold, which the majority of people who run can’t do. I thought the health benefits of running were essentially the same regardless of your speed, so I wonder what gives with this company.

      1. LGC

        (For whatever reason, my name got cleared on both my phone and my computer. Might as well make some changes while this is going on.)

        Like…I’ve seen those ads on Facebook, and I don’t pay them that much mind. I think the theory is that if you’re faster, you must be fitter. Which is what people who don’t run (or aren’t active) assume. But you’re right – speed isn’t the only indicator of fitness. Like, I’m one of the fastest guys on my team, especially at shorter distances, and we have some fast guys. But I’m CERTAINLY not the most in-shape guy. (I’m not in better shape than the guy who’s a triathlete, for starters.)

    4. A bit of a saga

      It’s very hot in Europe too – and at least where I am no-one has airco because it’s not usually like this. So I’m dying at home and in the office. I had a pretty good running week this week despite intense work travel and also did a 10k this morning. But now I’m off for another week of work travel to Greece where it’s even hotter AND I’m required to wear ‘business formal’ attire the whole week. Wish me luck! Going to NYC the week after that but I’m hoping to take advantage of jet-lag so that a 4:30 am run through Central Park actually seems like a good idea

      1. LGC

        Wait until at least 5-5:30 – NYC is a bit further south than most of Europe (like, I think we’re about the same latitude as Spain and Portugal – although that’s a wide-ish range!), so that’s when it starts getting light out. Although there was visible light when I ran at 5 AM this morning because today is supposed to top out at 100F.

        (From what I understand, part of the reason most of Europe doesn’t use AC is because…most of Europe is usually more temperate than most of the US. Although 100F highs are unusual and near the record, we usually get at least a couple of days that are like this up here. Usually, it’s in the 80s/low 90s in the summer (so…like, ~30C), which is definitely a fair bit warmer than a lot of northern Europe gets.)

        And good luck with your work stuff! (And oh man you have to go to Greece in July?!)

        1. A bit of a saga

          5:30 it is for the run! Yes, it doesn’t normally get that hot here, and definitely not for such a long stretch of the time – the heat has been building up for weeks now and there is no real change in sight it seems!

  6. Flinty

    I posted last week about scheduling my very first therapy appointment to finally get help for cyclical mood issues. I went, and the therapist pretty quickly felt that I most likely have depression. It makes a lot of sense, but it also made me feel so guilty. My best friend has been having a horrific year, and I feel so stupid that my life is great and I’m still depressed. We’ve always been honest with each other, but I kind of don’t want to tell her, and be another thing she has to worry about. Anyone been through something similar?

    1. Nicole76

      Please just remind yourself that depression isn’t dependent on your life circumstances. Otherwise the suicide rate in underdeveloped countries would be higher. That’s the crazy thing about this illness – you could have everything you’ve ever wanted and still feel horrible.

    2. Not So NewReader

      Ugh.
      Can you frame it as this is rough right now, but you realize other people have been through it so you are going to work really hard to find a better place? “Friend, I need to tell you something so you know what is going on. But I am not telling you this to cause you worry. I have decided to deal with some stuff going on with me and I am going for counseling. This is not something to worry about because I have a plan and I am going to work at my plan.”

      She could work into your informal accountability coach if that is something you think would be good. OR if she is not seeking counseling, perhaps your actions would encourage her to find something supportive she can do for herself. Here “supportive” can mean anything that she thinks would be beneficial to her. It’s amazing what happens when we decide to bring in some help or support.

    3. fposte

      I understand that reaction, but it’s also one that might be worth sharing with your therapist. It sounds like you’re in roles, or at least you feel you’re in roles, where your job is to give and hers is to struggle. It might be a nice change for her to be the one providing succor and not just receiving it.

      And, as people note, it’s not like you have to earn an illness. If you break your leg tripping over your cat, it’s not less broken than if you’d sustained an injury pulling a child from a burning car. I also suspect the guilt and discomfort your feeling is actually part of the illness and when that improves you might feel it less keenly.

    4. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      So um…to start off with, it’s perfectly fine to have depression for no outward reason! Mental health issues are the same as any other illness, I think – if you found out you had cancer tomorrow (which I hope you don’t) I hope you wouldn’t feel like disclosing that would make you a burden.

      Anyway, this is all to say that it’s totally okay to let her know. She might worry about you, but this is a Serious Thing that you’re going through right now! But also, let her know that you’re doing fine if you are. It’s a disease you have that you’re having treated.

      And again, I’m using medical language because honestly you should treat this like you’d reveal any other illness to her.

    5. RestlessRenegade

      As others said, depression doesn’t have much to do with whether your circumstances are great or not! Try not to worry about whether you will be something your friend has to worry about–if you want to tell her, you should tell her. You can’t manage other people’s worry for them. I hope that therapy helps you and please take care of yourself.

    6. Nashira

      My life is objectively good. I have a job I enjoy, where I’m treated well and am given interesting projects that stretch my skills. I’m about to graduate from college. I see friends every week.

      I’m also bipolar and trying desperately to stabilize after some rapid cycles between mania and depression. I see my psychiatrist once every 6-8 weeks. I see my therapist weekly. I’ve been suicidal off and on for months.

      Which is to say, mental illness doesn’t care how “objectively good” your life is. No more than cancer or diabetes does. If you’re sick you’re sick. You are doing a good job by seeing a therapist. You don’t have to beat yourself up for being sick. For me, doing that makes me sicker and more stressed.

      It sucks that you’re sick but it’s okay. You’re not unfrateful – you’re sick.

      1. Belle di Vedremo

        Glad you’re taking care of yourself. Please keep us posted on how you’re doing. That’s a tough road to walk, you are more than worth the effort.

    7. bunniferous

      I am living proof that depression can be conquered-but I can also tell you as someone who has been there and done that that circumstances have NOTHING to do with certain types of depression. Our brains can get wonky, our chemistry can get wonky, and it is not a personal failing. Yay to you being proactive and taking action against the suck! (also, and this is a bit woo-woo, but I firmly believe some of us can pick up on the feelings and emotions of others, and you can absolutely be experiencing emotions that are not really yours. ) In any case, emotions just ARE and you truly have nothing to feel guilty about.

      On the other hand one thing I did that absolutely helps-and that I absolutely still do-is make a practice of being thankful for the good things around me. Focusing on positive things trains your brain in a way that will help long term. Note that I am not saying this is a depression cure-just a healthy thing to practice as you fight it on all fronts. Be kind to yourself in the process!

    8. Gaia

      It is hard, I know, but try to remind yourself that depression is (often) a complex chemical reaction that has no reliance on whether or not your life is good or bad, easy or hard. Many people with great, stress-free jobs, wonderful family, amazing friends and fulfilling hobbies are depressed. And many people without some, or all, of these things are depressed. That guilt you’re feeling? That is the depression talking. It is okay to feel this way, but it is also okay to not feel this way or to remind yourself that this feeling is not based on reality.

      You’ve taken the first steps and those are often the hardest. You can do this.

    9. NeverNicky

      Objectively, my life is the best it’s ever been – I have a job that is interesting and rewarding, my fiance is amazing, we have a comfortable income, we’ve bought our first home, have great friends, visit interesting places, good relationships with family.
      And yet there’s an underlying depression. I don’t feel guilty about it – more frustrated. More than 20 years ago I had a very bad time with depression – again, no cause or trauma, although my life was nothing like as stable as it is now.
      I got through that and I’ll get through this but the support of others was invaluable.
      Do confide in your friend. They will probably be happy to be able to give you some of the support you gave undoubtedly given them through their hard times.
      Good luck with your recovery.

    10. Bibliovore

      First thing I do is accept that I am depressed and NOTHING is going to make me feel better.
      Then I give myself a day off with no guilt. (and yes it feels like this is forever, but …)
      I repeat over and over not “to give up before the miracle happens”
      There are people in my life who suffer from this illness, I may make a few phone calls just to say that I am having a bad day.
      I do stuff for 10 minutes. Strip the bed and throw the sheets in the wash. Clean sheets always make me feel better.
      I give myself permission not to eat meals or prepare “real meals”. I like cardamon toast for comfort food.
      Read a lot of AAM especially the Friday and weekend threads. Makes me feel like I am not alone.
      Watch a lot of TV. I especially like Freeform. The Fosters, Switched at Birth, Bunheads, Bold Type. Younger (sensing a theme here.)

      About your friend. Depression is an illness. Your life can be crappy when it hits, your life can be fine and it hits. Your being ill is not going to make your friend’s situation better or worse. You can assure her that you are seeking professional help and she doesn’t need to do anything.

  7. Loopy

    I had the most awful week. It just left me more depressed and stressed than I have been in a long time.

    What is your favorite pick-me-up/go-to after a week like that? I’m in depression mode so *nothing* sounds good to me but I’m hoping to do something nice for myself before Monday.

    1. Flinty

      I’ve found that exercise is really helpful to me. It’s so so hard to make yourself start, but I always feel better afterward. Sometimes I just tell myself that all I have to do is put on my sneakers and walk out the door, and that I can come back in after that. (Usually once I’ve done that, I can manage to start running/walking/whatever)

      1. nep

        Second this. And yes–when I’m really down, I can’t even fathom exercising. But it relieves like nothing else. When I’m in the middle of it, I invariably think: a couple hours ago I could not even come close to imagining I’d be doing this.
        And as strenuous as you want and need it to be–doesn’t need to be a crazy intense workout. Just moving the body. And it really stays with you.
        Are you able to sleep well? I know that when I’m not getting enough sleep, my thoughts get really dark and hopelessness takes over.
        Sorry you’re having such a tough time right now. May you find relief and resolution.

      2. Sugarplum

        +1
        Definitely relate. I have started walking in place and stretching in my bedroom in the morning. It helps.

        1. nep

          Thanks for this. It’s a great illustration of the fact that it really doesn’t take much to feel some real relief.
          Some people think they need to have some special equipment or go to a gym or even out the door to get some benefit–but that’s not the case.

      3. Grapey

        On days where I don’t feel like doing anything I still strive for a non-zero day.

        I tell myself to just pick up my weights once. Or do one wall push up. I usually get into the groove after my one tiny goal, even if it’s only 10 bicep curls and then back to bed, but it more often turns into at least 10 minutes of moving around.

    2. BRR

      I’m also in depression mode. My plans this weekend involve video games and maybe sitting by the pool. If I can get a temporary fix with retail therapy I’ll do that as well. I might possibly go to the movies as well.

    3. CatCat

      A bubble bath with a scented candle, some music or podcasts, and having the time to myself.

    4. Teach

      Free? Downloading an audio book from the library app or finding a good multi-part podcast like Serial. Going for a walk in a pretty location while listening. It lifts my mood also to listen and putter around my house – go through the mail, take the recycling out, put shoes away, etc. I get stuck on the couch easily when I’m blue, so being upright helps me feel proactive, plus even light exercise makes it easier to sleep later.

    5. misspiggy

      For me it’s a mix – I try to mix in some healthy things like exercise, culture or salad, alongside actively choosing slobby things like marathons of terrible TV or really easy games. (I love Midnight Castle for that.) And the most depraved snacks I can find.

      1. The New Wanderer

        Pro-tip: Chocolate wine exists and it is pretty darn good (creamy like Bailey’s), especially served chilled! ChocoVine is the brand I’ve had.

    6. Sylvan

      Wallow in self-pity with a time limit. Then shower, change into something very different from what I wore earlier, and get outside. Exercise. See your friends, try a new restaurant, or see a movie. I just try to force a break from feel-like-crap mode. I have the best luck with exercise, but something else might be what works best for you.

      1. Parenthetically

        ALL this.

        Even choosing “nothing” as an intentional self-care choice *for right now* works for me a lot. “I’m going to do nothing today, but first I’m going to have a shower and wash my sheets and put on clean leggings and a clean tshirt and eat a decent breakfast so I feel clean and fresh while I’m lounging in bed watching 10 episodes of Grand Designs.” Half the time the shower/starting the clean sheets routine/changing clothes/eating breakfast actually kickstarts a different day, which is also great, but even if I do end up doing not much all day, doing it in clean clothes with a stomach full of nutritious food makes it feel like a treat rather than something to feel guilty about.

    7. Shay the Fae

      Depression mode is such a good way to put it.
      I got so much work done Monday and Tuesday. I worked 21 hours and finished a major project. Then I’ve kind of been costing Wednesday and Thursday. Friday I forced myself up for the first part of the day and worked on tidying my apartment. Then I went to therapy. After therapy though I just vegged out some more but I refused to feel bad about it.
      Today I’m even closer to being back on track, I woke up at the right time, took my meds on time, and forced myself to walk / jog with the dogs before it got too hot out. I felt really guilty that I hadn’t walked them as far as I normally did the past few days. That’s what helped me get back on track.

    8. Geillis D.

      Walks. Nature. Art. Music. Anything beautiful.
      Don’t look at it as a “fun” activity that is inherently optional but as a necessary therapy session. Getting out the door is the hardest part. An hour into a nature or gallery/museum walk, preferably with your favourite music on, and your battery will be recharged to better face the world.

    9. Elizabeth

      Going to the library always helps me. Sometimes I just wander and look for books that stand out/seem interesting and finding a new to me topic or subject or perspective helps to get me out of a downturn.

    10. Falling Diphthong

      Various fake-it-til-you-make-it things that get you out of the house (exercise, local site that’s been on your list of places to see), so the chores don’t look at you.

    11. Marillenbaum

      Oh, I have a Wallowing Day. When I get up, I change from my nighttime pajamas to a new pair of daytime pajamas (so it feels purposeful, which makes me feel kind of better?). Make a cup of coffee, order breakfast in, and read something I like. For the rest of the day: Netflix, naps, books, maybe a face mask. Order in more food as desired–I try for things I really like, so lots of pad Thai and pizza. If I feel up to it, maybe some gentle yoga.

    12. Nicole76

      This may not work for you, but I find forcing myself to get out of bed and clean my house puts me in a better mood because clutter just makes me feel worse. I always feel calmer once my space is neat and tidy.

    13. Ranon

      I’m solar powered and my house is pretty dark even in the summer, so “go outside” is a critical baseline activity for me. Bench with a tree and a nice beverage can do a lot, but so can sitting on my porch for ten minutes.

    14. Lissa

      I go for a really long walk with a podcast and end at a new to me or old favorite coffee shop or bakery.

    15. Loopy

      I want to say I’m really touched and kind of sentimental by how many people chimed in to help. I was feeling especially down because I missed the work thread where I could have asked for useful advice regarding how to tackle the cause of this awful depression.

      I love love love being out in nature and sunlight more than anything but I’m in the very deep south and it’s just not super feasible for me to be out in the places that heal me and soothe me and thats so so hard. I love being outdoors but it’s n the 90s and often just really hard to enjoy being outside at all. It’s made this depression so much harder.

      I kind of frittered today away but I picked up two books. I haven’t read in a long time but one is kind of drk so far is not a good choice. I really want to out and about but the only things remotely interesting to me are all outside. Stupid heat :(

      I thought about getting a little plastic pool and seeing if my dog is interested, that might be a fun project. But if he’s not, what do I do with the pool? donate it? Anyone know if it’s costly to fill a kiddie pool? also worried about the water bill.

      1. Sparrow

        Could you try going outside at sunrise or sunset?
        The kiddie pool idea sounds great! I’m sure you could give it away on Craigslist or similar if you didn’t want to keep it long term. I don’t think it would be too expensive to fill a kiddie pool (people use way more water to wash cars and water gardens after all) and I hope a potential mood boost would make it worth a shot!

    16. Kuododi

      I discovered a photographer named Andrew Marttila. His “specialty” is photographing cats absolutely drunk on catnip!!! Impossible to look at those furry goofballs and not feel warm and happy. ;) His recent book publication is titled “Cats on Catnip.”

      1. ElspethGC

        Andrew is also the boyfriend of Hannah Shaw, aka Kitten Lady, who fosters neonatal kittens. Just…binge her Instagram and YouTube. Do it. Daily. It’s fantastic. (My other kitty binge-watches are Cole and Marmalade, and the TinyKittens livestreams. It’s very good for when you’re feeling down.)

    17. pcake

      Hope you’re doing better and have had a chance to treat yourself.

      I have a silly thing that always makes me feel a little better. Go to Youtube and search Cockatoo batman. If you have no patience, go right to 21 seconds.

    18. Spice for this

      I go to YouTube and watch videos (look for: Lilly Singh, IISuperwomanII), I always end up laughing and feeling better, then I can face the day.

  8. Kat in VA

    I just wanted to whine for a second. The husband’s office is a cesspool of illness, because people refuse to stay home and insist on spreading their lovely infections around for the whole world to enjoy. So I got his combo head/chest cold/sinus thing, and last night I couldn’t sleep worth a dang because in addition to the sinus headache, all the lymph nodes down the right side of my neck are inflamed and hurting. Thanks, Husband’s Office Mates! Thanks for the creeping crud that’s wrecking my weekend! (Yes, I’m on antibiotics, hooray teledocs!)

    1. SophieChotek

      Sorry to hear that! There’s been several letters her about annoying sick co-workers who think they are proving something by coming in or have such crappy PTO/sick time they have to come in.

      But not fun! Hope you feel better soon.

  9. Lil Gumshoe

    Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians!

    I’m planning on spending the weekend reading, watching The West Wing and eating popsicles only since its 35 degrees!

    1. Middle School Teacher

      Happy Canada day! It’s not as hot here (maybe 23 degrees) so I’m going to bbq, even if it rains. It’s supposed to rain all next week :(

    2. Geillis D.

      Happy Canada day! Same here only replace the west wing with House!

      Stay cool, those scorching temps sound not very fun. It’s perfect where I am, as long as it remains like this tomorrow we’re golden.

    3. Scubacat

      Happy Canada Day! My family is planning to watch the local First Nations dancing. I think its about 15 degrees this weekend.

    4. Weekend Warrior

      We will run our string of plastic flags out the clothesline tomorrow and eat a picnic dinner on the deck if it gets nicer and indoors if not. All our favourite Canadian TV shows are on repeat (Schitts Creek, Baroness Von Sketch, etc) so we may dig up some classic CODCO sketches on YouTube. Or maybe Corner Gas. :)

      Years ago in Toronto you could give blood on Canada Day which always felt super patriotic. I think I’ll at least research some local cause to support.

      Enjoy the weekend all. Peace, order and good government seems pretty attractive right about now!

    5. Catherine from Canada

      Happy Canada Day! We were going to drive to Southern Ontario to visit a son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters, but a humidex of 47 and a nightime low of 27?! No, just no.
      So I laid in a supply of g-and-t and am going to spend the weekend sewing and binge watching Netflix.

      1. Middle School Teacher

        This sounds AMAZING. I love g&t and I just started a new cross-stitch, and it’s supposed to be on the cooler side here (maybe 15?) which is too chilly for July. I’m totally jumping on your plan :)

    6. Canadian Natasha

      Happy Canada Day in advance! I have family birthday plans this weekend so it’s gonna be a busy one! Sadly the meteorologists are threatening the possibility of rain… :(

    7. esra

      I’m spending Canada Day indoors celebrating the advent of air conditioning. Gosh it’s so hot out. I have this week off, and I think it’s going to end with my condo being very, very tidy because I won’t be leaving much.

  10. Lazy Cat

    I just need to say this somewhere, because I don’t want to worry my people any further – I was in a minor car accident last month, one where I got the ticket (everyone is fine!), and now I feel like I must be a terrible excuse for a human being, because a good person would have been … more perfect, essentially.

    I’m aware there are lots of issues buried in that statement (I certainly don’t equate perfect and good for other people in my life!), so now I’m looking into therapy. It’s just overwhelming that one stressful event has pushed my own behavior towards myself to be even more stressful, and I don’t always know how to handle it.

    Thanks for listening, feels good to get off my chest.

    1. Emma UK

      It’s called an accident for a reason. You made a mistake. It’s good to want to look at how you made the mistake to stop it happening again, but you are not a terrible person. We all make mistakes.

    2. anon24

      I met someone like that. She made a dumb mistake behind the wheel and hit a other car. She was beating herself up so bad. I said hey we all make mistakes and we all occassionally do really stupid things and the only difference is whether or not we’re lucky to get away with it in that moment. We all try to minimize those mistakes, but we’re human and they happen. That’s why it’s an accident.

      Your luck wasn’t there and you didn’t get away with it. That makes you no worse of a person than everyone else who up until now has gotten away with their momentarily lapses with no harm.

    3. Marillenbaum

      Hey–I’m glad you’re okay. For what it’s worth, I think the decision to go to therapy is a wise one; I’ve gone a couple of times since college and it has really helped me. I hope it helps you too. You deserve to feel okay.

    4. neverjaunty

      Sounds like nobody got hurt, you took responsibility, and it’s prompting you to make some important changes. This is evidence that you are a GOOD person.

    5. fposte

      I’m really glad you’re okay, Lazy Cat.

      Driving mistakes are a challenge; often we’re lucky in that there’s no consequence, but sometimes we hit a consequence and a thing. In general with mistakes, I think it’s a lot more useful to find a method to combat them in future rather than to beat myself up to be better at the thing. It might be worth looking into a driving course not just to improve your skills but to turn your shame into an actionable and finite task.

    6. Not So NewReader

      Oh my.
      Yep, this is a symptom of something else. You are right.
      I think logically you know are courts are clogged with people and their traffic tickets. We do not have enough police officers to catch everyone who is misbehaving that is how often this happens.

      I got in a wreck when I was 17. I caused it. People got hurt. It took me years to adjust to this knowledge that I did this. To this day (40 plus years later) I am a more cautious driver.

      We could talk for paragraphs about the layers of guilt here.

      I want to go in a different direction. What proactive steps are you willing to take to help yourself along? It will probably be more than one activity. I would like to suggest a driver safety course. NOT because I think you are UNsafe, but because I know first hand it will help you. (FWIW, I am guessing you lost your concentration for a moment.) I was rattled to my core over this accident. I did not know a human being could cry while they slept. I woke up in the morning and my nightshirt and pillow were soaked, because I had been crying all night long in my sleep. Finally the tear ducts ran dry and I stopped the actual tears.

      It took massive amounts of courage to go to that first course. It involved crying. I went. I liked it even though it was a little boring. They gave me a discount on my insurance because I took the course. So in order to retain the discount, I had to redo the course every three years. And then I learned something. We don’t talk about driving much, we don’t give each other tips on driving very often. I am not keen on cars/mechanics so when people started talking about cars, I would drift away. I learned that I had to listen, I had to become more connected to the subject of driving and cars. Some of the in-person classes I have taken have gone off the path some because people start asking questions about driving situations or about their cars. It gets interesting when the course derails a little. I now do the class online and that has some good points also. I usually learn something I did not know.

      Instead of beating yourself up, trying figuring out different ways you can buoy yourself up now. What are some different ways of investing in yourself so you can be in a better place.

      Cry when you need to. Sometimes good people make mistakes. We all do. It’s how we respond to that mistake that matters the most.

      1. Cheshire Cat

        I want to second the suggestion for a driver safety/defensive driving class, and then putting the actions you learn about into practice. I found it really empowering and made me a safer, more confident driver. And the insurance discount is a nice perk, too.

    7. RestlessRenegade

      I identify with this so much. I carry a lot of baggage around driving; it’s so much responsibility and I feel the need to be perfect at it. (I mean, I feel that way about everything, but unlike other things, it can have serious consequences!) I think talking to a therapist is a great idea. And you can try to remind yourself that you will learn from the experience and that nobody is dead; it will be okay. All the sympathy.

    8. Cats On A Bench

      I’ve been here too. In the last 7-8 years, I’ve had 2 minor fender benders (not my fault) and 1 slightly worse accident (slightly my fault, but I was found fully at fault as far as insurance was concerned). Thankfully no one was hurt in any of them, but the last accident was the worst one and it really shook me. My kids were with me and had distracted me and I was a nervous wreck driving after that. Plus, it had been raining in all 3 of my accidents so I get really anxious driving in the rain. It really shook my confidence. One good thing that came from it is that now when I tell my kids I need them to be quiet because there’s a lot of traffic, they actually quiet down. I’m currently teaching my oldest to drive too so I’m experiencing all that anxiety all over again in new ways because I’m not even behind the wheel much anymore!

      Anyway, just wanted to send out a virtual hug. You will get through this. You’re not a bad person. This is why we call them accidents. You will drive more cautiously now and you will get your confidence back again. The others’ suggestion to try a safe driving course is a good one if only to help you rebuild that confidence in yourself. Don’t know why I haven’t thought about it before, especially since I made my son take a driver’s ed class. It could help me too!

  11. FaintlyMacabre

    This is tangentially work related, but I think it’s appropriate here:

    I’m going from night shift to day shift, hurray! But I start on Monday. Two days to switch my schedule. I plan on drinking a ton of caffeine today and try to crash around 8pm if possible (basically, no sleep at all for my Saturday, as I would usually be going to bed at 8am!). Sleep as long as possible Sunday morning, then hopefully go to sleep at reasonable hour, and then wake up on Monday for work!But are there other ways that have worked for people to quickly reset sleep schedules?

    1. BRR

      Would you feel comfortable taking a sleep aid? I use chewable melatonin from Trader Joe’s time to time.

      1. Nye

        If you’re willing to take something, diphenhydramine HCl and doxylamine succinate are both OTC (in the US) and really help put you to sleep. I find them more effective than melatonin, which (as I understand it) helps more if you take it in a regular pre-bedtime schedule.

        Diphenhydramine HCl is sold as both a sleep aid and as Benadryl, incidentally (clears your sinuses AND knocks you out).

    2. Star Nursery

      How long have you been on night shifts? I think it seems to me that the time you wake up is what helps set your mind for sleep schedule more than what time you go to bed. I’m not sure if that’s just me or if it’s true for everyone. Maybe search AAM for previous comments on international travel and multiple some zones for tips!
      Good luck!

    3. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      I think your plan to stay up all day is the right way to go, even if it makes for a horrible day. I find that this is the best way to reduce jet lag, too. I don’t think I’d sleep all day Sunday, though. Try to get up and go to bed close to the time you want your new schedule to be.

    4. bunniferous

      Be in the sun as much as you can today and tomorrow. Light, especially natural light, is essential. That said, you will have to expect some” jet lag” but hopefully that will help.

  12. Washi

    Anyone have any advice about how to respond when a friend is expressing worries about never getting married? I have a dear friend who is really worried about being single forever and never finding anyone. I’ve been with the guy I’m married to since I was 19, so it’s hard for me to commiserate, and I’m not sure what to say. She’s amazing and absolutely deserves to find someone, but I can’t promise her that she will, and I just don’t know how to respond beyond “that’s tough” etc

    1. PolicyChick

      Well, there are actually worse things in life than never getting married. Life is what you make it; I mean, I assume she wants to get married because to her marriage = happy life. So what she ultimately wants is a happy life, right? Having a happy life happens when you MAKE a happy life. Go on adventures. Take lovers. Move to a new city, or country. Revel in the good friends and family you have. Dive into a passion project.

      I don’t know if that’s helpful. I’ve never been married but I have had a very adventuresome life (see above list) and I honestly think I have missed out on nothing!

      1. nep

        This is a good way to look at it–Exactly what does the person think she’s missing out on? What defines happiness for her? Sometimes I think much of our frustration/sense of missing out comes purely from conditioning. Conditioning is a big fat lie.

        1. Falling Diphthong

          Maybe ask, if she somehow knew that the (possible) right guy was five years out and not showing up before then, what would she be doing? On dating apps, content with these being okay-for-now and not long-term things? Planning a trip?

      2. Washi

        Totally agree that marriage is not the be all end all of life! I just am not sure how that would sound coming from me, like, it’s easy for me to say that getting married isn’t everything. I like the idea of asking her more about her other goals and dreams and fun plans though!

        1. Parenthetically

          I dunno, it really contributed to my satisfaction with single life to know the struggles my married friends were going through. Not in a schadenfreude way, but in a “being married isn’t a solution to my problems, it’s just a different set of problems” way.

          Takes some delicacy and wisdom to talk about that kind of thing, though.

          1. Star Nursery

            Agree with this so much. I’m married and it was worth waiting for the right person rather than ending up in a miserable marriage. Getting married won’t make everything in life magically better. You can be married and very lonely or struggle with life baggage or find out that you have a lot less freedom and cannot just spend money the way you want it or travel all you want. It can also be downright difficult and miserable at times. Sometimes it’s easy for a single person to imagine getting married must be like a romance novel or a movie tale. But life isn’t scripted like a movie and the best advice is to find ways to enjoy life today.

        2. Artemesia

          I have been married twice — very. happily for the last 45 years and my life would be a lot less wonderful without him, my kids, my grandkids. But the first one was not that great. I don’t think you as a happily married person are in a position to reassure. Lots of people never marry who want to marry, especially women. Men can usually make it happen if they want to. That is better than a miserable marriage, but it is still sad when the woman would like a family. — I really like the idea of assuming that the right guy is 5 years off and to make the best possible life in the meantime; I bet that also increases the odds of meeting someone. People desperate for a boyfriend radiate that misery and repel potential mates.

      3. Fiennes

        This was always my philosophy, and I made good on it. When I *did* meet my partner (in my 40s), I know he was drawn to the fact that I had a wealth of experiences, work I loved and a positive attitude.

        I’m not saying, “lead a big joyful life and you are guaranteed to marry!”, because that’s bull. Instead I’m saying, “lead as big and joyful a life as you can, and you’re guaranteed a big and joyful life.” Whereas focusing on sadness about being single guarantees nothing but sadness. It’s natural to feel down once in a while, but she mustn’t let this dominate her life.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale

      Unfortunately, I think in your situation, “That’s tough” may be all you can “get away with”, you know? I was single until my 30s, and I used to talk to friends about those same worries. Nothing really helped beyond their assurances that I was awesome and lovable and guys are stupid and all that, and nothing worked until I woke up one day (basically) and said, “OK, I may be single forever, so I’m going to work on accepting that.” And that was the advice I gave to my single girlfriends after that, because I found it really freeing; I did what I wanted when I wanted to, I spent time with my friends, and, most importantly in my experience, I figured out how to enjoy my own company more than anyone else’s. I carry those lessons with me, seven years into my relationship with my partner; I relish the rare times he goes away without me so I can get that time with myself.

      But before all that, nothing was more irritating than my (very well-meaning) married friends saying, “Of course you’ll find someone! He will come!” Not that you’re doing that! They were trying to make me feel better, but in those desperate moments, it just stung. Of course, you can always offer to help her out, like introduce her to your husband’s friends (if they’re good guys for her). But the most important thing is to treat her like she is complete and fine and wonderful on her own. So your commiseration is just fine, and often when our friends vent like this, they’re just looking for validation and some friendly nods.

      1. Annie Moose

        So… I’m 26 and have never been in a serious relationship, and this post is actually really encouraging for me. I’ve been trying to work on “it’s fine if you’re single forever”, and I’m a whole lot better than I used to be about it, but still—sometimes I do get a bit “nobody loves me, I’m lonely, etc. etc.” And it’s good to reset my emotions and recognize that I’m pretty happy on my own and don’t NEED a relationship for my life to go well!

        1. Hellanon

          Here’s a thought from the other side: I dated pretty actively in my teens and twenties (yes, this is a euphemism for sleeping around) and was married for about 15 years in my twenties and thirties – 2 different guys. I was… 42? when the last divorce was finalized, and at that point I made a conscious decision to NOT start dating again until I’d given myself a real, substantive break from calibrating myself against what anyone else wanted from me, from always making space in my head for someone who wasn’t me. The last 20 years have been really good – I’ve enjoyed myself, made amazing friendships, and gotten more solid productive & creative work done than I could have dreamed possible.

          Now, obviously, this is a perspective from a very different place, but the idea is the same: live the life you want first. Sounds like you’re putting that piece into place, which is good! I frequently wish I’d figured that part out much, much sooner…

        2. stellaaaaa

          I agree with Hellanon. It wasn’t until I was married and then divorced for a while that I finally realized that I never had to be married again! It was totally freeing. I might still get into romantic relationships, or not, but that had nothing to do with marriage and expectations about marriage. I didn’t even know I had these kinds of expectations hanging over me until long after the divorce. I had never been the type to have many boyfriends, had never dreamed about my future wedding or wanted children, but I still held those assumptions that “no relationship is meaningful unless it leads to marriage” and “I am not worth anything unless I am married.”

          Unfortunately I don’t think I would have realized this without getting married and then divorced. If people can figure this stuff out without going through that agony, I think that’s awesome.

        3. Gaia

          I like to say I’ve decided to date myself for the time being. Maybe forever. I’m okay with that. I like me and I like spending time with me. And if, one day, I meet a person that I want to join me, then that’ll be great. But if not? I still like me.

      2. London Calling

        Nothing really helped beyond their assurances that I was awesome and lovable and guys are stupid and all that,

        The problem with that is you think ‘OK, I’m awesome and lovable so where are all the men and why aren’t they falling over themselves to date SuperWonderfulMe?’ It just reinforces insecurity

    3. London Calling

      *Anyone have any advice about how to respond when a friend is expressing worries about never getting married? I have a dear friend who is really worried about being single forever and never finding anyone.*

      How is the rest of her life? because sometimes one issue becomes a lightning conductor for all the other things in life that aren’t right, on the basis that ‘well, if I were married/thin/fit/rich/running my own company then I’d be happy.’ What are her views on being married – is it something she thinks everyone should do, does she think by x age she ought to married…what’s going on underneath?

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        All of these things are excellent questions for the friend to ask herself… but it is not Washi’s job to fix her. It sounds like the friend wants a sounding board or some reassurance, something most of us want for our friends. I don’t want Washi to think the burden is on her to dig deep into her friend’s emotions and try to “repair” her. Sometimes, we just need our peeps.

    4. Anon for this

      So… I’m kinda your friend. I’m 30, currently single, broke up with my ex-boyfriend of several years, and frustrated that society in general STILL doesn’t quite take a woman seriously unless she’s married (or has been).

      What you can do is try to empathize more with her in that 1) society places so much value on weddings/getting married for women even today, 2) she’s probably really envious (and in her more desperate moments, jealous) that you’re married and have been for a long time, and 3) that maybe gently point out that a happy life doesn’t require being married. #3 is so much harder to do, it’s taken me a lot of self-reflection to come to that point, and even then, I still wish I had a companion instead of having to do everything myself that my married/engaged friends don’t have to do. Examples: asking all my married/engaged friends to hang out without their partners, moving apartments, negotiating prices for buying “manly” or adult things like cars and homes, going to events myself, setting up furniture, fixing appliances – I have to either do myself or pay someone else to do it, I don’t have a husband or boyfriend to do this. It’s tough on my wallet and sometimes I just want someone to be backup support for me, but I don’t have it.

      Anyway, long story short is that society still places so much judgement on unmarried women in their late 20s and through their 30s (“oh, you weren’t good enough to snag a man in your 20s and now no one will want you!”) and it’s rough. Your friend needs a place to vent, and she trusts you enough to say these things even though she is completely aware that you do not experience all of this.

    5. CTT

      As someone in a similar place to your friend, one thing that drives me insane is when it feels like my friends aren’t acknowledging what I’m saying. I’m in my late 20s, have never really dated, and was trying to explain to one of my friends how anxiety-provoking dating is when I have so little experience. She kept saying “No, that’s not weird, you’re not weird,” and I know she was trying to be kind, but I finally had to snap at her “How many people do you know who are almost 30 and have never dated? Because I’m the only person I know like that.” And then she did acknowledge that I was the only person she knew in this situation. I think we’re often wired as friends to be so supportive that it can almost backfire and become ignoring what a friend is really saying.

      So, tldr, if it seems like she’s in a mood where she just wants to vent (also? It’s totally okay to ask if that’s the mood she’s in or if she wants advice. I’ve started doing that recently and I wish I had been doing it all along), let her, and let her know you’re hearing what she’s saying. I’ve found that when I’m feeling down about this, it’s usually because I’m feeling lonely. Talking to a friend who won’t acknowledge (no matter how innoccently) that makes it feel worse.

      1. Annie Moose

        YES I GET THIS SO HARD. People can say it’s normal all they like… but come on! It’s not very common to be our age and have never really dated! It’s okay to acknowledge this.

        1. all aboard the anon train

          I don’t know. I think it’s more common than people realize. It’s just that people who experience it don’t talk about it as much because they feel like they’re the only ones with this experience or that people will judge them for it.

          1. Not So NewReader

            This. Looking back on my childhood, I am sure there were several adults around me who did not date much if ever. They would never, ever mention it. Ever. Even after I grew into adulthood, these people never said a word.
            I agree. It’s more common than we realize.

          2. CTT

            I think it’s common, but I also think that it often shakes out that it’s usually one person per social circle, so it can feel way less common. So even if one isn’t alone in this in a macro sense, if everyone you hang out with is married or in a relationship, the actual statistics don’t really matter.

          3. Myrin

            I think it can be b0th at the same time – it’s both uncommon in general and yet more common than many people, especially those who’ve never been in the situation, realise.

            (This just made me think a little and I realised that of all the women whose relationship status I know, literally none is even single currently; I’m asexual and have always been known to not be interested in relationships and in any given setting, I’m the token spinster aunt. Single men, I know a few, but I can only think of one who I know for sure has never dated, and he’s gay and has had trouble finding men of the same persuasion.)

            1. all aboard the anon train

              Yeah, and the more I think about it, the more I realize it might vary by crowd. It’s unusual in my group of mostly hetero friends, but pretty common with my queer friends. For the latter I think it’s just that it’s harder and scarier to date or find people, to use your words, of the same persuasion.

        2. Gaia

          Actually, the fact that there are 3 – 5 people in the comments on this site in this situation indicates it is probably more common than people realize. I think the issue is people don’t talk about it.

      2. Anonymosity

        THIS!!!!! No matter how nice your life is, being alone IS lonely sometimes. I hate when people don’t listen!

        I feel worse when people say, “You can have a happy life being single,” or “Marriage isn’t all beer and skittles,” etc. etc. blah blah blah yadda yadda. I am expressing the fact that I want to be married and am not and I am upset about that. To hear platitudes just makes me feel like I’m not being heard and people are invalidating my feelings. Well, they’re real, and I feel them!! Gah!

        I think people just want to *fix* things for a person they care about who is unhappy, but it really doesn’t help. Sometimes we just need someone to listen and acknowledge.

        1. Washi

          I so appreciate everyone’s thoughts and don’t quite know where to stick my reply, so I’ll put it here. Seeing the variety of responses and perspectives is super helpful, and a lot of what y’all are say resonates based on what I’ve heard from my friend.

          I feel like this has emphasized for me that first, validation is important, so I will continue to try to be a supportive place to vent. And second, which I hadn’t thought about quite this way before, to make sure that I stay really open and vulnerable with her about everything, including my marriage. Not as some kind of demonstration that marriage isn’t always easy or whatever, but because I think that when things are “better” for one person even if it’s only in one area, it can sometimes create distance.

          Basically, these comments have helped me to reframe this question as not “how can I comfort my friend in the moment”, but “what can I do to be a good friend at this moment, but also in general”

    6. Parenthetically

      Honestly, as someone who was single (as in no serious boyfriends, no romantic prospects at ALL) until my mid thirties, something like, “That sucks and I’m sorry you’re feeling alone right now, please come hang out with us whenever; in fact how about this Friday night? You are awesome and your relationship status doesn’t affect that at all” was honestly the best thing people could say/do. Just hearing my friends acknowledge that it was really OK for me to feel pissed and lonely and sad, and that they loved and cared for me no matter what, was HUGE.

      I think there can be a moment to say, “Hey, look, you’re not psychic; just because you’re single now doesn’t mean you won’t find someone great tomorrow or in five years or whenever” or “Hey, you can build yourself an amazing life with or without a partner because you’re great and I want to be part of that amazing life whatever form it takes” but it takes some wisdom to know if/when that would be welcome.

    7. Triple Anon

      I’ve never been married, but I have been in long term relationships, and I’ve had a lot of married friends. I think it’s one of those things that we tend to idealize as a society. In reality, there is good and bad about it. But I understand why it’s important to people.

      Some realities that tend to become more obvious later in life:

      – Who you marry makes a bigger difference than when you get married or any of the other details. A spouse can be the person who’s always there for you or the person who creates problems and lets you down. And it can take time to figure out how things will go when you first get involved with someone. I think getting married later can be good because you’ll bring more life experience to your choice of who to marry and everything else about the relationship.

      – People tend to be more attractive to other people when they’re not actively looking for a partner but are instead really enjoying other things about life. So if she asks for advice about that kind of thing, you could recommend putting her energy into a hobby that she enjoys and that could also lead to meeting people.

      – Choosing a good partner is hard. Relationships are hard. The people you’re attracted to at first aren’t always people you’d actually be happy to live with for decades. You have to find someone who you feel a spark with and who would also be a compatible partner in a more practical long term sense. That’s really hard. And it’s good if you can use your single time to think about what you want, how you can do your part to make a relationship work, how and when you would end things when dating someone, all of that stuff. To strategize. Because once real people and feelings are involved, it’s a lot more challenging.

    8. The Person from the Resume

      “That sucks.”

      I don’t know if there’s anything much more you can say or do. I personally find her position silly. I’m a single, never married woman in her mid 40s. I’m on a couple of dating apps now and am looking. So I’m in your friends boat without desperate desire for marriage (and kids is she worried that she’ll miss her chance to have kids?) I’m happy and successful single. I would like to find a life partner but I don’t think it’s the key. I don’t know how to get someone else to feel that way. I don’t know there’s much you can say to help her change her mind so I’d mostly commiserate. At its most basic level, she wants something badly and feels hopeless about ever getting it. That feeling does suck.

      1. Sparrow

        The kids point may be something to keep in mind. I’m in my mid 20s, dating but have never had a serious/long-term relationship, and one thing that’s helped me immensely lately is knowing that there are women out there who are Single Mothers By Choice. I have many years of life to live before I start thinking about that, and there will be many other things to consider when the time comes, but just knowing it’s an option has been hugely freeing for me. I also find other ways to spend time with kids (volunteering and babysitting) to utilize the affection/nurturing/caring aspects of my personality that can be a bit neglected as a single woman who wants kids and is family-oriented.
        It might not be your place to bring these up to your friend (and I may be way off base as a Random Internet Person and she may have no interest in kids at all). But these points may be worth having in mind if a conversation with her naturally heads that direction.

    9. Maya Elena

      Probably laugh it off or make fun – offer to set up with your nasty, brutish and short cousin or the like. There’s no easy solution; there’s no easy answer for whether to stay in an imperfect relationship, whether to settle or hold out for better, and how to win against the odds in increasingly terrible dating markets as one ages and more women move there.

      The one practical thing you can probably offer is venues where she can meet decent people – not just men – that she wouldn’t have access to – e.g. if you give lots of parties, or have good friends who have lots of “come one come all” events attended by quality people. This might help her get exposure outside of her own work-Tinder-bar scene treadmill, or whatever she’s doing.

      But otherwise, there’s practical advice up the whazoo up there, which I’m sure your friend gets from every corner, from “use this dating site” to “getting married isn’t what it’s cracked up to be!”

    10. buttercup

      I’m kind of like your friend, and I disagree with a lot of the advice on this thread! Just saying “that sucks” will sound super dismissive, and even kind of smug, rather than understanding. I also think that dismissing her desire for a partnership or marriage and just telling her to enjoy “the single life” is not a great idea either. It’s similar to telling someone that they should give up on pursuing the job they want or any other goal they might have.

      Something that I would find helpful and reassuring is by either giving her constructive advice, or encouraging her to seek sources that would give her constructive advice on how to find a partner, as I understand you may not want to do all the emotional labor involved in this. Currently, all of my friends and I are single and want partners. Something we do is we make small “goals” where we will chat up a guy we like or go to a social event by ourselves. If we’re feeling nervous, we will text each other and cheer each other on.

      I’m not necessarily saying you have to put in this much effort, but the spirit of this support system is we aren’t enabling each other’s self-pity habits but rather encouraging each other, which is something you can do verbally.

    11. Advice Giver

      Build a great life for yourself, whatever that means to you. But do it for YOU. If you’re living a happy life, that may attract people who want a similarly happy life to you. But if not, you already have a great life!

    12. Lora

      One of my friends stresses about this a LOT. She really wanted kids and ended up adopting children in her late 30s because, basically, the men available to her were all jerks she didn’t want to have to share custody with.

      Here’s the conclusion I have come to after many years married followed by many years divorced: if you don’t have any standard expectations for human beings (like, they need to have basic hygiene and a job of some sort and be single) then you can find someone to marry tomorrow. There’s plenty of a-holes who don’t want to work or do chores or be adults in any way whatsoever, who want someone to pay all their bills while they sleep with whomever they please and won’t give a single fk about you or your feelings. There’s loads of terrible people like this, and they’re happy to have a sugar mama/daddy.

      If you want to marry a decent human being who is gainfully employed, respectful, does dishes, doesn’t create more headaches than they’re worth…good luck with that.

      I know many people who jump from relationship to relationship, and have zero problems finding someone who wants to marry them despite a laundry list of human flaws, and then I meet the people who date and marry them (and continue to date after they are married despite *not* being in an open relationship…). These are not nice people. These are not even people you would be happy to have a beer with for 90 minutes. They are deeply flawed individuals. But it sucks to look at this hosebeast of a primate and be like, why are people all lining up to mash their swimsuit areas against Crazy A-holes and here I am made of awesome by myself? The answer is, because they are not good people.

      If you are willing to pay bills and do 100% of the housework for the incurably lazy, if you have a super high crap tolerance, if you can spend your whole life picking up after a 45-year-old teenager who tries to sleep with the babysitter, if you want to be with someone old enough to be your dad, with whom you share nearly no cultural references or aesthetics and be his nursemaid… you can get married tomorrow.

      If you want an actual equal partner who does their share, with whom you share common interests and who respects you like a person, it’s going to be tough. And you may eventually give up on that dream – that’s part of adulthood unfortunately, learning that you aren’t actually going to get things you want no matter how much society treats it as a norm. And you have to make other plans.

    13. LibbyG

      This may be straying from Washi’s question, but I tend to think that being involuntarily single is a lot like longing for a child. In both situations you want to *have* a partner or a child but you also want to *be* a partner or parent. So you’re grieving the hypothetical person you don’t have but also the role you don’t get to play (yet), the parts of your self that you don’t get to express as much as you’d like. From this perspective, I tend to think that acknowledging your friend’s grief is already a significant help.

  13. bassclefchick

    My high school reunion is tonight! I’m excited AND dreading it at the same time. Some of my classmates were really not kind. I plan on ignoring them and talking with the ones I DO want to see.

    Here’s what has me really mad, though. I booked appointments to get a mani/pedi (Wednesday) and get my hair colored purple again (Friday). The last time I got purple, it took 3 and a half HOURS and the color was gone within a week. Granted, I went to a beauty school and not a regular salon, but STILL.

    So, Wednesday MORNING they call me to tell me that they have to cancel my mani/pedi because the students will be in class and not on the floor. My appointment was at 5pm. So, no pretty nails for me. Friday, I get to the salon and I’m trying to tell the girl what I want and she looks confused and says she has to go get her instructor. Fine, it’s a teaching facility, I get that. I show them pictures of the color I had before and that what I really wanted was royal purple, but if they could go 2 shades darker than what I had, that would be OK, too. They said to get what I want, it would be a 2 day process because my hair is too dark. I’m blonde. At this point, I’d had enough and told them to forget it. My reunion is the next day and I didn’t have time for this. I told them I wouldn’t be coming back and left. So, now my reunion is today and my hair and nails don’t look the way I wanted.

    People who color their hair on a regular basis – is this normal?! Should it have taken over 3 HOURS (again, it’s a student, so I really do get it.). I’m just so disappointed. But, I tell myself I saved myself a LOT of money this week.

    1. Star Nursery

      I don’t have any hair advice. I have used students services for hair a lot to save money and I figure hey if they mess it up usually the instructor will do a little to fix (but boy does it always take a long long time for the appointments compared to going to a regular hair salon). I usually have to not have any other plans because it will take a few hours. I don’t know how much you were planning to spend between the nails and purple hair… Maybe you could still do a walk in at a professional nail salon? How many years reunion is this? I skipped the five year, went to the ten year and I was pleasantly surprised by how much nicer and friendly everyone was at the 10 year reunion. I don’t miss high school at all. Ok I miss the not having any bills to pay part, the energy and high metabolism parts and my Mom was still alive then. But not the high school clique stuff.

    2. Red Reader

      I have naturally dark red waist-length hair and a few weeks ago, had my hair dyed from the shoulders down (so about 20-22″ of thick hair). First they had to put bleach through it, let it sit, rinse, it, dry it, then they had to paint on the colors, because mine is done in varying streaks of purple, green, blue and burgundy, let that sit, rinse it, dry it, straighten it. And *THAT* all took three hours. So no, if you’re aiming for all one color and you started out blonde, I don’t think 3 hours seems super reasonable to me, for what that’s worth.

    3. CatCat

      I get all over red with pink highlights and that takes like 90 mins (and includes cutting and styling). My stylist I see is an experienced color expert/magician though and not a student.

    4. Forking Great Username

      I had galaxy hair a year ago – purple, blue, pink, etc. it was bright, started as dark brown, and took about three hours. So in general I don’t think this is an unreasonable request. However, I’m thinking this is a bit different since there are students doing it.

      1. Forking Great Username

        Oh, also wanted to add that it being gone in a week can be normal but depends on the type of dye and care. You can maximize the length of time with the color if you wash with cold water (not pleasant, but warm/hot water will cause more color to be released) and using a shampoo or conditioner that deposits more color in your hair. I love overtone, and they have some great options for purple hair!

    5. Sparkly Librarian

      I have naturally dark brown hair, past my shoulders, and when I had it bleached and dyed purple professionally I spent 8 hours in the chair. It took wonderfully. That was in November; since then I have applied dye at home about every 6 weeks, but not rebleached. It’s grown out maybe 6 inches at the roots, and that brown kinda keeps the purple as an overtone, but the bleached hair still turns glorious bright purple. For me, it was worth it.

    6. Matilda the Hun

      3-4 hours is pretty standard for a beauty school, in my experience, especially if you have a lot of hair or are doing all-over color.

    7. Thlayli

      I have coloured my hair loads of times, but only got it done in a salon once and it was awful. Never again, it’s self-colour all the way for me. If you still have time you can do it yourself. But if it’s your first time self-colouring I would suggest avoiding the bright colours and jut go with something more standard – like a nice and easy blonde to brighten up your hair.

      Also, you can totally give yourself a mani-pedi or you can walk into most salons and get it done without an appointment (though maybe not on a Saturday).

    8. Anne (with an “e”)

      Hi. I have been getting my hair colored professionally for over twenty years. My natural color is brown and now there is quite a bit of gray (or so I’ve been told by my stylist). I have my hair dyed blonde. It generally takes a good three or four hours every two months or so. I go in for “touch up” appointments where he treats my roots on alternative months that are not as time consuming. So, anyway, yes, a good professional dye job takes ~three-four hours. I would expect a student to maybe even need more time.

    9. Kuododi

      I have short dark brown hair with a fair amount of “salt” mixed in the pepper. My hairstylist can color my hair, give me the haircut and wax my eyebrows in approximately 1 1/2 hours. She’s been in the business for ages and can just make hair style magic. Really the only thing I splurge on is her services. Now I have no sense about the time frame to process non-traditional hair colors. Best regards.

  14. Rebecca

    Dietland – has anyone else watched the show on AMC? I saw the first episode, and got the audio book and listened to it before the next episode. As someone who has struggled with weight issues for most of my life, and continue to struggle with them, many things Plum experiences on the show really hit home for me. People staring at you in a restaurant because you’re eating something deemed to be unacceptable, or making a mooing sound while you walk down the street, or meeting you face to face for the first time after being connected through email or phone, only to get that look, these are all things that I’ve experienced at one time or another.

    Just wondering if anyone else has seen the show and what you think of it.

    1. nep

      This is part of why I love this free-for-all thread–I’d not heard of this. Just listened to a bit of a discussion on YouTube with the top two actors and the exec producer/writer/director. Sounds interesting.

    2. WellRed

      I watched the first episode. I like Plum a lot, but it was a little too quirky, too much going on and yet the pacing felt So Slooooow.

    3. The Other Dawn

      Sounds like a show I’d like to watch. Maybe I’ll set the DVR. Thank you!

      I have experienced all of this, including being asked when I was a freshman in HIGH SCHOOL when I was due. And, “But you have such a pretty face!”

    4. Not So NewReader

      I remember the mooing… and the barking…and I think I remember oinking… I guess they thought no one else had ever thought of that before and they were so clever.

    5. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      Haven’t seen the show but I have experienced all of that and worse! People suck sometimes.

    6. CurrentlyLooking

      I’ve been watching Dietland and I recommend it. There is more to the show than just the diet struggles of the main character. It’s funny (and dark) as well as making the point about body positivity

    7. The Cosmic Avenger

      Dietland is amazing and brilliant and hilarious and heart-wrenching and a lot of other things that I don’t even have words for. I love it.

    8. Dietland

      I highly recommend the book! One of my favorites. (I’m finding the show to be weirdly paced and not as compelling, but I love the book so much, I’m going to continue watching it.)

  15. nep

    Earlier this week I cut up papaya and cucumber and sprinkled on a bit of salt. Great combination. (I know there are a lot of more ‘complex’ recipes for this kind of salad…anyway this was super simple and tastes great.)
    Any similar combinations you love?

    1. GoryDetails

      Sounds good! I’m very fond of watermelon with feta – a similar sweet/salty combination, tasty and refreshing. I throw in some blueberries sometimes, for a red, white and blue dish, and perhaps a touch of lime juice, but simple watermelon-and-feta is good on its own. (If I’m lazy I’ll buy pre-cut melon – available in small quantities for a quick single-serving; if I’m being thrifty I’ll get a whole melon and chunk it up myself.)

    2. CatCat

      My simple tastes great thing is a can of chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, and chopped up mint leaves. Love it. Sometimes a little fresh black pepper on top and if I have some, a bit of crumbled feta or goat’s cheese.

      1. Teach

        Chickpeas, grape tomatoes, a few chopped toasted walnuts, and a little mustard vinaigrette and pepper – great summer lunch!

      2. A bit of a saga

        I had this today – so good! My 3-year old loved it too. Thanks for the inspiration:-)

    3. Falling Diphthong

      Cucumber works with all types of soft summer fruit–mango, melon. Salt can be replaced with fish sauce, ume plum vinegar, or other salty condiments for some variety. Lime can be nice. Chopped up fresh herbs–basil, mint, tarragon, cilantro, parsley–add variety.

      1. DrWombat

        My brother’s mom made a cucumber/mango/chicken salad that was amazing with balsamic! And of course there’s the classic mango con Tajin (perfect for summer, and what I’ve been having all week).

    4. Gingerblue

      Apple and celery with a simple olive oil and lemon juice dressing, toasted walnuts, and crumbled goat cheese.

    5. fposte

      Pear and blue cheese. Peach and mozzarella and prosciutto. Radish and butter. I’ll have to try papaya and cucumber–it sounds right up my alley.

  16. Sunflower

    Fellow fibromyalgia and/or chronic pain sufferers: any tips for those who have neuropathy – like when you feel pain with every small amount of pressure?

    For me, it hurts to cross my legs, since I feel the leg (and bones) underneath. It sucks and I need help, but I don’t know what kind of help is out there: is it normal for fibro? Is there a medicine or specific exercise? My doctor hasn’t gotten nowhere yet..

    Thank you so much in advance!

    1. misspiggy

      In my experience neuropathy recedes when the nervous system overall is less stressed, and when particular parts of the body are less stressed. So rest, pain relief, diet and exercise – little and often – all make a difference. But long term physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to get other parts of the body to take the strain off stressed areas has also helped me.

      Magnesium supplements make a big difference to neuropathic leg pain for me, especially if taken at night.

    2. fposte

      I have some weird neurology stuff as a long term sequelae to spine issues; as misspiggy says, it tends to flare up under stress, especially if it includes physical provocation (I’m currently in a flare due to travel).

      In my view, it’s not so much that the nerves need soothing as they need something to distract them for a while. Heat works really well for me and also movement–I don’t really even want to say “exercise,” because it’s not pushing stuff very hard at all. So for instance for my shoulder and upper back I do a lot of arm circles and a lot of wall pushups just to give the nerves something to do and to tire them out a little. I do also have a TENS machine but tbh I keep forgetting about it and my most vulnerable spot is incredibly hard for me to reach on my own, so I rarely use it for this.

    3. Everdene

      I have chronic pain including neuropathy (but not fibro related). I started Qutenza treatments last year and they changed my life. The capsaicin from chilies is placed on the affected area so it burns the nerve endings. This is fairly painful BUT then the pain goes for 2-3 months until I get the treatment again. Apparently it was originally developed for shingles. I recommend asking your pain team/ anaesthetist about it.

      1. Cheesesteak in Paradise

        You can also buy capsaicin cream to rub on your skin for pain. It’s not a permanent fix but it helps.

  17. BRR

    My feet are constantly sore. I have decent shoes, stretch, roll them on a lacrosse ball, and nothing is medically wrong. The only time they feel ok is right after a pedicure. Any thoughts on what might help?

      1. BRR

        I’m not sure about magnesium. Oddly, when I took vitamin d supplements it made me super emotional. I was crying all the time.

        1. nep

          Oh, really? I’m not familiar with that reaction–interesting. Anyone else experience that?

        2. Falling Diphthong

          You might try magnesium, which can be good for tight muscles. (It’s one of the things your body uses to signal “tighten/loosen this muscle;” I was put onto it by a neurologist.) Take it at night.

        3. Jules the 3rd

          Weird – missing a dose of magnesium is what makes me cry. But I’m pretty sure the D and magnesium are interacting somehow.

    1. WellRed

      Do you have any conditions that could cause neuropathy? Also, by decent, are they really decent? I just bought some decent sandals, but spent way less than usual cause I needed something fast. Big mistake. So sore that night.

      1. BRR

        I’m diabetic so my doctor closey monitors my feet but she says there are no signs of neuropathy. They don’t have shooting pains or anything. just so sore, even when laying down.

    2. CatCat

      Do they feel better after a pedicure because they massage your feet or from the foot soak? Get a little tub and try soaking your feet in warm water to see if that helps then massage your feet with some lotion. Let them rest a little after that.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      OK, bear with me on this one. I have terrible feet. I’ve had multiple stress fractures in both feet (not at the same time, thank goodness!), effed up tendons, plantar fasciitis, you name it. But I realized the other day that whoa, my feet were suddenly bothering me again– and I hadn’t even realized they had stopped hurting. The culprit? I ran out of my glucosamine/chondroitin supplement. I take it for a messed up IT band and apparently it’s been a bigger help than I realized. My PT told me that for some people, it does nothing, but for others, they feel gradually better and don’t even notice a change until they stop the supplements. So I guess I’m in the latter group. I’m also 40 and started taking the stuff about five months ago, so if you’re in that same age range, you might have a little arthritis, and the supplement may help. I have absolutely no side effects from the supplements.

      Also, if this persists, go see a podiatrist. :)

    4. fposte

      Obviously this could be all kinds of things, including the possibility that usually decent shoes are not good enough for you. Are there specific things or times that make it worse?

      I had a bout of foot pain that was diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. I don’t think it really was, and the PF exercises made it worse. I happened on a thing on Amazon called the Foot Log, and it fixed me by the end of the freaking day. The thing about the Foot Log is that it’s more of a neurological input than a muscle massage–it’s a bunch of nubs rather than a solid ball, and you don’t use pressure. I think my foot stuff was related to the neurological stuff I mention above, and the FL “reset” the nerves. I’ve no idea if it would help you or not, but since nobody in PT or medicine had heard of the thing and it worked wonders for me, I mention it whenever there’s a general discussion of foot pain.

      1. Falling Diphthong

        Fellow “plantar fasciitis treatment made it worse” sufferer here, and accidentally discovered that I need lots of foot flexing (going barefoot, wearing only really flexible shoes, and being conscious about flexing). Off to investigate the Foot Log.

        1. fposte

          It is as ugly as its name (the only one available when I bought it was in patriotic red, white, and blue to boot). Bless its tacky soul/sole.

      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

        Interesting. I’ve seen spiky massage balls, do you suppose it would work the same way?

        1. fposte

          Probably similar! The Foot Log doesn’t feel spiky, but I think the non-constant surface blows the little nerves’ minds in an analogous way.

        2. fposte

          Probably similar! The Foot Log doesn’t feel spiky, but I think the non-constant surface blows the little nerves’ minds in an analogous way. And now I must search for a spiky massage ball, because I didn’t know they were a thing–thanks!

          1. acmx

            Running stores have them if you want to pick up locally. The brand I’ve had was FootBallz. I’ve had a small and a large (which was a free gift from Runners World mag).

    5. runner

      Sometimes the tightness is higher like in the calves, if the calves are tight, the tendons that connect the leg to the foot are shortened so the foot might be tight too. Maybe foam rolling/massaging the calves? I sometimes have heel pain or bottom of the foot pain but it’s really a tightness in my calves that causes the pain in my heels.

  18. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    Are there people out there who enjoy seasonal creep — Christmas in October, pumpkin spice lattes in August, St. Patrick’s Day regalia in January etc.

    I’m asking because I’m watching an episode of Cheers on Hallmark Channel and they’re already advertising that “Countdown to Christmas” will start on October 27. I imagine that if there was absolutely no one out there who liked things like this, they wouldn’t do it…but it just seems so foreign to me.

    Also, last weekend I was in Bed Bath and Beyond and they already had Back to School displays up. It was June 23. The public school year in NYC doesn’t even end until June 26.

    1. FD

      I’m suspicious that a lot of it is driven by marketers, not consumers. Holidays are big money, and the longer you spread them out, the more time there is for people to buy seasonal crap.

    2. ronda

      I am pretty sure Hallmark also does christmas in july. their christmas shows are pretty successful so they like to show them a lot.
      I dont see a reason to limit the timing of pumpkin spice latte, but selling decorations etc early does seem unnecessary.

      1. Chaordic One

        Oh, Yes!

        The Hallmark stores are getting ready for their big ornament premiere on Saturday, July 14!

        I’ve also seen a lot of Christmas ornaments at that politically incorrect craft store where I don’t go and where I don’t buy anything unless it is on sale or I can use the 40% off coupon.

    3. Turtlewings

      It is never too early for Christmas. I would happily celebrate it twice a year. I know it annoys so many people to see Christmas stuff “too early,” and if I were designing the world by myself I probably wouldn’t start Christmas stuff until November, but when I see it start popping up it brings me so much joy and why should I muffle that down? Why should I pretend not to like it just because it’s “too early”? So yeah, count me as part of the problem, I guess. I will continue being happy anyway!

      One thing to keep in mind is what store you’re in. Craft stores, for instance, start putting out Christmas stuff way early because if you’re going to finish a major craft in time for Christmas, you probably need to be buying the supplies for it in August!

      (Having Back to School stuff up in June is just mean, though. Puts a pall of dread over the rest of the kids’ summers. Lay off that, imo.)

      1. Julianne (also a teacher)

        Seeing back to school stuff out in July kills me. (I just got out on Thursday!)

      2. AliceBD

        I worked in the craft industry and we did a big Christmas in July push for things that take longer to make (like blankets) and started the regular Christmas stuff in August with more regular posts in September. There are people who are not working who can make things super quickly but for regular people who have a full time job and other responsibilities/interests you need to plan for more like 10 hours or less of crafting a week. If you’re making multiple presents or decorations, depending on how big they are, you could have 100-200 hours of time, which would be months of work spread out.

        One time we polled people as to when they started working on Christmas items. The most popular answers were December 26/January 1 or July in order to have things done in time.

    4. Nicole76

      I hate the holiday creep, Christmas in particular. I don’t want to think about the holiday until maybe a month beforehand. Also it’s just weird to see fall or winter stuff out when it’s still hot outside.

    5. CTT

      Ohhhhh man. Don’t get me started, I have a whole treatise on how there’s a War On Thanksgiving because Christmas is starting earlier and earlier every year.

    6. Thlayli

      Some people do in fact like it, but most I’ve met don’t.

      I’m a big fan of planning in advance – one year i had all my Christmas presents bought in July – but I can’t stand seeing Christmas decorations before Halloween.

    7. Aphrodite

      I don’t know about Christmas Creep but I absolutely adore November and December and their holidays. I adore them beyond measure. However, I don’t really “do” things for them until October but my plans go all year. For example, in March I started searching blogs and websites for their Christmas and Thanksgiving and autumn past stories. I also started making my plans and going over menus. Though I know my limits and what I am willing to give and do and have, I love reading all those over-the-top decorating articles. I may occasionally find something that is cute and wonderful and that will fit in easily but I am never swayed into doing things that would make the holidays horribly stressful and unpleasant to me.

      I even went on Etsy and began searching for tree ornaments. (I have a lipstick red tree with red lights and am using antique/vintage or that style of ornament for the most part, including mercury ones–all in red.) I have purchased several including a large bow made of red burlap for the top. I am also beginning to shop for stocking stuffers, that inexpensive items like toothbrushes, bandaids, thumbtacks, tape, etc. that everyone needs. I also keep an eye out for ideas for the one gift each person gets from me (aside from the stocking stuffers). It’s a bit like holiday foreplay.

      However, I do not take things out of the closet nor would I ever go into a store to look at Christmas displays. To me, the holidays are too important and too special to ruin them with months of seeing holiday things and/or hearing holiday music. I don’t set my autumn decorations out until October 1. They stay up until the Friday or Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, then I trade them all out for Christmas stuff. That comes down Between December 28-31 so that on January 2 I can begin Apartment Therapy’s January Cure. And that keeps me excited and energized though what used to be a difficult month.

      I really do believe that everyone should spend time thinking about and committing to spending the holidays the way that makes them truly happy–and if doing nothing aside from putting a branch into a vase and hanging a single ornament from it is your preference then go for it. If it means skipping seeing family and avoiding drama to have a quiet day at home with the cats and a movie marathon and a pizza, do that too.

      I don’t think Christmas Creep need affect anyone. If store management is stupid enough to try and expand the holidays into months let them. Be secure in what works for you. Then enjoy your choices instead of being annoyed or angry at things you cannot control.

    8. Mimmy

      I start to kinda like it maybe around Halloween (for Christmas things), but that’s pushing it. I don’t want to hear one Christmas song or see one tree before Thanksgiving. lol.

    9. Gatomon

      Some states/districts start school in the beginning of August (I’m thinking of Florida for some reason), so that may be why the back to school garbage it out. I don’t think the big chains give a lick about the local timing!

      I hate holiday creep, except when it brings seasonal deliciousness early. I don’t like pumpkin spice anything, but I do enjoy Cadbury Eggs.

    10. SophieChotek

      Well, I couldn’t resist that individual piece of pumpkin pie I saw in the grocery store…so I guess I must be looking forward to Fall and Pumpkin-Flavoured everything

    11. SewAnxious

      I hate this so much. it causes intense anxiety for me. please just let me exist for a while before reminding me that I need to spend an excessive amount of money on presents nobody needs. and christmas music is terrible.
      note: this does not apply to halloween, cause that’s how I live my whole life.

    12. Earthwalker

      Reminds me of a children’s story in which a little girl gets her wish for “Christmas every day” and ends up thoroughly sick of Christmas before the story ends. It’s not special when it’s all the time. I hate the late summer store displays of jack-o-lanterns, pilgrim hats, and Christmas lights all together when it’s still squirt gun and bubble wand season.

    13. StudentAffairsProfessional

      Funny, because where I live/work (Mid Atlantic) it is practically back to school season (ugh!). My husband is a teacher and has been out since Memorial Day. He starts in-service on July 30 and has kids the first week in August. I work for a Med School and their orientation starts August 1.

  19. CultureVulture

    Mental health and family thing. tl;dr is “how do I ask for things that I’m pretty sure nobody in the family wants without feeling like a total vulture?”

    In long, my grandmother has just died, and the will is very straightforward: “split my assets evenly among my children”. The house is being cleared and most of the contents sold. There’s a fair amount of stuff, like the cutlery set, that I could really use but have little monetary value, so I’d like them not to be thrown away but at the same time I don’t want to just turn up and be like “Hi, parent! Sorry your mum’s dead. I have a shopping list!”

    On the other hand I may just be overreacting because fifteen years ago when my other grandmother died, poor little teenaged me got yelled at by my aunt for asking for one inexpensive-but-pretty pair of earrings because “you’re not named in the will you can’t have things”.

      1. CultureVulture

        The executor is my uncle, though, which makes it family dynamics rather than legalities. I’m having anxieties about navigating the line of “ask culture” vs “offer culture” around this one – I’m sure that my grandmother would rather I have it than it goes into the bin, and she wouldn’t mind me asking for it – but would her son? Who is grieving?

        1. Thankful for AAM

          Maybe ask him how he wants to handle this and if you can help share with the rest of the family his answer about how to ask?

    1. WellRed

      I am sorry your aunt was such a bitch. That’s probably making you more anxious. Can you frame it as, if no one wants the silverware, I would take it off your hands?

      1. CultureVulture

        As an adult, I can see that she was grieving and she had unresolved issues with my mom, I don’t hold it against her. But it is making me more anxious!

        1. neverjaunty

          Eh, all that can be true and she can still be an asshole. I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with asking if you can have a few things that remind you of your grandparent – that’s way different than “and I want the diamonds”.

    2. BRR

      I think you’re good to ask if they have little value. Just say “hey were there any plans for this? I would be interested In it.”

    3. the gold digger

      I was sort of on the other side of this. Primo is the executor for his parents’ estate. Everything went to his nieces and nephews, but he had his brothers pick whatever they wanted from the house before he had the estate sale.

      I made sure my niece, who had just graduated from college, dibsed a lot of the household goods (like the KitchenAid stand mixed). She felt ghoulish about it, but I assured her that her grandmother would much rather she and her sister have these things than they be sold to strangers for almost nothing. Which was true – for all her flaws, Doris loved her grandchildren unconditionally and without end.

    4. NotaPirate

      I’m sorry for your loss.

      Why not ask your Uncle if he’s going to have the family walk through before the estate sale? Or offer to help setup for the estate sale? When my grandmother died during the setup of the estate sale was when family claimed some of the little stuff like mugs. My aunt sent me photos via text since I was on the opposite side of the country, showing the nice layout for the sale and asking did you want anything set aside for you in this photo?

    5. ronda

      i say don’t be specific at first. just say there are kitchen and dining stuff I would be interested in getting if nobody else is claiming them. Would that be OK? Should I send you a list of the type of stuff I am interested in?

      See what the answer is and follow the directions they would like.

      When my mom died I asked her sisters to go thru some of her stuff to see if they wanted it, I looked at it as using the stuff instead of donating or disposing, which was something I didn’t have to do later for that stuff.

    6. fposte

      I would go through Parent rather than through Executor; it would be Parent taking the items as part of Parent’s share, rather than items passing directly to you. That way there’s no issue with any of the other sibs or sibs-in-law getting annoyed that one sibling got “extra” when their child not named in the will gets stuff that doesn’t come out of the parent’s share. The uncle doesn’t really have the authority to give you stuff outside of that–the assets are supposed to be divided among the children, and he shouldn’t be allowing anybody else to take the assets before they get liquidated.

      1. Thlayli

        This. Your parent is the one named in the will (equally among children) so it’s up to them to ask for stuff they want. Maybe just a conversation along the lines of “I know you’re clearing grandmas house – is there a plan for getting rid of household stuff. If anyone from your generation wants anything then they should get first dibs obviously but for what’s left after that Myself and I’m sure the other grandchildren might want some things if they are just going in the bin otherwise.”

      2. Koala dreams

        Yes, that’s what happened when my grandparents died. My uncle and aunt, as well as my parents very pretty good at offering stuff they thought me and my brother might like, though. I think it’s fine to ask the parent, and some parents/uncles/aunts appreciate that the stuff goes to a good home, especially when it’s inexpensive stuff that’s not worth the effort to sell off.

    7. Toonsesthecat

      You can offer to help clean out the house. Then. When you are done ask if it is okay to take stuff from the discard pile. This is how it worked out for me when my grandfather went into assisted living, we sorted everything into piles, and when done I confirmed that it was okay to take whatever I wanted from the discard (aka garbage) pike.

  20. CatCat

    Can anyone recommend an app for keeping a journal on Android? Or a web app? If you use one, what do you like and why?

    I thought it would be helpful when I wake up at 4:15 in the morning on a Saturday with my brain full of shtuff.

    1. Gingerblue

      I offer this hesitantly, because I haven’t used the Android version, but I really like OneNote. It syncs well across platforms. (I use the iOs, PC, Windows tablet, and web versions, depending on what device is handy, but it was my Surface tablet which really turned me onto it, since I can do handwritten notes and drawings with the Surface pen; from there I’ve moved into using it for typed notes and other things.) You can organize stuff hierarchically by notebooks, tabs, and pages (so you could have, say, a 2018 notebook, a July tab, and a July 1st page.) It has really good clip-from-the-web functionality and it’s easy to integrate pictures, text, handwritten text, and drawings.

      I use it as a recipe file, log of houseplants (I take a picture of the plant and care label so I can throw the latter away), and all purpose notebook for stuff like knitting design ideas.

    2. Miss Jay, the Brazilian

      I’m biased because I’m practically Ms. Google, lol

      But I keep the Google Docs app on my phone exactly for this reason, you just hit the + sign to start a new document and write whatever. I personally use it mostly because I can access my docs either on the phone or my laptop (where I then organize my ideas more properly if I want to use them for something, like a writing prompt or blog post).

  21. Need Help With Difficult Roommate

    I got a new roommate last year when my last one moved to another state. I was pretty selective and thought “Annie” was a great pick, but now she’s become a real problem. She had a boyfriend who pretty much lived here, staying over at least 3 nights a week. But they broke up three months ago.

    I recently started dating a guy I’ll call “Liam.” Liam visits, but doesn’t stay over. “Annie” told me it’s “triggering” to her to see me with a boyfriend when she is currently single. I told her that my boyfriend would be visiting, and if he stays over it will only be Saturday nights, so she has fair warning.

    Since then, Annie has started claiming everything “triggers” her–the smell of whatever food I’m cooking, the color of the bedspread in my room…and now she is claiming that I’m “insensitive” her to her “triggers” by allowing my own boyfriend to come over and have dinner or watch netflix in my room.

    I think she’s just being petty and jealous because her relationship ended, but I think she’s just playing up the “triggered” word in an effort to guilt trip me.

    How to handle? I’m very sympathetic to people who have certain triggers, but I think Annie is just making this up and now I feel like a prisoner in my own house because she will whine and throw a fit when Liam comes over. And her lease isn’t up for another 6 months…I’ve offered to let her out of it, but she doesn’t want to leave.

    1. BRR

      Have any solutions been offered by either of you? I would ask her to think of any reasonable solutions (adding something about how these are brainstorming ideas, not rules that you will absolutely follow no matter what but use softer wording). The goal being to try and eliminate the “complaining without taking any steps to fix it” situation. I might also point out how you didnt have an issue when her bf was there (if it’s true) and you would like the same respect.

      The most likely ending though is you’ll have to do your best to ignore her for six months because she’s being unreasonable and doesn’t like she’s going to change.

    2. Nye

      It doesn’t matter if she’s really feeling triggered or not, in this case. She’s effectively demanding that restrictions be put on your living arrangements that are unacceptable for a roommate situation. It sounds like you are being a perfectly reasonable (and considerate) roommate. If it truly upsets her to share a flat with someone in a relationship, she can leave and live alone. Since she won’t, just try to ignore her when she’s being unreasonable. You shouldn’t be held hostage in your own home.

      Also, if you start to feel bad, remember that apparently she has no problems with boyfriends in the apartment when they’re dating her.

    3. Bibliovore

      Your home is untenable. Since there are so many triggers for Annie, this must be a very unpleasant home for her. Stay on your side of the street. Treat this like a co-worker situation.
      What is reasonable? What is an accommodation?
      If you raised your voice to her or used language that triggered a panic episode, you would do your best to change your behavior.
      She is asking you not to live your life. That is unacceptable.
      She has choices to make.
      Stay in her room with the door closed.
      Select another living arrangement.
      You do not need to evaluate her mental health or behavior i.e. are the triggers real.
      Accept that she is unhappy and uncomfortable.
      She is responsible for her own feelings and you need not feel guilty.
      Continue to suggest that she make other living arrangements.
      Whine and throw a fit. Walk away. Do not engage. You do not have to attend every fight that you are invited to.

    4. Survivor

      I agree with you that “Annie” is probably just being petty. Since everything apparently triggers her (the color of your bedspread?!?! why is she even going in your bedroom or looking in there?), the only way for her to not be triggered is for her to move out, and she doesn’t want to even try looking for another place, so how much of a real emotional impact could these “triggers” be having?

      Maybe you could print out some articles that explain PTSD and anxiety and what being “triggered” means.

      1. Fiennes

        People misusing “triggered” to mean “I don’t like a thing” is not only annoying because they’re asking for accommodations they don’t actually need, but a profound disservice to people who have REAL triggers becaus this is the kind of crap that leads many to think triggers aren’t real, don’t deserve respect, etc.

        1. Survivor

          Definitely! !!!

          I know a lot of people that make comments about how they “have OCD” and they are no where near having OCD tendencies. It’s frustrating that people make light of serious mental issues.

    5. AvonLady Barksdale

      I don’t have better advice than what other people have given, but I want you to know I am rolling my eyes so hard at Annie for you.

      1. The Other Dawn

        Yup, huge eye-rolls here, too. A former (notice I said “former”) friend of mine did kind of the same thing to be. I wasn’t allowed to talk about anything good or fun going on in my life because she was very depressed and it “triggered” her. For her, “trigger” basically meant anything good that wasn’t happening to HER. Shortly after I ended the friendship. Best day of my life. (There was way more to it than just that part, but it was the nail in the coffin of the friendship.)

    6. Thursday Next

      I think this is an example of how “trigger” has become such a commonplace that it’s lost its original meaning. Your roommate is annoyed, not “triggered,” but it’s not really socially acceptable for adults to tell each other they’re annoyed by these kinds of things. OTOH, we’re expected to take each other’s triggers seriously, so that is, bizarrely, easier to say than the truth.

      You are behaving considerately and appropriately. You could ask to have a roommate meeting to hammer out a framework, but I think this should boil down to what happens in your private bedroom is your business.

      Re. the cooking, just carry on as you were. If she were allergic or sensitive to particular scents, she would phrase it differently, I.e., “cumin gives me headaches; could you open the window while you’re cooking with it?”

      1. Snark

        Yeah. She’s not triggered, she’s just annoyed, and that’s a big handle to pull if you’re not actually experiencing genuine post-traumatic symptoms.

        1. only acting normal

          Agree she’s not really ‘triggered’.
          I once developed a brief thing where seeing the number 5 caused me a spike in anxiety (bloody ridiculous brain), but even that wasn’t a true trigger.
          I’ve also experienced a real trigger and it’s totally and utterly overwhelming, not merely ‘a bit upsetting’. If she were truly triggered by everything she says she is, by now she’d either have moved out or needed hospitalising!

    7. FD

      Even if she had developed triggers in the technical sense, what she’s asking isn’t reasonable. As much as I agree with you from the context that she’s trying to use that words to force you to acquiesce, I think the best way to navigate this is to have a conversation as if what she’s saying is true. Maybe something like:

      “I’m sympathetic to how you feel. That said, however, as roommate, it’s reasonable for me to be able to use the shared space as well. That means I need to be able to cook my meals, and decorate my space in the way I think is best. It also means that I’m going to have my boyfriend over sometimes. Now, what I can do is that I can give you fair warning–let’s say at least a day–so that you can make plans if you don’t want to see him. I can also agree that when he’s over we’ll mostly hang out in my room, though I can’t promise you’ll never have to see him in the common areas. We can use the same rules when you have a boyfriend again.

      “If that doesn’t work, I’ve mentioned before that I’m willing to let you out of the lease. Unfortunately, those are the only two choices, because it’s not reasonable for me to be unable to use our shared space for ordinary living activities. What would you prefer to do?”

      1. Parenthetically

        I even think this is too generous, honestly. I wouldn’t be willing to spend all my time with my SO in private areas just because my roommate was feeling fragile post-breakup.

        She’s being RIDICULOUS.

          1. Parenthetically

            I took that as “we do this as a concession to her ‘triggers’ — what more can we do” but I may be wrong!

            1. Observer

              It doesn’t really matter – it’s something that the OP can do without too much stress, so offer it. The key is to NOT offer anything that they are not already doing, beyond the basic reasonable stuff, ie if the OP hadn’t been letting the roommate know that BF is coming over, that’s a reasonable ask.

      2. heckofabecca

        I like this a lot. Although like Parenthetically, I think that there’s no call to limit yourself to your own room when your SO is over! Particularly if she has advance warning, it’s on her* to remove herself/stick to her own room, assuming you and SO are behaving reasonably for a public space, which I’m sure you are!

        *On Wednesday my SIL had a birthday party at a pub’s open mic night. I got overwhelmed/panicky from the crowd and noise, so I left early. I didn’t demand the party move…

        1. FD

          While I don’t disagree in general, I do think that in a scenario where you’re potentially stuck with this person for six months, it makes sense to offer some kind of concession. Not because you should have to but because IME if you offer something, the other person feels they can accept while saving face. That’s also the reason I suggest treating it as if this were a valid use of being ‘triggered’.

          1. FD

            PS: I think that the line about “when you have a boyfriend again you need to play by the same rules” is important too–it may make her think twice if she knows she’ll have to wear the other shoe.

          2. neverjaunty

            Concessions work with reasonable people and where the concession actually helps. When what the other person really wants is for you to be single and dancing attendance on her, concessions will not help.

          3. Gingerblue

            Letting her out of the lease seemed like a pretty reasonable concession. If I were genuinely being triggered by that many aspects of my roommate’s existence, I’d accept that offer. (And I mean, I get it, moving sucks. I am apartment hunting right now and I would honestly prefer to cagefight wolverines, which would be faster and less painful. But.)

    8. Marillenbaum

      Annie is being a drama llama, and you don’t need to listen to her. Be a bit of a bitch to her (or at least, it will probably feel like you’re being a bit of a bitch to her. “Annie, I live here, too, and you’re going to have to deal with the fact that I get to use the space.” If she throws a fit, ignore her. She’s essentially acting like a very large toddler, so you kind of need to treat her like one. You may end up needing to go full Deep Freeze, where the two of you don’t speak about anything that isn’t immediately house-related (like repairs or whatever), which is a shame, but she did this to herself.

    9. neverjaunty

      What she really wants is to control you. I get that being triggered is a real thing – say, for people who have PTSD or allergies. But what she’s describing is jealousy or pickiness and she is, as you note, trying to weaponize that by calling it “triggered”.

      You can calmly tell her that you are not going to change your behavior or dump your boyfriend, so she needs to either move out or make peace with that.

    10. DrWombat

      Not much to add that other commenters haven’t, but endless sympathy for you there. I went through a similar situation in grad school. I wound up moving out after 5 months and paying 2 rents until the lease was over just because I couldn’t stand it anymore, even though it decimated my savings and my parents had to help out a lot financially.

      Agreeing with the people who say you might have to be a bit of a bitch back (though I’d put anything vital like heirlooms, passports, etc in a safe location first just in case). What she’s doing is being controlling and jealous under the guise of mental health issues and that is not okay.

    11. Thlayli

      Yeah this is BS. Trigger is a specific mental health term that it sounds like she is outright abusing. If she legitimately has that many triggers she needs to go see a mental health professional pronto and get a diagnosis and start treatment for what sounds like a debilitating mental illness. Otherwise she’s just using the term trigger to mean “something that annoys me” which is what a lot of people seem to think it means nowadays.

      1. Courageous cat

        Yep. Don’t give her any other attention – just keep offering it over and over.

    12. Not So NewReader

      You could suggest counseling as it seems her list of triggers is getting longer and longer. One would think with the passage of time her upset would ease in some way but since it’s not it could be time to check with a professional.

      You offered her out of her agreement with you and she declined. That to me says she has to be willing to work with you. She can’t cut it both ways. If she is not willing to work with you, then she needs to leave.

    13. msroboto

      You offered her out of the lease. She refused. Then she is agreeing to live WITH YOU.
      Living with you means the boyfriend comes over. You cook what you want. And these are not negotiable.
      If she is triggered by any of this see number 1. She is welcome to leave.

    14. Hannah

      UGH She is asking completely unreasonable things.

      I would tell her this:

      Annie, I understand you are going through a difficult time since breaking up with your boyfriend. I’m sorry that you’re feeling bad, and I don’t want to intentionally make you feel worse. However, if your mental state is so fragile that the normal life of someone near you is something you can’t handle, that is your responsibility to fix, not mine. I’m happy to make a few accommodations to you here and there, like giving you advanced notice when Liam is coming over or not playing the song “Shoop” because it was your boyfriend’s favorite. But dictating what I can eat, what colors I can have in my room, and if I can have my boyfriend over at all are not reasonable requests. I live here too, and have just as much right to the space and to try to live my life comfortably as you do. If these things really “trigger” you, that is a serious mental health problem that you probably need to work through with a counselor. If you can’t deal with my lemon chicken and the color blue, you can choose to move out. By staying, you’re showing me that you actually can deal with these things, even if you are annoyed by them, so I won’t be discussing with you my bedroom decor, my dinner choices, or whether or not I can have my boyfriend over from now on.

    15. buttercup

      I don’t have useful advice – but I want to validate your concerns that Annie is definitely being petty and mean. She doesn’t have the right to tell you what to cook and when you can hang out with your bf etc. She’s basically taking her own unhappiness out on you. Unfortunately, I don’t think people like this can be reasoned with.

      I once had a roommate somewhat like this – not the bf thing, but she expected her roommates to do everything according to how she wanted, and threw a tantrum if we cooked something she didn’t like or used the bathroom at the same time she needed it. You would have thought that she wanted to move out because she hated living with roommates so much, but no, *we* were the problem, so she stay put while both my roommate and I moved out because we couldn’t stand her.

    16. LGC

      I hate to break it to you, but…what Annie is really saying is that you’re her BEC. I’m sorry.

      The “good” news is that this is almost entirely on Annie. The way I’ve understood having a BEC (and…okay, experienced having my own BECs) is that your BEC is someone you can’t stand, and your annoyance at that person is at least somewhat irrational (and in Annie’s case, totally irrational – you didn’t cause her boyfriend to break up with her). Where it gets hugely problematic (but not Problematic™) is that she’s weaponizing clinical terminology to bully you into submission, which makes her a gigantic jerk. (Even if she’s not consciously aware of it!)

      So…if you’re so inclined, I would suggest playing along, and having a chat to ask her what she wants you to do. Have her repeat what she wants you to do for her so she doesn’t feel uncomfortable out loud. At the very least, you’ll hear how insane she sounds. And hopefully, she’ll hear how insane she’s being.

    17. KEWLM0M

      I would keep it short and sweet: “I’m sorry to hear that. What do you think you should do?”

  22. Bibliovore

    Today is a heatwave and having a bout of asthmatic bronchitis. I will stream One Mississippi on Alison’s recommendation and maybe write my conference report because I don’t mind getting mindless stuff done when I am feeling crappy. Will plan a 1/2 day off next week for self-care.
    Grateful that we had the money to replace the HVAC in the house last fall. Totally crisp inside.
    Rescue dog is suddenly affectionate. Enjoying that while it lasts.

  23. Survivor

    Arg. My mom bought me 3 boxes of candy even though I’ve been telling her for months to stop buying me candy because I’m trying to cut down on how much sugar I eat. For context, I used to constantly eat candy–had a special lunchbox tin for it at home, another tin at work, and kept a gallon-size ziplock bag in my car. I don’t need to lose weight, but I realized this was so unhealthy and might have been contributing to the fact that I feel tired all the time. I got rid of both tins, the bag in my car, and don’t eat candy anymore except what my mom keeps buying me.

    My mom’s trying to eat healthier and lose weight (and not succeeding), so I don’t understand why she doesn’t take me seriously.

    Have to point out that she’s sabotaging me and that I’m going to refuse any candy she offers me in the future. Going to be awkward.

    Anyone else have to deal with people that keep doing “kind” things that really aren’t kind?

      1. Survivor

        I can’t throw it away. Seems too wasteful, and I have a weakness for candy (which is the problem!). :(

        If it was something non-perishable (like clothes or books) that she was buying me despite me telling her not to then I would definitely donate it though.

          1. Survivor

            Ha! That’s a good idea. I’ll tell her the next time she feels an urge to buy me candy to buy me nuts or seeds or something to snack. Nature’s candy, right? :)

          1. msroboto

            I agree bring it to work and leave in the breakroom. or find a family with kids that would enjoy it. I was also thinking a teacher but food in schools is difficult due to allergies etc it might be easier to give it to a family or two that are able to use it.

        1. self employed

          If you eat it, it gets consumed. If you toss it, it gets “consumed” (but not by you!).

          1. Survivor

            That’s funny to think about. I wonder how many years it would take to decompose in the trash. :P

        2. public trash can

          I totally get the whole thing about feeling like it’s wasteful – but you gotta toss the stuff. Do it as soon as you get it because the longer you wait, the more temptation there is. And ideally throw it in a public trash can if there’s one near you on the street.

          The first time I threw out something unopened that my mom gave me even though I kept asking her not to send me food I didn’t want, was like a weight lifted off me.

          1. Survivor

            I’m just going to eat it and then start refusing any candy from her in the future (I told her I won’t take any candy if she buys it again. I won’t feel guilty refusing it next time since she’s been warned).

            I’m going to try to ration it out. I’m not cutting sugar from my life completely, but candy was the major source of it because it’s so easy to keep eating “just one more” since it’s small pieces, so I’d rather avoid it. (Lately I’ve just been having one sugary snack a day, like one ice cream sandwich or a handful of cookies at lunch, which was working out nicely.)

        3. Annie Moose

          Do you know any small children, teachers, Sunday School teachers, etc. you could give it to that could have a use for it? That could help with the wasteful feeling! (although the parents of small children may not appreciate it, haha)

        4. neverjaunty

          The person wasting the candy is your mom, not you. Get rid of it immediately however you can – break room at work or trash.

          Your mom is being awful.

        5. Nacho

          Think about it this way: Either you’re throwing it away in the trash, or in your mouth. Either way, it’ll be destroyed, but the first way at least has a non-negative outcome.

        6. Thlayli

          Some candy is non-perishable. Even if it goes out of date in a few days I’m sure a Food Bank would be interested.

          1. Survivor

            Sorry–I probably should have said “consumable” or “food” instead of “non-perishable.” And when I said “boxes,” I meant the candy came in like movie-theater-size boxes. Not like she filled three big boxes with different types of candy.

            I regularly donate clothing, books, etc. to a specific charity, so if she gave me something I could donate to them that would be fine. I don’t want to have to go out of my way to find some place that accepts candy since it’s a relatively small quantity though.

        7. Observer

          You CAN throw it away. You need to reframe the issue and make other choices.

          It’s not wasteful to throw out something that makes you sick. But, if you know someone who likes this stuff, or you can bring it into the office, do that.

        8. Cat Herder

          Yes you can. Chuck it right into the trash. And not a bin in the house— walk it outside and put it right into the garbage. You are not wasting it —your mom is.
          If you really can’t chuck it, take it to work and feed someone else’s candy dish. But I think you should throw it away—it’s a strong response and you will feel more in control!

        9. Lindsay J

          A framing that I saw that helped me a bit was the idea that if they were calories that my body didn’t need – excess calories – eating them was just as wasteful as throwing them away. My body wasn’t using them to create energy I needed to live – it already had everything it needed to do that. They weren’t making me feel good in the long run. They were just being stored off as fat that I didn’t need and would never need, making me feel good for a moment but then lethargic and regretful.

          It was kind of like hoarding items in my house that I might need eventually. Like, sure, maybe someday I might need a stained shirt that is 3 sizes too big for me. But the likelihood is that I probably won’t. Better to throw it out now (or turn it into rags or something – charity doesn’t want it with the stain) than to have it clutter up my house forever and take up space. Like does throwing it out feel a bit wasteful? Yeah. But having it in my house isn’t really any less wasteful.

          If they’re sapping your energy and making you feel terrible, isn’t that just as bad as them going into a garbage can?

    1. Middle School Teacher

      I think you need to call her out on it (nicely). Ask her straight up why she keeps buying you candy. Plus, for me at least, losing weight is a lot about changing habits, and clearly this is a habit for her, since she’s been doing it for so long. As you say, she’s sabotaging you (and also herself — this is probably part of why she isn’t succeeding in her own weight loss).

      I wouldn’t feel bad about wasting it. I have a weakness for chips, but if someone was buying me chips when I was actively trying to avoid them, I’d chuck them.

      1. Survivor

        I did talk to her about it today. I asked, “Haven’t I told you a bunch of times I’m trying to stop eating candy and that you should stop buying it for me?” And she said, “Yes, you have.” And when I asked her why she’s still buying it then, she couldn’t give me a good reason. (“Because I know you like it.” “Because I wasn’t sure when I would be going to that store that sells the candy again.” “Because it was a limited edition candy so they might not be making it for long.”)

        She does buy junk food and candy for herself all the time and is constantly “starting over” with her diets, so I guess it is about her own habits.

        Anyway, I told her that I’m not going to accept any candy she gives me in the future. Now that I told her that, I’m not going to feel guilty refusing it if she buys more. Should have done that a long time ago, but I really didn’t realize that saying “don’t do this thing you’re doing” would be hard for her to understand since it’s never been an issue previously.

        1. RestlessRenegade

          People can get really weird about food, dieting, supporting healthy choices, etc. It may be that she reacts differently to this than she would about any other issue you guys have. You’re definitely right that the issue is with her and not with you, so don’t feel bad about refusing the candy later on! You can do it!

    2. nonegiven

      If you don’t throw it away in front of her, she’ll think you don’t really mean it.

    3. Be the Change

      My brother, bless his heart, gave me and my sister each a giant thing of candy for Christmas — it was the “ribbon” hard candy that our grandmother always used to have at Christmas. Each of us separately, 3000 miles away from each other and without talking about it, recognized it immediately as such, went “Awwww!”, and promptly threw the candy away. (Made easier by the fact for me at least that the container had come open in the mail and spilled the candy all over the mailing box.)

      Apropos of nothing, but a throwing-away-candy story. :-)

      1. Survivor

        I did actually throw away candy she got me once before. It was candy she’d given me around Halloween the previous year, and she’d gotten me more candy for Halloween again, so I threw out last year’s. I was able to justify it with “it’s a year old so it’s probably stale.”

        Did you tell your brother not to get it for you again? Or did that start a tradition of him buying it every year?

        I’m surprised candy (and cookies and other junk food) are such popular gifts when it seems like everyone is trying to lose weight or eat healthier.

        1. Be the Change

          Xmas 2017 was the first time he did it. Hopefully it won’t happen again but if it does I’ll tell him to save the $$ and give it to the local food bank.

        2. Middle School Teacher

          I get so much chocolate and candy at school (usually for Christmas). I’m not a big chocolate person, but I LOVE candy (and cookies, and chips…) so I finally laid down the law with myself. I kept my three favourite boxes for me. I kept boxes for visits I already knew were happening (ex Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve) and I put the rest on freecycle, immediately, as soon as I got home. It’s almost always picked up within two hours.

          Speaking of which, freecycle is a great resource for you. Then the candy isn’t wasted.

    4. Observer

      If you don’t want to deal with refusing the candy, throw it out or give it away. In some workplaces, you could put it in the kitchen with a note that says “help yourself” or the like. Or maybe give it to your neighbors if they seem interested. But, don’t make yourself crazy. It’s not wasteful to just throw it out if it’s too much of a hassle to deal with.

  24. Mimmy

    Dear husband,

    Why oh WHY did you book a 6 AM flight–with a boarding time of 5:30 AM–for our trip tomorrow morning???

    Love,
    your not-a-morning-person wife

    1. Survivor

      This is what my parents used to do on family trips.

      My mom wanted to go early because she thought it would be less crowded (the plane was always full though).

      My dad wanted to go early so he could sleep the whole trip (and then he would have trouble sleeping).

      1. Fiennes

        My parents would get us up at 4 am for long car trips, in the belief that if we were put in the back seat with pillows we would then fall asleep for the entire ride. The fact that this *never once worked,* and invariably resulted in grumpy, whiny, exhausted children the whole way, never shook their faith in their reasoning.

        1. Survivor

          I’m a very light sleeper, so I was never able to sleep on plane trips or car rides. :/

          It’s sad that people don’t learn from experience sometimes.

      2. Juli G.

        My parents too and my husband’s been a fan. On our last trip, I booked a 5pm flight that we left at 2pm for (airport is 1.5 hours away and husband is paranoid). Flight was delayed two hours and we were dragging in near 10pm with two kids under 7.

        So I might book early next time. :)

    2. Fiennes

      I made a rule a few years ago that I would not take any flight—business or pleasure—before 10 am. (Since I’m akin to a freelancer, I have more control over the work travel than most.) This has made my life SO MUCH BETTER. If anything I really wanted to do came up & there were truly no other way, an early flight would be the price of it…but there’s virtually always another way.

      1. Survivor

        That’s an awesome rule. :D

        I would rather be wide awake and able to read for a 5 hour plane trip, rather than be too tired to read and unable to sleep on a 5 hour plane trip.

    3. Red Reader

      Because then we get to our vacation destination early and have a whole day! Sleep on the plane!

      This is what I, a morning person, tell my not-a-morning-person husband when he moans and groans about the way I plan travel. If it bothers him that much he can do it, but he’d rather mutter about my way :) I love early flights. They’re less likely to be full, in my experience, and I get the travel part out of the way and can get on with my vacation. Next Thursday I’m flying from Indy to Orlando and should still make rope drop at one of the Disney parks!

      1. Mimmy

        Because then we get to our vacation destination early and have a whole day!

        Good point! Once we land at our destination airport, we still have to drive 2-3 hours to our final destination.

        Also, the airline we use doesn’t have any direct flights, so we have to change planes both ways (on the way home, it’s TWO transfers and a midnight arrival).

        1. annuity

          I like having an “extra” day too, but just take a red eye instead of an early morning flight.

          1. Red Reader

            I did, when I was younger and still a night owl, but at this point in my life, I never sleep past about 6:30am on the best of days, so getting up a couple hours early is fine :)

          2. Survivor

            I understand the reasoning of going on an early flight to get an “extra” day, but I end up being to tired to do anything, so it’s kind of like the first day is wasted anyway.

            We really just need to invent teleportation so none of this matters.

      2. First Base

        For me, that would be a whole day of feeling like crap due to lack of sleep, followed by a day of trying to catch up on sleep, resulting in a waste of two days of vacation, so I am not in favor of this plan.

    4. Basia, also a Fed

      My husband is a morning person; I am not. He got up at 5:15 this morning, I got up at 11:15. I usually get early morning flights, even though it means getting up at 3:00 AM, because earlier flights are less likely to have issues, at least from the airport we use. The earlier the flight, the less likely it is to be delayed. Each time a flight is delayed, other flights get bumped. The ripple effect means that the later in the day it is, the more delayed the flights get. This also means you’re more likely to miss your connection if you have one. In addition, the earlier your flight is, the more choices you have for rescheduling if your flight gets cancelled or you miss your connection. I usually schedule the first full day of my vacation with a later start so I can sleep in and recover from the day before.

      1. Mimmy

        Ooh I didn’t think of that. Tomorrow, we have one connection, and we are at our destination airport by just before noon. Gives us plenty of time to drive to the lake house we’re staying at with my family. But with the heatwave across the country, I imagine it could have an impact if the heat triggers a lot of storms.

        Coming home next Sunday….. that could be whole different ballgame. Our first flight leaves at 4:15 pm. We were originally going to have just one connecting flight, but some time ago, hubby looked at our itinerary and noticed that they added a SECOND connection. I really dislike having multiple flights because that’s more chances of things going awry. Scheduled arrival to our home airport is just before midnight. And guess who is scheduled to work the next day!!! (I tried to change it when I realized how late I’d be getting home Sunday, but my supervisor had already made out the schedules for that week). If all goes smoothly, it’ll be a miracle.

        The only reason we have such a wacky itinerary is because our usual airline does not do direct flights to the particular city we’re going to, and we’ve been so used to using them (plus, we’re spoiled with their free checked bags and choice of seating), we didn’t even think about looking at other airlines that would’ve had direct flights. Next time, we’ll know better!

        1. Basis, also a Fed

          Good luck coming back – I hope everything is on time since you have to go to work the next day!

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?

        This. One bumped flight on heavily traveled routes where the plane essentially just goes back and forth all day (or most of the day), will just compound over the day.

        I ma not be a 5am first flight of the day person, but usually between 8 and 10. Lowered risk of delays, still get to our destination for mid-afternoon and time for a nap before evening festivities, etc.

      3. Lindsay J

        Yes, also airlines are aware of that.

        And the planes have generally been sitting for at least several hours at night, where any issues could have been tended to.

        So there is a lot of accountability for “kickoff delays” (delays on the first flight of the day). Nobody wants to take the blame so everyone tries their hardest to get them out on time.

        Later flights there is so much that can happen. Incoming crew from another flight can be late. The plane itself can be late. The plane can land on time but then have maintenance issues that need to be dealt with before it can fly again. The gate can be blocked from a previous plane being delayed so your plane is there on time but sitting waiting for a place to load/unload, etc.

    5. SophieChotek

      My mom’s husband does this too. Last time I had to take the to the airport – 6am flight leaving (airport close to an hour away) and midnight flight returning. Fun times.

      Hope you still enjoy your trip!

  25. Foreign Octopus

    BOOK THREAD!

    What is everyone reading this week/weekend?

    I’m currently reading The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa in honour of my cat’s one-year adoption anniversary next Saturday (I honestly can’t believe it’s been a year – we’ve been through so much already).

    1. Middle School Teacher

      Médicis Daughter, by Sophie Perinot. It’s historical fiction (more fiction than historical, although I’ve been researching as I read, and most of the events are accurate) about Marguerite de Medici, who was the second daughter of Catherine and married off to the king of Navarre and became queen of France. It’s not bad, it really does give a sense of how women were political pawns but had a certain type of power to use.

      1. Cheshire Cat

        I loved her book “The sister queens”! One sister became queen of France, and the other was queen of England; there were two younger sisters as well, who also became queens, but this book was mainly about the two older ones. It’s also based on the lives of real people; I ended up reading a biography of all four sisters after that, “Four Queens” by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone..

        1. Middle School Teacher

          Thanks for the rec! I’m enjoying this so good to know her other books are good!

    2. CatCat

      I just finished “The Girl on the Train.” Pretty good and enjoyed it overall. I appreciate when an author can make a bunch of unlikeable characters compelling.

      1. PhyllisB

        CatCat, I agree with you about Girl on a Train. Also Gone Girl. Loathsome characters, but could not stop reading. I just finished The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware. If you ever read and liked books by Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, or Daphne DuMaurier you will like this one.

        1. Cheshire Cat

          I just finished “The death of Mrs. Westaway,” too. Ruth Ware is great. “The woman in cabin 10” is suspenseful and menacing, as well.

    3. gecko

      I’m reading How Architecture Works: A Humanist’s Toolkit by Witold Rybczynski. I just read How Buildings Learn by Stewart Brand (which was fabulous) so it kind of feels like hearing all the gossip about a person before ever putting a name to the face–Brand talks a lot about how he feels that many famous pieces of architecture are failures, so hearing about how and why they’re considered good is interesting indeed. Plus it’s interesting to learn more about the vocabulary, process, and criticisms.

    4. Fiennes

      The Silk Road, by Peter Frankopan—brilliant, vivid history with a wide sweep, about the global role of the Middle and Far East from antiquity to now. It reframes world history to *not* center around the west, and the new perspectives are amazing.

    5. Geillis D.

      Where’d you go, Bernadette?
      Ifs funny and an easy read but I have to say I find the main character less than appealing.

    6. Gingerblue

      I seem to be on a Georgette Heyer kick. My real life is pretty stressful at the moment–I’m gearing up to move and the world is a trashfire–and light, bubbly romance is all I can handle in my entertainment.

      I’ve been planning to pick up John Carreyrou’s “Bad Blood”, though. He’s the journalist who reported on Theranos, and the book is an expansion of that coverage. I read an interview with him a few weeks ago and the book sounds fascinating.

        1. Gingerblue

          I need to re-read that one; I remember it being good! So far I’ve gotten to False Colors and The Talisman Ring, two of my favorites, and Charity Girl, which was new to me.

          1. London Calling

            Try Frederica and Cousin Kate if you like The Grand Sophy. Also The Reluctant Widow, which I don’t often see mentioned when people discuss their favourite Heyer novels.

          1. jolene

            It’s the one they were going to adapt for TV, before that sadly fell through. Anyone noticed how S&M Sophy and Charles are together?

      1. I Love Thrawn

        Forgot to add… Main character is a female general contractor whose specialty is restoring historic homes in San Francisco and recently discovered she can see and talk to ghosts, but wishes she couldn’t. It rides the line of being light-hearted while still having substance. And I admit I love that a woman is good at construction too.

    7. Red Reader

      Currently in progress: “Pickett’s Charge: A New Look at Gettysburg’s Final Attack” by Phillip Thomas Tucker and “Go Down Together: The True Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by Jeff Guinn. Both non-fiction. I just did a week’s vacation on a road trip of Civil War battlefields, including Gettysburg, so the analysis of Pickett’s Charge struck my interest after hearing so much about it at the site.

      I’m also between books on a re-read (also prompted by the Civil War battlefield tour) of Harry Turtledove’s Timeline-191 series, an alternative history series that lays out ~100 years of North American history in a North America where the Union didn’t win the Civil War, so the continent holds both the USA and the CSA. It’s a … eleven? book series, one stand-alone book followed by two trilogies and a quadrilogy, so I space it out some.

      On deck, I have a novel called “The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle,” which I remember nothing about, and a non-fiction book called “The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist,” which as I recall is about some appalling travesties of justice related to wrongful convictions based on forensic “evidence” provided by coroners who were at their posts for political reasons, not because they were qualified to do anything with bodies? But I don’t remember for sure, I’ve been on the library hold list for it for a month or so and it just auto-downloaded to my account yesterday.

      REQUESTS: I will be off on vacation again next week and I love doorstops of non-fiction, preferably about people or events rather than concepts or theories (I will read a biography of Albert Einstein, but a book about his discoveries and studies will put me right to sleep, if that makes sense). If you have any recommendations, please advise! In exchange, the last time I was book-hunting for a vacation with similar guidelines, I ended up with Ron Chernow’s Washington and also Radium Girls, both of which were fantastic.

      1. Red Reader

        In my house, anniversaries of critter adoption are called Gotcha Days, and they come with treats :)

    8. DrWombat

      Had kind of a bad mental health week so am bingeing on the Hyperbole and a Half book as well as Hark! A Vagrant and a bunch of Star Wars comics. Ms. Marvel is such an amazing series, I am looking forward to getting caught up. Have a long flight next Saturday so I’m bringing Ann Leckie’s Provenance on board to read and looking forward to that as well – thinking either Pride and Prometheus or The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter for on the way back, and when I get home, my copy of Ruthanna Emrys’s Deep Roots will have arrived in the mail! ^^

      Also I cannot rec Cat Valente’s book Space Opera highly enough. It is AMAZING. If you liked Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it’s similar but a lot more hopeful, vibrant, and has a ton of Eurovision refs. Plus the main characters are very much not straight and this kind of awesome rep is always exciting for me to see, since when I was a teen there was like zero queer rep in fiction and now there’s so much it’s wonderful!

    9. annuity

      Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller – so good. I read the author’s Circe recently and just had to find more of her work.

    10. Loopy

      I’m trying to get out of a reading slump. About to pick up The Queens of Innis Lear and The Girl in the Tower. I’m hoping one of them sucks me in!!! Has anyone read either?!

    11. Book Lover

      I finished the codex Alera. Seems it was written a while ago so I guess that is it, but I wouldn’t mind a sequel that actually finishes things.

      Loved the new Ilona Andrews that started as an April’s Fools, and then that reminded me to reread the latest Kate Daniels and then the whole Hidden Legacy series. I think next I will reread the Hugh book and then restart rivers of London.

      The news is beating me up this week, so I desperately need to not be thinking about it.

    12. The Cosmic Avenger

      I found an old paperback copy of David Brin’s “Sundiver” in a pile of books in the living room…and I have NO idea where it came from! But it’s pretty good. Brin is delving into some interesting territory about how inter-alien culture might evolve, and how non-humanoid, non-mammalian aliens might differ from our typical conceptions of aliens.

    13. RestlessRenegade

      I’m reading the last book in Ransom Riggs’ Peculiar Children series. I didn’t enjoy the first book very much but I really liked the second one, so I’m hoping this one will be even better. (The movie sucked, as always).

    14. Anonymosity

      I just finished Stephen King’s new one, The Outsider. If you liked the Bill Hodges trilogy, you will like it.

    15. Time Bomb of Petulance

      I just finished reading “Animal Farm” for the first time. As was the case with “1984”, I found the book well-written but hated the ending.

      I need to stop reading dystopian novels. Too close to real life right now. :(

    16. Extra Vitamins

      I just started A Mist of Prophecies. By Steven Sayor. It’s a murder mystery set in Rome in about 50 BC. I remember liking an earlier book in the series several years ago. I’m only a few pages in, so I can’t say anything either way yet about this one.

      1. Anne (with an “e”)

        I have read all the Roma Sub Rosa novels by Steven Saylor. IMO, every single one is fantastic. I do recommend reading them in order though.

    17. Anne (with an “e”)

      I am in the middle of CJ Sansom’s Revelation. This is book four in the Matthew Shardlake series. Someone on AAM (I am sorry I don’t remember who) recommended this series a few weeks ago. Well, ever since I saw that rec I decided to give the series a go. I have been enthralled by this series ever since.

  26. Scubacat

    My family needs updated wills, and I need advice. Should be adult up and pay for an actual lawyer to draft the documents? Is using a will software program reasonable alternative? Lawyers are rather expensive and our assets are simple. However!
    We are common law without dependents. In terms of assets, the other is listed as the beneficiary on everything. I own the home that we live in, his isn’t on the title.
    Oh yes, and we live in Canada.

    Thoughts from the internet?

    1. WellRed

      I am sure there are lawyers who specialize that probably have some sort of flat rate rate for a fairly simple will.

    2. Middle School Teacher

      Agreed. There was actually a story on cbc not that long ago on how most common-law couples don’t know the law as it pertains to them. Plus each province is difference.

    3. Parenthetically

      You’re common law? Lawyer.

      We negotiated a flat up-front rate from our estate attorney, including any updates we need as we have kids. 100% worth it.

    4. foolofgrace

      I have a related question. I’m single, no real assets, but want to leave a will and just leave everything to my son, but do-it-yourself wills, which would be fine for me, require notarized witness signatures and for some reason neither the bank nor currency exchange will notarize a will. WTF? Where can I go to get this notarized? I can’t afford to go thru a lawyer, I’m out of work right now. Any suggestions? I’m in Illinois if that matters.

      1. Red Reader

        AAA offices do notarizations for members. You might see if your library or town hall has a notary on site? I’m surprised your bank doesn’t, most do in my experience, even if they only notarize for their customers. Insurance agent, maybe.

      2. Marillenbaum

        Call your local FedEx/Kinko’s. A lot of them have notaries on site, and when I lived in NC, I was able to get stuff notarized for about $7 per page.

      3. Thlayli

        Pretty sure if you’re single with a child they would automatically own everything anyway. Check the law where you live – you probably don’t even need a will.

        1. Scubacat

          Everyone needs a will, even if it’s written in ketchup on a napkin. If you die without a Will, the law says that you have died “intestate,” which means that you left no instructions as to how your property is to be distributed. According to succession law, the child would indeed inherit your estate. Though there will probably be extra time delays and expenses because you died without signing a will. *

          *IANAL. Just finished a course on estate planning.

        2. Thlayli

          Lots of people don’t bother with wills in my country. Maybe it’s more important in America. If I die my husband automatically inherits everything and if we both die our kids automatically inherit everything. Our lawyer told us so long as we were happy with that we didn’t need a will.

      4. nonegiven

        Ask around, someone at work or among friends will be a notary. A guy DH works with is a notary. The lady running the tag agency here is a notary.

      5. Kuododi

        I have found those Fed ex and UPS stores will offer notary services for a nominal fee. DH and his immediate colleagues a notaries as a part of their job responsibilities. (Health care…part of their job is to help patients and families work out living will and durable power of attorney for health care.)

    5. CTT

      I’m an almost-lawyer who just took a wills class, and you should definitely pay for a lawyer. Will software isn’t good with ambiguities, and neither is writing it yourself. It really helps to talk it out to a third party who is trained to ask questions and notice weird things. For example, when my parents re-did their will, they planned to do mirror images with both having references to “my children”; except my half-sister is not my mom’s child and someone could argue that my sister shouldn’t get anything under my mom’s will after she dies. It was something that never even crossed my parents’ minds until their lawyer asked about it. You know your life and what you want so well, but unfortunately you won’t be able to interpret any of it when the will goes into effect. Having someone else do it will keep problems from happening.

    6. neverjaunty

      Check with your provincial bar association for a referral service or a Modest Means program. A lot of times you can get a one-time, free or low-cost meeting with a lawyer specializing in the thing you need, and some places have programs that have discounted legal help for people who are not poor but can’t afford lawyers otherwise.

    7. Thlayli

      In all honesty, this was one of the reasons we got married. We went to a solicitor after we had our first child about getting wills made to make sure if one or both of us died the survivor and child would be properly looked after and she basically told us to cop on and get married.

    8. Not So NewReader

      It’s not as expensive as I thought it would be. I am in the US though. We had wills, health care proxy and PAs done and it came to around $500. That’s 3 documents for each of us, with a total of 6 documents that came to $500. Check to see what the pricing is in your area, this may be one of those things that “seem” expensive but actually aren’t as terrible as one would think.

    9. Scubacat

      Well, it looks like I’ll be saving up to see a lawyer. In my area, the average flat rate to have basic wills/ POAs/ and personal directives done up is $1200. Trying not to feel grumpy about that.

      1. Cheshire Cat

        Do you live near a law school? At the one near where I live, law students do things like draw up wills, power of attorney documents, and so on, for a sliding scale based on your income. They work under the supervision of a professor so there is accountability.

  27. LAM

    What’s your favorite cheap eats in Chicago?

    Preferably accessable by public transportation, but we will have a car if we need it. There’s four of us who all have different tastes/preferences so we are good at figuring out something to eat, even if it’s a place that particular person would not have chosen.

    1. the gold digger

      We ate at Naf Naf twice last weekend, it was so good. And we split a bowl – it was more than enough food for two.

      Also, make sure to go to Eataly. You can eat there or shop there or people watch or all three. It’s just fun.

      And take the Chicago Architectural Foundation river tour. Or any of their tours. They are wonderful.

      1. LAMM

        I have a Naf Naf by work, but never seem to make it over there to try it. I’m glad to finally have an excuse to do so!

    2. ThatGirl

      What neighborhood? What’s cheap? Hot dog/Italian beef places abound. Pizza is usually inexpensive per person.

      Maxwell St market is on Sundays and has great eats.

      1. LAMM

        Any neighborhood. And the cheaper the better. Less than $8/person ideally.

        Food is going to be our main expense, so just looking for ideas to keep costs down.

          1. LAM

            Oh I totally get that. Where I’m at is the same way. I was just looking for non-fastfood options that people loved enough to suggest.

            I’ve bookmarked that list though, as there are a few places on there that I had not previously stumbled across. Thank you!

    3. Dr. KMnO4

      Well, the menu is limited but the food they have is amazing…

      Gene and Jude’s. It’s in River Grove, just outside the city. They have hot dogs and tamales, but the main thing is the hot dogs. They only have four toppings – mustard, relish, onions (raw), and peppers. There is no ketchup. The McDonald’s next door will sell you ketchup packets.

      Best hot dogs in the Chicagoland area. And they charge less if you get the hot dog without the bun (an amazing feature if you’re Celiac). The fries come right on the hot dog.

      Warning – The line is always long. It doesn’t necessarily take long to get through the line, but there are always people in line.

      1. LAMM

        I want to try a Chicago dog, however I have mixed feelings about them. We are all originally from the Detroit area (I’m still local, the others have moved away), and I take my hotdogs one of two ways…. burnt, or coney (drenched in chili/onions/mustard).

        We will have to add this place onto the list though to see how they stack up.

    4. swingbattabatta

      I can speak on this FOREVER. Big star tacos in Wicker Park (immediately off the blue line, Damen stop). Great outdoor space. In the same neighborhood, Piece pizza for great THIN crust pizza and amazing beer. In the loop, go to Do-Rite Donuts for amazing donuts and strong coffee. In the South Loop, Flacos Tacos. Wasabi ramen – also walkable from the blue line. The Chicago French Market (West Loop, connected to Ogilvie train station) has tons of delicious options. Oh oh and Little Goat Diner on W Randolph – the little sister to Stephanie Izard’s Girl and the Goat (but super casual and way less expensive).

      1. LAMM

        Thank you!

        We had planned on hitting the French Market, and am glad to have a few more eating options to add to my list.

  28. Myrin

    Sometime last year – yeah, it’s been a hot minute – I asked about people’s thoughts on reconnecting with old friends, how to best go about it etc.
    A lot happened shortly after that and the whole endeavour kind of fell by the wayside, but when my best friend from primary school’s birthday neared last month, I finally decided to contact her.
    I wrote her a nice card and sent it to her childhood home (I wasn’t sure if she lived there anymore but I definitely knew that her parents still do) and yay, we met up for coffee last week. It was really nice, you could feel that she was really stoked I contacted her, and we’ve been chatting regularly since her birthday.

    I’ve said before that I’m a loner at heart and don’t really “do” friendships (or at least not close onces), but I’m really, really happy we’re in contact again! There’s just something about re-meeting someone you’ve known for such a long time and were as close with as we were, and I could clearly tell that she feels the same. I’m really glad I decided to take that step!

    1. gecko

      That’s awesome! It’s so wonderful to have those kinds of friendships where you can let them lie fallow for such a long time that you think it might be over, but in fact it’s still there. Also it can be hard to reach out like that–congratulations :)

  29. Mjb

    Hello all!
    I’m moving to New Orleans and am looking for your tips! I’ve never been there, but will be flying out in few weeks to find a place- I am planning on renting for now. Any advice on neighborhoods or apartment complexes? I’m looking for a place that’s decent (I don’t need super fancy), somewhat budget friendly for 2 bedrooms, and cat friendly. I can live anywhere, but would like to be somewhat close to the fun and the airport, as I’ll be flying a lot. Any tips or advice? (Also… single female if that makes a difference!)

    1. The Grammarian

      Gentilly is good for owning; Mid-City has affordable rents and is close to downtown. I’m from New Orleans, btw. Metairie is a suburb in Jefferson Parish, has cheap rents, and is close-ish to the airport, which is in Kenner (also in Jefferson Parish). Good luck!

    2. BRR

      I would say the airport and fun are really close. The airport is on the edge of the city. Mid-City might be a good option.

    3. Fiennes

      My first advice is, if at all possible, to come down here for a couple weeks/do a temporary rental for up to a month in order to get a sense of the city before you choose a place. New Orleans neighborhoods rarely have a single character/crime rate/etc—the specifics of where you are, down to the block, really matter.

      If you cannot do this, it depends. If you want funky cool vibe, try the Bywater. If you want more safety (in relative terms), uptown. If you want cheap in the city proper—well, rents here are stiff. Mid-City might work, or maybe the Irish Channel. Still some bargains in St Roch, and it’s getting livelier there, but it’s not the safest part of town. Enough people rent out places attached to their own homes that you can sometimes find bargains if landlords decide you seem professional/trustworthy/etc.

      Airport access: make sure you have a fairly clear shot to the interstate. Luckily that’s all it takes. I travel a bunch too, and it’s great to have an airport I can reach within half an hour.

      Finally—when do you mean by “a few weeks”? I have some friends who’ll be away in August and might be open to a temporary guest, with references; they’ve already mentioned that they’d charge only very low rent if they found someone good. If that idea appeals to you at all, let me know and I’ll try to hook you guys up.

      Good luck! This is a great town.

      1. Mjb

        That is so kind of you! I appreciate the offer, but don’t think I’ll be there til the end of August. Thank you for the neighborhood tips- it’s already helping me search!

  30. Anonymous ED Question

    Asking because of a relative. Does anyone know of resources in the US for older men with eating disorders, specifically binge eating disorder? How do you help a parent who has binge eating disorder? How do you take care of yourself in the process?

    If this were a teenage girl, I would know every local resource and some helpful websites. But it’s my dad, and I can’t find anything. He’s seeing a doctor, but not a therapist or psychiatrist, and he really needs more than that.

    His physical health problems are adding up, he’s binge-eating more, and he’s very unhappy. He is seeing a doctor, but I haven’t seen any progress. My dad’s doctor can only do so much when he won’t follow any of her advice, seek any other help, or really do anything at all.

    My mom’s scared for him, but I don’t think I can count on her to take any specific actions right now. She says she’s afraid of feeling guilty after he passes away: either guilty because she tried to prevent him from doing what he wanted, making his unhappiness her fault, or guilty because she didn’t try to prevent it, making his sickness her fault. This is what she told me.

      1. Anonymous ED Question

        Thank you. Maybe he would be willing to go to that or another support group. He is Christian, too, so maybe the spiritual/religious aspect of 12-step groups will be useful.

        1. totally anon spouse

          I am probably the same age as your mom. My husband was a binge eater for years. Overweight. Eating pints of ice-cream a night. Eating picnic sized bags of chips twenty minutes after the well-balanced generously proportioned dinner that I had serve him.

          You, your mom, and everyone else need to leave him alone. This is his problem. His disease. He may or may not be ready to get help.Everyone who thinks they can fix his binge eating needs to go to an Al Anon meeting. We learn in our own Twelve Step program. I didn’t cause this, I can’t control this, and I can’t cure this.

          Actions family can take. Eat well. Keep your eyes on your own plate. Keep healthy food in the house. Don’t buy binge foods. When you go out to eat choose a place with healthy choices. Forgo the fried chicken place.

          He knows he is overweight. He knows there are resources out there for help. If there is health insurance for a rehab residential place or money for that research and make available the information.

    1. Kuododi

      It’s sad you’re having to deal with this stuff within your family. Unfortunately this is not something over which you will be able to affect any form of positive change. I’m truly sympathetic, I have to remind myself every day that I can’t change the situation with my mother’s dementia and my father’s choices to keep her safe/cared for. I would encourage you and your mother to look at some short term counseling to help address planning, goal setting and improving coping skills around the current family situation. If you come from a faith based background look at local church for a pastoral counseling program. (Look for “Pastoral Counselors” as they’re qualified.both from a clinical background as well as faith based credentials and endorsement. Otherwise, the risk of badly qualified counselors with no training/experience is pretty high). If I can help with resources and or referrals feel free to contact me. (Tell Alison she’s welcome to pass on an email message) Best wishes.

  31. PC vs Mac

    We are finally getting new laptops at my Voldemort (that which must not be named) after living with crappy handed-down ones for far too long. We can choose from a catalog which isn’t extensive but has some options. I have narrowed it down to one PC and one Mac. I use an iPhone and iPad but have always had PCs at work because that is what I was given and at home because my spouse knows how to fix them. I used a Mac in undergrad (quite a while ago) but haven’t had one since then. I looked at both of my top choices in the store and liked the Mac better. I will be keeping my Dell laptop at home because it is fairly new and fits my needs well. I am not sure about switching between PC and Mac at home/office but I know lots of people do (though more commonly have the Mac at home). I have to check to make sure Macs really interface okay with our network/systems (vast majority PC but more people switching to Mac) but assuming they do, I am leaning toward the Apple. I’m either getting the Surface Laptop or the MacBook Pro (13″ with the touch bar) so any thoughts on those specific models are appreciated as well! I don’t work with any design or graphics programs or fancy software; my main concerns are weight and battery life since I travel a good amount and haul my computer around in my bag; both options get high marks in those categories. Right now I have an old brick of a Lenovo so either one would be an improvement.

    1. CatCat

      All I know is I’ve had my MacBook Air for 5 years with zero problems. It’s the best computer I have ever owned.

    2. Anonymous Educator

      tl;dr: Get a MacBook Air.

      I deploy and support Apple computers as part of my job. If you don’t do heavy design/graphics work and one of your main concerns is battery life, definitely do not get a touchbar MacBook Pro. Our users have had major issues with the new MacBook Pros (and MacBooks). Battery life is terrible. The keyboards are prone to malfunctioning or getting tiny specks of dust stuck underneath them. We’ve had touchbar issues. We’ve had to send a bunch back for under-warranty repair. Apple is finally acknowledging there are issues (check out an article called Apple acknowledges faulty MacBook and MacBook Pro keyboards with new repair program: Extended service for four years from original purchase date).

      I can have any Mac laptop I want at work. When the MacBook Pro came out, I immediately “upgraded” to it. I used it for months and then eventually “downgraded” to a MacBook Air.

      Some issues I had (even without hardware malfunctions on my particular machine) with the MacBook Pro:

      The keyboard is extremely clacky. You cannot type nigh-silently on this thing. It is very loud every time you press a key.
      USB-C is the only port on the laptop, which means—since you have an iPhone and an iPad (and maybe a USB stick)—you’ll have to carry around adapters with you. It also means no MagSafe charging. MagSafe is great for klutzes like me, who are always tripping on cords (USB-C charging, not so much), and they also give you an indicator light (amber vs. green) to show you whether the laptop is fully charged or not, even when the lid is closed.
      The touchbar makes it a little more troublesome to change settings quickly. The MacBook Air has built-in hard keys to change brightness and volume. Even if you change the settings on the touchbar to not be context-specific, you still have to look carefully to tap in the right place.
      And, yes, as I mentioned before, the battery life is terrible. The absolutely max I could get out of it was 5 hours, and it was usually more like 3.5-4 hours.

      I think the only thing I do like about the new MacBook Pro is the fingerprint sensor. It’s super handy to unlock your laptop by just putting your finger on the sensor instead of having to type your password every time.

      The MacBook Air hasn’t changed a lot in years, but it’s a solidly designed and put together laptop. At home (my work laptop is the newest Air), my six-year-old Air is still running like a champ (and still supported by Apple for macOS 10.13, the latest OS version).

      1. neverjaunty

        Aw man. I love my MacBook Pro and was bummed to find out it may end up with keyboard issues :(

      2. Falling Diphthong

        I have a new MacBook Pro. (As of last fall.) I like the fingerprint unlock, and the touch bar that switches to different things more than I expected. And the size. The new keyboard design, though, is way too sensitive to dust and there are dire warnings online about the keys snapping if you try to take them off for home repair. It’s also the first Apple product on which I’ve actually used the warranty–once for an unseated video cable (I believe–fixed in store) and once for a more general image issue that had to be sent out, and since it was leaving I had them handle the sticky keys on the keyboard. (I think by replacing it.)

        Good to know about the extended support for the %&&$$ keyboard design.

    3. Fiennes

      I’m SO OVER Apple and most of its works, but my MacBook Air remains a truly great product.

      1. Anonymous Educator

        Same here. The original iPod was groundbreaking (especially the spin wheel to scroll through songs), as was the original iPhone (just about everything about it), but the iPad is seriously just a giant iPhone that can’t make phone calls, and the Apple Watch… meh. The MacBook Air is, however, absolutely, hands-down the best laptop, and I recommend it to everyone I can without reservation.

    4. miyeritari

      my macbook pro from 2013 (!) is still going incredibly strong. if your concerns are battery life and weight and you don’t have any intent on doing any super memory or graphics-intensive work, i’d STRONGLY recommend the new macbook airs. i have a new macbook air from work and it’s SO NICE.

    5. Nacho

      Be careful getting a mac if you’ve always used PCs. They’re similar in that both are computers, but there are tons of differences, to the point where I can barely use my mother’s apple products, despite being an expert on my own PCs. I’d recommend sticking with what you know, just to make things easier.

      1. Mimmy

        I second this. I used PCs for years and decided I wanted everything to be Apple–I already had the iPhone and iPad–so when the time came for a new computer, I went with an iMac desktop. It’s still working well 4+ years later, but man was it strange getting used to the differences, e.g. keyboard layout and file maintenance. My job of nearly 1.5 years uses PCs, and even now I still sometimes get my keyboard shortcuts mixed up!

      2. Anonymous Educator

        It can be a little bit of a transition, but you get used to it pretty fast. Most of the keyboard shortcuts still work if you translate Control to Command. Ctrl-C to copy is Cmd-C to copy. Ctrl-A to select all is Cmd-A to select all. Ctrl-S to save is Cmd-S to save. I think the only keyboard shortcut I really miss is Win-E to launch Explorer, regardless of what program is open. There is no such key in macOS (there are probably third-party apps you can install to change this behavior, but I work on many Macs on a given day, not just my own).

    6. Not In NYC Anymore

      I have a MacBook Pro 15″ from late 2008!! Still going strong and I use it daily for ghostwriting books and doing design—it’s on at least 12 hours a day. When I got it, I used it extensively for database access and manipulating data, as well as CRM software. The thing is a workhorse. I’ve replaced the battery once and the charger twice. I so want to get a MacBook Air because it is so much lighter to travel with, but I can’t justify it as long as my current laptop keeps on going.

  32. Shay the Fae

    I’m trying to find an exercise that works for me. And I just keep thinking about how much easier it would be if the Physical and Occupational therapists would get back to me. It’s the same office and I have called ten times and they just won’t set up an appointment. It’s very frustrating. I keep getting some variation of “I need to look up x, y, z for you. We’ll have someone call you back.”
    UGH.
    I am severely de conditioned and have a syncope disorder.
    Well, if you squint you could call what I did this morning “jogging”. I’m trying not to be frustrated by all this but it’s really hard. At least I didn’t faint or throw up.
    I made myself some homemade pizza for breakfast, though I burnt the cheese by mistake. Still tasted good.
    Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of today.

    1. C

      Assuming your syncope disorder is probably POTS or some other type of Dysautonomia- have you looked at the Dysautonomia International website? They have a lot of resources including some exercise guides – including some specific exercise plans like Week 1 do X, week 2 do Y, etc

      1. Shay the Fae

        I have not, but I will look into it. I’m unclear what the specifics of my syncopes are. But I need to wait until school starts up again to continue the diagnostic process.
        Thanks for the resource!

      2. Oh So Tired

        I’d take a look at the Dysautonomia International website – the exercise plans (my sister is on one of their plans) are well and truly designed for people who get dizzy from standing or walking up a flight of stairs. I know my sister’s plan includes walking, stair machine, and weight training on machines.

        I personally like swimming, cycling, and water aerobics but those might not be the safest activities for you, depending on what happens when your disorder kicks up.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot

      I don’t have experience with that disorder, but can you just do walking? You can go as slowly as you need to and add speed/distance as you improve. It’s low impact, etc.

    1. Anonymous ED Question

      Mine has not posted yet, either. Comments that contain certain words and comments that contain links go to moderation automatically. Alison releases them when she sees them, so ours will both post – just not immediately. :)

      1. Myrin

        And sometimes it’s completely random – the spam filter is a fickle beast from time to time!

        1. Falling Diphthong

          I had one just never post for unfathomable reasons last week, and I gather that’s been a trend.

      2. Anonymous ED Question

        Ooh, it was the same word for both of us! “Physical t——–” in your post. That word goes to moderation.

        1. Shay the Fae

          Oh that makes sense! Okay. Yeah I can see why in other contexts you wouldn’t want that to be thrown around…

      3. Ask a Manager Post author

        Hi! I removed a discussion here speculating on what does and doesn’t trigger the moderation filter, since (a) some of that is useless, because sometimes there’s no rhyme or reason to what the moderation filter decides to do, and (b) I don’t actually want people trying to devise ways to bypass it, since it’s there for a reason. Thank you!

          1. Ask a Manager Post author

            It was a few more than that. Possibly you didn’t see everything before I removed them? (But either way, I’m not sure why it would matter. I’m not chastising anyone here, just explaining what I did.)

            1. Anonymous ED Question

              Knowing when to expect to go to moderation matters when you comment. Can’t speak for Shay, but they and I were both looking for help with some serious stuff.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                You can’t always know, however much you might want to, and so if you need to be guaranteed immediate help with something, this is not the place to go for it. If the filter malfunctions briefly, everything during that time goes to moderation, and I may not see it for hours. Sometimes it goes not to the moderation filter but to the spam filter (where I’m not alerted), and then I might not see it for even longer. Sometimes there’s no explanation at all. Sometimes comments have disappeared entirely and aren’t in either filter. It’s a comment section and it’s not perfect. None of that is a reason not to respect my request above, and I’m surprised to get push-back on this.

                1. Anna Banana

                  +1

                  Thank you, Alison, for all the time you put into this site. I’m sorry you have to deal with people arguing with you about how you run this free resource you provide us with.

                2. Anonymous ED Question

                  Okay? Just saying, we were talking about how commenting works, which is handy to know. I don’t mean to push back too much or offend you, if that’s what’s happening.

                  Anna Banana, I am not trying to tell her how to run her site. I am saying that knowing what to expect when one comments is useful. That’s all. And that’s all I was discussing with another commenter.

                3. Anna Banana

                  Anonymous ED, when you start a comment like that with “um” it sounds argumentative and rude.

                4. Melody Pond

                  @Anonymous ED Question – even this:

                  Just saying, we were talking about how commenting works, which is handy to know.

                  It still sounds like you’re defending yourself against something – for the third time, no less. After Alison has been kind enough to explain her rationale three times, which she definitely doesn’t have to do. It doesn’t matter how valid of a reason you think you have, to post something. It’s still Alison’s site, and she’s the only person here with any level of entitlement to control what gets posted. Please stop arguing with her.

                5. Anonymous ED Question

                  Melody and Anna, I was just discussing how comments’ moderation filter works. Not trying to tell Alison to change it. Then I was surprised when comments were deleted and Alison and I replied to one another. Please leave me alone.

  33. AvonLady Barksdale

    My vacuum hose is busted, so I need either a new hose or a new vacuum cleaner. The vacuum cleaner I have is a Shark Navigator Lift-Away that I bought 7 years ago, and it’s been a very good and cooperative vacuum cleaner for these 7 years. But now I’m faced with a dilemma that I’m not even sure is a dilemma.

    On one hand, a replacement hose is less than $30, and a new, high-quality vacuum cleaner will run me at least $200 and probably closer to $300 or $400 (I have long hair and a dog and we both shed). On the other hand, the cheap comes out expensive– should I just bite the bullet now and buy a new vacuum cleaner? Or will the replacement hose be just fine for at least another couple of years? (If it helps, we have two carpeted rooms, one area rug, and the rest is laminate. I vacuum the floors at least once a week, and I use it on the sofa and dog beds too.) I’d prefer to avoid spending that kind of money right now, but I’m looking at the difference between spending less now and more later, or just spending more now.

    1. ronda

      if you can fix it to being very good again for $30 that is the way to go if you don’t want to spend money.

      yes… something else will eventually break, but you will have more time to save more money before you have to spend.

      If you don’t think the fix can really be done that cheap, or you are dissatisfied with your current vacuum for other reasons, then it may be time to get a new one.

    2. Nicole76

      You’d be surprised how long replacement parts last! Unless you dislike the vacuum cleaner’s performance I say buy the hose and stretch the life of your current vacuum as long as you can (this coming from the person who has had the same vacuum cleaner for 14 years despite having to replace the power cord and having to wrap it around the cleaner because the holder broke off). :D

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        This is very good to know! I have an innate distrust of replacement parts. :)

    3. Forking Great Username

      I’d spend the $30 if this happened to our shark navigator – love ours, and that’s a pretty reasonable price. I spent that much on filters for ours!

    4. Red Reader

      In your shoes – as someone with waist length hair and two dogs – I think I would buy the $30 hose and start putting $5-10 a week into a “new vacuum” jar. I would expect to get six months or so out of the repair, and at that point, $10 a week means I have $250 already saved up for a new vacuum, and if the old one is still going strong after six months, I can just keep saving my $10 a week. But I’m a big fan of incremental savings and fortunate enough in my budget that $10 a week isn’t really noticeable, so YMMV.

    5. Nacho

      Replacement doesn’t need to last a couple of years if it’s less than 10% as expensive as a new vacuum. Assuming your current vacuum is standard, a new one would last ~7 years before repair/replacement is needed, so if the replacement part lasts even 8 months, you’re still coming out ahead vs replacing your vacuum every time something breaks..

    6. Not So NewReader

      I did a quick Google search. This type of vacuum can be expected to last about five years which is the warranty period, from what I saw.

      If it is still picking up stuff to your satisfaction, it might be worthwhile to spend the $30. However, if you have other concerns about other parts wearing or starting to fail then it might be better to take the plunge and get new.

      It’s a crap shoot. If you are watching your budget, perhaps you can get the hose for now and watch lawn sales to pick up a spare vac at a good price. This is probably the route I would go.

    7. ..Kat..

      My husband fixed the split in our vacuum hose with copious amounts of duct tape. He says it works just fine.

  34. KatieKate

    My roommate has a friend staying for the last few days, and she’s perfectly nice except for the fact that she sings all the time. And she has a perfectly nice voice, but it’s really getting on my nerves. I’ve been friends with singers who just do that and don’t even notice they’re doing it, but this woman is not my friend. And I don’t want to ask her to stop because I’ve already been avoiding them for most of the visit (I have some family stuff this weekend that I’m saving my social energy for) so I’ve come here to complain instead.

    1. Turtlewings

      If you don’t feel like asking her to stop is a polite option, try making it a game for yourself. If you can identify the song she’s singing, you get a prize. If you can distract her into stopping without her realizing it, you get a prize. Try absent-mindedly singing along with her! If it makes her feel awkward and she stops, you win. If it pleases her, maybe you’ll make a friend!

      Otherwise, you can live in your headphones as much as possible?

  35. Anonymous Educator

    Is anyone else here watching Yappie on YouTube/Vimeo? I really wish there were more Asian American (not just Asian Asian) representation in media, but at least there’s some stuff!

    1. Effie

      I’m considering watching it! Is it any good? I love some of Wong Fu Production’s shorts, and I’ve never seen any of their full-length features.

      1. Anonymous Educator

        It is good! The ending isn’t that satisfying… it kind of works, but it also kind of seems as if they just ran out of money after the fifth episode?

        If you’ve seen only their shorts, I’d also recommend Single by 30, if you have YouTube Premium (or its trial) available in your country; and also Everything Before Us.

        I wish Wong Fu did more queer stories (it’s a bit heteronormative), but, hey—I also wish mainstream media did more Asian American stories…

        1. Effie

          Thanks for answering!

          Yeah, it took them a long time just to add stories told from women’s POV (I love “After Us”), so it’s not surprising to me that they veer towards heteronormative too. Totally agree with you on wishing there were more Asian American stories in mainstream media overall :/

  36. Fiennes

    Board games! We’re late to the party, but my boyfriend and I have gotten really into them this year. We own Pandemic, Forbidden Desert, Love Letters, Marrying Mr Darcy, Sherlock Holmes, and Codenames Duet. We’ve enjoyed playing Dixit, Gloom and Lorenzo Il Magnifico. What are some others we should check out? Cooperative games and/or those that can be played by 2 people are preferred, but I’m happy to hear about anything you’ve enjoyed.

    1. Kj

      Co-ops:
      Zombiecide
      Castle Panic
      Forbidden Island
      Daedalus Sentence

      Non-Co-ops:
      London
      7 Wonders has a two person version
      Splendor

      1. Kj

        I should add- of the above, Castle Panic, Forbidden Island, 7 Wonders and Splendor are most similar in difficulty to the other games you have played. The others are more complex, may have a steeper learning curve. That shouldn’t discourage you, but some people are intimidated by the games whose rulebooks are very long.

        Also, Karensansui is a non-co-op that I love. Don’t know why I forgot it. It is zen garden game and is very un-zen to play. I love to play it with new games and experienced games all, because it is a learning curve for all.

    2. Turtlewings

      I really enjoy “Ticket to Ride,” which is a game where you compete to build train tracks over a map. Probably more fun with 3-4 people, but doable with 2.

      I gotta ask about “Marrying Mr. Darcy,” that sounds amazing!

      1. Kj

        Ticket has several different versions for different countries and #s of players. The Nordic Ticket is for 2-3 players, I believe.

      2. Fiennes

        “Marrying Mr Darcy” is SO GREAT. You pull accomplishment cards that determine your beauty, wit, reputation, etc., then choose one of the eight young women of P&P to play as. It’s smarter to choose a character who aligns with your starting cards—if you have a lot of beauty, Jane, or with Wit you go for Lizzy—but you can do as you like. You compete for the six suitors of the novel; different heroines get different scores for each suitor. (Usually the top scorer is the one she winds up with in the book, or at least hoped to.)

        You play by pulling event cards such as, “you please the company with your performance at the pianoforte: take one/play one accomplishment card.” Or “you flirted too much with the officers. Discard all Reputation points.” Most of the major book events show up in one form or another; overall, it’s like the book is one potential play-through of the game.

        At the end, you see which suitors (if any) you qualify for, and roll through the Proposal Round. You either get your ideal suitor, or some other suitor with lower points, or you wind up an Old Maid. One of the most appealing things about this is that the Old Maid doesn’t necessarily lose! She can roll for destinies as different as “must take a position as a governess” to “become a successful author and earn riches.” Every suitor, or destiny, has a point total, so the one with the highest points at the end wins.

        My description makes it sound more complicated than it is, maybe? But it’s SO MUCH FUN, and designed with a great deal of wit and attention to the book.

        Plus: two expansion packs! “Emma” and “Zombies.”

    3. neverjaunty

      Spirit Island, if you can find it

      The Captain is Dead (which also has the virtue of being quick)

    4. heckofabecca

      I’m going to repeat others, but here’s my list!

      Co-op: Sentinels of the Multiverse (if you double up on superheroes, you can play with 2 players; I *love* this game), Hanabi (2-5 players, though I’ve never played with 2 people), Forbidden Island

      2+ competitive: Splendor (2-4 players), Ticket To Ride (we have Rails & Sails and play with 2), Innovation (2-4), Carcasonne (2-5; tile game with a number of expansions), Istanbul (2-5; I’ve only played with a larger group but it was fun)

    5. AlmostAcademic

      Dominion is great, and can be enjoyed by 2+ people. Has lots of expansions available if you get into it as well. Guillotine is another fast game that’s good for two people.

      For a great game for large parties, try We Didn’t Playtest This at All, Exploding Kittens, and Wise or Otherwise (which has a similar mechanism to Dixit, but with completing sayings).

      In terms of cooperative games, maybe check out Hanabi (although it works best as a four-person game, imho). Not a board game, but Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is also a great cooperative game.

    6. Dr. KMnO4

      Sagrada!!!! It’s a dice game sort of based on the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. You’re making stained glass windows!

      Fog of Love! It’s a two player role-playing board game. It’s a rom-com in a box, sort of.

      Potion Explosion! It’s so much fun!

      7th continent is cool, but involved. Scythe is fun. I second the recommendation for Sentinels of the Multiverse and Wise or Otherwise. Smash Up is good. Kittens in a Blender is a game people I know enjoy. My husband really likes King of Tokyo.

    7. Lindsay J

      Sheriff of Nottingham (3-5 player)
      Splendor
      Jaipur
      Chinatown (3-5 player)
      Smash Up
      Ascension
      Quarto
      Quoridor
      Fleet
      Tulip Bubble (3-5)
      Sushi Go
      Hive

      Everything I listed is playable with 2 players unless otherwise noted.

  37. Snark

    I got a request for my chai recipe in the Friday thread, so here we go.

    I lived in India for six months in college, teaching English and otherwise making myself as useful to the locals as a dumbass 19 year old white dude can be, which is to say probably less than hoped. I made a daily habit of stopping by the Moonlight Cafe for the best chai in McLeod Ganj, and bribed the owner to teach me the basics before I left. That was something like 16 years ago now, and probably…..6000 batches, more or less? later, I’m sure my chai-wallah master would scarcely recognize it as his own recipe, as it’s been scaled and mutated so much it’s entirely my own.

    Chai Masala:
    3oz best quality Vietnamese cinnamon
    2oz ground allspice, preferably from whole berries
    1oz ground anise seed or star anise (if you reaaaallly like that anise flavor)
    1oz ground cloves
    1oz ground black pepper
    1/2 oz ground mace

    Combine all ground ingredients and store in a dark, cool place. I also add 2oz ground dried ginger for my travel chai kit, for when I’m making this on the road.

    Chai
    This recipes scales fantastically, so I will provide both the ratio and my preferred quantity here:
    2 parts/4 cups water
    1 part/2 cups whole milk
    1 tbsp per part water/2 tbsp loose leaf black tea, preferably strong Assam variety, plus 1tsp for the pot (I use 2 tbsp + 1 tsp)
    1 1/2 tbsp per part/3 tbsp Turbinado or other unrefined blond sugar per part water, or to your preference for sweet
    1/2 tsp per part/1 heaping tsp Chai Masala
    2 cardamom pods, crushed, per part water/5-7 pods
    1-2 tsp grated ginger per part water/2 tsp (I grate it off a frozen root, to taste – I like my chai quite gingery )

    1) Put water on high heat, add tea and sugar. When it starts to get quite close to boiling….
    2) Add milk, chai masala, cardamom, and ginger.
    3) Continuing to heat on high, watch the chai like a hawk, yanking it off the burner just as it begins to boil and froth up.
    4) Stir and strain through a mesh strainer into cups. Bonus points for pouring from a theatrically high distance.

      1. JessMe

        Thanks so much for sharing. I love a spicy chai tea and this sounds wonderful. What type of cardamom pods do you use? There are 3 kinds where I shop: white pod, green pod, and black pod.

        1. Snark

          Green is the one you’ll want – sweet, floral, sharp. White is just a bleached green pod. Black is heavily smoked and has notes of eucalyptus and herbs, and is really only for savory dishes – it’d be gross in chai, but it’s lovely as part of a rub for grilled steak kebabs, tucked into grilled naan bread with some grilled eggplant and raita.

    1. Shay the Fae

      Best, spent 21 hours over 2 days completing a project I’ve been struggling with since January. That flow!
      Worst, having a grumpy time with video games. Both playing too much and not playing well.

    2. Loves Libraries

      Best. Getting home uneventfully from our river cruise in Europe
      Worst. Learning a friend’s husband has multiple myeloma.

    3. DrWombat

      Best: friend’s health scare turned out to be less dire than initially worried, and they’re getting help with dealing with the problem.
      Worst: this week just plain sucked in terms of mental health. Like, spent yesterday evening crying and having to work through the emotional hangover today bad. It’s -really- tempting to spend the entire day in bed watching Netflix but I have deadlines to meet.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale

      Have you returned after an absence or have I just missed these threads in the past several weeks? :)

      Best: 30th anniversary of Coming to America meant lots of movie quoting, and my partner and I took in a show last night with some other fans during which we got to “sing along”. SO fun. My partner told me he enjoyed it, but he was even happier that I got to go because he knows how happy that movie makes me.

      Worst: I have a headache– probably because of the heat and lack of sleep– and some people in the next neighborhood over are having a VERY LOUD block party and it’s not working well for me right now.

      1. Mimmy

        I was wondering the same thing – good to see you back Ruffingit!

        Best: Can’t think of anything! It hasn’t been a bad week, just can’t think of anything especially awesome.

        Worst: Work-related dysfunction

      2. Ruffingit

        I’ve returned after an absence. I’m working 5 days a week, two nights a week, and my husband and I have a business, which we’re grateful does well, but it’s also a lot of work. So, I’ve been doing a lot and just hadn’t had time to keep up with everything I wanted to, like AAM :)

    5. Dr. KMnO4

      Moving is the worst. The absolute worst. I hate moving so much. Husband and I have just moved into a place and I have hung a lot of art and unpacked a lot of stuff but there is so much more to be done.

      Husband is playing D&D with friends today so I am free to do whatever…aka drink and play video games. Probably Diablo 3.

    6. Nervous Accountant

      Best — things at work. A friend helped me out immensely with something (even if it was just being a smart, sympathetic ear). A nice afternoon with coworkers. Got my nails done, felt super cute.

      Worst — family stuff.

    7. Anonymosity

      Best: NEW LIVING ROOM AC

      Worst: Just got into an argument with a very intellectual friend who seems to think privilege doesn’t exist / resistance uses mob tactics (he is not an orange supporter as far as I know). *sigh* Some people live in such an ivory tower it’s amazing they don’t freeze way up there. I told him I was leaving the conversation as he is my friend and I love him but I just couldn’t swim in his murk.

    8. Ruffingit

      BEST: Fun time yesterday visiting the planetarium and an exhibit I wanted to see at a local museum.

      WORST: Same old fight, different day with a person I love, but the fight is exhausting.

    9. Persimmons

      Best: It’s 97 degrees out and I can justify putting off heavy yardwork for yet another day.
      Worst: the A/C bill this month :/

    10. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

      Best: Hubby was in a topic-not-named rut but found a cool side opportunity to help kids learn STEM skills, plus we went swimming today.

      Worst: 4th of July plans fell through. Lady A invited folks to her house, but reneged saying she was going to Lady B’s house. Granted we’re all invited, but the alternate location is 2 hours from where we live and we both gotta work the next day.

  38. hippanonymous

    For sake of anonymity…

    Let’s say my cousin owned a teapot repair store. I was a customer for years but was occasionally late or had to reschedule appointments. I always tipped well, especially if I knew he made accommodations for me. Without warning, I got a formal email from my cousin telling me that our professional relationship was over and I would have to go elsewhere for my teapot repair needs.
    I texted with apologies, and saying I wished he had given me any warning, but he just said it was professional and not business – which is such baloney. Not only are we related, I really thought we were friends (I tend to be of the opinion that family is what it is and that friendship and a genuine relationship is more important than some people your mothers sister birthed) and not only does this situation suck, it was handled really poorly which makes it feel like I was disregarded as a friend/cousin/customer. I get it, he was upset that I was kinda flaky (My life is so busy, I was truly unaware it was often enough to be a problem and this has really made me more conscious of being more careful – I do accept blame in this, I promise) but why didn’t he just TALK to me about it at some point!
    If this were a professional relationship I could be angry and petty and it could be fine. BUT this person is related to me and I have to still see them in real life.
    Any tips? I’m so disappointed in the way this turned out.

    1. miyeritari

      I do think that if you were flaky and rescheduling then your cousin could have been miffed about this over and extended period of time, regardless of your tipping and finally going I’M DONE WITH HIPPANYMOMOUS and shooting you that email. Is that that the best way to have a communication with someone who frustrates you? No, definitely not! Is it well within imaginable limits of things people do. Definitely.

      I also wonder if perhaps your third person was talking to someone, and that someone went, “you know… hippanymous sounds like a jerk [without any other context], and you shouldn’t have to deal with them,” and that was a revelation for them.

      you could try to bring it up in person and be extra contrite and see if that helps, but otherwise i’d let it rest.

    2. Forking Great Username

      I think it’s human nature to avoid awkward conversations. And saying “Hey, it costs me other business when you’re late or reschedule your appointments at the last minute,” seems like a logical, rational thing to do…but, from the other side, it also seems rational and logical that you would realize it must cost him other business when this happens. And pointing out lateness and rescheduled to someone who obviously already knows that they have been late and rescheduled multiple times is tricky – it’s human nature to go on the defensive (which, be honest, is what you’re doing right now) and when it’s a family member that can quickly go badly. It sounds like he decided it was less complicated to just not take you on as a customer anymore. Let yourself be a little hurt that he didn’t have that conversation with you, but then brush it off and move on. I don’t think it is “baloney” that he said it wasn’t personal, just business – it’s not good business to keep taking on a customer that has a habit of losing you money. And when that person is also a friend or family it’s supremely awkward. What he did is arguably he most simple solution. I know you could argue that talking to you would have been more simple – but that depends on how the talk would have went. You may think that it would have went fine and you would have been more respectful of his time in the future, but I don’t blame him for not assuming that to be true considering the circumstances.

    3. It happens

      The situation hurts your feelings, but the email didn’t sound like a personal indictment, just a ‘this isn’t working.’ It sounds like your cousin was trying to keep professional and personal separate and might have even waited longer to fire you as a client than if you weren’t related. Apologize to your cousin and say you value your friendship and don’t mix business and family again.

    4. fposte

      I can understand that this stings, but his action seems reasonable to me and I don’t think an email is handling it poorly. This might be one of these communication mode things, where what’s the best communication for you emotionally isn’t the best for him. Talking to you about it is considerable labor for many people (see how much of AAM is people trying to avoid doing it), and the whole point of his decision was trying to stop doing extra labor.

      So while I totally understand the “oof!” response on your end and it would be mine too, I think that “oof!’ would be there for somebody involved however it was handled, and I’d just accept that this was the way that made sense for him to say something awkward.

    5. WellRed

      But, it IS a professional relationship on one level. You are costing him money because you are “oh so busy busy.” Your cousin is preserving the personal by severing the professional. That’s a good thing. Apologize sincerely and get that massage (?) elsewhere.

    6. Not So NewReader

      This is why doing business with family is so loaded.
      You anticipated concessions that he was not able to accommodate. And you had other expectations of how he would communicate with you, which again he was not able to accommodate. You have some unspoken expectations here that are getting in the way of your transactions.

      That said, I think the phrasing is WEIRD, it’s professional and not business? What does that mean????

      My advice is call it a draw. Both of you hurt each other in different ways. Decide to put the personal relationship ahead of anything else and salvage that part. Tell him he is right, you blew it. Then tell him you had thought he would tell you to your face that there was a problem as opposed to doing a cold, hard drop. But you are willing to set all this to one side, so that the two of you can keep being friends. Ask him what his thoughts are here. Important part, don’t carry any hope of going back to doing business, make sure he understands you know that part is over.

      1. hippanonymous

        Thank you all for your comments. I totally understand what why he did what he did – and yes, I am defensive and I probably need to work on that prior to seeing him at the next family event. I am going to pull and Elsa and Let It Go. I was in the wrong and I need to just let it be what it is. He sent me a snapchat the other evening so I think he’s trying to mend the bridge so I will take the olive branch.

  39. Be the Change

    What’s your love of the week? Mine is my goldfinch feeder and birdbath, so fun to watch the pretty things living their little lives.

    1. DrWombat

      The way cows contort themselves trying to groom various parts of themselves and each other. Like, imagine cat yoga as done by a 1200lb cow. It’s hilarious.

    2. Not So NewReader

      We get awesome sunrises and sunsets here. I think it was Tuesday, the morning sky was a work of art with bright pink areas everywhere and sun shining through. You’d need a panoramic camera to capture the extent of coloring in the sky.

    3. LCL

      Ooh, I love my hummingbird feeders. I had one, had to put out a second because they kept fighting over it.

  40. DrWombat

    Heading to Vancouver next week for a conference – anyone have celiac-friendly restaurant recs in the area near the convention center? I have plans in place for breakfast/lunch so mostly just looking for places to grab dinner. Also, what’s the customs situation like at the airport there?

    1. Bobstinacy

      The convention centre is right by Gastown which has a lot of restaurants, cafes, etc. The gluten free fad is still going strong in our food scene here and the keto/paleo thing has been gaining traction so most restaurants have gluten free options.

      There’s a restaurant called “Meet in Gastown” that is vegetarian and they can make their dishes vegan or celiac friendly on request. The pubs by the waterfront have GF options but I’m not sure if they’re safe for celiac (specifically Steamworks and Mahoney & Sons).

      Are you coming from the states through customs? Also ever been to Vancouver before?

      1. DrWombat

        Thanks for letting me know! I did check out the place you recced, but I can’t eat soy so vegetarian places aren’t usually an option. I’m fine with seafood or meat-based stuff, even if it’s not super fancy ^^ My main goal is getting something high-protein that’s safe to eat, since my breakfast and lunch will be mostly carbs out of necessity.

        I have been to Vancouver but I drove over the border from Washington last time as a day trip and I hung out at the aquarium with a friend and then drove back. I fly DFW-Vancouver next Saturday, so I’ve never done the customs process to Canada via plane. I won’t get to see much of the city other than where I go for dinner, but I was going to get a bus pass as my hotel is about 2km from the convention center and meet up with a friend at the aquarium on the last day.

    2. Aly_b

      I’ll add Bacchus if you’re up for something a bit more upscale, and Nuba (Lebanese food.) My fave is probably Nuba. The sushi is also pretty universally great if you’re up for a soy sauce-less version. Bandidas taqueria is good but vegetarian, if you’re willing to take the sky train a few stops to commercial, and wallflower on Main st (again, out of downtown) has lots of options either with or without meat that are gluten free. I would skip steamworks and Mahoney if you can, I’ve managed at steamworks but it’s very much a challenge (that said, I don’t eat meat so you may have more luck.)

      Hope you enjoy the city!

      The airport is typically pretty efficient.

      1. smoke tree

        I’ll second the Nuba recommendation. I can’t personally vouch for how celiac-friendly it is, but they do have quite a few gluten free items. Generally delicious and reasonably priced.

  41. MsChanandlerBong

    Things came to a head with our landlord last week, so we’re moving into an extended-stay hotel until we can find a house to buy. I reserved a room until Dec. 15 just in case it takes longer than expected to find a house and close on it, but I am hoping we can be in a home by the beginning of October. Cross your fingers that my husband and I don’t kill each other! We get along very well, but we’re downsizing from a two-bedroom house to a tiny hotel suite with nothing but a bed, a couch, and a tiny dinette table. It’s going to be a tight squeeze and a LOT of togetherness.

    1. fposte

      Wow. Definitely hope you find something soon! Is stuff in storage or are the things staying in the apartment?

      1. MsChanandlerBong

        We will put everything in storage except about a week’s worth of clothing, pet supplies, toiletries, and a few kitchen items. We’ll just have to do laundry a few times a week. The hotel suite has stove burners but no ovens, so I can store my loaf pans, baking sheets, etc. I just need to keep a skillet, a small frying pan, a stock pot, some mixing bowls, and a few utensils with us so that I can cook on the stove. I am thinking we will eat light for a few months–fruit, nuts and yogurt for breakfast, salads and cut-up veggies for lunch, etc. For dinner, I can make spaghetti with marinara sauce, sticky ginger chicken, BBQ chicken, stir-fry, and so forth.

        The good news is that I am not much for clutter, so we don’t have many collectibles, knickknacks, etc. to store. I read everything on my Kindle now, so we only have like five hard-copy books left (I am keeping them because they are autographed copies). This house was also furnished when we moved in, so we will only be taking the entertainment center, barrister bookcase, dining table/chairs, night tables, and desk that we bought while we lived here.

        1. SophieChotek

          Oh that’s not terrible – in terms of clutter/furniture to move. But still this sounds like you hd to do it all fast! Sounds like it’s a good thing you are getting away from this awful landlord!

          1. MsChandandlerBong

            Yes, it happened quickly. She has been bullying us for a couple of weeks and pushing us to sign a sales agreement with no negotiation, no time to review it and have our attorney look at it (she gave it to us on the 29th of the month and wanted it signed and returned by the 30th of that month). She sent a roofer to our house at 7 a.m. last week with absolutely no notice. The house has a fence around it, and a locked gate–we had no idea the guy was coming until he rang the doorbell, which startled us because no one should be able to get to the door if the gate is locked (he climbed over it). The last straw was when I came home the other day to find out she had been badmouthing us to our neighbor. It’s not worth the hassle to keep living in the house because we are never going to come to an agreement on price.

            We’re going to end up with a nicer house in a better neighborhood, but I wish it hadn’t come to this.

    2. SophieChotek

      Wow! that was fast! So you are forced to put everything in storage until you get a house! Best of luck!…Ignore my question…I see fposte just posted the same question.

      But truly best of luck. Be willing to take time apart from each other (coffee shop, the gym, etc.)

      My parents ended up having to do the same thing when they moved. They were told it would take 3-5 months to build their new place; it took 11 months and 2 weeks! They, too, pretty much lived in a bedroom at a friend’s house the entire time!

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      When the urge to kill rises, repeat: “At least we’re away from that horrid woman.” I mean, it may not prevent you two from wanting to smack each other, but I hope it gives you momentary pause.

      Congrats and good luck!

    4. M

      Join the hotel rewards program if there is one – that way you may be able to use points for a hotel on vacation after you move.

      1. MsChandandlerBong

        OMG, you are a genius. I booked with Ebates, but I didn’t think to look for a rewards program. The place we are staying is a Choice hotel, so I just signed up for a rewards account. Thank you!

      2. MsChandandlerBong

        You are an extra-special genius. Not only will I get points, but joining the rewards program gave me a $1 discount for every night we’re staying. Yeah, it’s only $30 a month, but that adds up! Thank you!

  42. all aboard the anon train

    So. My current girlfriend and I have been friends with our group of friends for ten years. We all met in college. Girlfriend and I didn’t get together until recently (hooray for figuring out sexuality in your early 30s).

    One friend, Lisa, suggested a girls night. All of our other friends are married or with long term partners. There’s been some complications about this girls night. Some of them think my girlfriend and I have to choose who goes to the girls night because since we’re dating, it’s apparently not fair that we get to go as a couple if everyone else can’t bring their boyfriend/husband.

    I think it’s ostracizing and wrong for them to make us choose if I or my girlfriend stay home just because we happen to be dating each other and are both women. It’s making me uncomfortable to the point that I think we might both bow out.

    We wanted a girls night because it’s been so long since we’ve had time together without making it a thing with husbands and boyfriends. I would understand if I was dating a woman who was never part of this group of friends, but we were friends for almost ten years before we started dating. I’m feeling like we’re being punished for not complying with heteronormative culture. My friends are great and support the relationship, but even though my gf and I have told them that we’re upset and that it feels….weird….the majority of our friend group insists it’s a night with no partners involved.

    Am I in the wrong for feeling weird about this? Are my friends in the wrong? Has anyone else had this issue where they’re the only queer in a group of heterosexuals and feel ostracized?

    1. Turtlewings

      Your friends are being ridiculous. It’s a night for all the female friends to get together; you’re both female friends. That you’re also dating each other has nothing to do with anything. Like you said, it would be different if either of you wasn’t really part of the friend group, but that’s not the situation. This is just… a complete inability for them to wrap their heads around the fact that “partner of woman” doesn’t equal “male.”

      Return the awkwardness to sender. Tell them since you both qualify for girls’ night, you assume you’re both invited — or are they uninviting one of you? Which one? Why? Make it as excruciatingly awkward as possible. (And if either of you actually does get uninvited, I would certainly say don’t either of you go.)

      1. all aboard the anon train

        They’re truly well-meaning, but you hit the nail on the head when you said they’re confused by the fact that partner of woman =/= male. They’ve made comments about that, such as being confounded by how a same-sex marriage would play out with bridal showers and bachelorette parties or how same-sex relationships don’t have that “husbands go do X while wives go to Y” precedent at parties or events or whatever.

        Part of it, I think, is that while they’ve known queer people before, we’re the first people they’re super close to who are queer so they’re seeing a side they never really thought of and it’s blowing their minds.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot

          It’s a real thing. You can be completely fine with the concept of not-straight, but still have a hard time figuring out how to behave sometimes. Hopefully once you push back, they’ll figure out they’re being ridiculous.

          1. all aboard the anon train

            Yeah. We’re really not into PDA so I don’t think my friends have ever seen us do more than hug. We mostly act around them the same way we acted when we were friends, so it’s not like if we both went to this night out we’d be all into PDA and acting coupley.

      2. Falling Diphthong

        Yeah. It makes sense to have a “just us girls” night and sense to have a “just us from the old gang” night. But you both qualify under those headings.

        All I can think is that someone felt sniffy about her boyfriend being excluded from some meet-ups, and is trying to apply that to you to be ‘fair.’

    2. The New Wanderer

      It’s tough because you were all friends first. I definitely don’t think it’s fair to make you choose who is the “spouse” in this case who gets left out because you both basically have equal claim to being part of the group of friends. Is it possible to explain to your friends that you and partner are capable of being a non-couple for a night out, like (presumably) in the days before you got together? The idea is that you all are celebrating the female friendships.

      Your friends are wrong if they think you are somehow benefiting by double-dipping (you both get girls’ night AND couples nights!), because … so do they! It becomes punishing if they don’t think you both should attend because they don’t believe that you can go a night without overt couple-type affection just because you are both physically present.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        Yeah, I might try this as a last resort. We’re not even a big PDA couple (for a lot of reasons tbh) and we’ve all joked about how nothing has changed now that my gf and I are together, except that we arrive and leave together.

    3. Triple Anon

      So it sounds like what they want is a girls’ night where no one’s significant other is there. I see the point. They want to bond and they want to talk about relationship stuff without any partners present.

      I think the issue is the way they’re presenting it. They’re using a heterosexual model for things, so it becomes exclusive. They shouldn’t call it a girls night. They should call it something else. I don’t know what. But that would still leave you and your girlfriend in an uncomfortable situation.

      Could they have the girls night break off into two groups? You could be part of one and your girlfriend could be part of the other. Then everyone could talk about relationship stuff without anyone from the friend group being left out.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        The point of the night wasn’t to talk about relationship stuff, but to be “girly”. Go to the spa and get mani/pedis and then do a dinner with a lot of cocktails. It wasn’t specifically brought up to be about talking about relationships. Just a night where they didn’t have to go out and worry about their dudes being bored by “girl talk”.

        1. Myrin

          That makes absolutely zero sense, then – if that’s the case, what’s their reasoning for wanting to exclude one of you?

          When I first read your post, I thought in the same direction of NSNR and fposte below – either your friends want to gripe about their partner or they simply want to do stuff without anyone’s partner present, in which case I can at least theoretically understand where they’re coming from. But if this was really just a case for doing “girly” stuff (insert massive eye-roll here), then I’m not following their thought process at all. Neither you nor your partner are any less of a woman just because you’re now dating each other.

          1. all aboard the anon train

            I mean, I like doing stereotypically feminine stuff, but I think they’re coming from a very limited world view of “men go do manly things and their girlfriends/wives go do girly things” and they can’t reconcile the fact that not every relationship is like that and don’t really know how to deal with a relationship where there’s no distinct gender divide.

            They’ve been supportive of our relationship, but as I’ve mentioned above, this is the first time they’ve ever had queer people in their close circle so I think they’re being weird about how to behave. It’s not the first time I’ve encountered people who are generally okay with LGBTQA+ people, but still don’t know how to act around them.

            1. Anxious Anon

              Are they stuck on that weird idea about same-sex couples that one is the “husband” and the other is the “wife?” I just had a convo with an otherwise quite nice group where several people believed this is the case.

              1. all aboard the anon train

                They are.

                I’ve encountered this enough to know it’s pretty common with a certain segment of straight people who haven’t really known a same-sex couple before. It gets more frustrating the more it happens because ffs it’s 2018 and people should know better than to try and fit everything into heteronormative lifestyles (and yes, I know most of these people are well-meaning and supportive, but it still feels like they’re trying to force me into their idea of what a relationship should be, you know?)

            2. Myrin

              Yeah, that’s what it sounded like to me. It would probably also serve them well to understand that even without any kind of queerness, a lot of man don’t like “manly” stuff and a lot of women don’t like “girly” stuff. All of my hobbies are “mostly-neutral-some-leaning-‘manly'” and I have no interest in any of the stuff you said you guys will be doing (although I might go along with them and even enjoy them in the moment). Your friends probably wouldn’t know what to do with someone like me and that’s unfortunate, to say the least.
              (Not to mention that dividing by gender is very arbitrary anyway. You don’t automatically get along with or have the same interests as someone just because you share similar anatomy.)

              I’m really sorry you’re dealing with such a situation. :(

        2. Triple Anon

          Ugh. Then it’s awful that they’re trying to leave someone out. I would reassess the friendships – figure out whose idea that was and who’s on board with it and stop hanging out with those people. Or say something and then stop hanging out with them. I would ask why someone is being excluded and if they don’t have a really good answer (or appology and change of plans), ditch them and find new friends. Not cool.

    4. fposte

      I can kind of see where they’re going, in that they want an SO-free night. The thing is, I don’t think they can preserve that without being hugely hurtful, which is what they’ve done, and in the overall scheme of things treating your friends well is a lot more important than the purity of a night out.

      And that’s what I might bring to them, or specifically to Lisa if it’s her thing. “Hey, if either Jane or I were new partners I’d get it, but we’re both part of this friends circle. Is the ‘nobody gets to come with an SO’ rule really more important to you than including your long-term friends in a get-together designed for that?”

      1. all aboard the anon train

        Right. I think the fact that we were all friends before two of us started dating is complicating things. And part of me does get it, but part of me also feels really hurt and wonders if from now on we’re going to have to split up for certain things like my friends do when husbands and wives/boyfriends and girlfriends are segregated. It’s making me feel like I’m being forced into a heteronormative square and I don’t really like that.

        1. Anonanonanonanonanon

          It sound like they are trying to force you into a heteronormative square. I gotta be honest here, from what I’m reading…I’d probably drop this friend group altogether. As a not-straight person, friends who do and say the stuff you described throughout this chain…would not last as my friends for very long. Do they not know any other not-straight people? I’d probably try once to educate: no, no one is the “husband”, no if we’re both girls and friends of all of yours, why should it matter if we both come if the point of the evening isn’t specifically to gripe about SOs, do they think you’re going to be all PDA-ey and date-like on what is a friends night? If so, assure them you won’t. But if it were me, they’d basically get once change to be clueless and once informed, I’d expect them to act like reasonable people who don’t “other” gay people. If they don’t get it after that, those are not people I’d be comfortable continuing to be friends with. If the friendships are SO important you’re willing to put up with that treatment, then maybe you’d give them more than once chance, but seriously consider if it’s worth the effort, because it sounds like you’re in for a lot of effort.

          1. all aboard the anon train

            I’ve known them for ten years at this point, so I’m hesitant to drop them because they do mean well. And yes, we’re the first queer people they really know. They’ve known other queer people, but in the casual classmate/coworker/friend of a friend of a friend way, so we’re the first they’ve known as true friends.

            I think I’m giving them more patience because they really were supportive and accepting when me and my girlfriend came out and got together, but their entire lives have pretty much been defined by and surrounded by straight relationships and from what I can tell, aside from us, their knowledge of queer culture comes from mainstream culture which is not….great.

            They all have been great friends so I think I’m going to try and educate and let them know there’s no hetero divide in queer relationships and see how it goes.

          2. Lindsay J

            As a straight person, I would probably drop this friends group because they seem overly tied up into ideas about what are “traditionally” or “naturally” masculine and feminine, and really rigid about it in ways that do not work for me and that I have found to be generally toxic in nature.

            Like, they split up into husband and wife groups at parties? To do what?

            What if I want to join the men group because I *like* talking about football and baseball or my male-dominated field of employment or smoking cigars (well I don’t actually like smoking cigars) or whatever it is the menfolk do? Is that just not allowed?

            And really, the men just can’t possibly care about relationships or other “girl talk” and can’t deal with it happening around them without being bored? I mean, I’m pretty sure my boyfriend doesn’t find everything I talk about inherently fascinating, but he is willing to listen and be a good conversation partner because he cares about me and thus is willing to hear about what I care about.

            IDK, the whole splitting into men and woman groups just feels like a very dated dynamic to me altogether and in my experience tends to go along with sort of misogynistic attitudes where everything that men talk about is considered cool and important and not something the women could possibly understand while everything the women talk about is considered stupid and frivolous and something the men could not possibly deign to care about. In my experience it also tends to go along with women doing disproportionate amounts of the labor (preparing meals, cleaning up meals, cleaning up the house before gatherings, tending to the children) while the men maybe grill or carve meat and take out the trash and do very little of the rest of the labor.

            Occasional women’s nights or men’s nights wouldn’t necessarily make me feel this way. Everyone needs to blow off steam occasionally. Sometimes it’s nice to reminisce with old friends. But it sounds like it’s a fairly regular thing in this group that happens even at parties when everyone is in attendance. And that they’re adhering to it so rigidly that a same sex couple is throwing them so far for a loop is also a red flag to me.

            Plus, like, why are they in relationships at all if they have so little in common their conversations have to happen in separate rooms/places?

    5. Thlayli

      That’s… really weird. I don’t get why that bothers them at all.

      Sorry no advice but just wanted to say, as a cishet woman who’s main friend group is totally cishet, I have absolutely no idea why a “girls night” would mean only one of a lesbian couple could come.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        I’m bi – not that it matters – and I don’t know if that’s complicating things for them? Because one of them did say it was easier when I was dating a man and they could have a girl’s night without having this conundrum.

        1. smoke tree

          Wow, that is a pretty shtty thing to say! It sounds like these people have a very entrenched view of gender roles (and heteronormativity). I’m gonna be honest, I would be pretty uncomfortable with a group of people like this, particularly if you’ve already pointed out that the way they’re treating you is hurtful and they still don’t get it.

      2. WellRed

        Because girls night typically means no significant others. That said, I think your friends are being too rigid.

    6. Blue Eagle

      Would you consider going but not hanging out with your partner at all that night? If it was an overnight thing and you each roomed with someone else, would that be a possibility for you?

      If so, then I would approach several women in the group and broach that possibility and see what they thought about that idea. Perhaps if you and your partner were both willing to participate as individuals and not as a couple, they would be OK with including both of you.

      But if you always sit next to each other and interact with each other, then I can totally see their point.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        It’s not an overnight thing. It’s maybe going to get mani/pedis and shopping and going to dinner and maybe a bar or club afterwards.

        1. all aboard the anon train

          Also, if my girlfriend goes but I can’t interact with her all night or SIT NEXT TO HER, that makes me feel like I’m being punished for my sexuality. I’m not going to pretend to be single and asking two queer people to pretend not to be together for a night in a group of hetero women makes me really uncomfortable.

    7. Not So NewReader

      Do they want to sit around and gripe about their SOs? That is the only reason I could think of not inviting a couple, it’s a gripe session and you can’t gripe if your partner is there.

      Which leads me to ask do you really want to be with a group who gripe about their partners to each other?

      So maybe this is not the case, there is no griping going on. My next thought is that you both should stay home until they sort themselves out. They either want a girl’s night out OR a get-away-from-your-partner night out. They have to pick what it is they are trying to do here.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        I didn’t mention it in my post, and perhaps I should have, been the idea was to have a girls night in the vein of shopping and manicures and dinner and dancing. Sort of recreating the college days.

        But I am thinking we might just stay home if they really don’t want partners because I’m not going to pick which of us get to go or go out and have to make a forced effort to stay across the room or not sit next to my girlfriend just so it doesn’t look like we’re paired up.

        1. Myrin

          I really think that might be the best solution – I can imagine that in that way, they’ll be reminded throughout their “girl’s night” that the two of you are missing, purposely missing because of something they did, and maybe that will be some sort of “wake-up call”.

    8. Hannah

      Wow, yeah, this would really upset me too. It is like they are making the fact that the two of you now have a romantic relationship to be the thing that defines you as individuals. Just because you guys are a couple doesn’t mean you each aren’t the same individual person you always were. I think it hurts your feelings because you feel they are prioritizing your role as someone’s girlfriend over your role as their own friend.

      I think I would say this to them:

      It is really upsetting to me and Girlfriend that we are being asked to choose who goes to “girls night.” We’d both like to attend, not because we want the extra special treatment of hanging out with our significant others when you all are leaving yours at home, but because neither of us want to be left out of the fun of seeing all of you. If we weren’t dating, we’d both be invited, right? That we are now uninvited because we are dating makes me feel like you are seeing us differently as your friends. We are both still individual people, and we’d both still like to have the same kind of friendships with ya’ll that we had before. If our relationship changes how you feel about each of us individually, well, that is a bit hurtful. I hope you see us each as your friend, not as each other’s other half.

      1. all aboard the anon train

        That’s such a perfect response! Thank you so much for writing it, and I’m definitely going to use it. Hopefully it’ll make them realize they’re being weird about this whole thing.

        1. ..Kat..

          I like Hannah’s suggestion. And maybe add, “let’s try having all-aboard-the-anon-train and her girlfriend both come this time and see how it goes.”

    9. LilySparrow

      Did someone specifically say, “don’t come?” Or are they voicing discomfort?

      I don’t think being uncomfortable with a new situation is the worst thing in the world. I’m sure you both had plenty of uncomfortable times in figuring out your orientation, coming out, and changing your relationship from friend to couple.

      It’s not your job to ensure that all your friends are 100 percent comfortable at all times. If you could, they’d never have the opportunity to change or grow.

      So if some folks in the group are uncomfortable, let them be. They’re grownups. They can work through it.

      And if anyone has the gall to outright tell one or both of you not to come, then they deserve to feel all the discomfort of what kind of person they’re being.

      Not fair? Wow. I think you should say, “For the sake of our long-standing friendship, I’m going to pretend that conversation never happened.” Both RSVP yes and show up, and let anybody who has an issue with you leave.

    10. Hey annony no

      Ugh, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this. It just feels crappy. Especially from people you didn’t expect it from.

      For what it’s worth, my wife and I (both bi women), are in our late 30s, have been together since college, and have a small group of female friends from college – 2 bi women married to men, and 2 straight women. When we do a ‘girls weekend’? We both go. And have never once felt like one of us “shouldn’t” come because we’re together. So yeah, it’s them, not you.

    1. nep

      (That might not be clear–I meant peppermint oil for headaches or for any other ailments/issues.)

    2. CurrentlyLooking

      I have used the Migrastick (not sure if I spelled that right.) It’s a rollerball with peppermint and possibly some other oils. It seems to help me quite a bit for tension headaches and since I kind of like the smell there is no downside to it.

    3. Not So NewReader

      Peppermint oil fan here.

      I use it for headaches and sore muscles. It works great for me. The headache is gone in a few minutes and the muscle pain gets kicked back enough so I can sleep.

      Two draw backs:
      I don’t use it if I know I am going out, I switch to arnica then. Why make other people suffer with the scent.

      I had bad luck using it on my forehead. It made my eyes water. So now I just put it on the back of my neck for headaches.

      So far my take on it is that it does NOT solve a problem. It gets ya through until you can figure out how to actually solve the problem. OR if you have a treatment plan but your pain flares up anyway this is a good way to cut it back.

    4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      I have a little solid stick thingy that has peppermint and similar oils in it that you rub on your forehead for headaches. Seems to help with minor tension headaches, presumably because of the cooling sensation?

    5. Chaordic One

      I’ve heard of using peppermint oil to help with upset stomach. I tried it and it works to a point, but you don’t want to use too much. I would limit it to two tablespoons in two hours. More than that just seems to make the tummy ache worse.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Oh this is interesting.
        Now I have used “spirit of peppermint” (available in drug stores) most of my life for an upset stomach. But I counted out drops when using it. Once in a great while, when the stomach was having an unusually nasty time of it, it did make me throw up. But then the issue was over. And I slept like a rock. I learned some where that if the junk is caught in the upper intestine or in the stomach we are pretty much going to throw it up anyway. If it drops down to the lower intestine then it will go out the other way.

        nep, there is also peppermint tea which is tamer and might be helpful for stomach stuff.

    6. Triple Anon

      Slightly off-topic, but it can also be used for pest control. It’s supposed to deter rodents from entering your home. I tried that and it worked until they learned to remove the cotton balls or just put up with it. But it’s sort of a temporary fix if you’re just trying to cut down on the problem while planning a longer term strategy.

    7. Garland not Andrews

      I use it for IBS-D. It is know to slow down the intestinal muscle wave. It is a balance because it can slow things down too much. ( I use 2 drops per day of the essential oil, ingested.)

      My mother uses a roll on with peppermint and other oils for headaches and it seems to work for her.

  43. Junior Dev

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    I’m doing badly. I am not sleeping well. I’m worried about all the bad things happening in the world and feeling a personal responsibility to fight them. And I’m having a hard time feeling it’s worthwhile to care for myself, do things I enjoy, or invest in my future given all the badness.

    Thursday I went for a run, had therapy, and then stayed up late crying. I began to feel suicidal. I managed to get to sleep and go to work the next morning. It felt like I was dragging myself through the day.

    I am working on a plan to improve things. I’m meeting a friend for lunch today and I plan to tell him about the suicidal thoughts, because I think someone needs to know. I’m feeling better now that I’ve gotten some sleep but I’m still scared and I need to put something in place to prevent this from happening again.

    I’m proud of myself for reaching out for help. And for exercising this week. On my run Thursday I managed to sustain a running pace much longer than I usually do, and even to keep pace with a slow moving train for a couple of minutes.

    How are you doing?

    1. DrWombat

      This week sucked and I am really glad I have an appt with the new therapist on Tuesday – I really hope she can help me with these imposter syndrome/I must be perfect or I am The Worst feelings I’ve really been struggling with because my stress/anxiety levels have skyrocketed lately and I need to do something different to deal with them. But I am very thankful for my friends who are encouraging me, and my Mom for reminding me that PhD doesn’t stand for perfect human degree.

      Reaching out is important – I am glad you are doing that and making a plan. I hope things go well, and sending you Jedi hugs if you are so inclined.

    2. Laura H

      I don’t know if this helps, but sometimes caring for yourself is the only thing you can do. Even if it’s as simple as getting a yogurt from the fridge and making sure you eat something. Does it make the world at large better? Not really. But does that small thing make your world a little easier to handle? For me, it does.

      There are times to be attentive to the world/ your environment at large and you absolutely should engage in those as your overall health allows, but that doesn’t need to consume you.

      And there are times when you need to be attentive to you- and those are hard to recognize.

      Good luck. :)

    3. nep

      So glad you’re reaching out for help and making plans to cope. Sorry to hear you’re struggling. Peace.

    4. Llama Grooming Coordinator

      I’m really sorry to hear that! I hope you’re doing better this weekend (and I’m glad you’re well enough to post!).

      The news has been…especially depressing. It’s gotten to the point where I’m actively avoiding podcasts I enjoy because I’m just going to feel angry if I listen to them (because they’re about politics). And that’s not even getting into everything else.

      I totally agree that self care is super important. And dude, even though you’re not fixing all the world’s problems, you’re already doing something to help make it a better place. It looks like you did it at…1:16 PM my time.

      1. Book Lover

        I have unsubscribed from almost all my podcasts and am off Facebook. Reading a lot of books, new and well loved. I was doing alright until today, when a family member responded to a message I had sent earlier in the week. Trying to settle down again now. It is sad, because I love my podcasts. But time for music during commutes for a while.

      2. Thlayli

        If you’re depressed or borderline depressed, it’s a good idea to stop listening to news or politics entirely.

        1. LGC

          So, to kind of break the rules a little bit (or…hell, a lot at this point), I stopped listening to a lot of politics podcasts I followed after the 2016 Election, just because I was so despondent. In fact, I think I just disconnected from social media entirely for a week, and didn’t really follow the news until…like, the following January. (Stuff hits me hard, man.)

          Honestly, I’m going to speak for the American perspective, but I think a symptom of why we’re messed up as a country is that our media is super-apocalyptic when things don’t go “our” way. To begin with, US politics has been identity-based for at least the past 50 years if not longer, and then the most common media depiction of politics is that the other side is assaulting who you are as a human being. And…like, this is partly true! I can go deep into the weeds, but conservatives’ seeming lack of concern for minority rights is off-putting to a lot of minorities (including this one), and progressives’ prioritization of minority rights can often come across as putting down the majority (and sometimes does veer into that lane – and I’ll admit I’ve made that mistake, even just recently).

          (And yes, I’m oversimplifying and I’m also kind of biased, being a progressive myself. But I’m not trying to write a thesis on politics here.)

          But also, like…it’s exhausting to hear that you must Always Be At War because either your morals are under attack (if you’re a conservative) or your dignity is under attack (if you’re a progressive). Anger is a great motivator (and great for profits), but you can’t maintain it 24/7 – and with the constant access to media nowadays, that feels like the expectation. Because a lot of the time, the Other Side isn’t always out to attack everything you stand for. I’m not saying that people should let their guard down entirely, and it’s a little facile to say we should always get along, but it’s really hard to live with a constant message of You Are Always Under Attack.

    5. Mimmy

      Sorry to hear you’re struggling, but that is great that you were able to reach out and have a plan in place. Keep your head up!

      I hear you on all the things happening in the world. I too sometimes get a little down about the direction things are going, feeling like there’s no end in sight, and not wanting any part of it.

      I’ve been doing well *knock on wood*. It helps that my work schedule has been lighter (not by choice–long story), and I’m totally dreading having it go back to normal when I return from vacation July 9.

      Haven’t replied here in awhile, but I’m proud of how well I’ve handled doing things outside of my comfort zone – flying to and from Pittsburgh and attending a large conference all by myself, even with all the snafus with my lodging. Didn’t take one anti-anxiety med the whole time – I think the only time I took it was right before leaving for the first part of the trip (with my husband) because going through security raises my anxiety big time.

    6. BRR

      I had a pretty bad week mood wise as well. The thing we don’t talk about on weekends (I love how we talk about it like Voldemort) has really gotten me down.

      I’m happy you reached out for help and I hope you have a better week this week.

    7. Torrance

      I’m in a similar sinking ship. I struggle with ideation on a pretty regular basis and I was actually talking in therapy this week about how it’s harder to fight these days. It’s hard to have hope in a hopeless world. :|

    8. Thlayli

      If you’re feeling suicidal directly after a session with your therapist, could that be a sign you might work better with a different therapist?

      I had a mostly good week, but I did get extremely upset when a colleague made a joke / insult to me. He is a bit of a weird one – there’s always banter in our workplace but he always takes it just a bit too far and he’s hurt mine and other people’s ferlings before. Tbh if anyone else had made the same joke I probably wouldn’t have got so upset. But I ended up crying in front of my bosses over it.

      Anyway I decided not to make a formal complaint but my boss had a talk with coworker last thing on Friday so I’m hopeful that will be the end of it and he’ll tone down the “banter”.

    9. RestlessRenegade

      I am glad you reached out, JD. I hope you can take care of yourself.
      I had a better week since my thing-we-do-not-name has cooled down a little. There has been some very hard Adulting stuff to deal with but I’ve been doing pretty well and I’m impressed with myself. Being able to compartmentalize and give myself permission not to think about it has really helped.
      I hope everyone is doing better and please don’t listen/read the news if you’re in a bad place–it’s hard enough without all that vitriol. :(

    10. Red

      I’m proud of you for reaching out for help too, and I’m glad you’re here. You are important.

      I’m not doing so hot either. I went back to work too early and keep having panic attacks at work, to the point that I really can’t do my job, but I can’t afford to be on disability again, so I shall suffer at work until such a time that either my meds work again or I get fired. Adding to the stress, my husband and I just separated because we can’t stop being jerks to each other, and I’m so lonely it hurts.

    11. ..Kat..

      Hi Junior Dev! Hope you are doing better by now. I am glad that you reached out to your friend. If you feel suicidal at night again (i.e., when it is hard to reach out to friends), please remember that there are hotlines out there for just this thing. In fact, google a couple now and post the numbers on your fridge – that way they are ready to go if you need them.

      You are an inspiration to me with your exercise and self care.

    12. Unacademic

      It was a rough week. Depressed, with obsessive, increasingly nihilistic thoughts and the slow creeping return of insomnia which is chipping away at my sleep a little more every night. Irritability was really bad too,
      I was surprised at how quickly my anger rose to almost panic levels, especially in the last couple days.

      HOWEVER, I’ll go against the grain a little here. I’ve tried avoiding the news before, but while it feels better in the moment, I find it doesn’t help that much over the long run because the bad news eventually finds its way in anyway. So instead, I went to two Families Belong Together events today, and in spite of my anxiety about going, it turned out to be the absolute best day of my week. I cried a little at the first one, but it was amazingly cathartic (unlike every other crying session this week). I came back with so much more energy and motivation than I could have imagined. I talked just a bit with people in booths at one event, signing up for newsletters and filling out postcards, but even just that bit of interaction and being there made me feel reconnected with the world in a positive way.

      I’ve been thinking a lot about purpose this week, because life feels very much pointless to me most days, and because that feeling of pointlessness is often a central part of my depression (aka ‘well why bother continuing if existence is like this.’) And I think looking for that missing meaning and rebuilding it into life ought to be a key part of the approach dealing with depression. I wondered whether political engagement could be a part of that, and after this experience, I think yes, absolutely. It’s helping others, it’s feeling part of a community and less alone, it’s having a goal to work towards and learning to imagine a future again.

    13. Junior Dev

      An update– I’m feeling a lot better today. I think I needed to sleep a lot. And I talked to my friend. He thinks I’m doing well, in terms of doing good things for the world and working on my future.

      I don’t have time to respond to everyone right now but I appreciate all the kind words.

    14. Time Bomb of Petulance

      I posted a few weeks back about how I was struggling with suicidal ideation. I ultimately decided to go back on a SSRI and it’s made a huge difference, so much so that my toddler noticed. While I don’t have the true “highs” of complete and full joy, it’s really, REALLY nice to not have the extreme lows where I feel suicidal all the time.

    15. Tris Prior

      I’m really glad you reached out.

      I had a huge ugly-crying panicky meltdown over the SCOTUS news last week, and since then have been having physical anxiety symptoms even in those moments when I don’t consciously feel anxious. It’s like the anxiety is trapped in my body even when my brain feels OK. I’m not sleeping well, and haven’t in months; I keep waking up at 3 or 4 a.m. unable to get back to sleep. I’m in therapy and while it feels good in the moment to talk about what’s bothering me, it’s not fixing the physical symptoms.

      I really don’t want to go on meds unless I have no other choice, as all meds usually give me a lot of side effects and I’m terrified of weight gain as I recently fought hard to lose 20 lbs, and am considering acupuncture as a friend had a lot of success using that to address her anxiety/stress/insomnia issues. Has anyone here done that?

      1. Junior Dev

        Hugs, the Supreme Court stuff was part of why I felt so awful.

        I haven’t really done acupuncture but I have found massage really helps me relive tension, which tends to build up in my muscles and make the anxiety worse.

        I also find beta blockers really really helpful for the anxiety. I don’t know why they aren’t prescribed more often, I had to specifically ask about them. Maybe worth looking into, I don’t think they have as many side effects.

    16. LGC

      So like, I talked a lot about you (and I’m glad you’re doing much better today!), might as well mention myself.

      Trying to relax a little bit this week – I feel like the entire previous month I was firing on…not ALL cylinders, but close to it. I drag in the running thing into a LOT of stuff, but I’m really active with my club, and it does consume a fair amount of mental bandwidth. One thing I might not have mentioned is that I’m mildly autistic, and I guess part of that is that I’m REALLY prone to being obsessive about things – so if I’m not careful, I can easily get myself tied up into knots about stuff I’m passionate about!

      Also, The Place We Don’t Mention On Weekends is in a perpetual state of crunch (and I’m a project manager, so for Reasons I need to be there), I have other things going on, and I FINALLY got around to getting my learner’s permit.

      All of that is to say that I kind of realized that I needed a week where I just stopped. Or at least slowed down and relaxed. I couldn’t take a week off on short notice (especially at the end of the fiscal year), but I just…you know, tried to not do as much stuff.

      But I’m still worried about burnout to some degree. I think I’m overly watchful because I have spectacularly flamed out in the past, but it’s like…at work I’m less filtered than I should be (like, yeah, the night/weekend receptionist IS irresponsible, but I need to be more delicate about how I say that!), and for me that’s a huge sign that I’m mentally exhausted. (I tend to be avoidant first, then snappy when I just want to be Left Alone.)

    17. What’s the use

      I’m doing just awful. I woke up this morning thinking of ways to kill myself. I was thinking of dropping my dog off at doggie daycare for a few days and then just… I want to die.

      My father committed suicide when I was fifteen. Ever since I’ve sort of talked myself into thinking that it’s a perfectly acceptable thing to do. I was hospitalized for about a month ten years ago, after my mother passed away.

      I am a single teacher, so no one is expecting me to be at work. No one will notice until I don’t pick up my dog…

      1. Belle di Vedremo

        Suicide is permanent solution to a temporary problem. Depression is a lying liar. Your dog needs you. You need you. We care about you. We care about all of you.

    18. Belle di Vedremo

      Kudos to everyone working to be better, to be in a better place, to care for themselves. Kudos to everyone brave enough to talk about how they’re doing here, we’re grateful to be part of a safe place. Depression is a lying liar of an illness. Each of you matter. Each of you make a difference. Each of you is more than worth the effort.

    19. Nines

      Oh man. I feel you on so many of these things. I’m a pretty avid NPR radio listener and I’ve been turning it off all week. I just can’t some days.

      Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by the world and can’t bring myself to shower, or feed myself, etc. I try and think about Audre Lorde and try and search out some of her writings. She’s such a bad ass. And so inspirational. AND knew how important it was for all of us to remember to be kind to ourselves. So if you can, show yourself some compassion. Even if that’s all you can do right now. *internet stranger hugs coming at ya!*

      “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” – Audre Lorde

  44. AlligatorSky

    I always feel claustrophobic and I don’t know why. I live in a tiny village and I can’t drive. My family don’t go anywhere unless they have to. I can get buses or trains to other places, but I know those places so well that I feel claustrophobic there. Even the huge city 30 minutes away from me is a place I’m so used to exploring that I even feel claustrophobic there. When I went to London I felt a little better, but still felt confined. I see adverts on tv for places all over the world and I have a sense of longing to visit those places. I want to get out of here and explore all these cool places I see on tv and in films. Time, money and confidence are just hindering these plans. Hopefully one day I can properly get out and explore the world.

    1. I'm A Little Teapot

      Ever hear of wanderlust? You’ve got it. Sounds like a serious case too. The treatment is travel, living in new places. Work on designing your life to do that ;)

    2. Not So NewReader

      I think once you are on your own things will look better. A sense of feeling trapped right now would be fitting with your setting. For the moment, perhaps you can reassure yourself that you do have choices available to you and in the future you will even have more choices available to you. Affirmations can be very powerful, but sometimes we have to practice saying them before their power kicks in.

    3. Chaordic One

      My family was the same way. I grew up in a midwest state and I never saw the ocean until I was in my mid 20s. One thing that really surprised me, was that, while I really enjoy traveling, doing so has given me a greater appreciation of where I grew up. It really wasn’t that bad of a place to grow up, but didn’t have any context to place it in, or anything to compare it to at the time. I hope you one day get the chance to explore the world. Perhaps you might be able to find a job that involves travel.

    4. Observer

      Also, can you learn to drive? Even without a car, it might be very liberating.

      And, how are you coming along in terms of finding your own place? I suspect that it would make a huge difference to you.

  45. StudentA

    Anyone ever been to a writers’ conference? What was your experience? Which one did you go to? There are so many to choose from!

    1. Nacho

      Not personally, but my mother’s been to a few, and she always said she really enjoyed them.

    2. Anonymosity

      I went to my first one in November 2016, the Show-Me Masterclass in Columbia, MO. It was fun and I learned a lot. I mostly picked it because I could drive to it, and I’m too broke to go to any more right now so I can’t recommend any one in particular, but I would choose thusly:

      –Are there speakers attending whom you want to hear?
      –What kinds of workshops or panels are available? Do you think they’d be valuable to you?
      –If you’ve got a project ready to pitch, will there be agents there who represent the type of work you do?
      –Location, location, location.

      Since conferences cost money and travel time, you’ll want to get as much out of it as you can. Also remember that guests can sometimes cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, so don’t pick one for the sole reason that Cool McAuthorGuy is appearing. I wouldn’t sign up just based on just one of these criteria.

  46. The Other Dawn

    Just gotta comment that I saw my first jack fruit ever while picking up a few things this morning. Holy cow, it’s huge! I assumed it was along the lines of a grapefruit size-wise. Nope. This thing was as a big as a watermelon! I had heard of them, but had never seen one until now. According to Thug Kitchen they can be used to make a vegan pulled pork sandwich. I’m not sure how that would taste…

      1. Falling Diphthong

        Sort of like a mild mango relative.

        It can be like tofu, a mild base to carry a delicious spicy sauce but not a good substitute for grilled pork chop. Like portabello mushrooms–a delicious food that is not a substitute for a steak.

    1. Bluebell

      I’ve had a “BBQ jackfruit ” sandwich and really enjoyed it. Of course it’s been several decades since I’ve eaten real pork BBQ so ymmv.

    2. Anu

      There’s a difference between ripe jackfruit and green jackfruit. The latter is what is used to make the pulled pork substitute. Ripe jackfruit is sweet and delicious and I highly recommend it.

  47. Stressed Out

    Sorry, rant ahead.

    I am devastated at where I currently am in life. I’m in a nasty custody battle with my ex(only upside is we never married). I’ve been struggling to make ends meet the two months. I feel like I’m letting my children down. (They’re super little so I know they dont really know what’s going on.) And my evil witch of a mother let my parents house foreclosed on without my dad knowing despite him giving her most of his paycheck each payday. He decided to leave her and he’s now pretty much homeless. Because of my situation, I can’t help my dad the way I would like to.

    I’ve been looking for a new job but the only way to find one that would pay anywhere near where I’m at is to change fields. I’ve pretty much exceeded the top tier of the salary in my field without a degree. I’ve had zero luck changing fields as I do have experience in what I’ve applied for, it’s not enough. So now I’m going to have to get a second job in the mean time. It just breaks my heart that I’m at the point of needing two jobs versus when I wanted two jobs just because.

    My ex has not been paying anything, not like he did when we were together. Its so frustrating to know that it’s chump change for him and he literally is choosing not to because of me. He still sees this as all my fault but he was the one who left us.

    I just hope that this turmoil ends soon. All of this is super frustrating and I feel helpless.

    1. Not So NewReader

      Oh my. I am so sorry. You have the world on your shoulders with little resources to handle it all. I hope you check back because people here are great with their ideas and support.

    2. Thlayli

      That is so stressful. Have you got a lawyer? The top priority needs to be to get child support from your ex asap. If you haven’t already get the application in for that ASAP. In the meantime look up what stage support you are entitled to (you would be surprised who qualifies for these. I know food stamps and WIC in the states are very widely used by people who have jobs. In the eu most or all countries have tax credits and social welfare payments to support low income families. Apply for absolutely everything you are entitled to. it will also be in the governments interest to help you chase your ex for money.

      If you can work out an accommodation share with your dad that might help – you can share rent and bills and he might even be able to help with childcare. Could be a win-win. Other than that though You need to forget about your dad right now and focus on your babies and yourself. It sounds harsh but you can’t pour from an empty cup and you need to get on your feet first – emotionally as well as financially

  48. Nervous Accountant

    It has been SUCH a stressful roller coaster week, like literally everyday my stomach was in knots, I was sick to my stomach about things etc. My moms staying w my brother for a few weeks. Its been stressful b/c basically, my dad didn’t leave a will and my brother and I couldn’t agree on how to split the house, and my mother was taking my brother’s side and basically, “you were dads favorite, well ur moms favorite!” etc”you were dads favorite, well ur moms favorite!” etc”you were dads favorite, well ur moms favorite!” etc

    Anyway, things are fine now…..May have drowned my sorrows in a few too many cupcakes and Long Islands… back to the diet! and I really miss the gym life….cry-waking up at 430-5 AM and go to the gym etc.

    I missed physical therapy 2x and I’m feeling it so much, too damn painful to walk and its travelled up my thigh and back now. I was planning to go back to the gym July 1st.

    1. atexit8

      A will is so important.
      I helped my mom 9 years when my father died.
      He had a will.

      I hope your mom has one.

      When there is no will, the state law decides who gets what.

      1. Nervous Accountant

        My dad was halfway done before he passed. He should have done it after his first heart attack 15 years ago but he was a huge procrastinator. It was always verbal that should he go first all goes to my mom and then she decides how to split it. things are OK now, we’ve come to a written agreement, so hopefully this saga is over.

    2. LCL

      I am happy for your sake that you get a break from your mother for awhile. I remember your posts; she would try anyone’s patience.

  49. Forking Great Username

    Mini vent – I’m the only one in my friend group that has kids, and sometimes it kind of sucks. I’m having a feeling left out day because my two best friends are hanging out together at one of their houses, which is a pretty typical Saturday for them, but they never think to invite me. Which, I get it, often I can’t come unless it’s my husband’s day off or after he gets off work. But they also never accept my invitations to hang out here – one of them hasn’t seen my kids in two years! I totally support their choice to be child-free and am definitely not one of those people who constantly brings up their kids in conversation – it’s important to me to have my own identity/life outside of being a mom. But I kind of feel like if your best friend is important to you, then occasionally you should be willing to hang out at their house and visit while the kids run around and play or whatever. They both have nieces and nephews they adore, so it’s not a not wanting to be around kids thing. And my kids aren’t undisciplined or bratty or anything like that, so it’s not that either. I’m at a loss of how to bring it up without sounding overly sensitive. We still see each other once or twice a month, but I’m generally the one who reaches out. They always seem happy to see me and we have a good time together, but…I don’t know. I guess it never feels good to be the odd one out, even when it’s due to life choices you’re happy with.

    1. neverjaunty

      Just tel them this! It may be that your friendship has naturally run its course. It may be they are just being doofuses and assumed you didn’t want to hang with them anymore.

    2. StudentA

      Something’s amiss here. Either that, or I’m missing something. How old are your kids? These two friends — how long have you known them? To be honest, I can’t imagine going two years without seeing my best friend’s kids, child-free or not. My close friends are true, genuine friends. I suppose I take a more holistic approach to friendship. To me, it’s like having a friend and never asking how their job is going — clearly, their job is an important part of who they are, so I care how it affects them (unless they don’t want to talk about it for some reason). Does this make sense?

      Also, I’m not getting why they never accept invitations to hang out at your place. Kids do go to sleep eventually. Maybe you can talk more about why this is so difficult for them. Do the three of you live close to each other, are two of you closer to each other than the third, etc.

      1. Forking Great Username

        We’ve known each other for over 15 years – more than half of our lives at this point! And my kids are 3 and 5.

        The two of them do live closer to eachother (like a 5 minute drive whereas I’m 30 minutes away), and lived together for awhile during high school due to one of them having shit parents. So it makes sense that they’ve got the closest link. But yeah, I’m with your approach and it feels weird that they don’t really make an effort in an area that is a huge part of my life.

        Knowing it’s not just me that thinks it’s strange does give me a bit more confidence to talk to them about it though, so thank you for that.

        1. Mananana

          I’m gonna say — the 30 minute drive would be a BIG factor for me. I have a 45 minute one-way commute to work; I don’t want to have to drive more than 15 minutes anywhere on the weekends.

          1. the gold digger

            Yeah, that 30-minute drive would be too much for me, too. I love my friends and I like their kids, but kids require attention. If it’s just five minutes to a friend’s house and I have to share her attention with a child, no big deal. I say that as someone who is happy to help a friend fold laundry or do whatever while the kid plays next to us.

            But I don’t want to drive 30 minutes each way – so that’s already an hour out of my limited free time – only to have our conversation interrupted every few minutes. I understand that children need attention, but I would rather not be in that situation. I want all the attention for myself if I am going to make that kind of effort.

            I am now at that happy stage of life where my friends’ kids are out of the house. And tomorrow, Lenore, my friend of 30 years, is going to drive 90 minutes to pick me up and then we will drive another 90 minutes together to spend the day with her daughter, Jill, whom I have known since she was two and who is now 25 and a delightful young woman.

            1. Forking Great Username

              Well, I guess I’m willing to go further for friendship. We’ve been friends most of our lives and have gone to great lengths to help and see each other over the years. Quibbling about a 30 minute drive where you would occasionally be interrupted by children seems…a bit self-centered. We’ve all driven further than that for pet sitting, airport rides, etc., and thought nothing of it. So fortunately I don’t think they share your take on this, I think it’s more of a just not thinking about it.

              1. Gatomon

                You will always love your children more than anyone else will. :) They may like your kids, but adults want to be friends with adults, and kids want to be friends with kids. Unless you want your friends to establish independent relationships with your children, the main draw will always be visiting you.

              2. anonmet

                It does seem odd to me that it’s been two years since one of your friends has seen your children. But it’s a little unclear whether you have offered to bring the kids to meet your friends somewhere, or if the only way for the friends to see your kids is at your house. To be honest, the 30 minute drive each way+ having my friend distracted by kids would make me less inclined to proactively plan visits at her house. Perhaps it depends on how old you are – I’m in my mid-forties, but I would have thought nothing of driving that far 20 yrs ago when I had a lot more energy and time, regardless of the kid situation.

                And if I was picking up on the vibe that my friend with kids thought I was self centered for not wanting to drive an hour to visit her frequently enough while she was primary caretaker of two toddlers, I would be even less motivated to visit or continue to invite her to visit me. Kids take up time and attention. That’s just how it is – doesn’t mean you’re less of a person for having to spend that time and attention on the kids, but doesn’t mean your friends are either, for not wanting to share the time they have with you with the kids as well.

          2. Julia

            I get that. But it doesn’t have to be all the time, just maybe one a month? I definitely take public transport to see my friends with babies in a different city, because I know it’s easier for me than having them come here or meet in public, and I like hanging out at other people’s houses. I wouldn’t want to do it every weekend, but I wanted to point out that not everyone would mind doing it sometimes.

        2. StudentA

          I feel I need to balance out the below comments with the following. I’m a busy middle-aged adult. I have weeks I work 60 hours on top of health issues. I still would think nothing of driving 30 minutes to see a close friend, especially if that was the only way I’d get to spend time with her. As long as she made a genuine effort for me, whether it’s once in a while getting a babysitter to hang out with the girls or whatever. It could be the area I live in. Over here, it’s not unusual to drive 30 minutes to go anywhere.

      2. buttercup

        This seems strange to me too. It’s hard to know without more context…I know it’s easy to get caught up in your own bubble, so it’s very possible that your friends aren’t intentionally trying to push you out and are just going with the convenience of not having to plan around your schedule. However, I feel like if they were the least bit thoughtful, they would make some effort to go to your place even if it wasn’t the most ideal of circumstances (being around your kids and a greater distance.) I agree that you should reconfirm to your friends that you would still like to be in the loop when they make plans, even if there is a small chance of you coming to them. I recommend starting a group chat for this type of purpose.

    3. Red Reader

      So, to me, I’m friends with Jane. That doesn’t mean I have to be friends with Jane’s husband, Jane’s siblings, or Jane’s kids. If one of Jane’s requirements is that I have to be interested in spending time with her-and-somebody-else as a collective, and Jane is going to get cranky if I don’t want to spend time around the somebody-else, then maybe Jane and I are not destined for a long and extensive friendship.

      I have friends with kids that I don’t particularly enjoy being around. That doesn’t mean they’re bad kids, it just means they’re not kids I want to hang out with. So I hang out with my friends less often than either of us might like, but in a situation that’s better for both of us, because I’m not trying to pretend that I’m interested in hanging out with the kids around and they’re not having to wrangle their kids and be social at the same time. Similarly, I have friends with spouses that I absolutely cannot stand. In some cases, it’s just a simple personality mismatch and in some cases, it’s that my friend’s spouse is a total knob. So I hang out with my friends without their spouses and it’s better off for everyone.

      I’d wonder if there might be a disconnect in that they don’t ask you because they don’t want you to feel bad about saying you can’t go. (You point out that you can’t usually go on weekend stuff unless your husband is home.) Maybe a little more proactive-ness on your part — next time your husband is off for a weekend day, buzz them and take the initiative about asking them to get together and do something? They don’t think to invite you because you often can’t come, they are apparently not interested in hanging out at your house, so it seems that if you want to maintain these friendships, your next option is to invite them, to something other than hanging out with you at your house while you take care of your kids, when you are available.

      1. Red Reader

        Disclaimer: I am massive introvert and don’t want to spend time around most people, including pretty much all children under 16 and, so far as I can tell, all of my friends’ friends. About half their spouses are okay in small doses. I totally recognize that I may be a massive outlier in this circumstance.

    4. AvonLady Barksdale

      Hmmm… this may be a situation where you need to do a lot of pre-planning. Set a date and invite them over for lunch or brunch or something, and get a mother’s helper to wrangle the kids. 3- and 5-year-olds are a handful! They can be the best kids in the whole world, but they still need attention. Your friends may very well just want your undivided attention for a few hours, and that might do you good too. Can you get a babysitter and meet your friends out somewhere? Just one day next month? It may do you all a world of good.

      I don’t have kids, I love kids, and I have a ton of friends with kids. Once they get to the toddler stage, it can be really tough to have a conversation– that’s no one’s fault, it’s just how it is. My friends need time away from the kids as much as I want time with my friends sans kids, so we just have to get creative about how we do things. Unfortunately, it sounds like you’re a little too far away for, “Come over for a glass of wine after they’re in bed,” which is usually the simplest solution.

    5. Temperance

      I wonder if the two of them sort of decide last minute to hang out, since they’re so close and don’t have kids and can just do that. It sounds like you see them a good amount, if you live as far as you do and you’re so far from them.

    6. Langly

      There are a couple of things that add up to why you may not be seeing them as much.
      You live further away and tend to not be able to make it most of the time. Kids, even when well behaved just completely change the dynamic. If you said that your kids were teens, who do their own thing, then I would be more understanding, but 3 and 5 is a pretty demanding age.
      And since these are your kids, then of course you love them and interruptions here and there don’t seem like much. For me, after working a whole week, and then having to drive out, to have maybe 3/4 of the attention span of my friend, just isn’t considered enjoyable.
      I also don’t have kids, and love my friend and her kids are nice. But on an honest level, spending time with them all together just isn’t that much fun, and has a bit of a “chore” feel to it.

    7. NaoNao

      Mmm I’m gonna weigh in on this as the sister of someone with kids who is always asking me to visit.

      We’re close. I love seeing her, and her child is *very* well behaved. But her life is 1000% around him. If I visit during nap, we have to be quiet. If he’s awake, her attention is always divided. I can barely make it through one sentence without an interruption of some kind. There’s always a threat of danger, fighting, the spouse that said they would watch the kid gets overwhelmed and hollers for her, he falls down and cries, and on and on. I basically stopped visiting if he was awake because it’s just so frustrating.

      Also, with all kindness, your children are usually not super fun to be around and hang out with in and of themselves for more than a few minutes for the childless. I get that they’re the sun and moon *for you* but there’s a reason I chose not to have kids, ya know?

      I feel like it’s pretty extreme that they haven’t even seen your kids in two years, but…the relationship isn’t with your kids. It’s with you. Kids and adults usually don’t have a friendship. Seeing your kids isn’t really much of a draw, to be frank!

      So I’d stick with what you have or make more invites around when kids are occupied very firmly (camp, after bedtime, off at playground with spouse, etc) and won’t be “Mom? Mom? Mom?” like 99% of kids do when Mom is occupied, since they get very territorial and freaked out if “Mom” is trying to talk and ignoring them.

  50. Nervous Accountant

    About 5 years ago, I went through a “change”. Basically I was extremely unhappy with myself and my life and vowed to fix things. That involved living separately from my husband to figure things out. Basically that year I had a job, lost it, studied for an exam and passed it, made new friends, got a new apt (w the hubby), lost A LOT OF WEIGHT, and just all around had a great rest of the year. A lot of setbacks, a lot of new beginnings & laying foundations etc.

    One of the things I did was make a monthly list of goals, of what I want to accomplish in diff areas of life. For ex, it would be–
    Career– send out x job applications, take this free learning class etc
    Health– eat more veggies etc
    etc etc.

    Something must have stuck b/c I did fix a few things. Got a job, lost weight etc. Until 1030 AM January 10, 2018, I could easily look back and say with tears how amazing my life turned out and how much I loved it.

    Anyway, I’m planning on doing this again. Not the leaving the husband part lol but others. Set small goals for everything. Let’s see hwo do-able this is this time.

    1. StudentA

      Oh my gosh, I find your story quite inspiring. Let us know how Change Part 2 goes, though I suspect you’ll be a success again ;)

    2. RestlessRenegade

      That is definitely inspiring! I am a big fan of thinking about life goals and then breaking them down into small, manageable steps taken over a long period of time. It’s fun to say “I want to own a house some day” but to make it happen I need to break it down into actionable items that will build up to that goal (save money, pay down debt, improve my credit score, etc.)
      You sound awesome! Keep going!

  51. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

    Went to an outdoor fest and luckily escaped the worst heat.

    Also, I’m picking up ground turkey (or ground meat/whatever) from Trader Joe’s. I have a bunch of parsley. Any recipes folks know, that involve parsley and ground meat and is gluten free?

    1. DrWombat

      Zucchini rice! You can add parsley and whatever else you’d like for spices – just add more than you think you would because otherwise it comes out a bit bland.

      These are by feel recipes so pardon the inexact measurements:

      2-3 medium zucchini, shredded in a food processor (easier to do this if you dice them first)
      ~1-1.5 lb ground sausage (make sure gluten-free)
      cooked rice (at least 2 cups, cooked)
      cherry tomatoes
      minced garlic and spices of choice
      cooking oil of choice

      Brown sausage in high-sided skillet with spices of choice and a bit of cooking oil if lean sausage
      Once sausage is browned, add zucchini and sautee until translucent and the zucchini starts to get sticky. Add more spices at this stage, or the final product will taste bland
      Then add enough cooked rice, stirring so that the zucchini binds everything together. Get it so the proportions look good to you.
      Let the mixture cook down a bit until less watery and everything starts to bind together more, on med/medium high heat
      If adding cherry tomatoes, place in pan, turn pan up to medium high, and cover pan. Let the tomatoes blister a bit. Serve. Doubles well if the pan is big enough, good to make ahead and eat all week. Fresh basil is good in this too.

  52. I'm A Little Teapot

    I posted a couple weeks ago looking for suggestions on foods, and you all came through. Thanks! Despite the weather, I’m doing much better now. Heat stress is doing a number on me, but I’m coping ok. I think a lot of the problem was stress from that-which-is-not-mentioned on weekends.

  53. Woodswoman

    Due to a combination of health conditions, medication, and a slower metabolism as an older adult, I put on weight and it wasn’t good for me. A medical professional helped me figure out a healthy target, and I’ve been working on losing weight off over a period of six months. I’m thrilled that I’m making progress–gradually with a good diet and exercise–and I anticipate reaching my target within a couple months. At this point, I’m looking to the future and welcome any tips for weight maintenance.

    1. A.N. O'Nyme

      As a fellow person looking to lose weight (I weighed much more than I thought and several people including my own family were shocked to learn how much I weighed, wondering where I put it all) I salute you and will be tagging along on this one!

    2. Langly

      I focus on making my own food and avoiding things that are pre-made. The only thing that I buy in the frozen isle are veggies and sometimes fruit. The biggest difference is that I cut out sugar. No more sugar in my coffee, no more low fat products like yogurts, that are just substituted with sugar. I eat full fat yogurt, milk, cheese. Also cut out carbs like pasta, bread, rice. And I honestly feel great. The weight loss is slow, because I eat normal portions, and my inflamation pain has gone away. It’s sort of like keto, but not as heavy on the meat.

  54. Mimmy

    The question about PC vs. Mac made me think of a question: Are my husband and I the only humans who use their iPad as a laptop when traveling?

    I actually started to think that this was weird when I was at the conference earlier this month. One of the workshops was on making accessible documents, and you had the option to follow along on your own device by downloading a particular Word file. However, probably because I was using an iPad rather than a laptop, it came up as a webpage that I couldn’t do anything with.

    I imagine for what we do (surf the web, use Facebook, watch videos), an iPad is sufficient. I use an external bluetooth-enabled keyboard. Now, if I go to a conference again, I may want to consider a laptop.

    1. Red Reader

      I haven’t traveled with a laptop but once since I got my first iPad (which was a first gen iPad on release day), as best I can recall. And on that one occasion, I didn’t actually end up using the laptop — just the iPad.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme

      I very much doubt you’re the only people doing this (wouldn’t be surprised if other people at the conference ran into the same problem) but sometimes pages aren’t optimized for mobile use or something goes wonky somewhere.
      Also, ironic that a workshop on accessible documents had an unaccessible webpage.

    3. Mimosa Jones

      I think you’re a little ahead of the crowd. My step-brother travels with the newest, largest iPad and a snap-on keyboard, and he’s an early adopter with enough money to buy all the toys. It looks just like a laptop and he says he can do everything he needs on it. The conference organizers are probably aiming for the lowest common denominator when making materials available and you should be able to use that experience as a model for figuring out how to make it work for your system.

    4. EN

      I’m surprised the workshop assumed everyone has Microsoft Word. I’m finding more and more people who rely on Google Docs—myself included—and they’re so easy to access from an iPad on the go! My office has even looked at cancelling everyone’s Microsoft products and switching exclusively to Google Drive. Even a downloadable PDF would be a better choice than a Word file.

      1. Observer

        I was thinking much the same thing. If you want accessibility, make sure that you use a format that can be opened pretty much anywhere.

    5. Gatomon

      No, definitely not. I think it depends on what your needs are when traveling though. iPads/tablets are great for consuming content. I’m not sure they’re “there” yet for creating/modifying content. (I don’t own one personally.) I’ve considered getting a tablet for travel where all I need is web browsing and Netflix, but so far I’ve been fine using my cell phone. For work, I bring my work laptop. It’s a convertible. And for personal travel, I have a $300 junk laptop I take with me. (No tears if it breaks/gets lost/get stolen!) If that dies I may go with a tablet.

    6. Temperance

      I bought a bluetooth keyboard for my Kindle and use it as a mini laptop. I also have an Android tablet that is great for this purpose. I don’t have much familiarity with Apple products, though, so I’m not sure how ideal they would be.

  55. DietCokeHead

    I am really enjoying having a house. It is so hot today but we wanted to do something. So we went to a small hardware store, where my husband checked out saws. He now wants a Bosch miter saw. Then we went to a larger local hardware store where we bought hardware cloth to make a screen to sift out our landscape rock. Removing the rock and redoing the landscaping and replacing with mulch is also on the to do list. And then we checked out supplies to build a fence around our garden. Basically, we spent three hours just wandering hardware stores and making plans for our home improvement projects. I can’t even imagine what we would have been doing if we were still in an apartment in this heat. Probably just sitting on the couch and being bored. I love summer but this heat is too much. Anyone else have home improvement plans? Or experience with a Bosch miter saw? Or have removed landscaping rock to replace with mulch?

    1. Red Reader

      Not yet, but I’m planning to have some bushes pulled later this summer and replace the current lava rock in the front garden beds with bark instead. I want to figure out what I’m replacing the bushes with first though – I’m thinking just some sort of tall ornamental grass in clumps.

    2. MM

      I live in a town house that has a balcony. I plan to restain my dining room table, but it will have to wait until the heat goes down to at least 75 degrees.
      Would love to have the space for saws, as I would love to learn how to make furniture.

    3. Kathy

      A little late, so I hope you see this. I personally prefer sliding compound miter saws and I recommend Dewalt or Kobalt over Bosch. Dewalt is more expensive but they go on sale a lot at Ace Hardware stores. The one I have is a 12″ single bevel sliding compound miter saw by Dewalt, but I’ve used the Kobalt ones before. I like the sliding feature because it ensures that you cut through the material. And a single bevel is really all you need; the double is nice but with a little planning, you can flip your materials around to get the cut you need. And the bigger the blade, the better. You can get away with a 10″ if it’s a slider, but I just like the flexibility that a 12″ offers. Kobalt is great if you’re starting out; I think it’s a Lowe’s exclusive brand. It’s nicer than Ryobi, but the price point is less than Dewalt. I just find Bosch… very expensive haha.

      All that said, a miter saw is probably one of the easier tools to use as well as one of the most useful. Safety-wise, well. I’m about 100 lbs soaking wet and I’ve never had an issue with kickback or the motor starting too fast and jarring my wrists with either of those brands. Fourth of July sales are going strong too!

  56. De Minimis

    Aw, I really enjoyed One Mississippi! I didn’t know they’d cancelled it–I’d just binge watched the second season a couple of weeks ago.

    Bill is my role model for how to behave at work.

  57. Anonymosity

    Kitten!!

    The window AC in my front room died a couple of years ago and I just cannot survive in here without another one. The AC in the kitchen can’t cool both rooms. So I had to go get another one today. Tomorrow, I will remove the old one and install the new one by myself. It doesn’t look too hard; the toughest part will be getting the old one out. I can lever them in and out on my trash bin; it’s just a little bit lower than the windowsill. I’m pissed that I had to spend any money at all on this stupid house. It is an old cardboard post-war tract house, was built in 1952, the old lady who owned it did zero to update anything, nothing is standard, and it’s falling apart around me. I hate the hell out of it and very much regret buying it. I should do this today because it’s very hot, but my back hurts and I don’t want to, so.

    Yesterday, the neighbor on the corner told me that the neighbor who threatened me with the shotgun told her he is going to sell his house and move closer to his family. If he actually does this, I’m glad he’ll have someone to look after him. But I’m also pissed that I’m not the one who gets to move. I wish the universe would just quit cockblocking me already! :P

    Better things will come. Today, at our meditation group, a member who just got back from a trip to Ladakh in India, to tour some Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, brought us something very special–these teeny little herb balls that had been blessed by the Dalai Lama. (They didn’t sell them; they were given to the people there, and he got some extra and brought them back to share with us, which was very cool.) We ate them; they tasted like a combination of tea and incense. It was not unpleasant, just strange and strong. So now we all carry the blessing of the Dalai Lama to help us on our path to enlightenment. Our other group member who is from China said it was very valuable to have this. SO COOL.

    I also really want to go on this trip. He said the tour group he used is very thorough and tells you everything you would ever need to know. He told us all about it at coffee, and it sounded amazing.

    I have the blessing of the Dalai Lama inside of me; how can I lose? ;)

      1. ..Kat..

        You are cool – both for having AC and for being handy and doing the work yourself.

      2. Almost Violet Miller

        Congrats for replacing the old AC by yourself!
        Your story (or your meditation group member’s story in fact) about the trip sounds so cool. I’m into meditation and would love to do this trip myself as well one day.
        You made me really curious about those balls! I drink a lot of tea so anything tea flavoured sounds awesome, no so sure about the incense.

        1. Anonymosity

          The hardest part was getting the old one out. It took some running back and forth to figure out how to remove it. The trash bin was a huge help; otherwise I’d have had to get somebody and there really wasn’t anyone to ask.

          I have NO idea what was in the little medicine balls–some kind of herbs. I had never heard of this before, but it was really cool. They were about the size of BBs and I only ate three of them. I chewed them so the flavor was really intense.
          But Dalai Lama! \0/ I have always revered him, well before I started dipping into Buddhism.

          1. LibbyG

            I like to imagine that the Dalai Lama blessed you with some cool Himalayan air! Good on you for getting the new ac in.

  58. Victoria, Please

    People who make their own yogurt: Advice please!

    I just got a Euro Cuisine yogurt maker and have done two batches, both of which have turned out so loose and runny that I had to strain them and make Greek-ish yogurt. The first time I incubated 8 hr with the recommended 2 packets of starter. The second time incubated about 10 hr with a little more milk, 1 packet of starter, and 1 cup of yogurt.

    Do I just need to let it go longer? I was using non-fat milk, does that just not make good yogurt?

    1. fposte

      I just make yogurt on the stovetop and ferment it in the oven. How thick are you looking for? In my experience, I’m getting a sort of pourable pudding thickness, which seems to be pretty standard; it does separate a bit, so I can take the solider part and not stir it up if I want something more set.

      I do a full 24 hour fermentation for mine, because that’s what’s recommended for the SCD yogurt, but I doubt that that’s a big factor in thickness. I do use whole milk, and when I threw in cream for a while it was definitely thicker, so I might try it with higher-fat milk.

    2. Kj

      Non-fat milk makes runnier yogurt. The easiest way to fix it is to strain it. Get some cheesecloth, layer it in a colander, put your yogurt in the colander, leave (over a bowl!) for a few hours or a day in the fridge. You don’t need to press it or anything. That should work.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale

      Yup, I think it’s the non-fat milk. I usually use 1% UHT milk (no need to scald it) and I add some dry milk powder which helps to thicken it up. But straining works too, and you can use the leftover whey for a variety of things. I also never use a commercial starter, just a cup of 2% Greek yogurt (Chobani gets me the best texture).

      1. Victoria, Please

        Oh, great idea to use UHT and skip the scald.

        Thanks for the advice everyone!

    4. LilySparrow

      I have had good results by adding powdered nonfat milk to the liquid milk. It helps compensate for the lack of fat. The Kitchn sugggests a ratio of 1/2 cup powder per quart of milk. I don’t remember my exact recipe, but that sounds about right.

      I’d also let it go longer than 8 hours – more like 12.

    5. Middle School Teacher

      I use the yogurt setting on my instant pot and make my own yogurt twice a month. I get the best results for me with 2% milk, with some powdered milk, or powdered coconut milk, whisked in to thicken it up. I incubate mine for 8.5 hours, I let it chill in the fridge (usually the whole day) and then strain for an hour. I’m always happy with the results. Good luck!

    6. Parenthetically

      I think nonfat milk makes crap yogurt, honestly. We use full fat always, and use the previous batch instead of a bought starter. You can give it a boost by adding 1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered milk per quart to your milk at the start — we always do just as insurance, and our yogurt is always nice and thick and creamy. Oh, and we ferment for at least 12 hours, usually ends up being more like 18.

    7. Mephyle

      More is not better when it comes to starter. I’ve never used a powdered starter, only yogurt that I bought. The recommendation I followed is two tablespoons yogurt, and that is enough for one to two litres of milk. Using more yogurt doesn’t help.
      Stir the starting yogurt into about one to two cups of tepid milk, and then stir that mixture into the remaining milk.
      The other thing I found is that the ideal temperature for incubating is cooler than I thought. More like between tepid and lukewarm than lukewarm and warmer. I don’t know how many degrees it was, though.
      I usually leave it overnight – 12 hours or even a little more, so, yes, longer than 8 hours might be better.

  59. Quaggaquagga

    Looking for blog recommendations similar in feel and content to Cup of Jo. I like that Cup of Jo has a mix of style, food, and family content. I also really appreciate how calm and gentle it is in tone (no “You won’t believe what Norwegian mothers feed their kids!!” clickbait titles). Recommendations appreciated!

    1. cat socks

      The Small Things Blog sounds similar. Not too heavy on the food recipes, but definitely style/makeup and family content. I also really like her hair tutorials.

    2. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

      Enjoying the Small Things blog is about an adorable family; the daughter has Down’s syndrome, and it shows their travels, vacation, perspectives on life; I find it very zen.

  60. Turtlewings

    Any exercise tips for people who just flat hate exercising? As in, the sensation of physical exertion is abhorrent? I’ve done huge amounts of research on this (okay, a lot of google searches) and everyone seems to say that the key to enjoying exercise is finding an activity that you like… but I don’t like activity. If I’m sweating, I’m hating my life and everything in it. I don’t know if there is a solution to this, but I need to lose weight and there’s only so much calorie-cutting I can do…

    (Also don’t suggest yoga. For complicated reasons, I loathe yoga and will attempt it again.)

    1. Dr. KMnO4

      Pokemon Go? It’s based on walking, so not the highest calorie-burning activity, but it’s fun.

      Swimming might be good if there’s a pool nearby – you probably won’t feel yourself sweating.

      Martial arts might be an option too.

      1. Turtlewings

        My apartment complex has a pool, but I sunburn at the drop of a hat, and after dark it’s always taken up by large groups/families. Sigh.

        I’ve thought about martial arts — any idea how much that usually costs?

        1. Amadeo

          My school I attend is $45 a month for two classes, but we’re in kind of a depressed economic area with a lower cost of living.

          Also, you should know that the amount of sweating you do will depend on your school’s instructor/master. We have a Grand Master who teaches just about ever night and Thursday evening I discovered I could do 300 squats, but not 300 sit ups. He expects his black belts to be athletes (and I have quite a ways to go to ‘athletic’ but only three more belts between this one and a black, I expect some paint in my immediate future). So that’s a question to ask the instructors.

        2. Kuododi

          I have paid as low as $60/mo and as high as$150/mo. I have studied a couple of different styles of Karate as well as Wing Chun Kung Fu. I highly recommend looking for a Sensei/Sifu who will work within your physical limitations yet encouraging you to push yourself to stretch and grow in your skill set.

    2. acmx

      Swimming? Biking?

      I run (which I’m not suggesting) and sometimes I don’t like it. Heck many times I very annoyed (mindless tourists or cars not paying attention). But I like it because it’s easy to just do it and be on my own.

    3. buttercup

      Dancing! If that is your thing. Also, just taking walks is a good form of exercise – maybe go to an indoor mall if you don’t want to be outside. If you really want to challenge yourself, walk up the escalators and stairs instead of using the elevators!

    4. AvonLady Barksdale

      I’m a big fan of just walking. I have a dog, and his long morning walks are my primary exercise. If you don’t do much physical activity right now, adding another 20-30 minutes of walking to your day should provide some benefits. I’m not talking power walking either, just a decently brisk pace. If you like audiobooks or podcasts, or even listening to shows or movies, then walking is a good way to absorb those.

    5. Tris Prior

      Do you live somewhere where you can get places you need to go by walking? Sometimes, the need to get from point A to point B will make me get out of the house and move, even if I don’t feel like being active. Focusing on arriving at the destination, instead of focusing on “OMG, I hate this, this sucks” was easier for me. (It helps to not have a car and to be too frugal to get on the bus/take a Lyft for walkable distances, but I’m aware that’s not possible in most places.)

      1. Turtlewings

        I live in an area where you can’t get anywhere except by car, sadly — plus it’s 90-100 degrees most days. I do think something where the exercise is incidental to what I’m actually trying to do (like arrive at X location) might be helpful.

        1. tangerineRose

          Are there any museums, zoos, etc. in the area? Those tend to have a lot of area to walk through and interesting things to look at while you walk.

    6. LilySparrow

      Don’t jump into it at the major exertion/sweaty level. Get in the habit of having more moving around in your life: a steady habit of intentional mild exercise x times per week, plus “sneaky” extra movements like parking farther away, taking the stairs, fidgeting, using a standing desk or a treadmill desk, standing up when you take phone calls, walking to a colleague’s desk to talk, and so forth.

      Get the habit of doing it at all before you go for specific goals of intensity. The difference between doing something and doing nothing is infinitely larger than the difference between intensity levels.

      1. Turtlewings

        I do have a standing desk that I try to use regularly, and I go up and down a flight of stairs at work once every hour, just to help clear my head and move my blood a little. I’m sure it’s good for me but… not exactly gonna melt the pounds off!

        1. Kj

          Melting the pounds off is usually a combo of increased exercise+dieting. And frankly, even that is no guarantee. I’d encourage you to focus on overall health, which means uping your activity level (no matter how minor it seems) and upgrading your diet to be as healthy as is reasonable for your lifestyle and budget.

          As to exercise, I’d consider a public pool, since your apartment pool is packed. Or go to the apartment pool in the early AM. Are you interested in any sort of sport or movement? Does hiking or rock climbing or dancing sound fun? Try to remove the “but I hate activity” thoughts. If sounds like you sometimes get stuck on them. Think about what might be intrinsically enjoyable to you.

    7. Forking great username

      Maybe a water aerobics type class? I feel like that would be unlikely to get you as sweaty. Pilates, barre. aerial yoga, strength training…just throwing out some ideas!

      1. Parenthetically

        Aqua aerobics is worth a try. I too hate sweating, and aqua is nice because you’re in water the whole time and thus not getting sweaty.

    8. the gold digger

      I hate exercising. I hate all of it. For me, the key is the fear that I will live to be 97, which is how old my grandmothers were when they died, but not be able to get out of a chair by myself.

    9. Penguin

      I’ve found that I have to do things that have a second purpose to them besides exercise or I loath it and won’t do it. (Telling myself that “it’s not exercise, I’m just doing this in order to __” really helps.) In that vein, some random ideas:
      -Baking bread (kneading dough is surprisingly energy-intensive)
      -Put on some music and dance to it while you fold your laundry
      -Nature amble: early/late in the day, if your apartment complex has “edges” (e.g. edge of lawn with natural landscape beyond) and if you like nature, walk along that edge paying close attention to what you see. Like, super finely-focused attention. Familiarize yourself with every little plant and pebble and animal track and so on. It can become “your” place (b/c no one else pays any attention) and eventually, if you’re interested, the “I wonder whether anything visited the puddle last night” thoughts can completely chase away any sense of the dreaded exercise.
      -Walking with a twist: walk/pace (indoors or out!) while focusing on some kind of mental thought/problem. It should be someplace you can safely walk without needing to pay close attention to your surroundings, and the “trick” is that you’re focused on whatever your mental challenge is (plot twist in the novel you’re writing, seating arrangements for your cousin’s surprise birthday party, engineering homework, room layout plans, whatever) and the walking happens on autopilot
      -Take pictures (no, seriously!): take pictures of furniture from funny angles (what’s the mouse-eye view?) or close-ups of flowers, that involve a small amount of bending/crouching and returning upright; or photograph the same apartment building across the complex (that you walk to, just a little) every day at the same time, and build up a collection of “seasons passing by”; or wander the complex looking for interesting sights (the way the sunlight reflects off that bumper, the play of sun and leaf shadows on the building wall, the lone bird flying overhead, etc.)

      I guess my point is “If you hate pointless exercise (I sure do!), then don’t do it! Do something that has a point and only HAPPENS to involve exercise.

      A final thought (that was surprisingly effective for me once I actually tried it): whatever you try, do it in small bits. Maybe you pace around your apartment three times a day for a week, then add climbing the stairs twice a day the second week, then drop one apartment circuit and stair climb and instead walk around your apartment building once. Don’t demand that your poor self has to walk half a marathon six days a week. Build up as you go along. A cumulative series of small changes that you can maintain are MUCH better than a big change that you can’t. It’s not “”weakness”” (*gag*) it’s understanding basic human psychology. (And a pox on those who insist otherwise!) In short, do stuff that works for you, WHATEVER that looks like.

    10. Melody Pond

      I’m fairly similar to you – I really don’t care for physical exertion. I have found only a couple of exceptions, where the movement is fun enough that it outweighs the unpleasantness of the exertion:

      1) Riding my bike to get to and from places that are less than 5 miles away (for me, this is work). I don’t think I’d ever do like my dad did, and do like 30, 40 mile bike rides on a fancy road bike for exercise – but I sure enjoy my little commuter bike and just a quick little 2 mile trip each way to/from work. It’s more fun if there are at least a few downhill stretches, and I shift gears up to where I start going as fast as I possibly can.

      2) Pole dancing. This works out well, because the bike riding is more cardio focused (though there’s some strength building in the legs), but pole dancing uses a LOT of strength. I’m just starting to get back into this very recently – I took an 8 week class with my mother about 12 years ago, and it was super fun, but I remember thinking I could’ve gotten so much more out of it, if I had the ability to practice on a dance pole at home. Even though I’m in a studio apartment now, I’ve got the right combination of furniture that goes away (Murphy bed, etc.) to where I can actually get a pretty clear wide open space in the middle. So I’ve got a dance pole at home now, and I’m very slowly picking it back up, and hope to rejoin a group class, once I feel like I’ve built up enough strength so as not to embarrass myself. :)

    11. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      Advice & commiseration from a fat person (who does CrossFit).

      First, I totally agree with you. I hate sweating, and it took me until my early 30s to realize that being out of breath wasn’t a danger sign that meant I should stop moving.

      Second, exercise doesn’t have much impact on losing weight, so if that’s your reason for doing it maybe let yourself off the hook? Obviously there are a host of other benefits, but that’s not really one of them.

      Third, I cosign all the advice about swimming and other water-based activities. I used to love water aerobics, especially a class I found called “H2Bo” that was Tae Bo in the water. I think swimming laps is incredibly boring, but it’s not hateful in the way other exercise is.

      Fourth, consider weightlifting. I’m currently doing two lifting sessions a week (in a class, but it’s basically just a bunch of people lifting weights and chatting between reps) and I honestly love them. I’m doing a power lifting class, which is bench presses, deadlifts, and back squats. There’s some sweating, and I’m out of shape enough that I get a bit of a cardio workout, but it’s sooooo different from running/biking/Zumba/etc.

      Good luck!

    12. FD

      It might help to narrow down exactly what you don’t like about it? For example, do you hate feeling sweaty? If so, water aerobics or longer periods of lighter exercise (e.g. an hour walk instead of twenty minutes of high intensity exercise) might be a good option. Do you hate the feeling that you could be doing other things you enjoy more? If so, can you find a great podcast or audiobook so you feel like you’re getting something done? Or something else?

    13. The Other Dawn

      First of all, losing weight is mostly about your nutrition. If you eat well and stay within whatever your calorie intake should be, you’ll likely lose weight without exercising. Exercise helps, but it just burns some extra calories. If you (the general “you”) eat 5,000 calories a day and do an hour of cardio, you’re probably still going to gain weight. (I’m speaking in general terms, I know there are various factors at play from person to person.) So, if you’re looking to lose weight, I’d focus more on diet first. Then you can add in some exercise.

      For years I absolutely hated the thought of any kind of physical exertion and sweating, so that kept me from exercise for a very long time. I was morbidly obese and just thinking about any kind of movement made me sweat and made me want to crawl onto the couch with a bag of chips. I avoided any kind of exertion/movement. A few years back I lost a lot of weight through weight loss surgery, but once I got down to a good weight (I’m still technically “overweight”) I needed to start exercising to keep get my body fit and hopefully help myself age a little more gracefully. To be perfectly honest, even though I could move much easier after losing weight and didn’t sweat nearly as much, I still hated the thought exercise. I tried several times but couldn’t stick with anything, so I ended up going to a trainer a couple times a week to get me going and show me what I should be doing. (You can do this as part of a gym membership at places like Planet Fitness, it doesn’t have to be a private trainer. They’ll often include a few free sessions when you join.) He gave me “homework” to do on my own three days a week. Then I went down to once a week to keep the accountability, which I REALLY need, with four days working out on my own. Two years later…I still don’t like to exercise. Even when I do something I like, I still moan and groan about it. BUT I do it. It’s become something I do, like brushing my teeth. What keeps me going are these thoughts: it’s only 45 minutes out of my life five days a week (you could do 3-4, I choose 5); I won’t die because I sweat or exert myself (within reasonable limits)–it hasn’t killed me yet; it helps my back pain; and I tell my inner whiner: “Just suck it up and do it. The longer I moan about it, the longer it will take me, so just get it over with.” When I’m done, I feel accomplished, which helps my frame of mind; my body feels good because my muscles are all warmed up and loose; and then I get my reward, which is that I don’t have to think about it again until tomorrow.

      So, all this to say: I feel that exercising is mostly about your mindset (and it’s not the most important thing for losing weight). You just need to flick that switch in your mind to say you’re going to do this, you’ll survive it, and it’s only X amount of time a few days a week.

      Good luck!

    14. cat socks

      I have some shows I watch on Netflix that I only watch while using the elliptical. It helps to have something to entertain myself while I’m exercising.

    15. smoke tree

      Have you tried weight training? I find it a lot easier and more pleasant than cardio.

      I used to feel similarly about hating exercise and I never could motivate myself to do it. But I moved out to the middle of nowhere and had a lot of active friends, and I found that once I was no longer in terrible shape, I actually started to like it. I’m sure that’s not the case for everyone, but if you told me five years ago that I would one day be able to run 10k without stopping, I would never have believed it.

    16. Hannah

      I generally don’t like exercise, but I do like biking (outside, on a real bike. If you put me on a stationary bike I will murder you!)

      I also swim. I wouldn’t say that I like it, but if that “physical exertion” feeling of being sweaty is the thing you hate, that isn’t really present in swimming. It also feels like less exertion than it is, to me anyway. Like, I can run for 30 minutes and feel like I’m going to die, but I routinely swim for an hour and am fine. But the calories calculators claim I burned more calories swimming! With running I feel like OMG HOW MANY MORE SECONDS OF THIS PLEASE MAKE IT STOP! With swimming, I don’t feel that way.

    17. Koala dreams

      Orienteering? Or more popular, Pokemon Go?
      I agree with the other commenters on swimming, it’s very nice especially in warm weather since you don’t feel very hot because of the water.
      There is also bird watching and nature photography. Not very active, but at least it gets you out of the house.
      I’ve taking up a childhood activity and started playing frisbee this summer. There is a frisbee basket in a park close by, and I practise throwing the frisbee into the basket. It’s quite fun, very leisurely, and much more difficult than it looks.

    18. nep

      As others have said, please don’t think that you’re condemned to failing at weight loss because you don’t love exercise and work out strenuously X times per week. It’s mostly about the eating, of course.
      No question that strengthening the muscles, including the heart, holds countless other benefits…so I hope you will eventually find some kind of movement you like or at least tolerate. There’s a good likelihood that once you feel some of the benefits and positive changes, it will be less of a horrible chore.
      All the best

      1. nep

        Great idea. (Apparently also good for the lymph system/immunity.)
        When I commit to bouncing (mind you, not jumping–just bouncing with feet staying in contact with the rebounder) for just minutes a day, I feel a difference. Mood better, body feels better. Maybe it’s placebo, but I’ll take it.
        I put on some music I’m in the mood for, and just lose myself for a few minutes. One time a song I was listening to was 9:44 long; I just keep bouncing and waving my arms about in a sort of free-for-all/meditation. Heavenly.
        You could also do it while watching tv.

        1. En vivo

          Yes, I love bouncing and jumping. One can get a light workout or a more sweat inducing one! There are workout routines on Youtube :)

  61. KR

    I’m feeling grumpy and lethargic and headachy today after being away all week for work. Very frustrating.

  62. BBQ

    I was invited to a 4th of July BBQ by someone i don’t know well and it’s all pretty loose, in a park, I don’t think I’ll know anyone except for the person who invited me and their SO. What can I bring? (oh just bring something is so not helpful!). Also, I’m on public transport or maybe a bike if it’s a nice day, so hopefully something easy to carry.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Bring beer. Preferably with twist-off caps or in cans. That’s usually a hit! If you don’t want to go that route, make or buy some hummus, which you can keep in a little insulated lunch bag along with cut up veggies and crackers. You also can’t really go wrong with a sack of cookies.

    2. BRR

      Black bean salad is my go to. Transport it In a ziplock bag and get a bowl from the dollar store you can throw away and not have to schlep it home.

      1. Overeducated

        I do this for lots of summer barbecues and potlucks…they always get eaten!

    3. Mimosa Jones

      Check it the park allows alcohol. Many don’t. And some have rules against glass bottles. Since you don’t know these people well, you don’t want to be That Person. In my world you can never have too many desserts. Angel food cake is great this time of year. Serve it with a bunch of berries ( macerate then if you want to be fancy), and get some cans of whipped cream (Cabot if you can get it) and a tub of non dairy topping.

    4. CAA

      I’d go for something like homemade cookies. The container doesn’t have to remain upright as you transport them, so they’re easier on a bike where you might have to put it sideways in a basket or backpack. They also don’t need any serving equipment and most people like them.

    5. Fellow Traveler

      Our go-to things to bring are fruit (especially watermelon in the summer), and Oreos (because they are vegan – I used to feel like it was a cop out every time my husband wanted to bring a pack of Oreos to a potluck, but everyone always loved them and they disappeared instantaneously)

  63. Everdene

    Following on from the discussion about namea the other day I’m looking for some life advice. I’m recently engaged and people have started referring to me as ‘Mrs Oak to be’ or ‘The future Mrs Oak’. I am never going to be Mrs Oak! My partner is onboard with this and happy to field questions etc for me… but how do we do this kindly and respectfully for people we love. I’m finding that when talking to friends/family who changed names on marriage they just expect I will and I’m not sure how to briefly explain it without it seeming that I disapprove/disagree with their actions. Any gentle but firm scripts would be appreciated. Tia.

    1. BRR

      I would go with “oh I’ll still be ms. Everdene” or if you want to be a little snarkier “it will be ms and mr everdene.”

    2. LilySparrow

      I’m not sure that you have to engage with the random comments or correct people at all. Just ignore them. People can expect whatever they want, it doesn’t have anything to do with you. And you don’t need to explain your reasons to anybody unless you just feel like having that conversation for fun. The reason you’re not changing your name is “Because that’s what I decided.”

      Get married, send out your wedding announcements afterward with your correct names, and just…don’t change it.

      If people call you by the wrong name afterward, just correct them then. “Nope, still Everdene. Thanks!” Sure, a lot of people do change their names (I did). But keeping your name is so far from being a new or alien concept, it’s kind of silly for people to act like it isn’t.

      Let them be silly. You are going to hear a lot more silliness than that around getting married. If you wear yourself out now running around correcting people, you won’t have the energy to deal with the hardcore stupidity that happens in the run-up to the wedding.

      1. Everdene

        I wish I was the kind of person wh could let things go, my life would be much more relaxed and carefree. I will give it a go though.

        I’m already experiencing lots of silliness about what I/we “neeeeed” to do. My standard response so far has been ‘nope, checked the law and we need a license and a person to marry us. Everything else can be what we want to do’. We’d really like a femminist wedding but that’s easier said then done.

      2. Ellie

        This. A thousand times, this. I wish someone would have been around 20 years ago to tell me exactly this. It would have saved me a LOT of stress. For your own personal well being, let the name change thing be something that washes over you. It can be hard, but there is sooooo much stupid coming your way- you need to save your energy for all that. (Never changed my name. Got divorced. Became a teacher. Now I answer to “Miss miss miss miss miss!!!” It took me well over a decade to realize people can call me whatever they want- it doesn’t change who I know I am. The only exception is when students call me a b**** – they do that just to get a rise out of me, so my response of, “That’s Miss B**** to you” takes the wind out of their sails.)

        1. En vivo

          This so much-people can call me whatever. It doesn’t change who or what I know I am. Miss B ( love it!!!!!) Teachers must be fearless these days :)

    3. Anonymous Educator

      I wish I could tell you this ever changes, but even if you can get through to your friends and family, random others (new acquaintances, non-profits you donate to, even new workplaces) may address you as Mrs. Oak. It’s an uphill battle and a battle worth fighting, but it won’t be over soon, unfortunately…

    4. NeverNicky

      Mr NN and I both use the same short form of our given names – think “Jo” for Joseph and Josephine so citing “confusion over mail” is working for those people for whom a pointed “Why would I want to do that?” failed to work!

    5. Sarah

      My favorite answer I came up with for the shocked look I got in response to “Oh, my last name will still be X” was to laugh and say “don’t worry, I’m not marrying my cousin our anything, just not changing my name.”

  64. AvonLady Barksdale

    We finally booked tickets to my partner’s sister’s wedding. I mentioned my frustration with all of this a few weeks ago– she’s getting married on an expensive-to-get-to island during hurricane season, and she didn’t make any kinds of hotel arrangements or even offer hotel suggestions to her guests– and I know my partner is frustrated too, plus he’s tired of hearing my complaints about it. (I don’t complain often, it’s just that when it comes up, my complaints are the same. I am, unfortunately, a bit of a broken record and I’m working on it.) Next step is finding a place to stay, and when I tried to book something today, my partner got testy. One annoying thing at a time, I guess. I’m trying really hard to look forward to this (a weekend away in November to a Caribbean island sounds lovely, provided the island doesn’t get too much damage in this hurricane season), but it’s just raising blood pressure for both of us.

    I compare this to the wedding we’ll be attending in September. We will drive there (save on flights), take the dog (save on boarding), and see my grandparents. Our friends who are getting married booked blocks of rooms at three different hotels in three different price points, and are offering transportation to and from the wedding from all three hotels. All of that strikes me as considerate and immensely sensible. Yet we can’t even get my partner’s sister to give us the exact address of the wedding venue because she either doesn’t know it (!) or can’t be bothered to look it up when he asks.

    Oh, well. At least we bought travel insurance.

    1. BRR

      I remember this! I can’t believe you can’t even get the venue’s address. At this point I’m surprised you got the name of the island :).

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        ME TOO. :) I’m at BEC status with this wedding, I swear. My partner got the name of the general area that the venue is in, so at least we have that. *eyeroll*

    2. Thlayli

      It’s your partners sister, not yours. Let your partner take all the stress and planning. All you should have to do is just show up.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        That would be nice, but it’s really not that simple. I want to support him, especially since he’s not finding this particularly easy. There’s also the taking time off of work and figuring out budgets. “Just show up” works for us if it’s local, but not if it involves travel and an outlay of money.

    3. Victoria Nonprofit (USA)

      I don’t mean to discount your frustration, but something you said reminded me of a piece of wedding planning that baffled me: the idea that all the guests need hand-holding for every piece of the process.

      We had an admittedly annoying wedding (held in a small city in Maine), so we did all of the things you do to make life easier for guests who are traveling to an unfamiliar location: booked a block of rooms, arranged for shuttles, hosted extra meals throughout the weekend, printed maps, arranged drivers and carpools for some guests, etc. But it seemed so strange to me that folks needed or wanted us to arrange hotel rooms (…when they manage to arrange their own hotels other times they travel), print maps (?? who uses printed maps?!) or whatever. It seemed like something about the fact that they were traveling for a wedding suddenly made everyone panic and need my help with all the arrangements.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        I don’t look at it as hand-holding, I look at it as making things simple/more convenient for people who are traveling to a location as your guests. The printed maps and extra meals are nice, but to me, that would be a bonus. I think arranging a block of rooms is a kindness, and giving guests some guidance on where to stay is the least a couple can do, especially if a lot of people are traveling. When my friends come to visit me they don’t stay with us– we don’t have enough room for more than one guest– so I consider it a kind of duty to guide them on where to find a hotel or an AirBnB.

        1. Lady Kelvin

          This exactly. We got married in a small town in PA and half our guests traveled for it. We did have a block of rooms but also provided a list of other hotel options that were nearby because it can be difficult to know if a hotel is close to the venue, in a good area, etc. Its not such a problem when its a more popular travel location, but small towns/unusual places it is just a kindness to provide your guests with some guidance on making travel plans.

        2. Middle School Teacher

          Well, and not only that, but every far-away wedding I’ve been to, the fact that the couple booked a block of rooms meant the guests got a discount on the room that we wouldn’t have gotten if we’d booked it ourselves. So it wasn’t hand-holding, it was more like “we appreciate you taking time and spending money to come and see us so the least we can do is save you a few bucks”.

      2. Loopy

        Sorry if it’s rude to chime in on this but I’m in this boat now as the one planning the wedding people have to travel to. For me, I know very well all my guests are perfectly capable of making their own arrangements BUT I also know they are shelling out money for plane fare, rental cars, AND a hotel room for me. This is not a place or a time they would otherwise visit and they are giving up funds and time to attend, so making it easier on them just seems like a nice gesture. That being said, I found a middle ground and didn’t go quite so far :)

        Sure it’s a special occasion and they are happy to attend but I’ve been the one giving up funds and time in the past- and it always sucks a little not have those go towards your preferred vacation/time off plans!

        1. A bit of a saga

          I agree! We got married in the city we live in, but we are both from elsewhere and so a lot of family and friends flew in from abroad. It was really important for us to be mindful of the fact they had already spent a lot of money and time to participate so we chose a central wedding venue on the public transport network, gave recommendations for hotels at all price levels, put some people up with us/friends, organised a dinner, city walk and brunch for out of towners, et .

      3. LCL

        …lots of people use printed maps. If I’m going to a totally new to me area and will be there awhile, I print a map. It’s frankly reckless to go to a new place and not try to get a feel for where things are, if you have time. Navigating by phone is useless because the screen is so small, you can’t figure out where you are. Phone nav is fine for the last few blocks, but you really need a map.

        1. Oh So Tired

          I adore map apps for getting from A to B within a specific city but on a long haul trip, I also really (REALLY REALLY) want a decent map book to get a better sense of scale and understanding what’s near our travel route. Historic monument sounds fun but not if it’s 10 miles out of town perpendicular to the route we’re taking! Sure, yes, that info is available through the app but it’s just easier for me to visualize on paper. On the other hand. Finding grocery store A from Hotel B in city I’ve never visited before, map app is spectacular

    4. CAA

      Since the venue is on an island, I wonder if it doesn’t have a regular street address. Some places don’t. Do you know the name of the venue from the invitation or from conversations? Does it show up on google maps? If it does, you can put “hotels near x” in the maps search box and it should show you what’s around there.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale

        We know the general vicinity. And sadly, because the island got absolutely decimated during Irma and Maria, hotels are few and far between (or $500/night). I found some VRBOs that will work with taxis. So that part is at least being handled, I just find the extra legwork kind of annoying.

  65. Not So NewReader

    Window cleaning microfiber cloths. Are they all the same? Are some better than others? Can I just use a microfiber dust cloth instead? I see them selling anywhere for 2/$4 to $20 each. Anyone have experience with these? I’d hate to buy another cleaning product that is not that helpful.

    1. Ron McDon

      I use a normal microfibre cloth for all my cleaning. They’re particularly good for windows – no smearing. I wouldn’t bother buying one specifically for glass; in my experience it’s a waste of money, and the normal cloths do a great job.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Good to know. Thanks! I am going to check out the cloths I have on hand.

    2. Fellow Traveler

      We always used newspaper and vinegar for windows. (Though we now have a cleaning service and she uses old t-shirts.)

  66. anon24

    Travel insurance: how does it work (and how do you get it)?

    I’m hoping to plan a vacation at the end of summer to one of the Carolinas. It will be right as hurricane season is amping up, so I’d like to get some sort of travel insurance in case we get stormed out. But I know nothing about travel insurance, because I’ve only been on vacation a few times and the only time I got it the resort I stayed at offered it.

    So if anyone has the “for dummies” explanation I’d be very appreciative :)