weekend free-for-all – August 11-12, 2018

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand. (This one is truly no work and no school.)

Book recommendation of the week: The Book of Essie, by Meghan MacLean Weir. The teenage daughter of an evangelical preacher whose family has a hit reality show (and a mom scarier than Kris Jenner) gets pregnant and has to figure out how to take back her life from her family.

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

{ 1,272 comments… read them below }

  1. Where’s busy bee?*

    How long would you give someone to provide you with a reference for a grad school application? I have an app due August 31 and not sure if I should even bother, given that today is the 11th! Is 2 weeks enough time?

    1. Loopy*

      Depends on the person/your relationship with them. I had someone ask me after another acquaintance flaked. I had only a week but I was so in this person’s corner, so supportive and eager for her, that I was willing to sit down and put quite a few hours into it right away. It took me a few days to craft what I thought was a well written letter. I also had the time, but even if it had been a squeeze I would have made it work for this person.

    2. Lady Jay*

      My gut reaction says that two weeks is *not* enough time, especially given that August is a busy time as school winds up. Generally a month or two (or three) is better.

      That said, you could ask for a recommendation if 1) you are really close with the person; you’ve got .a good enough relationship that they can freely tell you yes or no depending on their schedule, and/or 2) if they’ve recently had to fill out other letters of recommendation for you. If they’ve written one, the template is there, and it takes less time to tweak one than write one from scratch.

        1. blackcat*

          Email today, be apologetic, and acknowledge it’s not reasonable. Odds are high they will do it for you.

          I have been the letter writer in such circumstances (not for grad school, but other things). 2/3 times I found the time and got it done. The third time the kid just sent a request through a system without talking to me! And I was super busy so I sent a note saying “I can’t do this, find someone else.”

          1. Cat Herder*

            Be aware that if you’re asking a professor they may not be on campus or looking at their email.

            1. blackcat*

              Most (though not all) will turn on a vacation responder. And I really don’t know any faculty who go totally off the grid in August. June or July? Yes. But August they’re mostly around.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        I agree. It’s not ideal, but it’s hardly impossible. Be apologetic and don’t be too crushed if they can’t do it. If you don’t ask, your chance is zero.

    3. Tuxedo Cat*

      A month as a minimum, an absolute minimum.

      The only exception might be if you’ve asked this person for a reference in the past and they just have to do some updating. However, given that it’s August and the school year is starting, it might be a stretch if the person is faculty.

    4. Dr J*

      Professor here. Send the request, indicating that you are mindful that the deadline is close. Help your faculty member out by attaching your resume, cover letter, etc. and in the email highlight why you are asking them (the classes you took with them, things you accomplished with them, etc.). Basically you should make it very easy for them to pull out several key talking points from the email you send. Two weeks is tight, especially at the start of the semester, but it’s within the realm of possibility.

      1. Rock Prof*

        As another professor, I second all of this! Make it as easy as possible for them. For most students who I had good experiences with, I would be say yes to writing this letter with only a two week timeline (I might grumble about it a bit, though, and would probably respond that two weeks is a short turnover, but I’ll do it this one time.)

        1. Where’s busy bee?*

          Hi everyone, thanks so much for your replies. I have decided to wait until the next application window so that I can spend more time doing a quality job on my application and can give my references plenty of time as well. The person in question is actually now the dean of the university so yea… probably needs a lot more than two weeks, but their reference will hopefully carry a lot of weight if/when I do get it in the future. Thanks again!

  2. A.N. O'Nyme*

    I got the idea from a thread a few days ago: what gendered comments have you received about your hobby?
    For example: as a gamer I het lots of “ermahgerd girls play video games?!?!?!” And another commenter (General Ginger, I believe) noted that upon coming out as a trans man one of these comments he received was “OH, so that’s why you played video games all along”.
    So, let us hear the crazier comments you got for having a hobby usually associated with another gender. Or even just about your hobby in general.

    1. AnecdataIsSpice*

      We’re a white upper mid-class family . My brother didn’t play sports outside school in elementary but played the violin. Multiple times the dialogues with parents (often dads, but also moms) of random classmates went like this:
      ‘what do you do after school’
      ‘I play the violin’
      ‘right, but what sports do you do?’
      Lil bro ‘well, I have a trampoline at home’.
      ‘huh, you’re kind of skinny, you should try sports’
      ‘I like comic books’.
      I’m so glad he was thick skinned…

      Personally, I was chatting with a random suited up guy in his fifties on a plane, who talked about his vet brother, and he was like “wow, it s nice to see a young lady know about veterans” and I answered “yeah, I write fanfiction, it got me to do research PTSD”. He was silent for like 5min with this weird look on his face, must have decided I was still worth talking to, and then we started chatting again.

      I’m also a girl who plays tabletop RPGs and video games, but I’m an engineer, so I guess people figure it fits or something. Got a lot of “so you’re the man in the relationship” (exclusively said by guys) back when fiancé was studying history and philosophy, but that seems to have stopped as we hit our mid-twenties.

      1. only acting normal*

        He took 5mins to process your innocent comment!?
        I wonder what stalled him: fanfic (does he think it’s all 50-shades?), writing, or a “young lady” doing PTSD research? :-D

        1. Thlayli*

          Quite possibly it reminded him of his brothers struggles with ptsd and he had to process the emotion before continuing.

        2. Meliza*

          I know SO MANY people who think that all fanfic = erotica, so I’d bet that’s what his first thought was. I don’t personally get into fan fiction (reading or writing), but I recently had a long, annoying conversation with my dad who just Did Not Get that it wasn’t all “weird sex stuff”.

    2. Jemima Bond*

      When I played rugby (I’m female) occasionally people would ask, “ha ha do you all get in the bath together afterwards ha ha?”
      (At least at one club we did. That multi-person bath was amazing!)

      Not gendered but I notice when I talk about craft-based hobbies (I sew and make bead jewellery and a few other bits) I get many comments that are oddly defensive – “oh I couldn’t possibly do that, I can’t even sew on a button lol”. Now afaiac nobody expects you to! It seems odd to me – if someone says they like birdwatching or jigsaw puzzles, people don’t immediately start claiming they can’t tell a pigeon from a magpie or get blurred vision looking at plywood. I mean, I make clothes/quilts/necklaces/fascinators because i like the process and the product, not because I think it is inherently virtuous (it is very rarely cheaper than buying ready made) or because I think it makes me a better person. So then I worry that people do think I mean the latter and am arrogant/fishing for compliments so I fall into “oh it’s a very simple pattern” or “quilts are so east it’s just straight lines” and the whole thing descends into a downward spiral of self-deprecating Britishness…

      1. Rosemary7391*

        Yes! I get this as well – I never expect people to sew or bake or whatever, in fact if they ask nicely I might even whip a tear or unpicked seam through the machine for them, but they’re so strange about it! Even with cake – yeah it’s decorated all fancy but it’s just cake. Just eat the cake! Nothing else required :P

        I wonder if it’s about producing something tangible/useful?

        Relatedly – I love hats and fascinators but nowhere near enough places to wear them… how do you manage that?

        1. Jemima Bond*

          I haven’t made many fascinators but at age forty I’ve been to a few weddings over the last ten years so I’ve been able to justify some! One I made for a competition (which I won *blush*) and then wore to the evening do of a wedding the following year. The following year my competition entry was cruelly ignored as regards prizes but still looked great at a summer wedding; I made my dress to match! My advice would be, grab any excuse to wear elaborate headgear if you can even just barely get away with it, and ignore the fact that you don’t strictly speaking need to… Never knowingly underdressed, that’s me!
          Re more normal hats you’d be surprised what you can wear on a normal day – in winter I often sport a purple felt slightly cloche-shaped hat with a dipped brim on one side and yes it’s a bit fancy for going round the shops on a Saturday but I tell you what, I get compliments from strangers every single time.

      2. Kuododi*

        I’ve actually been a beaded jewelry maker myself until the Carpal Tunnel got to be too much. Hopefully in the next couple of months after the last surgery….I’ll be able to pick back up with that minor addiction!
        I have a couple of dear friends who are supremely gifted on a sewing machine. I’ve actually made that very comment about ” not being able to sew on a button.”. (guess I am not as original as I thought I was). ;) I’ve always felt nothing but affection and extreme respect for my friends who are able to make such beautiful creations come out of the sewing machine. Never stopped to think about why I was reluctant to learn myself. Probably goes back to a bunch of childhood power struggles with Mom who never understood why I wanted to spend hours a day with my nose in a book. Best wishes!!!

      3. Mother of Cats*

        This happens to me, too! I knit and make jewelry, and find myself downplaying the work I put into the things I wear when I get compliments on them. I’ve definitely made the “it’s a very simple pattern” remark, and I often segue into encouraging people to learn if they’re interested because it’s really fun and not hard at all. Like, “you like this? thanks! it’s wasn’t nearly as hard to make as it looks, you could make one, too! just sign up for this class / read this online tutorial / watch this YouTube video. really, nothing I do is any harder than watching YouTube videos, anyone can do that.” Yeesh.

        1. Red Reader*

          I don’t downplay my own work exactly, but when people look at my knitting – my favorite projects are lace and cables, both of which seem to intimidate people – and go “Oh, I could never do that!” I do have a speech semi-prepared about how it’s just string and no matter what, I have opposable thumbs and scissors, so I will win.

        2. A.N. O'Nyme*

          I know a guy who knits. He usually gets those questions too – after the “oh the lady made you a neat sweater” comments.

          1. Anonymosity*

            I also have a male friend who knits awesome geeky things, like little TARDIS baby sweaters, etc. He cooks really well, too (he’s originally from Mexico City so we’re talking real authentic Mexican food, *droooool*). You ought to see the yield he gets from his garden. And his hair is longer than mine!

            I like him as a friend so I don’t want to date him (he has a girlfriend anyway), but I wish I could do all the things he does as well as he does them!

        3. Life is good*

          Oh my goodness! I do this, too. I like to do the physical construction work on our outdated house – I’m a nearly 60 woman. I was so proud of our fireplace when I redid it with scraps of lumber from other projects and stone I cut myself with a saw. When showing before and after pics, though, I would say stuff like “Oh, I didn’t do anything special, just watched a lot of YouTube and looked at Pinterest.” As if a man could have done it without any tutorials. I won’t do THAT anymore.

      4. Jules the 3rd*

        From the other side: A coworker just made a delicious cake for a work potluck. I complimented her on it, and the rest of the interchange went:
        CW: ‘thanks, I printed the recipe if you want it.’
        Jules: ‘oh, thanks, I saw it and that is nice, but I don’t cook.’
        CW: ‘It’s really simple’
        Jules: Awkward pause because I’ve seen Mr. Jules cook and I do NOT think that whipping cream into a solid mass is simple and I’d rather do four loads of laundry than sit around waiting for the whipping cream to whip…. ‘Yeah, thanks again!’

        I’ve had a lot of exchanges where the hobbyist (including me!) says something that they don’t intend to be pressure to join, but that clearly is felt to be pressure to join.

        That said, I’ve shown Little Jules how to sew on a button, I think everyone should be able to do that.

      5. Lissa*

        I think the defensive comments come when it’s something like sewing or cooking that people think they *should* be able to do – in those cases it’s because sewing used to be something all women were supposed to do.

        I also get these types of comments when it comes to my physical hobbies (indoor rock climbing and yoga). People will launch into a litany of how they totally *would* do those things but they *can’t* because reasons and I’m like…Ok? But yeah, nobody’s ever like that about my tabletop gaming or other geeky hobbies.

        1. Junior Dev*

          Me: I biked to work today
          Person: oh, I’ve been meaning to bike, but my bike needs to be fixed, and I live so far away from work, and … (entire life story)

          It’s like…cool? I don’t exercise so I can shame others for not doing it. It’s totally ok not to bike to work if it doesn’t fit your life.

          1. Ron McDon*

            Yes, I am a vegetarian and I get that all the time when I decline to eat something because I’m veggie: ‘oh, I hardly eat any meat, only once or twice a week’. I’m like …. Ok? I’m not the meat police, it doesn’t bother me if other people like eating meat! Weird…. Although, I have met my share of fanatical vegetarians who feel it is their duty to convert all meat eaters into vegetarians, so maybe people are just used to having to justify their eating habits to vegetarians? I don’t know.

            1. pcake*

              OMG – I’ve been getting that “I hardly eat any meat” thing for decades *lol*

              My out of town buddies – guys who know I never meat shame anyone – meat shame themselves when they’re here. We go to restaurants and stores and they eat no meat for their entire visit *LOLOL* and all the while they keep telling me and each other – or maybe themselves – that they should really stop eating meat. But strangers do it, too :D

        2. Cat Herder*

          Ooo, rock climbing! Me too! And I’m *old*! I find that climbers don’t think anything’s special about an older woman climbing — I’m just another climber. One reason I enjoy the sport.

      6. Quickbeam*

        I am a master knitter. I’ve learned not to tell people at work since they all then want a hat/sweater/Afghan. Once people find out I am forever being besieged with horrible knitting mistakes they expect me to fix with, I dunno, magic beans. They get crestfallen when I look at it and say “ rip it out, start all over, that’s what I’d do”.

        I have taught a lot of coworkers to knit and crochet. I’m pretty tough on men who say they can’t do it; my grandfather and father could knit magnificently. People do think knitting is fast though and underestimate the time involved.

        1. Mallory*

          Yeah, my husband doesn’t knit as a hobby but he’s big into sailing so he does a lot of knot tying and general macrame. I was trying to teach myself to knit, and it drove him so crazy he just learned the basics himself then taught me ;).

        2. Windchime*

          Oh, have you done the master knitter thing where you send in swatches to be judged? I have thought about doing that. I didn’t even know it existed until I started watching Roxanne Richardson’s YouTube channel. I’m a very experienced knitter, but the thought of the Master Knitter’s program still kind of intimidates me for some reason.

      7. beatrix*

        Removed. People want to be anonymous here, so the site rules ask that you don’t attempt to out anyone, even in a friendly way.

    3. Lady Jay*

      I’m a runner. I also like hiking alone in the mountains, when I get the chance (never often enough!). I’ve been given, on two separate occasions, small vials of mace to carry along with me, which I never do.

        1. Rookie Biz Chick*

          Because there are sooooo mannnnnyyyyy baaaaadddd guys in the woods waiting for a poor little lady to snatch and take back to their lair. /s

          Also, bears!

          1. Rosemary7391*

            I see… having applied google this makes much more sense! Didn’t realise that mace was another name for pepper spray – I have a jar of ground mace in my spice cupboard. Still confused though – pepper spray isn’t legal here, I know that’s different elsewhere but do people really just casually hand it out??

            1. Lady Jay*

              Hahahaha. I love this mental image, dousing would-be assailants with random spices from my cupboard. Because I’ve never actually bought the stuff, I’m not sure how my benefactors got it, but both vials were clearly legal, packaged to be sold in a major store (I’m pretty sure at least one of them came from Walmart). They were also both pretty small, like single-use. Maybe small ones are okay?

          2. Lady Jay*

            Bingo. A friend of mine (also single) recently asked whether, when I was hiking mountains, I was worried about creepy men. I told her absolutely not. Especially in the Rockies, where the best hiking is pretty remote, it’d be a lot of work for a creeper to come stalk me up at 10,000 feet! Most people are just gonna creep in the big cities.

            1. Gaia*

              Right? I like to think most creepers are creeps of opportunity. And there probably isn’t a lot of opportunity in the Rockies….

              1. Rosemary7391*

                Even if they were out with intention to creep – why would they look for the metaphorical needle in a haystack when they can just go to the haberdashers? Finding someone off path is difficult enough that search and rescue teams struggle with it, nevermind random creepers.

            2. Lissa*

              It’s like how most crime doesn’t occur in dark alleys at 3am because a criminal would have to sit there and wait, hoping someone happens to walk through it!

            3. CoffeeOnMyMind*

              I’m a runner, too, and my family kept asking me if I had pepper spray with me. I don’t think they ever expressed the same level of concern with my brother when he goes running.

              I’ve only been chased once, in a park in broad daylight by a guy who was clearly intoxicated. Nothing happened – I just kept running, and easily out paced him. But this was the only incident in like hundreds of runs by myself. I’m still not worried about running alone.

          3. blaise zamboni*

            I get this exact thing too. I do take pepper spray and a knife because there are mountain lions, etc, but the conversations I have with people about it always surprise me–I reassured my mom the other day that I had pepper spray and was perfectly safe hiking in this high-use trail that I’ve been hiking for months, and she was like “but your pepper spray is in your bag, a man could grab you before you even know he’s there!” That is noooooot what I’m worried about, but thanks.

      1. Rookie Biz Chick*

        Similar, and folks who ask why my boyfriend lets me go hiking and backpacking alone. Eeeesh!

        1. Junior Dev*

          I get a lot of irritating comments when bike touring or hiking alone. My favorite was so over the top I wasn’t even mad: “you’re all alone out here? No dog? No gun? No boyfriend?”

    4. Jules the 3rd*

      Not explicitly gendered comments, but a story that wouldn’t have happened if I were male:

      My hobby / passion / obsession is reading, mostly spec fic. I am pretty vocal about who I like (Vernor Vinge, McMasters Bujold, Nix, Vernon, Butler, Asimov), who I don’t like (Pohl, Pournelle, Sanderson), and who I like but recognize is not the strongest wordsmith (Lackey) or requires really specific tastes (Weber) . I commented somewhere online that John Ringo was an aggressive, mean person whose writing was not good enough to overcome my distaste for his personality.

      Some Ringo fan tried to Fake Geek Girl me in a comment exchange. While you could do that if I commented on on-line games or RPGs, with comics and books, well, no. Just no.

      When he said ‘I bet you don’t even think Tolkien is good,’ I and several friends watching the exchange had to stop to manage our laughter. I am a *passionate* Tolkien fan. Little Jules is *damn* lucky I knew his dad would never go for Aragorn for a name [multiple other examples of my passion excised for length; suffice it to say that over 40 years, there are a lot of them].

      I spent the next 10 minutes killing him with kindness, discussing Tolkien and several other high quality writers. I mentioned the Expanse, our current TV fave, he said, ‘oh, yeah that’s great’, I said, ‘It gets kind of confusing between the books and the show, they’re taking a lot of stuff out of print order.’

      Him: “I haven’t read the books.”
      Hoist by his own petard, and it felt *good*.

      1. Minocho*

        Actually just started re-reading the Expanse again! I’m really enjoying the show – which speaks well for it, as it’s often hard for me to enjoy a show after reading the book. I find it fascinating to look at the narrative differences and understand how the difference in medium changes presentation.

        If you haven’t read her, might I suggest Ann Leckie?

    5. Ranon*

      I’m a woman that does martial arts, and I’ve had more than one person ask me if my husband also practices. I get some weird looks when I say “oh no, husband has less than zero interest in any sort of contact sport or martial art, but he thinks it’s cool that I do it!” (He finds watching it excruciatingly boring for the most part but he did humor me when I wanted to watch many hours of Olympic matches because he is a good egg).

      1. Kuododi*

        I had a male colleague at the mental health center where I worked in the deep South USA. We were talking about my experiences with local karate classes. (The Sensei was a mutual friend.). My colleague commented about my Karate classes: “I don’t think I could be involved with a woman who could kick my a**.” Mmm noones offering!?!? Btw I think your wife might be a bit testy if you tried. Well…life goes on!!!

    6. That Old JRPG Lady*

      I’m a 40-something year old woman who plays JRPGs. I’ve been playing them since the first gen consoles started porting badly crafted translations. I’ve had my fair share of “oh, you play games? Oh you play those games?”

      To which I want to reply, “Yes, I realize I’d be the crazy old lady who you have to get a tool from to fix a bridge to advance the story but I cut my teeth on these games before you were a twinkle in your mama’s eye, son.”

    7. RockyRoad*

      I’ve gotten a lot of “You’re cool for a girl” and “That’s cool for a girl” type comments from guys about my male-dominated hobbies. When I was into online RPs and MMORPGs guys would also say “But there’s no girls on the internet” and make comments about how I was really good at writing and making characters and gaming for a girl. I know these comments aren’t meant to be insulting but they feel insulting. I’m cool and good at things despite being a girl apparently.

      There was one time where I went to a book signing, and the author asked all the guys in front of me what their name was so he could write out a message to them. When it was my turn he asked who he should be making it out to, and when I said “Me. My name is [name],” he seemed surprised. That was kind of sad.

      In middle school I went through a phase where I loved rap, which I guess must have been more of a guy thing back then. One of my male classmates sang a few lines from a rap song, and I finished the next few lines. He got wide eyed and said, “I didn’t know girls listen to rap!” So I asked what he thought girls listened to. Dead serious, he said “ballerina music.” I was confused at the time but it seems funny now.

    8. Photographer*

      I’m a woman and in my pastime I’m studying art-photography (at the local art academy), something I’ve always been intereseted in and like to do. So on occasion we do expo’s.

      Person XY sees photos of male co-student: “Great photo’s. You are a natural.”

      Person XY sees my photos: “Great photos” He then sees my camera (canon 6D) “But with that camera it is quite easy” and goes on…

      As if it is the camera that is doing all the work and not the person handling it… (btw, totaly beside the point but, male co-student has also a professional camera, albeit Nikon)

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        …You could give me the best, easiest camera in the world and my pictures would still suck, considering I do not have any experience/training in photography.
        As a side note: what is it with people thinking photography is easy? I mean, sure, snapping pictures on your phone is handy and all, but there’s still quite a difference between my 50.000 pet pictures and professional photographs.

        1. Minocho*

          I lived for two years in Japan. I took photos to keep my memories.

          50% of the time I evidently really wanted to remember my out of focus pinky or camera strap…..

      2. pcake*

        Yeah, like the average beginner or phone photographer could pick up a 6D and start taking great pics with it *LOLOL*

    9. Ann*

      I used to do ham radio. Emphasis on “used to”. It was fun in college, when I was mostly interacting with other college students, but where I am currently the groups are all guys and all over 50. As a female in her 20s, the number of times I’ve been called “young lady” is way too high to count. Most of them were nice (if a bit socially awkward), but there was also a lot of guys who assumed I didn’t understand any of the technical side (or were condescending and assumed just got into it because of a boyfriend and would sometimes ask where he was), when in reality I have a degree in electrical engineering and can actually understand the insane math behind RF things!

      I’ve run into it some with gaming. Back when I played Overwatch, I was a Mercy main and would get a lot of toxic things said to me when they realized I was female. I’m not sure what the comment guidelines here are, exactly, but it’s a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t repeat here. I mostly play MMORPGs now and have had a pretty good experience, even with more serious raiding. I think it helps I seek out guilds that are aimed at older people, so that the people I play with most are actually parents and grandparents and therefore much more mature.

      1. RockyRoad*

        I’ve gotten the boyfriend comments too! :/

        I haven’t had toxic things said to me, but have definitely gotten creepy comments, inappropriately intimate questions, and assumptions that I am there to find a long distance boyfriend as soon as my gender was discovered. (On the flip side, some guys became super protective and would shut down creeps, which was nice.)

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Well, I believe fatuglyorslutty.com probably has a pretty good summary regarding the toxic stuff females deal with.
        Such a shame it’s no longer updatet. Some of the stuff was…creative?

    10. Triple Anon*

      Most of my hobbies are masculine. I get a lot of disbelief (“Can you really do that?”). People assume that I’m just starting out even though I’ve been doing these things for decades. If anything goes wrong or I do anything badly, it’s because of my gender. People think it’s a gimmick or a business plan. People think I’m doing it for or because of someone else and not because I genuinely want to be doing it. People think there’s no substance behind what I’m doing – that I just want to be a girl who does this thing and it ends there. And so on.

      On the other hand, when things go well, it really makes a positive difference. When you ignore the ignorant reactions and do your thing anyway, you get to blaze a train that other people can follow, and inspire people. That makes it all worth it.

    11. RussianInTexas*

      I have a big interest in cars, I go to car shows, and subscribe to car magazine.
      For the longest time other commenters on an online car magazine thought I was a man, and would not believe otherwise.
      Friend of mine, a woman, is a huge sports fan. She is a feminine make-up loving, dresses-wearing sports but who kicks people a**s in fantasy baseball. Let’s just say she gets…comments.

    12. Kj*

      So my husband and I are both tabletop gamers. I get all kinds of comments about my GMing games (I’m better at it than my husband, even though he plays more), but my favorite moments always come when I am teaching a new board game to a group of men and my husband is playing too. Half the time, I’m explaining something and the other men playing will ask my husband a question- even though I am talking. Or they will argue with me about the rules, even though they haven’t read them. Or they will stare down my chest while we are setting up, then act confused on the rules. Or in a co-op game, they will refuse to listen to what I have to say about strategy, even though I’ve played the game more than they have.

      1. Kj*

        Oh, I forgot- in art school, I was a sculptor. Specifically, a sculptor who welded. I showed under my initials, not my full name. It wasn’t unusual at art shows to hear people use male pronouns to refer to me. Most of my sculptures were large and metal so the assumption was they were created by a man.

      2. Kj*

        And I laugh because my brother gets it in another way- my brother is an AMAZING baker. Seriously, he would do great on the Great British Baking Show, were we British. And people always think that my mom or I made what he baked at family events. I’m a good baker, but I’m a home baker. My brother does things like caramelizing a sauce to soak a cake and frost it with Italian meringue. He’s awesome at baking. And no one believes the cakes are his….

      3. neverjaunty*

        Oh man. The hobby is slowly getting better, but I will always remember a GenCon when I was in my early 20s, which was, oh, right after the dinosaurs died out. I had signed up for a game of Civilization (the original board game).

        I went to the game area early to find one player already waiting. Y’all, this was a guy who looked like he could have been sent over from central casting for “the script calls for ‘stereotypical neckbeard’, you got anyone you could send over?” When he saw me, his jaw dropped. Visibly. Then he shouted “Wow! I didn’t know any girls played Civilization!”

        I swiveled around mid-step without saying a word and walked right back out to go find a different game. I imagine that guy is still the same, older and a little balder, genuinely mystified why he can’t get any “girls” to play chits games with him.

        1. Kj*

          Male gamers can act SO CONFUSED as to why women don’t want to play games with them. They can’t even see how sexist they are sometimes. It drives me nuts. I actually stopped attending a lot of geek-gaming stuff in my city due to this. I don’t get taken seriously and I get hit on in annoying ways (once, when my husband was sitting right next to me! The dude was VERY crass too). My husband and I mostly game at home, with friends, and have mostly couple friends with even gender distribution. It isn’t perfect though- we had to stop playing with one couple because he could not handle that I gave as much sarcasm back as I got from him. He got visibly flustered when I refused to just take his jabbing remarks- his wife was super-passive, so I suspect he was not used to it. Ugh.

          1. anon today and tomorrow*

            I honestly find male geeks way more sexist than other types of men tbh. They hate on women with such fervor and never realize women don’t want to be around them because they’re horrid human beings who believe they deserve attention from women.

            1. A.N. O'Nyme*

              I once read a theory that honestly perfectly explains this.
              Male geeks state they’re single because “girls don’t like geeky stuff”. Of course, female geeks existing proves that this is false and that maybe their personality is the problem rather than their hobbies. Thus, they need to prove that the female geeks aren’t actually geeks so their bubble can remain intact.

        2. Minocho*

          I love tabletop RPGs, and I prefer GMing by far. New job doesn’t give me enough time to do it the last couple years, but I would sign up to run games at all the local conventions to have one table with a woman GM – try to make it easier for new women gamers to find a place that they might feel like they could relax that the game master, at least, wouldn’t be super annoying to them.

          I have some doozy stories from these cons. My favorite, there was one convention where I signed up to run 4 games – that’s 16 hours over the course of a weekend. In those time slots where I wasn’t running, I’d grab some food and then sit down and work on the next game a little bit or draw. This one guy and his daughter were there as administrative volunteers. The father talked to me a bit, I was friendly, might as well pass the time.

          I must have missed _something_ in that conversation, because all of a sudden he’s handing me his card, and saying that since his wife passed away six months ago, he’s been sad, but I would be a good mother to his daughter, and he’d like to go out. The daughter sees this (I don’t her age, late teenager to early 30’s? Really hard to tell.) and starts screaming about how her father is betraying her mother and then horrible things about me. I’m absolutely nonplussed, uninterested, and supremely uncomfortable, so I wave and get out of there as quickly as possible. And don’t call or email.

          Well, dad uses the mailing list from the con coordinator to get my email, and starts emailing me. I ignore it for a while, but it won’t stop, so I finally reply that I think he got the wrong idea, and I’m not interested. He apologizes and then stops emailing (thank goodness!).

          Six months later, I’m signing in for my welcome packet at another con, and the woman taking my name goes “Oh! You’re Minocho!”
          “Um, yes?”
          The woman holds up her hand. There is a ring on it. “I’m Ann*! I’m [dad*]’s new wife!” I blink. She leans in conspiratorially. “Don’t worry! I don’t believe all the terrible things they say about you!”

          Whew, dodged a bullet!

          *Names haven’t been changed to protect the innocent – they’ve been totally forgotten and made up again after the fact.

    13. NoMoreMrFixit*

      I have the opposite problem – a Canadian guy who hates hockey. For those unfamiliar with Canadian society this is a blend of treason and heresy up here.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        OMG, you are a unicorn! :) I have a ton of Canadian clients and my boss– from the US– is a huuuuge hockey fan, and they all play, so every phone call starts with ten minutes of hockey talk. I have learned to listen quietly, but one day if someone asks me anything, I will probably just say, “Ovechkin! Hat trick! Goalkeeper! Aho!”

        1. Clumsy Ninja*

          Ha! I’m a woman who loves hockey, and so does my younger son. People will ask my son if he learned hockey from his dad, and my husband hates sports. My son just gives them a confused look and says, “No, my mom. Duh!”

          1. Snickerdoodle*

            I’m a female hockey player and have been guilty of that myself. I once asked a kid if he were at the rink to watch his dad play, and he said no, his mom. *facepalm*

      2. Scubacat*

        Treasonous heretic!
        (Canadian female making a joke here).

        I’m a female hockey fan who’s gotten a few gendered comments. Mostly from people surprised that I can discuss the sport as competently as my male partner. When the Leafs got John Tavaras, I just about fainted with joy.

        Other hobbies include various geek topics like Comic Con, MMORPGs, astronomy, and various Science Fiction media forms. Fortunately, I haven’t experienced any gendered comments from those places. Heck, I have a Borg cube on display at my public desk. It’s a very positive environment where half the people around me are geeks. The other half are amusingly tolerant (though perplexed) by us geeks.

    14. Kathy*

      I do some woodworking power tooling after my day job and without fail, every time I got into a hardware store to buy a new tool or some new supplies, I get a lot of, “oh did your husband need you to pick this up, do you want to call him to make sure you’re getting the right thing???” I hate it. This first time I was flustered so I was just like, um well I don’t have one of those so you’ll just have to take my word for it.

    15. King Friday XIII*

      Queen Sara is the video gamer in the relationship, so going into a game store is always a crapshoot of whether they’ll try to talk to me first. I, on the other hand, make jewelry, and it makes me so happy when someone compliments something she’s wearing and she tells them I made it and they give me that surprised “YOU made that? With your giant bear hands???” look.

    16. Everdene*

      Friend: Oh! Has Oak got a new job saw
      Me: Nope, that was my birthday present
      Friend: And he’s going to let you use it?

      Same kind of things when it’s time for a new car. I’m the driver in this relationship, car sales people can’t get that.

      1. D'Arcy*

        My first girlfriend and I got that a bunch, which *really really* highlighted the sexism considering that at the time, she was a aerospace graduate student at MIT and I was her “barely legal” undergraduate partner. I’m a trans girl, and back then I was generally taken for male, so there was a lot of annoyed redirecting along the lines of, “Hey, it’s HER car and SHE’S the engineer. Ask me when it’s biotech.”

      2. The New Wanderer*

        I will admit to using car salesmen gender bias to my benefit when we were shopping for my new car. I hate talking to salespeople when bargaining is a factor so I was more than happy to do all the deciding while my husband managed the conversation that was rarely directed my way anyway. He doesn’t really enjoy the conversing part, being an introvert, but he is keen on a good bargain so it worked out for both of us.

    17. Indie*

      Super odd one: I’ve had some really strange responses from men in the wild when Ive mentioned I’m familiar with and have used (totally mainstream) dating sites. They admit they use them, but seem flabbergasted that a ‘nice young lady’ ‘advertises herself’. So yeah, that’s the thinking behind all the gross emails comrades.

    18. Anonymosity*

      Back when I was skating, I said more than once that we really needed boys and men in the skating club. People would say, “Figure skating is for girls and hockey is for boys!”


      We had a few male coaches and some really young kids who would drop out as they got a little bigger. There was one teenage boy, a Mennonite kid, but the family moved. I was the only adult skater doing shows for quite a while. We had no adult men skating in our shows. A lot of folks tried it when the rink first opened, but boys or men either did not join us or did not stick around long.

      I stopped skating in 2016, but by the time I left, there were some girls playing hockey. I still follow the figure skating club on Facebook, and they now have a boy about ten or twelve who seems to be really into it. YES! I hope he doesn’t quit if stupid sexist kids/parents give him crap about it.

    19. Anonymosity*

      I wrote out a whole answer and the comment box swallowed it. >_<

      When I figure skated, I would often say we should have more men and boys doing it. I heard a lot of "Figure skating is for girls and hockey is for boys!" I heard it from parents, kids, etc. *facepalm* We had a few, mostly small children who would lose interest quickly, and a few adults tried it when the rink first opened. But except for one teenaged Mennonite kid, whose family ended up moving, we had no boys or men skating in any of our shows. Heck, for a long time I was the only adult who skated in the shows! The only men involved in the program for any length of time were coaches.

      I quit in 2016, but by the time I left, there were some girls playing hockey. And I still follow the figure skating club on Facebook. They now have a boy about ten or twelve who seems really into it. Yes!! I hope he doesn't quit if sexist kids/parents give him a hard time. I hope the coaches shut that crap down in a hurry.

    20. HannahS*

      “Aw, you’ll make such a good wife!”

      …well, definitely not for you, buddy. (I sew/knit/bake. Because these things are awesome, not because I’m a woman.)

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        A drunk friend in college once told me, “You’ll make a good wife for a senator.” I still don’t know what was up with that.

        1. HannahS*

          That’s so weird. Maybe you seem like you’d look great in a sheath dress standing behind your husband and smiling grittily while he apologizes for having hired a stripper? To be fair, there’s a skill in that, though it’s not one I’m interested in cultivating.
          It’s the structure of that kind of compliment that’s so rude. For sure, I’ll make someone a great wife someday, but looking at my hard-won skills and being like “Yes, these qualify you to operate for the benefit of a man” is gross.

      2. anon today and tomorrow*

        In grad school, I was told a few times that I was too pretty to waste my time in school and asked why I was pursuing a graduate degree instead of getting married and having kids because I’d be such a good wife/mother.

        As if that’s the only thing women should do with their life, or as if they can’t pursue higher education and have families. My stock answer was always, “So I can change the world so women no longer have to deal with sexist questions like that one”. That usually shut people up pretty quickly.

    21. Cedrus Libani*

      I’m a fairly serious Magic: the Gathering player. Occasionally, I’ll get the double-take when I sit down, especially when I’m doing well in a tournament (matches are typically played against an opponent with the same win-loss record). “Whoa, YOU’RE 3-0?” Dude, I just beat an eight year old, we’re not exactly doing rocket science here.

      1. Anono-me*

        Lightweight player here.

        I always made my purchases at big city independent store that is a a far distance away. Then a chain store moved into the not nearly as far away mall. The first and only time I visited, I was greeted promptly and warmly by the manager who asked what I was looking for. I replied that I was looking for Magic the Gathering cards. He asked if there were any specific cards I was hoping to find, then asked if my boyfriend had given me a list of what he wanted. I explained that the cards were for me and that I would be shopping elsewhere.

    22. CoffeeOnMyMind*

      Last week I was watching an airshow, and I was telling a little girl next to me what the different type of aircraft were. A guy looks at me and goes, “How do you know so much about airplanes?” Um, because my entire family is made of pilots? Like girls can’t know what a C-130 or a P-51 looks like.

    23. Skatey McSkaterson*

      “gosh that sounds awfully violent for girls”
      “but how do you hide the bruises” (I don’t)

      I play roller derby. A sport y’know, mostly played by women*. Also do crossfit which leads to some stunners, mostly from women, about how they think being too strong is masculine etc.

      Conversely, if anyone sees the knitting in my bag, or hears that I’m doing something with choir, I get called “wholesome”

    24. Nash*

      The most egregious was when I was doing hardcore progression raiding in World of Warcraft. Once I’d joined the guild with my partner, we were consistent in noting that we were together and that I was a woman. (I’m nonbinary now lol) I was the only woman in the guild.

      Then I talked on voicechat and everyone was shocked. They’d decided that partner and I were just gay men, and I was pretending to be a woman to avoid homophobia. They also informed me that if they’d known I was a woman, they would never have admitted me. It was nice learning I was playing with the worst stereotypes of dude gamers.

    25. Environmental Compliance*

      I knit as a hobby, but also design patterns & custom knit items for sale. I usually have a project in my purse and will knit during down times. I get a decent amount of comments from people that are surprised I’m knitting because I’m “not old” and also that I’m not knitting baby items. Or, since I do occasionally knit baby items for family members, I must be preggers because why else would you knit a baby blanket? *eyeroll* I also get a ridiculous amount of requests for blankets. I hate knitting adult size blankets. They take forever, and they’re monotonous as hell. No one ever wants to pay what they’re actually worth. No, when I’ve just met you I will not knit you a blanket.

      My new favorite comments are that I’m knitting wrong, since I don’t knit how their grandma/mom/some other random relative knits. I knit Portuguese style, which probably to be fair isn’t super common, but I find it a little entertaining to be told I’m doing it “wrong”.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        Ew. I’m SOOO sick of people requesting knitted items and then being appalled that it’s neither cheap nor quick. I quit accepting commissions for that reason. I also got a ton of “grandma” comments when I was in college, but that has luckily tapered off.

        1. Environmental Compliance*

          I rarely do commissioned items anymore. Mostly just for family at this point. It’s not worth explaining to someone ad nauseum that no I can’t knit [item] in 1 week, out of pure silk, for $10. Nope nope nope.

          I was once knitting an EC-sized sock TAAT in a dr’s waiting room and some guy decided to wax poetic about how adorable it was that I was knitting a baby blanket for my soon to arrive baby. Uh, no, considering I’m past the heel and working on the cuff, should be pretty obvious that they’re socks and not a blanket, and also, definitely not pregnant.

          1. Snickerdoodle*

            LOL! I was once working on a blanket for my dad in the breakroom at work and somebody asked me what I was knitting. The blanket was nearly completed, so, naturally, I sarcastically replied “A sock.” They said “A sock?” to which I replied “Yeah, I screwed it up.” There was an awkward pause, and I looked up to see my coworker’s bewildered expression and had to explain that I was kidding. Apparently, dry humor isn’t for everyone.

            I’ve yet to have anyone assume the baby blankets are for me, but I also usually say it’s for a friend’s baby.

    26. Snickerdoodle*

      I’m a female ice hockey player and, while the male players are mostly great, that attitude does not seem to extend to dating. Guys either don’t believe I actually play, they make dumb jokes about fights, or they make insecure snide remarks about sports in general. I receive similar insecure attitudes when guys who can’t drive stick find out that I do. Alternatively, they hit on me because they like my car and want to drive it.

      “Curiously,” I don’t receive many remarks at all about enjoying cooking, knitting, reading, etc.

    27. londonedit*

      Very late to the party, but I love this question! I’m a woman, and I like football (‘soccer’). I’ve supported my team since I was 6 years old, I will watch any football match I can, and on top of all that I’m a qualified FA referee (I haven’t refereed for about five years as I got into running and that now takes up most of my weekends, but I keep up my qualification because it’s a cool thing to have).

      In my experience, if a man meets other men in the pub and professes an interest in football, the conversation will go along the lines of them asking him which team he supports, followed by either good-natured derision or matey discussion of the team’s current form. If a woman professes an interest in football, or if men overhear a woman making vaguely intelligent comments about a football match, the conversation will go ‘Oh yeah? You like football? Which team did you support? Why do you support them? How long have you supported them? Why did you get into football? Who’s your favourite player? What did you think of their form last season? Can you name the entire FA Cup Final squad from 1997? Who was the manager in 1972?’ etc etc etc. We have to jump through a million hoops to prove that we’re ‘allowed’ to be interested in football (rather, I assume, than being interested in perving at the players’ legs or whatever).

      Also, from the refereeing point of view, if people (and I have to say both men and women are guilty of this) find out I’m a referee, the first question I get is ‘Really? Like…proper football? I mean…like…men’s football?’ Yes indeed, amazingly enough women are allowed to referee men’s 11-a-side ‘proper’ football matches.

  3. anon today and tomorrow*

    I have one thing I’m annoyed by and one I’m questioning:

    1. I gave up on Stitch Fix awhile, but I recently tried them again and requested summer items in light colors and breathable materials. They sent jeans and polyester dresses. I also requested a bit more conservative items since I’m traveling to some countries where it’s recommended to cover knees and shoulders. SF sent a short dress with no sleeves and a low neckline/cutouts and tanks. This is not the first time my note has been ignored, but I’ve finally cancelled my account.

    2. As mentioned above, I’ll be traveling to some more conservative areas. Is it still okay to wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt in the airport? I’ve had several people tell me that going to places like Morocco or Asia means I should dress appropriately for the flight, and that yoga pants with a tank and sweatshirt is disrespectful and airlines might not let me on / might take me aside during security/immigration during layovers or when I enter the country. Is this true? I’d never wear this type of outfit normally, but it’s my go-to comfy airport outfit, especially for a long flight.

    1. Daria Grace*

      Depends where in Asia you are going to. Singapore or Bali pretty much anything that would be acceptable in America would be fine. Perhaps a little more conservative in Malaysia and other parts of Indonesia, but you are very unlikely to need to be fully covered in non-formal settings.

    2. GreyNerdShark*

      Where I live Muslim women wear trousers and shirts not too far in general looks from yoga pants and sweatshirts. What they do is cover them with a long – below knee length – item. Either a loose shirt or a sleeveless tabard sort of thing.

      If you can’t find a shop catering to Muslim women near you, then try your local Plus sized range and look for a large overshirt. Put it on over your comfortable items and belt it loosely.

      1. purple otter*

        By kimono do you mean traditional Japanese dress or do you mean a western-style “kimono” robe? Neither would be really appropriate in an airport anywhere. In Asia people would look at you funny, since most people wear Western clothing in airports. A sweatshirt (but not the cold-shoulder or falling off one shoulder style) with yoga pants would be fine in the major international airports. I would err on the side of being more conservative and wear a longer tunic style top or sweatshirt to cover your behind.

        1. nep*

          I was just looking at some things on a store website last night that were called/categorised as kimonos–but really were just pretty wraps. I was just thinking if the person wanted to throw something over everything. So no–not a traditional dress. I should have said long cardigan or wrap. Anyway just a thought.

          1. purple otter*

            Gotcha. I was thinking either traditional dress or the bridal style flowery “kimono” short robes that seem to be really popular in photos these days.

    3. Thlayli*

      Afaik this is bullshit. Airports are pretty much the same everywhere you get people from all walks of life. Possible exceptions are countries under sharia law.

      1. deesse877*

        There is no such thing as a country “under sharia law.” There are countries with restrictive social rules, some based in religious texts and traditions, that have been codified into law. But it isn’t a different kind of law from that of any other modern state. The use of the term “sharia” is not appropriate in this context, and similar uses of the word are often coded expressions of anti-Muslim bigotry.

        1. A username for aam*

          A lot of the countries who function under what people short-handededly refer to as “Sharia law” have laws on the books that are openly bigoted against women, homosexuals, Christians, Jews, people who like dancing, etc. So I think lobbing the “bigotry” accusation is a little rich in this situation.

        2. Observer*

          It’s worth getting your facts right before making accusations.

          As A Username and Thlayli point out, you are incorrect. And, in fact, this kind of thing can trip people up, even in the airport. I suggest you google the story abut the woman who is being detained in Dubai – for drinking alcohol on the plane.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            A complimentary drink she was given by the flight attendants as part of their regular service. The immigration control person said that her visa was expired and rather than allow her to get a new one, asked her about whether she drank alcohol. When she answered truthfully she was detained with her small daughter and kept in jail for several days before they dismissed the charges (which wasn’t a given!). So upsetting.

    4. misspiggy*

      I travel a lot to Asia and Africa, and I do try to look reasonably smart by the time I get to passport control. I get the feeling staff like foreigners to show respect when entering a country, particularly if that country doesn’t get a lot of respect on the international stage.

      I wear soft jersey dresses, with leggings if bare knees are a no-no, and some kind of jacket or scarf to make it look a bit more formal. Helps avoid showing your midriff or back when you’re adjusting a shoulder bag etc. I find that does get me a bit more helpfulness and respect, which I need as someone with mobility issues. But I’ve never been treated badly as such when wearing sloppier clothes.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      Most travel guides will have a “what to wear” to steer you in the right ballpark, and it helps if you look like you are not a native and so not subject to local expectations. (If you DO look like you might be a citizen of any of your destinations, expect harsher policing of your appearance or actions. For a European example, my tall bland family got chewed out on a train in Germany, and threatened with fines as scofflaws, until we haltingly managed to say “We are American–English?” and then the conductor switched to fluid English and explained we were on too nice a train for our tickets (the high speed express), but as confused tourists he would just explain that and let us off at our destination.)

      If yoga pants are dubious I’d go with a loose travel dress–the “just wear a gigantic shirt” approach.

    6. Tuxedo Cat*

      I don’t know about the disrespect aspect of #2, but would you be okay wearing a long tunic and pants underneath?

    7. Not so rainy*

      When the plane gets ready for landing in Téhéran, all ladies get a scarf out of their bag and cover their hair. In light of this, I would suggest that you board the plane in your most comfortable outfit, and carry a long dress to slip on (in?) before landing.

    8. Meliza*

      I lived in SE Asia for a year and a half and during my time travelled to several different countries, and I generally wore what you described on longer flights. It was never an issue. I usually made an effort to cover my knees and shoulders, but beyond that I just wore what was comfortable. I think you should be fine!

    9. anon today and tomorrow*

      Thanks, all! I think I might find some comfy non-yoga pants or wear a maxi dress with a jacket or wrap just to be safe. I want to be a good tourist and not offend any local customs!

      Also, forgot to ask this in my original post – but do the conservative rules apply in hotel rooms? I’ve also had several people tell me not to wear a tank/shorts/sports bra when I go to sleep, even if I’m in a room by myself, because someone might see me and get offended. This is the only one I’m willing to push back on slightly because I overheat when I sleep (even in winter I need to wear shorts to bed), and if I’m not leaving my hotel room in my sleep clothes, there shouldn’t be a need for me to dress conservatively, right?

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        Wow what? No way….. who’s going to see you in your room unless you step out and wander around the hotel room dressed like that?

        And FWIW–I’ve travelled to Dubai Oman and Pakistan in the past, and I sleep pretty much naked. Of course, if someone comes to the room, I’d get dressed but that’s it.

        There’s also the risk if an emergency happens and you’ll need to leave your room but that kind of emergency could happen anywhere and it’s a risk you take if you sleep naked/very little clothing, in any country in the world.

      2. misspiggy*

        No – what you wear in your own room is your business, and cleaning staff etc are usually unfazed.

    10. Waffles*

      I have traveled to a lot of very conservative countries for work, and in my experience when landing at a large international airport, yoga pants and a sweatshirt is fine. You definitely will not be denied entry to the plane or pulled aside for questioning.

    11. Ann O.*

      I cannot speak to Asia, but I can speak to Morocco-of-10-years-ago. Over a decade, a lot of things may have changed. But when I lived in Morocco, basic politeness as a tourist is mildly conservative dress. Yoga pants would be fine as long as they’re paired with a tunic or other type of top that covers the booty.

      I have no idea why people would think you’re going to get pulled aside or barred from your flight based on clothing. A lot of European tourists dress just like how they do in Europe. Immodest-by-Moroccan-standards dress is common.

    12. jojobeans*

      I’ve traveled and lived a fair bit in conservative countries (currently living in Jordan) so I’ve worked out how to make these rules work.

      One of my go-to’s for hot weather in conservative countries is leggings (full-length ones that cover your skin is (mostly) covered, you’re okay. Just how much skin can show depends on the country and where you are going in it. For example, in Amman, it very much depends on which neighborhood within the city you are in.

      I’ve also never had airport staff do or say anything about how I or anyone else was dressed. The only instances I can think of where it would matter are Iran and Saudi Arabia, where conservative dress really is literally mandated by law – at least for women. Anywhere else you should be fine.

      With yoga pants, if they’re nicer and in good shape, I’d recommend pairing them with something longer, a tank or sweatshirt that covers your butt (butt and chest are good areas to cover – absolutely no cleavage should show under most circumstances in these countries). Some places are okay with short sleeves, some with quarter-length or elbow-length, others require full-length. It really varies depending on where you are going.

      My go-to when shopping for conservative attire has been Forever 21, as it provides cheap, comfortable clothes and often has tunic tops that work perfectly over jeans or leggings.

      If you want to ask me any questions, you can email me at miamagic at hotmail dot com and I’d be happy to help!

    13. Candy*

      I travel to the Middle East twice a year and my go-to airplane outfit sounds a lot like what you’re planning: leggings (thicker ones that look more like ponte pants, not Lululemon), a loose tank top (not figure-hugging), and a long cardigan that covers my ass. I only put my headscarf on and button up my cardigan once I’m past passport control, have picked up my luggage, and am literally walking out the doors of the airport.

    14. LulaCyndi*

      I highly recommend LuLaRoe. Yes I’m a consultant but I started out as a customer in need of modest, useful attire for my HR management position in a manufacturing environment. The company is Mormon owned but definitely not dowdy. They have dresses, skirts, tops, and layering pieces that sound perfect for your needs.

  4. Cristina in England (visiting Scotland)*

    I am in family vacation hell. Only two more days until we go home!!

    1. :-)*

      Hang in there ;-) Hope all the troubles will be gone asap (hopefully the are already gone and you can enjoy Scotland for a bit?)

  5. silvertech*

    Hi everybody, I have had a rough week (one of many, it’s a been a rough time in general) so I thought I’d ask how do you cope when you feel like nothing is working out as you need/hoped. In my case, I’m a very stubborn person, I don’t give up easily, but at the same time I get discouraged very easily when something doesn’t work out or something bad unexpectedly happens. At the moment I feel like everything is going bad: money, (lack of) relationships, work… I feel stuck even though I am putting myself out there and trying.
    I’m in my mid-thirties and I feel like everyone is getting somewhere except me, which I know from a logical point of view it’s not true, but still.
    I’d like some stories, encouragement, strategies… even just virtual hugs/high fives if you feel like it.
    Have a great weekend AAM readers!

    1. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Virtual hug from someone tagging along in this thread. I feel the same way with my studies.

    2. Jemima Bond*

      Gesture of solidarity from over here (what would that gesture look like? I’m thinking nodding with eyes down and thumping one’s chest) re the mid-thirties everyone is getting on better than me thing. Been there. Try to remember your life is not about other people who in one way or another may be more successful. If you can’t give up comparing yourself to others, try imagining you had to swap everything and I mean everything with them. My friend Jane has a marvellously high powered career and a beautiful house, but is run ragged with work travel, and has terrible bunions. Envious of your friend Tangerina’s meteoric rise in her company? Imagine having to wake up next to her husband Fergus every morning, who plucks his nostril hair in front of you and only talks about golf.

    3. BearRamblesOn*

      The thing that works for me is to stop looking at the big picture and focus on the next (baby) step. (Also stop comparing yourself to others.) Give yourself credit for all of the things you ARE doing and getting right including the baby steps you are taking. Every step means you are moving forward and aren’t going backwards. Focus on the next step, kick its ass, rejoice…Aaaaand repeat.

      1. misspiggy*

        Yes. My mother would say, ‘One foot in front of the other’ when things were tough, and that helps me focus on moving forward when the only way out is through.

      2. :-)*

        This is great advice! Indeed, look at all the steps you’ve already taken. Every step is important.

        It took me a lot longer (than most people) to get my Masters degree. 4 years (after my bachelor) instead of the normal 2 years. Because of health reasons (hidden disability) but also because I was strugling with inferiority feelings (imposter syndrome?) and balancing life in general while studying. But I hung in there, I wanted that degree and while it took me a lot longer, I am proud that I have it.

        1. Thursday Next*

          Love your screen name and your post. It took me longer to get my doctorate than most of my cohort (due to physical and mental illnesses) and there were times I thought I wouldn’t finish. I’m very proud and glad that I did. It’s the one accomplishment that never gets old.

    4. Tuxedo Cat*

      Virtual hug from someone who feels the same and had a bad two weeks.

      I’m not great at this, but I think for me, it’s important to feel bad. I sometimes bury my emotions. I don’t want to stay feeling bad, but I need to get it out of my system so I can regroup.

    5. MarisaNova*

      Hugs! Hang in there. 30’s were at times rough for me, too. Believe me, it gets better. :>)

    6. Not So NewReader*

      Uh, am not too sure that ever fully goes away. I am in my later 50s.

      This week my dog developed a hematoma in his ear. (A lump the size of a pinky finger.) While I was trying to work on getting help for him the back window of my car decided to fall out. I won’t bore you with the other things. None of this is huge, but it feels burdensome on top of Life Stuff already running in the background.

      Will friends/family/neighbors help you with some of the smaller stuff so you can get over a smaller hurdle?
      Sometimes we just get a whole string of crappy things happening at once. There is no shame in calling for help. My friend had no problem helping me get pics of my dog’s ears to email the vet. (He feels fine and bounces around, which makes getting pictures of his ear a lot of work.)

      Take the time for extra rest. All this stuff adds to our fatigue levels. And our thinking goes down.

      Reconsider some of the things that aren’t working. Is there an easier way? Is Thing actually necessary? Is there Substitute Thing that would actually work out better in the long run? Sometimes I have found that my Plan B was actually better than my original plan.

      Also consider that you may be taking on too much at the moment. Perhaps resolving things A, B and C first would be good, then move on to another cluster, D,E and F.

      Some problems you can plan on seeing again, such as a broken car. Do you have a trust worthy mechanic? Maybe now is the time to figure this out so you don’t have to keep looking for someone you trust. Here the idea is take a problem and build a solution that you can use over and over. Not helpful right now, but it will be tremendously helpful as you go along.

      I can promise you this. If we look around for someone who is doing better than us, we WILL find those people. Each time, every time. And someone is looking at you and saying, “OP is doing so much better than me!” And that statement is true also.

      The really tough comparisons are comparing ourselves/our lives to what we were last week/last month/ 10 years ago. What are you proud of? I know with me I am can get really proud over stupid stuff. “I finally figured out how to get that black ugly mark off the front door.” For longer term things I can say, “I am proud of me for climbing Mt. Everest A, Mt. Everest B and Mt. Everest C in my life.” Key point: Other people would not think these things are a big deal. but to me I get a sense of accomplishment. Think about where you have been and how far you have come.

      And the last two thoughts are kind of corny but they work.
      Make a list of things you are grateful for.
      Turn and help someone with a concern of theirs.
      These last two things can help you to take back some of the your power that you might feel like you have lost.

    7. Girl friday*

      Mid 30s are tough it gets much easier! I was just thinking, I had so many more enemies in my mid-thirties than I do now. So I guess it gets better hahaha.

    8. Whatsinaname*

      Hang in there. Sometimes all you can do to cross the mountain is to focus on your feet and do it one step at a time. And maybe you need to sit back for a moment or two to assess if this is really what you want. Looking back at my mid-thirties I was completely bogged down by other people’s narratives versus what I really wanted. It ended up being an interesting journey trying to figure it out. Have faith in yourself and above all, be good to yourself and things will get better.

    9. DrTheLiz*

      I definitely sympathise with the “other shoe” feeling. Sometimes it helps to tell my brain it’s being irrational and it
      should stop. I once half-woke up from a nightmare, remembered that a friend of mine would say “Bad TheLiz’s brain! Stop making my friend unhappy!” and that made me feel a lot better and I finished out the night’s sleep. So, bad Silvertech’s brain. Stop making them unhappy!

      I also try to tell myself every day that I’m a badass and I’ve got this (true or not!). You, too, are a badass and you’ve got this!

    10. Thursday Next*

      I’m kind of here with you right now (except I’m a decade older). So maybe this isn’t the best week for giving an I Got Through This, So Will You pep talk.

      Instead I will offer hugs and solidarity.

  6. Miss Fisher*

    Couple of things:

    1. Watching Make it on tv an realizing I am not at all as creative as I thought I was. My hobby skills pretty much ends at paint with diamonds.

    2. Went to see Eighth Grade – it was excellent. I don’t think I have ever seen middle school so accurately displayed, not to mention, my awkward 8th grade self. But a gripe… I went to use my MoviePass. I had checked the availability earlier that day, drove to the theater the movies were blocked at that time. So frustrating. I know I will be okay once they roll over to the 3 a month, but I think they are seriously hurting the small indie films by limiting how many to see. I wish Cinemark’s program was a lot more like AMC’s. If it was, I would be switching over.

    1. Waiting for the Sun*

      I’m looking forward to seeing Eighth Grade. In my city, indie films are at a Landmark theaters, which don’t have the annoying reserved seating – a win-win for me.

        1. Miss Fisher*

          I typically prefer it, because the seats are way comfier. We do have an indie theater chain but Cinemark has been showing a lot of the recent indie films. They played all the Oscar films. I do notice though that if I don’t check out the indie chains I miss out on some good films. I missed Gemini thinking it would be a wide release. The indie chain is also the only one showing the Mr Rogers film right now.

          1. WellRed*

            True, the seats are comfier. But if the theater is practically empty, just sell me the darn ticket instead of trying to suss out seating on a screen.

          2. Anonymosity*

            I looooooove it. I don’t have to worry about getting to the cinema and someone being in my preferred seat. I’m so very spoiled now by going to Alamo Drafthouse.

        2. LCL*

          I love it, because my partner is really tall, and there are only a few seats that work for him. But it does suck the spontaneity and randomness out of the experience, which are the big reasons I will choose going out over Netflix.

        3. Temperance*

          I love reserved seating! I hate having to move to accommodate other people who didn’t plan well.

    2. Come On Eileen*

      The availability of theaters and movies and showtimes in MoviePass right now is super sketchy – they have been pulling things left and right as they try to stay solvent. I’ve been a customer for around six months and LOVE it, but the past few weeks have been a nightmare. There’s a reddit I follow where people are posting about all the ups and downs with MP — here’s the link:

      1. Miss Fisher*

        Agreed, I hadn’t had any problems until recently. I knew when signing up it wasn’t going to last so decided to use it as much as I can while we still can. There haven’t been too many movies recently though that I had wanted to see. July was kind of a total movie bust for me.

    3. Anonymosity*

      MoviePass has proved unsustainable the way it was, and it’s in trouble. They’ve had to dial back to three movies a month because so many people were gaming the system.

      I would like to see Eighth Grade, but I think I’ll wait until it’s streaming. I have to limit my movie trips–I spent too much going to see Infinity War repeatedly and I want to have the money to buy that one.

  7. Ann Furthermore*

    I’m up late tonight because tomorrow we are saying goodbye to our sweet old-lady dog Sadie. She is 14, and her health has been declining for awhile. A few days ago I finally accepted that it is time. She’s very restless and can’t get comfortable, her breathing is labored, I can see that she’s lost quite a bit of weight, she’s been having accidents in the house, she struggles with the stairs, she no longer hears very well, and I think she’s gotten a bit senile.

    My daughter is finally asleep after having a good long cry. I told her about a month ago that the time was coming, so she’s had some time to think about it. So it’s not a shock, but of course she’s heartbroken just the same.

    Tomorrow is going to be a very hard, sad day, but I will be thankful that Sadie is no longer suffering. It sucks all the way around, but it’s the right thing to do.

    1. I❤️Spreadsheets*

      I will be thinking about your family and Sadie. I don’t think I will ever forget having to make that decision with our dog Zoe. Dogs (and cats) are one of the family and it is such a hard decision to make even when you know it is the right one for them.

    2. Kuododi*

      Oh my dear….you and your family both two and four legged are in my heart. DH and I have walked this path more than once and I fear it is coming again soon with our beloved grandpa Daschund.

    3. Lemonworld*

      I am so so so sorry about your poor sweet dog and the heartbreaking decision that you’ve had to make. The biggest flaw of dogs is their short lifespan. We had to put a beloved dog to sleep almost a year ago, and it was so difficult. And even though we now have two dogs that we love (didn’t intend to get two dogs, it just happened over the last year), nothing entirely fills the space of the last dog, or the dog before that either. We are just lucky and grateful to have such lovely creatures come into our life.

    4. Rebecca*

      Hugs to you and your family, it’s difficult, I know, but you are doing the best thing for Sadie. She knows that.

    5. A.N. O'Nyme*

      When Her Fuzzy Highness needed to be put down that was probably the hardest decision I ever made, but it was the best for her. My condolences for you and your family.

    6. Anona*

      I’m really sorry. We put down our sweet dog in April, and I still get sad over it. I have found this essay to be helpful/true.
      Pasting the link in a separate reply. Essay is “grief comes in waves.”

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      Internet hugs. We have put down one pet, who was in a rapid decline from brain cancer, and our vet staff was really great. We both cried a lot, but the staff know you’re going to do that.

    8. SpellingBee*

      I’ll be thinking of you today, too – it is so dreadfully hard, but you’re doing the right thing. It’s been a year since our last kitty died (at 19), and I’ve been reluctant to get another. I just don’t know if I can handle the heartbreak anymore.

      1. Windchime*

        I felt that way a few years ago after I had to say goodbye to my 19 year old kitty. I was heartbroken and missed him so much. I didn’t intend to get another cat so soon, but then I held a tiny, fluffy kitten and I was sunk. Getting him really did soften the blow of losing my old cat and I am so glad that NewKitty is part of my life. I deal with the inevitable by pretending that it won’t happen with NewKitty.

    9. Ainomiaka*

      I’m so sorry to hear about that and will be thinking about your family. You’re right, it sucks all the way around even when it’s right. Long distance non-invasive internet hugs.

    10. Ann Furthermore*

      Thank you everyone for your kind words. I realized this morning that I’m thankful that I was unable to sleep last night. In the last few days, it seemed like Sadie was perking up a little bit and I was second guessing our decision. But she was up and down all night, pacing around the house, and couldn’t stay still for more than a few minutes at a time. I read so many things about this, and this is listed as one of the signs of a dog that is suffering and in pain. So last night’s insomnia was a blessing in disguise, because it made me realize that we’ve made the right decision.

      My daughter is spending some time with her now, saying her goodbyes. In a little while, my husband is going to take her out to buy a gift for her best friend, whose birthday is tomorrow, and she also needs some new cleats. He and I both agreed that it would just be too hard for her to have to see Sadie leave for the very last time, so they’re going to leave first.

      1. Gaia*

        My last night with Ludo, I was up all night. I hadn’t finally decided it was the end, but that night sealed it for me. Even on the strong pain medications he was in too much pain to lay down. I spent all night with him, laying on the floor, sweeping (he weirdly loved the broom) and hand feeding him pieces of chicken thighs. By the time the sun came up, I knew it had to be that day. It was the hardest night I’ve ever had, but I am forever grateful we spent that night together.

      2. MarisaNova*

        So sorry for your loss. Sadie truly was a family member. Reminds me of our cat Tiger, who we got in 1980 when the kids were little. Eighteen years later we had him put to sleep as he couldn’t walk anymore/other age problems. He spent his last day in our backyard, basking in the sun with the 4 of us talking and laughing around him, to make his last moments as inclusive as possible. Not a dry eye when we brought him home. 20 years later, I still smile when I think of him as I pass his spot in the garden.

    11. I Love Thrawn*

      I am so sorry. I know exactly how hard this is, but remember, this is also an act of love.

    12. Gaia*

      I’m so sorry to hear this. I will never forget realizing it was time for my dog. He was just 9 and while he’d been sick for a few years it was always manageable…until it very suddenly wasn’t. No words will make this feel better, but just know you are doing a very kind thing for Sadie and she was well loved and knows it.

    13. NJ Anon*

      We just revently had to put our sweet 14 year old pup down. I still cry. When i get sad i try to remember the good times. She had a good life. All the best to you!

    14. Not So NewReader*

      They are certainly a gift in our lives. And they do service even in ways that we cannot fully explain. No two are alike, ever, each is special in their own way.

      Very sorry, internet hugs for you and yours if you want them.

    15. Amadeo*

      I am so sorry. I just put down my 20 year old cat on Wednesday afternoon. She’d had CRF for the past four years and been doing fine but finally hit end stage I guess (or grew a brain tumor). She started with short little seizures that slowly got longer over the course of a couple of weeks (seizures aren’t dangerous unless they happen to hit while you’re at the top of the stairs, a conversation with the vet calmed me into waiting and taking it day by day) until I came home from work Wednesday and found her ‘stuck’ in one, exhausted, mentally absent, covered in drool and urine. I wrapped her up in a towel, took her in and said good-bye. I knew it was coming. Doesn’t make it easier.

      I commiserate with you in the rawest way possible. Stock up on some comfort food and take care of yourself afterward.

    16. StellaBella*

      My sincere condolences. I had to put my fuzzy buddy Loki, a malamute, down 7 years ago. He had lymphosarcoma. As you say it is for the best as Sadie will not suffer any longer. Hold her when they give her the shots. It will be hard but it is the compassionate thing to do. Big, big hugs.

    17. Bluebell*

      Awwwwww. I’m so very sorry for you your family and your pup. It won’t be easy, but you know you’re doing the right thing. Hugs to you.

    18. Minocho*

      It doesn’t make it stop hurting, by any stretch, but remembering how many years of joy you gave each other helps keep the perspective that even though it really, really hurts, the total balance is obviously on the side of love an joy over all those years.

      I’m getting close on my 17 year old cat I brought back from Japan. I’ve had him since he fit in one hand! I’ve already lost the other Japanese cat, and even after 3 years, thinking about her can bring a tear to my eye. But I rescued her from the street, badly injured, and gave her a good 15 years of love, comfort, and probably too much food.

  8. The RO-Cat*

    Surrounded by illiberal countries and in Russia’s crosshair, we Romanians fight dearly to keep our frail democracy alive. Last night a masive protest (100,000+ in Bucharest, about 60,000 alltogether in several major cities), chiefly organized and populated by Romanians living abroad, was violently crushed by riot police. Times may be worrying or even bad for us, but we won’t go down without a fight.
    (My user name is a link to The Telegraph article. I don’t know how serious this news outlet is, but the article is pretty balanced, though tame).

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Good luck.

      I am so sick of corruption in politics. I hate the way that it’s invaded the political system and it seems to be accepted. It’s time that the politicians remember that they serve the people, not the other way around.

      I know a little about Romania through a Romanian student of mine and it’s a fascinating country with an incredible history. Your democracy may be frail, but the people are strong.

      You can do this.

      1. The RO-Cat*

        Thank you, Foreign Octopus! I actualy think we’re just a symptom of the pendulum movement of the whole humanity. After long decades of opening up, globalization, acceptance and human rights now the losers of the evolution are coming back with a vengeance: Trump, Brexit, the rise of the extreme right in Europe, illiberal regimes… all are symptoms. Plus, the demise of the national state (good read in The Guardian, btw).
        It makes me happy that you know about my country – thank you.

        1. Anonymosity*

          I choose to believe it’s the flailing death throes of fascism. It may take longer to kill it than we would like, but it’s fighting so hard to come back because it’s slowly dying.

          Sending good vibes to you and your country. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

          1. The RO-Cat*

            Thank you for the good vibes, Anonymosity :-D !
            Fascism is a good term, I guess. The whole situation, IMO, encompasses fascism and more, but it’s a good word to convey the threat of ignoringit.

    2. Barbara*

      I don’t know much of the situation in Romania but it’s scandalous that people cannot protest without being crushed in a democracy.

    3. Thlayli*

      That’s awful. I must admit I don’t know much about the situation in Romania but that’s terrible. I hope things improve.

    4. The RO-Cat*

      Since Romania is a small and, globally speaking, unimportant country, I don’t expect many to know about it. I’ll give a short rundown here for anyone interested:
      – Romania is in Eastern Europe; it was part of the communist bloc and, after a bloody revolution in 1989, turned to democracy
      – we are part of the EU and NATO and enjoy both the advantages and the obligations coming with that;
      – we are part of what (specialists say) Russia sees as “the buffer zone” between it and NATO, in spite of our belonging to NATO. As such, we’re constantly under attack, though not a military one (if not, we’d have already have the fate of Ukraine). We, as a nation, still vividly remember the communism, the terror, the famine, the Soviet soldiers plundering and raping. As such, Russia’s operations are necessarily way more underhanded and covert.
      – we are surrounded by – or very close to – several of Europe’s “illiberal democracies”: Hungary, Poland, Belarus, Turkey, Czechia. Echos from these authoritarian rulings arrive here, though muffled as yet.
      – the present ruling party’s president has two criminal convictions, one definitive, one in appeal, and several other criminal investigations started. As he cannot be a prime-minister he appointed a strawman as PM (the third in one year and a half, the latest being a strawwoman as it is)
      – he’s the acting “capo di tutti capi” and behaving like a Mafia boss, just with the power to change laws to suit him. Most of the people oppose that. The last year and a half (starting Feb 2017) was a constant battle: they tried several ways to whitewash the ruling RICO gang, we took to the streets, again and again.
      – Romania has the second-biggest emigrated population, after Syria (and we are still at peace!). Last night’s protest was started – and in part populated – by Romanians living abroad, who came home to vacation and protest. That was huge, since so far the Romanian Diaspora didn’t bother much with politics (and, since they send money home, they wield huge power over the families back home).
      – riot police made a hell of a demonstration of violence and incompetence at the same time. 452 protesters and 9 riot police were injured.
      – our ruling RICO group would like to see us cower in fear; we’d like to see them tan with parralel lines. Only one can prevail.
      – stand by for more violence in the upcoming months.

      1. Rookie Biz Chick*

        I love learning about a country and culture from folks who are living it! So sorry this madness is going down in your country and I will be following it in the news. All the best.

      2. fposte*

        Thanks for the summary, RO-Cat. My Romanian knowledge is pretty limited, and this was an eye-opener, especially the part about the diaspora. It’s unfortunate that the best way for a small country to make it to the world stage is with a tragedy.

        1. The RO-Cat*

          Thank you, fposte! You are your usual, wise and compassionate, self. Th silver lining of this situation is that Romania became something of a surprise, a kind of regional leader in street protests for principles. Since all around us democracy seems to be going down with barely a whine from the society at large and we still fight… many were surprised.

      3. MarisaNova*

        Have a few Romanian friends, who I met individually at various times over the past 15 years. Wonderful, fun, educated, just all great people. One family went back to live there a year ago/sold everything in America. Got an email they are coming back as soon as they sell their property they bought. Things as they remember them in Romania have changed horribly since they were back home, and they are fearful so coming back to US to start over again. Many prayers to you to and your fellow countrymen that GOOD change comes out of all of this.

        1. The RO-Cat*

          Thanks a lot, MarisaNova. I’m not surprised that family decided to come back o the US, though it saddens me. Things took a turn to the worst in the last year and a half. No wonder active, productive people were leaving in droves over the years. I just hope we’ll rebuild this country and make it, once again, welcoming for our Diaspora.

      4. Woodswoman*

        Thank you for posting about this, The RO-Cat. It’s hard to keep up with international news, and repression must have as much light shown as possible to bring pressure for change. Your courage is inspiring.

        1. The RO-Cat*

          Yes, the whole world seems to be in turmoil these days: US presidency, Brexit, Putin, Erdogan, disseminated lone wolf attacks, there is too much to take in daily. That’s why I chose to write here, too. For awareness. Maybe someone in a different country feels inspired and gets into action.

    5. Triple Anon*

      I wasn’t aware of this, but I just started learning a little Romanian. I’m thinking of you all and I’m going to read up on what’s going on and become more informed. Greetings and good wishes from the U.S.!

      1. The RO-Cat*

        I’m curious, Triple Anon: what made you start learning Romanian? It being a Romance language it’s difficult by default; plus, it has all those weird vowels. All in all, it’s a difficult task.
        Anyway, I’m glad to help in any way, if you need help.

        1. Triple Anon*

          I’m good with languages so I study them as a hobby. I had always been curious about Romanian because it’s a romance language, and therefore similar to languages I’m more familiar with, but I don’t know anyone who speaks it.

          As a first impression, it seems very different from French, Spanish and Italian. It’s intriguing. Thank you for offering to help!

    6. Gaia*

      I saw this news and I was horrified. There is no excuse for such barbaric behavior. A government that fears protests is not fit to govern!

      I know a little of Romania (admittedly not much) but from what I hear it is a beautiful country with a rich and wonderful history and good people. We Americans are mired in our own mess here, but I’ll be cheering you. Don’t get dismayed. It may take time, but good will come out ahead.

      1. The RO-Cat*

        Thank you, Gaia! In fact I do believe we’re in this together. The problems may *look* different, but they have the same roots, here as well as in tne US. I’m optimistic – we’re on the right side of evolution; it’s gonna take time and effort, though, to see this through. I’ll be rooting for you, too!

        1. Gaia*

          Thanks and I agree. The MLK quote (repeated by President Obama) based on a Unitarian sermon by Theodore Parker “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice” is a helpful reminder these days. Sometimes it goes off-course, but overall, I believe when we stand back, we’ll see this is true.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Years ago, by some odd string of incidents my husband and I met a very nice Romanian couple. They fled Ceausescu’s Romania with the clothes on their backs. I listened to their story. My heart aches for you and your country, Romania has been through so much. You all are in my prayers.

    8. StellaBella*

      I saw this on CNN. I am so sorry this is happening and you have my support. I spent some time in Bucharest in 2012 in the Palace of Parliament in the summer and the government changed a few nights before our event happened and it was interesting, as they were the host country. Please stay safe and connected as much as possible with others outside and try to get more information out and raise more awareness via anonymous social media, if it is safe for you to do so.

      1. The RO-Cat*

        Thank you, StellaBella. 2012 was a dark year, too; we were lucky to be in the EU and, as such, politicians weren’t able to have their way, but it was a close call. We’re using social media (that’s how this protest was set up, we are huge Facebook users) and foreign TV channels brodcast, usually, what’s happening. It’s just… frustrating to have to fight, again and again, for the same principles. It’s like politicians never learn. Oh, wait…

    9. The RO-Cat*

      Saturday night update: Friday’s violence got the crowd even more determined. Saturday there was another rally, somewhat smaller (~80k, compared to 100k+ Friday) in Bucharest and something around 50k alltogether in several other cities. Many protesters came with face masks and goggles (protection against tear gas). This time the riot police was calm, even friendly. It’s like they were scared of what they did the previous night. Which might very well be true, since (a) the military prosecutors started an investigation in riot police’s actions Friday night and (b) many of those wounded started procedures to sue riot police – and individuals in the riot police – for their injuries.
      For now, all seems to be calm, but I reckon it’s the calm before the storm. I hope I’m wrong.

  9. Foreign Octopus*


    What’s everyone reading this week?

    After finishing the eighth Amelia Peabody book (love Amelia – it was nice to catch up with her and Emerson), I’m now reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I so want to see that film! I didn’t realise it was adapted from a book – guess that’s going on my Book Depository wish list :)

      2. Julianne (also a teacher)*

        I devoured the whole series last summer, and just gave the first one to my husband to try before we see the movie. He was reading aloud from it last night, with little editorial comments.

    1. Daria Grace*

      I’m reading Bodacious: The Shepherd Cat by Suzanna Crampton. The story of life on a farm as told by the cat sounds like it would be cheesy but its not, its really delightful and beautifully written

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Oo, you might enjoy The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa then.

        It’s about a journey a cat takes with his human in order to find a new home. The cat’s voice is very sarcastic and funny, which is exactly how I imagine cats to be.

        1. Bumpjumper*

          Are these kid friendly? I have a 12 year old who is a cat lady. She wears cat ears every.single.day and would just go bananas for a book like this.

          1. Foreign Octopus*

            I’d definitely say The Travelling Cat Chronicles is fine for a 12-year-old. It does have sad elements but nothing that a 12-year-old can’t handle i.e. death of parents etc., but it’s accessible for someone your daughter’s age.

    2. Tau*

      I read Deep Undercover by Jack Barsky, which was really interesting – the real-life story of a KGB spy from East Germany in the United States who basically faked his death in order to stay when the recall order came. Something of a change from my usual SF/F fare, but since I’m from the former West and living in the former East I’ve been trying to learn more about the GDR and the Cold War and the book caught my eye in a bookshop. (I’ve also been meaning to read more in German, and only realised after the fact that the book was a translation from the original English – oops.)

    3. Julianne (also a teacher)*

      Just finished Sarah Kendzior’s The View From Flyover Country, and I’m halfway through Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star.

    4. Adele*

      I read Stranger in a Strange Land 40-some years ago and loved it. About 10 years ago I chose it for my book club read. I was in my 40s and all other members were women in their 20s. While re-reading it I was horrified at how badly written and sexist it is, not to mention boring. At our meeting, everyone was dismayed that I recommended the book. I was so embarrassed. But at least we can use the word “grok” insousiantly.

      1. foolofgrace*

        I agree. After reading it I remember thinking what an old goat Heinlein was. I never went on to read anything else by him. Sounds like your book club meeting about this book was lively, though!

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        I’m just at part three (about a half of the way through the book) and I’m definitely seeing the sexism. Jubal Hershaw – I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be a sympathetic character or not but I don’t like him. All that nonsense of “fanny-patting” and how the women seem to enjoy it (like Becky for example), and then there was that scene where Anne, Miriam, Dorcas, and Jill all took turns kissing Mike – I mean what the hell?!?

        It’s definitely not what I expected. I was hoping to have the story from Mike’s POV but Heinlein is getting bogged down in legal and political rubbish.

        I’m disappointed by it but I’m going to finish it.

        1. Adele*

          Juba is a hero, the man to admire. Heinlein was a champion of the free love movement–back when men only saw it as something to benefit them.

      3. Mephyle*

        Very similar experience to Adele’s. I read Stranger in a Strange Land when I was about 12 or 13 and I was reading all science fiction indiscriminately and almost exclusively.
        I haven’t re-read it since, but from the little I remember, I’m sure that I would have a similar reaction now. One sentence still sticks with me (quoting in paraphrase, since I don’t remember the exact wording). From the back I thought she was about 18, but when she turned around, I upped my estimate to 25. Even without re-reading the book, my reaction to the viewpoint enshrined in that sentence has changed drastically from the age of 12 to 60-something.

        1. Mephyle*

          Oops, I messed up the closing italic element. I think you can tell what I was trying to do there.

      1. CAA*

        Oh, that is awesome! When we went to Oslo last year, one of my must-sees was the Kon-Tiki museum. I can remember watching the documentaries about Heyerdahl’s Ra II expedition when I was a kid and that got me to read Kon-Tiki, so it was a big thrill to see the original raft. Even though his theories about Polynesian migrations have been disproved, I still really admire his adventurous spirit.

    5. Cece*

      I read Eileen by Otessa Mosfegh (she wrote the recently released “My Year of Rest and Relaxation”) – I loved it! It’s a little odd (very odd) but the writing is great and the plot is really well done

      Also just read Summer by Edith Wharton – had never read a Wharton novel before and it was great. Even though it was published 101 years ago the themes are still applicable to today and I thought her writing (especially the mirroring of the nature/weather to what was happening to the main character) was beautiful

      Appreciate others’ book recomendations!

    6. hermit crab*

      I started a new job recently (this is relevant to the thread and is not about work, I promise) and my team works on climate resilience issues. Appropriately, my new boss and co-workers are all really into “climate fiction” aka “cli-fi” and recommended the Burning Worlds column on the Chicago Review of Books website. It’s amazing, you guys!! I love all kinds of disaster/apocalypse/dystopian fiction so now I am basically treating it as my personal reading list. The actual Burning Worlds posts are super cool too.

      1. StellaBella*

        That sounds so cool! I will check it out – studying coastal flooding and health and well-being for my MSc thesis now, so thanks for something else to read after I am done with university in 4 weeks!

    7. Hera Syndulla*

      I’ve finished the Sci-Fi novella Binti by Nnedi Okorafor.
      While it is very well written and has an interesting premise, it has some events that are completly ignored at the end and had no consequences whatsoever which made it a bit weird at the end. 3/5 stars.

      I’ve just started: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman is an amazing writer, so I’m pretty sure that I won’t be disapointed.

        1. CoffeeOnMyMind*

          I love Good Omens! I have a very battered but treasured copy, with my favorite parts dog-eared. Highly recommended.

      1. Ann O.*

        I feel like Nnedi Okorafor does that a lot in her books. I love her writing and worldbuilding, but her plotting not so much.

      1. Adele*

        I think Ghost Road is part of a trilogy, or at least Barker has a couple other WW1 books. They inspired me to go one to read many other WW1 histories, novels, and memoirs.

        1. Middle School Teacher*

          It is, it’s the last book in the trilogy. I didn’t realise that when I picked it up but while I’m sure the other two would add to the story, the book is fine on its own.

    8. Cringing 24/7*

      I’ve just today finished Against Empathy by Paul Bloom and I’m going to either finally read number9dream by David Mitchell or re-read Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor next (a favorite).

      1. The New Wanderer*

        I think I’ve read all of them by now, but I vastly prefer the earlier novels. Once the children grow up, it gets to be a bit much. I am not a fan of Nefret.

    9. Parenthetically*

      I’m in Perpetual Reread mode (due to small busy child life craziness I just don’t have the headspace right now to tackle new books and am frankly just grateful for the bandwidth to read at all) so I’m currently rereading Have His Carcase having just finished Strong Poison.

      1. Book Lover*

        Oh, nice! I keep meaning to go back to Wimsey. You might consider Dick Francis as a relaxing follow up. I always find they feel like a reread even when they are new to me :)

      2. Thursday Next*

        Totally feel you on the lack of bandwidth. Rereading is awesome. Dorothy Sayers is also awesome. Gaudy Night might be my favorite.

    10. Book Lover*

      Just finished Fangirl and was a bit disappointed. Fair enough, it was about a girl who was obsessed with a series and wrote fanfic, but it didn’t really show actual fandom – with communication with other fans, conventions, so on. It was very readable but all too tidy, with the roommate who fixed her anxiety about going to the cafeteria, a guy who was instantly in love with her, etc. Oh well.

      1. Ey-not-Cy*

        I would recommend Geekerella by Ashley Poston for a fun take on fandoms. It’s young adult like Fangirl, and I think Levi is just the best book boyfriend ever. But, I can see how you would be disappointed if you were looking for fandom things.

        I’m currently reading Black Wings Beating by Alex London, and Salt by Hannah Moskowitz, (an ARC). Next on my list is Dread Nation by Justina Ireland and From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. I’m a high school librarian, so I read mostly YA. My summer is over tomorrow.

    11. Dr J*

      I am getting back to my love of classical mythology. Just finished listening to Circe by Madeline Miller, which was amazing and totally engrossing and the narrator, Perdita Weeks, is perfect. Now I’m reading Lavinia by Ursula LeGuin, which I definitely recommend for anyone who likes poetry. (The book isn’t poetry, but the character Lavinia is aware that she’s a poetic invention–it’s neat.)

    12. MsChandandlerBong*

      I’ve been convalescing, so I have a lot of time to read! I finished Stephen King’s “The Outsider” (loved it), “Reel of Fortune” (book #12 in the Miss Fortune mystery series), and “They Won’t Be Hurt,” a thriller by Kevin O’Brien. Enjoyed them all, but especially liked “The Outsider.” It was very “Stephen King does Twin Peaks”-ish.

      1. Lemonworld*

        I read “The Outsider” earlier this summer and absolutely loved it. Have you read “Dr. Sleep”? It’s also fantastic and although technically a sequel to “The Shining”, you don’t need to have read “The Shining” to enjoy “Dr. Sleep”.

        1. MsChandandlerBong*

          I have not! For someone who reads a lot, I have read very few of King’s books. I think I’ve only read “Carrie,” “Nightmares and Dreamscapes,” “Gerald’s Game,” and “The Outsiders.” I will see if the library has the e-version.

    13. MarisaNova*

      Thought to start over again with the Classics, so began with Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain. I could not make it past page 25. Hate to admit this, but I was bored, especially with Twain’s writing style. The horror to say it. So… I am back to my Amish mystery series, and after that Sir Conan Doyle.

    14. Wulfgar*

      I just read “Silent Companions,” a Victorian horror story. “Then She Was Gone” is a modern day thriller. “The Ship” is a modern day retelling of the Ark story. Narrator is not likeable at first, but give it a chance. I’m currently reading “The Martian,” and I Read “Artemis” last week.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        Oo, what did you think of Artemis?

        I read it last week as well. I didn’t think it was anywhere near as good as The Martian but I still enjoyed it.

    15. Woodswoman*

      I’ve been working in the environmental field my entire adult life, but hadn’t yet read what’s considered a classic, Aldo Leopold’s nonfiction “A Sand County Almanac.” It’s great to finally dive in.

    16. Anonymosity*

      I’ve been re-reading a lot of stuff. Which is hilarious, since I have a TON of books on my Kindle I haven’t got around to yet, LOL.
      I suspect it’s a way to avoid thinking too much. Or being influenced when I’m trying to work out a story.

    17. Lemonworld*

      Just finished “Cabin at the End of the World” by Paul Tremblay. It’s solidly in the horror/suspense genre with a whiff of possibly the supernatural that’s kind of his trademark – you just never know whether what you’re reading is solidly rooted in actual reality or if there’s something otherworldly going on.

    18. Aurora Leigh*

      Alien Research by Gini Koch. This a really fun series! They’re basically romance novels mixed with fun sci-fi elements, and a kickass heroine. It’s mind candy — perfect for summer! The first in the series is called Touched by an Alien.

  10. Otillie Rae*

    I seem to have injured my hip this week. Beavers have been trying to build a dam inside a culvert on my road. So I spent three hours chest-deep in water, putting my body into odd positions and pulling (and pulling and pulling) on the mass of sticks and branches, trying to get water flowing again. When I came out (tiny bit of anti-beaver progress achieved, yay), everything hurt. After 36 hours it had narrowed down to a muscle in my left hip, which has been throbbing brutally against my sciatic nerve ever since.

    It’s either the most bad-ass or the most banana-pants way to injure myself ever. I can’t tell.

    But my question for y’all: How do I pain? I’ve lived a ridiculously healthy and pain-free life thus far (I’m in my 50s). I’ve never experienced anything like this. I just want to (I sometimes do) lie on the couch and cry. I’m taking Advil, applying heat, applying ice, doing as little moving as possible except every hour or two getting up to take an extremely slow walk to the bathroom or fridge. Pain gets better and then gets worse at random. All of this conforms to the approximately forty-seven quadrillion websites I have visited on the topic thus far. (Universal advice: Self-care for several weeks; if no change, see a doctor.)

    I know how privileged I am to have lived without pain this long. I know lots of y’all have dealt with this intimately for a long long time. How do you cope? Strategies for, well, anything? Sleeping, eating, sitting, maintaining a sense of humor? I live alone (way way out in the woods, hence beavers) with no one nearby who can help with daily activities. (I could muster up some neighbors in a true emergency, but don’t want to burn goodwill for small stuff.) Can I even drive? Should I get crutches? (Spoiler: I have some on order, because desperation.) What does a person DO during the interminable nights spent just lying there throbbing? Are there ways not to cry? Can I pay someone to send me “You poor baby!” texts every few hours? (I WOULD PAY ALL THE MONEY.) How quickly does one burn up goodwill with friends when it comes to pain? When does attempting to run errands make things better and when does it make stuff worse? When does self-pity make things better (and vice versa)? How do I reassure my cats, who are following me around staring at me befuddled? What other questions do I not even know how to ask because I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO DO THIS.

    Thank you hugely.

    1. Jemima Bond*

      Go to the doctor. They may be able to prescribe a more effective painkiller, give advice re other stuff, refer for physiotherapy if appropriate. Lying awake in pain, not being able to complete household tasks and ordering crutches on the Internet =/= fine – you need some help!

      Also – you poor baby *pats Ottilie Rae gently on the shoulder*

    2. Fiennes*

      If there’s any way to have some help, get it. If there are friends and/or family members who would either visit you or welcome you for several days, just very basic assistance with meals and such really does a lot. Also, honestly, other humans are distracting—and it’s always worse when you have the time & silence to brood on the pain.

      Take antiinflammatories like Advil, and depending on how your stomach handles that stuff, you may be able to take one or two extra on a dose. (Do not go over this without okay from a doctor. But up to that is still slightly less than prescription doses of the same.)

      Also, I’d go ahead and see a doctor now. Your pain levels sound really high; there’s no need to wait out six weeks with this.

      Good luck!

    3. PolicyChick*

      Go to the doctor. You might just need a steroid shot or a short course of Rx painkillers to get on track. Besides being miserably in pain, you can actually end up doing more damage to yourself – if you are ‘compensating’ for the pain (changing your gait, etc) you can put stress on your other muscles and joints. Don’t wait!

    4. Rebecca*

      As a mid 50’s I can tough it out person, I say go to the doctor! I had a bout of sciatica, and was in so much pain I couldn’t sit, stand, sleep, anything, and the doctor gave me steroids and pain killers (only 10 pills) so I could sleep. Best decision I ever made.

    5. Thlayli*

      This does sound like worse than usual pain. I would recommend a doctor or physiotherapist as it sounds like a pulled muscle.

    6. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      This is a pretty badass way to injure yourself, IMHO. But also, you poor baby!

      I second going to the doctor. You might have done something a little more serious than you realise.

    7. misspiggy*

      This is my life – I get ligament injuries like that every other day (EDS). Ice and plenty of rest, plus frequent gentle movement, are the key. Lie down and play mobile games or watch TV for a bit, get up and do some light tasks, repeat. And anti-inflammatory gel. Don’t carry anything heavy for at least two weeks, possibly more. Go for short walks and do things like light cooking, but don’t do laundry, just let it pile up. Much better to catch up when you’re better than constantly re-injure yourself (also my life).

      You will have a weak spot there for a while. I’d suggest getting some physio or Pilates exercises to do in the medium term, to strengthen your core and avoid repeating the whole cycle.

      And I’m very sorry, it’s grim and you deserve all the gentle hugs!

      1. misspiggy*

        Also – I wouldn’t apply heat directly, as it can make things worse if you don’t know what you’re doing. Just keep your body and the surrounding air warm (apart from when you’re applying ice of course…)

    8. Anona*

      Go to the doctor. I’d specifically ask about physical therapy, and non narcotic painkillers. Physical therapy seems simple but can be so helpful!

    9. Tau*

      Nthing go to the doctor! If you’re in pain that’s strong enough to interfere with your day-to-day life, that’s an issue.

      I don’t have chronic pain issues (thank god!) but I do have recurring headaches that may be weird migraines or possibly mild cluster headaches. (Spoiler alert: “mild” is not saying very much when it comes to cluster headaches.) My strategy for those are:

      – distraction, distraction, distraction. This could be reading something that doesn’t require much brainpower, playing some video game that also doesn’t require much deep thought, chatting with friends (about something other than the pain). The single worst thing I can do is sit there and think about how much pain I’m in, although sometimes it’s unavoidable.

      – adhesive cold gel pads. If cold helps your pain, these may be worth looking into – cold is one of the only things that helps mine and there’s been a significant improvement in the quality of Tau’s headache life since I discovered them. These are pads that you don’t have to freeze or refrigerate which stick to your skin and give a few hours’ worth of cooling. They are probably some kind of witchcraft and they are amazing.

    10. Rookie Biz Chick*

      If you’re open to it, chiropractic may be an option. One with a solid reputation and x-ray and other equipment in house.

    11. It costs HOW much?*

      Oh ho ho ho. Sciatic nerve pain is nasty!

      I had it start during a pregnancy and have random flair ups. Icy Hot, ibuprofen, and laying on the floor with my feet up a wall. Plus time and distraction.

      Stretching helps a bit too, if just keep everything loose when it wants to tighten from the pain. Thats more preventative than anything else. Compensating from pain can cause its own issues.

    12. Gaia*

      This does not sound like “normal wait a few weeks before seeing the doctor” level pain. If it is the muscle you might have actually injured in, in which case you need to get that treated.

      I pulled my hip flexor a few weeks back and HOLY BATMAN you don’t realize how much you use that muscle until it hurts to use it even a little. I’m a tough cookie when it comes to pain but my butt was in that waiting room at the doctor so quick.

      Until you can see the doctor, the advice I got was to focus on ice, not heat (heat can increase inflammation in some cases) and to move a little but if that spikes pain – stop. Listen to your body.

      Poor you, I really do hate that it hurts like this!

    13. fposte*

      Agreeing with go to the doctor; one distinct possibility here, with the level of pain, activity described, and location of the pain, is a disk thing. That doesn’t mean that Action Must Be Taken, but it’ll help you get a better idea of next steps. In the meantime, you’re trying the right things; I’d add frequent little walks when you can, which is beneficial for everything as long as it doesn’t it seem to be, like, breaking a bone.

      As for learning how to pain, this is a developed over time thing–you don’t have to make all these decisions at once. Unfortunately, it’s often when the pain subsides somewhat that it gives you a clearer idea of what to do positionally, but you can start thinking about that.

      I’m a huge believer in tools and accommodations–crutches, shower stools, timers on hard-to-reach lights, extra supplies on each floor if it’s relevant, etc. With the description of your living situation, I’d keep a deep bench of supplies so that you didn’t need to make a trip at the worst moment possible. Whether driving makes things better or worse depends on you, but you’ll probably start getting a more specific idea of what makes pain worse or better, and you can start thinking about ways to adjust your car with either controls or padding. Maybe you need to be closer to the floor, or your left foot needs to rest on something higher, or your pelvis needs to be tilted forward rather than back so you need to have a seat that doesn’t tilt backward. Maybe you need to be sitting up straighter, or less straight.

      Part of your task here is moving stuff off the list. The cats will adjust; you don’t need to reassure them. Most household tasks are more optional than popularly presumed. Let them go, or if you can hire somebody for stuff, now’s a good time to do that, including grocery delivery and Amazon shipping. IMHO, self-pity is reasonable but also an unrewarding hobby, so you want to balance it out as much as you can with good input (I like comedy for this).

      Oh, and poor baby! Hurting a lot really sucks, and I think it’s possible that your inexperience is leading you to underestimate what you’re going through.

    14. Yetanotherjennifer*

      Oh dear! Is it by any chance more like a pain in your butt vs your hip? If so, you’ve got something called piriformis syndrome and I’m very sorry. Or you possibly wrenched your back and that’s triggering the sciatic nerve and you have a pain in your hip. Either way, I am very sorry. It sucks. When you trigger a major nerve like the sciatic, it can be a struggle to calm it down. And this isn’t an injury you can rest your way out of, it’s not like a cramp you can stretch better and it does not heal as linearly as regularly pulled muscles. It also doesn’t react the same so it’s not like you do a thing and it feels worse or better. You just have to develop your routing and keep at it and things will slowly improve.

      Give this a few days in the hope it goes away on its own, and then go see a doctor to get the right diagnosis. There are different exercises depending on whether it’s your piriformis or spine that’s causing the problem. For some self-education, check out the physicialtherapyvideo guys on you tube: Bob and Brad. They’re hysterical in a low key midwestern way and give good advice.

      As for pain management, I found that nothing really touched the pain but Advil or alieve are most recommended due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Ice packs are awesome. I also use a rice pack for heat therapy at night. I tried arnica and icy heat but they didn’t really help. I also got a short prescription for muscle relaxants which I took only at night. I had it for a bit before getting treatment and the muscle relaxants helped calm things down and helped me sleep which calmed me down. I developed piriformis syndrome during my recovery from a broken ankle. I’m about 8 weeks in with PT for that and the ankle and I’m still feeling piriformis pain but the sciatic has significantly calmed down. I’m doing a lot of ab and glute exercises. I have a daily floor routine of stretching and strengthening first thing, then a walk, then more stretching, then I start my day with many stretch breaks. I hope you recover soon!

      1. fposte*

        I thought of piriformis as well. I would also note that even if the original site of injury is to another area, the piriformis can tighten up and hurt like hell in response; I have stenosis and disk stuff that causes sciatica, but sometimes the piriformis jumps on the bandwagon too, and it’s a lot easier to back that off. IMHO it never hurts (well, it almost always hurts, but you know what I mean) to try the sitting on a tennis ball technique to see if that seems to help anything.

    15. Penguin*

      Oh no! Sympathy for your pain, that’s awful! I’m so sorry.
      I don’t have any pain advice (I hope the things others have posted help!) but if you ever want to talk about dealing with beavers (I used to work with… er, against… them) give a shout.

    16. Not So NewReader*

      Do get others involved. Ask a neighbor or a good friend to check on you at least once a day. If you pick someone who also lives on their own you can tell them you will return the favor, if need be.

      You keep goodwill by spreading requests around. If you lean on one person too much they will burn out. So you get a couple of people if possible.

      Don’t avoid crying. Crying is natural, it helps to keep our brains healthy and in turn MAY help to relieve a tiny amount of pain. Pain seems to get worse the harder we try to keep our emotions in check.

      The animals will know there is something wrong. When I threw out my back the hardest part was watching my dog watch me. My dog got a lot of comfort out of seeing another person come over even just for a short bit.

      I found that I started pulling and tearing muscles in the last few years. I added a collagen powder to my routine. I mix it with water and drink it down twice a day. I have quit pulling/tearing muscles. Aging, it’s a Thing.

      Definitely see a doc. This is not something that should go on and on. You want to know that your body is healing itself. Not trying to be scary but there are things that will heal up just fine if dutifully taken care of.

    17. Otillie Rae*

      Holy cow, thank you to everyone. It is a little surprising how much it helps to hear “poor baby” and kind wishes…it makes a real difference.

      I can’t write too much now (because pain) but I’ll just add that from what I’ve read, piriformis syndrome sounds exactly right (fits my symptoms to a T). And I’ll be heading to a doctor after the weekend.

      I tend to push myself pretty hard (“I will dismantle this beaver dam with my bare hands!”) but I’m going to work on the whole “Otillie, just for now it’s enough to breathe in and out and make it through the day. You can prove All The Things later” mind-set.

      Thank y’all, srsly. Wow.

    18. anonagain*

      Being in pain — any kind of pain — is really hard. I hope your doctor’s appointment is useful and that you feel better soon.

    19. IntoTheSarchasm*

      Self care is great, but a few doses of a prescription-strength anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxer might be what you need. When I was in my 20’s, had traumatic crush/twisted foot, could not walk. No fracture, just muscle strain. A few doses of muscle relaxer later, it was like brand new.

    20. Quandong*

      I’m sorry you’re in this much pain. From what you describe it’s not a minor level of pain, it’s affecting you quite badly, and ‘wait and see if it goes away’ is not a good approach.

      If you have any painkillers with anti-inflammatory properties, I suggest taking them while you are waiting for your doctor’s appointment. You may like to experiment with sleeping propped up / adding cushions / sleeping in a recliner.

      One suggestion I haven’t seen made by other posters is to listen to music you enjoy. A study in 2008 found that pain perception was affected by listening to music vs silence – people had increased tolerance of pain, and increased perceived control over the pain. Their anxiety also decreased.

      Something you may find useful at the appointment is how you rate on a few different ‘pain scales’ – because doctors can often ask ‘how do you rate your pain level on a scale of 1 to 10?’ and it’s not always easy to respond. If you’re interested, search for ‘pain scales’ and look for some that have descriptions of what the numbers 1 – 10 mean in terms of how you function & how you’ve been affected by the pain.

      Best wishes for a speedy resolution to your pain and discomfort.

    21. Triple Anon*

      If it’s so bad that you can’t sleep and you can’t drive, you should seek help. It’s hard to make good decisions when you’re in pain. So listen to everyone here. If you can’t do basic things that you need to do, go to the doctor even if you have to ask someone for a ride.

      People have made a lot of good suggestions about dealing with pain. Additional things that can help: baths, herbs, meditation, thinking about the pain and mentally soothing it and summoning strength to overcome it. I know how wishy washy all of this sounds, but we have natural hormones (and neurotransmitters, to get technical) that interact with pain receptors and can help us to feel better. Pain meds work by stimulating that whole system. But you can have some affect on it yourself. You want to put yourself in that post-work-out state of mind – full of adrenaline yet calm and kind of euphoric. That is a natural response to pain. If you focus on it, you can learn to exaggerate it and help it to work better.

    22. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

      Go to the doctor now and see if you can’t get something to help ease the muscle pain and reduce the inflammation.

      What worked for me (and oh yeah, I hear you on the interminable nights – some nights it felt like i would never get to sleep ever again) was doing guided meditation to at least take my mind off things for a half hour. I actually managed some intense nerve pain one weekend (doctor closed until Monday and I was NOT hauling myself up to the hospital again, and nothing was even coming close to touching the pain) with meditation and focused breathing. I used meditainment, an app on the phone, but I imagine there are others. Every once in a while I still use it when I have had a stressful day at work or just need to get my mind in the right place.

      Hip muscles rubbing against nerve are no fun – I still have this problem although I just have a numb toe rather than active pain. I think what you are doing right now is about the best that can happen until that muscle cuts it out and stops hitting the nerve.

  11. the normal neighbor*

    Has anybody ever had experience with awful & abusive neighbors? This all happened about a month ago…

    We’ve lived at our house for just over 3 years and never had any issues. Recently, the house next door was up for rent and new neighbors moved in. About 2 weeks later, we had friends over for an afternoon barbecue (around 15 people total) and at around 8pm our neighbors shouted over the back fence to turn our music off and started swearing at us. The music definitely wasn’t loud and it was only 8pm on a Saturday night! My husband went outside to speak to him and the next thing we know, the neighbor threatened to stab him (!!!) so I phoned the police. His pregnant girlfriend ran at me and clawed my face to try to grab my phone, presumably to keep me from calling the police, because as it turns out her boyfriend is on probation for a separate offense. Fighting ensued between the men and the police came, arrests were made…and intimidating behavior over the next few weeks followed…until they finally moved out last weekend. It was all terrifying and so embarrassing and humiliating – all of our other neighbors were outside watching. Very Jerry Springer.

    To say it was traumatic is an understatement, I’m scared to open our back doors and windows still, let alone leave the house on my own. We found out the man’s past offense and it’s extremely violent – he was on a life sentence and his probation is apparently valid for the rest of his life because he was released early. They moved out, but we know they still live in the area and I’m absolutely terrified that if he gets charged because of this, he will go back to prison and his family will blame us and try to get back at us. We’ve purchased CCTV and are being vigilant about locking doors and whatnot, but I really don’t know how to cope! :(

    1. Rosemary7391*

      That is really unpleasant :(

      Positives – they’re no longer next door!

      Have you got any contact at the police to give you advice/support? They might be able to suggest things to make you feel safer.

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      I’ve never experienced neighbours like this but I know there’s definitely some like that out there.

      There was a news story from Poland very recently about a woman who was arrested after playing an aria from a popular opera at top volume, for all hours of the days and nights, every day for 16 years after one neighbour was a little loud one night.

      People be crazy.

    3. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Well, that is disturbing.
      My only advice here is if you can go to the police and ask them for advice. Considering they threatened you, they can certainly give advice regarding safety. If you’re lucky they might even send extra patrols to your area, though I wouldn’t count on it.
      It might also be a good idea to talk to a lawyer, just in case. If they do decide to harass you, give everything to a lawyer and let them handle it. I doubt a sternly worded letter would do anything, but the more evidence you have against these people the better.

      1. Kathenus*

        Agree with asking for police advice. Also consider asking for a legal restraining order, so that if they do come anywhere near your house they can be arrested. Sorry you’re dealing with this, sounds horrible.

    4. WellRed*

      That sounds awful! I don’t blame you for being scared and think the precautions are a good idea. Also, if they have moved, I think it’s unlikely they will come back to bother you. People like that tend to only see themselves and what’s right in front of them.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yeah – short attention span and a constant new supply of people who will call the cops on them.

        1. neverjaunty*

          This is very true. People like this rarely have the focus or skills to plan long-term revenge. They tend to have enough current problems.

    5. Baaad Neighbors*

      I had a (good) neighbor that went overseas and hired a property management service to watch their house. They were NOT to rent it. A few months later, I emailed neighbor and told him that I was surprised they had renters. They insisted no one should be in the house. I sent them photos of the cars that stayed in the driveway all the time.

      Long story short…turns out that one of the people who worked at the management service decided to give the keys to her sister, presumably so the sister and the sister’s kids could get out of an abuse situation. (Bad move…while I’m sympathetic to the situation, you don’t give keys to a house your company is being paid to watch to someone!!!)

      Well, of course the sister made up with the boyfriend and he moved in. They were cooking meth and started renting rooms to day laborers. Neighbors couldn’t do anything overseas so they flew in on a surprise trip, went to the house, called the cops…house was TRASHED. Whole thing was in court for awhile. Good Neighbors eventually just sold the house. We moved about a year later out of state for a job relocation.

    6. Not really a Waitress*

      Do you have a dog? When I first separated from my now exhub , I got a dog. It wasn’t for safety at the time, but my kids I ended up moving into a townhome with some sketchy neighbors. My dog was a mini dachshund pup but male so his bark sounded bigger than he did. Plus no one can sneak up on my house. (just ask my lawn guy.)

      five years later, all but one of my kids is out of my house, but my dog is still my loyal protector. I am not a large dog person, but my 17 pound baby with a napoleon complex thinks he is one. I also have no doubt he would take someone out for me. (but that’s a different post.)

      1. Beatrice*

        Seconding the dog, if it’s something that makes sense to you and your family. I had always wanted a dog – and we were without a pet – when a local gang member moved onto our street, and there was a drive-by shooting that involved a bullet striking our house. We got the dog, he’s 55 lbs and he barks and growls at strangers, and I let him.

        Also – the scared feeling will pass with time. One thing that helped me was gathering information…I read everything I could get my hands on about the specific gang and its history and rivalries, local news stories about gang crime, found out who the local players were in my community, read their rap sheets, cyberstalked them a little, etc. I also participated in the legal process for the drive-by shooting as much as made sense – we cooperated with police (we didn’t know much), I filed for information on court proceedings when they made an arrest, and I filed for restitution as a victim (when he was convicted, the shooter had to pay to repair damage to our house). For me, being involved in that process helped.
        That was not helpful to my husband at all, so I didn’t share most of what I learned with him. Talking to other people helped him, so that’s what he did. But for both of us, it took time.

    7. Not Saying*

      Wow. We have been dealing with bad neighbors as well but yours take the cake! We put up cameras in windows all over the house, also we have discussed plans for possible scenarios. It’s scary to think about but you will feel more in control if you plan your reaction ahead of time. For example, we added locks to some of the knobs on our internal doors and discussed how to move through the house if there is an intruder. My husband carries a baseball bat with him whenever he goes from the garage to the house. He bought me a can of pepper spray and I always have it in my hand when leaving the house. When leaving, we quickly look left and right out the door to make sure no one is hiding. Porch lights are on all night. Number for police is in the contacts on my phone (not needed for 911 but for calling in noise complaints, etc).

      1. Not Saying*

        Also clear out any stuff around your porch/yard that could be used to throw through a window or used as a weapon. We had a bunch of summer gardening stuff that we put away.

    8. nd*

      We had bad neighbors a number of years ago. The house was a rental for a number of years that the owner never invested in, just kept renting it. Finally sold it, but the new owner either could not or would not maintain the house and it got worse. Plus he was a hoarder and the house and yards were full of trash and junk. This man was very verbally abuse and, over time, his wife and children left. It was relatively quiet for a while, though he continued to berate us and other neighbors, but then he began renting rooms to really questionable people. We learned most of them were violent felons on parole and we can only guess he met these people through his job as a security guard.

      We had some terrible incidents with some of the renters and witnessed fights between them. The police were constantly being called out. Once the house was surrounded by police with drawn guns; truly terrifying. One of the renters was sent back to prison for possession of a firearm when on parole. We removed all papers and jewelry from our home and placed it in a safe deposit box; we were worried about theft our property and identity. We got cameras and a security system. It was a terrible time.

      Thankfully, the terrible owner was foreclosed and had to move out. However, some of the occupants continued to squat on the property until new owners took possession and gutted the house. For a while, the most frightening of the occupants used to cruise through the neighborhood. I went to the police once after I had an encounter with him. Have not seen him, or any of the other renters since, and suspect they have moved on.

      Long way of say, I’ve been there and I understand. You just need to keep living. But be careful and alert. Don’t be afraid to call the police if you see someone who looks suspicious. Of if you are approaching or leaving your home and feel uncomfortable, drive to the police station. I would not walk in our neighborhood for the longest time, but finally feel safe enough to do so.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Many good suggestions here.
      I would like to add team up with known good neighbors and help each other watch what is going on. Have everyone exchange phone numbers and emails. You only need a couple other households to do this with great success.

      Be sure to ask the police to ask the just for an order of protection. In NY if they violate an order of protection that is a felony.
      I agree with others who said to talk to the police. They will probably know how much of a concern you have on your hands.

      Keep in mind there is an unborn child in this story. That child will bring in other concerned parties and this could be a very busy time for those two people. They could be so busy that they do not have time to think about you.

      Ask the police to notify the landlord if that has not been done. You can also talk to the prosecutor for the case. This might be your county’s DA office. The police can tell you where the prosecuting attorney’s office is. They (the DA) may have a victim’s advocate unit who will work with you.

      I belong to the school of thought that says, the more you let others know there is a problem the less and less likely something will happen. Read through all the suggestions everyone wrote here and pick several well-chosen people to help you work through this. Do not allow yourself to walk alone, it’s too much to expect of one’s self.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Many good suggestions here.
      I would like to add team up with known good neighbors and help each other watch what is going on. Have everyone exchange phone numbers and emails. You only need a couple other households to do this with great success.

      Be sure to ask the police to ask the just for an order of protection. In NY if they violate an order of protection that is a felony.
      I agree with others who said to talk to the police. They will probably know how much of a concern you have on your hands.

      Keep in mind there is an unborn child in this story. That child will bring in other concerned parties and this could be a very busy time for those two people. They could be so busy that they do not have time to think about you.

      Ask the police to notify the landlord if that has not been done. You can also talk to the prosecutor for the case. This might be your county’s DA office. The police can tell you where the prosecuting attorney’s office is. They (the DA) may have a victim’s advocate unit who will work with you.

      I belong to the school of thought that says, the more you let others know there is a problem the less and less likely something will happen. Read through all the suggestions everyone wrote here and pick several well-chose people to help you work through this. Do not allow yourself to walk alone, it’s too much to expect of one’s self.

    11. MatKnifeNinja*

      Don’t worry. The crazy just moved on to harass others. Honestly. I had a guy who lived two doors dow in an apartment that murdered his mom. He had his sentence shortened, and was released. He tore it up with everyone and threatened to burn us out.

      Crazy has a really short attention span. He moved and we never heard from him again.

      I’ve had more bat crap crazy neighbors than I can count.

      Who cares if he gets bounced back into the box? He’s family is blame shifting. Had he not acted like a total asshat, none of this would have happened to him.

      I’d call the police to ask for general guidance. I would not fire up a restraining order. That just puts the scope back on you as the evil jerk, and may fire up the crazy train again.

      For sh*ts and giggles get copies of you town’s noise ordinance laws. For the next time a neighbor loses a screw, you just hand them that.

      Some people have zero tolerance for parties, kid noises (at any time of the day), lawn equipment, pets…the list is never ending. That’s not your problem. Your land, your house, nothing illegal.

      You sound like a really nice, sane person. Remember…

      Never argue with crazy.
      They’ll drag you down to their level.
      And beat you with experience.

      This too shall pass. Hang in their. 30 years of dealing with more kooks than I care to remember.

  12. What is wrong with me?*

    If it was socially acceptable for women in their 30s to remain single, I would. I didn’t like dating in my 20s and I don’t like it now. But I have to do it or else I’d continue to be alone.

    While I appreciate well-meaning people who say ‘it’s okay to be single!’ that’s not my reality. It was fine in my 20s because people would just assume I was waiting for the right time or the right person or whatever (“it’s okay to be single, you’ve still got time!”), but getting to my 30s, it’s not really okay anymore.

    Most of the time I just want a (small) group of friends who share my interests and want to spend time together. I feel like I’m caught in an odd space because I always preferred quiet conversations or brunches over wild partying, and I thought I’d have more people share that preference as we got older but instead they’re getting married and starting families. I’m still the odd one out.

    I like being single, but I don’t want to be alone. I want friends, but it’s not realistic to expect them to all be like me and want remain so. I often find myself wishing I was younger – not for the sake of being young but just so I’d have more time where being like this is considered all right, normal even.

    It’s one aspect of my life where I can’t seem to ‘mature’ properly, like I’ve never properly ‘grown up’ and I don’t know if I ever will. Maybe one day I’ll meet someone who’ll change my mind, but the process of getting there is so tedious. You see movies where a woman is happily single (before meeting ‘the one’) and it’s presented as being okay but those characters are almost universally young, so for them there’s still time.

    I’m running out of time.

    1. Justme, The OG*

      Why is it not okay to be single in your 30s? Genuinely asking as a woman in her late 30s who is very happily single.

      1. What is wrong with me?*

        Mostly the friends factor. While a lot of the stuff I love doing (writing, drawing, etc.) are solitary activities, I often wish there were people I could call on to have brunch or go to a show with. I may be introverted but I don’t want to be alone all the time.

        I know the logical thing here would be go out and make friends but most people my age have husbands/families and it’s difficult to make time to go out, and the singles ones will eventually go down that route as well.

        There’s also the family pressure issue, but that’s probably not in everyone’s case so I won’t elaborate.

        1. Jacquelyn*

          I am married but still spend a significant amount of time with my friends (single friends, married friends, friends with kids alike) so just because your friends are getting married doesn’t necessarily mean your social life will suffer. If you propose meeting up for brunch, do your friends say they are too busy?

          Maybe you just haven’t met your people. I have never liked partying either – conversation and brunch is much more my style too (and was in my early 20s as well). Keep looking for your people!

          A lot of people say that once their friends have kids, they go off the map. That hasn’t been my case at all so it is possible to maintain friendships at all life stages!

          1. Jules the 3rd*

            I have friends I dearly love, but from whom I’ve drifted away because I now have Mr and Little Jules, and I want to spend time with them too, and time is limited. It’s possible to maintain friendships, but the challenge is real. And it’s hard to find new friends as an adult, because of that limited time problem.

            The best solution has been for my friends to join my family activities, and I make a point to invite them. I try to carve out some time to see them alone, but it’s not easy. Wiwwm has a valid, real concern.

            1. Libervermis*

              I certainly enjoy when my friends ask me to join their family things, since it’s often the only way I get to see them. I’m in the same position as Wiwwm in that I’m single and the vast majority of my friends and acquaintances are partnered, often with children. Their first priorities are (rightly!) their families, and it can get lonely even though I love my independence.

              I’ve found that explicitly asking the people I trust most to include me sometimes really helps. I’ve also found that getting involved in a couple different communities Doing A Particular Thing is good – it’s a real outlay of energy at first, and some groups don’t work out, but given time I’ve found one or two where I’ve made connections.

              I too wish our social structures were not built so exclusively around partners and nuclear families. But here’s another voice telling you that we’re not wrong or broken, you’re not wrong or broken Wiwwm.

            2. Jacquelyn*

              I didn’t mean to sound invalidating of Wiwwm’s concern. I am sorry if my post came off that way.

              The societal narrative often is that once people get married or have children, they have no more bandwidth for friends. This is, of course, true for many people, but I don’t think it has to be the default. In fact, I have seen my friends with young kids more often now than when they were childless (they need and want the support). Of course, we do family friendly activities together (day at the park, meeting up at their house instead of ours, etc) but these aren’t really different from what I enjoyed before (because like the OP, I prefer conversation and brunch to partying as do many people!).

              Please don’t assume that married people and people with children no longer want to be your friend. They might be thinking to themselves that you are the one who doesn’t want to hang out with them and have to put up with their baby crying in the background. If this is not the case, make it known and maybe you will be able to maintain these friendships.

          2. Ainomiaka*

            This is my situation too-my tribe of exceptions to the don’t disturb setting on my phone is 2 families, 2 couples, 2 single people and half of one other couple off the top of my head for friends. But I also think if the OP has said she hasn’t been able to weather that transition we should believe it

        2. hermit crab*

          I’m a 30-something married person without kids (and without plans to have kids) and I spend a lot of time both with single friends and with coupled friends. In my experience, I find that the “can I reliably call on this person to get together” line is not between coupled/single but rather between has-kids/doesn’t-have-kids. My husband and I are pretty independent people with different work schedules and we both spend plenty of time with our own friends. I know not all couples are like that, but I think the single/not-single thing might be a bit of a false dichotomy when it comes to making friends and socializing. And just because someone is married doesn’t mean they are going to have kids and disappear on you. :)

          My other recommendation (and I know I say this a lot, sorry) is to not limit yourself to friends your own age. Several of my close friends are single women who are 15 or 20 years older than I am, and they’re my go-to people for “let’s meet up at this interesting event”-type activities.

        3. MindoverMoneyChick*

          WIWWM. – I went through this hard in my 30s. I was married but didn’t want kids and felt that made me immature and out of sync with my friends. My husband is awesome but one person wasn’t enough to meet my social needs, even though I’m an introvert also. What helped was hooking up with a social group of child free adults, both single and coupled. It took a while for this group to start to feel like real friend but it happened. And now that my parents friends have older kids they have more time for me as well. Life goes unexpected directions and I’m pleased with my social connections now. But through much of my 30s I really felt like I was doomed to a lonely life.

    2. Daria Grace*

      I know a bunch of smart, successful women who could write a post much like this. I could truthfully write one like this. There is nothing wrong with you, it’s our social structures that are broken in ways that are particularly toxic for single people. I feel abandoned and like the odd one out all the time.

      1. What is wrong with me?*

        I don’t know if I’d consider the structures broken. If it’s the path most people choose that’s the definition of ‘normal’ and it’s just hard to realise I don’t share a lot of those wants.

        1. Daria Grace*

          I mean the structures are broken in that people who are single by choice or circumstance frequently having trouble finding the companionship and support they needed as our social structures are so orientated around romantic love and the nuclear family

    3. Barbara*

      It’s perfectly okay to be single at any age.
      After one marriage and one long relationship I am single. I enjoy it. Some well intentioned people tell me I could date again but I tell them I am not interested.
      I am on my 40’s so things are maybe easier for me. Many friends are women my age who are divorced and alone too.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        I also believe it cycles back where it is okay for a person to be on their own. I saw that in my 40s also. People seemed to respect my statement, “I am okay here.”

    4. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m coming up to my 30s and fully expect to spend them single as well.

      I am so happy by myself and with my own company. I don’t feel the need to have romance in my life. I’m open to the possibility but I’m very much of the mindset that “if it happens, it happens” but I don’t feel the need to go out and look for it.

      Saying that – out of everyone that I went to school with (I left school in 2006 and I’m now 28) I’m the only one not married/pregnant/had children. I’m viewed by the people where I’m from as being the weird old spinster, which frankly is just ridiculous. I’m 28. I’m still young, but because I didn’t follow the path that my peers did – marriage, baby, family, and all that jazz – I’m deemed as odd and slightly socially unacceptable, which if I have a couple of mint juleps (not Southern, just really like that) then I am but that’s the alcohol not the lack of babies coming out of me.

      Also, fun fact I learned when I looked up the etymology of the word spinster (I’m an ESL teacher so I like to know). Back in the days of old when it was a thousand times worse for women than now, spinster literally meant a woman who spins for a living. There were very few jobs that women could have and spinning was one of them. They were typically among the wealthiest as well because they could afford their independence and they weren’t made to marry for money or home. In fact, many women chose to remain “spinsters” because they couldn’t find a man who could “bring all things to the heart”, which is such a nice way of saying they had high standards.

      So – society sucks for pressuring women to consider themselves fulfilled and complete through another person, and we also need to reclaim the word spinster because the root of it is kind of awesom.

      1. KatieKate*

        Do you have a solid source for the spinster story? I’ve heard that before but I’ve also heard it’s a myth because spinning was typically a lower paying job, unlike weaving which you needed a loom for (and could buy with your husbands money.) thanks!

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          Zsuzsa Berend (Summer 2000). “‘The Best Of None!’ Spinsterhood In Nineteenth-Century New England”. Journal of Social History.

    5. Lynne*

      I’m 37 and female and I like being single. It isn’t perfect, but then neither is being married; you just make different trade-offs. Personally, I see people who are coupled up, and even if they’re happy overall, it’s like…they’ve made compromises in their lives *I* have no interest in making. And I’m not about to get hitched just because it’s supposed to be the normal thing that everyone does at some point. These days, I’m not even willing to date anymore, because I can’t imagine wanting it to turn into something serious. I prefer my life as it is – with me the only one in the pilot’s seat, and able to fly wherever I want, no need for consensus decision making. Or for negotiating a fair division of chores, ugh.

      I imagine it helps that I have several friends who are also single and happy enough with that (some do date, but it’s not something their lives revolve around – it’s hardly ever even a topic of conversation). Maybe try to make more friends who are single women, so you don’t feel like such an odd one out? We exist, I promise you. Though maybe more so in some geographies and cultures than others. (I have noticed in conversation that the concept of “happily single” really Does Not Compute for some people I’ve met from other countries – none of my fellow Western expats react that way, and it always makes me glad I’m from a cultural context where this is more or less a reasonable and acceptable life choice. And mildly amused by the shock my cheerful admission of childlessness and husbandlessness occasionally provokes.)

      …In the last couple of years, I seem to have started gradually acquiring more divorced friends, and you’ll probably see this start happening in your social circles too, like Barbara mentioned. Not that that’s something I’d ever wish on people, but it’s where a fairly big percentage of the married crowd inevitably end up. That’s something else to consider if you’re tempted to couple up out of social pressure and not because you genuinely want to – seems a recipe for eventual divorce and bitter regrets that you didn’t listen to yourself in the first place.

    6. BearRamblesOn*

      You need to let go of trying to do what is socially acceptable and do what is acceptable for you. No, really. Eff everyone else. Part of growing up is getting comfortable in your skin and realizing that it is ok to be alone (and do things alone). Of course, this doesn’t mean you won’t have friends, it just means that the shape of those friendships change. Stop looking at movies trying to determine how life should be – that’s not real life!

    7. nep*

      Sorry you’re struggling. But I reckon that in the long run you’ll just keep struggling if you try to force your life into the shape of what you think society thinks it should be.

      …not for the sake of being young but just so I’d have more time where being like this is considered all right, normal even.
      It is all right.

    8. Thlayli*

      I think you’re thinking about this backwards. If you want to be single just be single. It’s not socially unacceptable that I know of.

      However – if you don’t want to be alone then you have to put effort into finding people to spend time with. Making new friends is at least as tedious and difficult as finding a boyfriend, perhaps more so.

      It seems like you just want people / person to spend time with, and you don’t much care if that’s a partner or a friend. The easiest way to feel like you’re “not alone” and have someone to do stuff with is actually to have a string of short term relationships and don’t get too involved. You get all the fun of the honeymoon stage and then once it starts to crash and burn you just say goodbye. You don’t need to put in all the effort of finding someone with long term comparability and you have someone to do lots of fun stuff with.

      In a few years your friends will start getting divorced and so on and you’ll have people to hang out with again

      1. Thlayli*

        Just make sure you double up on contraception and std prevention – pill and condoms. Never have sex with anyone without a confirm without insisting on testing first. Most std clinics will allow you to link your results so if either of you had anything then both of you get the info.

      2. Gaia*

        “In a few years your friends will start getting divorced and so on and you’ll have people to hang out with again”

        OMG I laughed SO HARD. Because it is 100% true.

        1. Girl friday*

          It is and it isn’t, a lot of people just go poly or open these days. Divorce is expensive.

          1. Gaia*

            Divorce has always been expensive. And we still have an insanely high divorce rate. Guarantee some of her married friends will be divorced friends soon.

    9. Lady Jay*

      I feel you. I’m single in my 30s as well. Much as I love the independence and quiet, being alone wears on me too.
      I know you put “mature” in scare quotes, so you know this, but I did want to say that marriage is not any kind of proof of maturity, or reward for it. There are plenty of immature married people out there, and some of the wisest, best people are unmarried women in their 30s or older.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        mog, yes.

        Partnering up is not necessarily a sign of maturity nor is it a sign of full-fledged adulthood.

        I know of a person now who is paired up with someone who will help this person land in jail. Some people will partner with anyone just so they are not alone. The person might use good judgement most of the time, but the partner very seldom uses good judgement to the point where the police have to be called, again and again and again.

        Sadly bad partners are not an uncommon thing. Watch the news and you will see what I mean. It’s in these extreme examples where we can clearly see, “nope, not an adult yet”. There are tamer version of this story going on, such as the partner who refuses to pick up after themselves. This person, too, is struggling with adulthood, yet in different ways.

        The true concern, is not what others think, it’s what you think, OP. You would like someone to go through life with and that is the real thing here.

    10. Marzipan*

      I mean, I’m 41, I’m single, and I like being single. I haven’t particularly found it to be socially unacceptable. Yes, a lot (though not all) of my friends are on different paths, but it’s not really a big deal. (Indeed, one friend used to exclaim, every time she came round, how jealous she was of me getting to live on my own!). And actually, what I’ve noticed recently is that a lot of them have moved through the partnered-and-with-a-young-family stage, to other things. Some, sadly, are splitting up. Others are getting towards being empty-nesters. Others are retraining and pursuing new careers now their kids are a bit older. So, whatever you’re seeing with your grieve now is not set in stone.
      If you like your life, great! If there are bits of it you don’t like so much, I suppose my question would be whether a partner is actually the thing that will reshape your life in a way you want, or whether something else would do a better job of that?

    11. Allegra*

      Have you looked into cohousing communities, or other types of community living? Seems like it would be right up your alley! (In cohousing you keep your own apartment, but you’re part of a larger community.)

      1. Ainomiaka*

        I think this is a good idea-the op doesn’t seem to want to count married people or parents as close friends, so looking specifically for places that will have a high concentration of people in the situation you want. A co housing set up would be a reasonable place to find some. There are occasionally meetup groups for this as well, though it can be hard to know based on descriptions if they’re referring to what the OP would want or meet market looking for dates singles groups, so that’s more high-risk.

    12. Jules the 3rd*

      There are challenges to each lifestyle, single / married / etc. They all take work to be successful.

      The key is whether *you* can be happy in a lifestyle. If you want to partner up long term:
      Try checking your friends group for other single people of your preferred type. Ask them on a date. I (cis het female) have asked out every guy I’ve ever dated. Weird, but it’s worked for me.
      Ask your friends if they know anyone to introduce you to.
      Consider partnering with someone in a non-romantic way – asking a single friend to be a room mate, for example, with the explicit thought of ‘maybe long-term roommate?’.
      I put on-line dating as a last choice, as I have always dated friends or foafs, so I can’t speak to whether on-line’s a good way to go.

      Caveat here: You have to be happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else. Your post is complex enough that maybe a therapist could help you untangle what parts of that unhappiness are current loneliness vs social pressure vs fear of the future. Knowing what’s driving what helps you figure out the best solution.

      My perception of how to make it work for single people, based on some single friends in their 40s, is:
      Be flexible with your friendships – willing to include their kids, and bring up the kids in the group traditions (we have board game days, where sometimes the kids are running wild and sometimes they are at a board; parents take turns monitoring the wild / running a board)
      Do some of the hardest work – hosting. A single friend of ours does Waffle Brunches regularly, the childfree side of my social group is pretty regular there.
      Go out and find groups who share your interests.

    13. Anon for this*

      Commiserating with you here… at 30 and single, in my culture I’m basically over the hill and pretty much going to be a spinster… Do I wish it so? No. It’s lonely when all my girl friends are smug marrieds (or equivalent to since some just don’t want to get legally married), and I have nothing to say when they talk about their husbands or trying to conceive. However, I do NOT see myself as less grown up than them because I’m unmarried.

      BUT. I realize that I had drawn away from my girl friends because at that time, they were mostly all newly married and I had also assumed that they only wanted to hang out with their husbands and not do girls days anymore. I was wrong. So I started reaching back out to some of them this year, and the girls are looking forward to visiting art galleries, doing crafts, etc things their husbands have absolutely no interest in, but are more fun with a companion. It goes both ways to maintain friendships, and it ebbs up and down throughout the years.

      Also, I think in the Western Hemisphere it’s much more accepted now to be a woman in her 30s or 40s and single, and living her best life. If you’re from a conservative culture like I am, I am here in solidarity with you about how it’s not seen as socially acceptable to be unmarried by 30, because it’s seen as “there must be something wrong with you if no man wants you and every woman needs a man in her life.”

    14. Gaia*

      Uh, I’m 33, a female and happily single. I don’t really care for the implication that there is something wrong with me for that.

    15. fposte*

      I’m sorry, WIWWM. That sounds stressful.

      It seems like there’s a lot going on here–have you talked to a professional about it? It’s true that in modern life we’re pretty limited on our rites of passage, so while marriage is becoming a lot less of one than it used to be it’s still cosmetically a stage-of-life measure that’s hard to find an equivalent for. But I do think that’s cosmetic, and that marriage isn’t actually linked to any significant maturation. That doesn’t mean you can’t want it; just that I think being an adult and being married may be two separate challenges.

      I do feel you on the challenge of finding a reliable nuclear group as a single woman. As a never-married woman in my 50s, I’ve thought about that; I’ve been very fortunate to have close long-term friends, but I think I have to be conscious about that as a part of my life and not let introvert stasis take me over. It’s therefore an important part of my retirement planning, since a lot of my social contact comes from work, and why I will probably move into a retirement community at some point.

      Which is a bridge to the great notion of co-housing and intentional communities that’s already been mentioned–if you’re looking toward having a connection that has something external to enforce it beyond the mere voluntary, those can be a really good fit. I also really like the point about making friends who aren’t of your age–my big models for the retirement thing were friends forty years older than I am, and I’m fortunate to have friends twenty years younger.

      And what Gaia says is flip but true–a lot of the people you know who are married now won’t be later on. Life has phases for all of us, and you may be one of a group of single friends again in a few years.

      But I do think this is an important conversation for a lot of us, and that you might find it rewarding to think about what a good life would look like for you, married or not, and whether there are things you could do to make your life more like that.

    16. Triple Anon*

      I’m around 40 and single. I’ve come close to getting married a few times, but the relationships always became more dysfunctional after we made that kind of commitment. I think it was partly taking each other for granted and not making as much of an effort anymore, and partly that it just wasn’t a good fit – there were other issues that seemed like a bigger deal once things got more serious. So I have no regrets. I’d rather be single than unhappily married. And I’m not worried about the social stigma. An awful lot of things come with social stigmas. It’s hard to avoid. So I just live my life and trust that if I’m kind and authentic, good people who share my values will come into my life.

      But here’s the weird part for me. From what I can tell, I’m not single for common reasons. I’ve lived in an area where people commonly stay single, or avoid serious relationships, or choose not to have children. I didn’t have much in common with people there. I like serious relationships. I like children. I don’t think either are necessary for happiness or fulfillment or contributing to society. But I don’t want to live like a twenty-something my whole life, which seemed to be a popular mentality in that area. It’s hard to find people who want a more mature (for lack of a better word) lifestyle but aren’t making marriage and having kids a top priority, or don’t judge people for being single and not having kids. So maybe there’s some common ground there?

      I feel like the odd one out where ever I go. In big cities, I’m old fashioned. In other places, I’m weird because I’m single, I don’t have kids, and I don’t go to church.

      So, I don’t have any advice to offer. But I can kind of relate. I wouldn’t make choices based on what’s socially acceptable, though. It sounds like there is more to it than that. But let the other things drive your choices. Social tastes change, people are weird, and ultimately it’s your life not theirs.

    17. louise*

      I’m mid 30s and no kids. My friends with kids occasionally include me in their things and sometimes that works great, but other times not so well. The ticket for me has been making older friends, including several who are retired and others who still work but either have grown kids or never had any so they don’t have the same home obligations of my same-age friends. I also got involved in local, non-partisan government. There are a ton of things that need to be done to run a city and not a lot of young people have the time to put into that. I’ve ended up with some great friends with common goals as a result. Don’t know if any of that sounds like a possible solution for you, but what someone said above about “finding your people” is exactly what I told my therapist—that it took until my 30s, but I found my people. Although loneliness and discouragement is a cyclical plague, I hope it can become less and less frequent for you.

    18. families!*

      I feel there are several inconsistencies in your thinking that might not stand to scrutiny and I’d encourage you to push back against them.

      The issue of running out of time, while I get where it comes from, is false. What happens if you are say, 35 (or 40 or whatever), and single? you will be put away? “get thee to a nunnery”? Never leave the apartment again? forsake all enjoyment of life? I think like most of us, you will keep trying to carry on as best as you can. We really only run out of time when we die (and none of us knows when that will be). We all, even the partnered and married ones, have disappointments, things that didn’t work out as we hoped or wished or thought they would, but mostly, we keep trying our best.

      Another fallacy is the idea that being single is the same as being alone. As many in this very blog show, you can be married and feel extremely lonely. Friends take work and they change as we and life changes. We have to adapt or find new friends. But mostly for me at least, the way to not be lonely is to be friends with myself, and that, I find missing in your post. When I’m friends with myself, I can go have a great brunch by myself and have a great time and not feel lonely; and inversely when I’m focused on being the only single person, have a terrible time (and frankly maybe not even go out).

      A last thought, the conflict between wanting to be single and feeling you should be somewhere else, to me, is the stuff therapy is made for. I’d suggest exploring what’s going on here so you can find a place where you can live comfortably.

    19. Single In the 50's*

      There is nothing wrong with you. And I’m not sure who is telling you it’s not “socially acceptable” to remain single or why you should feel it’s not socially acceptable in your 30’s or even beyond. Society can go pound sand! Do what feels right for you, not what your think societal pressures or perceived norms should be.

      There’s a lot of conflict in your post. If you enjoy being single, work on building a larger support network of friends and family or a created family (families can be whatever dynamic you define, kids, pets, neighbors, friends, coworkers and even actual family). If you want to find a romantic partner, then take steps to date and actively look for a romantic partner. But realize that neither one of these things makes one a grown up. Being a grown up just means you can take care of yourself financially and be a responsible citizen, it has nothing to do with being single or married.

      And realize that just because people get married, it doesn’t mean they can’t still be lonely. I’ve seen it often when one spouse goes off doing their hobby or thing all weekend. Combined with work, it can mean they don’t even see much of each other even if they do live together. My mom lived like that for 40+ years as dad was always out fishing, hunting, racing, etc. So having a support network is still important outside of the spouse/partner unit.

  13. Newtothisgame*

    I posted a little while ago about joining Tinder and received some great advice. I’m not on there any more as I’ve met a really nice guy and things seem to be going really well.

    I’m completely rubbish at this whole new relationship thing though and I was wondering if anyone can help me with this particular thing… I know I want to ask about (at least recent) past relationships before I get too involved (I got burnt by not doing that last time) but I don’t know how to ask without scaring him off. I was debating about asking what made him join tinder in the first place but this is the sort of conversation I really struggle with so any advice would be really helpful please :)

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      New: I’m years out of the game and weird anyway (friends with about 60% of my exes, including one who roomed with Mr. Jules and me last year), but iirc, somewhere around the 3rd – 5th date, it won’t be seen as weird to include the topic. It’s easier if you think of it as something that will unfold over time, rather than One Serious Discussion. I’ve known several people who married early, divorced by 20, and were uncomfortable discussing it, so it took several conversations before it came out.

      Also iirc, it’s easier if you start with disclosure, like ‘I usually date friends or foafs, which means lots of computer programmers’ or ‘I usually date friends, and we often stay friendly afterwards. My high school prom date just got married to this fantastic woman, I like her a lot.’ (real conversations I’ve had, and she’s still fantastic)

      On the less fun side, ‘Dating can be rough sometimes. This one guy in my friend group would not accept no – I had to keep saying no for two years before he moved on. My boyfriend at the time was Not Amused.’ You can only pull ‘This one guy’ twice a year at most before it starts becoming ‘this one time at band camp’ tho.

      Good luck!

    2. neverjaunty*

      If having a reasonable conversation about something important scares a dude off, he wasn’t the right dude.

      1. Natalie*

        Newtothisgame is asking about *how*, though, that’s a different question than whether or not. There are artless ways to ask about something that normal people might bristle at. If your first conversation on your first date is peppering someone with questions about all of their exes, them taking that as a red flag doesn’t mean they were the wrong person, I guess unless how you ask questions is a deep, inherent part of your personality.

    3. Natalie*

      A lowkey way to get someone to share about Subject is to start with your own experience with Subject.

    4. fposte*

      When you say you got burnt last time, what do you mean? I’m not generally a fan of the “so give me your relationship resume” approach, but I can see wanting to know if somebody was still carrying a torch for the ex who dumped them two weeks ago.

    5. Parenthetically*

      I dunno, I guess my philosophy is, if a guy gets “scared off” by normal adult new-relationship conversations like “so let’s talk about how past relationships have brought us to where we are today…” let him! Scare him off, along with any dude who can’t or won’t have those kinds of conversation! ;)

      If you’re looking for an opening, my tactic with my now-husband was always a very frank, “Hey, I have a topic for us to discuss! What do you think about _________ (kids, career, whatever)?” We did a lot of these chats in the car or on walks — somehow having something to do and being side-by-side rather than face-to-face made it easier to delve into deeper topics.

    6. Newtothisgame*

      Thanks for the suggestions. Yeah, it’s the how to bring it up that is my problem.
      I’ve only had one relationship where I got far enough to be thinking about asking that and I struggled to ask it, particularly since my ex made it an awkward topic to bring up. Ultimately, I never did manage to ask about it and that relationship ended abruptly when I discovered that among a whole host of lies, my ex was more involved with his ex than he told me. Asking that question might have saved me some heartache earlier.

      1. Aurora Leigh*

        I got a 101 Quizzes for couples book to do on a road trip together that cover a bunch of that kind of stuff. Made it easy to ask cause it was in the book, and there was a good mix of funny and serious questions. But he was open up front that he had been single for a long time, and I had never dated before, so it wasn’t a big issue for us.

  14. LGC*

    Running thread!

    I don’t think I’ve asked this question lately, but what races (if any) do you guys have planned in the upcoming months, if any? I’ve gone on a lot about my plans, and while technically I’m working with a 12-week plan, it really feels like I’m on a 16 week one.

    Also, in LGC’s Misadventures of the Week (since apparently this is becoming a series now): I forgot that it’s August and thought I could stay late at work and run afterwards (I’m a night owl naturally) without a headlamp. I didn’t realize how quickly the local park gets pitch black (which is…not great when you’re trying to run at half-marathon pace).

    I thought I could hold off on putting my headlamp on, but looks like I’ll probably have to bust it out now. At least when I’m doing 8 PM runs, which normally I try to avoid.

    1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

      My next race is the NYCRUNS version of the Brooklyn Half Marathon on October 20. This one doesn’t go out to Coney Island like the NYRR version does. But NYCRUNS — a relatively new organization — puts on great races, so I’m excited. Then, heaven willing, Philadelphia Marathon four weeks later on November 18.

      I’m on my way now to do my long run in Summer Streets in Manhattan. The weather forecast sounds dicey. If I don’t post again later this weekend, someone send a lifeboat!

      Re: long runs after work, I give you lots of credit. I’ve tried that and I’m just too gassed to do it well. Plus, it’s hot out in August at night!

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

        So about that lifeboat… I ran 6 miles and the heavens absolutely went haywire. I typically run through rain, but this rain storm was literally blinding me. Plus, there was lightning. No bueno.

        I stopped and hung under a bus shelter for 17 minutes until it was safe enough to continue. I managed to run 14 miles as I planned, absolutely soaking wet. My question is, does it go in the logbook as a 14 mile long run, or since I didn’t do it straight through, is it one 6 mile run and one 8 mile run?

        1. Justin*

          I ran the whole summer streets in that blinding rain. It was fun! I figured, lightning will hit the buildings!


          Races: Percy Sutton 5k, Marathon Tune up, Bronx 10m, Hartford Marathon, NYC marathon, Ted Corbitt 15k.

          1. LGC*

            …holy cow, and I thought I was ambitious!

            (My schedule so far is Racefaster Half, Newport Liberty Half, Norwood 5k, New York Marathon, and probably Ashenfelter 8k. Most of this will probably not make sense to anyone outside of North Jersey, but basically: two half marathons on consecutive weekends, although I’m running one at marathon pace and then trying to go all out on the other.

        2. LGC*

          I mean, my watch decided that for me this morning…I had a 7 and 5 mile run. At least it sounds like you got your goal mileage – I WAS planning on doing 16.

          It was pretty intense. Within about ten minutes of the first visible lightning strike, there were SHEETS of rain coming down. At least this time it wasn’t a surprise (we were running down from Weehawken to Liberty State Park, and when we left the storm was hitting Garden State Plaza and moving east). It was actually a bit scarier when it passed over the Hudson – midtown literally disappeared behind a wall of clouds.

          1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)*

            How cool. Justin, depending on when you started running, you probably passed me–or passed me coming down the other way. And LGC, Hoboken to Liberty State Park (just a bit shorter than yours) is my next planned long run. Hopefully not in a massive thunderstorm or heatwave. We can only hope. It seems the common theme of my long runs this summer is finishing them absolutely drenched!

            1. LGC*

              …I think that’s been common for EVERYONE in the New York area! (I mean, intellectually I know that the human body is something like 60-70% water. But seriously, I’ve never realized how much water I actually have in me until this summer.)

              I’m mostly fine with the rain (it’s preferable to 80 degrees and 80% humidity), except for the entire shoe situation. Between last weekend and this one, my trainers have taken a beating (at least they’re due to be replaced soon anyway).

    2. LuJessMin*

      My next (and probably last) race this year is the Corndog Classic 5K in conjunction with the Tulsa State Fair. It’s the Saturday before the fair starts and entry fee includes a ticket to the fair. Plus this year there are finisher medals!

      1. LGC*

        Good luck! That actually sounds pretty awesome that you get a ton of swag with the race – both the medal and a fair ticket.

        1. A bit of a saga*

          It’s always been a dream of mine to make it to a US State Fair and I love that the race is called Corndog Classic! Good luck. I’m running a 10k next week along the Copenhagen harbour (past the Little Mermaid I believe)

          1. LGC*

            I’m running a 10k next week along the Copenhagen harbour (past the Little Mermaid I believe)

            Oh, dude, that sounds amazing!

            (I’m actually in the opposite position from you – I’d love to visit Europe, and I always enjoy hearing about where you’ve been.)

    3. Ktelzbeth*

      I’m on the fence about heading to Iowa for the Black Squirrel triathlon this coming weekend. If I do, it’ll be my last tri for the season. Then there are a couple local trail races (5-7k), one in September and one in October. I’ll miss the August due to being out of town.

      1. LGC*

        Good luck with all of those! Especially the trail races – trail is something I’ve wanted to do but never had the time to.

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          I’m lucky. There is a state park about half an hour away with a running group every Thursday night. I started going just for accountability and company, but got to liking the trail running.

  15. Ruth (UK)*

    Just a short rant about frustration of a friend (“Jane”) who often asks my advice, and then once she’s received it will just tell me why I’m wrong about it and do what she likes anyway (which often backfires) and then complains to me (and says or implies there’s nothing she could have done to avoid the situation) and also often vastly mis-estimates her own ability to do things or mis-estimates what she might like doing (ie. she’s often unprepared for how difficult, uncomfortable, etc things are). As a general rule, she tends to be quite disorganised and not very practical. In recent years I’ve noticed I am actually drifting further from her and seeing her less often, but I’ve known her a long time, and do still consider her a friend.

    So, she and her partner, (“Jim”) are planning to go camping for the first time possibly ever (if they’ve camped before, it would have been as children maybe and they have no gear). They showed me this camp-stove and cooking pot/pan set up that cost an outrageous amount of money (like over £70) considering they’re going camping as a one-off. They showed it to me very much in the context of asking “what do you think of this?” / “do you think we should get this?” (I later gathered they expected me to say “yes, that is amazing. get that”).

    Also for some money context, I make 16.5K a year (21k in USD) and they’re slightly less well off than me (Jane makes about what I do and Jim is currently out of work). (As an aside, I did not actually bring up their personal money situation with them. I just provided that as context in this post so readers would understand how much the price difference is potentially ‘worth’ within their/my financial situations and therefore points of view).

    Also, I camp a lot. Typically 5 to 7 times per year, every year (and have camped a lot since I was a kid). Typically 3 nights at a time, but sometimes 1 or 2, and occasionally 5 (or more). It’s often on festival sites (I perform at festivals in the summer and get a lot of free tickets), sometimes on campsites, and occasionally more like the softer side of ‘trekking’ type trips (ie. nothing too extreme, but I do do walking-and-camping trips – generally within the UK). I usually do all or most of my own cooking.

    I showed her my camping gear, which includes a 1-hob £10 gas camp stove (or a hexi stove for some situations), and my various camping cookware which cost me typically a couple £ each (a saucepan, frying pan and kettle). I did also say the campstove+set they were looking at did seem a bit extreme and also overpriced for what they needed. (and also heavy as it wasn’t that small).

    I recommended if they’re set on cooking, they get the £10 camp stove if they want to cook (plus the gas cannisters are constantly on buy one get one free in a store near us), and use their own pots/pans from home (they’ll be going by car and staying on a static campsite!). (I also suggested as it’s a short trip they’re planning [2 nights] they could just pack a bunch of snacks/sandwiches etc and maybe visit a chip shop or similar in the evenings.

    They explained to me why the stuff they wanted was SO much better than my stuff… I basically said well, yes it IS better than mine, but not ENOUGH better to justify such a price difference, especially when being bought for a single (short) trip by people who don’t necessarily know if they will then use it again.

    They kept explaining why the set they wanted is so amazing, but also, which frustrated me, talked to me as if I somehow didn’t understand what camping involved, pointing out quite obvious things like the fact they’d be outside and that it might rain as though I hadn’t yet considered this.

    They were very set on convincing me their set was better and worth it, and clearly looking to get me to agree. In the end I ended up saying something along the lines of “it’s your choice what you get for your trip, but if you want my advice, I don’t recommend that one.” which they were very unhappy wit.

    I guess more than them not taking my advice (I don’t really personally care that much whether they blow their money on an expensive stove), I was frustrated that they couldn’t accept that I couldn’t be convinced that it was a great idea (so wouldn’t drop it) and also that they explained to me in quite a condescending way basically what was involved in camping, as if talking to someone who had never camped (when they are the people who have never been).

    They were literally like, “but you see, we won’t have anywhere to plug in electrics” as if I hadn’t realised that (as part of explaining why they couldn’t possibly have a 1-hob stove in case they wanted to cook and also boil the kettle [home kettles in the uk are usually electric]). I said I normally boil my kettle first (and maybe make an initial cup of tea), then cook breakfast/whatever, then put the kettle back on (and being still hot, it boils again in like 30 seconds). They said that sounded ‘too complicated’.

    Anyway, as I said at the start, I have kind of drifted gradually away from this friend in recent years (some mutual friends have moved away and I’ve ended up establishing a different social circle in the last few years – who happen to often be the people I’m camping with). I guess one of the reasons I haven’t tried that hard to stay well connected with her is that I seem to often end up in conversations much like this where she’ll ask my advice/opinion on something and then not like my response (if it’s not ‘yes that’s a brilliant idea, do it’), and then spend a lot of effort trying to bring me round to her way of thinking (and the things she’s asking my advice on are typically as trivial as ‘should I buy this camp stove’ though one was “should I quit my job and run a craft shop” – during which she didn’t like me pointing out that she doesn’t even do any crafts apart from knowing the basics of knitting!).

    1. Thlayli*

      Can you try considering her as the comic relief in your life – like barney Stinson or jack from will and grace. Just say “yes that looks great” and silently laugh to yourself about what an idiot she is. Or do the office deadpan look at an imaginary camera everytime.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Oops, I missed your comment earlier! I think I can try considering it a bit of comedy relief and not feel so involved in it, but I don’t think I could bring myself to say ‘that looks great’ when I don’t think so.

        Often I feel myself just waiting for the aftermath of her decisions – usually after she’s disregarded all sensible advice and forged ahead, it will have backfired in some way, not worked out as planned, turn out awful, or otherwise made her unhappy, and then she’ll come seeking sympathy because everything is against her and going wrong, through no fault of hers because the world is against her… :D

    2. Katherine Vigneras*

      Oh dear. What about this friendship brings you joy? Can you answer their questions in a way that doesn’t drag you into these drawn out conversations? (To the camping cookware set, instead of making a recommendation based on what you do, say “it’ll do the job” and be done with it?)

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        I guess not much if I’m honest. I have found it difficult to avoid the cycle because if Im vague or do anything less than outright agreeing it’s a good decision, she’s discontent. I think she strongly seeks validation hence trying to convince me to agree with her and not accepting that I might not think her plans are the best even if I’m fine with her going ahead regardless. And I can’t quite bring myself to go with ‘yes that’s brilliant’ when I think it’s not…

        1. Jen in Oregon*

          ….and it’s a good thing you don’t, because I suspect that if you *were* to agree with her, you would then be her scapegoat when things go sideways and everything would be all your fault because she listened to you.

    3. Anona*

      That advice cycle is maddening. My husband has that with some family members. It helps him to recognize that they’re not going to take advice that he gives, or to avoid giving advice when possible (“it seems like you’re set on x stove. I hope that goes well.”

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        Yep, this. It is very frustrating for people to explain your expertise to you, but you see the dance, and you can step out of it. “Not the stove I would pick, but you clearly want it. We’re different people so lets move on.” They might, eventually, stop trying to dance it with you if you don’t engage.

        (ps – this sooooo sounds like a variant of geek fallacy #4 – not only ‘love me, love my friends’ but also ‘love me, love my choices’)

      2. Ruth (UK)*

        Yes I guess I’ve realized now she almost never takes me advice so I do try to avoid getting into it. One issue is that vague answers don’t work on her as she seems to quite strongly seek validation and therefore is after an outright agreement that that she’s doing the right thing in any given situation rather than just a ‘its your choice’ type response.

        She enters the conversation as though she genuinely seeks my opinion when what she really wants is to feel validated that she’s making the best decisions (and so if it doesn’t work out it’s not possibly due to anything she had control over) and as I can’t bring myself to say ‘yes that’s brilliant’ when I don’t think so, and anything less doesn’t work, she’s constantly dissatisfied.

        I’ve largely been dealing with it by not engaging with her in the first place and as a result, we’re now drifting apart which, if I’m honest, I’m not mega gutted about though because I’ve known her a long time, it does feel tough/sad

        1. Parenthetically*

          I guess depending on how honest you’re willing to be, given that you feel like the friendship is on the way out, you might think of saying something like, “Hey, when you ask my opinion about stuff like this, I want to be truthful with you, but you seem disappointed if I don’t end up giving my unqualified approval, like when (examples A and B). I don’t want you to feel like you have to (seek my opinion/justify your choices to me/do anything but ask me to share in your excitement).”

          Also, I absolutely recognize your friend’s tendency in myself, since I’m also a “convincer” like she seems to be, AND I love seeing my friends be excited about what I’m excited about. If she’s fairly self-aware, it might be worth talking through that with her. Like hey, it’s cool for you to be pumped about what you’re pumped about! You can present it to me in that way and I will be happy for you!

      3. fposte*

        Yeah, this just sounds like a trap at this point. Do Not Enter. I like Anona’s husband’s phraseology. Another possibility is being straightforward: “You know, when you’ve asked for advice it seems like you then are unhappy with me for giving it. That suggests you’re looking for something other than what you’re asking. What’s up with that?” But it sounds like the friendship may have thinned out to the point where that may not be a conversation worth having.

    4. Coffeelover*

      I think if you truly want to continue seeing this person (but fair enough if you don’t), you should stop getting pulled into these debates that go no where.

      My best friend is an amazing person, but he does just about the opposite of what I would do in any given circumstance. Most would probably say he’s pretty reckless and irresponsible. (A £70 camp stove is nothing… He bought a £1500 bag he couldn’t afford.)

      If he asks for my advice and I disagree with his choice, I’ll say my opinion once or twice. When I see he has already made up his mind (which is 99% of the time), I say “okay if that’s what you’ve decided”. If he says, “so you agree x, y, z” I say “I agree that you should do what makes you happy/makes sense for you”. It’s his prerogative to live his life how he wants to and to make the mistakes he wants to make. There’s no changing his mind and trying to will only frustrate me.

      For the record, our relationship is amazing. And he brings a different and refreshing perspective to my life. There are pros to having different people around you I think, but you have to accept the differences for the good and the bad.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        a £1500 bag blows my mind a little bit.

        I’m quite glad I’m not going on this camping trip with my friend as I believe camping with her would be quite stressful! As I’ve said above, she often vastly mis-estimates the sort of thing she might enjoy and is often a lot more uncomfortable/whatever than she was expecting.

        Last year, I travelled with her by train to stay 2 nights with a friend (sleeping on their sofa) in another city. I packed: underwear for all days, 2 shirts, 1 spare pair of trousers, and a few snacks for the journey. In a rucksack (like school rucksack size, not camping rucksack). She brought… 2 suitcases. I honestly have no idea what she packed (though it included multiple pairs of shoes and a hairdryer…) but it was enough that she seriously struggled on the train (and our friend met us at the other end to help her. The original plan had been for us to get to her house on our own using public transport). I can’t imagine her packing for camping…

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      I’d personally stop giving them advice. If they ask, but like “well, I’d do this,” and if they disagree, just say “well, it’s what I would do, but do what you like,” and refuse to get into it.

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Thanks, I will try this, and what others have said above (ie. try to avoid/refuse getting into it).

    6. only acting normal*

      I know loads of people who camp a *lot*, and at most they have the same as you. Your friend is deluded if they think they need more.
      As for the larger problem – I wish I had an answer because then I could apply it to my relationship with my mother!

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        oh dear, it’s probably worse if it’s your mother as it’s harder to just decide to talk to them less etc.

        I know my friend is deluded about this. It’s something she knows nothing about (she has never been camping to my knowledge, though it’s possible she might have been as a child), she’s asking advice from someone who camps approx. every other weekend across the summer (and occasionally out of season), and then disregarding that advice and assuming she knows best, and that I somehow don’t fully understand what is involved in cooking outdoors.

    7. neverjaunty*

      Oh yes, the “let me outsource my negative feelings to you” people. If you have any reason to spend time with these annoying ‘friends’ in the future, STRONGLY recommend absolutely refusing to share your opinion. “Oh, I couldn’t possibly say,” or “I don’t know, what do you think?” will deprive them of their irritating fun.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        I think neverjaunty has the answer for this situation. The only thing you can control is your own behavior.

        When a going-nowhere, repeating script happens with Hubby, I describe the repeating pattern out loud (i.e. You ask advice – I give advice – you reject advice and try to convince me I’m wrong.) then add: “Let’s save a lot of time here – “Argue, argue.” To which he responds, “Argue, argue.” Then we both burst out laughing and get on with something else!
        Life is too short for endlessly repeating scripts.

    8. Chaordic One*

      Yes, you have to just say something along the lines of, “Oh, that sounds terrible,” to show empathy and then follow it up with, “But you’re so smart I’m sure you’ll figure out the best way to deal with it.”

    9. msroboto*

      I say stay in touch and keep this camp set in mind. When they haven’t gone camping in a year or so and need a couple bucks offer them like 20 for it. You might use it on one of those 5 day in one site trips. I know it sounds excessive to carry but if you are a camper you may enjoy it.

    10. Adele*

      Most people, once they have made a decision or a purchase, don’t really want your opinion. They just want validation or admiration. Just say, “That’s great! Let me know how it worked out after your trip.” If they actually, truly, ask for advice, give it once and then let it go if they reject it.

    11. AnonymousCelebrity*

      Stop offering opinions or advice. Just say, “Gee, I don’t know. Do what you think is best.” Then sit back and watch the inevitable happen. Then, when the complaining begins, say something like, “Gosh, that’s too bad. I’m so sorry that happened” and then change the subject.

      You know this person’s pattern. You know how this person operates. So quit playing the game. Don’t get involved. Don’t offer advice. It’s not your job to be this person’s guidance counselor, her mom, her financial planner or her girl scout troupe leader. So step back and don’t try to be any of that. You can’t fix her. Stop trying.

    12. Girl friday*

      It is very hard to show people things without them having an opinion, or wanting it for themselves, or story topping. I think it’s just how people are now. when I look back, I can’t think of anything I showed someone that I was proud of that I wish I hadn’t shown them now. People really are crazy.
      And camping, is one of those things like boating, that you can do on a $100 budget or a 100 K budget, and still have a really great time, so I wouldn’t worry too much about them. Camping gear can either be disposable or an investment I guess is what I’m saying.
      My daughters and I all have crazy different budgets. One of them has a lot of money, one has medium money, and I have almost no money, but we get by talking about the activities instead of the equipment and planning around the uses of things instead of the things themselves. So I can understand!

  16. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

    How do you find a good hair/makeup person in another city?

    I have an Event coming up that I’d like to get my hair and makeup professionally done for, but it’s in a place that’s far away, and I won’t be able to go there in person beforehand/get any kind of trial makeup done in advance (is that even a thing?). So what criteria can I use to find someone who will do a good job and whose style will fit mine? I’ve never had my hair or makeup done professionally before, so I just don’t really even know where to start.

    1. Lcsa99*

      I would start with Yelp reviews then look at their own website – from what I’ve seen most make up artists/hairstylists have pictures on their site of stuff they’ve done so you can get an idea of their style.

  17. Loopy*

    This week’s health discovery: Loopy does not understand carbs. At all.

    I thought I was doing great by cutting out breads, pastas, cereals, etc. I did not bother to actually research. Holy moly fruit carbs. Also I’ve been eating tons of chick peas and hummus. While I’ll never be able to go low carb (being a lactose intolerant vegetarian makes it harder than I’m willing to fuss with), I was trying to greatly reduce them. Myfitnesspal was pretty much like whoa slow down there carb girl. I stopped using it because it was making me unhealthy about eating, but that was one takeaway from it I wanted to keep.

    So, this week I’m trying cloud bread. Which seems like it’s mostly egg. I generally dislike a strong egg-y taste and almost all egg textures but want a way to get the protein they offer. Has anyone had cloud bread? Is it’s egg-flavor noticeable/prominent? I’m planning on mixing in spices and such, if that’ll help enough (I’m also crap with spices, so if anyone has tried and true spice advice for cloud bread, let me know!).

    1. Thlayli*

      You know carbs are the food group you should eat most of right? You can’t cut them out altogether.

      1. Tau*

        Also, all carbohydrates are not created equal. There’s a pretty big difference between eating, say, whole-wheat bread versus pure sugar.

      2. Anona*

        Some diets are based on avoiding carbs. My husband is doing keto, which was cleared by his doctors. It’s a low/no carb, high protein, high fat diet.

        1. Loopy*

          Thanks. I’m really not trying to make any specific diet statement at all, just bring things into moderation. As a vegetarian I often find myself eating carbs to feel full instead of protein. So I was eating waaaay a lot of carbs.

          Also I could eat two serving is pasta four nights in a row if allowed. My carb love is STRONG.

          1. nep*

            Do you like any of the pastas made from beans (garbanzo or black)? Not necessarily low-carb, but better given that they are higher in fiber and protein.

            1. Loopy*

              I’ve been told about these but don’t know if they come in boxes like normal pasta? I’ve seen lentil pasta frozen by green giant. It was just okay and I couldn’t tell if that’s because it was a frozen type. I would certainly give it another shot :)

              1. Loopy*

                Ah, outed myself. Donno how much Alison moderates these weekend threads, but does anyone know how to get it deleted? Not a huge deal, but dang. Was hoping to be more anon for another topic in case a friend happens on these weekend threads.

                1. Observer*

                  I’ve seen this stuff in my mid-range local supermarket. Of course, this is NYC, so that may make a difference.

                  In general, a good place to start for stuff like this is in the Gluten Free areas. Just one thing to keep in mind – a lot of GF foods use potato for their primary starch, and they tend to be the least good choice your purposes.

              2. nep*

                Trader Joe’s black bean rotini–oh so good. T Joe’s also has lentil pasta dry in a bag–I like the flavour but this one does not digest well for me for some reason.
                Banza–chick pea pasta dry in a box; I’ve seen that at a few grocery stores. I’ve not tried it yet though.

          2. misspiggy*

            I used to be like that when I was veggie – looking back I think I might have been compensating for lack of protein. Nuts help me get more protein into myself – esp starting the day with peanut butter on toast and having nuts as snacks. Although that’s calorific, I find I crave pasta etc a lot less, which more than makes up for it.

          3. Thlayli*

            FYI I wasn’t “judging” you. Lots of people get sucked into all sorts of faddy diets which have no grounding in reality. There are hundreds of books and articles out there advising people to do very unhealthy things in the interest of losing weight. I’m glad to hear you realise that carbs are necessary and are not just jumping on the “carbs are evil” bandwagon, but believe it or not there are plenty of people out there who do think it’s healthy to “cut out all carbs” or similar. Your comment, particularly the part about looking for low carb bread, made me think you were trying to “cut out all carbs” which is really unhealthy to do. Bread is a major source of carbs, so trying to find carb-free bread is an indicator of pretty extreme low-carb diet. That sentence in particular made me worry you might have fallen victim to one of those conscienceless “diet gurus” who give people really unhealthy advice to sell a book or an article. I wasn’t judging you, just judging the people who give unhealthy advice to make a quick buck.

            If you look at my other comments, you will see that most of them written yesterday are extremely short and brusque in tone. This is because I was checking internet in short bursts yesterday between doing lots of other tasks and had very little time to write long replies. So I wrote lots of 1 and 2-line replies because that’s all I had time to do for the most part.

            Sorry if I made you feel judged or upset you. That was not my intention.

            1. Loopy*

              Hi! Thanks for the explanation but no worries, I wasn’t upset. I was just clarifying when I responded. Tone can be so hard to read on the internet so I really appreciate your response though. I was more curious about the cloud bread than anything (and honestly? I hated it, so much egg flavor that i failed to mask!) but truly, even under supervision of a doctor, any extreme low *something* diet would be super hard for me! But yeah, the internet is scary and worrisome when it comes to diet advice- if I wanted to adopt any specific diet other than very very basic moderation and consideration of what I’d eat, I’d consult my doctor or some other qualified professional.

              No upsetness here! And I’ve fully learned my lesson about the dangers of the internet when it convinced me I had scabies and I lost an entire afternoon to panicking (it was a bug bite).

            2. Courageous cat*

              I mean, have you done research on the ketogenic diet, or…?

              I think you’re making a looot of generalizations, not many of them true (*especially* for people with certain conditions like diabetes). I can find a lot of peer-reviewed journal articles on the benefits of that diet just with a quick Google search.

              1. Observer*

                Yes, I’ve done some research on the ketogenic diet. And for most people, it’s a really bad idea for a number of reasons. And, studies are pretty inconclusive about how much it really contributes to weight loss.

                There are cases it where does make sense to try it, and it does work for some people, so if someone wants to try it, I’d say talk to your doctor and / or a qualified appropriate specialist and, if you decide it’s worth a shot, monitor for while.

                But, keep in mind that the very basis of this diet is that it forces your body to pretty fundamentally change your metabolism.

                1. Courageous cat*

                  I think “for most people” is a bit of a stretch but I don’t think you’re necessarily wrong about most of it. I was talking to Thlayli though because they were making some fairly unfounded claims. There is no need to actively worry about strangers who have chosen low-carb or ketogenic diets. Lots of them (and me, at one point) have worked closely with their doctor and have had their blood tested many times and actually became healthier than ever before.

    2. misspiggy*

      I feel better and lose a bit of weight when I increase protein and slow-burn carbs like porridge, and get my sugar fix from fruit instead of biscuits. Dropping sugar intake dramatically doesn’t work for me, so I’ve given up trying to eat an officially healthy diet and just try to nudge it in the right direction.

      Some friends feel happier on rigid low carb diets followed by periods of more normal eating. I guess I’m saying it’s good to know yourself and decide what degree of healthy eating might work for you.

      1. Loopy*

        Yeah I can’t drop anything super dramatically without being miserable. Generally when I try to eat healthy it tends to just be cutting down on things so I’m eating them in moderation. I can easily get in the habit of living on sugars and carbs!

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      I haven’t had cloud bread, but:
      1) Whipping egg whites and cream of tartar should get you a texture that’s very different from omelets
      2) The recipe link in my name just advises using a generic ‘Italian Seasoning’ mix, that’s really safe spicing.
      3) The egg taste never really goes away, you really have to drown it with other stuff. Worcestshire sauce is good.

      On the cream cheese ingredient: Little Jules and I are both lactose intolerant and react to cream cheese, but lactase pills work for us. We find them in every grocery store or pharmacy (US South), usually next to the antacid pills. 9000 iu lets us eat cheese, yogurt or small amounts of ice cream comfortably. I wouldn’t try 8oz milk, but not having to avoid cheese has been a huge improvement in our quality of life.

      Best of luck to you!

      1. Loopy*

        I do have those amazing lactaid pills so I can try recipes like this without too much hassle. But there’s no pizza binging!

        I’m thrilled there will be no omelet texture. I will do my best to drown the egg flavor in stuff! Thanks for the tips :)

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I’ve made it. It was OK at the time. I made it so long ago, though, that I don’t really remember what it tasted like. I do remember an egg taste, though. But these last few years I’ve decided that I’m done with trying all these recipes that try to mimic bread, or whatever we’re trying to eat less of. I’d rather eat a small amount of the real thing or just avoid it all together. Like with ice cream. I have to limit my sugar to no more than about 15 grams in one meal/snack, so ice cream is something I can’t eat like I used to. I’ve tried the new high protein ice creams and all the other lower sugar ice creams/novelties, but they either bother my stomach because of the artificial sweetener or sugar alchohols or they just don’t taste good. I’ve decided that if I want ice cream, I’ll eat about two to three bites of the real stuff (I’m partial to Ben & Jerry’s) to satisfy me. Some people really get into making alternative recipes, but I just can’t be bothered.

      1. Loopy*

        Yeah normally I don’t bother with mimic recipes but this was so easy and needed so little I decided to give it a try. Hopefully if I hate it I won’t be too disappointed.

    5. Rookie Biz Chick*

      Hey, Loopy – are there any cheeses you can eat – sheep or goat cheese? Some of the best low-carb breads have a base of almond flour and shredded cheese. I’m not lactose intolerant, but try to keep my cow dairy in check, so eat manchego a lot and use it in most recipes as the cheese. I make this recipe weekly: https://fitmencook.com/keto-meal-plan/

      Also there are a lot of bread recipes with riced cauliflower as the base. Many of these are awesome and not eggy or dairy-y, but a bit more involved, so I only make them when I have time to spend.

      Also, it’s been said here prior, but those refined carbs and sugars you mentioned first are great to ditch. The chickpeas and hummus and beans are vastly better quality with lower glycemic index and pack in great protein, as well. Fruit sugars are not terrible, and there are many lower sugar fruits. If you are not super-low-carb/keto, then carbs are still the primary energy source.

      Hoping you find what works for you!

      1. Loopy*

        Thanks! I haven’t done much experimenting with what cheeses I can handle yet, it’s only been about 8/9 months since I developed the lactose intolerance.

        I’m definitely nowhere near the realm of keto or any structured diet. Whenever I try and keep to a rigid or strict diet, it’s a really terrible fit for me. So mostly I’m looking to just be more conscious of what I’m eating and trying to find ways to keep myself from eating waaaaaay to many carbs!

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          My experience with both Little Jules and me being lactose is that your intolerance levels vary a lot, and can vary week to week. I can eat greek yogurt with minimal symptoms, Kid Jules can’t have anything without a pill, and needs a second 9K iu to have both pizza and ice cream.

          New site in the link has tips on how to approach testing cheese – general rule seems to be harder / more aged = less lactose. I thought I’d had problems with cheeses, but maybe it was just the feta and I need to test monterey jack.

    6. Cringing 24/7*

      Cloud bread doesn’t really have an eggy taste to me. I have a friend who’s keto and (out of solidarity to help her begin), my spouse and I did it with her for the first month, and cloud bread was the best thing I could find to substitute for actual bread. Best of luck with your dietary adjustments!

    7. buttercup*


      The past month, I have switched to a low carb diet to reduce belly fat. It’s been iffy – I think I am not doing a good job of replacing the calories from the carbs with protein and/or vegetables. The other day, I had a mediterraneian salad and got REEALLY bloated – I looked 5 months pregnant. Also, I was still STARVING. I ended up eating a sandwich later, and my stomach shrank immediately. Like huh?! I guess carbs are necessary sometimes.

      1. Loopy*

        Yeah I’m struggling with ways to get rid of some belly fat too. I’ve heard and are made in the kitchen but I don’t need abs! I just need some less fluff! :) The struggle is real for sure.

    8. Girl friday*

      Here’s my mantra: bananas are cake, beans are cake, potatoes are cake and rice is cake. I ate no carbs or sugar for almost two and a half years and I wish you luck. I loved it. What you’re really cutting out is sugar.

    9. Girl friday*

      I’m a vegetarian that doesn’t eat carbs by the way. Including potatoes, although I probably average out to having some kind of carb 3 times a week. You can totally be a vegetarian and not eat vegetables; and you can be a vegetarian and not eat carbs. Just don’t do both! Just to give weight to my cake comment below. You will feel better, probably lose some weight and have very low cholesterol no matter what, as long as you watch butter and dairy.

  18. Kate Daniels*

    What’s your favorite thing to do on a weekend that doesn’t involve spending money (or a very, very minimal amount)?

    1. Foreign Octopus*


      Probably not what you’re looking for but I love to read so when I’ve finished my work for the weekend and I have some time for myself, I like to read.

      Also, baking but that depends if you have stuff in the house. For example, today I’m trying to find a recipe for a chocolate custard tart. I’ve never made it before but I have the time and I’d like to give it a try.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          So far I’ve only made the pastry. I’m still looking for the chocolate custard recipe. However, for the base it’s nice and easy and stolen from Martha Stewart’s website:

          170 g cold, cubed butter
          340g plain flour
          3 tbsp cocoa powder
          2 tbsp sugar
          Cold coffee to combine

          On the website it said 1/3 oz for the cold coffee – I don’t know what that is in UK measurements but I treated it as I normally do when adding water. I added it little by little until there was enough.

          I’m really interested in how the coffee’s going to affect the taste.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            Nigella Lawson’s chocolate recipes often use instant espresso or Tia Maria to bring out the taste of the chocolate, but from what I can gather, it doesn’t give the stuff a coffee flavour.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        I like the idea of baking a treat or two and then spending the day reading a book from cover to cover! :-) I have several currently checked out from the library.

      1. Anon for this number 42*

        Sleeping! Do not get enough time for that in the week, and naps with senior kitty seem to be her preferred kind of quality pet time too…

    2. Overeducated*

      If the weather’s nice, walking or spending time in a local park. Picking up fruit and veg at a farmer’s market instead of grocery store (making sure to stay within my weekly grocery budget). Sometimes going to a county/state park beach (not free but generally cheap per person or per car). Generally just finding reasons to coast around the neighborhood on my bike.

      If it’s not nice, going to the library, a free museum (options of course vary geographically), a cooking project, board games or a movie with popcorn at home. For some reason the popcorn makes it feel like an event.

      1. tab*

        +1 My husband and I do this every Saturday & Sunday. It’s a nice way to get some exercise, enjoy nature, and talk.

      2. nep*

        Yes–walking through parks where there are a lot of trees. Can’t get enough of that, and on weekends can spend more time there.

      3. CAA*

        This is mine too. I need the weather to cool down below 90F before I’m going out again though!

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Reading mostly.

      Lately it’s been looking around in antique stores. My house was built in 1735 so I’m typically looking for primitives, not frilly glass knickknacks and all that. I guess that could count as spending money, but I don’t usually find something to buy since I haven’t found a local antique store that has what I’m looking for. I’m partial to wooden spoons, wooden bowls, stoneware crocks and things like that.

    4. Kj*

      IKEA breakfast. It costs 99 cents for the basic breakfast. We bring the paper and read it while eating. Bliss.

    5. HannahS*

      Reading, watching TV, blogging, going for walks, having a friend over or going for a walk together, making something out of my disgracefully large craft supply.

    6. Girl friday*

      Hiking and window shopping? Or you can go get chips and salsa and milk a couple beers and people watch almost anywhere? Take a dog to the dog park? Get a cookbook from the library? Memberships at Planet Fitness are very minimal money and big returns on sociable fun and health benefits? Visit family? Go watch a local athletic event like a little league game? Afternoon matinee? There are thousands of things to do. If you want to invest money on a one-time thing, you could get a kayak or frisbee golf or golf or tennis racket set and play at municipal areas. Soccer balls and volleyballs also bring cheap fun, You don’t have to pay very much each time but you get a lot of use out of them. You can also get free passes, sometimes from work, or cheap passes to national parks, state parks, concerts, athletic events and public transportation.

    7. Nisie*

      I check facebook events for stuff going on around me that’s free.

      My girls got a bouncy house experience, face painting and free food today. I got a $25 dollar Walmart card in a game.

    8. Sparkly Librarian*

      If you have transportation, check out what’s on the Free Stuff section of your local Craigslist. It’s a little like garage-saling, but with descriptions/photos ahead of time so you maximize efficiency! (With some potential for disappointment if you get there after someone’s already picked the thing up off the curb.)

    9. Snickerdoodle*

      I volunteer at the animal shelter, tick off small projects around the house (hanging pictures, reorganizing a closet, etc.) and meal prep for the coming week.

  19. nep*

    I was in a mega-mall the other day for the first time in nearly 20 years. Hoo boy I wasn’t missing anything. (A friend who had to pick something up asked me to go along for the ride.)
    If I never go near a mall again for the remainder of my days, it’ll be too soon.
    It was really interesting, in a way, standing there looking as if I was ‘part of the scene,’ walking about as if I do this all the time–and yet the entire time knowing I was an utter outsider and my head truly might explode if I thought about it all too much.
    Malls, y’all?

    1. Thlayli*

      I spent a lot of time in malls. Only place near me to buy clothes. Don’t see why they would make your head explode.

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Because they’re loud and crowded, and just full of bright lights and crazy sounds? As someone who lives close to one of the biggest malls in the world, I can pretty well say that malls are not all they’re cracked up to be.

        1. nep*

          Total overload, indeed. To each her/his/their own. For some that’s pleasing/amusing, for others maddening, or at least off-putting.

          1. Thlayli*

            They aren’t like that where I live. Just shops with lots of people and big airy corridors between.

            There is one shop (a big pharmacy) where I used to live in England that sounds like what you describe. It was only like that on Saturdays specifically. People trying to sell everything left right and centre yelling about specials and trying to spray perfume on you and tonnes of crazy displays. I couldn’t walk through it without headphones on and determinedly staring straight ahead. A whole mall of that sounds awful. My sympathies.

            1. nep*

              Well it’s funny–I got used to the utter craziness of marketplaces in the capitals of Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Senegal. That’s another world altogether also. Makes sense–it really depends on what a person is used to. I reckon it would take me a minute to re-adjust if someone plopped me there again; or perhaps I would blend right in again. Don’t know.

              1. Thlayli*

                That’s interesting. I actually don’t have a problem with outdoor markets at all either even though some of them resemble the awful pharmacy in terms of people trying to shout at you to sell you things. I wonder if it’s the overload of different types of media -a market has lots of people shouting and waving things and lots of smells but the pharmacy (for me) / mall (for you) has people shouting AND music AND things clattering AND mechanically moving displays AND bright lights AND people spraying scent on you. Maybe the total number of sounds and movements are similar but it’s overwhelming coz your brain has to figure out a load of different types of movement / noise.

        2. CAA*

          Ohhh interesting. I hadn’t thought about indoor malls being noisy because all the ones close to me are outdoor spaces. They actually just finished a huge remodel at one of them and put in all these water gardens and seating areas. I was meeting DH there for dinner a couple of weeks ago and arrived early. It was hot, so I had a really nice half hour just chilling out in the shade by a fish pond/fountain.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      The Thing to Do when I was a teen (late 80s) was to walk the mall on Friday and Saturday nights with friends, so I spent a lot of time at the mall. Although the mall in my hometown was quite small back then and nothing at all like what it is now. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve stayed away from the mall as much as possible. Mainly because I always find it hot and crowded, but I also don’t typically find what I’m looking for there. Up until five years ago I was morbidly obese so I couldn’t shop in any of the clothing stores anyway unless the mall happened to have The Avenue, Lane Bryant or Fashion Bug (now defunct), and that was a crap shoot. Nowadays I only go there if there’s a specific store I need, like Bath and Body Works or something like that.

      1. nep*

        Ha–I will say it was nice checking out some great fragrances in Bath & Body Works, which happened to be right across from the place we needed to go. Love some of their scents.
        I sort of got a chuckle out of the whole experience–I was a complete outsider…felt as if from a wholly different world. But just moving about with the rest of the wave…

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I miss Fashion Bug. They had cute things.

        But I can tell a similar story, late 70s and early 80s, just out of high school and no money to speak of, so the solution was go to the mall. There was the crappy local mall that we all skipped. There was a mall that was a long ride over roads that were famous for fogging up at night, so we avoided that mall. And that left us with a two story monster which basically catered to rich people. We were a blue collar town and definitely middle class. We went there until we got too busy with life stuff. It was kind of depressing there actually.

        Now when I go to the mall I only go for the anchor stores and I use the outside entrance for the store. No way am I walking on all that concrete if I don’t have to. Just my own experience but malls have too much of what I don’t want and not enough of what I want. I did work in a mall store for a few years. I learned that it’s like a little city by itself, with all the employees. I almost started liking malls again, but I got over it.

    3. Ainomiaka*

      I have actually used that “scene” feeling in the past-dealing with just really bizarre people for thing we don’t mention on weekends, I needed people behaving in an expected social context. It helped calm my internal energy, can’t speak for anyone else. Though that job dealt with lots of travel, and it was really disorienting sometimes to go into a mall and sometimes not be sure what city I was in they were so visually similar.

    4. Rookie Biz Chick*

      Total same! My teenager asked me to pick up a pair of shoes for her at the mall last week because she had a crazy back-to-school and work schedule, and I noped that!

    5. Kathenus*

      I’m with you in that I really dislike malls, but the most convenient movie theater to me is in one. Usually I’m in, straight to the theater, and out. Occasionally I’ll go to a specific store, like the aforementioned Bath and Body Works. But recently I misread the movie start time and had a half hour to kill so walked the mall, and discovered an Eddie Bauer store with a huge sale. Went back after the movie and got some great stuff I really needed. Was an unexpectedly positive mall experience for someone who generally sees them as one of the rings of hell.

    6. wingmaster*

      I only go to malls now to walk around and get my 30 minutes of daily walking haha. But the local mall by me is so dead, and a lot of stores have closed. Then there’s an outdoor shopping center that’s a little further, where it’s super packed. I really enjoy this outdoor mall because 1) more food places than clothing 2) good breweries (I love beer) 3) it’s at the beach, and you can cross the street from the mall to enjoy the sand and waves.

      When I was still a fashion student, I met the founder of Not Just A Label. He was discussing in his lecture on how more people are not shopping at clothing stores now. More people are becoming conscious of the clothing they buy. Interests are shifting to more of the “experience,” such as dining and travel. The lecture was very interesting.

    7. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I’ll tell a fun story. Last weekend, I needed to return something at Old Navy and my boyfriend wanted to buy some shorts. So we decided to go to the mall. I also wanted to go to the big flagship department store because I needed a few things I knew I could get there. I am not a fan of the mall. It gets crowded, parking is usually a nightmare, that kind of thing. We went to Old Navy first, did what we had to do, then went to the main part of the mall, to the department store.

      I found everything I needed/wanted! And some extras! They were having a big sale! It was late Sunday morning so there were no crowds! (It’s a very church-going community here.) I was feeling so great! Then we got up to the register and learned that the store’s network was entirely down and they couldn’t process credit cards. Womp womp.

      I ended up going home and buying everything I wanted online, but it was like, seriously? The ONE TIME I decide to go to the mall! But it was a successful trip, so all worked out in the end. I just found it kind of ironic, in a way.

      1. WellRed*

        Cannot believe they couldn’t show some ingenuity and manually do the cards. What will stores like this do in a zombie apocalypse?

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          I once had to manually do cards during a power outage and it sucked (we had to enter them all into the system later anyway). They were offering to do pre-sales and holds and such, but I just wanted to be done with it. I felt terrible for the salespeople who could only do what corporate instructed, plus some customers were being really rude about it when it wasn’t their fault.

    8. buttercup*

      I practically grew up in malls. I enjoyed going to them with friends, but not with my mom. I shadowed my mom to the mall a lot – but this was SO boring. She always went to the same stores – JC Penny, Macy’s, and GAP. BORING. (Well, cheaper than a lot of the other stores, but still.) When I was in high school, the mall was where my friends and I would meet up to go to the movies and walk around – this was my opportunity to hold hands with boys w/o my parents knowing *gasp*. I also liked browsing through Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Body Works but not buying anything.

      I still enjoy the scene for nostalgia’s sake and b/c I’m semi-materialistic. However, I’m trying to be more minimalistic – I rarely buy clothes anymore, and when I do, it’s secondhand. I also make a lot of my beauty products and use drugstore make-up.

        1. buttercup*

          I’ve been experimenting a lot. The ones I have perfected are my All-Purpose Beauty Balm and my sugar scrubs. My beauty balm consists of beeswax, avocado oil, vitamin E oil, and almond oil. I use it for under my eyes and my body. It’s very moisturizing. Sugar scrubs are easy to make – you just use sugar as your base and add whatever oils and fragrances you like. I like putting coffee in them, but if I do, I have to use them over a towel so it doesnt clog my drain.

    9. fposte*

      While I think malls can vary–the older outdoor kind can be kind of cool–if you’re not a fan of sensory stimulation they’re often not a big treat, since there’s bright lights, random music, salesy stuff, and people you don’t know. I also find them massively inefficient for shopping compared to online, especially for clothes, and I think the existence of online shopping means that malls have increasingly focused on the easy sellers to a lot of people (sensible, given footage cost of space). So as an introvert without a lot of spare energy these days I find they usually aren’t worth it to me. And apparently to a lot of other people, since malls are generally struggling.

      1. Epsilon Delta*

        “find them massively inefficient for shopping compared to online, especially for clothes” — this is totally the opposite of my experience shopping for clothes online. Can I ask what makes it more efficient for you?

        For me, buying clothes online is like entering a special ring of hell. I have no idea how it’s going to fit because I can’t see it in real life (I am an uncommon size), I generally am less likely to be inspired by any of the photos than seeing and touching the fabric, and when I order something and it inevitably doesn’t fit it’s such a PITA and an extra expense to ship it back (if they even accept returns). I buy bras online because I have to (see again: uncommon size), and I loathe the experience. Most recently my package got lost in the mail and when they reshipped it and it finally arrived the bra was so damn uncomfortable… but I am considering not even sending it back because it’s a pain and now I feel bad that they had to reship it. Would never do that in a physical store!

        1. fposte*

          I’m expanding this to shopping for just about everything save for cars and groceries, so obviously it’s a lot less fraught when I’m buying a whisk. But I’m an inveterate online clothes shopper anyway. Experience helps–I have a lot of experience in translating how things will look on me, and I think the key, if your credit card can handle it, is to think of ordering as trying on and not buying and just assume you’re sending a box back. I’ve never encountered a clothes merchant that didn’t accept returns, and most of them include a sticker you can just slap onto the package and then drop the box off. I don’t live in a big city and I need petite sizing, so there’s virtually nothing brick and mortar for me in town anyway, whereas I have a pretty good idea of what I’m likely to get from my usual online haunts. (I might get a pack of underwear from Target, but it’s so much easier to get that from my couch anyway.) I’m willing to pay the shipping to get stuff that’s closer to what I like, and trying stuff on at home is so much nicer. I had a emergency sweater need last year and ended up returning about the same percentage of my in-town shopping because I couldn’t really tell what I thought in badly lit dressing rooms with crappy music playing.

          For something like bras, I can see the advantages shifting toward brick and mortar; I’ve been lucky to find a design style that seems to have carried through several brands over the years so I keep finding it again. If it ever disappears entirely I may try brick and mortar to find another one.

    10. HannahS*

      I don’t like crowded malls, but they’re ok when quiet. Ours open early and stay open late–even before/after the stores are closed–so that people have somewhere to walk “laps” in the winter. I grew up in the suburbs and I honestly don’t know where you’d buy stuff if you avoid malls, other than the internet and grocery stores, which are free standing. Here, there are “strip malls” where you might have a restaurant, a pharmacy, some shops, some office buildings, a laundromat, etc. all in a row but where you have to walk outside to go from one to the other, and there are malls. There are also free standing Walmart superstores. And that’s pretty much it. Where do you buy stuff?

      1. Girl friday*

        Here almost everything is outside too, and we have a Walmart and a very small mall. Most people go about 30 minutes away to shop in a big city: sort of like going from a small town upstate to White Plains to shop. Where I am we don’t have much in the winter so it’s not a big deal to be outside.

    11. Owler*

      Google “Seattle, Northgate Mall, future plans”. In a place where one of the first US malls was built in 1950, there is talk of converting half of it into housing and businesses. There’s a huge transit center going it near the site, so I wouldn’t bet against the housing/business project.

      1. LCL*

        Yeah, it’s really the end of an era for Northgate. The new construction is needed, and the site is appropriate for it, but it’s really depressing the old Northgate is gone.

    12. Anonymosity*

      I like malls, but they’re a lot more fun when I have some money to spend. I tend to avoid them if I’m on a mission to buy a certain thing. It’s fun to wander around if I’m not in a hurry and just want to shop randomly. On holiday in the UK, I had the same fun in shopping arcades just strolling along and looking.

      When I went to music school at Pitt State in Kansas, we used to hang out in the mall a lot; there was an arcade, a cinema, and a deli where we would meet up and eat. A couple of years ago, I went to a college reunion (32 years later!) with a couple of friends from then and wow, the mall is still there. The cinema is still there, and even the arcade, though it’s sadly bereft of games, just some ski ball and a few others. The carpet looks to be the same as in the 1980s! And not only is the deli still there, but it’s bigger and VERY popular. The food tasted exactly the same. :)

      Malls are made for hanging out. Of course it’s more fun if you’re with friends, so you can laugh at ugly shoes or whatever.

    13. AnonymousCelebrity*

      Haven’t been to one in at least a decade. I buy most of my clothes second-hand on eBay, and that works for me because I know the brands that fit me so I can safely shop by size/measurements (mostly J Jill and Eileen Fisher).

      My house is fully furnished, I don’t like knickknacks and other clutter, and I also buy most of my toiletries on eBay or Etsy (got some great deals on stock that Crabtree and Evelyn no longer carries now that they’ve messed up their line by doing things like adding coffee fragrance to their lavender bath gel. Seriously, why? I like their original lavender scent, and I don’t know why they stopped carrying jojoba oil bath gel, but I was able to stock up on eBay). Malls don’t have anything I want. I can find it all online (sometimes that’s the ONLY place I can find what I want). I also don’t like fast food or chain restaurants, so dining at the mall is out.

      Malls remind me of casinos. Loud, full of visual clutter, too brightly lit, bad smells, and mostly full of the kind of people I prefer not to spend time around. Also, they’re a rip-off. I don’t hate them, I simply have no use for them.

    14. ronda*

      i much prefer the enclosed mall to the strip mall, outlet mall, etc.

      We have malls with good air-conditioning where I live and I dont like being hot going from store to store.

      Also they added many restaurants at the mall, as well as the food court.

      The movies are usually no longer located at the malls here tho. (although the one nearest work does have a theater)

      I actually work a block from 2 malls that are catty-corner at an intersection…. 2 food courts to choose from and several full service restaurants. !!!! I don’t really like to shop, but when I do, if the mall has what I want it is great.

      When it is too crowded, it is annoying, but lots of times it is not very crowded.

  20. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

    Any advice on what to think about when buying a car in the UK for the first time?

    I haven’t decided to do it yet but I’m contemplating buying a car when I get my license. In a dream world I’d have a fully electric one but I don’t have the budget or a place to plug it in, so I’d like to figure out the lowest emissions/best efficiency I can get for £1000 or less. I also have no idea about insurance, taxes, etc. Is there an idiot’s guide to buying a car out there?

    1. misspiggy*

      I’d look at moneysavingexpert, both the main site and the forums. Exchange and Mart have a good app that you can use to identify secondhand cars according to detailed criteria (always make sure you can get full service history records, don’t accept a car without that). Expect to bargain for a little bit off the price if buying secondhand from an individual. Bargaining with dealers a bit can be done, but not always with lower priced vehicles.

      Definitely haggle with insurers though, and research competing companies. Check whether a ‘competing’ insurer is actually owned by the same conglomerate.

      Road tax rules have recently changed, it’s now all done online – a bit of googling will tell you what you need to know. Tax is much lower for environmentally friendly and small cars.

    2. The Automotive Expert*

      In the not too distant past UK readers on this site have recommended the UK consumer magazine, “Which?” which rates and reviews new and used cars (as well as other consumer products). They have a subscription website, but you might be able to read copies of the magazine at a public library to get some ideas of what would be economical and reliable cars to consider. “Which?” seems very similar to “Consumer Reports” magazine in the U.S.

    3. Not Alison*

      I just started taking Spanish – – – and now I’m finally laughing so hard at your user name. Ha! But now I’m wondering if I should believe anything that your say? Ole!

    4. Jemima Bond*

      It’s much easier with the paperwork now everything “talks” to everything else online. That is, the DVLA automatically checks you have insurance etc.
      Insurance: compare meerkats or whatever. Consider whether you really need the extras like legal cover; also see how much difference it makes if you ask for a lower excess. If you can pay it in one go for the year that will save you money rather than doing it monthly by direct debit.
      MOT: when buying a used car check when the MOT is due as this will be needed every year. It doesn’t cost much but if some work needs to be done to pass it, you have a potential expense there. Check of there were any advisory points on the last MOT for clues – it might say something along the lines of, MOT passed but your rear tyres might need replacing soon.
      Tax, or road fund licence, can be done online easily, go to DVLA website. Can be paid monthly and I think is no dearer than paying in one. Also speaking of the DVLA, make sure you get the V5 (often called a log book but it’s just a couple of colourful sheets of paper) and ensure you get the car registered to you – they’ll send you a new V5 which you must keep safe. Failing to do this will end in expensive fines, wailing, gnashing of teeth etc.
      Hope that helps!

  21. ScotKat*

    I’ll be 35 on Monday. I have a lot of feelings about this, but I’m trying to focus on positive ones. I may not have a partner or a family of my own, but I have my health and I am in better shape than I have ever been because of running and yoga and generally taking better care of myself. I have a few close decent friends, and I have enough money to live comfortably, although I am not rich in any way.

    Things need to change, though, and my birthday always makes me think about those. I don’t like my job any more, I’m bored of a lot of the time, I’m lonely sometimes, and I don’t know where exactly to go next. If I’m single forever, what do I do to keep things interesting? How do I know what to aim for? I feel a bit lost in this, and was hoping that, if this resonates at all with anyone else, you could give me some advice. I’m trying to be zen, and mostly I am, but I am feeling an undercurrent of panic for no real reason!

    1. David S. Pumpkins (formerly katamia)*

      Think about things you might like to learn–line dancing, knitting, a new language, whatever–and look for classes or groups where you could start learning one of those things. You could also try them on your own to just help with the boredom, but a class/group might help with both boredom and loneliness.

    2. kerlin*

      I am also having turning-35 feels, though I hit that marker about 6 weeks ago. I don’t know why it feels so weirdly momentous to me.

      I am married, but I’m slowly realizing I’m not very happy in my marriage and not sure how much of it I can realistically expect to change. My job is basically a constant burnout machine. A lot of the positives in my life are currently going sideways. So. Yeah. Not to dump on you with my own stuff, but to say that I also feel some similar ways!

      I’ve been doing a lot of journaling (really informally like mostly making endless lists in the same notebook) and thinking and trying out a bunch of different thought experiments. I played around with “what do I want life to look like in 5 years?” and “what do I want more of and what do I want less of?” in my life. I’ve also been trying to assess things according to the Captain Awkward Sheezebub principle: “if this thing continued exactly the same, how long could I put up with it? a year? five years?” and “how can I live my life right now as if X were true?”

      Those things are helping a bit. But yeah. *fistbump of solidarity*

      1. ScotKat*

        Fistbump indeed! And dump as much as you like, it helps :)

        Yeah… I can’t put up with things as they are for even a year more, I feel. But jobs here aren’t plentiful at the moment, and I am seriously considering looking abroad. Where to start, though?! *flail*

    3. Arya Parya*

      I’m turning 35 in May next year, so hi contemporary!

      I had similar feelings when I turned 30. I was single, owned my own place, a nice group of friends, but lonely on occasion, thought I would probably stay single. Also didn’t have many friends who lived nearby. Then I started volunteering at the local filmtheatre that’s mostly run by a large group of volunteers. Being a total film geek, this was perfect. I know have a new group of friends, all living nearby, that I hang out with regularly. I met my SO, we now live together and I gave birth to our daughter nearly two months ago.

      If I hadn’t met my SO there, I still would have been very happy with my new group of friends. I didn’t join to find a partner. So maybe join a club, group of something that alligns with your interest? You might meet soms interesting, fun people.

      1. ScotKat*

        It’s not so much that I need to meet loads of new people, it’s more that, if it turns out I end up single forever, I don’t know what the goal is there. The narrative is ‘get married, have baby’ and if you don’t do that no one really gives you much of a guide. It’s slightly harder thinking about that at 35 than it was at 30, because it’s just so much *later* and I’m running out of time if I want a baby ever (and I don’t know if I do even). Ah, it’ll be OK, I guess. I can’t do much except keep going!

  22. nep*

    Any of you who use juicers–do you use the pulp for anything (other than compost)? There are a lot of recipes out there…I might to use some for crackers just to check it out. More out of curiosity than anything else–I know the pulp is basically only fiber as the nutrients have been extracted.

    1. foolofgrace*

      The pulp typically has all the useful nutrients removed, so it’s not really good for anything edible. A friend tried making carrot cake with the pulp once and it didn’t work out. Sorry I can’t tell you what you wanted to hear. But enjoy the juicing!

      1. nep*

        Right–I mentioned that above/nutrients in the juice. That’s why I was saying it’s more out of curiosity and just experimenting for the heck of it with a batch of pulp.
        Actually making some sort of crackers right now and, before they’re even all the way dried/hard, the taste is fantastic.

        1. nep*

          Whoa–the crackers are more crisp now and I just had one topped with a slice of tomato from the garden. SOOOO flipping good.

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            I’m intrigued by these crackers you made. What kind of fruit or vegetables did you use?

            1. nep*

              It was the pulp from this morning’s celery juice.
              I chopped up some onions and threw them in a fry pan with a bit of coconut oil to brown while mixing up some other random ingredients: the pulp, a bit of mashed up garbanzo beans, ground flax seed, sea salt, pepper, ground dulse. Mixed in the slightly browned onions, stirred well, spread the mix out on a cookie sheet, put in oven at 150 to 200 degrees for about an hour. I just left the pan in there after turning off oven–they just got crispier. Man are they good.

    2. CAA*

      OK, this is completely unhealthy, which may not be what you’re looking for if you’re juicing; but Stella Parks has some “recipes” for syrups made from fruit remains on SeriousEats.com. I think you could try these with the pulp from fruit juices. You need something acidic to dissolve sugar, so veggie pulps probably won’t work.

      I put recipe in quotes, because it’s basically “mix fruit peels with sugar, let them sit for a day or two and strain”. Fresh pineapple syrup is truly amazing on a homemade waffle; or with rum and soda water over crushed ice.

  23. Tattoo n00b*

    Last week I learned that we have a lot of people here who know about tattoos! I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one (I have two ideas but I figure I should start small). It would be a short quote. Only problem is that I have no idea *where*! I work in a tattoo-friendly industry so having to hide it completely isn’t an issue, although I’d probably like it to be hidden under formal clothes. I’d sort of like it to be visible to myself because I don’t really see the point otherwise. Thoughts?

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      On your forearm just below your elbow. Easily covered by 3/4 length sleeves but also very visible for you.

      1. Lemonworld*

        Exactly where I put my first tattoo, a short quote from a song. I love it – I can see it but it’s also easily covered. (I live in a climate where it rarely gets too warm, so it’s just about always covered even though no one at work would care.)

      2. Tattoo n00b*

        Thanks! Sorry it took me a whole day to get back here, not sure who will see this. This is the exact location that I was actually picturing but I wasn’t sure what the orientation should be. And inside the arm or not? I heard that was quite painful…
        Here’s an example link I found on this: http://www.sortra.com/20-inner-elbow-tattoo-ideas/

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      I have mine on my foot, just below my ankle so it goes from my heel just to the other side of the ankle. No one knows it’s there unless I show it to them.

    3. Kj*

      I have two tattoo- they are on my shoulders. You can see them if I wear a sleeveless dress, but not otherwise. It works well for me and they look good. Talk to your artist- both of my tattoos can be covered by cap sleeves, which gives me options when I am in very conservative places. You should talk to an artist or two anyways and get a sense of if what you want is practical.

    4. MechanicalPencil*

      My next tattoo I think is going to be on the inside of my bicep. First is a large piece on my thigh.

    5. neverjaunty*

      Consider that your body is going to change over time and some parts will change more than others, along with your tattoo. That may affect where you want to put it.

      1. Tattoo n00b*

        That’s interesting–hasn’t considered that. On the plus side, my body has been pretty much exactly the same size for almost 30 years now. On the minus side, I’m not sure if it’s true that being very slim makes it more painful. Aagghhh! Now I’m talking myself out of it again! ;)

    6. Arya Parya*

      I have three: a small one on my ankle, a larger one on my shoulder and the biggest one on my upper back. All are easy to cover up. A lot of my anti-tattoo family members don’t even know I have them.

      I also took in consideration the fact that your body changes, so nothing on my arms, legs of belly.

    7. Windchime*

      I got my first (and only) tattoo a couple of years ago on the inside of my left leg, right above my ankle. I like the location because it’s not super obvious unless I wear capris or shorts, but I can still look at it any time I want. It’s a very small, simple wave that took the artist about 5 minutes to do, and it was a family thing (my sister and I, and our daughters-in-law all got the same tattoo). I’ve idly thought about getting another one, but I don’t know if I will. I never, ever thought I would get a tattoo but I really don’t regret this one at all.

  24. Tau*

    Thanks to those who responded to me on the work thread a few weeks ago when I was panicking about having broken down crying at work because of my anemia! It gave me the push to really look into iron infusions, and I started those last week. I’m firmly convinced they’re magical – today I managed to climb six steps without slowing down or starting to breathe heavily. I’m still quite some ways off from normal (I can’t manage a full flight of stairs yet) but this is still an immense improvement over two weeks ago, where I would have to sit down and catch my breath after getting dressed because this apparently counted as an exceptionally strenuous activity.

    I am really looking forward to having a halfway normal level of fitness again; it’s been three months and I think I’ve been starting to forget what it feels like to be capable of basic physical exertion.

    The bad news is that I’m going to have to have surgery to deal with the fibroids causing all this after all. Again. And this time it’ll apparently have to be a larger incision than last time. :/ I’d probably have been more pissed off about this a few months ago, but the intervening time has been so miserable that honestly I’m willing to face it if it means there’s an end to this nonsense, even if it ends up being temporary again.

    1. Tau*

      Oh yeah, an annoyance –

      I visited my brother a few weeks back, when I was at a pretty low point in terms of physical endurance. I told him this. After one day spent at their place, with me mainly lying on the couch, we went on a trip to a local lake in an old quarry where he immediately tried to talk me into going rock climbing. (Me: “Um. Dude. You realise I have no physical condition at all right now, right? I can’t climb stairs. I have trouble walking quickly. You realise that if I push it, I risk blacking out, right?” Him: “But climbing is one of the safest sports if you do faint!”)

      I sent him a text message grumbling that I was getting tired of sitting around the house (because the doctor I went to basically took a look at my hemoglobin levels, blanched, and wrote me a sick note for the next several weeks.) He sent back an invitation to join him and his girlfriend on their weekend hiking/climbing trip.

      Punching him in the face seems like a more and more appropriate reaction. /o\

      1. WellRed*

        Ok, so you’re brother is not your support person in this battle. Do not look for sympathy or understanding there. I hope you have others to talk to or commiserate and maybe punch bro, too.

      2. Observer*

        I know that this is totally not funny, but I had to laugh.

        Your brother is obviously unable to process anything that’s out of the realm of his personal experience. That stinks, but now that you know that, it’s useful information. I’d certainly NOT text him with any expectation of support or empathy because he simply doesn’t have the wherewithal, and it’s just setting yourself up for frustration.

        I hope he and GF don’t plan to have kids.

    2. Chaordic One*

      I’m glad that the infusions are helping you to feel better. It’s too bad about needing more surgery, though. I certainly hope that the surgery takes care of the problem once and for all this time. Hugs.

    3. Owler*

      Yay, you! I’ve been on infusions for over a year and a half, starting at the beginning with one every two weeks. After a year, we’ve been tapering the frequency (every two weeks->every four weeks->every six weeks) and we are just now trying a dose of one every three months. I don’t know if you ever got itchy feet when you were trying to fall asleep, but that symptom was back recently. I’m hoping it was just a bad stretch of sleeping.

      Fingers crossed that the infusions plus the surgery help. Be assured that you know yourself best, and don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

  25. The Other Dawn*

    So I tried CBD oil for my bulging lumbar disc pain. I bought a bottle of the CW +Plus. I’ve been using it for two weeks and I don’t feel any different so far. I know the website says to give it four to six weeks, but I’m using the recommended dose twice a day and feel basically nothing. I’ve just about finished the bottle, so I’m going to try a different brand and see if that helps. This time I ordered CBD Pure 600. There was a discount code, so I saved $12 a bottle. I ordered two so I can give it a full four to six weeks without reordering, or rather forgetting to reorder. I’m hoping this one works better for me.

    1. misspiggy*

      I use a lot more than the recommended dose and am getting some good relief, for short periods at least. Based on the instructions on my bottle, you can go at least three times over the recommended dose as long as you watch out for possible wooziness (and diuretic effect, if you’re me).

      It’s helpful but nowhere near as good as the full marijuana effect.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yeah, I was really hoping that it would kick in fairly quickly. I actually didn’t notice on the website that it said to give it four to six weeks. I didn’t see that until after I bought. I wish I’d seen it earlier so I wouldn’t have gotten my hopes up so high. I’ll see if this other brand works better. I also don’t want to be spending hundreds of dollars a month on it.

    2. Blue Roses*

      Unfortunately, CBD products derived from industrial hemp (ie, those which are legal in places that have not legalized marijuana) are almost completely unregulated as they are considered dietary supplements. CBD definitely doesn’t help everyone, but it is possible that the reason you are not feeling relief is that the products you have access to could contain no CBD or much less than advertised on the bottle. Personally I would definitely continue for the recommended period of time and see if the effect improves, but just wanted to bring up this possibility in case you weren’t aware

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, I was reading about that. The ones I’ve bought are sourced from Colorado. Since I bought two bottles of CBD Pure, I should have plenty to last for the full four to six weeks. And this one shows it has more mg per serving that the first one I bought. If I was eligible, I would go right for the MMJ edibles, but oil will have to do for now.

  26. Lora*

    “In a few years your friends will start getting divorced and so on and you’ll have people to hang out with again”

    This is correct.

    Divorced, never getting married again. I won’t say I wish I never had gotten married – my life would have been different, and not in a bad way. Probably would have gone to medical school and I am not sure that would have been a career choice I’d have been ultimately happy in? But the best thing you can do is just live your damn life, really.

    Honestly, most people I know who want to get married want a big party. They aren’t thinking about legal terms and what that means – giving someone other than your immediate family power of attorney and all your money and assets, or access to insurance. They want a party, a super nice one, with a fancy dress and jewelry. You can have a party whenever you want. You can wear nice jewelry whenever.

      1. Snickerdoodle*

        Yup. I’ve said that a hundred times if I’ve said it once. There’s a big difference between getting married and being married.

    1. Nervous Accountant*

      Funny, i got married bc I wanted sex. Love and affection. To start living my own life, away from my parents.

      Funny how life turns out.

  27. WellRed*

    I know there are always comments about introversion or just plain lack of energy. I pushed out of my comfort zone to go to a birthday party Thursday for a former coworker. I caught up with her and another former cw, got some good indusrty gossip and met someone else in the industry who I hit it off with. Hopefully a nudge toward moving forward with certain unnamed today aspects of life. Last night, class reunion. Staying in tonite for sure!

    1. nep*

      Good for you. That is a full couple of days–sounds draining, but worthwhile. Whenever I do that and it turns out OK, I get a nice little lift from it. (But also great to be OK allowing yourself stay in when you need to–because it truly is a need.)

      1. WellRed*

        It wasn’t as draining as I thought. It helps that both nights I left when I wanted. In my 20s, I feared missing out if I didn’t stay till the bitter end (yeah, missed nothing).

  28. The Other Dawn*

    Game night. Thank you all for the game recommendations a few weeks ago. I bought Exploding Kittens, What Do You Meme?, and Uno. I ultimately went with What Do You Meme? The reason being that we played Cards Against Humanity at the previous game night and What Do You Meme? is basically the same thing, but with memes that went viral and the cards are captions rather than words to finish a sentence. It went well and we liked the game. My only complaint was that the pictures weren’t that great. I know that they’re from meme’s that went viral, but without the caption that helped them go viral, it was kind of just a weird picture. I really wanted to try Exploding Kittens, but after reading how to play, I knew the game would turn into a clusterf*ck and take way too long. I plan to play it through a few times with friends or family and see how it goes.

    As for the food, I should have planned better and told people what I was serving (although they don’t all check their email, not all of them text, etc., so not sure it would have helped). I hadn’t figured out what to serve until the day before. I ended up making a small veggie platter with store-bought Ranch and a homemade dill dip (dill and parsley from my garden!), homemade salsa (tomatoes and jalapenos from my garden!) and chips, fruit platter, a cheese/beef salsa hot dip, cheese and crackers, and cookies. I also bought wine and made a pitcher of blue margaritas. Guess what people brought? Carrots and hummus, salsa and chips, wine, and several fruit dishes from two different people. Someone brought brownies so the cookies didn’t get touched. So yeah, I have LOTS left over and what I had seems to have multiplied. I was actually surprised people brought so much, as they hadn’t any other time. I’m thinking that they were trying to help me out since I wasn’t sure what to serve and maybe they figured they’d make it easy on me, which I appreciate. The up side is that I’ve been eating like absolute garbage lately so now I have a ton of healthy stuff in my fridge and salad fixings I don’t have to buy.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Thanks! I’m happy to have all this healthy stuff I can (should) snack on. It will help me get back on track. When everyone showed up and saw what I put out and what they brought, we all started talking about how people tend to be on the same wavelength at the same time or similar things all happen in one week. Like when you’ve never seen a red Camaro and all of a sudden you see three in two days and then a friend says, “Oh my dad bought a red Camaro.” It was definitely nice to have healthy food this time. The first two times it was almost all junk food, which meant I felt a bit queasy from the sugar. (Yes, I didn’t need to eat that much but I did.)

    1. only acting normal*

      Exploding Kittens was a huge hit on our last big family holiday – everyone from age 7 to 70 played it together.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        We had an age range of 43 (me) to 80. It wasn’t the age range that stopped me from playing it. It was more that I hadn’t yet played it myself and wasn’t confident I could explain it to everyone else. They all tend to like very simple games that can be played quickly.

  29. I Am Still Furious!!*

    Divorce issues update:

    So a few things have happened in the last 2 weeks. I managed to get most of my house cleaned out, and learned there are major issues with the roof and some structural damage to one outer wall. It’s more than I can handle or want to deal with. Now, I’m going to move in with my Mom, in my old room, and probably sell the house for whatever I can get for it. To be honest, this is scary! Starting all over again at 55 years of age, with very few possessions, but I have a decent job, good friends, family support, and I’m strong. The saddest part is finding homes for my cats. I love them so much but Mom has a cat who is not amenable to being around any other animal, so I have to rehome them.

    I also spoke to STBEXH’s sister. She stopped by while I was on dumpster detail, and we had a long talk. She said her brother is clearly off the rails. I also learned that after he totaled the Subaru (that I paid to fix), he borrowed his brother in law’s truck, wrecked that causing $3K in damages, and that’s why he was pressing me for the settlement early. They were pressuring him to get the repairs done, and no wonder, it was 3 months and they still hadn’t gotten any money from him and the truck was stuck at the repair shop.

    STBEXH did file for a change of address, as the post office mailed the confirmation to the house. He still hasn’t closed the bank account, so I’ll have to do that. I’ve asked several times, to no avail.

    I got the old SUV on the road again, running, inspected, insured, all of it – and learned he totally trashed the braking system. My mechanic was able to disconnect the ABS system so I have regular old style power brakes, which is OK, since I learned how to drive with manual brakes :) **1967 Ford 3 on the tree manual everything!!** I’m going to clean it out today. For some reason, there is deer hair on the front passenger floor area. Not even trying to understand that. It’s just gross, smelly, and seriously I want to hose it out.

    The good news is – no more contact from him, no threats, nothing – and I like it this way. I was happy to talk to his sister, we always had a good relationship and I was glad that she stopped by. She wasn’t fishing for any information, and I could tell she was clearly concerned for her brother, as she should be, he’s not doing well.

    So here I am. 55 years old, moving back to my childhood home, for now, very few possessions, sort of in debt, but not too bad compared to a lot of people, I have a car, a job, friends…and hope for the future. It might not be the best circumstances, but it’s a whole lot better than it was a year ago. In the past 18 months, I changed jobs, lost my Dad, lost 2 pets, filed for divorce, moved in with a friend, now moving to my Mom’s house, so many changes, but I am moving forward! And considering all that’s happened, I think I’m doing pretty well.

    1. MechanicalPencil*

      I am so impressed with your strength and outlook on all of this. I am looking forward to seeing how you continue to power forward and overcome the obstacles in your path.

    2. Anontoday*

      Hang in there! You’re doing amazing! I know it’s been hell, but you’ve been an inspiration to me. I know that may sound strange, but it’s true. I’m leaving an emotionally abusive relationship I’ve been in for more than a decade. I’m younger than you, but moving in with family also, as I have no where else to go. I have no job and two pets and I am terrified but also excited. It’s not just a new chapter, but a new book and I hope we’re both able to write amazing HAPPY stories.

    3. Turtlewings*

      I’m glad you’re starting to get your footing again and things are going okay-for-the-circumstances. So sorry about your cats, that’s tough. :( Are you going to be living with your mother long-term? If it’s just while you find a place of your own, maybe one of your friends could foster the cats short-term. (For the record, living with your mother long-term is a perfectly fine plan, if that’s the plan. I live my sister, occasionally someone acts like that’s weird, but we get along, live in the same town, probably neither of us could afford a place on our own, so why shouldn’t we live together?)

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      You are an inspiration. I’ve been reading and following. Super hard, but you are showing it can be done. I’m 61 and soon to be a widow. What’s coming out – as his life winds down – is the kind of stuff that makes me wish we had divorced years ago, when I had an inkling (but it was hidden and I was bullied into not engaging on it). My finances are a wreck, if my mom lived where I could live with her and keep my job (she doesn’t) – I’d be moving in with her. As it is, I’m possibly looking at bankruptcy. And the retirement funds got drained. Not to mention the humiliation of the lies and deceit and the good people he’s taken down with him.
      So reading your saga – and that you are persevering and making it through – helps. Thank you.

    5. Traffic_Spiral*

      Glad to hear that bank account is finally getting closed. Be sure to do a credit check to make sure he doesn’t have any other lines of credit in your name. Sorry to hear about the cats.

    6. Not So NewReader*

      You are doing very well. This is how hard this stuff is, “doing well” looks like what you are saying here. I’d like to help add to your list of accomplishments: You have kept your presence of mind; you have found new parts of you and you have stood up for yourself. Sure, life looks like a patchwork quilt right now with random solutions forced together in some semblance of order.
      What this means though, is when it is time for you to spread your wings and fly, then you will soar. See, it’s what we do with the tough stuff that telegraphs how we will do later on. You now know that you think on your feet quite well. You know that you can count on your own self to be chief advocate and ally. Normal stuff that used to look hard is going to now look like a piece of cake and you will just walk right through it with ease that you never saw before. Part of that is definitely from not being held back any more but part of that is the accumulation of what you have learned through all this. Time will surprise you on this one, with how much easier some things are.

    7. Detective Amy Santiago*

      You are doing fantastic!

      If you’re comfortable sharing your general geographic location, maybe we can help with the re-homing efforts?

    8. Vancouver Reader*

      I just want you to know that you are the one who inspired me to ask for a divorce. Although my situation isn’t nearly as bad, I knew I wasn’t in the best place possible, but was too scared to move ahead. Reading your posts gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do. I probably will also end up moving back in with a parent in the end, but the peace of mind that comes with doing what’s right for me is so worth it. Thank you for posting here and we’ll keep cheering you on.

  30. poetry writing*

    What poets/books of poetry do you like? I’m trying to expand my reading. Right now, I’m reading Molly Peacock The Analyst and Mary Oliver’s Devotions.

    1. Almost Academic*

      Sappho and e.e. cummings are my two favorites! For Sappho, I really like the Mary Barnard translation of her fragments.

    2. hermit crab*

      I tend to like the 20th century Americans, particularly Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore. My favorite poem is Robert Frost’s “Directive.” And for something totally different, Jeffrey McDaniel’s book The Endarkenment is hilarious and dark and amazing.

      I also subscribe to the Academy of American Poets “poem a day” email. They generally do new/as-yet-unpublished poems on weekdays and older poems in the public domain on weekends, with a real focus on current issues and poets from underrepresented groups. I highly recommend it!

      1. fposte*

        Oh, I love Elizabeth Bishop!

        I also really like Stevie Smith, and, for a change of pace, Charles Causley.

    3. gecko*

      The book I carry around most days is Marie Howe’s What the Living Do (here’s the eponymous poem, which is one of my favorites: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/what-living-do). On its face, it’s a sad poem & a sad book–about the narrator’s brother who died of AIDS, in part–but it gives me a lot of strength.

      I have a huge weakness for Scheherazade by Richard Siken (http://youngerpoets.yupnet.org/2008/04/22/scheherazade-crush-by-richard-siken/), because of how lyrical and passionate it is, while maintaining a modern tone and not getting cheesy. Plus I feel like I read it at the perfect time–in college when I was starting my first passionate romances as well.

      Black Stone on a White Stone by César Vallejo has stayed with me for a long time. This is one of my favorite translations: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/50934/black-stone-on-a-white-stone. I really like Borges and Neruda as well, if we’re still talking poetry in translation.

      Other names from stuff on my shelf: Alejandra Pizarnik, Alicia Jo Rabins, Robert Lowell, Madelyn Camrud, Sylvia Plath’s Lady Lazarus (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/49000/lady-lazarus).

    4. T*

      I have just started reading a collection by Judith Beveridge. I’m quite enjoying it – I love nature themed poetry and that is where she focus