{ 1,148 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous Educator

    I just discovered The Guilty Feminist podcast, and I’m addicted. I highly recommend it to folks. It’s funny and insightful!

    1. Yay

      Nice! Is it… feminism without the sort of conversations in the media that have been really down on me lately? I’d love a positive non-triggering feminist podcast.

      1. Anonymous Educator

        Even when they talk about current events, the focus really seems to be more about the larger issues and less about the nitty gritty details of what’s happened, but the podcast is mainly about women and what’s going on in their lives. And it’s humorous! The two co-hosts are comedians, and they often have comedian guests on.

  2. Ask a Manager Post author

    I meant to post this on yesterday’s open thread but forgot so am posting it here:

    Last year, for Halloween I asked people about spooky experiences they’ve had at work. And then was thoroughly creeped out. This year, I’m thinking about spooky stories for the AAM podcast. If you’ve ever had a spooky experience at work, I want to share it on the show!

    If you’re up for it, you can record your story on the show voicemail by calling 855-426-9675, or email a sound file of you telling the story to podcast@askamanager.org. (Sometimes it is helpful to write it out first and just read it when you record, but I leave that to you.)

    1. Cristina in England

      The spooky stuff at work thread last year was a favorite for me last year, looking forward to more this year!

      1. PolicyChick

        Can you provide thee link to that chat? I tried looking through the archives (under ‘open threads’) but I couldn’t find it. I love spooky stories!

        1. fposte

          It’s third from the last in October 2017 in the archives–it’s a specific thread, not an open one.

    2. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

      Not podcast-worthy, but as a dispatcher for a charity donation warehouse, it was my job to close the warehouse up and do compliance stuff after everyone had gone home. I can’t count the number of times when several carts containing battery-operated toys started simultaneously and spontaneously started quacking or whirring or playing creepy music… once a doll SAT UP FROM ITS PERCH ON SOME HEFTY BAGS AND STARTED LAUGHING WHILE “LOOKING” DIRECTLY AT ME. There is nothing quite like the feeling of “I am in the opening act of a Doctor Who episode and they are not even going to recognize the pile of green slime that is all that was left of me until the second act” or having your son-in-law bewildered as to why you won’t watch movies about murderous dolls with them, ever.

      For the record? The batteries on those unreasonably-animated toys were ALWAYS Duracell. That hype about lasting is not just hype!

      1. FD

        My grandmother gave me this creepy, creepy wind-up music box. It was a porcelain cat, dressed up as a clown, that slooooowly rocked back and forth to the tune “Pussycat, pussycat”.

        One day I was alone in my room and it went off. Scared the heck out of me.

        (Wind-up music boxes sometimes just release a bit of tension and go off, not anything spooky.)

        1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

          I phoned it it in, but so traumatizing to remember, I sounded like a sleep-deprived conspiracy theorist *mocking another conspiracy theorist’s rambling delivery.* I should have written it out and practiced first!

    3. Sc@rlettNZ

      I’m the treasurer of a cat rescue organisation and used to work in their charity shop regularly On two separate occasions, battery operated toys started operating on their own (they didn’t have batteries in them). Another time the radio started up by itself while I was standing across the room. Both times I was the only person there. And now I’ve given myself the willies again lol.

      1. Cat wrangler

        When my daughter was a lot younger, she had one of those toy talking telephones which had “extended play” so if you put it down, it would do something a bit later to remind you of its presence. One night, I was sitting there, alone in the house apart from my daughter asleep upstairs, when I heard a voice say ‘Hello’. It was the phone and it must have slipped in the toybox and this was the extended play at work. Well, that’s what I worked out once my heart resumed a normal beat and I could think coherently from OMIGODOMIGOD. Somehow it made it worse that the voice sounded just like Leslie Philips saying ‘heelloo’.

    4. Lulu

      I work at a medium sized school and when it was built they took two buildings and literally just stuck them together. It was a big building with 7 floors.

      One time I was on the fifth floor by myself when the kids were on summer holiday, and I was cleaning because there was a weird smell I hadn’t been able to get rid of in the room.

      I heard someone walking down the hall.
      But no one came in. I decided to take a look and realized there was no one there, so decided to go down to the staff room (I’m a chicken) by elevator and turned around to check my hair in the mirror in the elevator. Right as the door was closing I saw a dark figure / shadow standing outside the door staring at me. I freaked and pressed the door button. My coworkers called me hysterical and laughed.

      A few weeks later there was a lot of police action in the building right behind ours. Our head teacher went to see what was going on. A guy had sadly committed suicide a few months before and had only just been found. On the fifth floor. Right in the room behind mine. I transferred from the school and never heard any more about it but it still creeps me out.

  3. Junior Dev

    Mental health thread! How are you doing? What are you struggling with? What are you proud of?

    I feel like I’m digging myself out of the depression pit, slowly. Still feeling sluggish and struggling to get anywhere on time. I’m planning to do relaxing stuff tomorrow. I got paid for a freelance article so I can afford to treat myself.

    Sometimes I feel like the future isn’t real to me, not really, because i struggle so much to be alive and take care of myself as it is, things like saving money seem impossible when i order all my groceries online and pay for parking at work because stores and buses are triggering. When I’m in a really bad place i often despair at the idea of being alive for another 50 years. I have these mundane dreams like being in a relationship and having kids but then going on dates terrifies me and being around my friends’ kids and the noises they make makes my brain shut down.

    I know I’m doing better than earlier but it just feels like such an uphill battle to function in the world and I want a break.

    I’m proud of making an appointment for a massage and plans to spend time with friends.

    How are you doing?

    1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis

      I am doing… better.

      I’ve got a new app. It’s a bit chat-bot-y, but I can just vent and vent and then get some platitude that’s loosely connected to what I’ve been typing about (can’t always type well when I’m upset, and autocorrect really doesn’t help!), followed by a guided meditation. I’m not really doing it justice, but amazingly it has helped. Just being able to get the words out (if not always spelled correctly) and receive the reply “I’ve heard what you said and noted that you’re upset”, even if it’s just from a chatbot, has had the most profound effect on my levels of hurt.

      I love my husband, but he’s just too close to the source of all my stress (not the cause, but most of my stress is the bad place we’re not supposed to talk about on the weekend thread), since we are at that place together, so he knows everyone there and tries to fix the problems, or come up with solutions, which I love him dearly for, but is just sometimes not what I need to make me feel better – but if I ask him that he feels hurt because he wants to fix my hurt and it just becomes a vicious cycle. I’m guilty of doing the same for him when he’s overwhelmed.

      We also did ‘tap’ for the first time at my weekly dance class. It was more like ‘thud’ in my case, since I’d missed last week’s class reminding everyone to bring in tap shoes, so I had to do it in sneakers, but I got almost all the moves, and the stomping step we did really made me feel good.

      I still need professional help, because inside my head is not a good place to be, and I can’t be on my mobile all day texting a chat-bot, or practising tap dance / stomp in the bathroom, but the fog has started lifting for brief periods in the day, and that’s an improvement.

      So yeah, I’m better. Thanks for asking.

    2. Waiting for the Sun

      I’m doing OK. Low-level depression but I take little breaks.
      I’m wondering if you’d save money by buying some of your groceries at small stores, like drugstores. Some Walgreens in my area have a lot of groceries and refrigerated/frozen sections. Less overwhelming than a big supermarket or Walmart.
      I’ve never bought groceries online so not sure how expensive it is. Maybe you wouldn’t save much, but would acclimate yourself to getting out more. Wishing you well.

      1. GiftGivingIsStressful

        Another option for this is to buy at big stores that offer walk-out service. Where you order online, and then arrive at the store and employees bring it out to you. I’m not sure if it costs extra to do that, but probably less than having it shipped to your door!

        Walmart offers this at a bunch of stores now, and so does my local grocery store.

    3. Dramaholic

      Not my own mental health post, but I am bursting to share my sister’s situation so I’ll share here anonymously.

      My sister has had pretty bad anxiety and bouts of depression. I convinced her to see her doctor to start medication. A lot of convincing, but she did it, and I’m so proud of her.

      She said the medication has stopped her from suicidal thoughts and panic attacks. She’s lived with brain health issues for several years and finally she doesn’t experience those symptoms. It’s not my news to share so I haven’t told anyone, even my husband. But I’m so, so relieved and happy the medication is working.

      1. Jean (just Jean)

        Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. And Go, you! for being such a supportive sibling. You cheered up my morning.

        1. Jean (just Jean)

          Ack! un-italicization fail. Go, you! for being such a supportive sibling. You cheered up my morning.

    4. Deloris Van Cartier

      Thanks for starting this thread, it’s nice to have a place to share sometimes. I’m feeling ok, not great but not letting my anxiety and OCD completely rule my life so I feel like that’s good? My insurance has a telemedicine portal and I found out that I can do web sessions with a therapist so I’m kind of hoping that works out. Driving afterward was just becoming too difficult and I was struggling with binging post session so hopefully being at home will make it all a little easier. I went off the rails a bit in the last week with my eating as I had a ton of work drama and with all the supreme court stuff bringing up some memories, I just let it get to me.
      I totally understand those feelings about the future. I think if spending money on online groceries helps with your mental health than it’s worth it. My feeling is if I can reduce some of the anxiety stress in my life by spending a little extra money, that its hopefully worth it as I work to get to a place where being out in public isn’t as terrifying. And you are totally not alone with the dating thing. I think people without any mental health concerns struggle with dating. I’ve been avoiding it as of late and hopefully, once some of my health stuff calms down, I can possibly start dating again but I’m trying to not put pressure on myself.
      Hope everyone has a good/ok/not bad/great week!

    5. StellaBella

      Hi and thanks for this thread. Am glad you got paid for your freelance gig!

      Am meh to OK this week. Some good news on the visa paperwork front, but two close friends each lost a parent, a dad and a mom. So, with wanting to be supportive to my friends, but within the chaos of the Supreme Court mess, I am a bit down and sad for them and for the USA. I did send 2 postcards to Dr Ford for support, so that helped too. But overall things are looking up a bit if a bit meh right now.

      Hope everyone has a good weekend.

    6. fposte

      Not about me, but relevant here. A friend of mine had a harrowing bout in the ICU last year and went back into the ICU a few weeks ago. And despite the fact that psychological effects of ICU stays are widespread and well known, and that they’re apparently often precursors to dementia (she’s over 65), she only *just* was provided with psych treatment and meds. And I could just scream to think of what a difference it would have made last year during her rehab and gained her ground that now is likely to be permanently lost to her.

      So, PSA–if you have loved ones ending up in the ICU, push for psych help for them as a part of recovery.

      1. Someone Else

        I feel a bit stupid here, but thank you for mentioning this. I’ve never actually had a friend or relative go into the ICU and live. So the entire scenario you just described is foreign to me. I literally only just now realized it’s at all common for people to recover after being in the ICU rather than either dying there or ending up in hospice. It seems so silly now to be that I never considered that before.

      2. Mimmy

        I would think just the trauma of being in ICU alone is enough to cause psychological issues. The article you posted is very fascinating. Thanks fposte.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Thank you for the thread. And you took positive steps. If I can offer kudos for that, please accept and focus there. You are doing a great thing every time you take an action.

      Personally, I survived three tough events on Thursday, with what is maybe an okay coping.

      1) I did manage to get the 2017 taxes to the accountant at 2 am on Thursday morning, so hopefully can get those filed. But the amount of chocolate I binged on, and the anxiety of dealing with all the hurt buried in the checks and withdrawals last year (another story) , was tough.

      2) Thursday was also my first day back (in months) to “that place we don’t talk about.” I had to remind self that I “need” this income (husband’s death left me destitute or worse, depending upon events tbd), I’m 62, and that the “people at the place we don’t mention” had been TERRIFIC during his illness and death. I can’t survive on the social security I’ll get – yet – until the debts are paid, and I think from a mental health perspective, going back to that place where I have structure, they (mostly) love and support me, and I am validated as a person with a skill set… that will help my recovery.

      3) My beloved doggie’s kidney failure was only partly ameliorated by the two days of inpatient treatment, so now I’m doing subcutaneous IV drip every other day (she has heart issues as well). I learned how to do that on Thursday after work.

      Coping….By the time I got home from the vet, I simply couldn’t function and took to my bed. First time, in this entire ordeal of husband’s death and the bewildering array of issues that were uncovered, that I’ve crawled into the bed and not wanted to get out. I “did” sleep for an hour and I “did” manage to drag self out of bed after another hour of self talk, and go out for groceries and gas (horrible around here on Fridays and weekends to do those kinds of errands).

      It scared me, that I was briefly non-functional, but then I decided that I was maybe just being wise. That physical and emotional exhaustion were to be expected, and it was in part the let down of getting through three tough events in one day. (Taxes, first day back to you-know-where, and the vet training).

      I did put in a call to the therapist recommended for me. I’m hoping she will be able to begin seeing me. Even though it is out of network / not covered, I need to get my brain re-trained out of victim/poor thinking (it isn’t just grief). I can’t even think of how to quit crying at certain points…(broke down and cried in the doctor’s office on Monday, for example… ). So even making the call was a big step.

      Thank you for asking… and thank you for reading.

      1. Not So NewReader

        My best dog ever took sick and passed a few years after my husband died.
        Please. Please. Ask your friends/family/neighbors/whoever to help you with vet appointments. Don’t make yourself walk through this alone. Oddly the person who came to help me with my dog was kind of scared of him, but her compassion for her fellow human being was much larger than her fear of my dog. Look for compassionate people and pick one or two to ask if they would go to the vet with you.

        Yes, it is a bfd and it is super hard and yes, you can get very exhausted taking care of your little buddy.

        If you can’t find anyone close to you perhaps you can make arrangements to call a long distance relative/friend who will remain on the phone with you or who would be available to talk with you even briefly after the appointment. Look for ways to be less alone doing this.

        Quitting crying. One cool thing that works often enough is to tell ourselves it’s okay to cry. Our go-to is usually to tell ourselves “NO STOP”, which tends to just make us cry harder. Another thing to consider is your intake of vitamins and minerals. Some people need vitamin b because grief goes right to their heart. (Don’t forget grief is cumulative, we don’t just cry over the most recent loss, we can end up crying over many previous losses at the same time. This really depletes vitamins and minerals out of our bodies because it chews up a lot of energy. Lacking energy can mean crying jags that feel like they will never end.)
        This is not to the exclusion of therapy but rather things to think about along with your therapy.

        I am very sorry for your loss and very sorry your little buddy is having such difficulty. I hope something happens very soon that provides you with unexpected comforting.

        1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

          Thank you – great suggestion. I have people who keep asking what they can do, and have only taken a few up on anything. (My house is beyond a hell hole of disorganization since I brought home a 10×30 storage unit and stacked it inside).

          VERY big “a ha!” on the vitamins. That’s part of why I went to the doctor on Monday. (I had to get a release to go back to you-know-where, as I’d been out on mental disability…they only give you a few days of bereavement, and frankly, I needed every minute of the 6 weeks I took). But I also was spontaneously bruising, and I look like death warmed over. I asked her to run my post-bariatric surgery panel vitamins (I have had weight loss surgery, which gave me a surgically induced “short gut syndrome” IE mal-absorption of A,D, E, K and also the B vitamins and iron…). I got the results back, and I’m below normal on everything (including zinc and B).
          It seems a vicious cycle that when you most need them, I have the most trouble taking them.
          And yes, cumulative grief is happening as well. I’m not grieving the husband as much as I am the loss of the reality – he lied so much (another story) and the truth came out after his death. So I’m trying to cope with multiple layers of things, and the work of dealing with his hoarding, and now the dear dog, my lifeline.
          I will ask for help as I take sweet girl in for the next visit (when we find out if the home therapy is helping). My family is good, but most of them are not the dog /pet lover I am.

          And yes…I mourned the loss of the best cat ever for over a year, and switched to dogs in part because I didn’t think another one could ever compare…

          1. Not So NewReader

            Oh my heart aches reading this. I am so sorry.
            I am looking at your list of vitamins and, yeah, I would fully expect you to say you have a bunch of physical stuff going on also.
            E will help with the bruising and it will help with the ache from stress (clenching muscles).
            D will help with mood and it will help with calcium absorption which can reduce aches and pains.
            K is good on pain.
            B will help with brain function because B causes the heart to work better and in turn all the other organs work better. Once the organs are up and running, mental function gets sharper.
            Zinc will help with mental fog, as most of the others will help with mental fog. And I have seen some people use it as an immune system booster to be more resistant to colds.

            I don’t wanna explain how I learned all this. However, make sure you get good quality vitamins from natural sources.
            It doesn’t make the worries/sadness go away, but it does fortify your body and mind so that you can begin to process and figure out what you want to do here. Once you start to see yourself inching forward with baby steps, that will help overall.

            I will share my much loved late aunt’s “lecture”, she said, “NSNR, you no longer have the luxury of saying NO to people. You are in crisis and you need help. People will ask 2-3 times and then quit asking. Pick something and say YES.”
            To this I add, our time to pay it back or pay it forward comes later, don’t even begin to think of yourself as a freeloader. Your life story is not over yet and you will have many opportunities to positively influence other people’s day or even their lives.
            And my second addition is pick people wisely. Do they sound like they begin to understand the severity of your setting? Are they offering helps that sounds like they have been thinking about what might actually be of some help? Some folks are even willing to switch to other tasks. “Gee, I really don’t need help raking leaves but I sure could use some help getting this big pile of stuff to the dump.”

            It’s fine to take quiet time. It’s not fine to force yourself into isolation. The difference between the two is this: You plan your activities and you plan your quiet time. “I will go to the book club meeting with my friend tonight then tomorrow night I will have an at home night.” If the best you can do is meet with friends once a week for an hour, then get there, do that.

            When “today” really sucks all we can really do is promise to build ourselves a better “tomorrow”. And then inch by inch take steps to make “tomorrow” better in some manner.

            Keep us posted on how you are doing.

            1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

              Happy tears that someone gets it, and that you are taking the time to offer such helpful suggestions. Thank you – more than you can know.
              I am trying to “unpack” all this, too. I had become so co-dependent (driven into a corner and isolated and not allowed to make any decisions without derision), that I had become weak. Now, I am trying to find that sweet spot of standing on my own, and accepting help.
              I think the “asking for and accepting help” spot comes when it is not a task I can reasonably expect myself or anyone I love, to do on their own…one I would normally offer to help someone else with.
              Part of it is getting past my pride and shame. I didn’t know how bad this was, how deep the lies, and even how bad the hoarding was (the size and state of the storage unit, for example, or his company office that got dumped on my dining room table). People that know and love me won’t think less of me because I “let” myself get in this circumstance.
              I appreciate your advice and I need to print out some affirmations and put by my refrigerator so I can remind myself of these truths.
              Going to go take some of those vitamins now. THANK YOU.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        One thing that might help you feel better about cocooning after days like that? Cuddle up with your dog! Getting some restful pack togetherness time can help soothe your dog… and hey presto now you’re in the blanket fort for a positive reason, so it could be a little easier to turn off the guilt-o-meter.

    8. Plant_Mama

      I love this thread! I’m a long time reader but newer to posting. I’m…not great? My anxiety has been pretty off the charts lately. I made an appointment to see a therapist but that’s not for another two weeks. I’ve just been struggling with panic, just out of nowhere so I’m hoping they can help with that.

      1. Mananana

        Good for you that you made an appointment — sometimes that feels like such a huge hurdle to overcome. And if you haven’t already, there are apps that can help with anxiety and panic attacks; many of them free.

    9. Alpha Bravo

      Eh, not great. About this time last year spouse went into the hospital for the final time, and I’m having flashbacks to the terror and despair I was feeling then. Hoping it will ease up some after the anniversary of his death passes.

      Hey, you sold an article! Go you!!!

        1. Alpha Bravo

          And I will offer internet hugs in return. And an observation that your “non-functional” seems pretty high-functioning to me. I’m glad you have support at work, and it sounds like you are doing all the right things. Peace and comfort to you.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Flashbacks. Remind yourself, “Yes, that happened but it is over, it is not happening currently” or “That is not happening anymore, it has stopped”.
        Say it out loud if need be. Yeah, that sounds too simplistic to help, but we need tools we can pull out anywhere at any time as we have no control over when these things happen. For that reason simple is better.

        Mine was panic attacks. I needed simple things I could do to bail myself out, I could be at work, in a store or my nightmare- driving. I used breathing exercises and affirmations. The first 2-3 times was the hardest then it was like a dam broke and the problems dropped substantially.

    10. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

      CW: veterinary grossness

      My cat started pooping blood today. She’s perky and happy and bright-eyed and acting normal, but her stools have been loose for a couple of weeks now (she responded well to worming and pumpkin, so I thought it was under control). She’s pretty much all I have right now, and I’m researching which local vets will treat your animal if you surrender them. I’m at the end of my emergency fund with no credit left after losing my job in June. Not to be dramatic, but taking care of that cat is all that kept me alive through some very dark times indeed. I am so grateful to have had her in my life and I’d rather lose a limb than this stupid little hairball.

      I’m having a hard day, is what I’m saying.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

        and a hug for you. I did hit the CC for the two days inpatient IV therapy, and got about a 30% improvement in pupper girls kidney function … she’s all that has gotten me, at times, through the day. Walking her multiple times a day has been a coping mechanism. I pray for the best for your little one. With my really elderly previous one, I did a chart of all the things that could be wrong as the vet explained them and the treatment, explained my budget ($200) and started by treating with antibiotics (which was the least expensive, least invasive). Because none of the other items (lab work, scope, etc) would have “fixed” him… just given us information on how long it was going to take for him to die.
        I found, in that case, that the SPCA was the best – they understood the budget, they understood that sometimes dogs have to be put down, and they worked with me on that chart so I could make a good decision. And, he lived another 3 months. The $1600 in tests wouldn’t have cured him, just told me that he had that time. The antibiotics changed nothing (they were in case his breathing problems were an infection – the breathing problems did not remit, so by process of elimination they weren’t an infection, they were therefore congestive heart failure and he was 16).
        You do what you need to do. I consoled myself that nothing I spent would have given him more than his allotted days… and did his favorite things during those last weeks. Hug.

        1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

          :hug back.: And thank you. It’s good to have someone who understands, and I’ll take you up on your SPCA recommendation.

          1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

            Yes, what I was trying to avoid were those vets and people who use “always” and “never.” As in encouraging you to spend (one woman cashed out her retirement to do chemo for her cat… with no guarantee of survival) using perhaps guilt and “well you could…” without explaining the risks and lack of survival outcome likelihood. Sometimes we seize on a “30%” number and think that’s great. What I reminded myself of, is that 16 is a wonderful age, and that I would honor him by getting another sweet doggie that desperately needed a home, and not enriching the vet when realistically, there was no hope. Since my husband had terminal cancer and all of our funds were being used to keep him alive, I “couldn’t” keep the sweet elderly doggie here – and truth be told, if they were honest, there would not have been one minute added to his life with the tests.
            I figured the SPCA because any “profit” goes to the shelter, and they are very realistic. And they were beyond awesome.

    11. Jean (just Jean)

      Thank you for posting this thread. Sometimes it takes all of our skills and creativity just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sending “keep going, you can do it” vibes to all who wish to receive them. Perhaps that should be “_we_ can do it” instead.

    12. Panda Bandit

      On the one hand, things are the best they’ve ever been. I’ve been working on myself for years and I’m gradually becoming less anxious, less pessimistic, more functional, more productive. I can do a lot of things I couldn’t do before! I have some friends now and my relationships with them are slowly becoming stronger.

      On the other hand, the stuff I still need to tackle is extremely important and I don’t know if I can do it. I need a good job, I haven’t driven a car in years, and I’m not all that confident about my interactions with people. I keep looking to past experiences and thinking, “I couldn’t do that thing then, if I try again it’s still going to go badly”. I know that’s self-defeating and I’ve been hammering on it in therapy. My psychologist said I’m a completely different person now and I have all these new tools but I haven’t been able to wrap my brain around it.

      I still feel like my efforts toward things will go nowhere, even after I’ve changed so many things already. My jerkbrain keeps sending the message to give up when I try to work on some of these things. Sometimes I listen to it and abandon what I’m doing at the time. :/

      What am I proud of? I went to a party last week and had lunch with a friend. I’m opening up to people when I never would have before. I had a great vacation a couple months back. I’m dealing with a huge roommate-apartment manager-apartment repairing mess and I’m holding up well. I finished an art commission recently and my current painting is moving at the speed of light. I’m not anxious 24/7 anymore.

      1. Mananana

        Sounds like you’re making great progress — be proud of yourself! The things you haven’t tackled yet? That just means you’re a work in progress.

        And congrats on the art commission!

      2. Observer

        Keep reminding yourself that you have accomplishes alot, and you can continue accomplishing things.

        Also, pick your battles. In many places, for instance, not driving is not that big of a deal. And your interactions with people don’t have to be perfect – and you’re clearly progressing in important ways. So, “don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.”

        I know that these are platitudes, but also happen to be true.

        1. Panda Bandit

          Thank you, I’ll keep doing that! I’ve been working really hard on the people interactions lately and I’ve come so far.

          The driving issue feels like a bit of a failure because I haven’t driven since I was in an accident years ago. I’m getting around pretty well with public transportation but there are occasional events outside the city I’d like to go to, and a car would make traveling to those places easier. All in due time, I suppose.

    13. Best cat in the world

      This has been an up and down week. I’m still struggling a bit with the loss of my kitty 2 weeks ago although I’m crying far less than I was, I’ve just feel like I’ve got a bit missing.

      I’ve done some really nice things this week, went dancing even though I was struggling to motivate myself to go and I loved it.
      But I’ve also had trouble doing things I really enjoy, I nearly burst into tears up a climbing wall this week because I couldn’t reach the next hold! Hoping I just need a bit of time to get my head back into things properly.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

        hug on the kitty grief. Losing a fur baby is very devastating, and I think not enough understanding or thought has been given to it by those who have not been through it. BIG hug. Just IMHO, I did read the regular grief stages and substitute my furbaby for the person references. I mourned my kitty more than most thought normal (I switched to a dog for the next furbaby, because at the time, I thought another kitty would never compare – she was my first kitty and awesome).
        hug, hug…

        1. Best cat in the world

          Thank you so much, and thank you for the hugs, sending some back to you for your furbaby. She was the first kitty I ‘owned’ myself and she was far too young. I had thought we’d have years together. I’m definitely doing some of the stages although she made it easier for me I think in the end by making it clear there was no other choice.

          I think she’s sent a neighbour’s cat round to check on me because I’ve had a cat that’s hovered around the garden before come up and start purring at me a couple of times. At least I like to think of it that way.

          I will get another cat eventually (my lifestyle wouldn’t be fair on a dog and I’m definitely a cat lady) but not quite yet, and I’ll never find one anything like the same.

          Thank you again. Hug.

    14. GiftGivingIsStressful

      So, in general I am doing really well! I have had trouble with massive anxiety in the past and even though I still sometimes get caught up in a spiral of feeling like everything is wrong, I have very supportive friends who help me feel better and due to some wonderful therapy that I had I now know some good coping skills.

      One particular thing I am struggling with though is gift-giving. It’s always caused me panic attacks because my parents (who I’ve now cut out of my life because they were abusive) were really generous with gifts but were very pressurey that I return that spirit, even as a kid. I remember in whatever grade you make little potato-dad gifts for fathers day (where you sprout some grass on a cut open potato to represent hair, and then draw silly faces on it) mine got taken by someone and I was left with a really shitty looking one. I was too embarrassed to give it to my dad, because I thought he’d hate it, so I threw it out at the bus stop on the way home. He ended up getting mad at me for being selfish and ungrateful for not getting him anything.

      Anyway, so I’ve been trying to get over this by getting gifts for my wonderful friends, and one of them has been really struggling with being sad during her pregnancy. So I made her a little box of sunshine (basically a decorated box of yellow things like stressballs, playdough, craft things, etc.) and I drove to her house and left it on her doorstep. Ended up getting so convinced that she was going to hate it that I had to pull over on the way home because I was crying too hard to drive and needed to compose myself. Managed to convince myself not to return to steal it back, and later on I noticed she posted a picture of the box on facebook with the message “Thank you to whoever dropped off the little box of sunshine. It means more to me then I could ever describe!”

      Hopefully one day reactions like this will override all the bullshit from my parents, and I’ll be able to give people things without having a mental breakdown somewhere in the process of getting it to them (there are also many times where it never does get to them because I get too anxious about it)

  4. Not Australian

    I’m planning to start a family history blog next year and I’ve decided to try using speech recognition software and reading out old documents rather than scanning and OCR-ing them. (Many are very pale anyway, and some are handwritten.) Can anyone recommend a speech-to-text programme that will work with Linux? I’d be glad to hear from people who have personal experience of using it. Thank you.

    1. Gaia

      I can’t but OMG when you start this can you link to it here? I’m writing a family history book for my maternal grandparents and I find I love reading this stuff!

  5. wingmaster

    Has anyone ever brought their laptop to a coffee shop to game? My internet at home sucks, and I really want to test out this game on Project Stream. I’m sure a Starbucks would have high speed internet, but how weird would it be for me to be there to play my video game…of course it’ll be on my small laptop, I’ll have my headphones in, I’ll buy a drink, and I be there at most for 2 hours. I’m a quite gamer. Maybe could go to a public library…or just get better internet, but I’m dying to test out this game!

    1. Waiting for the Sun

      I often see people on their laptops at Starbucks. As long as the game isn’t noisy, I think you would be fine.

      1. nonegiven

        I’ve also seen people on their laptops at Burger King but the internet wasn’t all that fast.

    2. LSP

      As long as you’re not like my husband who periodically screams explitives when he’s gaming, you should be fine.

    3. Valancy Snaith

      I work at Starbucks. As long as you’re reasonably quiet and not taking up like five seats to yourself, no one will care at all. Common courtesy is to buy something, but you can stay as long as you like and it won’t raise any eyebrows.

    4. BRR

      I’m not sure the internet would be fast enough. When my internet went out I tried to go and download some stuff from Netflix for the night and it took forever. I don’t know the demands of gaming vs. downloading video though.

    5. Mephyle

      It may be different in your country, but I’ve found Starbucks internet slower than home in several countries, and my home internet is already not very fast.

      1. Nash

        It’s likely that the wifi at a coffee shop is throttled so that a single client cannot use more than a certain amount of data. That way, other users aren’t denied access entirely. Plus… if someone is using a really old computer with a wireless radio that has a low speed, the wireless network will run at the speed of that device.

        You’ve also got more users trying to use the wifi at once, which increases the chances that your device tries to transmit at the same time as someone else’s. When that happens, your device “backs off” and waits a random length of time before trying to broadcast again.

    6. LemonLyman

      A regular at my local Starbucks sets up a full computer, gaming monitor and all. He even brings his own meals. But he seems to always buy a drink. It’s a little annoying because he takes up a giant table that the local high school or college kids could use to study. But I assume you’d be a little more considerate.

      Moral of the story, he does it other than the extra room he takes, no one cares that he games.

        1. CorruptedbyCoffee

          We have a guy at the local library who does this, too. He brings in a dolly with a 32 inch monitor in its box, a full sized computer tower and the mouse and keyboard. Shortly before closing, he packs it all back up and onto the dolly and wheels it out.

        2. LemonLyman

          Extension cords that I have almost tripped over many times. That’s also annoying. Overall it’s not a big deal except that I immediately blame him in my mind if the internet slows down (which it rarely does).

  6. Woodswoman

    I’ve been invited to officiate at my friend’s wedding in February. My friend is someone who was single for a long time, and I’m thrilled for the two of them and incredibly honored to be asked. Because he lives far away and due to various scheduling conflicts, I have yet to meet his fiancee. This will be my first time officiating.

    Their original plan was for each of them to have someone close to them be an officiant. I was going to co-officiate with his fiancee’s brother. Since then, the brother has emerged as having a serious substance abuse problem–alcohol and likely steroids–and has begun stealing from elderly parents, throwing things, etc. Scary stuff and his fiancee is equally horrified. So far no one has taken legal action. My friend has told his fiancee that if the guy does something to her parents again, he hopes she will contact the police and if she doesn’t, he will. He’s clear that he doesn’t want to support enabling behavior and wants to stop abuse to her parents. I’m glad to hear they’re talking about this openly as a couple now rather than waiting until something occurs again to sort out how to respond.

    My friend is supportive of his fiancee finding someone else to co-officiate if she chooses to since she has never met me. But he reached out to me because he wants to make sure I feel comfortable going solo should she decide to go with that, and to be prepared for an unpleasant scene from this volatile guy. Although he hasn’t used them, the guy has access to guns, not a good situation. They’re hoping he hits some critical degree of awfulness that he sees that he has a problem and needs rehab before the wedding, but of course can’t count on that. He may or may not be invited to the wedding, he may or may not show up anyway if he’s barred from it.

    I told my friend that they can count of me no matter what, and they have enough to be concerned about with wedding planning and this ugly family situation without worrying about me. But it is indeed worrisome. For now, I’m making myself available to listen as my friend navigates a tough situation supporting his fiancee while navigating her family dynamics, and encouraging his healthy perspective on it all. That seems to be the best I can do, with this couple having to worry about their wedding instead of being able to whole-heartedly look forward to it.

    1. Operational Chaos

      It sounds like the couple needs to get security for the venue and make sure the brother isn’t allowed on the property. This sounds like an aggressive situation and he’s already established that he’s willing to prioritize himself over the good of his family.

      1. Not Australian

        Seconded. My uncle showed up uninvited at my son’s wedding (a long story!), intruded himself where he wasn’t welcome, and then threatened to kill me when he was ejected. Son and his wife were spared most of the hassle, but I dread to think how much worse that might have gone if guns had been involved. I’d advising preparing for the worst; if it doesn’t happen, you get to heave a huge sigh of relief and know that you would have been ready if it had.

      2. Amy Farrah Fowler

        Yes, and most venues require security if you’re having a gathering over a certain size. The couple should tell the venue about this if they decide to disinvite and they can provide security with a photograph, so they know to escort him out if he shows up.

        1. Woodswoman

          Good suggestions about security at the venue. Not Australian, that sounds horrific and I’m glad everyone was safe.

          Although I don’t have a relationship with the fiancee and her family, I will continue to stay in touch with my friend and I have no hesitation being vocal about the seriousness of the danger. He’s the one with the most proactive attitude about the situation, and I have confidence in him to put his foot down about security if need be.

    2. Cookie Monster

      More related to the officiant situation and less the brother, but if you’re being ordained online, the states of Connecticut, Tennessee, Virginia, (and occasionally Pennsylvania, New York, Alabama and Utah) do not recognize ordained online weddings/ministers – they need a pastor/priest with a physical congregation or a judge. I’m not sure what “lives far away” means for you exactly but just in case!

      1. CBE

        Huh. I live in Utah and a family member was married by another internet ordained family member with zero issues within the last 2 years.

        1. fposte

          It might be that if the state doesn’t know about the online ordination it doesn’t come up during the registration.

      2. Woodswoman

        I’m good to go in the state where the wedding will be with the Universal Life Church ordination, just need to check with the local county to find out about what paperwork they require. And as an update for Utah, their prohibition against internet ordination was struck down in court in 2002 according to what I’m finding online. That appears to be the case in several states.

    3. Jean (just Jean)

      Yowzers. Is there any way to ensure that this guy no longer has access to guns, period? Of course I have no idea whether the guns in question are some random household items in the parent’s attic or the scary-looking stockpile of somebody as antisocial and unstable as the brother. (In other words, where does “ensuring no access” fall on the Continuum of Rearranging Difficult Circumstances? Quietly removing great-great-grandpa’s long-overlooked antique blunderbuss from the attic of the elderly parents is not the same as asking the brother’s presumably much younger, fitter, and harder-to-convince friend or acquaintance to secure their frequently-used hunting rifle or target pistol or …
      In case it isn’t already obvious, I know nothing about guns except that weapons + volatile people with the impulse (or long-held desire) to harm themselves or others can = an invitation to disaster.

        1. Woodswoman

          From what I’m told, the gun (or guns?) in question is his own, definitely disconcerting.

          My friend doesn’t think this problem will just go away on its own. On the contrary, he’s sounding the alarm with his fiancee, and telling her that addicts with behavior like her brother who ultimately get help typically don’t do so until some disaster has forced them to hit bottom. I think my friend was referring to something severe happening before the wedding.

          I will continue to be vocal about the danger this guy poses for their wedding ceremony.

          1. valentine

            I wouldn’t go to the wedding, even if they claim he’s not invited, and might tell the police myself, both where the guy lives and where the venue is. Maybe they would speak to his parents or there’s another way to achieve weapon surrender. The gun ownership, theft, violence, are escalations on a list that sounds like a crime documentary and the big event makes him more immediately and specifically dangerous.

    4. nonegiven

      If you want to meet the fiance before the wedding, you can do it on Facetime or Skype. It isn’t the same but it is better than the phone.

  7. Jen Erik

    Not Australian’s question made me think of one of my own.

    Before she died, my mum was working on a family history with the intention of making a copy for each grandchild. There’s some tidying up to do (she had dementia) but my brother suggested that then, instead of sending each young person a physical copy, I put it online.

    Which I see is brilliant, and means more far-flung family members could have access, and would have the possibility of adding in more stuff – old letters, photographs (plays?) etc – but I’ve no clue how to start. In a perfect world, I’d like to have a start made by December, because Christmas is going to be a bit miserable this year, and this might be a happy thing to share.

    I’d be grateful for any suggestions or pointers to resources: The idiots guide to doing things that are probably perfectly obvious to everyone else.

    1. Nacho

      Unless you plan on making it a huge thing, it would probably enough to get a wordpress account and just put it there as a blog.

    2. Mobuy

      Familysearch.org has the ability to put all those documents online plus pouches and personal memories. Maybe check it out?

    3. Mallory

      Is there a way to make this like Wikipedia, where different people could add and edit? That would be SO COOL. Ideally private/invite only of course.

      Does this already exist?

      1. CBE

        It does! TNG is a software that lets you create your own website, and you can allow others to contribute!

    4. Penguin

      My brother did something similar for our family; he set up a blog (maybe using WordPress? I forget what platform he used) and just uploaded things there. A wiki site might be better, though, if you want lots of folks to be able to add to it. Wikia might work, or there are others out there. Good luck!

    5. Professor Plum

      A very simple solution would be a Google Doc where you share the file with your family, giving edit permission if you want others to add to the file.

  8. Kim Gwenhwyfar

    Don’t really know where else to share this, because to most it would seem like such a small thing.

    I think I finally found a way to deal with my superthick, semi-curly hair that everyone seemed to love on my but me. After going to hairdressers for years who used thinning shears or cut layers, I bit the bullet and found a hairdresser who specializes in POC hair (I’m a white woman myself). The damage has been cut out for the most part and I can finally wear my hair in a semi-loose style without hating every. single. moment. of it.

    Think I will splurge on the Aveda BeCurly system next, does anyone have any other recommendations for taking care of dry, curly hair?

      1. Kelli

        I love the Davines line for curly hair. I have thick crazy hair with and have been traumatized by layers and thinning shears. Kinda gross, but I think if I skip a day washing the curls are much better.

        1. Ego Chamber

          Is it still considered gross to skip a single day washing your hair? I wash my hair like twice a week, at most, and I thought that was the new normal for hair care for most hair types.

          1. Thin long straight hair gal

            I don’t wash my hair daily. I tried once for a few days because I was doing sports daily. My hair became angry dry. It’s much happier now that I wash every 2-3 days.

    1. Avis

      If you haven’t already, get Lorraine Massey’s book and start doing the curly girl method. I think DevaCurl products are also better than the Aveda ones – from memory, some of the Aveda products have silicones in which aren’t great on curly hair. Maybe try Reddit’s r/curlyhair subreddit too.

      1. Blue_eyes

        Get the book Avis recommends! Most of the videos and other info on the internet is based on Lorraine Massey’s Curly Girl Method anyway.

        I have wavy/curly hair, which I only just discovered this year (it stays straight when I blow dry it, so I never knew!). I’ve been experimenting with products and techniques to find what works for my hair. I’ve never washed my hair more than every 3 days, but I find that with curly hair I can go 4-5 days between washes. I like the Kinky Curly Spiral Spritz and just regular cheap-o gel (like LA Looks brand, from Target or the pharmacy). I haven’t tried any of the Aveda products, but it seems like DevaCurl products are more favored by most curly bloggers.

      2. AVP

        also here for Deva products! I get a haircut there once a year and use their yellow shampoo and conditioner, although I like to switch up the holding product depending on weather and season.

        If anyone wants to try getting a dry cut with them and you’re not near a salon, I think they have a network of people who have trained in their system but who’ve started their own companies elsewhere.

      3. Ego Chamber

        The curly girl method and Deva products are over-hyped. Definitely try both, but don’t feel like you failed if either doesn’t work for you, and don’t even bother with the forums that will ban you for not treating these things like religion. Different things work for different people, nothing works for everyone.

        Tl;dr: Try everything, keep what works, chuck the rest. #lifephilosophy

    2. LKK

      I love curly hair! I understand the journey from hating it to embracing it to loving it. Go for Devacurl products, you really can’t get any easier or better. Whatever you buy, it should be free of harmful chemicals (just google and you’ll get tons of info on that). If you decide to change hair stylists at any point, look for someone who cuts it dry/has been trained in the Deva method. Other important points: put your product in when it’s super wet, use an old T-shirt or microfiber towel to squeeze out excess water and then don’t touch it again while it dries, you can condition every time you shower but don’t wash it with cleanser every day (try to go every other day then two times a week). You can find tons of good tips for styling and care by searching on Instagram and YouTube. I’ve also been using some LUS products lately that I have really liked. Good luck!

      1. fposte

        I have several curly colleagues who’ve gone for DevaCurl and gotten their hair cut by a Deva stylist, and the results are amazing. (I also use the Deva products in summer sometimes when I want to air dry and just let my very slight natural waves out, but that’s different from the super-curly stuff.)

    3. Jean (just Jean)

      I’ve had good results with the Innsersense brand of conditioners. They are not outrageously expensive but still give me sticker shock because they are not the rockbottom, $1.99-a-bottle-of-shampoo-at-the-grocery store variety that I used for decades. [Some of us cheapskates think we’re extravagant when we switch to the Trader Joe’s house brand of shampoo at $2.99-a-bottle. ;-) ] Still looking for a fragrance-free conditioner. I was using the unscented Whole Foods’ house brand conditioner but my stylist said it it wasn’t taming the frizzies. I may go back to it occasionally, at least to use up the remainder.

      Innsersense make a nice shampoo but I happen not to like the fragrance. I figure that washing once a week with the TJ house brand won’t do excessive damage.

      1. the gold digger

        I may go back to it occasionally, at least to use up the remainder.

        Oh that frugal streak. I finally, this week, gave myself permission to throw away some papadams that the roo-service guy at the hotel in Dubai gave me –

        in 2012.

        Yes. I let them take up space in my refrigerator for six years because PEOPLE ARE STARVING YOU CAN’T THROW AWAY FOOD!

        But – I don’t like to fry stuff in the house. I try not to eat fried foods anyhow.

        I come from thrifty people. I totally understand about using up the rest of the shampoo.

        1. Judith

          I often have my family or friends stay for a week or so and always leave behind their shampoo to cut down on weight for the plane ride home. Because I can’t bear to throw the bottles out I now use the shampoo for cleaning my toilets…..amazing bubbles and often weird scents. Some seem to last for days. Coconut for example is an unusual scent in a powder room.

      2. Old Biddy

        I get eczema if I use scented shampoo and conditioner, and unfortunately most unscented conditioners aren’t rich enough for curly, dry hair. Desert Essence unscented is the best one I’ve found so far. I’d like to find an unscented, really rich, once a week conditioner.

        1. Concepta

          If it’s only artificial scents that bother you, can I recommend JASON moisturising aloe vera conditioner? Not cheap but it’s my desert island beauty product. I can get terrible eczema on my scalp but this doesn’t seem to bother my skin at all, and it leaves my thick, curly, tends-towards-crispy hair well-moisturised and with perfect body.

          1. Ego Chamber

            Jojoba is also really good for this, and usually cheaper than olive or coconut, it’s also the most chemically similar to the oils your scalp produces so hair usually takes it really well.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood

          Have you looked up DIY conditioner recipes? It’s been very long time since I was involved, but livejournal had a page for people with long hair, and there were a lot of home recipes shared.

      3. TooTiredToThink

        Oh, I get that completely. My current shampoo is around $10 a bottle – but since it lasts 6-8 months I figure that’s not too bad.

    4. Middle School Teacher

      DevaCurl products are great for curly hair, and they also (at least in Canada) train hairstylists to cut curly hair in a specific way. Something to look for if you’re ever in a search for a new stylist.

      1. Trixie

        A friend with wonderfully curly hair went to someone new who was specialized in curly hair. The before and after difference was amazing. The after cut showed a style that worked with her hair.

    5. Cat Herder

      Don’t shampoo every day, unless it’s genuinely dirty. I got that advice about ten years ago from my hairdresser and it has really made a difference. I rinse it out when I shower, but only shampoo every two to three days.

      1. TooTiredToThink

        Same. I have a very oily scalp so I have to wash regularly but now that I telework a couple of times a week, I don’t wash my hair on those days and now see much better results.

    6. Dance-y Reagan

      The Curly Girl method, and the subreddit for it, are invaluable. There are spreadsheets and links to ingredients to avoid, good products, and years worth of tips and tricks. I’m crotchety about social media and I joined Reddit just for that group. You can spend hours on there, learning from people with a variety of textures and porosities.

      Highlights to search on YouTube: plopping, Curly Susie, the Laura Routine.

    7. Almost Phinished

      Having curly hair myself, I totally empathize and also are loving other ppl’s tips.
      My persona fave is Moroccan Oil Curl Defining balm, it never fails me.

    8. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

      My old roommate swore by Lush, but I think they discontinued the product she likes.

    9. Slartibartfast

      White girl with thin curly hair and I have used POC hair products for years. I have a e day hairwashing cycle: shampoo and conditioner on day 1, don’t get it wet day 2, rinse and conditioner only day 3. Mixed Chicks has a leave in conditioner I love, only need it in the winter but it calms the frizz without being heavy. And yes, especially with straight being in style so long, it’s hard to find a stylist that gets curls. A good cut and minimal styling works best fr me.

    10. Cosette

      I use Deva products. They are amazing. If possible, find someone who specializes in Deva cuts. All hairdressers “should” know how to cut curly hair but as you know they don’t. After many years of fighting with my hair I can now do it in minutes and it always looks fab! Due to the great cut and the great products!

  9. Chocolate Teapot

    I went shopping this week to replenish my supplies of my favourite skincare range, only to discover the line is being discontinued! This is especially annoying as it has only been around for a few years and seemed to be very popular. It doesn’t appear that it is being discontinued for a new range of products either.

    So, Sephora, here I come!

    1. Hellanon

      Were you using Deciem/The Ordinary? The company founder had the meltdown to end all CEO meltdowns all over social media last week – accusations of financial crimes on the part of the management team were just the start – and announced he was shutting everything. I’m not convinced it’s the end of the company, though – Lauder owns a good-sized stake in it. So it may be back…

      1. ElspethGC

        The Deciem founder has been acting oddly for several months now, It’s super weird. I’ve seen several people who have experienced psychosis or maniac episodes say that his breakdown appears to be in that vein, so I hope he’s getting help if he needs it. If it’s nothing to do with that…then I have no idea what he thinks he’s doing.

        1. esra

          Oh man. A friend of mine had contacts on the social media/communications team at Deciem. Bad, bad scene.

      2. CatMom

        Good news! If it’s The Ordinary, the CEO has been legally ousted and they’re returning to normal operations later this month.

        AFTER I spent like $100 restocking all my normal products 3x over, of course.

        1. Julia

          Really? I loved some of their stuff, but boycotted them after he spewed racist and anti-semitic hate online. (I know that many people think he needs help, but I also think that no nervous breakdown turns someone into a racist when they didn’t already think like one.) Now I can buy my azelaic acid again!

          1. CatMom

            Oh wow, I didn’t know about the racist/anti Semitic stuff. I didn’t really follow much of the news about him so I just chalked most of it up to “drama.” Guess I was wrong!

            1. Traffic_Spiral

              Well, IIRC it was more “ZOMG I just read an article on Palestine and why is no one doing anything about this,” than “so I hate the jews,” plus he was clearly on some sort of manic spree (not the Roseanne pills-made-me-do-it, but the ‘ok, I need to read this a few times to figure out what you mean, cause you’re not making too much sense there’ type).

              1. Julia

                He actually said some pretty offensive things about the Estée Lauder leaders (who I believe are Jewish) and some other stuff. It was well documented on reddit’s skincareaddiction and the time, and I wasn’t the only one who decided to boycott the brand after that.
                And as I said above, while I have a lot of empathy for mental health issues, a manic spree won’t turn you into a racist just like alcohol won’t, unless you were one anyway.
                I’m glad they ousted him, he clearly needs help, and while I voted with my dollars here because I did not want to support his hateful comments, I did feel bad for the staff.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood

            My dad had that about-face as part of the paranoia that developed as he was dying of a brain tumor. He raised me to listen to what people say not to look at their skin color or national origin. He had a Jamaican home health aide at first who he treated with great courtesy. But as he went downhill, he became agitated by anyone black…he wanted Mom to fire her because he was convinced she was laughing at him behind his back, among other things. The hospital he went to at the end, they had Nazis spying on him from the next room, through the power plugs. (He was a WWII vet.) I was 10 when he died, so mom protected me from most of it, but the change was unmistakable and terrifying.

            So…yeah it can happen in at least some extreme cases.

    2. MsChanandlerBong

      That happens to me every time I love something. Basically, if I like your restaurant, clothing store, or product line, it’s a bad omen. Once I fall in love with it, it will probably be out of business within a year!

      1. cleo

        This happens to me with t.v. shows – or it used to, when I had the time and inclination to watch series t.v.

        1. nonegiven

          I know people that will not stream a series until it is canceled and then only if they are assured that it had a decent wrap up and not left on a cliffhanger. Like too many people doing that doesn’t get series canceled more often.

    3. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      One helpful hint… if the supplies are powder, they last forever regardless of storage. If liquids, I refrigerate my hoard. (Hair color, nail polish, moisturizers). They last years longer.

      1. Chocolate Teapot

        No, it was Roger et Gallet. However, I discovered Roger et Gallet is owned by the L’Oreal Group. so perhaps it might come back. It is quite surprising how many cosmetic brands are owned by either L’Oreal or the Lauder Group, especially the ones which look at first glance to be independent, or quirky brands. Not to mention LVHM owns Sephora, Benefit, Make up Forever and Fenty Beauty.

        The odd thing was that the range was launched with quite a bit of fanfare, there were positive reviews in various magazines and the stuff seemed to work for me. The only thing I can think of is that Roger et Gallet is known for its perfumes and scented products, so the powers that be have decided to focus on those.

        I am still not happy though!

        1. Observer

          Estee actually doesn’t own Deciem, they just have a %28 share, which is why they had to go into court.

  10. Jemima Bond

    I have A Lot On My Plate right now. It’s all pretty positive – details of promotion at The Place Which Shall Not Be Named being thrashed out, flat near to being sold and will be moving to Mr Bond’s very soon, making a lovely mini-quilt for an online swap, going to Australia, finishing sewing gifts for Xmas/a new year’s wedding. All great But still. I have A Lot On My Plate. Ooof. I feel a bit overwhelmed by all my tasks.

    1. Turnip-face

      That is a lot… Good luck and have fun! Aren’t you a writer as well? How do you find the time? (or have I got you muddled up with someone else?)

      1. Jemima Bond

        I think you must have me muddled up with someone. I work for the British government as a ninja-assassin-superhero ;-D

  11. AnnaB

    Has anyone here been through the process of being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult in the UK? My lack of focus, disorganisation and distractibility is becoming more and more of a problem in every aspect of my life, but I’ve heard that trying to get an adult diagnosis here, or even to get a GP to take it seriously as a possibility, can be very difficult and take forever. Honestly I’m afraid to even ask my GP about it because it feels like making excuses for my general ineptitude (I know this is ridiculous and I would yell at any friend who was thinking like this about themselves, and yet) and the idea that it might take a year or two to even get face-to-face with a specialist is really daunting.

    If anyone here has gone through it, could you share how long it took to get a diagnosis? Was it difficult to persuade your GP to refer you to a specialist?

    1. Avis

      I’ve tried twice but honestly it was so much effort I gave up. I went to my GP and got a referral to the community mental health team without a problem, but it was multiple appointments with nurses, specialists etc and there were literally months between each appointment. I felt like every time I saw someone they’d completely forgotten everything we’d already spoken about and we weren’t making progress. Do you have access to any kind of counselling service through work? I’ve contemplated booking an appointment through our employee assistance platform and asking what they think.

      1. AnnaB

        Good to know that the GP was happy to refer you, but I’m sorry it’s been so much effort for you so far! That’s very much what I’m afraid of, and I travel so much for work that I’m afraid it will be really difficult for me to manage loads of appointments, especially if they’re all spread out. Unfortunately my work doesn’t have any kind of counselling service, but I really hope it works for you!

    2. LilySparrow

      Not in the UK, but have you done the World Health Organization Adult ADHD Self-Report Scale (ASRS) ?

      If you google it, there a number of places you can download a PDF to print out. It might give you something concrete that you can show, and give them to put in the file.

      Best of luck!

    3. Bob

      Unfortunately I think a lot of this will depend on where you are in the UK, and how old you are. Where I am (South West), there seem to be a fair amount of resources for young people (under 25) but once you get older it gets harder.

      Another alternative (if you can afford it) is to try going private. If your company offers it, private insurance (or at least partial refunds if you choose to go private) may be a quicker way to get a result.

      1. AnnaB

        That’s a good point – I’m in London, which I heard was not as bad as some places in terms of waiting times, but I’m well over 25. I think I might have to explore the private option.

    4. DrTheLiz

      So much sympathy/solidarity with you – I’ve been coming to the realisation over the last couple of months that a lot of things I’ve really struggled with all my life might add up to “ADD”. I’m not in the UK any more, bit it might be worth looking at the cost of the one or two private psychiatrist sessions it will take to get a formal diagnosis. Last I looked it would likely be less than £1000.

      Good luck!

      1. JaneB

        Very much sympathy – I’m in the same boat, but my GP said since I am a working professional they saw no point in referring me as I’m doing fine (apart from the severely life limiting anxiety that has me in your office in tears, doc) and my EAP sources counsellor who is helping with the anxiety says adult ADD (which is what I get from those online quizzes as probably the closest thing) doesn’t exist and if I was ADHD I’d be thinner. Sigh!!

        1. LilySparrow

          I am sorry that your GP is so ignorant. Adult ADHD can be seen on a functional MRI just like pediatric ADHD. And it actually increases the risk of food/weight issues. Hyperactivity is as much about impulse control and hyperfocus on unhelpful things as it is about physical movement.

        2. AnnaB

          Aargh, how frustrating! This is my fear too – that it’s still not a well-known condition among adults in the UK, and there are a lot of misconceptions, even among healthcare professionals. I really hope you can find a more sympathetic GP!

        3. Seeking Second Childhood

          When I look back, I was ADD as a child too, but undiagnosed. More precisely I was MISdiagnosed with depression. My daughter’s 1st grade teacher flagged her, and the follow-through flagged me. Not all get the hyperactivity portion, and without it some people don’t recognize it.

          Mentioning childhood examples might get you taken more seriously. ..for me, I pulled my first all nighters in 5th grade…

      2. AnnaB

        Thank you! I was thinking it might be worth it to go private, so long as I could then convince my GP to prescribe any medication on the NHS.

        1. Thecheapshot

          Very late reply on this so you might not see it but I am currently working through this in the UK and I have ended up going private. I’m lucky in that I can (just about) afford it and my GP will be happy to prescribe meds on the NHS once I’ve been treated privately.

          The scuttlebutt is that there is one adult ADHD specialist panel in the whole country and they are currently in chaos. No one is in charge, no one is deciding policy and engagement and treatment and no one is taking responsibility. They are sending out info that doesn’t make sense if they are communicating at all. My GP was almost in tears describing it.

          So, yeah. I’m hoping that I will be on meds in the next couple of months and I’ll worry about my credit card bill after that!

    5. dawbs

      If you were in the US, I’d point you toward CHADD as a place to get info from other folks in your situation–but this is as close as I can find: https://www.ukadhd.com/support-groups.htm
      There are some local groups here–and you might go to a meeting or 2 and get info from folks who are there.

      I’d also say that the not-official tests in the Ratey/Hallowell books in the ‘driven to distraction’ series might be helpful, and that if you’re going for info on adult ADHD, Sari SOlden’s books on women w/ ADHD do the awesome, IMO, at addressing ADD without hyperactivity.

  12. A.N. O'Nyme

    Writing thread!
    We’ve all been there: the dreaded Writer’s Block. How do you deal with it?
    I usually put random things into a hat and draw three, then write a stupid little drabble that will never see the light of day based on those three things. Somehow I ended up with an excellent villain for my current project by writing a drabble about “Darcy from Pride & Prejudice”, “Horror Movie”, and “Dogs”.

    1. Lena Clare

      That’s a god tip! I try writing something completely different, like writing in my journal, and I spend a couple of hours reading.
      Mostly though, I just stick to a routine and do it first thing in the morning before I can do anything else to distract me… a kind of get it out of the way thing!
      I keep a notebook with me to jot stuff down in when I’m not at my desk.
      A heard a thing that Stephen Fry does – he apparently stops mid sentence so he’s got something to finish when he starts up the next day! I haven’t tried it bc I hate leaving things unfinished LOL but it sounds effective!

    2. Foreign Octopus

      I like your idea!

      I just sit there with my head against the table reminding myself that it’s better to have some words down than nothing. I sort of gap-fill, I suppose. So I just keep writing and I don’t care if it makes sense or it isn’t descriptive enough – sometimes I just put a line in like (X needs to do this) – and then I’ll leave it and come back to it later.

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      Unfortunately, my way to deal with writers block is to not write. At all. It’s all or nothing for me. I went two years without writing a word, then over one weekend a few weeks ago, suddenly got hit with inspiration, wrote more than 10,000 words in three days, and now am up to 35,000.

      No exercise has ever worked for me. If I’m not inspired to write, I literally cannot write. I just have to wait for the burst of inspiration to hit me. I admire writers who can write every day no matter how they feel.

      1. Elizabeth W.

        I’m kind of this way, but I’ve discovered that even a bunch of what I call throat-clearing, or noting a ramble of complaints about my project, are sometimes enough to kickstart me. Anything else is procrastination. And (when not if!) I’m publishing and have deadlines, I won’t have the luxury of waiting until inspiration strikes.

        My biggest problem right now is scheduling. Not working has put me on a weird schedule, it changes every time I have something to do that day, and I’m so incredibly stressed that I’m finding it hard to think. Writer’s block is the least of my worries right now.

        I do plan to do NaNoWriMo this year, so I’m gearing up for that. Not entirely sure which project to work on, though. Book 2 of my trilogy isn’t worth a damn if I can’t sell Book 1, and the other two things seem incredibly trite.

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

          This is why I will never write as a career or publish through a traditional publisher. But for me, someone who writes as a hobby and not for a living, that’s okay :-)

          1. Elizabeth W.

            It’s totally okay to only write for yourself! :)

            I would like it to be a career, since I can’t seem to stop doing it. It’s almost a compulsion and when I’m not writing, I’m still doing it in my head. Always, all the time.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        When you say “no exercise has worked’ do you literally mean working up a sweat? Because for me that’s often a gelp– mow the lawn, move furniture, ride my bike. It calms down my inner monkeys.

    4. poetry writing

      This is really timely! I’ve been thinking about this because I usually just start writing in my journal and doodle or just write a bunch of really badly written stuff. But I’m taking a poetry writing class and we write during the class. Typically we read and talk about a poem, then there are props, like pictures or things or we are asked to cut text from different writings that the instructor has brought and I am such a difficult time writing in this context! this last week I just had nothing. And of course, “forcing” does not really work. I tried writing random sentences but nothing came. I don’t really feel comfortable journaling during the class (plus we have 20-30 to min to write so not a lot of time). Also, when I’m writing usually my first stab at whatever is really poor compared to where it ends up (except for the occasional grace when something comes out almost ready). The other people’s poetry seems to be much more finished in that time so I’m starting to feel self-conscious; some of this may be that I don’t have a lot of experience but I’ve started wondering if this is the class for me; I’ve taken other classes where you wrote the stuff at home and brought it in and at least I had something to show. Like I can’t get down enough in myself to write, if that makes sense.

    5. Julia

      Oh, can I make a spin-off and ask if anyone’s doing NaNoWriMo and how they’re preparing for that? I hope that this year will be my first (if my job search leaves me enough time), and I have the characters and relationships all set, but struggle with the supernatural plot.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme

        Oooh, good idea! I don’t participate myself, don’t really like the idea of it, but good luck to anyone who plans to!

      2. Elizabeth W.

        I do a rough outline first. If the story starts to stray from the outline, I let it go a little bit and see if I like it better. The outline is only a guide; I don’t have to be so strict with myself.

        The only other thing I can add about NaNoWriMo is don’t beat yourself up if you don’t make the word count. The idea is to get yourself in the chair and writing every day. I’m usually a NaNo rebel and use it to finish things, haha.

      3. Ego Chamber

        Decide what you want out of it before you start. Do you just want 50k words of gibberish so you can call yourself “a novelist”? That’s great! Do you want a first draft that you can later develop into a book you’ll want to publish? Also good! Do you want to write the perfect novel all in one shot over 30 days and then send it out to agents and publishers on December 1 to begin your career as a consistent best seller? That plan is questionable at best but I wish you luck!

        If you don’t know what you want to have at the end, it can be more complicated to find motivation to write during. But whatever you do, don’t quit. That’s the only hard rule: whatever happens, once you start, don’t quit. Even if you don’t end up with a finished manuscript at the end, whatever you have is more than you had at the beginning, you know? (That’s the secret meaning of NaNoWriMo.)

        1. Julia

          Thank you! I definitely want to achieve the second, which is to use that month as an external motivator/excuse to get out a first draft of this story I’ve been planning for half a year now. And you’re right, I might not hit the word count, but I’ll have written more than I have now.

    6. Felicia

      If I have a current project I just say something along the lines of “Suddenly everything exploded” and then see how my characters react.

    7. Part Time Poet

      I suggest getting outside. Going to some green space and hugging a tree. Seriously. Or at the very least, gazing upon nature. Forest bathing gets you out of your head and into your surroundings. If there is some sort of water feature even better. Or sit on a bench and watch the squirrels and birds. Make up stories about any people you see around you. Observe.

    8. ECHM

      I am a reporter, so I usually have something to start with (notes from interview), but I usually just start typing from my notes in chronological order and things start falling into place. It’s just sitting down at the computer to do it.

      I get the part about being inspired, though. Some stories just write themselves like The Librarian said. I also remember a story that just wouldn’t work … because I was trying to shoehorn a clever anecdote into it, and once I gave up on trying to put the anecdote in, everything fell together.

    9. Cedrus Libani

      I’m a big believer in crappy first drafts. The delete key is my kryptonite – I am fully capable of sitting in front of a keyboard for an entire day, writing 1.5 sentences that have been overthought to the point where they no longer make sense. So I draft using pen and paper, in barely legible handwriting. If I’m really blocked, I resort to writing in text-speak, so that I truly can’t use any of it for the final version. If you imagine a chat-bot that’s been trained on mostly lolcats, plus a list of words you can’t say on television, and a few relevant scientific papers…that’s what my first drafts look like.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme

        Yeah, I have the same problem with delete keys. That got way better when I started using pen and paper again.

    10. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

      What’s really helped me was joining the Online SFF Writing Workshop and critiquing the work of others. It’s improved both the quality and the quantity of my writing on quantum levels and is well worth their venti-latte-a-month price. I write speculative fiction, though, so your genre mileage may vary.

    11. Penguin

      I’m a big fan of a book titled “Write. 10 Days to Overcome Writer’s block. Period.” by Karen E. Peterson. Peterson is a psychologist and a writer, and digs into the psychology of creative work and how understanding our brains can helps us work. For example, she suggests that the part of the brain that keeps reaching for that shiny idea that isn’t what we need to work on right now can be managed if we treat it like a two-year-old child rather than an adult (e.g. positive enticement rather than authoritarian force).

    12. StudentA

      As a professional-level procrastinator, my style is rather simplistic LOL. I allow myself to be distracted. I want to spend time on the internet and play around for a while on reddit? I do it. Wanna text a friend? I do it. There’s a movie on Netflix that looks interesting? I turn it on. Eventually, I will find myself needing to write.

      I make sure I am comfortably fed and have enough caffeine and water at hand. That way, I am not causing more interruption by getting up for snacks.

      And there’s no way around it — at some point, you just have to make yourself. I’m not very good at that, hence procrastination :( But it happens eventually. And I guess my way is to not fight it.

  13. Taking the long way round

    Ok, so I have a personal relationship thing.

    I went out with a guy who was a *completely* different person as a boyfriend than he was as a friend. In fact we were friends for over 6 months before we got together. (We’re from different countries). We were together for 3 weeks then split up. The time we were partners, he was rude, mean (to me and other people) and just a general all-round a-hole. I haven’t heard from him since, and I don’t want to be friends with him.

    I suspect he has pretty bad attachment issues, which only became apparent when we made our relationship official. It was a horrible, albeit short, time, and I spent a large part of the weeks I was with him, plus the weeks afterwards, crying. A lot.

    Anyway, a situation with his friend is bugging me.

    I became friends with one of his friends. I thought we were friends anyway. I contacted her regularly (she’s also in a different country) and she invited me to her house to stay next weekend for a gathering she has every year. Obviously my ex was invited too, and as far as I knew is still going. He was planning on buying plane tickets for me and him when we were together anyway.

    I told her at the time that it didn’t work out with her friend. I didn’t slag off my ex, even though I wanted too. I thanked her for her invitation and said I wouldn’t be able to come. This was in July, so it’s not like I gave her too little notice. And radio silence.

    I’ve not heard a peep since then. I know it’s because she’s siding with him. And why wouldn’t she? Apart from the fact she’s known him longer, he is a different person when he’s in dating mode, so she’s never seen the horrible, abusive things he can do and say as a partner.

    I don’t say anything to her, right? I kind of feel that this would be wrong… but I’m mad that she’s there thinking god knows what about me, listening to what ever he’s telling her about me, and on his side. When I’m the one who’s been treated badly. Gah.

    Thanks for listening to my vent.

    1. Waiting for the Sun

      Wow, he sounds like a bullet dodged.
      If you met the friend through him, and they are both in another country, afraid the friendship may be a lost cause. :(
      If they are in the same country together maybe she will see him interacting with a new girlfriend and I get why you were so frustrated with him.

      1. Taking the long way round

        You are right!
        As soon as I wrote it out I thought that it a lost cause. I think seeing it in black and white has made me be more determined to let it go now. Thank you :)

        1. Ender Wiggin

          Honestly even with amicable breakups it’s very hard to remain friends with both partners afterwards. It’s way too much hassle. In an ideal world it would be possible, but I honestly don’t know of anyone who’s pulled it off (at least in a healthy way). I don’t blame her for just cutting you off – it’s rude but simpler.

          1. ainomiaka

            And maybe this is because I went to a tiny high school and tiny college where it was absolutely necessary if you were ever going to date and have friends, but I cannot understand this mindset. Nor the not the same but related “my ex must completely be dead to me and any ex of my partner must completely be dead to them.” It’s. . . something I, my husband, and our close circle of friends in town have absolutely done-staying friends with both sides of a couple after they broke up. Also staying friends with a friend you met through your ex.

            That said, both parties have to put in the effort, which clearly sounds like it’s not happening here and is not something the OP can force.

            1. Ego Chamber

              “That said, both parties have to put in the effort,”

              Please stop that. If the ex was abusive, as was stated in the OP, there’s no “effort” to put in. You cut that shit off like a rotting limb as a self-preservation tactic. Another self-preservation tactic is cutting off everything else that rot has touched, which is unfortunate when it means losing friends, but trying to navigate a friendship with someone who’s still friends with someone who was abusive to you, and is likely manipulating the shared friend, is very rarely worth it.

              From your post, it sounds like you’ve only interacted with reasonable adults who’ve had non-dramatic relationships. You don’t understand the other way because it’s nothing you’ve been exposed to. I have an abusive ex that I will never see again, or speak to again, in my lifetime, if I can help it. That’s to keep myself stable and sane. I have other exes that I’m perfectly willing to hang out with as friends, but one of them isn’t interested in being “just friends” so I don’t spend time with him because his intentions were clear and that would only be leading him on.

              Tl;dr: Different people are different and handle similar situations differently for different reasons.

              1. GH in SOCal

                I think Ainomiaka was saying that “both parties have to put in the effort” in reference to “Also staying friends with a friend you met through your ex.” Which Taking The Long Way Round’s friend-through-the-ex doesn’t seem interested in doing, hence, “which clearly sounds like it’s not happening here and is not something the OP can force.”

    2. Alice

      It sounds frustrating. But, why do you have to wait for the friend to contact you? Can you send her a note to start some interaction about topics that aren’t related to the jerk? Good luck.

    3. LSP

      one of the best things I ever heard is, “What other people think of me is none of my business. ”

      She might think things about you that aren’t true, that aren’t fair, but I doubt hearing from you about her friend isn’t going to help matters. She’s not likely to believe you.

      Just consider this all a bullet dodged and move on.

      1. Anon anony

        +1 Agreed. You can’t control what others think about you. His true colors will eventually show and who knows? She might eventually contact you. Otherwise, I think it’s best to move on and surround yourself with people who love and support you.

          1. ainomiaka

            yes this-it may have nothing to do with him and more to do with distance or a million other things.

    4. Triple Anon

      I’ve been there. Dating long term friends who became abusive when things got romantic. Friends siding with the abusive ex. Exes telling horrible lies and people believing them.

      I finally realized that people are responsible for what they believe and how they handle these situations. Usually, there are signs that the person is manipulative even if they seem nice. People are responsible for choosing to question things or take them at face value. And often, the people who believe the abuser have issues of their own. Not to say that they’re abusive – often, it’s the opposite – overly forgiving – but there is something going on there. Another kind of unhealthy dynamic that you’re better off without.

      So I would try to move on from it all, including the lost friendships. I know it’s painful, but you’re better off without it in the long run.

      1. Triple Anon

        The second paragraph is about friends who side with / believe the abusive ex, just to avoid confusion.

  14. A.N. O'Nyme

    Anyone else get annoyed by people going “ugh, who even uses/goes *insert analog thing here*”. Like paying cash or using a notebook rather than an app.
    Newsflash: just because you CAN do everything electronically doesn’t mean you HAVE TO.
    Also as far as cash is concerned: the people who still use cash were the people who weren’t screwed over on Christmas Eve a few years back when the entire electronic payment system went down (and to a lesser extent, the exact same day the year after that).

    1. Loopy

      I’d give serious side-eye to anyone who uses that tone/phrase! It’s just so unnecessary and childish! That being said, I never carry cash and wish I could get into the habit! I’ve been more often chided for *not* having at least 20 bucks for emergencies on me! So that actual example you gave baffles me. I’ve always wishes I *wasn’t* as reliant on electronic systems (alas, I’ve mostly been too lazy or forgetful to replenish the cash I spend when I do have it!).

    2. annakarina1

      I can realize my age in that I still mail checks for rent and bills, still have a CD collection and CD player, and I just attended a conference in which I took notes in a journal. When younger people are like “Who even does that anymore? Is that still a thing?” then I can feel like I’m “old” at 35.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        +1 to the CDs. I really need to have a physical collection of music, in the order the artist intended the songs to be in. It makes me sad to see everyone using Spotify etc. exclusively (though those services definitely have their merits!)

        1. Nicole76

          I still can’t get on board with the idea of paying for a service to access music I don’t actually own. I would much rather have a physical copy of the albums I love even if they are only listened to after ripping them to MP3 format.

          1. Gatomon

            I think streaming services are great for sampling CDs. I can’t stand not owning the whole album, but I also loathe purchasing an entire album only to find 2 – 3 good tracks. I use the music streaming to check out artists or “scratch an itch” from someone who I might be enjoying temporarily, but not enough to spend the full $9.99 on an album from.

            Like lately I’ve been on a Stevie Wonder kick, but I don’t really have the funds to buy his entire discography or the drive to have it permanently, but I can stream it.

            That said I just use the streaming included with my Prime membership. I don’t deliberately subscribe to Spotify or anything else.

      2. A.N. O'Nyme

        I’m younger than you and I still have a CD collection and takes most notes by hand. I also like to have physical versions of my video games. Guess that makes me a hipster :p .

        1. A.N. O'Nyme

          Also, DVDs. Yes, I know you can just Netflix, but I don’t watch TV/movies enough to justify that price. I’d rather spend the money once and watch whenever I feel like it than feel like I need to binge several series to get my money’s worth monthly.

          1. annakarina1

            I have a lot of DVDs because there’s a lot of movies that won’t be put on streaming because they aren’t popular enough or are lesser-remembered indies, and I want to be able to watch it when I want and not rely on the whims of a streaming service who can put it on and take it away whenever they want.

            1. Nicole76

              As much as I love having my CDs, I’ve stopped buying movies on DVD for the most part. I think it’s because it feels like the movies are everywhere for viewing (we have all the major streaming services plus cable). That being said, I won’t actually buy a digital copy of a movie because I fear once that service shuts down you lose access, so I will still buy the occasional DVD of a movie I really really like. It’s interesting as I write this to notice how my philosophy differs between music and movies. I think it’s because I will get much more repeated use from the music.

      3. Audiophile

        I’m 32, have a pretty large CD collection, also have quite a few vinyls. Of course I have nothing to play either on.

        I never carry cash, is a bad habit. I’ve definitely wound up places, where credit card machines were broken and so they were only taking cash that day.

        I also really, really need to develop a consistent calendar/notes system that I will actually use. Just realized I double booked for the end of this month. Can’t do both since they’re at the same time.

      4. Part Time Poet

        I recently heard that a study showed that taking notes by hand is much more effective for your memory and learning than using a computer. Younger people are realizing that too now while in college. Most people I have seen using a computer in college are shopping online anyway.

        1. Mimmy

          This is why when I was pursuing a graduate certificate a couple years ago, I vastly preferred to print out articles or buy hard copies of books (for highlighting and making notes in the margins) even though I have difficulty with small print. You would not believe the pile of articles I had – I could feel my husband rolling his eyes at all the paper I was using, lol. Heaven forbid if I ever pursue a PhD…..

      5. Dance-y Reagan

        My local utilities still charge a pretty hefty fee to pay by credit card or direct transfer. I will keep using checks as long as I’m living in BFE.

        1. nonegiven

          My bank’s bill pay is free. The ones that have to have a physical check mailed, the bank even pays the postage.

      6. Ego Chamber

        My favorite is the members of gen-z who will rant spectacularly about how CDs are a dying medium and should all be destroyed because they don’t personally use that format, and then they’ll immediately pivot to a different monologue, that’s just as spectacular, about the need for more music to be available on vinyl records, which is a new, cutting-edge, superior format.

        Yes, yes, I’m aware of all the reasons to own vinyl, I just don’t have anywhere to store the size of collection I’d end up with—unless I get rid of my CDs. ;P

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      Agree totally. Though I use credit cards, I’m otherwise a hugely analog person. In NYC there are some trendy new stores that are “cashless” and only accept cards. I find that kind of obnoxious. It seems classist and discriminatory toward anyone with bad credit.

      1. Stan Lee (not the famous one)

        They’ve got a “cashless” concession stand at Citi Field. Credit cards, debit cards, Mets gift cards, or “loaded tickets” (whatever the hell that is) only.

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

          That seems about right. The New York Mets are a truly obnoxious organization. I say that lovingly, as a lifelong Mets fan.

    4. Student Moving Out

      The cash thing was baffling me while in Australia and the UK, because here in Germany the vast majority still uses cash for everything. Actually, I and probably a lot of other people feel bad using cards for small amounts – a lot of stores even have a minimum amount you have to reach to be able to pay with a card!
      For my part, I feel like using cash makes me more aware of what I’m spending money on.

      1. Audiophile

        I have the opposite problem, I can never remember what I purchased when I use cash.

        Also, here it is illegal to set a minimum purchase amount for debit purchases, but many stores still do it and get away with it.

    5. the gold digger

      I always carry cash. I learned my lesson on a trip to France where I thought I would just wait to get there and then pull money from the ATM.

      The people who loaded the cash into the ATMs were on strike.

      So yeah – a couple hundred US dollars always in my purse. Just in case.

        1. Chocolate Teapot

          I still remember once being in the queue at a German chain store, and somebody in front of me paid for a several hundred euro item in cash. And this was a store which did accept cards. I know 500 and 200 euro notes exist, but I think I have only used them once. Even 100 euro notes are a rarity for me.

    6. Diluted_TortoiseShell

      I think its acceptable in response to cash only vendors. Or in response to the boss wanting to gift planners to everyone in the office.

      But in the situations you describe? Rude!

      I only recently got a “smart” phone. Prior to that despite being 30 I had a flip phone. Everytime I pulled it out it was “Wow people still make those?” “I didn’t know anyone used those dinosaurs anymore!”. I know they thought they were making playful banter but man did it get hold hearing every time I needed to use my phone.

      1. GhostWriter

        I got my first smart phone about 2 years ago, and I still feel like I’m “behind the times” because I got a very basic one and only use it for a few things (texting, photos, phone, internet browsing). It not my whole life and I don’t have a lot of apps on it.

    7. Aphrodite

      Anyone who gets annoyed at me for using cash (which is the only thing I will use at a gas station) or a printed check just gets to be annoyed. I do have a debit card and use it as well as a credit card. But often I want to pay by check or cash; it seems more real to spend money that way.

      1. GhostWriter

        I only pay cash at my gas station too. People think I’m weird for doing this in the winter when it’s freezing out. (I’m worried about card skimmers since I know someone who was a victim of one at a gas station.)

      2. Audiophile

        I find it easier and more convenient to use a credit card at the gas station. I look stations that charge the same price for cash and credit.

    8. fposte

      I think in general “Ugh, who even *thing*” is a pretty unuseful way to categorize people as lesser because they do something different than we do, whether it’s paying with cash or listening to Nickelback.

      But the money version is definitely its own phenomenon. The one that I particularly would like to see end is the judgment of how people in front of you at the cash register are paying. It’s perfectly fine for people to pay by cash or check in a store that accepts those payments, same as it’s okay for them to buy a lot of groceries and be in line in front of you. It’s nice to get out of the supermarket fast, but it’s not other people’s obligation to change their lives to make it happen.

      1. Not So NewReader

        Am chuckling, around here the cards with the chip are as slow as checks at the register. It takes so long to process a card now. I guess stores will figure it out eventually.

        1. Kat in VA

          I say with no shame and not the slightest hint of embarrassment that there are several Nickelback songs that I like.

          Somewhere someone managed to get the hive mind convinced that Nickelback is /insert your pejorative here/ and now anyone who listens to their music is /insert your pejorative here/.

          I like what I like. I refuse to apologize for my taste in music, which is wide-ranging.

    9. Slartibartfast

      My Christmas shopping strategy is to bring an envelope with the amount I have budgeted in cash, get through the family gifts first, spend what’s left on my kids, and when the envelope is empty I’m done. No losing count of what I owe, no surprises on the credit card bill later. And the shopping is more fun when I’m not constantly doing mental math.

    10. Wishing You Well

      I have a friend who says, “You’re so cute!” when I pay cash for something. I use credit cards for some things, but I like cash because purchases can’t be tracked. This is wonderful! I avoid ENDLESS spam emails that waste my time and I’m not being analyzed in some massive dossier for future ever-more-targeted sales pitches. Yay for cash!

  15. Lena Clare

    That’s a good tip! I try writing something completely different, like writing in my journal, and I spend a couple of hours reading.
    Mostly though, I just stick to a routine and do it first thing in the morning before I can do anything else to distract me… a kind of get it out of the way thing!
    I keep a notebook with me to jot stuff down in when I’m not at my desk.
    A heard a thing that Stephen Fry does – he apparently stops mid sentence so he’s got something to finish when he starts up the next day! I haven’t tried it bc I hate leaving things unfinished LOL but it sounds effective!

  16. KAZ2Y5

    I am looking for recs for music playlists on either Spotify or Pandora. What I am looking for are lists that have a variety of musical styles. Meaning not just rock, or just jazz, or just classical or whatever. I’m not a very picky musical person and have found I get bored listening to a playlist of just one person/group/style etc.
    As an example, a town near me has a free concert series every summer. I found out that they do a playlist every year with all the people/groups that they have during the summer. I have started listening to this playlist and just love it. This playlist is on Spotify and is called “Levitt 2018 Summer Playlist” if you want to check it out.
    Thanks for any ideas you might have!

    1. Ranon

      NPR released their “List Of The 200 Greatest Songs By 21st Century Women+” recently, I believe they assembled what portion of the list could be found on Spotify into a Spotify playlist, should have some variety to it.

    2. Not So Little My

      Spotify makes a playlist for you called Discover Weekly based on your listening habits. A mix of genres, stuff you haven’t heard before. I really enjoy mine.

    3. Super Anon For This

      I don’t know if this is still true, but a few years ago, Pandora had some “secret” stations. They might have been mentioned in the blog, but they were sort of an inside knowledge thing. There was one for every curator, reflecting their interests. There were others too. You can probably find them if you do a little digging.

    4. Jaid_Diah

      You can make your own station. Just add a bunch of songs you like and Pandora will search out more like them. I started out with Lady Leshurr (English-Caribbean rap), then added Wu Tang, some Indian music, some Tibetan throat singing, Ganmara Nordic folk rock, etc as “variety”. Usually the playlist will feature one genre at a time, so a block of rap, a block of jazz, etc… All it takes is one artist to add as “variety”

  17. Foreign Octopus

    Doctor Who! Doctor Who! Doctor Who!

    Who watched Jodie Whittaker’s debut last week?

    I did and I loved it. She completely won me over – she’s weird and kooky and exactly what I want from my Doctor. I’m so pleased that it worked and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season.

    I was also pleasantly surprised by Bradley Walsh. I grew up with him as a TV presenter and so when he was announced as a companion, I was actually pretty upset about it but I actually like him the best of the new companions at the moment so I’m really happy to be proved wrong.

    1. Villanelle

      Bradley Walsh was v good in Law & Order UK and he has also been in Corrie so he definitely just isn’t only the host on The Chase or being an entertainer in the 90’s.

      1. Foreign Octopus

        I know he’s acted but I only saw him as a children’s TV presenter because I don’t watch the soaps or detective dramas so I’ve never experienced his acting before.

        As I said, pleasantly surprised by him. I suppose it serves me right for judging.

      2. Middle School Teacher

        I have a soft spot for him from Law & Order UK so I was super excited to see him. And I really liked the first episode. Jodie brought a nice enthusiasm to it. I mean, I loved Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It is brilliant and more relevant than ever at the moment imo) and I loved his curmudgeonliness since I am also a curmudgeon at heart, but Jodie is a breath of fresh air.

    2. Lcsa99

      I loved it. I thought she did a great job and really brought a fun weird vibe to the character. I think this is gonna be a great season!

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      I loved the new Doctor. I can never follow what the heck is going on when I watch Doctor Who, but Jodie Whittaker is sure going to give me incentive to try harder. She’s terrific.

    4. Cristina in England

      I like Jodie Whittaker a lot but I didn’t like the story. I didn’t like the villain and the plot wasn’t engaging. I loved the supporting characters and the Sheffield scenery but… a bit skeptical about Chris Chibnall and the tone he will set, story-wise.

      1. Elizabeth W.

        The first episode of a series with a new actor isn’t usually the best–we’re just getting to know a new Doctor, new companions, etc. And now a new writer. But I loved Broadchurch, I loved Jodie in that, I ADORE her in this, and I’m really excited. She was a bit like Tennant, who is my favorite Doctor, so yay.

        Honestly, a lot of the episodes are a bit silly. But I don’t mind because I really like the character and the whole spirit of the show. I think it will be fine once it gets its sea legs. This is new territory for the show and with a new creator, too.

        I also liked that Ryan has dyspraxia (yay, I have a little too, comorbid with my dyscalculia) and that it didn’t just disappear at the end of the episode.

    5. gecko

      I loved her! The episode looked really nice, too—I thought all the landscapes were beautifully shot. Of course the tooth fairy was classic Who :) All the masked aliens look like orcs from the same family. It’s the best.

      I hadn’t watched since partway through Matt Smith, so mostly I was really happy to enjoy it again.

    6. LSP

      I love her as the new doctor! I didn’t doubt she’d be great, but she really brings something to the role.

    7. Undine

      Liked Jodie, meh on the scripts and the companions. I would have loved to have kept the companion who died, more interesting than the others. But it wouldn’t be Doctor Who if it wasn’t uneven.

    8. ElspethGC

      I know they’ve said they aren’t going to bring River Song back (even though Alex has said she’d love to come back after Jodie was announced) but *god* I wish they would. I feel like Alex and Jodie would have fantastic chemistry together.

      Give me space wives, Chibnall, dammit.

    9. MissDisplaced

      I liked it, but I’m still on the fence about Jodie as the Doctor. I thought she breezed through this episode, but I didn’t get a truly good sense of her take on the character yet. But I admit I always feel that way about a new Doctor! I did really like the 3 new companions mix. That felt more like the old Classic Who where 3-4 companions was more the norm.

    10. Everdene

      I really enjoyed it, was looking forward to episode 2 tonight until I remembered it has moved to Sundays!

      My parents were staying and my mum commented that she can’t remember the last time she watched Who but found the story really engaging.

      Not do sure about BW. He’s a bit of a washed up old comedian in my head and it’s hard to shift that. (This might be entirely unfair but I imagine him as making ‘classic’ sexist/racist jokes and being a bit smarmy)

    11. Chaordic One

      Watching Jodie Whittaker assume the role of the doctor was the one good thing that happened last weekend.

      Jodie’s p0rtrayal was brilliant. At times she seemed to be channeling David Tenet or Matt Stone, capturing their doctors’ humanity while avoiding being masculine or feminine (which is kind of hard to pull off when you’re portraying an alien). Jodie has some serious comedy chops and, as a fan of the show, I’m relieved that the role is indeed in good hands, hopefully for several years.

    12. Persephone Mulberry

      I just finished watching it and I am in LOVE with Jodie as the Doctor. I like the mix of companions. I have a feeling (or hope) they’re going to do some interesting things with Graham and Ryan being thrown together without Grace as a buffer. (It feels weird that they killed her off – she had such a commanding presence in the episode. It feels like it was planned as a plot twist, but for the fact that the companions had already been revealed.)

    13. NeverNicky

      I loved Jodie as the Doctor but the star for me was Sheffield as someone who until recently lived in the city. Chortled at the witty comments like “Swiss army sonic … with added Sheffield steel” and the kebab thrower (typical Saturday night in Woodseats…)

      As long as K9 doesn’t return this is going to be Sunday night essential TV

      1. rear mech

        oh yeah, I have worked late nights in a bar district in the US and kebab thrower was an amusingly familiar character as well! we do have kebab trucks in my area but I feel like the more ubiquitous drunk food would be fries with lots of toppings or a big pizza slice

    14. The Person from the Resume

      Loved her. As an old school fan, she reminded me of the 3rd Doctor with making her own sonic and that mass of wires the companions carried around to kill the monster. I remember him as a mad scientist/inventor.

      I thought she was great as a Doctor – not the first female Doctor but just the Doctor full stop. I’m pleased with that.

      Since we knew who the companions were to be, Grace’s death was spoiled. Overall the story plot was weak, but that often happens when introducing the new Doctor.

      I’m looking forward to seeing how the three companions interact. I remember the old days of three companions in the TARDIS. I’m also fond of the old school fact that these people didn’t choose tone companions. They were accidentally transported away with the Doctor. Oops! And they don’t have a magical, mystical connection to the Doctor. That got old and boring to me. Companions used to accidentally get caught up with the Doctor and often left when they finally returned home since the Doctor could rarely control where the TARDIS landed.

  18. Loopy

    Okay, this is a fun but odd topic: Is anyone else against folding their slice of pizza when they take a bite?! My fiance wanted a bite of a fairly massive slice I had and went to fold it to take his bite….and I was like no! don’t! All the cheese mushes together in the middle (at least a little bit!) then and isn’t nice and even distributed anymore when you do that!

    His argument is you get sauce all over your face when you don’t fold.

    Thoughts? Debate? For what it’s worth I now realize you can just cut the slice in half so it’s smaller but it was such a funny thing to disagree on I thought I’d see if I was alone in my adamant refusal to fold my slice!

    1. Foreign Octopus

      It depends on the flexibility of the dough for me, and the size of the slice, and also how hungry I am.

      I kind of don’t mind smushed cheese because if I fold it, then I’m eating the whole slice but I wouldn’t fold someone else’s slice.

    2. Julia

      I’m European and I don’t know anyone who folds their pizza. I don’t think doing it is wrong, though – I’d hate for people to fold MY pizza, but I don’t care what they do to theirs.

      1. Myrin

        Yeah, I’d never even heard of this before until I read somewhere last year that New Yorkers eat their pizzas that way. And I still can’t imagine what that even looks like – do you fold it with the tip to the crusty end? Or do you take both sides of the crust and fold those together? Confusing.

        1. StrikingFalcon

          Yeah you have to realize that New York style pizza is a very thin crust, and the slices are quite large. When you pick it up, the tip flops downward. So you either have to use two hands to hold it up, or fold it so it has enough structure to support itself.

    3. Lcsa99

      It would be weird to fold someone else’s slice! I understand why some people don’t for their own, its sorta like how some people sprinkle oregano or pepper on their slice, only this would change textures instead of flavors. But you don’t change someone else’s food!

      Tell him if he just eats it right (biting from the outside in) he won’t have to worry about sauce on his face.

    4. Red Reader

      I don’t understand why you would need to? Maybe I’m used to pizza slices smaller than what you’re thinking, but the only time I’ve ever gotten huge slices was at Costco and then I eat it with a knife and fork anyway. So I guess, team anti-fold here :)

      1. Lcsa99

        Ooh don’t say that in New York! The mayor used silverware for pizza on Staten Island a few years ago and it caused such an uproar. I don’t think anyone has ever forgiven him.

        1. AdAgencyChick

          Yup. After nearly 20 years of living here I’ll be a folder till I die, unless it’s a pretty thick crust.

    5. The RO-Cat

      For me it’s 50/50. If I’m hungry or in a hurry, I fold-eat-go. If the slice is manageable and I want to eat leisurely, perhaps not. But I see no problem either way, for one’s own slice. For someone else’s slice… I personally don’t take bites from someone else; either we swap entire slices or nothing.

    6. gecko

      If it’s New York pizza with very thin and sturdy crust, not much sauce, and not much cheese, then folding is the way to go. Once you slide the scale more toward the Greek pizzerias we have in Boston with thicker crust and gooier cheese, folding becomes less enticing.

    7. LSP

      Folding your pizza is a very NY/NJ thing. I know not eveyone does it, but the slices here are massive and folding it just seems natural.

    8. Overeducated

      This is so NY specific, and nowhere near me has good NY pizza, so it’s not ever necessary…sigh. But generally i don’t fold because then the pizza takes half as long to eat!

    9. ElspethGC

      I usually fold if the crust isn’t sturdy enough to hold itself up without drooping and making all the toppings slide off. And even then, it isn’t really folding – I pinch the crust up so it’s like a U shape, and it just prevents the end of the slice from drooping.

      1. Part Time Poet

        Fwiw, Sophia Loren folded a piece of pizza in one of her movies before she ate it. scottpizzatours.com This topic will be forever up for debate.

      2. The RO-Cat

        We have, too, pizza squares, but only to-go (street vendors – those buildings with a small widow selling to passers-by) and some humongous multi-portion ones (delivery only, you won’t see them in the restaurant). I… they don’t taste like pizza to me, even though the taste is good. All regular places cut pizza in slices.

      3. The Other Dawn

        There’s a place near me that cuts a round pizza into squares. The first time we went there we were all “WTF?!” But it was great pizza and we’ve gone back. It’s the only place around here i know of that does that. The only other time I’ve seen it is in New Hampshire. I always tell my family who lives there that they don’t know what real pizza is.

      4. LCL

        That is called the party cut here. My manager fell over laughing when I had to ask him what it was and did it himself.

    10. LilySparrow

      The owner of the slice has the absolute right to dictate whether or not it is folded, not folded, licked, worn on your head, or thrown in the trash.

      Anyone who takes issue with it can buy their own slice.

    11. The Other Dawn

      UGH my husband is a pizza slice-folder! It annoys the hell out of me. It shouldn’t, but it does. Doesn’t matter what size the slice is, he has to fold it. Then all the grease drips out the bottom and on his hands, and then he wonders why. I never fold, even if it’s a huge, floppy slice. I’d eat it with a fork and knife first. I don’t care about the toppings being mushed together, but folding pizza slices just seems wrong to me. This is one of those things where there’s a divide between the people who don’t and the people who do, and it can get heated. Kind of like which direction the toilet paper goes on the holder.

      1. Ego Chamber

        Toilet paper goes over the top if you’re a normal person. It goes under if you’re WRONG or have cats.

    12. Cat Herder

      If you are eating Chicago style pizza—the best kind of pizza, in other words—you can’t actually fold the slices. Thus preventing breakups over fold/don’t fold.

      Just a suggestion :P

        1. ThatGirl

          Chicago pizza is thin. Deep dish is a whole other beast. Our thin crust is slightly crunchy and cut in smallish squares so there’s no need to fold.

    13. Gatomon

      That is how you eat Brooklyn-style pizza, which is made with a very thin, floppy crust and sliced large for just this purpose. Outside of like Sbarro, I don’t know where you find large slices like that on a nation-wide scale, so it’s pretty uncommon to see anyone folding a pizza unless you’re near NYC. I’ve seen plenty of people cut up a Sbarro slice in malls instead of folding properly.

      I wouldn’t try it with a typical pizza slice though, even if they goofed and made it huge, because it would just collapse!

      1. curly sue

        The Pizza Pizza slices we used to get in Toronto when I was a kid were huge and we used to eat them folded. I haven’t had that pizza in years, though, so I have no idea if the slices are still cut that way,

    14. Loopy

      I LOVE how many responses this has gotten. For what it’s worth, it was a massive Costco slice. We are not in NYC and so Costco the only place around here you get one of the huge slices. I didn’t even realize it was so specific to NYC.

      I will say I would have given him a pass for folding my slice because he didn’t even realize anyone would NOT fold a slice of that size (much bafflement on his part) and upon my screeching about he better not fold my slice… he didn’t :P

      Fortunately, I wouldn’t be sharing a slice of pizza with anyone else so now we know each other’s stance on pizza slice folding we can continue on to a happy marriage- at least where sharing pizza is concerned.

    15. Triple Anon

      I think it’s a regional thing. I picked it up when I was in New England. I had never seen anyone do it until I got to Boston. There, it seemed to be the norm. It goes with the NY/NE style of pizza – super thin crust.

    16. Jaid_Diah

      It depends on how saucy it is and how big the slice is. Huge thin slices get folded so they don’t droop.

    17. NACSACJACK

      The Great Pizza Debate!!

      FWIW, I fold thin-crust pizza like a New Yawker, but am in flyover country. In turn, because of my experience in Europe, I will also eat pizza with a fork. :)

  19. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

    Technology bewilders me.

    Last week, my Samsung S5 suddenly stopped charging. Rebooting, trying to update software etc. did nothing. My wife bought a wireless charging thingy so I could make do for the time being, and we made plans to reluctantly both get new phones. As soon as the silly wireless thing came, the phone, after four days or so, started charging again perfectly with its normal charging cables.

    I’m stumped. Did the phone hear us talking that we wanted to replace it and suddenly decide to shape up? The phone DID charge if I plugged in one particular charging cable *exactly* right, so I don’t think it was a software issue that resolved itself.

    But now I guess I don’t need to buy a new phone that I didn’t want so… score?

    1. tab

      If you keep your phone in your pocket or a purse a lot of the time, lint can build up in the connector and make it not connect to the charging cord. You can try using a toothpick or tweezers and see if you can pull any debris out of the connector.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        We did that! Initially, it had no effect… but delayed reaction perhaps?

        1. tab

          Well, my next guess would be a damaged charging cord. You could see if the charging starts and stops as you bend the cord.

    2. gecko

      I feel like to some degree we’re already approaching “technology indistinguishable from magic”-land. I mean, a wireless charger alone!!!

      Probably something got loose, or several things got loose, in the course of normal use, and then normal use knocked em back together again. (In addition to a linty port.)

        1. gecko

          In college, learning about low-level computing blew my mind. Like, I’m sorry, the internet is built on what now? Zillions of tiny electrical ones and zeros? And there are how many layers of abstraction between the electricity and my stupid cat picture??? It’s infinitely absorbing.

          Also watching the new Boston Dynamics videos gets me all philosophical. I love those magic robots.

          1. nonegiven

            I’m like, I typo-ed badly, something in Google and they give me results for what I was after, anyway, but if I really meant typo, click here.

      1. Kat in VA

        I have this issue in my car – some days Bluetooth works perfectly and pairs with my phone as a phone and an audio source.

        Very occasionally, my car will decide my phone is absolutely fine being a phone only and I can only listen to Sirus XM. NO PERSONAL MUSIC PLAYLIST FOR YOU

        Internet searches turn of scores of folks with my model who have the same thing. The fixes are varied and so are the results.

        It’s baffling. We have issues like that with phones, XBoxes, cable boxes, you name it. One day they’re flawless, the next, no manner of reboot /update / swearing / shaking magic sticks / whatever will get them to work…and then they’ll go back to working again.

        Magic.

    3. LGC

      It sounds like a loose port, which might cause some issues. Since you were able to charge in one specific position with one cable, it might just be that your charging port isn’t staying in the right place. I’d take it to a repair shop if you don’t want to get a new phone.

      Also, it has replaceable batteries, if I remember correctly. (The S6 was the first to go closed, I think.) So that’s a third fix.

      1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

        Yup, changed the battery since it was kind of going anyway. Initially it didn’t make a difference, but two days or so later everything returned to normal. I’m glad this seems to be a fixable problem if it recurs.

    4. Amber Rose

      I had that problem once. The internet suggested I throw my charger in the freezer for a bit. It worked.

      I guess it was an overheating issue? I dunno. Technology is baffling.

      1. fposte

        Oh, that’s really interesting! I had failure to recognize charging cable problems like this with my iPad mini, and I realized it was only when I played one very processor-intensive app–it would need a little while to cool off after that. I bet that’s the same theory.

    5. The Other Dawn

      My sister is absolutely convinced that the phone manufacturers send out some sort of update that makes it buggy in an effort to get people to buy the newest phone. Sounds kind of conspiracy theorist to me, but who knows?

      1. Nicole76

        She’s right in a way because if you upgrade your phone’s software but the software isn’t meant to fully support the old phone, it often won’t work as well. However, if you don’t upgrade the software, at some point the apps won’t work until you update THOSE, yet now they don’t work correctly on the older software version, and once again you have a poor performing phone. It’s a catch-22. I’m getting to that point with my four year old iPhone. I’m not in a hurry to replace it because I’ll lose the headphone jack and I like my cheap headphones that don’t irritate the tinnitus in my right ear (which I did not get from listening to music too loudly, in case anyone is curious – it is virus and/or allergy related — I’m very careful with headphones and in fact don’t like loud noise in general). I also don’t care for the iPhone’s new look but I really don’t like Android either (and not because I’m some iPhone snob – I have tried using Android devices on more than one occasion and I just find iOS more my style).

        1. Kat in VA

          If nothing else, my iPhone 8+ came with a little adapter that plugs into the Lightning port so you can plug standard headphone cables into that.

          It’s a bit ungainly, though.

    6. Lora

      The cables are surprisingly fragile. I am fairly careful to wrap my cables just-so and put them in a little pouch for storage and they still break or get loose connections.

    7. Nancie

      My Apple Watch started running through a full day’s charge in about 4 hours. I made sure it was up to date, did a full factory reset twice, no change. Then I ordered a new Watch, and decided to give the reset one last try — and of course it’s now working perfectly. It’s working better than it was before it started to act up.

      I’m sure my phone told it I’d ordered a new watch.

      1. acmx

        Something similar happened with my Garmin. It wouldn’t respond then stopped charging. Bought a new watch. About two weeks later the Garmin took a charge and started working again.

    8. chi type

      Something similar happened to me last week. The screen on my phone stopped working which makes a smart phone totally useless. After going through a bunch of BS to get a new one my old one finally ran out of battery (takes a loooong time when the screen doesn’t work) so I plugged it in just minutes before activating the new one and it started up just fine!
      Oh well I guess I have a new one all ready to go when it does die for real…

      1. Arjay

        My screen stopped responding to touch too. I had to hard restart it (press and hold Home and Power together) because I couldn’t even “slide to power off.” Its been fine since that one time, but I feel like I’m on notice now.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood

      I say my S5 sometimes “gets tired’ because erratic behavior goes away after a full power-off & power-up.

  20. poetry writing

    Have you ever created a handmade booklet? I’ve decided to make one as a special gift with writing inside. I found out how to print a booklet in Word and will buy nice writing paper for it, but what about the cover? I was at a craft store last night, where I thought my main challenge would be the design but actually there are so many different thicknesses and sizes too. I’ve seen examples of ribbon threaded through the spine and it looks easy but now I’m having a ton of doubts about my abilities. It’s about 8 pages (basically a few letter sized papers folded in 2). I’ve looked at some books on book making but that seems to be way too much. Any and all suggestions appreciated!

    1. Knitter

      I havent made one, but my sister regularly makes them to give as gifts. She has a tool that will score the pages so they fold nicely and special needles and thread.

    2. gecko

      Yup! This is going to be long. If you’re thinking about a small booklet with a nice cover and no glue, here’s my thoughts on what you could buy:

      1. Get your inner paper first and bring a sheet to the craft store

      2. When you’re buying your cover paper, use your fingers first. What feels nice? Maybe bring a paperback book with you and compare how stiff the paper feels. Flop a sheet of paper around a bit. Do you like it? It’s probably a good texture then. Make sure the paper is stiffer than your inner paper, and that it’s not book board–there will probably be a stand of cardstock in 8.5×11 or A4 (depending on your region) size.

      3. Figure out what you want visually. A sheet of paper the same size as your inner paper will work great! A little over/under is not a huge deal, since you may be trimming some paper anyway.

      4. Choose a thin ribbon–it’s thin book so something very thick will bulk it up a lot. Quarter inch or so? Get about 5 times the height of your book. This is a generous estimate but that’s ok!

      When you’re making the booklet, make sure to print a test version in normal printer paper. I alwayyys get it mixed around when I print so be sure to shake all the errors out first.

      Take each individual page, including the cover, and fold it in half. Don’t try to do it in batches. Make sure the corners match and give the paper a really light fold. If it’s reasonably precise, crease it with your nail. You don’t have to make as much of a crease on the cover page. Test to see how the book looks! Are all the pages in the right place?

      Grab an individual folded page. Use a ruler to mark 4 dots right on the fold. There should be 2 dots about an inch from the edge of the page, and then 2 more evenly splitting the rest of the space. So say you start at the top of the page, it should go: edge … 1 inch… dot … 2 inches … dot … 2 inches … dot … 2 inches … dot … 1 inch … bottom edge. Make sense?

      Then stack that page on top of the others, and mark the folds of the other pages with dots based on your first page. Make sure they’re in very similar spots! Then, for each page, you want to make a cut on those dots. If you have a hole punch that will fit, that’s great, or you can snip a teeny triangle on the dot with some sharp scissors, or cut a teeny triangle with a craft knife.

      Put the pages together into a book form and check out how the holes line up! It should be ok, don’t worry if it’s a smidge off. It’s time to tie the book together; you can trim it after if you want.

      You’ve got your holes, let’s call them 1, 2, 3, and 4 where the hole on the topmost edge is 1. Start on the outside of the book, and put your ribbon through hole 2, outside to inside. Leave a good chunk, 6 inches, to tie a bow/nice knot later. Put the ribbon through hole 1, inside to outside. Go back to hole 2 and put the ribbon through hole 2 again, outside to inside. Put the ribbon through hole 3, inside to outside. Put the ribbon through hole 4, outside to inside, then back through hole 3 inside to outside. Now you can tie a knot to finish it up.

      Keeping the tension right is going to be the hardest part. Make sure that the ribbon isn’t so loose you can wiggle your fingers around between the ribbon and the book, and make sure that it isn’t so tight that it’s bending any paper.

      Nice but not necessary finishing touches–either with scissors or a sharp knife + ruler, trim any inner paper stickin’ out that you want to trim. You can round off the outer corners (not on the fold, I mean) if you’d like. You can make the knot look nice and make sure the ends of the ribbon don’t fly around. You’re done!

        1. gecko

          Good luck! Books are really satisfying to make and there’s nothing quite so beautiful as a slim book of poetry :)

    3. Daisy

      I took a book binding class in college, that was fun, but also more work and attention to detail needed than I thought it would be. Maybe there are youtube videos on it. I prefer videos usually more than articles with photos for tutorial.

  21. Dramaholic

    I do photography as a hobby. I’ll be taking pictures at a friend’s wedding (as a wedding gift to her). It’s my first time taking photos at a wedding! Any practical tips? Helpful websites? It’s going to be a small, non-Western cultural ceremony.

    I’m nervous about taking bad photos and forever leaving bad memories of her big day. She won’t be hiring a professional photographer due to budget.

    1. Loopy

      I know nothing about photography! But I can offer non-technical advice for planning if that would be helpful!

      I’m planning a wedding and have seen advice to compile a shot list to help be more organized and less flustered when trying to rope people in for group shots. So if you have the groupings she’ll want (in general- bridges immediate family, brides extended family, brides college friends, and of course same from groom) you can make sure she gets photos with all the people she’s hoping for and it’ll go more quickly/smoothly.

      Maybe even more helpful, I’m planning on giving a few (ten or less) example shots to my photographer so they know some of the poses I would love to have and also have a good idea of the style I have in mind! I also feel like that will help make sure my photographer really has a sense of what I have floating in my head!

      Mostly I’d just talk to her and see what’s most important to her though! Some brides put a ton of effort into decor and DIY and want lots of detail shots to capture the vibe. For me, I’m ahuge fan of candids and don’t care as much about capturing my bargain/dollar store decor!

      1. Knitter

        This is great advice. I was super sad when I received my wedding photos because the group shots were horrible and the photographer had only taken one of each group. So in the only formal photo of my now deceased grandfather his eyes are closed.
        So my advice would be to take an excessive number of photos of the various groups. Also have your friend look at other wedding group shots and show you the ones she and her partner like.

    2. MT

      I learnt a couple of things from my boyfriend, who has photographed a few weddings…
      Talk to the couple and understand what moments are the ones that needs to be photographed, particularly if you are not too used to kind if ceremony they are going to have. Where I come from one would be the rings exchange – the couple must be reminded (like, the day before) to do it really slowly and possibly pause for a second.
      Do you intend to shoot the couple in a second location? In that case, be sure to know a place or two to go to, like parks etc (easier if the wedding is close to you).
      I do not know much about photography itself, but use lenses you are more confortable using, and are easier/fast (ie no manual focus). Not a good time to try the new gear.
      Good luck!

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise

      My photographer said it was important to take photos of older family members. Not to be morbid or anything but your friend will cherish them after they pass. So maybe portraits of grandparents or great aunties and uncles or whoever is something to include or suggest in the shot list.

    4. Nicole76

      I recently took some wedding photos for a friend much to my dismay as I really didn’t want to because I’m not a professional and was so worried they would come out terrible. Luckily they came out much better than I anticipated! My biggest tips would be:

      Do some casual research online. There are some sites that give you ideas on what type of photos to take.

      Take some test shots somewhere that will have similar lighting so you know what camera settings and/or lens would work out best for each situation.

      Recruit your friend to help you gather people up for group photos, particularly if you have social anxiety like I do.

      Take lots and lots of photos. Hold down that shutter and let it take multiple shots so you can pick the best of each scene.

      I took over 400 photos and ended up with about 75 really good ones.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood

        That’s actually a pretty good percentage. My Dad’s friend when I was growing up was an internationally known photographer. He taught me that you take a whole roll of film hoping to get one good one sounds like you got better than one in 36 pictures that you really liked …so congratulations!

    5. Wicked Witch of the West

      Have a shot list provided by the bride and groom, and stick to it. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted into other random shots. A friend did our wedding photos. The only ones that include my grandparents/aunt/cousins are crowd shots. But I do have posed photos of all of my husband’s many relatives, a number of my MIL’s neighbors and friends (who my husband didn’t know either), and a few people we were never able to identify. I’m still bitter, 46 years later, can you tell?

    6. CBE

      Make sure you can handle whatever lighting conditions will be. For example, if you’re a landscape/nature photographer and have not shot indoors much, get – and invest significant time to learn how to use! – supplemental lighting for an indoor wedding (bouncing a flash is probably the cheapest/easiest route here, look at Neil van Niekirk’s stuff for more info). If you primarily shoot with a tripod, learn to shoot on the fly, handheld.
      And HAVE BACKUP GEAR.

    7. Max Kitty

      Make sure you know what the “big moments” of the ceremony will be, and plan where you’ll be to catch them. Keep a side eye on nearby guests so they don’t get in your way (trying to take their own picture, maybe) and ruin the shot.

    8. Nancie

      Have spares of all possibile camera gear. Spare batteries of course, similar lenses, and if at all possible, a spare camera body.

    9. Natalie

      A lot of wedding photographers like to do a photo shoot before the wedding (as in, months before) as a bit of test run for that couple. If you have time that might help, especially if you don’t have a ton of event/portrait photography experience.

      Have them walk you through the format of the ceremony so you know what to expect when and can position yourself.

      As Knitter mentioned, plan to take tons of photos – I think I got 600 from my wedding photographer for a small ceremony and reception, and that was after he culled the crappy ones. So have enough memory!

      If you’re doing any retouching do it with a light hand.

      1. TL -

        I do photography (mostly amateur, but some gigs) and no photo goes out without editing and retouching – that’s a major part of the process. I wouldn’t hand over unedited files.
        Rather, make sure you have a style in mind before you start shooting, and it’s one you’re comfortable with (and the couple, too.) Edit everything within the same style. Remember that the goal is to have people look like the best realistic version of themselves, not to achieve the media ideal.

        Don’t change skin tones, remove moles, freckles, or skin folds, slim people down or exaggerate curves.

        Do avoid unflattering poses, adjust white balance and lighting, remove red eyes & acne, and tone down flushed faces; consider taking away flyaways if they’re not part of the hairstyle’s intended look. Other edits should be guided by stylistic goals (I like to use a touch of blur in my portraits and it suits my style well. YMMV.)

        Use a large aperture lens if you have one; preferably one that also has zoom. It’s probably going to be crowded/busy and you want to be able to blur out the background when needed.
        Candid shots can be really, really hard to get, so don’t rely primarily on them if you’re not used to shooting people.

        If people will have darker and/or lighter skin than you’re used to shooting, get some practice in with a larger variety of people – a street festival can be great for this, especially if you can get changing light conditions. You want to make sure you don’t automatically calibrate everything for the skin tone of whomever your usual models are.

        If there will be group shots with people of significantly different skin tones, shoot for the ‘middle’ (don’t get the lighting/settings perfect for the palest or darkest person) and be prepared to spend time editing – gradients, masks, ect.. – so that you don’t get some people blown out by highlights and/or others obscured by shadows.

        Shoot in RAW if possible; the lighting conditions aren’t likely to be good so you may need to do a fair bit of editing.

    10. HannahS

      If it’s not your culture, make sure to sit her down and ask her what’s going to happen on a moment-to-moment basis, and if there’s any particular element she wants photographed.

    11. L-cJ

      if you are giving your friend a flash drive/CD/whatever with the pictures as well as physical pictures make sure to also give her whatever release/copyright transfer/etc is needed so she can get more printed later without hassle. Many places will refuse to print professional pictures (all wedding pictures appear to be assumed to be professional) because they assume it’ll be a copyright violation whether or not the couple own the rights to the pics or not. (Happened to me. Was very frustrating.)

      1. Natalie

        I think this is changing. We had some printed through Shutterfly, and they just asked us if we had the rights. We didn’t have to provide any documentation.

        1. L-cJ

          oh I’m glad to hear that!
          Shutterfly is online though, yes? Physical locations may still be pickier, but hopefully not

  22. Waiting for the Sun

    Halloween help needed :
    If you put out a teal pumpkin indicating allergy-free treats, do all your treat offerings have to be allergy free, or is it enough to have them available if needed? Would plain M&Ms be OK, or should you have non-candy treats for those with allergies?

    1. Lcsa99

      My sister-in-law has two kids with allergies and what she suggested is two different bowls, one with allergy safe candy and one not safe. You can offer both bowls and the kids can take from whatever they want (it helps if the safe stuff is in a teal bowl).

      From what I’ve read, for the allergy safe bowl you don’t want chocolate, but stuff like starburst, skittles and lollipops are great.

    2. Jack Be Nimble

      I haven’t heard of teal pumpkins, but that’s a great idea!

      For peanut allergies, it’s best to stick to things that aren’t processed in the same factories as things with nuts–unfortunately, regular m&m’s could still have traces.

      Skittles and other fruity and/or gummy treats would be the best bet, and it would be a wonderful gesture to have plastic vampire teeth or other toys for kids who can’t even have that. I’ve seen packs of 24 at craft stores, and the dollar section at Target always has a bunch of seasonal odds and ends. I always used to get pencils and little erasers for putting goodie bags together at my last job.

      1. Waiting for the Sun

        Thanks. I will look at Target and Dollar Tree.
        I’m not crazy about Skittles myself, so won’t be tempted by possible leftovers. Win-win.

      2. Mallory

        We have teal pumpkins around us and neighborhood kids with allergies. We do a bowl of regular candy and a side bowl (ideally teal) of starbursts, skittles, pencils, tattoos (ours are superheroes), stickers (rainbows and trucks), and glow sticks (pack of 12 for $2).

    3. Anono-me

      Wow. I somehow missed that teal pumpkins indicate allergy safe. This is so great.

      We have always tried to have lots of options, including non candy options, but I never knew there was a way to signal that to people walking down the street.

      Thank you for bringing this up.

    4. ooffooClaire

      Thank you for doing a teal pumpkin! Someone near and very dear to me is young and has multiple food allergies, so I’ve seen first hand how tough Halloween can be for some families. The treats don’t all have to be allergy-friendly but it may be easier, especially if this is your first time doing a teal pumpkin, since you might not want to quiz each kid as they come to your door. If you do two types of candy, have a plan to clearly mark the allergy – friendly ones as such. I would also suggest still getting some non – candy treats because it is hard to cover all possible allergies. You might get one kid with a nut allergy, then the next can’t eat eggs, etc. My young friend can basically have candy that is only sugar (an extreme case, not every kid is this limited!). Having some non-candy treats would make sure everyone is covered. Put the candy and non – candy treats in different containers so they are separated and labeled and then you can let the kids choose. Most kids or their parents will know what they can/can’t get. As far as what candy is good to offer, it can seem hard to choose because “allergy – friendly” will be different for each kid. But as a general rule the safest ones are the simplest, such as lollipops or dubble bubble chewing gum. Unfortunately, they also tend to be the most boring. Next safest are usually fruity candies, like Skittles or Starburst, both of which are free of the most common allergens, or gummies (but not always). Still, check the label to be sure. Chocolate is tricky because of milk and possibly being processed with nuts. If you know someone with allergies or whose kids have allergies, consider asking them for a recommendation. If you do a Google search, Target has done guides in the past few years that tell which popular candies are free of specific allergies. Kids With Food Allergies (US-based) did a guide last year with some good choices but not all are popular candies. Also you can Google “Teal Pumpkin Project” to find the official FARE site to get some ideas and suggestions. Hope this helps and thanks again for thinking of those with allergies!

    5. Kathenus

      I do the teal pumpkin and have three separate bowls – candy that may have nuts, candy that is nut-free, and non-candy options for more restrictive food allergy folks. I’ve rarely had people come to my house with food allergies, but even the one or two a year make the effort worthwhile.

      1. WellRed

        But, how do you make sure the kid grabs from the correct bowl? That’s what I have wondered and sooo glad this question was asked.

        1. Kathenus

          I tell people which bowl is which, candy-wise. The non-candy is obvious. If there are parents there I make sure they can hear. If the kids are old enough to be on their own I assume that if they have food allergies that they are also able to make the right decision on which to take.

    6. Fish Girl

      Our teal pumpkin treats are non candy, since its way easier than navigating all the possible allergen issues. Temporary tattoos, squishy spiders, and slime are popular.

    7. LilySparrow

      We have a hollow plastic teal pumpkin bucket, so we put the allergy-friendly treats right in there.

      We have some conflicting allergies in the neighborhood, so we go non-candy. I make little grab bags with stickers, glow bracelets/glow sticks, bubble wands, etc.

    8. Photographer

      Please consider a non-food treat so that there is no concern for cross-contamination. Thank you for participating!

      1. T

        Glow bracelets and necklaces have been a big Halloween hit here for years – you can get multi-packs at the Dollar store. Separate out the strands and put a connector on each one but do NOT break them to start the glow – that’s the fun part! Most kids picked a glow thingie over candy if given the choice!

      2. Stan Lee (not the famous one)

        Comic books are a great Halloween treat! Check this out:

        “Celebrating its seventh year, Halloween ComicFest is an annual event where participating local comic shops across North America and beyond celebrate the Halloween season by giving away free comics to fans. The event takes place the Saturday on or before Halloween each year (October 27th, 2018) and is the perfect opportunity to introduce friends and family to the many reasons why comics and comic shops are great! Comic shops are the perfect location to get into the spooktacular season: from zombies, vampires, monsters, and aliens to costumes and more, comic shops have it all when it comes to Halloween fun!

        Major publishers like DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and IDW Publishing put out free comics for fans to enjoy during Halloween. Also available are all-ages mini-comics, perfect to give out to trick-or-treaters or as party favors to inspire the next generation of comics readers!”

        https://halloweencomicfest.com/Article/212310-What-is-Halloween-ComicFest

      3. Not So NewReader

        I buy stuff from Oriental Trading Company. I make sure I get something like stickers for the real little kids that I know they will be less apt to eat/swallow. I like that whatever is left over can sit on the shelf until next year and I like not having leftover candy in the house.

    9. Ktelzbeth

      I have mostly regular candy, a bowl with candy or other food (often bars) individually from an 8 allergen free* facility, and some toys for people whose allergies I haven’t accommodated or who can’t eat by mouth. The Teal Pumpkin Project website will let you register your house so trick or treaters who need allergen friendly houses can plot a course and they also have signs you can print to put on your door explaining that allergen friendly treats are available (this was true last year, at least).

      I’m a little jealous of those of you who actually have trick or treaters appreciate your teal pumpkin treats. I’ve never managed to give away one to someone who needed it, but I keep trying.

      *8 because that’s the most common number I see on packaging when it says “Free of the # most common allergens.”

  23. It's mce

    Deep thought question of the day: how do you know when someone is really your friend? That they like you for who you are as opposed to what you can give to or do for them?

    1. Washi

      I have a lot of anxiety around this issue – I worry a lot that people are just pretending to like me for various reasons (because I am nice, because they are nice, because it’s convenient) and that they are’t REALLY my friend somehow. So I’m curious as well about how people feel like they know.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I used to think about this a lot. I grew up in a family that looked at everything in a circumspect manner and then I married into a like-minded family. So there was this constant second guessing which was exhausting at best and life-defeating at worst.

        One day it hit me. I am only responsible for me. If someone is using me that will bubble to the surface eventually, it always does. Meanwhile all I can do is be sincere in my interactions. If someone is using me, that is their shame to bear not mine. I can step away from the relationship and find other relationships. This is what freedom looks like. That constant worry is a ball and chain to drag through life. Freedom is the ability to tell ourselves, “I can find better friends to hang out with.”

    2. Maremosso

      My two cents:
      You can always try to rationalize a friendship by asking yourself a few questions:
      Does the friendship feel balanced in terms of who speaks/shares about their life/gets support? How well do they respect you, your time and your boundaries? What happens when you don’t initiate contact, do they contact you? Are they spontaneously interested in your life? Do they care about your happiness ?
      In the end, I think what matters is whether that person makes you happy (at least most of the time), and whether your life is richer because they are in it.
      If a person makes you feel anxious/miserable, if they’re angry/ignore you unless they get their way, if you feel more indebted than happy to spend time with them, or if you feel they’re ungrateful and owe you… then it’s your call to decide if the friendship is worth it.
      Somebody can genuinely believe they’re a good friend, and even love you dearly, and still be toxic and too demanding. You have to take care of yourself too.

      I honestly feel that I can’t know 100% but that it’s alright as long as I feel fulfilled and respected. I find people are usually rather obvious about how much time they’ll make for you, how happy they are to be with you and how much they’re ready to do for you/ask of you. Through their actions as much as their words.

    3. gecko

      I don’t know. The things I give my friends are support, company, attention, and love. My friends give me support, company, attention, and love. I like giving those things, and even if I sometimes get frustrated or annoyed with my friends, I know I wouldn’t give them to someone I didn’t like. It’s too much work! So if someone gives me those things in return, I’m grateful for them, and I know we have value to each other.

      It’s not really healthy to take, take, take in a relationship, and it’s also not really healthy to give, give, give until you feel like a beleaguered martyr. If you’re giving beyond your means and don’t feel like it’s reciprocated, it’s possible that your friends aren’t good to you, or it’s possible that they’re giving only within their means and would want for you to do the same.

    4. Hannah

      I think this is different depend on who you ask. Some people need to have a deep intellectual connection to feel friends with someone. I know that is the case for me. For others, enjoying time together on shared interests is enough to make it to “friend.”

      But, do you mean, how do you know when someone is not using you? I don’t think you really can at first, if they are intent on using you, but it will become apparent if/when you’ve stopped serving your purpose for them and they start being unavailable, or if the friendship starts feeling lopsided (you doing things for them, listening to them talk about their lives, but them uninterested in yours).

    5. chi chan

      You get to define friendship for yourself. Like any relationship. Overall I don’t mind friendships based on giving or doing something for others. Some people want nothing but conversation from friends. Some people want friends at similar life stages. Look for respect and reciprocity in interactions though. Are you glad to see them or hear from them? Some basic values that are dealbreakers for you? What is in it for you? And friendships may fade over time but I don’t think that would make them not real.

      1. Nervous Accountant

        Oh wow. Crazy but I’ve never heard it put that way before–get to define it for myself. I guess I’ve dealt with too many people who say friends DO things for each other. Me personally…..I just want someone whos company I enjoy. I don’t consider myself too demanding or picky. But if I can laugh with you and have a great conversation withyou, I like you. But to actually be considered a “friend” takes a long af time

    6. Nervous Accountant

      OOh, I actually thought about this with a recent friendship. Wondered if the person was just “using” me (for what, god knows lol). For me, what made me realize that they didn’t have bad intentions was just spending time with them and getting to know them.

    7. Triple Anon

      To be completely literal, you can’t know because you can’t know what’s going on inside someone else’s head and how they really feel about you, and anyway, friendship can mean different things to different people.

      I would start from there and decide what friendship means to you. What do you want in a friendship? What actions and experiences – stuff you can know about without having to guess at someone’s feelings and intentions?

      It’s also fair to say that there are different kinds of friendships, ranging from people you make small talk with to people you share a lot with. It’s ok to consider them all friends but expect different things out of the friendship.

      But I think that in most relationships, honesty, reciprocity and some kind of loyalty are pretty key. Those things can take really different forms, though. Sometimes people don’t return favors in kind but they offer something to your life that’s of equal value. For example, you’re the one who can always help with logistical things and they’re the one who’s always there to listen. As long as it feels like it evens out and no one is going to feel taken advantage of.

      Life is weird. People make mistakes. People change. People come and go. While it’s good to reflect on who your friends are and who you want to be friends with, there is also a lot of value to being in the moment and letting the definitions go to some extent. Seek out people who make you feel good and walk away when someone makes you feel bad.

      That’s my two cents.

  24. Washi

    Ideas for savory vegan breakfasts besides tofu scramble? I’m not too attached to breakfast food as a category, so if you have some other thing that is usually eaten at a different meal, that’s good too! I’m just not that into tofu scramble, and sometimes I get bored of my current options (buckwheat kasha, oatmeal + peanut butter, or carrots + peanut butter.)

    1. A.N. O'Nyme

      I came across a vegan pancake recipe once, but didn’t try it. I do have a recipe for oatmeal pancakes that can probably be veganized. I’ll see if I can find it if you want?

      1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

        Waffles, too. Wild rice or pumpkin, especially. You make a batch of them, toss them into the freezer in a gallon bag, toast as needed.

        Couscous is great, you can eat it with oil and salt or get as fancy as you please, and it’s incredibly fast and easy.

        Baked apples or roasted sweet potatoes (or beets, if mess is not a worry). Sweet potatoes make an amazing hash. In fact, I like to add just about anything to pre-prepped hash brown mixes— mushrooms, greens, tomatoes/ tomato sauce, leftovers, , salsa, beans— as a fry-up, but maybe that’s more of a weekend thing and too breakfast-y for you?

        I also like to make a large batch of brown rice in the slow cooker and use it with EVERYTHING throughout the week. My favorite is hot with frozen mangoes and brown sugar, but you could probably do something less weird with it.

        1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

          Oh! Leftover chili with fixings. May or may not have been inspired by today’s breakfast.

    2. gecko

      What about something like a Turkish or Israeli breakfast in style? Bread/pita, olives, oil, hummus, artichokes, things like that. Stuff you can grab out of the fridge and make into a grazing kind of spread.

      Also rice bowls might be nice! Rice with red & black beans and some banchan to put on top like seasoned tofu, radish, kimchi, gochujang, pickled cucumber. Also all stuff that can stay in the fridge. I love grazing meals so that may have influenced this… :)

    3. D.W.

      I eat dinner food for breakfast all the time, but here are some things I especially like for breakfast.

      Grits – You can jazz them up however you like. I add green onions, leeks, roasted garlic and onion, etc. Not at the same time.

      Avocado toast (Yummy with grits)
      Chickpea/tofu quiche (I haven’t tried, but have heard good things about)

      Sweet potato/red potato hash
      Breakfast burritos (I make these a lot)
      Miso soup and rice (I also eat this often)

      1. Elizabeth W.

        Mm, I love miso soup for breakfast but I’m not supposed to eat soy within four hours of taking my thyroid meds. Ramen with veggies works. I have to have some protein with it or I get hungry again really fast.

      2. Washi

        Mm grits. I used to have them with cheese but I’m avoiding that, so I like the alternative the alternative ideas. And miso soup is another great one I never thought of, especially for the mornings where I’m not super hungry but should hydrate.

    4. Nora

      Baked beans, fried tomatoes and mushrooms and hash browns or potato cakes make a wonderful modified English breakfast.

    5. Ranon

      Breakfast burrito? I’ve been doing refried black beans with potato/pepper/onion hash lately.

      Oatmeal with sauteed mushrooms, pico de gallo, or tomatoes and basil is really good too.

      1. D.W.

        Savory oatmeal…I’ve never even considered doing that.

        Gonna try it out. I have all of that on hand.

        1. Fellow Traveler

          I do a savory oatmeal that is a variation on Taiwanese congee- drizzle oatmeal with soy sauce and sesame oil and top with scallions and finely chopped or grated ginger. Sometimes I add roasted sweet potatoes.
          Also- not necessarily something to make at home, but if you find a place that does Taiwanese breakfast, you can get a steaming bowl of soy milk and a stick of fried dough to dip in it (“you tiao”). It’s one of my favorite vegan breakfasts.

          1. D.W.

            I have all of those ingredients as well, and I really like congee and Korean-style 죽 (rice porridge).

    6. Deloris Van Cartier

      A few things I make are a hash which is great to throw leftover veggies in, breakfast burritos, sweet potato patties with a yogurt style sauce, savory french toast/bake. The thing I like about breakfast is I can prep ahead and I can throw a lot of random bits and pieces into most things which is nice to reduce food waste.

    7. MissDisplaced

      Hash browns. You can peppers & onions & spices. I like to crack an egg in mine to hold it together, but that’s optional.

  25. pugs for all

    I am going to start the Whole 30 Monday! I’ve been thinking about it for a while, but the time was never right. The time is still not right now (never will be – I know it is an excuse) but I’m just going to start. I plan to spend the weekend planning meals, shopping and doing meal prep and cooking. It is going to be a challenge as there are others that I have to cook for (and avoid their snacks…oy).

    I have been having tons of stomache aches and not sleeping well so I am hoping this will help me identify some foods that are not working for me. I also know I’ve gotten into a lot of not-so-healthy habits (I’m looking at you wine, and peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets) so I’m also hoping this will help me reset.

    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise

      I did this a couple of years ago! Frittatas were great for me because it’s hard to cook first thing in the morning. And batch chopping salad toppings so I could toss some in a container for lunch. Dinner was pretty easy. I did succumb to wine once on my month so don’t beat yourself up if you slip. It’s about mindfulness but becoming the most devout follower of a new religion.

      1. pugs for all

        thanks! your username made me laugh because I am concerned about slipping up next weekend when I go visit my old college roommates in Philadelphia – certainly known for cheesesteaks!

    2. Damn it, Hardison!

      The writer of one of the blogs I follow, Shutterbeandotcom, detailed her experience and tips for Whole 30. I haven’t done it myself, but thought her posts would be helpful if I did.

    3. Theguvnah

      I’ve done two rounds and think really highly of it. There are tons of blogs and Instagram and the like and they are super helpful for tips and for motivation.
      The day by day breakdowns of what you might be experiencing is really helpful.
      Make sure you’re eating enough, cutting our all carbs means you need more protein and definitely healthy fats.

      I was feeling really crappy all the time for years and finally whole helped me identify food sensitivities and it really changed my life. So while the first one is hard it is totally worth it. Good luck!

  26. Be the Change

    Love of the week?

    Mine’s hot and cold running water, since I’m in an area without power due to Michael and haven’t been able to shower or flush a toilet since Thursday! But it’s minor discomfort, no real problems, for us.

    1. Waiting for the Sun

      Wow, I guess my love is being in a landlocked part of the country that doesn’t get much extreme weather. Take care!

    2. Waiting for the Sun

      I did love the finale of Better Call Saul on Monday, and discussing it with fellow fans on FB. So well-written that we have debated on various characters’ pasts, forgetting that they are fictional.

    3. Monty and Millie's Mom

      Small high school drama productions! My husband is a youth pastor and we have kids from 3 different communities in our group, and last night we went to The Wizard of Oz put on by the smallest school, where 2 of “our kids” had parts ( scarecrow and lion), and not only did our kids totally rock it, the whole thing was great! Oh, sure, it was a small-town, high school musical and everything you’d expect (lighting and sound were shaky, not-great actors cast because they have to have SOMEONE in the part, etc), but it all came together, and even when the Wizard’s voice cracked badly and everyone broke character to giggle for a second, it just added to the experience, they didn’t let it derail anything and were just having so much fun! So maybe my love is small communities!

    4. LuJessMin

      Last year, my water was off for three days due to a broken water line. I had the foresight to fill several buckets with water before it was shut off to use for flushing toilets, water for the cats, et al. Longest 3 days of my life.

      1. Be the Change

        I’m finding that I can’t really go (as in, er, *go*) without flushing, and the bucket of rainwater down the tank isn’t helping. I might need to repair to the woods with a trowel.

        Thinking the next time I build a house, I need to put in a hand-pump along with an electric pump for the well. Also a solar heating tank on the roof might not come amiss.

    5. fposte

      Oh, no! I’m glad you’re all right, at least, and I agree that running water is really a love that surpasses most of my others.

      However, for this week I’ll say avocado honey. I have just opened this Mexican avocado honey and it’s like the bastard child of honey and molasses who’s been raised by caramel. I don’t usually like really strong-flavored honeys, but this one is just so lovely that I can’t get enough.

    6. Windchime

      My love the the week is the beautiful, cool fall weather we are having in Seattle. It’s almost always cool here, but the combination of cool air, blue sky, and brisk breeze is making it feel so nice.

    7. Elizabeth W.

      Speaking of cold and raining, I am LOVING this ersatz daybed I made with a platform frame and a mattress. Since the weather is lousy, it’s SO COZY. I only wish I had a hottie to share it with, heh heh.

    8. Trixie

      Splurged on a new subscription box with Mapleblume, lovely skin care products. I like the subscription boxes in general because they always include items I like but would never know to buy or try. I’ve had good luck with BeautyFix (Dermstore) which is a good fit since I don’t wear makeup. Next I might try CauseBox which includes ethically made items, we’ll see.

    9. PX

      Killjoys! Its a semi-serious semi-fun Syfy show that an internet person I follow has been talking about for ages. Just binging S1 now and it really is fun and has a kickass female lead and pretty good characters!

    10. Seeking Second Childhood

      Watching my 11yo fall in love with Star Trek. We had watched a few original series episodes every now & then for a few years, and this week I needed some Captain Picard so she watched a couple of those with me.
      I’m fascinated with what she mentions — Data as the Mr. Spock role, Riker’s more like Captain Kirk than Picard is, and she likes Wil Wheaton more in his Tabletop show than as Wesley.
      And she has even found her first Star Trek novel. (Uhura’s Song…the first book published by Janet Kagan, one of my favorite authors.)

  27. LSP

    I’m 6+ months pregnant with my second kid. My oldest is 5 years old. My mom and MIL are planning me a sprinkle, mainly for diapers and just to celebrate the second baby we’ve been truing so long for.

    The shower I had when pregnant with my first was co-ed and super casual, and I basically planned it myself. Because my mother has no idea what I like. She had told my husband she was planning on making this women only, despite me always having close male friends, usually more so than female friends. I’m one of those people who really hates shower games and the whole opening presents in front of a crowd of people, and I just know my mom and MIL are going to want to take this down that traditional route as well.

    My mom means well, and is always upset to see signs that she just doesn’t get who I am or what I like, but rather than playing closer attention, she just continues to do what she wants, hoping that I’ll like it.

    I don’t want to appear ungrateful, but I also don’t want to be stuck at an event that’s supposed to be for me where I’m uncomfortable in every conceivable way.

    Any advice on how to navigate this?

    1. Free now (and forever)

      I’m a firm believer in the idea that you can’t get what you want if people don’t know what it is. So tell her! Prefaced of course with something like “It’s so sweet of you to hold this ‘sprinkle'(?) for me. I’m hoping that since this is my second baby that it will be a really casual event without the traditional shower games. While I know there are many people who love them, I’m looking forward to just getting together with friends and chatting and eating some of your delicious food.”

      1. Reba

        “sprinkle” as in a mini-shower.

        This is a great script. I’d feel free to change hoping to “I want X” or “Please make it like Y, I DO NOT want games” since there’s a history of not hearing you.

        Hope the pregnancy continues to go well, LSP. That is great news.

    2. Not Captain Awkward

      Disclaimer: I am not conflict averse.

      The later you bring this up, the more time your mom will have invested, the more she’ll be able to guilt trip you.
      If your mother wants to make this about you and not about her and “how things are supposed to be”, she won’t be upset. If she chooses to be upset because she doesn’t get her way, it’s on her. If she chooses not to listen, that’s on her. It doesn’t matter so much that she means well, and you don’t have to be grateful when something is clearly not done for your benefit, no matter how much effort your mom has put in it (she chooses not to put effort into listening to you).

      There’s a possible reason she told your husband and not you she wants it female only. She doesn’t want to hear a no. She probably knows you would prefer to have also your male friends attend. Hopefully your husband can be your vocal ally on this one. If you have a good idea of what you want, you can still make her feel useful and wanted by giving her specific tasks and being really appreciative. “Mom, thank you so much for taking care of everything, these are the people I want invited” is hardly unreasonable. “Mom, scheduled games makes for a too rigid party, I’ll just be chatting to everyone, how about a buffet and having people bring their cutest/funnies baby/puppy pictures ? Could you be awesome and organize that?” is a very reasonable request you should not feel uncomfortable about.

      You have to decide if her being upset/disgruntled is making you more uncomfortable than how uncomfortable/annoyed you might get at the sprinkle.

      If you don’t want to go the conflict route: you can have two “parties”. One with her, and then invite your male friends and other people you want to see for another get together. That does mean spending a day at a party you’re not thrilled about. But then you’ll be doing that for your mom, not the other way around.
      Lastly, at the actual party, you’ll be with your friends. They should know you. Hopefully they’ll make the party something enjoyable to you. Recruit your bossiest friend to play bad guy and reign in your mom if necessary.
      Recruit your bossiest male friend to show up with the guys even if Mom didn’t invite them and pretend to be clueless but delighted (okay, that’s not really avoiding conflict, mea culpa).

    3. Cat Herder

      Or you could just do it her way. I’m not saying you should, just that it’s an option. Sometime I’m willing to put up with stuff like this because it’s juat a few hours and in the grand scheme of things not that important. (And sometimes I’m not…it just really depends on the who and the what and how much energy I want to put into it.)

  28. GhostWriter

    My older brother moved out of my parents’ house about 20 years ago and left behind all of his childhood belongings. My parents will need to downsize someday, and if something happened to them I’d be the one that would have to empty their house, so I’ve been helping them clean out their attic and guest rooms. This includes sending my brother pictures of his things and asking if I can sell (and give him the profit) or donate them.

    He mostly says yes, but sometimes says to keep things. If it’s very small stuff he wants to keep, it doesn’t seem that bad since I’m just trying to make steady progress at this point and a few small things won’t make a big difference yet. But some of the stuff he wants to keep is very big, such as his baseball trophy collection. I can’t imagine him wanting to pay to ship the trophies to him, so they’re just going to sit there until I deal with them when my parents downsize/pass away.

    I’m frustrated and I’m not sure how to handle this kindly going forward. Anyone have any suggestions?

    1. LSP

      Send him a list of everything he’s said he wants kept, and ask him how he would like to get the items. Ask like its only natural that if he wants them kept it will mean he takes possession. If he balks, ask him to tell you where these things should be kept, since they are no longer gong to be at your parents’ house.

      Keep the tone kind and let him make the call. If he insists the items stay but he doesn’t have a plan for them, tell him you’ll give him a couple months you think about if they actually should be sold/ donated.

      1. Jen in Oregon

        Don’t send him the money for stuff you sell for him -use it to ship the stuff he wants to keep. It’ll be more work for you initially, but once he gets a few boxes of stuff he has no real use for instead of actual money, he will probably be a bit more judicious about what he wants to keep.

        1. GhostWriter

          I wish I had gotten this advice from you before sending him his most recent check! Using the money from selling his stuff to ship what he wants to keep is a great idea.

        2. Ask a Manager Post author

          Also, change the wording you’re using. Instead of asking if he wants to keep something try asking, “Should we donate/sell this or do you want to have it shipped to you?” Don’t let him think leaving it there is an option.

          1. GhostWriter

            Rephrasing how I ask in order to make keeping his stuff in my parents attic not an option is a good idea!

      2. GhostWriter

        I think giving him a deadline (“I’ll give you a couple months to think about it”) is a good idea. I think seeing stuff he loved that’s been packed away for 20+ years is bringing back a lot of good memories so it’s hard for him to let go. It’d be kind to let him have some time o used to the idea of giving them away, but there does need to be a point where we get rid of it (either donating or he takes it back).

    2. GiantPanda

      Let it go this time, unless you have reason to assume the downsizing will happen soon.
      In a few years, talk to him again about this stuff, but without the “keep storing” option. Then make him decide between getting rid of stuff and having him take it.

      This only works if your parents are with you.

      1. GhostWriter

        I honestly have no idea when the downsizing will happen (could be next year, could be years from now). The idea of having to deal with a whole attic + house of stuff at once instead of a little each weekend stresses me out, so I’m trying to get rid of stuff now instead of waiting as much as possible.

    3. Not a Mere Device

      If you haven’t already tried this, maybe it’s time to be explicit: “Brother, we’re doing this because Mom and Dad are trying to downsize and clear out rooms. If you want to keep the large things, you’ll have to pay for us to ship them to you.”

      Ideally, at that point he would arrange a way for him to pay for shipping (sets up a FedEx or USPS account, tells you to use the money from what you sell, and/or gives you a credit card number to use) . If so, from then on you send pictures and change the question to “do you want me to sell these, donate them, or put them aside for you to come get at Christmas?”

      If not, you probably need to talk with your parents and ask them whether they’d rather have the stuff around indefinitely, or tell your brother that he has X amount of time to come get things before they’re tossed.

      Also, bear in mind that you’re already doing a bunch of unpaid labor here–literally (in the cleaning out/sorting), so you have grounds to refuse to pay the shipping costs for those things, and to tell your parents that they should be the ones to talk to your brother. (The latter depends on family dynamics, obviously, but it’s worth remembering that you’re doing something for them here.)

      It seems to me that if he has the money, but won’t pay for you to ship things, that says something about how much he values those old trophies, etc. (The advice above assumes that the reason you can’t imagine him paying for shipping isn’t because you know he doesn’t have the money–and if the issue is that you disagree with his choice to spend all his money on new video games or fancy jewelry instead, because the clutter is Somebody Else’s Problem, that’s harder.)

      1. Parenthetically

        Cosigning on all of this, but also adding a suggestion to put the idea to him of setting up a small storage unit IN HIS NAME and WITH HIS MONEY. “Hey, brother! There are a few decent storage units around — place A is climate controlled and $X/month, place B isn’t climate controlled and it’s $Y/month. If you’ll call one of those (or a different one of your choosing) and rent a unit, I’m happy to take boxes over there of stuff you’ve said you want us to keep.” Then it becomes his ongoing expenditure rather than your and your parents’ ongoing problem, and he can store those darn baseball trophies until the heat-death of the universe if he wants to.

        1. GhostWriter

          I remember reading in some de-cluttering article that all your possessions cost you money and time even if they’re just sitting around (you have to pay for a house big enough to store them, you have to buy boxes to store them, you have to keep them clean, you have to move around the stuff while cleaning, etc.).

          Suggesting a rental unit to put a price on this stuff sounds like a good idea. The stuff has been sitting around for 20+ years, so he might not realize that storing it indefinitely has a “cost” that my parents and I shouldn’t have to bear and that the cost should be on him if he wants to keep more than a few small things here.

      2. GhostWriter

        Thanks for pointing out that I’m doing unpaid labor. I’ve been working on this for two years already, and there’s soooo much stuff left. It’s been a big time investment for me and it’s frustrating that I will have to deal with some of the same stuff multiple times (the stuff he wants to keep) because that means more time and effort on my end.

        I’ve pointed out that my parents will have to downsize eventually, but maybe I need to point out that I do not want to keep devoting so much time to this indefinitely. It might get to a point where I can’t help anymore and we’ll end up having to rent a dumpster or do a bulk donation pick-up of unopened boxes.

    4. Thursday Next

      Could you set aside a certain amount of space—say X regular-sized moving boxes—and tell him that you’ll store whatever can fit into those boxes, but once that space has been exceeded, he’ll have to make some choices about what stays and what goes?

      Of course noting that eventually he’ll have to ship those boxes to himself, or come get them.

      I just spent last weekend cleaning up stuff I’ve stored in my parents’ basement, in similar preparation for their eventual move. I’ll do another round over Thanksgiving, and then I should be in a position to help tackle my parents’ stuff. Solidarity!

      1. GhostWriter

        Limiting the stuff he can keep to a few boxes is a good idea. He probably doesn’t realize how much stuff there is since he’s not here in person, so saying “we have x boxes of stuff you said you wanted to keep and don’t have room for more–what do you want to do with it?” might make it easier for him to grasp how much it is.

    5. LilySparrow

      I like the ideas of giving limited space, and of using the money from selling items to pay for shipping.

      Another option would be to wait until you’ve been through all his stuff, and then when you & he can see the total bulk, ask whether he wants to pay for shipping, pay for storage, or come get them.

    6. Ender Wiggin

      Honestly I think this is your parents problem to deal with for now. Unless and until they become unable to deal with their own move it’s not your problem. You’re just doing them a favour so they should be directing how it’s done not you.

      1. GhostWriter

        I like your username. :)

        I realize this is technically my parents’ problem to deal with right now, but I’m scared of having to deal with it on my own someday (they’re getting up there in years and have health issues). I feel like I need to make some progress even if it’s slow progress so that there’s less to deal with later. If I just left it up to them, they’d hoard everything forever.

        1. Ender Wiggin

          Can you just get rid of the stuff he lets you get rid of for now and leave the rest for a while. It’s a common experience when people are decluttering that they keep a pile of stuff and then later decide to get rid of it. In another year or two he might realise he doesn’t really want his trophies. I suspect if you push the issue now it will turn into an argument especially since your parents haven’t asked you to do it just now.

          1. GhostWriter

            You’re right, I don’t want to start any arguments.

            My mom actually asked me to help, and tells me how much she appreciates the help. She doesn’t help much herself and procrastinates because she’s “too busy.” And my dad keeps taking things out of the trashcan and donation piles (things that did not belong to him). So they’re a source of frustration too and I have exchanged irritated words with them.

            I guess I just need to do what I can and accept that most of it will be thrown out someday–no one can get made at me since at least I tried.

        2. the gold digger

          PS You are right to be scared of this! It took my husband months to clean out his parents’ house. It was a huge pain in the neck and it was basically a full-time job.

        3. LilySparrow

          Yup. If it’s going to fall to you eventually, you have the right to plan ahead and make your life easier. Dealing with your brother’s cluelessness/thoughtlessness isn’t going to get any easier when your parents urgently need to sell the house or in the aftermath of one of their deaths. Months/years of sorting family memories and possessions is even harder when you’re worried about money or listing the house, or grieving.

          1. GhostWriter

            I wouldn’t call him “thoughtless,” but he might be clueless since he’s unable to visit and see how much stuff there is and how much time/effort this is taking.

            Yeah, I can’t imagine doing this while grieving and dealing with whatever responsibilities come after family deaths. I’m sure my brother would help out if my parents died, but he wouldn’t be able to be physically here for long because of his job and his wife’s health, so I think I’d have to deal with a lot of it on my own.

            1. Khlovia

              Make a real-time video of your next all-day sort-&-pack session, post it somewhere, and send him the URL. “This is what I have been doing every weekend for the past X months.” Pan around the attic. “And this is how much I still have to do. I do not want to be dealing with this while I am also dealing with, say, one funeral and one move to a nursing home. Kindly get off your butt at least mentally and pick one: sell, donate, ship to you at your expense. Leaving your stuff here is not one of the options.”

    7. Mallory

      Box up all the keeps. Label them well. Do not sell anything on his behalf. Pile the boxes in a corner and let him know he has until (date) to get them/send money to ship them or they get donated. Date can be 3 weeks or 3 years from now but it’s boxed and ready for transport wherever it’s going.

      Why are you selling his junk for profit that he gets?! That’s bonkers.

      1. the gold digger

        That’s what my mom and dad did years ago when they sold the house to move to Saudi Arabia. They told my siblings and me we had two months to get our stuff out of their house or it was going to Goodwill. I think it’s OK to set deadlines, although setting them for a sibling is a little more complicated than setting them for a child.

        1. GhostWriter

          Yes, I think I might talk to my mom about talking to him. Maybe it’ll be better for it to come from her rather than a sibling.

      2. GhostWriter

        I give him the profit because I don’t feel right keeping money from selling things that didn’t belong to me. (He suggested we split the money, but I didn’t want to because I’d still feel bad.) And I guess it’s because he’s my brother? Friends and coworkers have asked me to sell stuff for them and my immediate answer is NOPE NEVER. Selling is much more labor intensive and involved than donating, so I do think I need to cut back on that at this point though.

        Good point about labeling the boxes. I haven’t been doing that so I have to keep opening boxes and shuffling through them.

        1. valentine

          You’re not only doing multiple years of unpaid labor, including the intense emotional labor of running things by your brother who’s not doing anything to help and managing your parents’ anti-helping and direct sabotaging, but you also assigned yourself the task of broker and refused to be paid. I hope you’ll look into why you don’t feel you deserve money or anything else. (Has anyone so much as made you a snack? Your parents could make an inventory or do the photographing/emailing/interfacing with your brother. This seems like a metric ton of work that will spare you (and, legally, I guess it would), but you can be done if you want to. How would you feel about telling your brother to rent a storage unit and you’re going to put his stuff in plastic containers, drop his stuff off there, over and out? (Via email or other written contract that includes him swearing he won’t give your dad access to the storage unit, so you don’t go full Sisyphus.) He really should’ve arranged this himself, either by hiring movers or offering to pay you what they charge, and I wish that could still happen, but everyone but you is happy for this stuff to live on, weighing on you and you alone. You want the stuff out. The swiftest way to overcome the mountain and your dad’s feelings, without two more years going by, is to get it out. Also: Any future money you feel guilty taking, you can save for your parents’ future needs. You’re a star. I hope this gets easier for you.

          1. GhostWriter

            I didn’t think I don’t deserve money for selling things–I just didn’t think it was right for me to take the money for selling things that weren’t mine and that my brother is unable to sell himself since he lives in another state. Now that I realize how much time and effort selling takes, I’m thinking I’d like to scale back on it (maybe only sell very high value things) and tell my brother we’ll split the profits (as suggested by ..K below).

            Financially, I think the cost of hiring movers and renting a storage unit wouldn’t make sense since my brother does want to let go of most of his stuff and he’s not going to be able to visit the storage unit to look through it. I think that if he wants to keep more than one or two boxes of things, bringing up the storage unit (or the idea of him paying to ship things) to encourage him to be more thoughtful about what he wants to keep would help though.

            I had to look up Sisyphus. The reference amused me. I can relate. :)

    8. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Solidarity. I’m so impressed with your foresight. I’m dealing with a difficult task of cleaning out 25 years of hoard/unfinished projects, because the person never wanted to personally do so and just left it for after his death. Super painful, because it “is” meaningless stuff (for the most part) now, and the work to divest – and cost in time, energy , box van rental to the dump, dump fees, and casual labor to lift and carry – is tough. (cheaper and easier than a dumpster, though, because I have to do it a bit at a time now, and a dumpster in this neighborhood gets filled overnight with everything the neighbors can sneak in under the cover of darkness).

      Wanted to point you to the “Swedish death cleaning” trend happening now. My mother did this – and is doing this – when she downsized from the family home to the 2 br house, and now she’s doing it preparation for the nursing home/assisted living rental. She doesn’t know it has a name – but it is thoughtful and wise, and any and all support I can give her for doing it means less work later.

      My sister and brother in law (and all the siblings) are currently clearing out an entire farm of stuff (barns and barns), some of them with corn snakes, etc. It’s consuming every weekend for the entire crew for months to come. Truck loads leaving.
      Truth is, stuff is more important than people. Why can’t your brother come get his items? If he can’t spend the time with the parents, then at least pay to ship so that you aren’t touching/handling again and again and they aren’t having to deal with it. Have him set up the UPS account, and literally, you can drop off the box of stuff and they will PACK and ship it. (After he pays for that a few times, he will also begin to re-assess his choices).
      Kudos to you for doing this now

      1. GhostWriter

        My brother lives across the country, so he is not able to drive over and pick up his stuff. And he’s not able to visit via a plane trip in the foreseeable future because of his wife’s health issues. I’m not sure if he has money to spare to ship things, but I do think only giving him the option of donating/selling or having him pay to ship things might make him re-assess his choices. If he’s not willing to spend money to get them back, then are they really important enough for us to keep?

        I googled the Swedish death cleaning. I need to have my mom read about that! I’m trying to declutter my own stuff too, and even though I still have a few decades left to live, I do sometimes think about what will happen to my stuff when I’m gone. It’s a good motivator.

        So sorry you’re dealing with 25 years of hoard/un-finished projects. I can definitely relate to the “hoard and unfinished projects” stuff. It’s such a big burden. I’m glad your sister, brother-in-law and siblings are helping.

        I didn’t know UPS packed things for you–that’s something to look into.

        1. BunnyWatsonToo

          Back when Peter Walsh was on the TV show Clean Sweep, he used to suggest that memories counted more than things so photos of those things were a way to hang on to memories without taking up so much space.

          1. ..K

            This idea is excellent. Ask your brother if he would like a nice photo of each trophy instead.

            I suggest you tell your brother that you had no idea how much time and labor was involved and that you are going to take him up on splitting the profits.

            1. GhostWriter

              I was thinking I couldn’t change my mind about refusing money from the profit, but your idea to explain it as “I had no idea how much time and labor was involved” is a good one. I want to help my brother and be kind, but it’s gotten to a point where it’s not worth doing when I’m not benefiting from it at all. (Technically I benefit from there being less stuff in the attic after it sells, but it would be a lot easier to get rid of stuff via donating.)

              1. ..Kat..

                also, an easy way to get rid of stuff without having to pay for a dumpster is to use Freecycle. Or, pile a bunch of the low value stuff in the yard, take some photos, post on ebay with “free to anyone who wants to take it away.”

          2. GhostWriter

            I like the photo idea, and I actually did try to take photos of some things in the beginning, but they turned out horrible. I think I’d need a better camera, better lighting, cleaner background, etc. Kind of just adds more labor since it’s so much stuff.

        2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

          Sadly, the hoard my sister, brother in law, and those siblings are clearing out – is about 1500 miles from the hoard I’m cleaning out. We are just commiserating together. I don’t have snakes to deal with, but I’m doing it alone except when I ask or pay for help. Mine involves tools and broken auto supply/ handyman projects (wire, wire everywhere). Hers involves shoes, barbies, and antiques. There will be an auction on their side. Not on mine… broken things are harder to get rid of. I have until spring, I’m marching to a deadline.

          Best of luck on the swedish death cleaning. Now that I’m elbow deep in decluttering, I am all for it. I hope your mom enjoys it as much as my mom.

          And sorry to hear about your brother’s wife’s health issues. That can make it hard for him to be supportive and you not to become resentful. Keeping the happy memories, is not the same as keeping the stuff. I do have an extra tripod if that would help you with the picture taking!

    9. Anono-me

      This is for dealing with the trophies specifically.

      Most trophies consists of a big pedestal with a statue of a person or a star figure or something else on top and then they have a little plaque engraved with the name of the person who won the award and the award details.

      I have seen where people remove the little engraved plaques and save those and mount or frame all of the plaques in one picture frame or mount (glue) them on a a nice board. They then donate or sell the pedestal of statue portion of the trophy.

      Removing the name plaques and sending them to your brother would be more work for you, but it would be much less bulk in your parents house and the shipping costs for the loose name plates should be negligible.

      (I’m not saying you should take on this extra work for your brother. I’m just saying here’s an idea that may help move you closer to your decluttering goal.)

      1. Anono-me

        Oops forgot a couple things. Sorry.

        Before you start taking apart the trophies, I suggest talking to your brother and seeing how he feels.

        If you do do this, I would suggest shipping the plaques and letting him out them both to save on shipping costs and so he can have it just how he wants it.

        Good luck.

        1. GhostWriter

          I’ll discuss that with my brother. I wouldn’t mind attempting to take apart the trophies if it ends up being something that I can do without injuring myself. Thanks! :)

          1. Khlovia

            I was all hatin’ on your brother until I read that he had offered to split the profits of whatever sold. I think, however, that even if you revisit that with him, it won’t necessarily compensate you equitably–because those profits might not come to all that much. Look up companies that specialize in clearing out hoarders’ houses, and take a look at how much they make per hour! Evidently you’re the sort who won’t charge what you’re worth (what valentine said); but I hope you will at least accept the notion that you should be getting some sort of compensation. Keep track of your hours, estimate how much time you’ve already put in, pay yourself AT LEAST minimum wage for heaven’s sake, and take THAT out of the next sale’s profits. Your brother can be happy with the $1.57 that’s left.

            1. MysteryFan

              You know, as I read the replies and comments, a thought occurs to me that boxing and labelling the Good Stuff is a step that might be worthwhile. Stuff you know for sure you’ll want to keep.. photos etc, then if the worst happens, and you’re completely overwhelmed by circumstances, it might be easier for you to just call an “Estate Sale” service and rest easier knowing that the most important things wouldn’t get sold/discarded by accident.

    10. Owler

      I would also recommend that you keep a diary of the amount of time you spend helping your parents downsize. I don’t think anyone realizes how much time you put into sorting 50 years of belongings. You and your brother will both benefit by seeing the time you track, so that your hidden labor doesn’t go unnoticed.

  29. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)

    It’s springtime here. I’m sneezing constantly, my nose it’s like a waterfall… and my family it’s worried that I don’t have a significant other yet. I know their concern is genuine and well intended, and I’ve lost track how many times I told them relationships don’t happen to me even though I’ve tried, but I don’t have the courage to tell them I’m not the ray of sunshine they raised but someone sitting in auncomfortable middle ground where I’m neither ugly nor pretty. =P

    1. Reba

      Not helpful, but on my first read I was trying to connect how sneezing was keeping you from dating :D It’s fall here and I’m sneezing like crazy today, too.

      Wishing you strength and dealing with your family, if they are causing you stress. You are enough, and worthy of love, just the way you are right now.

  30. Tilly

    Fruit flies, shudder. Any great tips on getting rid of them? I have a few bowls with white wine vinegar covered in plastic wrap and a few holes (didn’t have apple cider vinegar) but there seems to be a lot of flies. Can’t tell if they came in with my garden’s produce or just in the open backyard door.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      The only thing I’ve used that has worked has been apple cider vinegar– it’s because it’s a bit sweet, so it attracts the flies. I don’t know if white wine vinegar would do the same. Maybe add some honey to that? Either way, try the vinegar in an open jar, add some water, and add a couple of drops of dishwashing liquid. I’ve found the plastic wrap is more of an impediment than I like, so I leave it off.

      1. Trixie

        Impediment, that is interesting because I thought wrap or foil helped trap them inside the vessel. I use the ACV in a small blue mason jar and foil with a few fork punches. (It’s somewhat pretty if you don’t look to close at what’s collecting inside.)

      2. Seeking Second Childhood

        My husband-the-engineer made a cone of a bit of old window screen, leaving the end slightly open. He stuck the point down into a mason jar that had some sudsy water and a bit of old fruit.
        Disgusting to look at, but incredibly effective. Oh, and seal the cone in place to prevent escapes!

    2. Jessen

      Sometimes an obnoxious fruity dish detergent in water will work. Or put a piece of fruit in a bowl covered with plastic wrap with holes in it.

      1. fposte

        I use banana peels; works great.

        But you have to make sure the source is taken care of (for me, it’s usually a delay in removing kitchen compost) and that you don’t leave the dish out long enough to power and hatch a new generation of fruit flies.

    3. Glomarization, Esq.

      1) Wine bottle with a little bit of the wine left in it, or some vinegar. Once a day or so, shake the bottle to kill the flies that get trapped in there. Every couple of days, dump it out, replace the vinegar, and keep doing this until the flies are all gone.

      2) Put fruit/vegetable peels in the freezer until you dispose of them outside. Don’t put them in your kitchen trash or (if you have one) your indoor compost jar.

      3) Boil some water and pour it down the kitchen drain once a day for a few days.

      1. fruit fly annihilator

        Boiling water down the drain was key for me solving my fruit fly issue. Apparently they lay eggs in the standing water in your drain trap, so though you may manage to kill all (or most) of the adults in your wine/vinegar/whatever trap, if they’ve laid eggs before dying, you’ll get a new crop if you don’t deal with the drains.

        Also keep in mind that if you have any other drains near the kitchen (in my one-bedroom apartment, the bathroom was directly next to the kitchen), you may want to treat those drains too–in addition to hitting the kitchen sink, I hit the bathroom sink and the bathtub.

    4. CBE

      In my husband’s college days, they had them breeding in the garbage disposal because none of the college dudes realized you have to run the disposal longer than a blip so stuff was just gross down there…
      You might also want to check behind the garbage can, etc for places where they might be propagating.

    5. GhostWriter

      If it’s an ongoing problem, maybe look up Safer Brand Houseplant Sticky Stakes Insect Traps on Amazon (or find similar yellow sticky traps). I used them a fungus gnat infestation in some plant pots and it worked great. Says it can be used for fruit flies too.

    6. Ehhhh

      Bowl + water + bit of vinegar + bit of dish soap. No need for plastic wrap. They can’t fly once they get the dish soap on them.

    7. Lizabeth

      Go with the apple cider vinegar in a glass BUT add a funnel made out of paper and taped to the glass with no gaps. The bottom of the funnel shouldn’t touch the vinegar. The funnel keeps them from flying back out. I trapped a lot of them this way and I got better about taking the trash out.

      1. CheeryO

        This also works really well with a bit of ripe fruit in the bottom.

        Also, Windex will pretty much instantly kill/incapacitate them if you have some obnoxious stragglers. Obviously spraying Windex all over your kitchen isn’t ideal, but desperate times…

    8. Free Meerkats

      Encourage house spiders. We have very few problems at wrok (office in the middle of a wetland, next to a half-billion gallon pond of partially treated sewage) because we have a very healthy population of spiders, inside and out. And we leave the door open all the time so the semi-feral office cat can go in and out.

      We also have more than a few wold spiders walking around, trying to eat the regular spiders.

    9. Tilly

      Thanks everybody! I’ve been trying a lot of these out over the weekend so my counter looks like an experiment of sorts.

  31. Tilly

    Welcome gift ideas for a new neighbor? We know he does research at a local university but that’s about it. I was thinking a growler of beer from the neighborhood brewery or a gift card to the local coffee shop… I’m not super confident in my wine collection (here’s a $10 red) or baking skills.

    1. No Name Yet

      I like the coffee shop gift card idea – it’s local and there will be options. I would only do a growler if you know 100% certain that he drinks AND enjoys beer.

    2. CBE

      When we moved, a new neighbor made a list of her favorite restaurants, the best dry cleaner, nearest home improvement place, a good plumber and electrician, etc. and gave it to us, with her number and an open invitation to contact her about any other questions we might have about the neighborhood.
      It wasn’t a gift, really, but it was so amazingly helpful.

  32. Anon anony

    I think I blew it with a guy, “John” that I had a crush on. I thought John hated me at first- he never talked to me, would cut me off when I spoke, etc. Then all of a sudden he started to talk to me a little bit and stared at me when I walked by or would watch to see where I was if I wasn’t at my desk. Others around me started teasing me because they saw how John acted around me.

    I wasn’t sure how to process all of this because I think he’s very handsome, but younger than me. Plus this is all going on at that place that we don’t talk about here, so I have to tread carefully.

    A new young woman just started and she works under John and they go to lunch together with another person on the team. I don’t know if John’s into her, but she is very young and pretty.

    He still looks at me, but I feel disappointed that he doesn’t even talk to me, yet goes to lunch with her. I sort of feel like he was just using me as someone to check out and that’s it. I know I should have asked him to lunch or coffee, but I’m just so confused and now I’m like, “Why bother?” It just feels like I blew it and like I’ve been hit with a ton of bricks or something.

    Am I overreacting? Is it just some stupid crush?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      Honestly? I think you’re better off if you treat this as just a crush and try to move on. First, it’s work, and while I think work crushes can make the day more fun, they can get really complicated if you try to take them further. Second, you’re letting something that sounds really normal make you jealous, and that’s a sign that this is starting to get unhealthy. John goes to lunch with his team. That’s not a “sign” that he’s into someone else. Maybe he is. But it’s lunch with work colleagues and that’s normal. It sounds like it’s time for a focus shift; go out to lunch with some work colleagues you like, socialize with them if you want to, and try to stop analyzing John’s actions.

      1. Anon anony

        I realize that it is jealousy, but I just don’t understand why he can talk and joke with everyone else *except* me.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale

          Maybe he realized you have a crush on him, or maybe he had a crush on you, and he’s trying to shut it down. Maybe he has some kind of idea that you don’t like to communicate that way. Or maybe you and he just don’t vibe that way. It happens.

          The fact that you have a crush on him is clouding things for you. If it were anyone else who talked you a little differently, sure, it would bother you, but it wouldn’t have this kind of weight. My advice about shifting focus still stands.

        2. LilySparrow

          I hope this comes across as kindly as it’s meant, because I mean it with a great deal of empathy and been-there-done-that-ness.

          If your coworkers were teasing you about John, then your feelings about John are visible. If he used to talk to you and has stopped, the most likely explanation is that he was figuring out his own feelings about the situation. The fact that he stopped indicates to me that he’s not willing to pursue it.

          The teasing/hypervigilance of your coworkers may have had something to do with that. I don’t know if you were discussing your crush with coworkers, or if they just read it on your face, but he had to have picked up on the fact that he was a topic of conversation.

          It sounds like a very awkward situation all around. If his every word and gaze is being scrutinized and commented on, I shudder to think how public it would be if he actually asked you out. It’s no negative reflection on you or on him if he didn’t want to encourage the high-school-drama created by your coworkers.

          He’s doing work things with his team. That’s just normal office behavior. Best leave it there.

          1. Anon anony

            I think my coworkers noticed when they saw him looking at me. (The one sat by him at a meeting, and I had to help set up something. When I walked by, he turned his head to look at me and my coworker saw.) Or he would be talking with them and when I walked by, he would turn his attention on to me.

            It could also be the way I act or something that I said, but I think his actions were more obvious than mine. (I like to think I’m subtle, but maybe not?)

    2. ronda

      maybe he is not talking to you because you are not talking to him.

      start casually talking to him when you see him.

      I am very quite and I think that people who dont talk to me are doing that because I am not talking much in general.

    3. Dr. Anonymous

      So first he was rude to you and then he stared at you and now he’s ignoring you. I think you dodged a bullet.

      1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

        Agreed! But it’s not a total loss. Identify what made you crush on him. Is it an aspirational crush, where really you wanted to be him more than you wanted to snog him and your brain was just tricking you into paying attention? (It happens more often than you’d think.) Was he kind to you in ways that you wish more people were, before you stopped talking? Are those pretty [eyes or whatever] something you can find outside of work if you give yourself more opportunity? Can you use this crush as internal leverage to meet your (gym, professional, finally-find-the-perfect-haircut, learn Spanish, discover more bands) goals? Focusing on your personal goals so much you forget you had the crush to begin with works almost to an unfortunate degree, I’ve found.

        Mostly, just be excellent to yourself. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate how crazy-goddamn-amazing you are doesn’t deserve to bask in your awesomeness.

      2. Traffic_Spiral

        Yeah, it seems he’s just being him. Also, keep your dick/tits out of the company pool, ifyaknowwhatImean.

        I mean don’t get involved with coworkers – especially ones who are jerks. That’s gonna be real dang awkward when it goes bad.

    4. Square Root Of Minus One

      I tend to believe that a long-time crush is like a chain reaction and transforms one in a nuclear reactor of emotions, with the not-so-remote possibility of accident.
      In that case, there is no friendship, not much interaction… You have nothing, absolutely nothing, about the person he is. What you have, however, is your imagination. And it can skew your perceptions of the reality of things with blindfold-like efficiency. I think you’re getting here with the “get to lunch” jealousy, like AvonLady Barksdale said.
      I really want to tell you to get out of that crush now and move on. I’m actually sorry I have no advice for how to do it: to be completely honest, if I had, I wouldn’t have a draft for Captain Awkward saved in my computer.

    5. Not So NewReader

      Call it a stupid crush, then call it Over.

      Decide you want real relationships and decide that you want only people in your personal life who are ready for real relationships.

      Annndd, he is showing you how he treats people. He’s rude, he runs hot and cold. He seems manipulative. We don’t need this type of crap in life, life has enough crap on its own.
      Insist on having people in your life who play a clean game and are transparent in their actions.
      Fill up your days with things that are real.

      1. Anon anony

        “He’s rude, he runs hot and cold. He seems manipulative.” This makes me nervous because the last guy that I liked acted this way. (There’s a theme here and not a good one!) Regarding the last guy, eventually I snapped out of it when I realized, “I’m not perfect, but I don’t deserve to be treated this way.” It’s tricky because they have moments where they can *appear* to be nice, but it doesn’t last long and it’s not genuine. I know that I deserve someone that treats me with respect and doesn’t make me play these mind games. (I might have to go through a few more “frogs” before I find my “prince” or Mr. Right.)

    6. Call me St. Vincent

      So these things are actually fairly simple. If a guy likes you, he will ask you out, especially so if you already gave him signals you were interested. Even in 2018. I think moving on is a good idea here.

      1. Call me St. Vincent

        Reread my response and I didn’t mean I sound flippant at all! I’ve just been there many times and I have learned the hard way. You deserve someone who really really wants to go out with you for you! Worth waiting for that guy I promise!

  33. Curious Cat

    When do you work out? I’m not a morning person, but feel so tired after work. I try to do a little running after work, but it’s getting cooler here in the Midwest, so that might be out. Also, do you eat before you work out or do you eat after?

    1. Everdene

      I am not a morning person at all but find it’s easiest to get any exercise out the way first thing, then shower, dress and eat (sometimes eat once I get to work). It doesn’t take too much more time in a morning as I don my waking up in the pool/gym rather than mindlessly under the shower.

      1. Jillociraptor

        Same. I sincerely hate getting up before 7am, and I’m grumpy the whole time, but I’ve found it’s the only way to reasonably get a regular workout in. Once I’m in for the night, the inertia is too much.

    2. LGC

      Evening usually, but sometimes mornings.

      To make it a bit complicated, I’ll usually run in the afternoon or evening (it’s not so much the cold, it’s the dark – even though I don’t live that far north (New Jersey), in December it gets dark between 4 and 5 PM), but most of my friends prefer mornings. So I’ll do morning workouts with them sometimes.

      In my case, I don’t really wake up until a half hour after I’m out of bed – and plus, I try to leave for work around 6 AM anyway! (So I’m there around 7-ish, so I can have a few minutes of peace and quiet.) So I’d either need to wake up at 4 to fit in a run on my normal days, or shift my schedule (which I did on a couple of days because my boss is awesome).

      I’ll usually try to eat a meal afterwards, but I’ll have a light snack before if it’s going to be intense (like a long run or a tempo run).

    3. wingmaster

      I started working out at 6:30AM, and it’s worked in my routine. Now, I’ve been working out around 9 or 10PM, usually 2-2.5 hours after eating.

    4. LaurenB

      I prefer first thing in the morning but since I work at 8, it means it’s too dark to run except in summer. When I have a gym membership I tend to go after work but I’m with you, I’m just so tired. I feel energized by a morning workout but after an evening one, I’m just ready to go to bed.

      I like to eat a banana or something similar before a workout. I know people who eat full meals but the thought alone makes me nauseated.

    5. TheTallestOneEver

      I work out after work and specifically picked my fitness place because it’s in the same building as my office. It helps motivate me to get out of the office at a reasonable time on workout days.

    6. Dance-y Reagan

      I have always started work at 6:00 or 7:00, so evening is my only workout option. I am not getting up in the middle of the night to exercise. I work out before dinner, otherwise it feels like fighting a brick in my gut.

    7. Lady Kelvin

      My ideal time workout is ~10-11am so obviously I can’t do that during the week. I tried to workout in the morning previously, but I found that by noon I was ready to take a nap and incredibly unproductive for the rest of the day. Now I already get up at 4:45am so working out in the morning before work isn’t an option. I usually work out right after I get home. I might eat a small snack before I leave for work, then head home, change, and by then I’ve digested enough that I won’t throw up while I run, etc. Then dinner later in the evening at normal or slightly later than normal dinnertime.

      Also, don’t stress too much about running in the winter. Dress properly and some of my NE US Christmas/new years runs have been my favorite runs. Its quiet, it’s cool, and sometimes it snows.

    8. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

      My local Y is amazing (think three-story waterslides, lazy river and vortex plus lap lanes for serious swimmers, and that’s just the poolside), and I share a household membership with the three nice young men who share the house my apartment is attached to for about 18 bucks a month. The prospect of a soak after the workout in their incredible hot tub with the astonishing jets really motivates one to show up.

      HOWEVER, in the past month or so, I’ve had a horribly persistent post-viral cough from this season’s rhinovirus variation, and while I know it’s not contagious, my fellow gym members don’t, so I’ve been using the Lumowell pilates app, which I highly recommend, and switching my Bodbot workout from “gym” to “home” setting. Works quite nicely! It all comes down to what you will actually show up for, IMO.

    9. Nervous Accountant

      During the week I try to go in the daytime, before work. It’s tough AF to wake up before 5 and I dont’ always make it…when I do make it there, I work out fo ra bit and then have my breakfast at my desk.

      I started going on the weekends.. 7 pm on Saturday night. Empty and easy to find parking.. It’s 615 now, I had my last meal at 2 PM and won’tbe eating after this.

    10. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      I’ve tried it both ways — running before and after work.

      After a lot of trial and error, before work seems to work better for me. I seem to have more energy most of the time, and it also puts me in a calm mood for the day at work.

      I’m usually too tired when I get home after work to do a good run. But sometimes, after a really stressful day, going running is really satisfying. And it seems to work better if I run home directly from work vs. dealing with my commute (45-70 minutes, depending on the day and my luck) first. This is the kind of thing, though, where *everyone* is going to have a different way that works for them, and there’s no right or wrong answer!

    11. ainomiaka

      I mostly do it at lunch, though I will sometimes after work-but I have to have a draw like a class with friends. I generally share your so tired after work and not a morning person. And there is so much dog care before work. Though I suppose technically that is some workout-I walk the dog my half of the days at 6:00. I eat after, though if I’m doing after work something I will try to take a snack.

    12. Traffic_Spiral

      I do it after work, and I have a piece of fruit or chocolate beforehand to give me some energy, then eat dinner once I’m done. I hate getting up early and like the way exercise helps me push work out of my head, so this works for me.

    13. Fish Microwaver

      Even if you are not a morning person, try getting up a little earlier and working out or jogging before work. I find it’s worth the effort as it sets me up for a day of “winning” because even if I achieve nothing else, I got the workout done.

    14. Anonysand

      I prefer working out right after waking up, mostly because I’m a huge procrastinator with very little motivation. Doing it ASAP in the morning gives me less time to think of all the excuses and it’s seems a lot easier to just roll out of bed, throw on some workout clothes, and get it done. I also workout with a small group after work 2x a week, and knowing other people are suffering through keeps me a lot more accountable. As for doing it on my own, I’ve found that there are some really decent workout videos/trainers on YouTube that you can choose from- it keep things fresh and you can decide how long/short you want your workout to be.

  34. Marguerite

    I’m going to Seattle in January for a conference. I’ve been there before, but it’s been a while. Is there anything that I should go see or do? Any suggestions? Thank you!

    1. leukothea

      It really depends on what you’re interested in! I’m into churches, international films, and cat cafes, so for myself I would choose a visit to the Seattle Meowtropolitan Cafe, catching a movie at SIFF, and Sunday night Compline service at St Mark’s Cathedral. Seattle has a lot of stuff to do.

    2. Windchime

      Be prepared for rain, for sure. Take an umbrella or at least a rain-proof jacket with a hood. If you’re staying downtown (or maybe even if you aren’t!), take in a show at the 5th Avenue Theater. It’s a gorgeous old historic building and they have good shows all through the winter.

      1. CoffeeOnMyMind

        I recommend the Underground Seattle tour, which is a tour of old Seattle before it burned down in the 1880s. The current city is built on top of the old one, so you get to go below street level. It’s pretty cool. If you’re in town on a Sunday I suggest finding a bar to catch a Seahawks game – the Hawks Nest is a local favorite for game days. Also +1 on being prepared for rain; it’s pretty much a constant drizzle during the winter here.

  35. Jessen

    Ok, maybe some of y’all ladies can help me out.

    In the effort of conquering my laundry woes, I have decided the pile of sweaters laying out to dry after every laundry day has got to go. I need some new winter tops anyway, due to some weight changes. But I desperately wants options that can go in the dryer. I tend to prefer options that are a little dressy, and a little feminine with a tinge of morticia, but all I’m finding seems to be either very casual options like sweatshirts and flannel and the occasional plain beige sweater.

    Short of going through the store and individually looking for options that are dryer-safe, are there any good suggestions the folk around here have for finding women’s dressy winter clothes that can go in the dryer? Because I would seriously pay money for a store that sold me pretty things that could be dried.

    1. Prof Murph

      Lands End. Not fancy, but usually a fair price. Provides good care instructions so you could choose ones that are dryer safe.

      1. Jessen

        I’ve seen them, but…they all seem to be the same sort of boring, solid-color, boxy sweater. I’m looking for something a little more feminine, for lack of a better word? I can’t describe it very well, but I really want to be able to have things that are pretty and don’t make me just feel like I grabbed whatever off the rack because it fit and could go in the dryer.

        I’m really trying hard to get away from the “warm and fluffy but plain and shapeless” look without going totally to everything having special care instructions. And admittedly, shapeless is really easy to do on me because I’m petite with narrow shoulders and a larger bust.

        1. Jessen

          Ok, that wasn’t quite fair. Still, Lands End just…I dunno, something about their sweaters pretty much makes me look at them and think “I really hate these.” Some of the plainer options might be workable, but they seem like that dreaded “practical” style that I was always forced to wear because anything I liked was too weird.

            1. Jessen

              Might be worth it. I’d need something that’s not too long. I’ve bought land’s end skirts and dresses before and been happy with them though.

              1. WellRed

                Oh. I meant cardigans in general, not Land’s End. I agree about their boxiness but it’s a good brand for.many people.

                1. Jessen

                  Oh I figured. I just know with me, I absolutely adore the long waterfall cardigans on the rack. And then I put them on and it’s like “hey look, I’M SHORT!”

        2. Dance-y Reagan

          Land’s End sweaters do not hold their shape. All of mine have wrinkled, stretched-out waist hems. I no longer buy them.

          Their buttondowns, however, wear like iron despite being cut boxy.

          1. Jessen

            Lands end buttondowns are firmly on my list of “this would look great on someone else”. I’m petite, narrow-shouldered, and full-busted. That’s a recipe for anything that’s cut boxy looking really really terrible on me. Generally my best looks tend to be wrap or empire waist tops, or tops with enough stretch to conform to my body shape – anything that gives me some definition below the bustline so I don’t get swallowed in excess fabric.

            1. Dance-y Reagan

              To be perfectly honest, they look shapeless and terrible on me too. I bought them anyway because I needed a professional wardrobe in a hurry after a long period of unemployment, and I knew they would last many years and stretch my dollars to the max.

              I hope one day to afford quality, shaped buttondowns. I LUST after Campbell & Kate.

              1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup

                Consignment stores! And laundry starch is your friend for making the less high-quality button-downs look an order of magnitude more expensive.

    2. Nerdgal

      I do not think its realistic to find nice machine dryable sweaters. Have you considered buying a folding drying rack? Takes up very little room when folded and stuff dries better because of air circulation.

      1. Jessen

        I’m not set on sweaters, honestly, just on something warm that’s still kind of nice. When you’re dealing with a teeny studio apartment and no on-site laundry, not having drying racks sitting out becomes a bigger issue, no matter how small they fold up. It also motivates you to do laundry less frequently – I can’t do what my parents did and do a load every 2 or 3 days.

        My go-to for a lot of stuff has been the sort of shimmery long underwear tops in black, layered under whatever nicer tops I can find. It’s not super-duper freezing here so I can handle a little variation – nice top+undershirt for warmth is totally an option.

        1. Polyhymnia O'Keefe

          In terms of a drying rack in an apartment, I have the slim JÄLL rack from Ikea — it’s narrower than a bathtub, so I hang it on the tub wall with the water-resistant Command hooks and set it up in the bathtub when I need to dry laundry. The tub wall is always covered by my shower curtain, so the rack isn’t cluttering up my visible space when not in use, and it takes up no extra floor space when it’s drying things.

    3. Hannah

      In the winter, I do a long sleeved shirt under a sweater. The long sleeved shirt is just usually something simple that can be washed and dried (cotton or modal or something), and then a sweater over it–cardigan or pullover, either one. I rarely wash the sweaters because they are not next to my skin.

      You can do the same with a blazer–underneath, something simple that can be washed and dried, and over it, something that makes the outfit, but doesn’t need to be cleaned every time.

      1. Jessen

        I’m getting this comment from a few sources! Sounds like I may be over-washing my sweaters. I do have a few scarves and fun necklaces that can be shown to good effect by a plain shirt, and it might be easier to find blazers and cardigans in my tastes than pullover sweaters.

        1. fposte

          I’ll also complicate things by saying that I do machine dry my wool and cashmere sweaters—for just 5-10 minutes on lowest heat possible—and then finish them by drying flat, but they dry pretty quickly at that point and for me are softer and smoother than if I put them out to dry flat directly.

        1. valentine

          No. I hate layers. I might try hand-washing one at a time, so it’s taking up less space, and having it in the kitchen when the oven’s on, or using a dry cleaning dryer bag.

          1. Traffic_Spiral

            Well, maybe go for cotton sweaters then. The nice ones just aren’t really meant for constant washing and drying.

        2. Jessen

          The point of sweaters was always so you had an option other than a thin short-sleeved shirt and wearing layers. The way I learned it, sweaters were just what you wore in the winter, and if it was really cold you might wear something under it too. They weren’t even really considered “nice clothes”, just like the normal winter clothes for anyone who didn’t spend the winter in sweats.

          1. Jasnah

            Wow, I’ve never heard of people not wearing things under sweaters. What if you get hot and want to take it off? I think of them like coats, they’re outerwear, not onlywear.

    4. HannahS

      Like others, I wear plain washable things (t-shirts, collared shirts) underneath sweaters that don’t need to be washed often. If you buy sweaters that are all wool, especially, you’ll find that they don’t need to washed much. I wash my wool sweaters…well, I was going to say once a year, but that’s not ever true. Some of them haven’t been washed in 3 or 4. They’re like coats; they don’t touch my skin and since wool breathes well, they don’t get really sweaty.

    5. Fellow Traveler

      I would suggest looking for sweaters/ tops with mostly cotton content. When I search for sweaters online, I usually will put “cotton” in the search criteria. I’ve also put wool sweaters from Muji and Uniqlo in the dryer by mistake once or twice and they came out ok. I wouldn’t do it too often, though.

    6. The New Wanderer

      I current love Old Navy slim fit luxe rib knit tops. Kind of sweater like but they don’t pill, aren’t boxy but not tight, so comfy, and wash up really nicely. I do only dry them halfway and air dry the rest of the way (I do most of my clothes this way) but I think they can be fully dryer dried without a problem. I have four and waiting on the fifth I just ordered.

    7. L-cJ

      If you aren’t that terribly wedded to your sweaters try putting them in the dryer on low and see what happens!
      I find often they’ll shrink a bit (but not always and usually just the first time) and they may pill a little bit more and wear out a bit quicker, but it’s worth it for the convenience.

      1. Jessen

        To be quite honest, I hate most of the sweaters I currently own. I mean, they’re ok sweaters, but I was with family and they’re definitely get-mom-off-my-back sweaters and not I-actually-like-this sweaters. So my gift to myself this year is a wardrobe of things I actually want to wear.

    8. Reba

      LOL at “tinge of morticia.”

      I think everything I have from LOFT is machine wash/dry. I nearly always find some things I like there although of late they have been frillier than I like.

      I also have superfine merino sweaters and a couple of the rayon button-downs from Uniqlo that I machine wash/hang dry and they are fab! Uniqlo is kindof normy on the whole but the tops have a great drape and some of the options are a bit arty. They also make winter-weight tops and pants which I REALLY appreciate.

      I actually hang dry nearly everything, though, only machine drying briefly those things that would otherwise wrinkle, or things that I don’t want the slightly stiff texture from air drying. I got this ridonkulus european style drying rack that holds a lot more than the accordion style ones.

      1. Jessen

        I’ve found it’s one of the fastest ways for people to get a sense of my clothes.

        Part of my problem is I have a really small apartment and no on-site laundry. So even a single drying rack seems like it takes up a lot of space because there is so little extra space.

        1. Reba

          Oh yeah, the not on-site thing makes your request make even more sense! I’m definitely spoiled having w/d in unit!

    9. ainomiaka

      personally I love long sleeved blouses. I make sure they are washable-usually that means artificial fabric if you are opposed to that. I have plenty from even places like Target. I have scarves and cardigans that can go over if I need more.

      1. Jessen

        Honestly, I’m really not opposed to anything that doesn’t make me itch (which rules all wool out and a few other things).

        1. Seeking Second Childhood

          I have one lambswool sweater that doesn’t itch. All others did so this made no sense. Someone in my knitting group said that many people who think wool is a problem are actually reacting to the dyes and processing chemicals.

          Shiw do you feel about shawls and ponchos?

          1. Seeking Second Childhood

            “shiw”?! My phone has the weirdest autoINcorrect ever.
            That was simply “so…”

          2. Jessen

            I’d love them when they’re not “one size fits all.” I’m quite petite and most ponchos that are one size fits all tend to actually result in me drowning in fabric.

    10. Anono-me

      If your problem with air drying things is only the space issue, could you look into getting one of those European style drying racks that go in the ceiling area of your shower?

      1. Jessen

        It would need to fit a large amount of laundry, fit in a shower stall, not require any form of permanent mounting, and not get in the way when I needed to take a shower. I’m not sure such a thing is possible.

    11. CurrentlyLooking

      I like White House Black Market for tops that are cute but also machine washable and dryable

  36. Senorita Conchita

    Please bear with me because I don’t have much experience in this area. When you’re dating and in a relationship, how do you know that it will last? Are there any guarantees? How do you know that the other person won’t become disinterested and leave/become interested in someone else? Why are some people always in relationships and others aren’t?

    I have a hard enough time meeting people, but have been on a couple of dates, but nothing sticks. I’m introverted and rarely express my feelings, but as I get older, I’m feeling more and more lonely and would like to meet someone. (Or at least have more friends.) Any thoughts?

    1. Ender Wiggin

      I use to use first dates as a screen for similar values. Some people think a first date is not the time for “do you ever want kids” questions. I disagree. I would use first dates to suss our if we had similar values and life goals, because “love is all you need” is a lie. You need someone who will be your partner in your life goals and that necessarily means they have similar goals.

      After that other key things are that you get each other’s sense of humour, enjoy sex obviously (unless you’re asexual but I wouldn’t know much about how asexual relationships work), enjoy spending time together and treat each other kindly. If you have all those things it’s pretty good.

      There does need to be attraction also obviously but attraction / love is only one of many minimum requirements not the be all and end all some people think it is.

    2. LilySparrow

      Short answer, no. There are never any guarantees.

      You look for a trustworthy person of good character, who shows integrity and consistency in their life & other relationships. You look for compatible values, goals, lifestyles, expectations, and communication. You look for chemistry and mutual enjoyment, someone you just prefer being with to not being with. Someone who visibly makes your life better by being in it.

      And then you bet on each other.

      The thing is, in the very best case scenario of lifelong committment and love…one of you is going to die first. So the risk/benefit analysis isn’t “can I guarantee this person will never leave.” Because one way or another, they will eventually (or you will).

      It’s “is what we have together worth it?”

    3. fposte

      I don’t think you ever know for 100% sure. That’s why people can have 25 good years of marriage and then break up. It can vary on why some people are always in relationships, but reasons can range from luck, openness, and priorities to need and low standards.

      However, your post makes me think about a couple of other things as well. Your post is really focused on the risk of relationships and not on the pleasures even short-term relationships can bring. Then you mention being introverted and not expressing your feelings. I understand and share those characteristics to some extent, but they can make me a hard person to connect with sometimes, because risk and vulnerability are important in a good relationship. And I also have to be alert that I’m not leaving somebody I’m dating to carry the burden of emotionality/vulnerability for the both of us and that I sometimes take my turn with the lead on invitations, expressions of interest, and admission of feelings, even if that’s uncomfortable for me.

      If I’m just projecting, feel free to ignore :-).

    4. The Person from the Resume

      There are no guarantees. No one knows for sure their relationship will last. They believe; they trust; they hope.

      It helps to fall in love with an honest, trustworthy, kind person. But even then can fall out of love or couples can grow apart. It is interesting that your questions seem to assume it’s the other person who might want to leave you.

      As for why some people are always in relationship, well that may not even be a good thing. If they hop from one relationship to another right after another ends, they may not be picky enough. They may be unable to be alone and may be more desperate for any relationship rather than a right long lasting one.

      In order to find someone, you do need to make an effort, take the risk of rejection, and put yourself out there.

    5. Not So NewReader

      When I met my husband we were both dealing with aging parents and other life stuff. It was easy to find that common ground where we both agree that life can be tough and it was important to each of us that a life partner be able to roll with the punches and still remain committed to the relationship.

      I think recognizing that LTRs are hard in that they constantly need nurturing, supporting, tending. Kind of like plants in a greenhouse which need food, water, trimming and so on. A good thing to do is plan “vacation days” from life, go and do something fun together. Remembering to reconnect is super important. Reconnecting is time for just the two of you to do something fun/ learn something new/whatever together.

      But there are no certainties in any relationships. I lost an 18 month old dog, I did not see that one coming and yet it did. At some point what other beings add to our lives outweighs the risks involved in committing to a relationship with them. We change when we add a person/pet to our lives and we change again if we lose the person/pet. This can be expected. Willingness to grow, willingness to push ourselves along is key.

      I can think of many examples of couples who had to develop themselves in ways they never expected because of their relationship with each other. Ask a couple with a child who has a disability. Ask a couple whose house burned down. These types of things push us to find parts of ourselves we did not even know we had.

      It could simply be that you are not ready for an LTR right now. I was married for 23 years. After he passed I decide that another LTR was not something I wanted right away if ever. I needed to focus on pulling my life together first. We do have to start from some sort of a base. It could be that you would prefer to build a base right now.

      I did read something I wish I had known when I was younger. The writer said, it’s our friendships that help us to do the early work of figuring out what we want in a partner. This is where we begin to sort what is important to us and what is not. Figure out what is important to you and what is not important to you. This does not have to be a long list. But in having some idea of what you want WILL help you to feel less vulnerable in the process of choosing who seems interesting to you. You won’t feel like you are being pushed this way or yanked that way.

      1. fposte

        Since I’m a children’s lit person, I read a lot of books about middle school kids whose friendships are hitting new challenges and who may be drifting apart from their friends. And I *love* those books; this is the first big relationship-of-choice challenge in most people’s lives, and the loss of such a friendship can be like the end of a marriage. And a good book with a wise author will absolutely map out the territory in a way that will illuminate a lifetime of relationships.

  37. Snoring Pup

    Anyone know of an app or website that helps with calculating what everyone owes when you’re at a group dinner and the restaurant won’t let you do separate checks? I went out with eight friends last night and the restaurant wouldn’t let us split it, so I put it all on my card and my friends paid me back. But whenever this halogens, I feel like I’m being shorted money, either in tip or tax because everyone is focused on their meals and drinks.

    I know there is Splitwise but that requires your friends to have it too. I just want something that helps me do the math.

      1. Snoring Pup

        But something that helps with calculating splitting the tip and tax based on how much you ordered. When I tried to split the $40 tip nine ways evenly last night, one friend who only got a side salad refused because she ordered so little. I found out later she just lost her job this week and wasn’t telling people so I can understand the frustration but in my mind we all got the same amount of service so tip could be an even split, mainly because I don’t want to struggle with percentages. That’s why something that can auto calculate for me would be helpful. I’m surprised I can’t find anything to help with this.

        1. Someone Else

          I think you might be overthinking it. Unless you find percentages in general onerous? I get why splitting evenly is easier, but I also think it’s reasonable for people to pay what they orders+ 20%. If you don’t want to do it live in the moment, use a calculator after and (if your friends use such a thing) tell them the exact amount to venmo you or whatnot.

          1. Snoring Pup

            I do find percentages difficult. I don’t have a mind for math which is why I want a program to help me with calculating. It’s also easier because when my friends all do their own math and come up with various different numbers, I’d rather be able to point to a program that says what they really owe.

            I’m normally not one to turn to an app for help but I would like it in this case. It’s not that my friends are trying to get a cheap meal out of me; I just think we’re not great at calculating these things, remembering tip and tax, and an app to do the thinking for us would be nice.

        2. the gold digger

          Whoa. Even if I hadn’t just lost my job but had chosen a very inexpensive meal in comparison to everyone else, I would not want to split the total tip evenly. I didn’t even know people did that! The tip is based on the value of what you yourself order, not an even split of the total table.

          1. AvonLady Barksdale

            That too. My tip is based on what I order unless I’ve agreed to split the bill evenly. The tip on a side salad and the tip on a steak dinner are very different. I’ve never encountered splitting the tip while paying for individual dinners.

          2. Reba

            Yeah, as a vegetarian who often doesn’t drink alcohol, this is something I face when we all decide to “just” split the whole meal evenly. Sometimes I speak up in favor of paying our individual amounts, sometimes it’s not worth it.

            I get what Snoring Pup is saying about the tip is for service, not the cost of food…. but our convention is that you calculate the tip on the cost of food? It doesn’t seem right to have some people pay 20% and others 50% in tips.

          3. Snoring Pup

            For the ease of calculations and because I was already being shorted, yes, I suggested we split the tip evenly. Didn’t realize this was a huge sin. Sorry that I was trying to avoid paying an extra $30 myself by asking for an even split of the tip at $5 each, which is exactly what happened.

            As I said, I love my friends but I know one of the big weaknesses in our group is getting everyone to pay their fair share of the meal if we’re forced to put it all on one card. That’s why I was looking for an app to help with calculating tip and tax based on how much you ordered and turned here for suggestions, where only one person actually answered my question while everyone else jumped down my throat about the math that I already admitted to being bad at and bill splitting etiquette that has varied between everyone I’ve talked about this.

            1. Reba

              Sorry these comments came across as an attack. They really aren’t though, just pointing out that evenly dividing the tip amount is not commonly done, so it isn’t surprising that salad-friend pushed back–that oarticular aspect of it is not understood as the fair share. And I know dealing with bills is stressful! Obviously, wanting to easily sort out payments is a very reasonable desire. for me, as someone who is often in the salad-friend position, I frequently end up “overpaying,” as I said, just to avoid belaboring the bill. So you might not be the only one who is unhappy, and you might find other allies if you try to set new standards or habits or whatever around this with the group.

            2. Or get new friends I guess

              If the restaurant can’t split the bill, I would take the total amount including tax (tip is not a thing where I live but I’d probably include it) and divide by the number of people, tell people that’s what they owe. If they don’t like it because they ordered a salad and no drinks, then they can do the math for everyone. In my experience the people who are most concerned that everyone pays fairly for what they ordered are the last people to volunteer to help calculate the bill. The responsible person who puts out their card and does the math is always the one who gets shorted.

        3. Close Bracket

          ” in my mind we all got the same amount of service so tip could be an even split, mainly because I don’t want to struggle with percentages. ”

          Except that’s not how restaurants calculate it, and you are expecting friends who don’t order expensive items, regardless of how much they make, to subsidize friends who do. The solution is to overcome your discomfort with percentages.

          Do you know your local tax rate? Say the local tax rate is 7% (although restaurant taxes might be higher). Use your calculator to add up the cost of the meal, then multiply by (tip percentage + local tax rate) = (1.15 + 1.07) = 1.22. That’s for a 15% tip. People who prefer to tip more can add in more their own.

          1. Tipping

            Yes, this is how I do it when I calculate. Tax here is 6% so I do the bill x 1.06 x 1.20 for a 20% tip (which has become the standard minimum tip) for a total of 1.272. So I would multiply their total by 1.27. It’s pretty easy, actually, once you learn that trick!

    1. gecko

      Tab is fabulous. It’s a very light app for both Android and iOS. It works really well if other people want to download too, or works great on just your own phone. You take a picture of the receipt, and it OCRs it into a list of items that people can select. On your own phone, you can add people, then pass around your phone and have people select what they got. Then you can adjust the tip and it’ll list what everyone owes. It’s really fabulous.

      When multiple people have it, you can tell everyone a code, and they can choose their stuff on their own phone and hook it up to Venmo to pay you directly. But using only one phone also works really well. Just keep in mind that OCR isn’t perfect, so you have to double check that the receipt got read in properly.

        1. gecko

          I use it all the time! You’ll never get such friendly looks from waitstaff as when you give them one card for a twelve person table :p It’s a great app

    2. Not So NewReader

      This has happened more than once?

      Seriously consider:
      A different restaurant
      Letting someone else use THEIR card
      Deciding before you go in how the bill will be split
      Deciding before you go in how the tip will be split
      Calling the restaurant before had to see if they can split the bill up

      Bare bones, I would stop being the first one to pull out my card.

      1. jolene

        The person who does the maths and the person who puts it on her card should NOT be the same person. Don’t do all the work!

  38. LGC

    Okay, so – let’s talk running.

    And let’s talk…burnout as well.

    I might as well launch into my own issues: I didn’t post last week because I was absolutely drained. And my training logs show this – I’ve been badly off pace on my tempos (granted, both were in not-so-great weather), and everything has felt difficult. I was supposed to race this morning, but the rest of my team decided to pull out…and I realized that hey, to be honest, I’m probably THE MOST in need of rest.

    Last week and this week have been the highest mileage weeks I’ve done (70 and 75), and life has been hectic on top of that (as in, I’m working 50-hour weeks 6 days a week, commuting an hour each way, AND getting in workouts on top of that)! I’m more than a little concerned that I overtrained a bit, but…I mentioned to my coach yesterday that I felt terrible, and he said that some of his breakthroughs came after slumps. (He was an elite runner when he was younger – as in, sub-4 miler. Dude’s still fast.)

    Obviously, I can’t undo what’s already been done, and I’m going to start tapering next week anyway. I’m hoping I’ll bounce back once I get more rest, but also…I’m a little nervous, I guess. If I had to feel terrible, I guess now would be the time, but also I’m wondering if I did the right thing. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

    Sorry not sorry for going on so long about myself.

    1. gecko

      I’m almost at the end of a novice 10k training program I found online. But I’ve had a mild tension/sinus headache all week, and I have a tattoo session tomorrow, so I have zero motivation and don’t even know if I should *try* to be motivated… :/

      1. LGC

        First, tell me about the piece you’re getting! (As an aside, ink is one of the things I’ve wanted to get for the LONGEST, but I can’t think of anything that would be meaningful enough to me.)

        Anyway, it really depends. I’d probably say that you should get out and run, just because for me I would feel accomplished if I got out the door and ran. Even if it’s an easy run, it’s worth it (and sometimes those are the best ones).

        Don’t worry about whether you’re motivated or not. That can change once you’re started!

        1. gecko

          I hope you get the rest you need! With that much work and that much training, I’m not surprised you’re feeling kind of burnt out on doing anything.

          Also thank you! That was exactly what I needed to hear :) ended up going out and doing the long run I’d planned, and it was the furthest I’ve ever run so far. It’s pretty nice to be able to get these milestones all the time! :)

          I’m getting an inner bicep piece–a hill in the shape of a curled-up cat, with a hobbit door in the side of the hill. It’s my second! I’m planning a series of animals combined with houses.

          1. LGC

            That sounds amazing! Both the long run and the piece – good luck tomorrow, and I’m sure it’ll come out great!

            And thanks – it’s one of the things I’ve picked up. I try not to feel too guilty about missing a run here or there (although if it’s a “key” run – basically, tempo/track/long run – then I’ll do my best to get it in), but if it’s just that I’m not feeling it mentally…I’ll still start getting dressed, grab my watch, and go for it. (Even in bad weather – you can’t control the weather, after all.) Even today…I did stay in this morning, but I ended up doing a progression this afternoon and it actually felt easy, even though I was going pretty fast at the end.

      2. Ktelzbeth

        I was going to offer a similar comment to LGC: You don’t have to be motivated. You just have to start running.
        It sounds like you did though, so good for you! Good luck with the tattoo session!

    2. A bit of a saga

      LGC, sorry to hear it! I’m still battling an injury but am seeing a physio about it and am making progress. Still, I suffer from the opposite of you: I haven’t trained enough – and I feel guilty about it because while it’s now injury-related before that it was because of a lack of motivation to find the time to get out. It sounds like a good idea for you to hold off a bit though – that’s a LOT of miles! At least someone in my family is running: my 6-year old ran her first race today at a district schools meet-up. I don’t know who was prouder when she got her medal (who am I kidding, I was :-)) She had to run 500 meters and I am proud of her for signing up in the first place and completing today.

      1. LGC

        Thanks! And congrats to your daughter – that’s awesome!

        Hopefully you make a speedy recovery – and don’t feel too guilty for having life get in the way, it happens. I guess I have a bit of luxury in being able to say this, but I feel like everything is a learning experience – I felt like I didn’t run enough in the leadup to my first marathon, so I upped my mileage for this one. Since I’m feeling stressed and tired at this point, I might ease up a little bit for my next marathon (Boston 2019).

    3. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      WOW. 70-75 miles a week plus a 50 hour, 6 day work week? That’s pretty incredible, and I’m not surprised you’re about out of gas.

      It took me years to learn that rest is a really critical part of marathon training. You’re lucky, in a way, in that you’re learning this early, and with enough time to back off before your marathon. This is about the time you’d taper anyway, as you said.

      BTW, thank you for your thoughts last week on when to do my long run. I ended up bypassing both Monday and Thursday, switching work schedules with a co-worker, and doing it today. When it was in the low-to-mid 50s vs. the low 70s with extreme humidity earlier this week. That was a good decision. I would have had just enough time to finish Thursday morning before the rain started… but I did a 5-mile run on Thursday morning and when I finished, I was DRENCHED. If I did 19, I might have ended up in the hospital.

      1. LGC

        You’re smarter than me.

        I did a tempo on Thursday afternoon. It was supposed to be 90 minutes (so that’d be…oh, roughly 14 or so miles), but I ended up cutting off at 75 (11 or 12-ish). I was also soaked…because it was RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RAINSTORM. (I ran in the afternoon/early evening, so it was beginning to come down.) Today was a good call, though – and I’m glad you could get your schedule switched!

        Also – to be honest, I WAS totally wiped out! If you want to know how crazy it got: I did a 23-mile long run, hung out at the store long run for a bit, and then went to work afterwards for half a day last Saturday. That’s the actual reason why I didn’t post! This is half me humblebragging and half a cry for help.

        It’s partly my own doing – I overextend myself sometimes (okay, often) and then I realize that I can’t do everything. You’re right that this is good that I’m having this happen 1) relatively early in my marathoning career and 2) with enough time in this cycle to recover, but at this point in my life I feel like I should know better!

        1. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

          Eh, if you’re relatively new to the sport and super excited about running something like the NYC Marathon, I think you get a pass.

          Interesting that you ran 23 miles. It’s been drilled into me to never exceed 20 in training — to take yourself to the wall and no further. I’ve long been somewhat skeptical of that. That said, yesterday I did 19 and the gas gauge at the end was hovering right around zero; I would not wanted to run 23!

          1. LGC

            Eh, if you’re relatively new to the sport and super excited about running something like the NYC Marathon, I think you get a pass.

            Trust me, it’s not just running – I tend to do this quite a bit in general! I keep forgetting that there’s only so much time in the day.

            The thing about the long run is…interesting. I’ve heard the 20 mile limit as well, but for different reasons – basically, you don’t gain much fitness from going over 20, so there’s no real reason to. At any rate, I meant to go 22, it just turned into a 23 miler because I made a wrong turn and then realized I ended up in the wrong town.

            (That run was…not my greatest moment of glory!)

    4. Ktelzbeth

      Working 50 hour weeks and 6 days per week, I’m not surprised your pace is off. You only have so much to give. Start your taper and try to keep things in balance.

      I’m going to swap to bragging for a minute because I ran my first 10k this morning. We will not discuss my time, but I will offer that it was a trail run on very muddy trails with steep hills, water features, and a few impromptu hurdles. I tweaked my ankle somewhere midrace, costing me a lot of medial-lateral stability, so I could only run reliably on the dry flat parts. But I finished! And the only goal I’d set for myself was to finish before everyone went home, which I did.

      1. LGC

        Working 50 hour weeks and 6 days per week

        You know, the more I see this written out by others, the more I realize I was absolutely insane to ever think this was workable.

        Congrats on your 10k! And hopefully your ankle isn’t too injured – trail can be rough. I’m mostly a road guy, but we do have some light trails around my house. Even there, I’ve taken quite a few spills, though thankfully the worst I’ve had was a bad scrape. (The biggest hazard is tree roots and rocks. And the section that got washed out by the stream running alongside it and drops about five feet straight down.)

        1. Ktelzbeth

          Thank you! I do a fair amount of trail running and the options yesterday were 2 and 6 mi (which actually measured out at 6.2). For the drive, 2 mi just didn’t seem worth it, so I figured I’d go big. My ankle is nearly fine–it really is mild enough just to hurt when I call on it to provide serious stability. I was unusually wise enough to realize early that I should probably walk more than I wanted so I could finish the race able to walk.

          Do you have the ability to do a little less at work?

          1. LGC

            Do you have the ability to do a little less at work?

            In short: yeah, but I’d feel guilty about it. (And also, I get OT pay.) I was going to go into more detail, but then I realized this was the Saturday thread.

            Glad your ankle wasn’t too badly injured – and that you had the presence of mind to be careful!

      2. CheeryO

        Congrats, that’s huge! And picking a trail race for your first 10K is awesome. The roads will feel much easier after that experience!

      3. Bulbasaur

        Wow. Congrats! There are 10ks and there are 10ks, and yours definitely sounds like one of the latter. Definitely an accomplishment, especially for your first one.

        I am just about recovered from my latest back injury. I am seeing a physio about it and also doing Pilates to address various postural and biomechanical problems, so I feel a bit like the car with its engine in pieces all over the garage. I’ve seen lots of benefits so far but it has not as yet translated into a lower injury rate. I’m hoping that it will eventually.

        Today I ran for 20 minutes which was starting to get long enough that I actually felt like I’d had a run, even though I did two walk breaks (physio’s orders – I chafe at them and would skip them given half a chance). I’d like to get back to 10k distance myself but I think it’s a way off yet. I used to knock them out as weekly runs, but that was before all the injuries and and my new and improved running action.

    5. CheeryO

      Darn, sorry you’ve been feeling so rough. I’m not exactly acquainted with overtraining, having undertrained for all of my marathons to this point, but I bet the taper will help a lot. Try to hang in there and not psyche yourself out too much.

      I traveled last week and got a whopping 11 miles of running done, but I did do some hiking and a lot of walking. Things felt weird and rusty this week, and I totally bombed my tempo run on Wednesday. Logically, I know I didn’t lose all of my fitness in a week, but it’s still discouraging. I’m supposed to do a few more workouts during my taper, so we’ll see how those go.

      And I also had a trail race today! A very muddy 14 miler. I actually got 3rd female (small race!). It felt decent. Still a little sluggish. Need some nice slow recovery miles tomorrow.

      1. LGC

        Congrats on your placing and your race! Hopefully you took it easy today.

        I think in my case I kind of went in the other direction – because I did feel a bit undertrained for my first marathon. (Although my race prep was slightly off anyway, and I know from experience that matters a lot for me!) But that cycle was a bit…wonky, since I kind of winged it anyway. Like, I had some structure, but I was improvising a bit off of the plans everyone else was doing.

        As for you – it’s probably just because you ended up taking a week off! And you’re right – you don’t lose your fitness in a week (I think that starts happening around 2-3, really), but it’s just…getting back up to speed. (And hey, if it makes you feel better…my last two tempos on Thursday went so badly that I could barely get above goal MP – I’m usually able to go from MP to HMP at the end, and instead I backslid on both closer to long run pace.)

      2. Ktelzbeth

        Congratulations on your race! Good luck washing your shoes. I think I came home with more mud than shoes.

        1. CheeryO

          Thanks! And omg, I seriously have no idea what to do with my shoes. The mud is so real and I live in a tiny apartment, so I think I just have to wash them in my tub!

    6. Lady Jay

      Bummer about your slump!–But I wouldn’t worry too much. You’re slumping *now*, so hopefully that means a rebound is coming, maybe for the marathon. Rest, taper well, and try to take off what pressure you can.

      My running: Weather finally cooled down in my part of the country, so I enjoyed a wonderful trail run this weekend–7.5 miles through the woods, with not so much sweating. No races planned right now, though I’m keeping my eyes open.

      1. LGC

        Sounds like you had a great run – that’s awesome! It looks like the weather has cooled off in general (finally), which is great…except I feel like I’ve forgotten how to dress appropriately. (Okay, me and everyone else.)

        And thanks – I’m going to try to get more rest than what I’ve been getting (which is to say: far from enough).

    7. CoffeeOnMyMind

      Your feelings are totally normal. I hit a major wall around week 14 while training for a marathon. Each run felt like such a chore, my legs hurt, and I just wanted to be done with it all – and I still had 4 more weeks of training. It felt like it would never end, and I really wanted to quit.

      But I wanted to run that race, and so I pushed through the wall. I allowed myself some flexibility in my training regimen, and took an extra rest day as a mental health day. It helped to alleviate some of the pressure I’d put on myself, and it gave me time to mentally regroup. The next time I ran, I had more energy and just felt more positive about running in general.

      Hitting that wall is hard; getting past it is even more difficult, and reminds me that running is just as much a mental challenge as it is physically.

      Allow yourself a break and accept that it’s okay to feel frustration or doubt. As for training, only you can choose whether you want to continue, and whatever choice you make is the right one for you. If you decide not to continue, that is okay. You’ve already accomplished so much and you should be proud of yourself. Congrats on making it to this point! You are awesome! Digital high five for you!

      If you decide to continue, know that you’ll have good days and bad days. The next few weeks may be hard, but you’ll get through them. Think of it this way: each time you run you’ll never have to do that run again. Or think about how you’ll reward yourself for completing each run, if that helps get you through the hard parts. For me, it was promising myself a hamburger after the race. :)

      May your runs be swift and the road be smooth beneath your feet! Good luck on your next run!

      1. LGC

        Thanks so much! I really needed to hear this and that I’m not just losing my mind. (And my long run this morning was…amazing – like, it’s probably the best long run I’ve ever had.)

        I’m pretty much in for it right now – I’m in the leadup to New York, and I’ve got three weeks remaining until race day. (I blew $255 on this – I can’t pull out now.) But…it’s weird. I never lost motivation, it’s just that efforts felt a lot harder than they “should.” Like…running my goal marathon pace, which normally feels very doable for five or six miles, felt like running my goal half marathon pace (which feels far more difficult for that distance) or even my 10k pace.

    8. LGC

      Really late, but: seriously, thanks, everyone for your advice.

      Just to follow up – I actually ended up having a really nice easy run Saturday, and a great long run this morning. (I ended up doing 15 miles around marathon pace, which I didn’t think I had in me this weekend. And it didn’t feel like I was dying.) So hopefully, things are on the upswing now.

      1. CoffeeOnMyMind

        That’s great! I’m glad to hear your run went well. Your body probably just needed an extra day or two to regroup after all that training. Good luck on your race!

  39. Yellowstone Trip

    Has anyone ever planned a trip to Yellowstone before? My friends and I have been talking about planning a trip and would love to have some inside knowledge/tips from anyone who has been there before.

    1. Nerdgal

      I was just there! Will you fly or drive? If fly, to where? If drive, from where? Also how active are you?

    2. CBE

      How long do you have? Where will you stay? Summer or winter? Any interest in backcountry stuff? I’ve been many times. The park is BIG. Bigger than a lot of people realize. Bigger than the state of Rhode Island.

      My favorite time of year to go is early to mid September. Summer crowds are gone, but stuff hasn’t started closing up yet like it does late Sept.

      I prefer to stay in the park. Old Faithful area is my favorite, but I have done Lake and Mammoth, too. Canyon is another in park area.

      If you have to stay outside the park, I like West Yellowstone over Gardiner or Cody. Closer than Cody and more central than Gardiner.

      You’ll have to book in park lodging WAY ahead of time.

      Don’t miss things:
      Old Faithful and upper geyser basin areas
      Grand Prismatic and Excelsior in the Midway geyser basin
      Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
      Mammoth Hot Springs
      Hayden and Lamar valleys (if it’s the right time to see wildlife)

      Lesser known favorites:
      I love porcelain basin at Norris. You can’t do the whole loop right now because of construction, but there are some amazing colors there.
      Lonestar Geyser is a bit of a hike, but the trail to get there is lovely.
      White dome geyser and Great Fountain are both beautiful and often overlooked. Great Fountain is irregular and when predicted has a wide (like 5 hours!) window, but it’s pretty even when not erupting because it reflects the sky so well. You can almost always catch White dome because it goes off about every 10 minutes.

      My favorite mild hike is Fairy Falls/Imperial Geyser. They added a new lookout to Grand Prismatic on that trail (though they’re keeping it low key and it’s not on any maps and is only labeled “trail” as a spur of the Fairy Falls trail.)

      If you only have a day or two, prioritize. Have bear spray on your person all the time, even in populated areas. I have personally seen a bear between buildings at Old Faithful in broad daylight. And don’t be an idiot and approach wildlife. They’re not kidding about the “wild” part.

      1. Annie Moose

        Oh man, I went to Yellowstone last summer, and completely coincidentally we happened to catch a Great Fountain eruption. It was amazing! Every time we thought it was dying down and stopping, it started up again.

    3. Gatomon

      Never been myself, but if you plan to go in the winter, please don’t rely solely on GPS to get there. It sometimes routes people onto the Beartooth Highway, which closes mid-October through mid-May due to hazardous conditions. (The pass is above 10,000 feet so it gets a ton of snow.) People have driven up it trying to get to Yellowstone because that was where they were directed, gotten stuck in the snow and died.

      Now that I’ve scared the pudding out of you, I hear it is a great drive in the summer.

    4. Earthwalker

      Lots to see over a fairly small road distance. Allow plenty of time because there’s lots of walking and you don’t want to wear yourself out and not enjoy it. In addition to the places mentioned, I’m partial to Artist Paint Pots and Mud Volcano. Note that it’s very very crowded in summer when school is out and many of the roads and camp areas are closed from early fall to spring, so the sweet spots for a visit are just before school lets out for summer and just after Labor Day. But if you happen to be a snowshoer or cross country skier with a little extra to spend, you can book a snowcoach ride in to Old Faithful Lodge in winter to stay and explore from there. The geysers look more impressive in winter, the animals are huddled in where the warm water is, and the crowds are lighter. The blue ice at Fairy Falls is amazing.

    5. elvee

      I live nearby. May and September are nice times to go- but in May you have to be careful to look at when the roads open. If you go in summer, you get the option of driving the Beartooth Highway which is amazing, but only open from Memorial through September/October (the closing date changes based on weather- it closed Oct. 5 this year). Summer is also lovely but incredibly crowded so bring your patience.

      If you’re a hiker, you can escape the crowds pretty easily. Basically if you hike more than a mile you’ll have a lot of solitude. You can rent bear spray in the park, which is a great option. You can’t fly with it, so don’t try to buy it at home to bring it with you, and if you buy it out here then you basically end up giving it away when your trip is done (which is great for locals, not as great for your wallet). You definitely need bear spray. But don’t bother with bear bells- they don’t actually do anything.

      LOTS of people have gotten in confrontations with wildlife (mostly elk) this year- please don’t be that person. Give them tons of space, even if other people aren’t doing the same. If you come in the fall, the elk are usually in rut which is awesome, but makes them more aggressive so they need even more space than usual.

    6. Jaid_Diah

      Not a tip about going, but a friend of mine went with her son. When they got back from, they put their best photos in a nice hardback book format to show to family and friends. It was a lot nicer than showing them on a cell phone. They used Shutterfly, I think.

  40. Llellayena

    Birthday thread! Happy birthday to all you October birthdays out there! What fun thing are you planning for your birthday this year?

    1. Llellayena

      I’m going to a quilt shop to use their long-arm to quilt a quilt for a Christmas present. Then attending a play (Curtains) in the evening with a friend. A nice relaxing day, I love it!

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

        Can post a picture of the quilt when you are done? I used to sew, and love quilts. I’m fascinated by the talent and artistry you must have to tackle such a project!

    2. wingmaster

      My boyfriend’s birthday is tomorrow, and we’re going to do an at-home kbbq dinner :) Going to buy the meats and banchan today!

    3. Fulana del Tal

      My birthday was last Sunday. My sister won the Cursed Child lottery and took me with her as an belated birthday present. It was awesome, we got front row seats.

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Happy birthday to all the other Octobers!
      this is my first October as a widow. But… since last year he didn’t even get me a card and the year before (which was divisible by 10) he didn’t remember or do anything until our anniversary a month later…. I am kind of okay with my own plans.
      I’m going to LA to visit a very good friend, going to a “real” salon to get my hair cut. (not just a couple inches trimmed off the bottom of my longer hair… a “let’s make a big change” bob, I think). For years I’ve been on such a tight budget that I did my own color, and just had trims and let it grow out so it was low maintenance. So I’m excited to see my friend (who has been a ROCK during these early weeks of widowhood) and to not be surrounded by “things to do.”
      I’ve already gone from drab blonde to a mocha/midrange light brown, yesterday at a local inexpensive salon (color change only).
      Next weekend – the actual birthday – I’m going to try to get a facial too. Woo hoo.

  41. Anonysand

    While this one is a tiny bit job/past college experience related, I’m hoping for some social guidance more than anything. I skipped the Friday open thread since this didn’t fit in there either, but please feel free to delete if it’s still inappropriate for today as well.

    Long story short: my college experience was pretty unconventional and I went to a few different colleges and universities before I graduated. At one institution I had a professor who I really enjoyed and was the main influencer in the program I eventually chose to study and graduate from (from another institution). This was about 6 years ago now, but I’ve finally worked my way into the job I’d always dreamed of during college. My social guidance question is this: would it be appropriate (or just plain weird) for me to reach out to this guy and send him a quick “I wanted to let you know that your classes were really impactful and to say thank you for helping me get to where I am today”?

    1. pugs for all

      I think that would be a wonderful thing to do! What you wrote sounds great and personally, I would be moved very apprieciative of a message like that. Do it!

    2. Lady Kelvin

      I’ve been out of college 10 years (OMG!) and I still reach out to old professors and let them know how I’m doing, etc. I’m sure they would appreciate hearing from you about how their job impacted your life.

    3. Prof_Murph

      Please do this. Yes. I’m a professor and it’s always meaningful to hear from past students. I must confess that I don’t always remember the person by name but it’s incredibly meaningful to hear from them.

    4. WellRed

      I bumped into my second grade teacher a few years ago (I was probably about 40). She always said I should be a writer when I grew up. The look on her face when I told her, I did indeed grow up ti be a writer was priceless.

      1. JaneB

        I’m an academic – this would make my month at least!! Please, please do it – academia is a field where you’re constantly heating the ways in which you’re not good enough, so do share your positive experiences

        1. Anonysand

          This was a major reason behind why I originally wanted to do it. I’ve spent 5.5 of the last 7 years working in higher ed, and I know that being a professor or faculty member can be a thankless job most days. Thank you for your insight!

    5. StudentA

      I’ve done this. It’s good to know the impact you make on people’s lives. Teaching is such an underappreciated profession. The good ones deserve to be thanked.

      1. Zona the Great

        I do it too! Always a good feeling. I’ll admit I also once wrote to a very venomous professor to let her know I didn’t forget her either!

    6. Roja

      Yes, do it! I was just talking to an old professor yesterday, in fact, and told him how much I appreciated and was influenced by his classes. He was beyond happy and really touched by it. As a teacher myself, I love it when students tell me I’ve made a difference!

  42. Hermione

    Did anyone see the “Harry Potter Homecoming” that a high school in Arizona performed? It was awesome! It was so fun to see the amazing dancers and to see that the other students enjoyed watching it as well!

  43. Luna lud

    Why is flying with domestic American airlines so miserable? I love flying overseas with Asian and some European airlines, it’s actually a great experience and I’m always excited to look out the window. But I have come to hate flying domestically in the US – everything from the TSA to the tiny seats and the bad food, as well as the bad airports (no transit zones either). And the airlines are always looking for new ways to rip you off, even charging you for a carry on, and the worst part is, it’s not just low cost airlines that do that, which is kind of a infuriating. So why does flying within the US suck so much?

        1. Thursday Next

          True, but their pre-boarding and disability access policies are saner than experiences I’ve had with United.

    1. Dan

      Honestly, because as a collection of people, we value cheap fares above all else, even if we say differently. It really comes down to that.

      1. Luna lud

        They’re not even that cheap though – it looks like the biggest cost saving is for the airlines, not for the passengers. I’ve flown low cost airlines in Asia and they were actually cheap and not even half as miserable.

        1. Natalie

          I believe there are more state-owned airlines in Asia, which may be subsidized. The US has none and Europe has a lot fewer than they used to.

        2. Dan

          It still comes down to economic theory – more seats crammed into the same tube increases supply, which lowers fares.

          Even if fares don’t seem to be that cheap, removing seats to add more legroom would decrease supply which would increase fares.

          20 years ago, American tried an experiment that increased legroom for everyone. Businesswise, it was a massive failure.

    2. Ender Wiggin

      Long haul flights are expensive so they have the budget for little extras. Short flights eapwcially domestic ones are competing with other types of transport and there’s a lot of competition between them too, so they don’t have the budget for any extras. They try to cut corners every where they can.

      It’s not a US versus EU thing. It’s a long haul versus short hop thing. I can assure you, as a frequent Ryanair passenger, that EU based short hop flights are just as bad.

      1. Luna lud

        Ryanair is a low cost airline though and it’s dirt cheap, so I’d expect them to not be top notch. But United is a regular airline and it’s still expensive and it’s still pulling stuff similar to low cost airlines without actually reducing the price that much.

        It’s not the airlines that make it annoying to travel domestically though – it’s the TSA and the inconvenient airports. I’m never excited to fly anymore because of all that

      1. Luna lud

        They’re not actually cheaper though, their prices are quite similar to Asian and European carriers.

    3. Sabine the Very Mean

      In the words of Brian Reagan, “you’re about to go hurdling through the air right now, sir! What is there to complain about?!”

    4. matcha123

      I don’t know about European airlines, but Japanese/Korean ones have strict rules for flight attendants:
      They have to be attractive, have to be under a certain age, women must wear make-up, there are weight requirements, they have a ton of training when it comes to how to speak to passengers, and a lot more.

      American airlines have flight attendants that tend to be older, look ragged, can be snappy, etc.

      In Asia, appearance is everything and the flight attendants, the ticketing staff, etc. all work towards giving that airline a positive image. The downside is that customers will treat the staff badly, they will yell at them for minor inconveniences, they expect to be pampered, and can just be a pain in general.

      1. Luna lud

        Actually, I haven’t really had a bad experience with American flight attendants and I don’t care how attractive they are. It’s other aspects of flying that make it a miserable experience for me. I don’t support the way that Asian and Middle Eastern airlines treat flight attendants. But I don’t support the ways that American airlines nickel and dime you for everything.

      2. AvonLady Barksdale

        Have you flown on a US airline recently? I haven’t found any of that to be true, at least not on a general basis. I’ve met flight attendants of all shapes, sizes, and ages and, yes, temperaments, but I have never encountered anyone I would call “ragged”. Are you saying that flying in the US is miserable because the flight attendants are older and messy? That’s… odd. The flight attendants have nothing to do with security lines, the pitch of our seats, or the limited beverage options.

        1. matcha123

          I was commenting that it is an overall “experience.” Do I care about the age of the flight attendant? No.
          Have I flown a domestic carrier recently? No. The last time I flew a domestic US carrier and internationally was this past December/January.
          What I saying is that to passengers, there’s an overall experience that starts from the moment you line up to check in and goes until you get off the plane. Being in Asia now, the most common complaint about American carriers I hear from other Americans are the points I listed above.
          And compared to flight attendants on United or JetStar, the flight attendants on ANA or VanillaAir look way more put together and ‘professional’. This means their uniforms don’t look overly wrinkled, and they don’t appear visibly overwhelmed by the job.
          I’ve found the beverage options on US domestic carriers to be better than what’s offered on Asian domestic carriers.
          Oh, and the plane interiors for Asian airlines are cleaner and I don’t need to deal with broken seat rests with duct tape holding them together like I did on my domestic US flight last December.

      3. Lora

        It’s not that really. Compare Lufthansa to United – flying coach on Lufthansa, you get a seat that fits a whole entire person (I am 5’5″and 130 lbs, if I cannot squeeze comfortably into a seat it is Too Fking Small), if it’s during a meal time you get an edible meal with wine or cocktail for free, you can check a decent size bag without paying extra, and it costs about the same as an American carrier would pay for the same distance. The planes are maintained properly, the fleet is big enough that older planes are routinely taken out of service and replaced with new ones. They don’t routinely lose your luggage, locate it 6000 miles away and act like you are inconveniencing them horribly when they suggest returning it to your house and expecting you to sign for it and you explain very patiently that no, see, you are not AT home, you are 3,000 miles away from home and not due to return until next week, which they should know for what you feel are obvious reasons…

        I am an Old and remember clearly when domestic US airlines had seats that fit a whole human adult – even a fat adult! I remember having meals on PanAm that were edible, for free, because it was a four hour flight 10am – 2pm. I remember planes mainly taking off in a timely manner, and you got there one hour early and you got to keep your shoes on and everything and nobody ever had to awkwardly explain that The Scanner is telling them to touch your boobs, because that was not a thing. It’s not that the US simply cannot do what they achieved in the 1970s-1980s, and what many similar size airlines have been able to execute to this day. They’re just choosing not to.

        1. Luna lud

          Very well said, thank you! I’m also pretty small in size and those United seats are way too tiny for me, the worst part of flying for me.

        2. European flyer

          I frequently fly Lufthansa “domestically”, i.e. in Europe (for intra-German distances I try to take the train because it’s quicker). Lufthansa has free food and free bags on long haul flights only. On European flights, you pay for checked bags and are not served a meal in economy.
          As far as I know, most airlines use planes with longer pitch for distances like Frankfurt-San Francisco, but smaller pitch for shorter transatlantic flights like Frankfurt-New York.

        3. TL -

          I think some of it can be if it’s an international flight or not, though – the flight from Auckland to Sydney is 3hr40 minutes hours but because it’s international, it’s got a meal and movies. The flight from Sydney to Perth, which is 4 hrs 10 min, doesn’t have either; neither does the flight from Auckland to Dunedin (just under 2 hrs but I think the longest direct flight in NZ.)

    5. Gatomon

      Fear – we’re deathly scared of 9/11 happening again, thus we have the TSA and REAL ID, bomb-sniffing dogs in the security lines, etc. etc.

      Time – America is huge and driving from one end to the other would eat up most of the vacation time we get for a year, right? Businesses also don’t want to pay employees to drive for days just to do a bit of work. So flying is kind of a necessity if you want to go somewhere. They know they have a certain captive audience who will simply have to put up with it.

      Money – When you see ads, it’s always about low cost fares. People sign up for credit cards to get travel awards. There are blogs dedicated to traveling with as little spent as possible. Overall we just care more about the advertised price than we do our comfort. They’ve learned we’re willing to take less with us to avoid a $25 checked bag fee, which means less fuel spent for them hauling baggage and more profit made.

      1. Luna lud

        The thing is, though, that airports in other countries also have real ID laws and security checks but the TSA is just one of the worst. Unless you pay for pre-check which is basically what going through normal security in other places is. But even with pre-check, you can still be randomly selected to go through regular security and it’s beyond annoying when it happens.

        And Americans are far from the only customers that care about price a lot, but they still end up paying a lot of money for flying in miserable conditions. It looks more like airlines greed and them trying to get away with as much as possible than anything. But I don’t know.

    6. Lora

      Some have gotten better. United and American and Southwest still suck, but JetBlue and Delta have gotten better. Delta has improved a lot recently.

      Otherwise, yeah, they just suck. As near as I can tell they tend to have chronic mismanagement and I would swear there’s executives skimming the till for what they charge vs what staff are paid.

      I take the train when I can, honestly. Business class Amtrak is much better, especially for short hops to NYC, DC, Baltimore.

      1. Luna lud

        I wish trains were an option for more routes! I’d gladly take the train to avoid the TSA but quite often it’s just not possible to reach my destination through train.

        1. nonegiven

          I looked into buses and trains, once. It seemed like I had to go 100s of miles out of my way to get somewhere, like 3 train changes, then a bus.

          1. Lora

            It depends on location really – I’m in New England and a lot of work travel or weekend travel for me is just back and forth between Boston – NYC – Baltimore – DC. Then I can Uber or get a rental car the rest of the way.

            The price for business/first class isn’t hugely more than regular price, you can get up and walk around to the snack car, the seats are super comfy and tilt way back if you go first class on the NorEaster (not Acela). You can plug in your phone/iPod to charge, set an alarm, turn on some soothing music and snooze the whole way. Or plug in a laptop and watch a movie. WiFi is free. You just show your ticket and walk on, with whatever snacks you like. Best of all, there is a Quiet Car and they enforce it. No phone calls, no screaming children, no drunk belligerent a-holes, nobody trying to talk to you. I love the Quiet Car so much, I would totally pay extra for a Quiet Plane but alas, it’s not a thing.

    7. only acting normal

      *Every* time I have flown on internal US flights my checked luggage has gone missing (temporarily, thank dog), and those are the *only* times my luggage has ever gone missing in a lifetime of flying all over.
      Add to that the time an internal flight was cancelled and they didn’t bother to announce *anything*, just changed the gate signs to the next flight, leaving the new gate staff dealing with lots of stressed out customers of a completely different airline. We missed our connection to an international flight because of that (and of course they lost both our bags).
      Yeah, US internal flights suck, and I say that as someone who has travelled RyanAir and EasyJet plenty of times in Europe, so I know what to expect from budget airlines. Better! I expect better!

    8. NforKnowledge

      It’s because US domestic flights are set up as regional monopolies, so there is limited competition from other airlines on any given route (international airlines are not allowed to fly US domestic routes at all), and hence awful, expensive service.
      Regional monopolies is also why US telecoms are generally substandard.

  44. Valancy Snaith

    Off to Montreal next weekend for a short little weekend jaunt! I haven’t been in several years and my husband never (other than briefly stopping for the night when moving cross-country), and it’s my first three-day stretch off work in ten months, AND it’s our first-ever multi-night trip that isn’t visiting family. I’m psyched! We’re planning excellent food, good shopping, and some wandering around seeing nice neighbourhoods.

    1. annakarina1

      That’s great! I’m currently in Montreal for a work trip, and while I haven’t done any sightseeing stuff (the last time I was there was ten years ago), I think it’s a cool and chill city, very laid-back. I hope you two have a fantastic time!

    2. D.W.

      Also, if you’re into Jamaican food, Mr. Patty is delicious! (5312 Patricia Ave, Montreal, QC H4V 1Z2, Canada)

      Whenever we go to Montreal we always stop there and stock up.

  45. Everdene

    Two of Oak and It’s good friends have split up. Jack and Jill have been together around 20 years, Oak met Jack a couple of years earlier and I met all 3 about a decade ago. We have all been couple friends and individual friends during this time.

    Jill was unhappy and left Jack about a month ago. Jack thinks she has met someone new as the kids mentioned going to Jimmy’s friend’s house for pizza. Jack and Jill weren’t friends with a Jimmy.

    At the moment it feels like Jill is the ‘bad guy’ but I/We still want to be friends. Jack is going to be Oak’s best man next year and Jack is the one to tell us. After we reached out to Jill she sent a holding message but nothing since.

    Is it possible to stay friends with both Jack and Jill? If so, how?

    1. Notapirate

      Breakups are rarely one sided. Everyone shares blame. Id try really hard to stay out of sides and shut down conversation that goes into its all jills fault territory. Try and schedule plans regularly with Jack and Jill separately. Also dont pass info about one to the other, and dont ambush them with eachother. It will get easier in time.

    2. WS

      It’s possible but you have to put up a wall. You can be Jill’s friend and Jack’s friend and these are two separate things. Never mention Jill to Jack or vice versa, and do not be a conduit of gossip (or even of relevant information). Working things out like adults, especially if they have kids, is up to them. You also can’t let Jack or Jill unload about the other one, which can be difficult early in a break-up! And definitely don’t paint one of them as the bad guy unless you know personally that there was abuse or deceit during the relationship.

  46. RedPsycho

    I’m wondering if anyone of you lovely people might be able to help me with a problem I’ve run into. I’m moving in with my boyfriend here soon, and for the life of me I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve never moved by myself before so I’m totally clueless. All the utilities are in my bf’s name so I’m not sure how to “prove” that Iive there. And even if I could prove it, I have no idea who to go through: the dmv? The post office? The internet? Can anyone tell this clueless 22 year old how and where to legally change my address?

    1. AvonLady Barksdale

      If you’re on the lease, that’s your first proof. Second, go to the US Postal Service website and fill out a forwarding address form (it may cost you a dollar, I forget) so your mail will get forwarded. The rest is just changing your address for things like your credit card (you can do that online with your bank) and your driver’s license, which you can usually do by going to your local DMV website. I don’t recall needing proof to change my mailing address, just to get local services like a library card.

      1. RedPsycho

        It’s not a lease, he actually owns the home so I can’t use that. Maybe I’m just overthinking it but I’ve always run into problems with the dmv so maybe I’m just expecting it to be more complicated than it actually will be. I’m also moving to a different state so I don’t know if that makes things more complicated or not.

        1. Natalie

          If you really wanted something official, you could just write out a 1 page lease (there’s probably a bunch of templates online for your city/state).

        2. Tris Prior

          Here, a utility bill works as proof of residency. Have him call the electric company, gas company, etc and ask them to add your name to the account. That is what my boyfriend did; we are both on the lease but sometimes I am asked for more than one proof.

      2. RedPsycho

        Idk I feel so lost. How do I go about getting a driver’s license for a new state? And how do I register my car in a new state? I’ve never done any of this before and I don’t really have anyone who knows how to help me so this is sort of my last resort

        1. Ranon

          It’s different state by state, look up your state’s dmv website and see if they have directions.

          Changing a credit card billing address usually doesn’t require any proof and will get you a bill to show proof of residency if you need it

        2. Pharmgirl

          Go to your states dmv or rmv website – there are links on how to get your new driver’s license and how to register your car from out of state. They usually have step by step instructions, along with a list of all documents you will need. Make sure you read those carefully and bring everything – if you’re missing something they won’t process the new license or registration. I’ve done this process twice – just make sure you understand what your new state requires, and everything will go smoothly. Good luck!

        3. AvonLady Barksdale

          The process is similar to getting the driver’s license you currently have, but most states (pretty sure) have reciprocity, so you wouldn’t have to take a driving test again. (I had to take a brief test about road signs when I moved but no driving test.) Do what Pharmgirl said– go to the new state’s DMV website, and it will almost always have a section called, “Moving to New State” with clear instructions about what to do.

        4. ronda

          you usually go to the dmv office (usually state) and the tag office (usually county office).

          Look for your new county online and they will have instructions and forms and locations and hours.
          They will list the kind of info you need to have / bring in.
          you usually have to have insurance on the car — maybe before they give you the tag. the website should include what you need to do.

          The post office used to provide a “moving kit” when you wanted to do a change of address.. It listed some of the stuff you probably need to do. you can probably find one online now.

          For some of your stuff currently (utilities), you probably paid a deposit when you signed up. When you call to cancel ask about it, they will pay it back to you.

          many cities have re-locations guides online that will list much of this stuff too.

        5. Seeking Second Childhood

          The part that snagged me when moving between states? That next April you will have to file income tax for both states, prorated for WHEN you move. I am not a great with paperwork so that was an unpleasant surprise. Now you’re forwarned.

    2. Jessen

      I’ve found you can usually change your bank account and credit cards with no hassle. Then just ask for them to send a statement to your address. Usually one bank or credit card statement works for proof for other stuff.

      1. WellRed

        Yeah, trust me. Credit card companies, etc don’t need proof of where you live to send you mail. They want to get paid. Also, get the change of address packet from the Post Office ( can probably get online). Do that now, it takes longer than you’d think.

    3. Lily Evans

      I had a similar situation when I was living with my parents and registering my car. Changing your address in most areas of life is easy. You can set a new address with the Post office online, no questions asked. You can change your address with your bank, also no questions asked. Voter registration, car registration, and getting a new license are the three times I’ve needed proof of where I lived. In the case of registering my car while living with my parents, What I ended up having to do was bring proof that my dad owned the home and a notarized letter he signed saying that I lived there. He also could have gone with me in person, but our town hall had screwy hours. Also every town and city are different with what they require. The town my parents lived in was pretty extreme. There was a small town I lived in where I brought all my proof of address stuff and the woman at the office decided that I seemed trustworthy and didn’t bother looking at it. Your town’s website should have all the information you need for what exactly to bring in those cases.

    4. RedPsycho

      Thank you everyone! I did look online (which I had done before, but thank you for pointing me to the right place), and found out the info I need. Thanks everyone, for being so helpful!

  47. Tee

    I’ve recently re-connected with some “estranged” relatives/family friends (my mom is nuts, so they haven’t contacted us in 10+ years, but over the summer they reached out to me) and I’m looking for some advice. Every interaction with them just feels a bit awkward for me, like I feel like I have to be very careful/delicate or else, I dunno, they’ll cut off contact again? It’s weird. I feel like I can’t be “myself” around these people yet and I mean, I can’t even be the “self” I am when I get to know new people in the world. Does that make any sense? (It’s probably too early). Anyway! Has anyone ever reconnected with family members and felt this awkwardness? Any advice for how to deal with it/get over it? I’m going to their house for dinner tomorrow and I keep thinking about how weird I feel about it all. I do want to reconnect with them, but I think I might be doing too much projecting here or something.

    1. Kathenus

      I reconnected with an estranged family member a year or so ago, and understand the awkwardness. What worked for us is we addressed it heads on and had a talk about it – what caused the estrangement, what each of our impressions/sides of the situation were, how we each felt about things. And were open that it was awkward, and that it would take time to get over feeling that we had to be ‘on’ and ‘polite’ all of the time. It got it out front and took one stress away that we talked about it openly. There was still the awkwardness of the situation, and it’s still not 100% natural yet, but putting it right on the table from the beginning was a huge help.

    2. WS

      It is awkward, but they’re probably feeling awkward too, worried that you’re suddenly going to start behaving like your mother or bringing her along or crossing whatever line she crossed that caused them to cut off contact – you and they have a history, but it’s got a big shadow over it! The fact that they’re inviting you into their home is a really good sign that they want to know you better and have a relationship with you as a person, not as “daughter of X”.

  48. The Ginger Ginger

    House plants!
    I just moved to a new apartment that actually has enough room (and maybe light?) to get some house plants! I’m very excited, but also….I have a bad record with keeping plants alive. I’ve done some googling and what not, but anyone here have recommendations for a newbie to the plant world who just might have a black thumb?

    I even have a hook in my ceiling so I can get something that hangs!!

    1. The Ginger Ginger

      Advice and tips also welcome, of course. Online resources, etc. Lay all the knowledge on me!

      1. StrikingFalcon

        Orchids?? I wouldn’t consider those a beginner plant.

        I recommend spider plants. They were my first plants and they are awfully hard to kill. You can’t over water them and they tolerate being forgotten for a while too.

      1. GhostWriter

        Seconding spider plants. They’re super cool to hang from ceilings because the offshoots with the babies get so long, and if your plant starts to die you can trim off a few babies and try to grow a new one.

      1. GhostWriter

        I’ve had a lot of success with lucky bamboo too. You can order stalks off Amazon now–very convenient.

        1. Not a cat

          My cat stripped my Lucky Bamboo down to a stick and then threw up the leaves on the table. Not so lucky :)

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise

      ZZ plants – nice glossy leaves, flexible on water

      Snake plants – spiky long leaves, hard to kill

    3. Cosette

      I am a plant killer from way back. I have also killed succulents. But the one I can keep going, surprisingly, is a peace lily. I just water it when I notice the leaves are starting to droop and within a day he’s perked right back up! I do try to remember to water him more often than that, but droopy leaves is the sign I have forgotten about him again! Good luck!

    4. Natalie

      Pothos – they droop very obviously when they need water and perk right back up when they get it. You can cut the vines back as much as you want without hurting them. (And if you put the cuttings in water, they’ll grow roots, and voila you have a new plant.)

  49. Amadeo

    Since I tend to just get a lecture from my parents when I ask their thoughts/advice on this topic, I shall ask here!

    I feel as though I am approaching a crossroads at last. I’ve been living with my parents for almost the last 10 years because of financial issues. I graduated college in 2008, at the age of 28, right smack in the middle of the recession. Took me months to find a job in my profession and it paid $9 an hour and I was still lucky because a few of my classmates did not get even that little bit of luck. It was not enough for me to continue living on my own, so I moved home and have been struggling to leave ever since. I finally landed a job that pays a livable wage a couple years ago and almost have my last student loan paid off and can at last begin to think about getting back into my own space.

    I have pets, and it is very important to me to get another german shepherd when I leave. I can’t right now without an epic screaming match in this house with my father, and frankly I don’t have the energy for that. So I’ve come to the question – do I rent for a little while, which will make saving a down payment for a house go more slowly, thought it seems a safer option? It means struggling a little bit to find a place that will allow the dog (cats never seem to be an issue), not impossible, just a little more difficult, but still isn’t quite my own space.

    Do I hang out here a smidge longer, pay off the last of my big loan (which I think I’ll do next month anyway) and then dump everything extra into savings for a home down payment? Obviously each option has pros and cons, what do you guys think?

    1. CBE

      If you can get the student loan paid and a down payment saved in 6-12 months or so, I’d do that. But I would have a plan, a target date, and I’d be looking at properties to keep myself motivated. Probably also a visual chart somewhere I could see it and see how close I am to my goal.
      Longer than that and I would look for a dog friendly place to rent.

      1. Amadeo

        I can pay off the loan next month. I think I’m going to just go ahead and do it so I can start saving big again. I have a truck payment too, but it’s not too bad. The interest is worlds better than the student loan interest. Once the student loan is paid off, I can start saving close to a grand a month again, if not a little bit more.

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      +1 on hanging in there and getting the big loan paid off.

      Also recommend that you start the process of looking at the first time homebuyer programs in your area, making sure your credit is set up and ready (there are some great forums at FICO on score and home buying), and take all the steps you need. For example, here, the credit unions have the best rates in “some” cases, but you have to become a member. Some of the banks require a first-time homebuyer class. The city I’m in has a first time homebuyer program – again, a class/orientation/ application process. You will also have to look at your budget and allocate out the property taxes, PMI (unless you have 20% down), repair/maintenance budget fund, any homeowner dues, etc… and the new-to-you utility bills you may not have on your radar. (My trash bill? the astronomical water bill I had when the drought hit… etc). All of this takes research and time/planning. Use this window to do that work. You’ll get out of there much faster and each of these tasks can be empowering for your forward moment to leave.

      So if you are serious about getting a house (and love my doggie, so I understand), you will have a long lead time and can use some of the mental energy you are expending on the conversations with parents, and shift it to getting yourself educated and through the preliminary education steps.

      You don’t have to talk to them about it; you just do it. You can, if you need a talking point, just say you are “working on making sure your credit is good” while you finish up paying off the school loans. Not that you should have to tell them at all your “long range” plans. Because – this is another conversation – sometimes, people are so against having you change, that they will shoot down, minimize or outright sabotage any efforts you make. After 10 years, they are likely very invested in the status quo, and change is scary. Get your ducks in a row and save the tough conversation for when you’ve made up your mind and are ‘really’ ready. It is likely they never will be completely on board.

    3. LilySparrow

      Well, what’s the lecture?

      If your parents aren’t on board with an indefinite stay (and especially if you aren’t paying them rent), I think that should be a larger consideration than having room for a dog. Much larger. Because by any measure, you are a grown-up person and it’s their house, so if they want you to go sooner, that is the ethical thing to do. Enthusiastic consent applies everywhere.

      And if they are pressing you to stay against your better judgment, and using notions like “but dog” and “but downpayment” to make you question your decision, well that’s even more reason to move out sooner. That’s a boundary problem.

      I’d just encourage you to examine why you have erected so many hurdles for yourself to jump before you will allow yourself to move out?

      You obviously have an imperfect living situation now, or you wouldn’t be looking to move at all.
      Wherever you move to, it will also be imperfect. Some of the imperfections will be different, some will be the same as you have now.

      When I read your question, it sounds like you are seriously underestimating the effort and costs associated with moving, and especially the time & expense of finding a house and owning a home. If you are still paying off debt and don’t have any savings, it’s not going to be “a smidge” longer to save up a down payment, closing costs, the cost of furnishing a home, insurance, repairs, tools & yard equipment, etc. If you’re just now earning a living wage, it could take a couple of years to save all that up.

      That you have not lived independently for any significant time since graduation, and the major consideration you mentioned about buying vs renting is the breed of dog you want to get – that makes me wonder how realistic a plan you have.

      Based solely on what you’ve said here, I think moving into an apartment would be an important first step to acclimate to the expenses & workload, before jumping in the deep end of acquiring property & furnishing & maintaining it all from scratch.

      But ultimately there is no “right” answer. It’s just up to you to evaluate what benefits of moving earlier or later (possibly years later) outweigh the risks and downsides. Nobody else can determine those tolerances for you. (Again, assuming your folks don’t mind. If they want you out, you should already be apartment hunting and making a budget for your security deposit + 1st months rent)

      For me, I worked everything from temp reception to light industrial, to outdoor manual labor, and lived in shoebox apartments, with multiple roommates, sometimes with spiders, once (briefly) with rats. Because to me, the sheer facts of independence and being in the cities I wanted to be were worth it. That may have been foolish – my folks were willing to let me live at home rent free indefinitely, and were nice non-abusive people. I’d probably have a much larger IRA right now if I’d taken them up on it.

      I don’t think my priorities were better or worse than anyone else’s. It’s just an example that priorities differ, and always have tradeoffs.

      But your tradeoffs are up to you. What will you gain by moving out, and what are you willing to give up?

      1. Amadeo

        Maybe it’s just my mood today, but this feels a little condescending. I’ve moved several times in my life and lived on my own several years before having to come back home. I’m aware of the work and expense of taking care of my own place. A ‘smidge’ is mildly sarcastic.

        I am living here rent free, and we don’t really have boundary issues other than the occasional locking of horns my father and I have because we are so much alike. I do stuff around the house and buy some groceries/household things and all three of us have full time jobs (and me a side business, which includes doing some vinyl cutting for Dad that I just…do). We have a bit of a space crunch, and frankly I’d like my own space back, but my animals are also pretty high on my priority list. For me it’s ‘what’s the point of moving someplace where I’m under the exact same constraints as here, and paying for it too?’. The issue with discussing it with the ‘rents is overcautiousness and hemming and hawing. Some days they’ll gleefully point out house or apartment listings, and then others waffle about the prospect of my moving. I am slowly reaching the point where I just do my own thing anyway, but still bouncing it off them/the rest of my immediate family because I don’t have anybody else (like an SO) to mull over decisions with.

        1. Cat Herder

          Well, Amedeo, that’s unfair, because what you just said is not in your original post. “Smidge” is the term you used. And I too was struck by your statements that the most important thing was to get a German shepherd but you couldn’t bring it up now because you and your dad would have an epic screaming match. Maybe you were exaggerating but we have no way to know that — we have to go in what you say.

          1. LilySparrow

            Yup, if you’ll note, I said at least once that I’m going off what you wrote. Which was that you graduated ten years ago, and have lived with your parents for almost ten years. And that you have struggled to earn your keep and pay off your debts, and only recently started earning a living wage.

            Then there was your reply later that you’d be able to save $1k a month, but seemed to think you’d be able to afford a house in a short timeframe.

            Given all that, I was actually trying very hard not to sound condescending.

        2. Colette

          How much of the house maintenance are you responsible for (noticing there is a problem, as well as fixing it)? What about cleaning and other upkeep?

          What is the difference between rent and the equivalent if you buy (mortgage + property taxes + upkeep + utilities that are included with rent)?

          How secure is your job, and how many months of savings do you have?

          How likely are you to want to move in the next 5 years?

          Buying is great – you get a lot more flexibility – but it’s also a big financial commitment, and it’s not something you can just walk away from without consequences.

          If you have a good down payment + six months of essential expenses in savings + closing costs, and if you’re planning to stay where you are for several years, buying may make sense. Otherwise, it’s pretty risky.

    4. Close Bracket

      Re: renting and German Shepards

      I have wanted a German Shepard since 2001, when I finally finished school and got a career type position. I could not find an apartment that allowed German Shepards. I have done a fair amount of apartment shopping lately, and I still can’t find complexes that allow German Shepards. Either they have weight restrictions or breed restrictions. If you rent a detached house, it might be less of a problem, but you will have to compare cost of rent on houses vs apartments.

      If you are thinking of rescue dogs, many rescues require something in writing saying that you are allowed a German Shepard specifically, and many of them don’t want to adopt out to apartment dwellers anyway.

      If you can stand it, I advise continuing to live with the ‘rents until you can afford to buy. Then you can have all the German Shepards you want.

      I’m still dreaming of the say I can get one. I saw a picture on Instagram of a black, fluffy cat cuddling with a black, fluffy GSD, and it gave me that feeling inside that some women describe having when they see babies.

      1. Green Kangaroo

        Unfortunately, many homeowners’ insurance companies have GSDs on their deny list, so that’s something to be watchful of, as well.

      2. ronda

        it is hard to find locations that take large dogs…. I think 25 years ago when I was looking for a place I found 2 apartment complexes in my large city that allowed large dogs.
        I had a doberman at the time and this particular place didnt mind. my neighbor had a german shepard.

        I also couldnt tell from the original post, but it seemed like he might have been saying he wanted multiple german shepards. Most also restrict the number of pets you can have.

        So I think you need to check on the apartments in the area and see if any allow the dog. If not, then house rental or house buying are the options. Generally…. I think economically buying a house and renting a house come out about the same…… if it was not close to balanced everyone would be doing one of the options because the economic benefits were so much greater (that is the way market economies work).

    5. HannahS

      It sounds like the two things you’re juggling between are “buy a house” and “get a dog,” and you need to decide which one you want first. Take a look at real estate listings and your finances and see how long it’ll take for you to save a down-payment, and then see if waiting that long to get a dog seems intolerable. If it does, look at apartment listings and calculate how long it would take you to save for a down payment, adding in the cost of a dog.
      I’m in a weird, semi-expensive area (and working in Canadian dollars) and here, having a grand a month would cover rent and utilities for a pretty gross 1 bedroom apartment in a 60 year-old building, one parking spot, and nothing left over for savings (or the laundry machine, or toilet paper, or vet bills). A downpayment for a bungalow in a mediocre part of town, though, could be saved in about a year, and less for a condo.

      1. Slartibartfast

        In the US, if you have your heart set on a German Shepherd, get the house first. They’re one of the top 3 restricted breeds for renting and for homeowner’s insurance. People used to mistreat them and make them aggressive for ‘protection’, much like pitbulls today. Another case of “this is why we can’t have nice things”, stupid people ruining it for everyone.

      2. valentine

        I didn’t know leases restrict breeds. Renting will get you out sooner, away from someone who screams at you and people who don’t support your goal to leave, and give you the safety net of semi-communal living, having maintenance covered, not having to mow or to shovel sidewalks, and problems not being yours alone.

    6. StudentA

      Where is the conflict between you and your parents? What is it that they are lecturing you about when it comes to this topic?

      Personally, I don’t think the stigma associated with living with parents is warranted. However, I am a stickler for contributing financially and in the housework. I don’t care if the mortgage is paid in full. Unless the son or daughter is in dire straits, they need to contribute; the parents can use the money for bills, house maintenance or saving it for their retirement.

      Outside of that, I am a proponent of living with parents, as long as it’s a healthy situation. Of course, it’s also healthy to be independent and have your own place :) Which is actually not as contradictory as it sounds — in either situation, one can live a healthy situation or not. But there is nothing wrong with living with parents in and of itself.

    7. Not So NewReader

      It’s reasonable to assume that if you decided today to move out, it will probably take you longer than a month to find a place and get moved in. Buying a house would even be a much longer process. Since you have one more month to go on your loan you might just as well pay that off and get that out of the way.

      If you don’t want to move then don’t move. I can’t tell from your post if you want to leave or not. No matter where you live there will be trade-offs. One place will allow A but not B, the next place will allow B but not A.

      We waited until we had a house before we got a dog. But because we had the house we could only support one dog not several. This is all trade-offs. I used to buy brand new clothes, now not so much. I have to make sure my little buddy has food and vet care. More trade-offs.

      So you are figuring out if something Over There is of more value to you than What You Have Now. In the end we are just making our best guesses. I got rid of my old car because a newer one seemed of more value to me. The guy who bought my car said he has only put $90 into the vehicle since he bought it two years ago. I just sunk $400 into my vehicle last week. I made my best guess at that time and did what I thought might work out better for me. Living does cost money, that is for sure. If you move have a clear definition of why you are moving. If you stay have definite reasons why you are staying.

  50. Nicole76

    My two year old dog has suddenly decided she has a taste for carpet.

    It started after she vomited on a spot that I had thought I cleaned thoroughly. She ripped a quarter-sized hole in it and ingested all the fibers. I covered it with my desk chair wheel (since it was under my desk by her bed where she sleeps) and a few days later she created a similar sized hole near the original one. That same evening I bought plastic runner to cover both holes to prevent any further damage while we decide what to do about this. As luck would have it, we discarded the extra carpet roll we had stored in the garage for many years about a year or so before we got a dog thinking it was taking up valuable space and wasn’t needed. Wish we hadn’t done that (although we do have a closet we can remove some from to patch the area).

    Last night, I heard a strange noise and jumped up from the couch to find her trying to create another hole somewhere in that general vicinity (she moved when she heard me coming but had carpet in her mouth). What the heck? She has been SO good about not destroying anything for quite a long time after outgrowing the puppy chewing phase so I don’t understand why she’s doing this now. Also, she doesn’t do it when we’re not home, only when someone is in the house but not where they can see and catch her in the act. Luckily I have really good hearing and heard that strange noise over the sound of the TV last night.

    Any thoughts? I’ve gone back to locking her in the kitchen at night but I feel bad because I know she loves sleeping in her bed under my desk. However, short of ripping out the carpeting in the living room and installing hardwood, I’m not sure what to do. It makes me worry she’s going to suddenly decide to wants to eat other things she’s previously left alone as well. I’m just not sure how I can break her of the habit and trust her again to have free reign of the downstairs.

    1. Jessen

      First thing I’d do is take her in to the vet. Sometimes sudden urges to eat non-food items can be a sign of a problem.

    2. Kathenus

      Agree with Jessen on the vet visit being important.

      Also make sure that she has a wide variety of chew toys, and give her food in interesting/time consuming ways – multiple bowls throughout the house, slow feeders, kong toys, etc. Give her appropriate outlets for chewing behaviors and to occupy her time so she’s hopefully less likely to exhibit these in damaging ways.

    3. Natalie

      In the immediate term, while you’re working on the behavioral stuff, you could try bitter apple spray to discourage chewing. It tastes crappy to dogs so they’ll avoid eating it. (Although it doesn’t work on some dogs, so no guarantees.)

      1. Chaordic One

        My dog hates the smell of Lysol, so I spray areas where he’s been naughty to keep him away from there. I do have to respray every few days. (But it probably wouldn’t work for all dogs, either.)

    4. Drop Bear

      My dog started doing this and it turned out she had a broken tooth – the vet said it was probably something about the texture of the carpet that relieved the pain – so I second (third?) the advice to get a vet check.
      If it turns out to be behavioural and it’s only when you’re home – which makes it seem almost attention seeking maybe – and spraying the carpet with a nasty scent doesn’t work, you could try deterrent spraying with water – I’m not a fan of it (too much of a softy for the big guilt trip eyes!) but it can work.

      1. Natalie

        Another deterrent option is a can filled with rocks – shake it hard so it makes a loud noise, most dogs don’t care for that.

    5. Susan Sto Helit

      Thirded with the vet visit. My dog has occasionally eaten things like handbag straps and blind cords (which all came through, thank goodness) when he’s been feeling sick and can’t get outside to eat grass.

    6. Mallory

      Maybe there are critters in the floor under the rug? Is she actively eating it vs trying to rip it up? My dog pulled this but it turned out there was a dead hamster in the crawl space underneath.

  51. Ecoterrified

    So, I read the IPCC report on climate change this week, and while I am trying to do everything I can (no driving, home enrgy efficiency, vegetarianism, political action), I still feel like I’ve been diagnosed with a terminal disease, and I am so terrified and panicked I find it difficult to live my life. Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for dealing with this?

    1. Ender Wiggin

      I think if you’re that panicked or terrified about ANYTHING you should see a counsellor. I’m not suggesting you are mentally ill to be concerned about climate change – it’s genuinely concerning, but if your concern is that extreme it sounds like thou could do with learning some techniques to control how it affects your life. A counsellor can help with that.

      Other than that – try to figure out what exactly it is that’s worrying you. Are you concerned about the impact on you personally? If a you can mitigate that somewhat by making sure you live well above sea level in an area that’s pretty robust, by getting your house as sustainable as possible (eg thermal solar panels). By living in a sustainable community even. There are all sorts of ways you can mitigate the impact on yourself personally.

      If your concern is more general – you’re worried about the impact on poverty stricken countries or endangered animals for example, then there’s less you can do unfortunately other than what you’re already doing – try to live as low carbon as you can and vote for environmentally friendly representatives.

      1. LilySparrow

        Seconding.

        Panic and anxiety that prevent you from living your life are a separate issue from the topic or focus of that anxiety. It’s not about how real or how valid your anxieties are – it’s about the impact on your body and mind.

        If your feelings on this are interfering with sleep, work, staying properly fed and exercised, relationships, self-care, long-term planning, and so forth – then it’s important to look at that stress level as a medical issue and get some help bringing it down to a sustainable level.

        To use your “terminal disease” analogy, that’s exactly what caregivers for the seriously/terminally ill have to do. I’m not saying it’s not real or not worth your concern. But you have to treat your symptoms to avoid collapsing.

        1. Not So NewReader

          Agreeing with both previous posters here.

          Sometimes an over all fear can be symptomatic of a more personal fear. One thing that jumped at me is are you doing enough to save YOU? I see you doing all these things to save the planet but what are you doing for your own self-care? I have seen it here so many times where someone says, “put your own oxygen mask on first.”

          My suggestion is to look around and see what you can do better in the self-care department. We all have things that we can work at, so there is nothing unusual about beefing up something we are doing.

    2. Ranon

      I’ve started reading the preview chapters that are available of Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization in the United States (it’s not lively reading but I find it much more helpful to be reading about solutions rather than problems). Emily Nagoski also put out piece after the 2016 election called Despair, and its Cure that you might find helpful (unlike a lot of her work this one is SFW).

      It also helps to find a community, especially one that’s working to achieve change- it’s amazing how much it helps to know other people are working too. Maybe start a garden and get really into soil health? Lots of mental health benefits plus soil organic matter is a carbon sink, win-win.

      1. Ecoterrified

        These are both helpful reads for sure. I’m trying my best, and community would probably help. It’s just making me so scared both personally and for the world, and so ineffective feeling (very Despair, and its cure-esque).

        1. Ranon

          Community is huge. You are not doing this alone, and efforts are multiplied when you work with other people. You might like Citizen’s Climate Lobby- they’re primarily focused on legislation for carbon fee & dividend but one of their principles is optimism, and it’s a good one- you get a lot more action from hopeful people than despairing ones.

    3. Rick Tq

      Read the older reports and you will see the same Doomsday warnings for years and years, going back to 1970 at least. In the 80s and 90s Global Cooling was going to kill us all. In the 70s it was Malthusian Famine!!!! in 20 years.

      This is the latest Urgent Crisis That Requires Government Intervention!!!!!

      Funny how everyone flies in to these conferences instead of using video.

    4. Susan Sto Helit

      I have sooo much sympathy. I try to do what I can, and I try to think to myself “anxiety which is encouraging you to change can have a positive outcome, but you have devoted enough brain space to this today” and then do something nice. But that’s by no means an all-encompassing strategy and much easier said than done.

      Positive action (campaigning, planting a garden, growing veg, donating to eco charities if you can) is great for you and the planet. I know it seems really hard to do sometimes – “I really want to buy these plants but they’re in plastic pots! I want to drive less but public transport here is sh*t!” – but any small positive change you make is still a positive change. I am still having trouble accepting that there are things I can’t fix, and that’s where the therapy that other commenters have suggested is invaluable. By looking after yourself, you are putting yourself in the best frame of mind to make changes.

      Also, talk about it with other people. I’ve found that has helped a lot, even finding that others are having exactly the same thoughts as I am. We’re having unseasonably warm weather here in the UK and I’m getting fed up of people saying “What lovely weather! Unusual, but mustn’t grumble!”, so a personal goal of mine has been to try to say to people “actually, we should be grumbling, and loudly, so that the people who make decisions can hear us!”

      I hope that didn’t come across as a mindless rant, and I hope it helps.

    5. The Librarian (not the type from TNT)

      I’m so much in the same boat as you. Climate change terrified me even before the report.

      Other than trying my best to do my part to not add to the problem personally, one thing I keep telling myself to try to comfort myself is that David Bowie sang in 1972 that we all had just five years left. It’s 2018, and we’re all still here.

  52. Beth Jacobs

    What are your tips, tricks and strategies for keeping your home clean and tidy?

    My parents were super messy and when I lived with them, so was I. It was pretty bad – like I’d just throw soda bottles on the floor, because it felt like the easiest thing to do. Once I left for uni, it kinda threw me out of those habits and I became a normallishly clean person – though it also helped that the common areas of the dorm were done by a cleaner. Now that I’m living in a shared flat with a friend, the place is sparkling clean. But I’ve only been living outside uni accommodation for four months, so I’m a bit worried about slipping back into bad habits.

    The main thing I’ve found is not to procrastinate clean up – do the dishes after every meal and snack, scrub the bathroom every Sunday, put your clothes away every night. Also, have all the right supplies – like we didn’t have gloves in our home growing up, so I wouldn’t even think of using harsh chemicals – so that’s why I always make sure I’m fully stocked now. What’s your techniques?

    1. Nicole76

      Basically sticking to a schedule and like you noted, cleaning up things either directly after a meal or that evening before going to bed. Having designated places for items such as mail keeps that clutter to a minimum. The less things pile up the less overwhelming it feels to have to tidy up.

    2. Diluted_TortoiseShell

      My suggestion is to be as messy as your are comfortable witt without imposing on others. If you stress about having clothes on the floor in your room then by all means pick them up. But it sounds like you are holding yourself to a super clean standard.

      I consider myself “normal clean” and at our house (which has a stay at home spouse) there are:
      a few dirty cups on the counter.
      some dirty dishes soaking in the sink.
      some jackets tossed over the back of the couch
      and an odd wrapper here and there on items like desks/end tables.
      unsorted papers on the table.
      and a clean but not scrubbed bathroom. Wiped down and scrubbed toilet sure, but there is a bit of dust in the corners and some soap stains on the curtain.

    3. Parenthetically

      Set the timer and get going, is my method. I do the Unfuck Your Habitat way, 20 minutes of work and 10 minutes of rest. The thing that makes the biggest difference day to day is the rule “Don’t put it down, put it away.” It’s a waste of energy to move something twice, so I just try not to. It’s harder with a toddler, but I still give it a shot.

      1. Beth Jacobs

        Don’t put it down, put it away is such a great rule! I first heard about it from a general skills section of the cook book and it’s so true – while that jar of mayo is still in your hand, just put it in the fridge. Thanks :)

    4. Jessen

      Oddly, one thing I’m finding helpful is lots of trash cans. Like, one in every room, one right by where you eat, all that. Same for storage options for small items that you need in different places. The closer the place for it to go, the less temptation to put it down.

    5. Aphrodite

      I have made the phrase “don’t put it down, put it away” my mantra. I can’t say I do it all the time but I would say about 95 percent of the time I do. When I come in the house with groceries or house stuff I take time to put it all away immediately and then store the bags (fabric ones back in the car’s trunk, any paper or plastic ones in a space to use for used cat litter later). Nothing waits. If I use a scissors I put it back immediately when I am done even if it means going in another room. If I want to wash my sheets I put them in the washer immediately upon removing them from the bed so I can start the load as soon as I walk in the door from work. My mailbox is at the end of my driveway so I get it when I get home, sort it as I walk back, put all the junk and other recyclables in the recycle bin and only bring into the house the magazines I want and the bills, which I then pay with my credit union’s Bill Payer feature within a couple of hours. Then those are shredded for the small recycle box I have in the house to go out the next day.

      In other words, I don’t let things pile up. Anywhere. At any time. It is so, so easy to think you’ll do “it” later but it’s exactly that mindset that leads to messiness and piles of stuff that makes you feel as if you live in a never-ending, cluttered mess where you can never find anything.

    6. cat socks

      I always recommend the site Unf*ck Your Habitat for practical cleaning advice.

      On an unrelated note, I recently fell down the rabbit hole of watching cleaning videos on YouTube. Sometimes that helps me get motivated.

    7. Elizabeth W.

      I find that decluttering is a big help. I live in a small house and it’s so much easier to tidy up when I have less stuff. I had a garage sale recently and got rid of a bunch of crap; now I’m unloading more via Facebook Marketplace, etc. If I end up moving, I’ll probably have an “EVERYTHING MUST GO” sale and dump the rest.

      1. Washi

        Same to keeping things simple. When we moved in together, husband had a million beloved knicknacks he wanted on display at all times, but since I’m the one who does the dusting and most of the tidying, I had to veto that. I told him he could pick a few at a time to display on each surface and that has worked well for us, plus over the years he has discovered that some things he never missed once they were packed away, and ended up getting rid of them.

        1. Elizabeth W.

          This is exactly how I’m doing it–have I looked at it or used it in the last two years? No? Then it’s gone.

          The exception is my craft stuff, although I did unload some miniatures I am NEVER going to do anything with. This has empowered me to either unload more or finish something, LOL.

    8. matcha123

      My place is very small, about 220sq ft. I have had to force myself into a routine. The more I stick to it, the faster and easier it’s become.
      I try to wash all my dishes before bed. If I see dust or hair on the floor, I go after it with my swiffer.
      Clothing gets washed almost every morning and when it dries, I fold it immediately. I also try to put it away asap.
      Living in a tiny place means that the stray book or bag that wouldn’t be anything to worry about in a larger place, is a huge ‘mess’ here.

    9. valentine

      I like the KonMari method of bagging/boxing/shelving stuff so it’s only out while you’re interacting with it. If you’re in an apartment, take the trash out every time you leave. Keep foodstuffs, especially trash, in the kitchen. Due to chronic pain, my dishware/flatware lives in the dishwasher unless I am feeling spry enough to store it.

  53. Notapirate

    Anyone have any experience getting rid of carpet beetles? The weather just turned here and they seem to have come inside. I live in an apartment so not a lot i can do on the outside inside barrier. I have that diametreous earth from dealing with ants in an old place. Hardwood floors. I did 5 loads of laundry, washed my rugs and bedding and all.

    1. fposte

      Oh, I lost a pile of wonderful clothes to carpet beetles–apparently what a lot of people think is moth damage is really carpet beetles. As you may already know, merely washing isn’t sufficient for clothes–you need sustained dry heat (IIRC I was told an hour in the dryer for dry items) or even longer freezing temps (72 hours) or dry cleaning. Honestly, I would call in a good professional and get sprayed; also consider the vulnerability of any upholstered furniture you have (mine clearly were in one chair, so I had that on-site cleaned by a service). If you can get some sample insects (I scotch-taped them) that will help confirm the pest ID. Especially with an apartment, what you want to do is kill any existing eggs and also minimize new entry. They’re endemic in most areas, so you can’t eradicate them completely, but you can mostly keep them out of your stuff if you take strong action.

  54. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

    I’m at an autumn destination wedding that will be completely outdoors this afternoon and the weather will be 65 degrees changing to 58 degrees during the cake cutting, brrr! I get cold very easily so I have an outfit, stockings, leggings, winter sweater, jacket.

    Also, there is NO indoors option. Indoors is closed entirely except for outdoor restrooms attached to said building.

    Anything else to bring with me? I’m not a fan of cold weather….

    1. Parenthetically

      Pocket hand-warmers? A scarf?

      My outdoor wedding was pretty chilly but we had hot cider and fires for people to sit around!

    2. Notapirate

      You can get charcoal or chemical handwarmers. You expose them to air and they start heating up, lasts 2 to 3 hours. Life savers, tuck them in your gloves or pocket or boots.

      1. Julia

        If you have an Asian store near you, the Japanese ones tend to last for up to eight hours and are so hot you might get burn if you put them directly on the skin. (They needed to come up with those because houses in Japan have zero warmth insulation.)

    3. Dr. Anonymous

      I think this is exactly what a warm scarf looks a pashmina is for and perhaps a lovely felt hat.

    4. Jaid_Diah

      ThermaCare patches. Stick ’em on your back and belly and the heat will last around six to eight hours.

  55. Windchime

    The tissue paper pic is so cute. My cat ADORES tissue paper. His favorite game (in general) is when I hide one of his toys under something. So he completely loses his mind with joy when a toy or emery board (his favorite thing) is hidden under or loosely wrapped within a piece of tissue paper. It will keep him busy for many minutes. I’ve even seen him push a toy under the paper himself, just so he can have the joy of “finding” it again.

    1. Anon anony

      +1 My cat also loves tissue paper. He likes to sit on it and knead it a little so he makes a lot of noise. I also put toys on or under it and he goes bonkers over them! I’ll also take his feather stick and run it under the paper and he likes to attack!!

  56. Gaia

    So, my hobby is family history and mine is full of characters (my favorite is definitely the Busby line and their complete and utter disregard for acceptable social behavior of their time. Seriously, it is multigenerational awesomeness and explains soooo much about my family!)

    But here is my rant: people do not take genealogy research seriously. And I don’t mean people who don’t really care so aren’t into it, I mean people who do it on websites. The number of outright errors is insane, and people take these “records” as fact. For example: my GGG-Grandfather is Green Busby. 9 out of 10 people that show him in their family trees show him married to a woman who would have been 7 when their first child was born. They have her year of birth in there and not one person questioned if that seemed realistic. In fact, the person they list as his wife is actually his daughter and was named after his mother-in-law. The records to show this (vital records and church records) exist, are online, and free to access.

    I cannot count the number of times I’ve been told I’m wrong because “my grandpa told me his grand dad was X” when I say he was Y. Except “so and so told me” doesn’t outweigh “pile of legal documents clearly showing otherwise.” Family lore and history has a place in genealogy but should be treated as just that, lore. This is especially true when there is no documentation to back it up and no living witnesses.

    1. Gaia

      On a more personal note – I’m so frustrated with one particular line. I am related to the descendants of Henry Smith (puritan settler of Boston Colony in the 1620s)….possibly. I am definitely a descendant of Ransler Van Buren Smith whose son was Abner Turner Smith who, in turn, had a son Benjamin Franklin Smith. I am 99.7% sure Ransler’s father was Benjamin Franklin Smith (they seemed to follow eachother West to Illinois and the name pattern is interesting enough to indicate at least a relationship of some sort) but I cannot – for the life of me – find the birth record of Ransler or a will for Benj F Smith (elder) and the census records of the late 1700s and early 1800s didn’t list names of anyone other than the Head. I know Ransler was born in New York but the state doesn’t have records that old on hand.

      One gap in a 16 generation line. And it is driving me INSANE!

      1. CoffeeOnMyMind

        You may have already done this, but have you looked up family bibles or church records? They might have that information, since early records may not have been kept. You could also check bastardy bonds or court records – they sometimes list bastardy cases and names. I don’t mean to imply that your ancestors weren’t married at the time, I’m just suggesting other record groups that may have the information you’re looking for. Cemetery surveys is another possibility, if you can locate your ancestor’s grave; the headstone might have a birth date or age.

        This might be a long shot, but if your ancestor served in a war (like the war of 1812, etc) you could try pension records or pension applications. The applications will include the persons age, if you’re trying to pin down a birth year. I’d check federal and state pension records to see who has what, especially if you’re not sure which state a pension was filed through. Good luck!

        1. Gaia

          Thanks for the info – sadly, this particular person just falls into a weird gap. His father served in the Revolution and he served in 1812 but his father didn’t claim his pension until after Ransler died and Ransler never claimed a pension.

          I’ve not been able to find a family bible that includes him and it appears they were in a very remote area that didn’t likely have a local church to keep records easily. New York state records before the late 1800s are surprisingly hard to come by in general. I’m hoping the Utica Library will have something.

          Also, no offense by the suggestion that ancestors may not have been married. One thing this research has made very clear: that wasn’t as uncommon as we tend to believe (at least in my family! Ha!)

    2. Wicked Witch of the West

      Yup. One person will enter incorrect information in their line, and then other people pick it up and run with it. It is especially annoying to me when the person spreading the bad info isn’t even in that line. I never accept some random person’s entry regarding one of my relatives. Show me paper!

      1. Gaia

        I’m the same. I’ll look at an entry on someone else’s history (because sometimes they have really great documents that their family maintained and that exist nowhere else!) but if there isn’t actual documents (and not just “I saw this at the library and this is what it said” but actual scanned copies) I don’t trust it until I can document it. I’ve sadly had to cut off some lines quite early because I was pretty sure I knew something but it just couldn’t be verified.

    3. CoffeeOnMyMind

      I understand your frustration. I used to work in a public archives and I’d see this all the time. Oral history and the written record don’t always match. I’ve witnessed people flat out reject the official document (will, court records, death certificate, diary, etc) in front of them because it doesn’t align with what was orally passed down through the generations. I’ve learned that you can’t make people believe what they don’t want to believe. Upset patrons even tried to get me to change the official record so that it’d match their family’s oral tradition, because they insisted that the record was wrong. I learned very quickly that all I could do was point people to the records, and let them make their own conclusions, rightly or wrongly.

      1. Gaia

        In another part of my family we have this story that my great grandfather was Sicilian and came to America at 14 after his father abandoned the family and took off to South Africa. There is speculation of mafia involvement. Because…Italy?

        Not a single word of that is true. In fact, he was abandoned at birth and raised by a family in the next town over in the northern part of Italy. He came here at 18 and the man he called his father (who raised him) never left the family. I have no idea where this story came from (it didn’t come from him, he never talked about his life before coming here. I can’t imagine it was a happy life considering the societal implications of being a proietti) in just two generations. But when I correct people (and show them the actual documentation they just brush it off and say I must be mistaken. Okay, sure. I have pictures of him on the farm he was raised and and have spoken extensively to the children of his adopted siblings. But yea, I’m mistaken.

        1. Wicked Witch of the West

          The wilder the story, the less likely it is true. My great grandfather “died in Mexico” in 1906, circumstances unknown. The real story is great grandma divorced him in 1906 (I have copies of the papers from the relevant courthouse). I also have paper showing him registering for the “old man’s draft” in 1918, and a photo of his second wife with other members of his birth family. Who knows where the Mexico story came from, but it is all over Ancestry, mostly on trees of people who are not part of that line.

  57. New Bee

    The good: I’m pregnant with Baby #2!

    The bad: Morning sickness has started. :-/

    Anyone have tips for dealing with morning sickness when you struggle to get anything non-liquid down (e.g., hard candies are out)? Last time, I was working a job with a flexible schedule, but now I can’t just avoid people from 10-11 (I work at a school).

    I love tea, but neither it nor ginger ale worked well last time, so I appreciate any out-of-the box ideas!

    Side note: I was talking to my mom about history repeating itself: We both had Kid #1 (a girl) at the same age (28), in the same month (November), and I am going to have Kid #2 at the same age (30), in the same month (June). I’d like the similarities to end there because my mom ended up having multiples after my sister and me!

    1. Ranon

      Citrus worked well for me- especially fizzy lemonade. As well as just constantly eating small amounts, all the time (maybe not an option for you given your job). But small amounts of dried cereal, banana chips, kumquats were all good.

      Congrats, and I hope your placenta gets its butt in gear and the all the time so sickness settles down soon!

    2. Drop Bear

      Congrats but commiserations about the morning sickness – the tales I could tell! I went through it 3 times and found what worked one time didn’t always work for the next pregnancy (so don’t discount trying things again) but some things that reduced the sickness – though didn’t totally eliminate it – were: tea made from a chunk of fresh ginger soaked in hot water; ‘grazing’ through the day on nuts and seeds; apple puree – just a small spoonful before I got up in the am.
      If all else fails you could do what my cousin did and eat chocolate cake for breakfast – she figured if it wasn’t staying down she might as well eat the tastiest thing she could rather than the most nutritious. :)

    3. Lou

      Salted almonds got me through my morning sickness – I think the salt/protein combo was really helpful!

    4. Kuododi

      Mazel tov!!! Pregnancy is not in my frame of reference however I do deal with ongoing nausea and vomiting. I will sip on ginger ale from the Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s type stores which have real ginger rather than flavoring. I also find Won Ton soup or that cheap, tacky Ramen noodle package soup familiar to every college student in the US to be very helpful. I have no idea why it works, maybe it’s a combination of the sodium and the carbs from the noodles. Hope that helps!!! Blessings.

    5. New Bee

      Thank you all for the suggestions! Hopefully I can make it 4 weeks (until Thanksgiving Break) without vomiting on a small child. :-)

      1. T

        I had morning sickness and taught middle schoolers. I had a barf plan – a garbage can outside my classroom door and a teacher friend who was ready to combine our classes if it got really bad. Citrus, sour, and peppermint tastes and odors helped. Saltines helped. I finally got meds from my Dr when I could not reliably keep down liquids, vitamins, and foods. Not sure if they do that anymore, but it helped! Also a Unisom and B12 before bedtime – I was waking up to vomit…

    6. Corgisforlife

      Congratulations! I’m in the same boat and was diagnosed with moderate hyperemesis :( I also can’t be running out of the room anytime nausea strikes (counseling psychologist). There was literally no food or drinks that helped me but my OB put me on Diclegis, it’s basically a time released antihistamine. It does make you tired but the nausea was controlled, sadly still there, but not nearly as bad. You may think about asking your OB about it. Good luck and hopefully it gets better in a few weeks!

    7. Not a cat

      Congrats!

      I’ve only experienced 12-hour-puking-migraines. Nothing the doctor gave me worked (including the meds that they give people for chemotherapy nausea). I found a nasal spray called Emesyl that was really helpful. I just looked at the bottle and it’s safe for kids and there are no pregnancy warnings–but obvi–you’ll check with your OBGYN.

    8. Call me St. Vincent

      I would talk to your doctor about a Zofran prescription. If you can only do liquids and ginger ale and tea are out, that’s probably your best bet. Sea bands did nothing for me and the only thing that worked for me was saltines and preggie pops (also out for you). Good luck and congrats!

    9. Seeking Second Childhood

      When my migraines were at their worst, I could drink water *if* I put in some maple syrup. The real stuff, not the artificial pancake syrups.
      And my friend at work found she did best if there was no trace of garlic in the air even. Good luck!

  58. I'm A Little Teapot

    My life is much too interesting lately. Plumbing issues, neighbor issues, etc. I’ve got about 4 major things I need to keep track of right now, and I’m just kinda done.
    Cat – is taken care of. For now at least, she’s got a reoccuring problem, but it’s handled for a few months.
    Plumbing – getting the toilet replaced today and the drain rodded/camera’ed Monday. Don’t ask. It’s gross.
    Garage – gotta go finish painting the trim.
    Fence – being installed Monday/Tuesday, and my neighbor called the fence guy and told him that if the workers stepped one foot on her property, she’d call the police. Which, ok? The police are going to very politely tell her to f**k off.
    Messing all this up, had a death in the extended family (I didn’t even know him), but mom wants to go to the funeral on Tuesday. So logistics are a mess.

    I’m going to go paint and hide from everything else.

  59. Dance-y Reagan

    Inspired by a work incident, but not directly about work: how do you improve your small talk? I had a mandatory evening work social this week, and I could see people getting bored or irritated when we interacted.

    I’m not in need of a Toastmasters-type thing, since I’m not nervous or uncomfortable with social speaking. I think I just have weird and non-mainstream interests, so my references don’t make sense. Is there a way to improve this without having to take on hobbies that don’t actually interest me?

    1. fposte

      Sure–keep summaries of your own stuff quick and punchy and then turn the conversation to the other person, hopefully by picking up on indicators they’ve already given. “I’ve been really into found art projects with lost coins lately, so I’m behind on movies–have you seen anything good that I should add to my list?” “I’m out of the loop without kids–what are the trick or treating conventions around here? Is it worth my pulling some treats together?”

      In general, I think “quick and punchy” is a good guideline overall for that kind of situation. Don’t get into a topic so deep that you can’t get out fast. “My new favorite Twitter feed is xxx. There was a hilarious thread recently about chickens in trousers–check it out if you like the sound of it” rather than a blow by blow of every tweet on the thread. People who want more will ask for it, at which point you open up to intermediate depth, but you still avoid the monologue and you still end by turning it back to them.

    2. Ender Wiggin

      Making references to non-mainstream stuff is a bit risky in conversation with people you don’t know.

      1. Dance-y Reagan

        If I’m interpreting your comment correctly, you may be wondering if I discuss controversial or inappropriate topics? I don’t think that’s the case.

        For example, the majority of my department is very active in playing and watching sports. They got into a hockey debate that included the use of synthetic ice. I made a joke about how polymers would have saved everyone a lot of trouble in Ice 9, and everyone just stared like I was an idiot. My brain screamed at me too late that this was probably not the right crowd for Vonnegut humor.

        1. fposte

          Sounds more like they just looked at you puzzled because they didn’t get the joke. Happens to everybody sometimes on both ends of a joke. If your reference-dependent jokes never land, though, you may be assuming shared media without evidence and may want to pay more attention to what references your conversational partners draw on.

          (Of course, sometimes the most entertaining jokes are the reaches, and that often means only a few people will be on the same wavelength.)

        2. Close Bracket

          I laughed out loud, if that makes you feel better. :)

          My advice, based on a lifetime of being on the spectrum, is learn to blow things off and and move on quickly. I don’t think it’s possible not to feel awkward when you bomb socially, but it is possible to not be bothered by the awkwardness.

        3. Ender Wiggin

          No, I didn’t think you were talking about Controversial things. You referred to no-one understanding your references. I assumed you meant you were making references to movies or media that aren’t mainstream. I have done that myself in the past and I know from experience that thy usually just results in people thinking you’re either an idiot or you think you’re smarter than them (depending on the quote). Nowadays I don’t quote things unless I’m reasonably sure people would get the reference

        4. WellRed

          People discussing sports and you throw in a Vonnegut reference? Know your audience. Personally, the age old advice of asking people questions is my go to when I am stuck.

          1. Dance-y Reagan

            Yeah, I was thinking they’d like the polymer part because it was a group of chemical engineers…but I think it was too far of a reach.

    3. HannahS

      I also tend to have out-of-the mainstream interests. I find I can spend one or two sentences talking about the more mainstream elements of it (“I’m re-reading Lord of the Rings” in my spare time vs. “I’m watching Miyazaki’s movies”) and if it’s not a shared interest at all, turn the question back, like fposte suggested. The other thing is, I read summaries on Wikipedia. Fortunately, sports aren’t huge in my peer group, but TV and movies are. So I read the plot summary of Get Out. I read one or two articles that talked about why it’s so great, what’s important about it, and so when people brought it up, I knew what they were talking about and could participate. Not extensively, and I didn’t pretend that I’d seen it, but by reading about big cultural moments like that, my lack of interest doesn’t stop the conversation.

    4. Prof_Murph

      My go to topics, that are usually not too controversial, is asking what the last thing they binge watched or what they are watching lately (e.g., anything they recommend)? I’ve also had fun with what is your most guilty trashy tv you watch?

    5. LGC

      Honestly? Don’t take on hobbies that don’t interest you…but do act interested in them. Like fposte mentioned, turn the conversation to the other person’s hobbies more often. I’m trying to remember where I heard this advice first (my therapist, maybe?), but a lot of people love to talk about themselves. More to the point, people want you to be interested in them, and…I mean, I don’t know how your conversations went, but if you’re talking about your own niche interests enough to dominate the conversation, I can understand why people would look annoyed or frustrated.

      (Again, I’m not sure – and yes, I’m writing advice column fanfic. But if that’s the case, then it’s something you should definitely be conscious of!)

      Specific to the jokes that fall flat…you can explain the joke. Once. (Per person.) And who knows, it might lead to a whole new discussion thread! But also, that’s free information – you know they don’t have that point of cultural reference.

    6. valentine

      My go-to is asking pet people about their pets. Unless asked about myself directly and specifically, I talk about stuff I read here or on Tumblr.

  60. fposte

    Weird dishes question. I thought the grey marks on my 30-year-old Dansk dishes were the surface kind that would respond to Barkeeper’s Friend, but it turns out they’re more like craquelure that the marks have actually penetrated. Is there some way to deal with those, and does it mean my dishes’ days are numbered?

      1. fposte

        It looks beautiful, but it seems incompatible with my machine-dishwashing life.

        (I do have a broken piece of gorgeous Swedish pottery that it’d be fun to do that with, though.)

        1. Close Bracket

          Real kintsugi is lacquer, so it can’t even be used on most stuff, plus it takes years to master. I faux-kintsugi stuff that I break by glueing it together and painting a gold line over the crack. Martha Stewart craft paints are top-rack dishwasher safe. That doesn’t sound like the right solution for what you have, though.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood