{ 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.

      1. ronda*

        someone else’s slice is the problem.

        people can eat food in weird ways… just dont mess up my food.

    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.


      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.


    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.

    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!”


      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.