weekend free-for-all – October 6-7, 2018

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

Book recommendation of the week: An Absolutely Remarkable Thing, by Hank Green. After alien life comes to earth, the woman who made first contact becomes famous overnight and discovers fame is as weird as aliens.

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

{ 1,194 comments… read them below }

  1. Florence*

    I was just on the verge of sleep tonight and I could have sworn I heard my nephew calling my name from outside my bedroom window. He lives 30 miles away from me. So, I texted him to tell him I was thinking about him. At midnight.

    1. Rogue*

      About a month ago, I heard something similar. Don’t know who it was, but I was staying in my grandmother’s room, where she passed away.

    2. Book Lover*

      That is called a hypnagogic hallucination! Your brain is almost dreaming already just before you fall asleep. It is sweet you heard his name.

      1. Gaia*

        I actually get those fairly regularly. I’m awake, but dreaming. Weird weird dreams when that happens. For me, this was different. It felt so different.

      2. Calliope*

        My friend used to get those, she’d hear people talking far away in a language she couldn’t understand. It always sounded pretty creepy to me.

    3. Gaia*

      A few nights ago I was just about asleep and I hear, clear as day, my sister calling my name. It is a nickname only she uses for me. I messaged her at like midnight. It was freaky.

      1. Florence*

        Every so often, while I’m wide-awake, I hear people calling my name. It used to happen a lot more when I was much younger, like before my teens, but it has faded over time.

    4. anony anonymouse*

      After my Dad passed, I was napping and could have sworn I heard him calling out for something. I was half awake and wanted to scream, “Mom! Dad wants you.” Then I woke up and realized what was happening.

  2. Piper*

    Soooo…. mice. Or actually a mouse. The cute little brown ones. Which aren’t so cute when they’re not the pet kind, and are in your apartment.
    Wondering if I should warn the landlady or just wait to see it again first. The landlady is nice and has been efficient at solving problems. I’m not sure how concerned I should be. I don’t want to end up with a new house resident, or find out one mouse has become a dozen.

    More info
    Mr. Piper and I live in a medium sized city in a small rental on the 3rd floor with squeaky wooden floorboards, some of which have enough space between them (half an inch) to let a mouse through. There’s a foot-sized space under the floorboards that definitely has its own ecosystem (mostly big spiders) . Wasn’t a problem until mouse showed up. Mr. Piper caught a glimpse of something dashing away 1 month ago, but there was no mouse poop or other clues, then nothing until I saw it (or its sister) dash out of our pantry and vanish under the floorboards two days ago.
    We followed the trail of mice poop pellets to an open packet of semolina, cleaned and disinfected the pantry (which unfortunately is mostly at mouse level, we *could* set up wall cupboards), chucked out anything open, and are hoping it won’t show up again. The house is reasonably clean, as in I’d not be embarassed to invite my boss over as long as I had 30 min’s warning to move some of the clutter. There’s no food lying around, crumbs or such. Dishes are done every day.
    I’ve never been inside my neighbours’ apartments, so I don’t know if it’s a neighbour’s mouse kind of situation (no reason to suspect it, though). Common areas are reasonably clean, no trash issues. There are small gardens around, with free-range domestics cats, people growing their own vegetables etc. It’s not unusual to see those kinds of mice scurrying around the city at sundown. So I’m not astonished there are mice around. I just don’t want it in my apartment.

    So yeah, any experience with mice?

    1. misspiggy*

      Lots, living in London. Unfortunately you’ve got to send a strong message that the little fellows aren’t welcome, or you’ll get infested with them. One who finds interesting food and no danger will bring more. They get into cupboards and pee over everything, so you can’t leave any food unsealed outside your fridge. This is the main reason for me that they have to go – having to sanitise absolutely anywhere they might have been.

      Sealing stuff up is close to impossible in an older place, but making it very clear mice are unwelcome does work. There are many ways to do this. Humane traps are a lot of work, and you have to release the mice a seriously long way away. Traps are icky and you have to set them EVERYWHERE. Poison is effective after a while, but it usually has to be in peanut butter or something tempting. You do not want a nest of poisoned mice rotting in your walls (don’t ask me how I know), so if you choose poison, act really quickly while it’s just the one.

      Absolute nuclear option if it gets really bad is sticky tape along the floor where they run. Definitely works; is absolutely horrific. Another argument for dealing with the pilot mouse before he sets up his family for the winter.

      Good luck!

      1. Piper*

        Ugh. Thanks.

        Sealing stuff is impossible short of replacing the whole floor (and even then…it’s an old building). We might as well move out (planned soonish anyway).
        I’ve been googling things and ultrasounds come up a lot (and some stuff like eucalyptus scents, but I’m skeptical about that). Except my neighbour below me has a cat, which looks incompatible. I’ll see if they have had mouse sightings too…

        1. Cosette*

          Also to what MissPiggy said… put all your pantry food in glass if possible. I have had them chew on the heavy plastic containers although not get through them.

        2. a heather*

          We had a few mice in our house after we got down to one cat from three. :( We went with an electronic rat trap. It worked well.

        3. Middle School Teacher*

          I have not found the ultrasounds work well. My house was built in 1945 and is in a mature area, lots of trees and parks etc so mice and I are well-acquainted. I have had an exterminator out, they sealed up some outside parts and gave me some strong poison. Also, leaving an open bag of grass seed in my garage helped a lot; last winter they all hung out there and I only caught (and heard) one inside. Mice are a pain. Good luck!

    2. Cosette*

      If you’ve seen one, it’s very likely there are more. Make haste to rid yourselves of these pests!!

      1. Stormfeather*

        This. They’re a) very good at reproducing, and b) can be good enough at being unnoticed that if you ARE noticing them multiple times, there’s a fair chance you already have more than one.

        Personally since I also think they’re cute and like rodents, I have at times caught them in a humane trap, then kept them as pets. Although you still risk them reproducing quickly that way if you’re not quick enough to segregate them.

        (We live in an old house, in a small town that has enough ruralness to it that there are enough mice and things to invade houses fairly commonly. Of course I also have cats, so not that many make it through to where they can actually become a nuisance… but it has happened.)

        1. Zona the Great*

          And if you’re seeing them, they’ve lost a certain amount of fear of you. This is a sign that it’s exterminator time. Once they start doing cartwheels in your living room in front of you, you’re really screwed.

          1. Gaia*

            Yep. I lived in a house that had a massive infestation. We only found out when those little guys started walking across the middle of the floor and right last the dog! They had zero fear of us. One chewed through a wall (A WALL!!!!)

      2. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        You can also buy bobcat or fox urine and sprinkle it around the holes. Mice don’t want to be near the predators. I would avoid poison at all costs–it hurts far more than the intended targets.

      3. Not so rainy*

        +1 that when you see one, it means they are so numerous that they can’t hide anymore. In an old house, the most efficient mice repellent is a cat. Cats are night hunting creatures. As long as they can nap (on the sofa or the heater) during the day, they get out and around all night. A refugee cat with some street smarts, or a farm-borne cat will be most experienced. Feed it in the morning. Have it spend a couple of nights in the attic and downstairs so its odour is everywhere.
        Please don’t get a cat if you don’t like them. In such case, having a friend and their cat spend the occasional night at your place can be surprisingly effective!

      4. AdAgencyChick*


        They get into everything. EVERYTHING. Thankfully my husband and I were finally able to convince our landlord to deal with the problem (and by “convince” I mean “threaten to file a complaint with the city” because she wouldn’t do anything other than provide us with traps until we did that), but while we had the issue, the mice:
        * chewed up bath towels (presumably for nesting material)
        * pooped in my shoes
        * caused the oven not to work because they peed on the circuitry
        * chewed through any food containers that were not housed in hard plastic or glass, or kept in the refrigerator

        Gross. Get your landlord on the case!

    3. gecko*

      Definitely warn the landlady, especially if she’s pretty decent. You haven’t only seen the mouse, you’ve seen its poop, which is a very reliable indication there’s a problem. She might have traps/have-a-hearts for you or call an expert.

    4. Llellayena*

      My dad ended up with one in the basement one year. They are supprisingly smart creatures. After a series of home built attempts at traps, the final Rube Goldberg machine involving a see-saw arrangement of a pipe on a string where the mouse ate the bait up to the string and then turned around, the only thing that worked was a humane trap. Set that up one night, came down the next morning to find it in the trap. He did drive about 10 miles to let it out though.

    5. Rebecca*

      Country girl here, yes, tons of experience with mice! I lived next to an open field surrounded by forest. I’ve had experience with unwanted house guests like mice, snakes (non venomous, thankfully!!), flying squirrels, bats, birds, you name it.

      About mice: my go to thing was gallon size glass jars and Tupperware type containers for anything a mouse would find tasty. And cats! I had a couple of good mousers. Also, I used traps baited with peanut butter.

      Good luck!!

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I found no-kill traps had no effect, beyond elaborately transferring peanut butter to the mouse, and went with a box of old-fashioned traps on Amazon, placed where we were seeing mice. A couple of weeks of diligence got us through the infestation after our old cat died, before we got the kittens. (My theory is if I’m okay with the cats killing mice–and I consider it a feature–I can’t feel too ethically squeamish about the kill traps.)

      1. Elizabeth W.*

        I don’t feel bad about them either, but I absolutely will not use glue traps–they’re awful. Just plain torture. At least a snap is fast, assuming it doesn’t just catch a tail.

    7. mreasy*

      Peppermint oil is a good mouse deterrent. We had them in our kitchen and just ran a diffuser and left the light on. They stopped appearing within a month.

    8. Tailored*

      Lots of experience with mice.
      I have found that old fashioned snap traps work for us. No, it is not pleasant disposing of the bodies but if we need to kill a mouse I think its better if it happens quickly and as humanely as possible. So poison is out, (its a slow death, cats could catch and eat a poisoned mouse, and they do tend to find a secluded place to die, like in your walls) as is sticky tape.
      Live traps are fine if you are so inclined, not sure whther the mouse suffers from it though.

    9. LilySparrow*

      He’s scouting for winter habitat. Ditto to the advice of others, to be as aggressive as you possibly can. And do warn the landlady – mice can damage the infrastructure and cause unhappy tenants. Not everyone is as chill about pests as you are.

      Ultrasonics don’t work, on any kind of pest. They are at best a waste of money, at worst an outright scam. For one thing, you have no way of knowing if it’s actually emitting anything or is just a blinky light.

      If you have access to a cat or dog you could borrow for a week or so, or that you could petsit on a fairly regular basis, their smell and sounds can be a deterrent.

      The one time I had a colony of mice suddenly move into my apartment was when my filthy downstairs neighbor got a dog. Dog showed up one day, mice did an emergency evacuation to my place the next.

      1. Turquoisecow*

        I had a mouse in my apartment (possibly multiples) before I got a cat. Afterward, I saw no mice.

        When I moved the cat and myself out to move in with my now husband, we left some furniture behind. When we returned to pack up the furniture, my husband saw a few mice. So clearly the cat’s presence was a deterrent, even though he never caught any mice.

        Our current house, one of the cats brought husband a mouse shortly after he’d moved in. A year later, he brought him another mouse, and we once found a dead mouse in the laundry room (where the cats don’t go). I figure they’re sufficiently warned off now. :)

    10. Gen*

      We had a terrible time with them earlier this year, took weeks to get rid of them and we only saw one once (there were about a dozen in the traps in the end). One tip our exterminator gave us was that mice seem to understand plastic wrapper= tasty treats so it can be easier to get them to take poison if it’s in a plastic bag. We had the snap traps with spikes and still caught some live ones. Glue traps are a nightmare to deal with if you’re not trained. I wish you lots of luck, hopefully they’ve not moved in yet!

    11. Dame Eleanor Hull*

      If you don’t want to get a cat, get some cat poop. Seriously. I know it sounds gross, but if you can live with a dirty litter box for a few days, the smell will convince the mice that you have a cat and they need to stay out of your place. Your cat-servant neighbor can probably oblige!

    12. Anonerson*

      Agree with the others that you likely have more than just the one mouse, or soon will. If you’re okay with the mice not surviving their expeditions, I highly recommend the D-Con covered snap traps. The “covered” part is important unless you have a very strong stomach. Keep in mind that you’ll want to put out several traps, particularly on the first night. Peanut butter is best for bait.

      Good luck! And definitely tell your landlady; she might be able to make some minor repairs to stop them from getting in (on that note, be sure to check under your kitchen sink for possible entry points); either way, she’ll probably appreciate the heads up that there’s an issue.

    13. Bye Academia*

      Was just in a similar situation. Old building with gaps between the floorboards and the wall, seemed impossible to seal up all the holes. We only ever saw one mouse at a time, but they were different colors so…

      We started with snap traps and poison. We got one in the snap trap and at least one chewed the poison, but we still kept seeing a mouse here and there. We reluctantly put down some glue traps along the wall where they’d run, and they just ran around them to the middle of the room.

      Mice are smart and persistent. Even if you think you’ve cleaned and sealed all food, they can still probably smell it. If they think your apartment is safe (which they do if they’re so comfortable one has let you see it) they’ll keep coming back to look for it.

      Honestly, the only thing that finally worked was sucking it up and putting steel wool between the floor and the baseboards around the entire apartment. It was a pain and took forever, but it was the only way to stop them from coming in. Talk to your landlady. You have to do something ASAP because the longer they go on thinking your apartment is safe, the harder it will be to get rid of them. You don’t have one mouse, you have multiple in a nest nearby and they’re surely breeding. She should want to take care of it, either with an exterminator or by fixing the floor, because infestations are bad for her property.

      1. Woodswoman*

        I second the suggestion for steel wool. I lived in an old place that mice kept getting into, and I wasn’t comfortable with killing them. Plugging holes with steel wool was suggested to me by a facility maintenance professional since they will chew through just about anything else. While it took some time to find the various spots they were getting in, this is the one thing that worked.

    14. Notthemomma*

      A few drops of straight ammonia smells similar to catburine, There a product calls Mouse Out (I have no stake in this company) which is sachets of lavender, peppermint, and other scents which repel mice. Don’t let ANY foodstuffs sit in a cupboard or shelf unless it’s in a glass or heavy sealed container.

      I would also advocate for quick kill-traps. In my view, and I don’t want to start an argument, it’s more humane than just putting the problem rodent in someone else’s space where it won’t have the familiar hidey holes and food sources where another predator will kill it or it’ll starve.

    15. ElspethGC*

      I’m one of the squeamish types who wouldn’t want to put out kill traps etc, and I have no real personal experience, but I will say this:

      You said there are people with cats nearby, including one downstairs. DO NOT use poison. Never never never. A cat who catches and eats a temptingly slow-moving mouse doesn’t know that it’s slow-moving because it’s dying, and the cat will get poisoned. And yes, the cat can die. And it is *not* a nice death for an owner to witness.

      If there is any chance whatsoever that there is a cat or a dog in the area that the mouse will go to – your building, a neighbouring attached building, community cats living just outside and so on – never ever ever use poison. You don’t want to be paying your downstairs neighbour’s vet bills – or the cremation bills. Just don’t even risk it.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        This goes for outdoor pests as well… eating an easily caught poisoned rodent will kill outdoor cats as well as hawks & owls.

    16. Kuododi*

      Personally, I am a city girl with minimal experience in dealing with these creatures. My dear Dad grew up on a farm and always told me to never get taken in by their little faces and start falling for some idea they are cuddly potential snuggle pets. According to Dad, treat each one of the creatures as twitchy, disease carriers spreading pestilence. He additionally SD assume that for each one you see, their filthy little pals are skulking nearby wait for the all clear to come out, wreak destruction and reproduce. Exterminate with extreme prejudice!!! Good luck…. I don’t envy your situation!!! Blech!!!

    17. Artemesia*

      With change of season they tend to come into houses, especially in the fall. I would just set some disposable traps and get rid of them. They are disease vectors.

    18. Piper*

      Thank you all.
      I sent an email to our landlady and have put deterrent scents (only thing I can do this weekend). Will go trap hunting/glass container buying next week. If the neighbor’s cat is well behaved, I might borrow it^^
      We saw the mouse right after coming through the front door at around 1am, so hopefully we took it by surprise as opposed to it already calling our apartment home…

      Thanks again.^^

    19. Smarty Boots*

      Wall cupboards will not make one bit of difference. Being scrupulous about cleaning and keeping food in mouse proof containers will help, but will not get rid of them. If you saw one, you have plenty. Let the landlady know.

      I found several some years ago nesting in the pocket of an apron. Adorable. But unclean. Thank you, Terminix, for taking care of that.

    20. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Yes tell the landlord immediately. Rodents need to be addressed at the building level, and they can carry Hanta-virus. They can transmit fleas.
      And at this time of year it could be the first scout looking to come inside–prompt inspection & repair can prevent the cousins from joining him.

      1. AdAgencyChick*

        “Rodents need to be addressed at the building level”

        So much this. In our case traps were just not enough. We put out loads of traps and never caught a single mouse. The problem was resolved only after the super (who had refused to do anything other than provide traps until we told the landlady we were going to file a complaint with the city) plugged the holes in the basement that they were using to get in.

  3. DrTheLiz*

    Argh! My mother is visiting from another country for the first time in a long time and she’s somehow changed from an intelligent, interesting person to somebody staggeringly bigoted (racist, sexist, ableist, you name it). We have three more days of this. Moral support appreciated!

    1. misspiggy*

      What newspapers or channels has she been looking at? You might find they have been working her into a state of fear. Discussing how things really aren’t that bad might help.

      Or, like my parents, it may just be that her filter is going. I tend to make it clear I don’t think one should say these things – in a fairly light way, given we don’t get much time together to go into things. ‘You’d have been shocked if I’d said that as a teenager!’ Tends to help, in that this stuff doesn’t come out quite as often around me.

      1. DrTheLiz*

        She’s been going that way for twenty years, but it’s got much worse than I’d realised. Israeli news isn’t quite FOX News Entertainment, but it certainly repeats some of their more egregious lies. I’ve known for a long time that we can’t discuss politics but spending ten years in a paranoid little bubble (Israel) has sent her off the deep end, it seems. Trying to introduce facts just results in a shouting match.

        I’m just really sad that the worst of my mother has swallowed the best of my mother almost without trace.

        1. Lissa*

          Holy shit, your last line was extremely evocative and hit me right in the gut. I know exactly what you mean.

          So sorry you’re dealing with this.

        2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          Ugh, I know the feeling. I don’t discuss politics with my parents anymore if I can help it, because it seems that lurking inside the lovely people I’ve always known are some really nasty ones. It’s rather heartbreaking.

          1. JaneB*

            This is one of the worst aspects of Brexit, for me. My somewhat hippy, loving, smart, widely read parents are acting like little Englanders over it – horrific racist things, a total refusal to accept facts that are against their reality and after a lifetime of staunch anti Tory politics deciding they must be OK and we will be fine because at least the stories are delivering Brexit – and the EU are out to get us if they follow the rules we helped design. It’s really awful. They lived through the Second World War (as children). My mum had a school friend whose family left Austria in the 1930s as political refugees. but they think the EU is an anti-peace organisation.

            I think it’s partly age & the very embarrassingly biased reporting of parts of the BBC, and partly I don’t know what. It’s scary and sad and hard. Much empathy!

            1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

              I’m sorry. I’m fortunate that my in-laws are very similar in their outlook to my husband and I. They have also become French residents recently so maybe we can escape there after brexit…

        3. Artemesia*

          ‘I’m just really sad that the worst of my mother has swallowed the best of my mother almost without trace.’

          Great line. My FIL was the same. Always rather right wing and certainly racist at the core, but never expressed bigotry in the family and was generally a gentleman (he actually took pride in the fact that while himself a racist raised in a racist South, he had nevertheless raised a bunch of kids who were not — you never heard the N word or similar from him). In his final years it was as if he has an IV drip of Fox news into his brain and he became a ranting quite terrible person filled with ugliness.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Ooooh…. this sounds like my mother and I am so, so sorry. We went to visit them last week in New Jersey and I ended up screaming at my mother and stepfather about some of the horrible things they were saying. I was not raised this way! It’s appalling. What makes it worse is that they will ONLY talk about politics. Not about my life or my interests or anything else. It’s disheartening and sad and infuriating. My grandparents lament how their precious only daughter turned out this way. They blame her husband. I remind them that she’s an intelligent woman with a mind of her own.

      You mention your mother lives in Israel? While my parents are in the States, it’s the same ilk. They use Israel as an excuse for their political leanings, but they don’t stop there. The bigotry makes me sick. You have SO much of my sympathy!

    3. MatKnifeNinja*

      My friend grew up a secular Jew. There was no true Kosher kitchen. No truly do nothing prep for two days before hand Shabbat.

      His parents moved to Israel 10 years ago, His parents became Ultra Orthodox observant. Nightmare. Visits are terrible for the reasons you describe. His wife did not convert. The parents were cool with this 11 years ago, not anymore. They never shut up about finding a good Orthodox shul and get those grandbabies “truly converted”.

      The only saving grace is because their home is *treif treif treif*, the parents do Air BnB. It is not a fun visit. They stayed this year just before Rosh Hashanah to the bitter end of Sukkot.

      His parents were university professor who taught science. It’s like aliens swapped their brains. They are around late 50s age wise. The stuff that comes out of their mouths is stunning. The area I live in has engineers doing contract work from Pakistan/Middle East. The parents say racist things right out in the open. You can be shopping, and the parents have no brain to mouth filter. You haven’t lived until you are in a store, with many observant muslims, and hearing someone loudly talk about filthy Arabs.

      Hang in there! It is so not easy.

      1. Artemesia*

        My husband went to law school with a wonderful woman; bright — maybe the brightest in the class — and foresquare for social justice. And so interesting and compassionate. She and her husband moved to Israel and are now just horrifying hate spewing bigots. We were stunned having known them as such wonderful and decent people.

        I hate to think that the world I grew up in with largely decent people across the political spectrum is now gone and the most vile thoughts and behaviors so socially acceptable.

      2. CRY*

        Hi! Sorry people are encountering people who are unpleasant, biased and don’t have filters. Truly annoying, especially when they were previously not as annoying.
        That being said painting whole swaths of people (Israel. Observant Jews. ) with one brush is not really fair or helpful. One might even say it’s biased.

        1. UndeadInOhio*

          They aren’t painting whole swaths of people, nor people they’ve “encountered”. They’re talking about their own parents. It’s a much harder thing to deal with, and much more troubling. And what causes this kind of change in people if not their changed surroundings– the media they watch, the company they keep, the culture they choose?

          I know many liberal, open-minded Jewish people, both practicing and secular; I hope everybody does. I encountered a lot more “liberal-hippie-communist Jew” stereotype-ideas (hello, Bernie Sanders!) growing up than backwards-bigoted-xenophobic-Jew stereotype-ideas. I think that’s part of why it’s so jarring. To see this reversal happening in our communities, with, in DrTheLiz and Artemisa’s case, their own parents, is upsetting in a way I didn’t know was possible.

          As AvonLady and Lissa mention, this happens in families in the states and other kinds of communities as well; it isn’t exclusively, or even mostly, a Jewish issue. But it becomes a Jewish issue when it happens to us. It becomes a Jewish issue when we need to figure out what has changed in our communities, in our surroundings. That’s why it is important to start talking about specifics, or at least asking– is this happening just here, or there too? Is the cause these news channels, those synagogues, the kinds of dialogue we have with our neighbors? The answers might be no, or yes, or “well, sort-of.” I’m not sure. But it’s important to keep asking and thinking until we figure it out.

    4. WellRed*

      My mom has bought into all the … red stuff. We got into a huge screaming fight went I visited this summer. She’s not even a person interested in politics.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        I put the kibosh on talking politics with my parents. It only leads to heartache. They were totally normal until they hit their mid-fifties, and now it’s like they are different people. Complaining about people on welfare, totally anti-immigration, saying it’s ridiculous that we have anti-discrimination laws because “employers shouldn’t be forced to hire certain people if they don’t want to hire them.” One time I lost my cool and yelled, “But you received WIC when I was a kid!” But of course, that’s different, because they worked hard and they’re not like “those other people” who just quit their jobs and suckle at the teat of the government.

        1. Phoenix Programmer*

          Ugh yes this!

          My SIL is on SNAP, Medicaid, disability, and had WIC as well. She posted a meme about “The least the government can do is send me a picture of the ghetto family my taxes support to hang on the fridge!”

          1. Nita*

            *snort* get the woman a mirror! And ugh, I’ve got family very much like that – a household of four, out of whom only one person works and the rest are on various government assistance. They’re more than happy to bash government support for poor people. The lot of them is college-educated and supposedly smart, but I guess they think that if the aid tap turns off, they’ll still get theirs somehow. Riiiight.

    5. Parenthetically*

      Lots of moral support, and just an observation — with my grandmother, it was related to a mental decline. She used to be bright, curious, fairly apolitical, funny, well-read… and then as her health and stamina declined it got harder to do some of those intellectually stimulating things she had been accustomed to doing and easier to watch Fox “News” all day. By the last year of her life, she was an angry, fearful, paranoid, unpleasant person. If she’d been in a different care context, it may have been different. But just flagging that anger and paranoia are often signs of declining mental acuity with age!

      1. Nita*

        Oh so much sympathy… My grandma too. When she became home-bound and her senses declined, that became her source of news. And she became such a fearful person, so full of hate at “them”, just living in this tiny echo chamber for the last sort-of-lucid years she had. I hope there’s a special place in hell for the “news” makers, just for this thing with brainwashing vulnerable old people.

    6. Merci Dee*

      My boss mentioned to me a movie on Thursday that covers basically this exact topic – “The Brainwashing of My Dad”. It’s a documentary that details how the filmer’s dad had been a lifelong Democrat to an angry right wing fanatic after he started listening to talk radio during his commute. If you look at the ratings for the movie, you can see where they fall pretty squarely along party lines, but it gives another perspective on the path that’s brought us to 2018. For whatever you might think about that particular path.

    7. Not A Manager*

      “Mom, you never used to be this way. I don’t like what’s happened to you. Please let’s not talk about politics at all while you’re here.” Then when she starts, you can say something like “Uh, uh, uh – politics!” That broadly covers racism and xenophobia, too.

      Meanwhile, if there were activities that you used to enjoy doing together, like baking or movies, maybe lean into those more heavily?

      Sorry that this is happening. It sucks.

    8. Wishing You Well*

      I am sorry this is happening to you. I hope you can get through the next 3 days successfully.
      There’s a small chance a health issue is affecting behavior. I have friends with very difficult older parents whose changing behaviors are caused by health problems. Of course, I hope your mom is in perfect health.
      Treat yourself when your hosting is over!

    9. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Same problem here, though my mom isn’t a country away. I really don’t know what happened to the tolerant, open minded person I remember as a teen.

    10. Clever Name*

      OMG. I agree about the filter. As my mother has gotten older she’s been getting increasingly worse about making awful comments about fat people or icky classist comments. Just ugh. I’ve started nicely calling her out on it. Like I was expressing my excitement and joy at the girl I used to babysit (now an awesome young woman) getting engaged and she was all, “I don’t understand shy she’s so fat”. It was super weird and out of place and I simply said, “why are you talking about that?” And she stopped.

    11. DrTheLiz*

      Thanks so much, you guys. It’s heartening to hear I’m not alone.

      (We’ve successfully put a moratorium on outright political talk, but I also have to not mention my gay friends, my disabled friends, share any opinion adjacent to politics… it gets wearying.)

  4. It’s all good*

    Hi virtual friends! Just wanted to thank those that helped me a few weeks ago in regards to my sugar addiction. So since then I have eliminated all sweets. Cookies, candy, ice cream and the like. Not easy. I chewed sugar free gum during the family baking sessions (2 kinds of brownies!) and when tempted. I did slip up unintentionally. Once when the kids handed me a piece of gum during a family bubble blowing contest and once during a family breakfast where I was given and ate a taste of a cinnamon roll. I remembered right as I was chewing. – I have not eliminated all sugar I.e yogurt. And I will have a piece of wedding cake later today. But overall I’m happy with my progress! One day at a time, that’s all we got.

    1. Cosette*

      You will find, too, that your taste for sugar will likely diminish, but it’s really easy to get back on it… so just be aware. That is, if I eat a cookie, I find that I want more and more… but I don’t like super sugary cookies any more.. so at least that’s a good thing. Also, you can make your own yogurt with milk and live yogurt cultures. It’s actually really easy and then you know exactly what’s in it. And if you need the sweet, just mix in fresh berries with each serving when you eat it! Good luck. Kicking sugar can be difficult but so worth it!

      1. It’s all good*

        Thanks for the encouragement, and yes I found out today I’m losing my taste you are right

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Maybe buy some unsweetened cocoa powder or baker’s chocolate and mix up your own low sugar not-so-sweet treat? My 11yo daughter makes hot chocolate with milk, coco powder, and stevia. There’s diabetics in the family so I’m 100% thrilled she’s avoided some of her dad’s sweet tooth.

            1. Seeking Second Childhood*

              Oh and watch out for stevia packaging, some brands have misleading text and are really sugar WITH stevia. Happily my family checks before opening, because it’s too easy to miss small print at WalMart.

    2. Gaia*

      Good for you! Sugar is obscenely addictive. I have it up in June and am only now reintroducing it in small quantities (and no refined sugar). And it is still a challenge.

      You’ll be amazed how much sweeter other things taste and how you realize things you used to think were great are kind of meh when you try them again.

    3. Artemesia*

      I needed to drop sugar and most carbs as a pre-diabetic and I went close to cold turkey on sugar and cut about 75% of white carbs. Have been doing this for about a year. I LOVE candy and ice cream and desserts and donuts etc. LOVE them all. I could polish off half a pound of chocolates easily. And yet it has been easier than I thought it would be to drop most of this and then when I do indulge to make it a very small portion. I find I just don’t crave sugar as I thought I would

      The result of doing this is I have lost nearly 30 pounds this full year without ever thinking about losing weight. I was never overweight, but very close to the line and definitely had too much in the middle where it is dangerous. That is all gone. And in addition to dropping weight to my more or less ideal range at my age, I find I don’t crave sugar as much as I thought I would. It has been a welcome surprise.

      Hang in there — somehow cutting out sugar has diminished my lust for it. Hope it works that way for you.

      1. It’s all good*

        So far so good. You are also my hero! The last time I quit like this I lost weight fast. I did not weigh myself st the start nor now. I haven’t felt a difference in how my clothes fit like last time.

    4. It’s all good*

      Well went to the wedding there was no wedding cake just bite sized desserts. I tried a tiny bite of two of them and it was “eh”. I guess I AM losing my taste for sweets. Later I tried a bite size cupcake and it was yummy so I had another. Maybe I will have my next sweet at Halloween.

      1. Not so rainy*

        You are MY hero! Congrats! I took 3 months to wean myself of sugared coffee, and I had to use cinnamon as replacer. Best tip I received was to replace my sugar fix with powdered cinnamon. I was told it acts as placebo and reduces the sugar crave without tricking your body the same way as edulcorants.

  5. Arya Parya*

    Hi! I posted a while ago about finding having a newborn very difficult. Our daughter is 4 months old today and things are a lot better. What helped most is that she started sleeping through the night. I’m also back at work, which has been great. Not being a mother for at least part of the week, has been great for my mental health.

    All the advice about it not having to be fun, was really helpful for me. It gave me some peace of mind and I was able to just allow myself to be unhappy some of the time and to just wait for it to start to click. Which has happened now.

    A good friend of mine gave birth to her son about three weeks ago and it seems like she’s going to the same transition that I went through. She’s a single mom, which makes it extra difficult. She lives close by, so my SO and I try to help as much as we can. Sometimes by just listening and telling her that feeling this way is completely normal. But also by taking the baby for an hour or so, so she can rest a bit.

    I’m actually also kind of relieved to see this happening. It makes me feel less crazy for finding the first few months so incredibly hard, now that I see someone else struggeling with the same things. Of course I wish it will get easier for her as soon as possible so she can start enjoying the whole motherhood experience a bit.

    So thanks again for all the advice and support I got from you all before. I now get to pass to on the someone else, who will hopefully find it equally helpful.

    1. Dramaholic*

      I have two kids. I was miserable for the first few months of new parenting. The transition was so overwhelming and difficult. I felt a lot of guilt for not enjoying motherhood when everyone else I knew seemed to cruise through (they did not, as I discovered later).

      If I could go back in time I would give myself a huge hug and tell myself it’s okay to struggle; and to stress less because kids almost always turn out fine no matter what you do/don’t do.

      You’re awesome for helping out your friend – so important to have a decent support system in place. But don’t forget to also be kind to yourself. Raising a 4 month old human is a lot of hard work!

      1. Arya Parya*

        Everyone else seeming to cruise through, is so true. Our friend thought we were having fun and finding it alle easy as well. So not true. Apparently either people don’t show they’re struggeling or people (especially those without kids) don’t see it.

        1. Grapey*

          Eh, I find as a childfree woman my motherfriends are open to sharing more since they’re not afraid of scaring me.

          How often do you show weakness to your friends with kids?

          1. Not a cat*

            Also childfree mom-friend here. I’ve been told it is because I don’t have that competitive-mom-thing.

    2. Anona*

      Thank you for this. Do you know when you originally posted?! I’d love to go back and read the comments. I have a 6 week old and was literally sitting here thinking about how hard this is.

      1. Mallory*

        I have 3. I found 0-> 1 not so bad but I was in tears constantly when my second was born. I was overwhelmed. DH was working a ton. New baby didn’t sleep AT ALL. To make it worse my first was a super easy baby so I was caught extra off guard.

        We took a chance and had a 3rd. First few weeks were tricky but mainly she’s been a piece of cake. She’s almost 4 months and she’s just awesome.

        So a lot of this depends on the baby you have. And, honestly, it gets better! Once they start doing cool stuff- sitting, walking, talking- they feel like real people! We now have 3 hybrid clones of DH and me running around the house for better or worse but it’s our crazy and we love it. You CAN do this. They WILL sleep one day. I just went through potty training with my middle and think I got about 200 grey hairs. But we are out of diapers and the countdown is on/ the end is in sight for The Last Diaper ( goal of July 2020).

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          I have two and my experience was very similar to yours when each of them was born. I mean, I was kind of sad after my first was born, because my lifestyle had changed so much overnight. But the new baby screamed 24×7 and slept in 20 minute intervals, only while being held. Kid #1 was 2.5 years old when the baby was born, and was NOT HAPPY about having a baby brother who cried all night. My in-laws lived two days away by train, and could not help out. My parents basically told me I’d made a terrible mistake. I am an only child, and in their minds, having two and having “20 and counting” was an equally insane thing to do. They made my husband give my dad his word that he’d help me with the kids, and emigrated to another continent when the baby was three months old. The husband’s help consisted basically of yelling at me for not being a good mother, and angrily asking me when his dinner would be ready. He told me later that he’d lost his love for me during that time, because of how awful of a mother I was. So, no, we did not have a 3rd (even though we initially had wanted three). The kids are now in their 20s, I think they are amazing young man, their father and I are both proud of them to a ridiculous degree. We are no longer married to each other; best thing I’ve ever done for myself. He lives in the area and the kids come over to his house quite often to help him out around the house and to keep him company. He and I are on good terms. Hmmm, is there a positive message in this? lol I think what I am saying here is that, yes, babies are insanely difficult, but having a support system (SO, friends, family) helps greatly. I did have several friends who helped me get through that time. Congrats on your upcoming Last Diaper, I am looking at The Last College Bill here. (possibly already paid it two months ago – I’ll believe it when I see the diploma, though.) Also a huge weight off!

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Uhhhh, forgot to say the one thing I’d commented to say – that, with the second, I was in tears all the time for the first few months (have been actually physically unable to cry ever since after that), and was convinced that I’d done A Terrible Thing and had Let My Family Down and made my older son’s life hell, and that I should have never given him a brother he did not want, and now both of them would be miserable for the rest of their lives, all because of me.

            Fast forward 20 years, my oldest was a kid straight out of college, with Aspergers, living on his own on the opposite side of the country and working at his first job. His brother was a psych major in college. When the oldest became depressed because the office work and the move/living alone in a new place had caught up to him, the youngest spent hours on the phone with him helping him through it. They do grow up, it does get better, and is totally worth it!

    3. MatKnifeNinja*

      Parents who make it look *easy* have help. My friend had her mother come over for the first 5 months so she could catch up on sleep and work on her milk supply during the weekends. Her mom did housework and prepped food for the week.

      I help a ton when my niece was born the first 6 months. I wasn’t working at the time, and gladly did it for the the few dollars thrown my way. (Sister wanted to pay, I didn’t want it, so the amount was minimal.)

      If you had someone catching up on bottles, clothes washing, dishes, vacuuming, you’d make it look easy too.

    4. ArtK*

      Very glad to hear that things are improving for you. Sadly, society (especially advertising media) has created this illusion that motherhood is supposed to be all butterflies and rainbows. That’s a hard expectation to get over; as you and every other parent have discovered it is something quite different.

      Things do get better, especially after the exhaustion passes, but it’s never as smooth as we would wish. “This too shall pass” has been my parenting mantra for years (sons are in their early 20s now.)

    5. It’s all good*

      You are a great friend. I too was unprepared. I would think “surely since I’ve managed a dozen people I can handle one baby”. Wrong! I was on my own. DH worked 15 hour night shifts and our daughter literally was unable to breastfeed. It was not fun times, I was either pumping or feeding her (took 1.5 hours for her to drink 8 oz.). I was a mess and angry by the lack of sleep. – I practically tell strangers about PPD and related issues so they have a clue and be easier on themselves

    6. PurpleMonster*

      Ah, we’ve all been there. The sleep thing is a real killer! I didn’t really enjoy the newborn stage either. Except for the snuggles.

      Not to rain on your parade, but at 4mo do expect the sleep to start sliding backwards for a while – it’s a normal stage of development as they become more aware of their surroundings. A lot of people get into sleep training at that point but that wasn’t my parenting jam so I turned the cot into a sidecar so I could boob her back to sleep while dozing myself. It made all the difference until things settled back down again.

      I think life gets better at this point, too, because they become so much more interactive, rather than being screechy little potatoes.

      1. Arya Parya*

        I count my blessings every night she sleeps through the night. I know that can change again at any moment. At least we already had 1,5 months of good night sleeps they can never take away again.

    7. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I wonder how many people can’t remember how hard those first months were. I think I remember it more clearly because I blogged about it as we lived through it but I clearly remember much of the misery of the first six months. I don’t think ze slept through the night until 8-10 months and I honestly didn’t think we’d survive! :)

      Lots of it wasn’t fun but it really helped that I primed myself and my husband to expect it to be MOSTLY hard work and then we were pleasantly surprised that it met expectations with an added unexpected bonus of actually really liking our kid once we could get some sleep. Good luck, I hope your nearby friend can trade help with you as the kids get older.

      It’s much easier for folks with a support network which we didn’t have, so we have to build our own.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        The whole first year after kid#2 was born is a blank in my memory. I have very little recollection of what happened during those twelve months.

    8. lemon squares*

      if you’re in the northern hemisphere, now is good bean soup time. Acquacotta (bbc has a good recipe) – you can sub out veg broth or water for chicken soup, Riccardo’s black bean soup etc

    9. Observer*

      There is a good reason why in communities like Orthodox Jewish communities generally have a lot of support infrastructure to help new parents. Couples move into parents for a couple of weeks (it can make an incredible difference), people come over to help with a lot of stuff (everything from meals to housecleaning), and some organizations will arrange for paid help for a short amount of time.

  6. Dramaholic*

    After a lifetime of being a carnivore I’m trying to eat more vegetarian meals – or at least meals with small quantities of meat. Suggestions/tips/recipes, please?

    1. StellaBella*

      Veggie stirfry. Over brown or white rice.
      Roasted mixed veggies.
      Red lentil and rice soup with veggie bouillion cube for a base.
      Veggie chili.
      Roasted chick peas, dry, as a snack.

      1. Piper*

        Look up risotto recipes, they’re tasty, filling and often vegetarian, with loads of variety. Mushroom, gorgozola cheese + pears, various vegetables, etc.

        1. BRR*

          Piggybacking on this, if you have an instant pot it makes a decent risotto. It might not be as good as stove top risotto but it’s so much easier.

      2. Pam.*

        Lately, I have been making lunch dishes for the week. Start with a base of rice, quinoa, couscous, or noodles. Cook chopped vegetables, add a can or two of beans, and then add a stir fry sauce or salsa. Put single servings into containers, and lunch is ready to go, and easy to reheat.

    2. DrTheLiz*

      Jacket potatoes with cheese and baked beans is a good one if yoy like baked beans, or with fried onion and cream cheese.

          1. TL -*

            Good to know that’s an integral part of the process :)
            I know people who oil baked potatoes – I only do it if I’m cooking for others; otherwise I just stab ’em and pop ’em nekkid into the microwave.

            1. TL -*

              (baked potatoes can be either way is what I’m saying, though it would be weird to pay for a baked potato without a nice crispy oiled skin.)

            2. Artemesia*

              A microwaved potato can be tasty but it is not a baked potato but rather a steamed one and the skins will not be crispy and tasty whether oiled or not.

    3. Red Reader*

      I’ve had luck with baked pasta dishes – when I do lasagne or manicotti, I leave out the loads of Italian sausage I used to put in and load the cheese mixture down with spinach, mushrooms, grated carrots.

      Mac and cheese. Bean chili. Minestrone soup? Quiche can be easily done with just veg.

    4. Ron McDon*

      I am veggie but my husband and kids are devoted carnivores, so I do lots of substituting – quorn mince in spaghetti bolognese, veggie chilli, lasagne etc. Quorn pieces in stir fry, curry etc.

      Or I use lentils (great with lemon and low fat creme fraiche as a pasta sauce), tins of beans (butter beans/chickpeas are good in curry, mixed beans in chilli), or lots of veggies in place of meat – mushroom is particularly good as it can be quite strong in flavour.

      Salads with lots of rocket, pepper, cucumber, avocado, mixed grains or lentils, goats cheese, walnuts…

      But the easiest way to begin is to just substitute meat for tofu/a meat substitute/beans. Of course, if you’re eating more ‘a piece of meat with potatoes and cooked veg’ type meals it’s more difficult – then I just buy something like a veggie pie from a supermarket, but I don’t eat that kind of meal often. When I cook a roast dinner I just eat the veggies, I don’t bother making myself a nut roast or anything, I can’t be bothered!

      Hope this helps…

      1. Lynn Whitehat*

        I think it’s helpful not to expect a veg meal to “look like” the traditional “meat main, 2 small sides” dinner. I feel like that’s where people get stumped. “Start with pork chop, mashed potatoes and green beans. Minus pork chop. Plus…???”

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        +1 to Quorn pieces. They cook from frozen so are really easy to throw into sauces in the same way you’d use chopped chicken. I used to swear by them when I was at university.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      My go to is to brush slices of good bread with olive oil, grill, and use a bunch of bruschetta toppings (chopped tomatoes, roast tomatoes or fennel, roast beets, grilled watermelon, avocado with garlic and spices, roast figs, search the internet). The antipasto bar at some groceries can give you some more variety, usually on the richer, oil-packed end. You can add a little goat cheese and sausage.

      For smaller quantities of meat, I find that upping the variety of vegetables on the plate is the easiest approach–half as much chicken then works fine. Asparagus or green beans boiled for a couple of minutes then sprinkled with ume vinegar are my go to minimal work extras. It’s the right time of year for sliced tomatoes from the farmer’s market to be a simple extra vegetable.

    6. Engineering consultant*

      I’m not sure of your tastes, but my general suggestion is to treat meat like a side and load up on the vegetables and grains.

      For me, I find East/Southeast Asian food very easily adaptable to becoming vegetarian (just take out the meat or sub in firm tofu or tempeh), or cooking Indian food.

      1. Slartibartfast*

        Mexican cuisine is similarly easy, sub out the meat for beans of your choice. Black bean for beef, something like a northern bean for chicken, chickpeas or kidney for pork.

    7. catsaway*

      Pasta + veggies
      Use lentils for tacos instead of ground beef, or mix in lentils with the beef
      Lentil soup
      Rice bowls – rice + veggies + egg + tofu

    8. SpiderLadyCEO*

      I make a lot of curries, and those are easy to make just veggie based and with no meats. Soups and stews in general, there are a lot of veggie ones – I had an amazing curried cauliflower soup last night with naan. (The recipe is on Smitten Kitchen.)

      Also, dishes that are grains (pasta or rice) with a pile of veggies stirred in – so pasta, plus sautéd tomatoes, olives, red peppers, zucchini, or rice with kimchi. I also really like sweet potatoes with broccoli and cheese. I’m incredibly lazy, so that’s about the level of effort I’m willing to put in, haha.

    9. Overeducated*

      This is my diet…in the last week the menu was buffalo cauliflower sliders; palak paneer; pierogies with sauteed cabbage, carrots, and onions; pasta with kale, queso fresco, and jarred pumpkin chipotle sauce (experimental, not great); and spicy tofu and green bean stir fry, for examples. More out of box stuff this week due to lack of time. But i tend to eat a lot of bean stews, chilis, curries, and tacos as well (sometimes with meat, sometimes not – I plan to buy and cook around one meat dish a week).

    10. Marion Ravenwood*

      If you like curry, paneer cheese is a good alternative to meat. Although to be honest in India a lot of curries are vegetarian anyway so you can just do them with vegetables if you prefer.

      Also, it might help to start small and maybe have one meat-free day a week – there is a campaign called Meat Free Mondays, but obviously you could do another day if you prefer. Then gradually you can work up to eating vegetarian more often if you want to.

    11. Kj*

      I love vegetarian soups. They are easy to make vegetarian and there are tons of recipes out there for bean soups or chilis. Also, think about eating breakfast for dinner once a week too.

    12. epi*

      A few recommendations for you. My husband and I are both former long-time vegetarians who now eat limited meat.

      These are the three cookbooks we get the most use out of:
      Afro-Vegan by Bryant Terry. These are vegan interpretations of foods from Africa, the Caribbean, and the American South. The book is gorgeous (he even makes music recommendations for each recipe), the book’s purpose is great, and the food is seriously satisfying. I highly recommend the braised mustard greens from this book.
      Moosewood Restaurant New Classics. The Moosewood books are all classics, but the older ones can be cheese heavy and dated. This book earns its name. I’ve been cooking out of it since high school and recommend the sopa seca (a kind of tortilla casserole) and the black bean and sweet potato hash.
      Good and Cheap by Leanne Brown. Not all the recipes in this book are vegetarian, but most are: the book’s purpose is to provide tasty, healthy recipes that are accessible on a food stamp budget. A PDF of the book can be had for free. Brown also talks about rethinking what a meal should look like if it is good and nutritious– super helpful for people reducing meat.

      My favorite thing to do this time of year is what we call vegetable party. Roast a sheet pan of chopped root vegetables and squashes tossed with olive oil, salt, and pepper– whatever looks good to you is fine, but I like a mix of red and sweet potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Leave the softer/wetter veggies larger than the potatoes and carrots so things finish cooking at the same time. If you want to add brussel sprouts, leeks/onions, or garlic, wait and add them when the other veggies are about half done. I would start with a 400 degree oven and check every 20-30 minutes until you know how you want it done.

      Meanwhile, make any wetter vegetable dish on the stove top that you enjoy and that would normally only rate as a side dish. Greens, beans, braised cabbage, or sauteed mushrooms are good choices. If you are using kale or brussel sprouts, they are great with red pepper flakes, a little parmesan cheese, and some lemon juice and zest. Serve your stovetop dish over the roasted veggies as though they were pasta or rice. This is a seriously filling, comforting, and easy meal.

      If you have leftovers, just combine the two vegetable dishes and heat in the microwave at work. Or heat together in a skillet at home and scramble in an egg or top with a fried egg.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Another good cookbook is More with Less Cookbook, by Doris Janzen Longacre. (There is also another More with Less by her that is not the cookbook, no idea if its any good.) It’s Mennonite, but with lots of recipes from international missionaries. So ethnic food, via American tastebuds and cooking techniques. Excellent, yummy food, not too fancy or complicated. One of its focuses is balanced consumption of meat.

        Highly, highly recommend.

    13. LemonLyman*

      There are a lot of great suggestions in this thread! My spouse has been vegetarian his whole life and I do the cooking, so I’m always on the look out for good recipes/suggestions, too. A couple vegetarian or vegetarian leaning recipe blogs to check out are:

      Cookie & Kate
      Love & Lemons
      Minimalist Baker
      101 Cookbooks
      The Toasted Pine Nut
      Sprouted Kitchen

    14. GreyNerdShark*

      quick and easy… zucchini pizza!

      thin preferably wholemean pizza base. We feed 2 people on one pizza but we are not huge eaters.
      1 medium to large zucchini per base,
      some basil pesto or similar, a tablespoon or so, maybe a bit more.
      tomato paste or pizza paste I get it in 90ml satchets, say 1.5-2 tablespoons.
      100g or so of fetta cheese
      200deg C oven

      use the back of a spoon to spread the tomato paste over the pizza base
      peel the zucchini nto strips with a veggie peeler. I find the T shaped ones work best.
      distribute the zucchini over the pizza
      flick dollops of pesto over the pizza. get it so each 1/8th slice has some
      crumble the fetta over the pizza
      put the pizza on a rack in about the middle of the oven, cook for 10 min.

      Surprisingly tasty and if you get the right base, crunchy.

    15. UndeadInOhio*

      Beans and nuts are a great source of protein if you’re cutting back on meat. A lot of Indian dishes are surprisingly easy, especially if you find a pre-made spice mix that suits you. Some are authentic, some are clearly Americanized, but you do you. Chaana masala is a good one to start with: it’s basically a tomato-chickpea soup with a hundred variations.

      There are also a lot of recipes out there for peanut-butter protein bars and shakes. Maybe not a meal, but can satisfy a craving for protein that can come from eating a lot of carbs-and-vegetable based meals (veggie stir-fry over rice).

    16. Anonykins*

      Vegan blog Oh She Glows has a really good black bean and sweet potato enchilada recipe. If you’re not vegan, very easy to add cheese and sub the cashew sauce for a more traditional variety

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ve loved Indian food since having a Gujarti housemate senior year. And her family is strictly religious vegetarian so I learned those dishes first. But I was lucky to have that as a first intro, because restaurant Indian food often doesn’t agree with me. The way American restaurants cook uses a lot of oil… and many Indian sauces are ghee-based (butter). We ran across this cookbook and never looked back–its vegetarian recipes are standard Lenten meals. (Catholic husband)

      If you decide to go fully vegetarian, consider consulting a nutritionist. There are a lot of details in a vegetarian culture’s cuisine that turn out to meet critical dietary needs. Just as simple as having rice at the same meal as beans to let your body get all the amono acids it needs to build protein.

      A formerly vegan co-worker now occasionally has fish because she was having medical issues that were none of my business to hear details of. All I needed to know was if we were going to lunch, Japanese was easiest on her diet.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Oh and if you’re into reenactments, look up medeival Lenten recipes. SCA members & local branches have a lot of info online. Many of us started with “Cariadoc’s Miscellany” (David Friedman & Elizabeth Cook), or with “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” (Cindy Renfrow). http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/food.html

  7. StellaBella*

    Hi all. I just said goodbye to my college roommate yesterday, she was visiting for a week. Was a great visit but I am sad she’s gone home. Her visit made me realise how much I miss my home town and friends, but it is nostalgia, what I miss are the memories from before I moved, as I have been gone 10 years and live outside the USA. But it was a good visit and good memories were made.

    I want to say thanks to all of you here for kind, wide-ranging advice and thoughtfulness. It’s a great community!

  8. Put that camera down*

    People who document everything they do on social media…where do they get the time for the real world?
    There’s an artist I follow on social media who, along with her artwork, also posts a lot about her personal life. And by ‘a lot’ I mean ‘details everything that’s happening’, usually almost in real time. The other day she posted a photo of her and her husband holding hands (just their hands). At first I was like ‘aw, that’s a cute photo’, then I realised she’d had to have stopped doing whatever it was they were doing, pose, take a photo and then put it on social media. It just feels…weird and artificial.
    I have some friends like this as well, who update their social media constantly. It can get grating when they’re more concerned about creating an image of having fun somewhere than actually /being/ there.
    Of course, if that’s what makes them happy, then power to them. Posts like those tend to get a lot of compliments and a lot of people (myself included) enjoy them. But I do wonder if it can get a bit trying for people around them who may not be as into that kind of thing.

    1. Jen*

      Reminds me of the photo of the ‘Phone-Free Old Lady’ taken a few years ago. I’m a terrible photographer and I leave my phone at home most of the time anyway. I can’t imagine living my life through a lens, but maybe I would think differently if I were creative and talented like this person seems to be?

    2. Waiting for the Sun*

      I think I know what you mean. At least she is apparently a public figure promoting herself and her work.
      I have some friends who have physical and mental health problems and post about them a lot. Every doctor appointment, headache, insomnia, etc. I feel bad for them but don’t know what I can do. I don’t have nearly as many medical appointments as they do, but I can’t imagine posting about the ones I do have.
      However, I’ve noticed that things I post that I think are funny or interesting get little reaction, but the occasional checking in at a restaurant gets lots of likes. Go figure!

      1. Put that camera down*

        I feel like it’s a bit different if people are blogging or doing it as a coping mechanism. For me it’s more the ‘trying to look spontaneous but actually takes ages to get the right shot’ types that feel weird. You know the type – in cafes or restaurants spending ages arranging their dishes or drinks exactly right, then spending ages with filters etc. so they can get them onto Insta.

        1. Waiting for the Sun*

          Yes, see what you mean there.
          If something is really exciting to me, I want to experience it, not take pictures of it.

    3. Cosette*

      We took a vacation this past spring where I intentionally did not get my phone out all the time. I have a whole lot less pictures but really experienced the location… which was well worth my focus!

      1. Tau*

        On the flip side, I’m terrible at remembering to take pictures when I’m out and about and am always sad about this because I have very little mementos of past events and my memory isn’t great. There’ve been vacations I’ve completely forgotten about before. It seems to me that a balance in between the two is the best way forward.

    4. annakarina1*

      I have an FB friend who will post stuff that I do feel like is a performance, like “I guess this is what being an adult is like!” (She’s nearly 30) Or praising her husband and going “Doing marriage right!” Just stuff that does feel childish and artificial to me.

      I tend to mostly post about movies I watch, artsy things I like, and more my interests rather than talking about my personal life or venting or getting into politics. That’s just how I am, but I’m fine reading other posts from people who use Facebook differently.

    5. Kate Daniels*

      It might actually be their full-time job. There are many travel vloggers I follow who are making really good money through sponsored ads or sponsored posts.

    6. OperaArt*

      This makes me think of the “Instagram Husband” video on YouTube. Very funny. What it’s like being the non-Instagram partner in a relationship.

    7. Book Lover*

      I took a lot of pictures when the kids were tiny and changing a lot, and I am grateful as I always see them as they are and have a hard time remembering their baby faces. Now I tend to take pictures just at occasions or when they are particularly cute. I do post to social media for family only, and I curate the pictures – they are for fun and memories so I don’t document every tantrum and scrape. Some people do a lot more and others do less but I guess as long as you do what is right for your mental health – shrug.

    8. LilySparrow*

      Last year, I had to unfollow/hide a lovely young couple I know. They experienced a devastating late miscarriage/still birth, and shared every second of the process and their grief on social media.

      I figured they were just oversharing and scrolled past their posts really fast, until Irealized they had something going on I didn’t and couldn’t understand. I noticed that in the photos he posted of her hospital-bed agony and weeping, she was in full makeup and had fixed her hair between shots.

      They are truly nice people, so I just took a step back to let them finish doing whatever that was doing for them. Because I don’t get it. At. All.

    9. Engineering consultant*

      They usually don’t have traditional 40-hour (or more) work weeks, or they use it to create an image of themselves.

      I can kind of understand an artist posting more than just their artwork – they want to gain more followers and it’s easy to gain a lot of likes by posting cutesy, posed photos of your daily life with an “inspirational” message.

      I’ll admit I’ve fallen into the trap of trying create an image of having fun instead of actually being in the present. In my real life, I do have a full-time technical job, but on weekends I take a dslr camera with me everywhere to capture any moments that I might want to remember. It’s about sharing what I’ve seen to other people who may not know about a place or event, and documenting my life. I don’t really take photos of myself, but I have done some portrait photography for friends, and let me tell you, it is *definitely* posed, you take at least 10+ photos to get one good picture, then you edit the *bleep* out of it for that one perfect image. It takes time. It’s not something I enjoy doing all the time, but I think people are caught up in presenting an picture-perfect (pun intended) image of themselves because of today’s society.

      What bothers me is when people post complaining statuses every day on facebook like “this stranger was so rude and bumped into me on a busy sidewalk”. That’s a whole ‘nother rant on its own though…

    10. Anonomo*

      I was like this a few years ago. My husband was working 60+ hour weeks (evenings no less) while living thousands of miles from our families and it was a great way for him/grandma to keep up/feel part of mine and the kids’ lives. Since he’s changed shifts and can join in, I dont post as much to fb (still doing a few dozen instas a month though) but Im always behind my camera still since its become fairly easy to grab a great shot or two while the kids do their thing. I know a few others who do it as a sort of baby book, tagging their kids and what not, and a few who do it to show off or who need to cope, but Im not generally too bothered by it since I was one of those annoying friends too lol

    11. Sparkly Lady*

      Unfortunately, that seems to be part of what’s required for effective social media promotion of art. Or at least, that seems to be what people think is required. It’s very common among my performer friends, although with varying degrees of actual success.

      It is artificial and weird. I’ve tried to do it in the past because I need to promote my performances better. But I just can’t get into it.

      1. Yay Fall*

        Yes, this. I’m in a creative field and use Instagram to promote my work. My posts get pushed back if I don’t post consistently, and fewer post views means less traction for my account and overall work. So it’s not really about post quality (although that definitely counts for something) and more about quantity. It’s terrible and we all hate it. If I run out of photos related to my work, up go random pictures that I try to tie into my feed.
        But if it’s a random person’s Instagram and they’re just posting everything to the point they’re interrupting a nice moment, I also don’t understand this. Just live your life.

    12. Not So NewReader*

      I wonder how people find the time to read all these posts. I read maybe 30-40% of AAM and consider that a huge success. Then I have to go do life things and do not have time for other online things. I log in to FB about once a year and say to myself, “Gee, I should probably do something here.” Then I get overwhelmed and log out.

    13. UndeadInOhio*

      I think it’s the mindset of a certain kind of artist, regardless of their medium. Neil Gaiman has said in interviews, and this is a paraphrase, that he’s only experiencing 90% of his life; 10% of him is always hanging back, observing, noting, narrating. And he worries that it might interfere with some of his relationships, but he doesn’t know how to stop and be 100% in the moment. He’s not even sure if it’s possible.

      Going to bother me now that I can’t find the interviews. But, he’s said it at least twice. And I remember an interview with Meryl Streep mentioning something similar: that ever since she was five years old, there is a part of her that’s her own audience. No matter what she’s doing to who she’s talking to, she’s always *also* playing to the Audience Merryl inside her head.

      It’s interesting, because now with social media, I think we might be seeing just how many people have this aspect. Since it’s sort of a private thing, somebody’s way of seeing and engaging with reality, it would only ever have come up in interviews of famous artists or celebrities. But now we get to see, in real time, how many people find it valuable to dedicate much of their mental space to observing their life at a bit of a distance, rather than living in it. I don’t know how many people are one way or the other, but I think it’s neat to find out.

    14. neverjaunty*

      You’re following her on social media. It seems a little off to complain how much she does it?

    15. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      I confess that I tweet a lot during my day about all kinds of things and we take lots of photos of spontaneous things as they happen to share with far-flung friends and family so they get a glimpse of our daily lives. Zero curation or filters, though, unless we want a half decent group picture to remember a visit with friends we don’t see for years. It’s just literally snapping pics of the kid being silly or random things like that.

      A relative does more of the stuff along the lines you’re talking about though, crafting images to project a specific chic image on their Instagram and I can’t tell if it bugs me because I think they are superficial generally or if it’s this behavior that irritates me.

    16. AdAgencyChick*

      My sister-in-law is like this and it drives the whole family insane. No one is allowed to taste a bite of a meal until she’s photographed it for social media.

      My niece tells me that my brother recently took the two of them out for a celebratory meal, and the very first thing he did when the entree arrived was to jam his fork into it. When sister-in-law complained, my brother told her he just wanted to enjoy a meal out with his family and why did she have to ruin it by making it a show for Facebook? Boy, would I have loved to be a fly on the wall at that meal.

  9. Orphan Brown*

    Wondering your collective thoughts about a solution that I’m worried seems cold and calculating. In my marriage my partner has repeatedly brought up that I’m the less affectionate of us and that he needs more from me in order to feel fulfilled. As an introvert I bring up that I need my alone time in order to feel the same. But I don’t want him to feel unloved. I downloaded an app about creating and maintaining habits, related to fitness the other day. (Wanted to start a habit of doing a 30 second plank every day). It’s really simple, a checklist that reminds you to check off your habit at the frequency you designate.

    I entered a couple new habits. Show verbal, and then physical appreciation for my partner, every day of the week. Since adding in the habit on my app, I’ve been much more successful at meeting my partner’s basic needs around affection.

    But I’m keeping the habit app to myself because I feel it comes across as very cold. It’s not my intent so I’m wondering how this all sounds to you. (I’m a woman, husband is a man, in case that matters)

    1. Waiting for the Sun*

      Sounds OK to me, but I haven’t been in a relationship for awhile; not the best advice-giver.

    2. Cosette*

      After three decades of marriage, hubby and I recently went through a course to learn our temperaments. It was very enlightening and explains so much! I am like you and he is like your partner. It has helped him to learn that my desire to have some alone time is NOT a reflection on him but is just my need to re-energize from work, social functions, etc. I think your new habits is a good idea. I think it’s ok to let your partner know you are really making an effort to meet his needs better. Whether you mention it’s an app that is helping… I don’t know. I think it comes across as resourceful, but then I tend to be more like you so I may not be the best judge! I just applaud you for making the effort. But also do let him know that it is likely just part of your process to have that alone time sometimes.. .it really isn’t personal! Look up information on the five temperaments to learn more.

    3. AnonyCat*

      Sometimes slightly silly things work. A year or two ago, I got tired of having road rage (the yelling-in-my-car kind, not the dangerous-to-others kind) and decided to pretend that every driver I saw doing stupid stuff was trying to get to the hospital. Even when this is obviously untrue, it helps me keep my temper far better than I’d ever hoped.

      1. Cosette*

        HA! I learned this one from a friend: When other drivers are driving crazy like this, I just wave and say, “Hope you get there, friend!”

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        I do an equivalent of this getting annoyed at people on the underground. It does require you to be conscious of the thoughts and recognise them to ‘reset’, but it’s definitely helped me to feel less frustrated, especially in a city with so many tourists where people may not know how the system works.

      3. Kat in VA*

        This is a great idea.

        Unfortunately for me, the rage I get is people on their phones. In front of me, next to me, behind me. The ones in front I can tell are on their phones because their heads are tilted, or I can see their eyelids in their rearview (usually in stop and go).

        The people randomly and lazily wandering in and out of their lanes – on their phones. The person coming up WAY too fast behind me when I’m at a dead stop – on their phone. The person in front of me maintaining a five car gap in bumper to bumper traffic – on their phone, and maintaining the gap so they can keep one eye on their phone and one on the road.


      4. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I have been trying to compose a bumper sticker and maybe the commentariat can help get it right…
        “Drive like they all have migraines. ”

        And the hospital thing is a good one…I know one hard-head who drove himself to the hospital because he was having a heart attack. The ER read him the riot act and he thought it was funny. Grr.

    4. Red Reader*

      I have considered doing similar, but not actually put into practice for similar concerns.

    5. Loopy*

      I think the fact that you took the effort outweighs any “coldness” of using an app to do so. Obviously you care enough to put in the work and hear and respect your partners needs. My partner is more like you and out relationship only works because I understand if he’s not affectionate as I might like it’s part of his personality/who he is, not a sign of our relationship having issues.

      But I guess it varies. I know I’d be more touched than put off, personally.

      1. Orphan Brown*

        Thanks, this is nice to hear. Just have to think about whether I’ll share about the app or not.

        1. Ron McDon*

          I probably wouldn’t – I feel like it could be misconstrued as ‘oh, so you have to schedule reminders to show me affection?’ – you will know if your husband is likely to take this tack or applaud your resourcefulness!

          I personally think the app is good way to remember to do something that doesn’t come naturally, but sometimes people focus too much on doing things ‘off your own bat’ without needing to be reminded, you know?

          Has your husband noticed you making more of an effort?

          1. SpellingBee*

            Yeah, I agree, probably best to keep it to yourself at least for now. My guess is that soon it will become more natural (after all, the app’s purpose is to help you start new habits) and you won’t rely on it anymore. But you know your husband best, and if he’d find it endearing or would be offended. The fact that you’re hesitating over telling him makes me think you think it might be the latter.

          2. Orphan Brown*

            He notices and appreciates the difference but I don’t want to negate the positive outcomes in case there’s a chance he takes it the wrong way.

          3. Not So NewReader*

            If he catches you with the app, just tell him that you had to do something to keep yourself on track because he means that much to you, you didn’t want to mess it up so you got this app.

            Right now I would not tell him unless he asks. My reason has nothing to do with “what will he think/say” but rather, you need time to sort this new habit out. Give yourself the alone time you need, you know, that quiet time in your head to sort it. (Introverts need that time to think things through. I happen to know this ;) ) I think you will be most convincing if you don’t tell your friends what you are doing, then you can say that he is the only one who knows you got this app.)

        2. Detective Amy Santiago*

          So this was legit just a plot point in the new season of The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon was scheduling sex into his honeymoon with Amy and she got mad. He basically said that he was afraid he wouldn’t provide for her needs since he wasn’t a very physical person and she told him to go ahead and use all the schedules he wanted, but don’t tell her about it.

          1. Orphan Brown*

            Ha. This is funny to me because we actually do have to schedule time for sex. But that’s a mutually agreeable thing with two kids and busy lives. The habits I’m trying to ingrain are more of the cuddly romantic stuff.

            1. Observer*

              Well, a lot of people get very offended by the idea of scheduling sex because “you should just want to do it”. But, as you note that just doesn’t work for a lot of people who really do love each other.

              The app you’re using is much the same thing. You know that you can’t use your own meter to gauge if you’ve done sufficient X because you have a different level of need, so you are using something that will help you tick it up to a more acceptable level. As long as the hugs etc. that you provide are sincere, it doesn’t matter how you reached that point.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I think it’s one of those things that the effect is good, and you don’t need to explain to your partner the details. Whether that’s an app or asking your assistant to remind you. “But Blake is so efficient! He’s great at this stuff!” Sometimes you don’t need to conduct a tour of the sausage factory underlying your actions.

    7. Lehigh*

      I think it’s totally fine.

      I understand why you’d rather be meeting your partner’s desires instinctively, but compare it to any other healthy practice. Wouldn’t you rather be a person who does spontaneous exercise out of sheer enthusiasm than someone who has to schedule gym time (or your 30 second daily plank)?

      Sure. That sounds great. But, more often than not, scheduling is what actually gets things done.

    8. Slartibartfast*

      What app? I could use something like that, for similar reasons. And I wouldn’t tell Mr. S personally, he just doesn’t get that I can’t remember to not forget things.

      1. Book Lover*

        You can use habitica for this kind of thing.

        I actually put everything on a reminder – when I need to exercise the cat and so on. I think it is a good idea – it is the thought that counts, not that you have to remember to do everything without a prompt.

      2. Orphan Brown*

        The app I’m using is called HabitBull. The free version only allows 5 habits at a time, which I think is plenty. It’s less of a task list and more to help me form healthy habits. Ideally I won’t need it in the future.

    9. Penguin*

      I don’t think it’s cold, no; you’re trying to work with him to help him fill his needs! That’s a good thing!

      If you haven’t yet, you might also try reading “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman. While I object to much of the book for personal reasons, the section specifically outlining how different people receive and express love and other emotions in particular ways can be a very helpful introduction to the idea. From what you’ve said, it sounds like your partner receives love in a way that you do not express it; figuring out that disconnect might be helpful. Specifically, if both of you can learn how each shows and receives love, he can learn to see the love you express even if it’s not in his primary “language” while at the same time you can learn to express love in a way that he is more naturally receptive to. (And vice versa, for that matter!)

      1. Orphan Brown*

        I just took this quiz the other day! My languages are apparently acts of service and words. If I have to guess for my husband it’s physical touch and words (I don’t remember if those are the exact categories but something like that. ) I should read the book.

    10. epi*

      I think this is a really sweet, smart idea. You might also be interested in the Captain Awkward post linked in my username– it’s an old one I reread recently because this is hard for me too.

      One way to think of this is that often, we practice in order to build a habit or make sure to do something until it feels natural to us. It doesn’t mean we don’t want to do that thing, quite the opposite. For example, in dialectical behavior therapy you might have homework to schedule time to meditate– but the meditation will still work and the idea is not for you to have homework for the rest of your life. Or if you go to the gym, you’ll also make it easier to carry your laundry up the stairs without even thinking about it.

      For what it’s worth, I would be very touched if someone made this type of effort for me.

      1. Orphan Brown*

        Oh I really enjoyed reading that. Because it also references friendships as a way to get comfortable speaking like that. Who doesn’t like to be appreciated, friend or lover?

        Yes I think I’ll need to think about it as temporary until I form the habit naturally. And maybe reframe this from cold to something else more kind.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          You can think along the lines of “demonstrative” or “reconnecting.”
          I like the idea of reconnecting, because life can tug at partners, pulling them this way and that way, any direction but CLOSE to each other. Partners pretty much have to deliberately reconnect. This can be little reconnects here and there and it can be longer reconnects like taking time just to be together such as the weekend or a vacation.
          Perhaps it would be helpful to think of it as a way to keep a strong connection to your hubby.

    11. Parenthetically*

      I think it sounds awesome and not at all cold, because it’s a way that works with your brain/personality/style to improve your relationship and give your husband what he’s craving. I HATE the way we culturally demand spontaneity in demonstrating affection.

      My dad, who is very type-A (INTJ/Enneagram 1, for those who are into those things) used to set himself a daily numerical goal of hugs and affectionate/encouraging words for each member of the family. It meant we all felt super loved, and he built the habit over time to the point that he stopped thinking of the number because it became part of his routine.

      1. LAMM*

        As a not super affectionate person, I really love your dad’s method. I’m going to consider implementing something similar for myself!

    12. LilySparrow*

      I think that sounds like a lovely, generous, thoughtful way to be intentional about your marriage. Whether or not to share about the app depends on where you are in your relationship right now.

      Generally speaking, if someone is feeling depleted or distant, or like their needs are going unmet for a long time, it becomes harder to see loving gestures in the way they are intended. Whereas, when you feel thoroughly loved and secure, it’s easy to see and feel love from your partner, even if it’s not exactly what you would choose at that moment. And it takes a little while to rebuild that “reserve” of love and security.

      For example, if I’m missing my husband and feeling lonely, I’ll get annoyed if he’s out washing the car instead of spending time with me. But if I’m in-balance, I’ll think it’s so sweet that he’s washing the car *for me.*

      I’d say, wait until he says or shows you that he noticed the change in your affection level, and appreciates it, and you can tell he’s feeling secure and happy with it. Then it will come across the right way, as you going the extra mile to make sure he knows how much you care.

      Honestly, I don’t think it’s cold at all. I’m getting a little verklempt writing about it.

      There’s a myth that love just naturally flows, and if everything goes right (in ways that are totally beyond your control) you have a good relationship. But if you have to make deliberate choices or get help, it doesn’t “count”.

      That’s chemistry, not love. Love is all about choices.

    13. Not A Manager*

      I think this is a wonderfully loving thing to do! You heard what your partner had to say, you took his feelings seriously, and you are working to change your behavior in order to provide something he needs. I think this is the opposite of cold and calculating.

      The fact that this is contrary to your own general instincts and so you are consciously finding ways to accommodate him is MORE evidence of good will and love, not less, in my opinion.

      Whether to share this with him or not, I don’t know. It is possible that someone could hear this as “I don’t really love you enough to do this spontaneously so I put it on my chore chart.” Or they could hear it as “I love you so much that I’m willing to work really hard to be sure I’m giving you what you need.” You’re in the best position to predict his likely response.

    14. King Friday XIII*

      I personally think that’s super romantic but I can see why you wouldn’t be comfortable bringing it up, either.

    15. Wishing You Well*

      You sound like a very thoughtful person.
      Your app is just a tool to establish a new habit. It’s no different than writing yourself a note or any other reminder device. I think you’re doing just fine!

    16. I'm A Little Teapot*

      It sounds like you’re trying to navigate some pretty basic differences in personality as best you can.

    17. Chaordic One*

      I can understand your worries about seeming cold, but if it is working I’d keep doing it, and “no,” your husband (and anyone else) doesn’t need to know about this.

      Everyone needs a little help now and this app sounds like a tool or a hack that is helping both of you, so don’t feel bad about it, don’t knock it and don’t knock yourself.

    18. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Cold would be saying showing affection isn’t your thing so suck it up, buttercup.

      You went out of your way to find a reliable method to ensure you’d provide what he asked for without his having to ask or bug you about it and feel doubly unloved. That’s showing love in spades, in my book.

      I don’t know how he’d interpret it but I personally would be tickled pink to hear someone had tackled a problem head on like this.

    19. OldJules*

      As a spouse who needs regular affection, I don’t think it’s cold or calculative. I think it’s rather sweet if my husband would do something like that. He’s very introverted and private. Plus we have so much going on in our life, we’d get distracted.

    20. Orphan Brown*

      You’ve all been really gentle and kind with me this weekend. Thank you for all your input. I’m going to keep on keeping on with establishing this habit in this way <3

      1. Anon this time*

        I am like you in every way you’ve noted, including using reminders to help address these issues. In my case, my wife (who is v like your husband) does know about my lists and reminders. I told her because she needed to know that I was making a solid effort, and fortunately she is well enough across how my brain functions that she wasn’t offended by it – she was happy that I was taking her seriously.

        Of course she would prefer that I were spontaneously affectionate in the ways she liked. I would prefer that she were spontaneously affectionate in the ways that I like too. But the fact is that one of us is more likely to be spontaneously sweet and romantic and one of us is likely to spontaneously pick up extra chores so the other gets some much-needed rest, because those are the ways in which we’re programmed. We both have to cut each other some slack and learn to be better at asking for what we need too. It’s a long process.

        I will also note that I find it very hard to focus on romantical stuff (or anything else relaxing or pleasant) when there are tasks that need to be done. My wife has learned that I am more available for her kind of affection when she helps more around the house. It’s not a reward system by any means, and I’ve been careful about that because I don’t want a built-in expectation, but it’s a pretty straightforward equation: fewer tasks = more relaxation time = I have more spoons for her. Same applies for alone time, too.

        All this to say: it’s good and right that you are trying to give your husband what he needs, but he needs to give to get. If you and I are as similar as it seems, it is hard to ask for what you need and enforce those boundaries. But if he provides some additional acts of service for you – and not just right now, but in the long-term – you will have more resources to provide him with the kinds of affection that he finds most important. Anything else is one-sided and therefore unsustainable.

        Good luck!

        1. Orphan Brown*

          We do sound very similar! In terms of acts of service being our love language, and having less to do around the house allowing us more to offer our spouses. I’m in a maternity period right now so he’s stepping it up with acts of service, but I’d like to find a more sustainable long term plan for how he could meet my needs as well. But for now, I’m happy to just work on my end.

    21. SS Express*

      I think it’s genius! I’m very affectionate and generally thought of as a nice and thoughtful person, while my husband, although loving, is pretty cold. I’ve often said he should set himself reminders to buy me flowers and pay me compliments, or google “romantic things to do for your wife”. It doesn’t come naturally to him and that’s fine – it’s just about recognising that it’s important to me and putting in the effort to meet that need one way or another.

  10. Ruth (UK)*

    What do you do when you’re in a cafe or similar on your own and need the toilet? Do you leave you bag/stuff to mark your place but take your valuables? Hope the unfinished drink etc is enough but risk it getting cleared away? Something else? I have scribbled a note on a napkin before.

    I often goes to cafes alone and need the loo more than a lot of people (I have a bladder condition). In very small independent places that can only sit 10 osh people at once or so I’ve been able to inform the person working “just going to the loo” or something but what about in bigger places or chains like Starbucks or cafe Nero?

    I’ve done various things and it’s usually fine but sometimes I’ve lost my table or even lost my drink!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        The blessing of living in New England–most of the year, you’re carrying a coat or sweater.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I’ll usually take everything, as I don’t like surprises or leaving things to chance. I don’t usually spend that long at a coffee shop, and I have an iron bladder, but in your case I’d probably just take everything with me, including my cup. You might lose your table, but then that’s pretty unavoidable, unless you’re willing to leave and risk a personal effect, like a hat or scarf, to mark the table as occupied. Or if there’s someone at the same (presumably large) table who just sat down, I’d probably ask them if the’ll be there for a few minutes, if they say yes tell them I’ll be right back, and leave just my drink. But I grew up in NYC, where people talk to strangers quite readily, that solution might not be for everyone.

      1. Kuododi*

        I’m in the US and I am more often than not with DH, or taking my mother out to get her out of the house if she’s having a good day so I really don’t encounter that problem often but it does occur to me that asking the server in my section to not have your table cleared…. just going to the restroom….. would be a practical way to approach the problem. :)

        1. The Cosmic Avenger*

          Starbucks, like it or not, tends to set the tone for chain coffeehouses, and the ones in my area at least generally don’t even bus the tables unless they’ve had crap on them for quite a while. So it’s rare to see an employee out from behind the counter in some of them. But that would be my first instinct — in fact, if I was within a few feet of the counter, I’d probably tell an employee there that I was going to be right back.

        2. Ruth (UK)*

          Yeah, if there was an employee around, I would do that but often there isn’t anyone available to ask. These places rarely have anyone clearing/cleaning tables in a regular way, but more like the person behind the counter darting out to clean when it’s really bad (but mostly busy behind the counter). Most of the places I go have the sort of ‘please clear your table when you’re done’ type signs (I go to Gregg’s a lot) and a place to put your tray, so cleaning tends to only happen if there’s a specific mess/spill.

    2. Rosemary7391*

      I’ve had success asking the person next to me if they’d mind my stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone say no!

      1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

        Yes, this! Pick someone who looks trustworthy, and looks like they’ll still be there in ten minutes, and just ask them. Depending on which city you’re in, the UK stereotype for politeness may be in even stronger effect.
        (Having said that, don’t be naive and leave a £500+ phone lying around – the person you ask may be strustworthy, but I wouldn’t want to ask them to actually confront a thief if it was grabbed before they could stop it happening)

    3. yeine*

      I often take my most valuable stuff out of my bag but leave the actual bag there. If you’d like my bag filled with a bag of doritos, two reusuable bags, and a book, by all means!

      I sometimes go to the cafe to write, and I use a tablet and a bluetooth keyboard. Sometimes I’ll take everything *but* the keyboard.

      1. epi*

        Same, I leave something personal but valueless. I will only leave my laptop and stuff (asking someone to keep an eye on it) if I’m settled in and planning to be there for a while longer, e.g. at the library.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      It depends. Generally, I try to hold it until just before I leave, and then I take everything with me. If I need to go mid-drink, I take my handbag or valuables but leave my coat and/or work bag (which doesn’t contain sensitive documents or technology – I’m talking more like my water bottle, sandwich box, office shoes etc. Things which would be annoying if they got nicked but not the end of the world) on the chair. I’ve had reasonable success with asking people on nearby tables to watch my stuff as well.

      In a pub, one thing I find works is popping a beer mat on top of my drink – apparently this is code that you’ve gone for a cigarette, but as a non-smoker it’s also good for needing to nip to the loo. I don’t think there’s a cafe/coffee shop equivalent to that though.

    5. LilySparrow*

      If I’m alone, Im usually reading a book or writing/taking notes in a notebook. I’ll leave my notebook and pen (and jacket, if I have one) with my drink.

    6. tangerineRose*

      I wouldn’t leave my drink unattended or any of my stuff. I’d rather lose the table.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Sadly, here, anything of value (include coats) that you leave at a table gets stolen – even if you just go up for a refill. Huge problem with laptop theft for anyone sitting by the door who even turns their back, and forget working outside on it – they ride up on bikes and take them from your hands. So I’d be nervous. I did find that my teapot and cup with bag were still there when I got back, but I’d taken “everything” that I would have had to pay to replace. When I got back, the police were there to take the report on the laptop theft of the guy across from me. (I hadn’t realized it had been stolen just before I arrived). Of course, I’m in a place where the homeless live in the park across the street from that coffee shop year round. I now meet friends further afield.

    8. Lissa*

      I am probably really unsafe about this – I leave a sweater and my drink out, if I’m going to the bathroom, and everything even laptop if I’m ordering a drink and can see the table. I have an extremely overactive bladder so it’s just…I like to be able to relax. TBH the thought of somebody in a daytime coffee shop near where I live managing to go to my table, take the lid off, put something in it and replace the lid seems extreeeemely unlikely, like yes it’s technically possible but so are all sorts of things and I’m not going to change my life for them either. And if someone takes my sweater I’d be annoyed but consider it a tax on all the many many times I do this.

    9. ..Kat..*

      I always go to the toilet first, even if I don’t really have to go yet. This usually works for me. I just don’t trust that anything I leave will be there when I get back.

    10. MeM*

      Maybe, since you do this a lot, you could write a note “Be right back” and leave it on the table. Just keep the note permanently in your purse so you can whip it out when needed.

  11. TL -*

    Washing dishes!
    I currently live in NZ and I’ve noticed a lot of Kiwis (including my flatmate) don’t rinse soap off the dishes after they’ve washed them. This drives me crazy – I swear I can taste the soap, and whether I actually can or not, once I know it’s not been rinsed, I will taste it. The Kiwis I’ve talked to about this say it’s not a big deal as long as you set the dishes so the soap bubbles slide off.

    (It’s not a problem with my flatmate – I took over doing this dishes as it’s a chore I don’t mind/enjoy and he travels about 75% of the time but pays 50% of the bills.)

    Do you rinse the soap off dishes? Do you not? I had never considered that people deliberately wouldn’t until I moved here!

    1. Slartibartfast*

      I can taste the soap. If I’m hand washing I rinse. But mostly they go in the dishwasher.

    2. Red Reader*

      I don’t… Why on earth would you NOT rinse the soap off? I mean, you’re standing at the sink already, just *fssh* and you’re done.

      1. TL -*

        My thoughts precisely!
        This is also why I don’t let houseguests do dishes at my place – they always offer but I don’t want to correct them when they’re doing me a favor or have to rinse/rewash everything.

      2. Cristina in England*

        It isn’t clean unless you rinse the soap away, because the soap picks up the dirt. That’s literally how soap works. The soap sticks to the dirt and the water washes it away. If you don’t rinse, it isn’t only soap on the dishes but whatever scum you are trying to get rid of!!

    3. BeeJiddy*

      I’m a Kiwi, and can confim that most people I know don’t rinse off the soap. I do because I think dishes dry quicker with a blast of hot water but I understand why people don’t. A lot of people have tiny single sinks here so it’s a pain to do, and some are conscious about water usage I think. I can’t taste soap on dishes, even on drinking glasses, so it never really bothered me. I also drink Auckland water straight from the tap though so I’m clearly not a super taster, haha.

      1. TL -*

        I stack my dirty dishes to the side of my sink, fill it 1/3-1/2 way up with soapy water, clean the dishes and rinse, adding the rinse water to the sink. If the sink gets full, the water is usually dirty enough that it needs to changed out (although if it’s not, I’ll just drain a little bit.) For 2 people, it’s a little bit more effort than in my mother’s big 2.5 basin sink but not a whole bunch. For 3+ people, it’d probably be quite difficult.

        The Kiwis who tell me you can’t taste the soap, I always file away as “you’ve always tasted the soap so of course you don’t notice” though :)

        1. Nerdgal*

          I’m American and always rinse. Once, years ago, I made a pot of coffee for some friends and one of them said she could taste soap. I was mortified, dumped the coffee, re-washed, re-rinsed, and have been careful ever since. My friend was right; once I tasted the coffee, it was terrible!

        2. BeeJiddy*

          Yeah, that is similar to what I do, though we also pay for water in Auckland so I try not to change out the water unless absolutely necessary. Having said that, most nights my partner and I will do the dishes together so they get dried straight away. I’ve become the designated washer because he uses so much dish liquid and it creates billows of suds that are impossible to dry away.

          I lived in the US for a few years and used to come up against things all the time that were so minor but so weird to me so I get it. I do miss the double sinks though.

          1. TL -*

            Most of the little things I can just file away as cultural differences – like not sitting/leaning on tables. It’s different but really no impact on me.
            But some things – paying rent weekly, rinsing off soap – just impact your life so much even though they’re so small! It’s really funny what bugs me and what doesn’t.

      2. Sc@rlettNZ*

        BeeJiddy – fellow kiwi here. I also don’t rinse dishes (nor does anyone else I know, although I hardly wash dishes by hand now). But growing up, no, rinsing the dishes off wasn’t a thing we did. I can’t taste any difference either (and I also drink the tap water, but in Dunedin :-) ).

    4. Wow!*

      This thread is blowing my mind! People really don’t rinse? How can you tell if you missed a spot? Maybe I’m just a not great washer, though.

      1. TL -*

        I mostly hang around uni students, so my impression would be that they just don’t care *that* much about cleanliness. Which is deeply unfair to all the adult Kiwis who probably do care quite a bit.
        (That being said, my flatmate is awesome about being clean/contributing to the household.)

      2. Rosemary7391*

        I usually swirl it around in the sink so it doesn’t have loads of soap on it, but most things aren’t that dirty. Greasy baking dishes are an exception. Also texture – should be a smooth surface.

        I rinse glasses and mugs but don’t usually bother with plates etc. Sink would get full of cold water or I’d waste energy and water keeping the hot tap running. So I just do the glasses first and rinse them while it’s still filling up. Of course, most plates now get put in the dishwasher which solves that problem entirely!

        1. MatKnifeNinja*

          This brings new level of OH HELL NO to potlucks and meal trains.

          This gags me more than cat’s on the counter and dogs licking plates. (Those two things don’t bother me)

          Probably because I had to wash glassware in an an organic chem lab. Now I why the prof was such a fiend to know if you could rinse or not.

          I know. Americans over the top everything.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I rarely hand-wash dishes, but I am very meticulous about it. When it comes up, I rinse very thoroughly, and make sure they’re 100% dry before stacking them, because I HATE the smell of mildew. Even when we use our dishwashing machine at home, I usually open it, shake the excess water off the tops of everything, and leave the racks fully extended for an hour or so after it’s done so that everything is completely dry.

      Then again, I also make sure to put the clean dishes on the BOTTOM of the stack, because otherwise you’re just using the same 2 or 3 plates or bowls over and over again! But my partner thinks this is crazy — but they also put away stuff while wet, which is why I usually empty the dishwasher. :)

      1. TL -*

        “I HATE the smell of mildew” … New Zealand is not the country for you.

        I’m not so meticulous about dishes, but I do want them reasonably dry and checked for soap after washing and for any dirty spots both after washing and when they’re being put up. Luckily, we do end up using all of our dishes.

    6. MatKnifeNinja*

      What type of dish soap are they using?

      If it’s one of those organic dish soaps, maybe…maybe I could see not rinsing them. Like you are trail hiking/back packing. If you are using the general full of dyes/perfume/true chemicals, I can not image rinsing that totally off.

      Is water that dear there? My brain went boom trying to figure out why you would not rinse.

      1. TL -*

        I wouldn’t think organic dish soaps are any safer/less safe to consume than regular ones. Organic definitely should not be assumed to be safer to consume.

      2. Jenny F. Scientist*

        It’s still soap. Like, lye plus oil. (Or chemical surfactants produced from organic sources; same idea.) Whether your oils were organic or not, it’s still a true chemical, I promise you! You’re still eating soap! Gleeeeech.

    7. Extra Vitamins*

      Ugh! Soap works by detaching dirt from things and sticking the dirt TO ITSELF. Rinsing the soap rinses the dirt/food away. I am grimacing thinking about this.

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      I rinse them if I’m hand washing, mainly because husband claims he can taste the soap. (I can’t, but it’s a small enough thing that it’s easier just to rinse and let it go.) That said, it’s definitely not a common thing to rinse here in the UK.

      If the plates are going in the dishwasher, I rinse off the worst of the food before they go in.

    9. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I just talked to Jolie Kerr (Ask a Clean Person) about this earlier this week! (I was recording an upcoming episode of my podcast with her.) She said that not rinsing soap off completely can cause intestinal distress.

      1. Willow*

        I live in the UK, have never rinsed a dish in my life, and my intestines are just fine. I’ve done alright for 42 years so I don’t think I’ll change just because the Americans are appalled. ;)

          1. TL -*

            There is a lot of overlap between NZ and American dish soaps, so that is not the case here. (We use palmolive in my household.)

            Most likely people just have a tolerance for it.

          1. Natalie*

            No one’s entirely sure but the primary theories are about kitchen design. Either the fact that most English kitchens had single sinks (rather than double) and/or that they lacked mixer faucets.

      2. Kim, Ranavain*

        Yeah! This is what I was taught as a kid; that consuming soap will irritate your stomach and give you diarrhea. Never occurred to me not to!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yep. ditto here. Additionally if an inspector for a restaurant/other food place ever caught someone not rinsing it would be a bfd.

      3. Chaordic One*

        Yes, I’ve often heard that not rinsing soap off of dishes can cause diarrhea.

        (In a related note, I’ve heard that certain pet food companies put a small amount of soap in their pet food to prevent the pets from becoming constipated.)

        1. Natalie*

          I rather doubt that. Pet foods have to list ingredients just like people food does.

          Some dog foods contain glycerin, which is a byproduct of soapmaking, but it’s there as a sweetener and binder.

      4. Mephyle*

        I read somewhere once an anecdote about how a British person exposed to food on rinsed dishes felt that there was an indefinable something missing from the flavour of all the food (perhaps they were visiting the US – I don’t remember the details of the story). When they ate food on soapy dishes again (as I would call them, being a rinse person), that flavour element was restored. It was then that they or maybe it was someone else identified the ‘something’ as soap.
        Of course this story may be apocryphal. Or not.

    10. The Mayor*

      Really, you cannot save enough on NOT rinsing in hot water to justify possible soapy taste/intestinal issues. RINSE PLEASE!

    11. Jen RO*

      I’m not American and my mind is blown at the idea that some people don’t rinse. It just feels so *wrong* to me.

    12. Hrovitnir*

      Haha, I’m a NZer and I was genuinely confused about how one would even rinse dishes without refilling your sink constantly until someone mentioned double sinks. I don’t think I know anyone who would even think of rinsing dishes as a rule. A majority of people have dishwashers now, of course, but we don’t – and there’s always some hand-washing.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Growing up we had a single sink in the kitchen. My mother used a dish pan (a plastic, rectangular shaped tub) and the rinse water would be directed down between the pan and the side of the sink. No one I know uses dish pans now because they have a double sink or they have a dishwasher.

      2. dish rinser*

        German here. I’ve never had a double sink but have always rinsed my dishes! In my family you rinse dishes under running cold water, and you are trained to do it very fast so as not to waste water. Then you place the dishes on a drying rack. (You also pay for your household’s water use in Germany.)

    13. Parenthetically*

      I absolutely rinse and always have, and can also confirm that about 50% of my Aussie friends do NOT — dishes go from a sink full of bubbles to the person drying them! I was horrified the first time I saw it happen and got roundly teased for caring. There’s 100% definitely still soap on those dishes. Yuck.

      1. CatMintCat*

        I’m Australian, live on the edge of the Outback, and have never met anybody who would waste water by rinsing the soap off dishes. That’s what the teatowel is for! Water is expensive, and we don’t waste it.

        I’m 59 years old, and haven’t died from it yet.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          So how are you billed for water? How much do you pay?

          In communities here, there is an initial amount you pay X dollars for Y amount of water. It’s fairly generous if a person is not wasteful, like watering their lawns 24/7. Then after that you pay per 1000 gallons of water that you use.

          Small communities like mine that don’t have water meters, you pay a given amount every six months. I pay just under $250 for water.

          1. TL -*

            Doing some quick and dirty internet math (never paid water bills in Australia!) looks like the ‘typical’ Australia 4 person family would pay about $900USD/yr for water+usage fees. Figures from the USA 2012 rates show it would range from about $180/yr in Illinois to $600/yr in Seattle (ironically the most expensive) for a ‘normal use’ family home, with fees all incorporated.
            I’d expect it to be a little more expensive now, but not too much more.

          2. catMintCat*

            I live in an area with no natural water supply and low rainfall. Our water comes from the irrigation scheme,treated and raw, and occasional rainfall. For our household of three adults, we pay about $100 per week for water usage. It would be more, but we have a rainwater tank for the laundry (which doesn’t always have water in it, it’s dry right now) and raw water (which costs less) connected to th3 garden and toilet.

            I don’t run the tap when I clean my teeth either (another thing which often surprises Americans). My mother would haun5 me if I started doing that or rinsing dishes that are already clean.

            Water is a Great Big Deal here.

            1. TL -*

              Americans are taught not to run the water while brushing their teeth – I grew up in a drought-ridden area and it was taught in my school, enforced by my parents, and all over the TV/outreach media.

              It’s not be as strictly enforced in more water-ful areas but it’s one of the most common water-saving tips given in America; I’m really surprised people are surprised by others doing it!

              1. jojobeans*

                No, we are not. Not necessarily, at least not in areas where water is not scarce – I grew up in the Midwest and had *never* even considered turning the tap off while brushing my teeth or washing my hands until a particularly environmentally-conscious friend in college opened my eyes to this.

                1. TL -*

                  Oh, that’s fascinating! I’ve seen it advertised on TV in both Texas and Boston when water restrictions are on – mind you, water restrictions are *always* on in Texas, but rarely in Boston, so maybe people don’t notice as much there and I just assumed they did.

            2. Not So NewReader*

              $100 per week for water? That is incredible. I mean I believe you of course but that is mind boggling to me.
              So everything must be expensive as businesses have to pass the cost on to the consumer. If there are many businesses that is…

              Can I ask what general area you are in?

              1. CatMintCat*

                Far Western NSW. Not many businesses at all – it’s a farming/grazing area. I’m a teacher.

        2. ThatGirl*

          But there’s soap on the dishes! I truly do not understand. You rinse soap off your hands, don’t you?

          1. Soap is not edible*

            This is the response i was trying to think of! How about shampoo?

            Like a pp said, soap attracts the dirt, you have to remove the soap to remove the dirt.

            Am from a severe drought climate, so i dont get the “we pay for water” rationale. Its rare not to pay for water.

            1. ThatGirl*

              Yes I do not live in a drought climate but I still pay for water. It’s not crazy expensive but roughly $250 a year.

              1. Someone Else*

                I do live in a drought climate, and about 80% of my water bill is fees and taxes just for having the service connected. My water bill is usually around $35 a month. It’d be something like $28 even if I never turned on a tap. I do not understand the notion presented elsewhere in thread of not rinsing soap as a water saving measure. It defeats the purpose of having the water for washing. Certainly, don’t leave it running while brushing teeth (that’s literally just water down the drain), but rinsing serves an actual purpose. It’s using the water, not wasting it. If the roommates really want to make a dent, turn the shower on for 10 seconds, do all their self-washing, then rinse til the soap/shampoo’s gone, rather than having the shower on the entire time they’re in there. That’d make a much bigger difference than eating soap.

    14. ..Kat..*

      USA here. I always rinse. I still remember the time camping when the person washing the dishes did not rinse well. We all got diarrhea. Even less fun when you don’t have a bathroom because we were roughing it.

      Apparently not all dish soaps cause diarrhea. But I can taste the soap.

    15. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      This is going to haunt me for a while. American but have traveled to visit family in third world countries and we always rinse the soap off! Even when you have to use collected rainwater and it’s precious, it never occurred to me that anyone wouldn’t.

    16. Crylo Ren*

      Ha, you just made me remember that when my husband and I were first dating, I was ASTOUNDED (and honestly began reconsidering the relationship…) the first time I went to his house and realized he never rinsed the soap from his dishes. Then I met his Kiwi/Aussie parents and it made sense.

      Now he does dishes the “American” way but his parents still don’t rinse. I just put up with it when we visit them, but I can definitely taste the soap even if they dry everything off straight away.

    17. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

      German here and while I make sure there are no bubbles left on the dishes before they’re dried (honestly though has nothing to do with soap residue or cleanliness, it just makes the dish towels way too wet way too fast when drying), rinsing seems wasteful to me. Do you turn on the water again for every single dish before it’s placed on the drying rack? I know it’s just what you’re used to so I honestly don’t mean this in a condescending way but I’m at least as baffled by this as everyone else in this thread seems to be by people not rinsing :D

      I don’t think I know anyone who rinses soap bubbles (actual soap, yes, bubbles, definitely no) off their dishes after they’ve already been cleaned in the sink but maybe it’s common in Germany too and I just never knew?

      1. TL -*

        Yup! I turn the faucet on, rinse, flip, rinse, turn off. (Well, for silverware, I rinse a handful at once.)

        I tend to fill the sink up very little and then use the rinse to fill the sink up the rest of the way, so it doesn’t feel as wasteful – I also work from least to most dirty and smallest to largest dishes, which works with filling up the sink as I rinse.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Sounds like we were trained at the same Girl Scout camp.

          For what it’s worth, my 7th grader is taking a food and nutrition class where the module on sanitation included a lesson in dishwashing. I just told her about this rinsing question and her eyebrows shot up and she replied “Diarrhea much!?”

          All I can think is maybe it’s related to washing in dilute soap water instead of with soap on the cloth or sponge?

          1. CatMintCat*

            People put detergent directly on the cloth? No, that’s not the way. You squirt a few drops of Morning Fresh into the hot water and use the bubbly water to wash the dishes. No wonder you can taste soap and get the squitters from it!

            Also, your detergent bill must be nearly as high as my water bill!

      2. ThatGirl*

        Yes, but it takes half a second, I just run each glass under or whatever. I don’t wash a lot of dishes by hand but our dishwasher sure does a rinse!

      3. Not So NewReader*

        I will do as many as I can fit in to the sink so many a small stack of dinner dishes or 5-6 mugs. Then I rinse each one, put them in the drying rack, turn the water off and do a few more and repeat. But to do them one at a time and turn the water on and off each time, nooooo. If you use both hands you can be rinsing one and putting the previous into the drying rack. Pass the rinsed one to your other hand, pick up the next dish to rinse and rinse while putting the previous dish in the rack.
        When I first started working, I waited tables. We had to hand wash the dishes, so we took turns. It was normal to wash for 2-3 hours straight. So to make it quicker and easier we would take the time to stack like with like. All the dinner plates in one pile, salad bowls in their own pile and so on. I still do that to this day because it is quicker rinsing them and it is easier to stack them in the drain board.
        Restaurant sinks are three basins here. One for soap, one for rinse water and one for bleach and water.

    18. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I’m American but I live in the UK. Since living here I’ve adopted the British no-rinse method and it has not caused any issues. Perhaps I use less soap than I used to? I’m not sure but I don’t have any bits of grime or a soapy taste.

      It weirded me out at first but I never noticed anything unusual before I realised that nobody was rinsing.

      1. Rosemary7391*

        No it really doesn’t! Honestly, dish “soap” is detergent. It doesn’t stick. It slides right off. Equally if you use a tea towel to dry it’s going to take off the soap. I really don’t get all the horror at not rinsing! It must be a tiny amount that is left on the dish.

    19. SS Express*

      What an interesting topic! I’m Australian and I rinse if a dish is still quite soapy, but often there is barely any soap on it when you take it out. I do prefer rinsing but most people I know don’t rinse at all. I live in the city so we’re not paying anything like $100/week for our water, but cost aside we’re just very conscious about wasting water here. Plus people don’t usually have a big double sink.

  12. Loopy*

    So I’ve been eating less processed foods and really living the results. The only issue is I have way more tendency to reach for fruits than veggies and it’s becoming quite unbalanced!

    I’m a lazy snacker so I’m wondering if anyone has easy ideas to make veggies more appealing as a snack? I sliced a green pepper and even adding some salt and pepper really helped and was easy and quick. Anyone have other ideas that dont involve much, if an, prep? And avoid dairy/carb add ins?

    1. Orphan Brown*

      I like to slice heirloom tomatoes and either add salt and pepper or a tiny bit of hot sauce.

      1. Ron McDon*

        Tomatoes with a bit of salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar are yummy.

        Celery sticks filled with nut butter

        Baby corn are really nice to just eat on their own

      2. Loopy*

        This sounded delicious so I bought some tomatoes! I added balsalmic you for my lunch. I like tomatoes but I realize I should have been more choosey! I was at Aldi’s and bought prepackaged tomato’s and wow, not as good! I bet this would be amazing with something from a farmers market though! I also used balsalmic that was cheap and slightly old so… Lesson learned on quality stuff!

        1. Ron McDon*

          I usually use Lidl’s tomatoes tbh… But, yes, when I have fresh tomatoes from my Dad’s garden – so much better!

          I realised afterwards that I said balsamic vinegar but I am actually using balsamic glaze – sorry to mislead you :). It is like a reduction of balsamic vinegar, so it is thicker and sticky … mmm, I might have to go and have some tomatoes with balsamic now, my mouth is watering!

      3. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

        I like tomatoes with salt, pepper, a bit of olive oil, some lemon juice and chili flakes!

        1. Loopy*

          Ooooh I’m interested but I’m such a baby about anything spicy. I wonder if the combo of lemon would work with another spice?

          1. An Elephant Never Baguettes*

            Probably! I add lemon to basically any dish because I feel like it gives it a nice zing of freshness so I can totally see it working with a different flavour.

    2. GoryDetails*

      Orange or yellow sweet peppers are even tastier than the green ones – I slice those up for snacks sometimes. (I like to dip them in hummus, but they’re tasty on their own too.)

      Radishes make a nice snack, as do green onions; dip them in a little salt.

      1. Loopy*

        I’ve seen them in bags and I love them but they have gone bad on me quite early. Did I just have bad luck?

    3. Kathenus*

      I love raw veggies. Sometimes plain, sometimes with hummus, sometimes salt. I’ve recently started using some seasoning mixes that have some salt to reduce how much salt I use but still have some. Seasoned salt, and right now I’m loving Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel spice that has sesame and poppy seeds, garlic, onion, and sea salt. I find variety in the veggies is important since the textures can be so different and it keeps it more interesting – so baby carrots, celery, sugar snap peas and tomato are fixtures for me, but I also add in radishes, cauliflower, kohlrabi, soft squashes, red cabbage or whatever seasonal stuff looks good for a change of pace.

      Someone else mentioned nut butter, which is great but I only use occasionally because I’ll totally eat too much of it. Celery with cream cheese is great too. You can also make a veggie dip with a store bought mix and make it lower calorie/fat with either light or non-fat sour cream.

      1. Loopy*

        I need to find a good seasoning mix that works on raw veggies! I do hummus a lot too. I’m terrible at getting creative with seasoning so a premade mix sounds like a good solution!

        1. AcademiaNut*

          Check out Indian chaat masala – it’s a spice/salt mix that’s roasted and ground and intended to be sprinkled on raw fruits and vegetables.

          I like fresh veggie sticks, particularly celery, dipped in fresh lemon juice (maybe with a bit of salt). I’ve also recently discovered fresh tomato sauce – grate fresh tomatoes in a coarse grater (save the juice too!), add in a bit of grated onion, then some salt and a drizzle of wine or balsamic vinegar. Or cook pureed tomatoes and harissa paste for a spicy dip.

          For raw veggies, celery is one of my favourites. Also sliced peppers, raw snow peas, very lightly blanched green beans or okra.

          Other veggie snacks – make refrigerator pickles from things like onions, green beans, okra, cauliflower, carrots and daikon. You can adjust the amount of salt and vary the seasonings to taste. The taste is strong enough that they make a nice snack without eating too much.

          1. Loopy*

            Thank you for the chaat masala suggestion! I love Indian flavors! I may have to look online for it but I’ll definitely try that out. I had never considered lemon juice either.

      1. Loopy*

        These are a fixture for me but after I while I get bored with them. I usually have them with hummus got work lunches and when I reach for them after work I usually realize I have a carrot limit after the second serving!!

        1. blaise zamboni*

          Have you tried rainbow carrots? Maybe it’s just in my head, but I swear the different colors have their unique tastes–I love the purple ones the most. I still have a carrot limit but it’s much higher than when I ate peeled orange carrots only.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            ha! I recently ended up with a bag of rainbow carrots because my friend did not like the purple ones. I was happy to help with that “problem”.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      Yes to dipping in hummus! I’ll quite often have hummus and pepper/carrot sticks as a light snack.

      Also, cherry tomatoes. I can eat those like sweets.

      1. Loopy*

        I got through a container of hummus each week! I should have mentioned I already am way into using hummus, oops!

      1. Nicole76*

        Do you slice them up yourself or are they sold somewhere in stick form? Would love to eat more jicama but I haven’t had any success finding it prepackaged.

      2. Loopy*

        This is interesting! I’ve had it before and liked it. Is it hard to cut up? I haven’t seen it in stores but I’ll have to look more closely!

      3. Tipcat*

        My grocery (Kroger in southeastern US) sells them cut up in sticks about 1 cm square in cross section and about 2-3 inches long. They are in plastic containers (I know) in water. I have seen whole jicamas elsewhere but never tried one because I did not know what to do with them.

        1. Tipcat*

          They are crunchy, crisper than carrots. The flavor is very mild and some people say it is very slightly sweet.

    5. epi*

      When they are on sale, I’ll buy a container of cherry tomatoes and just eat them. They are great raw, mixed with snap peas. For bigger tomatoes, slice them and salt them lightly or put them on toast.

      My other favorite is broccoli slaw. If you buy it undressed, it keeps for a long time and you can put whatever dressing you want on it. It’s not so fast to eat, too, so you have time to get full. And it’s crunchy! I love crunchy.

      If you know ahead of time you will want a snack, you can prep a veggie mix you enjoy and eat it on toast like bruschetta.

      1. Loopy*

        Oooo I need to work on finding combo of veggies and pre-making some basic mixes. I have no clue where to start beyond your initial suggestion. I’ve also not heard of broccoli slaw! I’ll look that up!

        1. Celeste*

          Broccoli slaw is the stalks cut into long, fine strips. It’s a good way to use it up after you cut off the florets; there is a texture difference between the two, but the nutrition is the same. Put some of the slaw in with rice you’re cooking to augment it with fiber.

      2. Cristina in England*

        Ooh I miss broccoli slaw!! We don’t have anything like that here. I used to love it.

    6. Tara R.*

      Possibly/probably more prep than you like, but I love roasted brussel sprouts and often eat them as a snack. Slice in half, toss with olive oil & salt & pepper, then pop into the oven at 400 until they’re super crispy (my personal preference obviously). It takes like 3 minutes of prep, which I’m willing to live with in exchange for crispy yummy goodness.

    7. Kuododi*

      What I have been known to do in the interest of quick prep and easy clean is keeping a bag of mixed frozen veggies in the freezer. Sometimes I am not really hungry but need to eat to keep the blood sugar on keep. My nutritionist suggested this as there’s apparently no difference in food value fresh/vs frozen. So I will just portion out how much veg I want to eat….2-3 min in the microwave….some seasoned salt and cracked black pepper. Good to go. My preference is for the fresh veggies and I could eat roasted brussel sprouts as well as curried cauliflower until they are coming out of my nose!!! The frozen stuff is a surprisingly good filler option on those times when I simply have no brain cells left to dedicate to food preparation and/or planning. Enjoy!!!

      1. Gaia*

        Your nutritionist is correct! Frozen veggies get a bad rep, but the reality is they are fresh when frozen and they only really lose nutritional value if you’ve kept them waaaaaaay too long or you boil them (which can reduce key nutrients.

        I live in an area that gets absolutely no fresh local produce for about 6 months a year so I rely heavily on frozen so I can avoid canned (which is *not* the same as far as nutritional content).

    8. Gingerblue*

      I don’t think I’ve seen anyone mention sliced cucumbers yet–I like them with hummus or a veggie dip, but plain is also good. English/hothouse cukes or the tiny Persian ones are way better than the standard variety.

      A few small kitchen tools make veggie prep seem way more doable to me–I love my mandoline (this simple one: https://www.amazon.com/OXO-Adjustable-Handheld-Mandoline-Slicer/dp/B000YDO2LG) and spiralizer.

      Also, do you like pickles? If so, pickled vegetables add some nice variety, and there’s a whole world of recipes beyond pickled cucumbers. Mmmm, spiced pickled red onions.

  13. Waiting for the Sun*


    For me: A Star Is Born. It lived up to the hype, IMO. I will probably see it in the theater again.
    I’m curious about the older versions that focuses more on movie stardom than singing. However, I think setting it in the music business makes dramatic sense because male and female singers compete more directly with each other. Male and female actors wouldn’t be trying out for the same role but singers could face the opening act moving to headliner regardless of gender.

    1. annakarina1*

      That makes sense. That reminds me of The Thing Called Love, a romantic drama about young country singers trying to make it big in Nashville, and a couple competing with each other to win stage time or a record contract.

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      For me – Eva Longoria.

      I caught an interview she did with Stephen Colbert and I was just blown away by how intelligent she is and how engaged she is with the issues. I really respect her a lot after listening to her speak.

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      I saw that on Tuesday – my side job organised an advance screening for various UK country music artists/bloggers etc – and really enjoyed it. The soundtrack and lead performances in particular are brilliant. Though (at the risk of spoilers) I did not expect that ending…

    4. kc89*

      it was so good, I wanted to see it again the second I walked out of the theater

      I’m so glad they went with gaga, I think she was the PERFECT choice for the role. Apparently the studio didn’t want her, they wanted Beyonce.

      1. Waiting for the Sun*

        Yes. Nothing against Beyoncé, this role fit Lady Gaga well.
        I want to see the 1970s version again, too.

    5. CS Rep by Day, Writer by Night*

      The 1976 version took place in the music industry as well. I was a kid when it came out but grew up on the soundtrack. It’s on Netflix so I watched it the other day and I think it really holds up. Cried my eyes out through most of it!

      I think I’m going to need to wait until it’s out on pay-per-view to watch the new version. I hate being a sobbing, blubbery mess in public, and I can tell that this version is going to rip my heart out of my chest.

      1. Not a cat*

        1976 version has Kris Kristofferson. As an adult, I now understand why my mother was so obsessed with that version. Hottie McHotHot.

  14. Bobbi*

    I know people on here love their podcasts, so here is a fun one I’ve been listening to all morning: Jesus and Jollof. It’s Yvonne Orji (from Insecure!) and Luvvie (blogger/general Internet person) generally talking about life, how they found succsss, and what it was/is like growing up in America as Nigerian expats.
    As a fellow African, it’s so relatable, but if you’re someone who has grown up with different home/outside world cultures – it will probably also resonate. Definitely start with the first episode as that will set the tone (there is a lot of laughing). And yes there are references to God as they are both religious, but nothing more than what you’d expect if you ever actually hang out with a bunch of Nigerian :,D

    Also, gotta love the way the Naija accents come out!

      1. Bobbi*

        *waves* Hello!
        I binge listened to about 5 episodes and my internal voice wants to go a bit Nigerian now :’D

        Thinking tomorrow might be the day to try the recipe for Jollof rice my coworker gave me…

        1. Femme D'Afrique*

          I adore jollof rice, but I don’t trust myself to even attempt to make it. Plus it gives me the opportunity to go to West African restaurants and re-ignite the Senegal/Nigeria jollof wars. Fun, haha!

          1. Kuododi*

            My DH would fix Liberian Jollof Rice for me from time to time. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer from 87-89. I adore the wonderful things he cooks for me from his time in Liberia. Blessings!!!

    1. curly sue*

      The article really misrepresents what the hoax was, what it accomplished (which papers got published where – the ones the article talks about the most were actually rejected), and the conclusions about what the hoax really shows are spurious. Link in my name is to an analysis from Slate.

      1. catsaway*

        Thanks for posting that link. It seems like a lot of the popular press is a sterotype of the worst reporting on the results of legit studies – over simplifying the results and then taking them out of context to make the conclusions seem bigger than they are. Also I’m not so sure it’s astounding that once you put an effort into making a hoax, 1/3 of your false products pass muster by the 2-3 unpaid volunteers (b/c peer reviewers aren’t paid for their work) reviewing it.

      2. Casca*

        Thanks- that link was enlightening although still a bit apologist. Yes, there are issues everywhere, but don’t we need to start fixing them?

      1. Casca*

        Thanks for that although I actually disagree with the argument. Yes, peer reviewers are underappreciated and not necessarily equipped to address issues, but doesn’t that mean the system is not working effectively and we need to reform? Also, the journal editors are usually paid and do have responsibility for gatekeeping.
        So many research articles are rejected all the time and these should have been

  15. Myrin*

    I fell off a little stool yesterday (okay, yeah, two little stools stacked on top of each other because I was in a tight space and couldn’t be bothered to get the ladder which would have been too broad anyway; yeah, I’m a total idiot and 100% brought this onto myself, why do you ask?) and scraped my knee/the top of my thigh on the weird contraption that holds the windowsill (our windows are being renewed atm and the windowsills will only be placed back on Wednesday) and now I have a stupid, literally fist-sized, blue-and-purple, swollen bruise there and it hurts and I’m salty. :|

    1. Tipcat*

      I have friends who swear by Epsom salts. I haven’t needed to treat a bruise lately, but I’ll give it a try next time. I keep some around for my feet. Plus I get that you may not want to invest in some based on a random internet post.

    2. Middle School Teacher*

      Arnica (oil or in a gel) if you can get it. Helps with bruises a lot. I am a huge klutz and swear by it.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Ice. Use an ice pack for no more than 15 minutes at a time, then half an hour off before you use it again, to relieve the pain. It won’t stop the bruising, but it might relieve additional inflammation as well.

      1. Myrin*

        I did that, actually! It’s helped reeeeally well, the initial swelling went down basically instantly, and it was just such a relief pain-wise. And an update: the bruis is now a dark violet all over.

    4. Jemima Bond*

      First of all, I’ve seen this use of “salty” on the internet from USAians a few times of late, evidently to mean something other than “containing a lot of sodium chloride”. But I’m not quite clear on what it means? I thought at first it meant a bit rude, no filter, inclined to tell home truths and swear, but looking at this post I’m wondering it’s its more angry, upset? Still sweary though? Can I get a ruling?

      Secondly the best thing to do with a bruise is to take pictures to post on social media with wild claims of how it came to be. “I’ve been signed to the Dallas Cowboys/My new career as a bounty hunter/Well, there was this bear…”

      1. Red Reader*

        Salty is like … annoyed, a little snippy, but not like aggressively angry? Like when I’ve asked my husband about six times to put away his screwdriver and finally it disappears off my dining room table – only to be found again on the living room coffee table because he got distracted on the way to his toolbox, and “For the love of whiskey can you put this damn thing AWAY please.”

    5. OldJules*

      I learned from an Indian friend on how to treat huge bumps on my kids from falling or bumping into things. Mix tumeric and salt into a paste (add some water), warm it up and place it on the site of the wound. When cooled, change the paste. It’s a basic heat treatment but the idea behind it is to get the blood flowing on the bruised site. Plus how many heat pack can you place on a toddler vs. a paste that sticks to the skin. Anyway, I just thought that I’d share.

  16. Detective Amy Santiago*

    Found out yesterday that one of our local haunted attractions has added a new thing this year – a “buried alive experience”. My visceral reaction was OH HELL NO. To be fair, I’m not a fan of haunted attractions. I don’t really like jump scares or walking around where I can’t see or gory stuff.

    But I genuinely can’t see what the appeal of something like this would be. So, I figured I’d ask you guys. Is this something you’d try? What kind of haunted things do you enjoy?

      1. SpellingBee*

        I am so stealing this word!! The idea gives me the wiggins too – I actually physically shuddered when I read it. But I don’t like haunted attractions, or scary movies either, in general. I also don’t read horror themed books or violent crime novels, although I love murder mysteries as long as they’re not too graphic.

        1. Detective Amy Santiago*

          See, I am totally fine with true crime podcasts, documentaries, etc. Though I cannot do horror movies. IDK I know I’m weird.

        2. Marion Ravenwood*

          Me neither. I like a good Agatha Christie-style murder mystery or a ghost story, and Criminal Minds is one of my favourite TV shows (although on some level that’s more ludicrous than actually horrifying), but that’s about as far as my interest in horror goes. ‘Scare’ attractions and haunted houses are definitely not for me!

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Eh…I don’t like haunted houses myself, so I don’t go, but it’s because I am unable to suspend my disbelief without wanting to hit someone, so just find them mildly annoying. But the buried alive thing wouldn’t bother me. In my late teens I had the brilliant idea that I could fit in the spare tire well in a station wagon. The kind that’s under the mat in the floor of the storage area, barely big enough for a normal person with almost no room to spare. I had a couple of friends shut me in there, and being teenage boys, they wouldn’t let me out when I asked. But having been bullied a lot earlier in life, I knew that blowing up over every incident like that would mean having no friends, so I just was slightly uncomfortable and slightly annoyed, and waited them out until it wasn’t fun any longer for them, which wasn’t long since I didn’t show any emotional/verbal reaction.

      I’m sure the buried alive experience isn’t as bad as being folded up as small as possible in that tiny metal box.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Mythbusters did a piece on this. Basically you do not want to be real-life buried alive, because all that dirt over you is very, very heavy.

      1. Detective Amy Santiago*

        I would think so. I have no idea what the “experience” actually entails. Just the concept was enough to give me nightmares.

    3. Lissa*

      I imagine the appeal is similar to things like going on a rollercoaster, or watching a horror movie. It can be fun to experience strong emotions like being scared in a safe place. I like haunted houses but the buried alive thing doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t sound like the sort of scare I’d find fun. But I like ghosts and spooky things and what I think of as Halloween atmosphere some of which is just goth lol. Candles and black cats and dim lighting.

      For me I do like being spooked, but most horror movies don’t appeal to me because I really don’t like gore and extreme violence, and anything with torture/sexual violence is right out. To be honest my ideal horror movie would have a happy ending for a character I like, as cheesy as that might be!

      1. Handy Nickname*

        The Ghost of Mr. Chicken with Don Knotts is one of my favorite cheesy horror movies. Haunted organ and blood on the walls, but I’m too busy laughing at him to be scared, and it has a very happy (and only humorously spooky) ending.

        1. Elizabeth W.*

          OMG we loved The Ghost and Mr. Chicken as kids. The cinema in my hometown would show old movies every Wednesday in summer, for a buck each or you could buy a season ticket. We’d hit up the dime store (yes I’m old) and get candy, then smuggle it in.

          This movie scared us but it was also very funny. I have it on DVD!

    4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      This is every archaeologist’s nightmare (trench collapses happen on occasion, and they are usually fatal). I do not want to find out how that feels.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Ugh. I have read too much about people who were buried alive, everyone thought they were dead. That is a special sort of hell on earth. I’d take a pass on this one, if offered.

    6. valentine*

      I really want to read the waiver and insurance documents. Is it a glass case they’re going to pour dirt on?

    7. Lora*

      Okay, I happen to LOVE haunted houses because the special effects in many of them are just pure artistry – beautifully done by people who obviously worked very hard at it, really thoughtful scenery and costuming. But I don’t understand the buried alive thing at all. As others have mentioned about confined space hazards (trench collapse, though in my case I was more trained on escaping from a container and atmosphere monitoring) this is… just weird. I wonder if the haunted house people have a different idea of what being crushed by a couple tons of clay-silt is actually like? Sort of like they set up Frankenstein labs full of mysteriously green oozing things, and of course it doesn’t look like a real lab at all, but that’s the point really. I just can’t quite imagine a theatrical version of being buried alive. Like Kill Bill 2?

  17. Nye*

    Any suggestions for travel to Argentina? I leave this afternoon for a week of vacation with a good friend. (I’m making the trip for work, but decided to go early for a real vacation.)

    We’ll be in Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, and Puerto Madryn. Any suggestions appreciated – cool things to do, little cultural differences to be aware of, and foods we definitely have to try?


    1. Girassol*

      For food: try Dulce de leche (pure, but also as ice cream, is amazing!), Alfajores and, if you like, meat, cause they have great cuts and prepare it really well.

    2. Kathenus*

      Street vendor empanadas! And second the Dulce de leche. The Recoleta Cemetery is an interesting place to visit. If you can do some road trips from Buenos Aires, the Temaiken Zoo is wonderful, and if you can find the time to go to Iguazu Falls in the north on the Brazil border it’s fantastic.

        1. Book Lover*

          Good news, you can order dulce de leche from Argentina online :). And it is legal :)

          For alfajores, always get Havana brand.

      1. Nye*

        Thanks, all! We are not vegetarian and we love to eat, so these are great suggestions. I already had meat and dude de leche on the brain, but will definitely be adding empanadas and (Havana brand) alfajores to the plan.

    3. Book Lover*

      Empanadas – try fried ones as well as baked. And in Buenos Aires, Fredo’s ice cream. So many amazing restaurants I don’t think you can possibly go wrong. If you can find a Basque place, that is always worth it.

      Wander around La Recoleta, buy some carved wood items. Doesn’t sound like you have time to go to Iguazu unfortunately.

      1. Nye*

        Yeah, I think northern Argentina is out on this trip. Not enough time and I didn’t get the shots for it. But hopefully I’ll get out there in the future!

        This is an opportunistic trip since I was already headed to Puerto Madryn for work, so I’m trying to feel okay with not seeing everything. Another time!

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      If you like cooking, I’d really recommend doing the Argentine Experience in Buenos Aires. You get to make empanadas in a shape of your choice – with a prize for the best one! (My husband won when we went – he made one shaped like a rose with the petals dyed with red wine, meat in the flower and cheese in the stem.) Then steak with chimichurri sauce – order it ‘muy jugoso’ – and make-your-own alfajores. Also, assuming you’re not veggie, I’d definitely have steak in Buenos Aires – there are lots of good little neighbourhood places that will do you massive portions for not very much, particularly in the San Telmo neighbourhood.

      If you’re getting an overnight bus from Buenos Aires (or anywhere), I strongly encourage paying the extra $20 for the better seats.

      Also, I’m sure you know this already, but you’ll generally get a better exchange rate if you pay for stuff in US dollars rather than Argentinian pesos.

      1. Nye*

        Good to know about dollars – thanks! We are flying between cities so I think the overnight bus is an adventure for another trip.

        Thanks also for the food tips – food is a big part of the appeal of spending a few days in Buenos Aires. Is “muy jugoso” the equivalent of rare? (That is absolutely how I like steak.)

    5. Feliz*

      Puerto Madryn – we did an amazing half day tour out to Punta Ninfa to see the elephant seals up close. Elephant seal pups are ridiculously friendly and will come right up to you if you sit down. In fact I had to keep shuffling back from one of them as he really wanted to be up close & personal. Plus there’s a chance that you could see the orca hunting in the shallows – we didn’t seem them do it, but followed them up & down the beach while they scoped out the possibility.

    6. Lora*

      Anywhere you get steak in Buenos Aires is good but the very best IMO is Don Julio’s and La Cabrera is a close second.

      If you like dancing, tango classes, but it’s harder than it looks (think ballet minus the eating disorder) and there’s a whole party lifestyle around the tango clubs (for all ages, including elderly retired people who can barely walk – they’ll still go out to a milonga and party until 5am).

      They operate on a different schedule, because party. Argentinians and Chileans can party like you would not believe. They will stay out till 3-5am on a weeknight, sleep until 10 or so, get up for work, have lunch at the usual time, work until 6-ish, then go home and have some family time. They don’t have supper until 9 or 10, and supper lasts a solid 2-3 hours. Then it’s time to go out dancing.

      They have bike delivery everything. Ice cream, McDonald’s, everything you can get by bike delivery.

      Get an app called Como Llego to get around. Taxis are everywhere and not super expensive, but the transit system in BsAs is quite organized compared to the US.

      There’s free WiFi most places, but be sure to go to your cell phone company and have the SIM card done specifically for Argentina. They have a tariff on electronics and their own cellphone carriers – no Verizon or AT&T – and even burner phones cost a fortune. A crappy burner phone that would cost $50 in the US is $700 (USD, not pesos) there.

      Due to the tariffs, if you have an old laptop you don’t want anymore, bring it in your luggage and sell it on their Craigslist. You can make your airfare back. Don’t bring more than two laptops through customs though, they notice.

      If your Spanish is like… regular school Spanish… you’re going to have to learn some new words and phrases. There’s a lot of Italian in their Spanish and a lot of odd expressions. Their cusswords are significantly different. For example, instead of, “me cago en la lèche,” they say “la concha de la lora,” which is their equivalent of “la chocha de la puta” more literally. I found this out the hard way, as my Porteño friends assumed I spelled my own name “Laura”…

  18. Kate Daniels*

    Do you think social media brings value in your life, or does it just make you feel worse? I like how Twitter has comnected me to a few friends who I never would’ve “met” otherwise, but lately it’s been making me feel depressed because I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall. No one ever seems to respond or engage, and I always have to be the one to reach out and strike up convos first. I’m lonely IRL and beginning to feel lonely online, too.

    1. gecko*

      I’ve come to really dislike social media. It addicts me to it and it tends to show me people’s bad sides; I had to unfollow a really sweet friend of my fiancé’s on tumblr for instance, because if there was a post going around with a correction on the end, he’d invariable post the uncorrected & inflammatory version.

      But yeah, I also miss when I was making friends & meeting people online. I think, when I was doing that, it was always through specialized websites…well, always through fan fiction websites :) There are still specialized forums out there, is that something you’re interested in? I wonder if that would help as people move away from twitter.

    2. FD*

      I think social media is just a tool, neither helpful nor hurtful. I think it can also be something you enjoy in small doses, or that can be highly addictive–a bit like alcohol where one person uses it with no issue while others have real trouble.

      For me, I generally avoid social media settings where I’m going to be exposed to a lot of angry shouting. This means basically all of Twitter and it means I follow about 2 people on Facebook. I can and do engage with people in real life but I personally believe that your chances of convincing a stranger on social media of your position are extremely slim.

      I’ve met really good friends on social media, but usually those were people who I shared a hobby with, and we bonded over that. That’s the way it works in meat-space for me too, as a rule, so I see social media as a way to connect with people who have similar interests but who might not be local to me. I’ve made a few really good friends that way.

      I agree that I tend to be the one who initiates conversations a lot of the time, but that’s also how it is with meat-space friends. I personally have accepted that I’m going to be the person who starts conversations most of the time, and I don’t mind it as long as I get decent emotional reciprocity once the conversation gets started.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Your first paragraph is definitely my philosophy.

        My husband is from another continent that I’ve visited several times, so a lot of our friends and family live there. It would be difficult if not impossible to keep up with them without social media. Moreover, our courtship was online, and I credit the beautiful photos he posted on social media with piquing my interest in the first place! So I definitely see the sunny side of it. But I also understand that for some folks it feels like trying to swim in a sewer without getting dirty, and it’s not worth the effort. De gustibus.

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      In my life, social media adds absolutely no value. I haven’t had Facebook since 2013 and I haven’t missed it at all, and I honestly have no idea how to use Twitter or Instagram. I honestly don’t feel that anything is missing if I don’t use it in my life but I agree that it’s a very useful tool – Twitter is great for emergencies as shown by the Christ Church earthquake in New Zealand – but it’s a tool that can be used in both good ways and bad and people need to be careful.

    4. Lynn Whitehat*

      I do a lot of political activism, and social media is invaluable for that. To give an example that’s hopefully not too political for AAM, I am a deputy voter registrar, which means I can register people to vote. The county has a Facebook group for us, moderated by county employees. But anyone can post, and it is SO USEFUL to have everyone posting good events to set up a table at, questions (and answers!) about the more obscure details (what address does a couch-surfing college student use? My new neighbor doesn’t have a Texas license yet), tips and tricks for block-walking your neighborhood.

      God, an email list would be so unwieldy. And as soon as you set up a WorldCrossing-type forum, you’re in social media territory again. And that’s just one example. It would actually be one of the easier ones to make its own forum for, because voter registration is managed by the county and the membership is known (people who took the training.) What about groups like Black Lives Matter, where it’s just whoever is interested in the issue? And if you don’t like the big social media sites, someone has to be the sysadmin of whatever you do have? Ugh, no. Yay social media.

    5. anon24*

      I scan Facebook but I rarely post and I unfollow anyone who is negative or posting controversial topics – even if I agree I don’t need the hate. With instagram I am rarely on my personal one but I have one for my cat and I frequently post as well as follow other cats. Brings joy and cuteness to my day and pet Instagrams are super positive and full of love and great for my mental health

        1. Mel*

          They way you said “my dog might like one” really sounds like you’re going to ask him if he’s interested in having his own Instagram.

          “Hey, Rex, what filter?…oh, one of the black and white ones? You always pick those….oh, gotcha. Thanks Rex!”

          1. Slartibartfast*

            She’s a princess and already black and white, but there’s lots of sparkly filters.

    6. Sorcha*

      It definitely adds a lot of value to my life. Twitter is one of the primary ways I communicate with my friends, most of whom I met through online fandom. I also use Instagram and Tumblr heavily. I feel like it’s just a tool though – in itself it’s neutral, it’s how you use it that decides how it impacts your life. I curate my online experiences very carefully, so I unfollow any accounts that I find frustrating, upsetting or boring, and I mute, muffle and block as necessary. As a result, I have a very positive experience most of the time.

      In your case, it sounds like the issue is less about Twitter and more about your friends.

    7. Lcsa99*

      The last time I had social media, Myspace was still a thing. I found that it was better for my mental health to just stay off. I do miss my friends, but my husband has a Facebook page so I can still know what’s happening in people’s lives, but I don’t have that voice in my head constantly chipping away at me: why isn’t anyone commenting/responding? Did I say something wrong? Did I offend them? You get the picture. Like you, I found that I was always initiating and the conversation would die until I once again initiated.

      It was a little sad how easy it was to just stop initiating and cut myself off. It was exhausting and lonely. Now I am lonely without the exhausting. But I have my kitties and an amazing husband so I’m good.

    8. ainomiaka*

      I really only use facebook, and that sporadically. But I do think I use it in a way that brings value. I mostly mute people who only do memes, I only friend people I know in real life, I don’t friend businesses and mute people who mostly talk about business stuff, and I do kinda ignore a lot of conversations. I don’t have any online only friends, but I do use it to keep up with friends and family far away. That to me has really been my focus, and I think that helps. I definitely agree with the it’s a tool, not an extension of you or anything else. And I have I guess just always assumed it’s only talking about what you want to talk about, instead of a real picture of your whole life-I don’t generally have conversations about a lot of the unpleasant stuff in my life with a large group of people, why is that different using that media?

    9. dumblewald*

      It brings some value to my life, but because I use it in a very limited manner and is at the bottom of my priorities list. In other words, I *don’t* use social media to replace real life socializing and feelings of validation (a lesson I learned a long time ago the hard way!) It seems like that’s what you might be doing, why you feel disappointed.
      I also only follow posts by people I think are interesting, and not just people who showcase their vanity.
      Obviously, if my time is limited, social media gets put in the back burner and I don’t check anything for weeks at a time.

    10. Book Lover*

      Depends on the type of social media. I use Facebook with only a small group or actual friends and family as friends and high privacy filters.

      But for interaction online there are excellent Facebook groups once you find your people.

    11. Bigglesworth*

      Although I have a Facebook account, I rarely post anything. I go on frequently because I’m part of several gardening groups and I enjoy seeing everyone’s plants. Other than that, I stay out of a lot of stuff on FB.

      Instagram, however, is a different story. I love Instagram! It has some socialization but little politization. Many of the people I have as friends on FB post their fun, General life stuff on Instagram. Instead of seeing Aunt Susan repost something that’s easily debunked by a basic Google or Snopes check, I can see her new glasswork piece that she just finished. Instead of seeing Cousin Bob’s post about women making up assault statistics, I can see cute pictures of his dog.

      What their beliefs are is important, but no productive conversations are done through FB in my opinion. I’ll wait until the next family reunion to have those discussions.

    12. Tipcat*

      I work with several people with disabilities. Some have issues with mobility, speech, or presentation. Social media are a lifeline for them.

    13. kc89*

      social media can be fun, but you have to limit yourself.

      when you get to the point that you’re stressing out over likes/followers etc. it’s time to log off. (unless you do it for your job/to promote something, I’m just talking about pure personal use)

    14. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’d say yes and no. I’ve met some great friends and got some amazing opportunities through social media, but I do find it can be a bit demoralising sometimes when I’m feeling particularly lonely to see everyone else having a wonderful time. What helps me is taking a step back, particularly when it’s getting overly nasty, and remembering that it’s a highlight reel not a movie. I think it’s partly why I prefer Instagram because people are able to share a bit more in the captions and it feels a bit less ‘shouty’ and softer than Facebook or Twitter.

    15. Loopy*

      I had to find a very specific way off using it. I don’t go on Facebook much at all and use Twitter solely for my interests, not real life people I know. I follow authors and book enthusiasts and some silly accounts so it’s generally a way to keep up with new books and author news. So for me I shaped it into something very healthy and helpful. I like you control what you see by who you follow and can adjust as needed. I also do that without guilt, if someone I’m following takes their Twitter in a new (sometimes stressful or negative) direction, I unfollow quickly.

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

      I’d say yes and no for me. Facebook has been invaluable for keeping up with family stuff, as my family is geographically disbursed and we pretty much all hate talking on the phone. But it’s become absolutely toxic lately with political stuff (which I understand completely). I’m finding it worsens my stress sometimes and am trying to reduce my usage; there’s enough in my life to stress me out already.

      I haven’t touched Twitter or any other social media with a ten foot pole. Twitter in particular is an absolute garbage fire.

      Overall I think social media has changed the world drastically for the worse, but I could go on about this for hours, so I’ll spare everyone and stop now.

    17. tangerineRose*

      I’ve found social media to be fun most of the time, but I’ve had to unfollow some of the more angry political friends (on both sides of the political equation), and I’m thinking about unfollowing someone else based on recent posting.

      Usually I like seeing what people are up to, and a lot of them post happy things.

    18. TheTallestOneEver*

      FB adds value to my life, but I mainly use it to follow things I’m interested, not people. Shows, new sources, businesses, local restaurants, blogs, etc. are what I follow. The pages I like definitely outnumber my FB friends so it keeps controversy off of my timeline.

    19. Jessen*

      I honestly love it. I have moved so many times, it seems impossible to set roots down anywhere. So social media is a lifeline to stable relationships and not having to start your entire circle over every few years. It can also give you a safe space for things that aren’t as safe in real life – I really relied on online connections to get through some stuff that’s not always an acceptable problem to have. That said, I mostly engage in options where you can have some form of individual or small-group chat, rather than being largely public.

    20. Elizabeth W.*

      I’m on Twitter a lot because Resistance, and I wanted to have a presence and build a following for when I publish. Sometimes I love it, especially when you get a celebrity like or a funny moment is happening. Example: I got to watch the covfefe thing unfold in real time (I checked right before bed, saw it, and then stayed up half the night laughing at memes). Good lord that was funny.

      Other times, watching people lose their shit is just too much, or if something bad is happening and there are endless tweets in my feed about it. Then I often find I have to click away. As for Facebook, I hate it but I need it because I have so many friends / family who are far away and it’s really the only place to find everyone. I ignore half their posts, however; what is it about having a baby that suddenly makes you find Jesus and want to share him with everybody? :P

      I don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram. There isn’t a lot going on in my life right now that’s photo-worthy, and when I’m on holiday, I often forget it exists. Most of mine is food and clouds and boring shit like that. If I do post pics there, they tend to be spontaneous, not carefully orchestrated stuff, which means they’re pretty amateur, haha.

    21. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life*

      Huge value for me but I’ve connected to connector friends – they’re what I think of as hub people – who are connected to lots of other people in their communities so through them I’ve made good friends with people new to me but vetted by them already. It was organic though, I am friends with them because we found our own shared common ground and the friendships don’t rely on the hub person being around.

      It keeps me connected to good humans all over the world and has been beyond price in helping me learn more about people and politics and generally doing better at being a better more compassionate person than I was ten years ago.

      It truly depends on who you curate into your timeline though, and how you interact with them. I know there are a handful of people I don’t even respond to when they join conversations because they come off as disingenuous or just plain rude, others I might not spot if they join a conversation that spawns a huge set of replies and so on. I’m slow to follow new people because I refuse to allow my TL to become toxic so I wait to see a variety of responses from any new person until I get the gist of who they are. I think it takes time and knowing at least one right person who is connected to build a rapport with more than just a few people and it can be worth it.

      I hope it improves for you!

    22. Ruth (UK)*

      I think it’s about how it’s being used, not what it is. I feel social media is overall a positive experience for me but it hasn’t always been that way. When I first graduated uni and was not currently in a job in 2012, my social media use was high and, in my opinion, unhealthy. This was before smartphones are what they are now but I spend a lot of time at home on my computer just scrolling through Facebook…

      Now, I check Facebook on a daily basis and post irregularly. I would say I post on my timeline less than once a week but more frequently use the messaging, and also a group of friends of mine use a secret group to communicate meeting up etc, so I respond in that. I have a Twitter which I check when I remember (weeks at a time can go by in between checking) and have never posted. Then, I am a semi regular commenter on this site and that’s pretty much all my online/social media input. I also sometimes Skype chat.

      For me, it’s enough that it aids staying in contact with people etc, but doesn’t take over. I think social media is good when it’s used to enhance contact with friends etc but becomes a more negative experience when it starts to become a replacement for ‘real’ contact. I think where the balance lies can also be different for different people.

      Of course I still also have times where I feel my use of it is negative. When I’m bored and don’t have much going on, I reach more often for my phone. Sometimes in the mornings I can get stuck in a loop of pointless Facebook scrolling. If I’m with people I very rarely feel the urge to check my phone except for genuine practical reasons (eg. “Jane hasn’t turned up yet, maybe I should text her?”) but when I’m alone and not doing much, that’s when I’m more likely to want to go on social media with no specific purpose and it can become a time suck.

      Overall, I’m happy with my social media use but I’m not necessarily happy with it all the time…

    23. Sparkly Lady*

      I’ve seen social media work for some people effectively, but for me, it generally doesn’t. I do a lot of promo for my performances through it, which is the only reason I have a FB and an Instagram. I’ve realized I need to curate my timeline more actively because in our current political moment, I’m much more mentally fragile. I find in person connections to be much more satisfying at this point than online ones at well. I think it was better in the early days when social tools were more fragmented and so it was easier to use a forum for organizing, a different forum for talking about TV, and something like Flickr for sharing photos with friends and family.

      FB is convenient, but I think it’s made us too close in ways that are very detrimental.

  19. Ismis*

    Thanks to Sevenorora for suggesting the Pokemon trainer code swap! I was overseas with not a lot of internet access for a few weeks but am trying to catch up with my obligations :) It’s very cool to see the international gifts.

  20. Foreign Octopus*

    I’ve just heard today that a friend is trying to rehome one of the cats that she adopted six months ago because it pees on the furniture and I just can’t even. She says that the cat needs a home where it can go outside and I am baffled by her because she has just moved into a house with a garden!!! The garden is huge and it’s in a rural area where cars very rarely go but she still wants to rehome her cat.

    I have no idea what to say to her because she knows that adopting an animal is for life. She cut an ex-bf out of her life recently because he gave up his dog after adopting it and now she’s doing the same.

    I’m completely confused by what’s going on with her at the moment.

    1. Lunar Rainbow*

      Maybe there is more going on than what you’ve been told/have heard. Does she live alone? If not, it could be someone else who is insisting that the cat be re-homed. Or maybe she has never had a cat with “problem” behaviors before and has realized that she isn’t able (or possibly willing) to take the time needed to curb the unwanted behavior. It can be difficult to get a pet to stop peeing on something once it has become a habit. Or maybe something has changed in her life and she doesn’t feel she can adequately care for the kitty going forward, but doesn’t want to tell anyone what the change is. There are lots of things that could be going on.

      If you are worried about the well-being of the cat, perhaps you could help her find it a good forever home.

    2. pcake*

      We don’t have any details, but it sounds like convenience has one over principles. It really does make no sense – her cat could spend time in the garden – she could even enclose part of it as a catio. Has she simply tried cat attract litter? That works pretty well as long as she’s using an enzyme cleaner to remove the pee. If she’s not using an enzyme cleaner, the cat will be attracted to pee on the couch or other places he’s peed previously because it’s their nature.

      Send her off to thecatsite.com – there are lots of suggestions on getting inappropriate peeing cats to use the box.

      Our elderly cat has been not using the litter box as regularly as he used to. We’ve just developed a faster way to clean up the accidents. Never in a million years would we get rid of a member of my family. We were evicted over him once years ago, but never once considered getting rid of him.

      1. Kathenus*

        Some elderly cats have trouble stepping into and out of litter boxes due to arthritis or other issues. Don’t know what style you have, but you might try one with a very low wall or doorway, or just cut a section out where he can get in/out easier to see if it helps. Love your attitude towards this though!

    3. Loopy*

      Based on her previous actions I’d have to wonder if something more is going on. In fact, this may be a huge stretch but ill share a similar situation I was in. I was absolutely against breaking a commitment to a pet unless direly necessary for its wellbeing and yours. Yet, once I considered rehoming my dog and it was because I was actually in a terrible, awful mental/emotional place but in the middle of it, didn’t really realize that. So I didn’t understand and link the two. My brother helped me realize I didn’t really want or need to re-home my dog at all for either of us (me or the dog), I was just flailing about for *some* action to help fix something I couldn’t even pin point. I was trying to make a change, any change, hoping it would readjust my life. But I couldn’t see that at the time.

      Looking back, I’m horrified I ever even thought of doing it but also can see how I was just reaching out for any possible solution to improve my headspace, even if logically it didn’t make sense at all for the situation.

      I’d try and be patient and gently see if she’s open to other solutions. My brother saved me from a massive mistake and I still have my dog and we are both so happy and healthy.

    4. The Other Dawn*

      I think some people who adopt don’t think it through. Can they afford vet costs? How will they handle behavioral problems? What if the cat doesn’t get along with other pets? They just see a cute kitty and want to take it home, which is great to give it a home, but it’s supposed to be a forever home.

      I don’t know all the details, but it seems like it’s become inconvenient for her and she just wants to be done with it. I get that having a cat with litter box problems is a real PITA (I’ve been through this A LOT!), but there are lots of things that can be tried before she resorts to re-homing. Sometimes it’s a really simple fix, and other times it takes awhile to find the right solution.

      I think you should tell her that the cat HAS a home where it can go outside, and that’s HER home. I mean, has she even tried letting it out?

    5. Cat Foster Mama*

      I used to work at an animal shelter, people rehome pets for a variety of reasons — some good, some bad. But in the end, the pet deserves someone who will give it a safe, welcoming environment. If your friend isn’t able to do that (or even isn’t willing) than it’s just as well for the cat.

      I’ve been a foster home for several cats, the latest of which has been challenging. I’ve felt enormously guilty over the past few months that I haven’t been able to help him adapt and curb some of his bad behavior. But, I’m also aware of my limitations (I work long hours and have a small apartment). So, I’m trying to find him an alternative home that will address his high energy and need for attention.

      In the end, I understand that you feel your friend has been hypocritical. But, I think it’s also possible she wasn’t empathetic to those who were unable to care for their pets properly. Now that she has that experience, perhaps she better understands the challenges.

    6. LilySparrow*

      What’s going on with her at the moment is that she’s realized it’s one thing to judge a person from the outside, and quite a different matter to be in the situation yourself.

      If you are reacting this strongly to her decision I think that probably has a lot to do with a) why you heard this second-hand instead of her bringing it up in conversation with you, and

      b) Why you don’t know the real reasons for her decision.

  21. Daily Harvest*

    Another social media question: With all the political stuff going on (I’m in the US), is it rude or improper to post things going on for me personally on Facebook when many of my friends (but not all!) are highly politically charged? Or should I only be posting my outrage about what’s going on?

    A few days ago, one of my friends posted about how angry she was that some of her male friends were posting things about the concerts they saw, pictures of their cats etc. instead of posting that they supported women. I am one of those male friends, and guilty of all of those things.

    I am on the same side as my friends, but choose never to share any political thoughts because
    (1) I don’t have anything intelligent to add to the conversation,
    (2) I always manage to say something that comes out totally wrong, is misinterpreted, and offends someone,
    (3) I’m preaching to the choir,
    (4) I use Facebook to escape these things, not to talk about them.

    Now I’m afraid to post anything on Facebook at all. This is probably just as well, because it’s a waste of time. The problem is that my family is scattered all over the world and Facebook is the only reliable way I can keep up with them and they can keep up with me.

    So do I not post anything personal until after Election Day? Do I have to post a statement that I support and listen to women even though I very obviously do? This whole rant is making me sad. But I appreciate any thoughts.

    1. Cosette*

      I don’t post political stuff because of my job. I post mainly innocuous stuff, usually something to try to lighten the mood. If your friends get mad that you won’t engage in the outrage on your social media, just snooze them for a while. Your page, your posts, your rules

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Yes, same here. I keep my feed superficial and vapid on purpose. I do read the NYT regularly and will occasionally comment there, but mostly my fb feed is pics of my dog or updates on the classes I’m taking.

    2. Washi*

      As a woman, I would find some kind of generic “I support women” statement to be a bit silly at best, and at worst, fishing for praise. That said, as a white person, I am conscious of not posting my random personal stuff right after big incidents/protests of police brutality, etc out of respect, so I can maybe see where that person was coming from.

      The bigger question to me is do you often stay silent on controversial issues you care about because you’re afraid of saying the wrong thing? A big focus of mine the past couple years is that when I see injustice, I have to say something, rather than stay silent. Even if it’s not perfectly phrased, I just keep reminding myself that something is better than nothing, and I’ll never get better unless I try. (This is now thinking less about social media and more about hearing a white person saying something racist, for example.)

    3. Rosemary7391*

      I think that friend might need to go onto a restricted list if possible… that’s really weird. Life doesn’t stop because politics, no matter how horrible the politics is! It’s your facebook page, not hers, and you get to choose how you use it.

      1. Ender Wiggin*

        Yes. This is ridiculous. Your friend is an idiot. Its as if she’s saying no one can have any conversation about anything else while something that’s politically important to her is happening.

        I have a female US friend who has been posting normal stuff on FB this week and a lot of people have commented that it’s nice to see something cheerful in the midst of the anger. That said she has also posted a couple of times about how angry she is about the political situation, but the vast majority of her posts are about her kids or her life as usual.

        Perhaps your friend assumes you support the nomination if you haven’t posted against it – but if she is making baseless assumptions like that then that’s on her not you.

    4. Princess of Pure Reason*

      There is no requirement to state or defend your position on anything, likewise no requirement or obligation as to what you post in your own feed. It’s your feed, post whatever you want, and don’t worry about managing other’s reactions and feelings (thank you, Captain Awkward). I’m in a similar boat, as I do not post anything political (also in the US) and stick to photos of my cat and “fun” stuff very deliberately, and even those are not frequent. I do have friends who seems to post nothing but political items and while, fortunately, I agree with them and appreciate the info and it does definitely help keep me informed, I also have to curate my social media experience to balance the being informed and not being overwhelmed and completely despondent. Life outside of politics is still happening, and my cat is still cute, and concerts are still going on (went to one last night and being a big noisy crowd of positive non-political energy was really therapeutic). We’re still allowed to have fun, enjoy things, and take care of ourselves and talk about that if we want.

    5. SpiderLadyCEO*

      Your friend needs to chill. Posting on Facebook about how you support women isn’t actually going to do much. If you want to post about your life – well, that’s what Facebook/Twitter/Instagram are for.

      Just keep posting whatever you want, it’s not going to harm anyone or help anyone, no matter what you post. If you feel like you should do something, taking steps like volunteering with your political party and local races, or calling your senators are going to be much more effective.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Posting on Facebook about how you support women isn’t actually going to do much.

        Several people have said something like this, and I just want to underscore it. Like ‘liking’ things or clicking on online petitions.

        That said, I would point to the recent triple disasters in Indonesia as an example–for some people National Event X is huge and all-consuming and like 9/11 just happened, and if someone says “I just ate avocado toast” or “Lovin’ The Good Place–here’s a list of great lines from Thursday’s episode!” then that just drops there on the floor and squirms awkwardly. For most of us, the events in Indonesia didn’t merit that sort of shut down of normal amusing life anecdotes. I don’t think you need to preach to the choir on Facebook, but maybe in one direction, seek people who understand that you use social media as an escape from everyday stress, and in the other be aware that something can be disturbing to you and a falling piano to other people. (Typing this as someone who last weekend, husband turned on NPR and daughter and I said in unison “Please turn it off; I can’t take any more.” And this week pulled back from written news as well, after a night I didn’t sleep at all.)

        I feel like with a death in your family, you’re flattened but you understand that most of the rest of the world wasn’t affected. Public Facebook posts will be about avocado toast, even though it would be incredibly tone deaf for a friend to call you because they were having an existential crisis involving avocado toast and wanted you to listen to them. When it’s a national news thing, then it feels like everyone is supposed to be in the same boat of only-talk-about-this versus please-no-more that you’re in, and discovering people all over the spectrum gets a much harsher reaction.

        1. JamieS*

          I disagree. A person shouldn’t be expected to only post about “major news item” if they want to post about something else going on in their life/random thought they had/whatever. Your death in family anology isn’t really applicable because if someone called you personally their message is specifically for you whereas social media is generally for whoever.

          1. SpiderLadyCEO*

            Yes, this. Our assumption that if someone isn’t posting on social or talking about a major event or crisis that they don’t care is false. There are tons of reasons that someone might not want to talk about something. Expecting people to post creates a pressure for them to say something instead of deal silently means that we end up with a lot of false outrage where people are pretending they care but it’s all performative.

            It also means that we get burnt out – the truth of the matter is that we can’t care about every disaster or major political event. Lots of bad things happen in the world! If we were affected emotionally the same by each one we would be wrecks. People need to be able to live their lives and enjoy things like their cats, or going to concerts – these things are important to us as individuals and not posting about the small happy things because big awful things are happening is silly, and a surefire way to become emotionally exhausted.

    6. Be the Change*

      Oh Daily Harvest, woman here, you keep using Facebook the way YOU want. Your friend was over reacting to an emotion if her own. Is it NOT rude to use Facebook as a way to keep in touch with family rather than a political platform, I do, almost exclusively. I wish my friends who are doing performative Facebook outrage would post the actions instead! If you are an ally in real life, you get to use Facebook how you want.

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

      I can’t comment on the etiquette part — I struggle with the same questions in my mind — but I SO hear you on being afraid to say the wrong thing re: politics.

      I almost never post anything political, but yesterday while I was walking to work, I saw graffiti that said “PULL THE LEVER.” I snapped a picture of it and posted it on my Facebook page.

      Nobody *ever* comments on my posts. Within the first 90 seconds, someone posted an angry-looking GIF that said “WRONG LEVER, CRONK” and three other friends, all women, had typed in “WRONG LEVER, CRONK.” Two other friends were typing, and I quickly deleted the post before anyone else could comment. I have (understandably, given the $*!@storm going on in Washington) very up-in-arms feminists as Facebook friends and was mortified that “pull the lever” meant something offensive to women. I deleted that post so fast your head could spin.

      I just googled “Pull the lever” and it means what I thought it meant — get out and vote. “Wrong lever, Cronk” is an innocuous movie reference. Boy, do I feel silly now. But I was freaking out at the time.

      1. KayEss*

        Aw, I’m sorry that happened! I would also have replied, “WRONG LEVER!” or “Why do we even HAVE that lever?!” because I adore “The Emperor’s New Groove” and that’s one of the best/funniest jokes in it… it would have really tickled me to see a photo like that in my feed. I totally understand why you were taken aback though, with the reactions out of context!

    8. ainomiaka*

      I absolutely would keep posting personal stuff. There’s not a rule. While I might wait a day or so, I would 100% rather hear what is actually going on in a friend’s life than more political ruminating. It’s slightly different if the political stuff has a way to take action, but still. you need some personal life stuff.

    9. Lehigh*

      Sometimes if something is extremely upsetting, you feel astonished and provoked that the world is going on (apparently) obliviously. I’m guessing that’s where your friend is.

      But not everyone uses facebook the same way, and that’s totally fine. It’s a social site, and plenty of people don’t use it for politics or activism at all, but just like you do, to keep up with distant friends & family. I don’t think you need to alter your habits, but if her posts are really bothering you perhaps you could snooze her for a bit.

      I definitely wouldn’t respond. It sounds like she’s (perfectly understandably!) going through a lot with all the current ish, and it would probably be good to cut her some slack.

    10. dumblewald*

      I don’t post political stuff on FB for the exact reasons you list. I’m not politically apathetic, though. I read on issues all the time and disscuss them with my friends. Anyone who knows me knows this. I actually find the Facebook rants disingenuous sometimes. Like, I support people posting their opinions/rants on FB if they find it cathartic, but I know a lot of people who do it because they REALLY want to Show That They Are Politically Opinionated…but then fail to follow up by actually doing things that could affect the issues they supposedly care about (like voting or volunteering.)

      I think some of your concerns might also fall under the category of people not believing that something is real unless posted on Facebook. If you don’t post political rants, then you must not be political. If you didnt post pictures of your wedding, you didn’t actually get married, etc.

    11. Extra Vitamins*

      I never post political stuff on Facebook, because of (1) my job, (2) fb is entertainment for me in which I do not want to be yelling/yelled at, (3) online ads get creepily aligned with what you post.

    12. Lissa*

      I think your friend was just lashing out, and hopefully she doesn’t really expect people to be all politics, all the time. I’m not American myself but it’s also quite nationally focused – I mean, perhaps she specifically means US friends or doesn’t have friends from other countries, but I’m sure she doesn’t stop posting when major things happen in other countries.

      I’m curious if her post got any comments? Honestly I would just keep posting as you normally do. My guess would be not every single person is only posting about politics? I have Americans on my list and while recent events have come up, they aren’t the only thing my friends are posting about. My American FB friends are still talking about concerts and cats too, male and female! (The FB friends, I don’t know the gender of the cats.)

      1. Daily Harvest*

        Her post got a couple of various emoticon reactions but no responses, I don’t think. She decided shortly after to take a break from social media, which is smart. But it did get me to think, as seen by this post.

        Thanks to everyone for their comments. I really appreciate them. My big takeaway here is that I’m not using the “snooze” function on Facebook and should start, and that I’ll keep posting what I want, but maybe wait a day if it’s the same day that something politically catastrophic is happening. :-)

    13. Tris Prior*

      I actually just made a point today of posting a list of positive things that are going on right now – with only one semi-political mention, of the Van Dyke verdict that came down here in Chicago yesterday (cop convicted of murder for shooting an African-American teen who was walking away from him). And, hell, I created an Instagram just for pix of my cats!

      In my opinion it’s no good for anyone’s mental health to just unrelentingly talk/post/think about political events. None of us can be good activists if we don’t take breaks for self-care.

      As a woman, I would rather my male friends show that they support women through their actions and behaviors. A Facebook post saying “I support women” is nice and all, but it’s not like it takes that much effort, or requires men to think about how they might be better allies.

    14. Sylvan*

      Post what you want! Your reasons for not posting about politics make a lot of sense to me. While I can understand your friend’s frustration, making outraged comments online isn’t the only way you can support women (or support people affected by any issue in general).

      You can be a kind, thoughtful person in real life. You can offer support to people who you see needing it in real life. You can vote. You can volunteer. You can even keep posting cats and concerts, because there are some people who really appreciate nice, normal things in their feed when the subject at the heart of the online outrage cycle is one they’re particularly affected by.

      My friends and I are all pretty politically inclined, but I do not post about it on social media very often. My rule is that I keep it encouraging and actionable.

    15. Lilysparrow*

      Look, your friend was angry in general. A lot of women are just at BEC stage with everyone, especially men, right now. You don’t have to censor yourself, just give her the space & understanding to know that she has reason to be mad at life, and try not to take it personally.

      Go ahead and post happy positive stuff! It’s a lifeline for some people! Some folks (like me) cope with stress by escapism, so if there’s nothing positive to see anywhere, it’s easy to just spiral down.

      It’s good to be sensitive about your wording/attitude, tho. One (female) friend posted this week a long, heartfelt essay about how this last 2 weeks was so hard for her, and she was having traumatic flashbacks of the worst day of her life, and she was finding different ways to get through the day without breaking down…and at the end it turned out to be that she was sad about the death of her pet so she went shopping.

      I mean, I know that’s very sad. She wasn’t intentionally trolling rape survivors. But her wording was just so unfortunate, it sounded like she was.

      That’s the kind of thing I’d say you should watch out for. Just be a bit sensitive about how you say things.

    16. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Um, I don’t post political stuff on FB. It’s mostly my cats and house projects! your friend has a problem.

    17. Elizabeth W.*

      Oh f*ck them. It’s your feed; post whatever you want. If people don’t like it, they can unfollow you.

    18. neverjaunty*

      I think you should maybe mute your friend so you don’t have to see her posts. You can also set up a filter for ‘people you want to share silly things with’ that leaves off people like your friend.

      You get to post what you want.

    19. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      That seems really bonkers. I’m really concerned about many things happening in the world right now, but I also still live my life. It’s weirdly controlling to demand that other people only post things that are about the concerns that you deem relevant.

    20. OldJules*

      Uh… it’s Facebook. The intent of having a Facebook is so we can keep relationships alive. Not sure how to do that if ALL I see are political posts. I have very strong feelings about the election but I don’t think that is all what my friends should be posting about. What an odd thing to say…. I didn’t realize that going to concerts means you don’t support women. She might have more behind the scenes going on than just those guys going to the concerts.

    21. Observer*

      Your friend is acting like an idiot who is looking for something to be angry at.

      Tag your family as “family” and start making your posts visible to family only. Not because there is anything shameful about what you are posting, but to avoid this kind of nonsense.

    22. Bibliovore*

      I use this because I am one of the many, many librarians who read AAM. This is the only place I comment.

    23. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My FB attempts to be a politics-free zone because I use it to keep in touch with family, and my family is split red, blue, purple, rainbow… my page is all about the kids & dogs in the family, authors, and the like.

      It doesn’t always work … I had a post about my middle schooler’s sneaker hunt go political recently! But pretty much people respect my requests.

  22. Health question*

    Hi. I have read the rules about posting here, but I’m wondering if I could ask a question about anyone who posts here with pre/diabetes and what their occasional/ initial symptoms are.

    Background: for the last week I’ve been feeling slightly nauseous on a regular basis. I’ve been trying to up my protein and limit sugar and carbs during this time. Normally, I self medicate by consuming sugar, and I’m rather overweight as a result. I eat regularly, so I don’t think it’s lack of food, but my worried mind has latched on to the idea that I could be pre-diabetic. I don’t want to google this as I’d fall down a rabbit hole of diagnosis. Can anyone with diabetes help either settle my mind or suggest gently that I may need to see a doctor to get checked out?

    Thanks so much for reading/taking the time to respond.

      1. gecko*

        I’ll reply here to your health question—talk to your doctor! It could be a bit of acid reflux, it could be a food intolerance, and it may help to get an opinion. Your doctor will not hesitate to test for signs of diabetes, trust me on this one; and they may be able to refer you to a nutritionist if that’s what’s necessary.

        You have a specific complaint of regular nausea and that can really affect your life. Go to the doctor with that specific complaint, and be ready to discuss how often it occurs and how it’s affecting you. “It occurs every few days, it’s very unpleasant to wake up with nausea, it causes me to be anxious that there’s a deeper problem since diet changes have not worked.”

        Going to the doctor is a really sucky experience if you’re overweight but they are trained experts and have access to diagnostic tests & their own experience.

    1. Book Lover*

      Honestly, just go get a blood test. If you can’t afford to go to the doctor it is relatively cheap to get a glucose monitoring kit from the pharmacy and check your sugar first thing in the morning for a few days. In some states you can get labs without a doctor rx also.

      I am not saying this because I have any particular feeling that you are or are not diabetic, but because it is such an easy thing to resolve, you might as well.

    2. Fulana del Tal*

      Please go to the doctor. Like you I once had symptoms that I thought meant I was diabetic and I tried to change my habits accordingly. When I finally went to the doctors I was diagnosed as severely anemic.

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Yes, please get a general blood test.
      Nausea could be anything. Pre-diabetes can have no symptoms at all.
      The possibilities are too numerous to guess what’s wrong. Please take good care of yourself.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Not a diabetic but I married into a family of diabetics. If you are PRE-diabetic that is good news in terms of you are not THERE yet. My husband went 15 years in the pre-diabetic stage. Once he was diagnosed he went another ten years with diet control only. What I am saying is that when you go to the doc, it is possible that you will not end up on insulin tomorrow. It might even be possible that you don’t even have to take meds annnnd it could very well be possible that your stomach disturbances could be due to changing your diet around.

      Again, not a doc, when my husband was diagnosed, he was running to the bathroom to pee a lot, he had frequent VERY BAD headaches if he did not eat and there were times where he would have to sleep all day. He knew it was probably diabetes because he saw his family go through the same thing.

      While you are waiting for your doctor appointment, get something like Pepto to calm your stomach and make sure you are drinking plenty of water every day.

    5. ..Kat..*

      You could just be having sugar withdrawal – lots of people have it when they significantly cut sugar from their diet. Carb withdrawal is a thing too. Is there a new food that you have added to up your protein ( or an old food that you are just eating a lot more of)? This food could be causing you problems.

      Could you be pregnant?

  23. SpiderLadyCEO*

    Thanks again to everyone who made suggestions for my trip to Chicago! I managed to cram a lot into the three days I was there, and had a marvelous time.

    1. KayEss*

      Sorry the weather was kind of unfortunate this week! Though “kind of unfortunate” is probably an accurate weather forecast for 75% of the year…

      1. SpiderLadyCEO*

        It was actually really nice when I was there (Mon-Weds) – much better than the weather here in North Dakota! I came home to snow and rain.

  24. Kate Daniels*

    I am really bummed. I was looking forward to going to this festival today because this week has been hard at work and terrible in other ways, too, but my friend just called to cancel. She says she doesn’t feel well, but this is like the fifth time she has cancelled plans at the last minute in the past few months, always day of.

    I am really introverted and it can be hard to reach out to others to set up plans. But getting cancelled on at the last minute so frequently is so very tiring. Sometimes it can be really hard when your friends are even more introverted than you because getting cancelled on makes me want to retreat and not bother making efforts in the future only to feel let down like this yet again.

    1. WellRed*

      Is going alone an option? I get that it’s funner with a friend. Also, your friend kinda sucks.

    2. Ronaldino*

      Could you head there yourself? Solo travel has it’s benefits too.
      (Failing that, your friend sounds very flakey, I’d say it’s time to build up new friendships. You deserve people who keep their word)

    3. Not A Manager*

      I would absolutely go by myself!

      Also, I understand about being introverted, but especially for something like a festival on a weekend day, lots of people enjoy a last-minute pickup plan. Sometimes that’s actually easier than trying to plan in advance. So if you happen to see a neighbor that you know casually, or if you have a friend nearby who you know isn’t swamped, just ask them if they want to join you.

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      Sometimes I prefer doing these by myself. I can wander where I want and I don’t have to wait on someone else. I agree with the others, can you go alone?

    5. SparklingStars*

      I have the exact same problem. I’m making an effort to go out and do some things alone, just to get out of the house more often. Today I went on a walking tour of a local cemetery by myself, because the friends I asked were busy. I ended up having a nice time, and I even struck up a conversation with another woman who was there by herself.

    6. Kate Daniels*

      Thanks, all! I did end up still going and had a decent time, but it was kind of sad seeing everyone else with family or friends. I need to make a better attempt to make some new, more reliable friends here.

  25. Well, This Sucks*

    Any tips for gearing up to start chemo and radiation?

    I was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August. I’m 32. Everything about this completely sucks. Almost all of the cancer resources I can find are for people younger than me (I am not cancer’s definition of a Young Adult), for women with breast cancer (I get that it is important, but this month it is starting to feel like BC is the only women’s cancer anyone cares about), or for caregivers (I don’t have any!).

    Practical advice and good vibes would both be appreciated.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I really wish I had some practical things to write. My only two ‘for entertainment, in case that helps’ resources both are about breast cancer.

      The guy who does xkcd took a hiatus when his fiancee was diagnosed, and has over the years done some funny but moving cartoons. Recent one here: https://xkcd.com/1928/

      Cancer Vixen is a graphic novel about her experience by a New Yorker cartoonist. Random small detail I remember is being told that chemo would not cause guaranteed weight loss, despite her recent trip through the trattorias of Italy. https://www.amazon.com/Cancer-Vixen-Pantheon-Graphic-Library-ebook/dp/B00O02CAZC/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1538838135&sr=8-5&keywords=graphic+novel+breast+cancer

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you for these! I had forgotten that about xkcd. The “a year?” comment really resonates. Time to hit the archives!

    2. NYC Redhead*

      I have no advice, but I have plenty of good vibes going your way for strength, good caretakers, and a complete and speedy healing!

    3. Silicon Valley Girl*

      I went thru chemo & radiation for breast cancer 5 years ago (in my 40s; younger than average), so not the same, but I’d say what matters is the specific chemo & radiation regimens — that will help you figure out what side effects to prepare for. For chemo, each medication & number of courses have slightly different effects, & same with the number & type of or radiation, plus if you’re doing chemo then rads or vice versa (some ppl even do rads in between chemo, it can be very customized). Cancer . net has some good starter info & lists of questions to ask your healthcare team, & a lot of it isn’t just for one specific cancer, it’s focused on the treatment.
      Cancer does suck! How I dealt with it was researching everything & asking a zillion questions. Good luck.

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you for sharing – it helps to hear from people who have gone through similar things, past tense. It makes it feel like maybe it will actually be over, some day.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. Not sure when you’re starting the chemo. If you have some time, my advice is to gain a little bit of weight now, if you can.

      If the chemo tends to cause nausea, research the best anti-nausea meds and see if you can get the doc to prescribe them in advance, instead of waiting to see how you respond. Sometimes they tend to prescribe the not-as-strong ones first, I’m not sure why. That’s fine, and you can get that scrip, but see if they will ALSO prescribe for a few of the “gold standard” ones just in case.

      If the chemo tends to cause hair loss, cut your hair now into a cute cut that you like. If you’re very invested in long hair, it can be devastating when it starts falling out.

      If you experience side-effects, try to keep in mind that whatever the treatment is doing to you, it’s doing a million times worse to the cancer and that’s the point.

      Best wishes for your treatment and recovery. I hope everything goes as smoothly as possible.

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you – I’m going to pick up my anti-nausea meds today! This is the first time I’ve ever had a medical professional tell me NOT to lose weight – it’s kind of surreal.

    5. Alpha Bravo*

      No practical advice, but in the “good vibes” vein, my grandmother was diagnosed with cervical cancer around your age. She was treated with radiation. She passed away at 93 of old age.

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Whoa, that *is* good vibes – especially for what must have been her era. Thanks for sharing!

    6. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Sending a hug. Research, I did a flow chart diagram of the six possible protocols (if this doesn’t work, then what?) with the oncologist, and found out what blood work made the decision points. It empowered me. (I was the caregiver/ advocate).
      I’d recommend finding a support group. Even if you are older than the other women with cervical cancer, it is still good to have sisterhood and support of someone with your treatment. There were things that we didn’t know until we got personal questions answered by a good nurse (oh, that’s a related side affect? What is chemo fog?)
      The American Cancer society and other websites have good resources. DO NOT be reluctant to ask for and get help for anything. I’m a “hide in the house draw the blinds” introvert (husband had cancer) and I waited to long to ask for help. It made things harder to be too independent and it isolated us.
      Put together a care kit – scarf you love, something soft to have next to your face, a head/neck support pillow, headphones and podcasts or videos (I got him a tablet and downloaded movies to it so that he didn’t have to stream shows on the hospital wifi, which was slow). Eye mask (I rest better with dark, I like the molded foam ones that look like bra cups…) because you may be weary and not want the “hospital noise” to interrupt you when you can drop off to sleep in the early stages before the nausea hits (if that’s one of the effects).
      For us, the care kit also included lip balm and moisturizer.
      And, something brainless and a secret vice IF you can distract yourself with it. A book, word search, puzzles, something to keep head busy while the body is stuck in the chair. If you can, a journal…
      Sending a really huge hug.

    7. Kuododi*

      I am afraid I have no practical resources to suggest. My cancer was over 25 yrs ago so needless to say any resource lists I have are quite out of date. The one thing I would suggest, if you are a “hide in your cave when sick and miserable” type person is to deputize one friend or family member to be the keeper of the gate/dispenser of news until you are up to seeing people. This needs to be a person who will stand firm against family/others who might not necessarily be willing to abide by your boundaries at the time. I share your frustration about the month of October and all of the pink products available round the country for breast cancer. Where’s the same for the other cancers?

      Oh well… this is not the time to impose my exasperations on you. Please know you are in my heart and I wish you a peaceful, low-stress treatment process. Grace and peace to you and your beloved family and friends.

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you – and I appreciate hearing about other people’s exasperations, it is a good distraction from my own :)

    8. Smarty Boots*

      I’m so sorry you are going through this, and I hope you have a good support circle. My advice as a caregiver: let people help you — tell them specific things they can do to help you (vacuum, take out trash, mow lawn, go to grocery store, etc) because you are likely to be tired as well as sick. Ask the nurses at the hospital or clinic for help in connecting with others and with resources. See if there is a social worker at the facility because they will know about resources and are good at seeing the whole picture of what you may need. Talk to your insurance company now about what meds, especially pain and anti nausea meds, are covered and in what amount (we had a situation where the anti nausea med could be prescribed once a month for 28days — you see the problem. Eventually we got the insurance co to agree to cover 28 days of the med but in a lrger size pill, used a pill cutter. Yeah. ).
      Please let us know how you are doing!

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you – this is something I need to be reminded of. I live alone and it is hard to ask for help.

    9. Owler*

      It is challenging to receive a cancer diagnosis in your 30s. You are too old for the young adult world, but too young for cancer. I was diagnosed with colon cancer in my 30s (someone actually told me that she thought only old, white men got colon cancer); being a young woman with cancer that isn’t breast cancer is hard because most will want to group you into the Pink Ribbon corner. Especially in Pink-tober!

      I agree that if you can find a cervical cancer group, you should check it out. There might be a group on Facebook or at http://www.csn.org (cancer support network of the American Cancer Society). Keep mind that many of the people posting will be the ones hit hardest by the diagnosis or treatment, so their experiences won’t necessarily be yours. But you can often get tips or tricks from other survivors that won’t be evident from a general cancer survivor or even doctor.

      See if your hospital has a survivorship program or other treatment support options. Gilda’s Club has been renamed, but that is another international group to support cancer survivors that might have a branch near you.

      Set up some easy meals in your freezer that you can heat and eat. Don’t worry about calories or healthfulness too much. The important is just to eat.

      Don’t be afraid to allow friends or family to help you, but know that a lot of people will say, “let me know what I can do to help” and then just leave that offer hanging in the air with no follow through. It puts the burden on you to ask, but if you are willing to do so, people generally will be happy to support you. So have some ideas ready! Are there some areas you would like help, like dinners, yard work, appointment companionship, rides to doctor appointments, etc.? Think about who you can rely on, and how you would like support.

      At the same time, if you don’t have that kind of support network, it’s ok too. I went to all of my chemo appointments by myself, and while sometimes I felt sorry for myself that I didn’t have a gaggle of friends to distract me, I got through it. :)

      1. Well, This Sucks*

        Thank you – it really is reassuring to hear from people who have gone through similar things. Especially the feeling sorry for yourself about being alone for chemo. The nurse sounded so judgmental when she was scheduling me. “If you have anyone, you should bring them.” Well, I don’t!

        1. Maria the Librarian*

          Sorry you had that sense from the nurse. My friend has gone through two rounds of chemo, and most people in the room with her came on their own. They were reading, watching TV, on their phones, etc.

          Another friend’s advice: If you find you have a metallic taste in your mouth from chemo (some do, some don’t), really strong cinnamon gum helps.

    10. Owler*

      I can’t tell if I lost a long post or it’s in limbo-land, but I just wanted to sympathize with you on being 30-something, female, and having cancer that’s not breast cancer. It can be really isolating. I had colon cancer (sadly, on the rise in the under-40 cohort), and I have been lucky to find other survivors in my hometown. (We all hate Pinktober, btw.) Be kind to yourself.

    11. Elizabeth W.*

      No advice, but sending good vibes.


    12. Lora*

      Oh gosh. Been there.

      1. Cervical cancer is one of the more survivable ones. I don’t want to say it’s easy, but I got my first Dx when I was 26 before they had a lot of antinausea drugs and I can definitely say it’s gotten much better.

      2. Expect to be tired and need naps. No, like NEED naps. Otherwise your body will decide for you that you will be taking a nap… while you’re driving. Get lots of sleep. Don’t try to power through it.

      3. Not sure if I agree with letting other people make you food or making food ahead as your taste buds get kinda weird and some things you used to love will temporarily taste disgusting. I couldn’t eat lasagna for two years, but sushi (no spicy mayo though) became my all time favorite. Mexican food, which I normally love, made me nauseated just from the smell. Until you know what your nose and taste buds will do, be a bit fussy about making food ahead. Your senses will revert back after a couple of years probably.

      4. Be a little judicious in who you tell. After my second Dx I told only a few trusted friends. People tend to unload a lot of feelings on you and then you’re in the weird position of having to try to comfort them and manage their feelings and it’s just fking exhausting. I don’t know how you feel about people shaving their heads to try to make you feel better about thinning chemo hair, but it really just made me uncomfortable and like they had some sort of unhealthy interest in my personal life or were calling attention to it rather than letting me be normal. You might feel differently, but I really didn’t want attention paid to me because I had cancer, I wanted attention for, you know, accomplishments at work/hobbies…when I was having dark moments and feeling like hammered sht, I thought, if I have to die of this crap at least I will be remembered for (work achievement, hobby achievement). I kinda felt like I shouldn’t be defined as a person by the crummy body that was failing out from under me, but that’s what other people were doing in their reactions. YMMV.

      Good luck!

    13. Drop Bear*

      Sending good vibes.
      Have you widened your search to include sites from other countries? (Mostly we set up our browsers to search for pages in our own country first – for obvious reasons) In Australia, the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation has quite a bit of info on their website, as do the Australian Cancer Council, and Cancer Australia (this one is the Commonwealth Govt website), and I’m sure there will be sites ‘written’ in other countries that do too.

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’ll send the good thoughts even though I don’t know if this other comment will be helpful.

      I had a long totally unrelated fight with being unable to keep food down. For some reason even liquids would trigger me. Can’t remember how I figured it out, but I was finally able to keep hydrated by adding some maple syrup to my water. Less sweet than typical in lemonade.
      That and won ton soup were my saviors. Not a typical “healthy diet” but since the critical thing was to keep something down, that was it for a couple of weeks.

      Anyway, just the idea that when you find something your body likes to eat, eat it!

      Oh and from a childhood experience…if they’re giving you liquid meds, ask if they can do unflavored. I had a bad reaction to one med and to this day cannot abide that flavor. My daughter’s the same way.

    15. Grace Carrington*

      Sending good vibes to you. I’m now 5.5 years post treatment for breast cancer and have been told to consider myself cured by the oncologist.

      The treatment can be awful (after chemo 6 I remember sobbing that if this comes back I am not doing chemo again*), but different chemo regimes have different side effects. One side effect of the breast cancer regime used in the UK is that you put on weight, because the only thing you can keep down is bland white carbohydrates.

      My veins collapsed after chemo 2 and I was given a portocath. That kept my hands free (and pain free) so I could knit during infusions. If possible, get one from the outset, would be my advice. Despite the blood pressure raising effect of one of my chemo drugs, when I knitted my BP was lower at the end of each session. But it just makes it easier to read, hold things with 2 hands and also go to the bathroom more easily.

      Definitely get the best anti nausea meds. Mine cost £120 a go but I only got them paid for because I was in a clinical trial. It would have been worth paying for them myself.

      If your white blood cell count drops then you may need to have an injection 3 days after the chemo session. Mine came in a spring loaded single use syringe where you just put it on your skin and pressed go. It was much better for me to take control of this and self inject, rather than travel to the hospital and wait for a nurse to be ready to see me.

      Buy some disposable absorbent pads for your bed (like puppy pads) and put one under your sheet. Have clean bedding ready at hand. I was waking up and puking so forcefully that I lost control of my bowels at the same time. Knowing my mattress was safe took down the stress of that a lot. Get something with a lid or have a large garbage bag at hand so anything you soil in the night can be contained until you can deal with it.

      Puking continued – I had a large bucket covered by a towel at my bedside, a pack of wet wipes and a large glass of water. So I could wake up, throw up, rinse my mouth and clean my hands and face, cover it up and go back to sleep. Assume puking is possible for the first 72 hours after treatment.

      There are a number of reasons that you could get night sweats. I slept on a big absorbent bath towel, and had a pile of them by my bed so I could get a fresh one every time I woke up.

      Plan ahead, chemo and radiotherapy can make you very tired. Chemo 1 I had 3 bad days and 18 good days. By chemo 6 the proportions were reversed. Stock up on groceries and maybe bulk cook and freeze food you like. But keep it bland – your taste buds will change temporarily.

      * despite all of the above, if my cancer came back I would absolutely have every treatment possible.

      From speaking with other women in treatment at my local cancer drop in centre, I learned that radiotherapy in the pelvic area can cause tightening shortening and stiffening of the tissues of the vagina. If this would be an issue for you then ask about using vaginal dilators and use them as soon as you are cleared to do so.

      Hope this isn’t too late to be seen.

    16. Mobuy*

      I finished my chemo 5 years ago this Friday! I was diagnosed at 35. Here are my tips!

      1. Get a wig with short hair, no matter your length now. When you take off your wig you will have short hair, and I wish my wig and my new hair matched better.

      2. Zofran is amazing….and gave me horrible constipation. They should give you more than one anti-nausea, so use both. I also took Senna before chemo each time.

      3. Take anti-nauseas before getting sick!

      4. If your radiation is external, 100% aloe is great for the sunburny feeling. I’m generally skeptical of anything that smacks of alternative medicine, but aloe is amazing. You need the 100% stuff you get at a health food store.

      You got this. It sucks but you can do it.

  26. Ronaldino*

    Movie Recommendation!
    I just walked Venom this weekend and I tell you, it is the utterly weirdest Superhero movie ever. I went in expecting a dark, angsty, adult version of Spiderman. Instead we get a hilarious buddy cup movie. Very refreshing!
    Plus Riz Ahmed is great as an evil Elon Musk.

    1. Red Reader*

      My housemate and I went last night, and before we went he saw a review that called it “the best movie of 2004.” And we came out agreeing that yeah, that’s about right :) Quite enjoyable.

    2. Fulana del Tal*

      I saw on Thursday and really enjoyed it. The most distracting thing was Michelle Williams horrible wig. It was a fun movie, just make sure you stay to the end of the credits.

    3. Elizabeth W.*

      Oh I don’t know about this one. I’m a huge Marvel fan and I love Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, but it just looks stupid to me.

  27. dumblewald*

    I just got my signed copy of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing in the mail and am so excited to read it!

    1. Sapphire*

      Haha, I tried to start an AART thread at the same time you did. I’m going to read it this weekend to avoid spoilers.

    2. This is the story of a man named Neil Fisk*

      I read Allison’s book recommendation An Absolutely Remarkable Thing last night. A fun and interesting book (and the protagonist had a lot in common with my daughter, which especially resonated with me). I’m unfamiliar with the author Hank Green, but he writes very well in a clean, tightly crafted style reminiscent of John Scalzi.

      It is indeed a First Contact tale that makes some interesting observations on fame, and also takes a few punches at current news and social media.

      That said, I was not fond of the ending. I’d guess there’s a sequel in the works, but yeesh: can’t anyone write a decent self-contained novel anymore?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Oh people WRITE them… but publishers want the series and ask for a hook to book 2. :(

        It’s right up there with “great book, but you need to add more sex.”

  28. Sapphire*

    I got my copy of An Absolutely Remarkable Thing in the mail last week, and I might finish it over the weekend. I enjoy John Green’s novels, but he is definitely writing for teenagers, and I discovered the Vlogbrothers in college. Hank Green feels like he’s writing for me.

    1. Forking great username*

      Would you recommend it for John Green fans? (Yeah yeah, I read YA lot. But hey, I teach high school English.)

      1. Sapphire*

        I’d say if you like John Green, but are frustrated that he doesn’t write stories for adults, you’d enjoy this one (full disclosure, I didn’t finish the book when I thought I would, but I want to keep reading it).

  29. veira*

    i wrote a long and well-reviewed piece of fanfiction that i’m thinking of turning into an actual published book after some intense editing (not only name-changing, but fleshing out some details, etc). at what point do you think i should remove the fanfiction version of it? when i’m querying agents?

    1. Kate Daniels*

      I would go ahead and give your readers a heads’ up that you are planning on removing it and wait a couple of weeks so they can read it one more time and then take it down. And make sure the revision is truly more than just finding and replacing names of characters, of course!

      1. Kate Daniels*

        (Which you have already noted!) One of my favorite series started as fan fiction, so I wish you the best of luck!

    2. Sorcha*

      My friends who have done this have waited until they had reworked the fic into something they thought would be ready for querying, then notified their followers/readers that the fic would be taken down at a certain point (either a specific date or in a set time). Then they removed it, waited a bit, then started querying with it.

      It worked for three of them.

    3. SpiderLadyCEO*

      Literally never! Don’t take it down! If you posted on AO3, just leave it up and lock it. I don’t think there is any reason to take a fic down once it’s published. I highly doubt the publishing company is going to go looking for it anyway, and your original readers probably want to go back to it.

      I know a couple of authors have taken this route (locking and leaving it up) and as far as I know they have never had an issue, and I love being able to read the nonfanfic version and the fic version side by side.

  30. Sapphire*

    Crafting thread (pun intended this time)! What are you working on?

    My main project, the vest, is all done except for the zipper and weaving in the ends. I currently have plans to start a lace shrug as soon as I buy the yarn, and a crocheted i-cord rug as soon as I buy the hook. I also want to make my first pair of socks this winter, so I need to find some yarn for that as well. I’m really picky about the socks I buy, though, so that might be difficult.

    1. Bigglesworth*

      I’ve recently gotten into doing acrylic dirty pours. I did two canvasses last weekend and need to prep another one for this weekend. :)

    2. Red Reader*

      Oh, lessee. Right now I am about a third of the way through an illusion-knit scarf for my husband — the first thing I’ve ever knit for him, because he’s super picky, so in the past, any time he’s been like “would you knit me this?” I’ve been like “I will if you really want it, but it’s gonna take like $100 worth of yarn and 80+ hours of my time, so are you going to wear it enough to justify that?” and he’s always said no, he probably wouldn’t. But this time, he said yes, he would wear it, and he bought the yarn, so I’m going at it. It’s neat, I’ve never done illusion knitting before. Straight on, it’s just copper and red stripes, but if you lay it out flat and look at it down an angle, it’s got some of the script off the One Ring (from LOTR) down the length of it.

      I have other projects on needles too, but nothing that’s consistently getting worked on.

    3. HannahS*

      I’m THIS close to finishing a Harvest cardigan, the pattern from tincanknits. I’m pleased with it. No pockets though. J think my next cardigan, which will be lovely shawl-collared rose pink aran cabled extravagance, will have pockets.

      1. Sapphire*

        Yep. I chose the vest I’m working on specifically because of the pockets, and the cable patterns.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      Most of my stuff at the moment is bitty projects on all the stuff I want to wear this autumn/winter – fixing rips, putting new zips in skirts, taking in tops etc. It’s stuff I’ve been neglecting over the summer, so it’s actually quite nice to do all those little jobs! Plus it feels like I’ve actually accomplished something when I’ve done a pile of mending/alterations.

    5. wingmaster*

      I’ve been putting it off for so long, but I have a few patches that I want to put on a denim jacket. I also have a few old pairs of denim jeans that I’d like to repurpose.

      1. Red Reader*

        Anything in particular in mind to do with the jeans? I decided once, like five years ago, that I wanted to make a patchwork skirt out of the seat pockets of jeans, purely for entertainment value. So I bought a zillion and three pairs of worn-out jeans at the by-the-pound goodwill outlet on sale day, and …. now I have two zillion and six (roughly) seat pockets stuffed into an old rice sack on a bottom shelf in my office. Hah. (I gave the rest of the pants to my mom, who was working on a denim patchwork quilt for her grandson at the time, so at least those didn’t go to waste.)

        1. wingmaster*

          Haha, nice! I’m thinking of making an oversized cardigan. I don’t know if I want to bleach it first.

    6. Lunar Rainbow*

      I have an aran afghan that I’ve been working on a little at a time. It doesn’t look like much of anything as of yet (I’m only around 10 rows in), but it has been interesting so far. I’ve already encountered a stitch pattern that is new to me and it’s been fun figuring it out! The intent is to finish the afghan by Christmas so that I can gift it to my mother, but due to some ongoing health issues, it might end up as a Mother’s Day present instead.

    7. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I’m suppose to be unpacking the storage unit stuff that’s stacked in my house but I did find my entire box of patterns and all my thread, so while I’m not YET working on anything specific, I can now hope and dream.
      Does anyone else buy patterns as part of their “intent to do?” I used to buy the whole thing (pattern, notions, and the fabric) but frequently didn’t get to it before it was outdated. At least the patterns are small (but increasingly expensive). Now, I have enough patterns that I can repurpose them for the rest of my life and not have to “really” buy many more for sewing.
      The crocheting… I will have to wait until I get that unpacked to see if the yarn and half-finished baby afghans made it through the storage unit and mice intact.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I feel your pain on the storage woes… I’m in the middle of trying to determine what is salvageable after discovering that our land drains got blocked and moisture has been seeping into the basement & garage all this wet summer. :( I’m about to bleach sweaters knit by my husband’s aunt because gentle wash didn’t get rid of the mildew smell. Thank goodness she liked acrylic…

    8. Shrunken Hippo*

      I have to finish the face of a crocheted stuffed animal, work on a sweater that I started for my mom last year (I lost the motivation to crochet for about months for whatever reason), and finish sewing a button down shirt. I might also bake and sketch depending on my mood and how many library books I get completely absorbed in.

    9. Llellayena*

      I’m trying desperately to finish piecing a twin sized quilt top before next Saturday because I’ve rented time on a long-arm to quilt it. Yay! Speed Sewing! Fortunately I’m down to just the border and the backing so I’m in good shape. On a related note, this weekend I’m volunteering at my guild’s quilt show so I’m surrounded by inspiration! :)

    10. Cristina in England*

      I finished my third neckwarmer in a month (for a kind of charity project). I might work on a fourth but my fingers are getting a bit sore from it all! I still need to start my mum’s hat and neckwarmer for Christmas.

    11. The Other Dawn*

      I used to do cross stitch and would love to get back into it. I started a kit maybe 10 years ago and haven’t finished t yet. I’m thinking I’d like to get back to it this winter. I’d also love to learn how to knit, but I haven’t made any effort to find a class yet other than checking my local national craft store–they aren’t offering any classes right now.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        There are open stitch n botch groups in many places. A knitting group at our library, the “string thing” at a local coffee shop, and I’m sure there are some at the yarn shops too but I avoid those because I already have enough stash to last years!
        I found “my” group by tagging along on a museum visit with friends from another hobby…. turns out the group has a FB page if I’d thought to look.

    12. Tau*

      I picked up sewing this summer, and although it’s currently stalled because I need to finish these curtains and am putting them off I totally want to make a hoodie with plush lining in the hood. Still need the fabric for it though, and although I have a pattern I really need to learn how to adjust them – I made a T-shirt from the same book and it fits really badly around the shoulder/armpit.

      I’m also tempted to make another stab at a super-gorgeous fingerless glove pattern, but I haven’t been knitting as much recently (it just takes so long D:) and I’ve always struggled with the pattern in question because I can’t get the gauge right – even with 2mm needles and some really thin yarn, my stitches just come out too big. :(

        1. Tigrrrr*

          Wow! Those ARE gorgeous! I’ll be adding them to my very long Ravelry list. Thanks for the link!

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Far far too much of my time has been taken up with unscheduled home maintenance and I’ve lost my socks-in-progress after I finally found someone to talk me through turning the heel.

      I have 3 things going… a crocheted dishcloth (one of many because I’m on a tear to use up all the old partial balls of cotton)… a corner to corner afghan that I’m going to watch TV under as it grows… and a lenghthwise scarf (http://www.crazyauntpurl.com/archives/2010/02/my_new_favorite.php). This one I take to events where I don’t know a lot of people–every row is a different yarn, and I ask someone else to pick the next one. Its been a fun ice-breaker. I remain amazed at how popular the glittery Muppet fun-fur has been…and I just threw it in be can the colors matched.

  31. Lauren*

    I like this guy, yet I never do anything when it comes to crushes. I’m afraid that I’ll be single forever because I am very shy and quiet, so the guy never knows that I like him. I’ve been on dates, but they were set-ups from family/friends that never amounted to anything. I overthink things all of the time, but I guess I’m afraid of rejection. I would like to be in a relationship, or at least be friends with more guys, but I don’t know how to start/where to begin? Is there some secret that I’m missing out on? Any advice? Thank you.

    1. Bigglesworth*

      One of my close friends is dealing with the same situation you are. Although being rejected sucks, there is closure in it. Personally, I hate not knowing more than I hate being rejected (because what if they like you back). The worst that could happen is that the guy you like says no. The other thing that could happen, though, is that they say yes! You’ll never know unless you ask.

      Also, what hobbies do you have? If you want to get to know more guys or people in general, see if there are any groups nearby that do things that you want to do. My introverted friends have found people they like through hiking groups, pottery/painting classes, gyms, table-top gaming groups, local book clubs, etc. If they were doing something they enjoyed, it wasn’t such a drain on their socialization battery life. Pick one thing you like and you could find people, including guys, who like it too.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        +1 to finding a like-minded partner by doing something you are enthusiastic about. If you are looking for a make, there’s some truth to stereotypes that they’re more often found among brewers and sports fans and D&D than in sewing groups. So think about which of your interests might be a higher % male so you have a topic to discuss or do together with that cutie. “I’m thinking about going to that mead-making workshop in NearbyTown next weekend…want to carpool?” There are intersections in some corners of the world. Just for one, Ren Faire & SCA bring sewing enthusiasts together with martial arts types & brewers every week. “I heard you talking about needing a new tunic for BigTournament next month… I love sewing… do you want to have me work on it with you?”

    2. thehighercommonsense*

      There is no downside to asking! Worst case, you are in the same situation as you were before (albeit with the added sting of rejection, I guess that is a downside). Rejection fades, though, and Bigglesworth is right, you’ll get closure.

      I was trying to find a Carolyn Hax piece on risk, but I can’t seem to uncover it. Anyway, her advice boiled down to Just Do It. Trying (and failing) is what makes you an interesting person.

      “Wanna go grab coffee sometime?” is not too difficult to ask, I swear.

      1. Sapphire*

        It is really hard when you’ve got a crush on someone to ask them for a coffee or a drink, but I’ve found that it’s easier to ask in a text-based medium.

    3. Parenthetically*

      I’ve spent my life as a person who gets a lot of crushes, and in my experience the worst thing to do is to let it stay a crush. It gets blown out of all proportion and suddenly you’re totally paralyzed. Either act on it quickly by asking the person out, or deliberately let it go. The reason I didn’t do that for most of my life, I discovered in therapy (shoutout to therapy!), is that a crush is safer and easier than putting myself out there, and that I’d rather not try hard things and fail than try and fail, because at least I didn’t expend any effort! It was a very unhealthy way to go through life!

      I don’t know what would work for you, but for me, I turned it into a numbers game — I’ll ask X number of dudes out this month, and I’ll wait no more than 3 interactions to do so (for instance). I’ll attend 3 Meetup-type activities this quarter. Etc. In my experience it’s really, really hard to “work up the nerve” to do things, because the longer you wait, the bigger the thing becomes in your head (or at least that’s how it works for me!)… so just… don’t work up the nerve! Do it instead of waiting until you feel ready!

    4. Kuododi*

      No secret…if you don’t ask, you’ll never know!!! I have asked my fair share of guys out in my time, most were lovely people who for various reasons we decided we weren’t going to go on to any type of life long commitment. The ones I’ve kept in touch with have gone on to meet and marry who for them were the right choices. I have dated some j********s and thankfully those were few and far between. I asked DH out on our first date….(I’m introverted, I pale in comparison to how much difficulty he has in new social situations.). He invited me to his place for dinner the following week. Lonk story short we’ll be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this January!!! Best wishes!!!

      1. Kuododi*

        Grrrr… still in the big bandage after carpal tunnel surgery…. Butterfingers….(Long story short…)

    5. Indie*

      Make it your goal to find/accept the word no gracefully. Don’t let rejection be the boogieman. It’s not to be avoided; its an absoutely critical part of the process of elimination. Someone tells you no, smile and say thank you anyway. Someone doesnt flirt back, laugh at yourself and try again. It’s not a comment on your worth; people are more likely to not be your lobster than a match. I find it easier to practice online because you never have to see them again and dates are an expected topic. If you like someone in RL, act quickly while they’re still acquaintance level and ask for something low stakes; coffee rather than love. Good luck!

  32. BRR*

    Lately I keep getting oil-based stains in the same spot (right side, mid abdomen). My husband has gotten a few in the same spot as well which I think is a little strange since I’m a good 7 inches taller so I would think we wouldn’t get stains in the same spot. Anybody have any thoughts on this? I don’t even know what to hope for for answers but I’m at the end of my rope since it’s ruined a few of my favorite items as my success rate at getting oil-based stains out is hit or miss.

    1. Middle School Teacher*

      Like, on your clothes? Could you be rubbung up against something? Edge of the counter, maybe?

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Also: to get them out: I use a bit of mild dawn on the stain before I wash. Dab it on, let it sit for a few minutes, wash, do not put in the dryer until you know the stain is gone. I’ve also had success with Goo Gone, but too much can really strip colour from clothes so go easy on it.

      2. BRR*

        Ah yeah sorry, on my clothes. I also meant to say I cleaned the edge of basically everything in my apartment.

    2. Slartibartfast*

      Dripping things while you’re eating? For oil stains, I have the best luck with Dawn dish soap to pretreat, wash as usual, check before drying to see if you got it all.

    3. Enough*

      Even at different heights there are things that you both might hit at the same place. So look for things around your house or car. The area you mention sounds like you both might be coming up against something when you are sitting. Or something you are holding.

      1. Enough*

        And try a stain stick. The kind that you can leave on and wait to wash. I have found waiting a few days seems to really help and has worked on some already washed and dried stains.

    4. Nerdgal*

      Murphy’s Oil Soap works great on greasy stains. Rub a little in, let it sit for an hour or so, then wash as usual. Do not dry in dryer until you are sure stain is gone.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        ALB, our minds went in the same direction, I thought steering wheel. I know I can rub against mine getting in and out of the car.

    5. ArtK*

      Probably something when you’re sitting down since that would level out the height issue. Check any tables or counters you sit at, as well as your car if you drive the same one. Is there something you both might lean over?

      I have *some* luck with Stain Devils in removing oil stains but it’s not perfect by any chance.

    6. Marion Ravenwood*

      No clue on where the stain’s coming from, but another vote for washing up liquid/dish soap as a stain remover. Apply it to the back of the fabric (as this is where the stain’s likely to have set the least), work it in, rinse it out with cold water, then wash as normal. I’ve got blood, chilli sauce, foundation and coffee out of clothes this way and saved quite a few favourite pieces.

    7. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I already mentioned Jolie Kerr once above, but I’m going to mention her again because her oil-cleaning recommendations saved my favorite pair of sweatpants after I spilled olive oil on them. I saw her recommend a cleaning product called Lestoil that takes out oil stains, as long as they haven’t gone through the dryer yet. I ordered it on Amazon and it worked.

    8. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Oh, this happened to me once! It was from my screen door – I would open the door and rest it on my hip while unlocking in the inner door. Took me months to figure it out!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      What I would do is start the day with a clean shirt check before you leave for work, check at noon and check before dinner. Make note of what you are doing during the day. Since both you and your husband get it, it something that you share. You might have a clothes hanger that has oil on it for some reason. Or maybe you take your clothes in the bathroom to dress after a shower and put them in the same place.

      It could be something you guys are carrying and holding against your bellies.

      It would be interesting to hear what it is when you figure it out.

    10. Sarah G*

      Use talc powder or cornstarch to remove oil stains — it works really well. Just sprinkle it on the stain, shake off excess, let it sit for a bit, then wash as normal. Repeat as needed for larger oil stains. It’s one of my all time favorite life hacks!

  33. miyeritari*

    how do YOU come up with the name you use in the Ask a Manager comments? do you use your regular internet psueonym, if you have one? do you make it relevant to your topic? do you keep the same one consistently?

    1. Femme D'Afrique*

      I’m an African woman, so that’s how I came up with my AAM name (plus Femme d’Afrique was a popular fashion magazine in the 80s and 90s that I absolutely loved).

      I don’t use it on any other site, just here.

      1. TheTallestOneEver*

        My answer is almost as simple – it’s because I’m tall.
        This is just my AAM name.

    2. Kate Daniels*

      This is the main character in one of my favorite book series. It’s not the same thing I use for other parts of the Internet.

      1. Ender Wiggin*

        Favourite character in a book. I only changed my name once after a few people (intentionally I think) misinterpreted a comment I made and decided to hate on me and I thought hey life’s too short to deal with haters every week. Otherwise I stick to the same name.

      2. Waiting At The DMV*

        Best name ever, Kate Daniels. How did you like the series ending?? I loved it. :)

    3. MommaCat*

      Mine is my personalized version of Mama Cass; I grew up with a number of cats, and I had just had my oldest when I picked the name. I don’t post on many sites, but I do tend to use variations on this name.

    4. Red Reader*

      This isn’t my regular, but I use it here and on Captain Awkward. I have red hair and read 13 books on my six-day vacation last week — hence, Red Reader. I started out with just Red when I first came here, but shortly discovered someone else was using that, so I expanded.

    5. Detective Amy Santiago*

      When I first started commenting here, I was using my regular internet handle. I did that for a few months and then switched to this after I binged Brooklyn Nine Nine because I really liked Amy and wanted something that was a bit more anonymous.

      Unless I’m talking about something particularly sensitive, I always use this name.

    6. HannahS*

      Mine is just a name I like with a made up last initial. I have a different pseudonym elsewhere on the internet which is a pun on my real name with a similar structure of Hebrew first and German Jewish animal last name. Like, if my real name was Pnina Wolf, (pearl wolf) my pseudonym would be Margalit Loeb (pearl lion). But Hannah is just a name like.

    7. kc89*

      I use this one which is just letters and numbers that sound nice together imo, but I do switch it up if I want to comment something extra anon

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      Mine is from one of my favourite movie characters. I have used it elsewhere on the internet, but only in one place. I picked it for AAM because it felt in keeping with the style of the board (I’ve noticed a lot of people using fictional character names, so thought this was a good option).

    9. epi*

      I post as epi or epidemiologist most places.

      Paradoxically it’s for my privacy. It’s harder to Google than a pseudonym. I’ve had more unique ones over the years, and as a result a mentally ill person who used a site I used to moderate has tracked me down several times and left obscene messages. I’m not afraid of her or anything, but if she could find me then someone more malicious could have too.

      Also, I really love public health and health topics, and sharing my knowledge when I think it could help someone. So it’s also about truth in advertising. :)

    10. Fulana del Tal*

      I rarely post but its Jane Doe in spanish. I have another pseudonym when I want to discuss something related to my occupation.

    11. The RO-Cat*

      Initially I had a different handle but a while ago Alison (or someone else, I don’t remember exactly) wanted to know where from we were, so I put that info in my nickname: Cat is a part of my name, RO is the country code.