weekend free-for-all – March 23-24, 2019

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: Daisy Jones and the Six, by Taylor Jenkins Reid — the fictitious oral history of a band in the 70s. It’s like the written version of watching a “Behind the Music” special but with more drama and more humor. I loved it.

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

{ 1,110 comments… read them below }

  1. Ayla*

    I just finished Daisy Jones and the 6 too and really enjoyed it. Any recommendations for other novels written in a similarly creative style – like this kind of oral history, or through letters, or emails, or anything other than your standard narrative telling?

    1. Eleanor Rigby*

      I read a novel and its sequel a few years ago that was based on emails. The books were by Daniel Glattauer and called Love Virtually and The Seventh Wave.

    2. CTT*

      S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams! It looks like a straight-forward book by a ~mysterious~ author, and then there’s a second story in the margins made up of notes by two college students who are trying to figure out who the author was and all the conspiracies around him. Even though it’s just notes, you really get to know who the students are and their relationship. And there’s a ton of stuff in the book; letters, postcards, a map drawn on a napkin.

    3. Max Kitty*

      The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – fictional, about Guernsey’s occupation during World War II, told in letters
      84, Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff’s 20-year correspondence with English bookseller Frank Doel (made into a play and a movie)

    4. Nye*

      House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, if you want to go all in on unconventional storytelling.

      A Woman of Independent Means, by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey, for a lovely historical epistilolary novel.

      Sorcery and Cecilia by Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede, for a light historical fantasy epistolary novel with two distinct voices.

      1. Stormfeather*

        AAAH I was just going to suggest Sorcery and Cecilia. Also a part of one of my very-niche subgenres that I usually enjoy a lot, which I call Fantasy Regency (or other similar terms depending on my mood).

        I believe it was first (or at least also) released as “The Enchanted Chocolate Pot.”

      2. cg*

        Love and Other Games of Chance by Lee Seigel is a good option if you like House of Leaves. It’s a novel structured as a game of snakes and ladders.

      3. Gingerblue*

        Jaclyn Moriarty has written several epistolary YA novels, of which my favorite is Feeling Sorry For Celia. (Putting this here since I think Sorcery and Celia fans might be in the target audience.)

      4. Lcsa99*

        I love House of Leaves too. Actually, any of his books are great for unconventional storytelling, but that one in particular just messes with your mind.

    5. Bumpjumper*

      The Spellman Files, by Lisa Lutz! There are several in the series, but this is the first one. Funny mysteries with lots of footnotes. I wish there were more in the series.

      1. JJ Bittenbinder*

        I was so sad when the series ended, especially as one particular story arc did not end the way I wanted it to!

    6. just a random teacher*

      I like Homeland by Barbara Hambly. I mean, I pretty much like all of Barbara Hambly’s books, but that one’s an epistolary novel and so fits what you’re looking for. (“Epistolary novel” is the fancy term for novels written as a series of documents such as letters, so it’s a good general search term if you’re looking for more books like this.) It’s written as a series of letters between two women around the time of the American Civil War.

    7. Mellow*

      “Spoon River Anthology” by Edgar Lee Masters. He uses epitaphs as narrative to demonstrate how small town life isn’t necessarily apple pie squeaky clean. A classic.

      1. Shannon*

        This is one of my favorite books. Looks like a quick read but deciphering the letters can get tricky towards the end.

    8. Aurélia*

      “Dear Committee Members” by Julie Schumacher. Hilarious letters of recommendation by a Professor, albeit with a bit of a sad ending.

    9. Deryn*

      The Illuminae series by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff! It’s YA sci-fi, but told through various documents in a case file (emails, IMs, computer code, meeting notes, surveillance transcripts, notes, casualty lists, etc). I’ve heard the audiobooks are really good as well, although I have ABSOLUTELY no idea how they would be able to capture the format that way.

  2. Lena Clare*

    Hi! Anything nice planned for this wkend?
    I’m walking up Moel Famau with a friend if my hip can manage it! And doing a bit of unf*cking my habitat.

    1. acmx*

      I’m hoping to start painting my bedroom walls, go for a couple of runs and I should unfuck my habitat, too (although I’m not using the method just the phrase). Maybe start a puzzle.

    2. Kuododi*

      I got to spend yesterday morning with my lovely niece and my equally lovely sister. We went to a “Cat Cafe” and drank tea while we sat on the floor in the cat room playing with a rainbow of magnificent kitties!!! (All were available for adoption.). The only fly in the ointment was that I’m currently unable to have kitties due to my overly excitable doggos.
      All in all, a superior way to start a day!!!

      1. Madison the Boilermaker*

        Yay cats! I am such a cat person! I hope you get to find a furbaby soon.

        1. Kuododi*

          It was a very impressive business. They had a “playroom” of sorts where one could visit with the kitties. It was spotlessly maintained and even had a special air filter to minimize fur and dander issues for visitors. According to the manager, they’ve adopted out over 800 cats since they’ve been open approximately 1.5 years. (They’re partnered with the local Humane Society.). It was delightful!!!!

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Not a clue yet. I just finished the second week of my new job, so my general plan was to just rest and play it by ear.

      I need to bring one of the kitties to the vet later for a check on his ears, but that’s about it. I want to return in-person some workout clothes I bought online, but it’s a one-hour drive to the outlet. Not sure I feel like doing it or not. I definitely need to do some laundry, as well as fit in a couple workouts.

    4. Tort-ally HareBrained*

      My dad is supposed to visit today, so taking him to the Nature center and hopefully cooking us a lovely dinner. Otherwise working on my crochet sweater, laundry and hanging with the zoo (pets).

    5. Julia*

      Husband and I participated in the Pokémon Go Community Day, and now we’re wiped out. I don’t know why this one was so much more tiring than the previous ones, but it was. Got a few nice ones, though. Tomorrow is rest day and I’ll hopefully get some writing done.

      1. Book Lover*

        Are we friends already? Need more distant friends :)
        Ours is in about 6 hours. I think I will just go for three shinies and done. There have been a lot of events recently and I want to do the weather one next week. Need to spend time with the kids at some point.

        1. Julia*

          I don’t think so, but we should be! Just not sure if I want to post my friend code online.

    6. The Messy Headed Momma*

      One of the great things about the weekend thread is that I get to google a place I’ve never heard of, like Moel Famau. Thanks for the far away, internet visit from New Mexico!

        1. The Messy Headed Momma*

          I forgot to tell you that my Ancestry DNA says there is an 81% chance that my DNA is from Wales!

      1. WellRed*

        Same here. I’d never heard of it, but love the idea of visiting wales and Scotland. Thx from New England.

      2. WellRed*

        Same here. I’d never heard of it, but love the idea of visiting wales and Scotland. Thx from New England.

    7. Rebecca*

      I just did 5 loads of laundry, it’s sunny and windy (but only 44 degrees) and brought in a bunch to sort, fold, and put away. More jeans and things out there now, and one more load to hang up, then off for a walk with my neighbor and to give her more stuff to compost. Nothing else much planned, other than unfarking my habitat, too :)

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Something magical about smelling fresh air on your clothes the next morning too!

    8. Alpha Bravo*

      Hi! I’ve had a productive week involving several days of hard physical labor. I’m working on a project that is near to my heart and I do tend to push it but I’ve managed to get a lot accomplished without hurting myself, so yay me. My weekend plans start with a cup of foo-foo coffee, a nice soak in a warm tub, maybe baking some gingerbread cookies. And later, spaghetti with spicy Italian sausage. Warm, cozy, mostly-indoors stuff. I need a couple of days off. Enjoy your walk!

        1. Alpha Bravo*

          It’s my term for coffee that’s all gussied up (in my case, with real cream, hazelnut syrup and whipped cream on top, lol).

    9. Marion Ravenwood*

      We just got back from visiting my family – it was my niece’s first birthday yesterday (hence the request for children’s book recommendations last week!), so just had a little informal family party with cake etc and stayed over at theirs. Then did the parkrun near my sister’s house this morning with my dad and BIL, went into town to meet my other sister and have a wander round, and got the train home this afternoon.

      Tomorrow I have my first driving lesson in 15 years (eek!) and then will try and finish up a few sewing projects and do some work for my side hustle.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        In a year or two put Jon K. Muth’s Stilwater series on the list. Zen pandas for the win!

    10. Karen from Finance*

      Got to practice my makeup skills on two gorgeous girls this morning, lunch with a friend, and I’m picking up some new supplies now. Glitter and pigments.

      Looking forward to a nap and chilling with my s.o. the rest of the weekend.

    11. Lena Clare*

      My hip didn’t quite make it to the top but we had lunch in a really nice pub afterwards. It’s all good :)

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I finished a large chunk of my c2c crochet this week so today I am starting a new pattern baby blanket. Hoping it goes fast because I have two new nieblings on the way and one blanket backlogged!

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I’m going to see Us tomorrow night. I hope it scares me silly!! I’m really looking forward to it!

    14. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Spent an enjoyable, relaxing morning at the (horse) barn yesterday, and anyway a bad day at the barn still beats a good day at w*rk! Today the family is finally seeing Captain Marvel! W00T!

      1. Pippa*

        Agree about the barn! The smell of hay, some physical labour and fresh air, and the company of horses – nothing does more for my mood than some barn time.

    15. StellaBella*

      Moel Famau! I was in Wales for 18 months and did a lot of hikes (Moel Siabod in the fog, wind with sheep!) and just loved it there. Enjoy!

      I looked at an apartment yesterday and went to the Marché du Vin in town, great local Swiss wine tasting, with friends. Today I slept a lot, vacuumed, cleaned, and did laundry. Just wrapping up making lunches for the week.

  3. Circle84*

    Any decluttering tips that aren’t Marie Kondo? My joy struggles to be sparked by any possessions (sorry Marie!) and I have several rooms to go through. I do love a good Spring clean though!

    1. Eleanor Rigby*

      Just go through boxes and your things and assess if you still need/like/want it, if it fits, if it suits you, can you donate/gift it? Clean as you go.

      1. Trixie*

        I do exactly this. Sometimes larger areas like a room or starting with all the items that collected in my desk or my car or a junk drawer. One area at a time. If it’s going well, I might tackle 2-3 areas but that’s not necessarily the goal.

        My biggest challenge isn’t necessarily parting with items. It’s the items that aren’t worth donating and therefore would be thrown out. I can’t recycle them or find a way to reuse/up-cycle them.

        1. ThreeStars*

          I used to hate throwing things out that couldn’t be donated, recycled or given away too. It’s a bit easier when I think of how if the stuff is still around when I die (suddenly or 50 years from now), it’s going to end up in the trash anyway and if I get rid of it now then at least loved ones won’t have to deal with it.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I like Marie Kondo’s idea to declutter by category, all clothes, all books, all knick knacks, etc. But I combine it with the “be more with less” and Project 333″woman’s idea to pack stuff away for 3 months. Example: I pile up all my clothes (or books, or whatever) and there are things that clearly need to go and clearly need to stay. But the rest can be painful to decide. So I box them up amd put them out of site. When I look at them later, it becomes clearer which need to stay or go and I dont need to stress that I got rid of something I really should have kept.

    3. Dr. Anonymous*

      The older Sidetracked Sisters books are really helpful. A couple of mantras I found helpful were, “Is this reflective of who you are now?” And, “Let someone else be who you used to be.”

    4. Lucy*

      For Lent I am giving up one thing every day. The clarity and simplicity of “just one thing” means I’m able to let go happily of things I’ve been holding on to for far too long.

      “How do you eat an elephant?”
      “One bite at a time.”

    5. Anon for now*

      Often I allot a certain amount of space for things (one box for gift wrap stuff, three shelves of Christmas decor, one drawer of kitchen linens) – more than that and some have to go. Also in general put things you use the most in the most accessible places, and the things you use least “up” or “behind” or “downstairs.” Then the things you do use get put away more easily and neatly. Good luck!

    6. PhyllisB*

      One that I like is every time you buy something new you have to get rid of something old. This mainly applies to things like shoes, clothes, ect. I have found this helps me keep the closet (somewhat) under control. Now books and magazines are my downfall. I do pass them or recycle (magazines) after I read them, but I can only read so fast!!

      1. Not So NewReader*

        When I cleaned out my father’s house I ended up with a crisis in my own house. My rule became I had to get rid of TWO things every time I bought something. Sometimes the idea of finding two things was so daunting that I would put my selected item down and leave the store without it. For me, the method helped get rid of clutter AND slowed down my willingness to purchase something.

        1. Alpha Bravo*

          Last year was the year of cleaning out. This old (70 years) place had accumulated decades of junk well before we moved in 30 years ago. There were old outbuildings falling down. I hired help, demoed the old dangerous barns/sheds, cleared and hauled away all the junk and debris. My daughter and I are working through the house more slowly; the junk is gone but the remaining stuff is ours, and sorting and letting go of it has been hard for me. As painful as this process is, we have agreed that we are going to be very deliberate about bringing anything new in.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            You’ve done a lot of “letting go” also. phew.
            Yeah, in the sorting I realized I was picking out what was no longer important to me. And how did some of it get to be important anyway? Then other things, oh my. Once I let go of a few super hard things it got easier to decide on lesser things. I was really redefining the course of my life in my decisions here.

            I think you picked a super good project to do, even though it had to be hard. Time can soften this one where you could land on, “thank goodness I did all that” and/or you admire your own strength in resolving to handle this situation. Quiet admiration for one’s own good choices and good work can be very supportive to the grieving process. It can tend to counterbalance all the sadnesses. And it can be a means of taking one’s power back, because grief sure knows how to steal our power.

            1. Alpha Bravo*

              Isn’t that the truth. It’s manifested in me as a desire to control and shape as much of my own life as I can, because there are just too many variables outside my control.

              1. Not So NewReader*

                Right on. And this just make sense. Life spins out of control and we can look around and say, “What is fixable within my reach?” Most days it’s baby steps. But sometimes we can hit a big project like what you did here and find tremendous satisfaction in it’s completion.

                I have been on my own for over a decade now. That time flew and crawled simultaneously, if that makes sense. It’s still the same, most days it’s baby steps, but I now see the cumulative effect of all those tiny baby steps. (For example I have reduced my household bills by about $1K per month. That took time to do that.) Once in a while I have a big, red letter day where I move forward with a 9 foot leap. (Like the day I got my refi and reduced my mortgage by 55%.) Then I get a really stupid-ass grin on my face. But it’s mostly baby steps.

                For me, a recurring life lesson has been “Crap will naturally happen on its own. If we want something good we have to be deliberate and/or we have to seek it out.”

                1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

                  Really helpful. You are an inspiration. Baby steps… and your last paragraph really resonates. Thank you.

    7. I edit everything*

      My go-to is, “If I were moving, would I pack this? Is it worth toting/making room for on the truck/paying someone to transport for me?”

      About to start this process myself. If you’re a spiritual type, particularly Catholic, pick up the book “Making Room for God” by Mary Elizabeth Sperry.

      1. Katefish*

        The only thing that ever helped me get more organized was Un*uck Your Habitat…perfect for those of us who are not naturally neat. I also have hired people from Taskrabbit to help because an objective set of eyes and a quicker set of hands is good.
        Now that I’m pseudo-clean, I also like Ask a Clean Person.

        1. Luisa*

          Ask a Clean Person is my go-to for cleaning tips (though not decluttering). I really feel like her columns have helped me clean better, even if I’m still not cleaning as often as I should be!

      2. ThreeStars*

        I like “If I were moving, would I pack this/pay for transportation?” Nice way to really see how much you value something.

        1. Tau*

          Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well for me if I’m actually moving – I’m still in the part of my life where I’m moving every 2-3 years and would always plan to declutter as part of packing, but once I reached that stage I just didn’t have the energy to decide on a piece-by-piece basis whether I wanted to keep something and packed everything.

    8. OperaArt*

      I use a combination of approaches others have mentioned.
      Get rid of one thing a day. I like to take a picture of each thing and, after a couple of months, look at how much has left the house. It doesn’t seem like much of a change when you start, but it adds up so much over time.

      Another approach I use is to ask, “Would I pay someone to move this?”

    9. ThreeStars*

      Someone posted here about Decluttering at the Speed of Life by Dana K. White a week or two ago. I read it and thought that had a lot of awesome advice. Like her “container concept” (you can only keep whatever will fit in the container, whether the container be a shelf, box, drawer, house, room, etc.). And instead of having a keep, donate and trash pile, she has a system where you figure out if you need an item and then put it away or donate it so you’re literally cleaning up instead of just sorting into piles that might then sit forever.

      I also like the questions, “If I saw this item in a store, would I buy it again?” and “Is this something I’m keeping out of obligation or guilt?” to decide if I should keep things I don’t use.

      1. Trixie*

        I like the idea of considering it I would buy it again. The downside is that can be a rabbit hole of “I may need this again one day” and nothing is ever parted with. Over time I found I was okay parting with something if I knew someone else could use it now, and I could replace later if needed. I relocate often enough it’s difficult to keep to many things which is good and bad.

        1. ThreeStars*

          I used to do the “I may need this again one day” thing soooo much!!!!! The “someone else could be using this now, and I could always replace it” counter argument has helped me a ton with getting rid of things that *might* be useful someday. And you know what, I can’t remember needing to get a replacement of anything I’ve gotten rid of so far.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I should have read down farther… she has supplanted Flylady in my current world. I suspect that’s partly because i have internalized some Flylady habits after (yikes) 12 years.

        3. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Another thought from Dana K White —
          Her basic questions are 1. Where would I look for this if I needed it? (Put it there. ) and if you don’t have an answer to that, 2. If I needed this would I even know I have one? If not, donate it.
          There’s more. .. it’s worth reading.

      2. King Friday XIII*

        I am a big fan of Dana White’s approach – it’s the one that works best for my brain anyway. I think decluttering is one of those things where there’s not a right answer, just an answer that works best for what your life looks like right now.

    10. Not A Manager*

      My decluttering tip is to do the high-volume, high-impact stuff first. Often that is the least emotionally draining anyway. For me, I can take ten minutes to glance through my bookshelves, and I’ll find 10 books to donate right there. Cleaning my closet takes an afternoon and I usually get rid of 25% of my stuff. If you’re someone who is able to throw away old magazines, then deciding to toss everything that’s more than a month old can get some surfaces clear very quickly.

      For me, doing the high-volume stuff is motivating, because I can easily see the impact and it energizes me to do more. But also, there are things that are emotionally hard for me that I put off for a reason. If I insist that I “have” to sort through boxes of old photos, then I won’t do that AND I won’t get to anything else. In the end, I’d rather have a clean-er house and still have a bunch of old photos, rather than hoping to someday have the clean-est house except that never happens.

    11. Daisy*

      In terms of deciding what to keep, I take a rating approach with a five-point scale. I’ve mostly used it when moving but it could work for general declutter.

      Five points = this item is irreplaceable. I would be sad if it were lost or destroyed. Always keep.

      Four points = I would have to replace this promptly if I got rid of it.

      Three points = I use this but could do without for a while or could substitute. (Most of my clothing ends up in this category.)

      Two points = I don’t use this.

      One point = this is just garbage.

      I get rid of the ones and twos right away, then cull threes as necessary to get down to the amount of stuff I was aiming for. For threes I find it helpful to think, if a friend came over and said they liked this, would I rather give it to them than keep it? If so, just give it away. (Actually inviting friends over to go through this pile saves you a step.)

    12. Not So NewReader*

      So if you do not find too much emotional stuff going on with things then switch to using numbers.

      I had 5 sets of silverware. Figuring this meant service for 40 and 40 people would not fit in my little house. This does not even make sense. It was very easy to reduce it to 3 sets. The three sets, service for 24 was still a very generous amount of silverware and was handy when we had house guests.

      I had 600 (yes I counted) 78 rpm records. I decided that cutting the amount in half was reasonable. I sorted through and kept the ones I liked the best. It as easy to get rid of about 350 of them.

      One day I realized I had 12 sets of dishes. (Yeah, this is bad. It’s not even logical.) I aimed to cut the quantity in half. I ended up getting rid of 8 sets. (Three of sets I kept were very small sets.)

      Even when I grocery shop, I use numbers to prevent over-buying. So I know I need x rolls of toilet paper until the next time I shop. In winter I get x plus 1, in case there is a storm and I can’t get to the store on grocery day.
      Clothing goes the same way. I need x bottoms and x tops for each week. I get a couple extra in case there is a problem with a garment and to be able to mix it up a bit.

      Then I have things that fail with predictability. I know my coffee pot will fail. I pick up one spare at a tag sale so I don’t get stuck paying a bizillion dollars for the only coffee pot left in the store. I know the curtain rod in the shower will rust out. I get a spare at a tag sale, once I use the spare I look for a new spare.

      Assigning quantity limits to similar items can be very helpful. I try to store similar things together to make this all easier to manage.

      1. Dee Em*

        I had multiple sets of china and dinnerware as well and my solution for not regretting giving them away was to keep the sugar bowl as a remembrance. So I have three sugar bowls: my mom’s good china pattern, her everyday dish pattern and the one from my first set of dishes that I got as a wedding gift.

        1. marni*


          Yes I am shouting, I am so excited by this idea.

          My mother is getting older and and I know how hard it will be to get rid of her things that I grew up with. What an idea to just keep a piece or two — a serving piece from her silver, a teapot from her collection.

          Why did I think it had to be all or nothing? :-D

    13. Meißner Porcellain*

      My personal favorite is the “1 year rule”. Proceed room by room, drawer by drawer, pick up everything in there and ask yourself “Have I used this in the last year? Have I even looked at it in the last year?” If you haven’t, then you most likely won’t need it next year either. Or any year after that. And if, by some weird coincidence, 5 years from now you go “man, I’d love to read Catcher in the Rye again, but I gave my copy away years ago”, you can still go to the library and get it from there.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        This has never worked for me. For example, I’ll go three years without making popcorn then buy a complete TV series on DVD and we’re wanting popcorn again regularly until we finish the show.
        Likewise seasonal stuff … maybe one winter I don’t need the subzero gear, but to get rid of it would leave me shivering all the way to the mall next winter.
        If I have space I keep one…but I only keep my one favorite /best if it’s seldom used or I don’t have the space.

    14. Sleepless*

      Years ago, I read a tip…I actually think it was in Heloise’s Housekeeping Hints, that’s how long ago it was. She said to tackle decluttering when you were feeling angry at the world. It’s really satisfying, and when you’re feeling stabby you’re more likely to ruthlessly throw stuff out.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        This is a great hint. In the early stages of my grief and anger, I got rid of truck loads of stuff. I worked out both the energy, and the decluttering, at a light speed. I look back at some of it with regret but squelch that thought quick. I did take pictures, so I can remind myself that at one time, I could not drive down the driveway (1 box van + 7 pickup truck loads of boxes stacked OUTSIDE), and I could not walk through the house AND carry anything easily (boxes to shoulder height inside…. I did the best I could at the time, but it is gone and I can turn my attention to the (seemingly never ending) amount left. But it is far less, and it is all indoors, in the barn, or in the regular garage. (or in tents/popup garages).

        The anger (and grief) was a great driver. My most recent burst got another 30 things listed for sale/free to pickup. All good.

    15. Elizabeth West*

      There was some room remodeling show I used to watch a long time ago, and they had people do a Keep box, a Toss box, and a Sell box. I added a I’m Not Sure box. Anything I couldn’t make up my mind about went in the I’m Not Sure box, which went in the garage. If I didn’t need anything in it after a period of time, it went into the donation pile and out the door forever.

    16. Dr. Anonymous*

      Also, four box (or bag) system: Throw away, Give away/Sell, KEEP, Put away (things that you’re keeping that don’t belong where you are decluttering right now). The put away box keeps you from wandering off while you’re doing this.

    17. Ada*

      One thing that helped me reframe decluttering in my mind was the last hurricane we went through, believe it or not. Because of the way things are set up, a large chunk of our apartment was at high-risk for damage (read: large windows with no realistic way to shutter them). So we had to rearrange/cram a lot of “stuff” into the safer areas of the apartment. While doing this, I repeatedly encountered items that I realized I would not have cared in the slightest if it was damaged or destroyed in the storm, and the only reason I was bothering to move it was so it didn’t damage something else I did care about. Purging came a lot easier after that revelation.

    18. Gingerblue*

      With clothing, I like to ask myself if I would buy the item again if I were looking at it in the store. If the answer is no, maybe it’s time to get rid of it.

    19. Jshaden*

      Maybe give Swedish death cleaning a try (I’m sure it sounds less morbid in Swedish). There is a book, The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning. The idea is that you are trying to relieve the burden on whoever has to go through your stuff after you die. A lot of the ideas already shared can be included, but also included is a “personal” box where you keep stuff that is important to you but won’t be to anyone else. You then label or specify that the personal box can be thrown away without going through it. So, love letters from your first boyfriend/girlfriend, job rejection notices, memorial cards from every funeral you went to, your elementary school report cards, journals if you don’t want them read, etc.

    20. Skeeder Jones*

      Kondo is a little too strict for me because some spark like and I still want to keep them. I ask myself “Would I buy this again?” and if no, then it goes. I give any nicer clothes to a local organization that helps people who are tryin g to get back into the workforce, for whatever reason, and they provide them with a week’s worth of close that includes an interview outfit. Knowing where my clothes are going helps me to let them go.

  4. Cee*

    I’m so worn out from trying to survive engineering school while continuously being interrupted by sick/dying family members. I’m always happy to take the time off to help people I love, but making it work afterwards is brutal. Nine months until I can get my M.S., but I don’t know if I can last that long.

    How do you guys deal with underperforming at something important to you because Life is out if your control?

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      You put on your oxygen mask before helping others.

      And you don’t have to be the first person others go to every time.
      “Thanks for asking. Huge night for schoolwork, though. Can I call later to check in and make sure you found someone else to help?”

      1. Cee*

        It would be easier if I were closer to home or the people in need weren’t so important. I live across the country, so helping out means flying home for a 1-4 weeks (depending on the severity of the emergency). I could say no, but then I wouldn’t be there for my immediate family. It wouldn’t be a huge deal for minor problems, but in five years there’s been life-altering organ removal (4 weeks sitting in the hospital), cancer surgery (1 week with post-op care), hospice care/end of life goodbye (1.5 weeks), and funeral/death logistics (1 week). I wouldn’t be the person I want to be if I hadn’t been there, but the toll it’s taken on school is rough, which in turn makes me feel like a failure.

        I guess I just needed to blow off some steam because I wouldn’t do it differently if given the choice.

    2. Glomarization, Esq.*

      A huge take-away from law school, the bar exam, and various certification exams I’ve had to get through along the way: whenever there’s a pass/fail situation, I’ve learned that there is no shame in barely passing. Nobody cares how many points above the minimum you scored on the bar exam. (What do you call someone who passed the bar exam by just one point? “Counselor.”) On the other side of all of this, you don’t want to be saying to yourself, gee, I’m so glad I worked y *ss off getting my M.S. Instead, you want to be able to say, wow, I guess I’m irritated that I didn’t finish in the top 10 of my class, but look at how well I balanced school and other obligations.

      TL;DR: Keep your eyes on the prize, but re-define your prize.

      1. dumblewald*

        I want to second this. If you’re someone who always performed well academically, it’s easy to define yourself by academic performance all the time. However, academic performance is NOT 100% a reflection of your abilities. It also reflects a lot of context in your life. It’s normal to not perform as well when you have other stressors in your life, are sick, etc. I remember failing a class in my first semester of grad school because I was struggling with some serious mental health issues. The next semester, I re-took the class and got 100%, as well as A’s in all my other classes. I was the same person both times, but in completely different mental states.

        1. Cee*

          Thanks for this. It’s good to get that reality check from someone else, because for some reason it doesn’t count when I tell this to myself.

    3. Lilysparrow*

      Make time to catch up on sleep. If you can’t stay on a decent sleep schedule during the crisis, be intentional about rebuilding it ASAP afterwards.

      The last crisis left me a zombie for 2 years because I didn’t realize how deep the sleep debt was. You must let your brain repair if you’re going to get your productivity back. (Not to mention your joy and stuff like that.)

    4. Lobsterman*

      Cee’s get degrees? :)

      Grades mean something different in grad school; a high grade often just means that your life wasn’t demanding that semester.

    5. Gingerblue*

      I was in a different (humanities) field of grad school, but it helped me to remember that I was doing this because I wanted to *keep* doing this thing long term, and there would be years to do a better, shinier version of whatever I was currently not feeling so great about. This paper was kind of meh? Well, the topic still interests me, so I’ll give a better talk on it sometime. That talk left me feeling like I had more to say? Great, I’ll cover those things I missed when I turn it into an article. Not totally happy with the dissertation? (Pro tip: no one is ever happy with their dissertation.) The book will be better. You’re building a career, and that’s going to be iterative in a way that, say, college classes weren’t necessarily.

      Again, I’m in the humanities, so take any advice from me with a grain of salt. And for whatever it’s worth, it sounds to me like you’re doing really well to still be forging onward, under the circumstances.

      1. Loopy*

        This! I was surprised how quickly I got past the point where it even made sense to talk about school anymore because I had plenty to discuss from my career that was more relevant.

    6. Lepidoptera*

      My in-laws have had back-to-back degenerative diseases (first was SLE, then immediately the surviving spouse descended into Alzheimers), so my household has been in this type of chaos for going on 16 years now.

      Honestly, it shortens your life if you don’t limit how much of yourself you give. My husband has aged horribly. Even if you physically aren’t with them, the constant worry and mental checklists will wear you down until your immune system is shot. I have to intentionally shove everything out of my brain and decide “the next 12 hours are only for me” and then do what I need to do. I can’t ever slack off on my own daily care–no indulgent ice cream dinners or all-nighters, because my body constantly teeters on the verge of ill.

      Talk to your advisor about a leave of absence. You don’t need to take it, just find out how to do it. You may discover that it’s not as onerous as you expected it to be, particularly if you’re doing it for a hardship reason.

      You can do this. It took me 13 years to get my master’s degree, but I did it. You can too.

  5. esemes*

    Does anyone have food recommendations for Chiang Mai, Thailand? I eat everything, am an above average adventurous eater, and willing to spend a decent amount on food that is delicious.

    1. StarHunter*

      If you are there over a Sunday, the city has a huge market where there are lots of food vendors. You can find just about anything to eat including insects (I wasn’t that adventurous though!).

    2. Jessi*

      You won’t need too! I’m in Chiang Mai now and the food is delicious!

      IF you love Thai food I’d recommend doing a cooking class (tom yum cooking school was brill).

      All of the curries, pad Thais , try the Khao San curry (local dish) and I even enjoyed the local chicken/ pork with sweet basil.

      Most of which can be ordered anywhere and for not very much (I’ve been paying beteeen 2 and 12$ for meals)

    3. Dalia524*

      There is so much good food in Chiang Mai. I was a little homesick while there, so I ate at Salsa Kitchen a couple times. Mexican food that was better than I get at home. The jicama pineapple salad is amazing, and the margaritas are giant, cheap, and divine.

  6. looking for the good :)*

    What are you grateful for this week?

    I am grateful for kind people who show up and do their best.
    I am grateful for lip balm.
    I am grateful for oatmeal–an inexpensive, filling way to nourish myself while traveling.
    I am grateful for Glo Yoga, which enables me to exercise while traveling.
    I am grateful to have attended a Holi celebration. It was a dream to go to one!
    I am grateful that technology connects me to people near and far.
    I am grateful to be learning bit by bit how to say no and how to set boundaries.

    1. Sam Sepiol*

      I am grateful for the friend who invited me to walk her dog with her when she realised I was off and having a bad day.

      I am grateful for the anti depressants that enable me to function.

      I am grateful that my sister babysat last night and for the pub quiz I went to and the team mates I had (and we won!!).

      I am grateful for my job which I love.

    2. Sparkly Librarian*

      Honestly, I’m grateful for the emergency vet clinic. They’re open 24 hours and let us come visit with our dying kitty anytime, and gave us as much time as we wanted with him, and let us bring our other cat in to say goodbye, and were really very kind and sensitive despite working every day with traumatic situations.

      1. Tort-ally HareBrained*

        Sorry for your loss but happy to hear you and kitties were able to find a vet that understands animals and people. They really are so valuable and I have also been thankful for emergency vet clinics.

      2. Mellow*

        I’m sorry about your situation, Sparkly Librarian.

        And you’re right: it does a special kind of person to show up day after day to manage indescribably stressful situations. Our four-legged babies are as much a member of our families as anyone else is.

    3. Overeducated*

      I’m grateful to have temporarily returned to my old work site with a better commute, so I get to eat breakfast with my family in the morning.

      Grateful spring is springing (and that I found allergy meds to deal with it).

      Grateful for the public library.

    4. PhyllisB*

      I am grateful for my family
      I am grateful for friends who love me
      I am grateful for celebrating another birthday. Did a post on that already.
      I am grateful for my health and that I can still do pretty much what I want to. A little slower, but..
      I am grateful for the AAM community. I feel like I have countless friends who encourage me, and sometimes set me straight.
      I am grateful to have a job. Sometimes I get aggravated and threaten to retire, but for the most part it’s good to have something I need to do every day.

    5. Nicole76*

      I was just thinking about things I’m grateful for this morning. My Kipling bookbag is one of them. I purchased it on a trip to Boston in 2012 even though spending $80 on a bookbag seemed ridiculous and unnecessary at the time. But oh the adventures it has seen! I use it for all my trips – large and small – and it’s my daily bag for work too. Best $80 I’ve ever spent. I’m surprised how good it still looks almost seven years later. Very grateful for it.

    6. Beaded Librarian*

      I’m grateful for all the people helping to repair the damage from the massive area flooding. I got lucky and no damage myself but it’s so nice too see all the people helping from all over.

    7. fposte*

      What a lovely thread! I’ll start by being grateful for it.

      I am grateful for good friends that I have and have had.
      I am grateful for my very nice neighbors on all sides.
      I am grateful for the color blue. It’s the best :-).
      I am grateful for my amazing staff.

    8. Drammar*

      I am grateful for modern medical care, without which I would have died last Thursday.
      I am grateful for sunshine.
      I am grateful for for my family.
      I am grateful for lungs that work, eyes that see, and legs that will heal.
      I am grateful for life.

    9. Jaid*

      I’m grateful that I had PTO so I can get some dental work done and then take the next day off.

    10. Thursday Next*

      I am grateful for my son’s spring vacation, during which he is sleeping in, staying in his PJs and composing and doing math all day. He is happier than I’ve seen him in a long time.
      I am grateful for prednisone, which has made me able to do things I couldn’t six weeks ago, when I needed a mobility scooter.
      I am grateful for sunshine and rain.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I am grateful for AAM and for open threads.
      I am grateful for signs of spring, my weird dog and a vehicle that runs well.
      But mostly I am grateful for my friends and neighbors. I am grateful to still have my home and have food on my table. Many people don’t get this much, I think of that often.

    12. Cee*

      I’m grateful that I got t spend time with my grandmother before she died, and that the funeral celebration was filled with so much love.

      I’m grateful for spring break.

      I’m grateful for thoughtful friends who check up on me.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I am grateful for running water. A friend’s plumbing blew last week and went 3 days without. (Thank goodness for kind neighbors who let them take showers and fill flush buckets whIle things were repaired.)

    14. Chi chan*

      I am grateful for opportunities to do my best.
      I am grateful I don’t have to live at home now.
      I am grateful for therapy.

    15. Rebecca*

      I’m grateful that I don’t need anything. There are things I want, but I don’t truly need anything right now.

      I’m grateful that sometimes I can help others in need.

      I’m grateful that today will mark 2 days in a row with blue sky and sunshine :)

      1. Not a cat*

        I am grateful for the time I have left with my dog and cat.
        I am grateful for heart meds and anxiety meds.
        I am grateful for the Sleep with Me podcast.

    16. Loopy*

      Last night was hard and not great for me. But I got 9 hours of sleep so I am grateful I woke up feeling refreshed.

      I am grateful for reading this thread- I needed it right now.
      I am grateful I had a pleasant 40 minute walk with my dog this morning.
      I am grateful to have the whole day ahead of me.
      I am grateful for sunshine and warm temps where I am.
      I am grateful that while yesterday’s pie didn’t come out the way I wanted, I woke up inspired to keep trying (after a bit of a mope yesterday).

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I found daffodils poking their heads out of the soil this morning. This is only our second spring in this house, and last year I overlooked these…or my family planted them. Either way is delightful.

    18. Cherry Sours*

      What a wonderful thread!
      I am thankful for all those on ama, even when I don’t agree with Alison’s response or a comment. They give me food for thought and the ability to realize others are entitled to their point of view, and are often right.

      Thankful that my recovery is coming along nicely, and should be back at work soon.
      Thankful for my fabulous boss and coworkers, who are my cheerleaders.

      Thankful for family and friends, who raise my spirits, visit, bring food, run errands and do the chores…well, everything but the dishes.

      Thankful for the love & goofiness of my grandkids…the laughter keeps me going.

      Thankful for health insurance, pleasantly shocked at my bills.

      Thankful for the lovely spring weather that will soon be upon us.

  7. Ruth (UK)*

    Short version: I passed my driving test a little over 10 years ago and only just drove for the first time without an instructor last Saturday. I’m extremely pleased.

    Long version: When I passed my test in late 2008, I didn’t originally drive for a mix of reasons including it being expensive to insure me on my parents’ car (insurance works differently here) and about to go away to uni (I was 18). A mix of finan0ecs/logistics made it difficult and I also was feeling quite nervous about it and therefore quietly pleased to have an excuse not to have to be driving. As the years passed, this nervousness grew into a fear, and the more time passed the more unable I felt to drive. I felt embarrassed that the last time I had driven had been to pass my test, and described myself as someone who “can’t drive” as I felt this was functionally true, even if not my driving stats (legally – as I’d passed my test), since I neither had a car available to drive, not felt able to do it if I did.

    I live in a smallish city surrounded by rural countryside and some villages where it’s not difficult to be a non-driver day-to-day (I’ve been cycle commuting since I was a teen) but very inconvenient not to be able to drive at all. Because of where my home and work is, I am easily able to cycle there, and to all my regular activities that take place all within about 6 miles of my home. However, if I want to go somewhere out of the city (the seaside, a museum, a day trip, an event, a friend who doesn’t live in the city, or going away for the weekend eg. camping, whatever) then it’s very difficult to do, especially if needing to travel on a Sunday or an evening, and some locations are very difficult or impossible on public transport.

    There is a car-share scheme in my city which I joined as I only want to be able to drive on occasion, and owning a car would be logistically difficult where I live – there are no parking spaces available at my flat building and no street parking for people who live in my area (they’re trying to restrict parking in the city). If I had a permanent car, the parking would neither be close nor very affordable. The car-share scheme is a good solution for being an occasional driver, and there are lots available in parking bays near me (the nearest one is only a 13 minute walk away according to google maps).

    So I took a refresher lesson 3 weeks ago, and last week drove with a friend of mine… 45 miles total, including on the dual carriageway, as we went for a day-trip to the coast. It went very well (and my friend said it was way better than she’d expected based on what I’d told her about my nervousness of driving – she said she thought my gear changing would be very lumpy). Anyway, I did stall a couple times – partly I think it’s getting used to a different car and where the clutch/bite is etc. Once almost immediately, and later I stalled 3 times in a row – because I thought it was in 1st but it turns out, 3rd! Also, my parking was pretty ok (not incredible, but not obviously of someone who hasn’t driven in a long time).

    I’m feeling quite elated over this (and am planning to drive with the same friend on another trip 2 weeks from now). It makes me feel a lot more independent because sometimes there have been places I want/need to go where I’ve needed to either rely on getting a lift, or do something expensive/awkward/difficult to get there, and it makes me more able to make plans for things I want to do that would involve travelling a greater distance than I can cycle (or carrying more than I can cycle with).

    I think around a year ago, I posted on here about driving anxiety and more people than I expected also felt it… My only advise is that it may turn out not to be as terrible as you think (and there’s no shame in taking additional lessons, or asking a friend to help/navigate).

    1. LaurenB*

      That’s great! I was in a very similar situation (without the gear changing, I’m in North America where I can pretend standards don’t exist) and I got a great job in a small city where driving became necessary. It was a fantastic place to relearn because there was so little traffic. I’m so glad I was forced to do so because I think if I had left it much longer the fear would have become intractable. I still walk and cycle a lot but this opens up a world of adventures in the country and Ikea. :)

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Yes, I really like walking/cycling for general getting about but I agree it definitely opens up a lot more opportunities to have the option to drive when you want/need to. It makes me feel a lot more free and in control of what I might want/plan to do.

        Also, similar to you being forced into driving when you might not have otherwise – I am glad (now, I wasn’t then) that my mother kinda forced me into having driving lessons and taking the test when I was 17/18. I was reluctant and nervous, and probably wouldn’t have done it if she hadn’t pushed me to. I mean, I wasn’t mega strongly opposed (we didn’t actively argue about it or anything) but it’s definitely not something I’d have asked for.

        She was basically like, “you need to learn to drive, I’m going to get you lessons” and it wasn’t really up for debate. I think if it had been my choice, I’d not have done it then, and I’d have regretted it later! It would be so much more complicated (and expensive) to try and get driving now if I was starting from scratch and needed to pass my test still and everything. I’m also very lucky she paid for my lessons then and could afford to do so.

        1. Lucy*

          Yes, I took my test as a teenager because it’s What You Do but scarcely drove again until mid twenties, married and mortgaged.

          That said, I think it was very beneficial to learn to drive without the pressure of facing a test. I did that twice, once learning to operate the actual machine off road, then later on road when licensed but inexperienced.

          I passed my test 18 years ago. I drive almost every day. I’m still learning. As is everyone else.

    2. Loopy*

      So thrilled to read this! I could have so easily been in the same situation had I not been forced to drive for logistics reasons. When I got my license I looked for every reason not to drive and hated it. I definitely has serious driving anxiety. So happy you overcame yours and it went well!

      1. Ruth (UK)*

        Thank you. I’m also glad that it sounds like you also overcame your driving anxiety. It’s an interesting thing that doesn’t seem to be talked about much (and I didn’t mention mine for years. I his behind finding logistical/cost reasons to not be able to drive). I was interested that after I ‘came out’ about anxiety being one of the key reasons I wasn’t driving to various friends of mine, how many people expressed feeling (or having previously felt) the same!

        Actually, I think discovering this made me feel less ‘alone’ in my fear, and helped me be more able to make steps to overcome it. One of the reasons it had been hard to face was it was also accompanied by a feeling of shame (ie. “why am I struggling so hard with this thing that everyone else seems to find easy?”) but once I realised I wasn’t alone for feeling that way, I was more able to discuss it with people who could give me practical help or encouragement in moving towards overcoming it (eg. by supporting me with setting up refresher lessons, offering to come with me to navigate on my first drive, making me feel less stupid for asking what I felt were silly questions, etc).

    3. Jaid*

      I didn’t even learn how to drive until my late twenties, and it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to get around on my own!

    4. Jen RO*

      I totally feel you (and I might have replied to your previous post as well). I also got my license when I was young (19), then drove for less than a year and started again 10 years later. The very idea of being behind the wheel gave me anxiety! I started to drive again when I moved in an area with less public transport. First I just drove during weekends, to and from my parents’ place (same city), the I started driving to work. I still haven’t driven alone outside the city!

      For me, one of the major issues 15 years ago was navigation (or lack thereof). I got lost a couple times, panicked and swore I’m never driving again. Today Google Maps is my best friend!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Bravo! Well done.
      Now that you have waded in to the water, stay in. We don’t have to be race car drivers or even professional drivers. We do have to get from place to place. If we keep driving that fear won’t build up as bad ever again.

      Perhaps I said this before… not sure. I have a sad story of a relative who learned to drive at 67. She had to learn. Her husband fell a dozen stories off a new construction building. He lived, but his body was pretty beat up. She became the sole driver. She HAD to get him to appointments and such. The pressure would break most people. She took her driving test as her husband laid in his hospital bed. She fought back the tears through out the whole test. The examiner did not say a word until the end. She passed the test. He said he knew about her husband and he did not mention it because he wanted her to work through the test on her own merit. He told her she drove well enough to be granted a license. She did it, she got the license.

      Some day if I am lucky to live long enough, I will be old and gray and pretty happy to let go of my license. But for the time being, I think of my relative and realize how important it is to keep driving. Decades later, I also shuttled my sick husband to his appointments. I felt fortunate that I was well acquainted with driving and vehicles. At least I did not have that hurdle to contend with. Keep your hand in, commit to life long learning. Remember the better drivers know that they can always learn more. It’s okay to be in learning mode forever.

    6. Jemima Bond*

      Well done! My best advice to you would be, try not to leave it too long between drives if your needs/budget allows – maybe schedule a big supermarket shop or a trip out to the countryside if you see a big gap between necessary journeys. Because practice will help your confidence. My experience = having to drive regularly, and in London rush hour at that , was the thing that got me from being a nervous driver who took three goes to pass my test and really didn’t enjoy it al all, to someone who qualified, and operated for several years, as a full on law enforcement surveillance driver. Blues and twos as well if required. It was practice. As well as building up your confidence it will show you what other people are like on the road giving you the ability, when faced with the idiots out there, to roll your eyes and mutter “w@nker” (or indeed yell it out the window whilst doing the gesture, if that floats your boat) as opposed to assuming that you made a mistake or missed something, and taking it to heart and feeling upset. Your training is fresh, you have learnt in a thoughtful adult manner not a desperate teenage bare-minimum way, so go forth in calm serenity and set them all an example!

    7. Aurora Leigh*

      I have always been a nervous driver, and my cousin was too. We both put off getting licenses till we were 18 (most people get them at 16 here, as public transit is basically nonexistent).

      I’m fairly comfortable in my own car and following my regular routes to work and shopping, but I get huge anxiety about driving somewhere new, or in a different car, and I hate having someone else in the car with me (I think I expect them to yell like my dad when he taught me to drive). So I’m very impressed by your trip!

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      Well done Ruth! That’s great to hear :) Especially as someone who is just about to go out on her first driving lesson in 15 years… (long story short, I had a really bad instructor, then moved to London and didn’t need to drive, then a 50 minute wait for an Uber a few weeks ago broke the camel’s back and made me realise how much easier life would be if I could drive)

  8. Quake Johnson*

    Is the keto diet actually a safe thing to do? Going into ketosis sounds like a horrible and risky thing to do to your body to me, but clearly I am not a scientist.

    Does anyone have any insight on this?

    1. TL -*

      Most people on a keto diet aren’t in ketosis on any regular basis – it’s very hard to restrict sugar that much.

      But there aren’t any more risks than any other restrictive diets. Sawbones (the podcast) has a good episode on it.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      I’d recomend a whole foods, plant based diet. Kaiser Permanente has free pdf online that is very good.

      1. StarHunter*

        Second recommendation for moving towards a whole foods, plant based diet. It’s healthy and filling, with naturally low calorie, nutrient dense foods so it’s easier to maintain your weight (and actually lose some weight if you want to/need to). It’s not a diet per se so it’s not restrictive in the sense that some diets are. It’s also been fun trying out all sorts of new recipes. I’m enjoying cooking again.

      2. Lemonwhirl*

        Yep – I’ve been doing a whole foods plant-based diet for over two years now. It’s been a great change for me.

    3. gecko*

      My understanding is that it’s not super risky if you don’t have some specific diseases, especially since as TL said keto dieters aren’t really in ketosis. Could cause GI side effects. Plus, it’s as effective as other highly restrictive diets, which is to say it’s not effective at all in the long term. The way it’s often described does use some creepy, violent language, though.

    4. Dr. KMnO4*

      Is it safe? Depends on how strictly you adhere to it. If you don’t eat any carbs for quite a while I would say it isn’t very safe. (Source of my expertise: I’m a chemist, and married to a Type 1 diabetic).

      Before insulin was discovered Type 1 diabetics who died from complications of diabetes generally succumbed to one of three things:
      1. High blood sugar (not being able to limit carbs enough)
      2. Starvation (limiting their diet so much they didn’t get enough calories/nutrients)
      3. Ketoacidosis (getting enough food to not starve to death, but not eating any carbs, leading to dangerous levels of ketones, which acidify the blood, damage the kidneys, etc.)

      Is it likely that someone on the keto diet will go into ketoacidosis? Not very likely, no. But does that mean it’s a great diet to follow for the rest of your life? Definitely not. Like most fad diets it’s great at helping you lose weight in the short term, but it’s extremely difficult to stick with in the long term, which is what’s required to keep the weight off.

      Unless your doctor has advised you to follow the keto diet I would suggest trying something else. Maybe talk to your doctor and see what they recommend. They know your health history and the science so they can give much better recommendations than the internet can.

      1. keto yes*

        are you a weight loss expert or something? ‘cuz i lost 60 lbs on a keto diet and have kept it off. i did not feel hungry and (except for sushi!) did not really feel like i was denying myself much.

        1. Parenthetically*

          The thing is, from a broad research perspective, the likelihood over five years of weight regain for ANY weight loss is about 95%, and about 2/3 of people who lose weight weigh MORE after five years than when they started. The research on it is so solid that it’s classed as Category A research — in other words, we know that weight loss attempts fail with as much certainty as we know that smoking causes lung cancer. So if you lose weight and maintain the weight loss over five years, you’re in that 5% minority.

          1. The Cosmic Avenger*

            Research also indicates that all “fad” diets (meaning, diets that include or exclude specific foods or classes of foods, rather than just tracking and limiting calorie intake and burn) work because they cause the participants to track and be mindful of their food intake, whereas those not on any kind of diet will often underestimate their food intake compared to those who track or keep a food journal.

    5. Ali G*

      I’d try Whole30 before jumping into Keto. It’s a lot more doable since it’s just based on eating whole foods and eliminating trigger foods.

    6. OhBehave*

      It is as long as your doc approves. You have withdrawal from sugars/carbs that your body has learned to need. It lasted about 2 weeks. After that time it becomes easier to make good choices. You need carbs to survive so you can’t eliminate them 100%.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        From what I’ve learned so far, the necessary carbs come from vegetables. And that a big diff between low carb vs keto is that on low carb you can still eat small quantities of bread rice fruit pasta etc. whereas on keto it’s a strict no.

    7. Nervous Accountant*

      I have been reading up on this for about a year now, joined multiple groups on fb read articles etc. Haven’t done it though, haven’t built up enough willpower. So no personal experience. But a lot of personal accounts say their lab work is much better after the diet. Diabetics as well say they’re in remission after being on keto/IF for a certain amount of time. Sustainable idk.

      1. JJ Bittenbinder*

        Almost all of the FB groups I’ve tried have been pretty horrible, but there are some good forums elsewhere.

        I’ve done keto for a few years now, and it’s really the best eating plan for me. I’m hypoglycemic, and controlling my blood sugar is important. Nothing like feeling wonky out of nowhere, checking my blood sugar and getting a reading of 50 mg/dL. (For those not familiar, recommended range is between 80-130 mg/dL before meals; less than 180 after meals). Keto has helped me manage this and, even though it was never bad to begin with, my cholesterol levels improved.

        1. BelleMorte*

          I have the same experience. Blood sugar going all over the place when I didn’t eat every other hour causing massive headaches, as well counting calories and whole 30 didn’t result in weight loss, and I had a lot of gastric issues.

          I’ve been doing keto for a year (10% carbs 20% protein, 70% fat), at the same calorie content that I previously was at, and my blood sugar has been amazing. I’ve lost 60 pounds, my energy levels have improved, blood sugar is stable, cholesterol is better (was never bad to begin with), gastric issues have resolved themselves. I have also been working with an endocrinologist who doesn’t have enough good things to say about the results.

          I think that for some people this diet is a god-send, for others it won’t work, just like whole 30 didn’t work for me. People like saying it’s just CI CO, but it’s a lot more complicated than that sometimes, as no human being works exactly the same as the next. It’s also really difficult to figure out accurately how many calories are going out. We all have little variables in metabolism, genetics and gut health that affect things.

          I do want to add that the media keeps touting keto as all bacon, butter, meat, when really it may get you eating more vegetables than you have ever eaten in your life.

          1. Nervous Accountant*

            I really want to do it but I just can’t find the willpower to cut the carbs/sweets so drastically. so I am trying to do it slowly and gradually (start tracking intake on an app so that I’m more conscious/aware, eventually lowering carbs etc) before I attack keto full on. That’s the big mistake I made last year, doing the full fat but not cutting the carbs.

        2. Nervous Accountant*

          Heheh, I’ve seen a few nasty comments in those groups but I was able to figure some things out.
          I have to control my blood sugar as well, and I know drastically cutting carbs helps in that.

    8. mreasy*

      I did it for a couple of weeks, and while I didn’t really have hunger or cravings, I got into an electrolyte imbalance despite taking an electrolyte supplement. I was eating as many veggies as I could while sticking to the super low carb percentage. Overall, it didn’t work for me but I’m sure it works for some – though the idea of a long term keto diet does make me nervous.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      There are some people for whom it’s inadvisable — those with kidney & liver issues, for example.
      I know someone who keeps going back on Atkins even though she always seems to injure a muscle or get a sore that won’t go away until she goes off it. It’s not encouraging me to try, that’s for sure.

    10. Close Bracket*

      The popular diet which people refer to as keto will not put your body into ketosis. You need a good 70% of your calories to come from fat to achieve that. However, your question was is it safe, and the answer is pretty much if you stick to unsaturated fat.

      FYI, this diet was developed to treat epilepsy. It turns out that feeding the brain on ketone bodies instead glucose helps prevent seizures.

    11. Batgirl*

      Ketosis is just fat burning mode and you dont have to eliminate all carbs to achieve it. It’s not dangerous if it’s done healthily – like swapping three servings of flour carbs to broccoli or celeriac carbs once a day (unlike ketoacidosis which is dangerous but not really an issue unless something far more extreme than swapping pasta for salad has happened, like alcoholism). It’s only dangerous as a diet if its taken to extremes, as with most diets.

  9. Confused Publisher*

    I’m joining thousands and thousands of people today at the People’s March against Brexit, in London today. Even though it doesn’t start till midday, I want to be there for 10:30, so I have half a chance of actually getting to Parliament Square this time. I’m marching with a banner that has the names of all the friends/colleagues/family members who wanted to come but couldn’t.
    I’m so sad and angry at what is happening in the UK and the way we’re being let down by our leaders and having to scramble through weeks and weeks of uncertainty.

    1. Weegie*

      Add my name to your banner! Someone has to try and put a stop to the madness, so well done you for (literally) stepping up :-)

    2. Ann F*

      Thank you for doing this. I wish I could be there but I screwed my leg up in a fall recently and can’t stand/walk for that long. Give them hell!

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        With you in spirit as well. Thankfully I have double nationality now, but I know friends and family who will be affected.

    3. misspiggy*

      Go you! Can’t make it due to combination of distance and health. Hope it’s a positive experience and hope these flaming idiots in charge of us wake up soon.

    4. Foreign Octopus*

      Yes, thank you!

      I wish I could join you but I can’t afford the airfare and accommodation from Spain so I’m pleased that you’re going.

      I’m so angry about how the politicians have let us down. I find it ironic that the one time our politicians have decided to honour the wishes of the people is the one time that we’re telling them “wait, let’s think again”. I hope that this March, and the petition online does something to end this uncertainty. I’m so terrified about what’s going to happen but I’m holding onto the thought that our younger generations are made of stern stuff and will help us to rebuild what’s being broken.

    5. Jean (just Jean)*

      Message from across the pond (U.S., near the Atlantic coast): Wishing you good weather, strong legs and lungs, receptive politicians, and an end-of-March/beginning-of-April Miracle!

      1. Madison the Boilermaker*

        I found AAM a few weeks ago and just looooove it! I would just like to introduce myself. Last year, I got my marketing degree from Purdue and am working in my dream job for Procter & Gamble. And in April I am marrying my awesome boyfriend! I am so glad I found this site and all the great advice and community here!

        1. Madison the Boilermaker*

          Eeeek, I am sooooo sorry this got posted here. I thought I was posting further down!

    6. Confused Publisher*

      Guys, thank you for all your wishes. It literally took us 2.5 hours from the start of the march to get most of the way to Pall Mall. (For context, it should take 20 minutes, if that, usually.)
      Official estimates are saying a million people showed up. It certainly felt like an absolute sea of humanity. I really really really really really hope the powers that be take note.

    7. Marzipan*

      I was there too! My train home just left Waterloo. I am KNACKERED. It took me 3 and a half hours from setting off until I got to Parliament Square. I wasn’t originally going to go, because I was thinking a march this close to the (original) date was surely futile, but I got so angry on Thursday that I rearranged all my work commitments today so I could come, and then hastily knocked up a banner made from a pillowcase last night. I spent the train journey up to London embroidering it with the names of friends who couldn’t come but wanted to be there in spirit, and it was kind of cool having then all with me in that way.

    8. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I was there! We didn’t even turn up until 1 or so and still didn’t get near Trafalgar Square until nearly 5. Maybe it will have some kind of impact?

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I saw that earlier and I wish I could have been there, even though I’m American. I have family in the UK, and friends, and of course they’re affected by all of this. I’ve been pushing the people’s vote / remain tweets almost as much as resistance stuff.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Ditto from Connecticut. My English-ancestry grandmother would have been infuriated at the chaos.

  10. Lena Clare*

    I didn’t want to put this comment up in the other one because it’s so negative…
    But I have days when I’m stressed so much about climate change.

    I hate that people say things like” isn’t the weather lovely?” Um no it’s unseasonably hot and biological systems aren’t adapting strictly enough and dying, wtf is up with you for saying that?

    And I hate that I have to buy petrol for my car for everyday for the thing that we don’t mention here and the oil companies spend billions on anti-climate change claims and I’m probably contributing to it by buying their product.

    Plus I hate that the burden of managing climate change is on the individual and not the companies causing it.

    Don’t know what else to do really.

    1. TL -*

      The same thing we always do – campaign for structural campaign politically, support organizations doing good work financially, and make the small changes you can individually.

      People are astonishingly good at achieving the impossible and it does start from individual actions- it just can’t end there.

        1. Lena Clare*

          Ty yes I am doing those things. Like you said it doesn’t end with the individual things. I think I’m butting up against the bit where you say “it doesn’t end there” and feeling immensely sad frustration at the lack of more urgency higher up.

    2. Sam Sepiol*


      Between Brexit and climate change my anxiety is pretty awful at the mo.

      I have no answers.

    3. Rock Prof*

      I have a lot of climate anxiety, too, personally. (Off-limits but I teach a class on it every other semester, plus my research is climate-adjacent, so I’m professionally immersed in it).
      I’ve done a lot of things that an individual, with money, can do: electric car and solar panels plus all the small efficiency things, but I still get wild climate apocalyptic stress dreams, and I do some political stuff like protesting and obviously voting.
      It gets worse around certain weather events, but the anxiety is currently flaring up because I’m flying tomorrow to somewhere where I probably could drive, which would be there lower carbon impact.

      1. hermit crab*

        I work in advocacy related to climate adaptation, so I am right there with you and KR. It’s an interesting time to be on the adaptation side – for a long time, it was this almost shameful thing, like if you said adaptation was necessary it meant you were giving up. That is obviously changing now.

        If you want to do some deep thinking/feeling about this, I recommend Roy Scranton’s books Learning to Die in the Anthropocene and We’re Doomed, Now What?, David Wallace Wells’ book The Uninhabitable Earth, Jeff Goodell’s book The Water Will Come (and his recent reporting from Antarctica in Rolling Stone), and Elizabeth Rush’s book Rising. All of those writers have book excerpts/magazine pieces available online if you’re not up for a whole book.

        Humans in general are really bad at planning for the future (or perhaps more specifically, at making changes in the present that won’t have a noticeable effect soon or ever); we’re pretty great at responding to crises, though. So I think that the recent explosion of media coverage, activism, protests, political attention, etc. is really positive. In addition to the other things people have mentioned, keeping this issue front-of-mind (in whatever way that makes sense to you – in your community involvement, discussions with friends & family, social media presence, contacting your representatives, etc.) is a real practical action you can take.

        1. Lena Clare*

          So I think that the recent explosion of media coverage, activism, protests, political attention, etc. is really positive.

          Oh I like this a lot, thank you. It’s a different way of looking at it that I’d not thought of.
          And thank you for the recommendations for reading.

    4. Foreign Octopus*

      I feel the same but then I look at the student protests that are happening all over the world and how passionate these young children are and I feel optimistic again. These children are bright, passionate, and clued in and we just need to keep the world on an even keel until they get into power and can enact the changes that previous generations haven’t.

      The best thing to do is perhaps support the children and write to your local politician urging them to support environmental protection laws every time a vote comes up.

      1. Lena Clare*

        I agree, they are wonderful. Greta Thunberg’s “I want you to panic like the house is on fire!’ is such a fantastic speech.

    5. Rebecca*

      I do my part by using a stainless steel water bottle instead of buying bottled water, I buy limited soft drinks, use a reusable coffee cup and make coffee at home vs buying it in a disposable cup, recycling everything that I can, composting (well, I take it to my neighbor’s house, and she composts for her garden), I use mostly reusable grocery bags, except when I need some plastic bags to collect cat litter scoopings, still haven’t figured out a way around that…and I drive an old Saturn that gets 33 MPG back and forth to work. I donate clothes I no longer wear, and if they can’t be donated, I use them for cleaning rags and other things before throwing them out. I hang clothes up to dry on the clothesline whenever possible. I use plastic containers for my work lunches and if I use a plastic zip baggy, I use it many times, usually until it won’t zip any longer, before throwing it away.

      I wish there were more alternatives to purchasing laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, basically anything that comes in a plastic container. The laundry detergent containers are very sturdy and could be reused easily – if I had a place to go refill them. I’ve heard of places where people can buy bulk goods like this, but they seem to be very few and far between.

      I agree with the poster above, younger people are going to need to get involved. My 83 year old mother is a perfect example – she refuses to compost, and was freezing compostable stuff in the freezer to throw it away on garbage day. I tried to explain this just clogs our landfill, and that the landfill sells composting bins for $10 to encourage composting. She refused, saying “the bear” will just raid it all the time, and it will draw unwanted animals. It’s complete crap, but that’s what she believes. I told her when I had my own house, I composted, and did not have these problems. Still no budging. I said, this just means our landfill fills up faster for everyone like you who refuses to help, and she said “I don’t care, I won’t be around to see it”. And that pretty much sums up her selfish view on the entire thing. I finally got the compost thing done by collecting it in an old cat litter bucket and walking it to my neighbor’s bin.

      I don’t know what the answer is, past making my own detergent (which I can do, I just choose to purchase it because it’s easier and less time consuming). It just seems like there is so much extra packaging, extra everything, and maybe we need to re-evalulate how things are sold? But in this world, as it is now, we have to be concerned about product tampering and safety as well. Better minds than mine need to step in!!

      1. pcake*

        Some companies are taking baby steps, probably not because they care but because their customers are letting them know they can spend money elsewhere rather than support something that can harm us all. It’s probably worth contacting companies you buy products or services from to let them know that you like the company and have been a long-time customer, but can’t continue to use their products/services if they continue. Get friends who agree to also contact them.

        I have to use a cliche, but vote with your wallet.

      2. Mellow*

        “I wish there were more alternatives to purchasing laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, basically anything that comes in a plastic container.”

        I try to buy bio-degradable containers made by companies like 7th Generation. Also, Target sells a shampoo that is in a container made of bamboo.

        Every little bit helps.

    6. KR*

      I had to go to therapy partly because of anxiety focused around climate change. It made it hard to throw anything out that wasn’t recyclable, or clean things because of the water use (and I LOVE cleaning and it usually alleviates my anxiety so that’s a fun puzzle), or take trips because of the emmissions (I have a car with great gas mileage but can’t afford a hybrid currently). One thing that helped me is realizing that a lot of anxiety is a pattern of obsessive thoughts and I have to realize when I’m going down the rabbit hole of anxiety and make an effort to tell myself that I’m doing everything I reasonably can, I’m doing a lot more than a lot of people, and that in order to have any quality of life I need to not worry about this CONSTANTLY. Good luck with this. It’s so depressing trying to make change happen especially in those countries where the threat isn’t taken seriously or outright denied.

      1. Rock Prof*

        I also have discussed this stuff with a therapist. I try to remind myself, particularly since I’m around students all the time, that part of my personal choices (electric car) probably go pretty far in modeling how one can live significantly more sustainably and still be well within societal norms. I drive around 60 miles (100 km) a day, so I have to remind myself that my actions are definitely not nothing. And maybe I’ve influenced some people to make some small changes and maybe pay attention to the bigger picture a bit more.

    7. fposte*

      Yes, the climate change worry is understandable.

      But I think you can let other individual people–and maybe yourself–off the hook a little here. Days can still be beautiful, and people aren’t destroying the planet by noticing it; hell, wildfires produce some amazing sunsets, and you can notice the amazing sunset without implying that makes the fire worthwhile.

      We are all entwined in systems that are deleterious in some crucial ways, and that’s been true of humanity for a long, long time. But I think that’s a reason to focus on collective action much more than individual guilt or shame.

      1. The Man, Becky Lynch*

        I find it interesting that people find the sunsets during wildfires amazing…

        It wasn’t beautiful when the smoke covered the entire PNW and the sunsets were scarily bloody looking, they didn’t remind me of anything beautiful, they looked like the end of the world was approaching :(

          1. Pippa*

            This captures exactly how we felt a couple of summers ago when the fires were so extensive near us. We watched water and retardant fall in great sweeps from firefighting planes and helos, we saw the gradual spread of bright fire down the mountains in the dark, and we marvelled at the glorious sunsets brought on by the incredible destruction. And we were sorrowful and alarmed at the environmental loss. Finding discordant beauty in something awful is probably a pretty common human trait.

        1. Melody Pond*

          Yeah, as someone living in the PNW, I also really didn’t care for losing clean air during those big forest fires. Being outside meant breathing terrible air quality – as I recall, there were at least a few days where our air quality was rated the worst in the world – even worse than China. :-/

        2. Venus*

          In eastern US the smoke wasn’t noticeable yet the sunsets were stunning, and we knew (and quietly appreciated that we had the benefit without the worry or loss) that it was due to the fires.

        3. LCL*

          Yeah, those days were eerie. I know many people who referred to the area as Mordor during the duration.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I have been using natural products and eating simply for decades. The world is still falling apart. I have not accomplished anything.

        No. Wait.

        My one square inch of this planet has been slightly improved by me. I might have accidentally encouraged one or two other people to take different actions and they in turn encouraged one or two others and so on… I am stronger, healthier because of my choices which means I have more energy to help others or to do a better job at work, etc.

        Just as all our negative is interwoven and interconnected so are our positives.

        It’s right here in front of us. There’s a whole bunch of people who read AAM regularly. Why. Because we are looking for proactive ideas, we want to take positive steps, because we believe in treating others kindly and fairly. People keep reading here and readership keeps growing. This is called evidence, evidence that there is an army of people out there seeking something better, for themselves and for our planet. AAM is just one example. There are many other examples.

        But good news does not sell toothpaste and mouthwash. I suspect upset people buy more products.

        My suggestion is to use your concern, your passion, in positive ways to make a difference somehow. Harness it and direct it. Challenge yourself to figure out what you CAN do. Dwelling on all that we can’t do is the road to nowhere, it’s depressing, disabling and worse. What I read here when I see your post is, “I am doing x, y and z and it’s not enough for me.” Figure out what doing more looks like to you. Think about the positive, pro-active actions of others and what you can copy or add to. Or create you own new ideas. Take back your power, don’t let anyone or anything ever steal it from you again.

        I just saw the news headlines about a human chain in front of a mosque. I cried. There’s a song with a line, someone will help me with author and title, “In the end, only kindness matters.” This is such a useful sentence with many applications. For myself, my conclusion is I think that in the end, how we treat each other will make us or break us.

      3. Lena Clare*

        I have to disagree – I didn’t see that as awesome, just frightening because it was a symptom of a frightening problem. So ditto the unseasonable weather. We’ve had it very hot, I like the heat, I like the sun – in summer. Not in winter. it’s not right, and I can’t enjoy the heat because it reminds me that we’ve imbalanced the earth.

        And the collective responsibility rather than individual one, well that’s sort of my point – I know people like me and others here are going lots to minimise their impact on the environment, it’s the big organisations and governments who can have a bigger impact who need to do more. Work collectively in a down from the top way, rather than an up from the bottom way I mean!

        1. fposte*

          But you’re not seeing the difference between your not enjoying it and other people’s not being allowed to enjoy it. You’re taking it out on the person for not reacting the way you do. It’s not an indication that they’re less informed or activist than you are; they’re not saying “Wow, I love global warming and plan to support it!” They may be finding a lift from recent depression, or using the opportunity to walk around their neighborhood rather than driving somewhere. That’s not something to damn somebody for.

          When tornadoes hit near where I live people remarked afterwards on how kind everybody was. That doesn’t mean that they’re saying “Those tornadoes were sure worth it” or “Yay, tornadoes!” You can simultaneously appreciate kindness and fear tornadoes; appreciate warmth after cold and work against global warming.

          1. fposte*

            ETA: I think this is a more complex negotiation than I can really cover in a quick comment, and I don’t mean this reprovingly at all. But I think people are more effective at activism and resistance if they don’t preclude opportunities for joy and flourishing. People made jokes, fell in love, and found butterfly bushes beautiful during the Blitz, and it made them stronger, not weaker.

            1. Lena Clare*

              No, I do see the difference (and an important point – I don’t take it out on others) but I still disagree with you :)

          2. Venus*

            I strongly agree, but my experience might be skewed as I have been in some troubled places (environmental disasters, warzones, etc) and realised that the only way my friends, colleagues, and I could keep strong and best help others was to appreciate the moments. The military calls it “embracing the suck” and I think the rest of the world calls it mindfulness. I don’t care if someone else has a different coping mechanism, but not being able to find some happiness generally resulted in people giving up and going home, and not being able to help the weak.

    8. Not A Manager*

      I’m in complete despair. It has literally changed my outlook on my own life and my family’s lives. We are all comfortable and happy now, and my despair weirdly doesn’t interfere with enjoying the present. But I have no hope for the future.

      Maybe it’s wrong to say that on here? I’m not saying I’m right or that other people should feel this way. But it’s certainly not something I can share on a regular basis with my own loved ones, and sometimes I just want to say it… somewhere. I think the biggest change in my own perspective is that I no longer hope that my adult kids will have children of their own.

      1. Kj*

        I just had a child and I feel unbearably selfish to have done so, yet I wanted a child so badly. It is scary.

      2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        I feel much the same. I used to be worried about my future and thought about having kids. Now I think I will die in some catastrophe before I hit retirement and I’m very glad I didn’t bring any more people into it.

    9. Kathenus*

      I agree with the anxiety and frustration that individuals are doing (much) more than most companies and many governments. On the weather comments, however, I differ a bit. Continuing to educate people on the difference between weather and climate is important, so I’d hesitate to push back on someone’s comment that the weather is nice that day, because the other side of that coin is when people use cold weather to dismiss climate change. So I get your point, but see it from a different perspective, likely in part because I live in the US where climate-deniers tend to use this ‘cold weather means climate change isn’t happening’ argument. But I’m with you on how overwhelming this all is and how little seems to be being done in a more comprehensive way.

    10. Ranon*

      I’ve found it helps immensely to take action with other people, as much as I can. Working with other people on solutions (in my particular case legislative ones) helps me realize I’m not in this alone. I’ve also learned a ton about how legislative action happens in the US and what I can do to move the needle.

      In the US while I find the action at the national level to be absolutely infuriating, there is a ton happening at the local level and many states are taking significant action as well. I try to take the time to applaud those efforts while pushing for more to be done.

      I also try to keep in mind that in order to motivate people to take action, they need to have hope- and that includes me! Allowing myself to despair is the least helpful thing I can do because despair leads to inaction. Three positives to one negative is the best messaging guideline I’ve seen for myself and others and I try to stick to it for myself and others.

      And when I really need a boost I read a report from the Deep Decarbonization Project and remind myself there’s lots of actions that can be taken at all levels of government, and then write letters and make calls urging those actions and ask other people I know to do the same. We already have the technology, but we still need to do the work.

      And if you haven’t read the recent NPR story “It’s 2050 and here’s how we solved climate change” it’s a good one for slowing down a spiral. Costa Rica has pledged to be carbon neutral (and has plans for how) by 2050, so that’s one country!

      1. Lena Clare*

        Thank you for your comment, there are so many useful suggestions in here.
        I live near a transition town, I do get involved occasionally with them but I can do more.
        I haven’t read the NPR story so I’ll put that in my list of TBR, and I kniw about Costa Rica – I’d forgotten!
        Thanks :)

    11. WakeUp!*

      Removed. It’s fine to say “this sounds like something that therapy would help with” but it’s not okay to be rude or dismissive while doing it (and the follow-up comment was particularly unkind).

      commenting rules

      1. WakeUp!*

        There’s ample evidence to suggest that this person needs better coping mechanisms to deal with a problem that, again, the entire world is facing. She asked “what can I do?” and that’s what I think she can do. The point of asking for advice is to get advice.

    12. dumblewald*


      I’ve always been a very seasonal person (if that makes sense??) and always feel really unsettled when a day feels unseasonal. Like, I prefer warmer seasons, but we had a 70F degree in the middle of February and I felt extremely disoriented.

      I used to work in a subset of climate policy up until 2016, but still do part time work and volunteering in this area. I have come to the conclusion that you can achieve ways to mitigate the effects of CC without necessarily trying to convince everyone to care about “climate change” specifically. My work is focused on convincing corporations to fund and adopt energy efficient appliances and technologies because it saves money. (I mean, it’s not as simple as I’m making it sound, but my point is there is a way to appeal to many different stakeholders in different ways about this.)

    13. Lilysparrow*

      When you are anxious about a real situation that you can’t personally solve in a tolerable timeframe, it’s good to take some time to focus on constructive things that make you feel better, even if the big-picture impact is symbolic.

      I recommend planting something, growing it, and eating it.

      The Earth is a living system that will rebalance itself, one way or another. Obviously we want to try to manage that balance in a way that’s beneficial to us and our children, and minimizes human suffering & the loss of vulnerable species, because all life is beautiful and precious.

      But the rebalancing is happening and will continue to happen, regardless.

      Growing food shifts your mindset toward a symbiotic relationship with the earth, where care and dependence are flowing both ways, very concretely and immediately.

      It’s not just about sunshine, fresh air, or nutrition. The microbes in healthy soil are good for your microbiome.

      Even if it’s just some herbs on your windowsill, it helps.

      1. Lena Clare*

        You’re completely right, the earth will rebalance itself whether or not were in on it! It’d be good if we were, but if not…it’s a sobering thought obviously but it is good to be reminded of it.

        1. Not A Manager*

          This is the thought that centers me. The universe is so vast, and we are so tiny. Time is so long, and our time on this planet has been so short. Humans are amazing and we’ve done some amazing things, but nothing lasts forever.

          I wish I could better express why I find this comforting, but I do. :-/

          1. Lilysparrow*

            For me it’s because it puts both guilt and responsibility into perspective. I couldn’t ruin everything even if I were trying. And I can’t fix everything, either.

            It helps make the best I can do feel like enough.

            1. Venus*

              I foster animals. Part of me knows that saving more of tyhem further depletes our resources, but I also work with spay/neuter. More importantly, it has the best saying:
              Taking in one animal does not save the world, but for that one animal their world is saved.

              Not everyone likes animals, but I am a fan of helping others. Buy a homeless person a $5 coffee card, or spend time at a senior centre… do something that makes someone else feel good, and I find myself feeling the same way.

  11. Namey McNameface*

    Reaching out to anyone who went through a mass shooting in their community. I am a Kiwi and we are still coming to terms with the horrific events in Christchurch one week ago. It is surreal hearing from people I know personally who were in lock down, heard the gun shots as it occurred, and arranging funerals. I never imagined this would happen in my country.

    How did others process this? How have things changed for you long term? Do you still feel like your community is unsafe? I’m still bewildered and very sad.

    1. Jules the First*

      Give yourself some time. A week is still too close to really feel like you’ve processed this. Be kind to yourself over the next couple of weeks – unload your schedule a bit, eat right and regularly, schedule extra time for sleeping so you’re still getting enough even if you have trouble getting or staying asleep. It’s perfectly normal to be panicking a bit and/or thinking what you would have done if it had been you in X situation, the important thing is not to dwell on it (we never know what we will do until the day we are put in that situation). Acknowledge the thought, sit with it for a moment, and set it aside and go on with your day.

      I also find it really helpful to remember – the people who do these things want to make us afraid and make our lives smaller and meaner as a result. The best response is to not let them.

    2. TL -*

      I’m an American living in NZ. It’s so hard to go through this.
      It takes years to process fully, I think, because part of what’s lost is your understanding of your country as a place where it can’t happen. And you don’t get that back.
      But it’s okay to be scared and upset and grieve. For me, thinking about the things I can do are really helpful – I can be kind and respectful, donate money to help victims, hug my flatmate who works at the ACC, speak out against bigoted speech, vote (in my country), listen to my fellow students when they need a shoulder. All those are really small things – but they do add up and they can make a difference.

    3. CJ*

      American here, so sadly all too familiar with this. I think the idea that helps me work through things like mass school/workplace shootings and the 9/11 attacks is one from an American children’s program host, Mr Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.”

      Yes, there are some horrible people out there, but there are far more good ones who show compassion, who rush to the scene, who comfort families, and who try to make the world a better place. Your worldview is shaken, and you may always feel less secure now, but it’s important to remember that there is good out there too. If you feel really overwhelmed, take a news/internet break so you have some space.

      I’m so sorry NZ is going through this and hope real change comes from it to prevent any future attacks.

      1. Justin*

        Same here. Was in HS in brooklyn on 9/11 and saw the initial crash before we went underground. And now I work at WTC.

        I focus on the positive actions in the community and I try to be both aware and also keep my routines. Over time it can work.

        But these shared traumas change everyone and if you need to talk to someone, don’t hesitate.

      2. university minion*

        I won’t include any links unless asked, because it’s probably too soon and they can be a bit intense. Once the edge is off a little bit, do some research on “run, hide, fight”. My university does a really good job with training on the concept and I found it empowering. The short version is that the “lockdown” concept is outdated – you’re a sitting duck. The training goes over actual stats about active shooters, what the actual chances of surviving a GSW are (thanks to modern medicine, other than a shot to the head or heart, your chances are quite good), how to secure your area to buy time and how to evaluate what is your best option (those being run, hide, fight) given your abilities.

    4. OyHiOh*

      To quote the beloved words of US TV icon Mr. Rodgers, “When bad things happen, look for the helpers.” Look for the people doing good under absolutely awful circumstances and honor them however you can.

      Gather your community together. Listen to the ones who are planning funerals. Support each other however you can.

      If the immediate feelings of being unable to process this don’t begin to ease in a few weeks to a month, you might consider a few therapy sessions as well. But right now, be with your friends and family. Even take time off from work if you can.

    5. KR*

      Definitely give yourself some time and allow yourself to feel scared if you’re so inclined. I live close to the sites of two major mass shootings and lived close to Boston during the Marathon bombing. I remind myself that it’s reasonable and ok to feel scared or on-edge. Sadly though that raw terrible grief in my experience dissapates (I’m sure I butchered that spelling) over time when you’re not directly connected to the victims. If it doesn’t it’s ok to seek therapy to talk through your feelings

    6. MoreAnonThanUsualForThis*

      I work on a military base, and we’ve had multiple lockdowns in the past few years. We have them for lots of reasons, including weather (tornado), accidents (multiple cat pileup near one of our office buildings), and different types of crime (attempted bank robbery wtf). We had one “active shooter,” who fortunately did not hit any people, and one false alarm. It has been helpful mentally to have a plan. We have drills, and most of the procedure for all the shelter in place situations is the same. Our workplace also offers counseling whenever we have one of these, even if it is “just” the weather. It is normal to be bothered for quite some time afterward, and to sort of monitor yourself to see if you should go get help if after 4 to 6 weeks you are getting more afraid, paranoid, or having sleep disturbances. Give it at least that long to be upset at least intermittently,without feeling that you are overreacting and don’t hesitate to get help, even if you just want to talk. You don’t need to wait until you aren’t coping.

      The thing I’ve had the most difficulty with is the sort of in-your-face realization that some of my coworker will not have my back in an emergency, and at least one might turn out to be an actual threat. I’ve tried to frame it as being good to know who they are, but I still have to work with them.

    7. roisin54*

      I’ve never been anywhere close to a mass shooting, but I do live in Boston and work across the street from where the first bomb went off in 2013 (I wasn’t there because we’re always closed that day.) The only real advice I can give is to talk about it with others, whether it’s a therapist or a sympathetic friend or someone else who’s also trying to process it. I know it helped me to process the whole thing by talking about it with my co-workers once we re-opened, and it helped to know that I was far from the only one dealing with it.

      And do give yourself time, it’s not something you can just “get over” quickly. You’ll probably have strong feelings you’ll have to deal with relating to it in one way or another for the rest of your life. It’s been almost 6 years for me and it still makes me mad/sad when I think about it.

    8. Parenthetically*

      I’m just going to speak very frankly:

      Married to an Aussie here. I’m American, and honestly, mass shootings happen with such chilling, unfathomable frequency that there’s not only no time to process, there’s no mechanism for processing because it’s not a fluke or a one-off, it’s repeated pattern that our government refuses to address.

      For my husband who grew up not far from the Port Arthur massacre in the 1996, it’s a totally different experience because after that shooting, HIS government took the same kind of decisive action YOUR government is taking — an immediate restriction of the type and number of weapons a person could own, a mandatory buyback program, strict licensure with mandatory and frequent renewal of that licensure, etc. There has not been a single mass shooting in Australia since. No one can predict the future, but given the swift action your PM and her government have taken, there’s every reason to believe that you all WILL have time to grieve, to work through your anger and fear and confusion, and to unite as a nation, without ongoing fear of this sort of attack.

      It’s an awful thing that you’ve had to go through, and you’re in my thoughts as you wrestle with the enormity of it.

  12. SigneL*

    On Feb 10, I had a hard fall at home. Among other things, I fractured/dislocated a metatarsal in my left foot, which required surgery. I spent three days in hospital and three weeks in rehab and am still in a wheel chair (hoping to get a boot and limited weight bearing on Tuesday).

    One of the things that got me through the long, boring days was reading this blog and the comments. You can’t imagine how much it has helped me, and continues to help me. Alison, thank you for your thoughtful comments. And to people who comment here, thank you.

      1. SigneL*

        Thanks – even if I get a boot on Tuesday, it will be a long process before I can walk in the boot. I’ll be SO HAPPY when I can take a shower!

        1. Lithic*

          I was nonweight bearing in a boot for 6 weeks once and you better beleive that thing came off so I could shower! Not the safest thing to balance on one leg in the tub but being clean won. Crutches were hard although I did end up with some serious pipes and good abs too. A kneeling scooter would have been a life saver. Heal fast!

    1. Daisychain*

      Thank you for posting this, I always thought it was just me! I discovered AAM while going through my cancer treatments. I was looking for something to distract me from it all, and found so much negativity online. Until I found this wonderful group of people who were kind and concerned for one another,people who shared their experiences and could present different points of view without anger or disrespect. I was hooked! So it is overdue, but let me thank Alison and all in this group for helping me get through it all!
      SigneL I hope you are feeling better soon!

    2. WG*

      I also broke a metatarsal this winter, though didn’t need surgery. I found that while having to be limited or non-weight bearing, using a knee scooter to get around was extremely easier than crutches. Or even using a wheeled chair (like an office desk chair) around the house can help.

      Hope your healing goes as quickly as possible!

    3. Seal*

      Isn’t it amazing (in a terrifying way) how much damage a simple fall can do? Almost a year ago I fell while taking out the trash and among other things broke my toe and had to have surgery to repair a rotator cuff. I am now paranoid about falling again.

      Wishing you a speedy recovery!

    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Sending hug. This blog has also been a wonderful distraction for me, and taught me a lot. Fist bump on the enforced inactivity and finding something positive to do with it.

  13. Victoria, Please*

    I’m wide awake at 0330, having been awake since 0215… very stressful day yesterday followed by a heavy dinner and a tad too much IPA with a friend who is visiting. What do you all do when you can’t sleep and don’t want to disturb other people who can?

    1. Loopy*

      I’d read or browse the internet. Though screen time may make it harder to get back to sleep?

    2. Faythe*

      I listen to Thomas Hall on YouTube.
      It’s a sleep hypnosis video that is one while you sleep. I fall asleep before the intro is done.

    3. Tort-ally HareBrained*

      Read or crochet. Although this morning (I woke up at a similar time to you) I cleaned the bathroom farthest from the sleeping humans just so I would feel productive.

    4. CoffeeforLife*

      I started doing crossword puzzles on my phone (blue light filter on and night mode) when I couldn’t sleep. Very quickly it became a sleep trigger and I can’t do them during the day time or my body wants to nap!

      I occasionally take melatonin if it’s a really sleepless night.

    5. The Messy Headed Momma*

      Read cookbooks. No plot, no character development, nothing but “stuff I might want to make later”.

    6. Jaid*

      Watch Audiology Associates UK on YouTube. Mr. Barber has a very soothing voice as he narrates ear cleaning procedures. Mind you, I use TV headphones, so I’m not disturbing anyone.

    7. Arts Akimbo*

      I have an awesomely relaxing jigsaw puzzle app for my iPad. I play it until the first signs of nodding off, then I put it up and am out like a light!

    8. just a random teacher*

      If I’m trying to get back to sleep, podcasts or audio dramas with headphones. I pretty much will fall asleep if I try to listen to something with no pictures unless I’m trying very hard not to (and certainly if I’m lying down in a dark room), so for me it doesn’t even really matter if the podcast is supposed to be soothing or not.

      If I’m not trying to get back to sleep, go in another room and read? Or just give up and try to get my day started/work on kitchen stuff. (I pretty much always have kitchen stuff I could be prepping.)

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Oh the irony….I’m awake at 3:30am and came here. (No IPA, just bad dreams triggering general worry about, well, everything.)
      For me I can sometimes get back to sleep if I lower my body temperature. Showers help too, but not tonight…one of my heebie-jeebies is a leaky shower LOL.
      I’ve been known to do dishes & clean kitchen counters but that can wake people up. Folding laundry is quieter but wakes ME up.
      Ah well…off to see if I can sleep now that I’m shivering.

  14. Loopy*

    A massive thanks to everyone who responded on my skin issue thread last week!! I think it was more of a skin condition thing than being bitten. It cleared up on its own, thank goodness!! I had *such* stressful week that now I’m mostly a zombie. Thinking to treating myself this weekend. Just for fun: whats your go to weekend treat when you deserve something nice?

    Mine is buying myself baking supplies. This weekend I’ll be attempting a Game of Thrones themed pie since the new season is coming up!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Skimming, because it’s early. I saw “bitten” and “zombie” and immediately went back to read more carefully. :)

      My usual weekend treat is that, after I finish my weekly Saturday morning grocery shop, I stop at Qdoba on my way home for takeaway nachos for lunch. I swear they put crack in the chicken.

    2. I Work on a Hellmouth*

      Baking supplies, sewing and/or needlework supplies, and fancy bath components (generally, but not always, from Lush). And tasty, tasty food!

    3. Parenthetically*

      Generally, I like to cook a particularly nice meal for myself and my husband. I’m a very good cook and I usually find cooking extremely soothing. We eat a pretty normal rotation of simple dinners, but it’s satisfying after a stressful week to make something nicer — a steak or a chop, or a more projecty Indian dish, or something like that.

    4. Zephy*

      I’m glad your hands have cleared up! May still be worth talking to a doctor if/when you can swing it, if even just for a recommendation for something to take or apply to help mitigate it when it shows back up (which it probably will).

  15. So furious*

    Okay, I need a bit of advice (or maybe just to vent. Sorry, I booked an appointment with a therapist but there’s a waiting list right now and there are people who need it way more than me)

    I’m in NZ, close enough to the shootings in that I have friends and acquaintances that knew the victims.
    I’m a mixed race woman with white, non-white immigrant and maori friends and acquaintances.

    I find myself wanting to scream when (almost exclusively anglo-saxon white) people say “I can’t believe it happened here, there is no racism here” or things to that effect. Sure, it was worse for me and my non-anglosaxon Australian friends in Australia when I was living there ten years ago (like tires slashed when stuff happened half the world away involving people of my ethnicity), but I…
    Like I want to be there for people who are mourning (I’ve been volunteering), I am genuinely happy that people are giving time and more to the victims and that we’re all having a conversation. I don’t want to snap at people, but I’m growing angrier and angrier at what I can’t help but percieve as willful blindness.
    It’s all this “I can’t believe it happened here?” talk… I hate that it happened here, I wept for the victims and their loved ones, but I would never say there is no hate here. That’s just not my experience, not my friends’ experience.

    Yes, most people aren’t hostile and I don’t doubt they’re good people. Yes, it’s doubtless worse in other places. Yes I know I mustn’t snap at someone who just wants me to say ‘I know, it’s so awful’ and give them a hug.

    I’m seeing the therapist in a few weeks. In the meantime, any ideas as how to deal with this? I’m considering stopping to volunteer just to be able to stop talking about this.
    Thanks for putting up with my negativity

    1. Lilysparrow*

      I think if you can get to the point where you can speak your truth, “That’s not my experience. I know you are shocked, but this didn’t come out of nowhere,” without exploding, that will do you good and be good for your friends too.

      Maybe that means taking a step back to get your own support and comfort before going on? No shame there.

      Your friends may be closer to the tragedy by means of personal acquaintance with victims, but that doesn’t necessarily make it your job to be Lead Comforter.

      You could even say, “Hey, I know this is hard for you. It’s hard for me, too, for different reasons. I can’t take on this role right now.”

      Your truth is important. You don’t have to stifle it to be a good friend or a good person. And I think the less you stifle it, the less resentful you will feel. (Hopefully).

    2. CJ*

      I’d have a few responses prepared so you don’t feel the need to snap. Said calmly, I think these would acknowledge how horrible the situation is and your viewpoint, without putting the other person on the defense:

      “Unfortunately, that hasn’t been my experience.”
      “Yes, it’s so sad to be reminded that hate like this can occur anywhere.”
      “I know, this has been a rude awakening for many people.”

      It’s okay to give them your perspective and help them to understand that discrimination happens, but try to prepare yourself to lessen your anger for a more effective conversation. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this.

      1. fposte*

        I really like these, CJ.

        My response tends to be along the line of yours, furious, when people pull out the “I can’t believe it happened here” line about crimes and disasters. It sounds too much like a blinkered view that takes safety for granted as an entitlement rather than as a patch of good fortune.

        But also I think the “I can’t believe it happened here” comes from pretty deep in human psychology, because I’ve heard it as a response from many places on the globe when a bad thing has happened; even if it’s a big city where crime is comparatively high, people will say it about *this* crime, or *that* disaster. I think it’s a template way to express the shock that’s generally experienced after a tragedy and the idealized wish for a life where such things weren’t possible. So when I think of it that way I can cut it some slack, because I wish such things weren’t possible too.

    3. dumblewald*

      I’m from the U.S. and am a non-White Muslim-American. I know some White people from other Western countries like Canada, Europe, and NZ who all seem to have this weird superiority complex towards Americans because they think their countries are more progressive than the U.S. A good part is based in the fact that they have better social welfare policies, which is true, but as a non-White Muslim descent human, I can tell you that not only are non-US countries not any better when it comes to cultural acceptance, they are even worse! I experienced more casual racism in Europe and Canada than I have in the U.S. It gets magnified in the more homogenous cities.

      For this reason, I actually wasn’t surprised to hear that this happened in NZ, because surprise surprise, racist white people exist in white majority places!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I am no expert. My only qual is that I have cried a lot.

      I would suggest reading about grief and the grief process. Anger is a part of grief. And here is the tricky part, the anger can be very justified, that anger can be a fair and reasonable statement about matters. But one of the many functions anger serves is to BLOCK the grief process. If we are angry chances are pretty good we are not crying/grieving because we are too busy being angry.

      You might find it helpful to allow yourself time out from thinking about other people’s reactions and just think about how you feel. This is going to sound very simplistic. Tell yourself, “Yes, I am sad/scared/disoriented/whatever the feeling is.” Name the feeling and acknowledge it, give a nod, “Yes, I feel tears in my heart, my chest aches.”
      Here the idea is that many different emotions can run concurrently. We can be angry on the outside and crying on the inside. It’s good to acknowledge all the different emotions we feel, not just the anger. Drag the other emotions out into the light of day also, give those emotions equal time.

      People who are still saying, “I can’t believe this happened here…” are not as far along in their grief process as you are. Which is okay, except you need to talk with someone who is at the same stage, or maybe one step further, in order to have a conversation that means something to you. Therapy is a good idea. I bet people here can recommend various books to consider also, you can read to supplement your therapy time.

    5. Feliz*

      Hi So furious, I’m sorry you’re going through such a tough time right now

      Firstly, if you need to stop volunteering, then please do so – don’t forget to put on your own oxygen mask first. You can come back to volunteering later if you want to.

      Secondly, I think the scripts others have provided are great – especially: “That’s not my experience. I know you are shocked, but this didn’t come out of nowhere.”

      I’m also a (white) Kiwi and am pretty eye-roll-y about the “I can’t believe it happened here” and “there’s no racism here” statements. The first is . . . passable . . . but the second is just ridiculous. Thanks to some of my own friends sharing their non-white experiences, actually keeping my eyes open and the wonderful Captain Awkward blog (and links) I see how pervasive it is here. That constant, casual racism is pretty well embedded in our culture.

      I really hope some small changes can come out of this tragedy – that us Kiwis can learn to do better and not turn a blind eye to the casual racism that’s so widely accepted. As someone who is in a privileged position (ie white, fairly senior at work) I am doing my best to call it when I see it – even if it’s just a “hey, I really don’t agree with that” or “wow, that sounded really racist” (though it’s definitely a work in progress and I still stay silent when I shouldn’t)

      As a country, we have such a long way to go

    6. bunniferous*

      It probably is willful blindness, but I am wondering if the root of that is fear. None of us would want to believe we live in a world where someone can seemingly randomly manifest evil in such a blatant way. When something like this happens, people cannot live in denial any longer, if that has been their coping strategy. People who have experienced racism already know they do not live in a safe world, hence what you have observed.

  16. SherBert*

    Going to the Grand Canyon for the first time this spring. Flying to Phoenix. Have time to hang out in Flagstaff and Sedona on the way up or back. Recommendations for things to do, food to eat?

    1. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Thoroughly enjoyed Flagstaff Brewing Company, 16 W Historic Rte 66, Flagstaff AZ 86001. Their claim to fame is that they were one of the very early breweries in the American craft brewing movement.

      Also not to miss is the Lowell Observatory, home of the discovery of Pluto, 1400 W Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff AZ 86001.

    2. Hazelthyme*

      Very timely, as I’m in the last full day of an AZ vacation right now! Some thoughts:

      1) Be prepared for BIG crowds at the main Grand Canyon Visitor Center, even midweek. However, they thin out a lot if you walk even a mile along the Rim Trail in either direction. If that’s not doable, take one of the park shuttles a few stops down and walk the Rim Trail there to get away from the worst crowds.

      2) In Flagstaff, any of the 3 Flagstaff-area national monuments (Sunset Crater, Walnut Canyon, Wupatki Pueblo) are worth seeing and exploring for half a day if you like to hike. I like Pizzicleta, Criollo, and Bigfoot BBQ for dinner, and don’t miss MartAnne’s for breakfast (if it’s a weekend, go early or be prepared for a line.)

      4) Sedona is a good place to splurge on a Pink Jeep tour or spa treatment, but if that’s not in your budget, just get out & see the Red Rocks up close, even if it’s just a short, easy trail. (There will probably be crowds here, too.) Lots of good food options, but I can personally vouch for Pisa Lisa and Elote.

      5) If you’ve already locked in your dates/accommodations in each place, disregard this, but if not, think in some level of detail about what you want to do in each location, and how long you want to stay there. If you’re an experienced hiker and plan to take a long day hike down into the Grand Canyon and back, it may be worth spending a night or 2 right near the park in Grand Canyon Village or Tusayan, so you can get an early start and/or not have to tackle a long drive when you’re exhausted from a 12-hour hike. (Note: you can’t hike all the way to the river and back in a day, and you can’t overnight down there unless you get a camping permit or make reservations at Phantom Ranch ahead of time.) If you’re not, you may want to take a day trip to the GC from Flagstaff, which is a 90-minute drive and has more lodging/dining options. On my current trip, I spent 3 nights in Flagstaff (day trips to Petrified Forest and Grand Canyon), 2 in Sedona (day hikes on various trails in the area and a splurge visit to a spa), and 1 in Phoenix on either end. This has worked well for me, and has given me enough time to really relax in each area and appreciate it, rather than feeling like I have to get in the car and rush off somewhere else before I’ve taken it all in. From Phoenix, it’s about 3.5 hours to the Grand Canyon, 2.5 hours to Flagstaff, and 2 hours to Sedona, which is manageable … but also enough distance that I’m glad I factored it in when planning what I wanted to do each day. Also, these drives are all quite scenic, and worth doing in the daylight in at least one direction so you can enjoy the views. This is particularly true of Rte. 89A between Flagstaff and Sedona (though if you’re driving, you’ll be paying close attention to the road on one of the most spectacular parts).

      Have a wonderful time and please post an update!

      1. SherBert*

        Hazel, your itinerary is very similar to our plan! Stay in Flagstaff and drive to the GC. We are not hikers and only plan to do the day trip to the GC.

        I appreciate all your input, and everyone else’s. Looking forward to checking it all out!

    3. Not A Manager*

      If you’re spending time in Phoenix, don’t miss the tour of Taliesin West. It’s really amazing.

    4. nws2002*

      Sedona – There’s a great restaurant at the Sedona airport. My favorite thing there by far is the lemon ricotta pancakes, but their lunch and dinner options are really good too. The airport itself sits on top of a mesa, and the views of surrounding Sedona are great.

      You’d have to take a different route from Phoenix to Flagstaff, but the Tonto Natural Bridge holds lots of fond memories from my childhood.

      I grew up in Arizona in the mountains, specifically Payson which is about halfway between Phoenix and Flagstaff. If you are not from a high elevation place, the elevation can cause headaches and you will get short of breath easier. Something to keep in mind if your plans include a lot of outdoor activities and walking.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Did not get to go on my cross-country drive from California to NY, because we were racing a storm but… if you’re driving to GC, an Eagles fan ( band not team) save a side stop for Winslow Arizona!

  17. Sparkly Librarian*

    I had to say goodbye to my elder kitty this week. (The picture book Big Cat, Little Cat has been read many times over the last few days, and it says, “The older cat got older, and then he had to go, and he didn’t come back. And that was hard. For everyone.” and that is the most graceful and sensitive phrasing I have seen in a while.)

    I was 17 and a half when I met him, and he was 17 and a half when he died. After living half my life with him, there is this expectation that he will be there when I get home and open the front door, or when I turn the corner into my bedroom, or on the other side of my 14-year-old cat who spent all her life with him. There’s this hole where he should be, and I miss him so.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      Aw, I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose our pets. They become a huge part of our family and our heart.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s always too soon to say goodbye to our furry loved ones. My 22 year old passed in October, and I still sometimes think I see her out of the corner of my eye. I can now reminisce about her without crying but it took several months. May your happy memories of him bring you comfort.

    3. Max Kitty*

      I’m so sorry. It’s hard loss, especially when they’ve been with you that long. Please take some comfort in the fact that you gave him a great life.

    4. fposte*

      I’m so sorry, Sparkly. And I too found that book beautiful; Cooper is almost always wonderful.

    5. Jaid*

      I’m sorry for your loss. My kittygirl is nineteen this year and I’m hoping to get another year out of her.

      1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

        I am so sorry for your loss. Furamily losses rip your soul.

    6. cat socks*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to say goodbye to pets and it us difficult getting used to the new normal when they are no longer there. It’s amazing the bond you create with them.

    7. Sparkly Librarian*

      Thanks, everyone. My wife and I are getting through it, and so is our other kitty (who has been very cuddly). I know in time it will hurt less.

    8. pugs for all*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I had a similar-ish time frame of having and losing a cat, and what especially broke me up was how many of the big changes of my life he had been with me for (tearing up now just thinking about it).

      He was my confidant and security blanket through grad school, moving to a new city, breaking off an engagement, meeting the man who would be my dh, the birth of my two kids and moving again out of the city. Sounds like you cat was by your side during these years of young (and not so young!) adulthood too, and I feel for you. Internet hugs to you.

      1. Sparkly Librarian*

        Exactly. He went through college and grad school with me (relieving a lot of stress!), met and immediately liked the woman I’d marry, and has been in many ways as much her special buddy as he was mine. I find it especially sad that he, like my grandfather who passed in 2017, will never meet our child(ren), as we’ve been waiting 3 years to adopt. Whenever we babysat, or the time we brought home a baby we thought would be ours, he was sweet and patient and I always thought it would be nice for a kid to have him as their family pet.

  18. bibliovore*

    Having a dinner party for 14 on Monday night. Buffet style
    Mac And Cheese Martha Stewart recipe
    Roasted vegetables on the side Broccoli and asparagus and kale
    Crisped proccuite for the meat eaters
    Platter of smoked salmon and herring for the fish eaters
    Fennel salad with orange and olives
    Mixed green salad for the fennel haters

    Is there anything else I shoukd have?
    Is it okay to make the Mac and cheese on Sunday?

    Someone is bringing desert. People are bringing wine

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’ve never done the Martha Stewart recipe exactly, but I do homemade mac and cheese for large gatherings semi-regularly, and I’ve never had any problems making it the day before and sticking it in the fridge overnight (and I make double-batches of mac and cheese for my family meals and freeze the extra quite often as well). It’ll take longer than you think it will to reheat though because it’s so dense, so plan for that, if you decide to make it ahead.

      The last time I did mac and cheese from the freezer – homemade, just frozen – I put it in the oven at 450 and the middle was still literally frozen after an hour. Now when I am reheating it from frozen, I take it out of the freezer the day before into the fridge, then take it out of the fridge and leave it on the counter for a couple hours before I put it in the oven. I also do smaller pans if I’m making it in advance, because smaller pans reheat faster.

    2. Madge*

      Yum! I’m definitely going to copy that menu. No one worth knowing will turn up their nose at Mac and cheese at a dinner party. You’ve got great accompaniments and the simple food will make the atmosphere friendly and casual.

    3. HeyNonny*

      Plates, glasses, forks, etc? You’ve probably thought of that, but it only takes one party with no cups to become a legend.

      1. Bibliovore*

        I just bought 2 six-packs of glasses from IKEA yesterday. Feeling pretty prepared. Off to COSTCO now for milk and cheese.

    4. irene adler*

      And what time should we all be there? **wink!**
      I wouldn’t want to miss this meal!

      Your guests will be so thrilled with this spread.

    5. Bluebell*

      This all sounds delicious. Good luck! Do you have vases in case any guests bring you flowers?

  19. ADB_BWG*

    Eyelash growth serums?

    I read something recently – somewhere! – about a product available on Amazon that works wonders.

    1. misspiggy*

      I use one called Rapidlash. After a couple of weeks of consistent use it definitely improves lash coverage and thickness for me, not by a dramatic degree, but enough to make me feel it’s worth the money.

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      The only one that worked for me was the prescription Latisse and it irritates my skin and will darken your eye color if it comes in contact.

      Good luck! I gave up and decided my asian lashes are just meant to be sparse, straight, light brown, and pointed down.

    3. Megan*

      I personally think they’re all BS, save for maybe Latisse. The best thing I’ve done for my lashes is just to get a lash lift and tint every few months.

      1. Venus*

        Latisse does work – it started as a prescription med for high pressure in the eye (glaucoma).

        I know it works because I have a friend who needs it in one eye only, and his lashes now look quite different.

        It can also colour the skin – in his case it looks like he has a subtle black eye (if a woman had it on both it might look like eye shadow). This is a known side effect for some people.

        1. jolene*

          Rapidlash has been very effective for me with no eye colour change. Only on my lashes though, it did nothing for my eyebrows.

  20. Rebecca*

    Dryer Saga Update and a few other miscellaneous things from my world!

    First, I think I lost my FitBit. I’ve had a FitBit Zip since April 2014, and this morning it wasn’t on my nightstand with all my other stuff, and I don’t remember taking it off last night. But I could have, it’s just so habitual, and the cats could have decided to play soccer with it, so I need to do a grid search at some point. I also went to the grocery store last night, and walked around my work neighborhood yesterday, so it could be anywhere if it worked its way loose. It’s lime green so won’t be hard to spot if I do find it, at least. I feel a bit sad about this!

    I’m expecting a man to stop by this morning to look at one of the tractors I’m trying to sell. When he called, he said “is your husband home so I can ask him questions about it?” No, divorced, and my Dad passed away, so it’s just me! He sounds older, so I’ll give him a pass I guess, but sheesh, that was a bit of a surprise to say the least. Quick aside, because we have no power in the garage, more about that later, I had to plug the battery charger into an outside outlet, but that required a light to be flipped on in order for it to work. She complained the light was on too long (it’s a light near the roof line, so way out of my reach to unscrew the bulb) and demanded I turn it off. I have no idea if the battery charged enough or not, need to check that out shortly. I tried to make her understand I was trying to charge the tractor battery, but she was focused on “all the money” it was costing to have an outside light on for 2 hours. Here’s 20 cents Mom, pretty sure that might cover it.

    Today is Day 30 of the Dryer Saga. It is still here, despite Mom’s insistence that she told Lowe’s to come get it and take it back. There is a 30 day return policy. I’m not sure if she uses it much or not, as there are a lot of things hung up on the clotheslines in the basement. She’s stopped talking about it, the instruction manual seems to move around a lot, like when I get home from work, it’s upstairs in the kitchen, the next day it’s in the laundry area, then back to the living room, etc. I’ve adopted strategies like “oh, that sounds difficult. What do you think you should do to solve X?” in an AAM type of way, sort of like dealing with a difficult coworker. When she continues ranting or other unproductive things, I steer the point back with “OK, we’ve discussed this, we can’t change the weather, so do you need me to do X or Y so you don’t have to go outside today?” I’m also encouraging her to go out to lunch with the other ladies in her age group, and do things outside the house that don’t involve Fox News, QVC, or the religious channels on TV.

    And about power to the garage and other power related things, our circa 1962 breaker panel is being replaced on Wednesday. I called the electrician and made the appointment. As I suspected, he was waiting for her to make the appointment after accepting his bid. Glad I took the bull by the horns, it would have never gotten done.

    So that’s about it, plugging along here, not much else to report, just trying to stay calm, go to work, do stuff here, get out and about weather permitting (aside, it can get warmer any time now), and try to sell more stuff so I can make plans to move on in my life.

    1. Wishing You Well*

      Sounds like you’re making progress!
      I hope your FitBit reappears soon. Have you looked through the bedding and under the bed? I find things there sometimes.

    2. Rebecca*

      OOOO update, and my comment is out of moderation :) I found my FitBit, it was in my laundry basket, and the man arrived an hour early to look at the tractor. Seriously. I saw him in the driveway while I was taking more clothes to the laundry area. I walked out, was pleasant, and all he could say was “I wish your father was here for me to ask questions” or “I wish I could talk to him about X and Y”, and I finally said, yes, so do I, I really miss my Dad. Sometimes people can be so callous and clueless all at the same time. He offered me $1000 less than asking price. Sighs.

      1. SherBert*

        Did he not understand that your dad passed away?!?!? (seems callous to keep harping on “I wish your dad was here so I could ask him stuff” and also to lowball you)

        1. Rebecca*

          I was very clear when I spoke to him that my Dad passed away, this was after he asked me if my husband could get on the phone to answer questions. And I repeated it this morning. He asked me what all Dad did to the tractor, and I said I didn’t know exactly, past restoring it and making it run, new tires, new paint job, etc. It’s 80 years old for pete’s sake!! It’s an antique tractor. He asked me if it was a 12 volt, I said no, it’s 6 volt, and he said, are you sure? Uh, yes, I’m sure. I said I can hook up the battery if you’d like, and he asked me if I had anyone to help me with that. I said I don’t need help, I’m perfectly capable of doing this myself. OMG seriously. I’d rather take it to a junk yard than sell it to him.

          1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

            Ah, but … sometimes one does what one must do. In the 7 months I’ve been selling the “stuff” I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but learned a couple things. You can’t give insight or educate those who are willfully ignorant, and (old school here) a sale is a sale.
            So some folks feel they “must” lowball or they didn’t “try.” Think AAM like, and have a script.

            Mine is “I just listed it, and my price is firm. I can only wiggle (insert an amount, say $10 on a lower value item, for example) right now…
            “I can’t let it go that for that the first week (interval) I have it listed, before buyers have a chance to see the ad….(I give an example) “when I sold my furniture, (example unrelated to the category I’m selling now) I lower the price after it has been out there, if it doesn’t sell in a reasonable time…. (dont give them anything to argue against).
            (Depending upon the interest in it and the value, I suggest)…”when it reaches a price you are comfortable paying… contact me again”
            (learned this one after a supremely ugly TV stand was on the market 6 weeks and I wound up taking the same low ball offer that was 50% less than I’d originally asked…. by 6 weeks, I was sick of dealing with folks and willing to cut my losses to have it gone… YMMV by item type).
            So I am gracious – it is a surprisingly small world. But while I don’t take low ball offers, sometimes they are where you wind up. But I let the market drive the price down, not the first to offer.
            And yes, I have to repeat multiple times a week “No, I’m sorry, he’s deceased. I’ve priced it to account for the fact that I can’t test or validate anything more than what you can see here for yourself….” (rinse, repeat ad nauseum… folks do not read or hear the first, second, sometimes never). I have begun putting “appears to be” and “As is, priced to acknowledge I can make no representations.”
            I’ve had to take a couple things back because they looked new but he’d apparently removed parts!

            And I am not advocating horrible treatment, just taking into account that nearly everyone looks at me and thinks I don’t even know what a socket set is. That’s fine, it means if I say the above and it doesn’t work, then the big strong guy DID know or said he knew more than me, and I DID say I couldn’t judge it’s fit for his usage.

            Also, look into donating to a charity or vintage tractor group for a fundraiser raffle. You might have to get it appraised, but …. if you can’t sell it and you do want it to go to a good home, there are folks who would love it and you can check the tax consequences/ title impact etc.

          2. Not So NewReader*

            Yard equipment is very much male dominated. I sold tractors in the 80s. You can guess how that went. It’s not a lot better now, even.

            Anyway, when my husband passed, I went to a local place that buys massive amounts of used yard stuff. I told them what I had and they came and got it. Perhaps you can find a place like this and ask them to buy the whole lot of all the yard stuff you want to sell. The beauty of this is they will check it out and handle it themselves. The price was Not Wonderful, but the crap was gone and I did not have to figure out how to trailer it. And I did not have to deal with any after sale problems.

            1. The Cosmic Avenger*

              Yep. I’d bet Rebecca would be willing to drop the price a bit to someone who wasn’t a sexist ass! But if it were me, I’d refuse to go a dollar below asking with someone like that. It has nothing to do with being old, or raised that way; I know more than a few woke people of advanced age.

                1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                  Does your local high school have a FFA chapter? They might be able to hook you up eith a new farmer who’d use it.

                2. The Cosmic Avenger*

                  Ha! Don’t do that, just raise the price for him every time he’s a jerk towards you, let him blow a gasket! :D

    3. Lizabeth*

      I vote for the cats knocking your Fitbit around, probably under something. It would take a lot for one to unbuckle itself.

      1. Rebecca*

        LOL I found a stuffed catnip mouse in my bed, at the bottom where my feet go! They are rascals, to be sure.

  21. Washi*

    Anyone watching the new season of Queer Eye? I’ve just started and had some mixed feelings about the first episode, the one with Jody, the hunter. I mean she seemed super on board, so that was great to watch, but it was weird to hear over and over stuff like “she’s confident in her work but she doesn’t feel beautiful.” Jody is living a kickass life! She has a farm and an amazing husband and grows vegetables in her garden and yeah, I guess maybe it is nice for her to have some non-camo clothing options, but it was strange to watch a makeover of a person who already generally loves her life. I think the show was going in the right direction talking about different ways to express femininity, but I’m not sure it went deep enough to make sense of the complexity of looking/feeling beautiful as a goal for women.

    1. Lucy*

      I binged the entire season within 24 hours.

      I think in general very little of what the Fab Five do has to do with the physical changes they make, compared to a week of relentless praise and positivity and self care. The heroes might come to associate the new hair/wardrobe/sofa with their increased wellbeing, but I really think it would be hard to resist the love, given that it’s a person who has already opened themselves up by agreeing to be on the show.

      Putting on the new clothes and using the new bathroom products in your newly renovated home just reminds you that you are deserving of love/praise/nice things as you have always been but didn’t realise. It’s at least 50% Pavlovian associations, I’m sure.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Totally this. And by extension, the premise of the show is that everyone watching is ALSO worthy of those things — wonderful, beautiful, and lovable just as they are, and deserving of self-care and friends who love them and a nice bed and some sunscreen and support and health and a great haircut.

    2. Not a cat*

      Recently, there was an article critiquing the show. Essentially it said the heros are akin to lottery winners and that many of them aren’t undergoing ‘real’ change. I don’t know how I feel about it. I like the show, but it would be wonderful to revisit those featured. I love the positivity and ‘meeting people where they are’ but also wonder about the reality of the “change” in their lives.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I wonder about that sometimes, especially with Bobby’s work because holy crap, he’s incredible and I want him to come to my house and give me all that stuff for free.

      2. I Took A Mint*

        I think it’s pretty apparent that one week is not going to “really” change a person, as opposed to years of dedicated work in therapy–at least, this has always been my take on the show. But I think it’s more like a catalyst–like being told by your doctor you need to make some health changes, or being told by a spouse that you’ve been hurting their feelings, or some similar “wake up call” where now they realize they haven’t been kind to themselves, and the Fab 5 take them off that track and set them on a new track, but it’s still up to them to walk it themselves. It’s really hard to start exercising and grooming and feeling positive if you’re also dealing with a house full of junk and clothes that are old and ruined–it’s more like, OK we’ve cleared out this baggage, now the rest is up to you.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Bingo! You just pegged why I’ve always liked this show more than What Not to Wear. They’re just more supportive.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        Yep. Queer Eye doesn’t have that critical, almost mean streak that a lot of other ‘makeover’ shows do, and that’s why I like it.

  22. BeanCat*

    I finished C25K this week! I started it in January because of a running anime that I fell in love with. I watched these ten guys struggle from the ground up and thought “if they can, so can I.” I went from mostly walling to being able to run for 30 minutes straight. And now I love running so much I don’t want to stop even though the show ends next week :) have you ever found inspiration in unusual places?

      1. BeanCat*

        Sheepy got it below – Kaze Ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru! It’s on Crunchyroll under the English title “Run With the Wind” :)

        1. LGC*

          Thanks – and I have got to sign up for Crunchyroll again! (And actually remember to use it this time.)

    1. Sheepy*

      Was it Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fuiteiru? I think anime are amazing sources of inspiration, especially the underdog stories where the characters go through the same problems and discoveries as I do when first starting. I’ve gotten back into cooking through watching Shokugeki no Soma and taken up road cycling after watching Yowamushi Pedal (thankfully there aren’t any mountains where I live so I don’t have to work as hard as Onoda).

      1. BeanCat*

        Yes it was!! Once I saw Prince start to get better I said to myself “Okay, if this guy can do this you have no excuses not to try!” Such a good story and I’m so sad it’s over this week.

        I didn’t get far into Shokugeki no Soma, and I haven’t heard of Yowamushi Pedal, but that’s super awesome! :) the stories really can be inspiring can’t they?

  23. Sunny*

    I posted last weekend about traveling with a group of friends and non-friends to Japan. Thank you everyone who provided insight and thoughts! It was funny to see how many people expressed concern over conflicting travel styles. That’s actually something that has been an issue with me in the past. With my family, our travel styles are very different. It was always very difficult to take family trips because they all wanted to do one thing while I wanted to do something else, and the mentality was to not let one person go off by themselves because it was a family trip and we had to spend every single second together. It is why I have mostly stopped going on family trips, aside from smaller weekend getaways. However, with friends there would not be that mentality of having to stick together, and they would not care if I wanted to go off by myself Or in a smaller group. It is why I am much more inclined to go on a friendship that a family trip.

    Also the friend who is pulling me and my other two friends into the group trip, is someone who is lived in Japan for two years. She knows the language and the culture. I have always said if I would travel to Japan, I would want to go with her as my pocket guide. I’ve gone to the UK and other such locations where language and culture is not that much of a barrier. Japan is definitely not such a place and I would feel more comfortable going with someone who knows the language.

    I also came to the realization that my friends who are agreeing to go on this sudden trip are not going to want to go to Japan twice in their lives. This really will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for them. So if I do try to plan a future Japan trip, these three will be knocked out of the equation which lowers my chances of getting a group trip together in the future, since these three were the most likely to want to travel anyway. All of this has led me to hoping I can make the trip work. I will be meeting with the whole group and understanding their plans better before I make a definitive choice, but at the moment I am leaning towards doing it. It might be a squeeze on my finances for the year but I can make it work in a quick turnaround time. I still welcome any thoughts on trip planning and other such tips, and thank you to everyone who already gave me good advice and forethought so far!

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      I didn’t see the thread last week but Japan is awesome! If this is a repeat, sorry!

      Get the Japan Rail pass if you are traveling by train. Download JapanTravel app to help with routes. I’d turn your international travel plan on on your phone.

      Google translate has an awesome speaking feature where you can have a conversation with someone and it’ll translate both parts.

      Learn key phrases – YouTube has a ton of videos! The importance of please/ excuse me/ I’m sorry to bother you but/ cannot be minimized!

    2. Awful Annie*

      That all sounds very sensible. I’m sure you’d get a lot out of going with your friend who lived in Japan, but I’m confident that you could manage a trip without her too.

    3. Wishing You Well*

      There’s an app that translates Japanese into English and back again. (Actually, it translates many languages.) You can speak into the app, take a photo of a sign or type something in and it will translate for you. If I were you, I’d get this app and work with it before going. It might help you enjoy your trip a little more.
      With your friends, I’d mention you don’t plan to stick together every second of the trip, so they understand ahead of time you’ll want some independent time.
      I hope you get there. Sounds exciting!

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The one thing I can contribute : Buy travel insurance. And double-check it.
      I was on a group trip (high school) that had to sue a travel agent who took travel insurance fee but didn’t buy it…and the airline collapsed. Yes that’s pretty extreme, but it’s left me a firm believer in travel insurance. If anything goes wrong for someone in your group that they have to bow out, they’ll thank you!

      1. jolene*

        Do it, let your Japan-knowing friend drive it, and buy her a fantastic meal or spa experience there to thank her.

  24. Loves Libraries*

    Someone posted a few weeks ago about a party to stock the bar for a wedding reception. I received an invitation for a couples shower to stock the bar for the happy couple’s home. I’m helping to give a ladies brunch and household shower. The mother of the bride (my friend) told us hosts not to bring anything to the couples bar shower. I would feel really weird arriving to a shower without anything. I don’t know all the hosts for this party. What would y’all do?

    1. WellRed*

      Can you afford it? Then bring a bottle if that makes you feel better. If you don’t want to bring something, I think that’s ok too. No one is going to notice, are they?

        1. valentine*

          Don’t bring anything. Mother is saying your (double, no less!) hosting is a gift.

          I hate when people don’t follow instructions because they can’t bear not to foist stuff on others.

    2. Madge*

      You could bring a card. They you’ll be carrying a thing for them that you get to put on the gift table. You’ll feel less conspicuous and for all anyone knows it could have money inside. But no one is going to notice. This is just to make you feel more comfortable.

  25. Anona*

    Does anyone eat Kodiak cakes pancake mix? Any tips? Thinking of getting the buttermilk version and making waffles.

    1. anon24*

      Love Kodiak cakes! The waffles are delicious – just make sure your waffle iron has lots of PAM, butter, vegetable oil etc. on it to keep them from sticking or they will fall apart when you open the iron. I love making them and serving with strawberries on top.

      They make delicious pancakes too. I love making blueberry pancakes with the mix.

    2. MissDisplaced*

      I had the chocolate Kodiak mix, bought on something of a whim. It’s just ok. Chocolate pancakes were weird frankly, though the mix made a much better waffle.

    3. Madge*

      I think the buttermilk one is the best. The others didn’t go over so well with my crew. But they’ll eat just about anything if it’s covered in butter and syrup.

    4. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

      I use it all the time to make muffins! They can tend a little dry, so I add some extra moisture, but it’s a great base for all kinds of baking.

    5. pcake*

      My husband loves Kodiak pancakes. I make them with water, a little less water than mix. I stir lightly, then crush the lumps of powder with a fork. Follow the box directions regarding pan/griddle temp for best results, making sure the pan doesn’t go above that temp.

    6. Teach*

      My teenagers like the regular mix for pancakes and waffles. I use all the options – milk, eggs, oil. They are VERY filling, but keep well to go in the toaster in the morning. The current favorite is to toss some frozen raspberries in the batter then cook.

  26. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Today is National Puppy Day. All dogs are puppies! Puppydog stories please!

    When I moved to Indiana in 2012, I adopted a then-4-year-old bloodhound mix, Angua, from a friend who was planning to move overseas. His plans didn’t last, so when he returned to the US, I told him he couldn’t have my dog back. So he moved in with us instead and we got married in 2017 :)

    Angua had her very own kitten when she was much younger (before I adopted her) – he would roll over on his back, and she would tuck her nose into his belly and zoom him around the hardwood floors. (Her kitten had been found stray and turned out to be either FIV+ or FLV+, I forget which, and passed before making it to adulthood.) Now, at 11, she again has a cat that likes to snuggle with her on the pillows. I regularly catch her trying to pet the cat — which essentially consists of bonking the cat over the head with her paws while the cat (who is sweet as pie and dumb as rocks) looks confused.

    Alannah, my younger dog (who is exactly 4 1/2 today), is very set on How Things Must Be — every morning, we go to the work chair (she doesn’t like Saturdays). Angua’s cat is NOT ALLOWED on the left-hand side of the dining room table. Angua always gets her supper first. She’s also a bit tricksy — if she wants the chewy bone that Angua has, she’ll run over to the back door and wuff. Then Angua will run over to see what’s going on – meanwhile, Alannah will loop back around the other side of the room to go back and get the bone Angua dropped. And as if that wasn’t funny enough, she’ll try the same thing on the people, like yes, I’m totally going to put my sandwich down in her nose range to come see what she’s barking at.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Because people ask – yes, their names are literary references. Angua was the female werewolf captain of the guard in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books, and Alannah is from Tamora Pierce’s Lioness Quartet, spelling difference aside. :)

    2. Handy Nickname*

      That is the cutest thing ever. Your friend moving in to live with his dog, and the dog having his own kitten, and agh it’s all so sweet.

    3. Clever Name*

      My boyfriend and I just adopted a puppy!! She’s 11 weeks old and half border collie half Australian Shepherd. She’s so adorable!

    4. Aurora Leigh*

      I could talk about my pupper all day — he is just the goodest boy! Lol

      His name is Dexter (like the cartoon scientist, not the serial killer). He is a German Shepherd Rhodesian Ridgeback mix and is solid black. We also have 3 kitties — and he absolutely considers them to be his cats! He won’t let them fight — if he hears fighting, he’ll run into the room and gently nose them apart!

  27. PhyllisB*

    Today’s my birthday!! I’m 68!! Those of you who read my posts know that this hasn’t been the best year: 16 year old grand-son in jail, son had drug relapse, oldest grand-daughter totaled her car. But, there’s been a lot to be thankful for, too. Son is in rehab and doing very well, grand-daughter wasn’t injured and insurance paid us more than we actually paid for her car, so we were able to replace with minimal out of pocket expenses. Plus a lot of other blessings, so in balance, it’s been a good year. (Still nothing new on the grand-son, but…)
    And it’s a beautiful sunny day here so I am grateful!!

    1. My Brain is Exploding*

      I love the fact that you can see all the good in your life. Happy birthday!

  28. WellRed*

    This isn’t work related. Company was bought by a larger one. I get my last (weekly) paycheck from old company this week, then have to wait 3 weeks for biweekly paycheck from new company. I know this is normal business but I have to borrow money to float my expenses. Ugh. Also, how does one budget and learn to think in terms of biweekly pay?

    1. Llellayena*

      Even though the check comes in every 2 weeks, you can still plan weekly until you’re used to it. If $1000 goes in every 2 weeks think of it as $500 for week 1 and $500 for week 2. Eventually you’ll get used to seeing the bigger amount in your account that first week and not get over excited thinking you can spend it all.

      1. Llellayena*

        If you’re able to plan a monthly budget (using 2 biweekly paychecks) there’s 2 months in each year that you get an “extra” paycheck (3 pay weeks in a month). Those are fun because they can become your savings or vacation fund or something else since they’re “outside” your monthly budget.

          1. valentine*

            Create a bank spreadsheet with your monthly charges and base take-home. Adjust the latter for overtime once worked. Color-code to highlight negative entries. You’ll be able to see when you can pay for stuff, whether it’s safe to autopay, and when you need to keep credit card spending lower or transfer balances.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Alternately – budget on two paychecks a month, and then the two months with third checks (for me this year, May and November) are a nice “bonus” for shoving into savings, throwing a chunk extra at student loans or the mortgage, splurging on a vacation or whatnot.

    2. Madge*

      It shouldn’t be normal. Too many people live paycheck to paycheck and a gap like that can be hard to manage.

      The biggest risk with biweekly checks is with the two “extra” paychecks. Lots of people like to budget their monthly spending across two paychecks and save the other two that come when you receive 3 checks in a month. And it can work if you have a good cushin or if you send all checks to savings and transfer spending money into checking on your own schedule. But lots of people forget about the days and expenses that come due in between that third check for one month and the first check of the next. If you don’t have a plan then you’ll come up short and not really save anything. The easiest way to compensate is to create an artificial pay system where all your checks go into a non-spending account and transfer money from there into your spending account. You could even end up saving more.

      1. WellRed*

        Thx! I was shocked at how nonchalantly this was mentioned. I know it’s tight for most coworkers but I am also the only unmarried, non-home owning one in the group and feel a little extra exposed. Let this be a wakeup call to myself, I guess.

        1. Madge*

          I just reread your post and saw that this is a purchase situation so you didn’t even bring it on yourself by changing jobs. (Sarcasm) I get that they need to adjust you over to their system, but they should be providing loans or some sort of transition plan. I bet the execs never even thought about this.

    3. Ewesername*

      I like to take my monthly expenses and divide them in two so I know how much of each paycheck is reserved. That way I’m not trying to pay rent, phone, electric, etc out of one.

    4. Rebecca*

      I get paid biweekly, and am very old school with keeping track of bills and expenses. I use a cheap notebook, write my pay dates on a page (usually 4 per page), then I figure out where the bills need to be slotted in order to pay them on time. It was a difficult adjustment going from getting paid every week to every other week, but eventually I got used to it.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      I’ve only known bi-weekly pay. It’s the norm.
      Think of it in monthly terms. Adjust/move your bill payments to coincide with the pay periods.

      And I cannot stress the importance of having a savings with at least 1 months pay available. There are times you may need it to cover a bill until payday (heating oil and car repairs come to mind).

    6. BRR*

      If it would work better for you, you could take half the money and put it in another account and transfer it back the second week. Be sure to read over if there are a limited number of transfers you can do for free.

    7. Lilysparrow*

      I was taught to budget by the month, and that’s gotten me through several transitions between weekly, biweekly, or semimonthly checks.

      I made a spreadsheet with all the different categories, where I can input the expected income/outgo by year, month, or week. Then the other side spits out what that would be in the other increments.

      In other words, if I know I can spend $150/week on groceries, I put that in on the left, and on the right it tells me how much that is biweekly, semimonthly, monthly, etc.

    8. Dan*

      Bi-weekly pay is the norm in the US, although it isn’t universal. My previous job paid twice per month, on fixed calendar dates. Said job also paid us by the hour, even though it was a typical office job. This part was very awesome. But I hated the “semi monthly” pay structure because each pay check could have between 9 and 12 “days” worth of pay, depending on exactly the number of working days in the pay period. (A pay period was based on fixed calendar dates, e.g., The second paycheck of the month *always* covered the 1st through the 15th, and the first paycheck of the month always covered the 16th-end of month.) While it wasn’t terribly difficult to figure out how many days were in the pay period, and what a “10 day” paycheck looked like vs an “11 day” paycheck, the hourly pay system made exact budgeting nearly impossible.

      In that regard, I *love* getting paid every two weeks. Since I’m on salary, I know exactly what I will get paid. (I realize this is the norm for most.)

      So, how to budget? I track my cash flow in a spreadsheet. This helps me a ton; I’m pretty good at sticking to my budget, so I can look at my cash flow 6 months out and know how things are shaping up. This was actually hugely useful as I was paying off substantial credit card debt.

      A drawback to “every other week pay” is that while many bills are due on the same calendar date (for me, rent, credit cards, utilities, etc are all due on the same calendar date) the calendar dates of your pay check change constantly. People talk about the “bonus” paycheck twice a year, but then what happens is the following month, your first paycheck is halfway through the month. So if you’re not careful, you’ll come up short.

      With the way I track cash flow on a spreadsheet, I’m not caught by surprise by shifting calendar dates. I’ve never tried budgeting software; my simple spreadsheet has been really useful for me.

    9. Wishing You Well*

      Waiting 3 weeks for a paycheck? This might violate labor laws, depending on where you live.
      Can you talk to Payroll and ask them to cut you a partial check “early”? Just a thought.
      I hope you find something that works for you.

    10. just a random teacher*

      That sounds really stressful. All of my jobs in recent decades have paid monthly (common in teaching), usually at some point about 2/3rds of the way through the month (I have no idea why). Two out of three districts I’ve worked for also give you all of your summer paychecks in a lump sum in June and you don’t get paid again until near the end of September.

      Anyway, the best thing you can do is to not think of all of the money in your checking account (or wherever) as your “spend right now” money, since you probably can’t keep all of the expenses it will need to cover in your mind all the time when you’re making purchasing decision. If possible, it’s helpful to build up a buffer of extra money as a cushion so you don’t run on the ragged edge of disaster near the end of a pay period if you mis-budget, but rather can take it as a “lesson learned” and adjust your spending in the next pay period. (I keep at least one month’s pay as a cushion in checking and try to keep 3-6 months cushion in savings, but that’s not something you can build overnight and may not be realistic in your situation.)

      Try to track all of your expenses somehow. Some people use a spreadsheet, some use an app, some use paper, it’s all about what works for you. The idea is to keep an eye on which of your expenses match up nicely with your pay periods and which have to be saved up for so you can plan for them. For example, my car insurance is due twice a year, and when I was younger it would wreck my budget each of those two months since I wasn’t planning on spending an extra $200-$300 in my car in that pay period. Now I know it’s coming and can set money aside each month toward that. This also helps you “zoom out” and see if you’re spending more than you’re taking in when you look at all of your committed spending for the year versus your paychecks, and make plans on where to cut back in advance and where it will hurt the least rather than at the moment when you realize you’re broke and you have to cut whichever thing you can get away with cutting at that moment.

      If you don’t have the cushion to cover a few weeks without loans, though, you may just be in a situation where there isn’t enough slack between your income and expenses for budget advice to really fix things. It’s possible that budgeting carefully will help if you find some expenses you can cut but hadn’t noticed, which would help you build that cushion, but it’s also possible that you’re just in a stressful situation in terms of cost of living versus income and it’s not something you can outwit with a budget spreadsheet.

    11. noahwynn*

      That’s annoying. They should’ve paid the last weekly paycheck and then started biweekly pay two weeks later.

      I’ve never been paid weekly, always biweekly or semi-monthly (5th and 20th was most common, although now its the 7th and 22nd). It was a big change though to go to that from bartending where you bring home cash everyday. I was so used to just picking up a shift if I needed extra money quickly. I had to sit down and do the monthly budgeting thing and plan out my paychecks.

    12. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I budget for every pay period, and have a “master budget” that I use to track all of my monthly bills, regular purchases (like groceries, cat food, etc.) and irregular payments (like car insurance) to help me plan the pay period budget. I got paid Friday, so my current budget is for March 22-April 4(since I will be paid again on April 5th). I list all of the bills that have to be paid between the 22nd and the 4th, and what I budget for the regular purchases (groceries, etc.). I also track my expenditures closely (at least once a week) so I can make adjustments as necessary (for example, I spent $15 more on cat food than I budgeted this morning, so I’m spending $15 less on groceries in the next week to offset it). It’s taken some getting used to, and it makes me think a lot about timing – do I really need to go to Target this weekend for paper towels and laundry detergent, or can I wait until the next pay period? I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how often I can wait.

    13. Alex*

      If you have a paycheck that doesn’t change week to week, like I do, you can budget monthly (easier for me because that is how bills are typically divided), and just multiply your take home paycheck x26 and divide by 12 to get your monthly income, and use that to build your budget. I used to get paid weekly, and now I get paid 2x per month, but I always used this method to standardize my budget over the months.

      It also helps that I put EVERYTHING except what I absolutely cannot on my credit card, and that is due just once per month, so I don’t have to have the money at the second I buy the thing–if I am staying within my planned budget, I will have enough money to pay my CC bill in full.

      It is uncool that they are making you wait three weeks for your next paycheck though.

  29. Flinty*

    So my husband and I have been together for 7 years, married for one, and we live near his family so we see them pretty frequently. About every other time I see his grandmother, she tells me how lucky I am to be with to him. Recently, I was sick and couldn’t attend a family event, and she sent me an email afterward saying she hoped I felt better, and also added a couple sentences about how wonderful my husband is and how lucky I am to be married to him.

    This was cute for a while, and I do think my husband is absolutely wonderful, but…it’s starting to grate on me. Does she think I don’t seem happy enough to be married? Does she think I got the better end of the bargain and he could have done better?

    Or maybe I’m just reading too much into regular grandma doting behavior. Has anyone else experienced this? Am I crazy for finding it annoying?

    1. Madge*

      I can see how that would grate, but I’d stick to the doting grandma theory until something changes. What if you were to say something like “we make a great team.”’? ( punctuation with quotes makes me crazy so I’m just going to leave that as it is. )

    2. WellRed*

      It’s irritating. I like madges suggestion, maybe throw in a “I think he’s pretty lucky to have me.” Even better if your husband says it. Which I hope he has.

    3. Glomarization, Esq.*

      I’d let it go — or I’d play “Grandma’s Letter Bingo” (or “Drinking Game”) and try to predict which phrase she’ll say or include in the next e-mail. Before you open her e-mail, hold your device up to your head, like Johnny Carson as Carnac the Magnificent, and see if you can’t guess the words she uses to tell you how great your husband is.

      Grandma won’t be around forever. So what if she thinks you got the better end of the bargain? One of these days, hopefully quite a ways into the future, of course, what you’ll have is the memory of her reminding you of how much she cares for your husband.

      1. Luisa*

        This! My MIL has some quirky-but-benign habits, all of which I’m sure I’d more easily brush off if I’d been dealing with them for 30-odd years instead of 6. Sometimes if I am getting annoyed with these habits, I do the bingo board thing in my head.

      2. SherBert*

        OMG! I’m glad we aren’t the only ones who play gramma bingo or as a drinking game!!

        1. Glomarization, Esq.*


          It is, indeed, a flexible game that can be played across circles of family, friends, and work colleagues. And since it involves keeping your mouth shut and smiling, it not only avoids drama, but actively works to avoid creating it!

    4. Lilysparrow*

      Yes this is really annoying. But likely benign.

      She may be trying to bond with you by inviting you into the Your Husband Fan Club so you can geek together. Or, if they were always close when he was little, she could be a little jealous of losing her #1 status.

      Have you tried gushing back about how awesome/handsome/funny/thoughtful or whatever he is? Or given her a compliment about how he obviously gets his pretty eyes from her? How did she react?

      It’s possible she could be making digs at you, but either way you could turn it into a game like this, it might help.

      Also, advise your husband that he needs to talk you up to Grandma.

    5. Bagpuss*

      I’m guessing mostly doting grandma and she may well not realise she’s repeating herself so much. But I agree with the suggestions to respond and maybe encourage your husband to as well !

    6. ThreeStars*

      I would find this super grating too. Married couples are a team…you both contribute to the relationship and make it wonderful in your own ways. The seven years of work you put into your relationship work wasn’t “luck” and he didn’t do you a favor by marrying you. I can see saying it once or twice in the beginning of the relationship just to make small talk, but seven years into the relationship seems strange to me.

      I like WellRead’s suggestion to point out (or have him point out) he’s lucky to have you if you don’t want to be direct. But I also think it would be fine to just tell her (maybe while replying to her most recent e-mail), that it bothers you.

    7. Not A Manager*

      You certainly CAN tell her that he’s also lucky to have you. There’s nothing wrong with that. But… if you generally like her and trust her good will, you could also see this as an opportunity to gush on your husband a little bit. (I mean, he’s lucky to have you but you are ALSO lucky to have him, so why not play that up?) Maybe see this as an opportunity to brag on him a little bit, tell her a cute story about a nice thing he did recently, etc.

      The best way to convince Grandma that your husband is lucky to have you, is to show her that you’re his Number Two fan, second only to her.

      1. Thursday Next*

        I like this approach as well. I think the advice would be different if this were your mother in law, but IMO grandparents get to dote and gush (arents are another story). So play along with the gushing. You’re in the same fan club! And after a while, I bet she’ll tell her friends how lucky her grandson is to have you.

      2. Flinty*

        Yes, my go-to is to gush about my husband right back! She does seem to like that. I have no idea how she would react to “he’s lucky to have me!” I might try it some time just for a bit of variety :)

        I think I’m reacting for a few reasons:
        1) My husband is from a very intellectual family where 3/4 grandparents (including grandma) and both parents have terminal degrees. His family is generally pretty down to earth, except this grandmother, who really really cares/can be judgmental about going to the right schools and doing ambitious career things. This is super immature, but sometimes when she’s going on and on about how smart he is, I want to tell her that despite my husband’s fancy private schooling, I got better SAT scores and graduated top of my college class as well! So I think I’m a little sensitive to how she perceives me fitting in or not.

        2) I don’t come from a gushy family – my parents tell me they love me and are proud of me, etc, but neither my parents nor grandparents would consider it appropriate to make such a point of gushing about me. So it’s generally a bit weird to hear!

        1. Thursday Next*

          I think #2 is very important. I also come from a very understated family, and it’s strange to be around families that are more expressive, more frequently (“gushy”). Maybe you can also remind yourself of that when you’re with his grandma—this is just a different, but harmless, difference in family culture.

    8. Texan In Exile*

      I would find it very annoying. When one of my best friends got married, the groom’s parents were going on and on about how lucky Rebecca was to be marrying him.

      I finally had to say, “Groom is very lucky to be marrying her! She is a real catch.”

    9. OhBehave*

      Could be a Grandma thing but it would get annoying!
      Is she a widow? she could just be missing her hubby.
      Does she need a visit/lonely?
      The next time she gushes about Mr Wonderful, let her know you agree and that he’s lucky to have you!

    10. Marion Ravenwood*

      I would agree that this is most likely to be Doting Grandma, especially if she doesn’t get to see him a lot (I know you said you see his family frequently, but didn’t say how far apart the visits are, or if you see grandma on every visit). Or she might just not realise she tells you this as often as she does.

      I like the ‘thanks, I think we make a great team!’ response, or taking the opportunity to gush a little bit (maybe not every time though). But that’s because I personally wouldn’t be comfortable with ‘he’s lucky to have me’ because I struggle with bigging myself up. The ‘great team’ phrase feels like a toned down version of that, which is why I’d go with that myself, although YMMV.

    11. Feliz*

      Do you have anything else you can talk to her about? Perhaps she doesn’t know what else to say to you and is just looking for conversation?

      My go-to is to try and quickly get the conversation on another track “where did you meet your husband? How old were you? What was the most fun you had when you were my age?” or similar. Firstly, I love hearing about different times and places and secondly, most people like to talk about themselves ;)

      And yes, I would find it pretty grating too!

    12. New Bee*

      Grandmas can be a trip. Last week we called my husband’s grandmother to say we’re having Baby #2, and she responded, “So you’re just going to keep having babies and never get married?”

      We’ve been married 5 years (she came to our wedding), and kid #1 is only two. -_-

      All you can do is laugh.

    13. Blue Eagle*

      yes, it is really annoying. she should be telling you how lucky he is to have you.

      but this is what i would say “oh, grandma, you are so cute. i bet your husband’s grandmother always told you how lucky you were to have him”. and just leave it at that. who knows, maybe if that is your response to her every time, she will finally get it without you having to spell it out for her how annoying it is to be made to feel like you are a charity case.

    14. Batgirl*

      “Oh he does ok in this deal too! Let me tell you”
      “Oh grandma, you know full well he’s lucky to have you. I swear you’re his number one fan!”
      “Don’t I know it, he came with a full set of (grandma’s wedding present). Those things are wonderful!”
      “Keep your voice down! I don’t want everyone knowing I’ve got a Picasso in the basement. He thinks I’m the best he can do”
      “You mean (husband)? Yeah I know him. He’s my favourite of all my husbands.”

      I would find a serious conversation about The Wonder That Is Husband to be a serious drain if only due to the repetition. However when an elderly relative falls victim to repetitivitus the only thing to do is be irreverant and unpredictable with a touch of humour. It’s good for ’em. Younger relatives should just be sent away with silent pointing though.

  30. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I’ve had to take a break from my more serious projects to go write this fanfiction one-shot thing that I’ve had in my head for a while. It was causing writer’s block. And now I can happily continue with the rest.

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

      Good news: I wrote 65,000 words (!!) toward a novel between September 2018 and January 2019.

      Bad news: I reread it this past week, after setting it aside for almost two months, and I think I have to junk most of it and go back to the drawing board. It just kind of drags. It’s boring even me. That’s not a good sign.

    2. Claire*

      I spent most of the week banging my head against this cursed pirate novel. Each. Word. A. Struggle. (You know things aren’t going well when you’d rather clean the kitchen.) Then on Friday, I got potentially good news about another proposal, and voila! All of a sudden, I was pouring out words.

    3. ThreeStars*

      I used to do a ton of fiction-writing up through college, and my audience was online friends and real life friends. Having people waiting to see what happened next in stories/novels and getting immediate feedback was super motivating to keep me writing more. I drifted away from all my friends so I have no one to read my writing. I had a novel I got about 14k words into a few years ago, and then I restarted it from scratch a few times later. I’m trying to rewrite it again, but am thinking I won’t get far. :/

      1. Claire*

        What genre(s) do you write? I’ve heard that the AO3 fanfic site is helpful. Or if you’re not writing fanfic, you could seek out an online workshop.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Working on the structure with index cards (like a storyboard). I’ve been battling with some depression and anxiety, which has made it difficult to concentrate, so it’s going very slowly. I feel better today despite the dreary weather.

      I’m feeling a strong urge to start a new project, just not sure what. We’ll see.

    5. KristinaL*

      I don’t know if this counts as writing so much, but I submitted a couple of books (illustrated children’s books) that I wrote (and drew) to 2 publishing companies over a year ago (online). Their web sites both indicated that they’d get back to me in less than a year. They haven’t. I figure that either they’re not interested or overly busy. Or maybe the submit didn’t work right. I’m guessing I shouldn’t worry about it, right? I kinda expected to be rejected – I haven’t done a lot of submissions, and even though I think the books are cute (and my nieces and nephews like the books), that doesn’t mean everyone will like them. I just figured they’d get back to me before this.

      1. Claire*

        For some publishers and agents, a no response is a rejection, but they will say that in their submission guidelines. I’d suggest writing a follow-up email asking the status of your submission. If you don’t hear back within a month of the follow-up, then assume it’s a rejection.

        Note: Most picture book publishers only want the text of the book, and they’ll assign an illustrator once they acquire the book.

          1. Claire*

            Most likely, yes, but it’s worth a single follow up email. Sometimes submissions do drop between the cracks.

  31. Hungry*

    What do people do with hunger when they’re dieting to lose weight? I don’t have lower teeth so carrots and celery (and lots of other crunchy things) are not an option. All suggestions gratefully appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Madge*

      Can you switch to mini meals eaten more often? If you’re missing your bottom teeth you’re probably eating a lot of soft foods that are digested faster. I know that when I have a smoothie for both breakfast and lunch I’m ready to gnaw on my desk by 1:00.

    2. Annie Moose*

      Drinking more water/other no-calorie drinks might help by filling up your stomach (although I concede it really isn’t the same!)

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        More water was my first thought as well. It might be that you’re mistaking hunger for thirst, so I’d start with drinking more water (you can flavour it with fruit or there are special ‘tea’ bag infusions you can buy for cold water if you don’t like the taste) and see if that makes any difference.

    3. I edit everything*

      I find strong flavors to be really satisfying, so a bit of crystalized ginger or a little square of dark chocolate will do wonders if I’m feeling like noshing.

    4. namelesscommentator*

      I successfully lost 50 pounds over a year (and desperately need a kick in the butt for the last 10!!)

      The biggest thing I did was go to bed early instead of being hungry and miserable. I managed to find an eating schedule that worked for me (basically 11am 400 calorie lunch, 4pm 400 calorie lunch, 200 calorie pre-grym protein bar, with anywhere from 2-10 100 calorie snacks throughout the workday depending on activity levels). That way, I was never hungry until going to bed early WAS an option. It was very successful and I maintained slow and steady weight loss throughout the year.

      Can I piggy back off this thread and ask for other’s weight loss tips? I’ve since moved across the country, gained back 10 (so total loss goal is now 20-30 pounds). My new job has snacks and it is adding mindless calories EASILY. I’m working on drinking more water and having meals that I’m looking forward to eating so I’m less inclined to snack, but I’d love some inspiration on delicious 400 calorie meals and schedule tips that help keep calories in check.

      1. I edit everything*

        I’ve found being deliberate/mindful every time I reach for food to be helpful. Actually saying to myself, “I’m choosing to take this step toward/away from my goal.” That stops the mindless snackage, allows for exceptions, and keeps the *goal* in mind, rather than the food.

        This morning I chose to get a doughnut with my son because it’s a ritual after grocery shopping and a way of bonding with him. Quality time with my kid trumps the weight loss goal. But I chose not to have a bagel for breakfast.

    5. Lilysparrow*

      The thing that makes crunchy veggies filling is the fiber. Splitting up your meals/snacks so you have a fiber + protein snack in the morning and afternoon will help.

      Oatmeal with peanut butter. Banana & glass of milk. Hummus (The beans have fiber).

      I find drinking tea helps avoid snacking. And as above, going to bed early. (Extra sleep also regulates your hunger/fullness hormones).

        1. Wishing You Well*

          I drink tea, too, in the evenings, but unsweetened and no cream. I drink berry tea with a frozen strawberry plunked in for luxury. I lost 5 pounds doing that. The next 5 pounds won’t be nearly so easy.
          Plenty of sleep and no alcohol helps, too.

    6. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Sipping hot tea or broth can curb your appetite. I tend to drink very strongly flavored teas like peppermint, ginger, or black/green tea with chili flakes. Things you can suck on for long time might work too. Sugar free hard candies, frozen grapes or berries, etc. You might also try a fiber supplement. When I started taking Metamucil first thing in the morning it killed my desire for breakfast.

    7. fposte*

      Too bad on the crunchy things, but you could consider steaming carrots so that they’re less dentally challenging. Strawberries are also a softer texture and reasonably treat-like.

    8. CatCat*

      I eat things packed with protein, often hardboiled eggs or nonfat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is pretty versatile. If you don’t like it plain, you can mix in something savory like some salsa. If you’d prefer sweet, you can mix in a little vanilla extract with a light sweetener (e.g. Splenda), or mix it with unsweetened applesauce (already sweet on its own) and cinnamon.

      I find protein really helps curb hunger.

    9. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      I second the herbal teas, and for me, broth. I do bone broth and beef/chicken/veggie broth. (I think there are a couple calories, but virtually free). Check out the tips for weight watchers, too. For treats, frozen grapes. Sleep is a must, and fiber in whatever forms you can manage. I know dental issues may preclude it, but I used to have my 3 pm snack be broccoli florets with soy sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds and grated Parmesan (even at work, those little packets from takeout are useful!)
      Soup… I make in the crockpot and freeze in 2-cup, wide-mouth jars -veggie soup. Maybe a bit >100 calories, but filling and hydrating, and the veggies are so soft. (You can use your stick blender and puree/chop the veg up more as needed). I even pop these in the microwave at work (removing lids and rings lol) and eat straight from the jar) for that afternoon snack. Somehow, something solidish at 3-4 pm means I’m not hitting the door at 6-6:30 pm and grazing through the cupboards while fixing supper.
      And eating enough calories during the day means it is easier for me not to be starving from 8-10. I save my 2 fruit exchanges for a banana/post dinner apple, or something similar as a treat (frozen grapes). You can bake the apple with cinnamon, too, soft and treat like.
      Overall hints – journal the exact calories and intake (app or whatever approach works). When I was losing there “was” published research that indicated that simply writing down and accurately tracking your food, resulted in a 5% reduction. I think that’s related to the mindfulness.
      Fist bump of solidarity – I can’t stand being hungry, so I keep a bevy of ideas stocked. (protein bars included, remembering you don’t have to eat the whole thing, just 1/4 will “help” take the edge off the hunger for 50 calories or so). Most of mine involve crunch, though.

    10. Chaordic One*

      Brush your teeth more often than usual. Beverages as mentioned, hot tea and especially herbal tea is good. So is decaf coffee. In the summer iced tea and iced coffee. Lemon water (and water with orange and lime juices.) Chewing gum works for me, but might not be a good option for you. Little sugar-free breath mints like Tic Tacs or even Mentos are a welcome distraction and have some texture to them.

    11. Not A Manager*

      I also can’t eat a lot of crunchy stuff. For dieting, I like cooked veggies instead of raw ones. You can cook something like asparagus or green beans (or carrots, except I don’t like them) to whatever consistency you want, and then eat them cold with whatever dip you’d use for raw veggies. You could do low-fat mayo mixed with a lot of mustard, or a yogurt and dill sauce, or diet ranch dressing, etc.

      I like ratatouille a lot, and make a lower-fat version of the classic recipes. Again, you can cook the veggies as much as you want to.

      Finally, I love soup and find it to be very filling. I happen to like pureed “cream of” type soups. There are lots of recipes for pureed soups that are good hot or chilled, and depending on the recipe they don’t have to be full of cream or starches. I also make big soups with lots of different beans and vegetables in them. They have a lot of fiber, not a lot of fat, and limited carbs.

    12. Polyhymnia O'Keefe*

      I’m doing Weight Watchers, which incentivizes eating lean protein, fiber, and fruits/vegetables. On the points-based system, fruits and veggies, chicken/turkey breast, beans, and fat-free yogurt are all zero points, so it incentivizes eating those to fill up. The points-to-calories formula isn’t exact, but the principles and healthy habits would carry over, I imagine.

      I love making soups, and it’s easy to load them up with veggies and lean meats, and keep them low calorie/low points (in my case).

      We also keep our freezer full of frozen fruit, and fat-free Greek yogurt is a staple (I actually make my own yogurt in the Instant Pot, since it’s so easy, and significantly cheaper). I often throw about a cup each of frozen fruit and yogurt into a container in the morning, and add some sort of low-sugar flavour (sometimes just a bit of cooking extract, like maple, and a pump of sugar-free drink syrup), and when it thaws around lunchtime, it’s a great dessert-type snack.

      Also, in the Kodiak thread mentioned above — Weight Watchers incentivizes the carb-to-protein ratios, so making things like muffins out of a protein-enriched mix makes them lower in points.

      Cucumber slices are less crunchy than carrots and celery, if that’s an option for you. I also like to make dip with yogurt instead of sour cream — a bit of ranch dressing mix and some Trader Joe’s Everything But the Bagel seasoning is a great dip.

    13. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      My family often makes vegetable soup which is basically any kind of vegetables (cabbage, green beans, celery cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, etc) with tomato juice and a bouillon cube. The idea is that you have some of this when you feel like snacking. Would cooking the vegetables make them edible for you?

    14. Alex*

      I do snack on raw veggies, except for broccoli, which I blanch and then cool quickly, because I don’t like raw broccoli. If you cook the broccoli for a little more than I do, it will still be firm and fresh but not super crunchy. I usually have a mix of blanched broccoli, peppers, pea pods, carrots, grape tomatoes, and celery on hand that I dip in different things (lower calorie salad dressing, hummus, etc.). I’m not sure how soft you need to go, but sliced tomatoes, thin sliced cucumbers, blanched broccoli, etc., might work?

    15. Roja*

      The biggest and best thing I’ve found is to find what makes you feel full and actually eat it. I poked through the other comments and almost everyone is recommending raw veggies and bone broth. Great if it works for you, but oh my gosh, I’d be hungry all. day. long. if that was what I ate. What makes me feel full is a lot of protein at once, and complex carbs. So when I need a snack, I have a protein shake or something like a granola bar (not the super sugary 100 calorie ones, like a homemade one or a Kind bar or something), food that fuels my body and actually solves the hunger problem, mainly nutritionally dense foods that stick to me.

      But if you’re super hungry all the time, I’d really recommend lowering the calorie deficit (if that’s a possibility for you). You’ll lose weight slower, but be far less miserable, crabby, and more likely to do it consistently. Anyways, I’ve found losing weight to be a giant puzzle–lots of psychology and trial and error to find what works and what doesn’t work, and mostly a lot of throwing out all the usual advice. I’m in the middle of my process, and while I value the weight loss, I find I’m valuing even more the learning I’m doing about myself, nutrition, and how to live a lifestyle with a healthy perspective on food and body image.

    16. Hungry*

      This is probably way too late, but thank you very much to everyone who responded. I got some great ideas.

  32. coffee cup*

    Running! I went for a short run this morning with my friend. Short because he’s been ill for a while recently and hadn’t been out for a good few weeks, so we didn’t want to go too far. I usually do try to go longer, but I can chill out for one week!

    I’m thinking of entering a 10k in another country, just to mix it up a bit. I’m in the UK so it’s (for the moment at least *eyeroll*) fairly easy for me to go somewhere else in Europe. Has anyone done anything like that? For some reason, it feels a bit more ‘weird’ to me than just visiting a place, but I don’t know why, because surely running around a city is a great way to see more of it! Plus, variety, and a bit of excitement. I don’t think any of my (few) running friends would come, so I’d have to go on my own, which is fine, but I think I need a push… Push me?!

    1. Ktelzbeth*

      I haven’t ever traveled just for a race, but I have plenty of friends who have gone on what they call “run-cations.” The best (they say) get you somewhere new, to a race you really want to do, or to good weather in the middle of winter. Do it!

      I’m feeling a bit out of sorts because virtually all the bike trails in the city run near rivers or large creeks and are closed for the foreseeable future due to flooding or possibility thereof. Now, this is a small thing to complain about because my house is fine except for a little water in the basement that has already been dried, but I have no other places I regularly run or bike. Trying to invent a new route is a pain and the options are not nearly as scenic, but training must go on!

    2. acmx*

      I’ve been planning on going to another country to do a short run and I’m in the US. I’ve so traveled to other states to do a run. I drive to nearby cities to run. When I travel for work or vacation, I try to run in the area.
      Also there are running tours (Go! And Park Run).

      It’s normal where I am to go places for races. I think you should go even if your friends don’t want to. But I think you should ask them, you might be surprised.

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

      Do it! I’ve found “run-cations” (as Ktelzbeth called it) to be enormously fun.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        I think maybe race-cation, actually, if I can correct myself. I’m having trouble remembering now. Either way, a good idea.

    4. Marion Ravenwood*

      When we went to Australia a couple of years ago, our time in Perth coincided with the City To Surf (as the name suggests, a run from the city to the beach – there’s a 12k or a 4k version, and Sydney has something similar). So I did a parkrun in Perth on the Saturday, then ran the City To Surf 4k on the Sunday.

      For me the reasons behind it were similar to yours; I liked the idea of doing a parkrun in another country and getting to see a different side to a place, as well as something a bit different from a typical city tour. Australia felt like a good place to do it because of the lack of a language barrier and the fact we were spending most of our time in cities. My virtual running club has an Australian chapter, and when I posted in there people asked if I was doing City To Surf, so I signed up. I didn’t do it completely alone because I did meet up with people at parkrun and the City To Surf, but I did make all the arrangements myself – just booked with my credit card and picked up my race pack on the day (for parkrun I could just show up on the day as I would here).

      It was actually really fun! I got to see a couple of different sides of Perth, and it was a nice way to do something a bit more ‘local’ and less touristy, plus everyone was really friendly and welcoming. I’d love to go back one day and do the 12k but due to how much flights to Perth cost that might be a while yet! But it’s definitely something I’d like to do again – so far I’ve only managed to do parkrun tourism in the UK, but I’m looking at doing the Run Disneyland Paris 10k in September and Florence parkrun in October, so will report back! The travel company that sponsors parkrun also does small group trips in Italy and South Africa which include a run, so that could be worth looking at.

    5. A bit of a saga*

      Do it! We talked about it a while back I think, it’s a great idea. I have mostly travelled for half marathons but have also travelled (to the UK actually) for a 10k. Do you have a race in mind?

  33. fposte*

    OMG thank you so much to the people who recommended the app game I Love Hue! I am obsessed, yet soothed. It has the color beauty of Blendoku with the appeal of a jigsaw puzzle, and it makes me so much more conscious of color in daily life.

    1. KayEss*

      Aw, I missed that thread… I Love Hue was one of my favorite mobile games ever! My only regret is that I finished every level and now there’s nothing else out there that compares. (I didn’t like Blendoku, it had too many weird unstated rules. I usually play phone games when I’m on my way to sleep, so they have to be pretty simple.)

      1. fposte*

        I’m probably going to finish it soon, so I’m hoping they update with new levels.

        I liked the idea of Blendoku, but once I got past the early levels it was too much “guess which ugly color goes here?” Whereas I Love Hue makes it much more of a relational game, and it’s fascinating to me to see right before my eyes how a piece that’s pink down in the lower left corner turns to gray and then blue as you move it through changing contrasting colors. I knew that was a thing with color, but I’ve never seen it illustrated so vividly.

        1. KayEss*

          What I thought was interesting was that it really exposed the differences in how I see different colors! I went to art school, where I took at least one entire course on “how to distinguish the color composition of a bunch of neutral-appearing grays”, but it wasn’t until I played I Love Hue that I really saw how much better I am at distinguishing between shades of red/orange/purple than blue/green. I think I’ve read before that that’s genetic and usually linked to gender, with women being able to see the red end of the spectrum better than men? It was neat to see in action.

          1. fposte*

            Oh, that’s interesting. I’m definitely better with the colors I like, which are blue tones and purple tones, but I’m the worst at yellows, which I’m neutral about.

        2. Bex*

          Once you finish I Love Hue, try Color Puzzle! The app design isn’t as slick, but in addition to all the levels, it has a “creative mode” where you design your own so you can never run out of new puzzles.

    2. Kate*

      I downloaded it based on that that thread too! I love the fact that it’s not timed and it’s totally fascinating to see how my mind interprets each color depending on the surrounding colors.

  34. To Be Unsaid or Not to Be*

    My mother had express secretly to me a few years ago that the only reason she married my dad was because of money. I was in my mid-twenties at that time, still kinda fresh out of school, and kinda naive at that time. I didn’t know how to respond or what exactly to think. My mother works hard for me and my sister and can be demeaning, strict, and controlling. I just nod my head “okay” just to make her happy and to show I am not “dumb and naive” in the she would think I might be if I show disagreement. I am from an East Asian family and I am taught in my culture that marriage is not really “just about love.”

    My sister also knew about my reason for my mother’s marriage decision and she agrees with her decision. My mother sometimes complained about how hard it is to be married to my dad. She finds it irritating dealing with his contrasting personality and his parents and other relatives. My sister encouraged her complaining and they would at times discuss how stressful it is to marry to a man like my dad.

    Now I am in my late-twenties, and after experiencing some upsetting events when dealing with my sister and mother’s opinions on my first trying to find guy friends and possible dates, I come to feel at this point that I can’t see myself marrying for the same reason my mother would marry my dad.

    I also wonder if my dad knew or had any sort of idea about the real reason my mother married him. I wanted to ask him this question as well as other questions in regards to his relationship with his family and who decides on his decisions in his life, such as his marriage. But my father still communicates with my mother on a daily basis, they do things together very often, and I am not sure if he knows how to keep secrets from my mother. My father is very quiet and at times he experience some contrasting views from my mother and sister that can be seen as frustrating to both my mother and sister.

    I need to wait for an appropriate time. But yet again, I wonder if I should ask or not? How will it affect my dad? Will he believe me? What repercussion should I be aware of?

    1. To Be Unsaid or Not to Be*

      I sometimes to ask my dad because I wanted to know if he thinks it is okay to marry just for money. Will he have a different opinion if he knows my mother married him only because of money?

      I don’t have much of a strong bond with my family members, but I wonder if my dad could be someone that I can talk to on things I am afraid to share with my mother and sister?

    2. fposte*

      I don’t think you should inform your father what your mother has said. That’s for them to work out with each other or not.

      What I think you *can* do is ask your father what he thinks about motives for marriage. What did he think about before getting married to your mom? What does he think might be important for you (you don’t have to agree)? That’s not a backdoor way to pass on what your mom has said–that’s still off limits. But it might broaden your thoughts in useful ways to find out, if he’s willing to tell you, what he sought and valued in marriage.

    3. WellRed*

      If it’s common in your culture to marry for practical reasons, then why do you assume your father is unaware? He likely had his own practical reasons (a wife to take care of him, bear children, etc). At any rate, ask yourself this: Does it matter what the truth is? What will it accomplish? Nothing, I think. Marriage is a private thing.

      1. dumblewald*


        My parents are South Asian, and it is kind of a given that this is why people get married. People get married because that’s what you do once you’re in your twenties. It’s not really about love (although you should like the person you marry.)

        I mean, back in the day, women DID depend on men for financial security. That being said, I cant imagine anyone explicitly saying they only married their husband for money.

    4. Madge*

      Don’t tell him. Ever. You could very well hurt his feelings and it will put you in the middle of their relationship, where you don’t belong. Your mother shouldn’t have shared that with you. This is your parent’s marriage and you can’t tell from the outside or even comments like that what it’s really like. She could have been frustrated with him that day. She could be telling the truth but not also saying how much she loves him or other positive things that balance the negative. Or she could be stuck. As much as you might like to know the dynamics between them, you’ll never really know. Just like they’ll never really know the dynamics of your relationships.

      And lots of people in lots of cultures marry for non-fairy tale reasons. That’s just how the story starts and doesn’t affect the middle or the end. Lots of great, strong relationships start from practicality. Lots of hugely romantic relationships fail. And there’s lots of ways to define a good relationship.

      I’d say go ahead and ask your dad to tell you stories about how he and your mom met and married, but don’t tell him what your mom said.

      How they treat your search for a life partner is a separate issue and you can and should ignore what you want and set appropriate boundaries where you can.

      1. Chaordic One*

        Wise words, Madge.

        I’m acquainted with several people from other countries who live in arranged marriages and they seem happy to me. I’ve also read about American women who “settled” and married men of good character who, for various reasons, they were not wildly passionate about. (The men were short, or bald, or a bit overweight, or worked in a blue collar job.) In many of the arranged marriages and in the marriages of the women who settled, it seems that over time their love grew deeper.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Some of these things can just be things to know and nothing else.

      It could be that your mother was having a bad day when she said that. It could be that she married for money and grew to love him in her own way. More confusingly, he may have married her for reasons that have nothing to do with love. Maybe he thought she would provide him with a secure home life. Maybe he thought he was marrying up.
      Another important piece of this puzzle is do they think that marrying for love is important? Do they even believe that a thing called love exists?

      Other people’s marriages are really complex. And the longer they are together the more complex it gets.

      If it were me, I would be wondering, “okay so you married dad for money, why did you have me?” Don’t ask that question unless you are prepared for an answer. When I asked my mother she said, “Because women are supposed to make babies.” Yeah. okay.

      It might be more to the point to ask each parent separately what their advice would be to someone who is getting married. That might tell you more than if you talked about their own marriage.

      One bit of caution: their relationship with each other is NOT necessary the way they feel about you. It could be that you are the one part they think they got right.

    6. AwkwardTurtle*

      I had a similar situation about my parents. I asked my mom how she met my dad and she told me that she thought he was only ok when first meeting him. Given that my Cantonese isn’t that great, I tried asking her why they married but she didn’t answer it correctly or understand my question. I surmised that they married for convenience or similar reasons to what your mom said and not for romance. But I will never know, nor would I really need to know because that’s their private lives and knowing wouldn’t really change how I feel about them.

    7. matcha123*

      I think your dad knows. I should say that I’m not Asian, just living in Asia. But it seems that a lot of people here see marriage as a social obligation and as a way to be secure.
      The thing is that even if the man thinks the woman married him just for money, he probably will never ask (for older generations, if you were born in the 1980s or later it is probably not the main reason you should marry someone, but…).

      The same goes with having kids. People (not just Asia, but since the topic is Asia…) here have kids not so much because they have a desire to have them, but as one friend said, “I wouldn’t feel like a woman if I didn’t have them,” and another said “Just to pass on my family name.”

      I don’t know if it will help to ask your dad. My guess is that you feel marriage should be based on love and maybe some mutual respect for the other person. In older generations, marriage was based on social standing (get married or people will talk about you…get married to the right person of the right background or people will gossip), continuing “legacy” (passing on the male’s name and having a son to look after the parents in their old age), and for survival (women weren’t allowed into government or similar jobs until recently in most of the world’s countries).

      Just leave it be and decide yourself if that is the kind of marriage you want for yourself if you get married.

  35. Catsaber*

    People who have had buzz cuts – please share with me about maintenance! I am planning on getting a buzz cut soon, probably like a level 2. What has been your experience with a buzz cut? What’s your care routine like? I tend to have an oily scalp but dry ends. I have fine somewhat wavy hair, but lots of it. Do I wash every day? Once a week? Do I condition? How do you deal with weird morning-smoosh hair? Thanks!

    1. KR*

      My husband says if you’re getting a 2 you won’t have maintenance and it won’t smoosh unless you have fine hair. If your work requires a helmet or hard hat or hat it might go against the grain of your hair and feel wierd because your hair is too short to move back and forth with the hat. Your head will get colder than you may be used to and your head can get sunburned with hair that short so wear sunscreen. My husband doesn’t really have to use shampoo and he has a 8 on top with a medium fade most weeks.

    2. Valancy Snaith*

      My husband regularly gets a 1 on the sides and a tiny bit longer on top, and his routine: washes every time he showers, although he doesn’t have to and could probably be fine with just rinsing his scalp with water every other day. With a buzz cut you may be less concerned about the condition of your hair (which will almost certainly be fine at that length with whatever) and more about your scalp–so if you’re prone to dry scalp, you may want to have a look at a shampoo/conditioner set that moisturizes, and get a scrubber for the scalp to loosen any flakes.

      Morning hair is usually taken care of by running the hand over it or a tiny bit of wax/pomade if you care for it. Be prepared for lots of maintenance–he goes every 3 weeks and it’s noticeably shaggy by then.

    3. Jemima Bond*

      If you get it and like it, invest in your own set of clippers; as mentioned it requires regular maintenance and if you can trim it yourself (or get a spouse/other half to do so) you’ll save s fortune. Source: my father, my big bro and a military ex. Also, none of those people uses/used a separate shampoo, just kept going with the shower gel as it were.

    4. WS*

      My partner has a #2 and it immediately cured her oily scalp! She uses a shampoo bar every second shower and that’s about it for maintenance. Haircuts every 6 weeks but her hair grows quite fast and it should probably be about every 4.

    5. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I use a #2 and most showers I can just run a bar of soap over my head to wash it. It does seem to need less washing than when it was long, but that depends a lot on how oily or dry your hair normally is. I do get a bit of smoosh in one part, but it’s where my hair is thinning, and I think I’m the only one who could notice. I redo it myself every 2-3 weeks, in the tub with a cordless trimmer, so cleanup is easy.

  36. Persephone Mulberry*

    I’m unhappy with my clothes. I’m tired of everything in my closet. I would like to start building a wardrobe that is more cohesive and interesting and stylish, but for starters I’m not sure what my style IS.

    I’m 39. I’m 5’2″ and plus sized and pear shaped. My job’s dress code is smart casual or whatever you call business casual but with jeans. My social life is of the board game night / casual dinners / bar karaoke variety with the occasional “dressed up” event (which I never seem to have the right clothes for). My shopping budget is about $100/month.


          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            I’m ten pages in and this book is speaking to my soul. Thank you for the suggestion!

    1. Catsaber*

      I would start with putting on various items and outfits, and then thinking about how they make you feel, and writing that down. Sit, stand, kneel, move around in them. Do you hate a certain pair of pants because they always pull on your belly? Do you like a particular shirt because of the drape or fabric feel? Write it all down – the emotions, the physical sensations, your thoughts on why you think you *should* be wearing those clothes.
      Then sort everything into piles of stuff you love/wear a lot, stuff you are meh/wear sometimes, and stuff you hate. Go through the piles and analyze them.

      I realized I was confused by my closet because I had a ton of stuff I thought I *should* wear, but really hated. Like button-downs. Can’t ever bring myself to wear them. I got rid of all of them, except the one department-branded shirt I have, in case I need it for work events. I also looked at what I was wearing constantly, and laundering every week. Those were the things I felt the most like myself in, what really became my style. I got more of that – so a “uniform” approach, but I mix up textures and fabrics. However I keep things in a relatively limited palette so everything can be mixed and matched. Also I think having a limited palette for most things gives off the “stylish” impression, because the colors look more cohesive together and thoughtfully curated. My palette is mostly black/gray/blue, but I have seen this done with bright colors, pastels, brown-toned neutrals, etc.

      Also fit! Pay attention to the cut and fit of the items that you feel most stylish and confident in. Learn fabric content – that affects fit and drape. So when you shop, look at the tags and try to buy items in fabrics you know you love and look good. A plain black shirt and jeans that fit well can look fantastic, despite it’s simpleness.

      There’s still a few things I just hate but keep around for practical reasons – my suit, my department shirt, a blazer. But I think analyzing my clothes by how I felt in them and what I keep wearing constantly really helped me define things.

      I hope this helps!

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        To your second paragraph: Probably 1/2 of my closet is in my daily wear rotation. It’s the stuff I like best *out of what I own* but that’s not the same as really liking it or feeling amazing in it, hence my dilemma.

        In the past I have bought aspirational (in terms of style, not size) clothes – I am always admiring prints or interesting details on other people – and never wore them. I’m afraid of wasting money going down that path again, and so I’m left with a closet full of plain shirts in solid colors. Bleh.

        1. Reba*

          I think you would benefit from doing some kind of wardrobe self-assessment! What do you like and not like about the things you wear often? What keeps you from wearing what you don’t wear? Then think strategically about what to buy next.

          Although I don’t do the capsule thing, I like this one http://www.un-fancy.com/capsule-wardrobe-101/free-wardrobe-planner/

          short version http://www.un-fancy.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/capsuleworksheet.pdf

          but there are lots on the internet, quizzes to help you find your personal style, etc.

          For me, a fashiony person, it has been a huge change to plan what I’m buying each year (rather than more or less buying what looks good when I’m shopping) so that things fit for my goals for self-presentation. I enjoy reflecting on how I like to dress! My goals are vague, it’s true: dress like an architect. Favor smaller brands and natural fibers. Buy things in my color families, so they will be easier to style. Don’t talk myself into buying things that don’t really fit just because I like them!

          I can just ask, does this garment advance my goals? Y/N

          I haven’t tried, but have heard really good things about personal styling services like Trunk Club and Stitch Fix.

    2. Madge*

      Check out the blog Get Your Pretty On. She sells seasonal capsule wardrobes and other basic capsules as well. Her style skews southern, but is still very classic. You can either look at the blog archives for content and clues to the capsules or you could buy one. Her basics is a great place to start. You could also join her spring challenge which starts Monday (but there’s still plenty of time to pull things together). Her capsules revolve around a core set of basics that repeat through the years and seasons and also includes trends to try. I’ve been a member for years and love not having to think about what to buy and wear.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Actually, I was in the Facebook group for a while but never pulled the trigger on any of the capsules. I may have to revisit.

      2. Marion Ravenwood*

        On the capsule wardrobe note, I recommend checking out The Anna Edit blog/YouTube channel – her style is very ‘classic’ but also quite relaxed (lots of jeans and patterned shirts), and she has lots of videos on how she puts her capsule wardrobe together, so that could be worth a look.

    3. WellRed*

      following. I’m sick of mine too and would live to cultivate more of a look, with an eye toward a work uniform. Why is it so difficult to find what I want? (ie, good quality, comfortable black pants that have some length to them).

      1. Grace Less*

        I often see Eileen Fisher marked down at Nordstrom Rack, so OP might be able to pick up a few pieces there within her budget.

        1. Ranon*

          Poshmark is also a great place to pick up pieces if there’s a specific brand you’re looking for.

    4. fposte*

      I really like Catsaber’s advice here. Even if you don’t love what you’ve got, you mind some items more than others. Can you figure out what that difference is? Can you think of what would make the okay stuff more than okay to you? I think the not buying aspirationally lesson is a big one that I never learn quite as thoroughly as I’d like, but I’m a lot better than I used to be. I also don’t buy for “nutritional” reasons–my wardrobe doesn’t have to have a balanced diet of color, and it’s actually a lot easier to deal with if it’s more limited. However, you could also think about why you want that bright color or print. Could you get what you want from it in a scarf or a belt rather than a whole top?

      I will also, as a list-y person, put in a plug for the Stylebook app, which was first recommended to me on here. That’s an image-based list of what’s in my wardrobe, category by category. That was useful 1) in a Marie Kondo kind of way where I had to consider everything I owned in a category and note which stuff I liked and which I found I didn’t and 2) because it will *suggest combinations for you*. That is freaking brilliant. I can say “Oh, wow, no, not with those shoes” and swap in other shoes, but it’s still a sweater/scarf combination I wouldn’t have thought of, and then I can keep it as an outfit that I like in the app and just lay the stuff out the night before whenever I want it.

      If there’s stuff you don’t wear, like scarves, because you’re unsure of how you want to wear them, look at the internet and pick one that you know you’ll do. Feel free to pre-knot scarves or pre-pin pins the night or weekend before (I have a colleague who keeps her pins on the same sweaters all season, in fact).

      I will also do two big plugs: for tailoring and for buying online. Yes, that can add another expense line in both cases, but tailoring is going to broaden your choices and make them fit you better, and buying online will also broaden your choices and let you consider what you think about this item in what would be its natural habitat of your home. I found that once I sharpened my online-shopping skills it got me much better clothes than brick and mortar, because I didn’t have to make a decision in five minutes in a fluorescent-lit dressing room or else haul myself across town to return it.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        Grr, Stylebook is iOS only. If anyone has a recommendation for an Android alternative…(also off to google).

        1. Annie Moose*

          I’ve heard good things about YourCloset on Android, but I haven’t used it myself.

        1. fposte*

          Yelp and word of mouth. I’m not in a large city so there weren’t a ton of options. IMHO the ones associated with cleaners are a mixed lot–I’ve had some really bad luck there. Independent shops that advertise as doing wedding stuff are probably where I’d start, because they usually have to be pretty capable.

          I also started with simple hemming and then moved on to more complex alterations when I got more confident about working with them; I’d take, say, a jacket to them still with tags on and ask whether they could get rid of the poof on the back and shorten the sleeves and what it would cost. If it was too much, I’d return the jacket; if it wasn’t, I’d start the process right there to avoid the dread “I’m totally taking this in to be tailored!” delay.

    5. The Other Dawn*

      I need to follow this thread. I’m in the same boat in terms of my work clothes. I just started a new job and really didn’t have any good business clothing left. I went out and bought a bunch of stuff I like with almost no thought as to how it all fits together. Bought a bunch of tops I like, including shells, some random cardigans and a few skirts. That led to several mornings the last couple weeks where I tried on several different things and they just didn’t look right together. And, of course, I didn’t bother to do this the night before so I was running late. now I have all these clothes I like, but no idea how to put together an outfit.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        I have this problem too – historically I have shopped by occasion (I have nothing I feel like wearing to Thing, go buy entire new outfit) or on impulse without considering how the shiny new thing fits in with the rest of my clothes (this is where the aspirational shopping tends to get me). I really think I would do better with a more mindful, ongoing capsule-style approach.

    6. JKP*

      I’m also enjoying this thread. I’m wondering how to build a wardrobe that crosses the different categories. Like I have a pretty good business wardrobe for work, but then at home just jeans and t-shirts. I would aspire to build the kind of wardrobe where pieces can mix and match for different levels of dressiness so I look a little more put together in my off hours.

    7. Rezia*

      I only just figured out my wardrobe after about 5 years of on-and-off wishing I had more of a style, and here are my tips…
      1. Don’t feel pressured to do it all at once – you’ll likely waste money on things you think you like or think you should like, then hang on to those pieces way too long because you just bought them. Let your closet evolve over time, only letting in new things that work towards your style/are needed/are loved, while throwing out stuff you never wear even if you think you should wear them. (Like Catsaber, I used to think I should like button down shirts. Kept buying them and never wearing them. Now I don’t own them and it’s great.)
      2. I figured out what colours I liked by going through old photos and putting all the ones where I thought I looked good in one album. It turns out that I always gravitate to the same set of gem/forest colours. So now when I am clothes shopping, I focus on those colours and ignore all the brights and pastels. Over time my wardrobe has become more cohesive.
      3. Spend money on: 1 coat, 1 blazer/lightweight jacket, a few pairs good shoes (for me it’s 1 pair flats, 1 pair low heels and 1 pair boots). These should be things you love and make you feel great. Also, once you find a pair of jeans you love, get multiples. I have thrown out many pairs of pants and just have 3 pairs of my favourite jeans that I wear all the time.
      4. Style doesn’t just come from patterns and colors – it also comes from good fit. That means tailoring, or it can mean accessories like a belt. My major realization this year was that adding a belt to my work ensembles made them look so much more put together (I was suddenly getting compliments from my coworkers when I was wearing exactly what I had worn all year… plus a belt.) It helped to define my waist and make the fit look sharper. Jewelry can also help to add some style to an otherwise very basic ensemble.

      To be more specific if it’s helpful to you, here’s how my wardrobe breaks down: (I’m about 30)
      Work (which is smart casual): EITHER knee length dress + black tights + blazer or nice cardigan OR dark jeans + blouse/shell + blazer or nice cardigan. The dress/blouse/shell are almost always gem tones, and plain without a pattern…. + a scarf in the same color family that DOES have a pattern. In the summer, when I don’t want a scarf, I will make sure I have a necklace that provides some visual interest. The blazer/cardigan are always black.
      Social: honestly… a lot of the same as work, minus the blazers. I also wear more dresses that are longer and look “softer” and more feminine. But again, mostly single color and I let a scarf do the work of bringing in a pattern.

      Earlier on when I was working on this, I also tried to come up with words to describe what I wanted, to guide my shopping. I came up with: clean lines, neat, pleasant on the eyes but not attracting attention. That might sound boring to you, but it has worked for me so far. (“Neat” to me means both not fussy- no frills or ruffles, but also more body hugging – obviously not “bodycon” style but not drapey or boxy. My jeans are straight and I often have a belt to mark my waist/think about how a dress will work with my waist.)

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      Would it be worth looking at a personal shopper? Ones based in department stores or shopping centres (as opposed to those linked to just a particular store – although if there’s a certain brand whose style you like that could also be worth looking at) will have the most choice. In general, most of the ones in the UK don’t charge unless you buy something. They’ll then go through what you like or what you want to look like, and bring you a bunch of different stuff to try on, and you can then feed back what you do/don’t like about it to help them narrow it down. Even if you don’t buy anything, that could be a good way to get some inspiration and try some different things with someone who’s objective.

    9. cat socks*

      I like blog Putting Me Together. I’ve found lots of practical posts for wardrobe capsules and outfit ideas for business casual.

    10. Annie Moose*

      Another blog you might find interesting is Style Bee (stylebee.ca). If you look under her “Closet Missions”, there’s a number of posts dealing with figuring out what your style is, how to make your closet reflect your style, etc. The Define and Streamline Toolkit is a workbook which has a bunch of the worksheets/information she’s put together, and most pages in it have a dedicated post on the blog if you dig around.

      1. Chicago Anon*

        And The Vivienne Files. She has guidelines for capsule wardrobes, ways to figure out your style (crisp or drapey?), how to use a favorite piece of art as the inspiration for your clothing, various concepts such as the 5-piece wardrobe for adding color to a neutral base. Highly recommend!

    11. Arjay*

      This is probably something you either love or hate, but I subscribe to the Gwynnie Bee rental service. Unlike some of the shopping boxes where you try things on and choose what you buy, this is a true rental subscription similar to Netflix DVD. You pick garments for your virtual closet and subscribe to a plan – I think you can get a free trial for 3 items at a time for a month – and they’ll ship you items from your closet. Wear them as much as you like and return them, without any commitment. If you hate something, send it back immediately and they’ll send you something else. If you love something, there is an option to purchase it for keeps. Even if you don’t subscribe long-term, it might help you to wear a bunch of stuff to help determine what you want your stile to be.

  37. Never*

    Does anyone have experience using AAA travel services/agents? I’ve been a member my whole life but we were always broke so we never used their travel services. Do I just make an appointment and say “Find me stuff to do in X place.”? Any hidden costs?

    1. Ali G*

      I haven’t used AAA services, but my husband and I are booking a big trip this summer and we just hired a travel agent. Something we did not know is – you don’t pay them! They get commission from the places they book for you (so airlines, hotel, etc.).
      And yeah we were pretty much like, this is the timing of our trip, this is how much time we have and here are things we like and don’t like, and she is suggesting things for us to do. It’s great! Never going back for big trips.

      1. Dan*

        FYI, you do have to keep an eye out for conflicts of interest. When people are paid on commission, it’s only natural to steer clients towards higher commission paying activities.

        The flip side is, if you don’t know what you’re doing, and want a professional’s advice, it ain’t gonna be free (nor should it.)

        1. Ali G*

          The cost to us is the same whether we did it ourselves or through her. So if we book a cruise through the website, the cruise line makes the extra money. If she books for us, it costs the same, but she gets the commission.
          I get what you are saying, but prices are pretty standard and we have a budget. As long as she doesn’t get us to try to double our budget or anything, I’d rather her get the commission than pay her a fee or by the hour or something.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Yeah, SO many benefits for complex trips to working with an agent. Rebooking is a huge one — I always book international trips with the travel agent from my hometown, and obviously in almost 20 years of international travel you’re going to encounter hiccups, so on the occasions when I’ve had cancellations, overbooked flights, missed connections, etc., HE is always the one who directly handles rebooking (and usually is able to avoid fees because he is an agent). I’ve never had to stand in one of those verkakte airport rebooking lines.

    2. Llellayena*

      I used them to book my overseas flights to Morocco, but the rest of the tour planning I did myself. I was very happy with what they did for me. I live by their guidebooks when I’m traveling in the US, though the local area guide websites can get you the less tourist type stuff.

  38. ThreeStars*

    I wanted some unbiased opinions on adults with plushie collections.

    I’m an adult currently living with my parents. I’m hoping to move out in the maybe-somewhat-near future, so I’ve been finding new homes for all my childhood toys to reduce what I have to take with me. I have a collection of about 20 plushies of my favorite animal. I’m having trouble thinking of giving them away because it’s still my favorite animal and I’d hate to break up a “collection” that grew over many years. But is it immature, weird, creepy, etc… for adults to have plushie collections when they move into their own home? I’d think it was a little weird if someone had a big collection of Hello Kitty or My Little Pony plushies, so I’m not sure if a regular animal collection is any better.

    1. I’m actually a squid*

      Totally (she says while clutching her 3 American Girl dolls, two of which she acquired as an adult, while sitting in front of her overwhelming large Disney plush collection.)

      In all seriousness, no, it’s not weird at all. Some people collect art or shot glasses or sports memorabilia or tools they’ll never use. Why are stuffed animals any different, really? If they bring you joy then let them!

      1. Ruffingit*

        Agreed. I have a collection of plushies and an entire home office that is themed after what is considered a kids movie. If they bring you joy, keep them!

        1. ThreeStars*

          I have no idea what movie you could use to theme a home office, but the idea sounds very fun. :)

      2. ThreeStars*

        That’s a good point that people collect all sorts of things. It’s weird how I wouldn’t think twice of someone having a huge collection of video games, action figures, Legos, diecast cars, etc. but all that stuff is toys just like plushies are! :)

    2. hermit crab*

      My husband and I have a whole bunch of plush animals – some are ours from childhood but we also like to buy them as souvenirs when we go to fun places. We have a cleaning service come in once a month and at first I was super embarrassed about the plushes, but then the cleaners started posing them – the other day I came home and the big bear who lives on our bed as a sort of extra pillow was looking up at me with his hands behind his head and his feet crossed – it was hilarious!

      1. ThreeStars*

        Posing the plushies sounds adorable!!!! I love people who can have a little bit of fun and silliness with their work. :)

      2. Jemima Bond*

        I have a knitted monkey with beans in his feet and bum (UK readers – the PG Tips/On Digital one) about the size of a large baby and my rather serious unsentimental OH has become very fond of him. Monkey is often found up to monkey business (posed by one or other of us) -recently he appeared as Monkey Cupid wearing paper wings and holding a Valentine card, reading an Army magazine and drinking a beer, and wearing wrist sweat bands and holding a compass, with a whistle in his mouth ready to go orienteering.
        So basically it’s probably fine, especially if your collection is all one identifiable animal as opposed to a collection of Disney, my little pony and Care Bears.

    3. KR*

      Not wierd at all. I have a lot for stuffed animals. I don’t even enjoy them and they live in a plastic tub in my guest room closet. It just makes me happy to have them there to hug when I want. If you’re willing to move them around it’s perfectly ok to keep them.

      1. ThreeStars*

        That’s one of the things I was actually thinking about…If I kept the collection, would I box them up and store them in a closet just to have, or would I have them sitting out on display in some way? Right now I have them spread out on my furniture and on a small bookcase in my bedroom (I have a tiny closet so absolutely no room to store them). The one bad thing about displaying them is they get dusty. I used to vacuum them a few times a year, but one time the vacuum sucked up a chunk of fur from one so I stopped. I’m not sure how to dust them aside from taking them outside and brushing them with my hands, which is annoying since there’s 20 of them.

        1. KR*

          That is the trouble with stuffed animals. I usually just hit them gently a little to knock the dust off and then i feel bad for hurting their feelings lol

        2. Not So NewReader*

          I have used a hair brush meant for babies. I have also used a damp wash cloth.
          You might be able to lower the amount of suction on the vac, too.

    4. JKP*

      I have a huge collection of dolls and stuffed animals. I put the majority of the collection in boxes wrapped in archival paper to store until I have a bigger home. But I have about the same number of favorites as you that I kept out in my place to enjoy. I have them scattered across different rooms as sort of decoration. Because they’re not all in one place, it looks fine. I think if I had them all in one spot, like stacked up on my bed, it might look a little odd that I have so many.

      1. Chaordic One*

        This is like me and my Barbie collection. I always imagined that I’d have an extra bedroom or maybe a room in the basement to display them, but as I grow older I realize that might not happen.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I went the opposite way, I had stuffed animals all over. I still have a few left. People gave them to me as an adult. I never thought anything of it. Very seldom do I see stuffed animals in other people’s homes. Oh well. You do you.

    6. TemporarilyNotLurking*

      Completely reasonable to keep them in my opinion/experience.

      I admit to having had stuffed friends living in my living room when single. Now, married with a child, we have far more. We’re also now serving as the “retirement home” for the stuffed companions of my grandparents and parents, so we have multiple generations residing in the home. Explaining that when my child says “great-grandmother’s bear” does not mean the great-grandmother’s childhood bear, but that great-grandmother got the bear later, happens regularly.

      Yes, it is possible that my family was just very accepting/warped about this.

    7. Socks*

      I don’t know any adult women who don’t have some stuffed animals in their bedrooms, and it’s about a 50/50 split on the men. Maybe this is cultural or regional, but, in my experience, this hasn’t actually been a socially unacceptable thing for quite a while. Besides the maybe-childish fact that I like to hug them, I also use some of mine as supplemental pillows, or stick them over my face if I can’t find a sleep mask- it’s actually all terribly practical. You know. Like grown-ups do.

    8. noahwynn*

      I’m a guy and I have four in my bedroom right now:
      1) The bear that my grandma bought and placed into my incubator when I was in the NICU.
      2) The glow worm I had as a child.
      3) A Teddy Ruxpin my mom purchased at a thrift store about 8 years ago for me. I always wanted one as a child and my parents couldn’t afford it then. She was so excited when she found it when I was an adult and gave it to me for my birthday.
      4) A Build-a-Bear I made last year with my niece and nephew.

      I don’t think it’s weird to have them. They live on a bookcase in my bedroom and make me smile sometimes when I see them for various reasons. If something makes you happy and isn’t hurting anyone else, there’s no reason to get rid of it to meet societal expectations or to appear normal.

        1. Grandma Mazur*

          My husband was rather bemused when I bought a Moomin at age 32

          He has slept cuddling with it so often since then that it is grey and we are contemplating buying a new one for “best”.

          I also like that it sometimes randomly appears in odd locations around the house.

    9. Elizabeth West*

      One of my friends is an artist who is married to someone who shares her fandoms (Pokemon, Disney, etc.), and their entire house is like a giant toybox. It is colorful and magical and wonderful. I don’t want them to ever change it.

      Do whatever makes you happy. It’s your home.

    10. Beatrice*

      I’m pretty no-nonsense, but I have two in my bedroom (my childhood teddy bear and a stuffed squirrel), and a laundry basket sized tub of them in the basement. I don’t play with them or want to display them, but I can’t get rid of the bunny whose poor ears I teethed on, or the stuffed cat my dad got me when I tried to con him into getting me a real cat even though he was allergic, etc.

    11. Teach*

      I know plenty of adults who have entire wardrobes and dens and basements built around the theme of a specific sports team, colors, logo, and mascot. I would not bat an eye at a shelf with a cohesive plushie collection. I might admire them and ask permission for soft squashing,though!

    1. Ruffingit*

      BEST: Getting things done I really needed to get done.

      WORST: Lack of sleep. Really need more of that.

    2. Jaid*

      Best: PTO and lucking out with dental appointments (got it done in two days!). Also the previous root canal killed the nerve.

      Worst: Crown/tooth popping out. Finding out that the root is decayed and the rest of the tooth needs to come out. Dentist manhandling me to get that done. I’m still a little sore back there, but no pain, yo!

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      BEST: Our local wine store was having a sale so we decided, on a whim, to stop in and buy a case. We’re friendly with the people who work there and I basically followed them around while they selected interesting new wines they thought I would like. I am inordinately excited about trying some of these.

      WORST: My partner’s job search remains stressful and will be for a while. I’m not handling things well and it makes me sad and stressed. I feel really alone in this, most of my friends don’t fully understand what’s going on, and the ones who have been through this are really far away.

    4. Ali G*

      BEST: Starting my pin board for my redecorating project
      WORST: I have to clean up and I have plans tonight when I’d rather spend that time working on my pin board!!

  39. StudentA*

    I love this idea!

    I’m grateful for AAM being a safe space for people to get advice from smart, mature people.
    I’m grateful my cats love me and are not aloof.
    I’m grateful for Netflix and Amazon Prime.
    I’m grateful for my curves.
    I’m grateful for coffee.
    I’m grateful for peace and quiet.

  40. Nervous Accountant*

    Does anyone ever get used to shorter a sleep schedule? Due to work, I’ve gone from 9-10 hours a night to 5-7. It’s been 2 months now but I still find myself so exhausted. I find myself not having any energy on the weekends to do anything. I really would love to be able to continue to wake up early during the week so I can start exercising before work like i used to and just be used to less sleep.

    1. Ruffingit*

      When I had to make changes like this to my sleep schedule, I found ways to nap. It helped me a lot. I would nap in my car on my lunch hour or catch 30 minutes at the end of the day before starting the evening shift of my work or whatever. It’s hard. I feel you.

    2. Dr. Anonymous*

      What you get used to is being exhausted. Is there anything else at home you can drop so you can get some sleep!

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        The only thing I could possibly drop is grocery shopping for now, which my husband is picking up the slack on. Thank goodness for him. I’ve stopped cooking and socializing for the time being. It is only 4 more weekends, so maybe it is just b/c of work. Everyone at work is tired and cranky. But I really would like to continue to wake up early but use that time for going to the gym, like I used to be able to.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      UGH I don’t have sleep schedule changes well at all! I had to change my schedule only slightly since starting my new job two weeks ago and I feel like I’ve gone through a three-hour time change. I only have to get up about 15 minutes earlier than I did before in order to get there at the same time (7:30), but for some reason I’m having the hardest time managing it. I want to be out of the driveway by 7 am and I only made it one day. It tends to be 7:10, which was when I was leaving for my old job to be there by 7:30.

      Once I finish making a home gym, my hope is that I can be up early enough to work out, but I’m not sure I can make it happen. Although, I sometimes have an easier time when I have to get up and hour earlier versus 15 minutes earlier.

    4. Lilysparrow*

      Everybody’s personal sleep requirement is unique, but there is a hard limit on your personal minimum of sleep, just like there’s a hard limit on the number of calories you need before you start to starve.

      So, no. If you are below your personal threshold of sleep, you won’t “adjust.” You’ll just start accumulating long-term damage.

      You may acclimate to the feeling of exhaustion and forget what feeling normal is like. But you won’t get a “second wind” or bounce back unless you start getting the amount of sleep your body requires.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        . I really wish I wasn’t like this and didn’t need 9-10+ hours. I know 7 is a lot for most people, but some go on 6 and are happy. I’m tired of feeling tired and lethargic on my one day off. 2-3 years ago I used to wake up at 5 am and exercise and then go to work, and I did well on that. Things happened and I stopped. Maybe once the work hours get back to normal things will be better.

        1. Dr. Anonymous*

          You need what you need. My boyfriend needs 9-10 as well, and life is better (and his work gets done faster anyway) if he gets it. I find it too, for me. I need 7 and a half (lucky for me) but if I get 6 and a half, it takes me MORE than an hour longer to finish up at work. And I’m probably not very nice. Sleep! Chances are, you’ll get the time back in efficiency and smarts.

          1. valentine*

            You need what you need.
            Be kind to yourself. Perhaps you’ll need to reset your expectations and change your schedule. Can you get time in your workday to go to the gym or to walk? (I am assuming you are too tired after work.)

            If possible, get groceries delivered and embrace frozen meals.

        2. Arts Akimbo*

          I’m a 9-10 hours person, too. I so wish I could go on less, but I just feel tired and damaged if I try. You’re not alone out there! Try to be kind to yourself.

      2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        +1; and it is a truth I refused to admit for a long time.
        for years I had very short nights (4-6) thinking I was getting more done. But my depression and work showed it. (I didn’t realize this). Once I got more sleep consistently, I got back my brain and thinking skills, and my mood improved. I was also able to have some additional self-control/good habits, that I didn’t when I was running on empty.
        Life currently is not working out for me on good sleep (I have nightmares and insomnia right now) but it will eventually relent as the grief does. So I do plan to be back to my 8 hours of real sleep soon.
        Don’t dismiss the value of the sleep “you” need by comparing to others… hug.

    5. Nita*

      Yes. I’ve been sleeping much less than I need for several years. It’s done a number on my looks, and at this point I think it would take months of decent sleep to feel like myself, but I’m still able to enjoy life most days and my mind mostly works as it should – so, good enough. I’ve gotten good at napping on public transit. I also accidentally found out that sleep deprivation is easier to handle if I take a vitamin D supplement.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I know, it’s amatter of wanting to enjoy life. I was prescribed Vit D but I’ve fallen behind, maybe I need to start that, though I never felt any different.

    6. JKP*

      This might just be me, but I’ve noticed that it’s just as much about *when* I sleep as *how much* I sleep. I can get far less sleep and still feel great if I stay up later and sleep later. The earlier I get up in the morning, the more sleep my body needs. So if I’m on a work schedule where I have to get up at 6 or 7am every day, I might need 9 hours of sleep to do that. But if I don’t have to be up until 10am, I feel just as good with only 6 hours of sleep.

      When I got a fitbit and tracked my sleep, I noticed that no matter what time I went to sleep, I didn’t get much deep sleep until after 4 or 5 am. So the later I slept in the morning, the more deep sleep I got. And how much sleep I needed was really more about getting a certain amount of deep sleep than total sleep.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I am wondering if this might work for me…I usually go to sleep at 10-11 (depending on when I get home) and wake up at 5. I’d try 12-7 but then I wouldnt’ be able to go to the gym before work (after and during work isn’t an option right now).

        1. JKP*

          Do you have a fitbit? Maybe try tracking your sleep for a week or so and see when you are hitting most of your deep sleep and build your schedule around that. See how much of each type of sleep you need to feel rested. I noticed that for me, I needed a certain amount of deep sleep, but the light sleep and rem sleep didn’t matter as much.

          Also, I noticed that I felt the most exhausted all day if I woke abruptly from a deep sleep by an alarm in the morning. So I got a sunrise clock that wakes me up gradually with light for about 15 min before going off, so I’m never jolted out of a deep sleep.

          1. The Other Dawn*

            I have a Fitbit. How do you know where your REM sleep is? All I see is the graph showing awake, restless, and asleep.

            1. JKP*

              Hmm. I don’t know much about fitbit. Maybe different models have different abilities. Mine tracks heartrate and the app shows the time I’m awake, rem sleep, light sleep, and deep sleep. It also has a graph showing my depth of sleep over time, so I can see when I was in each phase. I don’t know how accurate it is based on the science, but I know that it does seem to match my subjective experience of my sleep. For me, the magic number to have enough sleep is 1.5 hours deep sleep. I can feel great on 6 hours a day if I time it right to get that 1.5 hours deep sleep. If I time it wrong, I might need 9 hours sleep to get that 1.5 hours deep sleep.

              1. The Other Dawn*

                OK thanks! I’ll have to poke around the Fitbit website and see if I can find something. I don’t remember if I bought the one with the heart rate monitor, so maybe that’s part of the difference.

    7. Valancy Snaith*

      Are you taking in a lot of caffeine? I’m a barista, so I regularly am up at 4am 3-5 times per week, and the biggest single thing to defeat new early risers is the caffeine cycle: wake up super early, mainline a ton of caffeine, crash in the afternoon, take in more caffeine, be unable to sleep well, wake up early, start over again. If you can, kicking caffeine entirely is a huuuuuge help in having more energy. I average about 6 1/2-7 hours per night on work nights and by avoiding caffeine (or the vast majority of it–maybe 1 cup of tea first thing in the morning) and taking in tons of water, I have the energy to work a full day and exercise and do chores and sleep better at night.

      1. Nervous Accountant*

        I usually have 1 coffee/americano in the morning. I avoid drinking anything after 1 pm (aside from water). If I do drink anything it’s decaf coffee or decaf tea.

    8. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’d say you get used to it, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily something you can do long-term. I cut my sleep schedule from 8-9 hours down to 5-6 when I started doing my side hustle, and whilst I was managing on the amount of sleep I got I was definitely only managing in a ‘functioning’ way. To be perfectly honest, the things that have worked have been changing day jobs which meant I could get an extra hour of sleep in the morning, cutting back on how much work I do for the side hustle so I’m not out every night, and trying to fit in exercise during the day or after work (my gym membership lets me go to classes at other branches for free, so sometimes if I have a gig I’ll go to a class nearby beforehand). In my previous job, when I could work from home, that was a massive help too especially during busy periods – is that something that’s possible for you at all?

    9. LCL*

      I have worked with people who claimed to only need 5 hours of sleep. You could tell when they weren’t getting enough sleep, they would be short tempered and a bit slower than normal.

  41. I’m actually a squid*

    Our kitten gets spayed this coming week and I’m nervous. Our other two came to us pre-fixed so this is my first time dealing with this. And I learned from boy-cat’s tooth extraction last year that I do not handle the drop-off at the vet well. I held it together while there but cried on the way home. I just hate the thought of her therealone, terrified by all the strange people and smells. Any tips for the both of us?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Been through this several times with my dogs. It’s so hard. Best thing to do is ask when is the earliest you can pick up your kitten so you know when you will see her next. Also, if they want to keep her overnight, ask if you can come visit after the surgery. I did that with my baby and it helped us both I think.

      1. I’m actually a squid*

        Thank you! My response to you seems to have jumped to tangerineRose’s comment So I won’t repeat it but thank you, that helps!

    2. tangerineRose*

      Remind yourself that this is the right thing to do for your kitty and give yourself some slack to feel how you feel.

      1. I’m actually a squid*

        Thank you! I’ll ask about pickup times. With boy-cat I had to work and barely made it to pickup before the vet closed. This time it’s on my day off so that’s comforting. It’s also comforting to know I’m not alone in worrying about my fur buddies.

        1. I’m actually a squid*

          (That was supposed to be a reply to Ruffingit, hence the talk about pickup times). To tangerineRose: thank you! Yes, it’s right and I’m actually still miffed that they couldn’t spay her a month-and-a-half ago when she went in for an eye injury. But our vet is firm on waiting until they’re 6 months old and she’s just there now. I really hate the anticipation.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Yeah, I hate the anticipation too. Last time I adopted, I went to a kitty adoption place that already has them “fixed” before they let the kitties be adopted, but they aren’t always easy to find.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      I told myself that my critter would pick up on my fear so I needed to role-model confidence.
      Sometimes the vets will call to let you know surgery is done and all is well.

      Teach your kitty about strangers. Have her meet friends and get used to different people around. This won’t help for this vet visit but it will help in the future.

      1. I’m actually a squid*

        When she was tiny (a friend found her at 5-weeks old in the middle of the road with a badly injured tail) I’d take her to our game night and she’d happily play with everyone. Then work got busy and I got sick and she had an eye infection… so two weeks ago I finally took her again and she PANICKED anytime she saw people. I spent most of the night with her in a back room, waiting until she was calm and tired and then took her a little closer to others until she signaled she was not ok. We made it to the gaming table and she was ok until anyone moved or talked too loud. Sigh. Then we had a friend over to our house and that was another adventure in Scary Strangers. I wasn’t expecting this cat to be my timid one – she’s otherwise fearless. I’ll keep socializing the little stinker. Thanks!

      2. Aurora Leigh*

        With both my cats, I asked what time they would be out of surgery, so I could call the office and make sure they were all right.

        I think the techs might have thought I was a little overprotective, but they humored me. :)

        1. Mellow*

          Ha! I do the same – hover, I guess would be the word – but my vet’s office also is very patient with that sort of thing.

          As I age, I’ve learned not to care. Those are my babies and the world will just have to deal with my hovering. :)

    4. Elizabeth B*

      As stated by others, you are doing the right thing. I believe people who work at a vet’s office love animals (often a lot more than they like people). She’ll probably be spoiled by attention. Be kind to yourself and cuddle with the others while she is gone.
      Our little girl recovered so quickly – I was amazed. She went in on a Thursday and we picked her up on Friday afternoon. It was laparoscopic surgery so the incision was minuscule. We were supposed to keep her from running around, etc.
      We planned to keep her away from her two much bigger “brothers” by keeping her in one room. We made the mistake of opening her travel box before closing the door. She popped out and immediately ran out of the room and up the stairs to find her brothers. We did separate them at bedtime that first night. After that it was back to normal.
      The other two had to do some major sniffing when she returned – she was nice and clean (she had been abandoned and was still learning to groom herself so it was greatly appreciated).
      Good luck to all of you!

    5. Damn it, Hardison!*

      One of the many nice things my local emergency vet (shout out to VCA Weymouth, MA!) does is send a picture of my cat when she’s there overnight. They text a pic and brief update early in the morning (like 6:30), and then call a few hours later when she’s been seen again by the vet. Don’t feel shy about calling to check in, either. I’m sure your vet expects it.

    6. Kate*

      It’s probably too late for this to get to you but one thing I always did whenever I had to drop my cats off at the vet was include a well worn sweater or sweatshirt of mine in the carrier and ask that they keep it in their cage overnight. Everyone was always more than happy to do so and it made me feel better to think that my kitty would be able to smell a familiar smell in the strange new place.

  42. Anne (with an “e”)*

    Ugh… I just returned from my appointment with H&R Block. State + IRS + H&R Block fee = $2,200. On the one hand I’m glad that I have it. On the other hand, Huge Ugh….

    1. annakarina1*

      I owed a lot too for federal and state, plus having to pay quarterly taxes. It sucks, and I have the money for it, but it’s a drag.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      Yup. It sucks. That happened to me several years ago due to having to cash out my 401k (the 401k was under $10,000) and some other things, plus having to suddenly do more forms than usual. This year I’m getting back $600 from the state, but paying $840 to the IRS. Plus the software and filing fees were $180. So, net loss. :/

      I’m sorry to hijack, but since it’s tax-related…anyone know how the sale of a house would be treated? Is it income? We’re trying to sell out old house, which is rented out at the moment (actually we took it off the market temporarily while we give the tenant notice to move out–I posted last week that showings have become quite a debacle). We’re hoping and praying it sells, but it will very likely be at a loss, maybe $15,000 if we’re lucky. Just curious what that would look like for next year’s taxes.

      1. fposte*

        If you Google “tax sale of rental property” you should find a good IRS page on this–a loss would either be an ordinary loss or a capital loss depending on whether your rental rises to the level of a business or not. You’ll also want to check “tax exclusion sale of house” to see if you qualify–IIRC you haven’t been resident in the house enough, but check in case I’m wrong.

      2. Enough*

        This is considered an investment and any profit comes under capital gains. You subtract all expenses related to selling, certain other costs and original cost from selling price. But as it has been a rental there are other considerations like depreciation that you could have/should have been accounting for annually. Would probably be a good idea to talk to an accountant with experience in this area.

      3. Margaret*

        Was the house your residence at some point? That can also have some implications, primarily in a loss situation it can limit the loss to only the amount that it’s lost value since it became a rental. Definitely worth considering a professional tax preparer for the year of a sale to make sure it’s all handled properly.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          It became a rental in August 2014.

          Yes, I definitely plan on having a tax pro do my taxes next year. I’m just starting to wonder how this sale would affect us.

          1. Margaret*

            General points to keep in mind:
            1. As a rental, you should be depreciating the cost each year. So to determine that you have a loss, make sure you’re considering basis less depreciation you’ve taken, and that net amount is what you deduct from the expected proceeds (also less selling expenses), to determine gain/loss.
            2. Unless you have a lot of rentals, this is most likely a capital gain or loss. A loss can offset other capital gains, but then if you still have a net loss you can only deduct $3,000 each other. The remainder will carry forward (to offset capital gains in a future year or deduct another $3,000 each year) – but you can’t just use the full $15k capital loss to offset any type of income.
            3. Theoretically, depending on cost versus value at the time it became a rental, the loss might not all be related to it being a rental, and therefore might not all be deductible. E.g. (ignoring the depreciation aspect and selling expenses for simplicity): If you bought it for $300k and used as your house. It had gone down in value to $295k when you made it a rental. Now you’re selling it for $285k. In total that’s a $15k loss. But the first $5k of it happened while it was your residence. So only the $10k that you’ve lost since it became a rental is deductible. The rest would be nondeductible (because a loss if it was only your residence, had never been a rental, isn’t deductible).

  43. Saradactyl*

    Anyone have experience with bonded cats going through periods of time where they seem like they don’t like each other?
    I have two almost two year old kitties, a brother and sister, adopted at the same time. Boy cat was on an anxiety medication for almost a year that really quieted his personality and during this time girl cat was definitely the alpha. Boy is now off medication and is back to being boisterous, vocal, playful, and high-energy, while girl has retreated back into being much more reserved. She doesn’t seem anxious or unhealthy, she’s just quieter and less…everything, especially in comparison to my boy cat.
    For the past couple of weeks I’ve picked up on her being more or less just “done with his shit”. They still play together a good amount (wrestling, chasing, etc) but they don’t groom each other or sleep together like they used to, and if he gets too close to her in “her space” she swats him away and hisses at him more often than not. I don’t see her exhibiting any signs of actual stress by him, she just looks over it.
    Normal? Cause for concern? Keep an eye on it?

    1. fposte*

      I think it’s both normal and “keep an eye on it.” His behavior is different and he probably even smells different, so she’s starting from near-scratch with him. You could try Feliway to provide a little soothing, but in the meantime I’d just make sure they don’t have to compete for high-value stuff like perches, toys, litterbox access, or treats, and that locations have an exit as well as an entrance so she can’t get blocked in by him when she’s hoping for a little peace.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Agreed. Sounds to me like the female kitty is communicating her boundaries right now. It will probably get easier as they get used to each other again.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      It’s pretty normal. I had two sisters that were very bonded and then one day they weren’t. We don’t know why. It just happened. I was a little sad about it since they were always sleeping and hangout out together.

      Sometimes it’s because one of them is sick, or there was a big change in the house, like a new pet or a move, and one of them doesn’t cope well. It could even be one had an extended stay at the vet. I agree with fposte, though, to keep an eye on it for anything that might suggest sickness. Doesn’t hurt to do that.

    3. Rebecca*

      I think that’s fairly normal. My two are half brother and sister, same age (same tomcat, different mothers) and they grew up together from birth with 7 other siblings. They are the last of each litter, and they’re 6 years old now. The female cat is bigger and heavier than her brother, but he is an instigator. She tolerates his swatting and wrestling for a time, then she hisses and bats him heavily about the head and he stops. They never really hurt each other, and for some reason, he’s slow to “get the picture”.

    4. WS*

      Normal, but to help her adjust you could make sure she has more places she can go to get away from him if she wants – small boxes, high up spots she can easily defend, more than one sleeping place so she doesn’t have to share.

  44. I Work on a Hellmouth*

    Today I get to go to Nearby More Fun City and see Hamilton! I am stoked! I’m going in (mostly) cold, but expect to come out super happy (and probably with visions of all sorts of awesome coats that I’ll want to sew in spite of not really needing so many coats where I live). Then tomorrow I’ll be whipping up more leggings (sewists, the Helen’s Closet Avery pattern is AWESOME, fyi, it’s got a gusset and the rise is amazing and there is a killer super high waisted view) while daydreaming and putting a million new projects in my inspiration journal. Folks who have seen Hamilton: How much of a treat am I in for? Crafty, sewing, and fine arts peeps: How much inspiration do you typically draw from things like shows, books, movies, comics, and the like? I find that I make and love the most are pretty heavily influenced by pop culture (even if I’m the only one who can see the connection between the garment and the inspiration).

    1. Persephone Mulberry*

      It is amaaaaaazing. I wasn’t into the hype until a friend offered me an extra ticket and now I’m a huge fan.

      That said, I am so, so glad I listened to the soundtrack a few times first because it moves FAST and already knowing the lyrics/story left me with more mental space for appreciating the acting and choreography.

      1. Lizabeth*

        Second getting the soundtrack to listen to…it’s was an education to listen to it and appreciate the word play going on. Great driving music!

        1. Kathenus*

          I’m currently OD’ing on my Hamilton soundtrack in the car! I absolutely loved it, and hope to see it again when it comes back here next year. I hadn’t listened to the soundtrack first but had seen (and re-watched) the performances from the Tony and Grammy awards, as well as the version Lin-Manuel Miranda did at the White House poetry jam years earlier – all are Google-able to watch. I also now have the book called Hamilton – The Revolution – lots of back story on how it was written, including song lyrics and their inspirations, how some cast members were hired, etc. A fascinating read and now each time I listen to a song after reading about it I get it on such a deeper level. Have a great time.

          1. I Work on a Hellmouth*

            Thanks for the tips! That book sounds like the kind of thing I really love, I’ll probably have to check it out.

        2. I Work on a Hellmouth*

          Guess we’ll be listening to the soundtrack during the drive over! Thanks, y’all!

    2. Weegie*

      I’m inspired by late Victorian/Edwardian clothes in costume dramas (especially BBC stuff). Jackets with frog closures and high collars: or any button detail, basically.

  45. Justin*

    I have a stats midterm tuesday and I’m a little scared. I understand all the concepts (except maybe one), but I’m nervous I’ll just literally type in numbers wrong so I will need to slow down to avoid silly mistakes.

    I haven’t taken a math exam for credit since high school (I guess the GRE, but that was standardized). I used to get anxious in school for tests even when I was confident. So I’m just anxious.

    Just venting. My doctoral studies (in education) are going very well thus far, and if I can get through this class without bombing I should feel confident for everything else, since I plan to focus on qualitative studies really, and thus I probably won’t take Stats Level 2 later.

    1. WellRed*

      I suck at math, but the one thing I remember about statistics, at least the basic ones, is they follow a formula. Take it step by step. you’ll be fine.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        That’s how my stats prof in grad school (for business) taught us. He emphasized over and over that if you just follow the steps, you will get to the answer. He even let us take a crib sheet into our exams and suggested we write down the steps.

  46. WellRed*

    I’ve been summonsed to lunch today with my aunt who has “some things she’d like to discuss.” This is very unusual for her. She even named the restaurant. She is single, no kids. I hope she’s not sick. Maybe she’s finally sorting out financial planning and wishes (something she oddly never did despite usually being practical and frugal, but my mom has gently been pushing her to do (my dad died 3 years ago so we saw how much that helped). I already had a big change announcement at work this week, so feeling more off-kilter than usual at the prospect of news.

    1. WellRed*

      Ok, she needed to ask me to be her representative if she’s ever not in a position to advocate for herself medically. She was all worked up about asking, but I was like, of course. I an totally comfortable with that.
      She’s also having me sign some other paperwork so that I am an official user/beneficiary on her accounts and to ease things should she need someone to take over bill paying or some such. This is all good, IMO. And, whew! She had me worried there.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Thanks for the update. Sounds like she’s being thoughtful and responsible, and it sounds like you’re a very loving relative.

      2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        An important question to ask as a health care proxy is, “What quality of life would you find acceptable?”

        I find most people are willing to “do everything” if they get back to their previous level of functioning. Unfortunately, in most serious medical events, returning to your previous level of functioning isn’t possible.

        For example:
        – does she need to eat or is a feeding tube acceptable?
        – if she is bedbound but can watch TV and read, is that acceptable?
        – if she has to be a in nursing home long term is that acceptable?
        – if she has memory/cognitive problems but her life is otherwise pleasant, is that acceptable?
        – would a tracheostomy be acceptable?

        I finding easier to frame what one is willing to live with (and it varies for everyone) rather than what one is willing to do short term.

  47. My Nail Beds Suck*

    Does anyone know a reliable place to do research on liposuction and the results? My weight has stayed the same most of my life and I’m generally pretty happy with my body except for my thighs which I’ve hated since I was in high school. I’m 30 now, with a little money in the bank, and am considering this but I really have no idea where to start on research and making the decision if this is something I want to do. Thanks in advance for help, support and no judgement :)

    1. The Other Dawn*

      No judgment here! Do what you need to do to feel good about yourself. If you can afford, why not do it? Who cares what others think anyway?

      I’d say to start looking up plastic surgeons in your area and schedule a consultation with them. They’ll tell you what they’ll do, probably suggest other areas for improvement, and then work up an estimate. From what I can remember, some places will charge a consultation fee; however, if you go ahead with the surgery they will deduct it from the bill. Since it’s lipo only, it would be an outpatient surgery with a short recovery.

      I had a tummy tuck two years ago after weight loss surgery five years ago. I had a fair amount of extra abdominal skin and separated abdominal muscles. After being morbidly obese for many years, there’s only so far skin will “snap back” into place. It was like an apron on me and they removed about 7.5 pounds of skin. My surgery included some minor lipo. Best thing I ever did for myself, other than the weight loss surgery. I’m thinking of lipo for the flank area, but it’s nearly as expensive as the tummy tuck and this would be purely cosmetic. While I’d love to do it, I don’t feel that strongly about it, although it would likely make my pants fit better.

    2. kc89*

      you can google realself and that website has tons of real people giving reviews, so you can see people who are happy with their results and people who are unhappy with it

      good luck

    3. The Man, Becky Lynch*

      Read reviews but also always arrange consultations and speak with multiple doctors when the time comes that you want to go for it. This is a huge decision to make and it’s great that you’re researching it before just going into a random surgery and take whatever doctor they have available at the time! Nothing is better than your gut feeling towards the medical provider that you’re entrusting with your surgery.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Yes, check out different doctors because they often have different techniques (although I don’t know how much difference there is with lipo), which can mean the size of the scar, pain levels, or recovery time might be different.

    4. Cool sculpting?*

      I’m with you, in a similar place body-wise. I’ve always been wary of liposuction, for no specific reason, but in general. I’ve recently been intrigued with the cool-sculpting ads I hear and am slowly trying to get myself to the place where I look more into this – not sure why it’s such a big mental hurdle but it is. So maybe check out cool sculpting as well in case it’s an option you want to look into.

    5. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      There is a pretty good forum where people rate the plastic surgeons. Real self dot com. I rated my doctor there. Look for board certification in plastic surgery, not just a “doctor” who is leasing the machine and got certified to use it.
      Also, realize that you may not come out “perfect.” If she/he tells you you will, run like the wind. You will be improved. the cellulite did not go away, and although VERY good, mine are not identical. (who knew I’d notice, and no one else notices). I was going for “better.”
      I actually had mine done as part of the skin reduction surgery, but had the lipo done 3 months before the excess skin was removed, so the skin had time to snap back a bit. I still have some excess skin and the doctor had a very good explanation for why my thighs will never look like they did when I was 12.
      But be realistic. He explained what he could- and could not- do with “my” genetic shape. Better was the goal.

    6. Susan Ryan*

      Ask the local Medical Society secretary in person who she would go to to get lipo. Don’t decide by how much someone charges. Now is not the time to scrimp. Collary is ask local Bar Society secretary who to hire for your lawyer needs. They always know the best!!!

  48. Junior Dev*

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

    I learned this week how much not having a safe space to retreat to affects me. It was my 2nd week out of a 3 week medical leave but I couldn’t spend much time in my apartment because they were doing maintenance, and not telling me anything about when it would be happening unless I really called them and hounded them about it. It affected me a lot–I didn’t sleep well and just generally felt unsafe and on edge all day.

    I worked with my therapist to identify some self-assessment and grounding exercises I can do throughout the day, and I set up the Streak app to prompt me to do them and track how much I do. I am hoping to develop this habit and keep doing it when I go back to work.

    I also started taking a new medication. It’s mostly known as an ADHD medication, but I have real mixed feelings about an ADHD diagnosis due to having to take stimulants as a kid and they really harmed me. (everyone is different and no one should feel ashamed of taking a mental health medication that works for them, this is about my experience) But this medication seems to be helping some. It’s really messed up my appetite though. I think I’m going to add reminders in Streak to eat meals and snacks.

    I’m about to move into a new apartment which is exciting but stressful. It’s more expensive than my current one and I’ll have to save money until I find a roommate, which is hard because a lot of my anxiety/depression coping mechanisms involved spending money–ordering takeout when I couldn’t cook, driving to work and paying for parking when I didn’t feel up to biking or riding transit.

    How are you doing?

    1. Red*

      I’m a mess, y’all. My 25th birthday is on Wednesday. I can’t help but think of how I tried to kill myself when I was 17 and had a plan to try again over the summer. I have a really good life now and I’m happy to be living it, but my mind is just in a dark place right now and will likely stay there until Wednesday. It’s hard to cope with this; my mind keeps going to self harm. I miss it, but I can’t, not with how my husband reacts to it. I just keep reminding myself that this is temporary and I’m glad I failed.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I’m glad you are still around.

        Do you have other coping mechanisms? I know when I’ve self harmed it’s been because I didn’t have a more effective way to deal with intense feelings.

        1. Mellow*

          I self-harmed when I was 17 due to my parents’ separation. I just felt invisible. It was a dark time.

          It seems not much time has passed between 17 and 25, Red. But I hope this helps: in 2008, I went through a severe depression that lasted about 5 years, for which I should have sought treatment but didn’t. I wasn’t suicidal, and pushed through, thankfully, but I became obese in the process and struggle with my obesity still. Nevertheless, I’m glad I got over my depression, depsite the terrible eating habits I picked up, and when occasionally I think on what I was like when I was depressed, I think how I didn’t know that person who was me, and it is sobering.

          A silver lining is that it’s the kind of experience that helps us help others in some way. Like, if anyone ever wanted to talk with me about depression, I wouldn’t talk like I’m an expert, but I would share that I should have gotten help. Etc.

          I hope you are able to enjoy your birthday. We are all in this together, and fortunately, the vast majority of us lend ourselves to be hung onto for others of us who might be suffering. There’s always a healthy and optimistic way forward, no matter how long it takes to actually get there. The Diana Ross song “Reach Out and Touch (Somebody’s Hand)” is a good mantra, whether we are doing the reaching out or need to be reached out to.

    2. AwkwardTurtle*

      Sending you positive vibes!
      I’m doing pretty good mental health wise these days. Just a little bit stressed about my job search and temporary stay at my partner’s family’s place and hoping I’m not an inconvenience to them. I learned recently that just saying my social battery is super low doesn’t communicate that I need to leave a situation soon or now. But it was hard because my brain was pretty much dead and I couldn’t express that to my partner.

      1. Junior Dev*

        I’ll often say I’m “peopled out.” But I’m lucky enough to have friends who are pretty understanding of my social anxiety to begin with.

    3. Marion Q*

      Sending good vibes to you! I feel you on the spending money coping mechanism, I do that too. What helps for me is to download spending tracker app. When I see how much I already spent this week it reminds me to not spend more.

      I started my first job this week, and I managed to act like a normal human being – I answered questions appropriately, giving appropriate social responses, and learnt the job quite quickly. I still tense up whenever I hear people talking in a low voice or laughing, afraid that they’re talking about me or laughing at me, but I’m trying the techniques my therapist gave me to handle it.

    4. StellaBella*

      Overall, am doing OK. Was staying with a friend for about 8 days, as roommate’s mom was in town. I missed my kitty. But am back now, and have had a nice weekend of no work and resting. So overall, feeling good. Good luck with the move, am hoping to move soon too. It is annoying but once you are settled you will feel better. And good luck on the rest of your medical leave, too.

  49. QueenB*

    Hey! I’m hoping to get some budgies soon! (Providing I’m not allergic) Does anyone have any? Tips, advice? Thanks!

    1. Animal worker*

      I’ve got larger birds, no budgie experience since I was a kid, but a few things to consider.

      Budgies are flock animals, I personally don’t think they do well kept alone. Many people do this because they bond with people better but since the reality is they’ll spend far more time alone than with a human in their waking hours due to the realities of most peoples’ lives, getting a pair or group is better for their social nature. You can absolutely still build a strong relationship with them if housed socially versus alone.

      Get the largest cage you can afford (make sure the bar spacing is appropriate for the species), many cages really are pretty small, even if they are the ones recommended by the breeder or store – I’ve never seen someone unhappy they got a larger one, but have definitely seen the opposite happen (including with me).

      People sometimes think that the smaller birds don’t need the same amount of attention, time out, etc. that bigger birds do but I think that the attention and time out of the cage is just as important for their well-being.

      Having a free-flighted animal in your home comes with risks, especially of things like window strikes and escape. Before you get a bird you need to consider this – do you need blinds to open to let in light but still cover the window? Do you get the same type of bird strike deterrent for your indoor bird as you might for preventing outdoor bird strikes if you want to have open curtains/blinds? Do you have kids or lots of people going in and out that could result in an escape? Do you have a screen door so that there’s a safety containment when the door is opened in case the bird flies that way (don’t assume it’ll never happen, many birds escape because people think their birds won’t do this or that they could stop them, and this is frequently a death sentence for them if they can’t be found/recaptured quickly). I’ve put screen doors, or in my current case screened porches, on all doors I’ve had even in apartments if I had an external exit, it was one of the prices I paid to have birds safely.

      Read everything you can to help make a decision, and get the birds from a reputable breeder. Check out your area to see if there’s a local parrot club that might be a resource on information.

      Birds can be great companion animals but far too often people get them (especially the bigger, very long-lived species) without really understanding how much time, attention, and money they require to give them the right life. If you do the research and they’re a good fit, go for it. Good luck.

      1. Gatomon*

        +1 My college roommate got a solo budgie and while I think he did all he could to give the bird a good life… it was desperately unhappy and took it out on us with non-stop squawking and then aggressiveness when we did interact with it, which turned into a negative feedback loop. He ended up giving it away to someone more experienced with birds, which was for the best. We were both experienced dog, cat and small animal owners, but birds are very different creatures.

    2. Jackie*

      You can teach the male budgies to talk better than the female. I had one that lived nine years and could speak clearly. It takes time to teach your bird but so worth it.

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Don’t keep them in your bedroom! Google bird fanciers lung. I don’t think there are any stats on the exact risk of developing this but it freaks me out. Maybe wear a N95 respirator (think you can buy at a hardware store) when you clean the cage?

    4. Mellow*

      Make sure your cage(s) aren’t near any air vents or cats.

      (Sorry, Minnie and Kiwi – I should have been more careful. I miss you both).

    5. Beatrice*

      I had them as a child. I remember that mine loved strawberries, basil leaves, grated carrot, and lettuce leaves as treats. They’d stain their feathers with all of the above, but they really obviously enjoyed them immensely.

  50. Lizabeth*

    Ugh! After a certain age, I expected not to have problems with pimples anymore. But…my chin seems to be having issues with the kind of the deep, red and painful type that may or may not come to the surface. Any suggestions? I’m already washing my pillow covers more often and washing the affected areas more often (oily skin) but what else?

    1. Gatomon*

      30 with acne here. I struggled with just the kind you’re talking about. Not much you can do about them once they form unless they turn into a whitehead and pop. If that does happen for me, I’ll apply antibacterial cream to it and that kills the infection off quick. But it’s useless unless the zit opens.

      The only thing that really works for my face at this point to prevent zits is a gentle wash and moisturizing 2x per day. I use Neutregena’s Ultra Gentle washes and a really thick lotion made by Vasoline that is super moisturizing, which is less gross than straight petroleum jelly on your face. OTC acne creams and powerful scrubs and washes irritate my skin which leads to more acne for me. I got my first zits around 9 – 10 so decades of use has really sensitized me to all the conventional stuff.

      Stuff that contains retinol A has sort of worked for me in the past. I think this is basically Differin now which is OTC (never tried myself), but you can also find it in some high end antiwrinkle creams. I did try Accutane but it took forever to work and I didn’t tolerate it well. I did go from moderate facial acne to rare facial acne now if I keep up with my skin regimen. Body acne is back but oh well.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Do you wear scarves? Maybe a jacket that you zip all the way up to your chin? My chin always breaks out in the winter for those reasons and I try to wash them as regularly as I can. Try applying some toner after you wash. I sympathize– I’m 40, got my first zit at 9 and apparently never looked back. I even use anti-aging acne cleanser! (From Murad, I really love it, wish it weren’t so pricey.)

    3. NicoleK*

      It may be hormonal acne. The only thing that worked for me was a prescription. My other suggestion would be to keep your hand away from your face and make sure you’re using oil free products on your face.

    4. Kennedy*

      I recommend the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion for pimples. Dab it on before bed, leave it overnight, and the pimple usually subsides quickly.

    5. Carbovore*

      Seconding the hormonal acne–it tends to live on the chin and jawline. See a derm or google for hormonal acne skincare…

      (I’m just now coming to this conclusion myself, so let us know what works!)

      (I’ve always had pimples sprout on my chin, particularly around my menstrual cycle, but now that my endometriosis is revealing itself, my hormones are hella out of wack and the pimples are unrelenting…. sigh!!)

      1. Lizabeth*

        I’m thinking it’s more hands, jackets, pillowcase because I’m 60…which is why I’m a little frustrated with the break outs! Just washed one jacket and will wash the other once it’s done air drying. Pillowcases are going to be done every 3 days. And I just bought some gentle acne cleanser for oily skin so we’ll see what happens.

    6. Traffic_Spiral*

      You can hang out on the r/SkincareAddiction reddit for a bit – they know all about it.

    7. coffee cup*

      I’ve had bad skin since I was about 13. I’m 35 now. It’s a lot better, but it’s not perfect, never will be, and it’s been a long, long road getting to the point where I deal with it and accept that. I find I definitely get more breakout in the days before my period, so I just expect that now. You’re right to change your pillow covers more often – it’s amazing how much a difference that makes! Also cleansing properly is really important. It made a big difference to my skin in general. I use La Roche Posay because it’s gentle, my skin cannot handle harsh products that strip the skin (like lots of acne ‘treatments’ do). I use The Ordinary products as well, and they’ve been great for me. You have to really introduce a new product slowly and carefully and don’t do 20 things to change your routine overnight, because your skin is likely to go WHAAAAAAT and freak out. I made every change individually and just waited it out. So I’d advise that too.

      I don’t know if you need to wash more often but maybe with a gentle cleanser when you do it morning and night. I totally empathise with this!

    8. AwkwardTurtle*

      Any chance you’re touching your face/chin a lot either by habit or unconsciously?

    9. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I’m in a similar boat – I sometimes get a big angry lump on my jawline or chin. I use Differin (CVS, Walgreens, Target carry it) which cuts down on the frequency, but you do have to apply regularly (it’s not a spot treatment). I’ve had good luck with BHA products from Paula’s Choice (from her website, Nordstrom or Dermastoredotcom). I use the 2% liquid on my nose, chin and jawline daily, and as a spot treatment I use the BHA 9, which I found to work really well overnight. I put it on a large painful pimple last night and it’s much smaller and not painful this morning (it also helps with lightening the spot that sometimes lingers after the pimple is gone). I personally don’t find either product drying or irritating (and my skin is on the drier side) but I seem to have a pretty high tolerance for chemical exfoliants.

    10. Dealtwiththis*

      Hoping you come back to this post to see this. Renee Roulou anti bump serum has helped immensely with this for me! The only thing I have found that works.

  51. Melina's Mansion For Campground Raccoons*

    Now for a bit of Funko Pop silliness for your weekend, Part Two:

    For those who missed Part One at the beginning of the month: https://www.askamanager.org/2019/03/weekend-free-for-all-march-2-3-2019.html#comment-2371151

    I didn’t get around to posting this last weekend, but I am happy to say that all four members of Funko Queen have arrived and are now rocking out in my apartment: https://www.use.com/Oh1S9

    Brian’s hair is so big that he needed a stand! :D Also, they should have made Roger’s eyes blue, but oh well.

    Pictures of the boxes with the cartoon drawings (three total): https://www.use.com/Oh1TA The boxes live on a shelf in my bedroom; the cartoons are way too cute for them to be thrown away.

    I once again cannot overstate how much more adorable these are in person. I squealed when I took them out of the shipping box. They make me so happy to see in my living room when I come home every day, and I beam like a little kid when I look at them. This was a purchase that, for me, was completely, 100% worth it and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Though it’s still early in the year, it’s probably my favorite purchase so far for 2019.

    Now off to put the rest of the groceries away and do dishes…

    1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      They are adorable. Family member has some (but not those). I am not showing them to him… LOL. There would be drooling!

  52. Jaid*

    My parents were thinking of going away to New York for Passover, so they could avoid the work involved in kashering the house. But Dad objects to the 7k cost of doing that, so it looks like I’m gonna have to go over and help them out. For the record, I hated doing that growing up and I’m a little annoyed with my Mom that she won’t have have her cleaner come over and at least do the deep clean of the kitchen so we can do the lighter stuff together. But she wants to keep it in the family, has memories of her grandmother doing it, and wants to honor those memories.
    On the other hand, Dad would be perfectly happy to move the regular stuff onto a table in the back room, cover it with plastic and just use paper plates/utensils/cups and get a lot of microwavable stuff from Wegmans. No family traditions there!

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Suggest they go to Miami instead?

      Sorry, I know, not helpful. I have never done a full-on chametz clearing, though I do deep clean before Pesach. I’m also ok with putting all of my chametz in the shed and I certainly do not give my dog away for the week. But I understand what your mom is feeling here. Try to make it interesting for yourself; if your mom has some fun family stories to share while you clean, that might help things go more quickly.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I think if your mom’s issue is that she has memories that she wants to honor, you can agree to help her out with *that* project – the honoring memories project – without committing to the actual kitchen kashering project. By which I mean, tell her that you have one afternoon to devote to helping her out, she should decide what would be most helpful/most meaningful to her, but that you can’t commit to unlimited time and energy.

      When you’re there for whatever time you’ve allocated, be fully present. Talk to her about her past and her traditions. Really get under the stove and behind the fridge. Don’t grumble about the cleaner. But when you’re done, you’re done.

    3. Jaid*

      Thanks guys! LOL, they wouldn’t go South on a bet, Mom hates the sun.

      I do plan on helping out, but the three of us have back and hip issues, which is another reason why I’m not thrilled. I emailed my brother and SIL about it.

  53. Gma on call*

    I’m a on call nanny for several families and only get paid when I work. I have jury duty in criminal court next week . I have used all of my postponements . Unfortunately I’m booked for the next two weeks been really really need the income . I can’t use the childcare exemption because they’re not my kids . Am I a bad American if I do my best to be disqualified ? What can I do to be disqualified ? To be clear when I used to work in the church with a salary I didn’t mind doing jury duty and if I were retired I wouldn’t mind doing jury duty . But I need the money and my parents need me to work for them so they can make money . I’m torn . Any advice ?

    1. Gma on call*

      Whoops I just realize this actually is a work-related question. I probably should’ve put it in the open thread . Sorry.

      1. Ali G*

        I’m going to reply anyway :)
        They should ask you at some point (you still have to go the first day) if you incur financial hardship by serving. You answer yes – I am paid hourly and I don’t make money if I don’t work. They should dismiss you.
        Good luck!

    2. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD*

      Serving on jury duty is an honor and privilege. That said, situations may make that challenging.

      I actually really really wanted to serve and got called up. But ended up being disqualified from a jury within 5 minutes of sitting down: they asked whether anyone had any legal education, then they questioned what depth, schooling, etc. Since I knew way too much about the system, I was released with a minimal paycheck enough to cover transit and a coffee. A friend of mine said they don’t like having veterans on the jury (he’s a veteran) but ymmv. Honestly, I would tell the truth, reach out to a point of contact act if any is given and claim extenuating circumstances (but—no guarantees).

      1. just a random teacher*

        This can vary a lot, though. A lawyer-acquaintance of mine once pretty much assumed that she wouldn’t be seated on a jury due to being a lawyer (her area of law was some pretty technical financial stuff in civil law, so not germane to the specific kind of cases most juries deal with), but the particular case she was called for involved both the defense and prosecution feeling strongly that they were in the right legally and they figured a lawyer would be more likely to see it their way and follow their arguments about why they were right, so neither side dismissed her.

        I’ve never even gotten into a jury box the times I’ve been called. Once I spent the whole morning in the waiting room, and the other time I got into a courtroom but the lawyers didn’t dismiss enough people from the initial jury pool to need me.

    3. irene adler*

      Financial hardship is a viable excuse to be dismissed from jury duty.

      Did you read your summons over carefully? Some places (like California) there’s a place to indicate financial hardship. There might even be information on contacting the folks who are in charge of managing the jury and ask them how to indicate this.

      C’mon, you’ve served before. So it’s not like you are trying to get out of doing your civic duty. It’s just that your financial situation prevents your doing so. And that’s a legitimate reason to be excused. So please, don’t be torn on this.

      FYI: when you are retired, you might look into serving on a grand jury.

    4. Max Kitty*

      When I was called, a woman was excused almost right away because she was a daycare provider. Serving hurt her financially, but the court also was sensitive to what you said here — your being called puts the parents who count on you in a bind as well.

    5. noahwynn*

      From what I know, you may have to show up at least to the first day and explain why you should be excused. Every time I’ve had to serve, there have been many who are excused for legitimate financial hardship. As in, if I don’t work I can’t pay rent and will be homeless.

      I used to be dismissed all the time because a paramedic I guess was just to close to being a police officer for some defense attorneys. I haven’t been called in several years though, probably about time actually.

      1. Gma on call*

        Thanks to all who commented I did look it up at the beginning of the process . Economic and business factors are NOT eligible reasons to not serve . Just another example of the world way the system is skewed against hourly and low income people . So I guess I’m just gonna take my chances and hope that I don’t get chosen this time.

        1. valentine*

          Has the court been in touch? If you don’t have a contact person, call them and explain the situation. I’m sure they don’t expect all essential personnel to tell their employers to bite them because civic duty calls.

        2. asdf jkl;*

          my experience was with jury selection in a major Texas city. There was some kind of stipulation or custom that people were called to answer questions in alphabetical order. If you’re near the end of the alphabet and they don’t have a clear picture of what you think (since they haven’t spoken with you directly) you’re less likely to be chosen. maybe this could work in your favor?

  54. IBS Busted*

    Question for those with GI Issues: How to know if it’s gluten or lactose?

    This morning I’m paying the price for having eaten either a) a piece of whole wheat bread with butter, or b) a bowl of cereal with whole milk. Felt perfectly fine until one of them kicked in.

    For those who’ve gone through GI issues, what was your “Ah-Ha!” moment when you figured out what in particular caused the distress? Because they symptoms seem so similar, I’m finding it hard to determine which food is the trigger (or maybe it’s several foods) or if it’s something else entirely.

    Background Info: I’ve been screened for colon cancer and had a colonoscopy. Nothing was found. I’ve tried avoiding or eliminating IBS trigger foods, but still experienced symptoms to varying degrees at various times.

    Currently, I’m leaning towards the lactose, as this has happened before to me. But it doesn’t seem to happen with ALL foods containing lactose, so I’m a bit stumped as to why it only happens sometimes and not other times, and why it’s getting worse as I get older. I really wish I could pinpoint the 1 or 2 things to avoid, but this is proving elusive.

    1. Weegie*

      Hate to tell you this, but it could be both! They do tend to go together as intolerances. Also, it might not be lactose, but the milk proteins that you’re reacting to.

      The only true way to tell is to eliminate both from your diet for at least a few days, then reintroduce one. If that goes fine, reintroduce the other and see what happens.

      You might be able to tolerate small amounts of either or both, which is why you might be reacting some times & not others. In my case, I can have dairy at most once a week but not more or I’ll become quite unwell.

      1. WellRed*

        Agree with this. I can have milk or pizza, but I cannot have them together, as an example.

    2. Ali G*

      Lactose is variable. Like, I can’t drink milk or eat ice cream, but I can eat most cheese, but sometimes cheese + other things (alcohol for one) = issues.
      If it were gluten I think it would be consistent enough that you would know.
      The best way to figure out what is triggering you is an elimination diet.

    3. fposte*

      Well, butter doesn’t have much lactose, and most people’s problems with wheat aren’t actually with gluten (it’s the inulin, which is in a lot of packaged food—like cereal). Things like that are going to confound results if you don’t plan for them. Have you tried low-FODMAP at all? Might be time.

      It’s pretty common for digestive challenges to vary in their effect and to get worse as we age. Lactose tolerance especially tapers off sharply at adulthood in many populations, and our lactase levels can fluctuate, as can the lactose amounts in dairy. So all of what you describe there sounds pretty SOP. And when your gut is in hyperreactive mode, it can also freak out at stuff it would otherwise tolerate all right, and it can take a while for irritation to subside even after you stop eating the offending item. That can make things harder.

      Even if you don’t end up trying low FODMAP, looking into it may give you a better idea of where the short-chain sugars do and don’t lie and what it’s worth trying. Good luck!

    4. Thursday Next*

      Some foods are higher lactose than others—Parmesan and other hard, aged cheeses are easier to tolerate than milk.

      You’d need to eliminate both from your diet, and I think the recommended period is longer than a few days (I’ve done three weeks). It might be best to do an elimination diet in consultation with your doctor.

    5. irene adler*

      Might try using lactose free milk with your next bowl of cereal and see if symptoms persist. Or, use lactase tablets when consuming same.
      If you have issues with gluten, then you’ll also experience issues with barley, rye and oats. You might try gluten-free oats and see if you have any problem with them (or regular Cheerios, they are gluten free). Just don’t combine with regular milk or you’ll not know what gave you the problem.

      For what it’s worth: I am both lactose intolerant and must avoid gluten.

      Note that dairy products like aged cheese and real yogurt (i.e. with live cultures) don’t contain much lactose – the bacteria in them break down the lactose. So these are generally well-tolerated. Fresh cheeses and milk contain more lactose and cause the most issues. Ice cream too, can cause problems, although depending upon the brand, this might contain a fair amount of air which means not a lot of actual milk is in it.

    6. LuJessMin*

      For a while there I thought I was becoming lactose-intolerant (I’d have a bowl of cereal and milk as a nighttime snack, and then my stomach would hurt.) Turns out it was the large amount of ibuprofen I was taking each night to combat my aches and pains causing the stomach issues. Stopped taking so many and issues went away, which is good because I love milk (and cheese and yogurt and ice cream).

      1. IBS Busted*

        I do tend to take a fair amount of ibuprofen, though I don’t typically notice ill-effects from it. But maybe ibuprofen combined with the whole milk triggered incident. That might bear some thought, because it’s not often I would have both around the same time.

    7. Kathenus*

      My aha moment was pretty clear cut. I had begun to suspect lactose intolerance, but it was random and intermittent, and relatively minor, so I hadn’t done anything to follow up. One winter day I got a venti vanilla steamed milk at Starbucks and by the time I drank it I had every possible symptom of gastric upset one can have. Not pleasant but at least I had a clear cause and could take action. I’m fortunate that I really don’t change what I eat, I just use the lactose pills when I have most dairy-related foods. I occasionally get minor symptoms, haven’t figured out yet what the pills don’t fully help with, but it hasn’t been significant enough for me to worry about, yet.

    8. IBS Busted*

      Thanks everyone for your thoughts and suggestions. You’ve given me a few things to think about and try to see if I can narrow down the culprit or culprits.

    9. Anon IC*

      I have both lactose and gluten intolerance. The onset of symptoms vary for me, usually dairy results in upset stomach and diaarhea with 1-2 hrs of consuming it. Gluten, on the other hand, can take anywhere from 8 to 24 hours depending on how inflamed my GI system is and it feels very different, almost like grinding cinder blocks in my cut, bad heartburn and diarrhea. Also, I have a bad reaction to Palmitate (in the form of explosive diaarhea) 3-4 hours after consuming anything containing it. Unfortunately, Palmitate is in most fortified dairy products and cereals, among other things.

      It took an elimation diet and the careful reading of labels over the course of about 2 weeks just to figure these three things out.

    10. Madge*

      Lactose can be tricky because there’s so many ways to consume milk. I can’t have a glass of milk or hot chocolate or a milkshake, even with a bunch of lactaid, but I can eat pancakes and other things with cooked milk, hard and soft cheeses, and some yogurts. If they use powdered milk to thicken the yogurt, I can eat it if the milk is added before the fermentation, but not if it was added after. I can tolerate a decent amount of whipped cream and ice creams where the first ingredient is cream.

    11. Quandong*

      In the process of working out what causes my symptoms, I discovered that I have a tolerance for some problem foods if I eat them only very occasionally. For instance, I can eat something with coconut milk about every 6 weeks as long as I haven’t also eaten other trigger foods.

      I highly recommend looking up low FODmap foods as an extra resource as you try and find out what’s going on for you. Sticking with low FODmap is what’s helped me manage my symptoms the best over the years.

      1. Quandong*

        Aahh, I forgot to say that keeping a food/symptom journal was an essential part of working out what was causing my issues.

        Even though it can be annoying to start with, please consider this if you aren’t already keeping one. This is how I found out I could safely eat some foods with a long interval in between vs. some I that would always cause symptoms to flare up.

    12. Chaordic One*

      It was really conventional allergy skin tests that narrowed things down for me. I kind of had an idea that dairy and tomatoes didn’t agree with me. At one point I had a severe reaction to eating anchovies and capers in soybean oil and I couldn’t figure out which of the three things I was allergic to. (It turned out to be the soybean oil.) I think that allergy tests are underrated as a diagnostic tool.

    13. kneadmeseymour*

      If you want to be sure about the lactose, you can get a breath test or blood test for it. One of the benefits there is that you’d know that it’s the lactose itself and not something else to do with dairy (like the fat content).

    14. Nicki Name*

      I live with a lactose-intolerant person. What confirmed it for him was taking Lactaid, drinking a glass of milk, and then *not* having horrible digestive symptoms afterward.

  55. Lilith*

    I went thru something about 18 months ago & had my blood went to this lab in Florida for food sensitivity issues. My doc set it up. I’m in the Midwest & the report came back in about a week & I worked with a registered dietician to overcome my issues based on my bloodwork. The lab mailed a detailed chart of what I could eat for one week then what to add for the next week (sort of like an elimination diet). Document everything (time you eat, how much you weigh, how soon you poop after eating–sorry). There will be a pattern after awhile. Example: milk bad, but 1/2 t parmesan cheese ok. IOW a threshold for lactose.

    1. IBS Busted*

      That sounds like a good approach. I wonder if insurance would cover such an extensive testing? I did discuss the IBS with my doctor, and it was mainly suggested following the low FODmap diet. I don’t disagree with that, but I think it can still be hard to pinpoint the trigger or triggers.

      I’ve found a couple of obvious things for me over the years, and some of them have come on suddenly, such as asparagus (love it, can’t eat it) and red and green peppers (yellow ones seem ok). I’ve never had a particular problem with breads or grains, so I’m leaning towards this being the cause of the milk, although not all dairy seems to cause reactions. Or maybe it’s whole milk mixed with something else? I’ll have to start some tests and try the lactose pills and/or lactose-free milk.

  56. Junior Dev*

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

    I made a longer post but the site ate it, I think.

    I am struggling with a bunch of maintenance people coming into my apartment, which makes it feel like not a safe space for me to be. I also started a new medication and it is messing with my appetite.

    I am proud of signing a lease on a new apartment and of reaching out to relatives to ask for a place to stay while the maintenance was happening.

    How are you doing?

    1. Laura H.*

      Yay for the new apt and asking for help- that second one is hard sometimes across the board.

      I don’t have anything to contribute. Best of luck to all!

    2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Proud of you for the progress you are making.

      I know what to do to move my healing forward, I’m just avoiding it. I admire you for journaling and taking the time and effort to see a counselor and make these moves forward.

  57. Anon anony*

    Does anyone have a cure for dark circles? Did anyone ever get fillers? Mine are genetic and have always been an issue for me. I was made fun of because of them when I was younger (“racoon eyes”) and even now, I have a coworker who will occasionally ask me if I was “socked in the eye”. (Lovely, right?)

    Anyways, besides creams and makeup, does anyone have any tips or cures for having dark undereye cirlces? Thank you in advance for any advice/thoughts.

    1. StellaBella*

      Well, there are a few things that may help. A lot of women in my family have this issue. Get a lot of rest, drink a lot of water….first. Limit smoking and alcohol intake or quit entirely if you can. In the evening before bed, rub a tiny drop of vitamin E oil under each eye, in the morning wash off with lukewarm water. Do this for a couple of months. Cool cucumber slices placed over eyes while you rest for 20 minutes a day on the couch will help reduce dark circles and puffiness too. Good luck!

  58. Ali G*

    Who knew door knobs were so expensive?? I need 4-8 new sets of door hardware for some interior doors in our house. Of course the ones I like cost $75+!!! Wut? Not to mention I also want to redo all the hardware on front door and back doors, and the cabinet hardware in the kitchen….
    I’m in trouble.

    1. Bluebell*

      I spent a lot of time this week deciding on cabinet handles for my kitchen. So glad that’s over. My sympathies to you!

    2. Ranon*

      Is there a Habitat ReStore near you? Does everything need to match? Might be worth a trip to see what you can find.

    3. Chaordic One*

      It really is worth it to invest in good solid hardware (door knobs and deadbolt locks) for your front and back exterior doors. You are buying an extra bit of safety and security.

      I (like you) am surprised at the cost of just plain door knobs for your interior doors, though, and recommend shopping around.

    4. Teach*

      Check eBay for bulk or contractor packages, and check Amazon! If you find something you like on Amazon, look under the “used” tab – those are typically opened boxes returned, and marked way down. I buy everything for our house this way – a house full of cabinet knobs, lighting, faucets, etc.

  59. The Grumpus*

    Pet peeve: A new trend in baby showers to request (with a cutesy poem) a book stead of a card.

    Like, I’m already buying a gift. And now you’re asking for a book too? And TBH, I’m still buying a card because the purpose of the card is really so you know which gift came from which person.

    I’m just super uncomfortable with the requesting of gifts in general. I was raised that it was wrong to ask for… anything, really. As an adult I see that my family took that too far, but I still can’t get my head around direct, upfront requests for material things.

    1. fposte*

      I was raised with that too, but I think a shower is the one exception, since it’s an event explicitly designed for the giving of gifts–that’s its purpose. However, I’m with you in that a book instead of a card is “give me two presents, please.” If you want books, have a book-themed shower–they’ve been around for a while and they’re lovely.

    2. university minion*

      I always buy books *as* the gift. Ugh… glad I’m getting past the age where my attendance is expected at lots of baby showers.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        I, too, buy the book as “the” gift. I do like the Dover Calla editions of Fairy tales.

        I actually don’t see it as asking for two gifts to be greedy. I see it as them wanting to emphasize that it will be a priority in their home. I get that. So the book is the gift, not in addition to.

        And then I have a little stack of blank note cards and write my welcome baby on it… or get a card at the dollar store. (A place none of my coworkers are familiar with…LOL). They have fairly decent cards if you want to stick with a baby card. I stocked up on some, handy for those work baby showers… a $1 card + a crisp bill = not bad. Better than the cash and a $5 card. (I’m on a strict budget for gifts now).

        1. The Grumpus*

          No, it’s definitely in addition to a gift — there’s several registries listed.

          1. valentine*

            Then they’re taking the piss and you don’t comply.

            Use a gift tag, not a card, taped to the item box, under the wrapping.

    3. Jemima Bond*

      Frankly my pet peeve is the emergence of baby showers as a “thing” in the U.K. (they never used to be). As you say Grumpus, I too am uncomfortable with the idea of requesting gifts and that’s what a baby shower is, a party thrown for the sole purpose of forcing people to give you stuff. Barefaced gift grab.
      In this case if it were me I’d do what I always do and give a gift when the baby is born if I wish to, or (for a work colleague) contribute to a collection for a gift when the parent goes on maternity leave. But if you have to go or offence will be caused, take the gift of a book if that is what they’d like (and indeed books are lovely gifts).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        According to etiquette, the person the shower is being thrown for is NOT supposed to also be the person throwing it.

        1. Beatrice*

          Or a close relative of the person. I was mildly scandalized this week to receive a bridal shower invitation for a cousin, where her grandmother (on the side not related to me) was listed as one of three hostesses for the shower. So improper. ;)

      2. ..Kat..*

        Well, I hope the UK does not follow the trend in the US. USA has expanded into many gift parties for the baby:
        1. The “we are pregnant” announcement party,
        2. The gender reveal party,
        3. The baby shower party (can be multiple “themed” parties – the supplies for baby party, the clothes for baby party, the books for baby party, the “pamper mommy-to-be” party, and so forth). You are expected to bring a gift to all of these parties.
        4. A grandmother-to-be baby shower (because grandmom needs a duplicate of everything for when baby visits).

        Every party has a registry and/or a list of gifts that the pregnant couple wants.

    4. L’il Sebastian*

      I also hate this. I’m an English teacher, so multiple times now I’ve had friends ask me for advice on the stupid cutesy poem, and I cringe every time, my mother almost did this for my own shower and my reaction was a bit dramatic:

    5. Beatrice*

      I gift what I want, when I want, with impunity and I ignore gift suggestions or gift registries as I please* with an absolutely clear conscience. If that’s likely to bother the recipient, I’m likely to not gift anything at all, or at least simply not care that they’re bothered.

      *I’m happy to use them to verify the bride isn’t already getting a mixer, or to help me find the exact style of car seat a couple is looking for, but I don’t sweat them if I have an off-registry gift in mind, or if there’s nothing available in my budget. I do like to buy books, so I might heed a request to gift one, but I’m not going to let it take me over budget or change what I’m getting to fit it in the budget either.

  60. Marion Ravenwood*

    Thanks to everyone last week for their children’s book recommendations and creative blocks advice! I actually ended up buying Behowl The Moon for my niece (it was for her first birthday which was yesterday), and now have a ton of ideas for gifts for various friends/relatives who are expecting babies or have recently had kids :)

    On the creativity thing, I did have a lot of stuff going on for my side hustle and clearing some of that off my plate last week helped massively, plus more exercise. I’m not completely unblocked yet, so am going to try a couple of other things, like daily writing and the mindfulness meditation, and see what happens there. But I definitely feel a lot clearer and it seems a lot less daunting (at least for now).

    I do actually have another question (sorry!): has anyone been to Seville? We’re off there for four nights on Thursday – I’m really hoping we don’t get trapped due to Brexit – and have already booked the cathedral and Alcazar, plus I’m hoping to catch a flamenco show and my husband really wants to go to Italica. Is there anything else we should be doing that’s a bit more offbeat? Or any good bars/restaurants to go to? Thanks in advance!

    1. Lena Clare*

      No but I used to live in Córdoba and if you can get to either the Mezquita in Córdoba or the Alhambra in Granada they’re both worth it :)

      1. Bluebell*

        The Mezquita was one of the most beautiful indoor spaces I had ever seen. I loved Córdoba!

    2. Anona*

      I don’t have specific restaurant recommendations but i remember that some places literally don’t open for dinner until 9pm, so just be prepared to shift your evening. I also loved how many of the bars had good snacks!

    3. Ann O.*

      I’ve been to Seville ages ago. I loved it, but I can’t remember anything specific to recommend other than what you’re already doing. The food was so good, though!

      Be prepared to totally shift your dinner time eating schedule unless the siesta culture has changed over the past decade. When I was there, everything was shut down in the early evening. I don’t think any restaurant was open until 10.

      I was there by myself and the street harassment was very… committed. So I got scared off of bars and clubs, which is a shame because I would have loved to see flamenco.

    4. Middle School Teacher*

      I have. I can’t remember the name but there’s a cool restaurant right on the river, as I recall it’s mostly windows. There are also a few hotels with amazing rooftop bars, and do try to get lost in the Jewish quarter, there are some great little restaurants and cafes in there!

      1. Middle School Teacher*

        Also, if you want something relaxed, a boat tour up and down the river is nice. You see a fair amount and they tell you all about what you’re seeing!

    5. Best cat in the world*

      Seville was gorgeous. Alcazar was beautiful. Plaza de espana is a must, it’s in a massive park as well but the plaza is stunning, especially late afternoon as the sun goes down (although be aware when we went they shut it immediately the sun was gone so may be wise to get there a little early). It’s where they filmed some of the Naboo scenes in Star Wars.
      We did a day trip to Alhambra and, while it was a long day, if you have the time to do it, I would. It was one of my favourite parts of the trip.

      Have a fab time!

    6. Mephyle*

      Everything in Seville is fabulous. That is all. You will not regret the cathedral or the Alcazar. Also recommend to visit the Plaza de España. And the neighbouring Parque de Maria Luisa if you like vast wooded parks.
      Also recommend to visit the basilica of the Virgen de la Macarena. We got there just as the Sunday morning mass was ending. It was also lunchtime, so we ducked into the bar across the street afterwards for a bite to eat. Soon after, the three priests who had just finished conducting the mass came in for their Sunday afternoon beer. It was a picturesque sight.
      I found the city tour bus well worth it. There are two companies, a green one and a red one iirc. I think the tours they offer are basically the same. You can get a ticket for the whole day, or for two days, and hop-on-hop-off. It exposes you to parts of the city that you might not get to otherwise, and gives you an overview.
      On Sunday almost everything was closed except the churches. So we walked down San Luis street starting from the basilica of the Macarena. This street is full of churches, some of them very old and historically interesting. We also stumbled on a vermutería, where we stopped and had a vermouth tasting. I tried to locate it now to tell you what it was called but I can’t find it on the map. It was somewhere near the south end of San Luis. The proprietors were a Japanese and a Portuguese lady, and an interesting time was had.

  61. D.W.*

    We just bought a portable washing machine and spin dryer and I am in love! It came Tuesday and I’ve done several loads already and they come out nice and clean. We live in an apartment and have basement laundry, but with the baby coming we decided we did not want to wash their clothes in those old clunkers, where everyone else washes. Not to mention the savings! We don’t pay for water. It will be interesting to see if there is a major spike in our electricity bill.

    1. noahwynn*

      Yes! I have one too and love it. Assuming your’s is like mine and has the wash on one side and the spin dry on the other. I use a bucket to fill mine because the hose they give you that hooks up to your faucet takes forever to fill and I’m impatient. I didn’t actually mind going down to the basement too much, but I hated having to remember to get quarters from the bank because we don’t have a change machine in the building. Plus the $1.75 per load adds up quick.

      The noise/vibration bothered my downstairs neighbor at first, but he was nice enough to say something to me and I bought one of those rubber anti-vibration mats and then asked him and now he says he can’t hear it at all. The 10 unit building I live in though was built in 1904, so the floors creak and I’m sure that makes vibration carry more.

      1. D.W.*

        How’s your electric bill? Your situation is the same as mine. According to my super, the building is over 150yrs old, so at least built in the late 1860s and the floors creak as well! Our laundry is also $1.75/load, and I also have to get quarters from the bank!

        We currently fill with a bucket because the hose doesn’t fit the faucet, but my husband wants to get an adapter of some sort. I’ve seen folks use a turkey baster as well. I haven’t asked my downstairs neighbors about the noise, but we do plan to invest in a rubber mat and now I will make sure that it is anti-vibration.

        1. noahwynn*

          I live in a one bedroom apartment, but in the winter it is less than $40, summer is higher because of the window a/c. The washer didn’t really change anything, but I also don’t pay for water or water heating because its all handled by the building boiler.

          1. D.W.*

            Okay, all the same for us as well. We’ll see what the summer brings once we turn on the a/c units.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Running the dryer is the real cost. My husband used to say, “When ever you take electricity and make heat out of it, it’s getting expensive.” I run my dryer long enough to fluff towels and jeans. Years ago I noticed my clothes lasted longer if I did not dry them, so that worked into a win-win thing. Bonus savings for drying the clothes in the house and not having to run a humidifier in the winter.

      1. Close Bracket*

        A spin dryer is not a heat dryer. It’s more like the spin cycle of a washing machine.

    3. Query*

      Do you mind sharing the name of the washing machine you got? I’ve been looking into one but I’m feeling so indecisive!

    4. Close Bracket*

      I’d love to hear another review in 6 months. I’ve thought about buying one of these, but half the reviews seem to mention long term problems.

  62. Anonymous for this one*

    Question for anyone here who’s on OKCupid: is it worth it to spring for the A-List to find out who “likes” me?

    1. Ange*

      I haven’t bothered with it – it will show you those people anyway, and it tells you if you have mutually liked each other.

      1. Daphne*

        If I remember correctly it’ll only show if they’ve liked you AND sent you a message. If they’ve just hit ‘like’ you’re told x number of people like you but can’t see the breakdown.

        I got more conversations (and a boyfriend!) out of OKC than say, Bumble (meh), and didn’t do upgrades.

        Would you be more likely to message people if you know they clicked that they liked your profile? Or just want an ego boost? (Which is also ok!)

    2. Grapey*

      I used Ok cupid over 10 years ago so I don’t know what an A-List is…but speaking from experience, if they like you, they should just contact you. If such a thing existed when I was on I wouldn’t have bought it.

    3. RebeccaNoraBunch*

      I like A-list and I pay for it. It’s much more inexpensive than the other sites and I’ve actually met all my boyfriends in the last 8 years from OKC, so I consider it worth it. The other sites (Match, eHarmony) are way higher in price and haven’t given me nearly the same results. I say go for it!

  63. Dermatology question*

    Has anyone here found something (shampoo, substance, etc.) that effective curbs dandruff? Mine really bothers me (I find it gross!) Any tips helpful!

    1. kc89*

      the over the counter dandruff shampoos (head and shoulders, neutrogena t gel, etc.) will help most people, you just have to use it consistently. If you don’t find that it helps, try really massaging it into your scalp for a couple of minutes each time you wash.

      if that still isn’t helping, you would probably want to see a derm in case it’s not dandruff but some other issue

    2. noahwynn*

      Tea tree oil shampoo and conditioner works for me. I buy the Trader Joe’s variety because it costs less but the Paul Mitchell stuff you buy at the salon also works for me.

    3. Dr. Anonymous*

      The Neutrogena T-Gel and the ones with selenium work better for me, but I have to leave them on several minutes–don’t just shampoo in and rinse out. If you have a lot of it, a shampoo with salicylic acid may help. And I agree with kc89, see your doc if that doesn’t do it.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      My husband had great luck with Head and Shoulders. You can also help yourself by making sure you are drinking enough water and by adding healthy oils to your diet. The latter idea takes longer to kick in, but you can get good results.

    5. CatCat*

      Trader Joe’s Tea Tree Oil shampoo and conditioner both really helped my spouse and kiddo, both prone to dandruff.

    6. Llellayena*

      Pantene has a dandruff shampoo that works quite well for me. It’s difficult to find because they discontinued it for a while when they merged with head and shoulders (which does NOT work for me). My dad uses T-gel, but that’s near clinical strength so try other things first. I’ve also had luck with a brand called Clear (in the years when Pantene wasn’t available).

    7. Chi chan*

      Dandruff could be a sign you are not getting enough sun on your skin. Look up seborrhoic dermatitis.

    8. deesse877*

      There is a plastic forerunner thing called a “scalp massager” that you use to work in the shampoo that can be helpful. Also good for really stubborn dandruff: alternating shampoos with different active ingredients (today salicylic acid, tomorrow a break, next day coal tar, for example). I also found that moving from long to very short hair seemed to interrupt some sort of bad feedback loop and limit the scope of the problem.

    9. Aurora Leigh*

      My boyfriend swears by Nizoral shampoo. We buy it at Walmart — Head and Shoulders doesn’t cut it for him.

      But the link to sunlight is really interesting — I think his dandruff was worse when he worked nights.

      1. Lepidoptera*

        Second vote for Nizoral.

        Also, sunshine is a known factor that improves psoriasis plaques, so if sunlight is affecting your dandruff, there might be more going on there.

    10. Kuododi*

      My Dad has delt with dandruff all of his adult life. He’s tried pretty much all the products on the market and found out that classic Dove soap is more effective for him than anything else. Whenever I smell Dove soap it makes me think of wonderful childhood memories and smile.

  64. Foreign Octopus*

    A weird thing happened tonight that makes me feel a little off-balance.

    There was an item on the news about the LGBTQ community and I mentioned how proud I was to be part of that community (bisexual) and my mum said, very firmly, that I’m not. It completely threw me because she knows I’m bi; we’ve had many conversations about it and she supports me even though I know she doesn’t fully get my attraction to women. I told her that of course I was part of it but she doubled down and went off on a small rant about how I don’t protest, or have rainbow flags in my room or tattooed on me and I was just so taken aback.

    She gets very argumentative when she’s had more than two gin and tonics but this was just something that I’ve never experienced from her before and, honestly, I just zipped my mouth shut because I know it’s pointless engaging her when she’s got alcohol in her system.

    But, apparently, from her point of view I need to be a “stereotypical” LGBTQ member to be considered part of the community. Or maybe she’s never accepted by bisexuality and views it as just an odd quirk of mine. I really don’t know but it’s knocked me for six a little.

    Has anyone else experienced this?

    (I should also point out, she’s not an alcoholic)

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I tend to disregard conversations people have after tossing back a few. Part of the reason I disregard it is to protect my own sanity.
      When my father drank his thinking would get very ridged and narrow. We had a big fight one time because I used the term “hang out”. It ended up being this huge argument. He thought that meant standing around with bad posture and an ugly look on my face. I landed on, “Dad, if you don’t know what a term means, ask. Don’t just assign some random definition to it and assume you are correct. Instead, ASK. We just wasted several hours over something that could have easily been resolved, if you had just asked what the term meant.”

      After many such conversations I realized that I had plan the timing on conversations better. If you really want to sort this go back in on the conversation on a clearer day. A person does not have to be a chronic drinker to have their thinking muddled up by booze. Hopefully she will have a clearer explanation of what she is thinking.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        I normally disregard her after a few drinks as well but this time it just struck me as a very personal thing she was picking up on. Once, bizzarely, she kept badgering me about who Samuel L Jackson played in the Avengers and I know it’s Nick Fury but she just kept pressing the point and it’s like “wtf, mum?”

        Sorry you had the weird and huge argument with your dad.

        I think part of it is also the fact that I just don’t drink. I’m the only non-drinker by choice in my house (my younger brother is an alcoholic and doesn’t touch the stuff any more: four years sober!) and I think it makes me more aware of when people are drunk and my tolerance for their behaviour just plummets because it’s so tiresome.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Your last paragraph super resonates with me. This happens other times also. When I started eating simpler foods, my doc said , “You will notice that people who don’t watch what they are eating will tend to have less clarity in their thinking.” Yep. I could really see the mental confusion. BUT, it was in the context of BTDT, I totally understood where they were at.

          Congrats to your younger bro, he conquered his Mt. Everest. That’s huge.

          But you are right about tolerance for poor behavior, mine is pretty low even now after all these years. And people will say hurtful things sober or after a few, that can go either way. Perhaps you can try saying something like, “Mom, I would like for you to really think about what you just said and let’s try this conversation again in a few days.”
          I think it helped me to decide there were some things that my father would never be able to process. I tried to focus on the things that were necessary for him to understand. And sometimes it boiled down to, “Dad, you can’t say things like that any more. Our society has changed.” He’d reply with but-but-but. “No. Dad. The answer is NO. You cannot talk that way anymore.” So he did taper off some things, I never knew if he actually understood why he had to not say them.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      I don’t have a recommendation on how to deal with your mom. But her arguement is crazy. Sorry. If you identify as Bi and share that with others you’re part of the LGBTQ community.

    3. LGC*

      So there’s like two things going on here, both of which are pretty concerning:

      -Your mom has really retrograde views on how an LGBTQ+ person should present. Being LGBTQ+ just means…you’re outside of the heteronormative gender binary. (That is, you’re not straight or you don’t identify with your assigned birth gender.) It doesn’t have to be a political thing or mean you have to present a certain way.
      -Your mom reacts REALLY badly to alcohol, since it sounds like she’s historically been an angry drunk. I mean, I had two gin and tonics (…okay, more than two) last weekend, and basically all that happened was there was slightly embarrassing video of me dancing in a tuxedo. I know you said she’s not an alcoholic, but you don’t have to be an alcoholic to have problems with alcohol.

      If I had to put money on it, I’d blame the booze.

      Anyway. To answer your question: I’ve gotten it a couple of times (like, “you don’t SEEM gay…”), but not for a while. And…like, that’s their problem. Again, I don’t think there’s a “right” way to be LGBTQ+, because it’s a characteristic. It’s a really strong identifying characteristic for a lot of people, but you don’t need to dash out and get a bi tattoo just because people doubt your commitment to Sparkle Motion your sexual orientation.

      I’m not sure about your community, but do you have local supports? Do you know other LGBTQ+ people? Get to know them! And honestly – I know she’s your mom, not mine, but your mom has absolutely no idea what she’s talking about. You do you. Bring home both a boyfriend and a girlfriend for dinner (heck, bring them both together if that’s your thing).

      1. Thursday Next*

        Quickly wanted to say re alcohol: tolerance can drop with age and hormonal changes. My SIL can’t drink at all since her third pregnancy, and she’s in her 30s. I had a second glass of wine tonight for the first time since NYE, and felt like…I really don’t need to do that again. And I used to be able to knock quite a few mixed drinks back not so long ago.

        BUT even if she’s reacting worse to alcohol now than in the past, her denial of your identity is crappy. And (I know you know this; I’m just affirming) you don’t have to give her opinion on this