weekend free-for-all – June 29-30, 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: Chasing Cosby: The Downfall of America’s Dad, by Nicole Weisensee Egan. He’s even worse than you already knew.

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

{ 1,712 comments… read them below }

  1. Angela*

    I’m trying to make the switch from foundation to tinted moisturizer. Does anyone have a recommendation for one they really like? It must have SPF in it.=

    1. Aspiring Francophone*

      I really like Clarins! Good coverage, but lightweight. What I use is SPF 50 which is great for a pale PNW woman like myself. (Bought from Nordstrom but likely available elsewhere.)

      1. Coffee Cup*

        The Balm Balm Shelter. It used to be too dark for me even in the lightest shade, but now they have a shade called “Lighter than Light”, which is perfect. SPF15, great longevity, just great in general.

    2. Suggsie*

      I use the Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. It’s really light, you don’t have to use very much and has SPF 20. You can find it at Sephora.

      1. Luisa*

        I use this one too, and I also like it a lot! The only downside is that it’s difficult to wash off my foundation brush, but I just switched to applying with my fingers and then blending with a sponge.

        1. namelesscommentator*

          Look up silicone face scrubbers! I got one from tarte that was horrid on my face, but MAGIC for deep cleaning brushes with a little dr. bronners.

      2. Christmas*

        I second Tarte Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer. I’ve used a variety of products in my lifetime, and have found my go-to product. LOVE this stuff. Best my skin has ever looked or felt.
        *Tarte, if you are reading this, please feel free to send me a lifetime supply and/or advertising royalties. Iloveyou kthxbye

      3. HamlindigoBlue*

        I use this all the time. I love it! I’m super fair skinned, and this is the only tinted moisturizer I’ve found that doesn’t leave an orangey hue on my skin.

    3. Lobsterp0t*

      Ah – also, if that’s your only SPF, it’s unlikely you’re getting enough coverage.

      There are lots of cosmetically elegant options out there!

      1. namelesscommentator*

        This. This so much. SPF in cosmetics is an unregulated nightmare.

        If you’re okay with pricey stuff, MD Solar Sciences has a tinted sunscreen and a BB cream that you can try. Personally I love them but can’t justify the price in my budget outside of FSA spend downs.

        The cheaper option would be to pair a high quality sunscreen (zinc oxide or iron oxide, with more than 20% of the formula being active) with a BB cream. Trader Joe’s just released a new one that is workable, if a little oily. Badger brand also makes a great one and they’re both at MUCH more reasonable price points than MD Solar Sciences.

        For the BB cream, I’ve really liked Hydroxatone but never seen it outside of Costco. I’ve also. I’ve also had success mixing concealer or foundation with moisturizer, which can often give you a much better match. Embryolisse has worked well in the past. (This also works well to to transition down if you’re used to full coverage all day every day).

      1. Ethyl*

        Depends on you, your skin, what you like, what look you’re going for, stuff like that. I have oily skin and ginormous pores so I like to use a mattifying primer sometimes under my BB cream if I’m going to be out and about and sweaty. If I’m really going to be sweating all day, like at the fair or something, I’ll use a primer, BB cream, setting spray, and translucent powder. That keeps me looking halfway decent for the most part. But YMMV!

    4. Butter Makes Things Better*

      I love Chantecaille Just Tinted with SPF 15 on top of their SPF 45 primer, but they’re pricey. I’ve been stretching out the same tubes for a while.

      1. Batgirl*

        I adore Chantecaille Just Skin. It’s great if you have dry skin, goes on like butter.

    5. Iza*

      I use Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer. It’s only spf 20 though so I use a supergoop sunscreen as well.

    6. hfjkashfja*

      I’ve used Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer for years and years. The non non-oil one. So the oily one? I use a little concealer on top for more coverage. Then you can control how much coverage you get. Also started layering Shisedo 38SPF sunscreen underneath for more SPF and I think the combo was made in heaven, at least for me (combo skin) ! I’d suggest either on their own but definitely together!

    7. Agent J*

      I just discovered Supergoop’s 100% Mineral Matte Screen with SPF 40 and I love it! It has a “universal” tint but if your skin is on either side of the spectrum, it may not suit you. It’s also a makeup primer, but I can’t attest to its effectiveness since I don’t wear anything on top of it.

      1. Gina*

        The Rescue Gel has been great over primers and sunscreens. My pale Irish complexion found a perfect match surprisingly enough.

    8. Invisible Fish*

      NARS – wide shade range, buildable coverage, kind of cruelty free (they don’t test on animals but still sell products in China).

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        I loved Nars as well until they discontinued my color (Malaga). I went back to using Erborian, a Japanese skincare product sold at Sephora, and it’s great (with SPF 20 I believe). I put it on over the Dr. Dennis Gross mineral sunscreen that’s SPF 50.

        1. Agent J*

          Not racist. Chinese law requires mandatory animal testing on all cosmetics products that are manufactured outside of China.

    9. CatCat*

      Laura Mercier. It’s pricey, but I’ve found it really goes on the best and makes my skin tone appear even. I’ve been disappointed when I tried cheaper brands.

    10. Marguerite*

      Someone mentioned this, but I love the Laura Mercier one. Agreed on the one with the non non-oily one. Otherwise It Cosmetics make some good BB or CC creams. (Similar to tinted moisturizers- a little thicker, but almost all contain SPF.) Dr Jart is also good. If you live near any Asian grocery stores, they do a lot with BB and CC creams. They’re not horribly expensive either. CoverGirl used to do a good one, but they changed the formula so it isn’t as good. I’ve read about the Garnier tinted moisturizer, but never tried it. Otherwise you could just use plain moisturizer and a drop of foundation in it. Otherwise a lot of brands make pigments like CoverFx where you can make your own by adding it to lotion, moisturizer, etc.

    11. OG Karyn*

      Nars makes a great one, as does Shiseido (it’s one of those color match ones that changes to your skin tone). Signed, a former Sephora employee!

    12. Blue_eyes*

      I really like Physician’s Formula Super BB cream. It’s foundation, moisturizer, and SPF all in one. It has 30 SPF. Especially in the summer, it’s nice to only put one product on my face (instead of SPF moisturizer, and color corrector, and foundation which I do sometimes).

    13. BetsCounts*

      I have tried about a million tinted moisturizers with SPF and my top 3 are
      ERBORIAN CC Cream Radiance Color Corrector Broad Spectrum SPF25- I love the consistency but it only comes in 3 shades
      IT COSMETICS Your Skin but Better CC+ Cream with SPF 50+- nice because of the wide range of shades
      SHISEIDO WASO: Color-Smart Day Moisturizer SPF 30 Sunscreen- it is one of those that ‘self matches’ to your skin

      I’ve also been pleased with
      SUPERGOOP! CC Cream Daily Correct Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen- nice consistency, happy with the spf
      Origins GinZing Energy-Boosting Tinted Moisturizer- it is one of those that ‘self matches’ to your skin

    14. Lee*

      Late to the party but I recommend Paula’s Choice Resist Moisturizer (SPF 30). It’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a white cast.

  2. love reading*

    I read Alison’s recommendation of Crampton Hodnet by Barbara Pym and now I’m on a Barbara Pym kick! What a shame none of her books seem to have ever been made into movies.

    What are you reading?

      1. Double A*

        Quartet in Autumn is I think my favorite. It’s more meditative and melancholy. But I’ve read all her books and I love them all.

        I’m so happy to be seeing the Pym love here! She’s been a long time favorite of mine but seems fairly unknown at least in the US. I love that she writes about such ordinary lives. That’s one reason I loved This Could Hurt by Jillian Medoff– it’s just about people’s ordinary office lives. I think that’s so hard to write well!

    1. Jen Erik*

      I happened upon Excellent Women in a UBS so I read and enjoyed it. (last time I read Pym was when I was a teenager, working as an au pair in Finland, and they were one of the few English language books the library had. I enjoyed her much more this time round.) Then I read ‘Still Glides the Stream’ by D. E Stevenson and I’m now reading ‘Mr Finchley Discovers His England’. (I think those last two may have been recommended by someone on Dear Author.)
      As a group of books, they sit well together.

        1. Just me, Vee*

          I’m on a Pym kick, too, because of Allison’s recommendation! And I also enjoy D. E. Stevenson. Many of Stevenson’s titles are available on Kindle Unlimited.

    2. gecko*

      I’ve been rolling through KJ Charles’s historical romance novels and I’ve finished just about all of them, which is terrible. I want an infinite amount!

      But now maybe I’ll get to Babylon’s Ashes, one of the later books in the Expanse series. I always delay on starting these but end up really enjoying them in the end—the combination of simple space adventure with nuanced characters is a delight to see play out. Just have to start it :)

    3. fposte*

      There is a 1992 British TV thing, which I’ve never seen, starring Patricia Routledge as Barbara Pym, called “Miss Pym’s Day Out.” It’s about her getting nominated for the Booker Prize for Quartet in Autumn (which I loved).

    4. Southern Metalsmith*

      I also started ‘Crampton Hodnet’ and I’m really enjoying it. I’m also about three-quarters of the way through ‘The Ragged Edge of Night’ by Olivia Hawker, and about one quarter into ‘The Invention of Wings’ by Sue Monk Kidd, so I needed something a little lighter.
      Our book club just finished ‘A Gentleman in Moscow’ by Amor Towles, and I can highly recommend it! Also ‘Happiness’ by Aminatta Forna. Really enjoyed both of those!

    5. Monty and Millie's Mom*

      Been on a Maeve Binchy kick lately. Reading Tara Road right now, finished Quentins last week. Obviously not reading in order, but it’s fun to see familiar characters pop up!

      1. it's all good*

        love love love Maeve Binchy! I have all my books packed, I need to reread again, it’s been awhile since I’ve visited my old friends.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve begun packing (SO MANY BOOKS) and I keep finding ones I haven’t read. Oof. My horror/sci-fi collection alone has taken seven boxes, even with culls, and I still have six bookshelves left! >_<

      I found a James Herbert novel called ’48 (post-apocalyptic fiction) I had never looked at. I opened it up and three hours later was all, “I’m keeping this one.”

    7. it's all good*

      I just finished “the wife” by Meg Wolitzer (sp?). Really enjoyed it, can’t wait to see the movie now. Going to read Wally Lamb next, the title has something to do with water.

  3. LondonBridges*

    I really hate hold music. I’m currently on hold with customer service for my cell phone, and instead of the usual muzak, it’s the worst, most distorted version of “Somebody to Love” by Queen. And only about 30 seconds of it! 7 minutes and counting. Ugh.

    1. lalala*

      If I was a musician I’d do all I could to forbid my works being used as hold music. That’s almost a guaranteed way of getting people to hate it.

    2. Lobsterp0t*

      PlusNet? For a while they had Don’t You Want Me and it was loud but strangely inaudible also.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      “I need somebody to talk to to me… find somebody to talk talk talk to meeeeee”

    4. BeanCat*

      We have some hold music for every government agency in my state that sounds like it came straight out of a CSI game – very synth, sounds…one step shy of spooky? I half love it and half hate it.

    5. Toaster strudel heiress*

      My doctor’s surgery plays a recording of hold music which gets interrupted every few seconds to tell you that you’re still on hold. Every time you think it’s someone answering. It’s infuriating. And they just ignore feedback about it.

      1. Zephy*

        I think it’s a tie between that and the every-few-seconds interruptions to tell you about the website and what services you can access there. I know that’s aimed toward tech-shy old people, but as a tech-savvy young person, if I’m calling you, it’s because I can’t use the website – I’ve exhausted every other method that allows me to pay my bill or whatever without interacting with another human being. Like sheesh, I get it, I don’t want to talk to you either, but can we please just get this over with??

        1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

          Argh this is one of my pet peeves! Yes I know I can look at your website. How do you think I found your phone number??

      2. The Cosmic Avenger*

        THIS. I don’t care how bad the music is, I can put the phone down (sometimes on speaker, sometimes not) or hold it a few inches from my ear, and tune it out. BUT STOP INTERRUPTING IT WITH RECORDED TALKING, AND MAKING ME THINK SOMEONE PICKED UP.

        1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

          “Your call is important to us…” apparently not that important, or you’d hire more people to answer the phone.

      3. KoiFeeder*

        The vet’s office does that too! I mean, it’s all advice on exotics, which is nice, but sir, I am here for my fish. My fish will not get MBD because they are fish and also Sharkie can eat bones.

    6. I hate coming up with usernames*

      The only hold music I like is when you call Disney World about a trip. They play the music from the theme parks and it gets me all into the magic while I wait. (Yes, I know, I’m a nerd LOL.)

    7. Phlox*

      Aaa the bad sound quality on so many of them! I will say shoutout to DC government, they do play one of the standard classical music hold pieces but its a high quality recording and pleasant for hold music. Its the too short, looping, out of tune, with audio ad interuptions that just are painful.

    8. Booksalot*

      I tease a pharmacist friend because his company has used the Notebook soundtrack as hold music for fifteen years. It’s a great way to get morbidly depressed before you talk to someone about drugs.

    9. Southern Metalsmith*

      The worst is when they keep interrupting the music with ‘Your call is very important to us….’ Right, so answer it! Ugh.
      But on a more positive note, I called a company last week and got a message that said something like, ‘We are experiencing a higher than normal call volume….’ and directed me to leave my number and they’d call me back. And, y’all, they did! In about 15 minutes! It was great! The woman was very helpful, I got what I needed, I wish all interactions were so pleasant.

      1. Parenthetically*

        The callback feature is genius. Our family doctor has it, and we use it pretty much 100% of the time, but my OB-GYN does not, so I have to listen to the same shite hold music constantly interrupted with “Your call is very important to us…”

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I remember being on hold once when I still worked at OldExjob (cannot for the life of me remember what company I’d called), and it was all classical music. I was enjoying the hell out of it and when the person finally picked up, I said “Nooo, put the music back on!” They laughed.

      FedEx’s was the worst. I think it was some kind of stock music, and it was so scratchy it set my teeth on edge. Ugh.

    11. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Urgh. I used to have a job where I had to call a lot of county tax offices, lawyers’ offices, and banks to check up on certain properties. I got to hear an AMAZING variety of hold music. (Being a lowly temp, I was once assigned to call about something outside of my normal workflow because the hold times for the government office we were supposed to call about a “you may have an interest in a property we’re doing governmenty things about, call this number if you need more info” letter were so absurdly long that the actual employee in charge of those situations couldn’t deal with it. I think I was on hold for 2 hours before getting through, but I did get lots of cartoons drawn while I waited.)

      The ones that constantly interrupt the music with talking are the worst because you have to pay attention. The best are the ones who have non-standard music choices so you can speculate about why they decided that was the right choice for their office. If I ever somehow end up in charge of hold music for a small office (not likely) I am totally going to use filk for the hold music.

      In a non-office setting, speakerphone is your friend while you’re on hold. This hadn’t occurred to me until I saw my dad do it once, but just putting the phone on speakerphone so you’re not tieing up a hand and then browsing the internet on a computer/reading a book/whatever makes long hold times less obnoxious. This works better with the places that don’t talk in their hold music so you can just listen for the music to stop, of course.

      Also, if there is both talking and music, please keep them at the same volume level. One of the automated phone systems I occasionally use has REALLY LOUD music it plays at certain points while it’s processing things.

    12. UKCoffeeLover*

      My bank has started using waves and bird song!!!!!
      It is just a crash of noise in your ear , I hate it and am really grumpy by the t8me they pick up my call.

    13. UKCoffeeLover*

      My bank has started using waves and bird song!!!!!
      It is just a crash of noise in your ear , I hate it and am really grumpy by the time they pick up my call.

    14. Apt Nickname*

      Ack, I was on hold last week and in addition to playing the same terrible synthesizer piece over and over, there was a recorded message that suggested I use this time to get all the information together for my call. It played every 44 seconds. I was on hold for 20 minutes before I gave up. I listened to that condescending message approximately 30 times.

  4. greenthumb*

    Pokémon friends, hope you raked in some serious candies and stardust during the recent event, and that you get photobombed quickly by an event Pikachu. Thanks to you, I’ve gotten some great postcards, as well as a shiny golden Pineco and a shivery blue Snorunt.

    1. Kate*

      Piggybacking on this to say that since here is a new New Friend Quest on Pokémon Go, I am sure lots of us are looking for friends! I swear I get all my best Pokémon ago friends off AAM…

      My code is 2924 2053 3162.

      1. Ismis*

        Yes! I’m already friends with you, Kate, but it would be good to have one more to tick that quest off. I am 4525 9866 9695.

        I feel a bit bad though – I am already a bit slack with getting back with gifts. Work has been very busy and I’m not getting out and about as often as I would like.

        1. curly sue*

          I have you both already but I could use another friend for the new quest — I’m generally pretty good with getting gifts to people every couple of days, and I’m gunning for level 40 now. 1472 9297 6150!

          1. Woodchiken*

            I just added you as a friend! I am pretty new so I am still learning game mechanics but this is fun!

            1. curly sue*

              I originally put the game on my phone for my kids, but I’m a lot more into it now than they are. It’s addictive!

      2. Babycarrot*

        Hi, I just added you as a friend. I don’t play a lot because its mainly for the kids but I do love the new Harry Potter Wizards Unite game!

      3. Rock Prof*

        I’ve been slacking at Pokemon go, particularly the friends part. My trainer code is 8873 4304 4229.

      4. SydneyGerald*

        I added you and Ismis – I only play a couple of times a week so I’m not consistent on gifts at all :)

        I’m 8552 6858 2016

      5. GingerNinge11*

        I added you! And I’m already friends with Ismis :)

        My code is 6148 7038 6487 if anyone else wants a new friend!

    2. Amethyst*

      That’s awesome. I haven’t found any shinies (I only have Eevee, Magikarp, and Slakoth) yet but I’m still looking.

      My trainer code is 7057 6433 6958.

      1. Amethyst*

        Just FYI for everyone who’s friended me. I’m Jadastar7369 on PoGo. I am officially out of gifts to give. :( Will send when I can get outside again.

    3. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Duncamama on pokemon go… 0583 9602 3981

      I play just enough to get stuff and send gifts…

    4. Julia*

      It is an eternal mystery to me why Snorunt, an ice type Pokémon, keeps shivering.

      I caught two shiny Raikou today though!

    5. Another Pokemon player*

      I am also looking for friends. I play fairly often.

      Trainer code 4171 9908 1604

    6. Yams*

      Hope yall don’t mind but I added you guys! I don’t play much during the summer though, the heat in my corner of the world iw brutal!
      Here’s my friend code in case anyone wants to be friends 6923 0677 3529

    7. Lou*

      Adding everyone! I play fairly frequently, but might not be great about sending gifts for the next month (writing a thesis and then moving… eek). My code is 6619 7529 6479.

    8. Southern Metalsmith*

      I’m glad someone started this thread today. Hello to all Trainers who are already friends! I would also welcome new friends. My code is 4456 4882 1813. (I play as Zeomom.)
      I’ve enjoyed seeing where all over the world gifts are coming from and I’ve been noting down some of the interesting stops in case we get a chance to travel to that part of the world. I’m out of gifts right now, but heading out in a few minutes, and hopefully will be sending more soon.

      1. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

        Hey Zeomom how’s it going? It’s Ladyoh – we’ve made it to Ultra friends!

        1. Southern Metalsmith*

          Hey to you! I’m doing well, thanks for asking. Hope you are, too. And thanks for the gifts.

    9. Arts Akimbo*

      Yay!!! It’s great to have Ask A Manager pokemon friends! Thanks to everybody who already friended me! Here’s my code again for anyone who wants it–

      2249 1336 4735

    10. MinotJ*

      Thanks for making this thread! I’m friends with several of you already, but I have room for more! West-coast US, if anybody is picky about location. 3210 6336 0653.

    11. Cloudy with sunny breaks*

      Currently in a bit of a Pokémon desert but I send gifts fairly regularly. Normally west coast city. Code is 8243 2632 9779

    12. Nerfmobile*

      Sent requests to some of you I am not already friends with. Others may feel free to add me! 8569 3675 0900 (Nerfmobile there too).

    13. Duncandoaks*

      I’m so glad to see so many people still play! We see people from age 5 to 80 play here and I can always use more friends to send gifts to
      My code is 6681 4985 0665 I’ve already sent a request to many of you

  5. Sc@rlettNZ*

    Hit me with your podcast recommendations folks. I enjoy true crime but am open to other genres as well.

    1. Hazy Days*

      Go to the BBC website and hunt down the back episodes of Punt PI – a series where he investigates a mystery in a fairly lighthearted way. I really like them!

    2. Cosmos Blossom*

      If you’re a fan of late-night shows, I cannot recommend Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend enough! It’s got that fun Conan vibe plus interesting, in-depth interviews with a variety of people. The episode with Robert Caro is pretty cool, and his conversation with Stephen Colbert was great too.

      1. Butter Makes Things Better*

        Second the recommendation. It’s a side of Conan you never get in shorter time formats: thoughtful, contemplative, vulnerable at times, but always with a light touch. My favorite eps have been Lisa Kudrow, David Sedaris, Ben Stiller, Howard Stern, and Marc Maron (esp. the last 5-10 mins.)

        Also, Armchair Expert with Dax Shepard! Nice, long, wide-ranging convos, and Dax is a fascinating, insightful, no-topics-are-off-limits host. His Sedaris ep is also awesome, but you can parachute in anywhere — Jason Bateman is a great entry point, but the recent ones with Jeff Garlin and Craig T. Nelson were great.

        1. Cosmos Blossom*

          +1 for Armchair Expert! I tend to listen to the episodes of people I’m familiar with, but it’s always a nice listen. I really appreciate Dax’s openness to talk about anything, especially mental health and sobriety. Real insightful stuff!

      2. peanut*

        I was surprised by how much I love this, because I hadn’t really watched any Conan at all (I only have Netflix and Hulu). The episodes are so funny (never in a mean way) and also thoughtful.

    3. Valancy Snaith*

      If you like true crime, I recommend Dark Poutine, which is a Canadian true crime podcast and is really excellent. The hosts are funny and warm and very open, and the cases are usually not all that famous. It’s great.

    4. Reliquary*

      I could go on and on about podcasts! I really like a lot of them.

      My top recommendation for you is Criminal, with Phoebe Judge, at thisiscriminal dot com. It’s not your usual “true crime” podcast, but it’s great.

      Ear Hustle, with Earlonne Woods and Nigel Poor, at earhustlesq dot com. The SQ in the title stands for San Quentin, a famous California prison, and the podcast is about prison life.

      I also enjoy The Allusionist, with Helen Zaltzman, at theallusionist dot org, which is not about crime at all, but about language.

      I’m a fan of The Memory Palace with Nate DiMeo at thememorypalace dot us, but I think you might have to have an interest in American history for that one.

      1. Runaway Shinobi*

        Seconding all of these! Also, David Tennant does a Podcast (very good interviews), as well as Shedunnit (about the golden age of English crime fiction) and 99 PM (about design and the built environment)

    5. Rebecca*

      Cold, about the Susan Powell disappearance in Utah, Cold Case Files, like the A&E show, Lore, Radio Lab, Michael Connelly’s Murder Book (because I’m a fan of his Harry Bosch novels), and I recently started listening to Something Was Wrong.

    6. BRR*

      There are podcasts for a lot of tv shows so I start with the show and then search for the podcast. My personal favorite is Out On the Lanai for the golden girls.

      1. Donkey Hotey*

        West Wing Weekly is pretty good. They manage to get some very interesting guest stars.

    7. Zephy*

      +1 rec for Criminal! It tends to focus on crimes that are not murder, generally, or if the crime involved is a murder then the story will focus on some other aspect besides the specific attack and the victims. For example, the latest episode discusses a case where a woman’s children were removed from her custody, not because anything had happened to those children specifically, but because their mom was previously convicted of child endangerment involving a different set of kids who died under mysterious circumstances when the family car rolled into a lake.

      If murder is your jam, though, Casefile is great. The Australian host has a very soothing voice (despite describing some pretty horrific stuff on occasion), and the stories are presented in what feels like a very respectful manner, in contrast to a podcast like My Favorite Murder, which there was already a discussion about ’round these parts earlier this month. (I confess that I’ve never done any additional research on a case I heard about through Casefile, but the host at least doesn’t make fun of anyone involved in the case he presents.)

      Atlanta Monster and Monster: The Zodiac Killer are pretty interesting; that’s two seasons, each season goes on a deep dive into the respective cases. It looks like the same creator has started working on a related podcast called Monster Presents: Insomniac; the trailer is pretty vague but it seems like the framing device is a host with an obsession telling you, the listener, about various serial killers, taking a shallower dive over just a few episodes rather than dedicating a full 10-13 episode season to a single case. The first two episodes are about the I-70 strangler and they premiered Thursday. I haven’t listened to them yet but they’re in my queue.

    8. Crocheted familiar*

      Medieval Death Trip is a podcast that ‘explore the wit and weirdness of medieval texts’. It’s really interesting, uses primary sources, and discusses them afterwards from a scholarly perspective but isn’t dry and dull. I highly recommend it.

      1. MCL*

        If you like history podcasts, I have really enjoyed the History of the Crusades podcast by Australian podcaster Sharyn Eastaugh. She’s very delightful, and started from a total beginner armchair podcaster and has hundreds of episodes under her belt. She’s working on a series about the Baltic Crusades now, and it’s fascinating.

    9. gecko*


      Blank Check—if you like the hosts, these are looong episodes about movies. No real need to have seen the movie they talk about, but start with a movie you’ve seen, don’t start at the beginning.

      Oh No Ross and Carrie—They investigate different religious orgs/pseudoscience things/culty classes by joining them. Start with a miniseries of one that interests you.

      Radio-y & highly-produced:

      We Came to Win—stories about soccer, and not just about soccer, all relating to different World Cups. I am not sporty and really enjoyed this.

      Reply All—Technology and internet stories. I vote start with the first episode on Zardulu (pizza rat).

      Decoder Ring—different cultural…things and where they came from. Like, scary clowns! Why scary clowns?

      99% Invisible—of course, but it is just such a good podcast. I realllllly really like the episode Future Screens Are Blue (I’m pretty sure that’s what it’s called).

    10. Agent J*

      Another +1 for Criminal.

      I also really like Serial—it was the first podcast that got my hooked on podcasts. The second season is a little hard for me to get into but the third season focused on everyday criminal cases and how small things are actually big things that change people’s lives forever.

      For other podcasts besides true crime: This is Love (a lighthearted podcast from the makers of Criminal), Kind World (short episodes that remind me that there’s still profound goodness im the world), and Where Should We Begin? By Esther Perel (who has totally opened my mind about how I see relationships).

    11. Ranon*

      For goofy fiction sci-fi there’s Mission to Zyxx (ongoing) and Bubble (wrapped up a season, crossing my fingers hard for a second).

      You might like Nocturne- it’s occasionally got some true crime episodes but also just all sorts of interesting (usually non-fiction) stories about things that happen in the night. Good story telling, very much in the vein of Criminal

      1. Donkey Hotey*

        As far as SF podcasts, you can’t go wrong with Wolf 359 or EOS 10. Both rather short character driven stories set in space.

    12. A Simple Narwhal*

      I really like You’re Wrong About, which investigates cultural stories/events that everyone “knows” what happened and reveals what actually did happen and how society remembers things wrong. It’s really entertaining, the hosts have great comradery, and it’s absolutely fascinating.

      Some of my favorites include the Challenger Disaster, Terri Schiavo, The 2000 Election, and the obesity epidemic. They just released an episode on the Stonewall Uprising that I’m excited to listen to.

      It’s crazy to hear what really happened!

      1. A Simple Narwhal*

        Quickly amending this to say that this is absolutely not a conspiracy theory podcast, it’s investigative journalism.

      2. Ra94*

        Yes! This is my favourite podcast- it makes me feel like a smarter person every time I listen.

      3. I Concur*

        Big +1 on this recommendation for You’re Wrong About. Another great thing is they get the tone right nearly all the time. They’re hilarious and snarky but also deeply empathetic. They always make me want to hang out with them.

    13. Moocowcat*

      If you like science, Astronomy Cast is the way to go. Take a facts based trip around the universe, and learn what and how we know things!

      1. Ranon*

        Ologies is another great science podcast and it covers a huge range of topics with a lot of enthusiasm, super fun to listen to scientists talk about their science

    14. Glomarization, Esq.*

      The Boghouse: a couple buys a defunct theater space in Philadelphia to convert into a new theater and apartments, finds a couple of 18th-century privies when they dig new foundations. True story includes history of the block and discoveries they make during construction.

      Jarnsaxa Rising: “[E]pisodic science fiction revenge tragedy. Jarnsaxa, a giantess, and her cousin Loki, seek vengeance on Thor by unleashing Ragnarok. Meanwhile, agents of a multinational energy corporation pursue eco-terrorists in the frozen North. This story travels gritty dystopian wastelands, supernatural paradise, and contemporary realms, to examine what we sustain and why.”

    15. Falling Diphthong*

      538’s podcast
      If you’re interested in American politics. Specific focus is how is X playing, is it going to redistribute support or be a blip?

      Food and science.

      Says You
      NPR quiz show for word nerds.

    16. justcourt*

      I love Robert Evans’ Behind the Bastards. Each episode involves Evans (and comedian guest) doing a deep-ish dive on historical (e.g. King Leopoldo II, the British East India Company, etc.) or contemporary (e.g. Erik Prince, Assad, etc.) bad guys and girls.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Yes, I listen to this a lot. In a similar vein but less well produced is Knowledge Fight (two guys talk about Alex Jones) and QAnon Anonymous. They are both from an explicitly critical viewpoint but I have found them interesting when I was wondering what the heck those two things were really about.

        I also like Sunday School Dropouts (a couple reads the Bible and talks about each book. She is an ex-Christian, he was raised more or less atheist but from a Jewish background). Very irreverent but I liked getting an overview of what is actually in each book, plus assorted Bible-adjacent ideas.

        Recently I discovered Archaeological Fantasies, which has been going for a while so I’m listening to the back episodes. Covers various pseudo archaeology topics like ancient aliens and hoaxes.

    17. Ra94*

      From the crime side of things, I really enjoy a few ones from Wondery: Over My Dead Body is an interesting series about an unusual murder, and the one-off Prodfather is AMAZING. The Man in the Window, about the Golden State Killer, is both terrifying and enraging.

      Crimetown is about Detroit mayors (one in the 70s, one in the 00’s), and it’s certainly very crime-adjacent, but with a lot of politics, history, discussion of the media, etc. The tone is fantastic- the hosts choose awesome music, and do a really good job of mixing in audio clips.

      You’re Wrong About is my favourite podcast, just great investigative journalism in the format of two friends chatting, and I like that each episode is standalone and completely different- there’s sure to be some episodes for everyone. I also love Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History (which he seems to have stopped making?) in a similar, but slightly more quirky + professorial vein.

      The Guardian Longreads podcasts are also often quite interesting- the Aldi one was, improbably, impossible to stop listening to and contains the funniest kidnapping story I’ve ever heard.

      1. Kirsten*

        Revisionist History just stared their new season! I think two episodes have been dropped so far. It’s my favorite.

    18. NB*

      I love pods! Here are some of my subscriptions:

      Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me (very funny news quiz)
      Left, Right, and Center (panel discussion of news)
      Planet Money (financial stuff–but fun!)
      Backstory (historians look at a topic through time–usually topics that are in the news)
      99% Invisible (all about design–this is one of the best podcasts out there)
      On the Media (analysis of the news media)
      This American Life (stories)
      Slow Burn (season one: Watergate; season two: Clinton/Lewinsky)
      Criminal (true crime)
      Pop Culture Happy Hour (pop culture, of course)
      The Dropout (downfall of Elizabeth Holmes/Theranos)
      Dirty John (true crime story about a manipulative, abusive man)
      Over My Dead Body (season one: a law professor is murdered in his garage–who dunnit)
      The Shrink Next Door (a psychiatrist takes control of his patient)
      Sawbones (medical doctor and her husband discuss medical history–both silly and informative)
      Hello Internet (two dudes talking–I have no idea why I like this one so much)
      The Moth (true stories told live before an audience without notes)
      Curious City (listeners in Chicago ask questions about the city–reporters find the answers)

    19. Jedi Librarian*

      Small Town Murder and Crime In Sports are both really good! Not for everyone though: they use humor surrounding the crimes which I know is not for everyone.

    20. Elizabeth West*

      I’m just getting into podcasts. I’ve started listening to them on my walk instead of my timed playlist, since I’m actually so used to the walk I know where to speed up and slow down and don’t need the timing anymore.

      So far, I’ve mostly been listening to Gaslit Nation with Sarah Kendzior and Andrea Chalupa (both writers and authoritarian experts) — it’s all about the scary crap going on in US government right now. Also Writers/Blockbusters on Thunder Grunt, a screenwriting podcast where they discuss blockbuster films. I learn something about writing and film every time I listen, plus it’s funny.

      I used to download a bunch of old-time mystery radio shows from this one website but I haven’t been there in ages. I need to get more of those. I think there are some similar channels on Stitcher, which is the app I use to listen on my phone. They make a great distraction when doing yard work and sewing, two things I hate.

    21. tamarack & fireweed*

      I’m a Criminal fan too. And In The Dark (both seasons) is some of the best crime podcasting I’ve seen.

      A slightly more niche recommendation is You’re Wrong About… , which is sometimes about crime, sometimes about scandals/issues that may have unexpected criminal sides, and always about revisiting events in (relatively recent) history and looking at how what we remember them for is not necessarily what actually went down.

    22. Double A*

      The Dream is about multi-level marketing and what a scam it is, but it’s told with great compassion. It’s about 14 episodes, really good!

    23. Formerly Known As*

      My favorite true crime podcasts are True Crime Brewery and Southern Fried True Crime.

  6. Hazy Days*

    Language Learners! What languages are you learning and how are you going about it?

    I’m studying Spanish, working towards greater fluency. I’d like to spend a couple of years living in Spain before the end of my 40s.

    Things I’ve found helpful – joining a conversation group, watching Netflix in Spanish and listening to the News in Slow Spanish podcasts. I’m currently working on my grammar, particularly a big focus on verbs.

    It’s hard to keep motivation sometimes without a concrete goal and time limit. I’ve been working on goal setting and giving myself rewards. I’ve broken it down into a set of competencies around verb tenses, measured by doing the quizzes on a website called conjugamos. When I get 95% on the present tense quiz I’m going to get myself a bunch of flowers for my office.

    What are other people doing?

    1. The Grammarian*

      I also listen to News in Slow Spanish. I try reading everything I can in Spanish. I also practice writing and speaking on a website called italki, which offers instruction in Spanish as well as other languages. ¡Attender español es muy divertido!

      1. The Grammarian*

        Should be “aprender,” but my phone autocorrected :/ I’m excited to hear what others are doing.

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        I actually teach on iTalki (English, not Spanish) and think it’s a pretty good platform for conversational practice. Not so great for beginners but if you’ve covered the basics (A1-A2) then I think it can be really beneficial to use.

        Also, Verbling is another platform that offers the same sort of thing with an easier way to search for teachers if you specifically want a female or a male teacher.

    2. Not multilingual*

      German. But I’ve been trying on and off for so long I wonder if it’s a lost cause at this point. I took a beginners’ class a while back which was helpful, but the more complicated stuff (sentence structure etc.) is just escaping me. I can read some basic stuff but that’s about it.

      I’m starting to wonder if maybe I’m just past the age of being able to learn new languages. *sad

      1. Tiny Soprano*

        A friend of mine recently studied linguistics and says the whole “if you’re not bilingual by 10 you’re stuffed” thing is now considered BS. Which also gives me hope for my own horrendous German skills…

        1. Julia*

          I have a master’s in applied linguistics, and what your friend says is true. While kids pick up language more organically (because what other choice do they have?) and it’s harder for adults to get rid of a native accent (which is mostly muscle memory), if you compare the fluency of a three-year-old native speaker with an adult who studied that same language seriously for three years, the adult tends to win.

        2. Claire*

          German major here, and I would love to practice German with folks here.

          Meanwhile, I need to learn Japanese. We’ve visited twice in the last year, and we really need to know more than “Thank you” and “Yes/No.”

          1. Phoenix from the ashes*

            I’d also love to practice German with people here. I’ve been working through Duolingo and I expect to finish the course in the next 3 months. After that, I have the German version of Harry Potter to read as my reward :).

            I’m looking forward to the Duolingo Latin that’s supposed to be released later this year, but what I really really want to find a good resource for is Farsi. I work with some Iranians, and so far I have learned 3 words – door, mouse, and bugger (lol).

      2. Foreign Octopus*

        No one’s too old to learn languages!

        There’s an amazing woman called Mary Hobson who started learning Russian at 56 and she’s made a later-in life career change so that she uses her language.

        It is slightly more difficult, but only because you’re aware of the challenges. Children are so happily oblivious to making mistakes with languages that it just seems easier for them.


        1. lasslisa*

          They spend a ton more time on it, too. I think one reason I have usually learned languages pretty fast (compared to classmates) is a tendency to play with it more outside of a class environment – to try and translate my thoughts or idle conversation, to think “how would I say…” or seek out exposure to the language more. Not doing drills and “homework” but just trying to absorb the language into my ordinary way of thinking.

          If you think of a little kid learning to speak, they’re spending hours practicing the sounds and hearing the language spoken, trying to produce it and getting feedback, etc. Adults can grasp grammar and cognates more quickly but usually will not spend as much time trying to figure out what their mouth is supposed to do to create the right sound.

      3. Anon Librarian*

        I’ve been working on my German skills too. I grew up with a bit of it and wanted to expand. I have to say that switching from English to German grammar is hard. The rules are different in ways that are confusing. But I think it must go the other way too. German grammar seems more organized and logical. English must seem like chaos if you’re learning it as a second language.

        Anyway, I realized that German spelling and vocabulary are pretty easy. And that it’s easy to learn enough to communicate. And that if you get the word order wrong, people will probably still understand you.

        The other thing that’s hard for me are all the different accents and dialects. I thought I knew how to pronounce things, but the regional accents are really different from what I know. I’m hoping to make some German friends so I can ask them questions about things like which accent would be the most widely understood and so on.

    3. Kuododi*

      I was fortunate to have been able to study Spanish since back when I was in second grade. I began to study Spanish at such a young age I developed a good ear for the language. It’s been my pleasure to have provided mental health counseling to Spanish speaking immigrants at the various places I have worked throughout my professional life.

      Recently, I discovered a local Meetup group which gets together regularly to improve their verbal skills in Spanish. We have all skill levels represented in group. There are folks who are obviously beginning their Spanish studies. We also have a couple of people who are native fluent and a good representation of ability between the two extremes.

      I’ve additionally taken courses in Japanese, Greek and Hebrew during undergraduate as well as my time in Seminary. Those courses were quite interesting, however I haven’t retained any verbal skills in those languages. Frankly, if I hadn’t been engaged to DH, I never would have passed Hebrew!

    4. Liv*

      Listen to radio and podcasts too. Even if you don’t understand everything. Also read news and other articles, blogs too. See if there is a group for people willing to teach you or speak with you while you teach them something else.
      I learned Finnish in a year but always want to polish my knowledge so in addition to the above I read books in Finnish.

    5. Butter Makes Things Better*

      Pimsleur, but multiple lessons a day, leading up to trips, and then having some non-boilerplate conversational ice breakers memorized (a la “My husband and I are on a belated honeymoon, and will take any food recommendations you can give us”). Totally second the “not bilingual by 10 bs” — I’m not ever going to be close to fluent, but I can get around without English in those cities if I have to and in Rome, where they were delighted to keep speaking Italian instead kf switching to English immediately (cough cough Paris) I was able to crack jokes with the locals.

    6. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m learning Spanish as well as I’ve been living in Spain for nearly four years now, and there’s a constant learning process. It was very difficult when I started, but the only way to improve is by consistent daily practice of the language: listening to podcasts/radio, watching TV shows, speaking to people (if you can), reading, writing.

      I encourage my students (ESL teacher) to set aside at least twenty minutes of their day to do something fun in the language. Not grammar or anything, but something that you enjoy. For me, it’s sitting down to read a few pages of a Spanish book or taking my dog for a walk whilst listening to Ted Español.

      I do recommend having a goal though. Not necessarily a big one as I think they’re quite daunting, but something along the lines of – have a 30-minute conversation in the language (using online teaching platforms), or read a page of a book without having to check the dictionary. Smaller goals are so much more achievable, and it keeps the interest going.

    7. Luisa*

      When I started learning Spanish as an adult (having never previously studied it, although I had studied other languages), I found Duolingo was quite helpful for really basic stuff. It gave me some foundational Tier 1 vocabulary and familiarity with basic grammar, which allowed me to use other resources to expand my learning.

    8. Suisse is strange*

      I’m learning French, and I got my B2 certificate about 2 years ago. I divide my study into “deliberate study” (e.g. school type study, with grammar books and classes) and “fun study” (doing things i would do anyway just in French). Honestly, I don’t think you can escape deliberate study, but it helps to have a goal (such as getting a certificate at a certain level). Now that I have the B2 certificate, I’m mainly focused on fun study, but I might go back to deliberate study if I want to get my C1.

      Things I use (for fun study):
      Podcasts and books are great! Also TV/movies with the closed captioned (i.e. French audio french text). Podcasts I like are the “Journal en francais facile” and “Tribue” by RTS (note that many of the guests aren’t native french speakers). Some people may like “affairs sensibles” but I did not. TV: Fais pas ci fais pas ca with french subtitles was good. I also kept the french subtitles on my netflix even when watching English language shows. For books, it can be a struggle to find things at the right level. I sometimes would listen to the audio book while also following the actual book, although this was something I did as part of my deliberate practice, but was a bit too cumbersome for my fun practice.

      I think the hardest stage of learning a languages is getting through the advanced beginner/intermediate stage (e.g. A1/A2 to B1)–this was where I encountered the most frustration. At the very beginning, being able to say anything in the language was an achievement. Later on, I could actually engage with native speakers, read things I actually found interesting, watch TV I found interesting, use french recipes to cook meals, etc, which meant that it was easier to practice because I could practice while going about my normal daily life. At one point I took a couple of 4 week intensive courses (4 hours a day each morning). This was honestly when I saw the biggest improvement. while I realize that such a course is really hard to fit into people’s lives, I think if you are really interested in learning a language it is something you should try to make a priority.

    9. OperaArt*

      I’m learning Spanish. I recently started using Pimsleur after a recommendation here. It seems to be far more effective for me than Duolingo and Drops.
      I’m watching movies on Netflix with Spanish subtitles turned on.
      Last night was the first time I could understand a small part of a Spanish conversation I overheard in public! I was so happy.

    10. Kate Daniels*

      I am learning Spanish and have checked out some children’s picture books as a fun way to supplement my other learning using workbooks. (I am working on acquiring a reading knowledge for my job.)

    11. Shrunken Hippo*

      I’m learning French and German. I took a year of each in university so I have the basics and I’m using Rocket Languages for the rest. I get to use it for free through my library system so I thought I might as well. It’s an audio language course and it has sections where you record yourself and it’ll let you know which parts you got wrong. I am also getting some of my favourite childhood books in French and German so I can get reacquainted with the written language.

    12. Nicki Name*

      I’m trying to recover my college Japanese since I’ve become a big fan of anime, and I’d like to watch it without subtitles. Right now I’m reading manga written for 10-year-olds with a dictionary handy… got a ways to go.

      1. Anthony Tellier*

        We’ve worked in Berlin and have a house/home in Baja (Mexico). At BMW/Rolls-Royce the language was Brit English. As soon as we try German (or Spanish) they (any locals) want to practice their Englische. BTW, we can get by, altho no philosophical discussions in the native tongue … we can handle menus, stores, road signs: “ALTO!”.

    13. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

      I was thinking of trying “Rosetta Stone” to start learning Spanish, but I don’t see it mentioned here. Anyone have experience with it? Is it any good?

      1. Kuododi*

        When I was on contract to the Army National Guard, Rosetta Stone was the go-to program for soldiers preparing to deploy who needed to acquire language skills promptly.

      2. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

        I’ve done Rosetta Stone Spanish. I liked it and got to simple conversation fluency (now, alas, mostly forgotten). Only caveat I have is that I find it easier to speak than to listen, but I think that might just be me. Or that the people I was talking to in Spanish had pretty strong accents.

    14. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      My daughter & I are learning ASL. She took some classes some years ago, and she is really helping me a LOT!
      Groupon had coupons a few months ago for the International Open Academy, and I’ve always wanted to learn. I’m really enjoying it<3

    15. Lora*

      Trying to acquire as much Malay as possible quickly. Fortunately this is really just memorizing vocabulary – there’s very little structure, which is kinda neat. It’s a trading language, intended to be spoken by people who are using what amounts to pidgin. I travel some to Singapore, where the “Singlish” is really a mix of English and Malay. Just doing YouTube videos at the moment but just got another assignment that will have me traveling again frequently, so I think it’s worth trying to learn more. Am carefully noting all the recommendations here…I can definitely get by in Singapore without it, but it’s exactly that – just getting by. I don’t like to just get by somewhere I’m going to be frequently and I need to have a better professional and personal relationship with colleagues if I want to be successful.

      Already speak many other European languages, and I sorta figured this would be an easier intro to Asian language than the semi-immersion I get in Mandarin and Hindi at work. I did the Hindi Rosetta Stone and it was not super helpful to be able to talk about three red fish or whatever. I got the structure out of it, but not the practical use.

    16. Kirsten*

      Duolingo has a good Spanish podcast for intermediate speakers that I really enjoy. Interesting true stories, the host chimes in in English so it’s easy to follow along even if you don’t understand a part.

      1. ..Kat..*

        The cool thing about listening to Spanish podcasts is that I can play them at half speed! This helps me really hear what is being said. Then I can play again on full speed.

    17. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      Very timely! I studied Spanish on and off most of my life, starting in high school. I never really advanced much beyond intermediate but I recently went on a short trip to Mexico and I was very surprised at how much I was able to remember. I bought city bus tickets for a group of 6, complained about a service and got an apology I understood, and chatted to people in various places without having to switch to English. I even got complimented on my Spanish by a few people! This has made me think that actually I’m not a lost cause and I should renew my efforts to study it. In the past I’ve taken classes locally but I haven’t had the money or regular enough schedule for that lately.

      I want to branch out and learn French. I did a little bit of study before a trip earlier this year but I had the problem of not being able to understand the answers when I asked a question. Half my family lives in France, though, so it would definitely be a useful skill to acquire.

    18. Aspiring Francophone*

      Check out the podcast “Coffee Break Spanish”! I’ve been learning French for four years and their French version was super helpful to me in the first few years through my intermediate stage. They’re based in Europe so they teach Spain-Spanish which was hard for me to adapt to being from the US west coast, but since you’re hoping to spend a few years in Spain it sounds like it could be a good fit for you!
      The podcast starts from extreme basics in Season 1 and continues from there. Anything you’d download off of iTunes, for example, is free, and then their website has more content for sale as you’d like.
      Buena suerte !

    19. Blue_eyes*

      I learned Spanish in college (and majored in it) and I am currently learning Hebrew (3 years of classes so far). I think having a conversation group or class to keep you accountable is super helpful. An important part of mastering a language is speaking the language with native or near-native speakers.

      My Spanish is very good, but I still have some trouble understanding people on TV sometimes. I like to watch Netflix in Spanish with the Spanish subtitles on. That way, I’m not leaning on English text to understand, but having the Spanish text there supports my listening comprehension.

      I like Duolingo for drilling vocabulary and verb conjugations. Sometimes the order it teaches you the language features in is a little strange, but it’s a pretty solid platform.

  7. The Grammarian*

    I’m at an airport waiting to board a plane and someone near me is snorting every few seconds. I’m hoping I won’t be seated near him on the plane. I know it’s rude to offer a stranger a tissue and strongly suggest he blow his nose, but I really want to, haha. Have you all dealt with such a situation?

    1. lalala*

      I’m always in wonder that it doesn’t bother /them/ as much as it’d bother anyone else! How uncomfortable must it be? It’d probably be a bit rude (or at least patronising) to tell him to blow his nose, but I don’t think offering a tissue would be crossing the line.

      1. Lcsa99*

        I am sure it does bother them. I know my husband is susceptible to sinus infections and he tends to get them if he blows his nose too frequently (or even as frequently as the average person) so as annoying as it is, there might be a reason he isn’t blowing it.

        1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

          And if the reason is ‘doesn’t have a tissue, too tired to go get one’ then he might welcome the offer of a tissue. Or ten.

    2. Liv*

      3 weeks ago I had a really bad cold while travelling. I really tried hard not too cough every 2 seconds. My abs were hurting. I felt bad about the fellow passengers. I was seated by the window and directed my coughing on my elbow on that side.

      1. I hate the offseason.*

        That is me. My nose isn’t running, my sinuses are (constantly) congresses and dripping down the back of my throat or plugging up my ears). Flying is a trigger, too. The change in pressure can really cause crud to move. A tissue would do nothing. Even rinsing my sinuses dislodges practically nothing.

      2. Teal*

        Yep. Blowing my nose usually does nothing to stop the sniffing. It’s just another loud noise added to the sniffing.

    3. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      From the other side: A few months ago, a doctor was assuring me I was well enough to travel because my lingering cough wasn’t from anything infectious.

      I decided that even if I was well enough to enjoy traveling, I couldn’t do that to a busful of strangers: six hours of worrying that my cough was going to make them sick.

      That said, this was the sort of pleasure trip that could be rescheduled: I wasn’t going to a business meeting, nor yet a wedding, just to spend a weekend with family.

    4. nonegiven*

      From the inside! I can blow and blow and blow and nothing comes out. If I could blow it out I would. It keeps dripping down my throat and no doctor has ever helped.

  8. wha...?*

    Anyone thrown for a loop with the Dalai Lama comments?

    I mean, I’ve never given any thought to what his views on women are, but this was…not what I would’ve expected.

    1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

      First I’ve heard about his comments – thanks.
      Count me as surprised, too.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I expected better of him. I can’t believe he said something that showed so little thinking and awareness.
      Sad, but in one statement he lost the respect of millions of people. You’d think he be watching what is happening with the Popes over the years and learn from that.

    3. Rebecca*

      I just looked this up. I’m not going to type out what I’m thinking, but wow, that was not what I would have expected, I think I would have expected something about having deep faith or something along those lines, not looks.

    4. Ethyl*

      I seem to recall him not having said some other questionable things in the past so I’m not actually that surprised. I mean, Buddhism is only *comparatively* progressive, y’know?

    5. misspiggy*

      I read the comments as his attempt at glib humour in the face of an impossible question. Buddhism, as I understand it, tends to put women one rung down the spiritual ladder from men, so a reincarnation of the Dalai Lama into female form would be considered extremely unlikely. Hence, perhaps, the idea that a female reincarnation would have to be utter perfection to succeed a male incarnation.
      He knows that view wouldn’t go down well with a Western journalist, so what can he do but joke about it?

      1. alex b.*

        “Teehee a woman who wants respect should wear makeup.” C’mon. No.
        Like above commenters, I was disappointed. I love how he exudes joy, but prejudice isn’t pleasurable.

        1. Miss Astoria Platenclear*

          Yes. IMO, a spiritual leader, man or woman, is more credible with a modest appearance. I like wearing makeup, but if I were taking religious vows, I would expect to sacrifice some pleasures like makeup.

      2. DerJungerLudendorff*

        Possibly, but it also means he’s perpetuating and supporting those ideas instead of trying to combat them. And as a very powerful and popular individual, that’s not good.

      3. Teal*

        I don’t think so. He’s from India – which I believe buys into the idea of “feminine mystique” to a religious level. It’s perfectly in keeping with that. A man wields power/respect through physical strength and hard work. A woman wields through influence due to beauty and purity.

        1. Kay*

          He’s from Tibet! When China occupied Tibet, India gave him political asylum and he now lives in India.

    6. NforKnowledge*

      He also thinks migrants to Europe should be sent back to their own countries so…. any lingering respect I had for the guy is gone

    7. Lilysparrow*

      The man was born in 1935 in a culture with very traditional ideas about gender roles. And he is the world’s most devout practitioner of a religion whose official doctrine specifies that women are beneath men.

      It’s not the least bit surprising that he has outdated ideas about women. It would be astonishing if he didn’t.

      I’m very surprised he entertained the idea of a female incarnation at all, and didn’t just flatly say “that can’t happen.”

      It’s not Dr Who.

      1. blackcat*

        Would anyone be surprised if the Pope offered a really dismissive comment if someone asked if the next Pope could be a woman?

      2. Nacho*

        Religions can, and should, quietly ignore the less appropriate parts of their dogma. That’s why most people ignore the parts of Christianity that require stoning people to death, despite the fact that God never officially told us to stop doing it.

        1. Zanzibar Buck-Buck McFate*

          …yes, He did? Like He literally became a man and literally told us not to stone people.

          1. Ethyl*

            Uhhh well, it depends who you ask, now, doesn’t it?

            I feel strongly though that this is a conversation that Alison maybe isn’t gonna wanna moderate this weekend….or ever….

    8. Anoncorporate*

      I’m not surprised, but that’s because never put a lot of stock in religious leaders, aka narcissistic males who get off having a bunch of followers worship everything they say.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Yup. I mean, the Chinese government are jerks, yes, but the Tibetan religious establishment is not the enlightened group of kumbaya-singers and Om that hippie westerners like to imagine them as. It’s a very old former-theocracy, and it’s done all the same bad shit that all our other religions did when they had that sort of authority.

        1. Anoncorporate*

          Yeah Americans project fairy-tale, light side v. dark side narratives onto what are very nuanced political issues.

    9. Elizabeth West*

      I was disappointed, but I don’t expect perfection from human beings. I grew up Catholic and we were taught to see the Pope as infallible. I kept it secret for a very long time that I never believed that. I still think the Dalai Lama is a good person. Perhaps his successor will be a bit more enlightened.

      The Buddha himself said to question everything and not just take whatever he said as absolute truth, and that fits really well with my philosophy. I take what I can and leave the rest, the same way I handled Catholicism before I left the church.

      1. EOA*

        Catholics aren’t taught that the Pope is infallible in everything he says. The Pope is only infallible (ostensibly) when he’s speaking ex cathedra, essentially when he’s establishing a Church doctrine. Papal infallibility has only been invoked a few times.

        I grant you that the Church isn’t always clear what papal infallibility means, but it definitely doesn’t mean that one can never question what the Pope says.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Over time, I found many of those doctrines objectionable. Many Catholics I grew up with interpreted infallibility to mean that in addition to the Church’s teachings, the Pope himself was not to be contradicted, ever. I even believed it for a while myself. Ugh.

    10. Lora*

      After having spent some time in countries with a significant Buddhist population…yeah, I am not as surprised as I would have been ten years ago. I think the Western idea of Buddhism is VERY different from Buddhism as it is practiced and understood in China, Tibet and India. In the West we are kinda sold a bill of goods. It’s not AS nasty and retrograde as the more backwards forms of Christianity (think snake handling fundamentalists who think all women should be barefoot/pregnant because Jeebus) but it’s still not awesome.

      When I came back from China and exclaimed to my Chinese Buddhist friends about the Ten Courts of Hell being exactly like The Inferno, they were all, “oh yeah…you didn’t know?” So,uh, I think we Westerners suffer from the popular notion of Buddhism being this peaceful John Lennon deal, which is definitely wrong on many levels.

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        Yes, this. I don’t know that much about it but I do know that Buddhist terrorism and violence exists. This is a thing that I think many westerners don’t know.

  9. Kuododi*

    Well, the breast biopsy was yesterday. Between DH and my Chopin playlist, I was able to get through without any drama. Now it’s down to the waiting. I should have answers to this part of the question within 3-4 business days. I’m meeting with the lung surgeon the second week in July. We will discuss my current medical situation and his recommendation for dealing with the spot in my lung. Realistically, I am probably looking at a surgical biopsy in the near future. (Oh yipee!!!). :(

    Thanks so much for to everyone for the ongoing good wishes, thoughts and prayers. They have been a source of strength during these recent days. You all are in my heart. Blessings!!!

    1. Not So NewReader*

      One day at a time and one step at a time, that is the best anyone can do with stuff like this.
      I am hopeful because they are not rushing you around. If they thought it was a severe problem I think they would be going at a faster pace.
      If the weather is getting hot by you, I hope you load up on water. It’s amazing, such a simple thing yet hydration can help with so many things. Steady hydration can even help keep our brains working sharper, which is very helpful in stressful times.

      You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers.

    2. Rebecca*

      Continued best wishes – this is the hard part, it was for me, too, waiting for the biopsy results (twice now!!). One day at at time.

    3. Quandong*

      Thinking of you in this next waiting time. I’m glad you have an appointment with the lung surgeon soon and am sending more good wishes your way. And internet hugs, if you’d like them.

    4. fposte*

      Fingers crossed for you. I had a relative with the lung surgery a year ago, and she’s doing great.

    5. NoLongerYoung*

      Sending a gentle hug. Waiting is difficult. In addition to taking extra special care of your physical and emotional health, consider channelling any anxious thoughts. Write them down quickly, (what if, for me), then the step you’d take. Then walk away, as you can tell brain it’s “on the list” and thus addressed…for me, I then pick a distracting activity and shift, reminding self “I have a plan if I need to take that action, I am as prepared as possible…” I also remind myself that I am brave and stronger than I credit myself for, that I’ve handled (other events) and remind brain of my support network and those who are standing alongside me. Sometimes I clean a closet, sometimes I take the dog for a walk, but I give myself the ability to download, reframe, and then I don’t sit. (Personally, I cry when I need to but …not good with describing this…given my depression I try to pour in the positive actions until I need the healing tears).

  10. Question*

    Question about getting Microsoft Office (for a Mac): is it better to buy the package or go for the subscription? Apparently if you buy it you can’t transfer it to a new computer in the future. The purchase price is about the same as a two-year subscription, but the subscription also comes with online storage and Skype (60mins per month I think).

    My last laptop was stolen and I didn’t back up all my files, so the online storage and the ability to transfer Office to another computer is quite appealing. On the other hand I don’t know whether an on-going subscription would be good value?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I opted for subscription so I could use it on multiple devices. Is that something that may become relevant in the future, if it isn’t now?

    2. greenthumb*

      I’ve had both and much prefer owning the software outright. As you note, the subscription comes with some extra goodies; however, I found installation to be kludgier with the subscription. Additionally the membership interface proved problematic, and the “ your subscription is ending” messages got irritating. (I’d gotten a subscription on sale, as an experiment, and ran it on one of my boxes while keeping my owned Office suite on another box so I could see what the differences were.).

      By contrast, owning the software outright has brought on no real surprises. I actually (legally) transferred my purchased copy from one Mac to another with no issue when I replaced that computer about a year ago. The key there was to uninstall it thoroughly and restart that computer a couple times before installing it on the replacement computer.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        I have the subscription and did not have any of those issues. It was easier to install than the purchased version, or the same and I dont get irritating reminders.

    3. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      If you’re not required to use Microsoft for some reason, consider Linux – many people are intimidated by Linux, but it has pretty much every Microsoft program duplicated and can be very user-friendly if you want it to be, while also giving you WAY more control. It also does not spy on you, and is far less likely to be infected with a virus. And, y’know – free.

    4. Kimmybear*

      Does the subscription come with OneDrive (Microsoft’s cloud-based storage)? If you are concerned about losing files, that may make the subscription more attractive.

    5. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hmmm, I purchased and I’ve been able to transfer it from one computer to another with no problems. Once I forgot to deactivate it my old computer before getting rid of it, and it wouldn’t let me install it on the new one because it thought it was still active somewhere else — but I just called them and they fixed it for me.

    6. Short Time Lurker Komo*

      If having a backup of your files is the stronger appeal to you for subscription Office, you migut consider a backup tool like Carbonite – backs up to the cloud, backs up MORE things probably (all the types of files), and can have the timing controlled. You can also consider Dropbox.

      My work has a Microsoft discount store as part of their benefits with Microsoft, so I picked up 2016 for like $10, so I own the software outright. We have the subscription version at work. If you don’t log in periodically, it can get a bit whiny, and when the company was renewing the subscription, it got mildly cranky with people (enough so they sent out a notice about ignoring the cranky). If your job is a bigger company, might see if they have a Microsoft store too!

    7. Claire*

      I opted to buy the package. I use the free version of Dropbox for off-site backup, and I have a backup hard drive using Time Machine for automatic local backup. (Those hard drives are SO CHEAP these days.)

  11. Lena Clare*

    I’ve just discovered season 5 of Schitts Creek on Netflix so there goes my weekend!
    I don’t mind though :)

    I’ve just finished Dark. What did you think of it? I enjoyed the first series but felt it got a bit too complicated in season 2. I probably won’t watch the next one.

    What are you watching at the minute?

    Do you have any good comedy recommendations?

    1. Liv*

      I finished Dead to me. It has fun parts but it is not comedy only. I liked it. I will watch season 2.

      1. Toaster strudel heiress*

        I couldn’t get into that at all!

        I just finished Killing Eve series 2 and I’m really disappointed and annoyed – it wasn’t a patch on series 1.

        1. Lena Clare*

          I haven’t watched this yet and I don’t know if I’m going to. Phoebe Waller- Bridge, who wrote series 1, didn’t write series 2 :/

            1. Ron McDon*

              Yes, couldn’t agree more. I binge-watched the first series, excitedly started watching the second and was very disappointed.

              Apparently P W-B is coming back to write series 3, so fingers crossed…

    2. Zephy*

      Good Omens is a delightful piece of television, if you have access to Amazon Prime. It’s just six episodes (~6 hours), so watching it all in one sitting barely even qualifies as a binge, haha. The fan community is also delightful, from what I can tell – at the very least, the Instagram-based fandom is doing a great job of curating content from the Tumblr-based fandom. I really need to get my hands on a copy of the book.

      1. Ra94*

        And Michael Sheen keeps retweeting fan art to the point where he’s basically a fan account of his own show, which is really adorable. 10/10 wholesome.

      2. Toaster strudel heiress*

        It’s on Libby/Overdrive if you have access to that? Although there’s a long wait for it!

      3. Lena Clare*

        Oops I’m a TV addict it seems! I got a free trial of Amazon Prime and watched Good Omens – I LOVED it!

        I also follow Michael Sheen on Twitter and have seen the fan art he keeps retweeting, it’s very cute.

        I just really liked the relationship between Crowley and Aziraphale:). Plus I loved that Aziraphale was a complete foodie.

    3. JenRN*

      Oh Schitt’s Creek! You will love it so much. “Meet the Parents” is my fave episode of the entire series. And the cover song sung (won’t spoil) is on my daily playlist. >Moira voice< Enjoy bebe!

      1. Lena Clare*

        That woman is the best character in a a show, ever. She’s just hilarious! But they’re all very sweet characters, and I love David and Patrick’s relationship too.

    4. PX*

      What we do in the shadows (FX) and if you’re feeling really keen – check out the movie it’s based on.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh my goodness, I have seen this series too haha! (Energy vampire, Colin lol)

        It’s fab isn’t it? But I didn’t know it was based on a film, so I will look for that and watch that next weekend, thank you!

    5. Jen RO*

      I loved Dark season 2! But I rewatched season 1 just before starting season 2 and it was a terrific idea as I had forgotten almost everything.

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I LOVE DARK SO MUCH AAHHHH! My German friend said, “Oh, German shows aren’t any good” (she watches mostly U.S. and British stuff). Well this one is. :)

      I had much less trouble following Season 2. And that cliffhanger, gah. How will I ever make it to the last season?!?!

      PopTV has Schitt’s Creek so I might watch that. They just picked up One Day at a Time, after Netflix stupidly dumped it so they could purchase more time for old, tired Friends reruns. Grrr. Right now, I’m getting ready for Stranger Things Season 3 and the final season of Orange is the New Black, both coming in July. I need money so I can purchase Good Omens; I really want to see that although I haven’t read any of it.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Did you watch Dark in the original German with English subtitles?
        I don’t know why but when I watch a foreign drama which is dubbed (Netflix sets it to be dubbed automatically grr) it just doesn’t seem right!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yes, because the English dub was HORRIBLE. I tell everyone to watch it in German.

    7. Bluebell*

      For something very different, I really enjoyed Ramy on Hulu. Not side splittingly funny, but an interesting look at a Muslim family and the main character struggles with his faith. And two of the ten episodes focus on his sister and his mother. On Netflix, I enjoyed Kim’s Convenience. A Canadian show about a Korean immigrant family.

    8. nuttysaladtree*

      I’m not caught up (but don’t mind spoilers, though others might) on The Good Place.

    9. Blue_eyes*

      “I Think You Should Leave” is a really funny sketch comedy show on Netflix. My husband was howling through the whole series.

    10. Double A*

      If you don’t mind campy fire and swearing, “Santa Clarita Diet” is for my money one of the funniest most original shows I’ve seen in ages. I started watching it, realized my husband needed to see it too, so I rewatched most of season 1 with him and I’m like…jonesing to rewatch it even though we only finished it about a month ago. If you like the first episode, you’ll like the whole show, and if you don’t like it, then I wouldn’t recommend continuing.

      If you like the classic sitcom style, the remake of “one day at a time” is super good. Just sweet and good hearted but it deals with serious issues in a thoughtful way.

      If you like absurd British humor, there’s The IT Crowd.

      All of these are on Netflix.

      1. MCL*

        I had a friend who couldn’t get into Schitt’s Creek (which I love), so we tried Santa Clarita Diet. I had seen it and liked it a lot , and it’s a different sort of comedy. She LOVED Santa Clarita.

    11. Mike C.*

      The Thick of It is on Amazon Prime. This was Armando Inanucci’s first major work, to be followed by others like “In the Loop” and Veep.

  12. Gemma I*

    What’s a good, portable item to have for self defence purposes? (I’m in the U.K. so firearms aren’t an option.)

    1. Lucy*

      I’m mildly confused by the question. In (at least) England and Wales it is illegal to carry an “offensive weapon” around with you, which appears to have to do with intent and IANAL.

      Self-defence instructors often recommend keeping a good solid bunch of keys within easy reach where dangerous situations can’t be avoided. A good ear-piercing rape alarm may also be useful.

      Can you elaborate on the kind of situation in which you wish to feel able to defend yourself? It may be that a course of self defence classes would actually meet your needs.

    2. anon24*

      I don’t know what the laws in the UK are, but I have carried pepper spray before and recommend that if it’s an option. Currently I carry a small stun gun. It’s tiny, fits in my pocket, and has a flashlight attached so it’s not just for self defense. Some people might not like it because it is a close up weapon (it’s not a taser, you have to jab the person with it) but I like it because if you get that close to me there’s no mistaking your intentions and it’s unlikely to cause permanent damage. I only paid about $40 for mine but I don’t know if they are legal in the UK, I know they aren’t legal in some places in the US.

    3. DrTheLiz*

      Pepper spray is illegal in the UK, as is pretty much anything you’d think of as a “weapon”. – no knives, no tazers, no brass knuckles. Roll of coins will increase what you’re charged with for hitting somebody but isn’t outright illegal to carry? I grew up in the UK and was never assaulted or threatened there, for what that’s worth.

    4. Bagpuss*

      pepper spray, mace etc are illegal.
      However, anything like hairspray or deoderant would be off putting if sprayed at near someone’s eyes if they attacked you.
      Is there a specific reason why you feel you need to carry something?

      1. Bagpuss*

        Just to add, I’m not saying you shouldn’t / don’t need to carry anything, but the specifics of why you want something might make difference to what would help or make you feel safer – for instance, would a ‘rape alarm’ that makes a LOT of noise when triggered be appropriate, or are you worried about situations where that wouldn’t be useful as there would be unlikely to be anyone around to hear / react to it

      1. Falling Diphthong*


        The thing with weapons, or weaponized bystanding objects (hairspray, a walking stick) is that they can all be taken and used against you.

        Anecdatum: Guy had to walk home late at night through a sketchy neighborhood. Got a gun permit and gun. Realized that his mindset had shifted from “How can I avoid a dangerous situation?” to “How can I get the gun out in time, and use it in time, but not have accidentally shot someone who was trying to ask me for directions and had a cell phone in their hand?” He decided he’d been a lot safer in the first mindset, and stopped carrying the gun.

    5. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I would think a whistle would be a good option. Might scare someone off without being illegal.

    6. misspiggy*

      I’ve always carried my key sticking out between my knuckles if I’m somewhere unsafe. Carrying a specific weapon or pacifying device is usually frowned on by police.

      But in most places in the UK, stranger violence is very rare outside of pub/nightclub fights. Having good knowledge of local maps and terrain is important, so that you don’t unwittingly take a dead end path or stray into a lonely area. Stay on exposed paths in parks, don’t go into wooded areas at night.

      I’d say working on situational awareness, checking online comments on venues, and working on physical assertiveness is all you need. That is, unless you’re living or working in a very troubled locality and are seen as interfering with what might be going on.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        I’ve read recently that the old “keys between the knuckles” is ineffective. The keys just wobble out of the way when you strike. There are more effective ways to hold your keys for defense (probably demonstrated online).
        It sounds like the UK is a safer place to live than where I am. Wish I were there!

    7. Even Steven*

      If any kinds of weapons are not permitted, I would suggest at very least, a whistle attached to your key chain. It can attract attention and at least garner witnesses who may also jump in and help. Or if you are worried it would take too much time & be too obvious to blow into it, a ‘pocket screamer’ alarm that you can activate with one hand in a pocket, and that emits high-decibel racket, can do the same thing.

      Be safe & good luck!

    8. Invisible Fish*

      I read folks’ responses just to see if I was as clueless in this area as I think I am … yes, I am. I’m in Texas, where brass knuckles are kind of legal, so I’m captivated by the idea of a completely different mindset. (I’m not pro weapon of any sort! Just looking at how others approach personal safety based on culture.)

      1. Rebecca*

        Yes, the cultural thing is fascinating to me!! Rural PA woman here – I was out alone in the state forest near my house, I had long hiking stick, to poke around for snakes if needed…a handgun (I have a conceal carry permit, background check, etc. and have been handling firearms since I was in grade school and have hunted and killed deer), a fixed blade knife for making kindling, and have been looking into buying bear spray. My biggest safety concern where I live and hike is black bears with cubs, followed by venomous snakes, not so much people. In my area, it’s totally normal to assume people are armed when they’re out in the woods alone, not unusual to see long guns on racks in a pickup truck during hunting season, or someone walking from point A to point B along a road carrying a rifle. We don’t even look twice. The same thing in another area would prompt a SWAT response post haste.

        1. Lilysparrow*

          I think the presence of wildlife that can kill you has a strong correlation to cultural attitudes on weapons.

          1. Lissa*

            Yeah, it’s much more likely to actually be useful against wildlife vs. a person with bad intent – the cougar or snake is not likely to be able to take your weapon from you and use it on you! (not to say that it can never be effective against a person like that but most of what I’ve read says it tends not to be, statistically, a great idea.)

    9. Brunch with Sylvia*

      I carry a 5oz can of wasp spray. It shoots a hard stream 20 feet away. Forestry-suppliersdotcom

    10. Ranon*

      A brain and situational awareness for starters, friends, self-defense training if it adds reassurance.

      Any “weapon” you might carry can be pretty easily taken away from you if you don’t know how to use it, and by “know how to use it” I mean have enough training that you know how your body is going to react in a fight/flight/freeze situation and you have practice getting through those instincts. Usually takes more than a one day class for most people.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Echoing Ranon here and PX below–for the weapon to be effective you have to have enough training that under pressure, you will draw it in time and use it correctly. (TV irritates me with all the guns held on people from 2 feet away. No one actually training people to use a gun says “first walk over until you are within arm’s reach of your target.”)

    11. Just trying...*

      I have a flashlight. It is about a foot long and made out of aluminum, thin and long. It also has a handle and it strobes when needed. If anyone asks, it is a flash light.

      My hubby gave it to me when I was pregnant. I live in a rural area with no sidewalks, lots of forest, aggressive deer, and people walking or having uncontained/unleashed dogs. I never had to us it, but it was handy to have. Plus it was black so it blended into my black stroller. Now it lives in our car.

      We do have a proper aluminum baseball bat by our front door as a while back we had a midgrant camp move into one of our nearby parks. People complained about lots of theft and vandalism surrounding the camp at previous locations. It leftpur area without much fanfare as there is only a little corner store near us and a farm to table restaurant. There is not much action when you are surrounded by small farms and most non farm people have 1/2 acre lots.

    12. CatCat*

      There are these small sticks you can get on a keychain (Kubaton) that a self-defense class I went to recommended. You can use it to jab hard at the knuckles and the eyes. They demo’d with a teen girl being picked up by a large man and she did the jabbing motion at his knuckles. It would have forced him to let go if the stick had been in her hands.

    13. PX*

      What Not So New Reader said is also what I would recommend. As others have said, being in the UK means most things are not an option.

      I would start by asking why your first instinct is to carry something. I started doing krav maga a year ago more for fitness than self defence, but there are a lot of very important lessons in there which go: unless you are serious and competent with whatever item you have, the chances of an attacker overpowering you and using it against you are high, and it’s likely to end up worse for you. In addition – if the police find you with anything should the situation arise, it’s not going to reflect well on you.

      If you’re really worried about crime/violence, I would suggest krav maga is a good martial art to take up. Otherwise I’ve also picked up some useful tips from a generic self defense course I took once years ago. Or the suggestions of a noise making device might also add some reassurance.

    14. Jemima Bond*

      Someone said, self defence classes and a rape alarm. This is good advice. Stay away from weapons or things to be used as weapons; you may get into a world of trouble.
      Stuff like pepper spray, knuckledusters, knives without legit reason, batons, the list goes on, are classed as offensive weapons and may not be carried.
      Some law:
      “An offensive weapon is defined in this section as “any article made or adapted for use for causing injury to the person, or intended by the person having it with him for such use by him or by some other person”
      Importantly considering the car keys discussion:
      “items not made or adapted, but merely intended to be used as an offensive weapon even if they have some other legitimate use e.g. car keys held between the knuckles or a cup of bleach which is intended to be thrown in someone’s face”

      I am not a lawyer – this is from the Wikipedia page on U.K. law around offensive weapons but the sources are cited and you could look them up – Prevention of Crime Act 1953 and a court of appeals case R v Simpson 1983.

      Another thing mentioned (as illegal) is
      And another fascinating fact for Invisible Fish – in the U.K. there are offensive weapons you may not have even in private, in your own home, and one of them is brass knuckles…and “(c)the weapon sometimes known as a “handclaw”, being a band of metal or other hard material from which a number of sharp spikes protrude, and worn around the hand;[16]” so I’d lay bets the TigerLady claw thing mentioned upthread wouldn’t be legal to own here either.

    15. ..Kat..*

      If you are using any kind of spray (pepper spray, hair spray, etc), please remember to be upwind of your attacker.

      Scream alarms are better than whistles – sometimes it can be hard to get a good breath in – which you need for a good, loud, long whistle.

    16. Nana*

      If screaming, shout “FIRE” People will ignore shouts for help and/or random screaming, but no one will ignore “fire” — it might be my property, or it might be something fun to watch, or…

    17. SarahKay*

      I have a “Don’t” rather than a “Do”, which is Don’t wear your scarf in the fashionable way where it’s folded in half, wrapped round your neck, and the loose ends poked through the doubled over end.
      You’re basically creating a noose around your own neck; if someone gets hold of the ends you cannot unwrap the scarf and struggling just makes you more strangled.
      If you’re not sure what I mean try googling “Sherlock scarf” – Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock wore his scarf that way all the time, much to my irritation, since it’s such a bad example to set.

    18. nonegiven*

      Take a martial arts class. They can show you how to use a normal thing anyone might carry into a weapon.

      1. jolene*

        Travel size spray deodorant, kept in your pocket. Check it regularly to make sure it doesn’t block. Get one with the strongest smell possible. It’ll be nastiest in the eyes.

  13. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    I made butter! From scratch! On purpose! And it tasted like really good butter!!

    I am going to see friends I don’t see enough this morning – anyone else and I would have passed on the invitation, I’m leaving on vacation Wednesday morning and have too much to do – so last night I made soda bread (using the buttermilk from my homemade butter!) and flavored the butter. I have garlic chive, honey cinnamon, and spiced rum. Plus some of the jam I made last weekend. I ended up running the canning pot on a big propane burner out back, I think it was originally the base to a turkey fryer that the previous home owner left in the shed. Worked a treat. :)

    I’m kind of ridiculously excited about it though. A quart of cream gave me 16oz of buttermilk and about 12.5oz of unsalted butter, for the same price I would have spent on either one alone plus about 12 minutes of watching the mixer and 3 minutes of rinsing and squeezing.

    1. WonderingHowIGotIntoThis*

      That’s so cool! I loved that I can feel your excitement and enthusiasm from that first line!
      I kinda want to make my own butter now too!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        That’s how I came to try – a friend of mine was like “OMG WE MADE BUTTER!” And I went “OMG I WANT TO TRY THAT!” She did hers in a little churn attachment on a mason jar, I just used my stand mixer, which made it as easy as “make whipped cream, then keep going.” The whipped cream breaks, when it gets over whipped, and separates into butter globules and the buttermilk. You know it’s done when it starts splashing again :) pour off the buttermilk, then rinse the butter very well in cold water and squeeze it together (I used gloved hands, but bare hands, spatula, whatever) and squeeze as much extra water out of it as you can. At that point, it’s ready to eat unsalted butter, and you can salt it or flavor it or slather it on whatever as-is :) supposed to keep for 3-4 weeks, I believe?

        1. Mirve*

          I first made butter by necessity back in the late 70s. Cream was readily available in the store, but not butter. Had to use a whisk, but still took maybe 20-30 minutes? Rolled the whisk back and forth between my hands which was less tiring than a standard whisking motion.

        2. Babycarrot*

          That’s awesome! My husband is interested in making cheese. I’ll try to make butter as well. Thanks for sharing how you made it!

          1. Ethyl*

            I have made cheese! There’s a lot of cheesemaking supply companies out there and lots of them offer like, an intro kit. One thing to know, though, is for making rennet cheeses, you’ll need unhomogenized milk. It doesn’t work right with homogenized milk, which is annoying.

          2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

            Making ricotta is easy at home. Takes so little time, and very forgiving. Warm 1-2 quarts milk to 180-200 F, pour in about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of acid like a white vinegar or lemon juice, let it sit and do scary congealing things, scoop the solids into a strainer lined with muslin or a thin dish towel (not the fuzzy kind… oh, the clean up!). Let the whey drain, squeeze if you like. I like it pretty dry so i can add herbs and sea salt and put on good crackers or bread.
            Small quantities of whey can go into compost or to kill weeds (!), but i like freezing it in thin flat slabs which i break up and use in creamy soups or mashed potatoes. Lots of protein in there!

          3. Ethyl*

            I was inspired by this thread so I got some fancy organic unhomogenized milk at the farmer’s market and I’m currently making cheese!

                1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

                  I think fresh cheese just does that? Cheese curds “squeak” too.

                2. Ethyl*

                  True but fresh mozz from like, the fancy cheese place doesn’t squeak like this. Idk I’m sure it’s fine. My pizza tomorrow will be the test! If it lasts that long, lol…..

        3. PhyllisB*

          When my children were young, they did a thing around Thanksgiving about foods the Pilgrims ate, and they demoed making butter. The way they did it was putting heavy cream in a jar and shaking the fool out of it. Takes a bit of time, but does make real butter!! After that, we made butter every Thanksgiving until they were in high school.Only problem with doing it this way is you don’t really get any buttermilk. Need to show this to the grands; they might enjoy it.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              We did this at least once in my Campfire group as a kid. Great activity for around 5-10 kids to work on in turns since they have a lot of energy to burn off.

    2. Thankful for AAM*

      My son’s preschool used to put a little milk in a small jar and the whole class would take turns shaking it till they made butter! It was the most exciting thing and they would have it with snack.

      1. Marmaduke*

        My aunt’s second grade class does this every year as part of their Thanksgiving celebration. They make the butter the day before as a science lesson, so that anybody whose butter didn’t work out right can have a second try the next morning, and at lunch they each get their very own handmade butter on their roll.

    3. Lcsa99*

      That is so awesome! It’s been on my list of things to try making but somehow it never happens.

    4. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I’ve got two quarts of yogurt fermenting away on my counter.
      Butter sounds a delicious treat! Must go source some good cream!

    5. Zephy*

      I’ve had a stand mixer for almost a year and I haven’t ever thought to use it to make butter. You’re an inspiration.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I’ve had mine since 2007 and this week was the first time! Never too late.

    6. SpellingBee*

      I love making butter too – it’s like magic! Butter freezes really well, so if you don’t think you’ll use it up fast enough just roll it up in parchment paper, put it in a ziplock bag and chuck it in the freezer. Just FYI, the buttermilk left over is sweet buttermilk, not sour (unless you started with cultured cream), so it may not react quite the same way in a recipe as buttermilk you buy in the store.

      For canning and jam making I use a big 2-burner propane camp stove – not only does it keep the house cooler because I’m doing it outside, it also gets the canning kettle up to speed super fast with its rocket engine burners.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Ooh, good to know about the buttermilk, I didn’t even think about that. The soda bread got inhaled so fast I didn’t even get any, which suggests that it was at least successful there, hah! :)

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I checked with my husband, who has had soda bread made using the same recipe with both the store-bought buttermilk and the homemade, and he said that he actually liked it better with the homemade :) Victory!

    7. Not A Manager*

      Please tell me about rinsing and squeezing. I used to make butter out of cultured goat’s milk. It was delicious, but I could never get ALL of the buttermilk out of it, so it would go off very quickly even in the fridge.

      How do you know when you’ve rinsed enough?

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I used the sprayer on my sink to rinse with really cold water for just … probably a minute or so? Then put on nitrile gloves (I don’t like handling a lot of food textures, so I keep a box of them in the kitchen) and just squeezed it all into a ball like play dough and basically pressed it between my hands til water stopped coming out.

      2. SpellingBee*

        What I’ve done sometimes (if I have a small enough batch) is to actually work the butter submerged in a big bowl of cold water, rather than rinsing it under the tap, and change the water several times. That way I can more easily see when milk is still getting squeezed out. I’ve never made butter from goat milk, though – I understand it’s quite a process separating the cream!

        1. Ethyl*

          That’s what I have done too, but I too have never used goat milk. Although now I have An Idea!

        2. Lora*

          Depends on the goat. Saanen cream you need to spend $$$ on a cream separator gadget; I have Alpine/Togg/Saanen mutts and their cream rises in about 24 hours in the fridge.

          1. SpellingBee*

            Interesting! A lot of people in our area keep goats, but I don’t know if they’re milk goats or meat goats. I love seeing them in the pastures, though, especially the kids bouncing around.

  14. Summer*

    Feeling some weight-related angst: last year I managed to lose a lot of weight (safely and on purpose) and last summer I bought a really gorgeous dress that I loved. Over the colder months I’ve let the weight creep back up (not all of it) and now that the weather’s getting warmer, the dress doesn’t quite fit anymore.

    It just annoys me that I wasn’t disciplined enough to prevent this from happening.

    1. WellRed*

      If you plan on losing the weight again so you can wear the dress next summer, try the dress on a few times over the winter to remind you.

      1. Dr. Anonymous*

        A lot of people beat themselves up over discipline and it’s so hard on you and unhelpful. Last winter you wanted whatever you were eating more than you wanted the dress. Maybe this year you can set up your surroundings to make it easier to eat the way you wish you’d eaten. It takes a lot of thought to get a clue about what you were eating and why and if there’s a different food or an entirely different activity to fill that need. Be kind to yourself and make a good plan to care for yourself with love this year, whatever happens with the dress.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      You did it before, that means you can definitely do it again! I think everyone goes through those kinds of jagged-line progressions, it’s never just a straight diagonal line and then flat. I have done the same thing a few times, and I think of it as allowing myself a break before getting back to work again, and one “break” was a couple of years of a slight rise and plateau before getting back down to my previous low. It was still WAY below what it was when I started, so I tried not to worry too much, but I did feel like I should have been able to get it back down during those years.

      Remember, you did it before, so you can do it again!

    3. Ramanon*

      A lot of diets aren’t sustainable. You’re certainly not the only person who’s regained weight the next year just because that’s what happens, not because you didn’t “try hard enough” or whatever. Don’t beat yourself up about discipline or similar. As long as you’re healthy, it shouldn’t matter.

      1. Christy*

        Yeah, sustained weight loss is nearly impossible, you can’t beat yourself up about it. That said, I definitely empathize.

        1. Agent J*

          So does that mean weight gain is inevitable/permanent?

          I’ve been struggling with some stress weight gain lately. I’ve been trying to focus on “loving my body” and all that but feel a bit like Summer, that I should have been more disciplined to prevent it from happening. I’ve been hoping to lose the weight but now maybe I should just accept it?

          1. NoLongerYoung*

            I have kept it off but it’s been a bit of an up and down within 5-7 pound range. I don’t give up. I pick something, and work on it until a habit, and keep after the lifestyle choices. I remind myself that no one buys a car and never expects to tune it up or align the tires. I had years to learn bad habits; I need to keep learning and reinforcing replacement and positive ones. It’s taken me 20 years to stop and ask myself if I’m really just thirsty, or anxious, instead of hungry. It took me several years to reach for celery with peanut butter at my 3 PM lag (I needed protein) instead of chocolate or sugar. Still not consistent, but I’ve kept off the 165# for 15 years now. I bounce inside that little 7# range and keep whittling away at the issues…I also work hard not to beat myself up, or make it all or nothing. I had huge issues, now I’m pushing on the long term small adjustments that make it creep back.

          2. Lissa*

            There are very different ideas about that one. There’s a lot out there that says weight loss is never sustainable, but there’s also been more stuff coming out saying those studies/statistics are skewed and it in fact is possible. I personally have found sustained weight loss possible when I stay on top of it, but it does mean putting some thought/effort into it and sometimes, I just don’t wanna. The times it’s been a priority for me to exercise and keep track of what I eat, I have lost weight and maintained it just fine. But the times I haven’t felt like that was something I wanted to integrate in my life regularly, I have gained or not lost more.

            I do think barring certain medical conditions maintaining weight loss is possible. But it isn’t always a priority and that’s fine too. I do think that the idea of weight loss and gain being mysterious and not controllable at all is false, from my own experience it’s a pretty clear correlation. But so much of society is set up in such a way to really work against us and trick us into not realizing what we’re eating, and fighting that aspect of things is a constant thing for many of us.

          3. namelesscommentator*

            Lots of people keep the weight off.

            And to be very honest, it’s when I stopped buying into the “healthy at any size!” “Love my body” “it’s not that you’re not trying hard enough” that I was finally able to start eating less and lose weight. I could say that I’ve been on a diet since I first noticed I was heavier than my classmates in 4th grade. But until two years ago I ate too much and didn’t exercise enough AND I KNEW IT. Knowing that you shouldn’t eat that cookie is not the same as not eating that cookie. Being a little mean to myself about that was the best thing I ever could have done.

            If you want to lose weight, I’d start by looking at your calorie needs using one of many online trackers. They give various numbers but they should be within range of each other. Then track everything making sure you’re within that range.

            Another thing that it helped me was to keep in mind how insanely negative people are about weight loss goals. Treat them like any other goal that you or your friend’s have. I have one friend reading a novel every day this summer, another learning to rock climb and another getting a PhD. They are not doing those things at me, I did not lose weight at them. Your opinion is what matters on your body and your goals.

            1. Ramanon*

              The number on the scale is not the be all and end all of health, though. A lifestyle that results in weight gain correlates with health problems, but there’s no “healthy” weight point that can be universally adapted to everyone- or even between any two given people. Trying to fix an unhealthy lifestyle should be done because the lifestyle is unhealthy, not to reach a “good” number on the scale.

              1. namelesscommentator*

                This is such a great example of the negativity around weight loss. No where did I say weight was some be all end all measure of health. No where did I say not wanting to lose weight was bad. No where did I mention “good” scale numbers. But instead of saying “oh, guess we have a different goals” you went into all the reasons why weight loss isn’t a good goal to have.

                And since you brought it up — weight is absolutely part of measuring your health. It’s not the only or most important indicator, but it is very much part of it. I lost weight to have fewer cells at risk of turning cancerous, sleep better, and buy bras in easily accessible stores. Sure, there’s no number that magically would have flipped those switches, but there was a range, and I don’t get why people find it so insulting that others have weight loss as a goal. They’re not doing it at you. It is not a referendum on your body and has NOTHING to do with you.

                And FWIW, I felt a lot of ill health effects at a weight (5’5″, 190 lb) where I could still easily fit into an airplane seat, walked 15 miles a day and exercised regularly, so the ill health effects of excess weight for some kick in long before social side effects (like plus size clothing or buying 2 seats).

                1. ThatGirl*

                  Sustained weight loss for most people requires a lifetime commitment. Meanwhile life changes. Goals change. Our metabolisms change. If you spend your life yo yoing you’ll end up less healthy and heavier than when you started. I’m all for thoughtful eating and plenty of exercise but it’s not always simple or easy or cut and dry.

                2. Ramanon*

                  Pretty much what ThatGirl said.

                  Also, I’m not sure why you assume that I’m insulted by weight loss as a goal. Where do I come off as insulted?

                3. namelesscommentator*

                  Of course it’s a lifelong commitment that comes with challenges and changes. Just like maintaining a higher weight is a lifelong commitment to eating the correct amount of calories to maintain that weight. That seems really obvious.

                  You came off as insulted/negative/anti (whichever one you want to choose, maybe insulted wasn’t the right word choice) when you said people shouldn’t try for a certain number on a scale.

                  I’ll bow out of this conversation because this isn’t my hill for anyone but myself. But if a friend mentions intentional weight loss (& isn’t underweight), if your first instinct is to talk about all of the reasons it won’t work, think about why that is and if you’d do that for any other goal they had.

                4. ThatGirl*

                  Uh, I don’t think you really understand humans if you think we’re all committed to being fat.

                5. namelesscommentator*

                  Let’s not pretend that our weight isn’t a reflection of our longterm calorie choices. You don’t overeat once and get obese just like you don’t undereat once and stay skinny.

                  I could care less about others weight, but I would like to not hear about how impossible weight loss is or how it’s the wrong goal to have when it would be healthy for the vast majority of people. You hear so much about how the obesity epidemic is a symptom of system issues and it is. Why do we compound that by discouraging those who do want to address it on their own individual level?

          4. Ramanon*

            Stress weight is not permanent, no, if that’s your concern. It’s the metabolism reacting to stress, and once you feel better you’ll likely lose it. But weight gain is like freckle gain or whatever. Everyone has a different body, and everyone’s going to gain and lose and keep weight based on a bunch of internal and external factors. There’s nothing wrong with exercising at a level healthy for your body, or eating a diet healthy for your body, but diets and exercise programs should be considered first and foremost /medical/ tools and not social acceptance points. You wouldn’t take adderall for social points, you’d take adderall because it helps you be healthy and happy. Diets should be the same way.

          5. Christy*

            Your body has a stasis point. It’s possible to lose weight after gaining it, but you’re always going to want to be at your stasis. I was at mine for several years when I gained about 20 lbs of depression weight. I’m now on this awful medical diet for unrelated reasons and I’ve lost about 14 lbs of that gained weight. But I’ll always bounce back around to that stasis weight eventually.

          6. matcha123*

            I’ve been asking myself the same thing for a while. I don’t think that significant weight gain is inevitable or permanent. Yes, as you get older it’s possible that you are sitting at a desk most of the day or sitting in a car, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t also look at the way your life has changed and take steps to ensure that you are at least trying to be healthy and active.
            And I say this as someone from a very low-income background. I’ve never had a gym subscription. I use my legs and walk. I watch YouTube videos at home.
            Not all of us are starting at the same point, either. If you are starting at 300lbs and trying to get down to 150lbs, your journey is going to be different from someone who was 120lbs, then went up to 130lbs and is now trying to get back down to 120lbs.

            If you are telling yourself things like “Well I’m older so I can’t do that anymore,” or “Of course my metabolism is going down,” or things like that then what motivation do you have to try something new if you think you’re going to fail? (Not YOU you, but general you.)

    4. Madge*

      Keep in mind that you are battling several adversaries in your attempt to maintain or lose weight. Food manufacturers, culture, advertising, lifestyle, and your body’s natural inclination to hang on to weight, to name a few. You’re paddling upstream in rapids and stopping to rest or losing your focus is nothing to be ashamed of. Being unable to achieve or maintain weight loss is not a moral failure. Precision Nutrition has a great info graphic on the effort to maintain various percentages of body fat. I’ll post a link later.

    5. Batgirl*

      This is me, except that the weight gain was so obvious I could tell before it was really warm and try-on-clothes time. So I started losing weight in the Spring, and I can juuuuust get the zipper up now. As of yesterday. Looking at my history on MyFitnessPal, I usually stop tracking weight and food in September and by December I’ve gained weight. I am not interested in fast weight loss; I want nice food and generous portions, so I’m going to start tracking my weight when I’m in maintainance mode the exact same way as I do in weight loss mode but with a bigger allowance and see what happens. It may not work; feeling cold gives me the munchies something terrible, and at the end of the day I’m going to choose sustenance over my summer clothes on a chilly November night. But it might be somewhat down to mindlessness and if I minimise it hopefully there’s less weight loss to do next year.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      While it’s easy to turn your perspective on weight gain after actively taking it off previously into a personal failure-believe me, I’ve been there–I think it’s more helpful to recognize that this is an ongoing process that ebbs and flows. The key is to notice what’s happening and make a plan.

      Also, it’s really normal to gain weight in the winter. I once read an article about a 10-year study of people in Alaska who typically gain weight in the winter and lose it in the summer. While I’m no expert, we’re mammals and that makes sense to me.

      Like you, I gained back some of the weight I took off last year, and also found that a favorite pair of pants doesn’t fit. I’m wondering if you turn this around in your mind to congratulate yourself instead of blaming. You have not in fact gained it all back, you’re lighter than you were when you started losing in the past, and you’ve noticed it now to prevent yourself from gaining more. That’s a big accomplishment. You’ve got this.

    7. PhyllisB*

      I can so relate. Not about a specific garment, but I lost a good bit of weight and have kept most of it off, but in December I quit drinking alcohol and developed a fierce craving for sweets in its place. I realize that is very common when you stop drinking, so didn’t worry too much about it, but it’s been 6 months now, and still craving, and I’ve gained 15 pounds!!!!! How long does it take to work through this? It doesn’t help that all of us, me, Hubby, and Son are facing the same issue (no drinking, wanting sweets) so there is always way too much sweet food around. Grands are loving it. :-) They said we have much cooler snacks now.

  15. Washi*

    Tiny ladies, give me your shopping tips! My MIL hasn’t gotten new clothes since the 90s and has lost a bit of weight since then, so she often looks like she’s dressing from the remains of someone else’s Mari Kondo cast offs. She asked me to help update her wardrobe, but I’m worried about not finding anything that fits – she’s about 5 feet tall and very thin. I’m on the shorter side as well, but I can generally find my size, whereas my MIL often wears children’s clothes.

    So, if you are also very small:
    1) Where do you have the best luck shopping?
    2) My MIL is completely flat-chested. Are there particular cut/styles that tend to work well or not work well for that shape?

    She’s quite well off, so money is no object, and we live in a city in the mid-Atlantic, so we can probably find any reasonably sized national chain.

    1. Reba*

      as a fellow petite flat chested person… I’d recommend nordstrom–the one in my area carries lots of petites, anyway. The Ann taylor brands also have fairly extensive petites, although the sizing may not go down enough for mil.

      As far as shapes, there are lots of pretty, loose fitting tops and dresses out there these days. Look at Eileen Fisher to see what I’m talking about. She just needs to avoid things with a lot of darts or bust shaping. For example, a drapey flat-front loose blouse vs. a tailored poplin button down shirt.

    2. Butter Makes Things Better*

      I’m also 5’ and slimmish, and used to get most of my clothes from J. Crew, because they offer XXS and XXXS in their sweatshirts. They also have a petite line. Their kids line Crewcuts is awesome for petite women who like a little whimsy in their wardrobe — I get so many compliments on my yeti and T. rex sweaters (size 12 boys; the latter gets mistaken for Coach), my girls blue terry cloth dress with stars and my girls long-sleeve tee with a giant cheeseburger on it. I usually go size 12 or 14, though sometimes even size 10 fits.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      First, this is secondhand because I’m not petite. But co-workers say good things about the petites at Ann Taylor & Talbot’s, if she wants corporate look. And if she wants frivolous/fun, she’s the right proportions to order from the many Amazon sellers shipping from Asia.

      1. Pomona Sprout*

        Another vote for Asia here!

        My daughter is 4’11” and weighs about 90 lbs. (she looks and is perferctly healthy; she’s just naturally tiny) and has a terrible time finding anything that fits her, The petites in most stores start at size 4, and she’s size 1, 0, or even 00, depending on the stores and how the (vanity) sizing runs. (The prevalence of vanity sizing has made things extra hard; when companies start labeling large size garments as “medium,” medium ones as “small, etc., people aready at the small end get sized right out of everything.) Finding her shoe size (5) is even harder; hardly anybody makes adult women’s shoes under a size 6 any more and even fewer retailers actually sell them–which I guess is why everybody has stopped making them!

        Most of her nicest and cutest clothes have come through mail order from Asian retailers. I can’t tell you any brand names offhand, but I know she orders mostly from Japan, fwiw.

    4. HannahS*

      Consider a Japanese brand, like Uniqlo. They have great basics, and are built for a straighter, slimmer figure–I’m short but pear shaped, and find that their clothes don’t flatter me, so she might have better luck there!

      1. MMB*

        White House Black Market has smaller sizes; Eddie Bauer has good tops for smaller people but the pants don’t typically go below a size 2 but they have shorter lengths available. Antonio Melani has 0 and sometimes 00 pants but sometimes they’re a bit long.

      2. greenthumb*

        Yes, seconding Uniqlo! It can take a little looking, because some of the clothes skew very teen, but I bet you guys would find her some cute things.

    5. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Do you have a Nordstrom nearby? I’ve heard very good things about their personal shoppers. Someone like that might be able to recommend styles that work best with her body type.

        1. jDC*

          If you get the debit card it’s free up to a certain amount. Also without it certain items are free to tailor. I recommend the card since it’s not a CC but you still earn points and get free tailoring and early access to anniversary, which is the best sale ever.

          1. jDC*

            Can’t wait!! I haven’t shopped in 2 years due to moving to middle of no where. Now I’m back and cannot wait.

      1. jDC*

        Oh yes. I also love Trunk Club. They really nail sizing. They’ll send me something in my not usual size and i think “you’re crazy” the. I try it on and it fits perfectly. Nordstrom in general is really good about online explaining how things fit. It’ll say “true to size” or “if between sizes order one up”. Really helpful.

        1. 2e*

          And another vote!

          My grandma was just under five feet tall and very petite, and Nordstrom was always our first stop. A personal shopping appointment where we gave some parameters (like “grandma is going to the Caribbean and is looking for modest outfits in which she won’t be too hot; ideally tops, skirts and cropped pants; she likes blue but does not wear blue jeans”) was so helpful because we started with options selected by someone who knew the inventory and thus what was most likely to fit her. I recommend their in-house tailoring for simple petite alterations such as hemming trousers, too.

    6. purple otter*

      If you have one near you, consider Athleta’s casual wear line for weekend wear. They do have a pretty generous try & return policy if you shop online.

      Zara and H&M also have petite sizes.

    7. Not A Manager*

      I used to like Eileen Fisher petites. My wardrobe needs have changed, so I haven’t looked at her stuff lately.

    8. MissDisplaced*

      As a petite but plus woman, it seems to me like you can find small sizes nearly anywhere. All I see at department stores are sizes 0 and 2 left, or conversely really big plus sizes of 22 and up. Never much in the 14-18 sizes and good luck ever getting petite-plus!

      That being said, you’ll probably find plenty at Banana Republic, Macys, and stores that cater to junior/youthful looks like H&M or Zara. Also European brands and high fashion run much, much smaller.

    9. Nita*

      I think I have a figure like your MIL. I really like dresses with flared skirts, they give me some “shape” so I don’t look like a stick. Some ruffled tops work too, but it really depends on the exact style. I also got a jumpsuit (I think that’s what they’re called) online and it fits great… I think the high waist makes me look taller.

    10. WoodswomanWrites*

      My sister is the same build as your MIL, and she’s a big fan of J. Jill which specializes in small sizes.

      1. Filosofickle*

        I wouldn’t say J.Jill specializes in small sizes…they have a great range, petites, regular, and plus! I’m typically a PXL and that is SO hard to find. (Their sizes run big, so there I’m closer to a PL. I wonder if a really tiny P might actually struggle to get something small enough.) J.Jill isn’t an ideal match for my style but I’ve found some really good pieces there. I think of J.Jill as less spendy Eileen Fisher.

        Recently I found myself in an outfit of wide-leg patterned crops from J.Jill and a boxy tee from Eileen Fisher and I realized I had reached peak middle-aged white lady Berkeley fashion…yet I was hella comfy so who cares?! Ah, being in my 40s is a gift.

    11. Washi*

      Thank you all! I’m going to scout out which malls have the most of your recommendations!

    12. Blue_eyes*

      I heartily agree with everyone else suggesting Nordstrom. Use the personal shopping, or just go to petites and then take advantage of the in house tailoring.

      I would also add American Eagle. They may have more casual clothes for her. I have a young teen in my life who is just over 5 feet and very slim. She’s just at the point where kids clothes don’t really fit, but many adult brands don’t go small enough for her. AE has women’s 00 and XXS sizes.

  16. Cows go moo*

    When invited to a wedding, is it rude to skip the ceremony and only attend the reception? I am not close to the couple. I don’t dislike the bride but I don’t like her either. Never met the groom. TBH I don’t know why I was even invited as I haven’t seen her socially for a long time. I would decline except I am very close friends with someone the bride is related to.

    The ceremony is an hour away from me and the reception is close to my house. I can’t be bothered driving that distance and arrange for a babysitter for my kid especially if I’m going out again later that night. My Saturdays are precious! Is it a terrible sin to make up an excuse to skip the reception?

    1. Lena Clare*

      No. If you were being invited to the day do and missed the wedding but turned up for the sit down meal, I think that’d be rude, but just going for the dance/ buffet at night is fine.
      You can say you can’t find a babysitter if you think they’d not then invite your child, or just say you’ve got other plans in the day, but would love to help them celebrate in the evening.
      Job done :)

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        Do weddings now have 3 separate events to RSVP to – the ceremony, a sit down meal, and a buffet and dancing? How do you signal you are going to just one part without them paying for all of it?

        I am thinking her options are to say yes or no and if she says yes, the bride and groom are now paying for all the costs associated with their wedding?

        1. DerJungerLudendorff*

          Depends on the wedding I suppose. Some people like to do it big and invite lots of people, some people prefer smaller and shorter ceremonies.

          I think she should be fine asking to just attend the evening parts. The bride and groom are unlikely to really miss her or mind if they’re that distant, and they have plenty of other things on their hands.

        2. Lena Clare*

          Yes, it’s fairly traditional here (UK) to do it that way although I’ve been weddings later in the day so they can combine the ceremony/sit down and reception together.

          I’ve also had invites to people’s wedding reception only, so only RSVPd for the evening. Lots of people have more guests at the reception than at the ceremony/sit down, because that’s the more expensive bit, and if you’re invited to a wedding, it’s taken that you’re being invited to the whole day and evening shebang!

          It’s why I don’t like weddings in general, unless it’s for someone close to me :/

          1. only acting normal*

            I went to a wedding once where we (and many others) were invited to the ceremony, *not* invited to the sit-down meal, then invited to the evening party. Made for a weird day for a lot of the guests, having several hours to kill dressed for a wedding with no wedding to attend, plus finding somewhere to eat.
            Usually it’s a ceremony+meal+evening, or an evening-only invite.
            But it’s fine to simply decline! No excuse needed, just say no thank you, wish them the best, and everyone moves on.

          2. Thankful for AAM*

            I still don’t know what all that means! To me the reception IS the sit down meal. Sigh. I feel old.

            1. londonedit*

              Really late here, but in the UK you have the wedding ceremony, followed by the reception that includes the sit-down meal, speeches, toasts etc, followed by an ‘evening reception’ that involves dancing and usually a late buffet. So, say the wedding is at 1pm, the reception will probably start at 2.30pm with canapes and drinks while the bride and groom have photos taken, then the ‘wedding breakfast’ sit-down meal at about 4pm, toasts and speeches at say 6, and then the evening do will start at 7pm or 7.30. In my experience, people are usually either invited to the whole day, so the ceremony plus all of the reception (the sit-down part going into the evening dancing bit) or they’re just invited to the evening part of the reception, so you’d be invited to arrive at 7pm or whatever. It’s a way of inviting more people to the wedding without a) having a huge number of people at the ceremony venue, which there probably wouldn’t be space for, and b) having to pay for loads of people for the sit-down meal!

              The exception to this has been friends who’ve got married in large church venues, where there’s a ton of seating and numbers aren’t a problem. Last year I was invited to attend a friend’s wedding ceremony in the local abbey at noon, and then invited to the evening reception do from 7pm.

        3. tamarack & fireweed*

          I’m going to a wedding tomorrow where the invitation was for the reception only – they want to do the ceremony in a small family setting. But it’s a super informal event, too.

          To the OP, I can pretty much imagine two options that might make sense for everyone: a) *ask*, politely, along the lines of “I am thrilled for you and would very much like to celebrate with you, but I am finding myself with a serious scheduling problem for the ceremony. Would it be ok to join you for part of the reception” – and then let it open to the bride to invite you to drinks only or whatever. b) not go.

          Sounds like a) would be pretty much a lie – up to you if you feel comfortable with it. (Me, if I’m not close to the couple and don’t even like the one half of the couple I know, it wouldn’t occur to me to go. I’d decline immediately. But that’s me. I have no idea what attraction others might see in going to a family celebration among people they don’t know. Maybe you’d be hanging out with people you like?)

        4. Person from the Resume*

          In my experience there is no sit down dinner. The food/meal is a buffet at the reception.

    2. Sc@rlettNZ*

      Of course you dont have to attend. You’ve just said that you aren’t particularly close to the bride and aren’t even sure why you were invited. I’d just decline graciously citing a prior commitment. Don’t overthink it. People decline invitations all the time. Just because you are close to someone the bride is close to doesn’t mean that you are obligated to attend her wedding.

    3. Call me St. Vincent*

      I think it’s generally acceptable to skip the reception if you go to the ceremony since the ceremony is the main event, but not the other way around. Then again conventions are really changing. I understand the dilemma and you have my sympathies in figuring it out! I’m looking forward to hearing what others have to say on this one!

      1. Deanna Troi*

        I agree with this. In my part of the US (mid-Atlantic), it would be considered extremely rude to go the reception, but not the wedding. The ceremony itself is the important and significant part of the event. The reception is because you have to feed people if you invite them to something. Some look at it like the reception is the reward for sitting through the ceremony.

      2. fposte*

        Another agreement on this. The look if you attend the reception only is “I’m just here for the party.”

        But honestly, I don’t see why you’re even considering going. You don’t want to, you’re not close to the couple, it’s going to be a pain. It’s a question, not a subpoena–“Would you like to come?” And your answer is “No, thanks.”

        1. Marmaduke*

          These comments are interesting to me because my friends and I have always seen it in the opposite way. The party is when the bride and groom are actually interacting with guests, so that’s the most important part for guests to attend. I don’t think I’d have minded if nobody showed up to the actual ceremony except the groom and the officiant.

          Of course, I don’t know how much of that is a result of spending most of my formative years in a culture where most wedding ceremonies could only be attended by a specific group of people, so it was very standard to only be invited to the reception anyway.

          1. fposte*

            Yes, I think there’s huge cultural variation on this. And I suspect that with most weddings I’ve attended as long as the guest kept their mouth shut nobody’d know they missed the ceremony :-).

          2. a1*

            Same – I was always told there’s always more people at the reception than the service, and that’s quite normal. Only people close* the marrying couple tended to go to the wedding itself. However, when I moved here (MN – I grew up in MI) after one wedding invite I asked some friends if they were going to both the wedding and the reception and they looked at me like I grew 2 heads. In their mind/how they were raised, you never go to just the reception. When I said that every wedding I’d been to had more people at the reception than the service they couldn’t believe it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

            * “Close” being however you want to define it and not tied to blood ties. And there was still always a lot of people at the wedding service, just less than at the reception.

      3. That Girl From Quinn's House*

        I agree, though it’s ok for extenuating circumstances. One of my friends turned up towards the end of my reception because our wedding ended up at the same time as a funeral in his wife’s family, and we were really touched that he made the effort to come at all.

        We also had a funeral in my family recently, where there were 200 miles between the funeral parlor and the cemetery, due to a relocation away from their hometown. Some people came to just the service, some came to just the burial, the sentiment was appreciated either way.

    4. Washi*

      I think you should just decline. You’re not close to the bride or groom and it sounds like the whole thing is having you going “ugh, do I have to?”

      And I think openly skipping the ceremony but attending the reception could be seen as saying you’ll come for the free party but not for the most meaningful part, the whole reason the party is happening in the first place. If it’s a large wedding though, probably no one would notice if you weren’t at the ceremony and if someone commented, you could claim a last-minute kid emergency.

      But that brings me back to point 1, which is why bother? I don’t see what difference having a close mutual friend makes – my close friends have lots of friends that I know socially but wouldn’t attend the weddings of, even if invited.

      1. I hate coming up with usernames*

        This. Please don’t make people you clearly don’t even like host you at their wedding. They even don’t realize how you feel or had outside pressure to invite you.

        1. Lilysparrow*

          Yup. This.

          Unless the relative who is your close friend is hosting the wedding (which some parents / parental figures still do), then just don’t go.

          Get together with your friend on your own time and your own dimes.

    5. Caterpie*

      As someone in the midst of planning a wedding, I don’t think it’s that rude to go to the reception only considering the distance and your childcare situation. I’m not sure what you RSVPd for but all of the prepaid costs to have you there (dinner, drinks, favor, etc) are going to come from the reception anyway. As long as you don’t just show up for free food and then leave I think it’s ok.

    6. AvonLady Barksdale*

      In your position, I wouldn’t go at all. Being close to the bride’s sibling or parent doesn’t require you to attend. Make an excuse and send a card.

    7. WS*

      Send a card and your best wishes and that will be fine. Skipping the ceremony and just attending the reception is a bit odd (without a reason like the ceremony is up a steep hill and you use a cane) but skipping both is fine.

    8. Bagpuss*

      It’s fine to decline the invitation, it’s not a summons.
      I think skipping the ceremony but going to the reception is a bit rude, as the ceremony is the more important part , but I think it depends on the couple themselves whether they would perceive it as rude or not.
      However, as you are not particularly close to them, why not just decline, send them a nice card, and maybe make arrangement to see your friend another time?

    9. Not So NewReader*

      Agreeing with those who said, don’t bother going.
      I am wondering if your friend asked you to go as moral support for some reason? If so maybe you could call the friend in the middle of the reception and tell her you “have an emergency” and she needs to come over right away. That might bail her out of her demand appearance at the wedding.

    10. Thankful for AAM*

      Given the distance and what seems like some social pressure to not decline, I’d go to the nearby reception only. I don’t think anyone will notice who is not at the ceremony. Have last minute sitter issues or similar car issues or even a wardrobe malfunction that meant you would have missed half the ceremony anyway if that helps but I don’t see why you cannot extend well wishes from the reception only.

      I can see I’m the odd one out here but I don’t share the feeling that the ceremony is the important part. There are obligations in both directions (like dont invite ppl you are not close to and make them drive too far) but the important parts are show support and going to the reception does that.

      1. Insurance mom*

        In our area – Midwest- it is very common to skip the wedding and go to the reception. If you aren’t sure why you were even invited just decline

        1. ThatGirl*

          I live in Illinois and never heard this, we had the opposite where a few people left after the ceremony.

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yeah, I’ve spent 3/4 of my life in Indiana and Michigan and never heard this at all.

    11. Alice*

      I think you should decline and send a card. You don’t have to explain why. If your friend the sibling wanted you to come as a special favor she would have told you about it, and it sounds like you have no other reason to go.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        Yes, I’d decline. One advice columnist advises declining all wedding invitations except for close family members because of the cost and effort it takes to attend a wedding and all its events.
        A card with handwritten good wishes is fine in this case. In other cases, consider sending a gift that is some portion of the cost you’d incur if you had attended. That’s an option, too.

    12. Lena Clare*

      Oh I’m interested to read the replies.
      If it’s a traditional wedding (ceremony, sit down meal, evening reception) I think it’d be ok to go to the reception in the evening and miss the ceremony-sit down meal bits.

      I guess if people are doing a less traditional wedding and having ceremony and reception later in the day, then doing the reception only would be rude yes! So miss it all in that case?

    13. ImJustHereForThePoetry*

      It’s not rude to skip the ceremony – especially when the ceremony and reception are in different places and there is a long break between them.

    14. Not A Manager*

      “I would decline except I am very close friends with someone the bride is related to.’

      Why don’t you just hang out with your friend some other time? You could even treat them to lunch or something as a celebration of their relative’s wedding. Ask about the event, look at photos.

      I personally would not be comfortable attending a reception when I’d chosen to decline going to the actual wedding. And I do think you at least risk hurting people’s feelings. Right or wrong, a lot of folks treat the wedding as a kind of performance, complete with starring roles, etc. Refusing to be an enthusiastic audience member, and then showing up for the cast party (as it were), might feel a bit insulting.

    15. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      The other comments seem to have given a good range of advice. The only other scenario I can think of that might be worth considering (but might not) would be to contact your friend and see if they think the bridge and groom might want your help setting things up/keeping an eye on things at the reception location during the ceremony if that’s a role you’d prefer to actually attending their ceremony.

      I’m thinking of my mom’s second wedding here, where the reception was in the rec room of a different church than the ceremony was in (the chapel she got married in did not have a reception room – long story) and I’m pretty sure some of her more distant friends or friends-of-friends were over there keeping an eye on the reception stuff during the ceremony and greeting guests as they arrived at the reception. Everything about that wedding was pretty casual, though (on purpose), and if the reception venue for this wedding is the kind of place with hired staff rather than the kind of place where the people hosting the event pick up the key themselves that wouldn’t have been needed.

    16. ThatGirl*

      I think you should just rsvp no. You can see your friend some other time, no? I’m not even sure why that’s relevant, I’ve missed a few close friends’ weddings for various reasons, it happens.

  17. Lucy*

    Please keep Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in your thoughts and prayers as she ends a fifteen-day hunger strike in an Iranian prison.

    This weekend I’m also thinking of those affected by the European heatwave which has already caused deaths and forest fires. A reminder that SSRIs can increase a person’s sensitivity to dehydration so if this may apply to you please pay attention to your fluids and electrolytes!

    1. Reasons to hate everything*

      Yet somehow Boris Johnson is about to become the next prime minister of the UK.

      1. Foreign Octopus*

        His incompetence in her case should have ended his political career, yet somehow he’s poised to be the UK’s leader? I wish I could say politics has gone mad, but I’m sure there have been examples of people failing upwards for years.

        1. DerJungerLudendorff*

          Turns out competence hasn’t been a requirement for quite a while! You’d think we have higher standards of our national leaders.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            Well, the transnational crime syndicate that has been meddling in both our governments and political processes for some time now doesn’t require its puppets to be competent.

      2. Lucy*

        It’s quite something when Jeremy (frequently aptly mispronounced) Hunt is the lesser of evils.

        1. UKCoffeeLover*

          Lucy, I’m so with you on this. I caught myself hoping Jeremy Hunt would win the contest!!! How did that thought ever pop into my head!
          We need a GE and we need it now!

      3. Lucy*

        Oh and did you hear that the French media were struggling to translate “turds” precisely enough? File that under “things that shouldn’t be an issue in international relations”.

      4. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        And here I am regularly beating myself up for being incompetent. How is this reality?

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      !! Thank you — my husband recently had a med increase and has been having trouble with headaches and dehydration issues, so after seeing this, I googled his med name and dehydration, and sure enough, it’s a possible side effect on his med as well. Off to Costco for gatorade!

  18. Butter Makes Things Better*

    Anyone else watch the US-France World Cup match yesterday and teehee while thinking “Taco” whenever the back of Marion Torrent’s jersey was onscreen?

      1. FD*

        There was a funny thread earlier in the week involving a taco torrent; I assume this is referring to that. I don’t remember which page it was on.

  19. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Brief version: Does having a garbage disposal in the kitchen really add much to the value of a house?
    Full story: This house has a garbage disposal unit installed right in front of the soap dispenser bottle. It takes two people to add soap without risking Mount Soap-suvious. In addition, it’s installed on the right side of a double sink, and the output pipes go across the sink cabinet to join with the output of the left-side sink. Might be standard but it was done in such a way that (1) I can’t add a shelf to keep small things and (2) the water in right-side sink sometimes won’t flow out unless I turn on the disposal.
    Yet another “what we’re they thinking?” moment … but this time probably answered that they simply didn’t know enough about plumbing.
    So…since we rarely use the disposal except for cleaning the drain catcher, I’m starting to think about removing the disposal. But we might not stay here more than a few years more… and that’s a separate issue. (Architecture is making it hard to put in a ramp for elder relatives and that means it can’t be a live-here-elderly house.)
    Thoughts? (On either issue but primarily the disposal!)

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Personally, I think a garbage disposal is more added value (in terms of usage, not actual house sale value) to me than a soap dispenser – but I use my disposal pretty regularly.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      FWIW. We burned through 3 garbage disposers in 15 years when I was growing up. My father got them with his employee discount. It was nice not to throw food scraps in the garbage can, when the thing was working. But it was never working. And when they go, you have to drop everything and deal. I think of them as needless complexity. Perhaps they are better now?

      Bonus fact: It was real fun (not) fishing forks, spoons and other things out of the disposer. Then you have to run baking soda through it every so often. To me, they cause more work than they save work.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        I think the reason you burned out so many is that they are not for food scraps, they are there so that IF food scraps are in the sink, they can be chopped up b4 going down and clogging up the sink/drains. Blew my mind when I learned that.

        I also had the same soap dispenser 2 person problem but that is true even if we did not have the garbage disposal. We find the soap is not worth the effort but the disposal is slightly more helpful.

        I’d keep it for resale but I don’t think it helps that much.

      2. ArtK*

        Amazing. I’ve never had problems with a disposer like that, and I’ve lived with them for decades. Maybe replaced one after 10-15 years of use. As far as cleaning them, we just grind up some lemon or orange peel once in a while.

      3. ImJustHereForThePoetry*

        At my first house, we went through many disposals and my husband complained about having to replace them all the time. Til I asked him what he was buying. Turns out, he was getting the cheapest/smallest motor ones and they would burn out. He then bought a better, more powerful disposal and we haven’t had that problem since. (And I also put large scraps of food through it all the time.)

      4. LPUK*

        I stopped getting g the clogging problem when I realised there were certain things that always triggered it – in my case onion skins, celeriac root and watermelon rind! As long as I don’t use those, everything is fine ( though with large quantities of peelings, doing it slowly and running water through in between batches is also necessary. I really like the fact that it reduces smelliness of kitchen waste bin- I used one in another house and it was on my list when I had my kitchen done.

    3. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I like my garbage disposal personally but most people don’t understand they are designed for tiny bits of food residue, not big food chunks or peels that should go into the trash.

      That being said, I also think your average home buyer is not even going to notice and/or find it a deal breaker. Maybe the inspector would mention it but people are pretty committed at that point.

    4. Red Sky*

      I hate emptying the little drain catchers, so a garbage disposal is a necessity and I wouldn’t have a house without one. That said, they’re fairly easy to install if you’re handy, and not prohibitively expensive if you’re not, so it wouldn’t prevent me from buying an otherwise ideal house.

    5. Anono-me*

      I miss having a garbage disposal. It probably wouldn’t stop me from buying a house but it would definitely go in the con list if I was buying another house.

      Coming at things sideways.

      Have you looked at doing a large bottle of soap with a hose to the pump. I know a lot of people who do it just because they hate changing out the soap dispensers.

      As to the accessibility of your current house: Please look at chair lifts and wheelchair lifts as well as a tramp’s. The actual cost isn’t that different if your loved ones have insurance or you are able to find equipment on Craigslist. And cash up front will still probably be cheaper than the cost of moving house. ( even if your loved one has Insurance, gently used medical equipment on Craigslist might be significantly less costly. )

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        The ramp is looking ahead a bit — neither of my inlaws requires a chair yet, but walking is getting hard. They live elsewhere.
        This house is simply built badly for any assists though. I looked at it thinking ‘one level plus basement yay’… not really registering the details. There’s a rough stone walkway with steps and terrace to get into the house. If you use the basement, that staircase isn’t up to code…. apparently in 1959 open sides were trendy. Oh and the LR/DR are on a raised platform with too many doors & corners to add a ramp to that either.
        It’s my own fault for missing the details!

    6. No fan of Chaos*

      Always buy the top of the line garbage disposal because it will chew up almost anything and keep on chewing. I once broke a glass and most of it went down the disposer. After picking out the big chunks I just turned it on and the chewing began and ended. No damage to the disposer.

    7. ArtK*

      Soap dispenser: Not useful. Garbage disposal: Very useful. I’d remove the dispenser and put a plug in the countertop.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’d add a filtered drinking water tap, if I had a hole in the counter what needed filling. The narrow tall kind you can use to fill a water bottle without splashing it all over the place?

      1. Parenthetically*

        Yep. Same. Soap dispensers are a huge pain IMO, garbage disposals are extremely handy.

      2. Traffic_Spiral*

        Agreed. Soap dispensers are pointless, but not having to clean soggy food out of the sink or painstakingly scrape every grain of rice into the garbage? Priceless.

    8. LCL*

      Disposals are relatively cheap appliances. I prefer to have one, but being without isn’t a deal breaker. In the US, appliances are so easy to source that you are limiting your house buying choices if you insist on a house with a particular appliance.

      I’m wondering about your soap dispenser issue. We set up our sink with one. First place I have lived with one, I love it, any place I live after here I will add one. Ours loads from the top, the pump just lifts off and you pour in the soap. This modern style can be found at the home store for 25$. This upgrade would make your life much easier.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Ours loads ftom the top. But we can’t judge how much to put in from the refill bottle and overfill unless someone gets down to use a flashlight and look around the disposal . Quite the sight I’m sure!

    9. jDC*

      Oh I couldn’t live without the disposal. Even though I attempt to pull things out before it gets to that point I would hate fearing clogged pipes. My dishwasher has a disposal now. Heaven sent.

    10. Wishing You Well*

      My garbage disposal is fairly useless. I’ve had plumbers out more than once to unplug the pipes. Oh, the cost!
      Now I put nothing down the disposal because I don’t want another service call. So the disposal has no value to me.

      As a kid, my dad installed our disposal himself. He accidentally made the metal trim around the sink electrically hot. So if you touched that trim at the same time you touched the faucet, a 110-volt jolt was your reward! He never figured out how to fix it and never called in an expert. Fun times!

    11. Not A Manager*

      I like my garbage disposal and would choose to re-configure the sink setup so that I could have one that worked efficiently. But if you don’t use yours much and don’t miss it, I don’t think it’s going to affect your resale value very much if you remove it.

    12. Gatomon*

      I don’t find either useful, I would be pleased to not have a garbage disposal to deal with in a home because I’d probably end up having it removed. My apartment has a garbage disposal and I gave up on it years ago. It currently doesn’t work. I had maintenance in once about 4 years ago on it, they fixed it, it worked once and stopped again. I don’t miss it at all.

      I’ve never seen a soap dispenser built in before though, maybe it is not common where I have lived.

    13. Suggest*

      It’s usually recommended to have a garbage disposal if you have a dishwasher. So to me, the garbage disposal is essential.

        1. Hitori*

          If you don’t scrape the plates before putting them in the dishwasher, the chunks of food fall into the bottom of the dishwasher, and from there into the disposal. Or if there isn’t one, into the drain, where they would clog the pipes.

          1. tamarack & fireweed*

            Huh, but if you wash the plates by hand, the food residues also have to go somewhere. So you either dispose/scrape them into the garbage bin, or into the sink (where they get caught by the sieve, which then is emptied into the trash), or into some form of garbage disposal. (Even though I’ve been in the US for 8 years, I’m still flabbergasted by the odd kitchen appliances here. I thought I was dealing with a malfunction the first time I had ice cubes come out of the outside of a fridge door, and can’t really see the advantage of an in-sink garbage disposal that would make up for my fear it might want to eat my finger tips. And why would a built-in soap dispenser that requires filling and cleaning be an advantage over bottles, disposable or not, that stand on the countertop?)

    14. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Seriously dislike the built in soap dispenser – like someone else mentioned, you can’t tell how full it is, and it overflows.
      I no longer use it.
      The garbage disposal? I read up on what to put down it, and what not. And, I compost most large peelings, etc. and never anything stringy. It’s a very good one. Landlord had 5 kids, busy household here before we moved in, and it’s still going strong at 15 years.
      Also, I too was told to always run it before starting the dishwasher (our dishwasher drains through it). YMMV but be very careful before you make any decisions.

      I do like the OXO silicone / metal band “catcher” I keep over the disposal opening all the time. No more dropping things into the disposal. It flips inside out to make cleaning it easy, and I can run it through the dishwasher.

      1. SpellingBee*

        THANK YOU! I just ordered one of the OXO strainer things. I’ve been using a cheapie plastic one from the grocery store, which works okay but is hard to keep clean, and it’s already cracking after only a few months.

        I guess I’m one of the outliers, but I loved the built-in soap dispenser we had at our last house. Yes, you had to be careful filling it and I had overflow incidents on occasion, but I got pretty good at judging the amount after awhile and it didn’t happen often. I just liked not having an extra thing sitting by the sink.

    15. Academic librarian*

      The garbage disposal for us is run to keep the pipes for the dishwasher clear and not backing up. Thats it. We put nothing down that didn’t accidentally go down from rinsing dishes or pots. I remind the husband often that the pipes are old and the disposal is weak. We did not have a disposal in the big city that we lived in before, I didn’t miss having one.

    16. Blue Eagle*

      Is there any reason to check the codes in your area to see if houses are required to have a working garbage disposal in order to be occupied. My city requires a working garbage disposal at the time of sale in order for the new occupants to be issued a certificate of occupancy – otherwise the new owners have to install one before they can occupy the house. So you might want to check this.

  20. LGC*

    It’s been a minute, so…running thread: Pride edition.

    Right now I’m heading into the city now for the Pride Run, and I’m strangely kind of nervous about it! It’s not like I’m planning on racing it, but it’s more social anxiety. But it’s a good kind?

    The past three weeks have been an adventure, which I might go into detail about later.

    1. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Happy Pride! The jitters will soon be outweighed by the community joy!

      1. LGC*

        Oh dude, it was fun as hell (Also hot as hell)! The hardest part was getting into my corral (since it’s a huge race – apparently 12,000 runners, which smashed the record for the largest pride charity run) – I thought I had to go around all 12 1/2 starting corrals, which wasted about ten minutes.

    2. Christmas*

      I have social anxiety too, and I run! (Just did one 5k, another coming up.) Bet the Pride Run is going to be a blast! Describe the scene for us when you get there! You’ll have so much fun.

      1. LGC*

        Oh man, it was a blast – if I do it next year I’m costuming up!

        FRNY (Front Runners NY) has some talent, though! Some of those guys were out there in tutus and wigs running 6-minute miles. Meanwhile, I was flailing around trying to keep my shirt from falling out of my shorts.

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

      Hope the race was fun, LGC! It sure was a hot day, as it typically is for the Pride Run.

      I’m happy to say that I’m slowly getting back into things and I’m cautiously optimistic. I ran four days this week (every other day) and was only hurting a bit after one of them. Today I ran 4.5 miles, the farthest I’ve gone since getting hit with plantar fasciitis, and seem to have no ill effects now.

      1. LGC*

        That’s awesome! Glad you’re on the mend.

        Anyway – you are right that it was hot! I actually ended up pinning my number to my shorts because I knew my shirt was coming off. I appreciated the sprinklers and the water every mile or so – normally I won’t bother with fluids in anything under half distance, but today I think I hit every stop.

        To go into a bit more detail, the scene was pretty laid back and supportive. I was hoping it’d be a bit more amped up – Gotham Cheer showed out, and there were quite a few spectators, but it wasn’t like the park was rocking or anything. In general, though, it was well-executed and a nice little party. (And the raffle was pretty nice although I didn’t win anything.) It just needed a few more drag queens – although, IMO, pretty much everything could be improved with a few more drag queens.

    4. Beaded Librarian*

      Anyone else do heart rate training running? I’m trying it but the one plan I’m looking at has most runs in Zone 1 while most of the other literature I’d read talks about doing most of your runs in Zone 2 with Zone 1 being warm up and recovery runs. So I’m confused, I’m trying that plan because I can send the workouts straight to my watch without any extra effort of creating them.

      On a side note “running” in Zones 1 and 2 is HARD.

      1. LGC*

        I’ve done it to a certain extent, and…it’s surprisingly difficult to get right, I’ve found. A lot of it is knowing what your max heart rate is – the standard formula is a starting point, but it can vary for people.

        That said – I’d honestly check to see what they mean by zones. I ask this because it depends not only on your own personal physiology, but also on the software you’re looking at. Like, I know my zone 2 effort on Garmin is NOT my zone 2 effort on Strava, since the zones are set up differently. I’d also check to see who the plan’s targeted at – I can kind of see telling a beginning athlete to keep the bulk of their training in zone 1, but a more advanced athlete wouldn’t be served by that.

        (To be honest, most of my running is zones 2 and 3, and workouts tend to go to zone 4 with spikes into zone 5 on occasion. But I’ve noticed that my heart rate tends to lag and creep up – I’m not sure if it’s my watch, or it’s me.)

    5. Lilysparrow*

      I’m restarting C25K again after rehabbing from a back injury. I’m only on Day 2, but it feels sooooo good!

        1. Lilysparrow*

          Half-past never, LOL. I just run for myself, to be alone and quiet my mind. I tried racing and it ruins everything I like about it.

    6. baconeggandcheeseplz*

      I signed up for the hot chocolate 15k since my 10 mi went pretty okay and it won’t be super hot like the 10 mi was!

      What are your tips for running in the heat? I feel like I’ve been defaulting to just…not running when it’s hot, which is probably not the answer. I also am not really a morning person so getting up early AF to run doesn’t sound like it’ll be sustainable.

      1. LGC*

        Awesome! I’ve heard Hot Chocolate is pretty good – that’s at the end of March, right?

        Anyway, getting up early is probably your best option to beat the heat, yeah. Because I am also not a morning person, I’ll tend to wait until it’s later in the evening – around sunset (so in my neck of the woods, 8 PM or thereabouts) on really bad days. (Perks to being single with no kids: you can work out whenever you want.)

        Also, don’t be afraid to back off or change up your plans. With sustained efforts (so like, I’d say anything more than about 5 minutes at a time), you’re probably going to run a bit slower than usual. With intervals, you’ll probably need longer breaks between them to recover.

        Finally, general advice for being outside applies – stay in the shade, wear lighter colors if possible, hydrate, so on and so forth. You might want to stick to parks if you have a good park system available.

        1. baconeggandcheeseplz*

          It’s in early November here (I’m in Chicago)! Running in the evening should be okayish now since the sun sets late in the summer, but I’m a little wary of running at night as a woman. I guess I’ll just try to go out whenever it’s semi bearable and find a treadmill for when it’s esp hot/gross out. Thanks for the tips!

          1. LGC*

            Ah – there’s one in Philadelphia, which is what I was thinking of!

            Anyway, I was trying to think of “just before sunset” more than a specific time. (Which I should have just said.) For different reasons I don’t like running at night unless I have to, or running at 9 PM.

    7. londonedit*

      Really late to the party, but I wanted to chime in with my weekend’s running!

      Saturday it was 35 degrees C here in London, which is WAY too warm for me to be doing anything, let alone running. Still, it was my friend’s 50th parkrun, so we dutifully went and had a gentle plod round! I was a minute and a half slower than last week and it felt like twice the effort.

      Then yesterday we had a ‘summer league’ fixture – it’s a fun competition between local London running clubs. There are a few fixtures spread over Sundays in June, July and August, each hosted by a different club, and they involve a 5-mile or 10k race for the adults, a mile race for the kids, a 400m race for the really small kids and then mixed 4x400m relays. Our club usually does pretty well, and yesterday we had over 120 adults at the event! Again, it was pretty warm, and I started out too fast, but t0 my amazement I managed to just about hang on to the pace and finished the 5 miles in 45:30. Did not expect to run 9-minute miles! It was really tough and I hadn’t meant to push myself that much, but it was good to see that I can still run reasonably quickly when I want to!

  21. BeanCat*

    I’m really tired lately. I’m not sleeping well these days, mostly from stress.

    I’m not sure if yall remember me, but I was the acne letter writer from a year or so ago. Everyone was so kind :) My face has cleared up significantly from then, but I remember someone in the comments suggested it could stem from endometriosis. Well…I do have endo. I had surgery for it in January 2018, and it’s looking like I might have to have another. I’m having the same kinds of pain more frequently and it’s making things difficult again. The problem is I can’t take treatments most people do (hormonal birth control of any kind) because I also have a blood condition which makes me more likely to clot, and my doctor was worried enough to take me off the original pill I’d been taking for over ten years. :/ I’m seeing my OBGYN Tuesday to determine whether or not I’ll have another surgery, so I’m sure that doesn’t help with my stress. Not to mention preparing for a wedding, haha!

    Thanks for letting me vent – it’ll all work out okay, I know, but my body hasn’t caught up on that and I keep waking up in the middle of the night.

    1. Jaid*

      You have my sympathies.

      I was gonna say, have a hysterectomy and be done with it, but you mentioned a wedding. I’m guessing you want bio-kids? Any way it works out, I wish you well, BC.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        You can still have endo symptoms even without having periods- unfortunately for me! It just depends on where it implants.

    2. misspiggy*

      I’m so sorry. Have you looked at Desogestrel contraceptive pills? I was taken off the combined pill for similar reasons, and have been taking Desogestrel for years (progesterone only, so the clotting risk from oestrogen pills doesn’t apply). Boob pain at the start but no other side effects for me, and blessedly no periods. Desogestrel, unlike some progesterone pills, doesn’t have to be taken at a fixed time each day: it is effective if taken within 12 hours of your usual time.

      1. Ethyl*

        I tried the progesterone only pill and it made me a being of pure rage, so watch out for that I guess :)

        Another idea, is the Mirena or similar IUD. They release a pretty small amount of hormones, and can have the side effect of reducing or eliminating your period. They aren’t much fun to get installed but I mean, if you’re already dealing with endo pain, it’s pretty comparable.

        Me, I’m just sticking it out (I have adenomyosis so targeted laparoscopy isn’t really an option), since I’m now 41 and in perimenopause. THC and heat help a lot, but that’s not an option for everyone I know. Hang in there, it sucks.

        1. Julia*

          I’m on progesterone only and while I do get angry sometimes, it’s usually for things normal people would and should get angry at. Really helped with my endometriosis, too.

          1. Ethyl*

            I was a freaking TERROR, lol! I remember waking my husband up in the middle of the night, furious because he folded the blanket wrong *facepalm.* It is Not For Me I guess!

            1. Julia*

              I was like that on a different pill, so I get what you mean. This stuff is really complicated. >.<

              1. Ethyl*

                Right? Like they’re all so similar, how can they be SO different in side effects?! Bodies are the worst!

        2. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

          If you do consider progesterone-only pill, remember that that’s less forgiving than the combination pill – i.e., where it’s not a big deal to be a ~little~ off in the timing for your ‘normal’ pill, the progesterone-only *absolutely must* be taken at the exact same time every day to be effective. Set an alarm.

          And yes, an IUD might also be an option – there are so many options, talk to your doctor, don’t assume that no ‘standard’ pill=no hormonal BC options.

          1. Julia*

            I have been thirty minutes off at times, and so far have had neither breakthrough bleeding nor have I become pregnant.

        3. KoiFeeder*

          I’d like to pretend that I’m not a pure rage being, but I did punch a heron once, so…

      2. BeanCat*

        Thank you – I actually am on progestin (I think it’s Heather? The mini pill) and despite taking it at the same time every day, after about three months on it I got a full blown really intense period even as I kept taking it every day throughout :/ my appointment wasn’t supposed to be until August 1st but that had me nervous enough to call and see if I could get it moved.

        I’ve read all the comments below too – I’ve considered IUDs too, but I’m just so bad at the thought of getting them inserted.

        Thank you all for the well wishes!

        1. A Simple Narwhal*

          I have an iud (skyla – super low hormone) and my first insertion was pretty awful but my second was significantly better and not too bad at all. Starting with the disclaimer that this is my experience, and I’ve heard of many people having absolutely no problem with the insertion, so do with this what you will.

          The first time they gave me misoprostal the night before to soften the cervix supposedly, but honestly it made me so sick and was the most intense pain I’ve ever had (found out while legit googling “am I dying” that the drug is also used to help speed up the process for people who are miscarrying so I guess that explains some of it) so I would 100% recommend skipping that. When it came time to replace it, I insisted on having some good drugs ahead of time. I know they’re like “oh, take some Tylenol before and after” and I was like eff that noise, I legit thought I was dying so give me something better, and my gyno (who is awesome and took my bad experience very seriously) prescribed me a Percocet and an attavan to take an hour beforehand. That made all the difference, because I mostly floated through the procedure and then took a big ol’ nap when I got home and was pretty much fine after that.

          So yea, if you’re considering an IUD, I totally understand the apprehension about the insertion. But even with my bad first insertion I still 100% recommended getting one to everyone, and now I’m like skip the cervix softener and make sure you get a very good painkiller and a very good anti-anxiety med and you should be fine. Granted, the insertion still isn’t fun, it’s like a more intense pap smear, but it’s totally worth the benefits. Happy to answer any questions about it you might have!

          Oh and just to add that even though my iud is super low hormone, I was really hesitant about getting any amount of hormone since I had an awful experience on the pill – I constantly felt like I was going crazy, wasn’t myself, super intense mood swings – but I’ve had zero of those issues with my IUD. I also used to have insanely heavy and irregular periods but now my period is very consistent and light. I never realized how much consistent stress I had about it until I didn’t have to worry about possibly bleeding through everything!

          Good luck!

      3. KoiFeeder*

        Norethindrone works well for me, and is another progesterone only, but it is a “take this within three hours” pill. I mean, I screw that up all the time, but I don’t have the chance of breakthrough bleeding :p

    3. dealing with dragons*

      I feel for you! I had surgery in January of this year and the pain is coming back. I’m on Mirena so at least I don’t have any bleeding but I’m still doubling over in pain.

      I told my OB and she told me to take stool softeners and drink lots of water

      1. Ethyl*

        Uhhh I think you might need a new doc, because stool softeners and water won’t, y’know, help with endometriosis…..

    4. Lucia*

      If you’re interested in alternative therapies to hormonal birth control, you might investigate a book called Period Repair Manual by Lara Briden, an Australian naturopath. Her methods are based on diet and supplements, so maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but wanted to pass it along in case it’s of interest.

  22. Toaster strudel heiress*

    What are your favourite films to watch when you feel rubbish? I’ve got a horrible cold / flu / chest infection thing and am enjoying the movie equivalent of comfort food, so would love to hear what your go-tos are.

    I like Mean Girls, Legally Blonde, Empire Records and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

    1. coffee cup*

      Clueless is always a winner. But if you like those ones, you’ve probably already seen it!

      1. Toaster strudel heiress*

        Oh I’ve seen it, but that’s not a problem! I’m trying to think of good ideas for familiar comforts rather than particularly wanting anything new.

        1. coffee cup*

          I know’s it’s a ‘kid’ film but Matilda is also really enjoyable when you’re ill, I find.

          Another of my go-to is the first Sex and the City film, but if you didn’t like the show you probably won’t like it. The second one is rubbish, but the first is good comfort watching, imo!

          My Best Friend’s Wedding is another oldie-but-goodie. Although I scared myself recently by watching it again and realising it had been over 20 years since the first time I saw it, as a teenager.

          1. Gatomon*

            I love kid films when I’m sick! They’re usually “feel-good” films, they are short, the plot is easy to follow/pick up again if you drift off for a bit and if you’ve seen it before, there’s a nostalgia bonus.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              I am also a kid movie person when I’m sick. The Last Unicorn was just my favorite movie for so many years that I’ll watch it regardless of whether or not I’m sick, but I’ll also dig out the first two Care Bears movies if I’m really sick and need something brainless yet upbeat to keep my three remaining brain cells busy. (The third Care Bears movie was not as good and I can’t believe I have actual opinions on the relative quality of Care Bears movies.)

    2. Washi*

      Aw, I haven’t seen Legally Blonde in forever! I’ll keep that in my back pocket for the next time I’m sick.

      I rewatch The Devil Wears Prada, Julie and Julia (mainly for the Julia parts), Crazy Stupid Love, and It’s Complicated.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I am convinced that It’s Complicated is fantasy escapism for children of divorce. At least it works that way for me — whenever I watch it, I find something so comforting about the idea of my parents briefly reuniting like Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin in the movie, even though my parents had a terrible marriage (and also my dad is no longer around, so the logistics of this would be tricky).

        1. Ain’t Miss Behavin*

          I have to agree. My stepdaughter asked my husband if he wanted to watch it with her when it came out on DVD. This was around the time she was exhibiting a lot of other wishful thinking type behaviors. I’ve been with her dad since she was not quite two. She says she doesn’t remember her parents being together & doesn’t know anything different so she’s happy with the way things are. I read a LOT about how divorce affects kids as she was growing up, so I suspect that’s not totally accurate. Luckily we have a great relationship with her mom (although it wasn’t always that way) and I think that’s helped all of us.

          On the other hand, I grew up with my parents (mostly my dad) constantly mad at each other and giving the silent treatment. They stayed together until he died at 75 in 2013. I love(d) them both but I wouldn’t wish that on any kid. Took me until probably in my 40’s to overcome all the dysfunctional communication habits and insecurity from living in that household.

          Anyway, I totally see why that movie would bring up those feelings!

          1. Ain’t Miss Behavin*

            p.s. I, like you, have always been so fascinated with books and movies about families with dysfunctional dynamics. Have you ever seen August, Osage County? That just..spoke to me. I was obsessed with it for a long time.

            1. Ask a Manager* Post author

              Yes! That one was too dysfunctional for me even with my love of dysfunctional family stories! I think I handle it better in book form than in movie form though.

    3. Butter Makes Things Better*

      Ooh, great question! Lately, Crazy, Rich Asians (though the mahjong scene always makes me cry, so not great for colds), Limitless (peak Bradley Cooper), Overboard (’80s rom com with Goldie Hawn & Kurt Russell), and Crazy, Stupid Love (peak Gosling/Stone).

      1. Toaster strudel heiress*

        I haven’t seen Crazy Rich Asians and was a bit put off by the title / don’t know anything about it. Might have to reconsider!

        1. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

          It’s not ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ as in rich Asians who are crazy, but as in ‘crazy rich’. It’s actually a pretty sweet movie. A bit weird in places, but enjoyable.

      2. Thankful for AAM*

        Partner (Asian) and I love Crazy Rich Asians. Also, Love Actually is a fav for times like feeling sick.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m a fan of Big Trouble in Little China with Curt Russell & Kim Catrall, the 1990s Mummy with Brendan Fraser & Rachel Weisz. And My Cousin Vinny.
      Feel better soon!

    5. Foreign Octopus*

      The Martian is my comfort film. It’s got most things I love: space, Mars, impossible odds, a touch of humour, and Matt Damon’s face.

    6. alex b.*

      One of my favorite childhood memories is a time I got sick at school and the babysitter who picked me up rented us a movie from Blockbuster on the way home. She chose Fivel Goes West, which, fine– good movie but not exciting. BUT when we got to my house, the VHS inside the box was not what it was labeled and was instead The Addams Family (the Anjelica Huston/Raul Julia one). I was SO thrilled that I forgot about having thrown up in class. To this day, The Addams Family and The Addams Family Values are what I watch when sick.
      Hope you feel better soon!

    7. Marion Q*

      Morning Glory, in which Rachel McAdams is an executive producer hired to work on a failing morning show … And her solution is to force hire Harrison Ford, an anchorman who hates entertainment programs. And there’s Diane Keaton and Patrick Wilson too!

    8. WellRed*

      Pretty much anything with Sandra Bullock or Reese W for me. Hope Floats, Practical Magic.

      1. NewReadingGlasses*

        Oh yes, Practical Magic! Maybe I will watch that myself today ( I also have a cold starting, thanks to travel).

          1. NewReadingGlasses*

            Thanks, so far it’s just sniffles, but thanks to this thread I am PREPARED.

    9. IntoTheSarchasm*

      Chocolat, Return to Me, Practical Magic and the best movie ever, To Kill A Mockingbird. Sorry, not trying to start a fight but that movie is magical.

    10. Policy wonk*

      The Princess Bride.

      FYI on july 4th I make it a point to watch 1776. Not comfort for when you are sick, but consider watching it on Thursday.

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        Also, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe and How to Make an American Quilt.
        If you like old movies, Genevieve is lovely.

    11. OperaArt*

      Pleasantville. A modern teenager (Tobey Maguire) and his sister (Reese Witherspoon) get trapped in a 1950s TV show.

      1. Toaster strudel heiress*

        Surely that accolade goes to Truly Madly Deeply? Or Blow Dry which is so terrible that it’s wonderful.

        1. NewReadingGlasses*

          Truly Madly Deeply is great, but not when I’m sick. I haven’t seem Blow Dry, I will check it out! The synopsis sounds like it’s appalling and therefore I would like it.

          1. Toaster strudel heiress*

            It is wonderfully, fantastically appalling – Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy play rival hairdressers, in a hairdressing championship, in Yorkshire. It’s AWFUL and I love it so much haha.

            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

              How have I never heard of this before? Now I need to talk one of my movie buddies into watching it with me…

    12. fposte*

      Have you seen The Big Sick? I find that highly rewatchable, which probably puts it in the right category.

      1. Parenthetically*

        Ah, it’s so cute! A surprise — I was expecting nothing and got a totally charming, interesting, funny movie night experience.

    13. Nessun*

      I watch two things when I’m sick: Gosford Park and bad horror movies. GP is my #1 fave of all time, and then watching trash people done in by campy villains makes a sore, tired, grumpy me amused. YMMV

      1. Parenthetically*

        Came here to say Gosford Park! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve seen it — many dozens, undoubtedly. I used to put it on just about every time I had a bunch of laundry to fold.

    14. Ain’t Miss Behavin*

      While You Were Sleeping (Sandra Bullock), An American President (Michael Douglas/Annette Benning (sp?)), Hot Fuzz (Simon Pegg), Monk (tv show)…I could go on but I’m terrible at remembering these things in the moment. I can never answer the “What’s your favorite movie/tv show” questions until a week later.

    15. jDC*

      The American President. Love Actually. Gone with the Wind (which I know many cannot sit through but my all time fav).

    16. MindOverMoneyChick*

      Clerks is great comfort watching for me. I get Kevin Smith isn’t for everyone, but I loved this,.

    17. kc89*

      I like the first sex and the city movie and trainwreck and bridesmaids

      my quite specific comfort movie formula is a female centric cast and the movie follows the characters for roughly a year and there is a happy beginning, sad/difficult middle, and happy ending

    18. Claire*

      Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

      And recently watched (and re-watched), the Good Omens mini-series.

    19. Bluebell*

      Not sure if you can stream it anywhere but American Dreamer with JoBeth Williams is delightful. It’s from the mid80s and she’s a housewife who wins a contest and goes to Paris. Tom Conti is the love interest.

      1. Lilysparrow*

        I LOVE THIS MOVIE SO MUCH! I had to find the DVD on Amazon, it’s not on streaming AFAIK.

        The scene at the beginning where she’s trying to bring all the groceries & dry cleaning, and then makes the elaborate disaster dinner… let’s just say it makes me smile when my day is too much like that.

    20. Elizabeth West*

      Cartoon reruns rather than films. I can’t handle a whole movie storyline when I’m sick enough to just veg in front of the TV. That’s the only thing I miss about cable — endless SpongeBob rerun marathons on Nickelodeon. But Hulu has/had some of the Nicktoons, like Jimmy Neutron.

      1. Agent J*

        Omg I almost forgot about Jimmy Neutron. Thanks for inspiring my next binge-watching session.

      1. VlookupsAreMyLife*

        For sure, When Harry Met Sally!!!

        Also, The Princess Bride (mentioned upthread), Best in Show, and Good Will Hunting are all classic feel-good faves.

        Hope you feel better soon.

    21. only acting normal*

      One time I had flu I watched (I think season 6?) of Buffy *in random order*. I don’t know why random order, but there’s fevers for you.
      Comfort films for me used to be (as in VHS era ‘used to be’) “The Breakfast Club” and “Thelma and Louise”.
      Now I watch direct-to-video type horror films on Netflix or Prime. Or snooker – strangely soothing.

    22. Thrown into the fire new manager*

      A little late and more recent. Dumplin on Netflix in the states with Jennifer Aniston and Isn’t it Romantic with Rebel Williams and Liam Hemsworth…

      I didn’t expect to like either but both my daughter and I really liked them both

    23. Double A*

      10 Things I Hate About You! I watched this for my “bachelorette party” (me and two friends drinking strawberry champagne drinks and watching this movie).

      Dirty Dancing! I watched this when I was over 40 weeks pregnant and lounging around waiting for my daughter to get a move on. While Swayze didn’t inspire her to come any faster, it did make my wait a little better.

  23. Thankful for AAM*

    I’m traveling in Italy in August and realize I dont have any appropriate warm weather clothing, suggestions please!!

    This has been asked b4 and I’m looking at the suggestions for both types of dress and links to shops with not much luck so far.

    I actually live in Florida! but all my clothing is for air conditioned, indoor workspaces where I am usually cold. I really don’t own many clothes: I have 2 palazzo capris pants, a couple of work skirts – all in black – and a variety of colorful shell tops and flowy sweaters as cover ups. That is my work uniform. And I pretty much wear those or live in sweats on the weekend.

    I need a wardrobe makeover for both work and the trip!! I am thinking I need to add a few light cotton dresses for the trip but am not finding anything that works. These would work for my job as well, it is very casual.

    I am short, 5′, female, and rounder than I am comfortable with (I’ve gained weight). The being short seems to be the bigger issue bc maxi dresses seem all the rage and they are far too long. But the rounder waist also exacerbates my preexising cannot stand button waistband problem. My hip/waist proportion means any button waistband I can live with has the rest of the item swimming on me.

    I don’t like frilly or fitted. I want to be able to move but I don’t want to feel like I am wearing a tent.

    We will be doing a lot of walking and I found great sugestions in old threads here for thigh covering underwater to avoid chub rub. But I’m stuck on the types or sources for dresses – any suggestions for comfort and yet not a tent?


    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Have you looked at Holy Clothing for sundresses? I have two sleeveless from them that I can wear to work under a shortsleeved cardigan. Their rayon is the soft kind not the scratchy, and I have been told they’re looking at adding linen. (I hate humidity, don’t mind wrinkles , and linen breathes beautifully. )

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Something else just popped into my mind — some tourist sites are cathedrals with dress code. Might be worth checking if bare shoulders need a shawl or wide scarf to cover them.
          (Can you tell I’ve got the urge to go myself?!)

    2. Ethyl*

      For dresses, I really like eShakti. They have a HUGE variety, and for an extra like $7-$8, you can send in your actual measurements and have the clothes custom tailored to you. I just quickly looked at the website and they have a ton of styles of summery flowy dresses — would a wrap dress work for your body type and comfort preferences?

      PS — For chub rub I really recommend Body Glide. My spouse and I both use it. You can find it easily on Amazon or your local running store. That way no special underpants are needed!

    3. legalchef*

      One of my favorite things right now are Old Navy swing dresses. They come in a variety of sleeve lengths (from sleeveless to long sleeved) and patterns/colors, and they are so soft and comfy, but still cute (at least I think so). And usually pretty cheap on sale/with a coupon.

      1. Alex*

        This was going to be my suggestion too. Old Navy often has a lot of simple, knit, loose-fitting dresses. I’m actually wearing a sleeveless one right now!

        I like to pair them with capri leggings on the weekend. This is my extra-comfy, no-fuss outfit for weekends and travel.

        (I find really cheap capri leggings at Primark, if you have one.)

      2. cat socks*

        I have multiple of the Old Navy swing dresses. Very comfortable for warm weather. I found a similar style of dress at Walmart.

        I also like the Lands End fit and flare dresses. I am 5’0″ and the petite length maxi dresses at Lands End aren’t too long.

      3. Engineer Girl*

        You can also find nice swing dresses at Macy’s.

        I found a very inexpensive but comfortable t shirt dress at Costco.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My phone or network did something weird and my extra suggestion unnested far below. Ultrashort version: Bring dark shoes for rainy days in red-clay regions.

    5. Ewesername*

      Not a dress option, but I bought a reversible skirt from etsy that I took to France this spring. It was nice to have the two options without taking up the extra space in my bag

    6. fposte*

      Lands’ End is also worth looking at for washable knit summer dresses, and they have a lot of petite sizing.

    7. Nerdgal*

      I live in Texas, have a very similar body type to you, and am fair skinned. Here is what I suggest:
      Loose linen trousers. I just got some from JC Penney that come in petite length. They are by Liz Claiborne.
      UPF50 shirts from Columbia. Not available in petite as far as I know, but they have roll tab sleeves.
      Moisture wicking exercise tank tops from Old Navy.
      TravelSmith dresses. I have the black shirtsleeves one in petite length. I wear it everywhere with a couple different scarves and necklaces.
      Enjoy your trip!

      1. Ethyl*

        I’m a larger lady with a lot of mass in my butt and thighs (former cyclist, current powerlifter), and Liz Claiborne pants are THE BEST.

    8. Auntie Social*

      Look online for capsule wardrobe India, then go to photos. These clothes work for anywhere in Europe, I found. My cobbled-together pieces came from Talbots (lots of sage on sale right now), JCP, Chico’s, Nordstrom, and ebay. Nordy’s and JCP for the shoes. I took this it all to Italy and got so many compliments. Threw on olive safari jacket for the plane. Have fun!!

    9. Ra94*

      My mom has a similar figure to you, and I wonder if a tea-length or knee-length A-line skirt, maybe floral or with a print, would suit? Paired with a soft shell top or tee in cotton or silk or linen, it looks really classy, keeps you supremely cool, and will feel quite Italian chic. I really like Asos because they have a ton of sizes, including petite, and you can filter by size + style + keyword + color and still find a million options. I’m thinking of something like this, in whatever length works:


    10. TPS Report Coversheet*

      Well, Italy supposedly being the place where all the fashion styles come from, why don’t you fly in something comfy and then go on a shopping spree once you get there? Could be fun.

      1. jolene*

        I live part time in Italy and unless you are close to a Marina Rinaldi store (in major cities only), do *not* assume you will find sizes to fit the body type described.

    11. Owler*

      If you like supporting small, independent companies, you might enjoy the tunic dresses from a brand called Nuu-Muu. They are billed as exercise dresses, but they are great layering pieces for travel because they are quick dry and SPF rated. From a woman-owned business in Washington. There’s even a Facebook fan group where women share pictures and stories about work, travel, and fun stuff they do in a Nuu.

  24. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

    Can you sew? A new hem on a maxi dress would be quite easy, if the waist works.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        Thanks! I cannot sew but I have had things altered and they always warn me that they are cutting so much off the overall look/proportion will be odd. Maybe not with a maxi dress tho.

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          If the torso fits, shortening the skirt shouldn’t be a problem. Most maxi skirts are basically tubes, so you can chop a bit off the bottom easily. The proportion will be different of course, since you’re reducing one dimension but not the other. But the proportions will then be your proportion, which should look good on you.

          Altering hem length is generally pretty easy. Were these skirts you had tailored before? Did they have complicated fabric shapes?

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

    Good grief, this has been an unlucky and stressful year. Nothing catastrophic has happened, thankfully, but just lots of little things adding up:

    My wife and I taking turns getting colds for basically one-third of the year so far. Getting injured and being unable to run for awhile.
    Appliances failing.
    Work being stressful for both of us.

    So we took a vacation to try to decompress, and we did… and promptly had car trouble on the way home. About 30 miles into a 250 mile trip, I noticed the engine was a little louder than it should have been while accelerating. The problem gradually got worse and worse and it soon became obvious that our muffler had completely failed. Being on roads going through the middle of nowhere and kind of anxious to get home… we kept driving. We made it home, but my car sounds like an air raid siren and I’m terrified to even drive it to the shop (all of four tenths of a mile from our home). I’m even more terrified to find out the damage… I’ve read that it’s possible to do severe engine damage driving without a functioning muffler, and I drove it over 200 miles at highway speed. Gulp.

    1. Rebecca*

      I don’t know about today’s cars, but when I was a teenager people would take off mufflers completely and run a straight pipe, or glass pack them or use other things to make them as loud as possible. But, admittedly, this was in the late 1970’s early 1980’s, and not too much in the way of electronics and no computers, we’re talking carbs, distributor caps, fuel pump, and that’s about it by way of getting fuel into the engine. Headers were popular, too, the louder the better, along with ear splitting speaker systems in the back. Good times!!

      But to your issue – if your muffler has holes, etc. that could account for those sounds – call the shop and see if they could come get it for a reasonable cost if they’re the ones going to do the work. Many shops around here have flatbeds or towtrucks, or do you know someone with a car trailer and pickup truck that could help you out?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        If you have AAA they’ll come to your house and tow you to a station. Not sure if other roadside service contracts do the same, or even if all AAA regions work the same. But we did it a while back when a dead battery turned out to be a bigger problem.

        1. Clisby*

          Second AAA. It’s worth every penny. Besides car help, a lot of hotels give AAA discounts. Probably not expensive, destination type hotels, but hotels along the interstates.

      2. anon24*

        My car is a 2000 Honda, it hasn’t had a muffler for several years. They are expensive and rust out quickly. I didn’t want to pay for a new one when my old one fell apart so I (literally haha) ripped the old one off and ran a straight pipe. Its been fine and I get way better fuel mileage.

        I don’t know your car but I’m betting if you made it this far without doing damage you’ll be fine getting it to the shop. You can call and ask them before you drive.

        I hope your car is ok and I hope things get better for you!

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

          Thanks… I kind of feel the same, that any damage I did is already done, so driving it literally four blocks on Monday shouldn’t make a difference at this point. I’m more afraid of waking up my entire neighborhood, or of the car backfiring when I start it and blowing a hole into the car behind me! But honestly, the car was running normally on the way home yesterday aside from the EXTREME amount of noise. There was no check engine light and no loss of gas mileage. So I suspect I’m being my typical anxious self.

          1. Rebecca*

            I used to love it when my 1975 Pontiac backfired – but then again, it was hopped up, headers, etc. and was one of those “wake up the neighborhood” cars if I wanted it to be. Please let us know what you discover!!

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

              A 1975 Firebird — how cool! I grew up with a 1977 Chevrolet Impala station wagon. It had the same engine that the Corvette or top-of-the-line Camaros did back in the day and WOW, when that engine backfired, they could hear it in the next neighborhood over.

              Hopefully I’ll have a happy (or at least relieved) update next weekend. My car is at the age (12 years old) and mileage (85K) where anything can go at any time. We’re just relieved that, even though it was incredibly nerve wracking and murder on my ears to drive a car without a functioning muffler, that it wasn’t something that would have immobilized the car (an alternator, a water pump, a belt that decided to snap, Lord only knows what else).

              1. Rebecca*

                My work car is a 19 year old Saturn, with 65K miles and “1970’s” air conditioning, like you crank down the window! I just keep fixing whatever is wrong with it, it costs a few hundred a year to keep it on the road, and it gets 35 MPG most of the time. Keeping good thoughts for you!

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

                  My first car was a 1996 Saturn! I didn’t get as good mileage as you, it was so slow that I needed a prayer to be able to merge onto a highway, and parts kept falling off. By the time I got rid of it, it seemed as if half the car was being held up by duct tape — including the bumper and at least one of the rear windows. But that thing was basically indestructible. In 13 years, it started EVERY time I turned the key, minus a single blown alternator. It also was unstoppable in the snow, better than the all wheel drive vehicle I drive now! I kind of miss that thing.

        2. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          Ha! My old car, also a 2000 Honda, didn’t have a muffler either. Well, it still had one, just not actually connected (the pipe rusted through). No damage to the car. I hated the noisiness, but liked the that the deer heard me coming.

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

        Rebecca, I love your posts. The car I drive, a 12 year old Honda CR-V with a four cylinder engine, DEFINITELY would not be helped by glass packs or straight pipes. My wife and I were joking that the car sounded like one of those tin cans from The Fast and The Furious, minus any of the power.

    2. frockbot*

      If it makes you feel any better, my mother once had to drive her old Honda Civic from work to home, and then from home back to the mechanic, all while the muffler was dangling by a single screw and literally dragging on the ground. The muffler had to be replaced, but all else was fine. Best of luck to you and your Honda! :)

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

        Oof! That’s dangerous, since the muffler was probably sparking as it scraped the ground. My muffler is definitely intact, but I guess something inside it failed, or maybe a hole opened up inside it. Thanks for the good luck!

    3. TPS Report Coversheet*

      I think if the muffler had dropped off it would have triggered some engine light as there is a sensor in the catalytic converter. Not sure if it feeds back to the injection, but it surely lights up on the dash. Could be just a blown hole or a joint in the exhaust pipe. A new catalytic converter will cost a bit, exhausts otherwise are pretty cheap as long as generic bits fit.

      I gave up on cars in the 80’s and these days you don’t even know what is under the lid as its all covered in plastic. I had an 86 Pontiac LeMans and drove it until 2010, these days I’m a bus wanker.

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

        I knocked a piece off the catalytic converter years ago and it was a $1500 repair… to be fair, it was one of the few repairs I’ve needed with this car in nine years. I’m hoping that’s not it! The check engine light didn’t come on then, either, even though the car was noisy and the gas mileage dropped. It makes me wonder if the check engine light even is working properly. That’s contributing to my nerves. (It does light up as it should, along with all the other lights, when I start the engine.)

        I’m a Luddite in general, but I’m not a fan of how technologically advanced cars have become. I sure don’t miss carburetors, though.

  26. Mammo-anon*

    So it turns out I was optimistic when I posted last week about getting through my first mammo. I’ve since had an ultrasound and am now scheduled for a biopsy of a 1.1cm mass. They talked like *of course* it’s benign, but I heard the same thing when I had thyroid cancer. Anyone been through this or have advice to get through the next 4 weeks? This was so far off the radar.

    1. Quandong*

      I’m glad you went to the mammogram even though you now have further investigations to go through. I went through this in 2011 and am fine now after successful treatment, and the mass was a very similar size to yours.

      The times of waiting are really hard – so, as you would probably have done with thyroid cancer, do whatever it takes to get through the next few weeks.

      Lean on Team You, distract yourself if you need distraction. If you have a therapist ask them to help you, and if you don’t, seek out a therapist if you would like to add one to your team. You might also like to check out internet support groups for people in your situation, or what support is offered by big organizations in your country for those affected by definite diagnoses.

      I found the waiting times surreal and time passed in weird ways, but keeping up with my regular routines and work definitely helped. Of course my sleep wasn’t great! And I was more cranky and moody! But I didn’t try to force myself to be okay and I think that helped too.

      Eventually the waiting does pass, and there will be a result from your biopsy, and future you will handle it, even it the news is not what you wanted.

      Sending internet hugs if you’d like them.

    2. Kuododi*

      Oh my dear. I posted a bit earlier this am about having had my breast biopsy yesterday. (I had endometrial cancer back in ’96) You are definitely in my thoughts during this time. Personally, I made sure to limit the number of people IRL who knew the situation to those who I knew would be a positive source of support. (DH, little sister, best girlfriend etc) I also have been conscious to do nurturing things for myself to keep the spirits up. (ie- reading good books, listen to good music, easy exercise to keep the blood moving). It goes without saying that I have spent a lot of quality time with my silly dogs. Grace and peace to you. You are in my heart.

      1. Mammo-anon*

        I saw your post, so peace to you as well. Your nurturing tips are exactly what I like to do.

    3. PharmaCat*

      I also went through the “of course its benign.” But it wasn’t. Hugs to you, practice plenty of self-care.

    4. Asenath*

      Take your time and be positive. First time I had a biopsy, the lump was benign, bu tbased on the reaction of the staff, I was certain a second biopsy some years later on a second spot would reveal cancer, and I was right. But it wasn’t the end of the world – I initially panicked a bit, but I had good medical care, and they kept me informed – and I read voraciously and asked questions, which is my way of dealing with new situations.

      Remind yourself that a great many biopsies reveal that the lump is benign. And even it it isn’t, they’ve made great advances in cancer treatment. Some cancers are much less dangerous than others, and some treatments are much less unpleasant than others – I’ve had a lumpectomy, radiation and continuing treatment with letrozole (all of which I responded to well) and now have a good prognosis. So it’s not unreasonable to focus on possible positive outcomes.

      Be prepared for lots of tests – if it is cancer, the medical team need to get as much information as possible to design your treatment. I was surprised at how tailored it was to the individual it was.

      Talk with non-medical people to the extent you feel comfortable – initially, I limited such talk to my closest friends and relatives; once I started treatment, I told my immediate co-workers, and I didn’t deal with support groups although I devoured “The Intelligent Patient’s Guide to Breast Cancer”, which was supplied by the Canadian Cancer Society to breast cancer patients. Revealing medical conditions is a very personal choice, of course.

      But it might not be cancer at all. So many biopsies reveal that the mysterious lump is benign. So take care of yourself and try not to worry – easier said than done, I know!

      1. Mammo-anon*

        I am being as positive as I can. After all, freaking out will not change the outcome of the biopsy. I haven’t told anyone yet IRL.

        1. Venus*

          It’s likely not going to help your stress, but remember that the mass was there whether you were tested or not. Discovering it at this stage is by far the best thing you could have done!

    5. Wishing You Well*

      I’ve read 90% of breast lumps are benign. Keep thinking good thoughts and treat yourself very kindly as you walk through the next 4 weeks. Try to do some things that you’ll be glad you did during the time.
      Sending good thoughts your way.

    6. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Lots of good ideas here already! You may feel like doing NOTHING, or you may be anxious and jumpy. What worked for me when dealing with a loved one and not knowing if there would be travel/caregiving/etc (just as you don’t know if there will be treatment, etc.) was to do All The Things around the house. Catch up on laundry and mending, clean, make some freezer meals, clean out the closet and take stuff to charity, and so on. So if I had to leave, things around the house were in good shape, and if I didn’t, then I had accomplished a lot! So sorry you have to go thru this. I’ll be thinking of you.

    7. Not A Manager*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this. Here are things that have worked for me in the past, waiting for medical news:

      Don’t speculate. (This was advice from a friend who is both a cancer surgeon and a cancer survivor.) Your doctors aren’t withholding a “verdict” from you right now, they are gathering information. They can’t diagnose you with incomplete information, and neither can you.

      Make a plan. This varies by person, but if you’re a planner, thinking a little bit about what you would do if you needed treatment and how you would address logistical concerns can make you feel less helpless. And then once you do have a plan, try to stop chewing it over. Tell yourself that either you’ll need the plan, or you won’t need the plan.

      Enforce boundaries. Illness, anxiety, incomplete information, etc. can have a very weird effect on other people. If you have an intuition that trusting someone with your medical information might be unsafe for you, believe that intuition. It’s okay if you don’t loop them in immediately or if you don’t tell them everything. Similarly, if someone surprises you with an unhelpful response, don’t let your own sense of social or relational responsibility get in the way of shutting them down. You don’t have to comfort other people, you don’t have to listen to their advice, you don’t have to tell them everything just because you told them something.

      Be nice to yourself. I used to promise myself a little treat at the end of each day. It made a big difference to have something to look forward to.

      Best wishes for a good outcome. If your doctors are telling you that there is a good chance that this is benign, then try to believe them. Scans can definitely turn up a whole lot of nothing, which is why we all have to play these difficult waiting games.

      1. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

        +1 to all of these. You already have much great advice, just know that you have support and internet hugs from all corners here. Many of us have been here and are waiting to stand along side you. My first two lumps were benign. (Haven’t had a new lump yet but dense tissue…)… And things have gotten so much better on the medical options since my first one. Rooting for you.

        1. Mammo-anon*

          Thank you, dense tissue here too. I guess that makes it harder to feel/detect? I’m very small so assumed this would have been easier to detect.

  27. A Nonny Mouse*

    This may be too work-related, but I missed yesterday’s thread. I am potentially relocating to a city 7 hours away (driving). We have relocated between states and across country for school and work before, but not for 18 years, and never with a kid. Choosing a neighborhood seems so much more high stakes this time, since my daughter is 15 and I don’t want to make a mistake and move her between schools a second time. Any tips for doing this long distance with a kid who has lived her entire life in the same house? We checked out a few neighborhoods when I had an interview last week, but yeesh, this is tough! I think it is compounded by the stress in the last few months of wrapping up my PhD and job searching. My brain feels tapped out.

    1. Alice*

      I don’t know about choosing a neighborhood – but congratulations on finishing your PhD!

    2. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      Does your kid have any extracurriculars that you could leverage? Maybe talking to the school swim coach or a local music school to chat them up about what they offer could also result in leads about neighborhoods that you’ll feel at home in … and where kiddo can make friends.
      It’s more than just what houses look like or whatever.
      And maybe kiddo can do some of the research…

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Kid doing her own research sounds like a way to generate enthusiasm. She could look online for towns with the best parks & pools, an active fandom community, a music scene…
        I would suggest one thing I missed when we moved — with a kid approaching driving age, avoid blind driveways.

      2. A Nonny Mouse*

        Sadly, her chosen sport does not have a big presence in that area – no high school teams only clubs are about. 30-45 minutes drive away.

        We are trying to get her involved in research and exploring, but being 15, she is less than enthusiastic about anything we suggest, lol.

    3. Ali G*

      Are you working with a Realtor? They should be able to get you all kinds of info on schools.

      1. A Nonny Mouse*

        We got a red for a realtor, but as soon as we said we were anticipating having to rent for a few months, the relationship was super chilly. Plus they gave us inaccurate info on the schools. I think they are used to working with younger, wealthier clients who buy in the hot spots of the city. So if anyone has a realtor in Portland, ME they like, please let me know.

    4. jDC*

      I hate to say this but be prepared for a lot of teenage anger. We just did it and good lord I need a vacation. Hawaii, 20 days. Counting.

    5. KR*

      As for moving house, make kid excited about the new room. Let them choose a paint color, new bedding, maybe some new accessories/whatever you do to decorate. This is her opportunity to move from her kid room to a fresh ~adult~ room and that might be fun. Bring her on house hunting trips. Ask her opinion and involve her in the buying process.

    6. Bennett*

      Maybe check out the Niche website? They provide a lot of information on neighborhoods and schools–rankings in different categories, reviews from people, etc. Involve your daughter in the process to the extent that makes sense. Try to find local facebook groups or other websites where you can pick other parents’ brains.

    7. Torrance*

      Depending on how resilient your daughter is &/or how much of a support system she has where you currently live, are you open to the idea/possibility of her staying with friends & family and visiting you in your new home on holidays, summers, & the occasional weekend? It might not be possible but it’s a common option so I wanted to put it out there.

      1. A Nonny Mouse*

        We have friends that have done that, but it was clear from our daughter’s reaction that it would never be an option.

    8. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      My dad had a lower-stakes home buying thing when I was about that age (he divorced my mother and bought his own home, where I’d live on some weekends). What he did was to narrow it down to three houses that he’d be happy with and then show me those 3 for my opinion so I had a stake in which house he bought but didn’t have the chance to fall in love with something totally unsuitable. (I ended up picking the house that had the biggest second bedroom so I could have my own office space in my room, which worked out really well when I ended up moving in with him full time for grad school later. I remember nothing about the other two houses now except that one of them still had people living in it and they had dachshunds, so I really don’t remember how much variety there was between the three houses.)

      Of course, that was in a housing market where you could apparently take your time and do things like that. When I went to buy a house on my own a few years back it DEFINITELY wasn’t the kind of market where that would work since you needed to put in offers the same day you saw the house and would get outbid a lot. No idea if the market wherever you’re moving would work for that strategy or not.

      You should find out what you can about how schools work in your new city. Some places have a lot of magnet schools within a larger school district and your kid may or may not have chance to apply to one of those as a non-freshman, so depending on how all of that aligns school may be fairly decoupled from neighborhood at the high school level. Others everyone may go to their neighborhood school or may have many tiny school districts in each suburb so boundary lines really matter. Still others almost everyone sends their kid to private schools, in which case boundary lines don’t matter but the budget impact is something to keep in mind and public transit routes between home and school become key instead.

      Realize also that your kid will presumably be moving out in a very few years for college or general adult life, so you may not want to buy a house based around what will work for less than 4 years of the time you plan to have a high school student living there. Think about how that house will work for you after your kid is at college.

    9. Cartographical*

      Let your kiddo help with all the research, for starters. And this is the time to get good at your Facebook creeping — don’t just check out the schools, check out their FB pages, the pages of any associated organizations, and so on. Check the local newspapers for articles on the positive and negative things happening in various neighbourhoods and schools; our local paper was a big help when we were deciding if and where to move just in our city.

      Other things that have mattered a lot to us are things like the local bylaws — noise restrictions, what animals are allowed in backyards, mosquito and ragweed abatement, whether or not you can hang your laundry outside, etc. Nothing like moving and then having half a dozen chickens move in next door. A 24hr/day noise reduction bylaw, traffic calming initiatives, bike trails and bike lanes, a new dog park, and disability-friendly crosswalks have made our lives very much more pleasant where we are now.

      Given your child’s age, you’ll want to keep an eye on things like “walkability” scores, bike trails, public transportation, gyms and swimming pools, and even future volunteer and job opportunities. Fifteen is that age where they’re really striking out on their own but aren’t quite ready to be tooling around in a car in the next two years, so they’ll need to get around safely. Checking out local community college campuses is also a good idea, not every kid goes away to university and we were frustrated by a couple colleges that were absolutely in commuting distance (under half an hour) but with no bus service from here to there.

    10. AnOtterMouse*

      One more place to look for tips on neighborhoods: parents in many communities near me have facebook groups for parenting issues, and welcome people who are moving there to inquire about schools and other features of the various neighborhoods. I’d check there!

  28. Sleepless Night*

    What’s the time period for getting a new mattress, or do you go by physical comfort? I’ve had my mattress since moving out of my parents house 4-5 years ago. I’ve been having lower back pain the last month or so but just thought it was my uncomfortable work chair. I just spent the last week house sitting for a friend, sleeping on their comfortable mattress, with no back pain. Now I’ve had two night back in my own bed and the pain is back.

    Growing up, my family kept mattresses until they were really thoroughly dead but this is making me wonder if a new mattress would heal with my back pain. It’s a lot of money but would be worth it for no pain. Thoughts?

    1. coffee cup*

      Weirdly, I’ve been thinking the same thing. I’ve had mine for 6 years and I thought it was like 8–10 years till you needed a new one, but mine definitely isn’t as supportive now. I’ve been considering a new one, too. I would think if you can link your pain to that in any way then you’re better off investing in a new one to ease that. Bed should be comfy!

    2. Alice*

      My aunt said, “this mattress is fine” for 30+ years – this four-inch-thick foam pad. Then I finally ordered a mattress and snuck it in (keeping the old one in case she really didn’t like the new). She LOVES it and can’t believe she waited so long. She sleeps better and has fewer leg cramps while sleeping (not sure if the second one is connected). Happy to tell you the brand if you are interested.

    3. Jellyfish*

      100% worth the money! My mattress was old but comfortable, and I didn’t connect it to my increasing back pain for a while.
      Then we bought one of those Quilbed mattresses and my back pain vanished entirely in about a week. We’ve had that bed for a little over a year now, and it’s been so good for my back.

    4. Marzipan*

      I don’t know about where you are, but where I live lots of mattress companies have a money back thing if you find you don’t get on with their mattress. So, it may be not too much of a leap in the dark to get a new one!
      (Personally, I am perversely uncomfortable on good mattresses and only really get on with my awful ancient one.)

    5. Anastasia Beaverhousen*

      I would go by physical comfort. If you’re experiencing back pain, try a new one – keeping in mind there are many different mattress kinds, and you might do better with an entirely different *type* of mattress.

      A lot of mattress companies will have a “trial period”, usually a few months, where if you don’t like it you can return it for a full refund, so it’s not as much of a risk as you might think. In my experience this tends to be doubly true for the online companies selling memory foam/latex mattresses, which often are delivered straight to your door, rolled up, in a box. Very convenient -and mine is super-comfortable and very supportive.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Also check the bed frame itself. The center leg on mine often bends if the bed gets moved and I often find out about kid-dad roughhousing sessions when I get an aching back from the saggy bed. (I’m on my third Rube Goldberg solution and starting to think about just replacing the bed.)

      1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

        We have a cheap-ish bed frame that originally did not have a center leg at all. I bought a furniture leg and put it in the middle, plus put a piece of scrap plywood that I needed a home for over the slats where most of our weight rests. It has helped a lot.

    7. Alex*

      I dealt with a mattress that was causing me back pain for years because it wasn’t “old enough” to replace.

      But then I just had enough and did it and I’m so glad I did. Pain-free is priceless.

      I don’t really think it was the age of the mattress, it just was a crappy mattress to begin with!

    8. Penguin*

      The industry standard is (apparently!) to design mattresses to last for seven years. Obviously there’s going to be variation and stuff (flipping/rotating your mattress every six months can help prolong its useful life, for example) but if the mattress is approximately that old it’s probably time to start looking at new ones.

    9. A Simple Narwhal*

      A good mattress can make such a difference in your life!

      If you’re open to suggestions, I have the Tuft & Needle Mint mattress, and it is absolutely amazing. I was apprehensive about buying a mattress online, but my fears were totally unfounded. They also have a great return policy if needed and their customer service is fantastic.

    10. Old Biddy*

      I don’t move around a lot when I’m asleep, so I’ve gotten 10 years out of high quality mattresses and then decide I need something softer. A poor quality one was shot after less than two years but I stupidly kept it another two years.
      The first 10 year mattress got replaced when I hit 40 and realized I needed a softer mattress (it was super firm and is still going strong in the guest bedroom). The second one was/is still ok-ish but once again I wanted something a bit softer as I approached 50.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      When I bought my mattress the sales person said that mattresses are lasting about 10 years now. ugh. I had a Sealy from the 70s that was still going strong. I had to part with it because of lack of space and because I took it for granted that mattresses were fairly UNchanged from the past.

      I can’t flip my new mattress but I can rotate it head to toe. Have you tried flipping and/or rotating?

      You might want to make note of what brand/type your friend had as you mull this one. I had another S brand that I kept for way too long and I never did “learn” to like it.

      1. Filosofickle*

        So annoying that modern mattresses can’t be flipped! If you sleep alone, you can’t really use the “whole” mattress w/o flipping or at least changing sides regularly. I felt like I was only using two quadrants. Now there’s two of us sharing (yay!), but I’d still like to flip since we have different weights/body types which is creating uneven wear. I also insist on flippable/rotatable couch cushions, so apparently this is one of my things.

        The old innerspring mattresses were a lot less cushy, but they easily lasted 10+ years. The new ones? I feel like I’ll be lucky to get 5 or 6 out of what I have, and this one cost me almost $1500 all in.

    12. Llellayena*

      I believe mattresses are supposed to be replaced every 10 years, but don’t wait that long if you’re dealing with pain. Usually your first mattress is a budget version (first job level budget) so replacing it sooner than 10 years would make sense. Short term, try putting a small pillow between/under your knees when you sleep. It changes the curve of your spine and might relieve some of the pain.

    13. jDC*

      Time to get a new one. Perhaps the issue isn’t age so much as it isn’t the mattress for you. There is no limit to what I’d spend on a mattress other than my actual budget haha. It is so important. I also would ask your friend exactly her mattress so you can look into those. I ended up with a Beauty Rest after a week at a Westin and loving them. Haven’t gone back although they have different price levels so last time I got a slightly better one. I actually try to stay at Westin’s just so i don’t have a week of back pain after. Hyatt’s are trying to kill my back, I am sure of it. My husband loves them though. We really need a Sleep Number bed.

    14. Lilysparrow*

      The useful life of a mattress depends on how well made it was to begin with, how heavy you are, and how it’s cared for.

      If you don’t do this regularly, have you tried flipping and/or rotating it? You might get a little more life out of it this way. But if it’s hurting your back, it’s time to replace.

    15. Kuododi*

      For years, DH and I delt with mattresses the way we delt with our cars. (Drive them til the wheels fall off, then put the wheels back on and drive longer.). We decided one Christmas season to invest in a Tempurpedic (sp?) mattress and it was definitely worth the $$. It sounds as if you are past time to replace the mattress. Best regards.

    16. jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj*

      If replacing the mattress isn’t an option, you can buy a memory foam topper. The thickness of the topper will dictate the price, but you can probably find one +/- $100.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      Lower back pain was the first sign for me that my old bed needed replacing. If you were fine when sleeping elsewhere and now the pain is back, that’s probably the culprit. It’s definitely worth it. Sleep is important, and a mattress that isn’t supporting you properly won’t give you quality rest.

    18. fhqwhgads*

      It depends on the mattress. Some are only good for 5-6 years, others are designed to last more like 10. If yours is feeling worn out it’s totally reasonable to replace it.

  29. Alice*

    I’m thinking of buying a house soon, and it’s unlikely that it will align exactly with the end of my lease. So, I’m interested in your experiences breaking a lease.

    For context: I rent on a big building, 100+ units, with a management company, including a full-time on-site leasing agent. I live in a state where the landlord has to make an effort to find a new tenant (in theory – not sure what happens in practice).
    Thank you!

    1. Jellyfish*

      Check your lease and see what it says first. If you’re within the first year, many contracts will demand that you pay the full year’s rent plus a lease breaking fee. If you’ve been there longer, your odds of getting some flexibility seem to go up. Sometimes those big companies can be very rigid about making you pay out though.

      I think many landlords understand that house buying can’t be held to an exact timeline and are willing to let you go month-to-month if you give sufficient notice. It’s worth asking about.

      Good luck!

      1. Alice*

        Sorry, when I told Cows Go Moo I had read my lease I meant to say that to you. There’s no lease breaking fee (first year or renewals) – TBH I’ve never had one of those in a lease, at least not one that you’d pay _in addition_ to the rent for the balance of the contract. I guess my specific concern is, what incentive does the landlord have to comply with the legal requirement in my state to take reasonable steps to find a new tenant.
        But I am interested to hear all kinds of experiences.

        1. Zephy*

          I haven’t rented very many places (one apartment from a private owner via Craigslist, one house owned by a property management company via a realtor), and maybe the laws differ by state or municipality, but I haven’t heard anything about the landlord having to take reasonable steps to find a new tenant. Or, at least, it hasn’t affected me as the outgoing tenant? I just notified the landlord/PMC ~60 days before the lease was up that I would not be renewing and would be moved out by [date]. Like, the landlord can’t…detain you and force you to keep living there until they find someone, if that’s what you’re worried about??

          1. ainomiaka*

            no, but depending on laws and your lease they might be able to require you to keep paying rent

        2. jDC*

          With a big company it is likely it’ll be rented out fast. They fill as demand appears so you have that on your side. Can you ask them their currently occupancy? My lease stated three months rent or until we rent it out, choose one. I asked their occupancy and it was high so I chose until they rented it out and it took two weeks.

          1. Clisby*

            Mine was similar, except I think it was a max of two months or until they rented it out. This was in a popular beach community, so we had to pay only one month extra. If you have a competent property manager, in a case like this they’re going to get on the ball and get a new renter as soon as possible, to keep up the income stream.

    2. Cows go moo*

      Landlord perspective here. I had a former tenant break lease then have all sorts of tantrum when I asked her to pay the contractual fee for breaking lease. She is a wealthy woman and could afford it, she just didn’t want to. Eventually she accepted she had to pay. She asked me if she could skip on paying if I could find another tenant within x weeks (which I did) but I still required the full breaking fee because after dealing with her drama I was not in a charitable mood at all.

      If she had explained her situation and asked for some leniency I would have looked at maybe halving the break fee or some kind of reasonable compromise. So moral of the story: be prepared to stick to your contractual obligations and ask very nicely if you want your landlord to do you a favour and not enforce the terms of your lease agreement.

      1. Alice*

        Thanks for sharing your perspective.
        Yes, I have read my lease carefully each year – that’s how I noticed the cover letter referred to a rider I’d never signed; apparently they reused a boilerplate letter.
        Happily I’ve been able to have a productive relationship without drama or tantrums on either side, even when both elevators were broken for a week in a high-rise and when an advertised amenity turned out to be 10 months late in opening.

    3. Ali G*

      Keep in mind some people need to “rent back” for a period of time after close. It’s not typical in my experience, for people to me moved out at close and the place ready for move in (obviously sometimes they are already moved out). So the fact that you don’t need to move in right away could be attractive to sellers.
      Also if you can afford it, it’s nice to have your rental so you don’t have to move right away. When I bought my first place, I had a month left on my lease and it was great because the place needed to be painted, new floors, etc. and I was able to do all that before I moved in. Also, it made moving less stressful because I could do it gradually.

      1. Alice*

        You make some good points, thanks. I’m not looking for a fixer upper, but there could definitely be some little things I want to get done before I move in. Luckily I can afford to pay for two for a while.

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          If you can afford it, it’s also nice to pay for your new place to be really, really nicely cleaned by professionals. I had to cheap out on parts of that (I paid someone to do most of it but did some parts myself), but it’s one thing to go for if you’re able to pay for two places at once. I also wish I’d repainted myself. The new place had been painted recently and didn’t “need” repainting, but I’m finding lots of little cut corners and lack of attention to detail in the paint job that make me wish I’d re-done it myself.

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

      Your mileage may vary because it sounds like the housing market is not so hot where you are… but my wife and I have each broken a lease once before — in both cases, about three months before it was due to lapse — and neither of us had a problem.

      My wife’s landlord took it graciously and let her leave on basically a week’s notice, without a penalty — but she didn’t get her security deposit back.

      My landlord asked for 60 days notice, which I was able to give. I got my security deposit back and there were no penalties whatsoever. (The fact that I lived in a rent stabilized apartment, was a longtime tenant, and now they could raise the rent of my apartment 20% according to city laws may have had something to do with that!)

      I can’t predict your situation, but I suspect it may not be as awful as you might imagine. If it’s a large management company, they might very well deal with this frequently. Good luck!

    5. Kuododi*

      DH and I had to break the lease when we were moving from GA to SC. Thankfully, our former landlord was very willing to work with us. She SD since we were such good tenants (never missed a rent payment, never caused a bunch of drama over repairs and maintenance) she would end the lease early in exchange for the security deposit and if we would spring for the carpet cleaning. (Needless to say DH and I were only too happy to take her offer.)

    6. Overeducated*

      My lease requires 60 days notice and 2 months rent as a lease breaking fee. I anticipate they will make us pay this fee even if we find a new tenant or subletter to complete the lease, as the management company has been extremely inflexible about everything in the last year (e.g. we’re “month to month,” asked to re-sign for a year and start in July or August since we might need to move before the next school year starts, they said they had to apply the full 60 day notice to end our month to month tenancy so lease couldn’t start until September. Even though we’re not moving in or out, and they gave us the paperwork the same day.)

    7. Gatomon*

      I’m dealing with this right now. My landlord owns 3 complexes – mine is the smallest at ~80 units but the others are 300+.

      My landlord will let you go month-to-month, but they charge an additional $200/month on top of whatever the renewal rate was. If yours won’t let you do that, you’ll have to time your move carefully. Typically they can’t charge you rent for an apartment AND another person for that same unit, so sometimes you can offer a financial “incentive” to encourage a new tenant to take over a lease or lease that particular unit. Some places will allow a new tenant to assume the remainder of the lease, others will create a new lease for that person and charge you for breaking lease. It comes down to what is in your lease, what your local laws are and how the landlord operates. Your landlord may be required to advertise the unit, but they probably don’t have to go above and beyond what they normally do.

      Something to keep in mind – you may need to have a backup plan if you can’t move in right away. I’m due to close in 2 weeks, but the place I’m buying has mold that needs to be cleaned up. The inspection was late because this is the busy season and no one could get in sooner. Of course now no one can get in to fix the mold before closing, so I’m waiting right now to see if the sellers will give me a credit towards the cost to fix it. If not I’ll probably walk. I can’t live there until it’s fixed because I’m super allergic to mold. Meanwhile I’m looking at 3 – 4 weeks of additional rent when I had anticipated only 1 – 2 weeks, and at a higher rate. Luckily I haven’t given notice yet on my apartment, because I have no where else I could stay in town.

      1. Overeducated*

        I second “know the terms.” My month to month experience was also $200/month more, but I didn’t realize until I got the papers to sign that under their terms it didn’t mean “rent a month at a time,” it was a 2 month lease. So you would have to pay the 2 month lease breaking fee for anything less than 60 day notice, and then when I decided not to move they wouldn’t let me switch to an annual lease without less than 60 days notice for THAT, either. I now expect this company to try to extract the maximum amount with the least flexibility, and interpret all terms that way.

        1. Gatomon*

          Oof, that is ridiculous! My state specifies the notice for month-to-month leases is 30 days thankfully. I would definitely expect the worst from anyone who wants that much notice.

          1. Overeducated*

            Yup. This refusal to let us go from month to month to annual just went down Friday (to meet their July 1 60 day deadline before going out of town, which they served us TWO notices of in the last week, even though we’re “month to month” – hmm, treating us like annual tenants!). I’m pretty frustrated since they would certainly let a NEW tenant sign an annual lease starting this summer, but I have literally no leverage other than moving out.

    8. Kathenus*

      The only time I had to break a lease, I had two choices. One was to pay two or three months rent (I can’t remember exactly, it was a decade ago) as a fee to break the lease, then I was free and clear. Two was to pay until the unit was rented again, so this could be anything from a month or less if it rented right away to all the way to the end of the lease. As I had, unfortunately, just signed a new lease and had 10 or 11 months left on it, I chose number one because I didn’t want to risk getting stuck with rent through the end of the lease. I had to borrow from my dad to cover it and moving costs, but I was able to save it up and pay it back to him over the next year. It sucked, but it was just unfortunate timing for a great job opportunity to come up after having just signed a new lease. It was great to get it off my plate thought and not have possible longer term payments hanging over my head.

    9. fhqwhgads*

      This might not be exactly what you’re after but every time I bought a house it took MUCH longer than I expected. Even once we had an accepted offer and in theory a set timeline…closing got delayed. So unless you’re very lucky and everything goes very quickly and smoothly, it’s probably a good thing to have more time left on your lease than you think you need to complete the home purchase. Depending on the house, you may also end up doing some minor reno after closing and before moving in and it’ll be convenient to still have somewhere to live while that happens. Unless you just renewed the lease or it’s already a multi-year lease or things line up unexpectedly smoothly, I’d say there’s a decent chance you might not actually have to break the lease at all.

    10. Nita*

      I’d give the landlord a heads-up as soon as you can, so they can start looking for a new tenant. Most likely, they’re not interested in making your life miserable over breaking the lease, as long as they can find another tenant quickly.

      I broke a lease years ago, in a big building, with two or three months to go. The managing company told me that I’m on the hook for the full year’s rent unless I can find a new tenant. It was a nice place and the rent wasn’t too high, so I found someone through Craigslist in less than two weeks (I did have to spend several evenings on showings).

      I’ve also had someone break a lease on me, with two months to go. I was given two weeks’ notice. I was really annoyed because I’m a very small landlord, and it wasn’t a good time logistically or financially, but it worked out. The realtor I worked with is a family friend, and did the impossible to find a new tenant in that time. The old tenant, who swore up and down on moving in that she intends to stay for years, bought a house. I understand that life happens, but I do wish she’d told me about the house hunting sooner – it would have saved me, the realtor, and the building nanager a lot of stress.

    11. socentury*

      What I DO NOT RECOMMEND but worked out well for me is to have a neighbor who calls in complaints that make no sense (outside! At 2 pm! On a Saturday!) and writes page-long screeds to the landlord, even though there is a property management company. Wait until the property management company tries to bully you into leaving by accusing you of breaking the lease by killing the lawn, even though the lease says landlords are responsible for landscaping! Then write your property management company a strongly worded letter about how you have done nothing wrong and will not be pushed out, but would be willing to leave for $3,000 in moving costs and your entire security deposit back. Then buy a house and give 60 days notice, at which point they’re so happy you’re leaving they give you your whole deposit back!

      It all worked out but truly was an incredibly stressful few months. I DO NOT ENDORSE this unless you are in the same very specific situation.

  30. HannahS*

    Alison, if you don’t mind my asking, have you ever met readers/commenters? No need to be specific, but I was wondering. Some people have been reading/commenting over a decade, and I know your readership has skyrocketed in recent years, so I wondered if there was ever spillover into real life!

    1. Texan In Exile*

      Yes! I met Jaime (where is she these days?) for coffee once in Chicago. I have met Stephanie in person at our university homecoming in Houston.

      And I have become facebook friends with the Cosmic Avenger and Seanna.

      I have also become facebook friends with other blog friends and have met some of them – Holly at motherhoodforthephobic, Tish at tishjett, and Lisa at amidprivilege – in real life.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      Oh! I just re-read your question. It was to Alison, not to other commenters! So – never mind. :)

      1. HannahS*

        Haha! That’s still an interesting answer and I’d like to retroactively expand my question. How did you manage to find each other?

        1. fposte*

          I know there was another Chicago meetup with Josh S. and Rana; I think Stephanie and C Average have met up.

          Meanwhile, whenever I drive around Chicago, I keep imagining I’ll see a pink Mustang driven by a redhead and I’ll try to convey “Jamie, I know you from Ask a Manager!” in mad gestures.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Only during book promotional appearances (super fun, but the contact is pretty brief because there’s a line of people) or by accident! Like I’ll meet someone socially and it’ll turn out that they read the site. (Which is cool but also can be a little strange — just in the “you sort of know me and I just met you” sense.)

      1. HannahS*

        Oh, interesting! That does seem like it would feel strange, but also less contact than I’d thought. Here I was imagining you, Jamie, and fposte having coffee once a week or something haha!

      2. Fran*

        Would a possibility for readers to arrange meetings in their part of the world and announce it here like Captain Awkward does be a possibility?

    4. Mimmy*

      I’ve always wanted to meet fellow readers in person but there doesn’t seem to be any regulars from New Jersey :(

  31. MissKatie*

    One of my employees gave me a bag of peaches that are RIPE and smell amazing! I’m going to make some jam when I get home tonight! If there’s enough, hubby is going to make cobbler too. Also I turn 30 on Tuesday and I’m having a hard time with that. Age is just a number right?

    1. Agent J*

      Happy early Birthday!

      Age is totally just a number. Now granted, there are certain phyical changes we can’t really avoid. But as a fellow Millennial, I no longer fear turning 30 because I don’t feel like I’m losing any life potential. I still have time and energy to pursue hobbies/passions, get married and have kids if I want to, redefine my career path, etc. Plus, there’s the wisdom that can come from embracing and learning from life experiences and the increased comfortability with who you are in the world.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t let life/people/fear make your 30th birthday anything less than a truly joyous occasion.

    2. Julia*

      I turned 30 last month, and while I’m not quite where I wanted to be career-wise, I am taking this new decade of my life to finally care for myself. No more “oh, I’m only in my twenties, I don’t know”, or allowing people to treat me like a little girl.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If you have enough to spare, one of my great treats to myself is freezing summer peaches for a midwinter treat.

      1. Fortitude Jones*

        Same. I’m 32 and sometimes wish I could have skipped the 20s – I had way too many problems then, lol. My life now is much more stable.

        1. Parenthetically*

          Absolutely agreed. So much personal angst and drama — and then I finally got therapy in my 30s and they were/are much better hahaha

      2. Lilysparrow*

        Yes. My 30s were much, much better than my 20’s.

        My 40’s brought some unwelcome external life changes (deaths in the family, that kind of thing) but in terms of being happy & at peace with myself, comfortable in my own skin, confident – best yet.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      Another person vouching for the 30s, it gets better.
      When I hit forty, I was all “bring it, let’s do this!”. Forties were even better than 30s.

      I think that is because I was firming up my beliefs – what I stood for and what I did not. I started having some experiences under my belt and life did not constantly blind-side me. I thought the teens were painful with growing pain stuff, but my 20s brought on an entirely new set of issues, that I was not prepared for. I really was not prepared for how poorly our society can treat 20 somethings. In my 30s, it felt more like I was recognized as an established adult.

      Find an older person you admire and decide you want to be like them. My 81 year old neighbor goes out and works in her yard almost daily and does all her own mowing. I want to be like her when I am 81.

      We age. That is not avoidable if we live long enough. What we can do is commit to constantly seeking a quality of life for ourselves. This means physically, financially and psychologically, in each area make sure we are doing the best we can to have a quality life.

    5. ..Kat..*

      I am in my 50s. For me, even though my life has not been easy, each decade has gotten better.

    6. Donkey Hotey*

      1 – Yay peaches!

      2 – My entire life changed for the better at 30 and again at 40. (Currently 48) Age ain’t nothin’ but a number. Happy birthday.

    7. Not Alison*

      Ha! Just wait till you turn 50 if you want a true freak-out! Hope you will find (as I did) that 30’s are your very best years.

  32. Ali G*

    So on Monday I have my first appointment with a therapist. It’s with someone who was available through my EAP. I’m nervous! I’m so terrified I’m just going to cry. I don’t know why. I don’t have anything too heavy going on, just a lot of change and stress that I don’t think I am dealing with well.
    I’m nervous, but looking forward to it at the same time.

    1. Zephy*

      Your feelings are true and valid and you’re allowed to have them. If you cry, you cry – you won’t be the first person to do that in the therapist’s office. She will not think less of you for having emotions – she’s there to help you manage them, and she needs to understand where you are in order to help you get to where you need to be.

    2. Agent J*

      Yay therapy! It’s normal to be nervous. I hope you like the therapist and you find them helpful.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      So sit down and cry now. Seriously. Pushing our emotions away is kind of disrespecting our own selves. You would never tell a friend not to cry, right?

      Here’s one I never thought of: I was talking to a person who does financial advice. He said that it’s a rule of thumb that when couples come to him it is reasonable to assume they have been arguing.
      I was floored, are we that transparent to each other?

      Well, yeah. We are. Therapists exist because life is hard, when it’s not hard that is only because it is down right impossible. They know this. They know we have been crying and that is why we are knocking on their door.

      I had a psych teacher in high school. This guy was one of the most well-liked teachers. He said he worked as a therapist for awhile trying to decide between therapy and teaching. In his time as a therapist he realized that the ones who knock on his door are the ones who there is hope for. They realized things can be better and can be different. It’s the ones who never knock on his door that worried him the most.

      I developed my own version of this thought when I had to supervise people. I realized that the ones who said, “I think I have a problem here with this work”, had unknowingly just solved 50% of their problem simply by reaching out.
      It’s okay to seek something different and better.

    4. Ethyl*

      It’s so awesome you made an appointment and are going to go! I know it’s scary but in my experience, once I got there and started answering questions and talking, it really wasn’t that bad. It’s ok if you cry! Your therapist has absolutely experienced it before and will have strategies to help you calm down and move forward.

    5. LizB*

      Good vibes and strength to you! I hope this is a good therapist-match for you and you find it helpful. :) (I say this as someone who for a long time said “oh, it’s just a stressful week” every week and has made enormous gains through therapy.)

    6. Wishing You Well*

      Good for you! I hope your therapist is a good one for you!
      Crying in a therapist’s office is normal. They keep lots of tissues on hand.
      This is such a hopeful, positive move on your part! Congratulate yourself on making this move!

    7. MOAS*

      I had my first appt this Monday and in fact had that same exact concern. Any reasonably competent therapist will be able to handle crying. Good luck!

    8. Nessun*

      I did the same thing last year- went to see a therapist through EAP when I was stressed and feeling low. I think I at least teared up, if not outright cried, every session. But I’d told myself if I was going to cry anywhere that her office was a good place to do it. Being open about what I was feeling was important, and that helped her see where I was coming from (I tend to be flippant and sarcastic but can’t stop tears). Best of luck to you – it’s a wise first step and good for you on taking it.

  33. Rebecca*

    Divorce aftermath drama update

    Oh AAM friends – my phone has been rejecting multiple calls from ExH this week, and I am truly concerned about what he’s going to do when he finds out that his payment is 56% of the total due (and I’m legally allowed to do this, any balance not payed by tomorrow is due at 6% per year interest rate). My attorney said that he’s swerving into harassment territory by calling so many times, max was 6x in one day. He’s also leaving voice mails so he’s recording himself ranting about wanting his money, and I’m saving those. There is a no harassment clause in our agreement, that his attorney drafted, so he’s going to get a letter reminding him of that. In full disclosure, I could have buckled down financially in the last year to get him all the money, but I traveled a bit, spent a little bit of money on myself, etc. so that’s what it is. I think it just felt so good to be divorced and away from him that I just cut loose for a while.

    So drama from this week – one of my friends was at a local grocery store, the one I use most, actually, and called me to say ExH was in the store with a woman, they were walking around, and ended up getting half price baked goods, took forever to pay at the self checkout, then went out to his vehicle to eat said baked goods. She took a picture, and I have to say, the FBI, HS, and CIA have nothing on female friends who like to keep people informed, then texted it to me, but the photo was from the back so I have no clue who this person is. She’s not last year’s girlfriend, the one he took to casinos and blew the settlement money with in less than a month, and then disappeared when the money was gone.

    I think this might explain why he’s so hot to get the money, along with the fact that his vehicle is always at his efficiency apartment almost every day when I go to and from work. It’s right along the 4 lane highway I use to get back and forth to work, and the cab company he works at, was working at, who knows, is only 1/2 mile from my office, so I’m not stalking, this is literally right in my line of vision when I drive. And I say was working at, because in the last month or so, he’s been going on about buying a newer car so he can be an Uber driver and make all sorts of money (his words to his sister). He has his mail forwarded or is using her address, not where he actually lives, and stops by once a month or so to pick up his mail. So I suspect he figured he’d get the full amount of the settlement, get a newer car, and go be an Uber driver and be an instant success. I have to wonder if he quit his job, or if the 5 moving violations in less than 2 years (plus the accidents that weren’t reported!!) were too much for the cab company, especially after the last one where he wrecked their cab into a large piece of farm equipment, and they fired him. Don’t know, but that’s what I suspect.

    At the end of the day, it’s not my problem any longer legally. But, he is a gambling addict and person who always expects everyone else to do everything for him, and now this one thing isn’t going to happen to his satisfaction. He may be out of a job, has no skills to get much more than a driving job like this, and due to his accident record, may have lost even a cab driver job, the money I gave him might buy a really decent used car here, but he still has rent and medications to pay for, not to mention he has no health insurance. As stated last week, he has burned bridges with everyone, even his remaining sister and her husband, so he has no one to fall back on. This is where the new woman might fit in, she may have a job, he’s good at the sob story…I feel sorry for her whoever she is. And while he knows where I live, I doubt he’d come here, he knows exactly where I work and probably what office I’m in as my window faces the street and you can see in, but I won’t be at work next week (yay staycation). As much as I love the nature and scenery here, and I do have friends and some family in the area, I would really love to be able to get out of this state and away from this area so I don’t have to worry about running into him at the grocery store. As it is, I always scan the parking lot for his vehicle before going in. I don’t want to see him, talk to him, or hear him talk ever again. This small area is just too cozy right now.

    So, keep good thoughts for me this week!!

    1. Ali G*

      UGH. You should not have live with the stress of running into the Ex. I don’t think you should feel guilty about spending some money on yourself and not saving it all for him. He doesn’t really deserve anything from you (IMO) at this point, so if he’s mad, whatever.
      Hopefully in the near future you can get your mom sorted and afford to move on.

    2. Quandong*

      I’m sorry your ex is acting this way and calling so often, of course you feel worried about how he will react to the payment. I hope your attorney’s letter gets through to him!

      When my ex lived in the same area as me I also dreaded seeing him when I was just doing my own thing. I completely relate to wanting to be far away. If you’re concerned about your ex escalating his behaviours, please contact local DV support groups to find out what might be available to you if required. Your mother will be okay if you need to go and stay somewhere else. Your ex’s behaviours and reactions are not your fault and you were not obligated to pay the full amount tomorrow.

      Sending good wishes your way.

    3. MissGirl*

      Why are your friends trailing him and sending you pictures? This just keeps you immersed in his life when it seems you want to break out. Not to mention it’s not anyone’s business who he goes to a grocery store with.

      It seems you owe him money in the settlement. Sorry, I’m not quite clear on that. If so, prioritize paying it off so you can move forward without the albatross hanging off you. What he does then will be on him and no one else.

      1. fposte*

        Yeah, I think the friend-spying is one of these short-term fix/long-term damage things. Your goal is to have *less* of him in your life. Ask your friends to help with that.

        1. Rebecca*

          This was the first and only time someone has done this, and this was from a life long friend, and she knows my Ex’s problems, and she wasn’t stalking or being nefarious – she is really concerned for this woman’s welfare and bank account. Literally almost ran right into them, but again, we have only a few options for shopping here. I’m not encouraging this in any way, and if she says anything further, I’ll just say that this isn’t helpful to me.

          1. fposte*

            I understand she may have meant well, but this was actually getting kind of stalkery, complete with taking a picture. Whether she’s concerned or not, that’s going overboard, and I hope for everybody’s sake she can dial it back.

          2. Dan*

            So serious (and perhaps rhetorical) question: Friend may be concerned for this woman, but why does she feel that you are in a place to act on that concern? I don’t see how. You really can’t can’t can’t get involved/interfere with his future relationships in anyway, and she should know that. Plus, what friend observed was ex just going out and about and he should be able to do that in peace. I know if my ex’s friends were taking pictures of *me* out and about with females companions, sending them to ex, and I got wind of it, there’d be some serious WTF and come-to-Jesus talks. If ex *is* doing something that rises to the level of criminal activity, then the *authorities* are the ones who should be notified.

            Speaking more broadly and not really to you… the older I get, the more I err on the side of minding one’s own business. So many letters to advice columnists ask some form of the question: “Should I tell [person] [some piece of information]?” My stock answer is: If you have to ask, then the answer’s no and MYOB.

            1. fposte*

              Yes, I was thinking of the “shoe on the other foot” thing–if a friend of Rebecca’s ex was following her in a store and taking a picture of her to send to him, I imagine she would find it pretty creepy; I know I would. I understand how the history and emotional difference can make it hard to think about it that way, but while you’re still in a contentious split, you really don’t want to do anything to them that you’re not okay having done to you.

              1. Rebecca*

                That’s true, I would find it creepy! I still find it creepy that he would tell me that someone said I was seen here or there doing X, and it wasn’t even close or me…and it upset me. I need to “put the shoe on the other foot” so to speak. But as you said, it’s hard for me to think that way, as the entire time we were married, he never once thought about how his actions would affect me or anyone else around him, always about his wants, comfort, whatever it happened to be. Very wise words. Still working on this!

                1. fposte*

                  Yup, it’s really hard to break completely free! I know you’re putting in a lot of work there.

    4. Dan*

      Rebecca, I don’t have sympathy for adult-children who can’t be bothered to hold down a job after a divorce. You put in your settlement agreement that payments can be made late with a penalty — and you are living up to your end of the agreement… paying late with a penalty. There is no need to feel guilty or remorseful about that.

      As for the rest of it, I see you posted a further reply below under a different comment, but you really do want to move on. There’s part of me who for schadenfreude reasons only wants to keep up with what my ex is doing. But the part of me who wants to move on knows I need to pick one or the other. It’s one thing being informed about seriously major life events (say someone in ex’s family died or whatever) but who ex is dating? You really don’t want to know. You just don’t.

      1. Kathenus*

        I think this is a great perspective and I was thinking along similar lines. Rebecca I have so much respect for you from following your story over the recent year or more, and you’ve worked so hard to get yourself out of that bad situation and are inching ever and ever closer to the last stage with the final payment. I agree that you have a contract giving you the option to pay some later with interest, so no guilt at all in taking care of yourself with some of your budget and using this option.

        My only recommendation is what Dan said, try to find a way to move on. Finding out all of the details of his life from his sister, this situation from your friend, etc. are just offering him rent-free space in your head. You deserve to stop having all of this be a part of your life, so I respectfully suggest you try to disengage from everything except communicating with your lawyer as needed to get this last chapter closed. Good luck.

      2. Rebecca*

        Very good observations, and I will stop this if it happens again. I’ve thought about changing my phone number, but decided not to, since 99.9% of people I want to have it don’t hassle me. I’ve been researching apps to prevent voice mail. Going to let my attorney handle the repeated phone calls, I mean seriously, get a clue.

        Dan, totally agree with not having time for adults that can’t adult. It comes down to personal responsibility and realizing that everything isn’t someone else’s fault. That’s something ExH never learned.

        I’m trying to push Mom to choose a senior living situation, sell the house, etc. But so far no movement on that end.

        I try not to think about him at all, like right now, all those years are a vague bad memory, and I don’t ever have to be in his presence again if I don’t want to. That’s priceless.

        1. Dan*

          About changing numbers… I didn’t change anything. (Not saying you should or shouldn’t. Just sharing.) While I read most of ex’s messages, I got pretty good at not responding to them. (In fact, I’m not sure I responded to any.) The amusing thing is that she thought I was blocking her main email, so she would create different accounts and email me from those. At some point, she clued in that I either didn’t care, changed my email, or both. After awhile, she just stopped. I’m pretty sure that once she figured I was a waste of time, it wasn’t worth trying any more.

          It does get easier with time.

          1. Rebecca*

            I’m lucky in that he doesn’t know much about computers, I know, in this day and age that’s rare, but I don’t think he’s ever sent an email. He used to nag at me about being on Facebook (you’re going to get killed by an ax murderer) or posting in online groups like this (again, with the ax murderer stuff), and for about 15 years I tried to teach him, explaining this is the way of the future, but he said “I don’t have to know it, you can do it for me”. Argh, so frustrating. He couldn’t even fill out a basic online form and submit it for a job application. I don’t get his texts, which miraculously he learned how to do when I left, as they are blocked, just voice mails. At least I don’t have email to contend with, but with them, I’d put up an auto reply, shove them to another folder in case I needed any ammunition for my attorney, and leave it at that.

            I think once the rest of the settlement is paid, I’ll truly no longer think about any of this, other than, wow, that was a miserable time in my life – so glad it’s over!! Like dentistry…or OB/GYN stuff…

      3. tangerineRose*

        ” I don’t have sympathy for adult-children who can’t be bothered to hold down a job after a divorce.” This!

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

      Oh wow. I wish I had any advice, but I’m sending best wishes that you stay safe and drama free.

    6. Lilysparrow*

      Sending good thoughts.

      Particularly that you are able to evict him from this very large amount of headspace that he’s living rent free in. And that you are able to truly enjoy the glorious benefit of having a problematic person be your Ex instead of your current SO: it’s not your problem.

      The person he’s dating and her happiness are not your problem. Where or whether he’s working, what his plans are, whether he has insurance – not your problem.

      The whole point of splitting was to get out from under his problems, right? Embrace it.

      1. Rebecca*

        Exactly – and, if he tries to make this my problem, as in hassling me, my attorney and the law can handle it.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Good thoughts for you, always, not just this week.

      People have difficulty coming up with large sums of money all. the. time. Man-child here should have been able to forecast there might be difficulty and planned accordingly. I have found it to be helpful to say, “If money is not in my hand then I do not have it.” He could have chosen a similar perspective, but that is not what he did.

      Vulnerability. Try not to focus on the new woman’s vulnerability. She will probably figure it out in a bit. It would be wise to ramp up what you are doing to take care of you. For example, all these phone calls. If you have not showed your lawyer then it is probably time to loop him in. Perhaps the lawyer suggests escalating to the police, then that might be a wise move on your part. Not trying to be scary, if you give this guy an inch he will take a yard. Put your foot down early and put it down HARD. Get your “NO” on. This is the only thing this dude understands. Unfortunately, he is the type of person that needs a concrete block dropped on him in order for him to pay attention. If you give him no response (meaning through his lawyer) then he will read that as he should keep harassing you like he has been.

      FWIW, I probably would have blown some money on trips also. ha! Good for you. He does not need to know why you don’t have the money. That is none of his business. You are having a life and he is a slave to his addiction. It’s not up to you to fix that.

      1. Rebecca*

        Thank you! I have shown my call log to my attorney’s secretary (he was with a client when I dropped off the check). She noted everything and said definitely if this keeps up, my attorney can draft a letter. She’s seen this before. And a letter stating that he needs to stop might be just the thing and worth the money I have to pay to get it done. If it comes to it, I’ll get a do not contact order in court.

        All of the comments are helpful and course correcting. Sometimes when you’re deep in the mountain laurel you can’t see the clear trail 5 feet away. I learned that while hiking, and it applies to this part of my life, as well.

        And as far as anyone new on his side, it’s on them to find out for themselves and do due diligence. I need to really remember that! I think I should print out a big sign and stick it to my computer monitor: Not. My. Problem. lather, rinse and repeat!!

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t wait until you’ve paid off everything so you never have to deal with him again. If I were rich I’d fricking GIVE you the money!

    9. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser*

      Just sending you a supportive hug. If need be, can you stay at a friend’s place or house sit for someone, while a restraining/ no contact order is filed?
      You did an important piece of self care in taking a trip, and spending the money you needed to spend to sustain your forward movement. You have done some VERY hard things. One of the things I’m finally accepting (10 months into my very hard thing) is that I “can’t” push myself 24×7 to undo the entire past in one fell swoop. It’s becoming more like a long-term thing – not a short term “fix it” sprint – for me. So I have to spend a little money to take care of my health, my mental well being, and my friendships and support network. It turns out I have years of work life left, and need a bit more than starvation funding to make it work over the long term.
      Do what “YOU” need to do. I think of it as not being a “rubbernecker” at that wreck on the side of the road. Not my problem, “I” did not cause it, and if I look at it too long, I veer off my course or even cause a problem for myself.
      We support you. Hang in there.

      1. Rebecca*

        Thank you, and that rang true for me, about not being able to undo the past, and the rubbernecking that can cause another accident, instead of just going slowly and safely by. You hang in there, too!!

    10. Blue Eagle*

      Just wanted to support you and your choice to use some of your funds this past year to give yourself some “me” time. I’ve followed your story for the year before the divorce was final and it was clear that the emotional toll on you was significant and that you needed “me” time to get yourself in a good space. So here’s a virtual hug and a peptalk “you go girl!” to know that the AAM community supports you fully.

  34. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

    I rent a duplex. Two weeks ago I was cutting my backyard with my weed trimmer, since I don’t have a mower. My neighbor came near and we had a conversation… Turns out he cuts the lawn for my duplex neighbor, a young mother. He’d been wanting to offer cutting to me too, for free. It’s hard work, “especially for a woman”. I’m 48, with the usual aches, and yes, here in the South, it can be tough and exhausting sometimes. Of course, he’s older than I am!!! So on Wednesday, he cut both our front yards, which is quite small. The backs are definitely larger. It made me very happy to look out that evening and see my nicely cut yard.

    Here’s the part that intrigued me the most. I’m white, and he’s black. From the careful way he approached me and talked to me, I got the distinct impression that he wanted to offer this kindness but didn’t want me to … Let’s say overreact… We’ve all read the stories about the women who have called the police on the most innocent or harmless of acts. But hey, if you want to cut my grass and spare me, I’m totally down with that!

    So thanks, Tyrell, and bless you!

    1. Laura H.*

      Give Tyrell a thank you card or something!

      Also something small but equally kind would be to make sure Tyrell has water while he mows- summers are hot.

    2. Lilysparrow*

      Tyrell needs a constant supply of cookies, or jam, or zucchini bread, or something. Not while mowing, obvs.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yeah, really. I have a male friend whose labor on smaller jobs can be paid for with pies, soups, stews and so on.
        It’s all good.

    3. Elizabeth West*

      Aww, that’s so nice of him. Definitely make sure he has some water, or sweet tea, or lemonade, cookies, etc. etc.

    4. Dan*

      Good on Tyrell.

      If I may, I think I you should consider paying him. It doesn’t have to be a ton, but he’s providing a real service, and if you’re not in a position to return a favor in kind, then consideration of payment wouldn’t be inappropriate.

  35. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Oh and a pair of DARK shoes. I was in Siena on a rainy day and those white shoes taught me why artists loved Sienna’s clay as pigment!

    1. jolene*

      In the city?? It’s almost entirely paved/cobbled, so that sounds extremely unlikely and certainly not my experience, having lived there.

      If you do want to buy shoes I recommend the Wednesday market.

  36. rubyrose*

    I’m looking at the possibility of moving to Santa Fe NM from Denver. I’ve never been there. I’ve been doing the internet research, but thought I would ask some questions here and see if anyone can advise me.
    – I see quite a bit of the house does not have any cooling, such as central air. Is it really true that you don’t need it?
    – Given the dryness, how hot does it feel during the summer?
    – I would be looking for housing just for myself and my pup. One level living. Nothing fancy. Any areas of town to gravitate to? Any to avoid?
    – Housing near the airport – what is the noise level?
    – Any real estate agents or companies you prefer?
    – How welcoming are people to outsiders coming in?
    – Anything else you want to tell me?

    I will be checking in and out today and tomorrow. Thanks in advance!

    1. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      I live three hours from Santa Fe in the T or C area. Santa Fe is lovely, pricy, and can get cold in the winter! The dry heat is easier than the humidity to bear but A/C is useful. I imagine Santa Fe is a bit cooler but not much. We hit 100 here often. Good luck! OH, consider dog boots for your pup!

      1. rubyrose*

        I did not know they made doggie boots for summer; already have some for winter. Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

      I don’t know that much about Santa Fe but I used to live in Las Cruces (and I grew up in Colorado). Most people I knew had swamp coolers (and in Colorado, too!) rather than central air, and they were often external units that you can fit yourself. I didn’t find the dryness to be all that different from Colorado, but I also tolerate the dry heat reasonably well. It’s easier to cool off with evaporation in the desert! Depending on how sensitive you are I wouldn’t say that you don’t need any kind of cooling, but full-on forced air conditioning might be a bit of overkill.

      Santa Fe has a reputation for being full of artists and hippie-types, so I’d imagine that people will be fairly open to others coming in. Also the traffic will probably be less annoying than Denver.

      1. rubyrose*

        I’m counting on better traffic!

        I’ve been resistant to swamp coolers because we had one when I was growing up in Kansas. I remembered it as a major PITA. You had to go outside every so often and water it down with the garden hose. Not something you want to do when it is in the high 90s outside.

        But that was a very long time ago. I did some googling on swamp coolers/evaporate cooling and see they now have lovely internal, portable units. Since I would not be looking at cooling large spaces, I think those internal units will work just fine!

        1. Close Bracket*

          “You had to go outside every so often and water it down with the garden hose.”


          You should not have to do this. The pump sends water up through the spider tubes, which wets the pads.

          I live in Arizona. I have neighbors whose swamp coolers keep them quite comfortable, but mine is inefficient over 100 F (best it does inside is 85 F), and not that efficient below 100 F.

          During monsoon season, swamp coolers are completely ineffective.

    3. Sam Foster*

      Never lived there but have visited. Santa Fe usually averages high 80s in the summer and with it being over 7000 ft. elevation evening cooling was nice. However, with recent averages and highs all going wonky, I’d think ahead and put some effort in to planning/buying for the extremes: more heat, more snow, etc. Friends of mine in Arizona have had more rain-related issues this year than in the last 20.

    4. Cog in the Machine*

      It’s been hot in Santa Fe this year. Seriously, it was 96 when I went through this afternoon.
      The houses that are between 10 and 15 years old will probably have central air, and most places that are newer than 25 years will have central heat. Most everywhere else will have swamp coolers. They usually don’t need to be sprayed down here, though. They work better the dryer it is.
      The airport is regional, so there aren’t any big planes flying in, but there are still small jets and multi-engine props.
      People are generally pretty friendly, but it does tend to depend on the neighborhood.
      For avoiding parts of town – Google Street view is your friend! The realtors only want to show the good things, but street view doesn’t care. If you want to make changes to the outside of the house or yard, or major changes to the inside, avoid the historic district.

  37. Julia*

    On top of a stressful few weeks at work that took a toll on my health, my husband is also annoying the crap out of me today. We had dinner with his family today and they brought up a sexual harassment lawsuit against my former employer, then asked if similar issues were occuring at my current job. Instead of saying, “hey, listen, this is really bad timing” (considering what is going on at work), he participated in a talk about harassment as “interpersonal issues” (ugh) and then proceeded to interrupt me when my mother-in-law asked me questions about my field of study, as if he knew better than I did. I had to be the bitchy daughter in law who told him to shut up when I was talking. At least my SIL is usually on my side, and my MIL never takes anything personally, so that’s good, but I’m disappointed in my husband. I asked him what the hell he was thinking and he said he wasn’t thinking at all, which is not a good defence if you ask me…

    1. rubyrose*

      I am so tired of hearing anyone use the excuse of “I didn’t think.” Especially when they use it over and over and over. I would be especially ticked off about my husband using it.

      1. Julia*

        Right?! I keep asking him to maybe start thinking then, and how he thinks I felt about being disrespected by my own husband during a week where so much sexual harassment issues came out at work, and he’s just like, “sorry”, but I don’t think he really gets it.

      1. Julia*

        Oh, he has no problem apologizing (which is what I wanted in a spouse since my family of origin would just gaslight me into thinking they never did the thing in the first place, or get mad about me being hurt), but at this point I want him to be a bit more thoughtful about his actions. People stuff is tough…

        1. Marmaduke*

          Sometimes it just doesn’t feel like a real apology unless it comes with a plan of how to prevent the problem from recurring.

          1. Agent J*

            Oh, so much this. Or understanding in general what they did wrong/why they are apologizing. Just saying sorry doesn’t make me feel better if I know you’re likely to do it again.

  38. Sad*

    My long term partner and I are splitting up… Amicably enough, but I’m still devastated, as I wanted it to work. Any coping strategies to survive this time? I do have a therapist already.

    Stories like how you found love after the person you thought was going to be your entire-life partner are appreciated, too. I need hope.

    1. NicoleK*

      When things ended with the guy I believed to be my “soul mate”, I was completely devastated. And it took me years to get over it. But eventually I did. I never dated much and was concerned that I’d never find someone again. But the universe works in mysterious ways. And when my heart and mind was open, that was when I met the man who’d become my husband. It is possible to find love again.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Probably not exactly what you are looking for, but after my husband passed I found out that I am very rich with friends. Matter of fact, I am wealthier in friendships than I had ever dreamed possible.
      I do think that when we lose an SO by whatever means it takes many, many people to fill up the void in our lives. Say yes to friends more often. Let them fill up your time and your brain space. Every so often make a little list of things that you are grateful for about your people surrounding you.

      That’s right, it’s not the same. Nor should it be the same. People aren’t interchangeable. But each person in our lives offers something of value that no one else offers. Challenge yourself to find these unique things people around you have to offer. Your friends can carry you through to your next chapter. I have lived this first hand and I have had so many people tell me, “my friends/family carried me.”

    3. Dr. Anonymous*

      My marriage with my BEST FRIEND failed and three years later I started dating a lovely man whom I’m still with 6 years later who’s just a little brighter, genuinely sweeter, and freaking hilarious.

      There was some dating drama in the interim, but it’s mostly funny now looking back and I’m still friends with most guys I dated then. Take your time. You’ll be fine. It’ll be hard at first and that’s expected.

    4. Donkey Hotey*

      I’m sorry for your loss. Amicable or not, it still sucks.
      For my “it gets better” story: In my late 30s, I had been through several rounds of the Meet Someone Great – Goes Down In Flames roller coaster. Most relationships lasted approximately two years. Tried computer dating and failed miserably at that. A friend was getting married and I was dreading going because there would be FIVE exes of mine in attendance. Pulled together what was left of my courage and went. Met a woman there, we clicked instantly. Went out on one date and sent my friend a text on the way home saying, “I think I just met the woman I’m going to marry.” Three years later, we did just that and we’ve been together for 10 years total.
      p.s. About six months into the relationship, we realized that we had both come up as prospective matches on the same dating app, and we had both declined the other on the app.

  39. SandrineSmiles (France)*

    Hi. Today is a rather bittersweet moment.

    Because of various reasons that would be too long to get into, Mom has to leave her place by July 31st. And she has to find a new lease “on her own” (previous place was with previous job). Problem: she can’t find a decent sized place on her salary alone.

    So… I’m moving back with her. We plan on renting a house. We have applied to two of them, one of which I was there to visit, and I’m scared. We’ve been dreaming of being in a house since I was little and it’s now getting closer than ever.

    But the bittersweet thing also comes from the fact that I’m moving my cats and my stuff today. I’ll be back at Mom’s old place for a little bit, and if all goes well next weekend we move the whole family.

    Now here’s to hope my second cat accepts to get into a carrier… THAT will be another story.


    1. Zephy*

      Cat carrier insertion protip: Vertically, and backward.

      Either enlist a second person to hold the carrier on its end, so the opening is facing the ceiling, or prop it up against a wall like that, with the door open. You pick up the cat and lower it butt-first into the carrier, closing the door as quick as you can. Your second person might hold the back feet together while you support the chest and hold the scruff. If you’re on your own, usually it’s possible to push the door closed in the course of inserting the cat because of how they’re hung on the carrier.

      Source: former professional cat wrangler. Repeat to yourself, and out loud to the cat: “There’s no version of this story that doesn’t end with you in this box.” Apologize later with tuna or cooked chicken, that usually works for me.

      1. fposte*

        A vet tech demonstrated a version of this where the person throws a pivot in there so the cat has slightly less opportunity to prepare–basically, you pick the cat up when you’re to the side of or facing away from the carrier and pick the cat up from the other side, so that follow-through on the turn leaves you at the carrier opening.

    2. Clisby*

      I always get my 17-year-old to wrangle our cat into the carrier. I hold it open, he puts one hand over the cat’s eyes, and then puts him in quickly. I covering the eyes disorients the cat for enough seconds that he doesn’t start fighting the carrier.

  40. Kimmybear*

    Recipe request: I have two elderly family members recovering from recent surgery and I am staying with them during some recovery. They will not wait until I get home from work to make dinner and so eat less healthy foods…not even the healthier versions (frozen meals with too much sodium and sugar, full fat hot dogs, ice cream, etc) for dinner. Any healthy recipe ideas that I can prepare in advance and the caregiver can stick in the oven when they are ready to eat? Think casseroles, one tray meals…

      1. NewReadingGlasses*

        My mom used to make a thing that is essentially baked macaroni and cheese with a bunch of vegetables added, and then tomato sauce (sometimes with meat) on the top. There’s not a recipe, per se, but you just make it like baked Mac-n-cheese, and cut back liquids by about 1/8 cup per cup of veggies. Raw meat is cooked ahead. Longer-cooking things like carrots can also be pre-done ahead and included. Frozen veggies work well too. I’m pretty sure this was originally a way to use up leftovers, but it’s tasty, and can be made in a big batch and reheated.

    1. Alex*

      What about a veggie lasagna or rollatini? Eggplant parm? Baked ratatouille?

      I think the bigger question might be…WILL they eat healthy food you make if you leave it for them?

    2. Llellayena*

      Roast a large amount of vegetables once a week. They’re good cold or heated up and end up in snackable pieces. They can also go on pasta with olive oil or tomato sauce which is quick for the caregiver to make/reheat. Mac and cheese with veggies is great, but might not be best recovery-health wise. Rice is easy to make and reheat and does well with toppings of veggies, fruit (diced mango or peach is yummy), ricotta, tzatziki, smoked salmon, pesto…

    3. Moocowcat*

      Does your City have Meals on Wheels? They’re a nonprofit organization that delivers frozen or fresh healthy meals. They can be a good option for elderly people or those recovering from hospitalization. No recipie advice sadly.

    4. NicoleK*

      Can you roast a whole chicken the night before? The meat could be used for sandwiches, quick soups, and etc

    5. Kuododi*

      I recently discovered cauliflower and cheese casserole. (Road tested the recipe a few days ago.). DH and I almost scraped the finish off the casserole dish it was so good. Essentially, it’s Mac and cheese with cauliflower and chopped bell peppers in lieu of macaroni noodles. Best wishes.

      1. Jack Russell Terrier*

        This is so good – classic Brit dish – cauliflower cheese = yum. This is a great idea. They often put tomatoes on top in the UK under the breadcrumbs.

        1. londonedit*

          It makes me quite sad when I remember that Americans in general haven’t heard of the wonder that is cauliflower cheese! A total British classic and one of my top comfort foods.

    6. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      1. What healthy foods or vegetables do they actually like?

      – I’ve found dictating foods goes over as well with adult family members as it does with toddlers. If they like frozen corn or canned green beans, sure there are better foods in the world. But they aren’t better if they end up in the garbage uneaten.

      2. If nutritional and vitamin intake is an issue, maybe stock up on things like Boost (or whatever brand) nutritional shakes. They can have a supply of quick, palatable nutrition.

      3. Older people often have diminished taste buds and grew up when different things (frozen foods, processed foods, etc) were becoming big parts of people’s diets.

      — So hot dogs and ice cream don’t seem that bad to me. Throw in some frozen or canned veggies or salad in a big bowl in the fridge or low sodium vegetable soup plus some shakes, and they should be fine.

      If they don’t already have diabetes or cardiac disease, the lead time for dietary indiscretions causing problems I s typically so long (decades) that what they eat now won’t hurt them. Excluding current active problems like blood sugar fluctuations of course…

    7. Koala dreams*

      If they are interested in eating the food you usually make for dinner, why not cook extra and put the leftovers in boxes for them to eat next day?
      If it’s more vegetables you want, I recommend frozen vegetables from the store. They can be thawed in the fridge or in the microwave and eaten as a side dish. For a regular meal, you can make salad with tomatoes, corn, beans, cheese or whatever they like. Takes some prep time but don’t require cooking.
      Also, I’ve been seeing sugar free extra protein yoghurt looking things with chocolate flavour everywhere lately. Maybe something like that would do if you worry about sugar or protein intake? It’s often marketed towards sporty people, for some reason.

    8. Kimmybear*

      Thanks everyone for the suggestions. You’ve made some great points about asking what they want and also not overdoing the healthy need at their age (though the doctors are strongly suggesting it). Part of the challenge is that my husband and I need to eat healthier and I’ve reached my limit of cooking 3-4 separate menus each meal (also have a toddler). I’m making a veggie lasagna and a ton of roasted veggies this weekend which will at least get us a start to the week. Really appreciate all the ideas.

      1. Figgie*

        Google “sheet pan recipes” for a bunch of quick, healthy recipes that can all be baked together in the oven in one pan. I use these kinds of recipes all of the time. My spouse especially loves a meatloaf, green bean and new potatoes meal. I also tend to increase the amount of veggies in the recipes and decrease the amount of meat. And if you have a cooling rack that fits inside a sheet pan, line the bottom of the pan with aluminum foil and bake everything on the rack…any grease goes down into the pan and the meat doesn’t have to touch the veggies if you don’t want it to.

    9. Cartographical*

      Taco rice is a favourite of ours, you can adjust the seasonings to reduce sodium. We don’t use a recipe but it’s basically taco-seasoned lean ground beef (pre-cooked and drained), rice (pre-cooked, brown works just fine), canned diced tomatoes, salsa, chopped onion and minced garlic, all mixed together and topped with crushed tortilla chips and cheese. Like the recipe below, you can also use seasoned, shredded chicken.

      Pasta casserole (brown rice or other whole grain rotini or fusili, pre-cooked and drained), pasta sauce made with pre-cooked/drained lean ground beef or pre-cooked shredded chicken (thighs are good but I’ve used breast meat as well), tossed together and then some cheese stirred in gently (I’ve used everything from mozzarella to ricotta, which I dole out in teaspoon-fulls and gently settle into the pasta). This also accommodates steamed or otherwise lightly cooked and diced broccoli, spinach, kale, zucchini, peppers, and anything else you think will go well — even shredded carrot.

      Firm white fish packaged (in foil or parchment) on top of blanched sliced potatoes and then topped with sliced tomato, zucchini, onion, peppers, and herbs can be baked in a toaster oven or the large oven. I’ve also done this with trout or salmon. Instead of the potatoes you can use brown rice or quinoa cooked until just al dente.

      I use an instant pot to pressure cook large quantities of beef or chicken quickly, you can look up how to do so online — it makes beautiful shredded chicken. I will prepare this, spread it out on a tray lined with waxed paper, and freeze it, then shake it all into a large ziplock bag and put it back in the freezer to use as necessary. If I am seasoning it, I sautee the seasoning (taco, curry, shawarma, whatever’s going) in a couple tablespoons of olive oil (as much as is needed for the quantity I’m using) until it’s fragrant, then mix it into the meat before freezing.

      Tinned chicken breast or tuna can be added to Greek salads or an elaborate coleslaw for a cool meal that is all the better for being in the fridge all day. I also do this with cold quinoa salad that I’ve made with cooked quinoa (you can substitute bulgur wheat or couscous), tomatoes, cucumber, sweet onions, parsley, peppers, fresh herbs, and a lemon vinaigrette. Diced or shredded chicken breast meat also works well in this but the canned chicken is a fantastic quick protein that requires no cooking or cleanup. Lots of great vegetables.

    10. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      Soups have worked well for “reasonably healthy things everyone will eat” in situations involving elderly relatives here. Soups are particularly kind if teeth/chewing are an issue, and reheating soup is easy for a caregiver to do in the microwave if they have one or in a double-boiler on the stove if they do not.

      Our two go-tos are “taco soup” (which we make with kidney beans, black beans, pinto beans, tomatoes, and corn seasoned with cumin, onion, and maybe chili powder – when I’m not there they also add taco meat while it’s cooking, while I am there they add it separately as a topping, then add corn chips, sour cream and/or shredded cheese as toppings) and split pea soup, but there are tons of different healthy soup recipes out there. A bean-focused chili might also be a good option. There are lots of bean/legume focused soups that are pretty healthy and filling. Most non-cream soups also freeze well so you can make large batches and have your own frozen dinners later.

      1. Auntie Social*

        I second the soups– we have two go-to soups, chicken noodle and vegetable beef. I make a large pot and it lasts quite a while. Cornbread reheats well too.

    11. HannahS*

      Eggplant casserole: cut up a large amount of a combination of eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms and peppers. Think, 2 eggplants, 4 zucchini, 3-4 big handfuls of mushrooms, a few peppers. Cut 1-2 onions and chop up 3-4 cloves of garlic. Then, drain a big can of diced tomatoes and add those in. I often add a can of drained and rinsed canellini beans. Toss everything together with oil and a big double handful of cheddar cheese, and salt and pepper. If you want to add herbs like rosemary or oregano or basil, go ahead. Bake it at 375 until it shrinks down and looks toasty, which might take an hour. Check on it every 20 minutes and give it a stir. Serve with brown rice.

      It’s really good and requires only two dishes (one enormous pan for the veggies, one pot for rice), but it’s time consuming to prepare. Really easy to reheat, though, and it keeps well in the fridge for days.

    12. Good luck with that*

      You say “recovering from surgery”. When my MIL came home from the hospital after colon cancer surgery, my BIL almost killed her feeding her beans. A friend who had her gallbladder removed several years ago isn’t allowed to eat some foods to this day. (She thought it was temporary. It demonstrably was not.)
      Check the dietary instructions for whatever surgeries they had. Healthy for most people isn’t always healthy with different medical situations.

  41. Just a guy in a cube*

    Any advice on getting our outdoor cat litter box trained?
    We have a girl who would love to be an indoor cat (and basically lives just in the barn over the winter), but I didn’t really push the litter box training when we first got her (as a kitten) a year ago. So now I have a non-litter-trained cat who’s adorable, but not really the mouser we first wanted, and in the winter she just lives at the top of the barn pooping on the floor anyway.

    I’d like to get her litter box trained to give us options (even if only “use a litter box in the winter in the barn”). Do I just keep her in an enclosed space with a litter box for a week?

    1. Nicki Name*

      Start by putting the litterbox near where she likes to poop. If she poops nearby but doesn’t use the box, place the poop in the box. Most cats will get the hint at that point.

      If she keeps going outside the box, try litter with a different texture. And avoid scented litters in general.

      1. cat socks*

        Good idea to try placing the poop in the box.

        We transitioned a former semi-feral indoors last year when it started to get cold. He started staying in the garage overnight and the first couple of times he didn’t use the litter box so I let him back outside during the day. Then as he started spending more time inside, he started using the box regularly.

        I like Dr. Elsey’s brand of litter.

    2. Rebecca*

      I think most cats like to cover their excrement, so I always had luck with actually sitting the cat gently in the litter box, then using my hands to move their front paws gently in a digging/covering motion. I trained inside kittens and even outside to inside cats this way. I’ve always thought “showing” them what the box was for was useful – and it is something I thought of on my own…YMMV.

    3. TheFacelessOldWomanWhoSecretlyLivesinYour House*

      There is litter attract and the idea of keeping her in a smaller area with a litter box is good as long as you remember to play and interact with her. :)

      1. BikeLover*

        We tried cat attract litter when we first got our rescue kitten. We only had to use it for a few days, which is lucky because he LOVED it so much he would just roll around in it.

  42. Book Wyrm*

    I got an advanced readers copy of a book from BookishFirst, a website where you enter into raffles for ARC’s and every review you post on other websites of a book you won gets you points to skip a raffle and claim a book you really want. So two questions. 1) Other than Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books A Million, and GoodReads, what are other good sites to leave reviews? 2) Anyone know of other websites and programs that let you get advanced readers copies to review?

  43. Mimmy*

    I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor yesterday for the cough I’ve had (she had diagnosed it as mild bronchitis and laryngitis). I told her I’m still dealing with that annoying tickle, my voice is still hoarse and my left ear is clogged. What does she prescribe? Zyrtec! An ALLERGY drug! She said to take it once a day until all my symptoms are gone. I took it shortly before bed last night and I don’t think it did a thing.

    Is she out of left field on this one? Has anyone found allergy meds helpful with lingering bronchitis or colds?

    1. Ruffingit*

      I had bronchitis several times last year. The only thing that helped me was steroids. I’d say get a second opinion. See an ENT.

      1. I hate the offseason.*

        Concur on the steroids. Started a course myself yesterday. Amazing how much it knocks down inflammation.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Yep. I found that what I was calling a cold was actually strong and sudden allergy. You can try it and you will know shortly if this is something for you or not.

    2. NewReadingGlasses*

      Antihistamines can help reduce inflammation, which could fix the clogged ear and any post nasal drip (which can cause coughing). So it’s not bananas to try it. It could take several days to work, though. I would go see an ENT as well.

    3. Acornia*

      My daughter did! Allergies were the likely cause of inflammation that made drainage difficult, so secondary infections were repeatedly cropping up. She didn’t have overt allergies, but taking allergy meds regularly was what broke the cycle for her.

    4. ImJustHereForThePoetry*

      My doc has previously recommended Zyrtec D (the one with a decongestant that you have to ask the pharmacist for) for congestion. It does help.