weekend free-for-all – July 6-7, 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: The Expatriates, by Janice Y. K. Lee, about three American women living in Hong Kong, and how their lives intersect in surprising ways. I sometimes find that when a story changes what character it’s following from chapter to chapter, it’s disappointing when your time with one character gets interrupted for one you’re less interested in. But you’ll be invested in and attached to all three women in this book.

{ 1,527 comments… read them below or add one }

  1. reader

    I know there are lots of readers here. Where do you get your ideas for what to read next? It feels like I’m always in-between books and looking for something new. Do you get recommendations from friends? Browse at the library? Is there a web site that will analyze my tastes and tell me what to read? How do you find your next book?

    Reply
    1. acmx

      I use Goodreads, book blogs and the weekend open thread mostly. Sometimes I browse at the library, bookstore (online too).

      Reply
    2. Ask a Manager Post author

      Book reviews! That’s one reason so much of what I read is fairly new — I rely heavily on book reviews to find things that are coming out that I might like. (I read the reviews in the NY Times, the Washington Post, and sometimes the New Yorker, but lots of publications have them.)

      Also, the Amazon “people who viewed this item also viewed…” lists on the pages for books I like — often that section has other books I’ll also like.

      There are also a bunch of sites that give recommendations if you enter books you’ve liked, but I haven’t found them that useful. I do like the lists on bookriot.com though — they have lots of lists like “50 novels about bad marriages” and “20 novels that take place in winter” and things like that.

      Reply
      1. AcademiaNut

        The Amazon ‘also viewed’ is useful, but you have to be wary about the ‘sponsored items’ lists, which look the same but consist almost entirely of self-published Amazon books.

        I periodically do a search on ‘best fantasy/science fiction books of the past year’ for suggestions. The Tor.com website (a science fiction imprint) has a lot of recommended book lists grouped by theme, not just for their own authors.

        Reply
        1. OtterB

          Seconding tor.com as a source of recommendations, including occasional pieces on overlooked older books. Plus they recently started a monthly feature by Jo Walton on the books she is reading, and she has very eclectic taste. John Scalzi’s blog Whatever has a series called The Big Idea where writers- mostly but not exclusively fantasy and SF- talk about their new books. Also, if you like romance in all its variations, Smart Bitches Trashy Books has lots of reviews and discussions.

          Reply
      2. Luisa

        Bookriot’s lists are great! A few weekends ago I pulled up my library account and went through probably 10 of their lists and just added stuff to my “to read” list.

        Reply
      3. Tsalmoth

        Another I’d add to the list: Lithub.com. Some great stuff there, and at their crime-focused partner, Crimereads.com. Between those and the weekly emails from the NYTimes, I get a LOT of great recommendations.

        I also love browsing the new/express shelves at my library.

        Reply
      4. JessaB

        This site drives me crazy some days (good crazy) I always find new websites I now have to check up on. Thanks for reccing bookriot

        oh and a drive by, how do cats get into the position in your picture? Mine does it too, but I never see her getting there, they’re like stealth ninja, suddenly cat pretzel.

        Reply
    3. HannahS

      I feel like since I started using online libraries, I’ve lost the ability to browse for fiction. It’s strange; I used to go to libraries and bookstores and browse and come away with a big pile, but now I find it hard to narrow it down. With non-fiction, it’s easy! I go to the section of my interest, which is rarely larger than a book case, and…then the title tells you what’s inside! Easy.

      But with fiction–for example, I might be in the mood for fantasy, but it’s all just organized alphabetically, and actually what I’m looking is something set in a world other than fake-medieval-Europe-as-imagined-by-20th-century-writers, with a female protagonist, real conflict without grim dark misery, and ideally magic that leans more toward the occult-y side and less towards potions and spells. And a love story. But not a love triangle!

      So I often wind up looking on Goodreads, which divide by narrower genre and have that handy “readers also like” feature. Or use Smart B_tches Trashy Books, which generally rates romance but also has a fair number of fantasy recommendations, too. I get recs from friends occasionally, and a number of times I’ve posted here and asked for some. I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Alison’s recs, as well.

      Reply
      1. Kali

        I’ve just started reading All That We See or Seem, which sounds a lot like what you’re describing, though according to reviews, it does develop a love triangle. The Fire Sermon was good too, and I don’t remember that one having a love triangle.

        I realise you weren’t literally asking for those recommendations, but I couldn’t help myself.

        Reply
    4. Tara R.

      I do a lot of just reading the backs of books at stores. I don’t read all too fast anymore, so I always have a backlog of books I grabbed thinking they looked interesting. I look for recommendations from IRL and the internet too— I’ve read a couple of Alison’s weekend recs and really enjoyed them!

      Reply
      1. Luisa

        I also often take note of what authors have blurbed books I enjoy, and make a point of seeking out their books.

        Reply
    5. Anonymouse

      1.) I’m pretty author driven, so I’ll go back to authors whose work I enjoyed (for example, I’m currently on a Shirley Jackson kick) because I am really picky when it comes to prose style.

      2.) I don’t read book reviews, but I read a lot of articles, essays and opinion pieces, and you’d be surprised at how often writers will randomly namecheck a book — then I google the book, and see if I can read the first chapter on Overdrive. I’ve found a lot of interesting books this way; I’m currently reading a fascinatingly gossipy book about women in history + what they ate, which was referenced in a random article I was reading. I discovered one of my favorite French authors when he was excoriated by Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex lol

      3.) I love it when people write about beloved books that have been largely forgotten — like David Sedaris about Jenny and the Jaws of Life, a short story collection that he loved by a largely forgotten writer, Jincy Willett. Or how an academic novel from 1965, Stoner by John Williams became an unlikely bestseller in Europe a few years ago; the New Yorker had an article about it, “The Greatest American Novel You’ve Never Heard Of”. These tend to be really great reads!

      4.) It helps that I have pretty catholic tastes, so when I see a book (mystery! Western! Midcentury British tea and crumpet novel!) mentioned, I’ll curiously check it out. I just care if the writing is solid.

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        Agree with all of these, especially #2. Besides articles/essays/opinion pieces, I also take notes of the titles in the further reading/bibliography section of the book (esp when reading nonfiction).

        I also like to browse the TV Trope page of a book I like, and usually that will lead to a trope page which listed other works containing the same trope.

        Reply
      2. Ginger ale for all

        Regarding #3 You might be interested in watching a documentary called The Stone Reader. A filmmaker had a old book review of a book and years later they tried to find out what happened to the book and author. The author had lapsed in obscurity and the quest examined the whole forgotten great books phenomena.

        Reply
    6. Claire (Scotland)

      Goodreads, mostly, plus whatever my friends and people I follow on Twitter are recommending.

      Plus just browsing through the shelves in bookstores. I particularly like my local sci-fi and fantasy bookshop for this.

      Reply
    7. Chaordic One

      I stupidly gave out my email address to the cashier at our local Barnes and Noble and now I get an email almost every day from them (along with a discount coupon). I also get emails from Penguin Random House almost every day. Then sometimes I’ll find a book review in the course of reading a magazine, newspaper or online.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        You can get off that email list. I tried it once, got constant spam along the lines “You are a person who reads books, so we think you’ll like this, which is… a book!” and unsubscribed. (Usually a button at the bottom of the email. I was buying in a fairly narrow range of genres and there was no way this was remotely personalized beyond “person whose email address we have.”) And refuse now to give them my email, even though the clerk always asks.

        Reply
    8. ContemporaryIssued

      GoodReads browsing/highlighting certain books. I find this platform is great for newer releases and for keeping “want to read” lists. Helps me with that “what was that one book” pondering when I find myself in a library or a bookshop.

      Browsing libraries, recs from friends, picking up something random at a bookshop (or a used bookshop for something cheaper). I also try to keep a tab on authors I like, if I like one book I seek out their other books.

      Reply
    9. TPS Cover Report

      Before kindle and ebooks, I used to go to old book stores and charity shops and just grab a few from the bargain bin…. what I hated was getting a really good book, but it was in the middle of a continuing series, so characters were dropping in randomly without explanation, and then the story ended in a cliffhanger and of course the rest of the series was nowhere to be found. I much preferred series where you can read the book independently, but now with ebooks and kindle… I ”binge read” science fiction… vampires and werewolves and space aliens are a genre I wouldn’t otherwise encountered…

      Reply
    10. Left Turn at Albuquerque

      Try whatshouldireadnext.com. You type in the name of a book or author you like and it will give a range of suggestions, including a list of the themes your example and their sggestions have in common.

      Reply
      1. MysteryFan

        Thanks for the tip! I subscribe to an email service called BookBub, where you get to enter your general genre preferences, and they send one email each day with a selection of ebooks in your chosen genres that are on deep discount from Amazon and/or Barnes and Noble. the deals last only a couple of days, but the books are from $3.99 down to FREE… That’s where I get most of my books.. I also get ideas from Goodreads.. and I’ll now be trying whatshouldiradnext.com more often!

        Reply
    11. The Other Dawn

      My brother was my first source of good books. When I finally decided I wanted something other than Stephen King or historical romance, he recommended a couple authors and books he liked. Once I read those books, I read all the other books by those authors. I subscribed to emails, like Book Bub, and tried some of those books. I signed up for Kindle Unlimited, and because I use the Kindle app, I often get recommendations for similar authors, or books similar to what I like to read. When I finish a book in the app, it brings up recommended books based on the book I just finished. Now that my brother is gone, I often get my recommendations from this thread. I got so many great recommendations when I asked about pandemic/apocalypse books and historic fiction.

      Reply
    12. Just a guy in a cube

      It used to be Twitter – I got into a book funk a few years back, and it was only after getting some recommendations for more diverse fantasy that I realized it wasn’t that I was burned out on reading, just that I wasn’t stretching my tastes enough. I cherrypicked my way through recommendation lists and enthusiastic reviews from diverse book Twitter for a few years, and now feel quite set that I can find an author or pick up marketing signals in a bookstore for the fiction that’s likely to make me happy.

      Now my problem is that I’m getting into farming, Quakerism, and some social science reading, and I haven’t calibrated my expectations there yet. I’m trying out subscribing to a few small press mailing lists, and accepting that in those areas it’s as important to figure out what I like/dislike about a book as the actual experience of reading.

      Reply
    13. Traffic_Spiral

      1. Just go to a pile of used/library books and paw my way to whatever looks interesting like a quasi-literate trash goblin.

      2. Occasionally click on a review in a newspaper or goodreads that catches my eye.

      3. Book club.

      Reply
    14. anonagain

      I find it helpful to keep a list of books that I hear about or see that look good otherwise I never remember. I get ebooks and audiobooks from the library and I bookmark them in the app. I have a very low bar for what I add to this list so when I’m ready for a new book, there are lots of options. It also helps that I don’t remember adding anything so they feel new and exciting.

      I also learn about authors through TV and radio interviews, either when they are promoting their books or appearing as subject experts. If I read an interesting article or essay, I’ll also read the blurb about the author to see what else they’ve written.

      I look up authors I really like, just to learn more about them. If I find anything about who their influences are, I might look up something by those people.

      Reply
    15. Aspiring Chicken Lady

      I go to the library and hit the new section. I pick 3 books, each must be of a different flavor and category…. so maybe sci-fi from an author I know, coming of age novel from some country I don’t know much about, and a Scandinavian thriller. If they pass a one page read from the middle of the book, they come home with me.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        Truly life-changing advice from me, from an NPR interview: You can put down a book and not finish it! I had felt some sort of moral obligation to keep going (especially if there was a child in danger); now I am okay reading the first chapter and concluding it’s not for me. I’m more willing to give a book a chance if I’m also more willing to put it down.

        Reply
        1. Luisa

          SAME. When I started tracking my reading (there is a spreadsheet) a couple years ago, I was insistent that I finish any book I started. Because…why? I don’t know? Life is too short/there are too many books to read!

          Reply
        2. Iris Eyes

          Speaking of NPR interviews…half the time their interviews with the author are long enough that I get the spark note version of a non-fiction book or I’m interested enough that I have to pick it up. Their fiction reviews have been where I’ve found some pretty interesting and stretching fiction.

          Reply
    16. Llellayena

      I browse and hunt by author. I’ve got 2 or 3 authors that I will wait anxiously for their new book to come out (ah hardcover pricing!). I’m also in a sci-fi book club, so I get a new book each month through that. I tend to re-read so I’ll scan my own shelves regularly.

      Reply
    17. The Cosmic Avenger

      Another recommendation for Goodreads — I have 89 friends and 163 books on my Want to Read shelf there. And sometimes I’ll just look at what my friends are reading there, or I’ll see them mention a book on Facebook. I’ve also just browsed the Available Now section of my library’s Overdrive (ebook) web site, and found some great books that way. (And some slightly regrettable ones, to be honest.)

      Reply
    18. Jshaden

      My physical and digital To Be Read (TBR) piles are large and varied, plus I keep a TBR list on Goodreads of books I’m interested in. I mostly get my recommendations from bookish podcasts and the authors and publishers I follow on social media. Book Riot is great both for the listicle articles Alison mentioned and their podcasts, which include a new books this week podcast (All the Books), a recommendations podcast (Get Booker), and a bunch of themed genre podcasts. I also like the Reading Glasses podcast from the MaxFun network – it’s not a review or recommendation podcast specifically, but lots of cool books get talked about all the same.

      Book Riot also runs a subscription Tailored Book Recommendations (TBR) program, which is kind of like Stitch Fix for books. You can get just recommendations (3 per quarter) or hardback books (US only). I’ve been using it to branch out from my almost exclusively SFF reading habits. There are lots of other program like Book of the Month club and various book box subscriptions with all kinds of themes if you want someone else to present you a few suggestions or pick books for you.

      Not a universally applicable solution, but I let my calico cat pick my next physical book by spreading out the TBR pile and seeing which one she sits on first.

      Reply
      1. GoryDetails

        “Not a universally applicable solution, but I let my calico cat pick my next physical book by spreading out the TBR pile and seeing which one she sits on first.”

        I love that! My ginger cat likes to chew on the corners of books, and sometimes I’ve selected a book-to-be-read solely to get it away from him.

        Reply
    19. CrazyPlantLady

      For a website that will analyze your tastes and tell you what to read, check out Narrative Muse’s book matchmaker (they have one for movies too). I’ve found a few great reads that I had never heard of through there. https://matchmaker.narrativemuse.co/

      Also, the podcast What Should I Read Next is excellent and a few of my recent faves have come from her suggestions. I only listen when I can also access my library hold list at the same time since most episodes I find myself putting one or two books on hold.

      (Also, do you know you can suspend holds at the library for both regular and e-books? It’s amazing! I keep most of my holds suspended until I’m ready to read it. When it’s suspended you still move up the line but when you get to #1 it will go to the next person until you cancel the suspension or it expires.)

      Reply
    20. A Simple Narwhal

      I love using Goodreads! It will make recommendations based on books you’ve read, you can get recommendations from friends, and I love using it to curate a list of books I want to read. So many times I’d hear a book recommendation and think “oh I’d like to read that” and then when it comes time to actually pick up a new book, I completely draw a blank. Now when I hear that I’ll add the book to my “Books I Want to Read” list on Goodreads (which takes two seconds with their app), and when I go to the library I can just look at my list!

      Reply
    21. Nye

      I keep a running list on my phone, so I always have a long and eclectic selection of possibilities to seek out. Anything that sounds interesting goes on there – personal recommendations, NYT raves, selections from “Best Of” lists, etc. If I thought it sounded worth reading at some point, it’s on the list. This has been a great strategy for me, especially since most of my library books come from ILL. When I’m in need of something new to read, I just pop online and reserve a couple titles off the list.

      Added bonus: I use a checklist and check books off when I’ve read them, so it’s also a running tally of my reading for the year.

      Reply
    22. PB

      There’s a free email newsletter called Shelf Awareness. It comes twice a week, and contains reviews of recently published books. I’ve found most of my great new reads there. I also get lots of recommendations from friends and from browsing in bookstores. IME, you can find much better recommendations from indie bookstores than chains, since recommendations in chain bookstores are dictated by a central office. indiebound.org is a great resource for finding independent bookstores.

      Reply
      1. Bibliovore

        I second Shelf Awareness. They give an early heads up. I trust their recommendations and I am often first on the list for new library books. I also try to read outside my “comfort zone.” That usually means a graphic memoir in the mix, a book set somewhere not in the US, characters of a culture not my own.
        I also look for independent presses like Milkweed. I know I am going to read the new Michael Connelly when it comes out. (I buy, don’t wait, and enjoy) I love discovering new (new-to-me authors) like Marcia Rendon, Murder on the Red River (2017 Cinco Puntos Press)
        I read the reviews in the Minneapolis, Star Tribune, New York Times, San Fransisco Chronicle, Boston Globe and every once in a while New Yorker.

        Reply
    23. Stitch

      I haven’t used it yet but my library has a recommendation service. You input books you have liked and a person gives you a list of recommendations. I should try it.

      I honestly sometimes go to bookstores and buy things on impulse. It works out sometimes. I will read the summer reading lists from the library or read things based on reviews I see.

      Sometimes I will just read based on what is available on my library’s ebook lending program. Because free instant books are great.

      Reply
    24. Even Steven

      My public library system has a link on their home page to look at all of their new arrivals by genre. I check in there every second Friday and load up my holds list.

      And here! The recommendations I get here are fantastic on the weekend thread.

      Reply
    25. Thankful for AAM

      Novelist, if your library has a subscription, is awesome.
      Goodreads and fantasticfiction too.

      Reply
    26. Lilysparrow

      Not all libraries have this, but ours has a recommendation service. You fill out what genres/topics & authors you like & dislike, and a librarian goes through it and emails you a list every so often.

      I’m sure they’ll do this in person if you ask.

      Reply
    27. Professor Plum

      I like the podcast “What Should I Read Next?” by Anne Bogel. She interviews a wide variety of people who tell their 3 favorite books and one they didn’t like. Then Anne recommends three books to read. Many books discussed in each episode, plus the show notes list all of the books as well. So you can listen or just skim through the show notes.

      Reply
    28. Seeking Second Childhood

      Trade publications too. Like Locus Magazine if your tastes run to science fiction, fantasy, or horror.

      Reply
    29. RUKiddingMe

      Mostly from friends ore than anywhere else I think. Most of my friends are readers so they/we all are usually reading something and talk about it/recommend it to each other. Although sometimes we all get a little busy and go into a kind of dry spell (now is one such time) and no one’s really reading anything… A few are trying to start an online come as you can book club. Not sure how it’s going to work, but I’m cautiously optimistic.

      Reply
      1. Raena

        I was a follower of the ‘booktuber’ community for a while and am friends with a lot of them on Goodreads. They always have a really wide selection of reviews that I like to browse. My library is also great. They have a new in section, new fiction & non-faction, and if you get there early enough you can browse through the carts of books that people have just returned and are going to be re-shelved. I love looking through those because I always come across something I’ve been wanting to read. I also love Kirkus reviews, look on the back of most books and they have reviewed it.

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    30. Celestial being on a bike

      I read a ton but get in ruts genre wise. So I joined Book of the Month. I don’t always select a book, but I’ve gotten some great ones over the past 15 months.

      I also have been a part of a book swap club. It’s book club for people reading different books.

      Reply
    31. Kadiddlehopper

      I also use Goodreads. I check out what my friends are reading, but I really use it to keep the “want to read” list when I read book reviews, hear recommendations and the like. Goodreads also gives suggestions based on what you’ve identified as your genre preferences. I have found several good books using that feature. I also keep track of what I’ve read so that I can recommend to others and to revisit some authors I liked years ago to check out their new material.

      Reply
    32. Pliant Platypus

      Publisher’s Weekly gives a ton of book info, reviews, monthly new book releases, publisher acquisitions, author tours etc. Also, look for staff picks at your local bookstores. Front-line booksellers love giving recommendations and helping people find new books to love. I know, I used to be one.

      Reply
    33. NB

      Ask the Readers’ Adviser or Librarian at your public library. They are trained at literary matchmaking.

      Reply
    34. MsChanandlerBong

      I browse Overdrive and add e-books to my wish list. I currently have enough on there to last me about 19 or 20 years. I also make use of Amazon’s “People who read this also liked…” feature to find books similar to ones I have enjoyed.

      Reply
    35. Liberry Shortcake

      I’ve expanded my possibilities by using Little Free Libraries. I find some titles or authors I’ve been curious about and then get the rest of a series from the library. I also use Alison’s recommendations and other comment lists like The Bloggess or Diana Gabaldon’s “Methadone List” (for her fans waiting for the next tome to appear)

      Reply
    36. Ginger ale for all

      I am on a budget so I enter as many book contests as I can to win books to read. This has really opened up my reading tastes. I find that I like domestic chillers after all. I still do not love sci/Five or fantasy but I do give it a chance.

      Reply
      1. Ginger ale for all

        I also work in a library and I occasionally look at what was just returned. One short read that I got from that is All Cat’s Have Aspergers. It took about ten minutes to read but it really made me think.

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    37. Drago Cucina

      Some libraries have access to Novelist. It’s a recommendation service. If you’re using the Online Catalog (OPAC) some systems have a browse the shelf option. You can see what’s next to the physical book. This is especially helpful for non-fiction.

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    38. AdAgencyChick

      1) book reviews (typically NY Times or Wall Street Journal)
      2) looking around at what’s out on the tables or what’s on sale at my favorite indie bookstores (there’s one I go to that has a lot of remainders at 50% or more off, so I get a lot of those)
      3) I live in NYC, and people leave books on their stoops for others to take all the time. I’ll grab whatever looks good (and also leave out books I don’t intend to read again, so I can pay it forward)

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    39. CorruptedbyCoffee

      Hi, I’m a reference librarian.
      Many libraries do some version of bookmatch, where you tell them what you like, what you’re looking for and what your favorite books are and they’ll assemble a list of suggested titles for you. Even if they dont, a reference librarian should be able to give some recommendations based on what you like to read.

      In addition, many libraries offer curated lists of “readalikes” for popular books. So, if you liked Crazy Rich Asians, for example, you’d be able to access a list of books for people who liked that title.

      Many libraries also have a subscription to a database called Novelist. It gives very in depth recommendations based on specific aspects of a book, like pacing, setting, language or characters. It can be hit or miss sometimes, but it’s generally better than amazon or goodreads recommendations.

      Depending on where you live, you can access most of these services online from home. You dont even have to go in.

      Reply
      1. MsChanandlerBong

        Thank you for this suggestion. I had no idea my library offered this, and I was able to access it from home by logging in with my library card and PIN. I now have a whole list of new series to try based on the series I am about to finish!

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    40. Reliquary

      I am fortunate enough to have friends who are English professors at several different colleges. Some of them are incredible resources. Some make lists of books they’ve loved and post them on social media, others post reviews of books on Goodreads. I also read book reviews in major news outlets.

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    41. Emily

      Recommendations and reviews from eclectic sources, mostly online! I don’t always go into the world looking for book recommendations, but if a blog or website I’m reading mentions a book that sounds intriguing, I put it on my list. Occasionally I’ll get recommendations from family or friends, but I don’t like feeling pressured to consume media, so I only ask for recommendations when I genuinely want them, from people who I think will have tastes that align with mine. (To give you an idea of the diversity of my sources, I’ve recently read books that I saw: mentioned on a queer women’s website, mentioned in the BookRiot Goodreads community for the 2019 Read Harder Challenge, mentioned on Captain Awkward’s blog, recommended by Alison, mentioned in the Ask A Manager open threads, on a friend’s Goodreads, written about on Tor.com, recommended or talked about by authors that I like, being read by a friend, etc.)

      One of my favorite things is when writers and authors I like talk thoughtfully about the books they like to read. If you’re interested in science fiction or fantasy, Tor.com is a great place for this – I especially like Jo Walton’s posts because she’s so enthusiastic about the things she loves and so good at articulating why a piece of writing is interesting or exciting or fun. I feel like Smart Bitches, Trashy Books would be similar for romance, but I don’t read much romance, so I don’t frequent their site as often.

      Reply
    42. The Original K.

      Reviews, Goodreads (their recommendations and seeing what people I’m connected to there are reading), and just plain old asking my family friends what they’re reading. I am in a book club and there are a few people who only read what we’re reading for book club, but there are a few others who read more than that, so at meetings we’ll talk about what we’re reading aside from the club books. There are a few other friends I tend to ask a lot because we have similar tastes (I just finished something my friend’s husband lent me that I really liked). I’ve also put out calls on social media asking for book (and podcast) recs.

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    43. MonteCristo85

      For the most part I get my books from John Scalzi’s blog Whatever. He does this thing he calls The Big Idea, and authors send in a write-up of the big idea behind their book, plus there are usually links to reviews/excerpts. Heavily sci-fi/fantasy, since Scalzi is a Sci/Fi author, but that’s my jam anyway.

      Reply
  2. Arya Parya

    Last tuesday I was diagnosed with high functioning autism. I always suspected as much. Thought I might be close to the spectrum, but not on it. After having a child 13 months ago though, all my coping mechanisms failed and it was my clear I am on the spectrum.

    Even though I suspected it, it’s still taking me some time to process. But I am glad, because now I can get some help. Having a child really drains me of my energy and sometimes it’s too much and I have a meltdown. So hopefully I can have a professional figure out with me how to avoid the meltdowns.

    The bad news is that all this has made me realise that I don’t want a second child. I am overwhelmed as it is and I don’t think I can cope if we add another baby to the mix. But my SO really wants a second child. Does anyone have any experience with this? Where you and your SO wanted a different number of childen? Were you able to reconsile somehow? It’s not like we can compromise, so I’m worried this will become an issue.

    (Just for clarification: my SO is very supportive. He knows I don’t want a second child, but kind of hopes I’ll change my mind as our daughter gets a bit older.)

    Reply
        1. ..Kat..

          Ah, I was wondering if this was a case of I want X, but you do all the work. Guess I was projecting.

          I recommend that you seek out what you need to effectively deal with being on the spectrum. I understand there are techniques and practices that can help you live your best life more easily. I don’t mean to imply that people on the spectrum are lazy, just that they have to work harder at some things compared to people not on the spectrum. Perhaps tell your SO that a second child discussion is on hold in the meantime.

          Plus, first child is so young! I recommend enjoying raising her without the pressure of thinking about another child right now.

          Good luck. If I remember correctly, there have been some threads in the past where people on the spectrum have given advice on how to navigate life on the spectrum.

          Reply
          1. RUKiddingMe

            And even for people not being n the spectrum raising kids is exhausting, especially the first year as we start to settle into parenting. I agree that Arya should just enjoy the child she has now. Another child at this point seems super fast anyway…even if one wants to have another/more. Of course I know there are people that want all their kids super close in age, and I guess 13+9 months is ~two years, but …

            Reply
    1. Orange You Glad

      This sounds like a lot to deal with in a short period of time! What if you agreed with your partner to table the discussion completely until your baby turns 4 years old?

      By then you will be in a different space with your coping mechanisms and you can make a choice from a place of calm and not overwhelm. It’s totally likely you will still choose to not have another child but I think you’ll feel different about your choice if that makes sense?

      “If I have to decide right now, the answer is 100% no. If we wait to decide, there is a slight possibility that I might feel differently. I’m not promising I will but I will be more open to thinking about it if we wait until [child] is four years old & not a toddler anymore.”

      Reply
      1. Arya Parya

        Thanks for the suggestion. We’ve sort of tabled the discussion until she is two. I’m 35 right now, do we don’t have tons of time unfortunately. Otherwise I would definitely wait until she is four.

        Reply
        1. Ethyl

          So jsyk, my understanding is that a lot of stuff floating around out there about maternal age isn’t as accurate as one would hope, and even doctors can have wrong info about it. I’m not an expert, bring childfree myself, but it may not be true that you’re “running out of time.” I’m sure some other folks here with more knowledge can chime in. Anecdotally, I have a good friend who didn’t have her first kid till she was 41 (husband was I think 50 at the time), and her second at 44, and both kids are healthy and kind and whipsmart and hilarious.

          Reply
          1. Falling Diphthong

            What science has is averages–for the population, female fertility starts to decline at 30, more steeply at 35, 40s is getting difficult (for those who want to conceive) and yet has plenty of unplanned pregnancies (for those who don’t)–turning 40 is not a method of birth control. Turning 50 probably comes close to being one.

            Where individuals fall to make up those averages varies by individual. By the time you realize that you are in the “X% of women this age have trouble conceiving” group for your age, you don’t get to time travel back and start trying 5 years earlier.

            Reply
            1. Ethyl

              Man, this stuff is hard to sort out! FWIW, I was actually thinking more along the lines of possible birth defects for older gestational parents rather than overall fertility, but this is all good and important information!

              Reply
              1. Sam Sepiol

                And I was thinking about miscarriage which rises sharply. And also the rise of twin pregnancies with age, which brings its own complications. Both things that have happened in my immediately family. We all bring our own history to these thoughts.

                Reply
                1. Ethyl

                  True, and none of it is easy to quantify and bodies are all so different! But I guess what it all comes down to is “don’t have a kid you aren’t ready for, but don’t rush into anything because the information available about age and reproduction is difficult to interpret.”

              2. Arts Akimbo

                Also, there’s some recent research correlating increasing paternal age with autism. I just want to report that as a person on the spectrum myself, who didn’t get diagnosed until late in life, having to raise a child on the spectrum was something I was utterly, utterly unprepared for. And it’s likely he won’t exactly be out of the house at 18, so that’s something to think about that could have very far-reaching impact on your household, OP. I love, love, love my kid, but every single day I feel like I’m the one who’s going to have a meltdown. And yet I have to be the grownup, when I barely know how to be a grownup myself! It’s hard. So hard. And watching them struggle socially, that’s a whole other world of anguish.

                Reply
          2. Book Lover

            It depends on the person. I had no egg reserve left at 38. Averages are averages, some people struggle at 20 and others easily get pregnant over 40. There’s no point hoping you’ll be lucky unless you don’t feel strongly about it. Anyhow, though in this case I agree – let it go and see how you feel in a year or two.

            Reply
        2. Gloucesterina

          Yeah I hope folks with good citations chime in here–I do remember reading an article digesting such research saying essentially, “Yeah, infertility is weird to diagnose and study because in many cases it’s a “don’t know till you try” condition. Of the subset of people who have trouble conceiving after age 35, we often don’t know if that person would have experienced infertility in their 20s or early 30s unless they actually attempted pregnancy at those earlier ages. So it is wrong to circulate the idea that age 35 is THE fertility cliff/expiration date. Many people have no problem conceiving in the 40s.”

          But proper citations welcome!

          Reply
        3. Lilysparrow

          I don’t have a citation, but my midwife told me that if you have the first baby by age 35, it tends to extend your fertile window later.

          It’s conceiving the first child after 35 that is so difficult.

          Reply
          1. blackcat

            I think this is more of a selection effect.
            If you conceive a first before 35, well, you’ve successfully conceived a baby. That itself is a massive predictor of future ability to conceive.
            If you don’t even try before 35, you just don’t know you’ll have trouble until it’s much later.

            Reply
            1. Clisby

              Yes, it’s sort of like: On the day you were born, what’s the chance you’ll live to be 100? Pretty slim. On your 99th birthday, what’s the chance you’ll live to be 100? Pretty good.

              Reply
    2. Sam Sepiol

      I wanted More Than One and my ex spouse wanted One And Only One. We talked about this before we got married and agreed on More Than One.

      He’s my ex spouse because he was emotionally abusive, not directly because of the disagreement about the number of children. But I can tell you that if he’d acknowledged that he was changing our agreement, if he’d recognised and acknowledged the pain that that caused me (and of course if he hadn’t been emotionally abusive) our marriage could have survived this and grown stronger.

      He had good reasons for changing his mind and from this perspective, having left him over 18 months ago/divorced for over 6 months/with only one child to be a single parent to who is sensitive and feels things very deeply, I’m glad we only had the one (although it still kills me and I sometimes find two child families very hard to deal with). But it was talking about it that could have saved the day.

      Good luck. These days I am a very strong proponent of only having the children you very strongly want in most circumstances. I very strongly support you in not having a second child. Kids are hard work.

      Reply
    3. Dan

      I don’t have kids. But bigger picture, adults have to realize that they cannot “promise” the future — agreements early on may have been made with the best of intentions, but both parties have to realize that things change and they may no longer want/are able to live up to that agreement. It’s not a personal failure, it’s life.

      But I think any of us who tells you not to worry about it, that it won’t become an issue, would be giving you false hope. Not that it’s a given by any stretch, but some people are able to get through it, and some aren’t. You’ll get both stories, and nobody knows what will apply to you.

      What I *wouldn’t* do in your shoes is have another kid if you heart isn’t 100% in it. What I *would* do is take things one day at a time. It’s more manageable that way.

      Reply
      1. Sam Sepiol

        ITA. My ex was abusive but he wasn’t wrong in changing the agreement. He was wrong in not acknowledging the change and talking to me about it.

        Reply
      2. Overeducated

        I agree entirely with this post.

        I also have to say, from the perspective of a non-autistic but easily overwhelmed parent of a high-energy kid, I couldn’t even THINK about having a second until the first was 3, and didn’t start trying until 4. I would have, in theory, wanted them two years apart. Not saying you’ll change your mind, ob the contrary – sometimes the realities of parenthood mean changing your ideal plans for parenthood. Sounds like you know that, and i hope, whatever you decide, that your husband can accept that too.

        Reply
        1. karou

          I’m also not autistic but in the same boat with a very active first child. Son at 2 years old compared to son at almost 3 years old is vastly different. It soon became clear that we could in no way handle a newborn when he was only 2, which was the age gap my SO originally imagined. He’ll turn 3 next month and baby #2 is four months away. :)

          So I also recommend wait a little OP, see how things settle with your first and how you feel about a second child. Even six months in the life of a toddler can make a big difference.

          Reply
    4. Crocheted familiar

      I don’t have children but I am Autistic and I have a way to frame autism that might help you with the processing if you feel you need it? If you’re doing fine, feel free to ignore the rest of this comment.

      Have you heard of support labels instead of functioning labels? They’re fairly new and they’re task-/situation-based more than an overall label that functioning labels are, and they offer a lot more flexibility. There are usually three: low support, medium support, and high support, and they allow you to say ‘in this thing (maybe going to new places), I need low support, but in this other thing (maybe cooking) I need high support, and in this other thing (maybe socialising) I need medium support’. I find that support labels also enable me (and other Autistic people I’ve spoken to about them) to ask for help and identify the help I need more rather than feeling like ‘well, I’m high functioning so I SHOULD be able to do this on my own’ and feeling frustrated that you can’t do it on your own as it’s a high support or medium support thing. I know functioning labels are often diagnostic, but support labels might enable you to look at everything you have going on and identify where you need the most help and where you need the least help, and make processing it all a bit less overwhelming.

      Reply
      1. Catherine from Canada

        Also on the spectrum, also late diagnosis (5 years ago at 56). Wow support labels is a fantastic concept! Thanks, I’m going to use this.

        Reply
      2. teach

        This is a very helpful framing, thank you! I teach a lot of middle and high school kids who are both very intelligent and also are on the autism spectrum. We navigate school stuff and people stuff, and your explanation will help me understand and discuss situations.

        Reply
      3. Arts Akimbo

        I utterly weep for this!!! YES! I am high-functioning. I *should* be able to do a lot of things on my own! As a grown-ass adult I should be able to arrange a multi-day itinerary international travel for myself without it causing a multi-day spinout freakout complete with hiding under the covers. (Embarrassing!) I *should* be able to figure out how to keep my house clean. I *should* be able to fill out government forms without literally breaking out in stress hives. But I need maximum support in these areas, and that’s just that. If I had had this simple mental framework years ago, Crocheted familiar, I wouldn’t have beaten myself up so badly over things I simply need more support with.

        There are a lot of big, huge things that I can do well, but the things I can’t do well are also big, huge things.

        Reply
    5. Erin

      I have 3 kids. You don’t be need to decide now if you want a second- 13 months is still pretty in the thick of things! I vote give it time. See how things go as your kid gets a bit older and how therapy goes and if/how coping mechanisms work.

      My kids are between 22 months and 33 months apart. Friends that have more space in between have less chaos!

      Reply
    6. Ethyl

      Once you get into some good support for yourself and learning new coping mechanisms, this seems like a great place for couples counseling. A good counselor can help you and your spouse communicate clearly, untangle expectations/wants/needs/assumptions, and help you find a way to compromise.

      A note though, that couples counseling should be *in addition to* individual therapy or other types of support. It’s sort of like the “client” in couples counseling is the relationship, so making sure you have your own support is crucial. My spouse and I did a couple of months of counseling when we got stuck when trying to make a large life decision about schooling/money/where to live. We realized we were having the same conversations over and over and not getting anywhere, a sure sign to call in some help!

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        Note: not that “compromise” in this situation is “have a kid I don’t want”! More like maybe your spouse looks into other ways to be a supportive presence in the lives of children (big brothers or other volunteer work, tutoring, etc), or other things maybe you haven’t thought of. That’s the beauty of a neutral third party — they may have ideas and see things you didn’t think of while in the midst of new baby/new diagnosis/frustration/emotions/etc.

        Reply
    7. Agnodike

      I’m the spouse who wants more kids in my household. When we first talked about kids, we both wanted at least two, but after our one and only was born, spouse felt like our family was complete. Kid is now almost three and spouse feels the same way, so we’re having only one, which is really hard for me and makes me really sad. Here’s what’s helping for me:

      1. I’ve adopted the mindset that the right number of kids to parent is the lowest common denominator of kids that both partners will be excited to parent. Our existing kid deserves to have parents who are fully engaged and excited to be her parents, and any future kid would, too. I could probably convince spouse over time to have another, but sticking a future kid with a reluctant parent who had to be convinced seems unfair and a terrible idea.

      2. I go to therapy to talk about how sad I am that I won’t get to have another kid, and it helps me come to terms with the loss of the second child I imagined, and be happy in the wonderful family I do have. There have been times when I resented spouse for “standing in the way” of me having another child, but those times are fewer than the times I appreciate what a great parent they are, how much I love them, and how lovely our family is, even if I feel like it would be even lovelier with another kid.

      I’m sad about the fact that I won’t get to parent another child, and I probably will be for awhile, but the bottom line is that every kid deserves to be wanted, really wanted, by 100% of its parents. You have the resources you have; if later, after you’ve settled in to your diagnosis and your support plan, you feel like you have more and you want to spend them on raising another kid, great! And if not, your family will adjust and adapt, like mine has.

      Reply
        1. Agnodike

          Thank you for saying that; that’s really kind of you. I do have a really terrific partner and an awesome kid, and I try hard to be good to them, so that’s nice to hear.

          Reply
      1. Lana Kane

        This is such a lovely and compassionate point of view. As the parent of an only child, I really appreciated reading it.

        Reply
    8. Lilysparrow

      Arya, I’m so glad you found out what’s going on! That makes a huge difference all by itself.

      Please take plenty of time over this. There is a prevailing idea these days that you’re supposed to physically and emotionally “snap back” after having a baby, in an extremely short timeframe. Some people do, sure, but many of us are still dealing with hormone & other physical side effects well after the baby is a year old. So don’t discount those effects on the way you’re feeling now.

      I don’t mean in terms of changing your mind – I mean in terms of feeling pressured to make a major life decision within the next year. Just don’t.

      Having a baby is a major life disruption/stressor. Getting diagnosed with a major health condition is a major life disruption/stressor. So if you allow yourself at least one year to adjust for each of these, plus one year of relative stability in the “new normal,” that’s at least 3 years before deciding about another child. That’s what I would recommend, as a minimum. And if you decide to try but your personal fertility window is closed, so be it. Decision made.

      I hope you get some good help rebuilding a useful system of supports and coping strategies, because those are so, so important. And some of the stuff that worked before isn’t feasible in parenting land.

      Best wishes to you!

      Reply
    9. KoiFeeder

      Autistic second child of autistic mom, here. I don’t have any experience with kid expectation malfunctions, but if you want tips on raising kids while autistic, I can ask my mom if she has advice on that sort of thing.

      Reply
    10. blackcat

      Just as a side note: If you would be the one to get pregnant and carry a child, I believe you have 100% veto power over having another kid.

      Reply
    11. Blue_eyes

      You just found out about your diagnosis last week, it’s completely normal to still be processing it. In fact, I would be surprised if it didn’t take weeks, months, or longer to process this new info and learn how to deal with it. I think working with a professional to increase your coping skills is a great idea. Having a young child is stressful and new, so it makes sense that your regular coping mechanisms didn’t work fully.

      You may find that parenting becomes less stressful as your child gets older, and you will have better coping mechanisms in place from the work you’re planning to put in with a professional. At that point, you can reassess whether you could/want to have another baby. And remember that having another baby isn’t the only option. Maybe you’ll find that parenting a school-aged child is much less stressful than an infant, and you could look at fostering or adopting a toddler or older child. That could also get around the fertility concerns.

      Reply
    12. MissGirl

      Can I ask what are your symptoms or what made you think autism? Trying to understand my own brain.

      Reply
      1. Arya Parya

        Mostly it was being completely overstimulated. I couldn’t and still can’t take a lot of sensory input. A crying baby is really rough on me. I can handle it better now, but the first few months were hard.

        And looking back I don’t like loud noises, my clothes have to be comfortable and I don’t really like bright lights.

        There’s a whole bunch of other stuff, but this is the most important to me.

        Reply
        1. Reba

          Nicole Cliffe’s recent Care and Feeding column for Slate contained the following lines about crying babies:

          “Your baby’s cries are designed to make your brain explode and every nerve in your body jangle. That’s just how things are set up. Nothing to be done about that. Healthy, clean, fed, totally garden-variety babies sometimes just scream for hours. It seems like a flaw to me, but I didn’t create the system.”

          She recommends muffling headphones!

          Nicole is a neuroatypical parent of neuroatypical and typical children. I know she’s not to everyone’s taste but she does talk about neurodiversity and parenting quite a bit.

          Reply
        2. Nita

          I feel the same way, and I’m not autistic as far as I know! Having a young child can take so much brain bandwidth that it’s easy to get overstimulated. And lack of sleep, and crying, don’t help one focus and feel relaxed. For me, things that used to become mildly annoying have become pretty overwhelming, and it took a while to find a way to cope. It does get better as they get older, I think.

          Reply
        3. Arts Akimbo

          Overstimulation, yes, this!

          If it helps, my new dentist started to X-ray my teeth and put that lead vest on me and I IMMEDIATELY felt this wave of relaxation like I’d never felt before in my memory (I mean, I assume I felt it the last time I had dental x-rays, lol, but man, my moments of feeling relaxed are few and far between these days!) Now I totally understand the weighted clothes thing for soothing overstimulated senses! I may have to get myself a weighted vest.

          Reply
    13. LGC

      So…your direct question is about kids – I think everyone’s answered that, and don’t feel the need to rush the decision. (I’m in agreement that you DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT try now, and also the partner who wants the lower number of kids should usually take precedence especially if they’re the ones carrying the pregnancy and giving birth.)

      For now – I really hope I’m just reading too much into your post, but it does sound like you have been feeling like you’re unable to handle the pressures of having a baby. First of all, please remember to take care of yourself! I might also consider getting screened for depression, in large part because it can be a thing with both ASD diagnoses and pregnancy. (Which I’ll admit is a lot to dump on you.)

      Reply
    14. Double A

      I’m in the opposite situation as you, where my husband has mental health issues that are effecting his physical health and he was a little leery of having even one. He loves our daughter but I worry if he’ll want another one, we haven’t talked about it a lot. (This is similar in the child-having dynamic, his health issues are different than yours).

      Because of his health I take on the bulk of the work, though he does contribute a lot. If we don’t have another I’ll be really, really sad, but in the long run I’ll cope. I don’t think there’s a much better answer than that.

      Reply
    15. Siblings

      Not precisely what you asked, but I wanted to offer assurance regarding your choice.

      I’m an only child and I’m pretty sure I’m not entitled, bratty, selfish, or difficult. It’s really not a problem to raise one kid with proper life skills as long as you put in the effort to have them socialize with their peers. I grew up being taught to share, to volunteer, and to empathize.

      My husband’s brother is a complete nightmare of a human, and has been my husband’s burden his entire life. It will only get worse once my ILs are dead and stop supporting him. People who insist that a sibling is a necessity and a life-long friend are woefully naive. They can just as easily be a life sentence.

      Reply
      1. Lana Kane

        This rings true for me. I’m technically not an only child but I was a teenager when my sister was born, and I left home at 18. I spent most of my childhood as an only, and raised with a lot of positive qualities that people assume onlies don’t have.

        My husband has a brother and they have never, and I mean never, gotten along. My husband and I have a son, and he’ll be our only child. I feel like I turned out just fine as an only but I still fretted about not giving him a sibling – a playmate, someone to bond with as he grows up, someone to help him care for aging parents. My husband reminded me that there is no guarantee that any of those things would happen, and reminded me of his own brother. We’ve gotten him out of scrapes more than once, but now he thinks we’re toxic and wants nothing to do with us. We will get no help from him or his wife in caring for my in-laws. It’s really sad.

        I love what Agnodike said above – that children deserve to be parented by people who are all-in. For me the idea of more is nice, as an abstract, but I can’t do it more than once. I adore my son but realistically, both emotionally and financially, we only have it in us to raise one kid. We’d absolutely love any other child we had, but it would be really hard and I think the pressure it would put on all of us would be enormous.

        Reply
        1. Siblings

          someone to help him care for aging parents

          Interesting that you should mention this specifically, because it has been a HUGE problem for us. My BIL straight-up refuses to admit that their parents are not as young as they once were, and has sabotaged my husband’s efforts to get them to do any estate planning whatsoever. My MIL confided to us that she wants a DNR, but knows that BIL will pitch a fit and refuse to carry out her wishes.

          My parents are methodical AF, with all their paperwork in place, and all their plans clearly communicated to me. My husband joked that my parents will have the most organized death ever, while he is dreading what he will have to go through.

          Reply
        2. Cg1254

          I think the mistake parents make is assuming siblings will naturally work out any differences w/o parental support. Parenting is not ‘raise every child exactly the same’. And children have distinct personalities just like adults do (of course they show themselves differently at times) — it is a great mistake to ignore that — and won’t get along with siblings automtically

          Reply
    16. Elf

      High functioning autistic mother of two (4 and almost 1) here. It is a lot. Definitely sit with your feelings a bit. I’m not sure I was quite as hard-hit by the baby phase as you have been (which may be about me, or may just be different babies), but I’m finding four much harder than previous ages, and I think some of my difficulty is definitely about sensory processing. It is definitely harder from a sensory perspective with two, because you get a whining older child in the middle of the baby screaming (and they always start whining then, it’s an attention thing) and that’s a recipe for extreme sensory overload even in neurotypical people.

      I’m happy to talk through any specific issues you are having, or worries for the future (since I’m already doing it with two, and #1 is a bit older than yours). I do think my husband is a better “default parent” than I am, and that things work better when I’m not forced into that role.

      One thing you might consider if you conclude you would like another kid is an au pair or other live in nanny; you say your husband is doing 55% of the parenting, but maybe 45% of the baby parenting is just too much (and 45% of the parenting of two is more than of one) and you need another adult to reduce your share of it.

      I will caution you against the really blithe mentions upthread of fostering/adopting to skip the screaming baby stage. Toddler/kid tantrums are extreme sensory overload also, and traumatized kids (as foster/adopt kids pretty universally are) will almost certainly have a lot of behaviors that will be at least as bad from a sensory overload standpoint as a crying baby.

      Reply
    17. Alexandra Lynch

      Spectrum mom here!

      It gets a LOT easier once they are above approximately 2 years old. Once they have a personality showing and you’re used to interacting with them, the stress goes way down. I would concentrate on getting your oldest to about four or five, before you have a discussion about a second kid. That’s not an unusual spacing, and it has advantages even for neurotypical kids; by the time you have another, the older kid is starting to do things like nursery school and kindergarten and is okay with being the “big kid” and letting the baby have the baby role. Plus, they aren’t right next to each other in school, and only one in college at a time. So see if he can table the idea for a couple years, with a planned revisit at, say, four years old, and see where you are then.

      IANAD, but autism ran in my family, and if you have a child with autism you both may decide that parenting that one kid takes all your focus. (My cousin and his wife decided that. His son is doing well in college.) Alternately, you may be like me, and find that once you get past the basic human skills issues (eating, walking, dressing, talking) that it’s….not too bad.

      And when I say ran in my family: maternal grandfather, father, me, and two of my three boys, a cousin through my mother, his son, and a niece. We’ve all done just fine in life. My sons are now grown, and one told me that he can tell me anything because I always am calm and don’t fly off the handle when bad things happen, and he’s never seen me lose my temper. Thanks, autism. So we’ve got some good things going for us too. (grin)

      Reply
      1. Arts Akimbo

        Counterpoint– she could have a kid whose triggers actively butt up against hers. My kid and I are like that. It’s just the way our neurobiology manifested, and we get through it, but it is really difficult for us. Autism runs in my family too, and my spouse’s as it turns out, and that experience really doesn’t make it any easier to cope with moment-to-moment.

        Also, it’s extremely common for kids with autism to have “terrible threes” or “terrible fours” as opposed to “terrible twos.” I’m really glad you had easygoing kids– not all of us are so blessed.

        The aphorism “If you’ve met one autistic person, you’ve met one autistic person” holds true. There is a huge diversity of lived experience among us, and a thing that works for one of us isn’t going to work for all of us.

        Reply
        1. Lilysparrow

          I’ve always thought “terrible twos” was a misnomer, even for NT kids. It just takes first-time parents off guard that their baby suddenly has opinions.

          Three and four are when they can really, intentionally go full Braveheart on you. And they’re faster and stronger.

          The upside of 3&4 is they can have interesting conversations, walk and mostly use the potty, and they sleep more at night (usually).

          Reply
    18. Arya Parya

      Not sure if anyone will read this, but want to thank you for all your thoughtful replies. It was really helpful and I will be taking more time. I really hope I’ll be able to figure things out along the line.

      Reply
  3. Kuododi

    Well the results are in and I officially have breast cancer. :(. My immediate family and friends know the situation. My mother completely forgot she was told about the cancer within 24 hrs. (God bless dementia!!!) I have meetings next week with the breast surgeon as well as cardio thoracic surgeon to discuss treatment plans and steps to take for the immediate future. I will update yall as I have more information. Grace and peace

    Reply
    1. ..Kat..

      I am so sorry. I wish you the best with your treatment and recovery.

      I recommend you get involved in a support group – either in person or online – as soon as possible. No one will know better what you are going through as much as people who have been there. Also, they will have great suggestions for you about subject X and problem Y, whereas people who have never had breast cancer do not know there is a subject X or problem Y to deal with.

      Reply
    2. OperaArt

      Been there. So sorry. Learning of the diagnosis is like getting punched in the stomach.

      Down the road, I’ve got some tips on getting through radiation treatment if that’s something you end up needing.

      Reply
    3. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      sending you a gentle internet hug. I’m sending you those wishes for grace and peace. No advice, just empathy.

      Reply
    4. Tara R.

      I’m so sorry to hear that. I hope your support system is strong and recovery is fast and easy.

      Reply
    5. Quandong

      I’m sorry you are now dealing with breast cancer. Sending best wishes for a really great team of medical professionals throughout your treatment. Also sending internet hugs if you’d like them.

      Reply
      1. Venus

        Agreed – I had been thinking of you and sending good thoughts. I wish they had more effect! Best of luck sorting out the way forward.

        Reply
    6. My Brain Is Exploding

      Oh, sorry to hear this… Hoping you get a great team around you and that things proceed well.

      Reply
    7. BreastSolidarity

      Me too. Has been a roller coaster past few weeks. HER2 took a long time to come back, so was all scheduled for surgery and radiation, but instead had a port placed and start chemo this week.

      Was going to post here anyways asking for chemo advice. Had downloaded some books but they pre-treat with IV benadryl, so expect to be nearly unconscious on chemo days and possibly the next day as well (benadryl really knocks me out! not to mention everything else I will be getting).

      I hope your family are supportive! Mine are mostly great, but am getting tired of all the questions I don’t have answers to yet. Also, my partner suffers from severe depression, so there is only so much I can lean on them.

      Good luck with your journey!

      Reply
      1. Mobuy

        There are lots of great new drugs for HER-2, like herceptin and perjeta. Good luck!

        I found that zofran works GREAT on nausea…but it gave me killer constipation. (Sorry for TMI, but we’re talking cancer here!) I took senna before chemo and used some other anti-nausea meds to ease the…pain.

        Hair falls out about day 17. I wish I’d gotten a short hair wig, since it would have made the transition back to real hair less abrupt.

        Overall, this sucks, but you will get through it. Lean on your supporters unapologetically. Keep doing everything you can, including work, exercise, and hobbies. Ignore this advice and all others that doesn’t work for you!

        Reply
        1. Breast Solidarity

          Thank you. I know my prognosis is good, but I am still feeling shocked and overwhelmed. It really helps to hear from someone who has been through it!

          Part of what is stressing me out is I am very, very private (even here I am posting anonymously, and no one knows me IRL!). Once i lose my hair it will be a lot harder to pretend that this is not going on to those outside my immediate circle (there is not a wig in the world that matches my crazy curly/frizzy going grey hair! not to mention people will notice the eyebrows….) And going to and from the oncology department when I know many of the people who work in the hospital. I am also scared of the mood swings! I really don’t want to further stress and alienate my partner.

          Reply
      2. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

        Just wanted to say I’m sorry to hear you too are going through this. I personally haven’t had chemo, but hubby made it through many years, and support was one of the key things for us. He had to let others help, but he also reached out to encourage others and share. I won’t offer specific chemo hints, but the one thing I did was actually map out and write down the decision points – if this happens, do I call? If we get to this, what’s the next step – so that I knew the plan. It’s just me, personally, but I don’t like to be blind sided. I’d focus on the happy path, but if he ran a fever, if he got too dehydrated, if “X” didn’t work, then what? I recommend having a trusted person take notes and ask questions, writing down the answers and the big words (I researched them). Having the “map” of the terrain helped me know if we were almost over the mountains, or just at a lower pass… if there were alternative routes, and when it was just a deceptive little corner to turn. Sorry for the analogy, but that map really helped me. There’s no controlling the actual path, exactly, but I felt more able to cope knowing I had a map of the major items. Sending hug.

        Reply
      3. deesse877

        Chemo advice: ADVOCATE FOR YOURSELF. The reality lies outside of most people’s direct experience, so they won’t understand what you really need unless/until you state it clearly and repeatedly. Everyone’s had the flu, and they get that people with the flu need rest and soup, but basic chemo things, like that standing for more than a few minutes can be tiring to the point of a falling risk, take a long time for even the well-meaning to internalize. Also hand-washing protocols: I eventually gave up, because no one would take it seriously, but especially if there are children around you, try to make sure people get it. If you can get a doctor or nurse to explain to your spouse and anyone else close to you, that might help. Under no circumstances try to avoid inconveniencing others; I did that and put myself at real risk for complications several times, and I found also th a t it’shard to let go of the anger and fear afterward.

        W/r/t reading: I found TV worked better, as attention to text was energy-draining (not a metaphor; brain uses calories). I liked a tablet in a stand with earphones best.

        Good luck.

        Reply
        1. Breast Solidarity

          Thank you.

          I am already working on litter box/cat food issues as I need to avoid those (as well as all cat scratches) My standards and cats’ standards for litter box cleanliness are rather higher than partner’s, though. Tomorrow we go for pre-chemo teaching so I will ask her to go over hand washing in detail with partner.

          I am a little worried about advice to not eat your favorite foods because then you will hate them after? What was your experience? I am hoping that is only during the worst of the nausea and not second half of cycle?

          Reply
    8. tab

      So very sorry to hear this news! I found the website http://www.breastcancer.org to be very helpful. On the site I read about a study that encouraged me to have a Oncotype DX test even though I had cancer in two of my lymph nodes. To my great surprise and happiness, the results showed that my cancer was unlikely to progress without chemo. I also found very supportive discussion groups. It’s been seven years since my diagnosis, and I’m still cancer free. I’m sending you good vibes and loads of support. It’s not fun, but you can do this.

      Reply
    9. fposte

      Oh, Kuododi, that’s not fair. Best wishes to you in getting through treatment and all the attendant admin, which is draining in its own right.

      Reply
    10. cat socks

      I’m so sorry. Hoping everything goes smoothly with the appointments and treatments. And hoping for a speedy recovery.

      Reply
    11. Jen in Oregon

      This sucks. I am sorry that this is happening to you. I am keeping you in my thoughts for the best possible outcome. Grace and peace right back atcha.

      Reply
    12. Lora

      I’m so sorry. This sucks.

      I will say that treatment and especially anti-nausea drugs have gotten SO much better that by the time I had it and definitely by the time my mother had it, the worst part was just being tired all the time. I had a lumpectomy, mom had to have a more radical mastectomy, but both of us were just perpetually tired and needing a nap from chemo. Her hair was GONE, mine just got very thin and I had to style it a bit different.

      When I say tired all the time, I mean I fell asleep driving, multiple times. So, definitely be careful in that regard. I went from “eh, let me just chug this iced latte” to ZZZZZZ in seconds.

      The thing about anti-nausea drugs is, you won’t be nauseous, but you won’t be hungry either. You still lose weight. A lot of weight.

      Other pro tip: sleep in a sports bra. When they do the surgery, your lymphatic system gets all plugged up due to yanking out and biopsying the lymph nodes and nothing drains right. If you just about LIVE in a sports bra, the compression keeps the swelling down and you won’t be in as much pain from fluid backed up in the tissue. All the fluid sort of…squidging around…felt just bizarre and nauseating to me and was really bothersome when I didn’t have a sports bra on.

      You will also want an extra soft toothbrush and I loved the Marvis toothpaste on Amazon – regular toothpaste flavors were much too strong for me. And I used a lot of Pond’s cold cream on skin that was suddenly nasty and flaky, mom used some fancy Sephora stuff, but anticipate your skin acting up.

      Reply
    13. Jean (just Jean)

      Look after yourself, put yourself first, and take good care. Grace and peace to you and your support team.

      Reply
  4. Orange You Glad

    What are your friendship dealbreakers?

    Things that would make you end a relationship with that person? (Or at least downgrade them to polite-in-public status?)

    Reply
    1. Lena Clare

      People who consistently don’t make you feel great when you’re in their company and who’re emotional drains! It’s ok if a friend is having a bad time and it’s temporary, but every time? No.

      Narcissists, sociopaths, avoidant types.
      Any relationship where the emotional imbalance is there.

      If you don’t have anything to talk about, really find yourself disagreeing with almost everything they say, find that they have repugnant views, just don’t enjoy their company or they don’t seem to envoy yours…

      All of these things would make me reevaluate a friendship.

      Reply
      1. Ola

        Most people would feel this way. Its a large part of the reason why it’s so difficult for people with depression. On top of feeling shit already, they also feel shit about affecting people around them. Hence they’d put on happy fronts and when that gets too much to maintain they start shutting off.

        Reply
        1. Lena Clare

          People who are depressed do not make *me* feel bad. I’m not talking about people who are depressed.

          I’m talking about people who aren’t nice to you who make you feel uncomfortable, who say passive-aggressive things to you and when you come away you start thinking about it and wondering whether they meant something about it, but you just can’t figure what because you’ve not done anything wrong.
          People who can make you feel a little bit paranoid where you’re not paranoid with your other relationships.

          Reply
        2. Falling Diphthong

          Okay, as a person who has had depression:

          • Yes, you do have to think about how your behavior affects the people around you, who have to interact with you. Like any other adult. For a lot of us that was the push to get treatment, recognizing that it was not a problem in a silo but affecting other people around us.
          • Imbalanced relationships are exhausting for the support person, and it’s not fair to try and make that into some permanent arrangement.
          • There’s a whole genre of advice letters that go “My friend refuses to get treatment for their serious mental health problems and wants to just have me handle everything and omg I cannot handle this.”

          Reply
          1. ThatGirl

            I agree… my husband has struggled with depression since he was a teen, long before we met. He is smart enough to know that he can’t dump everything on me, that even on his bad days his mental health is not an excuse to take it out on me or his friends. Sometimes he’s quiet or withdrawn but it’s still better than lamenting the state of things endlessly and spiraling into a black hole.

            Reply
          2. Venus

            Thank you for this! I have a friend who had a lot of issues at one point (thankfully they got help and it made a huge difference for him!) and some days I questioned if I could survive the friendship, but….
            I could be honest with them, and that made all the difference. “You’re not having a good day, so let’s try again next week”. He would apologize, and we would meet up the next week. I didn’t mind his depression, but he was critical of me on his bad days, yet we could be honest.

            A neighbour mentioned a similar situation recently. A long-time friend was super grumpy, and taking it out on him, so he said “Hey, can you complain in a way that isn’t accusing me?”

            Honesty and the ability to cope well with it (not perfectly, but at least not make it worse) is critical for me.

            Reply
      2. RUKiddingMe

        “…having a bad time and it’s temporary, but every time?”

        So much this. This is my sister. She never speaks to me without it being something bad. I never, ever get a text saying “hi, how’s it going” or anything. It will always ben something *wrong.* Husband and others thought I was imagining it. I started saving the texts (some are incredibly long) and showed them to them once. Every single one (including the one I got the other day!) are some kind of crisis.

        I barely have the energy to live my own life, I can’t live/fix hers, so I barely engage with her at all. If she wasn’t my sister, if she was just a friend, I would have ceased communication a long, long, *long* time ago.

        Reply
        1. MsChanandlerBong

          My cousin is sort of like this. I refer to her as “Bad News Bear.” She has a lot of anxiety, so I try to be understanding, but about 90% of her text messages start off with “Ugh…[Insert bad thing that is happening]…”

          Reply
    2. Sam Sepiol

      Banana knock knock!!
      Interesting timing for this as a friendship I ended has come back out of the woodwork trying to make me feel bad about it this week. I hadn’t realised quite how much I’d enjoyed the peace and quiet of the last 3+ months without dealing with this covert narcissist until I got an email from her.
      I’ll have a think about it and post later. The thing that actually made me end the friendship was her part in my losing my child in the park and not giving a crap about her role in it. Do Not Recommend. But there were warning signs for a long time before that.

      Reply
      1. Evie

        “The thing that actually made me end the friendship was her part in my losing my child in the park and not giving a crap about her role in it. “?!?!?!?!?!?!??!?!??!?!??!?!

        No wonder you ended the friendship!!!!!!!

        Reply
        1. Not So NewReader

          Lost child has me topped. But I did cool a relationship over a lost dog. I got the dog back after some scary moments.
          It’s really important for friends to care about the beings that we care about. It’s kind of a way of expressing love/friendship, to be concerned or take an interest in the beings surrounding us.

          I can be okay if a person does not do that. I know I don’t do that all the time. However, I draw my line when someone is careless/thoughtless with others around me. Don’t be so negligent that someone gets hurt, I am done if a person shows that level of lack of caring.

          Reply
    3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

      People who spend their life lunging between their own crises and helping everyone else with their crises. Some people life their lives on the edge of toppling over into chaos, and as soon as their larger social community helps pull them back from the brink, if they don’t topple over again they start looking for other people to help and will spend their last dime/spoon/other resource helping that other person, at which point they’ll need help themselves again and reach out to the rest of their friends to provide it.

      They’re generally well-intentioned people who genuinely want to help everyone as well as receive help in return, but I’m just exhausted and can’t constant crisis anymore. (I will definitely help my friends who try to not live their lives in constant crisis when they have the occasional time of need, and I’ve been helped by them in return. That’s a reasonable part of friendship, and it’s not like a I keep a strict accounting of whose “turn” it is to help me based on past help or anything. I just no longer can deal with the people who live their entire lives in crisis and actively seek out more crises to participate in when things aren’t on fire for them at that exact moment rather than shore up their own situations using that grace and breathing room.)

      Reply
      1. Parenthetically

        Yes. Yes. I have a friend like this. I still love her, but the last couple of years dealing with various personal issues have meant I’ve pulled back HARD from our friendship. I just don’t have the headspace to have the same conversation about her poorly-managed anxiety, her mystifying relationship choices, her ever-changing employment and living situations, and what I think she needs to do about all those things. Again. For the fiftieth time. She’s an incredibly self-sacrificing person in a lot of ways but also a bottomless pit of need, and I just don’t have the bandwidth any more.

        Reply
        1. Justin

          I know this feeling. I sort of wrote about it below. It hurts to pull back, but it hurts more to stay.

          Reply
    4. Dan

      People who always have to be the center of attention, and/or don’t think your needs are as equally important as theirs.

      Lena Clare is a bit more explicit, but along those lines, I’ve had way too many people with Cluster B personality disorders in my life, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s how to pick up on the behaviors and run like hell.

      Oh, less with platonic friends and more so with romantic friends: People who can’t handle their alcohol and who won’t admit it. I’m all for having fun, but it’s not fun when I turn into your baby sitter.

      Reply
      1. Auntie Social

        People who have rules for you but none for them. I had a friend with severe food allergies. She’d never take any emergency nibbles in her purse no matter how long we were out, and would want to hold out for one or two only-okay restaurants. When I’d say I just want to duck in to McD’s for some fries to hold me, she’d have a fit and lecture me on the evils of McD’s or fries, and sometimes I’d be hangry by the time we ate. So her son is getting married, engagement party at bride’s mom’s house, with many Costco appetizers with wheat that E is packing in. I point out that some may give her a reaction, she ignores me and eats more wheat than I’ve eaten in a week. So I realized this is her thing to be ‘special’, but I was the one who bore the brunt of it. I talked to her diet and exercise guy, he said he knew she was eating things off the bad list because she wasn’t losing weight, so he wouldn’t work with her again either. Oh—and she’s a psychologist. Oy.

        Reply
    5. Tara R.

      This might be obvious to most people, but people who openly insult or make fun you for the things you enjoy. It took me a long time to drop a friend who was constantly mocking my taste in TV and music, but I was very grateful when I finally did.

      Reply
      1. Miss Astoria Platenclear

        One of my greatest pleasures in life is finding a friend who does share my tastes in music, movies, and TV shows. I admit to cringing when a friend spontaneously mentions loving a TV show I find inane.
        If the mocking can’t be done in a good-natured, mutual way (“Dude, you’ll forget all about LameBand when you hear MyCoolNewFave”), the friend should keep her opinions to herself and look elsewhere for fellow fans to bond with.

        Reply
        1. Tara R.

          We had plenty of stuff in common too, which I think actually bothered her a lot. She was one of those people who needed to be the coolest and “most cultured” in any given room.

          I actually cringe a bit at geeky parents who are like “Look at my 8-year-old watching Monty Python and Doctor Who with me, she’s so cool! So glad I don’t have to put up with that Peppa the pig nonsense!” Not because I disagree with sharing your interests with your kid! By all means, show them shows that you like. But kids aren’t just little statues that sit there while you coo with your friends over them, they absorb this stuff and go to school and tell their classmates that they’re Really Cool and everyone else is lame. At least, I’m pretty sure that’s what happened with this girl, and it ended up having a really bad impact on her social life.

          Reply
      2. Parenthetically

        Gosh yes, this too. With one former friend I felt like I was always in a coolness competition that I never signed up for.

        Reply
    6. Feliz

      My husband & I moved cities early in 2018 to somewhere we didn’t know anyone. I’m now 40 (!) and it has been a tough move from a friendship perspective but now I feel like I’ve made some really good friends and its so nice. It has also really made me evaluate friendships and try to be a better friend than I have been in the past.

      Major deal breaker – People who are very judgmental of others. This one took me a long time to figure out but when I finally split with a friend I couldn’t believe the relief I felt not hearing her constant criticism and envy. A bit of a vent every now and then is fine, I do it myself, but it was endless.

      What I like (and therefore try to do):
      – People who do what they say they’ll do – no last minute cancelling/no shows
      – People who have passions and interests, are curious about the world and are enthusiastic. It helps the friendship if there’s overlaps in passions/interests, but generally I’ll really enjoy myself with people who love learning and trying new things and are enthusiastic about stuff. I don’t want to spend time with someone who is “meh” about everything.
      – People who really listen when you talk. Being better at listening is a work in progress for me as I like to talk and can end up dominating conversations – ugh!

      I have friends who have genuine, major difficulties in their lives and yet they still are able to see the positive in things, to genuinely happy for others’ good news etc. I truly hope that if ever I am faced with challenges of their magnitude that I can show half of their grace.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        Keeping their word: It’s almost like a need for me in my life, not just a want. It’s important to me that people do as they say they will do. However, I appreciate/value when a friend says, “I want to do x with you, but I am not sure if I will make it.” I would rather hear that than hear empty promises. (I don’t even need to hear reasons why they may not make it. I just value the honesty of saying “I can’t promise”.)
        OTH, I work at not over-committing myself so that I do not let other people down, because after all this is a two way road.

        Reply
        1. Sam Sepiol

          This is really helpful for me. One of my friends is great but utterly fails to Just Show Up. Recently she’s offered a specific kind of help to me, and I know she means it and it would be great if she did help in that way, but she has a terrible track record of not showing up for coffee or social stuff so forgive me if I’m not going to rely on the offered support :(

          Which sucks. Because I’m not getting any support anywhere else and it really hurts, actually, to have it offered and yet know I can’t accept without taking a high risk of getting shat on (to put it bluntly).

          Reply
          1. Jasnah

            Last minute flaking, or never answering “yes I can come” or “no I can’t” but always “maybe” or “I’ll let you know” that makes me feel like it’s more “if nothing better comes up.”

            Reply
    7. Cows go moo

      Inability to apologize. I had a friend who hurt me repeatedly but it was her continued denial that was the dealbreaker. I just wanted her to say sorry so I knew she knew it was wrong and it wouldn’t happen again.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        Sometimes people “show they are sorry” rather than saying it. For example, they just appear at the front door with a replacement for the item they broke or lost. I am great with that. Apologies can come in different forms. Like you are saying, no expression of regret is Not Good with me.

        Reply
      2. Wishing You Well

        Beware of people who say they’re sorry, then do the same thing over and over again. They are not sorry.

        Reply
      3. Minocho

        I had a friend post some pretty mean stuff about our group. We weren’t called out by name in online, but it was obvious to us as we read it that he was making fun of us and calling us names – it was very disrespectful. I said I needed to talk to him about it and added another three hours to my 12 hour day to say “This happened, and it wasn’t cool. You don’t do this.” His response was “I don’t care, look at how many upvotes I got, it was worth it.”.

        Instant “friend” -> “aquaintance”.

        Reply
    8. FD

      A big one for me is that I look for people who make an effort to ask what’s going on with me as well as talking about themselves. I try to be a really good listener and take pride in remembering what people have told me about themselves. I don’t expect other people to be as good at remembering, but I like to see a bit of effort n that area.

      The only friend I ever broke up with, I broke up with after she admitted that she wanted people to listen to her but she didn’t really care about what was going on with them.

      Reply
    9. The Other Dawn

      Someone who refuses to help themselves. They’d rather wallow in self-pity and blame others for their situation than do something to change it. This typically means this person is all take and no give in the friendship, and it’s exhausting. I ended that friendship 20+ years and I’m so glad I did; it was so draining. I sometimes think about her and miss the talks we used to have, but not enough to dive back into the deep end.

      Reply
    10. Traffic_Spiral

      Constant cancelling. I mean, I could list all the other things I don’t like in a person, but generally if someone rubs me the wrong way we didn’t become friends to begin with, so that’s not much of an issue. But if someone’s jerking me around every time we try and hang out, I’m gonna decide it’s not worth the hassle.

      Reply
    11. Caterpie

      People who want to be the only [gender1] person in an otherwise all or majority [gender2] friend group and are hostile to any other [gender1] people brought into the group.

      I just can’t with those people, especially when it gets to a level of gaslighting friend group members over all new relationships/friendships.

      Reply
      1. Anon Librarian

        I know the type! Related: every so often, I’ll meet a woman who announces, upon introducing herself, that she doesn’t like women and it’s not personal. Ok. Way to judge me based on what I look like. And although you may feel that way, is it really necessary to announce it? Usually, the subtext is more like, “I want to be the only woman in the room and therefore the center of attention ALL the time! So go away! (It’s not personal.)”

        I’m really masculine and I often have more male friends than female friends. We tend to have more hobbies in common, share a sense of humor, etc. But that’s a huge generalization. I can’t imagine actually judging someone just because of the silly gender categories that we’re all placed in. People need to learn how to redirect their need for attention and reassurance – there are ways to address those needs without hurting people.

        Reply
        1. a teacher

          Ugh, that type! What a huge amount of self-loathing those woman-hating women must be carrying inside. But it’s not my problem to entertain. Fuck them, honestly.

          Reply
          1. Ethyl

            I grew out of being “the cool girl” 20 years ago but some people just don’t. Also, I think it’s hilarious that back then, I very much “wasn’t really friends with women” but looking back on it I had many amazing women friends? Most of which I’m still friends with now? And all those dudes turned out to be either a) kinda shitty friends and the relationships were really one-sided, b) that flavor of misogynist that nerd dudes are so good at, or c) both. God I was stupid lol.

            Reply
    12. Book Wyrm

      The biggest thing for me is whether our emotion investment is equal. I have one friend that I’m currently cutting back time with because I realized that I gave and she took without her giving me anything. Every conversation was about her: her good things and her bad things, her life and every little detail about it. She rarely wants to listen to me and, even if she did briefly ask about me, she would take my answer and turn it back on herself.

      I’m not doing any one-on-one outings with her anymore and am really only engaging with her in larger group gatherings where it’s easier to direct conversations away from her self-centered-ness. I’m already a lot happier with much less time with her.

      Reply
    13. Felicia

      People who either constantly cancel or never agree to make plans in advance, only ever wanting to see me at the last minute eg asking in the morning if I want to see them that night. If they never want to see me what’s the point. I’ve gone to minimal only group contact with this person recently and I don’t consider us friends anymore.

      Also people who are against gay marriage. One of my former friends was shocked when I very bluntly broke up our friendship after knowing her a year when I found this out. People can think what they want, but I’m a lesbian which they knew and I’m not going to be friends with someone who doesn’t think I deserve to marry someone I love.

      Reply
    14. bassclefchick

      When she tried to make MY wedding all about HER and what SHE wanted. She didn’t even have the courtesy to show up on time to my bridal shower. Didn’t even let me know she was going to be late. Ended a 30 year friendship. Though, to be honest, she’d always been rather selfish.

      Reply
    15. A Simple Narwhal

      Extremely long story short, I had a friend who met me when my life was a bit of a mess, and we got really close really fast. Over the years I got my life together, and the better things got for me, the worse she would treat me. It started out small, but by the time my life was actually going pretty great, she was openly hostile. I could go on and on about the crazy things she did, but long story short, friends who don’t want you to succeed aren’t friends at all.

      For a less intense example, I had to downgrade a good friend to an ok friend after carpooling with her for a year and I realized she only ever wanted to talk about the issues going on in her life (which over the course of time I learned most were caused by herself) and didn’t want to hear about what was going on with me, ever. ~100 hours of that will wear you out real fast.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        Yessssss friends who want to keep you in some kind of role they’ve assigned you! Usually these roles are things than benefit the other person while making you feel like complete crap. Whether that’s “the fuckup who always needs my help,” “my unpaid therapist,” “taxi service,” “the irrational one who needs calming down” or what have you, the end result is usually that once you start getting out of that role and resisting their efforts to force you back in, you realize the friendship wasn’t based on much at all.

        Reply
      2. Same

        That happened to me too. Someone I thought was my biggest cheerleader only resented it when I made some actual changes in my life. Turned out she was only looking for misery company.

        Reply
        1. Jane of all Trades

          Yes I had that too! This person was an amazing friend when things were not going well for me – we met when we both had a rough time, but the better things started going, the more she withdrew.

          Reply
    16. Miss Astoria Platenclear

      Realizing that we just do not have much in common anymore. Sometimes perfectly decent, loyal, reasonable people over time develop divergent interests.
      Feeling that you have become a customer instead of a friend (curse you, MLMs!)

      My idiosyncratic caution flags for moving an acquaintanceship into a friendship:
      “I never got The Simpsons/ thought SNL was funny.” If you don’t like satire, I will
      offend you probably sooner than later.
      Lack of curiosity. I get frustrated with those who can’t be arsed to Google anything
      Unsolicited comments on food/drink/wardrobe choices: “Aren’t you cold?” “Are you vegetarian or something?” It’s a little thing that irritates like a pebble in your shoe.

      Reply
    17. Book Lover

      It takes me a very long time, years, but feeling like I am the only person reaching out. Always being the one to connect and ask to make plans. I got a text from an old friend cheerfully wishing me a happy birthday and saying we would get together and I just snorted and ignored it – after giving my availability multiple times in the past after reaching out myself and never getting a response. The same with another person who usually did say yes, but I got tired of being the only one who seemed to want to make an effort. It is tiring and makes me feel unwanted and what’s the point.

      Reply
    18. Parenthetically

      “Brutal honesty” when that brutal honesty is only ever about putting others in their place. I don’t have time for “counter-cultural truth-tellers/straight-shooters” who are really just assholes punching down and then gaslighting you into thinking YOU’RE to blame for being “too sensitive.”

      Reply
    19. Acornia

      MLM pitches
      People who are relentlessly positive “good vibes only” people. (Friends should be willing to walk hard paths with each other!)
      People who won’t even consider other people’s viewpoints – their worldview is the one and only True Way of How The World Works.
      Bigots

      Reply
    20. kc89

      well there are the big ones like racism and homophobia

      and then something that can take longer to present is a type of person who is only happy when they are unhappy, if you haven’t been around people like that it might not make sense but I seem to draw people like that to me unfortunately. It can be a perfect day but they will have to find fifty things to be annoyed and mad about, and they are happy as a clam in that state of mind.

      Reply
    21. Clever Name

      After I divorced my emotionally abusive ex husband I realized that I would have to move on from some friends who after I told them about the emotional abuse decided to remain friends with my ex. It sounds super petty, but it’s a decision I made for my safety as well as for my emotional health. Captain awkward actually has a really good post about it.

      Reply
      1. Wishing You Well

        That’s not petty at all. It’s self-preservation. Glad you realized you had to move on.

        Reply
        1. Ethyl

          Here’s some that came to mind immediately. TRIGGER WARNING on these posts for frank discussion of abuse.

          Why “not taking a side” is taking the abuser’s side:
          https://captainawkward.com/2014/11/10/643-the-stinking-pile-of-wordpoop-that-is-im-not-going-to-choose-a-side/

          On abusers in social circles:
          https://captainawkward.com/2018/10/02/1148-navigating-the-aftermath-of-the-abuse-in-the-social-circle/

          FOR REAL TRIGGER WARNING even more than the first one”

          “Dear Captain Awkward, our friend hits women.”
          https://captainawkward.com/2017/05/11/960-our-friend-hits-women/

          Reply
        2. Ethyl

          I posted some links, which are in the spam trap, so check back in a bit. I’m sorry you are going through this.

          Clever Name, that’s the opposite of petty. It’s actually quite brave and badass, really! I mean, you are protecting yourself, first, even if it means losing friends (who are kinda shitty friends), plus you are not letting your ex take up that space in your life or your relationships. That’s so amazing.

          Reply
    22. NicoleK

      -People who want/demand/expect special treatment.
      -People who tell you they value you, but will do the opposite.
      -And people who support politicians with racist, sexist, xenophobic, hateful and fear mongering views.

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        Same. I ended a friendship (albeit an old one that had moved to Facebook) when the person posted a nasty meme about the kids who survived the Parkland shooting and then doubled down when I called her on it.

        Reply
    23. MeepMeep

      Bigotry of any kind. Even if it’s not directed to People Like Me. Can’t stand bigots and won’t have them in my life.

      Reply
    24. Lilysparrow

      I’m sure I could come up with more on reflection, but the ones that have actually occurred in my life would be:

      -Lying to me or about me.
      -Being mean to kids (mine, yours, or anyone’s). Or being mean/spiteful in general.
      -Asking me to lie for you, or help you cheat or defraud anyone, including the IRS.
      -Asking me to “share” a controlled-substance prescription.
      -Insulting or cursing at me, or really at anyone directly.
      -Demonstrating, as a grown person, a lack of basic self-control to an extreme, such as being sloppy/pass-out drunk, reckless driving, screaming rage or fighting, etc.

      Reply
    25. Gatomon

      I have ended a few friendships with people I could only hang out with when they were into it. They were the type who got really into hanging out with you for a few months, and then suddenly you wouldn’t hear anything at all from them. I really crave stability, and it just didn’t work for me. Either let’s hang out routinely at a slower pace, or not at all. I can’t tolerate swinging from best friends to no contact every few months.

      I also have a friend that I keep at arms length – they’re a great person, but they have gotten dealt a bad hand in life and there is only so much support I can offer them. I really do not have any advice or reference point for dealing with serious abuse in all forms, PTSD and drug abuse, and while I’m empathetic, the best person to help is their therapist. I’m happy to meet for coffee and catch up, but that’s about it.

      Reply
    26. Elizabeth West

      I’ve had friendships fade away when we just stopped having anything in common, but to actually end one, it would have to be pretty egregious. For example, I had a friend use me as a sounding board for years and once her situation improved, she blew me off and disappeared. F*ck her. If she ever returned and wanted to be friends again, I’d nope out.

      Any monkey business with my SO (assuming he didn’t entertain it) would be an automatic dump. Really, anything that abused my trust.

      Reply
    27. Ra94

      People who are flaky, cancel plans, and are always late…but somehow manage to be perfectly organized in their professional lives or when it ‘matters’ to them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people should give as much care to brunch as they do to a job interview, but there’s a difference between someone who’s genuinely a bit of a mess (which is annoying but forgivable) and someone who doesn’t value your time. I had a friend in college who was routinely 25-30 minutes late to every meetup, who openly admitted she came late ‘just in case’ the other person was late so that her time wasn’t wasted.

      Reply
    28. Foreign Octopus

      Ignoring my (clearly stated) boundaries.

      I don’t exactly make it a secret that I enjoy time alone when I’m not working. My home is my sanctuary, and I don’t enjoy having other people in it unless I’ve had time to prepare and clean and get some food in. I also prefer to keep my friends in one sphere and my family in another, and I don’t like it when they cross streams unless they’re friends from childhood who obviously know my parents and my brothers.

      I’ve ended a friendship with a woman about seven months ago because, despite me telling her that some things were making me uncomfortable, she kept trampling over my boundaries. Example:

      1. Turning up to my house uninvited on my one day off a week when I was sitting on my porch in my underwear catching up on Netflix (I live in the very rural country: underwear sitting is fine because no one’s around). I made it clear that I wasn’t up for guests but she stayed for four hours with her two dogs who chased my cat off the property and made her hide under my car for an hour after she was gone, and she broke a mug at the same time.

      2. Inviting herself back to my house because she had never seen it before when we accidentally came across each other in a café whilst I was having breakfast. She then proceeded to make firm friends with my parents who were visiting and lived nearby.

      3. Invited herself along to various family events despite me expressing my displeasure at it.

      4. And the biggest dealbreaker of all, calling me her sister. Nope, sorry, way too intense. I know some people have great reasons for viewing friends as family, but I don’t. It made me incredibly uncomfortable.

      For all these reasons, I pulled way back on the friendship and have been much, much happier.

      Reply
    29. CatMom

      – put-downs or other behavior that intentionally makes you feel bad about yourself
      – being overly self-involved
      – never reaches out or initiates plans (excluding reasonable obstacles like having a new baby or something)
      – no longer fun to be around
      – persistent bigotry or closed-mindedness

      Reply
    30. Mrs. Carmen Sandiego JD

      A person who constantly and consistently flakes/no-show despite saying she’d show up.

      Case in point: Mutual friend has premature baby and months later invites us all to meet baby. Flaker says she’ll show up to meet baby but flakes and same day, decides not to show up. Group of friends waited for Flaker to show. I was upset on mutual friend’s behalf and felt at this point, flaker was lying about showing up—to a baby. And it takes a special kind of dysfunctional person to lie to a baby.

      Reply
      1. Curlz

        Not saying what she did was okay, but it seems odd that you’re framing it as “lying to a baby” – I doubt the baby was the one she told her intentions to.

        Reply
    31. Anon For This

      Unfortunately a lot at this point. The default for me is being casual friends with people – we talk when we see each other in public, and we exchange the occasional public comment on social media. I reserve anything closer for people who I really want to be friends with. Right now, I’m choosing to be selective. It’s not that I don’t like other people; it’s just that I want to keep the social side of my life pretty chill so I can focus on other things.

      I avoid:

      – People who are condescending
      – People who I don’t have much in common with, which doesn’t have to be superficial. You can lack superficial common ground but have common attitudes that form the basis of a good friendship, or vice versa.
      – People who want me to party with them, are in that phase of life, and take issue with the fact that I’m not. If you make an issue of the fact that I don’t smoke weed, we can’t be friends. I’ll respect your choices, but you have to respect mine in return (this one comes up a lot).
      – People who are hard to relate to because they come across as immature or entitled. I know how judgmental this sounds, but experience has taught me that these traits tend to come with a lot of drama that I don’t have the energy for.
      – People who don’t believe me when I talk about my own life. This comes up bizarrely often. When you mention basic facts or past experiences and people accuse you of lying. They don’t ask questions in a respectful way; they just assume and accuse.
      – People who don’t understand my priorities and subsequent way of life and are insulting and judgmental because of it.
      – People who seem to want something from me instead of just wanting to be friends.
      – People who lie a lot

      That’s not even the end of it. There’s so much more.

      My life and circumstances are different than most people’s. I know this post may seem odd. There’s a reason things are the way they are, but I’m staying anon here.

      Reply
    32. Gaia

      I am a very closed off person. I have a lot of people I consider acquaintances but very few I consider friends. That is mostly because I take a long time to trust someone and let them know me well enough to hit that “friend” level. So once they hit that level I’m pretty easy going and willing to take the good with the bad.

      But the absolute deal breaker for me is honesty. And I don’t mean white lies – everyone tells them sometimes and if they are of no consequence I don’t really care (although I will question why they felt it was necessary). I mean lies of consequence. For any reason. It is an absolute violation of my trust and it will, at best, put them right back in acquaintance zone and, more likely, result in a total removal from my social world. There are no second chances there.

      Reply
    33. Alexandra Lynch

      Emotional drains. People who want to keep poking at how I live my life and want to evangelize me to another way. (I’m a happy poly pagan who eats meat. I don’t want to do crossfit, I can’t go vegan due to allergies, leave me be.)

      If you steal from or lie to me or members of my family, or are untrustworthy. I extend this even to chronic lateness; if I can’t trust you to show up when you said you would, what good is it?

      Otherwise, if you have to fall out of contact for a few years, eh. We’ll pick it back up later.

      Reply
    34. Staxman

      Surliness and irrationality. The prime example is a cousin with whom I maintained a friendship from age 14 to age 24 (we were the same age). We weren’t local to each other so, the friendship was mostly conducted by snail mail, with occasional F2F contact. She had a habit of having major hissy fits at other people for minor real or (usually) imagined miscues that a normal person would never even think of making an issue of. Her favorite expression was “you should have.” I let it ride because I was a wimp at the time, and I held out the hope that somehow, some day, I could get her to see reason and logic.

      One day when I was visiting her she pulled this on me, and I pushed back. Basically she got mad because I wasn’t a mind reader. She doubled down, stonewalled, and said my reasons for not doing what she thought I “should have” were rationalizing. The hell of it was, even if it had been technically true that I “should have,” it was utterly trivial. I ran this past a psychotherapist friend a few years ago, and she said, “Your cousin has a need to be right.”

      I kept up the front for the remaining few days of the visit, went home, and ghosted her. She made an overture through another family member 3.5 years later, and I took some satisfaction in saying no.

      Reply
    35. Minocho

      Reasons I have broken off friendships:
      1. Being sexually assaulted by a said “friend”.
      2. Friend had anger issues, and took out their temper too many times on me (no violence).
      3. Attempted to turn friendship into romance. Mistakes were made on both sides, feelings were hurt. I took a break from the friendship to deal with my hurt feelings and try to get back on an even emotional keel. Friend insisted on contact, so he could explain mistakes weren’t mistakes, but were hurtful on purpose because…reasons? Nope. Bye.
      4. Lost a whole group of friends within the last year. This one still stings. One member of the group is…sort of in control of many other members. Often makes racist and sexist “jokes”. I began to feel this member was manipulative / controlling in a gross way. He would tear people down that he didn’t control through family ties to keep them attached to the group, and was trying to do this to me now. Lost all but one of the friends in that group due to not being willing to deal with the one guy anymore after a couple of very nasty incidents.

      Reply
  5. A.N. O'Nyme

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    I broke my own heart yet again this week. Killed one of my favourite characters, so pardon me while I go mourn her passing.

    Reply
    1. Weegie

      I was persuaded by a friend to sign up for Camp Nanowrimo this month, so I’ve actually started writing again after a six-month fallow period. I’ve only got the novel’s outline written, though, and haven’t been writing every day. But it’s a start!

      Reply
    2. Kowalski! Options!

      I’m starting back on my NaNoWriMo project. I got 22,500 words and about twelve days into it, then things exploded at work and I dropped it. Looking forward to getting something of a serviceable first draft done this summer.

      Reply
    3. Lucien Nova

      I am working on a multi-chapter Thing – something I’ve not done in literal years – fifteen different prompts and I have actually completed six of them and am working on the seventh. In only a couple of weeks! (They are all fairly short, but still, I’m best pleased with myself as I’ve not properly written for…a long time.)

      Reply
    4. Daisy Avalin

      Attempting to continue my main HP fanfic, whilst also plodding along tweaking several others in the hopes that something will make my brain spring to life! It’s been some time since I posted anything, but I feel I need to get back into it.

      Reply
    5. Claire

      One promo article written and sent off to my publicist for #pirates1. Two chapters finished and a number of plot details worked out for #pirates2.

      Oh, and I’m tickled to report an awesome one-star review for Not!Sherlock1: “Poorly written socialist dribble that disrespects all that have served this Great Nation.” Achievement unlocked!

      Reply
  6. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

    Anyone have any ideas for selling possibly-collectible Matchbox cars? Apparently, a friend of my stepfather bought a bunch of them “as an investment*” at some point (or possibly gradually over time) and has been keeping them in their original packages in his storage unit ever since.

    There are apparently quite a lot of them, and this friend is now in the hospital, things don’t look good, and it’s time to start getting rid of all of the junk in the storage unit so the storage unit monthly expense can be gotten rid of and maybe some money can be found to cover some of these medical bills. Unlike the many boxes of VHS tapes also in the storage unit, there is hope (by some of the people involved, at least) that someone might possibly pay some money for at least some of the Matchbox cars.

    I know nothing about any of this. (My nerd collection hobby is filk recordings, which is really, really different than collecting toy cars in more ways than I can even begin to articulate. The closest analogue I know anything at all about is comics, and that’s just because I’m acquainted with some comics collectors even though I don’t collect comics myself.) I told them maybe eBay, maybe call someone who does estate sales?

    Stepdad doesn’t really collect anything relevant or use the internet for his hobbies, and is clearly going to get stuck with this and many other friend-related tasks in the coming days/weeks/months. Anyone know anything we should keep in mind when trying to figure out which, if any, of these things have value? My expectations for actually getting meaningful amounts of money out of this are low, but I’m not sure that understanding is shared by the other people involved. (I am optimistic that, worst case scenario, at least Goodwill will take the toys as a donation, unlike the VHS tapes which we are probably going to have to pay someone to recycle.)

    *Based on my grasp of the rest of this person’s decisions, I would not expect them to have any insight into “good investments” as it might pertain to the collectibles market.

    Reply
    1. Weegie

      They’re definitely collectible, and some models are worth a lot of money. I’ve just googled and turned up a collectors’club that seems to have international branches (the website looks old, though). Maybe make contact with the club and see if they can advise? Auctioneers would also advise whether this particular collection is worth anything, if the sellers can’t be bothered with ebay.

      Reply
    2. German Girl

      I’m not at all an expert on this but I’d try to search for some of the cars on eBay and look at what prices you see.
      Apparently some of these cars are worth something. My quick search got me anything from 60 cars for 60$ to a single car for 20$ plus shipping. So if you can find the specific models you have, you’ll have an idea of the price, and if you can’t, just auction one of an you’ll get an idea.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        This is my advice as well. I learned a lot about collecting vintage fountain pens and pencils when spouse’s mom died and we had a huge box of them (and now I also collect them lol!). eBay and general internet searches of the brand names helped me figure out what I had and what in the box was properly “collectible” versus what I could sell in a lot for people to break down for parts.

        Reply
    3. TPS Cover Sheet

      Oh yes, the matchbox cars *in their original unopened packaging* are worth a few bob… some can go at really silly prices. So definitely not ”junk”. You go look on say eBay and do the maths. Selling them requires a bit of investment in good packing and figuring out the postage, but it is a very easy collectible to get rid of and doesn’t take too much effort to take good pictures.

      And don’t diss the VHS tapes either. People collect the weirdest stuff…. and there was recently a story of a bit of a hoarder lady who taped tv shows and kept all the tapes and had a few apartments! in New York!! full of the tapes… and they are now actually a treasure trove for researchers as most of the tv stations would not have kept the recordings…

      If you lived anywhere near me I’d be over wuth an u-haul and a wad of cash, so watch out for the lovejoys.

      Reply
    4. Chaordic One

      Yes, do check on eBay to get an idea of what the prices might be. It seems to me that the really valuable ones tend to be the oldest from the 1950s and 1960s, but now the ones from the 1970s and 1980s are increasing in value. If they are newer, but ordinary, ones you should get some money for them, but probably no more than 50 cents to a dollar or so, so they’re probably not really a good investment. If you sell them on eBay there are the listing costs and shipping costs to consider. My GBF collects them, but has told me that he plans to sell some at a Matchbox collector’s club. (I have a similar obsession with things Barbie.)

      Reply
    5. Grace

      Following. My great-grandad died nearly a decade ago, and we still haven’t done anything with his Matchbox cars…

      Reply
    6. Traffic_Spiral

      Find specialized online communities. Find the matchbook car subbreddit or whatever and go from there.

      Reply
    7. My Brain Is Exploding

      I was able to get rid of a pile of old vhs tapes by advertising them for free on Craigslist and putting them out for free in a neighborhood yard sale.

      Reply
    8. Sam Foster

      Be prepared for it take longer than you’d think to sell the stuff off. We just had to do this for dad’s collectibles. The professional shops wanted to give us dimes on the dollar, private collectors wanted to give us pennies on the dollar, so we had to eBay them ourselves with all the headaches that entails. Good luck!

      Reply
  7. Tara R.

    Does anyone have good iron rich recipes? (Not vegetarian although I don’t usually eat a ton of meat, no food restrictions other than being a bit picky). Three months of supplements took my ferritin from 7 to 17, and my doctor says I have to stay on them until at least 50. I do a lot of meal prep and like to cook one meal that I can eat alone (so lots of veggies, nutritionally balanced) for several days, but I’m open to anything at this point.

    Bonus points for no dairy. Apparently my favourite spinach feta salad inhibits the absorption. :(

    Reply
    1. Lena Clare

      I make the following recipe so often that my cookery book is splattered in green! It is creamy spinach curry with crispy tofu and it’s in Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill. I cannot find a link to it online so I will type it out here.

      In a food processor, blitz together until fairly smooth 4 cups of firmly packed spinach leaves, half a cup of vegetable stock, one cup of plant milk, 1 small white onion diced, 4 garlic cloves finely chopped, 2.5 cm of ginger finely chopped, 1 red chilli deseeded and sliced, 1 large tomato diced, half a teaspoon of salt, 1-2 teaspoons of white sugar, one teaspoon of garam masala, and two tablespoons of nutritional yeast.

      Press the tofu by wrapping it in a clean lint free tea towel and placing a wooden chopping block on top. Add something heavy to weigh it down. I usually use one of my big cookery books. Half an hour should do it.

      When it’s pressed, cut into cubes then toss them in a bowl with one teaspoon of ground cumin, and one tablespoon of nutritional yeast.

      Tip of the curry ingredients into a large saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Thicken the curry for about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the tofu for about 2 to 3 minutes on each side then add the tofu into the curry sauce for the rest of the cooking time.

      Serve it warm garnished with a drizzle of soya cream or vegan yoghurt, shredded ginger, and lime wedges.

      If you did actually want to eat dairy with this then you can simply replace the toffee with paneer cheese, fry it without any cumin or nutritional yeast before adding it to the curry sauce, and add dairy cream on top.

      Reply
      1. Lena Clare

        Oh I should say that the tofu is a whole 200-250g block, and it serves 4 people if you’re having naan bread or something else with it, and if not then it gives you three very generous portions.

        Reply
        1. Tara R.

          Oh my gosh, thank you so much for typing all that out!! Sounds delicious, I might make it tomorrow actually!

          Reply
      2. GoryDetails

        “It is creamy spinach curry with crispy tofu and it’s in Jackfruit and Blue Ginger by Sasha Gill.”

        That sounds really good! I did some Googling and the recipe is also in Gill’s East Meets Vegan – I don’t know if that’s an alternate title for the same book or a different collection, but it looks to be more readily available in the US fwiw.

        Reply
        1. Lena Clare

          Ooo I just googled it too and although the cover is different it sounds like it’s the same book, but for US audiences ! I cannot recommend it enough, it is so full of delicious Asian recipes!

          Reply
    2. WoodswomanWrites

      In case you haven’t tried this, one way to elevate your iron intake is to use a cast iron skillet, with some iron taken up by the food you cook in it. While it’s not a cure-all, it can definitely help.

      Reply
      1. Tara R.

        Thank you! I had heard this but kind of figured cast iron would be super pricey, but I just checked Amazon and it looks like there are decent-looking ones for $30ish CAD. I might splurge soon, although it’s funny because I just bought one of those iron fish that you add to boiling water yesterday!

        Between supplements and random cookware and trying to add spinach and red meat to my diet, this iron deficiency business is getting expensive. D:

        Reply
        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

          Be careful with cast iron cookware if you have a flat top stove, it’s really easy to accidentally do damage.

          Reply
          1. Parenthetically

            See, I’ve heard this a lot, but I’ve been using my cast iron on my glass-top stove for well over a decade and haven’t had any issues!

            Reply
        2. Traffic_Spiral

          Check out thrift shops and garage sales. You might get lucky.

          Also: steak, sautee’d spinach, and molasses-heavy desserts.

          Reply
          1. teach

            Ditto thrifts and garage sales. Lodge brand at WalMart is also classic. Really one cast iron skillet will be a lifetime use item if you care for it.

            Reply
      2. Glomarization, Esq.

        Rolled in to say this: use a cast-iron skillet. Find a grandma who can teach you how to use it, or cue up a bunch of YouTube videos on pre-seasoning, care, and use. (They will all contradict one another. Don’t worry, just take the instructions that seem to repeat the most often.)

        Reply
    3. WS

      Have you used a lucky iron fish? It’s basically a fish-shaped iron ingot and you put it in your food while it’s cooking, then remove it (you can also make iron-rich drinking water with the fish and a few drops of lemon juice but I don’t do that much). It adds iron that your body can absorb – it’s used in poor areas in Cambodia which have high rates of iron deficiency, and buying one supports the program. I don’t absorb iron from supplements very well, and it’s helped me get from “very deficient” to “just below normal” in just under a year.

      Reply
      1. Tara R.

        Mine literally got here like ten minutes ago! I’m trying to make tea with it right now.

        > buying one supports the program

        So *that’s* what buy-one-get-one means in this context. I feel less bitter about the pricing now, haha.

        Reply
      2. Katefish

        This is a timely thread, as I just got diagnosed anemic. Thanks for the recommendation! I love tea, so I hope boiling this will help. (Trying to do everything else right too, sigh.)

        Reply
    4. Llellayena

      Lentil soup! Mom found out she was iron deficient when she made lentil soup, froze it in muffin tins (disks), and found herself eating the frozen disks of lentils without bothering to defrost them! There’s probably tons of recipes out there and you can customize to what you like/can eat.

      Reply
    5. Ethyl

      Oof I’m so sorry, iron supplements suck and it’s such a long process getting your levels back up!

      How are you with liver? A nice pâté would have tons of iron plus it feels Fancy :) I do a really simple one with sauteed chicken livers, a little shallot, some thyme, toss it in the food pro with a little cognac and bob’s your iron-rich uncle.

      Reply
      1. JediSquirrel

        Normally, I just fry beef liver with bacon and onion, but your pate recipe sounds delicious. I’m going to try it!

        Reply
      2. Tara R.

        I have honestly never tried liver and I’m kind of terrified by it, but… anything’s worth trying once, right??

        Reply
        1. Ethyl

          It can be kind of an intense or maybe funky? flavor. Chicken livers are more mild than beef or calf so I’d start there. This might also be an argument for throwing in that bacon! Good luck, and if you decide to try them let us know next weekend!

          Trying to get your iron levels up sucks so bad, I really wish you luck. It took me months and I wasn’t even terribly low. <3

          Reply
    6. Grandma Mazur

      Not sure if it’s available where you are but Spatone is iron-rich mineral water from Wales that you drink with orange juice. Was recommended to me when I was slightly anaemic…

      Reply
    7. Agnodike

      Dried fruit has a surprising amount of iron (and sugar, which is the downside, but also fibre, so can help with the iron supplement constipation!). You can make a trail mix from iron-fortified cereal, your favourite dried fruit, and some nuts for a higher-iron snack. Also I’m sure your doctor told you this, but vitamin C enhances absorption, so taking your iron supplement with orange juice or lemon water, adding berries to a green salad topped with hard-boiled eggs, or putting fresh chimichurri on your steak can all help.

      Reply
      1. Tara R.

        Mmmmm I love trail mix. Dried cranberries and dark chocolate is one of my ultimate weaknesses.

        I usually take my supplement with a Vitamin C pill, but maybe I should just buy actual orange juice. I hate drinking my calories in general but a few sips of juice won’t hurt anyone. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

        Also maybe TMI but I have had zero constipation problems with the supplements?? I’m taking a generic of the more expensive ones, and I haven’t had any stomach upset at all, so nothing to complain about except the price I guess!

        Reply
    8. Overeducated

      Smitten Kitchen’s spinach and chickpeas! It’s an under 30 minute pantry meal (I use frozen spinach) and it’s fine hot or at room temperature. There’s also a recipe from the Kitchn for a spinach and chickpea curry with coconut milk, which has the same main ingredients but different seasonings. (Avoiding links here, but I just Google them every time myself….)

      Reply
    9. legalchef

      Supposedly watermelon has a high iron content for fruit; now is a good time of year for it too

      Reply
    10. Not really a waitress

      My mom was a registered dietician. When I was pregnant and taking the prenatals with iron, she recommended i take the pills with oj. She explained how non-heme (not meat) iron sources should be paired with vitamin C for better absorbtion. This is my 1st piece of advice to oregnant friends because the difference was instantly noticeable So be sure to have some vitamin c,, fruit , juice, etc, with your urin source.

      Ine of my favorite sumner recipes is a spinach salad with red pepper and mandarin iranges in honey mustard dressing.

      Reply
      1. Glomarization, Esq.

        take the pills with oj

        I’ve mixed a spoonful of molasses with my morning orange juice. It’s an acquired taste, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

        Reply
    11. Trixie

      I remember reading about “Lucky Iron Fish” in O Magazine or maybe Real Simple. Similar to cast iron skillet as far as adding to dishes to infuse the water/liquid. Plus the company donates one iron fish for every one purchased.

      Reply
    12. Koala dreams

      Great idea for a discussion! I tend to get recurring periods of low iron, so I’ll read the comments. I also love the idea of the Lucky Iron Fish in the comments!

      Dessert:
      Orange and hazelnuts. Slice the orange, add the hazelnuts (I use a mortar to make them smaller, but you can also buy pre-sliced or just add whole hazelnuts) and maybe some sugar.

      Sauces:
      White sauce with canned clams and cauliflower. Use water instead of milk for the sauce. The sauce will actually be greenish when you finish, but it tastes great anyways!
      Fried chicken liver with bamboo shoots and soy sauce. (I prefer to buy chicken liver since it’s the cheapest liver where I shop). You can make a pie shell separately and put the liver stew in it. Liver always explode in my microwave, but you can reheat it in a frying pan or in the oven. Add salad or fruit for a more balanced meal.

      Spinach:
      Sri Lankan Red Lentil Curry with Spinach. I don’t have a recipe at hand, but you can find a lentil curry receipe online and just add a packet of spinach (200 g) when the lentils are getting soft. It’s fine to buy a pre-mixed curry spice mix if you can’t afford all the different spices (I don’t). Can be reheated in the microwave or in a pot.

      Reply
      1. Tara R.

        Mmm all of this sounds good!! Lots of curry recommendations in here which are great, it’s something I love eating out but have never made myself, so this is a good reason to try!

        Reply
    13. dealing with dragons

      If you want simple, my go to is a spinach salad with some kind of citrus. Put what you like on it – the vitamin c helps you absorb the spinach’s iron.

      I also take a multivitamin with vitamin c and when I was anemic took it with the iron pills.

      I would also add a small amount of red meat to your diet if you haven’t already. It really does not need to be a lot (1 serving is about the size of a pack of cards).

      Reply
    14. blackcat

      If you are picky, and want something really lazy to supplement other meals, there are these frozen things by Dr. Prager called Spinach Littles. They are for designed kids, but I eat them. They cook in 2 minutes in the microwave. I use them as a fast way to add a bit of extra iron to my diet.

      Reply
    15. stardust

      Pancakes or French Toast with Molasses; or anything with molasses; Spinach and strawberry salads;

      Reply
    16. No Green No Haze

      I’ve got an elderly Cooking Light (RIP) recipe that is iron-tastic; Google “Cooking Light Chinese Hot Pot of Beef and Vegetables” and you’ll get there.

      Reply
    17. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      I’m on iron supplements (yes ferritin was at@5 at one point… so hear you). I was also told to take vitamin c/ have vitamin c items (orange juice, for example) with the iron supplements, to help with the absorption. I take iron (and, well, it’s a special one with a senna/dulcolax kind of component, because iron is constipating).

      I saute spinach in the cast iron skillet; and make scrambled eggs with it. Sometimes adding sun dried tomatoes. (this is easy to wrap in a tortilla with salsa too). You can also saute the spinach and bake egg cups (egg like muffins). Or add it into other dishes.

      I actually like liver (not overcooked, and yes, I like it dredged in flour, cooked with bacon and caramelized onions), shellfish (all kinds), quinoa (I cook as a side dish with mushrooms, they have Vit D – food network recipe), and turkey (I use this as lunch – baked turkey breast, sliced ). And red meat about 2x a week.

      I’m still struggling with the iron but not quite as bad.

      Reply
    18. CatCat

      Smoked oysters are high in iron. They’re good on crackers, good with a little cream cheese, and also just good straight out of the can. They’re my go-to when I get my period.

      Reply
    19. Una

      Not a specific recipe, but potatoes have a decent amount of iron, so I’ve been replacing other carbs in meals with potatoes. For another curry suggestion, look up palak aloo – a spinach and potato curry. Tasty on its own or as a side! And for other curries you find with dairy, I cook lots of curries and just substitute in coconut milk if it calls for cream, and firm tofu if it calls for paneer.

      On another note, if you can find French green lentils (Lentils de Puy), they are tasty and hold their shape much better than other lentils. I like to cook them with mirepoix, bay leaf and vegetable stock, then mix with sautéed mushrooms and onions.

      Reply
  8. Anon for love

    A weird question about dating.

    I’m middle-aged and single. I’m also fortunate enough to be wealthy (thanks, tech start-up). I worry that someone might want to date me for my money, or that finding out about my money might change someone’s opinion of me.

    I don’t talk about the money. I now have a normal job working for a not-for-profit, and I’m very restrained in my spending. However, I have a nice house in a high CoL area, and there’s obviously a point at which people realise that there must be something going on. Even relatively small things like saying I’d like to do a Masters degree and then people saying ‘that’s going to be pricey, can you afford it?’ I feel I have to make something up about doing it part-time and working alongside etc etc.

    Am I Paranoid, or justifiably cautious about being someone’s meal ticket for life?

    Have other people dealt with similar Issues?

    Reply
    1. Anona

      I’d treat it like anything else that’s sensitive, dating wise. I wouldn’t talk about it at first, but would bring it up after I’d decided the person was trustworthy. Like maybe don’t go to fancy restaurants at first, do fun non expensive outdoor activities, like going for a picnic in the park. Maybe also look for people who are established in their own careers and seem stable, where you can tell they’re doing well (have a steady job, seem to pay their bills, aren’t flashy).

      There are definitely people who would be after you solely for money if they knew it right away. But there are plenty of people who it will just be a nice plus for. It’ll be easier to tell who’s who if you wait until your relationship is more established to share details (like I maybe would wait to talk about being in a former tech startup).

      Reply
      1. Anona

        Also, if you make a dating profile, I’d lead with working at a nonprofit. That doesn’t scream money, and should screen out a lot of people on the front end.

        Reply
        1. Anon for Love

          Yeah, thinking of it like any other sensitive issue is a good one.
          And maybe coming up with some line like “yeah, I think my savings will cover it if I keep an eye on how much I’m spending”.
          I don’t like to say where I work straight up as some people have Opinions about it, but I can say something about the general vibe.

          Reply
          1. valentine

            The love con still goes on.

            When people pry into your finances, say, “I’m sure it’ll all work out” or “When have you known me to be rash?”

            Reply
            1. Traffic_Spiral

              TBH, “When have you known me to be rash” would be a huge red flag. Answering a question with a question, and also playing a “if you look into this further, you’re saying you don’t trust me” game are pretty standard con artist techniques. Also “I’m sure it’ll all work out” can come across as “I’m irresponsible and assume someone else will fix my bad decisions.”

              Reply
              1. Gaia

                Okay but prying into someone’s finances before you’ve known them long enough to know they made a killing at a tech startup is also pretty red flag con artist signaling stuff.

                I think a simple “oh yea, I’ve been planning on it” in response to a question about affording a Masters. I would take that to mean you’ve been thinking about it and saved for it. But I also wouldn’t pry because your money is not my business early in a relationship. Down the road if things get serious, I do think there should be honest conversations about money but in the first several dates? No, not my business.

                Reply
                1. Traffic_Spiral

                  Well, yes to your first point, but “when’s it appropriate to ask about finances” is a separate issue from “what are standard conmen answers to questions.” A simple “I live within my means,” or “well, I’ve been fortunate enough to be gainfully employed and not have any serious emergencies,” can easily express “I’m financially responsible enough to be an adult” without setting off any manipulation flags.

    2. Dan

      I don’t think you’re paranoid. You don’t say anything about gender roles, but I’m a straight male… and IMHO there’s still cultural expectations that men will provide for spouse/family. I’ve dated people in different socio-economic circumstances than me, and I’ll be honest, while I’m not rich, I make a solid middle class income, and I do try to feel people out to see what kind of financial expectations they have of their partner. In my case, I grew up pretty broke and paid my own way through two degrees (who am I kidding, I’m still paying), so I want to enjoy my own fruits of my labor. I just don’t have any desire to support a stay at home spouse, and anybody who wants to get on that train has to quickly find another one. Least people think I’m imagining things, there are many people who still thing a man could/should provide. Some have told me so in as many words.

      As for you, I gotta be honest… this is going to be super tricky to navigate. I hate it when people don’t play straight with me about money, and I’ll break up with them over it. But you also don’t want to wear your money on your sleeve, so to speak. I think in the early phases of dating, you can duck questions and perhaps tell a few fibs, but if you outright lie, there’s going to be hell to pay later. By that, I mean I think you can get away with saying something like “I bought it as a foreclosure” or “I bought in a down market” or something like that. But if you told me a big enough lie, that sets the “trust” part of the relationship off on the wrong foot.

      Reply
      1. Anon for Love

        Thanks for the reassurance!

        Yeah, being subtle without lying is going to be the key – and maybe not making a big deal of it if I do mention it.

        Reply
      2. German Girl

        About the house you can probably say something like “It was a lucky find.” “I got a good deal.” or something like that without lying (because you wouldn’t have bought it if it was overpriced, would you?).

        About the Masters degree, say “I’m pretty restraint in my spending so I’ve got some savings that’ll probably last me through the degree.” – true because if you weren’t so restraint, you’d have spent your money, and it’ll only probably be enough because you never know …

        Reply
      3. Clever Name

        Good point. I want to note that people who aren’t interested in money tend to not talk about it. Like it’s not something that’s in the forefront of their mind, so they don’t bring it up. They don’t talk about being broke, and they also don’t brag about buying fancy things. I think it’s actually pretty rude to ask someone you barely know how they could afford their house (or car or whatever). Like, it’s none of their business. I’d be wary of someone who seems to focus on how you can afford such nice things.

        Reply
      4. SMG

        I think it’s interesting to bring gender into this, because I’m on the opposite end of this spectrum, in one way. I’m a mainly straight identifying lady but more interested in playing the breadwinner role than the stay at home role (since I travel a bunch for my contact work) also partially because I had an awesome stay at home dad.

        I’d consider, if you’re worried about falling into culturally patriarchal gender roles where the more masculine partner supports the more feminine partner, to think about dating maybe outside your comfort zone of traditionally femme cis women.

        If that applies to you. If you’re going to reject part of the patriarchy that doesn’t work for you (men support women as bread makers), might as well consider questioning the entire structure.

        Reply
    3. AnonToReply

      This can be a tricky one – I second the suggestions about getting to know people first and not telling outright lies about things – and if someone is asking you a lot of questions about money in the early stages that’s a flag in and of itself. Cultural norms and expectations are a big one too. It’s a tricky line to balance – I once had a relationship end up with person in a v high potential earning career, he sat me down and earnestly explained that I just wasn’t ever going to be pulling my own weight financially in the relationship. I’m working in a low paying, v personally rewarding career (similar to yourself and the not for profit), but I’m also stealth wealthy and manage that as well. I’d honestly never thought to mention it to this guy, and he’d made a lot of assumptions about me and what I could contribute to a balance sheet (I’m sooooo better off without him). So i suggest getting to know people carefully without making assumptions; but red flags I look out for would be substance dependency, gambling and carrying large amounts of credit card debt and a hankering in someone for things they perceive as ‘luxury’, for material things they think they deserve, being easily influenced by Instagram influencers or celeb endorsements. Do pay attention to their financial decisions (eg what they are buying on credit, do they make investment purchases impulsively, etc). Also – seek out places like campaigning groups where you might meet others more interested in making the world a better place than in your bank balance. Failing that – there’s always local cultural institutions ‘friends of’ groups – you might meet a wide range of people there from all income levels, all more interested in talking about the latest exhibition or play rather than checking you out as a meal ticket. Good luck.

      Reply
      1. Falling Diphthong

        If someone is asking you a lot of questions about money in the early stages that’s a flag in and of itself.

        This is a good point–money is something that might arise naturally if you are planning a trip together, where everyone’s idea of “a nice hotel at a fair price” needs to be hashed out with some explicit numbers–but in the early months of a relationship “so… how do you afford that house/car/trip” would strike me as a red flag. (Where I live I tend to assume family money for people whose jobs do not match their house–but Not My Business and I have never directly asked anyone.)

        Reply
        1. Anon for Love

          Yes, you’re right that if there’s no reason to be talking about money, it could be a red flag.

          I think people ask me occasional questions because they’re hoping I can tell them how I do things on a not-for-profit salary – and when it comes to cheap opera tickets and designer thrift-shopping, I totally can!

          Reply
    4. Traffic_Spiral

      1. Date within your own age and social class. There might be a few middle-aged women looking for a sugar Daddy, but by and large, they will have their act together and be just looking for someone to date. If you’re trying for women significantly younger than you, then yes, money is going to be a big reason they’d date you rather than someone their own age. Also, meet your women in places that financially stable people tend to congregate. Be polite, friendly and charming to the wives of your equally-wealthy friends, and they’ll set you up with their single girlfriends (who will all be ‘financially comfortable’).

      2. Don’t get too paranoid about it. Most men dated for their money are intentionally in that situation. They wanted someone hot and young in a relationship that they didn’t have to put a lot of time, emotional effort, or charm into, so they made their offer really clear up front. There aren’t hordes of women out there hunting to find a millionaire in disguise for a relationship that might pay off after a few years’ of dating.

      3. Put effort into all the other things you have going for you, other than your money. Dress nice. Stay fit. Get a good haircut. Pay attention to your skin and dental hygiene. Be pleasant company.

      Reply
      1. ainomiaka

        yes so much on number 3. Having been a younger woman on online dating years ago, there was nothing more annoying than men with requirements like “must be 15 years younger than me, hot, into a balding dude with potbelly, oh yeah, and not after my money.” Figure out and focus on what else you are willing to bring to the relationship and you will get more people looking for that. You do have to make your partner’s world better in some way, but that way doesn’t have to be financial.

        Reply
        1. Elizabeth West

          Even if they have NO money, this seems to be the current standard among men above a certain age on dating sites. They’re either looking for a trophy or a caretaker, or a trophy caretaker. :P

          Reply
        2. Traffic_Spiral

          Yeah, I know some guys (and it does tend to be guys) who are like “well, she can’t like me for my money.” And I’m like, “great, what do you have going for you other than your money?” and they’re like “um… fluent in sarcasm?”

          Reply
          1. Curlz

            It’s sadly ironic that becoming wealthy is often presented to teen and 20-something guys as a means of attracting women. I’ve read some articles about investing and money management aimed at young men that basically say “hot women like rich men, so if you want to have all the sexiest women, use our budgeting system/buy our investing book!” Pretty cruel to then turn around and say “beware of people who are attracted to you for your money!” Well, which is it? Is money meant to be an attractant or not?

            (Yes, guys can be gold diggers as well, but I’ve never seen financial advice marketed to women as a means of making themselves more attractive.)

            Reply
            1. Ainomiaka

              To me it’s less of a contradiction and more dudes that have never really interacted with women as people outside of those guides.

              Reply
      2. Ra94

        This is excellent advice! Also, focus on where you’re meeting people and which apps you’re using. Online dating is definitely the way to go; if you were trying to meet people in bars, for example, you’d probably be less likely to meet women your own age and more likely to come across people after your money.
        Also, there’s no way you can totally avoid the possibility of someone dating you for your money, just as there’s no way to 100% avoid a cheater, or a habitual liar, or any other dating bad behavior. Be wary at first, and then at a certain point, you have to trust that the person with you loves you for you.

        Reply
      3. Jana

        This is all good advice. OP, there’s no reason to discuss your financial situation early on, so I think it may be less of an issue than you’re dreading. That said, focusing on making connections with people who are in your age bracket and who share your interests is likely to mean you’ll end up building a relationship with someone who isn’t after your money.

        Reply
    5. Overeducated

      I agree with other posters that you shouldn’t lead with it, but people may just make the most common assumption about your house: family money. Substantial down payment or purchase help in a high COL city once at a young age can really boost someone’s lifestyle in the long term, I know multiple people at my age and income level on their third house while I’m still working on saving for my first because the first “small cheap home” was a graduation or wedding gift (that has appreciated substantially over several years). If you’re cool with that assumption, you may not have to mention anything until you actually get serious.

      Reply
      1. Jack Russell Terrier

        Yes – this is me. I have a lovely condo in high COL area the I own outright because I had a substantial nest egg from my parents. I don’t pull in a huge amount of money and I don’t spend on shiny things but because my monthly outgoings aren’t high I manage to live very pleasantly.

        Reply
    6. Clever Name

      I think like everything else in dating, you’ll have to judge the other person’s character. I’m in a similar position as you. Middle-aged, live in a nice house in a high COL area (thanks divorce!), parents paid for college, and I had an upper-class upbringing. It’s honestly been liberating to be able to date knowing I can fully support myself and not have to look to partners to take care of me financially.

      When I first started dating my boyfriend, I paid close attention to his behavior and what his friends said about him. His financial position isn’t great, but he fully supports himself with no credit card debt. He is consistent and honest, and his actions match his words. And his friends absolutely gushed about him. And they are right. He is an amazing person and I’m so so lucky. And if I were only looking at his income/bank account, I would never had dated him.

      So I guess what I’m saying is that you’re in a great position, but also be wary. I didn’t talk about my job a whole ton in the beginning (I’m a scientist working in consulting) and I didn’t talk about my family belonging to a country club or being a debutante. Get to know people slowly and let them show you who they are. People who are interested in money tend to focus on external appearances and things. They like status items (like certain watches or handbags) and seem to care a lot about what other people think of them. I am not at all saying having an iWatch or a Kate spade handbag makes you a bad person. It’s the overall package and their pattern of behavior.

      Reply
      1. Dan

        “I am not at all saying having an iWatch or a Kate spade handbag makes you a bad person. It’s the overall package and their pattern of behavior.”

        It’s like I used to tell my ex, “We can have a few of the things we want, but we can’t have all of them.” Folks on this board know that I do a fair amount of travel. Sure, in American society, we hold foreign travel to be “exotic” (and presumably expensive.) While I have ways of reducing direct costs (frequent flyer miles FTW!) the other realities are that I have a modest apartment and never owned a car I paid more than $15k for. I also don’t get the latest and greatest tech gadgets the day they come out.

        If OP “has a few nice things” but not tons of them, that goes a long way to sending *his* message too… the house alone won’t raise eyebrows. But if he’s got a nice house, a nice car, a rolex, an Armani suit… he’s going to have a tougher time hiding his wealth.

        Reply
        1. Anon for Love

          Yes, very interesting. The thing that made me realise how prickly I am was someone commenting on an art work on my wall.

          But as you say, it’s probably also fairly obvious that I’m restrained in how I spend money, and that that’s not likely to change.

          Reply
    7. Gram's girl

      I am a widow and am retired. I am financially secure thanks to my husband’s life insurance being invested wisely but I am trying to live on Social Security (his Survior benefit) and the required minimum distribution from his 401(k). In a few years I will have to take my own required minimums which will boost my income and I my also sell my house which has a good amount of equity.
      I learn early in my widowhood to be very careful about disclosing my financial situation. I not an “glamorous” woman and appeared to be someone of modest means. Around the start of the financial crisis ten years ago. I was with a group of people discussing the latest money news and I mention that my investment advisor had passed on some useful info. The man sitting next to me, who had been ignoring me, swiveled toward me so fast I thought his head might snap off and was mighty interested the rest of the evening. The look in his eyes said “Financial advisor = lots of loot”. I recognized that he was playing me and decided he would never get a chance to go further.

      I’ve heard enough stories about lonely people taken for a financial ride to be very cautious. I keep my finances to myself.

      Reply
      1. Wishing You Well

        Smart move. Some people are looking for “a nurse or a purse” or both.
        If someone asks a personal finance question, give a short, vague answer and immediately ask a question of them to gain control of the conversation. Don’t babble about your finances to anyone, because once you reveal what you have, the whole world knows whether you’re poor or rich.

        Reply
    8. CatMom

      I’ll preface this by saying that this is not how I have approached dating, and while I do make an awful lot more than your average millennial (and much more than my partner), I’m not wealthy per se.

      But some of my relatives are very wealthy – wealthy enough to never have worked and to never need to work. The way they have approached dating and marriage is to limit themselves to partners who have wealth roughly equivalent to their own. It cuts off your options significantly, but it does ensure that whoever you end up with isn’t going to be dating you just for your money or see you differently because of your wealth.

      Again, this isn’t the approach that most people will want to take, and you may not want to either. But it seems to have worked out for the most part for my relatives, nearly all of whom are (seemingly very) happily married.

      Reply
      1. Curlz

        “The way they have approached dating and marriage is to limit themselves to partners who have wealth roughly equivalent to their own. It cuts off your options significantly, but it does ensure that whoever you end up with isn’t going to be dating you just for your money or see you differently because of your wealth.”

        I realize you’re not talking about yourself here, but I find this viewpoint soooo hypocritical. If someone only dates people who are as rich as they are, how is that not seeing someone differently because of their wealth? The assumption is not only that the risk of poorer people being out to get you is high, so stick with the rich and you’ll be safe, but also that, hey, if you marry another rich person, you get double rich. And if their goal is not to lose any money, then dating another rich person *is* dating them for their money, except the goal is to make a dollar-for-dollar match instead of just getting an upgrade.

        It reminds me of historical merchants and noblemen – “Sure, we’ll let you marry for love, as long as their family has a minimum of $____.”

        Reply
        1. Jasnah

          I think the idea is not just “don’t judge people by their wealth” but people who have similar values and habits regarding money are going to be a safer match. There’s also the class/socioeconomic status that often comes with wealth. See fictional stories like Pride & Prejudice and Crazy Rich Asians–both had to grapple with the “is [poorer person] a gold digger?”/”does [richer person] really think I’m just here for the money?” And not just the two individuals involved, but the expectations of their family too.

          Reply
    9. Cat

      On the house, I think you can just be honest – you bought it due to a tech start-up windfall. I think at this point in time, folks are used to people getting some tech money, buying a house with cash, and not necessarily being wealthy other than that. The rest can come out more slowly.

      Reply
      1. Clever Name

        I know! I actually assumed the OP was a woman because it’s almost taboo for a woman to make more than her partner.

        Reply
        1. Clever Name

          I mean, be in a better financial position, at least, as OP says they have a modest job at a nonprofit

          Reply
        2. Emily

          Same! (Also because I assume the AAM readership skews female.) All of the replies had started to make me wonder if I had misread/missed something in the original post.

          Reply
      2. Femme d'Afrique

        I had the same thought, and I read the OP’s post twice and still couldn’t figure out where the assumption came from.

        Interesting, eh?

        Reply
      3. TechWorker

        There are not, but there’s also comments about gendered expectations on men of ‘providing’ and I think because OP said ‘thanks for that advice’ some (including me and possibly incorrectly) read that as agreement.

        Reply
        1. Anon for Love

          :-) I was actually going to say that I’m a bisexual woman but that I’m sure that the advice given thinking I’m a heterosexual man will also work for me. In fact, in some ways, it’s actually been more thought-provoking about the gender dynamics going on here, my assumptions and my own insecurities.

          Reply
          1. Gaia

            It is actually still very relevant advice. On on hand you have to be concerned about men that will try to use you for your money. On the other end of the spectrum there are men that will be very Not Okay with you having more money than they do. Both ends of the spectrum suck. Stick to the middle, that is where the good folks are (and there are lots of them there!)

            Reply
      4. Gaia

        I was just thinking the same thing. I actually assumed the OP was female and was confused by the comments.

        Reply
    10. Anon For This

      Been there! Not exactly the same situation, but similar. You are absolutely not being paranoid. There are a lot of people looking for meal tickets (and other kinds of free rides), and it can be hard to tell at first.

      I wish I had a solution. I’m still figuring some of this out. But, basically, it helps to be open about the situation but not too open. And to present it as, “I’m successful,” and (stating the obvious) downplay the financial side without hiding it. And socialize with people who are equally successful or just really stable and happy with what they have. People who are emotionally secure and self sufficient as functioning adults (doing things for themselves instead of relying on friends or family a lot). Emphasize the intellectual side of your accomplishments and how much work went into it. Even if you were in a pretty standard role and just got lucky with your company stock, you probably had to go the extra mile to help make the company successful at some point, so talk about that.

      When I was younger, I wanted to be with someone who’d had fewer options in life because I wanted to share what I had. I think that can work. In my case, I attracted people with the wrong kinds of motives.

      I tried keeping things a secret until after I started dating someone. Then I got a lot of negging – their sense of the power dynamics changed, accurately or not, and they tried to cut me down constantly and harm my reputation so I’d stay.

      I tried not telling people at all. But people picked up on something being odd and invented their own explanations.

      There was also a time when circumstances made it seem like I had a lot more money than I really did and people were not aware of the reason behind it.

      These days, I’m open about the reason I come from a slightly different place and I act really warm and friendly while being careful about who I get closer too. I let people in slowly, and I look for people who seem unlikely to take advantage. I look for people who take responsibility for their own lives and don’t ride coattails. You can suss that out just by talking to people. Hang out with those people. They don’t have to have perfect lives, but they try to do things themselves and acknowledge their shortcomings instead of constantly asking for things and blaming anyone but themselves when things don’t go right.

      Also, ask people about their past relationships and watch out for anyone with a pattern of failed relationships with people who are better off than they are.

      I don’t know how this post will come across. I’m at a turning point right now myself, having been let down while trying to be nice, and trying to get tougher in order to protect myself. I might sound snobby or judgmental. I don’t mean to sound that way.

      I wish you well!

      Reply
      1. Anon for Love

        This has been very helpful as an irrational part of me (the non-profit working, philanthropist side) feels that I should be dating someone in difficult financial circumstances so that wealth could be more evenly distributed.
        Yeah.
        That’s what taxes are for, not my love life.

        I’m also pretty bitter about the compromises we made to get to ‘success’ – shall we say that a very values-driven start-up hit a lot of commercial ‘realities’ and I’m very conflicted about a lot of it still.

        Reply
        1. Traffic_Spiral

          Just make it a hard-and-fast rule that you never give/loan money to an S/O (other than standard dating ‘picking up the cheque’ half the time) and never co-sign anything. If there’s nothing to be gained, the golddiggers will look elsewhere.

          Reply
    11. matcha123

      Can I toss this back at you? I’m single, in my 30s and come from a low-income background. I have a bachelors from a Well-Known and Highly-Ranked university, but due to family issues have basically no savings and a job that doesn’t pay well. I am not looking for, nor do I want a man to “take care of me”. But most men who have attended similar universities and were raised in similar cities come from upper-middle class backgrounds.
      How do I show someone like that that I am not dating them for money? Aside from suggesting cheap places to eat and insisting on splitting the bill, what can someone in my position do? People with more money want to date people in similar income brackets, which is their right. Most of my peers came from well-off families and yet growing up I was expected to pay for things since I had a job…

      Reply
    12. TPS Cover Sheet

      Well, people can be not wealthy, but live in a nice house they inherited, so that’s not necessarily a sign.

      Money is a curse. I witnessed my late housemate get milked by toyboys… it was a bit sad to watch even he knew he was being milked he still fell for it every time.

      Reply
    13. Alexandra Lynch

      My second relationship is one across economic classes, because I have chronic issues that keep me from holding down a job outside the home. It works for us because he likes having a housewife person, and his food issues mean that he really does need someone to be a personal chef for him, because he can’t eat safely AND hold down a fulltime job. If you don’t want to have someone doing housewife stuff, make that clear; look for someone who likes to work and has a decent career all on their own. I made it clear when I was dating that I won’t be bringing in a check, but we’ve found that I give value for the money.

      Reply
    14. Anon for Love

      Thanks everyone – I really appreciated the range of perspectives and ideas on this, and I’ll take some time to reflect on them.

      Reply
    15. Batgirl

      Based on the anecdata of some friends who want to be the supported partner, and others who absolutely don’t; I think it’s pretty easy to deter the first group by:
      – Emphasising non-materialistic things like making a picnic date over an expensive restaurant.
      – Split the bill. The people who don’t like this, and who are looking for financial support, will self select out.
      – Be generous in other ways, to avoid being generous with money. The second group of people will actually prefer generosity of time and attention over money.
      – Don’t discuss specifics about money with people you don’t know well. Not your financial situation anyway.
      – Do discuss preferred roles and expectations. A wanting-to-be supported person will usually be very upfront about what else they have to offer, so speak up and avoid wasting each other’s time.

      Reply
      1. jolene

        I only very gradually realised that my ex and his family were extremely rich. He lived sensibly, had a non-flashy place, and I have never been intent on marrying a rich man so I didn’t spot some indications along the way. But from what he and my husband have said about dating, the women who they spotted as being gold-diggers were very, very upfront about it. They would ask where the men holidayed, if they owned or rented, check out their watches, ask to be taken to expensive restaurants, make it clear that they expect the man to pay on dates because they had spent a lot of money on hair, nails, grooming, clothes.

        I know you’re a woman but this may be useful to you, so I offer it FWIW!

        Reply
  9. Summer

    What does everyone think about the hoo-ha over the Little Mermaid casting?

    Personally I just wish they’d stop these ‘live action remakes’ altogether (and really, can the new lion king movie even be called live action?) but so long as they’re raking in the money they’re gonna keep draining that well.

    Reply
    1. Lena Clare

      I think Halle Bailey is perfect as Ariel, people who are going on about her being the wrong casting because “mermaids aren’t black because the sun doesnt get far under water and so they wouldn’t have melatoninin their skin” (heavy eye roll so much I gave myself a migraine) are being racist, and I’m looking forward to seeing it!

      Reply
      1. In Real Life My Shell Bra Hurts!

        Wow, I hadn’t even heard about this “debate ” Do these people watch the animated version and get upset because in real life Ariel’s long red hair would get flat and drippy underwater? Or do they point out that crabs and other undersea creatures don’t actually have bands and put on large musical numbers? Or, you know, speaking purely scientifically . . . that mermaids can’t possibly have light skin because mermaids don’t actually exist?

        Reply
        1. Observer

          LOL

          Or, you know, speaking purely scientifically . . . that mermaids can’t possibly have light skin because mermaids don’t actually exist?

          I hadn’t heard of this “controversy”, but this was my first thought when I read this post. People are SERIOUSLY weird!

          Reply
      2. Ola

        Are you actually familiar with her work or just virtue signalling? So far I haven’t found any comment on /why/ she’d be such a good choice outside of ‘representation!’.

        Reply
        1. ThatGirl

          She has an amazing voice, and anyway, most people objecting are saying nothing about her specifically and are focused on her skin color.

          Reply
        2. Homo neanderthalensis

          If you haven’t found any comments on why she’s a good choice I deeply question where you’re looking for them because those comments on her high suitability are everywhere. Also the term “virtue signaling” is often used by the alt-right.

          Reply
          1. Ola

            Pretty much all the comments on Twitter are just about how little girls with her skin colour can relate.

            Reply
                1. Ethyl

                  Same. It’s like when A Man wants to play “devil’s advocate” or “likes debating” — automatic nope on out of there.

        3. Parenthetically

          *eyeroll*

          “virtue signalling” = caring about something I’ve decided you shouldn’t care about

          Reply
        4. Parenthetically

          Also, why the fk isn’t representation a good enough reason? FORTY NINE Disney movies had white female leads prior to Tiana. Why isn’t it okay to say, “You know what? How bout we give women with other colors of skin a little screen time now? So little black and brown girls can see themselves on screen as heroines, just for a change?” Why isn’t that enough of a reason? Are white people the default setting?

          Reply
          1. Ola

            If that’s the only reason then it’s a casting decision based solely on appearance. If that’s good enough for you then so be it but don’t pretend like you’re a good person for it.

            Reply
            1. Ethyl

              I think you know damn well that “representation” and “casting decisions based on appearance” aren’t the same thing. Quit being racist all over the open thread.

              Reply
            2. Parenthetically

              Tell you what, when there have been 49 black Disney princesses in a row, get back to me.

              Also, have a look in the mirror and ask yourself why your immediate assumption was that a black woman in a particular role couldn’t POSSIBLY have been cast for her unique talent and overall fit for the role, but that she MUST have been cast SOLELY for her skin color. Hint: it’s not because you’re color-blind.

              Reply
              1. Washed Out Data Analyst

                I “love” how the minute there is a [insert non-majority demographic] in any sort of role, people immediately jump to “they ONLY got cast because of their race/affirmative action!” and start questioning the validity of the decision, even if that person is the only minority in the whole group. But if a white person is in the role, no one ever questions if they benefitted from being white.

                Reply
                1. Parenthetically

                  And yet those same people somehow are never quite as outraged by Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, and Sigourney Weaver playing historical and/or Biblical Middle Eastern/Egyptian people. Or Ben Affleck playing a still-living man of Mexican descent. Or Mena Suvari playing a still-living black woman.

                  That’s not even COUNTING the zillions of white actors cast to play purely fictional characters who are POC in the source material — anime, comic book, and video game adaptations are RIFE with these.

            3. Washed Out Data Analyst

              I bet that you don’t question why white actors get cast for roles the same way you’re doing for black actors.

              Reply
        5. Kathenus

          OK, I’ll pretend this is a legitimate question. Since Chloe x Halle received two 2019 Grammy nominations, I think that she has the bona fides to be a great choice. And feel free to go to You Tube to see their performance on the Grammy Awards this year, that’s when I first saw her. She and her sister are amazing.

          Reply
        6. Observer

          I’m not familiar with her work, but nor am I virtue signalling. Here is the thing – ANY argument that tries to claim scientific backing for depictions of MERMAIDS is sheer, utter garbage.

          Reply
      3. Agnodike

        I love when people try to use logic to explain their prejudices, especially when it’s real-world logic in a fantasy setting. She’s a mermaid! Maybe it’s not melanin that makes her skin dark brown; maybe it’s some other kind of compound that’s unique to mermaid skin and helps mermaids blend in when they want to hide in the ocean depths to avoid being eaten by sharks or captured by sea witches! We can make up anything we want because, you know, mermaids aren’t real!

        Reply
        1. That Girl From Quinn's House

          The mermaids in Harry Potter, that live in the cold lakes of the northern UK, have gray skin, green hair, yellow eyes and yellow teeth, and screech-owl voices. So there isn’t even a “unified mermaid logic” among fantasy worlds to work from!

          Reply
          1. Marmaduke

            I have to say that would be a very interesting direction for Disney to take with the remake…

            Reply
        2. Jemima Bond

          Well exactly. I mean it would make sense in a lot of ways for there to be all sorts of colours of mermaid like there are all sorts of colours of fish. Just because cartoon Ariel is a clownfish-type mermaid (orangey red and white) doesn’t mean a different mermaid might be all caramel-gold speckled with brown, like a brown trout. I’m no marine biologist but I’m pretty sure marine life covers all the spectrum!
          Also being faithful to the original is nonsense – that ship sailed with the cartoon version where walking on her human feet isn’t as painful as walking on the points of knives, and the prince doesn’t go off with someone else and the mermaid dies rendering the whole thing sad and pointless.
          Also – and this has always bothered me – the name Ariel (a Disney thing not an original thing) is jarring as in the U.K. Ariel has long been a popular brand of laundry detergent. I think it’s like if you had a mermaid called Tide.

          Reply
          1. fhqwhgads

            I think it’s probably more like a mermaid named Dawn, given that Ariel has been a human-name for centuries, even if it certain locations it’s also detergent.

            Reply
          2. Marmaduke

            Speaking of the many colors of marine life, I’m still waiting for the scientific explanation for why each of Triton’s daughters had a different color of tail. Although I suppose the most obvious explanation also doubles as an explanation for his favoring the daughter whose tail matches his…

            Reply
      4. Thankful for AAM

        Lena Clare, I have not been paying attention to the details and had no idea about the sun/melatonin argument.

        How do they explain the coloring of say, killer whales or seals or any of the many other colors of sea animals?

        Reply
        1. Lena Clare

          I have no idea! They are calling it “mermaid science” which is a complete contradiction in terms, but there you go.

          Reply
            1. Zephy

              Original Ursula is also a drag queen, so I’m really looking forward to the Twitter shitstorm about that casting decision.

              Reply
          1. Gaia

            Mermaid. Science.

            FFS. Mermaids ARE. NOT. REAL.

            Unless these people are suggesting Disney should have cast an actual mermaid, they need to sit the hell down.

            Some people need hobbies, y’all.

            Reply
    2. Chaordic One

      I misread the story the first time around and I thought to myself, Halle Berry is a great actress, but isn’t she a little old for the part? Then I reread it and found out that it was Halley “Bailey” and not “Berry.” She should be fine.

      Reply
      1. peanut

        I’m glad you posted this comment because I totally misread the first comment on this post that named the actress and didn’t realize it until now. I was so perplexed because I also thought Berry was older than Disney would have wanted for the role.

        Now everything makes more sense. And for the record, I like Halle BAILEY for it. But I’m a little disappointed they aren’t using Halle Berry – definitely would have taken the movie into an interesting direction.

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          Me too.

          Though I would find anyone Berry’s age in the part problematic because you need a certain level of naivete and poorly thought through gumption, which is a lot more forgivable in a teenager.

          Reply
      2. HR Stoolie

        Thank you!
        I confess I was perplexed and thought the same.
        I did a quick Google of Ms. Bailey and she already wears the hair, she’ll be fine.

        Reply
      3. Jemima Bond

        …and now I have realised too. I was all for Ms Berry as a mermaid! I mean she looked fab emerging from the sea in that James Bond film…

        Reply
    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

      I don’t give a hoot who they cast as Ariel; I was really hoping to see Queen Layifah or Keala Settle as Ursula though and Melissa McCarthy is kind of a bummer.

      Reply
        1. Chaordic One

          Ooh! I had never heard that before, but it makes sense and it would have been a truly inspired bit of casting to have had her (Divine) in the role.

          Reply
          1. Agnodike

            Divine died in 1988 so sadly would not have been available for this remake, but there are some amazing drag queens performing today like Ginger Minj who would have been really great. There were rumours that Tituss Burgess was being considered, too (he’s not typically a drag performer but it’s not hard to imagine him in the role!). Melissa McCarthy is great, but I’ve never seen her do an over-the-top campy role like Ursula and I’m not sure how good a fit it’s going to be for her.

            Reply
            1. Chaordic One

              Pat Carroll has always been a great character actress and she really made of the most of the part and seemed to have a good time doing so. In googling the original movie I see it was made in 1989. (30 years ago!) It doesn’t seem that long ago, but the movie has aged fairly well. Pat was 62 when she voiced the part. She doesn’t seem to have worked professionally since 2014, but she’s still living and I hope she’s well at 92.

              Reply
      1. Gaia

        I love Melissa McCarthy but I just don’t see her as Ursula. I hope I’m wrong. I wore out several VHS copies of The Little Mermaid as a kid (and can still recite the entire movie by heart) so you know I’ll be there opening night. I am so excited for Halle to play Ariel – she has a gorgeous singing voice.

        Reply
    4. Traffic_Spiral

      I hate these Disney remakes, I love that racists are crying, and I legit thought they had cast Halle Berry.

      Reply
    5. CTT

      I’m also sick of the live action remakes and I never owned Little Mermaid as a kid so I don’t have any emotional connection to it, so this is a “I’m happy for the people who are excited about it” situation.

      (That said, wasn’t Sofia Coppola supposed to do a Little Mermaid? I would have watched that.)

      Reply
      1. kc89

        yeah I really wanted to see the sofia coppola little mermaid, it would have been GORGEOUS

        a bit of backstory about it, she wanted to cast Uma Thurman’s daughter (who is now on stranger things 3 by the way) but the studio insisted on Chloe Grace Moretz

        she also wanted to film the entire movie underwater and after tests they found that it just wasn’t working.

        the studio and the director had enough conflicting views that the movie was just shut down. it was also going to be more like the much darker original fairy tale, not the disney movie

        Reply
      2. That Girl From Quinn's House

        I am still irritated about “Live Action Lion King.”

        There is not a single live animal in that movie, they are all CGI. And yes, I’m sure training lions to act would involve lots of people getting scratched and pounced on and probably multiple Timons because the first three got eaten in an outtake, but still. No actual lions = no live action.

        Reply
    6. CoffeeforLife

      Personally, I’m still trying to get over the Aladdin remake and their horrible decision of making him wear a shirt. Twelve year old me crushed so hard on that cartoon.

      Oh, and racists don’t need logic to cry foul. The story doesn’t change in a fundamental way. Her hair color/skin color played no role whatsoever in the plot.

      Just like misogynists hating on Ghostbusters casting women.

      Reply
    7. kc89

      I think she will be fabulous, I watched a video with her and her sister with elle magazine and the way they both sing and talk is very ethereal, they are practically disney princesses irl

      Reply
    8. fhqwhgads

      The argument against seems to be: “she does not look like the cartoon!!?!!!”
      The argument for seems to be: “She can sing; she’s an appropriate age; she is popular among the (marketing department’s) target audience; a lot of the songs are Caribbean-sounding and Sebastian is well established as a Caribbean character and it makes more sense, oceanwise, for this to take place in the Caribbean instead of water-near-Denmark, so let’s forget what the cartoon character looked like and set this in the Caribbean and have the human-looking part of the mer-people look like Caribbean humans.”

      My personal take is: this movie is going to disappoint me no matter what, just as all the live-action remakes have, so it doesn’t matter who they cast. I have no faith it’ll be any good and probably won’t watch it anyway. They fooled me into thinking Cinderella would be good and it was not. They fooled me again into thinking Beauty and the Beast, no really, this time, will be good, and it was not. I didn’t have much interest in the other live-action remakes anyway, but I’m definitely convinced by this point none of them will be good.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        The argument for seems to be: “She can sing; she’s an appropriate age; she is popular among the (marketing department’s) target audience; a lot of the songs are Caribbean-sounding and Sebastian is well established as a Caribbean character and it makes more sense, oceanwise, for this to take place in the Caribbean instead of water-near-Denmark, so let’s forget what the cartoon character looked like and set this in the Caribbean and have the human-looking part of the mer-people look like Caribbean humans.”

        If you are right about this, it’s actually a reasonable train of thought.

        And, considering that these remakes are pretty much all about marketing, this sounds highly likely to me.

        Reply
        1. gwal

          ALL movies released to theaters/DVD/VOD are about marketing to and pleasing some audience? Please don’t act like you think anything released by a studio is purely about art?

          Reply
    9. Merci Dee

      I don’t know anything about Halle Bailey (or that she was part of Chloe x Halle), until today. But I have to admit that I was totally captivated by the pic of her they put with the article. The smile she’s flashing seems to be full of so much innocence, but so much mischief at the same time. As far as I’m concerned, that’s pretty much the essence of Ariel in a nutshell. I have no doubt Halle has an amazing vocal talent, but if she can deliver on the sweetness and mischief that her smile implies, she’ll be a fabulous Little Mermaid. :)

      Reply
        1. Merci Dee

          Very full of energy and a love for excitement… that can potentially get her into a few scrapes. Quintessential Ariel.

          Reply
        2. Merci Dee

          She =totally= looks like she could smile and wrap King Triton around her little finger, and then zip off to explore a new and interesting wreck a few trenches away from home. :)

          Reply
          1. Merci Dee

            Doh! Posting fail!!

            What I meant to say was, she seems like she has a lot of energy and a love of excitement… that could lead to a few scrapes. Quintessential Ariel.

            Reply
      1. blackcat

        Yep. I never heard of her but saw a picture and I was like “Oh, looks like she can totally do the Smile Innocently and Be Pretty thing.”
        Which is like most of being a Disney princess, right? And she can sing, which means this will likely be better than the live action Beauty and the Beast (Emma Watson can smile and be pretty but she is not a good enough singer to carry that).

        Reply
        1. Merci Dee

          She =totally= looks like she could smile and wrap King Triton around her little finger, and then zip off to explore a new and interesting wreck a few trenches away from home. :)

          Reply
    10. Lilysparrow

      I haven’t heard her sing, but when I first saw her photos I thought she looked way too young, and it would be a bit creepy to see her in a romantic role.

      But those must have been older photos, because I’ve seen more recent ones since, and she’s in a fine age range for the part.

      Ariel is a mythological / fantasy being, not an historical character. Anybody who thinks race is relevant to whether she can/should play the part is just being an idiot.

      In commercial entertainment, every “artistic” decision is also a marketing decision. That’s not a bad thing, necessarily, it’s just the reality of show business.

      The original Ariel was drawn white as a marketing decision, because Disney assumed that would sell best at the time. This casting is also a marketing decision. And I’m very happy the world has changed to the point that the math works this way.

      Someday, maybe, race won’t be something that creates controversy or buzz. That would be great for society. But show business will just find something else to create buzz about.

      Reply
    11. KR

      My sister is really having some feels on Twitter about Ariel being black and I’m like…. Really?? Ariel is a made up character and there’s no reason she can’t be black. Disney changed the story so much from the original very dark mermaid story and now they’re tweaking it some more. I think the actress they chose will do a great job. Also not a huge fan of all the remakes but maleficent was AMAZING

      Reply
      1. Lilysparrow

        Yes, I’m glad you mentioned the original fairy tale.

        I mean, if everyone who was couching their racism as a concern for “authenticity” actually cared about authenticity, then okay. Let’s be authentic.

        In a truly authentic Little Mermaid, she’s being tortured the entire time she’s on land, as if she’s walking on knives.

        She can’t communicate at all and the prince assumes she’s mentally disabled. He never considers her as a romantic partner, which is actually kind of honorable because as far as he can tell, she’s incapable of mature understanding or consent.

        He marries someone else (not Ursula in disguise, a completely innocent third person). And the mermaid’s sisters show up, urging her to murder the bride & groom so she can get her tail back.

        Instead she throws herself into the ocean and becomes a disembodied spirit.

        And nobody sings or speaks English.

        Reply
        1. Clisby

          The little mermaid can’t sing because the Sea Witch cut out her tongue. She has her tongue cut out so she can walk on land (with each step feeling like she’s walking on knives) to follow this prince who pretty much treats her like a pet, never loves her, and in fact loves and marries someone else. She dies at the end, but hey! She has a shot at that immortal soul she wanted.

          Reply
    12. Sparkly Lady

      I’m not sure there really is a hoo-ha over the Little Mermaid casting. There are some random people who are complaining on the Internet–just like there are some random people who complain about literally everything. At least one viral thread was discovered to be totally fake.

      I think our definition of hoo-ha needs to be a lot higher these days than some random people complaining. I’ve seen more articles ABOUT people complaining than actual people complaining or than about the movie itself.

      I am wondering if they’re going to preserve Ariel’s red hair. It’s such an iconic part of the character. I’m seeing all these assumptions that they won’t, but I don’t see any reason why Halle Bailey can’t have red hair. Zendaya went red for MJ in Far From Home and it looks great.

      Reply
      1. Observer

        I mentioned this to someone after reading the first half of this thread, and that was they said also. So, I’m wondering how much of a todo this really is.

        But they had a REALLY good laugh at the concept of “mermaid science.” Give that troll some credit for creativity.

        Reply
    13. Booksalot

      There are a couple of Disney princesses for whom race/culture is an integral part of her story (such as Pocahontas and Merida). A woman who is half fish is not one of those characters.

      Reply
    14. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

      My main feeling is that Disney is putting out too many things per year and their output has far exceeded my attention span, so I wasn’t even follow the fact that they were doing another Little Mermaid until this casting thing blew up everywhere. I used to look forward to specific movies, but now it just feels like an overwhelming number of movies in each “niche” is coming out each year and I give up and am going to stay home and read a book instead.

      To be fair, this has a lot more to do with feeling overwhelmed by Too Many Marvel Movies, with a side of Too Many Star Wars Movies than it does with the Disney princess/classic cartoon live-action remakes just because I really am not interested in those to start with. The only Disney cartoon I really got into as a kid was Winnie the Pooh, and I had zero interest in the live action one they threw together a while back. If they decided to re-do the Prydain books as a series of live action movies instead of just the animated Black Cauldron I’d keep an eye on that, but outside of that my favorite childhood things were either mostly non-Disney or weird, unlikely to get a live action remake duds from Disney. (Fluppy Dogs! I would totally watch a darker, edgier CGI Fluppy Dogs. That would actually work reasonably well with the setting and I think it could work well as a longer movie if they included more time spent on the non-Earth sections.)

      Reply
      1. Elizabeth West

        Thanks to the way they’ve done the Marvel movies (like, with actual thought behind it), I love them so much I literally don’t care how many they put out. Give me MOAR!
        #nerd

        But I get you. It’s a lot. So I basically chose one fandom to devote myself to, instead of trying to stan them all.

        Reply
    15. Elizabeth West

      I think the hoo-ha is racist bullshit, frankly. As far as the film, I have no real interest in it, since I’m not really a huge Disney fan, so whoever they cast, I probably won’t see it anyway. Although Melissa McCarthy would make a fun Ursula.

      Reply
    16. Ginger ale for all

      It reminds me of all the arguing amongst Jane Austen fans about which film version is the best version of Pride and Prejudice. It gets downright silly. Why can’t we have more than one directors vision and interpretation of the story? Each time another person shares their version of it, we are all enriched.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        This is why I kind of love the way Douglas Adams handled this — every iteration of Hitchhiker’s Guide was explicitly meant to be slightly different, they were not supposed to be telling the same story at all.

        Reply
  10. I don’t actually like cats

    My partner *loves* cats. As soon our living situation allows we’re planning to get a cat (or possibly two!)

    I have never been any kind of pet person, but I can tolerate cats and I know it’ll make him happy – plus I’ll probably come to love them too. I don’t at all mind sharing the practicalities but where I want to draw the line is that I *really* do not want cats in the bed with us. Every time I’ve brought this up he’s said things along the lines of ‘but they’re so cute! And if you don’t let them in they’ll just scratch at the door!’ which… maybe.. but I’m pretty sure not everyone who has cats lets them in the bed and I feel very strongly about not sharing with a cat! Any advice/ways I can explain how strongly I feel about this?

    Separate but related.. on birthdays/valentines etc I tend to get my partner cat themed cards.. because he loves cats! He has started also getting me cat themed cards, which… it seems super petty and irritable of me not to like it but feels a bit like I’m getting those cards because *he* loves cats, he knows full well that I do not! I’m not sure whether to say something or just leave it because it feels a petty/ungrateful complaint.

    Reply
    1. Sc@rlettNZ

      I love cats (my partner likes them but he’s not as cat obsessed as me). And while I love having a cat or two sleeping on the bed, one of ours is such a PITA at night that even I draw the line at his nighttime shennagians. So our cats have their own bedroom (all our friends laugh at me but they wouldn’t if they ever tried to sleep in the same room as Klaus!).

      They know the routine and are perfectly happy with it (in fact Klaus often tries to make us put him to bed early). They go to their room with a small meal when we go to bed, and I let them out when I get up. In an ideal world I’d prefer the cats slept with us but Klaus’ behavior makes it untenable so it’s a good compromise.

      Reply
      1. valentine

        Any advice/ways I can explain how strongly I feel about this?
        You’ve done that. He vetoed you and doubled down with the cat cards (unless he has a pattern of giving you stuff he wants). What’s up with that? Is the bed sharing a dealbreaker? If you’re gone for any length of time, are you sure to return to cat hair in your bed and his eventual confession and whoops, you’re stuck?

        Speaking of stuck: You seem resigned to two cats when you were maybe hoping to tolerate one? You will be living in their home, not the other way round. Are you really down for loving these cats and performing all the types of care they need and may need?

        What if you say no cats and he volunteers at a cat shelter, catsits, or otherwise fulfills his feline fancy?

        Reply
        1. Falling Diphthong

          Two cats of similar age and temperament are often a good idea because they entertain and companion each other. Especially while you’re away during the day.

          Reply
        2. I don’t actually like cats

          I am happy to get cats, I just want my bed (/ideally bedroom) to be a cat free zone. (I do think I will enjoy having them, on the whole, so it’s not like I’m dreading this day). And yeah as falling diphthong says, the point of two would be that they have more company when we’re not around.

          Reply
          1. ..Kat..

            Your partner is telling you that he will allow cats in the bed. How much of a deal breaker is this for you?

            Reply
          2. MonteCristo85

            When I got my cats I proclaimed they would not be allowed on the bed which lasted precisely 5 minutes. Because they are cute, and sad when they cry. But I also try and keep the cattiness of my bedroom to a minimum since I am allergic. So they aren’t allowed on the pillows, or under the blankets, and I keep the bedroom door closed during the day so they can’t hang out in there and shed willy-nilly. So they just curl up at the foot of the bed and snooze.

            But honestly, if this is important to you, you need a commitment from your partner that they will abide by this rule, or you need to not get cats. Because inconsistency in the training will be a nightmare for all concerned.

            Reply
    2. Helvetica

      I have a cat and I’m very strict about her not being in bed with me. That is a hard line I draw simply because my bed is…mine. I think, especially if you’re not really a cat person, you need to draw this line too.

      Fortunately, my cat is very respective of those boundaries and never tries to crawl into bed with me, though she does sneakily sleep over the covers if I’m away for longer than the usual working day. So – get a cat who knows what’s what, maybe? In my experience, while many people want cats who would sit on their lap and want to hang out with them all of time, that often translates into cats coming to bed as well. My cat is more of a “doing her thing” kind of cat, so she doesn’t feel the need to constantly be in my presence.

      As a general comment, though, I would caution you to really think about if you’re willing to tolerate living with a cat because it seems like you might not be able to. I tolerate dogs but I wouldn’t want to live with one because I know the constant attention, and the smells, and the level of noise a dog brings would drive me crazy, and cuddliness does not overcome it. So, be sure you recognize your boundaries, and really consider if the cat litter, scratching, occasional hairball vomit, etc, is worth it.

      Reply
      1. I don’t actually like cats

        I have thought about it quite a lot and I am quite willing (although I’m not a pet person in general cats are about the best option imo :p). My dad hates pets more than me and has coped with his partners cats (/I’ve spent time in his house). I think a partner who wanted dogs would be fundamentally incompatible with me (I cannot stand the smell… sorry dog people!), so I wouldn’t tolerate that either ;)

        Reply
    3. AcademiaNut

      I’d hold firm. You’re willing to get cats, but only on the condition that the bedroom is a cat free zone, and you don’t get a cat until he’s acknowledged this and agreed to it without qualifications.

      Reply
      1. I don’t actually like cats

        Thank you! I am willing to be firmer here but also don’t want to be unreasonable. I also think the last time my partner had cats was when he was a kid, and having cats in your bed then is quite different!

        Reply
        1. Anona

          I too would be reluctantly willing to have cats but not in my bed. I don’t think it’s unreasonable at all!

          Reply
      2. Kathenus

        I agree. I’m a huge animal person, and love having animals in the house. But I see this as you are willing to make a large compromise from your personal non-pet preference to get a cat(s) since he wants to, he needs show the same flexibility in agreeing to the PRE-condition of either the bedroom or bed being cat free. If he won’t, it’s no longer a pet issue, it’s a partner issue that you need to try to work through.

        Reply
    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy

      My husband’s cats aren’t allowed in our bedroom ever, period, end of sentence. (I’m not a cat person at all.) I didn’t really put any effort into explaining it though, I just said, “if you want cats, okay, but I don’t do litter boxes and I don’t want cats in our bedroom or on my kitchen counters. You figure out how to make sure that happens.” And he complies. They don’t scratch at the door because they’ve never gotten the idea that it’s a place they can be, though one of them occasionally runs in if she gets the chance and dives under the bed.

      Reply
    5. Valancy Snaith

      Our cat doesn’t want to be in bed with us at all! We are both slightly allergic, so we have a big bedsheet that goes over the bed during the day to keep the hair off, and she’s not interested in spending time with us at night, so it works out. You may get lucky with that kind of cat yourself!

      Reply
    6. WS

      My partner is mildly allergic to our cats (even though she loves them) so they’re not allowed in bed. Set the rule from the start and the cats will be fine with it. If you let them in sometimes, that’s when they test the limits by scratching at the door etc.

      Reply
    7. MassChick

      My cats (past 2 and current 1) were trained from kittenhood to stay out of the bedroom at night and learned/adjusted pretty quickly. Never had a problem with them scratching the door… maybe some melancholy miaowing outside but even that has never been a major issue.

      Reply
    8. Grace

      Our cats have always been allowed to sleep on the bed during the day – if you don’t allow that, make sure they have lots of options for cat beds – but sleep downstairs on the sofas (with throws) during the night. The door to the bottom of the stairs is closed overnight. That’s been how it’s done since we adopted them, every single night, and they’re fine with it. They’re actually quite eager for us to go upstairs in an evening if they get sick of us and want to go to sleep.

      If they associate you going to bed and closing the door with their supper (she gets a handful of dried food as we go upstairs), you’ll find they’ll be quite eager for you to leave! A solo kitten will probably yowl at the door – she’s a baby and misses her family – but two kittens will happily entertain each other. If you’re adopting babies, *definitely* get more than one.

      Reply
    9. Time for a change

      I can’t say anything about my situation because as I write this there are 3 cats laying by my face and a dog at my legs, but I do love animals and this was my choice, if you are not comfortable with it then stay strong. You are already compromising by getting a cat (or two!) and you shouldn’t be made to feel any way about setting boundaries. Best of luck with the kitties!

      Reply
    10. Jane

      This doesn’t answer your question, but if you’re adopting rescue cats you can also say you’d rather have a cat that doesn’t expect to sleep on the bed – my last cat had never been allowed on the bed or sofa and was much, much happier having her own cat bed in each room. Whereas my current rescue cat doesn’t know what a cat bed is for (and my sofa is covered in a blanket that only comes off for visitors because he sheds so much).

      As for the partner issue…I don’t have any suggestions, but he needs to respect your boundaries on this. It’s your home too. And this is coming from someone who was woken up last night by her cat doing it’s best to sleep on her head!

      Reply
      1. Gatomon

        Yes, my rescue cat made it clear on his first night he expected to be on/in the bed with me, so a rescue can be a mixed bag. I draw a hard line at “in” the bed, but I caved on allowing him “on” the bed because he would have to be locked out, and then he just howls like a bloodhound. He’s learned that he’s less likely to be shoved off overnight if he sticks down where my feet are and doesn’t try to sleep on me at any point. Overall he’s a pretty good sleep buddy.

        Little stinker has figured out how to tunnel under the blankets while I’m at work recently, so I’m now leaving my bed unmade so he doesn’t snooze all over my pillow. Now that I’m moving to a bigger place in a few weeks I may try shutting the door during the day, but in my current apartment that doesn’t’ leave him much space to be while I’m gone, and his safe space is the space under the bed.

        Reply
    11. Bibliovore

      My husband is not a pet person but tolerates (and seems to enjoy) the dog we live with for me. I cannot live without a dog. Smell? My happy, healthy clean dog smells like warm Fritos. The dog sleeps on a dog bed under our bed. Someone enlighten me to what the disagreeable dog odor is. Do cats smell like vinegar? (I love cats but I am allergic) Maybe this smell thing is genetic.

      Reply
      1. I don’t actually like cats

        I don’t know tbh and people obviously experience smells differently – but I can tell the second I enter a house with dogs in and hat doesn’t hold for cats. Maybe if you love dogs you just experience the smell as a pleasant thing?

        (The pet food aisle also smells kinda gross to me, as a non-pet owner, but there you go…)

        Reply
      2. fposte

        I love dogs, but doggy smell is absolutely a thing. It does vary somewhat by breed–the sporting dogs and hounds tend to be most pungent (they tend to be more waterproof, I think, and the oil is a carrier). Also, any dog with face folds is going to be prone to collecting in there. I don’t think it always permeates an entire house, but somebody who really dislikes dog odor is probably wise not to live with dogs.

        As far as what it smells like–Bibliovore, did you ever read Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians (if you haven’t, you must, as it’s wonderful)? There’s a very tongue-in-cheek sentence in there about the house being filled with the “delightful smell of wet dog.” That’s what we’re talking about, just dialed down. You’ve likely smelled it at a vet visit even if your dog is more olfactorily modest.

        Reply
        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

          Seconding the recommendation to read Dodie Smith’s 101 Dalmatians. It is pretty different from the Disney movie, and Perdita’s name actually makes sense in the context of the book!

          I also liked the other two Dodie Smith books I’ve read even though they’re for adults and have nothing to do with dogs. I suppose I should track down the rest of the things she wrote at some point.

          I haven’t noticed much of a smell with most clean dogs, although some hounds can get a bit of a smell to them. My mom insists that if you don’t feed them beef hounds won’t smell as houndy, but hers certainly had an odor at times even on a fish and rabbit diet.

          Reply
          1. fposte

            With dogs like hounds and labs, the frequency of bathing to keep them clean enough not to smell can be too frequent for their skin. I think those of us who love them just get used to it. Like your mother’s comfortable denial :-).

            Did you read I Capture the Castle? That one’s lovely. I still haven’t seen the movie.

            Reply
            1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

              Yes, a friend loaned me I Capture the Castle quite a few years back, so it was the first thing of hers I read. I also picked up a copy of The Town in Bloom at a bookstore once, so that and 101 Dalmatians are the only ones of hers that I own copies of. I haven’t really adapted to this modern world where ordering books is this easy thing that people do on computers all the time (I remember when special-ordering new books involved going to the bookstore and them having to get out a special catalog, and then would take weeks to arrive, and for used paperbacks you pretty much had to rummage through stacks at stores yourself because no one kept searchable inventories of things under about $10-$20) and tend to just browse bookstores and pick up the books I come across.

              I haven’t seen the I Capture the Castle movie either.

              Reply
        2. Bibliovore

          I think I love dogs so much that I probably have so much positive pheromones from them that I would be able to discern a smell. I swear that dogs give me an actual high.

          Reply
      3. Dino

        Dogs for sure have a smell. You know wet dog smell? Iy’s like that but less strong, but still noticeable. I like dogs but they smell.

        Reply
      4. Gatomon

        Dog smell is a thing, but I think it’s mostly influenced by cleaning and the dog’s health. Regular cleaning of the dog and the house should keep dog smell at bay. Dog breath/dog gas is influenced by what the dog eats and its oral health.

        Cats themselves don’t really smell at all. I can bury my face in my cats fur and inhale and not smell anything. They do have cat breath, and the occasional cat gas, like dogs. Their waste products stink to hell and back, but so do dogs. Dogs just go outside, whereas most cat owners at least have a litter box indoors somewhere.

        Reply
      5. Bibliovore

        Just realized something. my dog is a bijon and doesn’t shed. I don’t spend anytime with other kinds. I did snuggle an 8 week old Wienereimer today. puppy smell is the best.

        Reply
    12. Thankful for AAM

      Everyone else has made really good points. I want to try to channel the cat loving partner. My husband and I (foolishly) did not talk pets before marriage. We were in grad school and not in a position to have pets when we met.

      He was around my parent’s many pets before we married and he was not excited about them but I did not find out the extent of our differences until we were finally allowed to sleep in the same room at my parents house (not allowed when not married). The dog closest to me came in to sleep with me as usual. Husband looked like he had been force fed lemons.

      I immediately knew I would have to find husband a new place to sleep bc I could explain that to him, I could not explain to the dog why I was banning her. In other words, I chose the dog over my husband! Husband was willing to try and I think it grossed him out but it worked out in the end.

      I am worried that the cat loving partner will be like me and will feel no cats in bed is mean to the cats and both of you won’t realize the degree to which you feel how you feel. I know it is likely not mean to the cats but I still feel emotionally that it is.

      When we finally got a rescue dog, he cried so piteously to come to bed on the second night that my husband welcomed him to the bed. I am very lucky bc I dont know what I would have done if he had not.

      Long story to say, be super clear with each other! And it might be harder to do that than cat loving partner realizes as I know I did not realize it. Pets not being fully part of the family would be a deal breaker for me and I would not have realized all the details/assumptions I make that go with pet ownership that did not go with my husband’s definition.

      Reply
    13. Ramanon

      Adopting an adult cat (if that’s for you- I understand that there can be situations where buying a kitten from a reputable breeder is the best option) would be a good option. Adult cats don’t need as much of your time (usually), and are more independent (usually). A pair of cats, if they’re a bonded pair, will also help cut down on bedcats, because they’ll have each other to socialize with. Cats like to sleep with you because that’s one of the ways they socially interact, so being accessible outside of bedtime will cut down on them banging at the door at night.

      Also, although my cats have all been oriental breeds, setting firm boundaries with my cats has been very helpful. I have the litterbox in the water closet, and that door stays open unless I need to use the water closet, at which point I kick them out if they’re in there and not using the litterbox. In return, if they’re using the litterbox, I do my best to wait until they’ve finished. It cuts down on feline insistence that they have to investigate the forbidden room, and having that consistent boundary means that they don’t get weird about me using the restroom. If there’s multiple entrances and exits to your bedroom, making a habit of using the same one whenever feasible will also just reassure your cat that you’re not going to go into the bedroom and vanish, so they’ll be less likely to throw a fit about a closed door while you’re sleeping.

      Reply
    14. DrTheLiz

      Well I can’t sleep with cat(s) allowed into the bedroom. Last time I stayed with my mother, I got a bed the cat was used to free run of, and every time it jumped on and every time it jumped off I woke up. I had to shut the door in the end – in 30+C heat. Showing Spouse this thread might help?

      Reply
    15. Koala dreams

      It sounds very reasonable to not want to have the cats in your bed, a lot of cat people get separate beds for the cats. My grandmother had cute baskets with pillows in them as cat beds. I feel your partner is the unreasonable one in this situation! Is it possible that he really misses sleeping with a cat? Can the two of you sleep in separate rooms? Can you get a full size human bed for the cat in a separate room? I’m just throwing out ideas here, this sounds like a very hard thing to compromise on.

      Reply
    16. MeepMeep

      That would be a hard no for me too. I can’t sleep with any animal in the bed. I can just barely manage to share a bed with my wife, because we have a huge king size bed, but I literally stay awake all night if any other living creature is in the bed.

      The wife is a cat person and occasionally makes wistful cat-related hints, but if we ever do get a cat, it will not be allowed on the bed.

      Reply
    17. Pipe Organ Guy

      My husband was adopted many years ago (before we met!) by an orange tabby that just walked in off the street, plopped himself on his new person’s chest, and never left. When I came along, orange tabby approved. For some years we did share our bed with cats (you know how much a ten-pound cat weighs when it’s asleep and doesn’t want to move? It turns into a forty-pound sack of concrete.). Eventually, my husband discovered he was a bit allergic to cats. When we bought a bigger house years ago, we agreed on keeping the bedrooms cat-free. I don’t mind sharing the bed with cats, but I decided it’s not a ditch I’m going to die in–allergies take precedence. The cats we had at the time weren’t inclined to congregate outside the bedroom door and make their displeasure known, either. Eventually, though, they died, and we adopted a couple of very friendly, sociable cats that really like humans. Unfortunately, they congregate outside the bedroom and sing the “Where are you? I’m lonely! Where are you?” songs of their people while we try to sleep. Our solution? Feed them at night, and close them in the laundry room (where their food and water are, along with litter boxes). We’ve done it for years now, and the cats aren’t wild about it, but they don’t fight it either, and they don’t hold it against us.

      Reply
    18. Venus

      There are good suggestions already (keep them out, have their own ‘cat bedroom’ if you have space). I prefer to not allow them in the bedroom, but if he insists and you are looking at options then I suggest a bed-side table on his side with cat beds for them. He can reach out and pet them, but they aren’t on the bed.

      Of course, animals (dogs and cats) have their own opinions about such things, and may choose to get on the bed as soon as you fall asleep. You can encourage them by moving them off the bed, and hopefully they learn quickly to use their own beds, but it would be more reliable to just close the door.

      Reply
    19. Booksalot

      I am a cat lover, but a pet-free bedroom is a deal breaker for me too. This is a safety issue.

      I put my foot down after our second cat was adopted. She was very jittery for the first few weeks. She had a middle-of-the-night freak out, jumped on my husband’s face in his sleep, and snagged his eyelid with her claws. He could have been blinded.

      On other message boards, I’ve read similar stories. One woman got a corneal abrasion from her two cats landing on her face while they fought at night. Cats are nocturnal, and giving them access to you while you’re unconscious is IMO not very smart.

      Reply
    20. pcake

      I hope getting a cat works out for you and your SO, but I’d guess it’s going to be a rocky road because cats are very much a part of one’s life – they’re wired to live in groups, so they’ll consider you part of their pack. That being said, every cat has a unique personality and some are much better than spending time alone than others. Some will scratch and yowl all night long every night. Others will go into a depression or need more of your attention the rest of the time.

      For me, because I love cats, my SOs have all been cat lovers. I can’t see how it could be any other way. My cats have always been welcome to sleep with us, and some did while others usually didn’t. More important perhaps to you, our elderly cat died at the end of May. For over 5 years, we had to give him subcutaneous fluids 5 times a week, a 2 person job, and for the past year and a half he needed lots of medical stuff that was expensive and required him not to be left alone for long, so our entire lives were involved in his aging at that point, and it was devestating. I cannot imagine being with a person who wouldn’t do that for a cat I loved with, but I can see those who wouldn’t be willing to do that would do better not to have cats. It can be a huge commitment.

      And yes, you should say something because honesty and communication are important to any kind of relationship.

      Reply
    21. TPS Cover Sheet

      Yeah, but you must remeber that you don’t own a cat, the cat owns you.

      A few years back I lived in a shared house, and there was a cat that decided it lived there too. Seriously, it would hang around the garden and walk in like it owned the place. And it would sneak up to my room… nearly had a heart attack once watching a horror movie with headphones on sitting at my desk and something brushes the back of my feet… And sometimes on lazy sundays I’m wrecked on the sofa it’d come in, jump up on my chest, knead a place and it there purring with its tail in my face… And I am fiercely allergic to cats, kitty gives me a side eye and I sneeze, so I couldn’t even lift the cat off my chest without getting hives… Housemates gave me grief about ”we’re not supposed to have pets” and I was insisting it wasn’t my cat. I didn’t feed it, one of the housemates actually did…

      But yeah, cats are individuals so all bets are off whether they will do what you want.

      Reply
    22. Jane of all Trades

      I like having my own cats in my bed, but don’t like to share the bed with other cats at all. So maybe you’ll feel differently about them when they are your own.
      That said, cats are creatures of habit. If you establish a routine early on that doesn’t include them being allowed in the bedroom, I think you won’t have a problem (assuming your husband is also consistent on that front). We have two bedrooms – the cats are allowed in one, not in the other. They are quite curious about the other (so if there door were left open they would definitely explore), but since it’s always been off limits it’s not an issue. They don’t spend time scratching or crying at the door. Make sure they have their comfy resting spots elsewhere in the apartment, and they’ll be fine.
      I do agree with other commenters here that if you got a bonded pair it would probably be nicer for the cats, so they can snuggle together when they sleep.

      Reply
    23. Alexandra Lynch

      We don’t let the cats in our bedroom at night. Especially now that we have a kitten. 4 am is playtime for him, I’ve heard him at it sometimes. He and the other cat can enjoy themselves, and I’ll get the rest of my night’s sleep.

      Also, there are just times you don’t want an audience, especially a feline one. Wink wink nudge nudge.

      Reply
    24. Cat Meowmy Admin

      I think it’s pawesome that you’re considering this, with an open mind and fair boundaries. As it should be!
      *Agreed with other suggestions above. Start out on the right note, keeping the bedroom off limits. Provide plenty of other cozy inviting spots (cats especially love cubbies etc where they can hide). Basically “catify” your home to give kitty(s) plenty of attractive alternatives other than your bedroom.
      *Its so important to do your homework first when considering adopting a pet(s). Google is your friend! Go to Jackson Galaxy’s website for a plethora of info, especially introducing a new cat to another. (If you adopt a 2nd cat later.) I can’t stress this enough.
      *Visit local adoption events in your area and you can meet local rescue groups. Often they have pair(s) of already bonded cats in need of loving homes, and have a good sense of temperaments etc to provide a suitable match. The rescue groups do all the pre-vetting, spay/neuter etc. The adoption fees are very reasonable. If you adopt from a rescue group, **you’re saving 2 lives – the pet that you adopt AND the shelter pet that the rescue group can save by pulling from the shelter!** It’s a win-win!
      *Always remember (I’m sure you do) that a pet is a commitment for it’s lifetime. Consider your options if it doesn’t work out for whatever reason. This is why rescue groups can be ideal, the reputable ones will take the pet back for rehoming if necessary.
      *You and your partner may want to consider fostering through a local rescue group as well. Fostering saves lives, literally. It’s a relatively short term commitment (“can we crash at your place?!”) until a permanent home is found. Again, the rescue groups provide all the vetting and usually food and supplies as well. And if you fall in love and decide to adopt your fosters, easily done! (Despite what some folks say, no it is not hard to give them up (although bittersweet) when you know they’re going to good homes.)
      *Please do keep your cat(s) indoors only. It’s safer and can prevent a tragedy. Also better for their overall health.
      *There are a number of options to consider! Good luck!
      [Separately- I think your partner is quite cat like actually- giving you cat themed cards which are special to them, is honoring you! Like when a cat brings you a “present” of something it considers “special”! N’ah mean?! Lol]
      Apologies for the long “essay”, all the best to you!

      Reply
  11. Junior Dev, Are You Okay?

    I posted a thread a while back but it was far down the list, so trying again earlier in an open thread. Junior Dev, if you are reading this, I hope you are alright. You have been so thoughtful and encouraging for others, and your absence here is noticed. I know life was challenging, so I’m sending good thoughts your way.

    Reply
  12. Sc@rlettNZ

    Thank you to everyone who commented last week with their podcast recommendations. The weekend rather got away from me so I didn’t get a chance to reply to everyone individually but I really appreciated your responses and I’m looking forward to checking them out :-)

    Reply
  13. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue

    I was fired on Monday from my church job; I posted the details on Thursday’s open thread.

    I feel absolutely horrible. Every day now I wake up to that oppressive, heavy feeling where I get to be reminded that I was unwanted, unwelcome, only an obstacle to be removed for something better. Someone younger. I have always had issues with depression and spikes of anxiety, and have always lived in my own little corner of the world. I do best with a quiet, routine life. And all that was destroyed, for no good reason. And of course, I am terrified as to what my future holds.

    My self confidence and faith in people, never high, has been absolutely shattered. To be unwanted… that is such an awful state of being. I will never understand how people can be so cruel and uncaring. So that’s my mental health report: it’s a hurricane, folks.

    Reply
    1. TPS Cover Report

      I didn’t have as a dramatic rejection as yours, but I’ve been having a bout of feeling really unwwanted.

      It was really a trivial thing. I was headhunted by a specialist recruiter about a month ago for a pretty plum job in a private bank. Well, the end customer said as feedback I was missing some aspects they had stronger candidates for etc. etc. So nothing much lost or gained.

      Now yesterday another specialist recruiter came around like a cat circling hot porridge and started asking if I was open for a career move… when I get the job spec it started reading familiar… too familiar. So I double checked my records and answered back… having to rewrite the email about three times not to come across too snarky…

      So I wasn’t ”good enough” and despite their ”stronger candidates” I now get baited with the same job. Trivial, I know.

      Reply
      1. valentine

        Awful people rejecting you is a kind of compliment. If you’re the person whose manager/colleagues were mistreating them, including messing up pay, you are better off without them.

        Who wants good things for you? To whom can you turn? Who will cheer your liberation? Let them care for you now.

        Reply
    2. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      I can identify with this so much. I feel this way quite frequently over both career things and personal things. I don’t really have much advice except that it will get better. It’s a kind of grief process, really, so it is expected that you will been like absolute shit for a while. Especially since you had the misfortune to be working for cruel people.

      Internet hugs to you.

      Reply
      1. TPS Cover Report

        Yeah, working for a church, that wasn’t very ”christian” of them, but I won’t get into the debate. I’d do an old-fashioned Latin curse scroll (like in Rome when servilia goes ballistic on Caesar and Atia)

        Reply
    3. Seeking Second Childhood

      I meant to ask … and apologies I’d this is too W-word… is your denomination the one that has been in the news with a possible schism coming? If yes, it’s likely not YOU so much as budget fears on the part of your not-good former manager.

      Reply
        1. Kuododi

          Oh my dear….I haven’t been fired from a S Baptist church. I have however been involved in some way or another with S Baptists for years. (DH and I got our MDiv’s from one of the “big ticket” SBC seminaries). We finally left the denomination bc of so many of the dysfunctional changes at our particular seminary as well as the SBC at large….(ie resolution condemning women in ministry, dismissal of so many wonderful professors and degree programs at seminary).

          For me, it finally became an issue bc I was starting to look at their behavior as somehow “normal” and becoming distressed bc I didn’t fit/wasn’t accepted. One of the best things DH and I did was to “shake the dust off our feet” metaphorically as we left the denomination. I learned that being a part of a religious system which was set up with the unwritten goal of rejecting me and so many others in the world was a recipe for emotional and spiritual disaster.

          You are a lovely and gracious person deserving of all the positive things about life. This was simply a job. I have no doubt you performed your role admirably. It does suck to be fired/let go, and have the associated worries around finding new employment. Jobs do have an important place in society however I always encourage people to look elsewhere for emotional/social and spiritual connection. Not every group accepts every person and yet the earth keeps spinning. I wish you nothing but the best as your equilibrium returns and you’re setting about the business of finding new employment.

          Reply
    4. Pipe Organ Guy

      I am very sorry that you’re going through this. I can only say that I have worked in churches since I was in high school (longer than I want to think about!), and have had both good and bad experiences.

      Depression and anxiety are not your friends right now! There are lots of times when it really is them, not you. I hope you have supportive friends who can be with you during this darkness! Are your depression and anxiety being treated?

      In the world of church music, many of us have been scarred by churches, for many, many reasons, most of them not good. Personality clashes, intolerance of LGBTQ people, aesthetic clashes, ageism, sexism–you name it.

      Reply
      1. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue

        Yeah, the environment can be really traumatizing for a lot of reasons. My experience is just one.

        Reply
    5. Anono-me

      As to the people who are telling you that you are unwanted. Please consider who is speaking, before you believe what they are saying. They said the same thing about your former coworker and you knew that they were wrong then. WHY AREN’T THEY JUST AS WRONG ABOUT YOU ? Read your previous posts, look at how these people treat others. Unfortunately you are one of a crowd.

      Also, you mentioned in this post and in other posts about your coworker that the PTB want younger people. This seems to me to be something that should be looked into.

      Sending strength and grace.

      Reply
    6. Cat Meowmy Admin

      All I can offer are words of encouragement, with heaps of grace and peace sending your way, adding in some internet hugs. You deserve so much better and I do believe all good things will come to you. (I can relate, my friend.)

      Reply
  14. Loose Seal

    Need recommendations for kitten food.

    About ten days ago, we adopted a three-month-old kitten from the shelter. We asked what they had been feeding him — Purina Kitten Chow Nuture — and bought that so we wouldn’t have food-related pooplosions. The thing is: He doesn’t appear to like it very much.

    He seemed a bit underweight when we got him (his first vet visit is scheduled for next week) and, although he looks sleeker and shinier now, he still seems skeletal to me. He is eating less than half of the recommended amount of food daily but seems very interested in our older cat’s food and the dog’s food. We have a hard time keeping him out of the older cat’s food dish. So that makes me wonder if he just wants a tastier/smellier kitten food.

    I’d like recommendations for food that I can get in the US. I have PetSmart and other pet stores available to me and I could order off Chewy or Amazon if I needed to (although I’ve noticed availability for pet food is hit or miss on Amazon). I’m not adverse to an expensive food if it’s good for his needs since this first year of feeding is so important so don’t worry about cost.

    If I could figure out how to post a picture, I’d share kitten cuteness with you as a thank you. He’s a tuxedo cat whose coloring is perfectly symmetrical and he is most adorable. Purrs all day long and loves to nap cuddled up with us (he binge-watched Stranger Things with me this holiday). His name is Agent Philine Coulson (say it out loud and it sounds like ‘feline’. We are trying to work out the spelling) and we just call him Coulson.

    Reply
    1. kittens

      I use Royal Canin kitten food for my fosters (both in the wet and dry versions) and they all have liked it and eaten it. I tend to just leave the food available so they can eat whenever. I think he might like the older cat’s food but also at least with my kittens, sometimes it seems they either want to be like the other older cat or they fear missing out so must have whatever older cat is having. So I’d feed the older cat on the counter where the kittens couldn’t reach and the kittens were more likely to concentrate on their own food without the distraction of what was the older cat doing/eating.

      Reply
    2. Ethyl

      Seconding Royal Canin! They’re pricey but hopefully once you get the wee thing fed up, you can transition to sharing whatever food your adult cat eats. Royal Canin makes foods to appeal to specific types of picky eaters, like ones who like smelly versus crunchy, so I would start there!

      Reply
    3. Stitch

      My cat utterly refuses to eat anything other than science diet dry food. He has very few teeth left so I tried offering a few kinds of wet food and he rejected them.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        Could you moisten the dry food with a little broth? I did that for a while for my sweet old lady who had a jaw tumor during her last weeks with us.

        Reply
          1. Ethyl

            Cats are such goons XD

            My smol weird girl cat somehow dug an entire pair of tights out of the organizing cube thingy, and then dragged them all over the house. I am only sad I didn’t see her carrying them around because how even????

            Reply
    4. Vet in Training

      Congrats on your new family member! I love that name.

      There are a million and one pet food options these days and I think the most important thing is to get something that works well for you and your cat. I find when you start looking on the internet for these things, you find a lot of people who will demonise certain types of food or ingredients without really understanding anything about animal science or nutrition. Personally, I would recommend one of the bigger companies (like Royal Canin or Purina), because these companies do so much research and have board certified nutritionists on staff. That’s not to say that small companies can’t produce good food, but there are a lot of trends in pet food that are not backed by science and that can sometimes mean health problems that may not manifest until years later.

      Also if you’re worried about his weight, you can google ‘body condition score’ for cats which is a good way to compare his condition with what it should be.

      Enjoy having a kitten! My feline companion has no interest in Stranger Things sadly, so I’m having to watch it alone

      Reply
      1. That Girl From Quinn's House

        My vet says Purina, Hills/Science Diet, and Royal Canin are the only brands that can scientifically back the nutritional claims behind their products.

        As we’ve seen with the grain free dog food movement (everyone started making grain free dog food and marketing it as healthier, when it was actually causing heart disease in dogs), pet food is a marketing space that is rife with snake oil. It’s best to stick to brands that have research to back up their formulations.

        Reply
    5. cat socks

      I have older cats and I’ve been feeding them Purina Beyond grain free wet food and dry food. They get a portion of wet food in the morning and evening and access to dry food in a puzzle feeder. It’s challenging to find flavors they all like so I bought a bunch of individual cans from the store to see what they liked and then ordered in bulk from Chewy.

      Reply
    6. not Lynn Davis

      If the immediate issue is getting him to eat -something- so he takes in more quantity than now, maybe take a bit of what the older cat eats (which kitten seemed interested in), add some water, and stir until it’s a bit mushy (instead of too large/hard-for-kittens chunks). That might at least get him started while you/he figure out what kitten food he’ll eat.

      Reply
    7. Ramanon

      I’m very big on Wellness Core, personally, but since you’re feeding prior to a vet visit, I’m going to agree with the Royal Canin/Science Diet kitten development recommendations. If the kitten has any health issues that you don’t know about right now, those two are designed to be easiest to get all the nutrients from.

      As an aside, the only real benefit to Purina is cheapness, and last I checked Hills provides discounts to shelters for cat food, so I’m really surprised that the shelter would be feeding Purina.

      Reply
    8. Clever Name

      My cats eat Royal Canin dental diet. They absolutely love it! I also give them the tiny cans of fancy feast cat food. They are both 2 and seem to be doing well on it. One is a petite 8 lbs who was super tiny when we got her, and the other is a solid 11 lb male.

      Reply
    9. Kathenus

      As a new cat owner I’m not going to speak to specific recommendations, but once you get your guy eating consistently I strongly recommend considering a rotational feeding strategy – meaning that you work to get your cat (insert other pet type here) used to and accepting of different foods. This can be so helpful in avoiding future problems if they change the formula of the regular food, if it’s no longer available, etc. It also introduces variety in taste to the pet. I just adopted a cat and also got the food that they fed but also got several other varieties of dry food and mix them together (versus just a 100% switch to new) to keep her used to various foods (she did great with this, and definitely shows preferences at times between the types but they seem to change at times so it could be a mood thing for that day), and they already fed a variety on the wet food side so I do the same with the variety pack boxes.

      Reply
      1. fposte

        I love this point. In general with pets it’s long-term investing to get them used to stuff that can come up fast when necessary, so food changes, comfort in carriers, handling of feet and mouths, etc. are all good to pretrain.

        Reply
    10. Venus

      I do home visits for our rescue, and my guidance is:
      Try a few different opotions (if you go to a pet store, ask if they have samples – mine has a few dry foods with small packets for $2), and see what he likes.

      I tend to suggest that people avoid ‘grocery store brands’ or ones at vets (Iams, Science Diet, Purina, etc) as I have heard that they spend a lot on advertising and not on quality ingredients (this obviously doesn’t apply to prescription diets). I fostered cats where the shelter was donated Iams, and it was okay but I had several cats with chronic colds (URIs) and even after trying antibiotics and waiting a couple months to resolve, I found they got better within 7-10 days of changing to a higher quality food (but still same price at the store as Iams). This was at different times, and the cats were quite sick, so it could have been a coincidence but I now feed my sicker fosters a food from the pet store that is same price as those brands but I find the grain-free low-ingredient types.

      Yet, my cat is old and sick, so I now feed him food from the grocery store because that is what he will eat. I can give you brand suggestions, but it’s probably better for you to try at least 3 options and see what he likes.

      Reply
    11. Booksalot

      If he’s underweight to the point that his health is at risk, supplement with KMR until you get the food issue figured out. A very general rule of thumb is that kittens should gain a pound a month, so your guy should be about three pounds if he was aged properly.

      Reply
    12. Kuododi

      The new baby sounds like bliss. It’s been years since I have served the feline overlords, however we’ve always had good luck with IAMs products both for the cats as well as our doofus doggos. (Price wise, I’d say it’s mid-range for $$$ spent). Our vets have always been happy with our choice of IAMS cat and dog food.
      There was a period of about 6 months right after we got our latest mini Daschund where puplet needed Royal Canine kidney formula for some chronic issues. It was a good product but $$$!!! (Not budget friendly.). Best of luck.

      Reply
    13. Cat Meowmy Admin

      Congratulations on adopting your new furkid “Agent Philine Coulson!! Thank you for saving the life of a shelter pet!!
      [We are the happily willing human slaves to 2 rescued cats (we rescued), caretakers of our backyard TNR’d feral cat colony, and have fostered kittens in the past.]
      Agreed with the suggestions here, as well as adding some KMR (kitten milk replacement).
      Check out @myfosterkittens (Nikki Martinez) and @kittenlady (Hannah Shaw) both on Instagram and Facebook. Nikki also has a blog (link in her Instagram profile) with recommended products. These 2 resources will provide you with a lot of useful info!
      *Most importantly, see what your Vet recommends during the visit next week. Sometimes kittens need deworming (or other common treatments) which may or may not contribute to kitty’s appetite.
      Wishing you purrs and head bonks!

      Reply
  15. Lcsa99

    Crafty and otherwise creative people! I could use some input. My husband and I are working on costumes to be the sketched couple from the music video Take On Me by A-Ha. So the plan is to get white clothing and add sketch marks to it and we’ll do white wigs and white make-up and sketch marks on ourselves as well. I am just at a loss as to the best way to do the clothing. Should I use paint? Magic marker? I’ve seen pictures of people making themselves look like sketches by doing lots of xs (just denser at the darker parts), but part of me is worried that if I do much more than simple lines it’ll just read as dirty. So what do you think? How can we pull this off?

    Reply
      1. JediSquirrel

        Second this. You may have to search for just the right shade of grey.

        This sounds really cool. I wish we could see pictures of the costumes.

        Reply
    1. Stephanie

      I would practice on scraps of cloth that are the same blend and weave as your costume will be (like, a cotton T-shirt, if you’ll be wearing one, or a heavier, twill or denim if that will be part of your costume). Try out different techniques and experiment with paints and markers to see what looks best.
      My gut says markers would be easier to get the effect you’re looking for. There are fabric markers, but even a giant Sharpie type would work–in fact, I would probably use a few different thicknesses to get more texture. If you have an art supply store near you, see if you can find a few options.
      Oh!. And stretch the fabric flat and slide a piece of cardboard inside to separate the layers. (Like inside a T-shirt, for example). That way the paint/marker won’t bleed through, and you can get cleaner lines as you paint/draw.
      Good luck! It’s a cool idea for a costume!

      Reply
    2. Friendly Neighborhood Cosplayer

      Look up cosplays for Archer, Borderlands, and Telltale’s games (like The Wolf Among Us). Those all have cell shaded art styles, so people paint their costumes to have the lines and shading to emulate that look. At least one cosplayer will have put out a walkthrough of their process or even a tutorial.
      I’m not sure if anyone cosplays Sin City, but that might also be more in line with your costumes, since it has a black and white sketchy style.

      Reply
    3. Book Wyrm

      Look into tutorials for costumes/cosplays for characters from TellTale video games: The Walking Dead, Borderlands, A Wolf Among Us. The art style of the games is heavy lines to make the characters look more hand-drawn than computer generated. People who cosplay those characters put dark lines on their clothes and their skin to look more hand-drawn. I’ll see if I can find some links for you.

      Reply
    4. wingmaster

      Such a great costume idea!

      I would suggest using markers. I would think this would be easier to use when creating the lines and shading. Plus you can get a wide range of marker sizes (chisel / fine tip).

      You can first sketch out your lines using fabric chalk too.

      Reply
    5. HannahS

      I’d go for either a wide marker or a wide brush. Beware that if you use a regular marker, it’ll come off in the wash! Fabric “drags” a lot more than paper, especially if it’s knit–so, t-shirts, sweatpants, for example–so it’s a lot harder to get long, smooth lines. In that sense, the sketchier the style the better; short strokes will be easier. Regardless, it’ll be easier to paint/draw if you stick pieces of cardboard between the layers of clothing, both to stiffen the surface and reduce drag, and to keep the paint/ink from bleeding through.

      Reply
      1. Nervous Nellie

        If you can still get them – I think there was word that they were being discontinued – Sharpie makes a special laundry marker called the Rub-A-Dub. I use them all the time for making marks on sewn projects where steam from the iron might fade other markers.

        Reply
    6. Isabekka

      You can paint in marker form. I’ve seen them at hobby craft (big chain craft shop in the uk). I am not sure where you are in the world but given that they are also on amazon you can probably buy them wherever you are. Best of luck it sounds like a cool costume idea, I bet it will be great.

      Reply
  16. Not So NewReader

    So I have an odd computer problem.

    I can’t navigate the TED Talks website. I need to do this for a project. Everything I try to click on is dead.
    I have done a hard reboot a couple times and I can go through a couple of clicks then the buttons all go dead again.

    I don’t have any problem on any other site. My computer is fairly new. I have tried changing browsers. I am working on running my anti-everything ware. And I keep checking the site but not having any improvements.

    Ideas?

    Reply
    1. Llellayena

      Does anyone else you know have the same problem? Maybe it’s the website, not your computer? Maybe try a different browser? Some work better than others with certain sites (I recently discovered that google earth only works in chrome).

      Reply
    2. The Messy Headed Momma

      Do you have an ad block running? Maybe that’s the culprit. I am just guessing though.

      Reply
    3. Penguin

      Oddly, I have the same problem with this site on mobile; the title links to individual posts don’t exist for me there.

      First suggestion: disable any ad-blocking software/browser plugins you have running and enable pop-ups.

      Second suggestion- try alternate browsers. I’d suggest Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and (if none of those work) Opera- they’re all free and IE specifically seems to either work best or not at all with some sites, making it a good first check. (Obviously skip any ones you’ve already tried.)

      Third suggestion- look to archive.org’s Wayback Machine (archive.org/web/) for recent saved versions of the TED Talk site. That may exclude whatever oddity is preventing you from using the site normally.

      Fourth suggestion- try searching for the url via google and opening the cached version of the page (search, then look for the little green arrow under the page title to the right of the displayed URL for a search result). This should give you a bare-bones static version of the page (like a screenshot, but with working links); copy the url of each link you’re interested in (right-click on the link, choose “copy link address”), then paste it and repeat the search-then-open-cached-version process I just outlined to go to each successive page. It’ll get super tedious, but if nothing else works this should help.

      Reply
    4. LQ

      I just went to poke at the site myself to see and am having the same issue. Do you need to use the site or just watch some videos? If videos try YouTube or I believe they have a couple podcasts, and I think they have an app that may be working you could try if you have a mobile device. If you know the video you should be able to google into the video directly. When I tried going to a video and then navigating out from the video to other things I was fine. So like ted /topics works for me. It’s the stupid home page that’s failing.

      I hope that helps?

      Reply
    5. Not So NewReader

      Wow, thank you so much you guys. I am going to try all these ideas and I will report back.
      You guys are awesome. Thanks.

      Reply
    6. EinJungerLudendorff

      I’m having the same problem, so I think it’s something on their end that is wonky.

      Reply
      1. Not So NewReader

        Yep. I tried most of the ideas here and finally I emailed them.

        They know they have a minor problem and some people are having difficulty.

        Not sure yet, how I will get to use the site. Hopefully, they will come up with something.

        Reply
  17. The Other Dawn

    What is your favorite dish to make with prepared foods?

    I’m been struggling with my eating habits for a long time–almost two years. I just cannot seem to get myself on track. Exercise is totally on point, but the eating right fluctuates a lot. Right now I’m back to buying a bag of Jalapeno Cheddar Cheetos and a couple packages of Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups every single week when I shop. I tell myself I’m not going to do it, but then I get to stop and it’s like I just automatically reach for it. Somewhere deep in my mind I know I shouldn’t, I told myself before I went into the store I wouldn’t, but then I just ignore that and grab the items anyway. Then I hate myself after I’ve scarfed them down in a couple days. This isn’t good.

    What makes eating right harder is that I’ve gotten so, so lazy about cooking. Even batch cooking has gone by the wayside. And my husband doesn’t care one way or the other, so it’s not like I have the added incentive of someone wondering where dinner is, unlike my mom who cooked most nights and dinner was on the table at 5 pm, shortly after my dad got home from work. Most nights we just grab whatever from the cabinets or fridge, or we hit the diner.

    Anyway, I’ve been feeling like buying some prepared food would make it easy for us to eat better with minimal effort. I’d love nothing more that to go to Whole Foods and raid the hot/cold bars since everything looks so good, but that can get expensive. I was thinking of using a mix of prepared ingredients and stuff I have at home.

    (If it helps, I had gastric bypass 5+ years ago so I tend to stay away from pasta and rice, thought my husband likes it and eats it. GB makes it harder, because while it fixes the physical part so one can lose weight, it sure doesn’t fix the brain. 5+ years later I still sometimes wish I could sit down with a pint of ice cream or a whole pizza.)

    Reply
    1. CTT

      Since you can’t do pasta and rice, have you tried veggie noodles and rice? I’ve definitely seen them already-spiralized at my Kroger. There are tons of recipes out there for them of varying degrees of difficulty and a lot of them are of the “throw a few things together” type; my favorite is to bake a spiralized sweet potato with garlic and chili powder until it’s crispy. Also, frozen vegetables are life-savers; you can get a lot of variety and try different things without having to worry about it going bad in a few days.

      (Also, as someone else who has to change her grocery store route so she can’t see the end of the aisle with chips, solidarity with you on that front.)

      Reply
      1. valentine

        For the snacks you feel bad about: If you really do want them and it’s not just habit, what if you only eat the serving size (or whatever’s good for your stomach) at a time?

        I used to add ham and shredded cheddar to a salad mix bag that included walnuts and cranberries and it was glorious.

        Reply
        1. legalchef

          Or what about dividing the bag up into individual servings as soon as you get home (using the snack size baggies)? This way you don’t need to measure each time, you can just grab a bag.

          Reply
        2. The Other Dawn

          It’s a mix of habit and wanting them. I’ve tried the serving size thing, and I’ve come to realize that I just can’t buy this type of stuff anymore. I know, just don’t buy them! But it’s definitely a struggle to not buy them for some reason–they’re like a magnet to me. Tomorrow is my next shopping trip so I think I need to just totally skip that isle.

          Reply
          1. Anonymouse for this

            Howabout putting the candy in the freezer in portion size bags. I do that with mini snickers because I know my cravings are usually emotional. Given that I can’t eaten a frozen one without breaking a tooth by the time the snickers has defrosted I’ve usually managed to distract myself enough that the moment has passed and I don’t actually want it.

            Reply
            1. The Other Dawn

              I used to do that, but found it didn’t matter to me they were frozen (I love Snickers, too!). I’d find a way to eat them.

              Reply
          2. TechWorker

            I know little about us shopping but if you have the option of shopping online and getting delivery I find that really helps in making better choices.

            Else is it possible just to buy a smaller portion in the shop? (Ie a single serving portion rather than a sharing bag) – that way you still get the treat but don’t overeat..? (I’m aware that I’m in the U.K. where most things are available in small as well as large portion sizes so I’ve no idea if that even translates though sorry..)

            Reply
      2. The Other Dawn

        I do have some riced cauliflower in the freezer. Quite a bit, actually (hello, Trader Joe’s!). So I can use that. I have a ton of fresh herbs outside: cilantro, basil, sage, oregano (holy moly it’s A LOT!), parsley, thyme and dill. I also have one Swiss chard plant, which produces a few leaves every few days. I use those to make grilled cheese with cheddar on Dave’s Killer Bread (the one with the 21 grains and seeds). I also try to stay away from bread, but I do enjoy a grilled cheese or some toast every week or two.

        Reply
        1. Alexandra Lynch

          Spanish riced cauliflower: teaspoon of tomato paste, shake of Penzey’s Salsa and Pico seasoning blend, cook about two minutes in the microwave and stir.

          “rice pilaf”: a touch of chicken broth, a tiny bit of powdered garlic, a shake of onion powder, Penzey’s Fines Herbes blend, cook about two minutes in the microwave and stir.

          I have recipes for General Tso’s chicken and for sweet-and-sour sauce that are WLS friendly if you want them.

          Boyfriend can handle the carbs in a large tortilla, so I make him a lot of wraps. There are also safe BBQ sauces, so pulled pork is a “I don’t wanna cook” meal around here.

          Reply
          1. The Other Dawn

            Yes, please! Thanks.

            I’m fine with carbs as long as I have a little protein with them. I can eat a bunch of crackers, but if I have nothing else with them I tend to have a blood sugar drop a couple hours later. As far as sugar goes, I can handle about 15g in one serving. I miss the days when I could drink a whole bottle of cold Starbucks Mocha Latte, but the sugar is outrageous! Speaking of which, I saw some interesting protein drinks in the produce section last week, only to discover that ONE bottle (about 12-16 ounces) had 47 grams of sugar!! I think that’s more than soda?

            Reply
    2. Grace

      There are plenty of curries that you can have with or without rice and/or naan, and pre-chopped ingredients (especially if frozen) plus pre-prepared curry paste make them fairly easy without recipes. Stick some pre-chopped butternut squash in to roast for half an hour, longer if frozen, then fry off some curry paste, add some coconut milk, simmer it with the squash and any other added veg (I like adding a ball or two of frozen spinach) and bam. Done. Not exactly an authentic curry, but tasty and lots of nutrients. Cous-cous can be a nice side to that and is fairly easy to prepare.

      I also enjoy frittata – again, stick in some veg to roast, then pull out the tray, drain the oil, scatter some feta or something over the veg and then pour over egg-milk mixture and stick it back in the oven for a bit. Frozen fishcakes with roast veg are also nice.

      Basically, buy pre-chopped frozen veg. It makes life so much easier, and the nutritional value is good if they’ve been frozen shortly after harvest. Even a store-bought quiche feels healthier if you add some roast veg to the side.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        I use frozen butternut squash for a nice curry with frozen spinach, some chunked up tofu, coconut milk, and curry paste and it is soooo silky and creamy (and came in handy when j had to have a tooth out, uck).

        Other ideas: prepackaged “simmer sauces” for meats/tofu and veggies, preseasoned canned beans on toast (our Wegmans has a couple of varieties and I’ve seen similar ones at Trader Joe’s — Italian, Mexican, Indian seasonings for example), Amy’s or Eden Organic canned soups (lower in sodium than some others).

        What types of foods make your tummy feel best? My tummy works really well on lots of lean protein and not as much carbs, so I also take a day every other week to buy a big family pack of chicken breast and add it to freezer bags with chopped peppers and onions and some store-bought marinade. That goes into Ziploc bags and into the freezer, then I just defrost in the microwave and chuck it on a baking sheet and bake.

        Reply
    3. The Messy Headed Momma

      Those pre cooked chickens are super versatile. I make tacos or quesadillas. You can add it to canned tomatoes, some frozen veg & some water or stock & you have soup. (Watch the sodium.) Also, I’m a big fan of charcuterie style plates: meats, cheeses, olives, pickles, crackers – just stuff I can pick at. You could change it up to whatever you like – think of it as an assembled finger food plate.

      Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        “charcuterie style plates”

        This is really appealing to me, probably because it’s a small serving so i can actually finish it, and because I love variety.

        Reply
      2. Stitch

        Rotisserie chickens are great. I also think open face chicken sandwiches (canned chicken, mayo, on bread topped with a tomato and cheese, baked) is pretty satisfying.

        Reply
      3. BRR

        Ooh I love rotisserie chickens. I use them for soups (and make stock from the carcass and leftover vegetables) or will just add a carb like bread or rice and a vegetable. Often I’ll pull them apart right when I get home while they’re still hot.

        Reply
          1. Parenthetically

            I’ve been known to pull skin off a leftover roast chicken, re-crisp it in a pan, and eat it like bacon.

            Reply
            1. The Other Dawn

              Oh, that sounds delicious! I’m definitely a fan of chicken and turkey skin. I’ve never thought about doing that, though.

              Reply
    4. Grits McGee

      This may or may not work for you because of the rice component, but I’m a big fan of the Zatarain’s boxed rice meals. (I grew up in south Louisiana, and these are the only products that come close to approximating Creole-style dishes, and that I don’t have to add a ton of extra seasoning to.) My favorites are the red bean and black bean mixes- I brown a package of sausage, add the mix and water, bring it to a boil, chuck in a couple cups of frozen broccoli or spinach, stir, and then cook according to the package.

      I will also say- low sodium spicy V8 is my go to secret ingredient. It makes a super easy soup or sauce base. Just add vegetables/meats/extra seasoning as needed.

      Reply
    5. tab

      I find that if I log everything I eat, either in a food diary or myfitnesspal, I eat less. I don’t understand why it works, because I’m the only one who looks at the diary. But I find myself reaching for something, and then I think “I don’t want to write that down!” and I put it back.

      Reply
      1. TPS Cover Sheet

        I joined fat fighters… err… ”Slimming World” last Dec (before New Years so it wasn’t a resolution) The first month I kept an exact diary of what I ate. The first week I just ate what I ate normally and only after the week I calculated my syns… then I started following their system and watching what I was eating… And it is not like you can’t eat, it’s more what you eat… but I’ve gone from 18 stone to 16, so not bad at all…

        Well, I think I should do another diary week or two just to make sure I’m not gone into bad habits, but now I’ve been finding all the mystery meats in the freezer and clearing out ancient cans in the larder and I still lost 3.5 pounds last week.

        Reply
        1. The Other Dawn

          Yes, I have lots of mysteries in the freezer at the moment, so I truly have no excuse for not eating better–I have a freezer full of stuff!

          Reply
    6. teach

      My local grocery has a “pick up” option where you order online a day ahead and call in to the store for them to bring your cart out. It cost a few bucks if I don’t order a certain $ amount, but that’s less than what I spent on snacks!

      Reply
    7. Policy wonk

      How about a stir fry? Get some chicken tenders, frozen stir fry veggies and some stir fry sauce – there are various kinds. You can give spouse rice (try boil in bags or single serving microwavable cups) and you can either use the riced caulifower or eat as is.
      I am also a big fan of rotisserie chickens – there are all kinds of veggie blends you can zap to go with. And for convenience there are ham steaks – good as is or chopped into a chef’s salad. And there are often prepared microwavable main dishes in the same area of the meat case, like sirloin tips or turkey breast.

      Reply
    8. HannahS

      Cut/shredded rotisserie chicken + spinach + a handful of nuts/seeds + handful of dried fruit (or fresh) + squirt of honey mustard + splash of olive oil + salt/pepper. It sounds like a lot of stuff, but it takes very little time to assemble (because you don’t measure) and nothing needs to be cooked.

      Reply
    9. Lilysparrow

      For the automatic grabbing of habitual junk foods, have you tried disrupting the habit in a “meta” way?

      Such as: visiting a different store, walking the aisles backwards of your usual route, making yourself find each item in the exact order you write it on the list (or if that’s what you usually do, making yourself find things in a different order), even something silly like doing everything with your non-dominant hand while in the store.

      When you want to stop doing something on autopilot, it can help to totally scramble your autopilot altogether.

      Reply
      1. Ethyl

        Yes, this is really similar to advice out there about quitting smoking — it’s really helpful to change the *habits* that co-exist with the cravings, or at least I found it helpful.

        Y’know, The Other Dawn, another thing might be working with an intuitive eating coach or dietician. Check out The Fat Nutritionist for some resources on intuitive eating. It could help to work through the relationship to those particular foods, y’know?

        Reply
        1. Lilysparrow

          Yeah, I heard about this from my dad. He used this method to quit smoking back in the Sixties. He even put his clothes on in a different order, drove a different route to work, and hung up the phone backwards at the office.

          Sounds silly but it helped him a lot.

          Reply
      2. The Other Dawn

        Hm, that’s interesting. Tomorrow I’m planning to go to a grocery store I don’t normally go to, and I know for a fact they don’t carry either of the items I’ve been buying lately. So I guess that will disrupt the habit for this week!

        Reply
    10. CatCat

      I know a lot of people swear by the rotisserie chickens you can get at a lot of grocery stores and Costco. Tear it up and serve on a salad or with veggies steamed in the microwave. Put whatever sauce or dressing you want.

      I so understand the struggle with eating the junk food. I don’t even really WANT it, but eat it anyway and then feel bad physically and emotionally. Received a suggestion today for even if you give in to buying the crap or even start eating it, you can throw it away. Not committed to eating it just because you bought it/opened it. This kind of blew my mind, I admit. Probably because “eat all the food you’re served” is so ingrained in my psyche from childhood. Gave me something to think about for sure.

      Reply
      1. The Other Dawn

        Yes, I have a VERY hard time throwing out food. It wasn’t ingrained in me to clean my plate, though. It was just something I did all on my own and then some, which is probably why I was overweight, then obese, then morbidly obese for most of my life. Even five years after surgery I have a hard time mentally with not being able to finish a meal.

        Reply
      2. Arjay

        This can be helpful in restaurants too. I’m full, but keep picking at the last few bites on my plate. It’s not enough to bother taking home for leftovers or not something that will reheat well, so I end up finishing it and then feel bloated and gross. If you dump a bunch of salt or hot sauce or whatever on it, you won’t be tempted to keep picking.

        Reply
    11. Alexandra Lynch

      I will also add that it is easier to not eat when you eat well at meals. I happen to enjoy cooking, but I am in recovery from eating disorders, and we’ve discovered that if we eat a meal that has a lot of flavors and colors and textures, plated nicely, we don’t want snacks. Candy? Pfft. I have DINED today.

      Reply
  18. Marion Q

    This is probably silly, but … how do you listen attentively to podcast?

    I’m very visually oriented, to the point of watching movies in my native language with subtitles. I’ve been wanting to start listening to podcast, both for pleasure and also for improving my (English) listening skills. The problem is that whenever I try, I can only focus for a few minutes before the voice blends into a murmur. I can distinguish the changes in intonation, but not individual words, if that makes sense.

    So … any advice?

    Reply
    1. sb

      Great question!

      I am SUPER visually oriented as well, which makes me wonder how I’ve developed an intense podcast addiction. I guess I am always doing something else while listening, most likely driving. So my eyes and brain are focused on one thing and my mind is focused on the podcast? I have no idea, but I’d love to know more about this psychology lol.

      Also, I am convinced I have undiagnosed ADD or ADHD, so I always need to be doing more than one thing at once, or else I lose focus immediately. So maybe the multitasking thing helps when listening to podcasts.

      Or maybe you’re listening to crappy ones!!! I have plenty of suggestions if needed!! :)

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        Thanks! I’ve tried multitasking, but I’m generally a one-task-at-a-time person, so I end up missing a big chunk of the audio because I ‘forget’ I’m listening to something. I’m still trying to see what is it I like in a podcast, so maybe I’d ask for recs one day :)

        Reply
    2. Lucy

      I have Auditory Processing Disorder and my experience of it is very like you describe (plus other stuff in other situations). Before my diagnosis I would have described myself as “very visual” too.

      There are lots of workarounds for everything, but podcasts are really beyond me unless there’s visual reinforcement such as transcript or video. Phone calls are slightly better because you interact, so it stimulates different parts of the brain, I guess.

      You could have a look at APD and see if any of the description pertains to you more generally. In any case, coping techniques for APD may be useful to you whether the diagnosis applies or not… and since they include turning subtitles on by default, you may find you’re already employing some.

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        Wow, I didn’t know it’s a thing! I’ll definitely look APD up. If you don’t mind my asking, how did you get diagnosed?

        Reply
    3. Dear liza dear liza

      I have to do it while multi-tasking- either driving, or cleaning the house. I’ve tried while exercising but I think there’s not enough visual stimulation, so I tune out.

      Reply
    4. Zathras

      Find a task that requires just the right amount of focus to distract the part of your brain that wants visuals. It might take some trial and error to find the one that works for you. Knitting works really well for me, or household tasks like sweeping the floor or cleaning the bathroom. Anything that will keep your hands and eyes busy but which doesn’t require very much brain input. (I have to pause the podcast if I get to a tricky bit in the knitting!)

      The great thing about podcasts vs. the radio is that you can go back and replay – so if you realize that despite best efforts you’ve zoned out, don’t worry too much about it, just go back to an earlier point and try again. I have to do that all the time, and I’m not even listening in a foreign language.

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        I’m generally not a multi-tasker, but that’s a good point that I might just haven’t found the right task yet. Thanks!

        Reply
    5. Thankful for AAM

      Not a way to listen to podcasts but this might help with English.

      My local library has kids books on tape, like 100 to 200 pages long books. They also have the physical books.

      People learning English listen and read the books together. They tell me it really helps with listening comprehension.

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        I’ve done similar things – listening to the audio version of an article, but I just end up reading the whole thing only, since my reading speed is faster than the narrator’s pace. Funnily enough, I do well in listening test, which I think because it’s such a controlled environment.

        Reply
    6. Parenthetically

      I can ONLY listen attentively to a podcast if I’m doing something else that’s mindless to occupy my hands — washing dishes, folding laundry, cleaning my room, etc.

      Reply
    7. Dan

      I’m a lot like you. I listen to them when I drive, am at the grocery store, at the airport, that sort of thing.

      But the style of podcast really matters too. For the most part, I can’t listen to podcasts that have only one speaker. There are some exceptions, but they tend to be on the shorter side (say 20 minutes or so) and they have to be well-narrated. I do have a couple in mind. But by and large, the ones I listen to need to have multiple speakers.

      Reply
    8. fhqwhgads

      I only listen to podcasts while in a vehicle. My vision is focused on the road so it’s easier to focus on audio-only stuff that way. If I’m not the driver I still somehow find it easier to focus on listening when I’m in a moving vehicle.

      Reply
    9. Clever Name

      I listen to podcasts when I’m doing visually intense but otherwise boring tasks at work. So like data entry or reviewing/sorting through massive sets of construction plans. I’m now also wondering if I have auditory processing disorder/adhd. My son has been diagnosed with both.

      Reply
    10. ainomiaka

      I will be watching this with interest, because I have yet to figure it out. I personally just don’t do podcasts.

      Reply
    11. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

      I haven’t had much luck with this either. My brain just doesn’t prioritize audio input when visual is available. If visual isn’t available (such as in a darkened room), I will probably fall asleep.

      I gave up and now use podcasts as something to fall asleep to, which is at least useful as a way to get to sleep. I usually get about 10-15 minutes into them before falling asleep. I have also had some luck putting them on while doing really boring physical tasks that require both eyesight and my hands, but that only gets me about 10 minutes as well.

      The only thing that has worked well is to also have a transcript of it so I have the visual, but most people don’t make transcripts of their podcasts. (I always have captions on when watching movies/tv at home, too.)

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        My brain just doesn’t prioritize audio input when visual is available.

        Me too! I use the hearing-impaired subtitles because I’ve missed so many auditory cues when watching movies, which sucks when the cues are important plot points. Listening to podcast while reading the transcript doesn’t work for me mainly because I’m a fast reader so the audio simply doesn’t keep up.

        Reply
        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people

          I read much faster than I listen, too. When available, I pre-read the transcript so I already know what the audio will say, then decide if I want to actually listen to the thing or if reading is enough.

          Informational audio I probably won’t listen to once I’ve read it, but I’ll enjoy audio dramas as long as I’ve already read the script and find the story interesting enough to go through it again properly (this is also my preferred strategy with live theater when possible), or non-fiction about music with the music and talking interspersed now that I know the main points of discussion.

          The first audio-only thing I really got into was The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy radio series, which I read the script book for and then got the cassette tapes to listen to since I was a big fan of the book series. I don’t know that I would have gotten nearly as much out of listening to it if I hadn’t already read the scripts several times through. (It also helped that I had a bus commute with a 30 minute section between transfers, so I could listen to one episode each way each day on the bus.)

          Reply
    12. MindOverMoneyChick

      I can only pay attention to podcasts when I’m doing something else with my hands, like folding laundry or cleaning. Sometimes I listen to them when grocery shopping or going for walks as well. But there has to be something else besides just listening.

      Reply
    13. Elizabeth West

      I listen while I’m taking my walk; I’ve taken the same walk so many times with a fast-paced music playlist that I don’t really need it anymore. Now it’s become podcast time. Since I don’t have to pay attention to where I’m walking beyond keeping an eye out for traffic, I can just listen to the podcast.

      I still get distracted sometimes when they say something that sends my thoughts off on a tangent. If so, I just pop my phone out and back it up a little.

      I also listen while cleaning the house, another mindless activity (and the podcast makes it bearable, since I kinda hate to clean).

      Reply
    14. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy

      I think practice may help. Especially since you are learning the language. Your brain will get better at listening and at English as you do both more. They are both skills that need to be practiced.

      I listened to a lot of books on tape on long car trips as a kid, so I think that skill is permanently impressed on my brain. I’m pretty sure it’s the same for my siblings, one of whom is very visual and one is kinda ADHD. Obviously it’s too late to train your impressionable young brain, but adult brains are pretty teachable too.

      Do you zone out, or are you not able to understand any more? If you are zoning out, that’s pretty normal. I’d suggest short and really engaging podcasts until your brain adjusts. If you aren’t able to understand any more, that’s likely to be a brain issue, maybe APD like Lucy suggests?

      Reply
      1. Marion Q

        Do you zone out, or are you not able to understand any more?

        Both. I’d zone out after a few minutes, and when I try to get back to listening, the words have blended together into a murmur and I can’t figure out what it’s saying. I have the same problem in my native language, though it’s slightly easier to untangle the words. So yeah, seems like it’s more than just concentration issue.

        Reply
    15. Fran

      I listen to podcasts when I go for a walk. Usually once a week and trying to find podcasts around 30 min long.

      Reply
    16. LCL

      If you are doing this to improve your English, consider looking elsewhere. Podcasts tend to be done by subject matter experts, or people who are otherwise obsessed by the subject. Most of them have little to no training in how to speak for an audience. A good resource for you would be our public radio, NPR. They have an extensive web site and often have transcripts. One of their podcasts, this American life, is relatively easy to understand and has extensive transcripts available. Teri Gross on NPR is really crisp and clear, just don’t pick up her spitclicking tic.

      Reply
    17. Sami

      I have similar issues too. The only workaround I’ve found is to listen in bed in the dark. Yes, there is always the chance of falling asleep, but so far so good.

      Reply
  19. Llellayena

    So…wide awake at 7am on a weekend because my mosquito bites started itching too much to ignore. Not my favorite way to wake up!

    Reply
    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise

      I like putting rubbing alcohol on them – stings a bit but helps the itching and decreases infection.

      Reply
        1. fposte

          Yeah, 2-4 hours is the best you’re going to get from a topical. I prefer topical steroids, but they have to be reapplied too. I’ve often woken up in the night to regoop myself.

          Reply
    2. That Girl From Quinn's House

      The venom in many bug bites, especially mosquito bites, can be denatured with heat. I put a microwave hot pack on mine, until it’s too hot to tolerate. You can also look up “mosquito bite zapper” on Amazon to find some battery-powered heat wands, if you’re hiking/camping etc. I have the Therapik one.

      Once you heat it up, it’ll stop itching shortly after. It is *magic.*

      Reply
  20. Been Around The Block

    I spend a lot of my paycheck helping to pay for a family member in a nursing home so I don’t have money left over to buy the kinds of clothes I should be wearing to work. I am also an odd size and have never had much luck shopping at thrift stores. I can’t afford make-up so I don’t wear it. I wear the same shoes until they have holes in them. I don’t even get my hair cut by a hairdresser — I wait until it gets long enough to flip over my head and then I cut it myself. The clothes I do have all came from cheap big box stores year ago and they look like it. I wear the same things for years week after week. I’m tired of being the shabbiest person in the office. Any suggestions for looking a little less like the office Bag Lady?

    Reply
    1. Llellayena

      See if there’s a Dress for Success location near you. People donate office attire that is then available to women who can’t afford it. I can’t guarantee the fit, but tailoring clothing that almost works might be cheaper than buying the clothes that already work. And DfS might have connections for free/donated tailoring too.

      Reply
      1. valentine

        A financial or other counselor to delve into whether you need to be this austere.

        Store credit cards with deferred payment and regular credit cards with 12-month 0% APR balance transfer offers. Beauty school that will give you a discount in exchange for the practice? More expensive, longer-lasting shoes. Black and charcoal pants, maybe two each, but more tops, especially ones you can mix and match. Maybe a few shells in colors that will go with everything.

        Reply
        1. pcake

          The OP has a family member in a home and is contributing. My mother’s care home cost $4,000 a month, and I doubt that any financial counselor could have helped with that – it’s a lot of money, period. The cheaper ones either have 2 residents in a single room – and even then they tend to run to just under $3,000 a month – or charge a la carte for things so that it would have cost us over $5,200 a month for my mom to live in one with the assistance she needed.

          Our system isn’t set up for this, and not very many families I know can afford to spend an extra $2,500 to $5,000 a month without doing without.

          Reply
    2. Book Wyrm

      Dollar store have make-up, would it be within your budget to grab a few minor things there? Lipstick, blush, eye shadow, just a handful of make-up supplies to get you by?

      Reply
    3. legalchef

      What style clothes are you looking for? I’ve found that old navy will often have good deals on clothes (and almost always have coupons online), especially if you aren’t suuuuuuper picky about color. The clothes won’t last forever, but might be a good option for a few new pieces.

      Also, if you want to change up the clothes you are wearing, maybe some accessories, like a brightly patterned scarf? You can often find those cheaply, or if you know how to sew maybe you can kind of make your own from fabric remnants?

      Reply
      1. Not Me

        This is a really good idea about the accessories. You can get a few neutral basics and then change them day to day with different accessories, which you can find easier than the right size pants/dress/skirts.

        Check with the staff at the thrift store or Dress for Success if they know anyone who can do alterations for a good price. You can alter a piece of clothing pretty inexpensively but it’ll make a world of difference in the way it fits, which will make it look a lot more polished.

        Reply
      2. That Girl From Quinn's House

        I second Old Navy, and if your odd size is a smaller one, H&M. It’s best if you go in person, since the fabric quality can vary from item to item a lot, but both sell plenty of business-casual basics.

        Stores like Gap, Banana Republic, and LOFT can be expensive, but their outlet versions are much cheaper, without compromising quality.

        Reply
    4. teach

      Makeup is not a requirement, but if you like it, you can do some searches for popular items and “dupes” which are drugstore versions at less cost. Ultra has sales on drugstore brands and allows returns if you don’t like something. I find that I like how I look with a good CC cream to even out my skin and hide my dark circles ($15 every 6 months) plus dark brown mascara ($8 every few months) and a tinted lip gloss ($5 every six months.)

      Reply
      1. Bex

        It also doesn’t take much to look more polished. Even though I have a ton of high end makeup, the one that I use almost every day is a $5 NYX brow powder/wax set. It lasts me over a year and with mascara (L’oreal, $10) and a touch of eyeliner (NYX again has great inexpensive ones) I look way more polished and put together for minimum time seems minimal cash.

        Also, a real haircut at a beauty school or even supercuts will make a huge difference.

        Reply
        1. Thursday Next

          I second this. OP, maybe pick a couple of things to focus on, whether it’s accessories or a feature or two. For me, brow pencil and tinted lip balm make me feel more put together.

          Also, taking care of your hands/nails can be an inexpensive way to feel more polished. Neatly filed and buffed nails, and moisturized hands, go well with everything.

          Reply
    5. Policy wonk

      One of my favorite blazers came from Target, bought on sale. It doesn’t have to be expensive, and you don’t eed to buy everything at once.

      Start with one piece you can use to pull -together separates you already have like a blazer or jacket in black or another neutral color that works with what you have – it can cover pants or shirts that aren’t great. Start with one item and build as finances allow.

      And your iron is your friend – older shirts and pants look a lot better if they are crisply ironed.

      Reply
    6. Ranon

      Poshmark and ThredUp run slightly more expensive than physical thrift stores, but the size ranges are better and if you know your measurements (a tape measure is your friend, here) you can figure out what will or will not fit pretty well, especially on Poshmark where sellers are often willing to do measurements of the item for you. I agree that a good blazer can tie a lot of things together, too- plus it will cover edges of things where the wear starts to show first.

      Reply
    7. Nerdgal

      Odd size how?
      This is a big group, if you say more specifics there’s a good chance there will be someone with a similar build who can pass on some tips.

      Reply
      1. Been Around The Block

        I am size 12 on the bottom and size 4 on top. That limits what I can even get into by way of clothes.

        Reply
    8. Ginger ale for all

      Look in your wardrobe for the outfits you look great in and note the brand and size. Then go to eBay and type in that brand and size and check out the results. If you don’t have any outfits to crib off of, go to a department store to see which brands suit you and their sizes. I find that getting sizes that are s,m,l, etc are more forgiving to fit into from eBay than the 6,8,10, etc. Also, try to get a color scheme going where you can mix and match various pieces easily. Right now, my scheme is black, blue, gray, and white. I accent with green.

      Reply
    9. matcha123

      To keep your clothing from getting stretched out, look for some mesh laundry bags to put them in. I have worn the same clothes for years and they still look good because of the bags. I have seen them at IKEA, if there’s one near you or you can order online from them.
      For clothing, take a weekend or whenever you have some free time to walk through your nearest mall. You don’t need to buy anything, but check out the styles and make mental notes of similar styles you might have. Try on some clothes you normally wouldn’t wear and take pics on your phone/write down the brand and sizing for future reference. Years ago I was surprised to find the GAP has very steep discounts on clothing. Like, I’ve gotten coats for $30 that originally went for $200. The same with Banana Republic and Old Navy.

      I’m also an unusual size in that I’m short, broad shouldered and other things. This is why I suggest trying things on at stores. I’ve always felt pressure to buy, but I am working my way past that. Try it on, and snap shots from different angles, and if I’m not completely sold on it, put it back.

      I don’t wear much makeup. It looks really overdone when I do. What I have found is that if I trim my brows and fill them in, my whole face looks ‘nicer’. If you have some old makeup, or friends that can help you out, you might be able to find a cheap alternative to the “full face” routine. I highly suggest applying lotion to your whole body after you shower, if you aren’t doing that already.

      For hair, if your area has a school for hair stylists, they may be able to trim or style your hair for free or for a low cost. Since I don’t know your hair type, it’s harder to suggest anything…especially since I really only cut my hair once a year. Some places might do cheaper ‘dry’ cuts where they don’t wash your hair.

      Hope that helps some. I’m sure you know about thrift stores, etc. But most of the things I mentioned were ones I didn’t find out until I was well into my late 20s.

      Reply
      1. The Kerosene Kid

        Matcha123, I second all this great advice you gave. I was going to say something similar, but you said it way better. I’m not a make-up wearing person, so that’s not applicable to me, but still super-good tips. Especially YES to finding a student to work with you about your haircut. All of this visual presentation stuff DOES have an impact on your mood/outlook/emotions, so it’s worth taking seriously.

        Reply
      1. jolene

        With your dimensions, black/navy trousers or a skirt, then a really bright patterned top will balance you out the best. Look for non-crease fabrics that are machine washable.

        Reply
    10. Miss Pantalones en Fuego

      I buy a fair bit of clothing and accessories on eBay. It’s easier to find specific sizes of used items. Most sellers are happy to give you specific measurements and you can set yourself a limit of how much you want to spend including shipping.

      Reply
  21. Not Quaking

    I live in Los Angeles but I’m out of town for work and honestly, I’m mad that I’m missing the earthquakes. I should be glad as they’re scary af but I miss all the interesting stuff and I’m worried about my house.

    Reply
    1. fposte

      Oh, I’d hate to be away from my house when something like this happens. So far it sounds like the damage isn’t too bad despite the magnitude; fingers crossed that your place is okay.

      Reply
    2. Dan

      I lived in LA for a few years, and did experience one small earthquake — not big enough to make the news. I was at work at the time, and my boss and I were in different parts of the building. The quake started, and we both walked outside. I just looked at him and said, “So this is it, huh?”

      The weird thing is that I’ve experienced more quakes outside of LA than I did living there. Once when I was in grad school in Ohio, I felt the ever so slightest of shaking in my 7th floor apartment. It could easily have been confused for bass, but it was an actual very slight shake. I looked at the seismic monitoring records, and apparently there was a small quake in Illinois and I was feeling some of the vibrations. There was also an earthquake in Virginia in 2011 that was felt for quite a distance, and even damaged the Washington Monument. I felt that one.

      Reply
    3. KR

      Down in Palm Springs area and we had some shakes and swaying but no damage. Hopefully this helps some of your fears – it’s a similar distance.

      Reply
    4. Pam

      As an LA-adjacent person, I can tell you that we got things swaying and rattling, but not broken. My sister didn’t notice the July 4 quake, as she was walking around the yard.

      The dogs were more bothered by the fireworks than the earthquakes.

      Reply
    5. Elizabeth West

      Someone on Twitter said they know it sounds weird, but hearing about quakes makes them miss California, and I’m like, same. Quakes or not, I still wish I were there and not here!

      I hope your house is okay. I feel that way about severe weather when I’m at work; I want to be home with my stuff so I can grab it.

      Reply
  22. Lifesempossible

    Hey everyone, new(er) reader and first time commenter! I’m in the midst of wedding and with the advice to “do what fits you best,” (which is the consensus here!) I was hoping for an honest opinion on a couple things:

    1. Is it tacky to have people seated in their dinner tables for a 20-minute ceremony? The whole rearranging the room seems a hassle.

    2. I found an adorable set of dresses on amazon and was thinking of matching the exact dress style with the bridesmaids, just with the color difference (me in white, them with eggplant). Is that weird?

    3. I have a huge extended family that I’ve already decided I’m not inviting for the dinner portion. It’s just too much money and overall they haven’t been supportive of the relationship thus far. However, to keep the peace and make it a fun time, the fiancé and I decided to open up the dance portion of the reception for everyone. What is the best way to write an invite for this? Do I even expect gifts? And how rude is it to make it a cash bar at that point in the evening?

    Like I said… I’m expecting most people to write “you won’t make everyone happy, so just do what makes sense to you.” Yet if you have strong opinions on any of those questions, be honest so I know!

    Reply
    1. valentine

      1 (ceremony in the dinner space?) & cash bar: Do it.

      2. If there’s no variation in the dress and not everyone is happy in the sleeve or waist, or would be thrilled to wear trousers/a skirt/a kilt or whatever, what about asking them to wear something formal in eggplant and letting their outfits be as varied as they are?

      3. Don’t invite naysayers at all? they haven’t been supportive = not a fun time, so why not dove them literally any other day (okay, maybe not during the honeymoon, either) and let this be a time for people who want you to be with the person you want who wants you right back? (And anyone who doesn’t like it can also go kick rocks. The other day’s thread made me wonder what ever happened to everyone gathering to share your happiness.) I would be concerned these people or other semi-invitees would crash the dinner or ceremony. Do they know the date or can you invite them to a party on a different day?

      Reply
    2. Agnodike

      1. It’s unusual in my experience (in my mid 30s, so I’ve attended a lot of weddings in the last decade, mostly traditional Western-style in North American and Western Europe) to seat people at their tables during the ceremony but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. I feel like it might give a bit of a “dinner theatre” vibe but if that matches with the general feel of your wedding (casual/nontraditional) then who cares? People might be a bit confused, though, so I’d put something in the program or on the seating board and on the wedding website to explain it.

      2. That sounds extremely cute and also economical since wedding dresses are many times the cost of bridesmaids’ dresses. Order early, though, in case the dresses aren’t as good in person as they seem online, or need a lot of tailoring.

      3. This one is going to be really local-culture-dependent. Where I’m from, a cash bar is extremely rude at any point in the evening; my dad flat-out said he would not attend my wedding if we had a cash bar, and I think he was only 60% joking. Where I live it would also be really rude to have two tiers of guests, but a friend just got married in the UK where it’s apparently common to have three events (ceremony, dinner, dancing reception) and to have a bunch of guests that don’t overlap all three events. But if the people you know haven’t done it or you haven’t seen it done a lot locally, I would be concerned that your grumpy relatives, who it sounds like are already not 100% on board with this marriage, will be offended and grumpier still if they feel they’re second-class guests. (Just don’t invite them. Don’t have someone who isn’t rooting for the success of your marriage celebrate it with you.)

      Reply
      1. Grace

        Yep, British weddings often have evening invitations. It’s not controversial at all to have a smaller wedding and then invite more distant relatives, neighbours, colleagues, etc to an evening buffet/dancing that carries through to midnight or the early hours. The only issue would be if you’re inviting someone that needs to travel a long way and you’re only inviting them to the evening celebration.

        Reply
      2. That Girl From Quinn's House

        When I lived in Boston, a lot of people did partial cash bars. Basically, you had the bar open for a fixed period of time, or capped the bill at a fixed number of dollars, and when that was reached, it switched to cash bar. Nonalcoholic beverages were free and unlimited the whole day.

        It works well, because most of your guests are going to have a responsible amount of alcohol, and they’ll get their drinks in before the bar switches over so they probably won’t even notice you switched, because they already switched to water/soda/coffee. The few people who are affected are the ones who like to take advantage and binge on “free stuff,” and honestly nobody feels bad cutting them off. Plus, the Free Stuff!!! types tend to be the ones who turn into drunken messes by the end of the night, and it prevents that.

        Reply
    3. Caterpie

      I’m planning a wedding too, best of luck with everything!

      1. I think this is ok, the one issue is that some people may be facing away from where you and future spouse will be, so are you ok with people potentially having to twist around or move their chair to see the ceremony? I was just at a wedding where guests had to do a lot of furniture and room rearranging so I understand your desire to avoid this!

      2. Not weird at all, sounds cute!

      3. Would you be inviting the people to the ceremony, have them skip dinner, then return for dancing? That might be kind of awkward and logistically difficult for them, but if they don’t even support the relationship and you’re not close to them I wouldn’t worry about it. I’d just be really upfront about it (and the cash bar) on the invitations and if they come great, if not, you can enjoy the event with the people you’re inviting to the dinner.

      Reply
      1. CTT

        Thirding-that concern for #1. I was just at a lunch event where I had to be turned around in my seat for the whole thing and look around a column. It can work, but I think you need to road test it from every angle.

        Reply
    4. Overeducated

      Is this all in the same space, with tables set up? I’m not sure it’s quite considerate to invite a bunch of people to obviously come after a lot of the event (or come for ceremony, leave, and come back later). Could you have a single guest list and do a later casual family party if you need to celebrate with them?

      Reply
      1. Grace

        It’s very culture-dependent. In the UK, an evening invitation (evening buffet, cash bar, dancing) is very standard for more distant relatives, neighbours, colleagues, less-close friends, etc. We got an evening invitation for my cousin’s wedding, and we just brought a card and caught up for a few hours while snacking from the buffet.

        Reply
        1. Overeducated

          Fair. I’m in the US and have never heard of this. I do think it would come off poorly if the guests have also never heard of it, so depends on the context….

          Reply
    5. Ali G

      I don’t think #3 is going to have the outcome you want. Basically you are saying you can come watch me get married, but you can’t eat, but maybe we will let you in to buy yourself some drinks later? If the ceremony is in the same room as dinner (as it sounds from #1), how would you even do this?
      If there are people you don’t want at your wedding for whatever reason (or you can’t afford to feed them – which is fine!), don’t invite them.

      Reply
      1. MatKnifeNinja

        Midwest here. The seating, the dresses, and the cash bar no one would blink an eye at. The inviting people (guessing these are relatives) “just to dance and hit the cash bar.” , there is not enough Thorazine, Haldol and Xanax in the universe to deal with that blow back. Especially if they know you have felt not supported by them.

        Don’t play the passive aggressive game. Don’t invited them. Don’t give them that righteous bone to gnaw on for years to come.

        It is one thing to tell your 20 something friends, “My family has X amount of dollars. This is a relative heavy event. I would love you to come for drinks and dancing.” Even I (older than dirt) wouldn’t be offended. Different ball game punting Aunty Buffy, cousin Biff, and Uncle Biffer to dance and cash bar, because they have been jerk faces.

        What people do round here is have that small wedding with people you really want, then have a picnic or some sort of smaller, casual event for the people that couldn’t be invited to the wedding proper.

        I know bridal sites kick this A list B list C list idea around. People who come to the ceremony only. People who get invited just for the DJ and munchies after the big stuff is done. People in my area, who have different guest list have had huge problem afterwards, especially when Table #9 C list are relatives.

        Don’t invite and have a small cheaper gathering for the ones you are *meh* on inviting.

        Reply
    6. Llellayena

      1) I attended a wedding where we sat at our tables for the ceremony. It was lovely!

      2) Go for it! If you love the dress(es) that’s all that matters.

      3) I agree that if the relatives are difficult, don’t invite them. The ceremony is the important part of this and I assume the dancing is last, so how would they come to the ceremony and the dancing and skip the dinner in between? And cash bars are a bit tacky (though plenty of people do them). There are other ways to limit the alcohol budget: beer and wine bar with a signature cocktail, just champagne only for the toasts, (this one might be a little tacky too but…) drink limits with tickets.

      Just remember it will all be wonderful no matter what because you come out the other side married!

      Reply
    7. Lucy

      1. Is it tacky to have people seated in their dinner tables for a 20-minute ceremony? The whole rearranging the room seems a hassle.

      Assuming everyone can see and hear the ceremony, this sounds fine. Even if I thought it was unusual/not my preference, “tacky” wouldn’t come into it.

      2. I found an adorable set of dresses on amazon and was thinking of matching the exact dress style with the bridesmaids, just with the color difference (me in white, them with eggplant). Is that weird?

      Matchy-matchy is less popular than it used to be, but one of the best-looking weddings I remember had bride and bridesmaids all in the same shape dress (cute 1950s knee length, HUGE skirt) but with the bride in off-white and the bridesmaids in different pastels suiting their own colouring and tastes. Strong recommend.

      Also I sang a wedding where the bride was in ivory and the bridesmaids in bronze but same dress. Very Strong Lewk.

      3. I have a huge extended family that I’ve already decided I’m not inviting for the dinner portion. It’s just too much money and overall they haven’t been supportive of the relationship thus far. However, to keep the peace and make it a fun time, the fiancé and I decided to open up the dance portion of the reception for everyone. What is the best way to write an invite for this? Do I even expect gifts? And how rude is it to make it a cash bar at that point in the evening?

      This is standard in the UK, cash bar and all, and is known as an evening invitation. The invitation itself reads something like “Jane and Wakeen would like to invite Susan and Karl to celebrate their marriage at venue at time on date.” It would be considered bad form to send an evening invitation to someone who needed to travel any significant distance, but it’s absolutely standard for colleagues, neighbours, less close friends, etc, who wouldn’t have to stay over to attend. It would typically be 8pm onwards, with some informal food served around 9pm (bacon sandwiches or fish and chips are popular at the moment; I’m also used to a hog roast or cold finger buffet). You should feed them something even if you don’t buy the drinks. Some couples save the cake cutting for this part so that everyone sees part of the rituals. The timing must be sufficiently well managed that the event does restart at 8pm (or whenever) so that all-day guests are still down to party and the new arrivals don’t have to wait around awkwardly.

      Reply
      1. Lucy

        Oh and a British person definitely wouldn’t expect a big gift from an evening guest – more along the lines of a bottle of nice wine or a photo frame than a full set of good bed linen! – and it wouldn’t be remarkable to give just a card.

        Reply
      2. Grace

        Yep. Evening invitations are a very standard thing at a British wedding.

        My cousin got married last year (our branches aren’t that close – I last saw him at our nana’s funeral a decade ago, and I last saw his brother at my christening over twenty years ago!) and we got an evening invitation. Dropped by about 7pm with a card and our best wishes, caught up with other members of the family that we hadn’t seen in years, celebrated the cutting of the cake, cooed over the little bridesmaids, ate a bit at the buffet and had a slice of the wedding cake, and then headed back to a hotel at 10.30 or thereabouts. We could have gone home without too much trouble, it was less than an hour’s drive, but a cheap hotel was easier.

        Reply
    8. Vet in Training

      I’m also planning a wedding and hate hearing ‘Do what you want, you’re the bride!’ I know I’m the bride and the bride wants advice, people!

      1. I think is a little weird but if you managed to do it smoothly so everyone can see then that might move it from ‘weird’ to ‘quirky’
      2. Not weird at all.
      4. May depend on where you are… It’s pretty common in the UK to do ‘evening’ invitations where you just come to the reception after dinner – google can help you find some wording options for invitations. Cash bar is also by far the norm here and the Scots keep telling me they can’t be trusted with an open bar but my American family would find it quite tacky. So you’d have to know your guests.

      Reply
    9. WellRed

      No need to invite huge extended family at sll. But especially if they are unsuppprtive. I think having two tier guest list will not help you avoid drama or keep the piece. I’ve never been offended by a cash bar, but having open bar for the A list and not the D list is probably not going to come across well. Finally, a good rule in life is to never expect them, but be delighted and gracious when they come your way.

      Reply
    10. Maybesocks

      Suggestion: how about beginning with chairs all already facing the ceremony location? Then afterwards half of the guests need to turn their chairs around. Doesn’t seem like a burden to me. Also you could use a temporary riser or low platform so that everyone could have a great view.

      Reply
    11. Lifesempossible

      Hey everyone!
      Thanks for the replies so far :)

      To clarify: for #3, the ceremony and dinner are one set of invites, and then the after party would be open to casual friends, extended family, coworkers, etc. Sounds like what people are describing as in the UK. (I live in MN though.) So we wouldn’t ask people to leave and come back or anything like that. We would definitely have appetizers served during that portion of the evening as well.

      Reply
      1. Reba

        If it’s at a *different venue* I can see that working–although I still don’t think I would do it. I have been to UK weddings as described in this thread, where they move venues (to a restaurant or pub) and more people are added. I’ve also been to wedding celebrations in the US where the ceremony was private or immediate family and the reception was open to many more guests. (We actually did something kinda like this in a second location; I know budget is a concern for you so a second event is not a solution.)

        Honestly, my initial reaction to #3 was to actually gasp aloud! In my home culture anyway (midwest-near south), that just would not fly; to me it reads as kindof wildly rude. To be clear, I am not a highly rule bound person and had a self-scripted wedding. But this seems like a compromise where everyone just feels worse. Imagine showing up to a party that’s already going, when it’s obvious that the main event has passed and it’s in your face that you’re not top-tier invites. Coworkers are one thing, but these are already-strained relations–so with whom would you be keeping the peace with this unusual, ripe-for-uncharitable-interpretations invite?

        If you don’t want them there, don’t invite them and explain the event is small.

        Good luck with the plans and congratulations!

        Reply
        1. Ginger ale for all

          I had the same reaction to the two tiers of guests. Imo, don’t invite people to half of the party.

          If you want, you could just have a family only cocktail party a few weeks afterwards to invite the unsupportive people and frame it as a mini family reunion/family addition party. Why have the haters attend your happy day?

          Reply
      2. b

        Ex wedding photographer here; #1 works just fine, let your venue/ planner know so they can arrange the optimal seating for this.
        #2 can be a problem if your bridesmaids are of vastly varied heights/sizes. A better way to go may be to give each pe r son a color swatch and some style directions ie tea length, v neck, long sleeves etc.
        #3 nope, this will definitely cause issues. Tiered guest lists will hurt some folks feelings, not what you intended. If you sre worried about the bar tab try a beer and wine only open bar or a very limited time open bar. I have seen a champagne toast an the only soft drinks after.

        Reply
    12. HannahS

      1. Absolutely this sounds like a great idea! As long as it seems like most people are going to be able to see, I think it’s very sensible.
      2. That seems really sweet!
      3. Hm. I’m not sure this is a good idea. Do you think your relatives who aren’t supportive of the relationship would want to come to the dance portion? When money is tight, I often see couples invite everyone to the ceremony and then fewer people to dinner and a reception; I’ve gone happily to weddings like that as a guest. To me, the message there is “We want the support of the wider community but we can’t afford to feed everyone.” Fair enough! But if you’re inviting people to just the dance–what’s the message? You don’t want their support at the ceremony, and you can’t feed them, so what do you want from them? I don’t have an opposition to cash bars, but I don’t think it’s very gracious to invite a set of people whom you don’t allow to come to the ceremony or eat and then ask them to pay for their drinks. And most people will equate an invite to any part of a wedding with an expectation of gifts. I think the best options are either: don’t invite them OR invite them to the ceremony only OR invert the order of things so that you eat first and then invite everyone to the ceremony and dance OR invite them for the dinner and dance only OR invite them to the dance but have some snacks and drinks available.

      Reply
    13. Traffic_spiral

      #1. No problem, people won’t mind.

      #2. Online ordering is risky. What you see in the picture is often not what you get. Go Google some “expectation vs. reality” websites to see how that can go wrong. Other than that, no problem.

      #3. Oh no. Nooo…. Don’t do that. “I don’t like you enough to want you here, but I guess you can show up… provided I’m not buying your drinks or anything…” That’s not going to keep any peace. Just having a small wedding is fine. Making clear 2nd class guests is insulting.

      Reply
    14. Lost in the Woods

      1. The one problem with this I can see is people needing to twist around to see the ceremony. I think it depends on the physical setup of the space, but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it!

      2. That sounds adorable and very financially smart.

      3. This is hugely dependent on location. I live in the western US and have attended a lot of weddings (huge extended family). If it’s not part of the culture, it’s going to come off as rude. My cousin got married last year, and they had a revere situation to what you’re describing, there was a sort of second reception party for my cousin and her now-husband’s friends (no family invited). My parents still occasionally bring up how rude they thought it was, and honestly it did really feel like there were first-class and second-class guests. If you don’t like these people very much, you are under no obligation to invite them. Just say that due to finances you had to keep things small (which is true!). No one is ever entitled to a wedding invitation, but I think depending on the culture there will be certain expectations of what a wedding invitation means, and in the US (at least from what I’ve observed), that means the whole evening of the wedding. Not inviting them might ruffle a few feathers, but overall I think will come off better in the long run.

      Reply
    15. hermit crab

      Guests were seated at their tables during my wedding ceremony, and it never occurred to me that it would be tacky, haha. We were all outside under a big tent and the two of us & our officiant just stood in the center. However, the actual ceremony was only about 5 or 10 minutes long so nobody had to stay turned around for a long time.

      Reply
      1. Thankful for AAM

        Same for me Hermit Crab! Tent in my parent’s yard (garden for you UK folks!). They just turned their chairs for the ceremony part.

        Love the dresses idea but I think this is one where your preference is the most important.

        I’m with those who think you will not solve the unhappy relatives part with a 2 tier invitation.

        Can you turn the night before and what is traditionally the rehearsal dinner into the “fancy” and more expensive dinner with your closest friends and relatives? Then have a more buffet/hors duerves and less expensive party after the ceremony that everyone attends?

        Reply
    16. Jemima Bond

      1. It’s unusual but if it’s a very short civil ceremony I’m hard pushed to think of a good reason why it would. R a problem
      2. Sounds adorable! They could have white flowers in their posies and you could have white and dark purple in your bouquet!
      3. Inviting some people in the evening because you can’t have everyone to the ceremony and main reception is TOTALLY normal in the UK so just pretend you’re British lol. What couple often do is send those guests an “Evening Invitation” – they are literally called that on wedding stationery or you ca get a rubber stamp etc if you’re crafting your own. You just invite them to join you for an evening reception and tell them that a light buffet will be served (this is usual – nothing major, cold finger foods usually) and what time they should arrive etc. One wouldn’t normally include details of the gift list (registry) for evening invitations.
      Also a cash bar here is TOTALLY normal. A wedding where all drinks are paid for are a bit more high-end here, a bit posh. I always have cash in my minuscule fancy handbag for a wedding, in the assumption that there will not be a free bar and I might want a glass of wine or two while I’m dancing!

      Reply
  23. Sled dog mama

    My “vacation” has officially started! I’m super excited to take little one to the beach (she’s excited too). The thing only down side is that we’re going with all of mother in law’ family. 35 people, 32 of which are staying in one house. Hubby, little one and I are staying in a condo three houses away. This is still going to be a long week and not much of a vacation for me.

    Reply
    1. valentine

      Hubby, little one and I are staying in a condo three houses away.
      Excellent.

      This is still going to be a long week and not much of a vacation for me.
      What if you reverse this, starting by severely limiting the times you grant them an audience? Maybe a lot of letting them have time with just hubs and sometimes kid also?

      Reply
    2. Middle School Teacher

      I’m on vacation too! (Mostly a working vacation, but it’s in the Caribbean so I’m not complaining!)

      Reply
    3. Dan

      Oof. Who thought that is a good idea? How much crap did you get for being a party pooper?

      I took a legit vacation over Memorial Day for two weeks (except mine are never relaxing) and then had to travel for work for a week after I got back. So this weekend is four glorious days of doing absolutely nothing, and I’m loving every single minute of it. I need to do this more often.

      Reply
    4. Kathenus

      I’ve co-opted something I heard recently (may have even been on AAM), that if it’s family-related it’s a ‘trip’, not a ‘vacation’. While it doesn’t help the underlying potential craziness of your particular trip, the mental reframing has actually helped me and some friends with realizing that a family trip is generally not going to be the same relaxing/refreshing experience as a vacation. So in a weird way it helps.

      So smart to stay separately, also don’t hesitate to carve out immediate family time – be very open with the rest of the family that you three are going to have some time/experiences to yourselves, and others with the greater group. Hope that overall it’s a fun time.

      Reply
      1. Sled dog mama

        Thank you, this will help a lot. Hubby and I have agreed that the 2.5 days we’re taking to make a six hour drive are going to be more vacation than the week at the beach.
        This is the only time I’ve felt fortunate to suffer from chronic migraines, we said we were getting our own place since it wasn’t realistic to expect 17 under 15’s to be quiet enough when I get one. No one has given us any problems which is amazing.

        Reply
  24. Jaid

    So my apartment complex has gone the lazy route to get us set up to Fios, by having contractors drill holes in the wall that lead to the outside and putting the wires in those. So there’s all these ivory colored tubes sticking out of the building, one for each apartment.

    Oh and I didn’t see them put any sort of insulation in the hole or anything to keep leaks out.

    Sigh.

    Reply
    1. Seeking Second Childhood

      I would check on the sealant because I’very seen how many bug’s get in around badly fitted screens, let alone walls.

      Reply
    2. Gatomon

      Tell your landlord that the installer did a poor job of sealing the penetrations. They should come out and fix it.

      Reply
    3. NewReadingGlasses

      If you’re extra lucky, those tubes will be just the right size for mason bees or other burrowing bees/wasps to nest in. Fun!

      Reply
  25. To Margaret in Sri Lanka

    I’ve been wondering how you’re doing. Have things settled down there? Have you gone back to work? Do you feel safe now? I’m hoping for a return to normalcy and stability soon for you and Sri Lanka.

    Reply
  26. Volunteer or Free Labor

    I was telling my mom how much I want to do some volunteer work but a lot of the places I want to volunteer with, including an equestrian riding group for therapy for kids, have strict time commitments/shift work hours that won’t work with my real job commitments. My mom, who rides horses and knows that I’d like to spend more time around them, said she has a friend who is getting up there in age and has two or three horses she owns on her property who would love to have a hand once a week to care for her horses, like feeding, mucking their stalls, and grooming them.

    Part of me wants to say yes so I can get some time around horses but part of me is annoyed that rather than volunteering for a greater cause like I wanted, I’d be helping one lady who is probably wealthy enough to hire help if she really needs it. Obviously even if I did this, it doesn’t stop me from doing volunteer work I want. Just not sure how I feel about this alternative.

    Reply
    1. KatieKate

      Can yo do both? I know you wanted to volunteer with horses, but can you let yourself work with these horses and volunteer elsewhere for a different cause?

      Reply
      1. Volunteer or Free Labor

        I can definitely do both, it’s just that this was making me pause that I’d be doing free labor for someone who isn’t really ‘in need’.

        Reply
      1. Volunteer or Free Labor

        My parents are pretty well off and their friends are all similar wealth status. Plus to be able to own multiple horses, especially on your own piece of property in an area that I know is for the wealthy, it’s not a big stretch to think this friend is, not rolling in riches but wealthy enough. And it would be unpaid because I was with my mom when she emailed her friend and she said volunteer. She did say her friend would probably feed me dinner if I came to help, but it would definitely be a no money kind of thing.

        Reply
        1. fposte

          “Volunteer” is a super-sketchy word to use in this context. If it’s not clear, I do not like this lady.

          Reply
    2. fposte

      Yeah, that’s free labor. I don’t doubt that your mom’s friend would love to have some; wouldn’t we all.

      The equestrian world does a lot of shady things on the grounds that mere access to horses is a privilege; it’s their version of the non-profit’s “sacrifice for the cause.” I did a job like this years ago at an actual boarding stable, so it was massively illegal, but I did get riding privileges in exchange. Would you have those? Without that I’d pass. It’s not that it’s so terrible to groom and muck, it’s that this arrangement is really taking advantage of you.

      Reply
      1. The New Wanderer

        Yes, I was going to ask about riding privileges. One of my previous stables had this as an option, you could be paid in riding time for stable chores. Without that exchange (or the equivalent barter if you aren’t into riding), you are free labor and could start resenting it. I’d recommend that you keep looking for the right volunteer fit.

        Reply
      2. Lonely Aussie

        Yeah that’s my thoughts as well. The horse industry is fueled by the free labour of mostly young women who work for the love of horses.

        Reply
    3. TR

      Can you ride the horses? It wouldn’t seem that unusual to have an arrangement where you help out in exchange for riding time. Just barn chores with nothing in return doesn’t seem worth it.

      Reply
    4. NoLongerYoungButLotsWiser

      Also, it’s likely that you would have trouble disengaging if you wind up not liking it. With a volunteer org, you can back out (if need be) if you don’t like the way they handle the mission, find another opportunity that needs you that you like better, take a vacation, etc. You are still at the “explore dating” stage of learning about opportunities. It’s too early to tie yourself down to one that isn’t even a real charity.

      With this “free labor” job, you are on the hook (and uninsured?) working with horses, and max getting a free meal out of it (with someone you may or may not even want to know better). The beauty of a real volunteer organization is that you would get to meet new people as well as advance the mission and the greater good.

      If she is getting up there and can’t afford someone to take care of her horses, maybe you could help her find an organization to take them? (sorry for the slight sarcasm, but that seems to be the extent of the involvement that you should do for someone who is not really a charity).

      Just saying….

      Reply
    5. families!

      I’m in a big city so maybe this doesn’t apply but there is an organization here that basically acts as a warehouse for volunteer opportunities. A lot of groups use it to recruit volunteers so there is a huge diversity in the opportunities available and some are one time things and some are more regular but you don’t have to sign off on any regular schedule. So for example, if I notice I have time on date x I can go online and see what opportunities there might be and sign up. I’ve been able to try things out that I wasn’t sure about but that gets away from the having to commit to a schedule that doesn’t work with the rest of your life.

      Reply
    6. Not Alison

      Just a thought about whether or not there are any horse rescues in your area? Many horse rescues are totally volunteer run and would greatly appreciate your help to muck stalls, water, etc. This is how I get my fix of horses (one day a week mucking, watering and then grooming two of my favorite sanctuary horses).

      Reply