weekend free-for-all – January 25-26, 2020

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: All This Could Be Yours, by Jami Attendberg. A dysfunctional family’s patriarch is on his deathbed, and his daughter struggles with his legacy.

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

{ 1,333 comments… read them below }

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I tried to read Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw (recommended here, I think), but it didn’t grab me. I read Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir and Pachinko by Min Jin Lee and liked them.
      Any recommendations for novels that are set in another culture (not British or North American)? I prefer books that don’t end badly.

      1. Llellayena*

        I’ve got a few, I like books that explore different, non-European cultures:
        The Dressmaker of Khair Khana
        The Teahouse Fire
        Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
        Nefertiti by Michelle Moran
        anything by Lisa See

        Borderline North American culture would be Moloka’i which is in Hawaii and deals with the leprosy outbreaks and the aftermath. It’s different enough not to feel too “local”

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        I enjoyed Strange Practice (also picked up because recommended here), and am now reading the sequel.

        If you would consider speculative fiction, I would recommend The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. An alternate history that kicks off from the Black Plague, this time killing off almost all of the European population rather than a third. It uses reincarnation as a conceit to follow the same group of “souls” through multiple times and locations.

      3. Keymaster of Gozer*

        I’m a big fan of ‘Pavilion of Women’ by Pearl Buck. It’s set in China circa late 1800s and although a few deaths do occur during it the overall story of one sheltered woman’s journey to understanding other people is beautiful and good at the end.

      4. Koala dreams*

        I’m not sure what counts as another culture for you, but I’ll try.
        French fantasy: The Cardinal’s Blade by Pierre Pevel
        Swedish science fiction: Amatka by Karin Tidbeck.
        Chinese science fiction: The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
        Also, I quite like the anthology “Invisible Planets” with short science fiction stories by different Chinese authors.
        Chinese historical mystery: The Golden Hairpin by Qinghan Cece.

      5. Purt’s Peas*

        I loved Gideon the Ninth! I wasn’t sure how I felt about the ending—no spoilers but it didn’t quite feel right to me—but the rest of it was really magical.

        I’d highly recommend Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Space opera set in a Korean space society instead of an American space society. I love those books.

      6. Other Meredith*

        I just started reading The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas, which is a retelling of the original Mulan story. I still have about 2/3 left to read, but I love it so far.

      7. Fikly*

        Not a book, but a book recommendation podcast. Get Booked is a podcast where two hosts recommend 2-4 books per submitted question (usually 4-5 questions per weekly episode) and they are amazing at both recommending not the books you’ve already heard of everywhere, and also books that are either written by people who are not white/cis/male and books in other countries or cultures (also translations!). Most episodes are a grab bag, but some are occasionally themed. They do books and graphic novels, for ages 0 to 100.

        I believe they will list the questions in the episode descriptions, so you can pick and choose what interests you – a fairly common topic is “I’m traveling to x region, what book would you recommend that I read to learn about that area?” They are good about not being super spoilery about the books, but also warning for triggers and the like.

        As an example of the kind of unusal books they recommend, the zombie apocalypse book they recommended was from the POV of a zombie, who runs into a human woman on a raid (for braaaains), suddenly finds himself not wanting to eat her brain, is confused, drags her back to his home inside an abandoned airplane, and tries to figure out why he does not want to eat her brain.

        1. I'm just here for the comments*

          The zombie book you mentioned was also made into the movie by the same name, “warm bodies “. I thought the movie was pretty good, but I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how they compare.

      8. AcademiaNut*

        I had the same reaction to Strange Practice – not terrible by any means, but it just came across as flat to me. I would highly recommend the Athena Club trilogy by Theodora Goss for something in a similar line, though – Victorian era, featuring the daughters/experimental subjects of literary mad scientists (Mary Jekyll, Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, etc).

        For other cultures – the Winternight Trilogy (fantasy, set in medieval Russia and featuring the tension between Christianity and folk traditions). Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver and Uprooted are also rooted in Slavik folklore, and are fantastic. Nnedi Okorafor’s work for African settings (the Binti trilogy, for example). Liz Williams’s Detective Inspector Chen series (fantasy Singapore).

      9. CorruptedbyCoffee*

        I really liked Gideon! I thought it was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to the second, but it’s hard to picture a book in which she’s not the main character.

    2. Crazy Chicken Lady*

      I’m still 2/3 of the way through Becoming by Michelle Obama. My kids bought me Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama, but I haven’t started it yet.

      (Clearly I’m a liberal.)

      Anyway, my birthday was this week. My brother bought me hard copies of both books, and got those copies signed by each.

      1. Former Employee*

        Happy Birthday!

        I love the Obamas. I read Audacity of Hope a long time ago and passed it on to a (right wing) friend. Have Michelle Obama’s book, but haven’t read it yet. I’ve heard nothing but good things about her book.

    3. Bluebell*

      I read All this could be Yours last week. I liked it, but it didn’t make me rush out to read other books by the author. Read Alison’s rec from last week- Such a Cute Age- and thought it was very good. Just finished a mystery set in Cuba called Queen of Bones. Not hard to figure out who was guilty, but some very interesting characters and I definitely learned more about Havana’s cemetery and Santeria.

      1. Atheist Nun*

        I was slightly disappointed by All This Could Be Yours, as well. I recommend trying something else by Attenberg; I thought All Grown Up was a much better book.

        The last book I finished was Lost and Wanted by Nell Freudenberger. If you have an interest in quantum physics, you will be in for a treat. But even if you do not (I prefer quantum mechanics and biochemistry, because my scientific mind works on a micro, not macro, level), it is a good book about grieving.

      2. Jule*

        I read The Middlesteins when it came out and have been…surprised by the continuing ramp-up of the author’s career, to be honest! But get that money, I guess!

        1. Ramona Q*

          You should read her other books. And I’m not sure how many fiction authors you know, but… you do not get rich from it.

          1. Former Employee*

            I don’t understand the comment that you don’t get rich from writing fiction.

            Just off the top, I can think of many authors [Danielle Steel, Mary Higgins Clark, the Kellermans (Jonathan & Faye), James Patterson, Harlen Coben, et al] who have done just that..

            1. Fikly*

              Well, it’s a tiny tiny fraction that do get rich, less than 1%, so if you go into fiction writing with the intent of getting rich, you are very likely to be disappointed.

              The raw number who got rich means very little unless you compare to the actual number of published fiction writers.

    4. CTT*

      I just started “Bones of Contention” by Paige Williams, about commercial fossil trading, both legal and not. It’s been interesting so far! I remember enjoying her New Yorker article that the book was based so I was excited to see the book at my library (which was highlighting all their books about scams/crime, I may have checked out a few other books…)

      I just finished “The Rival Queens” about Catherine de Medici and her daughter Marguerite of Navarre and it was…fine. I felt like a learned a lot, but the author’s tone was very disdainful – of Marguerite’s rivals, other historians, even the readers (there was a footnote about the city of Spa being where we got the word spa from and then “and you thought history was useless,” which, no, otherwise I wouldn’t be reading this book. I’m sure it was meant to be “funny,” but there was so much of that it got old.)

      1. OTGW*

        Oh no! It’s always annoying when the tone makes it hard to read the book. There’s been a few times where I want to learn about something but the tone is so…. usually like, high and mighty, that I just give up.

    5. Pink Basil*

      I just read Running With Sherman by Christopher McDougall, about a donkey he rescued and then did a race with, and I loved it. I also just reread all of Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books — the first one is A Hat Full of Sky.

    6. OTGW*

      I’ve been reading Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses series. I just finished #4 (Reader and Raelynx) and I’m so hesitant to start #5, the last, because I don’t want it to end. I love these people so much. I don’t want them to go.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        I really like Sharon Shinn. Besides the Twelve Houses series, I like the Elemental Blessings series and the Samaria series.

      2. Fikly*

        I do that too! When a favorite author of mine published the latest in my favorite series of hers, it was around five years after the last one, plus the main character was the main character from the first two books (there’s 15+ books in the series) who was not only never the main character again, but a minor character from then on. She was my favorite, and I was always sad never to see her much again.

        So part of me was hesitant to read it because I didn’t want have the experience of reading it for the first time gone, and part of me was scared to read it because what if it wasn’t amazing, what if I didn’t love her as much as the first time? Almost all of her books are amazing, but there was one she wrote that she clearly wasn’t in the mood to write, and it showed.

        I put it off for over a year. Then I read it, and it was so amazing. But yeah, I keep doing it.

      3. CorruptedbyCoffee*

        I really enjoyed fortune and fate. I felt like it was a nice farewell to all the characters, and I really liked that the romance wasn’t super stereotypical.

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      Last night I finished Small Island, by Andrea Levy, and today I’ve started The Golden One, By Elizabeth Peters, another Amelia Peabody mystery.

    8. Atchafalaya*

      I read Little Fires Everywhere, by Celeste Ng this week. I really enjoyed it. I’m now reading Summer of ‘69, by Elin Hildebrand. I read The Reckoning, by John Grisham a couple weeks ago. It was very good!

    9. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Picked up and read the original Kushiel trilogy by Jacqueline Carey, now onto the second one. Not bad, although I’m putting them to one side because they’re not great when I’m depressed.

      Mostly bingeing Star Trek novels. I’m reading Spocks World by Diane Duane right now which is awesome. I’ve reread every book I purchased during my extreme Trekkie days in the 90s too :)

      1. Llellayena*

        Fantastic picks! Jaqueline Carey also has “Santa Olivia” and “Saints Astray” which are less depressing but just as well written. And Peter David has the New Frontier series in Star Trek. Follows a different set of characters than any of the tv series, with some crossover of minor characters.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Peter David is one of my favourite Trek authors :) I’m ashamed I hadn’t looked at the New Frontier ones.

          Definitely going to look up your other Carey picks. I love her writing, I just occasionally want happier characters :)

          1. Akcipitrokulo*

            My first ever trek book was Q-in-law by Peter David. I laughed so hard!

            Also love the giant novels by Judith & Garfield Reeves-Stephens. Especially Federation, but a close second is Prime Directive.

            1. Keymaster of Gozer*

              I used to have the audio tapes of Q in Law! I’m gutted they perished along with my old car that played them. The book is absolutely top notch hilarity (especially the bit wher Q gets punched into the warp core)

            2. Keymaster of Gozer*

              Oo, Prime Directive is next on my list too! I just downloaded it onto the kindle. Hope it’s excellent :)

          2. The Bookwyrm's Lair*

            Imri’s trilogy is my least favorite of the three (he reminds me far too much of Anakin Skywalker until halfway through the second book), but you have to slog through it to appreciate the first part of Moirin’s journey in the third trilogy. I ADORE Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series!

      2. AnonEMoose*

        If you haven’t read “Uhura’s Song,” I definitely recommend that one. Really nice to see Uhura in the spotlight for a change, and I really loved the alien cultures in it.

        1. It's a fish, Al*

          The author of that one, Janet Kagan, has other novels and short story collections that you will love if you enjoyed Uhura’s Song!

        2. AcademiaNut*

          My favourite of the old TOS Pocketbooks are Uhura’s Song (great aliens), The Vulcan Academy Murders/The IDIC Epidemic (Vulcans, Sarek, Spock), How Much for Just the Planet (Klingons, musical theatre (yes really!)). Yesterday’s Son/Time for Yesterday (Spock’s son from the past), My Enemy, My Ally (great Romulans), Ishmael (Spock lands in 19th century Seattle in the plot of an old TV show), The Wounded Sky (really trippy).

    10. Ra94*

      Currently reading Anarchy, the story of the East India Company. It’s a big meaty history book, but I’m finding it engaging and more gripping than I expected. The invention of corporate lobbying and unexpected modern relevance is especially fascinating.

      Recently finished a different nonfiction book, The Killers of the Flower Moon, about the Osage murders of the 1920s. A mix of history, true crime, and social commentary, which I really enjoyed.

      Also recently finished You Should Have Known, a novel I HATED. I was expecting a trashy but fun thriller palate cleanser in between heavy nonfiction. Instead it was aggravating, slow, and so poorly written.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        If you like the East India book, you might like The Paradise by Emile Zola (fiction). It’s about how a giant department store in Paris crushes all the little businesses (and the people) around it. I was thinking of Walmart the entire time I read it.

      2. Former Employee*

        When I first tried reading You Should Have Known, I didn’t like it, either. I think I wasn’t in the right mood for that kind of book. However, when I went back to it later, I thought it was quite good, though I’m still not sure how to categorize it.

        It’s definitely not the classic “the wife is the last to know” book.

    11. Ra94*

      Oh, also, a confusing recent read: Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. I enjoyed the courtroom/murder mystery aspect of it (though the legal details were pretty suspect). But I was confused by the branding- everything from the cover to the reviews I read sold it as a moving story about the immigrant experience, and I…really didn’t get that! The main characters are Korean immigrants, but (as an immigrant myself) I felt like their story was told in a very cliche way, and didn’t say anything new. Whereas the actual murder mystery was well-constructed and crafty.

    12. Jule*

      Uncanny Valley by Anna Wiener! REALLY insightfully written—hit a little too close to home at times about the tech world.

    13. Akcipitrokulo*

      Daughters of Nri. It is so good! Fantasy where the official story is that the Eze, supreme leader, saved humanity and is wonderful and just and always right and is owed everyone’s loyalty and gratitude… but he also orders all twins killed. So when the twin girls are born, they are separated at birth so they can survive… and they are the ones he’s been afraid of for centuries…

    14. The Bookwyrm's Lair*

      I just finished The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars. Both are YA and quick reads. Both were excellent. Perks was a harder read thanks to the end revelations, but I can see in my own history the idea of watching life rather than participating, and what it means to be a friend who is spiraling. Fault was a harder read to start, since I knew it was about teens with cancer. Both had been recommended to me by the library’s summer reading program and I just got them off the hold list! I see why they’re considered classics, although I’ll leave a note in Perks to my own girls about not condoning the underage drugs or alcohol while encouraging the book as a way to understand people who aren’t as outgoing as they are.

    15. Purt’s Peas*

      I’ve been on a mystery kick! Waiting for the next Lord Peter Wimsey book to come in, and I read a couple Inspector Gamache books. I’m not sure how I feel about the Inspector Gamache books—I like them so far but I think the more I read the more reservations I have.

      1. Former Employee*

        I really like the character of Inspector Gamache. I also liked the idea of a place that is both English, Three Pines, and French, Trois Pins. Unfortunately, the “reveal” made no sense to me. You would have to believe that the killer who was not portrayed as being mentally ill, would somehow “decide” that everyone would have noticed his absence in a particular “scene”. Maybe this was supposed to be an homage to “The Tell-Tale Heart” but since he never seemed mentally ill, it just fell flat to me.

        Because I liked the main character so well, I tried reading the next book and was so turned off by the victim, a nasty, vindictive woman who, as I recall, was in the process of trying to steal someone else’s artwork and pass it off as hers, that I completely gave up on the series.

    16. Belgian*

      I just finished The Kiss Quotient. I put it down after the first chapter, not liking it all. Then I saw Roxane Gay recommend it on Twitter, picked it up again and couldn’t put it down!

    17. AnonEMoose*

      I finally finished “Absolute Monarchs” (a history of the Papacy). Engaging and a view of European history I hadn’t previously considered. I hadn’t realized how turbulent things really were for the Church and for how long.

      I just started “Circe,” and am enjoying it so far – I picked it up inexpensively for my Kindle awhile ago and hadn’t started it yet.

    18. Retail not Retail*

      I just finished Engineering Eden about the national parks and bears and tourism – it was up my alley in terms of my degree and my current work in addition to being just plain well-written.

      I read Nothing to See Here about 2 kids who spontaneously combust when their emotions run high.

      I tried the Yellow House – and this is after I had to return it and put another hold on it! – but it wasn’t grabbing me.

      Oh well that’s what libraries are for. My goal is to keep my checkouts on the same day. I am less than successful.

    19. Lilo*

      Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – fun, end was a but weird
      Six of Crows – Meh.
      Red white and Royal Blue – the book equivalent of eating a cupcake. Quick, easy read.

      Just got off the waitlist for The Nightingale.

    20. Everdene*

      I’ve been in the mood for page turners through these long January days. This week I finished Blue Moon by Lee Child and The Guardian by John Grisham. I’m currently re-reading Little Woman (inspired by seeing the film) and after that I’ve got Pain and Prejudice by Gabrielle Jackson and Sex, Power, Money by Sara Pascoe lined up. If I need more comfortable page turning Celia Ahearn’s Postscript is in the ‘to read’ pile.

    21. Redux*

      Is anyone else following the controversy surrounding American Dirt? I am very here for this particular lit crit.

        1. Redux*

          The writer and publisher are really digging in their heels! Their responses have been so tone deaf. The criticisms I’ve read are not centered on identity politics (though that certainly plays a part) but rather about the writer trading in harmful, racist tropes. Plus from the excerpts I’ve read, the writing is just really not that good.

            1. foxinabox*

              You can also sift through the noise to discover a number of tasteless choices in the author’s past, her own questionable repositioning of herself as an “appropriate” storyteller ahead of publication, and well researched suggestions that some of her research is actually just lifting whole incidents and scenes from books written by actual Mexican authors.

              My own take is that she’s not presenting a sympathetic figure…but that it takes more than a village for this kind of thing to happen over and over again.

    22. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I just finished Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal — it’s about animal cognition and the ways that humans have studied it over the last century or two. de Waal points out that sometimes animals look stupid because they evolved to solve different problems, and sometimes scientists have used the wrong tests –chimps can’t recognize human faces, but they can recognize other chimpanzee faces, which most humans can’t do.

      It’s a fun read, mostly narrative and much of it about the author’s own research with chimpanzees and birds.

    23. foxinabox*

      I’ve been on a Shirley Jackson kick lately and have read The Lottery and Hangsaman–both so weird and so excellent. I’d read The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle previously, and the way she tilts everything slightly sideways and makes the commonest objects and actions into something panic-inducingly eerie is just….the best. LOVE HER.

      I also read Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng because I enjoyed reading Little Fires Everywhere last year and it really stuck in my head–EINTY I loved even more. It’s so sad and compassionate and delicately realized, and I love every single faulty, lonely, hungry character. Don’t read it if you hate to cry, but do read it if you want to utterly trust an author for her prose and her insight and her emotional depth.

      1. Teach*

        Shirley Jackson’s short fiction is my favorite! Look up “The possibility of evil” if you haven’t already. Deliciously malicious!

        1. foxinabox*

          Aaaaah that was so good! Thank you!! I was talking to someone recently about how the best thing about Shirley Jackson is how often her horror is based in warped ideas of propriety. Manners trap the good guys and justify the monsters. It’s so unnerving and wonderful.

    24. Quill*

      Slogging through The Magicians and wishing the main character were literally any other character in the book.

    25. Tuna Casserole*

      I read a couple of graphic novels that were very interesting. Green River Killer by Jeff Jensen is non-fiction about a police officer’s long hunt for a serisl killer. They Called Us Enemy by George Takei is a frank retelling of the actor’s stay in internment camps during WWII. Then I re-read To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee for a book club. One of my favourite books ever.

      1. Former Employee*

        There is a made for TV movie called The Capture of the Green River Killer with Tom Cavanagh. He was excellent as the sheriff who spends years trying to solve the case.

    26. Is It Performance Art*

      I really liked The Pursuit of William Abbey by Claire North. It has elements of fantasy like many of her other books and it’s also an interesting view of the world before and during the first world war.
      I’m currently reading Midnight in Chernobyl and it’s really good. One of the things he goes into detail about is the large number of institutional and political failures that led to a reactor that was a lot more dangerous than it had to be.

    27. PhyllisB*

      I’m reading Mr. Nobody by Catherine Steadman. I won it from Goodreads. I’m really enjoying it so far. I saw on the front that she also wrote a book titled Something in the Water. Checked that out yesterday. Has anyone read either one of these?

    28. Minocho*

      The Phoenix Project and The Unicorn Project – I’m rereading them both. They’ve made me really examine how I’m doing my job and prioritizing things.

  1. Reader in ND*

    I won a $10 gift card to my independent bookstore. They carry new and used. Any ideas for me? I like Elizabeth Berg, Jojo Moyes, Elin Hilderbrand, Ann Packer, etc. Is there some lesser known author that writes similar to these authors that I should try? Thanks in advance.

    1. Bluebell*

      If you’ve never read Laurie Colwin, I highly recommend her. She wrote fiction as well as being a food writer for Gourmet. Happy All the Time was my favorite. Home Cooking, which has recipes and is essays, is a delight.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Oh, gosh, yes. I reread Happy All the Time half a dozen times after I found it. (Was in my early/mid-twenties at the time.) I still recall some of her sentences from that and one other of her works (not as memorable–the title has not stayed with me). She was really good at observing and succinctly summarizing life details.

    2. foxinabox*

      Have you read Louise Miller? She’s WONDERFUL. Her first book was The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living, she’s right along your lines, and she is a big fan of indie bookstores!

  2. Llellayena*

    Wow, I think I’m first! Did I win the lottery? (Checks tickets) Anyway, I’m looking for show recommendations. I need to hand sew the binding on a quilt today and need a distraction on the tv. My usual shows are Star Trek, Babylon 5, CSI, Law and Order and other related crime dramas. Suggestions?

    1. Ali*

      I’m a big fan of Elementary. If you like very British murder mysteries, I love Miss Marple and Rosemary & Thyme.

      1. Granger Chase*

        Seconding Miss Marple! I started it a few weeks ago and it has been a great show to watch when I’m in the mood for a murder mystery. It’s also one of the few shows like that where the killer is not glaringly obvious from the beginning.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      I have been binge-watching DS9 since I’ve moved into my new place. I can pop in and out when something gets interesting, and let it be background noise when I’m working on a project. I’ve gotten a lot done with this show on the screen.

      Sorry, that’s all I’ve got. To me, Star Trek is like jello–there’s always room for more.

      1. Llellayena*

        I entirely understand! I started with Voyager last weekend but I’m just not feeling it this weekend.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          Everyone at work is banging on about Peaky Blinders and The Crown, but I have just not had the time. I’ve been meaning to get around to Good Omens, though. Just hasn’t happened.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          After Farscape, definitely watch the Stargate SG1 episode where they do a mock up of it. I nearly died laughing!

    3. JKP*

      If you have hulu, Harrow is a good crime drama. The lead character is a forensic pathologist in Australia. The characters are a bit quirky and there’s the obligatory body parts in a croc episode. Each season has a sort of long running mystery in his own personal life as well as each episode’s individual murder to solve.

      Also, Orville is on hulu. It’s a lighter, campier version of Star Trek.

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Have you started Picard? I hear good things about it. Otherwise people who like crime things are recommending Don’t F–k With Cats.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Lexx is available on Amazon and is one of my favourite sci fi series ever. It’s…definitely adult though and I’d personally avoid the 3rd season.

      (I named my second car ‘Lexx’ in honour of it :)

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      On the sci fi front, I liked Continuum: a cop and some criminals from the dystopian future are sent back to present day Vancouver and both sides try to change history. I liked that most of the characters had chosen a given side because at some point the other side had started shooting at them, rather than because one side was Right and the other side was Wrong, or that these were the only two sides possible.

      If you like light-hearted mysteries I enjoyed Death in Paradise, a fish out of water show about a British detective inspector sent to a Caribbean island where people are frequently murdered amidst beautiful weather.

        1. 404UsernameNotFound*

          I’ll third Death in Paradise. It’s my Thursday night tradition when it’s on (and lectures or homework aren’t).

          1. Zooey*

            I also loved BSG but would definitely give a heads up for the general violence and in particular some significant sexual violence / torture later in the series. There is one episode in particular (Pegasus) I wish I had been prepared for going in. I’d say part of what makes the show good but sometimes challenging is it explores the range of reactions people can have in extreme situations.

      1. Windchime*

        I loved, loved, loved Battlestar Galactica. It was one of the first things I binged when I got Netflix and I was hooked.

    7. Anono-me*

      I like Sea Patrol. It’s an Australian show. Kind of Hawaii Five-O on a boat in Australia.

      There’s a British series called New Tricks that you might be able to find. It’s not a comedy but it’s a little bit funny. The cases are all cold cases so it’s not quite as dramatic or traumatic as a lot of the police procedurals. The detectives are all older retired policeman led by an active-duty woman officer who made a misstep politically and has been banished to the Cold Case Squad.

      Anything with Nathan Fillion is great in my book.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Be warned it is very dark. I’m glad my husband started watching it without me…I walked into the TV room during a firefight with plague victims and walked back out. However if you’re not prone to nightmares, it is really well made sf.

      1. Tortally HareBrained*

        White Collar is probably my favorite series ever produced. I just like how it is suspenseful while still leaving me feeling happier after watching it.

    8. Lilo*

      Seven and a Half Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – fun, end was a but weird
      Six of Crows – Meh.
      Red white and Royal Blue – the book equivalent of eating a cupcake. Quick, easy read.

      Just got off the waitlist for The Nightingale.

    9. Book Lover*

      Leverage is a joy. And seconding or whatever Lucifer and stargate SG1 and Atlantis. I enjoyed Witcher too.

    10. Aurora Leigh*

      For a lighter crime/detective show try Republic of Doyle on Netflix! We call it the Canadian Psych lol

      (And Psych is on Amazon Prime I believe, if you you are in the mood for hilarity with your crime solving)

    11. foxinabox*

      This isn’t the genres you mentioned at all (which are things I also enjoy, I have a signed pic of Ivanova on my office wall!) but if you want something compulsively enjoyable I cannot stress enough how much you and ALL PEOPLE should watch The Circle on Netflix. It’s supposed to be a cutthroat reality tv show based on social media, but it’s really eight fools living sequestered in different apartments in the same building, talking only to a TV that they think is voice activated talk-to-text (but which is very clearly someone typing behind the scenes), apparently having no idea what any of the rules of the game are. A lot of the players are adorable, and it’s got a great, acerbic narrator, and it’s really just….indescribably fun.

    12. Edwina*

      If you like British crime drama, I recommend any of the following!
      Foyle’s War
      A Touch of Frost
      “Doc Martin” is also an absolutely charming British show, not a crime drama, but a medical show: Martin Clunes as an extremely impatient, irascible, brilliant doctor stuck in an eccentric Cornwall village. It’s got wonderfully drawn eccentric, but real characters, some terrific actors, interesting situations, and the setting is beautiful. Watch it in order, though–it’s more or less serialized. It’s not as soft as “All Creatures Great and Small,” and is very entertaining.

    13. Llellayena*

      Thanks for all the suggestions! I ended up getting sucked into the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries marathons. The stories are good if you can survive the soupy sweetness of the accompanying love stories!

      1. Tomacco*

        For sci-fi definitely check out The Expanse and Battlestar Galactica.

        For EU/UK crime drama/procedurals:
        Scott and Bailey

    14. Queer Earthling*

      I recently watched the BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie’s The ABC Murders. I think it’s available on Prime? It’s a miniseries but it might do for you, if you still want recommendations. :)

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I was able to take the time to go to yoga and a late night swim. Does swimming ever get easier? I see people doing laps without stopping. I still have to stop after every lap (freestyle). It’s better with breaststroke but my arms hurt after two laps. I don’t find the breaststroke relaxing at all.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        I used to be a swim instructor, so I can answer your question!

        Yes, swimming gets easier with practice, just like any other sport. But from what you’re saying, I think you need to work on your stroke mechanics. Basically, the closer to perfect your stroke form is, the more efficiently you move through the water, using the most efficient muscles, and . If your form is off, you’ll be displacing less water, or displacing it in the wrong direction, and creating extra drag that works against you.

        In freestyle, some things to look out for are: your body position should be close to parallel to the bottom of the pool, your eyes should be looking down at the floor when you’re not breathing. In your overarm stroke, your hands should be positioned as paddles and you should enter the water pointer finger first. From the point where your hand enters the water to the point where it exits, you should be forcibly pushing the water back, keeping your arm next to your body and not underneath it. This motion should rotate your body enough so you can breathe, rolling your head to the side and keeping your ear and cheek flat on the water to inhale. When your hand exits the water and comes up and around, put your face back in the water and exhale, blowing bubbles. For your kick, you want to be kicking using your hips and ankles, not your knees, toes pointed back like a ballerina en pointe (but not as tense.)

        Breaststroke is harder to learn because it’s rhythmic, but easier to troubleshoot. The fact that you don’t find it relaxing tells me your rhythm is off. The rhythm is pull-breathe-kick-glide. During the pull, your arms should pull in the shape of a football in front of your body, somewhat horizontally and somewhat vertically. You shouldn’t pull wider than your shoulders and your elbows shouldn’t go behind your body. During the “up” part of your pull, inhale. When your hands come together, you should kick to glide yourself forward. For the kick, it should be three dimensional, with your hips pointing your knee out to the side big toes tracing a circle, and you should press when you bring your legs back together. When your legs are together your arms should be out straight, and this is when you’d exhale into the water.

        I’m sorry for this being so long! If you’re more of a visual learner, there are videos on YouTube explaining how to do the strokes correctly.

        Good luck and happy swimming!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Thank you for that!
          I’m going to suggest backstroke too–it’s the first one I could actually do after a frozen shoulder.
          I’ve been eyeing some of the gadgets some of the strong swimmers are using– what do you suggest for me to try getting more leg workout when my shoulder says no more?

          1. Ktelzbeth*

            In the pool? Get fins and do laps kicking. With an upset shoulder, holding a kickboard might be hard, so try kicking on your back with only your good arm extended above your head. That’s how I do it when my shoulder gets cranky. If you have a snorkel, you can do a similar thing on your stomach, but I like back better.

              1. Swimmer*

                I’d also suggest watching you tube videos made by usa swimming to help you work on your form, so you don’t tired out as quickly.

                Also, are you holding your breath while you swim? Make sure you’re not holding your breath, but rather inhaling and then exhaling while under water, then inhale again, etc.

                Swimming is THE BEST!

      2. The New Wanderer*

        It definitely took me a while to develop stamina while swimming. I have lousy cardio-vascular fitness in general even when I’m in good running shape, and that’s the first thing to go on me when I stop exercising. So for me, I was having to stop to catch my breath after every lap. But take it slow and steady. Personally I love breaststroke the most because I have the easiest time breathing so I was able to build up to multiple continuous laps of that while every lap of freestyle still had me out of breath. But I alternated 2 laps breaststroke, 1 freestyle until I built up stamina to do more than 1 lap of freestyle in a row. I was able to get both going well after weeks of training (1-2x swimming per week, roughly 30 min per session).

    2. nep*

      In a break between ‘walkouts’ right now. Today’s workout is on a mat in a small space at home. Kettlebells, dumbbells, and bodyweight. Must stretch well afterwards, as I’ve lost some mobility and flexibility for yoga poses I used to nail.

    3. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      I’d like to get back into distance running once the weather gets better (currently in the snowy midwest) but to prepare for that I’ve been focusing on toning/maintaining muscle in the gym. I created a workout plan this week that I hope I can stick to! Involving cardio to start (elliptical/biking/treadmill, depending on what’s available) and then rotations between legs/core/upper body. I don’t have much by way of accountability though, so figured I’d just share here.

      1. esemes*

        This week I completed two yoga classes, a spin class, a HIIT workout (a friend and I used her Peloton account), and a brief weight training video (FitnessBlender).

        I’ve noticed that I haven’t been walking as much, and want to make a point to do more of that in the coming week.

    4. annakarina1*

      My Muay Thai gym got destroyed in a building fire last week, which sucks for the staff and the local community of martial artists and casual practitioners like me. They’re currently looking for a temporary space while rebuilding the gym, so in the meantime, I got an intro deal at another boxing gym so I don’t get rusty, and spent my nights this week working out after work. Lifting weights at home, taking a dance class and being really rusty after not having taken a class in a year, and doing yoga. So just basically kept up my fitness to be healthy and as a release after work.

    5. Dancing Otter*

      Trying to get back into the shoulder exercises my physical therapist taught me for my rotator cuff several years ago. I slacked off – it didn’t hurt any more – and now BOTH shoulders hurt. Plus, reduced range of motion. Bleah…..
      The exercises used to be easy, when I did them three times a week as I was told. Not so much, now.

      1. Stephanie*

        Ease into those exercises, so you don’t hurt yourself. Range of motion takes a little while to get back. Good luck!

      2. Fikly*

        If it’s been several years, it may well be worth going to one session just to make sure you remember how to do them correctly. It’s important both for them to be effective, and to not cause harm!

        My physical therapist will video me on my phone doing some so I can have a good point of reference, and I find it super helpful.

    6. Overeducated*

      I’m slowly returning to running after some postpartum pelvic issues. I made it 3 slow miles today and I’m proud.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        Congratulations! Getting back to running after having a baby was really tough, I remember being so happy when I finally could do 3 miles again. :-)

        Speaking of, I just am now getting back to running 3 miles after weeks of mostly slacking off on exercise. It still makes me happy. I want to do the Yoga with Adrienne month long session but so far have done 1. It felt good though, I really need to make the time because I was so tight at first!

      2. Double A*

        I’m in this same boat! I’ve did some short runs off and on the first year after my baby was born, but the incontinence was real, y’all. I had to abort a couple of runs because I just fully peed myself and couldn’t stop.

        2019 was also rough in a lot of ways so it was hard to be consistent, and I’ve resolved to get into a routine in 2020 now that things are a bit more regular. Just today I bought a new pair of running shoes and ran 4.5 miles, my longest since giving birth! And my daughter is 15 months….

    7. cat socks*

      I’m 42 and I’ve spent most of my life unsuccessfully trying to get into a regular exercise program. In my teens and 20s I could what I wanted and not worry about gaining weight. But with a desk job, thyroid issues and just getting older it’s caught up to me.

      I just want to focus on my cardiovascular health and strength rather than trying to lose weight so I’ve been doing exercise videos online. Last week I worked out twice and I need to get in a workout today to make it twice this week. I’m hoping to increase it to three times a week. Baby steps.

      Another fun thing is that after I exercise, my skin gets incredibly red and itchy and I break out in hives. It seems to be some kind of allergic reaction so I’m going to try taking an allergy pill before exercising to see if that helps. It makes it hard for me to get motivated to work out knowing I’m going to feel miserable afterwards, but I’m trying to power through.

      1. Sunflower Sea Star*

        In my mid 40s with a very similar story. Allergy pills didn’t help me, and every doctor I’ve talked about it thinks I’m joking when say I think I’m having an allergic reaction to exercise. I can’t exercise in the mornings because I can’t go to work looking like that (I work client facing!) and forget lunch hour for the same reason. If I exercise after 6-7 pm the itching keeps me awake.
        It’s so frustrating.

        1. Ktelzbeth*

          Allergy to exercise is absolutely a thing, either a reaction to the heat generated by exercise (which isn’t a true IgE mediated allergy) or an IgE mediated allergy that can progress to anaphylaxis. I’m sorry all your doctors have thought you were crazy. If you’re still looking, you’re best bet may be an allergist.

    8. pugs 4 all*

      In month 3 of OrangeTheory and still loving it! I go 2x a week.

      After 2 falls in the past 5 years that resulted in broken bones and surgery, I’ve resolved that I need to do weight training for bone strength. I’ve always been a runner and would happily run 10 miles instead of picking up some weights. But after the most recent surgery this summer I decided to try OT as the least painful way to get weights into my exercise plan, and I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoy the classes.

    9. mindovermoneychick*

      I’ve been doing OrangeTheory for a year and I LOVE it. But I’ve gotten a few repetitive motion injuries (tennis elbow from the rower and a hamstring strain from inclines on the tread) and my doctor says to take 3 months off.

      I struggle because I would love to do it 4-5 days a week. I work from home and a 3:30 pm workout helps me structure my day and give me renewed energy for my evening clients. But like everyone else I hit a lull at 3:30 and it it weren’t for the accountability of signing up, I just won’t work out at that time. OTF had been a lifesaver for helping me deal with ebbs and flows in my energy level and get more work done. But I think I have to admit going that often probably won’t work long term.

      So now my challenge is build a habit of doing something low-key at 3:00 every day in the time frame while I’m out for the next 3 months and then going back to OTF 2-3 days a week interspersed with whatever low key exercise I come up with.

      1. Not a cat*

        I love weights (kettlebell). I can’t do them now. I need a heart valve replacement so I have to take it easy. After a kettlebell workout, I used to feel like a superhero!

    10. Achoo*

      I’m three weeks into Burn Body Boot Camp and…I still like it? I’m surprised because I really don’t enjoy exercising, but quick intervals seem to be working for me.

    11. Redux*

      Ok, y’all I’m going to try to go to the gym BEFORE work. For those of you who do this successfully, what are your actual morning routines? Hiccups include (1) I take a morning med that requires an empty stomach for an hour after taking the med, (2) I need to wash and dry my hair, (3) I commute by car 45m-1hr. Upsides include (a) husband manages the children in the morning, (b) i can go to to a gym a 10 minutes from my house on the direct route, or 10 minutes from my job (though the 10 minutes is out of the way, so adds 20 min to my commute).

      1. Exercise Junkie*

        I think your morning routine is less important than your routine the night before. If you are someone who stays up really late and struggles to get up to go to work in the morning, you’re not going to be successful trying to get up earlier and go to the gym.

      2. LizB*

        I agree with Exercise Junkie that the night before routine is 90% of the battle. My pre-work-gym-prep routine and some disjointed thoughts follow:

        Night before: pack breakfast and lunch, set out my workout clothes, pack my office clothes & toiletries bag, make sure my work bag is ready to go

        Morning: wake up, roll out of bed and put on workout clothes, brush teeth and eat a handful of granola, take meds, grab all my stuff and get my butt out the door before I have any time to feel tired or get stuck puttering around the house. commute 20mins to the gym (literally in the same building as my work), work out, shower and get dressed at the gym, go to work with slightly wet hair (although they do have hair dryers so if I blow-dried I could do that in the locker room) and eat breakfast at my desk while booting up and checking email.

        For you, will your commute still be 45m-1hr if you’re going earlier in the morning? Or is that what it’s like in traffic? I think if it’ll still be that long, you could take your med immediately on waking up and pack a snack you can quickly eat when you actually get to the gym an hour-ish later. If it’ll be shorter, can you eat a tiny snack before leaving home, take the med just before leaving, then by the time your workout is done it’ll have been an hour and you can eat? Or you might be someone who can successfully work out on an empty stomach, which would make life easier.

        My gym provides towels as part of my membership, some gyms will have towel service for a small monthly fee. For me, if it wasn’t provided, it would be totally worth it to pay the fee so I avoid having to carry around a damp towel all day. It’s not currently worth it to me to rent a locker so I can keep stuff there overnight, but I have done so in the past, and kept my running shoes, shower flip-flops, toiletries, water bottle, and spare undies in it. (Nothing worse than working out, showering, then having to either get back into sweaty underwear or go commando.)

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Moping because my ear infection is gone but left me with serious tinnitu, vertigo, and stuffed-head hearing problems. ENT appointment for midweek…the first thing they always ask is about swimming, so I’m continuing to skip that. I’m far too tippy to want to bike or even walk on my neighborhood’s narrow roads. And that stinks because those are pretty much it for exercise I enjoy.

    13. Nessun*

      Working with my trainer on a supplemental program for upping my endurance, I supported my lifting. We agree that I need to do the cardio, and we’re trying to find a way to make it something I can look forward to, instead of something I loathe. End goal is 300 lbs deadlift by the end of the year!

      I’m trying to also figure out my emotional eating as a foray into better nutrition, so that’s a second component. It all links together.

    14. NewReadingGlasses*

      Wellll, I’ve started running. Yay! But I need something that’s like a sport bra for my midsection. Is there such a thing? I’ve tried a stretchy tank top under my tee, and it’s not enough.

    15. Doctor is In*

      Started weight training again a month ago. Working with an excellent trainer weekly. She emphasizes proper form. That has me motivated to bump up the cardio in between strength sessions.

    16. Anon Here*

      I’m doing gig economy grocery shopping as a workout and source of extra income. Instead of paying for a gym membership, I’m getting paid to push a shopping cart and haul bags. Bonus: the faster I move, the more $ per hour it comes out to, so I’m literally getting paid to intensify my workout.

      I’m also looking for at-home exercises that I can make a part of my daily routine. My goal is to slim down a bit, but in a healthy way, through exercise. I specifically want to shed some fat from my hips, thighs, and upper arms. I want a more toned appearance.

    17. Kiwi with laser beams*

      I got back into my training to walk a half marathon (last weekend I was recovering from a spinal tap and the weekend before that I was moving). Between that and the fact that it’s the hottest time of year, it was brutal.

  3. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    Still my fanfic for me. I’m pretty good at doing individual scenes for it, now I just need to fit them together into a comprehensible story…

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      I have really been off my writing game the past few months. There’s just been too much going on. But I started working on my zine again, and I’m working a binging guide to ST:TNG, which means I’ll have to do a bit of research. I’ve got a couple of sci-fi stories I’ve been pushing around, and I’m really looking forward to getting those back on track in the next week or two. I’m hoping that writing a bit of non-fiction about sci-fi will help prime that pump.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Marketing and more marketing. -_-
      I made a website for my imprint so I could snag the domain name before someone snapped it up for something gross. Twitter too, and a gmail address. I’ve been setting up the site all day.

      Now that Tunerville is out, that puts pressure on me to revise the sequel. People have already asked for it.

    3. 404UsernameNotFound*

      Kind of crummy if I’m honest. I need to write something FAST for this month’s short story challenge I’m a regular of, plus all my WIPs lying around (one of which has been published but abandoned, oops…). Having said that, I’m still writing every day, even if today it was literally two sentences.

    4. Kalico*

      Up to 25,000 words on my novel (this is a first draft, though, so much of that will probably end up getting tossed). Just had a virtual write-in with the people I met through the writing course I took at the end of last year. Only got 190 words today.

  4. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week.
    I really should be continuing Steins;Gate, but instead I found myself returning to Graveyard Keeper. I just learned how to make wine, so clearly I am now unstoppable.
    Now if only I could figure out how to advance some quests.

    1. Paladin*

      Moonlighter – zelda-style dungeons where you go to collect artifacts and sell them in your shop. It’s pretty great.

    2. OTGW*

      It’s been like 2 weeks, but I’m still thinking about AC: Odyssey. I love the atmosphere. I should try to play a little more before I have to return it to the library.

    3. Keymaster of Gozer*

      I really need to stop playing Saints Row 4 for the hundredth time, but it’s just so silly!

      Mostly replaying Dragon Age:Origins (romancing Alastair) or Dragon Age:Inquisition (romancing Cullen). Should boot up Fallout 4 again to get more material for my Deacon and Nick Valentine fanfics too. The community on AO3 want me to actually finish some of my works…. (shameface)

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Star Wars Clone Wars, the lego game. I’ve finished the story, but have to go back and get all the minikits. Not today though, have stuff to get done.

    5. Nessun*

      Enjoying Lunar New Year in Tytia while I wait for the Icwbrood Saga to drop on Tuesday! Guild Wars 2 is still my favorite way to spend down time – so many achievements, so much fashion wars!

    6. DarthVelma*

      It’s been all tabletop this week. Early in the week the big scary monsters were kicking our butts in Eldritch Horror and Aeon’s End, but we got even last night. We’re on a bit of a win streak. Won at Eldritch Horror and Aeon’s End last night. Two wins in a row for April and May on Pandemic Legacy earlier today.

      Next up is probably a little Destiny 2 just to break things up a bit. But tomorrow looks like more Pandemic and maybe finally starting the second season of Arkham Horror. Just gotta finish putting together the decks for it.

    7. Gatomon*

      Red Dead Redemption 2. It finally consumed the last bit of space on my PS4’s drive, so I swapped it for a 1TB SSD. What a difference that has made in both load times and performance! And I should have plenty of space for additional games. I know the PS5 is due out this year, but there’s still a ton of PS4 games I didn’t have time for while in school.

    8. 404UsernameNotFound*

      Terraria and Project Highrise. Funnily enough, despite my initial plans to have all my Terraria villagers in the same place, they’re not turning into the same game like I thought they would. I’m evidently much better at building when I turn “smart control” off, so instead I’ve got some cute little cottages for my demolitionist, dyer and merchant (so far) to live in. Albeit pretty empty cottages since I’m not quite far enough in the game to have gathered any fancy materials…

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Guild Wars 2 … I unlocked my springer. But I’m having more fun with my lower level character– norms are just so over the top boastful, and it’s turned out to be fun to play something so different from myself.

    10. Minocho*

      Pathfinder 2 (ttop rpg) for eight hours. We quit as we were preparing to be ambushed by a tribe of gnolls!

  5. New hobby*

    Has anyone started a new hobby recently and enjoyed it? I’m on the lookout for one that doesn’t require too much stuff. I thought crocheting could by my next thing last year but nope. It wasn’t all that enjoyable. But I liked that all you needed was a hook and yarn and it was something you did with your hands. Any suggestions?

    1. Reader in ND*

      Glass etching requires etching paste and gloves for the most part. You can make designs on your drinking glasses, etc. Paint pours require paints, canvases, some supplies to make the paint runnier and a box lid lined with plastic is great to collect the paint that pours off the canvas. There’s all kinds of paint techniques on the internet. Jewelry making is fun but it requires wire, beads, jump rings, clasps and a tool to crimp beads shut if you’re leaving extra space between each bead and want them to stay put. If your pieces are totally strung with beads you won’t need the beads you crimp and the crimping tool, which is like a needle nosed plier. You might also prefer a loom type yarn art if you didn’t enjoy the crochet hook.

    2. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Going to my first spinning and weaving class soon to see if I like it!

      I picked up cross stitching years ago when I quit smoking and needed something to occupy my hands while watching TV. I’ve got a little kit that’s essentially a colouring-in pattern that travels with me since it doesn’t require much.

      1. Pippa K*

        I started weaving last year, after completely failing to learn to crochet (everything I crochet comes out as dense as Kevlar, which I suppose could lead to a side-hustle in artisanal hand-made police equipment, but it’s not for me.) Turns out weaving is the textile-related hobby for me! Creative yet highly structured, and a range from completely simple to extremely complex. Unfortunately it doesn’t meet the OP’s criterion of not requiring much equipment, but I’d otherwise recommend it to lots of people.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Query: can you start out with this just using a fountain pen? I’m a bit of a collector of such pens.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Sure, there are even calligraphic felt-tipped markers. If you have wedge-tipped pen already, all you really need to add is good paper and a way to draw your lines. The hardest part for me is having no patience to draw lines at the spacing that matches my nibs. As a result, I’m only a dabbler — one easily obtained resource is Medieval Calligraphy, Its History and Technique, by Marc Drogin.
          (Side note: Untapped marketing opportunity: selling nibs & lightly-lined paper next to each other, marked to show which nib & line-spacing go together.)
          If you prefer fine-tipped pens, look for penmanship styles — Palmer Method is the one that comes to mind because my mother was trained on it. Materials are easily available online, and I am fascinated by the original 1890s manual on the Library of Congress website. (Wikipedia’s Palmer Method page has a direct link.)

        2. Lady Alys*

          Yes – a Lamy Joy with a 1.1, 1.5, or 1.9 mm stub nib with a packet of cartridges costs around US$25 on Amazon right now (or you can simply buy the nib and put it in a Safari or AL-Star that you already have on hand). Other brands have some nib-swapping options as well – TWSBI, Pilot Vanishing Point, Franklin-Christoph (I think…).

    3. Salymander*

      Knitting! I loathe crocheting, but I am a near-obsessive knitter. Maybe you would be, too?

      Baking bread doesn’t require a lot of stuff, especially if you knead by hand instead of with a mixer. That way, your delicious warm bread comes with a bonus arm workout :)

    4. Purt’s Peas*

      Needle felting! You jab loose wool (wool roving) with a barbed needle until it turns into felt, and you can make little creatures very easily.

      Highly recommend this, you can pick up beginner kits that will have you
      making something cute quite fast. It requires some concentration—you don’t want to jab yourself—but is doable.

      In one weekend I made a little fox from a kit and a little alligator not from a kit—the first two projects I did.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        You can also make wall art too – I needle-felted some flowers onto cross stitch canvas and then framed it. Very basic but there are some amazing ideas online. Definitely recommend a starter kit because you need the pokey needle thing (and spares) as well as the foam cushion for under the felt!

      2. Sprechen Sie Talk?*

        Seconding needle felting – I can pick it up or put it away as I feel like it and yet its fun to do and easy to make something cute. Low investment in cash and space for storage.

    5. Three owls in a trench coat*

      Not a new hobby but I really enjoy origami. All you need is some paper and maybe some glue depending on what you want to make. When I’m feeling stressed I like to put on some music or a show in the background and just sit and fold for a while.

    6. Cartographical*

      Seconding knitting & bread making. If you pick a garment type to specialize in, with knitting, you really streamline your accessory requirements. Also, getting into live ferments doesn’t require too much equipment and it makes tasty things like sauerkraut. Combined with bread making, you get sourdough bread.

      Hand-sewn quilting and sashiko mending both can be started for pennies, literally. I find paper-piecing to be fun and relaxing when it comes to quilting, and it’s a great way to save cool fabric from men’s cotton shirts that have served their purpose. Mending techniques are decorative ways to upcycle or preserve favourite garments like jeans & jackets. Sashiko also is great for making reusable bags or sturdy furoshiki (methods of tying fabric into bags or carriers) wraps, I’ve also seen it used for pillow covers and table runners.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Obviously I am still ill and need to go back to bed. Three reads before I realized you didn’t say “getting into live ferrets.”

      2. Jennifer @unchartedworlds*

        Thanks for the mention of sashiko – hadn’t heard of that before and have just been looking at pix!

    7. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      I’m about to try fingerloop braiding. You don’t need any equipment, just some yarn or floss to braid and a doorknob or chair to hook it on.

      1. The Bookwyrm's Lair*

        I used to do that in high school and college. I just pinned the knot to my jeans with a safety pin. :) also, you can loop around your big toe if you’re sitting with your legs in front of you.

    8. Book Lover*

      Cross stitching is easy and you can buy a kit that has everything you need, though a hoop or q snap are a good addition. I can carry everything I need for a small project in a small bag that I put in my handbag.

      1. Fikly*

        Seconding this.

        You need very little to start, and all you need to know is how to make an x.

        Warning: it can be addicting.

      2. Sleve McDichael*

        Also long stitching is similar to cross stitch but the resulting art has a different aesthetic that you might like. I like both.

    9. DarthVelma*

      The partner’s aunt got us a Porthole infuser for xmas and I’ve been having a blast with it. So far I’ve made apricot rum and jalapeno tequila and they’ve both been awesome. The tequila made excellent margaritas. :-) If I can find passionfruit, next up I’m going to try making my own passionfruit syrup for use in hurricanes. I’m also considering a mix of raspberries and rose petals in vodka.

      The Porthole is kind of expensive, but not actually necessary. You can infuse in jars instead. And while I have a couple of books I’ve been getting ideas from, there’s plenty of free recipes and hints online.

    10. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

      This is basic but I recently caught onto baking and some cooking new recipes. I think part of it is due to the fact I have my own kitchen for once, and it’s cold so I don’t want to go out on my weekends. Baking while watching a film or listening to a podcast is how I pass the time now. I’ve also re-introduced painting into my life since I became an adult.

    11. Aurora Leigh*

      I have been crafting with sola wood flowers in preparation for my May wedding and it’s so fun to tap into my creative side again! Wouldn’t have to take up much space depending on supplies you are using.

    12. D.W.*

      I just started bread baking. After 10 test sandwich loaves I have found the one our family likes and I have made 4 artisan loaves with fruit and nut add-ins. So much to learn! So many challenges! And I’m enjoying every minute.

    13. All Hail Queen Sally*

      Sashiko (Japanese embroidery) is fairly easy. It uses large thread and a needle the size of a harpoon to make large running stitches. You can do either outline designs or Boro, a style of Visible Mending where you just make parallel lines of stitching. I have been teaching this at my local university for several years and my classes are always full. It is really popular now and is all over Instagram and Facebook.

  6. Hello It’s Me*

    I had a panic attack last week. Unfortunately, my friend was there and I think it traumatized him. I know it did. He told me. And I think at the time it added to the stress that I was already feeling to feel like I had to take care of him. Take care of him! During my panic attack!

    I think from my perspective, panic attacks aren’t scary. I know that they’re happening, and it’s kind of like my brain just runs out of processing power and shuts down. You deal with it by just letting it happen. It’s like a subconscious overwhelm.

    Anyway I don’t know if I should say something to him about it. I apologized and he thought that was crazy for me to do.

    He also said that he was glad that I was feeling better because otherwise he would’ve just gone crazy! Again I feel like just making it about him! Is this normal? I just don’t feel like if I saw somebody having a panic attack my priority would be to make sure I feel better about it.

    I talked to a counselor about what to say to him and even she had a really warped view of it. She asked me if I “take something for my panic attacks”. I just felt so weird about that question. No I don’t “take something” for it! What kind of question is that? It’s not a disease! It happens like once a year because of a very specific reason of sensory processing overload. I even told her it only happened because I was at a convention where there were literally 100 different LOUD sounds and lights every direction for four days. On top of that, I had no days off for two weeks!

    I just feel like the whole mental health system is kind of screwy if I bring up a panic attack and the first thing I’m asked is what I take for it. Then she asked me if I needed to go to the hospital! Dghbrdjrdhdwbt. If I wasn’t already educated on this, I feel like her comments would have given me mental health issues!

    Honestly most people have the same reaction for any emotion, not just anxiety, although I do think that anxiety gets the worst rap. I was reading this book on mourning and the author was saying that, in her case, her husband died in a freak accident, and because she wasn’t just totally over it in a few months, the DSM said she officially had a disorder.

    Anyway, I didn’t mean to go on such a big tangent when the real question was just how do I bring this up with my friend when I have basically the entire fabric of society working against me?

    1. Washi*

      I think you’re really underestimating how stressful a panic attack can be for the bystander. I’ve had panic attacks in front of my husband and two close friends, and all three found it really scary and painful to see me so distressed and not know what to do or how not to make it worse. I didn’t understand at first either, but after having more full conversations with them about it, I can absolutely see how it could be traumatizing under certain circumstances.

      I don’t really think it’s fair to say that him expressing his relief that you were feeling better was making it all about him. In the moment of a panic attack and the immediate aftermath, I have to focus on myself, but once I’ve returned to equilibrium, I want to check in with my husband/friends to see how they are doing. Their feelings are not more important than mine, but they’re not less important either. I want to take care of them just as much as they take care of me, and part of that is acknowledging how my mental health impacts them too.

      I mean, I don’t know what tone your friend used in saying all this to you, maybe he was really insensitive. But I just want to bring up another perspective. I think I would be less close to my friends if they felt like they couldn’t be honest with me about stuff like this.

    2. coffee cup*

      I don’t feel it’s unreasonable for your friend to be worried about you and be glad you are OK and he didn’t have to worry even more. It sounds like he might be prone to anxiety, too. Surely he can tell you that, if it’s affecting him? If he didn’t know how to react when you were experiencing a panic attack, could you explain this to him for next time if it happens? Tell him that it’s fine, you have it under control and he doesn’t need to worry, just do X, Y and Z (if appropriate).

      I also think it’s reasonable for a counsellor to ask you that question. She doesn’t know unless she asks, right? She wanted to know if there’s something you’re doing or not doing regarding that.

      I have anxiety quite a bit and to me it isn’t an emotion, it’s a health issue I have to handle in a certain way. I don’t expect others to know how to deal with it. Try talking to your friend about it and giving him more info, and it might help.

    3. Myrin*

      Oh my, what a crappy situation – I’m sorry your friend as well as your counselor made you feel like this.

      I’m flabbergasted by the idea of taking something against panic attacks! I mean, I assume there are cases where there is some sort of chemical imbalance (like hormones or similar) causing the attacks where it might make sense to supplement in some way, but in general, I’m not a fan.
      (My background: My sister has PTSD and has been dealing with panic attacks for many years now. She underwent inpatient treatment four years ago and it, as well as the subsequent, years-long therapy really helped her in dealing with these attacks. They’re still horrible to witness, but thankfully we learned about them as a family and now both her and us know how to react and what to do. They’re still scary, but a lot more manageable than when they were out of control.)

      In any case, regarding your actual question:
      Firstly: What kind of friend is this? As in, how close are you? I’d speak differently to my best-friend-for-the-last-twenty-years compared to my friend-I-like-and-hang-out-with-from-time-to-time.
      And secondly: Did you get the feeling that he was really, truly expecting you to comfort him? Or could the “you traumatised me” and the “I’d have gone crazy if you didn’t feel better by now” have been more like… hm, verbal fillers, I guess? As in, he wanted to say something to express his unease and this was a scary and unusual experience for him which he doesn’t seem to have any knowledge about, so he just wanted to say something to acknowledge how horrifying this was to him (and, by extension and his expectation, for you, even if you yourself didn’t actually feel that way)?

      I’m asking because I think it’s very different if someone just words something clumsily and inadvertently manages to hit a nerve vs. if they actually, in all earnesty expect you to place their feelings above your own in a situation where you are the one who is undoubtedly more affected. And depending on what’s the answer to this question, I’d suggest different approaches in bringing it up.

      1. Hello It’s Me*

        I guess I didn’t really think about it from his perspective. I guess I just felt like thinking about his feelings was just absolutely impossible for me and made me even more upset because I couldn’t process that on top of everything else. So I guess I felt like him sharing that with me was really selfish when it clearly made my experience worse.

        We are basically best friends and we’ve known each other for 12 years. He seen me cry before but I don’t think he’s ever been traumatized from it. I don’t really know how to bring it up because I didn’t realize that it was scary for him. From my perspective, it just feels like a loss of control. Internally I’m calm because I know that I’m OK and it’ll pass. I know that most people don’t feel that way usually when they have a panic attack and panicking about your panic attack can actually cause panic attacks. So I know that it’s a unique perspective.

        1. Disco Janet*

          I have panic attacks occasionally, and I was struck by you labeling him as “selfish” for him to share his feelings with you. He’s not doing it to make you feel worse – I understand that was the impact, but it almost certainly wasn’t his intention. The expectations you’re setting for his behavior/thought process versus your own seems hypocritical. You admit that you hadn’t thought about how the panic attack might have made him feel – you were just focused on yourself. He’s thinking about how both you and he feel…and that’s selfish?

        2. I'm just here for the cats*

          You definitely need to have a conversation with him. I am a bit confused. Did he say these things at the time you were having a panic attack or was it after you calmed down. If he’s wanting you to comfort him while your having the attack I think that’s kind of shitty. That’s like having seen a car accident and wanting the person in the car to apologize. However if he expressed this later, he may just be trying to convey what he was feeling at the time and was concerned for you. He might want to know what to do next time but not sure how to ask yiu. Either way I think you should talk to him and tell him what he can do if your in that situation again. Good luck

        3. Minocho*

          While you’re having a panic attack, you probably don’t have the bandwidth to also handle bystander and friend worries. That’s really to be expected, I think. I had a friend whose first panic attack terrified both her and her husband, because neither knew what was going on.

          All I could suggest is if you realize you are heading into a situation that might trigger an attack, it might be worth telling any trusted person you are with about them – maybe what might trigger them and what they could look for to help you / avoid prolonging it?

          I tend to freeze when I”m taken by surprise by a situation, but with a little mental preparedness, I can react well to situations. Maybe your friend is like that as well.

      2. Close Bracket*

        Are you flabbergasted by taking medicine in general? Or is it just panic attacks that you don’t feel should be treated? I absolutely take something for panic attacks, and I would find a new doctor if they wouldn’t refill my prescription.

    4. Koala dreams*

      I do think that panic attacks are symptoms of illness, and that’s a common view, so that part is not strange. It’s quite normal for people to ask if you feel better when you have been ill, and be happy / relieved when you do feel better (or never was ill in the first place, if that’s what happened). It’s weird for the counselor to ask if you have taken anything against it, since many doctors won’t prescribe medicine for panic attacks, and it’s not like you can just go to the pharmacy and buy something (like cough drops? panic attack drops???). Sadly a lot of people are just not knowledgable about mental health issues.

      If you want to, you can bring up the panic attack with your friend and tell him that you personally don’t consider them an illness, that they aren’t dangerous and that you won’t need him to do anything (or whatever is true for you). Otherwise, it’s fine to just let it go.

      1. Koala dreams*

        I see I missed that the comments your friend made during your panic attack made you uncomfortable. I think it’s fine to bring it up later, and tell him that you don’t appreciate that kind of comments when you have a panic attack, and if he wants to discuss his mental health it must wait for a more suitable time, because you can’t do that while having a panic attack. Since he’s a good friend, he’ll probably understand.

      2. Courageous cat*

        This thread is making me feel like I’ve lost an entire satchet of marbles. Many doctors won’t prescribe medicine for panic attacks? Since when?

        Y’all (everyone on this thread) panic attacks can be d e b i l i t a t i n g and for people who have panic disorder, benzodiazepines are the gold standard *and* frequently prescribed for that reason. It is ok to take something, sometimes you HAVE to take something, medicine is not inherently evil, etc etc.

        1. Koala dreams*

          I’m also feeling confused. We apparently go to very different doctors. I’m sorry that this thread somehow have become an medicine discussion instead of keeping to the original topic.

          1. BB*

            I would suggest you go to a new doctor if they haven’t heard of medication for a panic disorder. It’s ok to not take them but doctors should be versed in their existence and should tell you.

    5. Keymaster of Gozer*

      Husband unit has seen me have both panic attacks and grand mal seizures and the first time he saw either it took him days to calm down because he honestly thought he was watching me die. I’d never had either before (the epilepsy developed in my 30s and is now controlled).

      I knew I was ok after because hey, I’m awake, I’m fine! But oh boy he wasn’t.

      He now knows what is causing those reactions and how he’s supposed to act. He needed that information to stay calm and neither of us had it. Now he knows how I want him to act during a panic attack (get me somewhere quieter, divert my mind by talking about x,y,z) or during a seizure.

      Once he got that knowledge he was fine. And by extension so was I because I know if it happens again near him again I’m not going to have to deal with his stress on top of my own.

    6. ThatGirl*

      You can take medication to ward off panic attacks before they get bad. That is a real thing. I realize that you may not want to, especially if they are infrequent and easy to avoid most of the time. But asking if you have medication available for it is not a weird question imho.

      1. mreasy*

        I have panic disorder and rather than have 5-10 panic attacks a month, am able to stave off the worst bits with a medication taken at the right time. It’s pretty common to use something if you have them often, which may have been what prompted the question.

        1. Hello It’s Me*

          What kind of medicine? I told the counselor that It was only because of a specific thing that happened. I don’t remember the last time I had a panic attack. Maybe one time two years ago? I mean I told her that. I just feel like it would be weird to carry around some medicine for something that might happen to me again in a year.

          1. Gratis*

            Beta blockers are pretty commonly prescribed for panic attacks. I’ve had them for years, and I rarely actually have panic attacks these days but I’d still rather have the medication to hand to ward off the worst, since I can.

            So I think it was pretty normal and reasonable for the therapist to ask the question.

          2. Close Bracket*

            Xanax, ativan, that class of drugs, are also prescribed. They are addictive, so you do have to watch your intake, though.

      2. Ra94*

        Yeah, this doesn’t seem a weird question at all to me. A friend started having regular panic attacks and was prescribed beta blockers, which stopped them instantly.

        1. Hello It’s Me*

          Wait a second wait a second. Why do I want to stop it? I don’t need to stop it. The only problem was that my friend was uncomfortable. The panic attack helped me. It got rid of whatever I was feeling and I was fine. I don’t know how I got down this rabbit hole.

          1. Lehigh*

            I think this is the crux of the disconnect. Most people see and experience panic attacks as maladaptive. You see them as a normal, healthy part of your psyche.

            I do wonder why your friend is not allowed to be distressed about his experience. It is not apparently stressful for you, but it was for him. His feelings are valid, aren’t they?

            1. Not So NewReader*

              Yeah, I am not sure I am following along that well either. The only thing I can think of is the need to console by-standers. Then, don’t console them?- I guess that is where I go to. It’s up to them to console themselves??

              I do think we have some responsibility to those helping us to try to work with them. But that is not the same as consoling them. And there are times where we are not able to participate in our own care, too.

              I remember when we fell off the motorcycle at 60 mph. I never lost consciousness but my husband did. Our friend was riding behind us and he stopped, jumped off his bike and started helping us. I did feel a duty to remain as calm as possible so our friend could help us. So while I was shaking and crying, I tried to think of things to do to get us some help and get us out of that situation. Because I was still conscious I could participate in my care (rescue, actually) and my husband’s care, but my husband was non-responsive and he was not able to contribute. I did console my husband once he became alert as he was clearly more injured than I was.

              Our friend was extremely shook which I think is a normal response given the situation. We did thank him profusely for helping us. He checked on the husband every day for a month, I think that was his way of consoling himself. (My husband was out of work for two months with the injuries. At week #4 he was way better.)

              Just my thought that a person can get very stressed by an accident/incident but it is not up to the patient to console this person.

            2. AnonEMoose*

              His feelings are valid…expressing them while the OP was mid-panic attack…was not great. At that point, I think his distress needed to take a back seat. And later, after the OP had recovered, it would be fine to say “Hey, watching you go through that was really scary/stressful/upsetting for me. If it happens again when we’re together, is there a specific thing I should do or not do to help you?”

              1. Disco Janet*

                Where are you seeing that this was during the panic attack? I’m reading it as a conversation they had after the fact.

                1. Hello It’s Me*

                  It was during the panic attack that he told me that I was traumatizing him.

                  My question is how to talk to him about it now to make him feel better about it.

                  I am absolutely aghast at the comments that told me I am selfish for not thinking about his feelings during my panic attack.

                  I could not have done a simple math problem let alone comfort my friend during my panic attack.

                2. AnonEMoose*

                  So, for what it’s worth, I don’t think it’s your responsibility to “make him feel better about it.” I get it, you feel bad that your panic attack scared him. And you two should definitely talk about that…if you spend significant time together, it might be good for him to know that this is a thing that happens, this is what might trigger it, and here’s what he can do that would help if that happens.

                  I may be phrasing this badly. But I have a couple of good friends who deal with different forms of mental illness, and I consider that part of the “price of admission” to that relationship. (To be clear, any relationship has a “price of admission.” Everyone has their deal breakers…things that people who want to be friends or romantic partners have to accept if they want to be with that person.)

                  I can’t be friends with them if I’m not able/willing to accept that their mental illness, or their chronic illness, or their allergies, or whatever else, is a thing. That doesn’t mean I’m ok with them treating me badly because of it. But I listen when they tell me something is triggering to them, and I ask if there is something I can do if they’re having difficulty when we’re together (not when they’re actually having a panic attack or something, but at another time).

                  And yes, I’ll admit – LATER – if something was scary to me when they were experiencing a panic attack or dissociating. But I don’t expect them to comfort me…we talk about it, because I want to know they’re ok, and I want to know if I can do something better if it happens again. But my emotions aren’t theirs to manage, they’re mine.

          2. Cat*

            I think it’s totally cool not to want to take anything. People are just explaining why other people do and why the counselor might have asked. For a lot of people it doesn’t get rid of feelings – it risks you getting stuck in a panic cycle instead and meds can help break that.

          3. bunniferous*

            What is normal for you-because you understand it-is frightening for others who do NOT understand. Just tell your friend what you told us-you know what this is, you know what triggers it, you ride the wave, one and done.

            I have had exactly ONE panic attack in my entire life, I thought I was dying, but I was alone and did not have to manage the emotions of someone else. I agree that would make it way tougher. What I would do in future is if you think you are in a situation that could trigger it, just let whoever is around you know-and know not to freak out about it.

          4. Disco Janet*

            Yes, wait a second. Why do only your feelings matter? And if you were fine after, why is it you’re not willing to hear about what the experience was like for him?

            And he’s the selfish one here. Really. Wow. When you flat out say that something isn’t a problem at all if it helps you, despite the affect it has on others.

          5. Ra94*

            I’m a bit confused by your response! I wasn’t saying that you needed to take beta blockers or that you needed to stop your panic attacks (although the vast, vast majority of people who experience panic attacks wish they didn’t, so that wouldn’t be a weird assumption.) I was pointing out that asking whether someone takes medication for panic attacks is a very reasonable, valid, and normal question. I still don’t understand why you found it offensive or confusing.

            1. Courageous cat*

              I know, I am so deeply confused by this thread. Why are we demonizing medicine a little and normalizing the panic attack? Panic attacks are not technically a good and healthy thing. I’m confused why anyone would be offended by the suggestion of stopping them.

              Which leads me to believe I wonder if this is a panic attack in the technical sense of the term, or more just “a meltdown/flurry of worrying/etc” – a panic attack in the colloquial sense that some people use it.

              I have panic disorder and exactly no part of me would ever view a panic attack as something good that I’m ok with happening.

          6. Panic attacks suck*

            “the panic attack helped me” ok. this statement is foreign to me and my experience. When I get a panic attack, I have very real physical symptoms. Shortness of breath, pain in chest, rising panic like Oh, my GOD I am going to die! I can’t breath. Tears might be streaming down my face, I fear that I may vomit, I am nauseated , I may have cramps in my bowels, I will probably have diarrhea if this continues. I cannot speak. I cannot respond. Even writing this is causing some anxiety. If it gets this bad, one tiny Ativan an breathing exercises can short circuit this miserable experience.
            So yes, better living through chemistry.

            1. Hello It’s Me*

              Right so I don’t understand peoples comments saying how I am so selfish during my panic attack. Would do you have been able to be not-“selfish” during yours?

              In my experience, if you allow the panic attack to happen and you’re not afraid of it, it just happens. So instead of freaking out about it and throwing up and feeling like you’re going to die, you just let yourself have it. It’s scary to decide it’s OK to have a panic attack but actually the symptoms are a lot less scary that way.

              Anthony Padilla talked about this on his YouTube channel, he used to have panic attacks every single day until he leaned into it and decided that it was OK to have one and they went away.

              1. Panic attacks suck*

                But what is the bystander seeing? If any attention from me is needed, I respond , I can’t talk now. If your friend is freaking out it is okay to say, I need to focus on me right now. Your friends feelings are valid and you do not have to respond in the moment. They also have the right to say I am freaking out and you have the right to say I can’t help you. What seems odd to me is your declaration that he should know that you can’t help him.

                1. AnonEMoose*

                  It seems pretty basic to me to know that someone in the midst of a panic attack is not going to be able to help someone else. So I’m really giving OP’s friend some side-eye in this situation, but also willing to acknowledge that he possibly did react not knowing how to handle the situation better.

                  But that said, from where I sit, it’s not the OP’s responsibility to manage his emotions around this – he needs to do that. Which does not mean that his emotions aren’t valid or that he shouldn’t talk to the OP about what happened and what to do if there’s a next time…he just shouldn’t expect her to comfort him, and shouldn’t expect her to apologize for having a panic attack.

              2. Gaia*

                Most people cannot just “let it happen.” That’s great if you can, but you’re acting as if everyone should be fine with their brain and body physically and mentally freaking out. Many people find these events completely overwhelming and out of their control.

              3. Koala dreams*

                You seem to be getting a lot of people that don’t recognize your method for dealing with panic attacks, so I would like to add that your method, to just go through it and let it happen, is the only one I’ve heard of before now. I’ve never heard of medication against panic attacks before this thread! It seems very normal to me to try to remember that the panic attack isn’t dangerous and just let it run its course. As an aside, I also find it very unhelpful when counselors or therapist start to question my medication, no matter which medication, since they don’t write prescriptions and I need a doctor to change medication anyways.

                1. Cat*

                  They need to know what you’re taking if anything and how it’s working though. They’d be negligent if they ignored the effects that may or may not be having on your mental health. And then they can refer you to a psychiatrist if need be.

          7. ThatGirl*

            Most people do not want to have panic attacks. They’re usually a sign of disorder, not a normal and healthy reaction. I’ve had one, my heart was racing and I felt terrible. And mine wasn’t that bad. It makes me wonder if you’re truly having a panic attack.

          8. Close Bracket*

            I need to stop mine bc they are awful. If you are ok with that awfulness, then rock on with no medication. It’s your body, and you have the right to do or not do with it as you please. For me, not treating a panic attack would be like not taking headache medicine or cold medicine.

        1. blackcat*

          Yeah, Xanax and Ativan are commonly used for panic attacks. Relative to other benzos, they kick in quickly (which is why there’s just a risk of dependence).
          I react poorly to the entire benzo family, so I didn’t use them for panic attacks (haven’t had one in a decade, thank goodness), but plenty of people do! Neither approach–medicating or not–is strange to me.

      3. Panic attacks suck*

        So yes, I do have medication for panic attacks. I don’t take it all the time but have it on my person. I go years without taking any but just having it helps. And it does work.

      4. Plus Ultra*

        That’s how I use xanax. My anxiety is social anxiety so if I suspect a situation might trigger an attack, I take a half a xanax in advance. Seems pretty common.

    7. Hilda Minerich*

      Are you sure that what you are calling a panic attack is in fact a panic attack? There are, of course, a variety of symptoms, but I’m wondering if your episode was possibly related more to epilepsy or another condition related to overstimulation. You didn’t specify how you present when having one? For me, I get pale, usually have to control my breathing and often have to go to the bathroom to vomit. What exactly happened that you’re concerned he’d be traumatized by? Usually no one knows when I’m having one. That’s what makes me wonder if this is some other neurological condition.

      1. Hello It’s Me*

        That’s probably what would happen if I tried to repress it or thought it was scary or made it go away! I mean you don’t cry? That’s what I do. I have a little freak out.

        1. Lehigh*

          …I would never equate having a cry or a bit of a freak out with a panic attack. Maybe we are referring to different things?

          1. valentine*

            If what you felt is sensory overload and the crying/freakout (details would help, like if you were sobbing or otherwise vocal) is both the solution and what you’re calling a panic attack, I don’t think it is. Panic attacks are sometimes mistaken for heart attacks because the heart races so badly.

            Either way, you are right that your friend was out of line and I do lean toward it being part of his pattern of making things about him. Were there not a pattern, the most charitable interpretation is that was his way of saying he was concerned. What I don’t understand is this:
            My question is how to talk to him about it now to make him feel better about it.

            You know he should manage his own feelings and you don’t want to do it for him, especially when physically unable to. So why now? Let him sort himself. I thought you were going ask if fading the friendship was the way to go. I think so. What are you getting out of it? But you can sit down with him and tell him how/when this happens and give him a chance not to make hyperbolic, victim-blaming, narcissistic statements.

            Also, I think you’re extrapolating. One friend and one therapist respond incorrectly and you feel society’s against you.

        2. Ra94*

          I am not a doctor, so this is purely from my experience, but that really doesn’t sound like a panic attack, especially if it’s not scary. Do you get shortness of breath or feelings of doom? Because it seems more like just an emotionally overwhelmed cry.

          1. Courageous cat*

            Yeah. I think this is unusually dismissive attitude about medicine et al is all because this is not actually what a panic attack is.

        3. Gaia*

          “Have a little freak out” is not how anyone I know would describe a panic attack. I have one friend who can’t breathe properly when they hit. Her heart races and, without medication she’ll pass out.

    8. Fikly*

      I suspect a lot of your friend’s anxiety in the moment was around not knowing what to do, or how to help you.

      Now, the answer may be, not to do anything! Which is totally fine. But now that he has seen one, and presumably understands that this may happen again (even if they are rare), it would likely be helpful to him if you told him what the best thing he could do for you is during one, and right after. Because then he knows, and will likely be less anxious while you are having a panic attack, because indeed, they do look quite scary from the outside. He might have thought you were having a life threatening physical issue until you were able to tell him it was a panic attack.

    9. Gaia*

      Hmm I really take issue with you being so taken aback at the idea that the counselor would ask if you take anything for panic attacks. Many, many, many people – the majority – who experience clinical anxiety and panic attacks require medical intervention. It very much IS a disease. Insisting it isn’t for anyone further stigmatizes mental illness. Just because you manage without medication doesn’t mean it’s unreasonable to ask about.

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      About that question from your counselor… She may need to know whether you are self medicated with alcohol or unprescribed drugs.

    11. RagingADHD*

      Your friend should not have been unloading his feelings onto you in the middle of your episode. That was immature and insensitive.

      If you’re very close friends, talking to you *afterward* seems like a normal thing to do, and a way to (perhaps clumsily) show that he cares. You don’t need to do anything to make him feel better about it, but it would probably be helpful to you both if you told him more about your triggers, your general philosophy, and what is/isn’t helpful for him to do if you have another one.

      Your therapist is a health provider. You told her about an episode of symptoms. It’s completely normal and appropriate for her to ask if you take anything for those symptoms. It doesn’t mean you’re “supposed” to take meds. It’s just information.

      When I talk to my providers about a chronic-pain episode, for example, the first thing they ask is what type of meds or supplements I might take to manage it. That’s what health providers do.

      If you don’t view these moments of intense emotion as a problem or a symptom, it’s confusing to use the term “panic attack.” An attack of anything is generally a medical episode. Perhaps a term like “meltdown” might better convey the idea that for you, it’s an occasional non-emergency occurrence that’s part of your normal life.

      I can tell you feel very frustrated at not being understood or supported in the way you need. I’m sorry you’re dealing with that, and I hope you can connect with some helpful support soon.

      1. lasslisa*

        This seems like a key thing – I know for me when a counselor I otherwise like and trust has really overreacted to something I’ve said, it’s been a sign that something I’m saying has a meaning I’m not familiar with. Like the counselor thinks I’m saying I was literally scared for my life when the phrase was just an idiom to me (because I can’t imagine using it literally but the counselor knows some of their other patients would). Or I’m saying “OCD” when I mean “picky” and they take it literally and start asking about treatment history and then we both get really confused for a few minutes. That’s a fairly ordinary thing that happens with terms that have both a technical and an idiomatic use, and I think panic attack is one of those.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Hi. Person with OCD here. Possibly you’ve already learned this lesson, but I strongly encourage you not to continue using “OCD” when you mean “picky”, not just in a clinical setting where it obviously causes confusion as you experienced, but in general.
          While I know people misuse “OCD” to mean something much much more casual than it is, I’m not used to people using “panic attack” when they don’t mean an actual panic attack. “Panic” alone sure…but I think it’s generally harmful when people use terms that have real diagnostic meaning casually when they do not have the disorder being discussed. It may be common, but plenty of not great practices are common. At best, it’s confusing and at worst it’s dismissive and hurtful.

          1. Washi*

            I think lasslisa was giving an example of how you could use a term incorrectly and then think your counselor is overreacting because they interpret that term much more seriously.

    12. Ginger Sheep*

      I do not experience panic attacks, but had once a close friend of mine experience one in front of me. So I’m probably in a position to understand what your friend went through. Those things are ducking scary from the outside! Like really, really scary. I thought my friend was having a heart attack – called an ambulance for him, accompanied him to the hospital… (He had never had one before and was convinced he was dying.) And I did have a minor meltdown from the stress when we were told all was fine and that it was only a panic attack. So please try to understand your friend’s feelings: even if panic attacks are normal for you, he may have been scared out of his mind – I was!

    13. Coffeecoffeecoffee*

      You’ve gotten some good feedback here about how scary panic attacks can be for a bystander, possible ways to treat them beyond acceptance, and why a counselor would probe about ways you manage them. I think another thing to consider is that if you’ve only had these very rarely your friend may have no idea how to handle them. He reacted inappropriately and unhelpfully, and he was really scared. A panic attack can look like a heart attack or like someone is totally out of control. Now that he knows you experience them sometimes, just tell him what you’d prefer he do next time: go into another room, talk you through it, whatever. Mention that you can’t attend to his needs while you’re having one, that you know they’re scary looking, but that you’re safe and he should do XYZ if he’s ever present for one again.

    14. Courageous cat*

      I don’t think there’s anything screwy about the mental health system considering many many people who have real honest-to-god panic attacks take medication for them. I think your reaction to all of this is a little over-the-top (the entire fabric of society?) and sensationalist with all the exclamation marks. None of this seems highly abnormal to me in any sense.

    15. Always practising*

      Have you talked to a doctor about your symptoms and been diagnosed? Or is this a self-diagnosis? Because based on reading this entire thread, I don’t think you actually have panic attacks. I think you are using that term to refer to a different set of symptoms entirely, which is why there is this disconnect between your comments and everyone else’s experiences. Perhaps that also explains why you are finding these situations so frustrating – you are referring to them as panic attacks so other people form expectations and responses based on the expected symptoms of actual panic attacks, not on your meltdowns/freakouts/whatever they actually are.

  7. Teapot Translator*

    Question about fabric!
    I have old bed sheets with holes in them (cotton). I’d prefer not to put them in the bin. I was wondering what I could make with the fabric. I once made pajama bottoms and I like it, so I guess I could make another pair. But is there anything else I can make? Pajama top wouldn’t work because I like them to be stretchy.

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      Could you cut them up, mix them with some other fabric scraps/remnants, and make a quilt?

      Maybe bathroom curtains? A pillowcase for the dog/cat? A placemat for under the dog/cat dish or under the birdcage? Dye them and/or embroider them and make a Christmas tree skirt?

      1. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

        Don’t use material that is starting to get holes for quilts! It’s already weak and why spend that much time on something that you already know will not last! I make pj bottoms and/or pillow cases. My husband and daughter need all.the.pillows! so we never seem to have enough cases (haha!) and they are so easy to make!

        1. The New Wanderer*

          I think it might depend on the quilt. I did this myself (although didn’t use the pieces with holes or that felt thin) but the quilt pieces are small enough that at most a worn spot might add character but not hurt the integrity of the quilt. In one case, I did the faux chenille quilt thing where the strips are meant to fray anyway and there are multiple layers.

          I also made a quicky ottoman cover with an old fitted sheet that was losing its elasticity in the corners, in the vain attempt to keep cat hair from embedding in the furniture fabric. Easy enough but I don’t recommend as it’s too thin to survive cat claws. Can also use old sheets (fitted or otherwise) on box springs as covers, if you have cats inclined to claw the corners.

          PJ pants or a lightweight robe? There are good free tutorials online for those.

          I’ve also used old sheets as muslins for sewing patterns. Probably heavier than actual muslin but I have plenty more old sheets than muslin!

        2. HQB*

          My sheets tend to get very worn in the middle and hardly worn at all around the edges. I agree that fabric that’s starting to fall apart it not a great choice for a quilt, but there may be plenty of fabric left on the sheets that’s in very good condition.

        3. pentamom*

          Sheets tend to wear more in specific spots, and be fine in others. So you could definitely use areas that haven’t had as much wear for quilt pieces.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      +1 to the suggestion of quilting.
      Pillow cases, especially if the rest of the fabric is still good?
      Small bags to hold one or two shoes when you travel?

      1. StellaBella*

        +1 pillow cases, or fabric grocery bags with handles, or get some cute patches for iron on, and make small gift bags, or make tiny fabric toys or little mats/blankets with cat nip inside if you have cats.

    3. Reader in ND*

      If you’re in a cold climate, you can make draft blockers to block cold air from coming in under the doors and windows with almost any spare fabric.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I like this idea! I’ve seen them made with the foam insulation you put around your water pipes. I may have to make a set of these for my front door now, since I’m sitting here in the living room and I can see right into the hallway. Might help keep some hallway noise out, as well.

    4. Pippa*

      Use it to try new “reach” patterns because if the project goes wrong you haven’t lost anything, but if it goes well then you have increased your sewing muscles and have a workable project. The noodle-head dot com blog has tutorials for zippered pouches. I particularly like the wide open pouches. Have fun!

          1. Jedi Squirrel*

            Thanks! I just noticed that you had written “noodle-head dot com”. Sigh+facepalm.

            Just curious about where the “reach” part comes in.

            1. Pippa*

              What I meant is that it is sometimes easier for me to try new-to-me techniques or challenge myself if the stakes are lowered. In this case, the fabric is essentially free which would give me permission to reach for a project which could go horribly wrong and waste materials (and therefore money) without all that potential guilt. I don’t take a lot of risk with money which sometimes gets in the way of expanding my creative skills or “reach.”

              1. Jedi Squirrel*

                Oh, I like this way of thinking about things! I can apply that to some other areas, as well.

              2. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

                This is a great idea! I’ve done this for patterns that take a lot of fittings. Worth it to spend the time and not worry about messing up the expensive fabric.

    5. HQB*

      A rag rug, an apron, potholders (with insulating fabric inside), reusable shopping totes, pillowcases, drawstring bags, baby bibs, dog bed cover, ironing board cover, tea towels, or dinner napkins. If the sheets are 100% cotton, you can use the fabric as landscaping fabric. You can also see if a local animal shelter or vet’s office would like them for bedding/rags.

      1. Glomarization, Esq.*

        rag rug

        Yep, I’ve got a crocheted rag rug currently in production, mostly made of old sheets. It’s a lovely project that grows fast and avoids quite a bit of waste.

      2. Fellow Traveler*

        What method do you use for rag rugs? All the tutorials I find online require sewing and I’m not great at that and would love to find another method.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I used to have a braided rag rug my great-aunt made from her husband’s work shirts. That lasted 40 years, until it fell afoul of a sewage backup. (With a Drano chaser, ick.)
        So I’m braiding strips of sheets as they wear out, planning to make a new one.

    6. Salymander*

      Making liners for laundry hampers/baskets are a good way to use up old sheets. I bring a cloth laundry bag when I travel, and old sheets work well for those too.

      I had a blanket for my car that was actually just a flannel twin sheet layered on top of a regular cotton twin sheet and sewed around the edges. It was perfect for a warm climate where you might need a little warmth, and the soft cotton was not itchy and didn’t aggravate my skin. Stolen long ago, unfortunately.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      I sewed the holes closed in my old sheets and made garment bags for my best clothes. I made extra, so every so often, I can put the bags in the wash and put the spares on the garments.

      I made shoe bags with a drawstring. I used them to make coverings for a piece of foam to make an instant dog bed for the mutt. (I got the foam with a 50% off coupon at JoAnn’s. For under $10 I had a good size bed that gave him protection from my cold floors.)

      I also sewed them into dust covers for special items in long term storage in the closet and basement.

    8. HBJ*

      If it has holes in it, it’s got to be pretty threadbare. I wouldn’t mix it with any newer fabric or even less old fabric or use it for anything time consuming or special that you hope to use for awhile.

      I’d use it for junky simple stuff you don’t care about. So like others have mentioned – pillow cases, laundry bags, pet paraphernalia, child paraphernalia. If you make muslins regularly for clothing, use it for that. If you have kids, things like burp rags. I think pajama pants is a great idea.

    9. It's a fish, Al*

      My absolute favorite thing to do with old sheets is to cut into squares, finish the edges, and BOOM! So many hankies. Old sheets are that perfect mixture of soft, absorbent, and cheap.

    10. RagingADHD*

      Rag rollers for hair, cleaning cloths, napkins, dishtowels, summer nightgowns. Or if they are 100% natural fiber, you can compost them. I use ratty sheets as weed barrier in the garden.

    11. Sleve McDichael*

      If you knit or crochet you can make “t-shirt” yarn which works up really nicely into bowls, pillows, rugs etc. Or if you know a crocheter I’m sure they would appreciate the yarn :)

    12. TimeTravelR*

      Perhaps someone has already suggested it, but perhaps Joey bags to send to Australia? You can find how to’s online.

  8. esemes*

    How much coffee do you drink? At what times? Do you usually brew it yourself (or drink free coffee brewed by others)? Or do you buy it at a shop?

    1. esemes*

      I usually drink three cups/day. During the week I drink one cup at home before commuting, one when I arrive at work (either I make a pot or a colleague makes a pot), and one after lunch that is usually sourced from some free venue in the office. I do also go out for coffee, but try to treat it as an event tied to being with someone rather than buying it when I’m alone.

    2. nep*

      Three or so cups a day. Most days I’ll stop all coffee by noon/1 o’clock. Some days (especially if I don’t have an early morning next day), I’ll have some later than that. I make it with a Bodum press.
      (I’ve gone off coffee for month or two or three at a time. Feels good in many ways. Then I go back to it.)

      1. nep*

        My friends whose house I’m ‘sitting’ have a Keurig. Lovely and quick, one cup at a time. But I can’t abide that waste. (I might buy the reusable cup.) Brought my press over.

        1. bunniferous*

          I got a Keurig for Christmas (with the extra milk frother /shot button) and I have found the reusable cup is not only more economical, but the coffee tastes better. That said, I still did get some regular pods -I have a busy lifestyle and sometimes even a bit of convenience s welcome. Interestingly enough they do sell disposable fillable pods too but they seem to be the worst of both worlds.

          I have made coffee just about every way there is to make it. French press, stovetop, drip, percolator…..I am okay with drip but it is the one kind my husband hates. Go figure.

        2. Clisby*

          The reusable pods work fine. One good thing is that you can put better coffee in them. I’ve never yet tried a Keurig pod that didn’t produce coffee that was way too weak. I can put Cafe Bustelo espresso blend in the reusable cup and get something a lot better.

      2. Working Mom*

        I usually have one cup (occasionally two) in the morning. First right when I wake up and 2nd late morning, if at all. Sometimes tea in the afternoon.

        I do notice that whenever it comes up in conversation and I mention 2 cups a day… I get this reaction… like wide eyed “OMG 2 cups?!?! I would Die!!” I am always left feeling weird… like I didn’t think 2 cups a day was such a shocking volume. Its very weird. I need a good response!! I never quite have any sharp/witty to say back.

    3. Jaid*

      Two cups of coffee during the week (one on my way to work and the other at work) and one cup on weekends. Travelling coffee is from Wawa (chain of convenience stores). Work coffee is ground coffee spooned into reusable Keuirg cup. Home coffee is instant from the Russian grocery and usually some exotic brand.

      I don’t have much of a palate for coffee. I just appreciate that it’s stronger than tea. Sometimes I need creamer for it, sometimes I don’t.

    4. Lady Jay*

      Drink one cup/day, occasionally two. I nearly always make it for myself – usually a drip coffee pot which is easiest, but when I have the time, I like a French press. On rare occasions if I have to be at work early, I’ll pick up coffee at the local Starbucks.

    5. coffee cup*

      I would drink one a day if I could but I don’t always. I try not to drink more than two, because then it starts to bother me, but normally it’s just one. I prefer others to make it for me (i.e. coffee shops) because I don’t rate my coffee skills very highly! But I’m keen to try and get myself some fancy coffee and see what happens.

    6. Blue S*

      I buy an extra large coffee every morning from Dunkin Donuts on my way to work. (Yes, I know how much that adds up to per year :) )

    7. londonedit*

      Only one cup a day for me, it makes me too jittery otherwise! I only drink coffee in the morning – at work I make my own with Nespresso pods, and at the weekend a buy a coffee from a local coffee shop near home.

    8. Keymaster of Gozer*

      1 cup in the morning from the coffee shop, then I switch to tea (about 13 cups a day. It’s a lot but I love tea so much).

      I’ve tried brewing my own but I think I did it wrong because it always tasted burnt? Maybe the coffee grounds I got were rubbish..

      1. OhCanary*

        I’m sorry, I got stuck on “13 cups of tea.” Literally 13? Wow! That’s impressive. (Do you have room to drink regular water?!)

        1. Working Mom*

          Tea is so easy to just keep drinking! Usually when I make an afternoon tea, I almost always manage to heat up enough water in the tea kettle for at least 2 mugs, possibly 3. But I typically just use one tea bag… so does that count as 1 or 3? ha! It gets progressively less intense with each mug, but still delicious and warm :)

    9. Monsooned Malabar*

      I have a hand-grinder and grind the beans for my stovetop espresso maker every morning after getting up. I have the coffee sitting on the couch and reading ask a manager :-) That‘s my only cup since I‘m too lazy to grind, wash the expresso maker etc more then once a day. I have it with warm oat milk. The beans I buy are chocolatey in flavour (do not like fruity blends).

    10. ThatGirl*

      I brew my own most of the time in a drip brewer or French press. Coldbrew in the summer. One largeish cup on weekdays, 2 on weekends, generally only in the morning.

    11. Femme d'Afrique*

      One cup a day (first thing in the morning!) that I make myself. French press. I also only drink African coffee (Ethiopian, Kenyan, or Ugandan) ;)

        1. coffee cup*

          Oh, it’s a cafetière. Didn’t realise that’s the same thing. I’ve used that for sure!

    12. Raia*

      Once a day as soon as I wake up, make it myself in an Aeropress. It’s completely halted my desire for coffee shop coffees and costs me less than $1 per cup all told, which was my desired result.

      1. coffee cup*

        This is what I need! I didn’t find the cafetière quite sated my desire for coffee shop coffee, so maybe I need to give this a try.

    13. Hamster*

      Before pregnancy, 1 cup of cold brew daily usually with add ons. Usually a medium/large from Dunkin’ or Starbucks. In desperate times I’d have bang or monster but they didn’t make me feel any different was just like water.

      Now that I’m pregnant, I get 1 small latte or something every other day and only decaf. I know 8oz cup of caffeine a day is generally allowed but I’m choosing to be more strict with it.

    14. NoLongerYoung*

      So had a Keurig for years. And about 4 cups a day of that dark roast blend. (added milk and choc Toriani syrup, and protein powder, to make it all palatable).

      My mantra was, drink coffee, stay employed. (I have very low blood pressure and heart rate).

      But I completely indulged myself this year, found a very reasonable older model Jura automatic espresso/cappuccino machine used, drove 2 hours to pick it up. Score. (it cost less than a new nespresso).

      While it is a high maintenance compared to the Keurig, I love the quality and smoothness of the coffee. I buy italian beans at the business costco (so about $7/lb for Lavazza); I switched and drink cappuccinos.

      I can easily drink my four cups and no stomach irritation. I am in love with the morning again. I think there’s actually less caffeine in the expresso than there was in that burnt-tasting dark roast. I still have to knock off by noon or the half life of the caffeine keeps me up too late.

      At the recent trade show/ conference, I did go out and buy my grande because I now am a bit spoiled for the room/ urn coffee they supply at the free tables. Or I drink tea. (to avoid the caffeine-withdrawal headache).

    15. The New Wanderer*

      I drink about 12 oz a day, which I think is two cups of coffee, in one go in the morning. I add 4 oz milk and a tsp of sugar, plus hot chocolate powder if it’s available. I brew at home with a single-serve machine (husband drinks decaf so we can’t brew a pot) from “fresh” ground beans – I can’t taste the diff (nor between brands or light/med/dark roasts), it’s because it’s cheaper to buy beans in bulk from Costco and I have a good container that holds about a week’s worth. Can’t really have caffeine after 1 pm or I won’t be able to sleep.

      If I go out or am at the airport, I get a vanilla or caramel latte and in most places don’t have to mess with it at all. I found out the hard way that Australians don’t add sugar to their lattes, but they will if you ask and it’s usually available for DIY. :-)

    16. Lady Alys*

      I make a 28 oz French-press pot with freshly ground beans every morning. Drink a mug with a little cream while I’m getting ready to leave for work, put the rest in an insulated mug (Klean Kanteen – keeps it tongue-burningly hot for hours) and drink that through the rest of the day. On the weekend I’ll finish the contents of the press during the morning and if I need more coffee I’ll make a cup using the Aeropress. Once in a blue moon I’ll have a cup of tea instead. Every now and then I contemplate giving up coffee entirely, like Mrs Dubose and her morphine in “To Kill A Mockingbird,” but three weeks of headaches does not sound fun. Sigh.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      I usually have one cup in the morning, brewed in a French press. I used to drink instant (yes really) but once I tried this, I can’t go back. With full-fat half-and-half and turbinado sugar (that’s the raw-looking stuff). Ahhhhh.

      Caffeine after two or three o’clock will keep me awake later than I want, so I only have tea up until then unless I’m exhausted for some reason and hit a wall in the afternoon. If a bit of moving around doesn’t wake me up, then I’ll have a little itty bitty cup of coffee to get me through the rest of the day. Work coffee if I’m at work, even though it usually tastes like somebody dipped a brown Sharpie in hot water.

      I only buy coffee in a shop when I’m going to the shop to hang out.

    18. RagingADHD*

      Used to drink all I could get my hands on, at home, at the office, out at shops, wherever – until I started ADHD meds and couldn’t tolerate more than 1 a day.

      Since then, was drinking 1 mug per day, made at home, until I got horribly sick with the flu a few weeks ago. Couldn’t stomach anything but tea for two weeks straight.

      I used to really enjoy and crave my morning brew, but the break seems to have broken my habit. I splurged on a decaf cappuchino at a shop the other day, but it was “meh.”

      So I guess I’m a tea drinker for the forseeable future.

    19. possum possum possum*

      I drink 20-24oz of drip coffee a day, usually all at once about an hour after I wake up. I either brew it at home, or on weekdays I’ll often pick it up at the 7-11 next to my bus stop. Buying coffee out 3 or 4 times a week isn’t my best habit but it’s a dollar a pop with the rewards program and every 7th time it’s free, so I don’t feel too bad about it. My office has coffee available but it’s kind of a wonky Keurig setup, plus I can’t actually have the coffee at my desk (lab setting) so I try to get my caffeine in before I start work.

      I used to go to Dunkin and Starbucks more often, but have cut back on them a lot. I’ll go to Dunkin once in a great while when I’m feeling like having iced coffee (though I generally prefer it hot even in the summer) and Starbucks is pretty much something I get only when I travel now.

  9. Jayess*

    Looking for tips on how to manage adult ADHD in an academic setting. I’m not diagnosed, as my doctor doesn’t believe in diagnosing adult ADHD, but I’m finding it challenging managing my time and group work responsibilities. I count as a “mature student” now and I feel like I used to be good at school. Now I just feel constantly disorganized and distracted. Any teachers or ADHD academics have resources?

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Sympathies from another adult who finally turned on the “must be ADD” light. I recall posting a long response about ADHD / ADD in an earlier weekend thread. Don’t think it specifically focused on adults in academic settings.

      (Today’s Google challenge: Who can find this and how quickly? :-D Not that I’m the Sole Source of Deathless Prose…it just seems a shame to recreate that particular wheel.)

      1. Jayess*

        Oh perfect! I know theres resources out there and I thought I’d built some good coping mechanisms… but they’re just not cutting the mustard. Need new ones. Brain is so loud.

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        Ran my own Google search. Results in next comment. Will probably detour to moderation because of the links.

      3. Jean (just Jean)*

        First there’s an AAM post on just this topic from March 7, 2019:

        Here are my comments mentioning multiple resources


        1. Jayess*

          Thank you! I appreciate your googling. Was entertaining the in laws for breakfast and hadn’t gotten to it yet.

          1. Jean (just Jean)*

            You’re welcome! It seemed impolite to reference myself but make others do the searching. As an added benefit my search brought up the March 7, 2019 discussion with other wisdom from other folks.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      my doctor doesn’t believe in diagnosing adult ADHD

      Is it possible to see another doctor? If they are not helping you with your health concerns, it may be time to move on.

      1. Disbelieving Doctors are Jerks*

        I picked up on that, too. “doctor doesn’t believe in….” is so ridiculous. When her regular doctor retired, a friend with fibromyalgia once ended up with a doctor who “didn’t believe” it was a real thing. Claimed anyone who had it was a faker. It was a horrible experience for her, and she only saw him one time.

        1. Bibliovore*

          YIKES. When I was in my early twenties, I had debilitating cramps with my period. (still did until menopause) Seriously doubled over in pain. No meds touched it. Saw my first woman OBGYN. She said “she didn’t believe in menstrual cramps and if I was a feminist, I wouldn’t have them”

          1. Auntie Social*

            When I saw an OBGYN who saw my badly tipped uterus and said, “Well YOU’VE had some wicked cramps! Can I give you anything for them?”, I burst out crying and couldn’t stop.

            1. Bibliovore*

              My best friend never had cramps. But she was my best friend so she never said anything about cancelled plans, evenings cut short, ruined vacation days. So after her first baby she got her period. OMG the bleeding, doubled over in pain. She thought she was hemorrhaging or something awful. To the emergency room. JUST menstrual cramps. She called me to apologize for years of unsympathetic thoughts.

          2. Not a cat*

            GP didn’t believe that my migraines were “that bad”. Waited until I got one–Ubered over and threw up in his waiting room.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Don’t diagnose and don’t believe in are different things. It’s perfectly legit for a doctor to feel they’re not qualified to diagnose something, even if they’re pretty sure, and refer you to someone who is.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Yeah, sorry, I didn’t really word that one right, did I? Thank you for understanding what I meant, even though I said it badly.

          2. Jayess*

            He’s a family doctor and specializes in MS. He said in his experience most adults have developed workarounds for ADHD by adulthood, but would prescribe me antidepressants for the related issues if I wanted them. I read the side effects and felt more comfortable with my current coping mechanisms than the anti depressants. I should find a new doctor but uhhh ADHD.

            1. Dr. KMnO4*

              As an adult in academia, who successfully completed a PhD program with undiagnosed ADHD, your doctor isn’t wrong that many adults develop workarounds. I certainly did. But then I also tried medication, and it made a huge difference. Just because I can function without medication doesn’t mean I should have to. I certainly function better with it. So I agree with the comments suggesting a different doctor.

              Medication aside, I find it helpful to write everything down, and to make to-do lists.

            2. RagingADHD*

              Yeah, I wasn’t dxed until my early 40s. Sure, I had workarounds.

              Like getting up FOUR HOURS EARLY to make sure I got somewhere on time. Like proofreading everything three times, three different ways, and then asking a partner to proof it out loud with me (when I could find one). Like allowing 2 to 3 times the normal travel time to get anywhere new, to allow for getting lost.

              Like drinking up to 6 shots of espresso every morning just to function and get to work.

              The amount of time and energy I have reclaimed by taking meds is mind-boggling. Neurotypical people have no idea how much invisible work those “workarounds” actually involve. Not to mention the health effects of self-medicating, even if it’s “only” caffeine.

              And just because you CAN accomplish something with enough effort, doesn’t mean it’s a reasonable way to live.

              People with no legs could crawl everywhere on their hands, with enough effort. But most people understand that it’s reasonable they should have wheelchairs. It’s still not easy, but it’s better.

      2. Jayess*

        It is time to move on. Both my Dr and I are endurance athletes, but he kind of thinks endurance sports cure all of what ails you.
        Things still ail me from time to time, and knowing my body so closely from athletics means I know when it’s more serious.
        It’s just hard to find a doctor in my area.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        It’s bogus to me too. I was diagnosed in my 40s when my daughter hit 1st grade. I was resisting Her diagnosis, and said “if she’s ADD, then so am I.” And it was like a light bulb went off in my head. Read up on underdiagnosis of women, that may be in the links gathered above.

    3. RainyDayDog*

      Don’t want to hijack, but I was planning to ask people with ADHD to suggest ways that friends and collaborators can support and work with them.

      I have a lovely collaborator who is super-bright, really willing to volunteer time and energy, very caring BUT is generally seen as difficult to work with (not by me). She’s hyper-focused, gives 30 min long lectures on topics which may or may not be relevant and useful, doesn’t always pick up on social signals. She was quite hurt and angered by someone saying that she needed to speak less to have more impact, but that is perfectly true.

      Are there strategies I could try to help us all work together more smoothly?

      1. Quandong*

        I think this would be a good question for a Friday open thread, RainyDayDog, and it may be seen by more people as a stand-alone comment.

        1. RainyDayDog*

          You’re probably right – always hard to know whether voluntary orgs are Friday or Saturday talk!

    4. Pam*

      Try to find another doctor. You may need an official diagnosis to access your school’s disability resources.

    5. Lives in a Shoe*

      I don’t have an official diagnosis but really struggle with focus and attention. An app promoted by my work has been the most effective intervention I’ve ever tried. It’s called HelloMindful and it mixes mindfulness and timers etc. There’s also an online course that goes with it – I can’t remember the name of that one. Anyhow, it might help.

    6. Cartographical*

      Seconding the advice to look for another doctor. Black Girl, Lost Keys has great general advice for late diagnosis and picking a health care professional and managing meds. Any advice on improving executive function is going to help your academic life. Make sure you explore related or sub-conditions like Rejection-Sensitive Dysphoria (complicates receiving and learning from negative feedback like poor exam results) and Vertical Heterophoria (a vision condition that’s easy to miss — 50% of kids with ADHD also have vision problems that complicate their school experience) as well.

      1. Jayess*

        The RSD is super real. Just learning about its existence has helped me manage it a bit though. I’ve seen a few posts from Black Girl, Lost Keys, How to ADHD, and even Capt Awkward. But a lot of them recommend getting diagnosed first, and that’s been something of a hurdle. I tried to get advice from my therapist too, but somehow that didn’t go right either.

        1. Cartographical*

          I don’t know if you’ll see this but my advice is to proceed as if you have it and try your school’s ESP or diagnostic services, or go through your insurance company to look for a specialist. Some general practice doctors are easy going enough that for adult diagnosis they’ll just send you home with two weeks of Adderall and have you report back for further discussion because testing is expensive and if it’s working, then it’s obviously compensating for something. If it’s not, then you don’t need a formal diagnosis to get a long-term Rx

    7. Lonely Monster*

      Go to a doctor (PhD or MD) that does psycho-nuerological testing and it takes two days and they run the full battery of tests to see what you do or don’t have. You get a 20+ pages of a full diagnosis. Check with your insurance

      I know from experience. Good luck

    8. Anon for this*

      Just in case your academic setting is law school, I found “Learning Outside the Box: A Handbook for Law Students Who Learn Differently” by Leah Christensen very helpful. I recall that it was pretty specific to that context, but it might be worth seeing if your library has a copy or something to see if it has any generally applicable tips.

      Otherwise, your school might have someone on staff who can provide some support. My program had a Learning Specialist I could make a appointments with for help with specific challenges. (I do have a diagnosis – I am not sure if I would have been able to meet with her without one.)

      1. Sparrow*

        My graduate/professional school has a learning specialist that anyone can work with, diagnosis or not. They wouldn’t be able to diagnose you, but they help everyone with studying and learning strategies.

    9. Fikly*

      Ugh, doctors who do not believe in diagnosing. I do not see doctors for their beliefs, I see them for their expertise.

    10. Quandong*

      I’m so very sorry that your current doctor has this regressive belief about not diagnosing adults with ADHD. How incredibly dismissive of you and your needs! I’m angry with that doctor on your behalf.

      Apart from the excellent suggestions you’ve already received, if you are in an academic setting, have you investigated what student support services are available to you?

      Institutions may have strong or weak student services departments, but if one exists, please contact them and:
      – start the process to get tested for ADHD through the institution’s own system, with the student services team to advocate for you if necessary
      – ask for assistance and guidance to formally request accommodations for your studies, even though you have no official diagnosis yet
      – get information about the support services you are eligible for as a student at that institution, including note-takers, and other personal assistants whose job it is to help students like you
      – get information about the steps your professors/teachers are obliged to take to accommodate your needs.

      Please don’t assume you’re alone or without options even though your doctor has been unresponsive to your needs. If you aren’t studying at an institution with student support services for some reason, contact your local library and ask them for a list of organizations and resources for people in your situation.

      You deserve support and the opportunity to get tested if you wish. Your everyday life is affected by your symptoms and clearly this will impact the outcome of your studies, and your working life. If you can’t access student services, please consider asking a friend or two for support and practical help (e.g. making appointments with new doctors, accompanying you if you wish).

  10. Porcupine*

    What is your favorite thing to watch lately when the goal is just to relax and shut off your brain?

      1. Everdene*

        I love this! Have you watched the modern miss fisher series? I don’t want to be disapointed so haven’t risked it yet.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          Have not seen, didn’t know existed, off to find out more! I’ve seen the 3 series of the original and loved it.

    1. An Amazing Detective-Slash-Genius*

      Mindless sitcoms like Superstore or Perfect Harmony. They’re a little silly and I truly don’t care about the characters at all.

    2. annakarina1*

      I’ve been watching old Roseanne reruns on a local channel later at night. It’s been nice to chill out to it when I’m tired from the day.

      1. annakarina1*

        And I know Roseanne herself is an awful person, I don’t like her. I just like the rest of the cast and watch it more for them, like John Goodman, Laurie Metcalf, and Sara Gilbert, as well as some of the recurring side characters.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I can’t watch it anymore; I’ve seen it too many times. Plus her, ugh. Except the tornado episode; that one was always my favorite.

          “So what’s the worst that could happen? The tornado picks up our house and slams it down in a better neighborhood.” lol

    3. Come On Eileen*

      I’m digging the remake of One Day At A Time on Netflix. It’s sweet and charming and funny. Also Great British Baking Show.

        1. ThatGirl*

          It got picked up by Pop Network, if that’s not part of your cable package you may be able to watch online.

    4. OperaArt*

      Cooking and baking shows, especially competitions. Funny, since I cook as little as possible. Maybe that’s why it’s relaxing since I feel no need to replicate what I’m seeing.
      There’s a cute little show on Hulu called “I Draw, You Cook.” Other than the first episode, it’s a competition between two chefs to make a real life version of a dish imagined by a child. The children’s imaginations provide a real challenge for the chefs.

      1. Mary Connell*

        I was so irked when Netflix removed that. (Damn it, Hardison.) Person of Interest is similar, but it doesn’t hold up as well over the entire series.

    5. Username required*

      Grand Designs or similar house renovation shows – lovely to see the final result of people’s hard work
      Any kind of cooking show – watching Simply Nigella at the moment
      Have Bronx zoo and San Diego zoo shows queued up on Nat Geo for later – the last episode I watched they rehabbed a snow leopard cub who was having trouble walking because its back legs weren’t working properly – the keepers were stitching together various types of pet harness to use for the cub’s physio sessions. Amazing to see the dedication of the keepers and to see the cub fully recovered later on.

      1. Tortally HareBrained*

        The Zoo is very much my favorite zone-out and feel better about life. I really wanted to love The Aquarium as well since I have a marine biology background but alas can’t quite get into it. I am enjoying Secrets of the Zoo Tampa though.

      2. KristinaL*

        The episode about the snow leopard cub was amazing and so sweet! I had happy tears at the end.

    6. londonedit*

      Great Pottery Throwdown (UK Channel 4) or Best Home Cook (BBC). Lovely cosy competition-type programmes, but not massively competitive – they’re classic British competitions in the same format as Bake Off.

      1. fposte*

        I’m so excited that Throw Down is back! (I learned about it here, in fact.) And for additional enjoyment from the non-UK side, the first two series are now up on YouTube.

        I also like Fake or Fortune and The Art Detectives. Nice nonfiction with information about art and history and a little gentle detectivating.

          1. Chocolate Teapot*

            Yes, but I am still looking forward to the episode of Fake or Fortune when a long lost Rembrandt is discovered on a council estate.

    7. Kathenus*

      I’ve recently discovered The Carbonaro Effect on TruTV, it’s a ‘hidden camera, magic, TV show’ which is how they describe it during the reveals. I’m not a big magic fan usually, and never would have turned it on intentionally but happened upon it. Now I really love this show and am kind of obsessed and catching up on past seasons right now.

    8. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      YouTube! I love all the different things on it!
      My daughter & I have been following Kelsey doing the Sims 100 baby challenge (Single Girl Tries The 100 Baby Challenge) and I can watch/listen while I do other things.
      We also like Hot Ones (honestly so.many.more! Hahaha!)

      1. PX*

        So much thank you to whoever recc’d this a while back. I binged so much of it on BBC iPlayer and it was perfect as I was having a bit of a miserable time then. It is honestly so comforting and lovely. Excited to hear its on Netflix so other people can share the joy!

        1. Marzipan*

          I know I recommended it at some point, but I’m sure lots of other people have as well because of the general loveliness of it!

      2. Fikly*

        I find I have to pay so much attention to this, for some reason, or I just have no idea what’s going on.

    9. Chaordic One*

      I’ve been watching reruns of “Last of the Summer Wine.”

      Silly people, clever one-liners and beautiful country settings. What’s not to like.

    10. Other Meredith*

      I’ve been rewatching Hart of Dixie for the last couple of months, and I’m so sad that I only have 3 episodes left. It’s a delight.

    11. Lizzy, not borden*

      Spouse and I are watching the Good Place and enjoying it.
      and Youtube has anything anyone could want – from ear wax removals to car crashes to cute pets . . .

      1. Not a cat*

        I tried the Good Place. Ted Dansen is a national treasure, but the Chidi character made it unwatchable for me.

        1. Fikly*

          I wanted to love The Good Place. I am told it’s very funny. I just…do not find it funny at all. The humor escapes me. I don’t find it offensive or anything, I just do not see what’s funny about it. It’s very confusing.

          1. Other Meredith*

            I watched the entire first season without finding it funny. Season 2 really got me though, and now I love it so much. I wouldn’t normally stick with something that doesn’t capture me for a whole season, but I watched most of it in the middle of the night after my poor dog had surgery and couldn’t sleep.

    12. Nervous Nellie*

      Community! It’s a sitcom from a few years ago about a diverse study group of adult learners at a community college. It’s six seasons of imaginative, wacky & unabashedly sentimental feel-good silliness. Lots of ‘oh, wow’ moments, because many of the episodes subtly morph into homages of movies you might know really well. Many times I had to pause the disc and say, hold up – I KNOW that dialogue, and then – goodness, I know this scene! This just turned into Goodfellas! This show makes me grin. :)

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I’m bingeing it since there will be no new episodes of my online shows until fall 2020.

    14. Double A*

      Star Trek. I finished rewatching Next Generation, and I’m now watching Deep Space Nine, which I’ve never watched.

      Great British Baking Show, of course.

      And then anything I watched as a teen or in my 20s, so Friends, The Office… I’ve been putting on Sec and the City the past couple of weeks when I need to do some mindless work at night.

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Mia Lykke Nielsen , “When Horses Choose”
      Just so soothing to me, and the occasional bits of Danish language remind me to study a little more.

    16. RagingADHD*

      Any of Monty Don’s gardening shows, Repair Shop on Netflix, business “intervention” shows like The Hotel Inspector, Great British Baking Show (aka GBBO), or historical sewing/making channels on YouTube like Bernadette Banner.

    17. Cartographical*

      I have a chronic illness that leaves me in bed a LOT…. Father Brown. Miss Fisher. Poirot. Any take on Jane Austen I can find. Midsomer Murders. Leverage is wonderful, someone suggested that. Ultimate Beastmaster. Hyperdrive. Sports documentaries are really good these days in general, there is some good stuff on Netflix and The Players’ Tribune. Xena holds up really well! Buffy & Firefly. The Marvelous Miss Maisel. Elementary. We own a ton of original & new Doctor Who, you might be able to get it from the library? My partner watches Twitch streams when he’s sick. One of my friends is obsessed with Critical Role and other tabletop streams. If you can do subtitles or know Korean, Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung was amazing and is 20 hours of gorgeous costumes and adorable main characters.

    18. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      Cats channels! Meow meow, Robin Seplut, Mejoo and Cats, Cream Heroes, Airang, and TinyKittens. As for TV programmes, The Return of Superman, Lewis and Endeavour (all those gorgeous river shots and the late Barrington Pheloung’s music in the background are goals).

  11. Washi*

    A new yoga studio recently opened near my house, and they were offering a deal of $30 for a month of unlimited classes, and the website said you could start your month whenever you went to your first class. I got the deal in December and logged into my account today and now the website says that what I purchased was actually a discounted first month of membership, which auto-renewed a couple days ago for $99! I’ve contacted the studio to see if I can get my money back, but I’m feeling really upset with myself about this. The website definitely didn’t make it clear that this would auto-renew after a month, but on the other hand, there could have been some fine print that I missed.

    And I’m feeling so upset with this that the idea of going to the studio a couple times in the next 2 weeks until my “membership” expires doesn’t even sound fun, so I’ll have payed like $130 for literally nothing.

    Anyone have any tips for getting over an expensive mistake? I won’t be destitute or anything as a result of this, but I just feel so dumb.

    1. purrpelle*

      If the studio is smart, they will make an exception rather than lose a customer.

      and you paid for the yoga! you should definitely go. get your monies worth. I love yoga.

      I have made many many many expensive mistakes in my life, and you just look at it as learning experience- I no longer shop online while drinking cheap wine, i always ask myself prior to purchasing anything if its something i truly need or want and will it improve my life or will i hate it in a year- Its really all you can do. right now I want a new couch but i have a dog and it just doesn’t make sense to buy new and throw blankets all over it.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I no longer shop online while drinking cheap wine

        There’s an article on The Hustle about drunk amazoning being a $49 billion a year industry. So yes. Most of the people I work with have their Amazon sent to them at work, and we’ve had quite a few “I don’t remember ordering this” moments.

        I agree with everything you’ve said here. I just moved, and thanks to my not reading the fine print in my old lease, it’s going to cost me about $200. Now I read the fine print.

        I always take the point of view that it’s fine to make a mistake once. Just don’t make it twice.

        1. Washi*

          Jedi Squirrel and purrpelle, this actually made me feel a lot better! I get stressed out about money stuff like this – I won’t bat an eye at paying for something really expensive when there’s no way around it (like my grad school tuition) but I really beat myself up for mistakes about much smaller amounts of money. It’s comforting somehow to hear about other people making mistakes!

          1. valentine*

            Don’t accept that it’s your mistake. Maybe a popup didn’t load or someone didn’t update the site. Tell them there was no mention of renewal and ask them for a refund. If they are absolutely steadfast, ask if you can have three months of classes, similar to a continuation of your deal. Try to do this in writing. If they say no, register a credit card dispute and see if either they or your bank will pay you back.

            In future, copy all text and paste it somewhere you can enlarge it and look for words like charge and renewal.

    2. fposte*

      Ooh, sounds like they follow the gym membership model of skeeziness. At this point I don’t believe any service that needs my financial info for a free month; they’re pretty much all default auto-renewal.

    3. blackcat*

      Call your credit card and make sure to block transactions from them going forward. You might be able to say that you did not authorize the 99 dollar change, and you might be able to get that back.

      A business that does this is not one you want to give your money to. They sought out to trick you! This was the goal! Don’t feel bad!

    4. Sparkly Lady*

      Talk to the studio owner. If it’s a new studio, the owner may still be learning how to configure their class membership software and made a mistake about your billing.

      Even if it wasn’t a mistake, the owner is likely to do their best to refund your money given that you haven’t been to a class yet and so obviously didn’t intend to authorize a monthly membership. There’s no need to accept that this can’t be fixed.

    5. Natalie*

      The website definitely didn’t make it clear that this would auto-renew after a month, but on the other hand, there could have been some fine print that I missed.

      I don’t think you have anything to be upset with yourself about? This practice is deceptive, and you were successfully deceived. It happens, clearly it happens a lot or “fine print” wouldn’t have the colloquial meaning it does. Be annoyed with them for feeling like the best way to get customers is to trick them. And insist on getting your money back, if they won’t refund you contact your bank. You usually have 1-3 months from the statement fate, depending on whether it’s a credit card or checking account.

      1. Not a cat*

        I’ve found that almost everything is auto-renew these days. Most don’t even notify you, just charge your card/account. I find this practice super scummy, but there seems to be no way around it.

  12. WellRed*

    Listening, loudly, to something on your cell phone while sitting at the bar of local chain restaurant. Am I crazy for thinking that’s a no? I asked a guy, who I know by sight, if he could turn it down slightly after it became apparent it was going to be awhile. He did, but after finishing his mozzarella sticks, got all pissy me with me about it. Trust me when I say, I rarely ask people to lower the volume. People think they have the right to do anything but I say part of the social contract in public is remembering you’re in public.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      That’s a no from me as well.

      Use earphones, it’s not hard. Also, I would think that using earphones/headphones would be better in a bar environment because you can hear it more clearly.

    2. Washi*

      This is a huge pet peeve for me! I feel like it I encounter it more on public transportation, but I’ve never gotten up the courage to ask if the person can turn it down. I find it extra annoying because it doesn’t even make sense to me – why would you want to blast music/videos on your tinny phone speakers when you could just use earbuds and get higher sound quality?

    3. Myrin*

      I have found that the Venn diagram of people who think it’s just fine and dandy to listen to loud music/videos/the news without earphones and people who get pissy and rude if you dare ask them to lower their volume is a circle. Ask me how I know. :/

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Always use headphones in public. Always.

      I’d talking to YOU, person on the airport shuttle bus.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        And YOU, person in ER waiting room who has no common sense or respect for others. I went in last year because I was on an immunosuppressant and came down with a really high fever, shaking, chills, flank pain, etc. I had both pyelonephritis AND the flu…but I had to sit in the waiting room for 12 hours before they took me back. Several people were listening to YouTube videos and music streaming apps at top volume, and one family (a group of about seven people) had PIZZA delivered and had themselves a little pizza party. The ER waiting room is like 10 feet from an open area with tables and chairs for eating, but they just had to eat their greasy-smelling pizza around a bunch of sick people.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And YOU, person who argues with his wife on speakerphone in the open ‘customer presentations” space just behind my desk at the place that shall not be named. Even though I’ve told him repeatedly we’re hearing his conversation clearly.

    5. londonedit*

      It’s a massive no from me! See also: watching things without headphones on public transport. I find it hugely rude.

    6. Three owls in a trench coat*

      Yeah, that’s just rude.

      Another thing that gets me is the people who walk around with their phones held in front of their faces having loud, full-on conversations on speakerphone in public. Just…the lack of consideration for those around you is appalling.

    7. Texan In Exile*

      Good for you and I would also ask him. I was on a plane and the woman next to me was watching something on her phone. It was noisy and obnoxious. After my Patented Glares of REALLY? didn’t change her behavior, I finally asked her to turn down the volume.

      “But then I won’t be able to hear it,” she answered.

      “Then – use a headset,” I suggested.

      She got cranky. “Well I DIDN’T BRING ONE.”


      Which is not what I did. I just asked again, very politely but with a cut-direct voice, “Then please turn down the volume. It’s very distracting.”

      She finally, in a huff, just turned it off. Which – yeah. You’re on a plane. Next to other people. You can make electronic noise in your space, but not in mine.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I hate that.
      I also hate when gyms play music loudly. Dude, people are listening to their own music and to podcasts; they don’t want to try to decipher it through the damn radio you’ve got banging at full volume. Just don’t play any music at all, please.

      1. Fikly*

        The lobby of my apartment building sometimes plays two different songs at once, at loud volume. Not ok!

    9. hello I feel the same*

      It’s awful. I was once in a 3 hour train journey and two people were watching a video together on a phone with very loud audio. I was seething internally when I decided to channel Alison’s advice, and assume that they don’t really want to be rude, and of course they’ll stop when they realise it. It took me ten minutes to steel myself, but I asked them in a friendly cheerful tone to turn it down, and they were happy to find earbuds.

      Some people will double down, but it is worth it to make this attempt first if you think you’re safe.

    10. Kiwi with laser beams*

      It’s so entitled! And it’s not like headphones are a novel concept – for decades, you HAD to have headphones with your Walkman/Discman/etc. or you couldn’t listen to it. So I really don’t know why some people started getting the idea that you can listen to your shit out loud in public.

    11. Miranda Priestly’s Assistant*

      Nope. This happens from time to time on our public transport. Unfortunately, if you ask to turn it down, the normal response is “lend me some earphones or it’s not gonna happen”.

  13. Getting all the things done: small child edition*

    How do people juggle having kids when they have long commutes? How do you leave the house on time? How does your house stay clean?

    I’m planning to start trying to get pregnant later this year and I’m worried about how we’re going to manage schedules and keeping the house clean, dogs walked etc. (For reference, I get up at 5:30am, leave for work at 6:30am, and I get home around 6pm. My husband gets home after 7pm.)

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      How does your house stay clean?

      That pretty much goes out the door once kids come in, alas. You can clean, but it doesn’t really get clean or stay clean. It’s a never-ending battle.

      1. nep*

        A got a chuckle from this line I once heard: Cleaning the house with children around is like brushing your teeth while eating an Oreo.

              1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

                Yep – it doesn’t look done, but it looks better than it would have if you hadn’t bothered.

                1. Fikly*

                  Or you need to park your car, and you cannot do that until you remove the snow, even though another foot is predicted.

        1. The New Wanderer*

          Like vacuuming, ever. Once they’re eating anything solid and then mobile, the floor is never clean again.

      2. RagingADHD*

        We call it “running the Zamboni.” You’re just taking off a layer from time to time so nobody trips.

    2. CAA*

      You figure it out as you go. You lower some standards and just understand that your house will never be as clean as it was pre-child, or you hire someone to come in and do the major chores. You will also learn that you can do many things one-handed while holding a baby or pushing a stroller. It also really helps to have the child’s day care or school near your office.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        “You lower some standards”

        Yep. You’ll quickly figure out which things need to get done on a regular basis and which can get done once a month or even whenever. And those pizzas in the freezer when everyone is too tired to cook are a lifesaver.

    3. Anon Siberian*

      Trying later this year, definitely following this thread. We wake up 6:30 am, work, I get home 6 pm, he gets home 7, and I take public transit (free through work) and he has the 1 car….no idea how day care will work.

      1. FormerTheatreArtist*

        I find public transit is actually pretty easy for me with a kid. When she was really little I would wear her, now she’s 3 and trades off between during on my lap during crowded bus times or sitting next to me when there’s space. We only ride the bus, and if the culture in your city is less likely to surrender a seat to a parent with a baby, you may have a harder time, but hopefully you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

    4. Dancing Otter*

      I was fortunate enough, when I had a six-year-old and a long commute, to have on-site day care at work (college of education) that I used during the summers. It would have worked for a pre-schooler year-round.
      During the school year was harder. I used a day care center that opened early, so I just lost half an hour of sleep, no other problem there. The evening pick-up deadline was scary a couple of times, though, when traffic was extra bad. Be sure to ask, when interviewing day care providers, what their practice is regarding delays: one place supposedly turned unclaimed children over to the police half an hour after closing time. (I never found out whether or not they really did, thank goodness.)
      A lot of day care centers aren’t prepared to take infants. The required staffing ratio is much higher, and infants’ immune systems aren’t really ready for the walking Petri dish environment of groups of other children. Seriously consider whether you could swing taking a l.o.n.g maternity leave.

      1. Getting all the things done: small child edition*

        Take a long maternity leave isn’t really possible. I would have to quit my job, which would put a ton of extra stress on my husband.

      2. The New Wanderer*

        Also note that while daycare hours might be 6 am to 6 pm, there are restrictions on leaving your child for more than 10 hours.

        I/we managed because I had a really flexible schedule, but I had to go to extended part time (32 hrs min per week, kept full benefits) after my first child was born. Both because of schedule and potential burnout from the commute + 8 hrs in office + daycare restrictions. FWIW I had 8 weeks partially paid mat leave followed by 4-6 weeks unpaid FMLA (4 for first, 6 for second), so the kids entered daycare at 3.5 and 4 months old, respectively. Watch your sick leave because daycare germs will knock everyone out. If you can afford a nanny, I know many people who go that route – expenses go up but your daily arrangement could be better.

        Kids are now in elem school and house cleanliness is still iffy, but I do cook most dinners from scratch. You pick your battles.

    5. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Not all the things get done. Options to try to get more things done include:

      – Seriously inventory all the tasks, and allot them equitably between the two adults. “Equitably” doesn’t mean “equally”; it’s a more complicated calculus based on who hates which task less, what kind of standard you can agree on for “done,” and how many actual hours out of the week you can devote to cleaning.

      – Hire a weekly/monthly maid service, whether for general cleaning or specific tasks.

      – To save time in the morning, prep tomorrow’s sack lunches while tonight’s dinner is cooking. To save time in the evening, prep future dinner components while tonight’s dinner is cooking. Also plan dinners that can be easily done as leftovers the next day; I would make casseroles a few times per week when my kid was still living at home.

    6. bunniferous*

      If I were you I would hire household help, at least for the first few years. Do not underestimate the fatigue factor of dealing with an infant/small child along with everything else. If you can delegate or throw money at a task this is the time to do it.

    7. OhCanary*

      The housecleaning, don’t worry about. The commute? Yeah, one of you is going to have to adjust your hours. There are regulations to how long kids can stay in day care each day; many (most?) states won’t allow a kid to be there for 12 hours.

      I’m a one-commute, one wfh household with two little kids in a town full of commuters (we live outside NYC). Every two-commute family I know has to have an au pair to deal with this level of childcare; or, one of the parents has a flex work schedule.

      I don’t mean to scare you. But I’ve seen lots of people (usually moms) be like “oh I’ll figure out the commute stuff once the baby’s here” only to end up quitting their jobs. (Which fine if that’s what you want, but most of them didn’t want it.) So I would recommend thinking about it now.

      My husband works from home (for himself) so is super flexible and it’s truly the only way we’ve made it work, especially with the consistent train delays NJ Transit has.

    8. Ezera*

      House does not stay clean :). We clean it maybe once a month or more (vacuuming, bathroom), but honestly it just stays dirty, the laundry stays unfolded. I have a 1.5 year old. Get up 5:30, leave the house approx 7 or 7:30, get home 5:45. We’re going to get a once a month house cleaner when we can afford it.

      I don’t always leave the house on time, but I’ve also been at my job a long while, so they’re flexible. I skip lunch to make my hours.

    9. leukothea*

      We made it work by one parent having a normal 9-5 type schedule at work and the other parent working midnight to 10 am four days a week. One of us was pretty much always home, which really helped!

    10. Book Lover*

      Hmm. I leave for work at 7 and get home just before 6. I have a cleaner once a week and I get irritable at the kids and have them pick up after themselves as much as possible.
      I couldn’t make things work without a nanny or family member dropping them off and picking them up and getting lunches ready for school and dinner ready for when they get home though. My older one gets up at 8, after I have left, and the younger goes to bed at 7, so without help I am not sure what I would do. I assume they would both need to get up earlier/go to bed later. Paying for help is the best way to make life more pleasant though, I think, with a clean house being the least of things really. There is the cooking and the shopping and so much laundry.

    11. Getting all the things done: small child edition*

      Thanks for all the advice! It’s really helpful.

      I’m thinking that we might have to daycare plus a nanny/babysitter who can do late afternoon daycare pickup and a couple of hours until i get home. I’m think that we will also need a cleaning service.

      Staggering work schedules would be hard to do. We live near a large city with all the associated traffic jams. Plus my husband drives and takes a train to get to work, so he is at the mercy of the train schedule.

      1. Working Mom*

        If you can afford a cleaning service – get a once a week cleaning to do toilets, sinks, tubs, floors. That will help a TON. You may not need/want it forever, but it will be a nice luxury to have that taken care of at least in the beginning when you’re adapting to your new schedule.

        You’ve gotten a lot of great tactical advice, so I’ll give you something else. Perspective. Working parent to fellow working parent. When you have those days/weeks where you feel like it’s just so hard for you but everyone else manages everything so easily. The secret is… everyone else is lying. I’m serious. So many people “act” like everything is easy and perfect, but they cry in the shower too. Don’t get sucked into the “perfection” vortex. You do you the best you can every day. Some days you’ll be a stellar parent and maybe a not so great employee. Other days you’ll kick butt at work and feel like you’re stinking at home. And then another day you’ll make home baked treats a delicious dinner and do laundry… but you had to take PTO and send your kid to childcare to do it. That’s OK!!! However you make it work, is OK. Some people doing a bunch of meal prep every Sunday. Some people buy pre-packaged meals for easy heating up in the oven. There is no one secret or trick – except that you’ll figure it out and even on the hard days – it’s perfectly normal.

        So no mater what, don’t be hard on yourself! *You may not have needed this little pep talk, but I needed it and never got it from anyone. So, I make it my mission to share it whenever possible! :)

    12. Observer*

      You’ve gotten some good advice.

      You should absolutely look into getting cleaning help. Even half a day each week can make a ridiculously significant difference. It’s not cheap, but it’s worth giving a lot of stuff up for this. If you absolutely cannot do it once a week less often is still helpful.

      And, yes, you guys are going almost certainly going to have to adjust schedules. 2 of you with 12+ hours out of the house every day is going to be hard to manage. When it’s the same 12+ hours it is almost certainly going to be unworkable.

      If you take your kid to childcare near where you work, it could help a bit. But still, difficult.

    13. D.W.*

      As everyone has stated, there are trade offs. You will figure what needs to be done regularly and what can slide.

      Both my husband and I work. I commute into NYC and was able to work out two days work-from-home, and he works from home full-time. We cloth diaper, so that MUST be done every day. The rest of my daughter’s laundry gets done on the weekend. It’s also really important to me that I continue to cook our meals, so that gets done.
      To be honest, I don’t leave the house on time. I get to work around 10a and I still leave at 5p and I pump at work as well. I cram as much work as I can during those hours.

      Discuss whay flexible options are available for you. Since you both commute, find a daycare nearest one of your jobs. My daughter was 4mo when she started daycare, she is 9mo today.

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Two parent households cab try to flex their schedules– one parent handles before school the other parent handles after school. It can be hard to stay a connected couple, though.
      I’ve known people to hire a morning nanny, a college student or a retired neighbor. I’ve known people whose parents lived near enough to pitch in. And some daycares open at 7 a.m. and close at 6 p.m.

    15. Owler*

      If both of your jobs are important to keep, you almost certainly will need to divide and conquer the pickups and drop offs, i.e., one of you is on morning drop off, and the other is on evening pickup. Otherwise, the parent who does both will be the one who puts her job second… doing sick days, closed daycare days, and shortened days to accommodate the daycare schedule. Talk about it before the baby comes.

    16. LCS*

      I’ve got two kids and an insane schedule also – normal days are out of the house 6:30 – 5PM and during our roughly 8 week busy season annually I’m out of the house every day (6-7 days a week) from 5:15 – 8:30 or 9 PM. Husband also works a lot, I’d say averaging 45-55 hours weekly. A couple things we’ve learned to make this easier:
      1. Lower standards. Seriously. Beds do not need to be made. Kids do not need to wear perfectly designed & matching outfits if it’s not a special occasion. Store-bought cupcakes work just as well for the school bake sale as homemade. Pick the things that are important to you and still do those really well, but if everything is important to you you’re setting yourself & family up for failure.
      2. Bi-weekly cleaning service is non-negotiable for me. I have quite literally never cleaned a toilet, shower, bathtub, mopped a floor etc. since we have had kids. I keep up with clutter, keep common areas clean day to day, do laundry, wash dishes etc. but to try and do the heavy duty stuff in my almost non-existent time off with kids underfoot is an exercise in frustration & futility.
      3. I’m not sure what your job is but I had my company set up a home office for me. That way on the days when I’ve got a sick kid, or a repairman coming, or need to bail out by 2 PM for a pickup or appointment I can jump online for a bit when everyone is in bed and finish up. Husband has a home office too. It’s a lot easier to put in long hours when some are in pajamas, at a time convenient for me.
      4. My kids are a bit older now – 6 & 9 – and although it seems so hard to take the time to teach them life skills and build independence (rather than just doing stuff for them) it is so worth it. Both kids now help clean, fold & put away laundry, can make their own simple meals, pack school lunches, dust, shovel snow, set the table, get the mail from the end of the street, take out the garbage, rake leaves, etc. We’re at a point now where they are legitimately helpful contributing members to the household.
      5. True equality between parents when it comes to both house and kid work. Basically we operate on the assumption that no one is allowed to sit down until both of us are able to sit down. And again – lower standards here. I see so many of my mom friends drive themselves and their husbands crazy when the husbands don’t do something “right” so the mom does it instead, resentfully. And I’ve got to say, after almost a decade operating on this principle, I’ve come to learn that a bunch of the stuff I thought my husband was doing “wrong” at first was actually just different and in a bunch of cases, better than my way. I never would have seen that if I’d just taken over.
      6. Re: leaving the house on time with small kids – honestly, I often used to dress them for the next day before bedtime so it’s literally a case of get up – brush teeth – out the door. Get yourself ready first and the kids are less than five minutes from bed to car as the last step before walking out the door. At that age it’s all onesies and track pants anyways which are as comfortable as pajamas. If you can, look for a daycare that provides breakfast so you don’t have to worry about feeding them early in the morning. This was a big lifesaver for us.
      7. Make choices that simplify your life. For example other than extreme formal wear, everything I own can be washed and dried with no special precautions required; I’m certainly not messing around with separating loads or ironing or running to the dry cleaner. Neither of my kids own a single white t-shirt because they stain easier and I know I’m not taking the time to mess around with stain remover. I buy mittens (we’re Canadian) in bulk, all matching, so that when either kid invariably loses a glove, everything else we have matches and can be substituted in with a minimum of drama.
      8. Batch meal prep. It’s important to me to eat reasonably well but it’s a lost cause to cook well every day through the week. Sundays are all about making a big meal or two that can get re-purposed into a couple lunches or dinners through the week and about pre-chopping fruits & veggies to make it easier to grab-n-go in a healthier way through the week.
      9. We were never super strict “schedule” people when our kids were babies. If we had been, lots of times one or both parents could have gone days at a time without seeing the kids awake. Obviously if you find your kid really needs a routine, give them a routine. But it served us well to be a bit more flexible and it served the kids well too. When there’s lots going on now, or when we travel, I see my kids better able to roll with it and adapt vs. a lot of kids their age who are used to a stricter regimen.
      10. To each their own in terms of sleep training / co-sleeping / etc., I know this is a personal choice for everyone. That said, we had both kids in their own cribs in their own room from Day 1. I breastfed so was still in with them a couple of times a night but I do think the separation led to them being better sleepers earlier than many. Both were regularly sleeping through the night by 6-8 weeks, and when they sleep, you sleep, which makes the rest of it a million times more manageable.

      Good luck – it’s a wild ride! – but totally doable.

      1. Observer*

        Mostly excellent advice.

        I’m going to disagree a touch on the sleeping issue. It’s true that it’s a very personal issue. But having the baby in your bedroom generally doesn’t negatively affect the baby’s sleep. With one major caveat. You need to be able to ignore noises that the baby makes. Most babies make noises. Not loud, just present – the squeak, squawk, sound like they might be starting to then don’t cry. If you ignore that, it turns out to not be an issue. To the extent that what parents do affects the baby’s sleep it’s a matter of ignoring those noises and sleep training. Despite all the big talk about it, the is no ONE RIGHT method. But, if your kid isn’t a good sleeper, you do need to sleep train. Find the method that works for you, but find a method.

        Keep this in mind – it is to both your benefit AND to the baby’s benefit that you manage to get some sleep.

        1. Working Mom*

          Also, if you end up nursing your newborn… come back here and we those of us who’ve done it can offer loads of tips and tricks for nursing/pumping!

  14. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    One of the chief benefits of expensive childcare is that they handle meals and are generally unflappable. You can drop off baby in a clean diaper and unmatched clothes, and nobody bats an eye, but feeds them three balanced meals (and/or bottles as necessary) and entertains and naps them so that when you pick them up you can just do the nice bath/story/snuggles part of the day.

    The house stays clean while you aren’t in it, by and large (dogs notwithstanding), and small children will “help” while you clean on days off. You lower your standards, too.

    Small children will always happily go for a walk, particularly while small enough to be in a carriage/stroller/sling. You may need to take turns with the dog in the week, eg one doing mornings and one evenings.

    Staggering work patterns can help a lot, to avoid heavy traffic and reduce childcare hours. Perhaps you could swing it so one did 6-3 and one 10-7, for example, or both condense full time into four days (M-Th and Tu-Fri respectively). Depends heavily on role and employer, obviously, but that’s how people I know tend to manage it if neither parent can go part time.

    Good luck!

    1. Lilo*

      My kid eats so much better at daycare than he does at home. At daycare he’ll eat all the veggies they give him. At home, even giving him the exact same veggies, he rejects them.

  15. Keymaster of Gozer*

    Meant to throw a treat for the cat and put my toast down on the plate. Instead threw the toast at the cat.

    How do I apologise to my cat?

      1. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

        My daughters cat would have loved it – she LOVES bread/toast! She has been known to steal the top piece off a sandwhich – ignores the meat, give her the brebs!

    1. Lcsa99*

      Thats hilarious. My cats would have been confused but entertained. Just give her the treats anyway and she’ll totally forget it.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        He did give me the stink eye, then tried to eat a packet of bog roll so I think he’s ok. Or he’s trying to eat all the plastic in the house again. One of those.

    2. peanut*

      Wow, cats are so different from dogs. If I did this to my dog, the toast would have disappeared down his throat in about a second, NO APOLOGY NECESSARY except from him to me.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Haha! In-laws Labrador is like that. Any kind of foodstuff within visual range, regardless of size or transport method, is going down her throat.

      2. KR*

        If I did this to my cat she would be startled and then try eating the toast before the dogs got to it. She would not want an apology, only toast

        1. Baja*

          Yeah my cat, it would probably bounce off her head and she’d either just keep blink once and keep staring at me for her treat or chase after and attack the toast. In either case, no apology needed.

      3. Salymander*

        Ha! I once dropped a slice of toast as I was getting it out of the toaster. One time. My dog spent the next several years, every morning, parking himself on the floor next to where the toaster is. Waiting for another slice.

    3. WellRed*

      Have you seen the video where someone throws a cheese slice to a dog who catches it in his mouth and eats it. Then throws cheese at cat, it lands on his face, he freezes and then falls backward off the counter? Hilarious

    4. Lena Clare*

      Haha mine would just lick the butter off it as if it were meant for them.
      My cats are like dogs though. They play fetch and everything.

    5. university minion*

      Cheap-ass rolls, feline edition! I can totally see a cat writing that letter after having bread accidentally thrown at him/her.

    6. StellaBella*

      this is the funniest thing I have read all day, thank you!
      I am not sure on the cat – extra treats?

    7. tangerineRose*

      I’d just say “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to do that” and give your kitty 2 treats.

  16. Anon Bystander*

    My spouse’s brother broke up with his live-in girlfriend of seven years this past Sunday. 2 years ago, bro told us over drinks he didn’t know if he saw her as “the one.” When we all went on vacation together a year ago, she livid, screamed at the top of her lungs at him for his lending out her curling iron to one of us in our shared Air B&B without asking her—then continued screaming and cursing so loud it almost made the neighbors call the cops and one privately told me she sounded verbally abusive.

    That, and, the same 48 hour period, he quit his consulting job and plans to move in with his dad in a week—the same dad who he is fully aware stole his college fund.

    I can’t even………

    1. Dancing Otter*

      Just be glad he isn’t asking to move in with YOU. My ex-husband’s brother asked to stay in my guest room for a couple of weeks when he left his wife; he stayed over six months!
      As to the girlfriend, sounds like it was more than past time to break up with her.

    2. tangerineRose*

      Sounds like between his dad and his girlfriend, he’s got to the point where he thinks abuse is normal.

        1. valentine*

          To be fair, we don’t know how he behaves with her. Maybe he is the type to push buttons until the person gets loud. I wouldn’t bother swearing all day, but I’d have had to dump both him and my curling iron.

  17. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    Niche content alert…

    You may have seen the Dolly Parton challenge in the last few days, where you share four photos of yourself as if your profile pictures on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Tinder respectively. There are amusing examples from ordinary people, and celebrities and organisations as diverse as Orkney Library and Arnold Schwarzenegger have joined in the fun.

    Anyway, those who recognise the derivation of my username here would appreciate the version showing Officer Crabtree on LonkedOn, Faceback, Anstagrom and Tender. Link in reply.

    1. CAA*

      I saw some of these earlier this week. I love Dolly’s original post, but I think my favorite one is from @LEGO_Group.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I shall have to look for that!

        In related news, today there was an animated Lego reconstruction of Cantona’s karate kick. That’s worth a look too.

  18. Dating help needed anon*

    Hi all…writing partially to vent and get some perspective, if I am too hopeful/putting too much pressure on myself about a new man I have been seeing, and a disclaimer, dating is a bit tough for me because of past history, there are trust issues at play, mostly about trusting myself. About a month ago I was writing here about opting to go on a date with my sweet handsome coworker Jeff. So, happy to report I’ve been on several dates with Jeff. It’s been less than a month since our first date, though we had a few lunches at work before we actually went out. He is a really sweet guy – wants to take things slow, including the bedroom part, to get to know me first and as he said “not ruin a good thing”. He plans nice proper dates, asks for my input. The kind of crazy thing is that we are weirdly aligned on certain things. We both did online dating and didn’t like the people we met. I appreciate him wanting to take things slow on the physical end, because I was kind of freaking out about that at first. We are both looking for serious committed relationships, we are both overthinkers, he, I think, overthinks things more than I do, haha. We are in the same industry and are both a bit nerdy. The coworker who set us up kind of vetted him for me, reassured me that he’s a big sweetheart and I won’t be disappointed. He is a great little planner and always plans ahead for our next date…this brings me great joy and relief and he talks about the next date during the date that we are on, he says he likes to stay one step ahead, which I find endearing. We became exclusive during the third date (I said it, during a lengthy makeout session, then it turned out, we admitted to each other that we were both a little “omg that just happened” afterwards). I think we both want kids…though we haven’t had that conversation yet, but he’s given some pretty clear indications. He understands my needing sometimes solo weekends away to decompress after a stressful 2019, he is completely supportive of me developing/re-discovering new hobbies, as I haven’t had a chance to have many because of years of grad school and working concurrently (he has a few of his own that are very cool)..I know this sounds like what a normal person would do anyway, but because of my past relationship history, I was scared that starting to date someone new would not give me room for any other hobbies. He held my hand on the second date, he is a great kisser, he’s super respectful, always punctual, I find him to be trustworthy. He is super consistent and reliable about our dates. Before the last date that was on a weeknight he offered to stay longer at work so I can go home and chill out a bit and then he picked me up. Yes, he does live with his mother and about 40mins away from where we work, but that hasn’t really been an issue so far. When I asked him if he’d be supportive of a future spouse’s career, he gave a beautiful eloquent response, that he considers himself to be flexible that he understands that given how much time and effort that I invested in my schooling that my career is important to me and that he’s open to considering moving elsewhere for a good job. My heart swelled when I heard that. I had a hard time asking him that question and he said that he can tell it was weighing on my mind for a while and gets that I wouldn’t want to waste my time with someone who isn’t aligned with that. I know this stuff maybe sounds like normal things, but I don’t think I ever dated someone like that and someone who I consider it to be easy to discuss these things. I ended up confessing to him about a minor but annoying health issue that I am dealing with and he confessed to something else that he has to manage health-wise and told me he gets it if I decide no to see him again because of it. On the second date he told me he’s never felt so comfortable with anyone as he has with me and I admitted the same.
    BUT, there are a few buts and I am freaking out about them, because I am scared of making a bad decision (I have trust issues that I am working on with my therapist…seeing her this week, but needed to write things out here before that appointment). He doesn’t ask me good questions, which I’ve pointed out to him on the second date…he took the feedback in stride and said that he doesn’t want to pry to make things feel like an interview. He said he can be shy and timid and awkward and asked to give him time on that. He is also very sparing with compliments, I also pointed that out and he said that it was because he doesn’t want to offend me, he isn’t good at them but will work on it…because it was taking him a while to get to that, I flat out asked him on another date if he’s attracted to me, and he said that yes, he is very into me, that I have nothing to worry about (the making out is good evidence haha), but said he needs to work on those compliments. On our last date he complimented my shoes and admitted that he liked them since date #1. He has no problem taking compliments though and he even thanks me sometimes when I ask him a question about his day, and when we have awkward conversation pauses he tends to tell me something about himself, instead of asking a question, which honestly, is a bit irritating. During one of our dates he said that given his personality, these awkward pauses tend to happen. One evening on the phone, he had a hard time asking me what I am doing throughout the week after work, because he said “we haven’t talked about that yet” and he didn’t want to pry. I have an advanced grad degree, for which friends (who were a great source of support) when I was doing it, praise me often (he met me afterwards), he said it once or twice, and is curious to learn how that was for me, without prying, but he isn’t as complimentary as my friends…I think I’m pretty darn great and tbh I expect more praise. And sometimes he is just not good with any follow-on questions about something I tell him about. He is not a big texter, but whenever a text comes, it’s always supersweet, like once it was that my perfume was left on his coat and he smelled it the next day and it made him feel good. Every morning he checks in with a morning text and lately, every evening I get a sweet good night text. I on the other hand am a pretty frequent texter, and tbh, would be happy to tell him all about my day every day, though he might not be there yet. He never expects an immediate text response, there’s never “how long did it take you to reply?”. I love sharing links to funny articles, but that doesn’t always jive with him…he said that during the work day, it’s difficult for him to do that and that he’d rather plan to have a coffee with me and talk. He brings me candy that I like at work. Our communication styles are a bit different, especially the texting, though my therapist said that given my past relationships, it’s a good thing to have less digital noise like that. But I am scared that maybe him and I aren’t as good a match as I thought and that maybe I already know that and are scared to admit it to myself. I freak out internally almost before every single date, and each date, so far, has been good. During the last date, I was kind of annoyed at the beginning, I thought he dismissed a work issue I was venting about, and I thought that maybe I should say something about us being / not being a good match, but when I asked him about being a supportive partner for my career, once I heard his answer, any want of breaking things off, vanished. I ruminate on this constantly and some nights it impacts my sleep, because before sleep I am stressing out and fretting. I stayed waaay too long in my last serious relationship (it ended close to 10yrs ago), so that is a constant fear. I am also scared that I am not trusting my gut or listening to it. I haven’t been on dates with a normal nice guy in a long time and I am scared to let this one go, especially because I am attracted to him and like many things about him…I feel that there could be a future here, but maybe not? My therapist recommended to sticking to facts about Jeff (during the last appt I thought that maybe he wasn’t into me, that was clearly incorrect) and evaluating based on that and the qualities I am looking for in a man. I don’t want to lead him on either, but I like the comfy feeling I get at the end of each date and how elated I feel and hopeful for the future and I always sleep well after these dates…or is that just the kissing? I am always on cloud 9 the next day after a date with him We are both busy this weekend and the next and in a way that is good to give me time to reflect and not rush into things. This stuff is HARD for me. Any perspective that you can offer would be helpful. And of course, I’ll be chatting with my therapist about this.

    1. Dating help needed anon*

      Just wanted to add, that until I met him, I didn’t realize I wanted a husband and babies (had a husband nearly a decade ago and it was a terrible short marriage) and now I am clear that I want both of those things and are scared I may not get them.

      1. valentine*

        He seems contrary: makes out with you, but is too shy or timid to compliment your shoes. He asked you out, but won’t ask you questions or talk about you unless you bring it up. When given a chance, instead of finding out more about you, he tells you more about himself. Does he at least seem to expect you to share the same, like childhood memory for childhood memory?

        You seem to place the ball in his court. It would be weird, especially if you met at work, if he didn’t support your career. In most couples, all spouses work by necessity. People who surprise you with, “Well, now we’re together/married, you need to dress more (longer skirts, higher necklines) and go out less” were always luring you into lockdown. It’s like you think he has the compass, instead of you each have your own path and you’re seeing they’ll happily converge, but nothing and no one is taking you off your course. Why does he have to do all the asking for dates and lead the planning? Why isn’t that shared?

        You’re happy he’s taking things slowly, but exclusive on date three and texting all day would be rushing or impossible for some, and you seem to want some things set in stone now. (And, even if you text all day with other people, I’m wary of you doing it at work with a coworker.) If you have an all-or-nothing sense, set that aside. Just focus on whether you want to go out again, and then again.

    2. Lehigh*

      I do remember how emotionally-fraught everything can seem during the dating phase, especially early on, but it’s been a really long time since I’ve been there myself so take this for what it’s worth.

      It sounds to me like you have incredibly specific standards. Is it such a big deal that you have slightly different communication styles? Of course you can decide that anything you choose is a big deal, but from the outside…It feels like you’re giving a lot of almost moral weight to whether someone prefers a question- or statement-driven conversation style, or how often he likes to text.

      It sounds like this guy is really open to hearing your needs and preferences and amending his style to you. Are you open to doing the same for him? It’s fine to be picky, and before you get emotionally invested is definitely the right time to weigh your needs, but ultimately a long term relationship has to be a two-way street. You both have to be willing to bend to work with the other person. Are you?

    3. fposte*

      I’d say “Try thinking about it less,” because it really would be helpful, but I know brains don’t work that way :-). I will say that you don’t have to know if you could last fifty years with him after the third date! I’d avoid thinking in terms of a “match” at this point–think in terms of “Am I enjoying his company? Was this a good time?”

      In a sense, serious dating with long-term intentions is like house-buying: “I love the cross-room light, but I was thinking of a much bigger backyard.” But it turns out that much as you’d enjoy a bigger backyard, the houses with larger backyards are all pokey claptrap instamansions, and having a light-filled day brings you joy and makes you long-term happy. There’s no perfect house and there’s no perfect mate, so it’s a question of what mismatches you can live with and which ones you can’t. It also sounds to me that you, like me, prefer somebody with patience and restraint; sometimes that’s a package with being underwhelmed in some areas, but that can still be preferable to being overwhelmed in others.

      There are a couple of readings you might look into and raise in therapy if you find them interesting. Attachment theory is the first, which talks about the different ways people attach; there’s good web reading on that. The other is the work of John Gottman, who is The Guy when it comes to marital/relationship theory and has several books easily accessible to lay readers. What I like about Why Marriages Succeed or Fail is that it demonstrates the *different* ways successful relationships can operate rather than insisting everybody has to fit an emotional template.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Agreeing. I believe that “I don’t know” means, “not yet, or not at all” but we can’t tell which of those is the answer. I also believe that “I don’t know” is a perfectly acceptable answer.

        Asking opinions of trusted people is a good practice for many things from picking out an SO to buying a house and so much more.

        One thing I hope you can do is slow down a bit. I sense a lot of rushing here or perhaps panic. Figure out ways to slow down- I mean inside your mind/heart. You know walking is good for the mind and body. You can take walks by yourself or you can mix it up and go for walks with him sometime. I read somewhere that walking together is really good for marriages, too. I think it is because it changes our surroundings and we get away from our personal distractions.

      2. Double A*

        Yeah, I really like how Dan Savage talks about how there is no The One, but there are plenty of .67s, and you just round up.

        I apologize, but I didn’t read the whole post. I think the fact that he is open to “feedback” on the 3rd date about communication styles bodes well for him being kind about your anxiety. Because that is, in many situations, A Lot for a third date, but someone who rolls with it is a good candidate for being a good match for you! You want someone who is compatible with your Lot.

        When I met my husband, we were both A Lot and we were into each other’s Lots, and fast because we were just…really into each other. And liked and respected each other.

        I agree with other comments about not trying to change him. If unprompted compliments are something you NEED, then see how he does respond to that request, but if that’s just not how he communicates respect and love, can you learn to accept the ways he does communicate those things? Because fundamentally it’s the respect that’s the important part…and plenty of guys can give compliments while also having no respect for you.

        Basically, make sure you like him as he is, because if you’re constantly hoping he’ll change in little ways, you’ll be unhappy. But to figure this out, more dates with less pressure on them are in order!

    4. WellRed*

      Overall things sound wonderful. One question I have is, if you think you are so great (and I’m sure you are) why are you placing so much priority on receiving compliments and praise? Why is that so important to you?

      1. MistOrMister*

        I don’t really understand this either. I don’t find that most people tend to give a lot of compliments. I’m wondering how often OP wants to be complimented. Personally, I would have trouble dealing with someone who needed at least one (and possibly multiple…?) compliments every time we saw each other. I REALLY like being at home with my cats, so if I am regularly taking time to see someone, that is your compliment!! Clearly I think you’re awesome or else I would stay home for cuddles, but I don’t want to have to constantly articulate that and it would irk me to feel forced to have to do it. That, plus a sort of overall feel of, I prefer things X way so I told the guy but he hasn’t fixed it yet were a little concerning to me. We all have our preferences, but there seems to be no attempt to look for compromises they are both happy with, which would make for a healthier relationship dynamic.

        OP, since you have a therapist, perhaps you can discuss working with a partner on these types of things. Certainly we all have preferences and sometimes it’s fair to say, I really need youto do this thing so I can be happy/secure, but I think generally you’d be offering something in return (i.e. I need X compliments a day but I’ll go to those stupid kung fu movies you like without conplaint in return, or whatever). You note that the guy likely just has a different communication style than you, but you seem to want to change it instead of working with him for a solution. It seems like you are more leaning towards wanting to set the rules, which is not quite fair and doesn’t allow the guy to be himself – which is generally not,sustainable,and may cause resentment on his part. I don’t say any of this to dump on you – it seems like this behavior is coming from a place of anxiety which can make us behave irrationally. But it does seem like something to be mindful of and see if you can get a handle on so you can both be yourselves and be happy together.

    5. Cartographical*

      As has been said, there’s no perfect partner. I think things like you jumping to “we’re not compatible!” when you felt he didn’t take your concerns seriously are the real issue I’d focus on here. Do you know how to say “hey, I feel like I need more support about that thing” or even how to shrug it off if it’s a one time thing? Can you reframe things like that as “maybe it reminded him of a work issue of his own that took his attention away for a moment, I’ll try again” or can you open with “this sucked and I need you to be my Team Me cheering squad while I talk about it”? If you can get that stuff down, then, if he’s serious about his relationship with you, he’ll adapt. It sounds like he’s already trying to meet you where you are.

      Regarding the compliments, my partner and I have been together 30 years and he’s not a great compliment-giver. He is great at showing up when I need him, though. Words aren’t how some people show value. Guys like Jeff are, in my experience, much more desirable than a guy who tells you nice stuff — because he DOES nice stuff. He tells you you’re great because he knows your favourite candy, or he remembers the last time you wore those cool shoes. You are worth that space in his head, that time in his day. Being good to you can become part of who he is because it’s how he acts, second-nature, and that makes things last.

      Anyone can learn what compliments touch on our insecurities, those are actually pretty generic — like a cold read from a grifter, it can seem like they know us when they just know people in general. But Jeff does nice things to try to meet your specific needs. He changes when you say you need it, or he’s trying. That’s work. He’s not a great texter but he checks in with you twice a day with a little something nice, because it’s meaningful — and it’s not so frequent as to be intrusive.

      At the end of the day, for me, it’s less about “are we compatible” and more about “is this guy going to put in the work with me to make US compatible”. If the answer is yes, then it’s worth the investment.

    6. Everdene*

      It sounds to me like you really like this guy but have the fear! I think it’s natural that given previous relationships have left you with trust issues that your protective brain is on high alert. FWIW, You will never meet someone who is instantly 100% of what you want/need, but someone who tries is important. In the early days Oak would go 2-3 days without calling me. I mentioned it one time and he was confused “but we already aranged to meet on Tuesday after work. Why would I need to call before then?” He realised that speaking everyday was important to me and started calling everyday at lunchtime, even if we spoke for literally a minute. It’s over a decade later and every weekday he calls at lunchtime and, if we’re apart, every evening too. Like your guy, he’s not great at compliments, I’ve pressed him on this, apparently I look good in everything I wear so it would be a redundant comment…sigh! We have lots of things in common and lots of things we like/do individually, I think most happy relationships are the same. Give it a go and keep going until it doesn’t work for you anymore. (And you may be awesome but there might just be things about you that niggle or aren’t perfect to him too. Maybe. Doesn’t mean it’s doomed to fail)

    7. Dating help needed anon*

      A million thanks to you wonderful amazing commenters. I so so appreciate your perspectives, since, as you can see, I am all over the place, super anxious and I definitely have “the fear”. I was scared someone was going to write that I must absolutely break up with Jeff…I am glad that was a misguided assumption. I do check in with friends when I am fretting and to my very own surprise, my mom, who has been giving advice similar to yours, though also “oh boy, no good men out there, better try to hold on to this one” lol. She means well…Thanks to all of you for sort of, straightening me out. As far as the compliments and praise, well, the stuff related to my advanced grad degree is almost like an expectation, since my friends, who have known me for years, have abundantly praised and supported me. Coworkers do it too…but well, not all coworkers mean it genuinely and many just keep asking “oh you’re so smart, are you going to quit your job now?” smh. I didn’t think of the fact that Jeff, having general restraint and patience, may have it across the board, it’s an excellent point. I like all the positives you all highlighted. I appreciate being reminded to slow down my heart and mind..after the second date I started googling engagement rings (I know! facepalm, but I never had any desire for that for years after my divorce, until I met him). It’s another thing to keep working on in therapy. The book suggestions are great too. Thanks for highlighting his willingness to put in work already, that’s probably part of why I continue to be drawn to him and want to go on more dates, despite the doubts and fear and anxiety. I honestly thought that by date 3 or 4 I should know ALL about compatibility and stuff, again, a misconception. I’ll be rereading your advice in the days to come, you can be sure of that, it’s all so valuable. And, warning, lol, I may post here again in a few weeks…you’re all so great and insightful. Thank you so very much again.

      1. anon of the past, present, and future*

        To be honest, needing and expecting compliments on a grad degree is a little weird. Many people have grad degrees. It’s nothing special that deserves a flow of comments and the expectation that someone is going to single you out for having a grad degree and non-stop praise you for it is concerning, especially if you’ve already graduated.

    8. Clarissa*

      I think if you can’t accept a man the way he is, that the relationship won’t work. You want more compliments, more support for work related issue, more texting, more questions about yourself, (most people don’t ask a lot of questions about other people,) and more of a lot of things.
      He may do those things for a while but later he will revert back to his real self.
      Try letting things be and stop trying to change things and control things.

    9. RagingADHD*

      From the perspective of having dated till age 32 and now married for 16 years, I’d say you need to just generally breathe and also give this relationship some breathing space.

      You are trying to base your relationship right now on whether or not it’s going to work out long-term in the future. That’s impossible, and if you keep up that kind of pressure you will kill it.

      You can’t know yet if this is long term. You aren’t supposed to.

      You like him. You’re having a great time. He’s nice to you. That is good. Enjoy it. You will find out what’s going to happen when it happens.

      I also think you are nitpicking him and yourself really badly – but especially him.

      Being compatable or being a good partner doesn’t mean that someone reads your mind, does everything exactly the same way you do, or does everything you want when you want it. That isn’t a real person, that’s a puppet.

      A good partner is respectful and considerate, shows caring and kindness towards you, and is a safe person. But they are a different person from you.

      You seem like you really, really need a lot of verbal affirmation in the form of questions and compliments. He seems to equate respect with giving space.

      When a person feels secure and well-cared for, the exact way that caring is expressed becomes less important. And as people get used to each other, they get more comfortable giving and receiving affection in each other’s different styles.

      Give it some time. Don’t try to read deep significance into every little thing. The overall trend is really good, just let it be good and stop looking for things to criticize or correct him about.

      Tell him what you like. Thank him when he does stuff that really makes you feel good. If he likes you, he will automatically do those things more.

      Obviously if he does anything really hurtful of inconsiderate, speak up. But you don’t have to hash out every single thing that is less than marvelous and make him account for his failure to be perfect. No healthy person will stick around for that, and anyone who does is going to create a very toxic dynamic with you.

      Things are going well. Relax and have fun.

    10. LGC*

      Glad you’re feeling a bit more reassured – your initial post did have a lot of panic come through in it. But…it really does seem like you just found a good guy with a few non-deal-breaking flaws (like basically everyone out there).

      So, to add on one more thing: you didn’t go into your issues, but it read to me like whenever something happened that showed you and Jeff to not be 100% compatible, you…kind of panicked and thought that means things are Doomed. I’m just a judgy guy on the Internets who has to overanalyze everything, but I think that’s definitely something to lean into in therapy sessions – why do you feel like that? (I’m not a licensed therapist, but I think that a large part of it might have to deal with your marriage ten years ago – it sounds like you were relatively young when you got married, and the marriage was tumultuous.)

    11. Courageous cat*

      I think you’re overthinking things, and maybe your need for praise is a bit much too, especially this early on. It’s been what, a month? You gotta let go a little bit, and just try to enjoy this phase for what it is: deciding whether or not you want to keep going. You don’t have to know right away. Just figure it out over time.

      1. Jdc*

        Ya. Also exclusive after three dates is fast, not taking things slow. Expecting him to have some big convo about a work problem on a second date is also too fast. He’s there to get to know you not have you unload on him.

        I see zero red flags in his part but honestly you won’t sound ready for a relationship.

        He said to take it slow and you’re already thinking babies three dates in. That’s a lot!

      1. OneWomansOpinion*

        Why comment at all? Keep scrolling and ignore it if you have nothing kind of useful to say.

    12. Dating help needed anon*

      I wasn’t able to comment later yesterday, and wanted once again to thank everyone for their warmth, compassion, insight and no nonsense advice. It’s much much appreciated, you helped pinpoint things about myself that I didn’t quite clue into either. It helped me simmer down and look at things from a different angle. I will post another thank you note next weekend, in case some of the good people here don’t see this note, as it’s Monday.

  19. Mouserat*

    I posted about this yesterday but its worth asking again today before giving up: I have been searching for a past letter. The LWs spouse worked for the family’s dysfunctional business and wasnt being paid on time. The LW was pregnant and worried about spouse not being paid. Was this posted here, or another advice column? Or was this all a fever dream?

    1. Anon PhD*

      Sorry, don’t recall, but I did want to comment that your nickname is awesome, it just dawned on me that it’s from Parks and Rec :)

    2. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

      I don’t know where it is, but it was definitely real and definitely here! Hope someone else remembers enough details to find it.

      1. Mouserat*

        Oh my gosh I hope so! I’m kind of a search terms ninja and I have spent too many hours plugging in search terms looking for this.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Hmm. I have access to a different site search than you do (mine can search just the posts, rather than posts and comments combined). I searched for “family business pregnant” and didn’t find a letter like that. Any chance it was an open thread? If so, that would be missed by the search I did.

      1. Mouserat*

        It’s entirely possible! It’s also possible it was in another advice column (I am kind of a junkie!)

  20. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

    My hubs & I are considering taking a cruise. We are thinking that it would be a good idea to start with a short 3 day cruise, but haven’t completely decided yet.
    Those of you that have cruised, any words of wisdom? What do you wish that you had known BEFORE taking the cruise?
    How much money should we be plan on needing (not counting the cruise fees)?

    1. Millennial Lizard Person*

      You go on a cruise to go on the boat, not for the shore excursions. Make sure you’ll be able to have a good time if you can’t dock at the planned ports.

    2. carrie heffernan*

      I did a week long cruise TEN years ago (what even) with my BFF. We were on a tight budget at the time so we didn’t buy the alcohol package but if you enjoy drinks and can afford it, I would recommend it. Also, since we did have limited funds, we only did one excursion (parasailing) and then kind of did our thing – like in San Juan we walked around some free museum. So I would say bring a few hundred dollars at least (make sure you have plenty of cash to tip. We had such a great time I don’t really have many things I wish I knew ahead of time (except the cash having bit I already mentioned).

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Take comfy pants with you. All that food can make you bigger.
      My Carnival Cruise ship said their record breaker years ago was a guy who put on 21 pounds in ONE WEEK. You don’t have to believe it to know constant, unlimited food can cause a wardrobe problem!
      Also, know what the tipping policy is. Hopefully, you won’t be tipping constantly.
      Have fun!

    4. Colette*

      Many cruises include food but not drinks (alcohol,or soft drinks). There may be a separate restaurant on board that you have to pay extra for, but the included food is usually very good. Try the sit down restaurant, even if you think you’d prefer the buffet.

      You pay for excursions and tips (usually as a lump sum at the end of the cruise). And of course anything you buy.

      Every day a newsletter appears at your cabin – that’s where you find out what there is to do that day, as well as what time you dock and when you have to be back on board.

      Cabins near the middle of the ship are better – there’s a lot of walking involved and being in the middle is an advantage.

    5. CAA*

      Decide what ambience you’re looking for. Any short cruise is going to attract a more party oriented and younger crowd than a longer cruise, but there are variations among the mass-market lines. Roughly in order from most party oriented to most staid, I would list them as Carnival, Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Princess, Holland America, Celebrity. (I know some people might disagree with some of that ordering, it’s just my opinion.) If you’re in Europe, then you might also look at P&O, Costa, MSC.

      If you don’t want to be around children, pick a time when most are in school. Disney actually does a great job of making cruises enjoyable for adults because they provide such excellent children’s programming and facilities in separate areas. One-way trips also tend to have fewer children aboard.

      If you live in or near a port city, sign up for the last-minute deals emails from any line you’re interested in. Last year we got a last minute cruise from L.A. to Vancouver that was cheaper than the airfare for the same trip would have been.

      It’s really best to have a passport, even though you can technically cruise round-trip from a U.S. port with only a birth certificate and photo ID. There are just fewer possible things that can go wrong with your boarding docs if you have a passport, and it’s also the only way to fly home from a foreign port in case of emergency.

      Check your credit cards for travel insurance and make sure to pay for your booking with the one that offers the best coverage. For a short trip like you’re describing, we usually do not buy additional insurance and just accept the possibility that we could lose money if we had to cancel at the last minute.

      Read the cruiseline’s FAQs to know how much they’re going to charge you for tips. They’ll add that to your bill at the end of the cruise. Also figure out how much you’re likely to drink. DH and I are light drinkers so we’d never buy the prepaid drinks plan. Even if we each had one cocktail and one glass of wine every day, that would be about $25/each/day and we’d still come out way ahead by just paying at the end.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I would recommend the Cruise Critic website for tips, advice and reviews. Different cruise lines suit different people, and I echo the advice that unless you are a heavy drinker (or it’s included in the price) don’t bother with a drinks package unless you are sure you can make it pay for itself.

        1. Bluebell*

          +1 on the CC website – it was super helpful for the one (and only) cruise that I went on with spouse many years ago. We did 5 days to the Caribbean on Celebrity. The pool was a lot smaller than we had expected, and I hadn’t expected so much competition for the lounge seats! We paid for one nice shore excursion, and just walked around in Key West. Didn’t buy the booze package. It was a fine experience, but I don’t need to do it again.

      2. NoLongerYoung*

        We got the shore excursion packages off a website specializing in them (I don’t have it, but search? I’m on the phone). The cruise line marked them up more.
        Our first was a bargain “shakedown” 3 day practice for a ship shifting from one coast to another, super cheap but not as much fun. The big one was our Holland America one through the inside passage. Longer let me unwind and we did a lot of fun shore trips.

        1. Fikly*

          But be aware that if you go on a excursion not affiliated with the cruise, and it runs late, the cruise will leave without you. If a cruise excursion runs late, they will hold the cruise.

    6. Everdene*

      I’ve done 3 cruises now, 2 on Royal Caribbean and 1 on Celebrity, I’d recommend both lines. (In my opinion celebrity was slightly fancier but not tonnes of difference) Unless you plan on drinking *lots* don’t bother with a drinks package. The exception would be, for me, travelling with a group, then it would probably be easier.

      Unlike Millenial Lizard Person the ports matter to me and I try for minimal sea days. Somewhere like the Norwegian Fjords is great for cruises as it’s easier to see the places travelling by water rather than road. However, don’t feel pressured to do a shore excursion everyday. Research how far you dock from what you want to see and choose excursions only when you can’t do it yourself easily.

      My tip on food is have something fruit/veg/salad based at every meal. Don’t eat until you burst, there is always more available. And the speciality restaurants I’ve been too were amazing. Definitely worth the surcharge.

    7. Extra anonymous today.*

      I did a river cruise in Bordeaux and that was AMAZING. Very little extra money unless you are a drinker, and shore excursions were mostly included. Rivers are very calm so no worries about seasickness.

      1. I'm just here for the comments*

        Keep extra cash for tips for the staff (especially the housekeeping staff), and get a cabin with (at the very least) a window. Friends of ours did an inside cabin without a window (because it was cheaper) but they had no natural light and consistently slept-in extremely late because their circadian rhythms were thrown off.

    8. periwinkle*

      Three days is barely enough time to learn your way around the ship! You’ll also likely get a different experience on a 3-day cruise than you would on a 7-day one.

      I’ve become thoroughly hooked on cruising, much to my surprise, since I’m a solo traveler who’s also a quiet introvert. And… I sail on Norwegian, which tends to be on the more lively side. On paper it’s not a great fit but in practice, yeah baby. It’s a very solo-friendly cruise line. In my cranky introverted way, I love that there are tons of people and tons of activities – they’re available if I’m feeling it and can be readily ignored if I’m not.

      Some say pick your cruise on the ship and others say pick your itinerary and then figure out which ship to take. Cruise lines sometimes have to skip ports, mainly for weather-related reasons, so I agree with the first camp. There will be days when the ship stays at sea, so make sure it’s a place with activities which suit you.

      Along with Cruise Critic (which can be a really toxic place, so take the comments there with a grain of salt), I relied heavily on YouTube reviews. Good grief are there ever a lot of cruise-related videos out there! If you want to see a specific ship, search for ship tours and reviews. Want to know what a balcony cabin looks like on a certain ship? There’s a video (or a bunch). General advice? Oh yeah.Videos on “what I wish I knew before my first cruise”? Just search that phrase and stand back as the results flood in.

  21. Aurion*

    Elder care, y’all. *sighs* I need some tips on how to deescalate tantrums for seniors, with the caveat I have to do this mostly on my own. (I live with them.)

    My parents are in their 60s, so early “senior” years. Both are getting very forgetful, and their flaws are getting magnified in older age. My father comes from a long line of “stiff upper lip” folks – great at Men’s Work like fixing stuff around the house, terrible at being comforting, emotional talks, or any of that stuff. My mother is highly emotive and passive aggressive. My father will not tell you anything is wrong (even if it is) unless it’s dire; my mother will tell you about every little ache and nightmare and want attention and comfort and attempts to make her feel better. This is the cause of a lot of friction in their (not that great) marriage.

    Yesterday’s situation: since my parents just came back from a trip, when asked if they want to do anything for Lunar New Year (we’re Asian), my mom mumbled something about how they’re all tired, and me/my sib/sib’s partner are all at work, we probably won’t do anything. Sib/sib’s partner went to sib’s side of the family for a LNY eve’s dinner, and my mother is pissed because tradition requires they All Come Home for dinner. I point out that she said we probably won’t do anything, she doesn’t remember this conversation and continues being angry, saying that we’re all grown up and we should organize the holidays from now on. I say obviously wires got crossed and give me a list of holidays she finds important, and she tells me angrily “you’re not married, this is on your sib, stop shielding them”. I ask her for expectations on how she wants these things done, she snaps “from now on, I have no opinion, ask your father” and storms away (she never actually “has no opinion”, FYI). This is the distilled version; the actual tantrum was much more drawn out over the entire evening.

    At the heart of it, I know it’s that she wants validation and attention and the feeling like someone other than her is Trying (especially my dad). But her temper is not making any of this easier (as in, when she’s in a snit she’ll lash out about everything from “why didn’t you read my text from 20 minutes ago” and “why are you cooking vegetables”). Dad is not going to get more consoling and relationship-oriented any time soon, my sib is mostly absent and I can’t change that, and my approach of “you need to calm down” is…not working so great.

    Validating her emotions is hard when I think she’s being patently irrational and ridiculous on the logistics side and when she forgets what she said, and the targets are either myself or my dad (ie I can’t pick sides). I admit my emotional consoling skills are very subpar. (I mean, if in an argument someone points out the ways I contradicted myself I will probably remain angry and sulk, but I wouldn’t yell and pick at every perceived flaw further and I’d blow over my sulk in a few hours.) I’d wait for it to blow over except she…stews, and whilst she’s stewing any perceived flaw is up for attack, which often leads to more fights about nothing in particular that wasn’t even tangential to the original fight. And I have work and a life, so it’s not like I can be there to referee their emotions all the time.

    Outside care is out of the question. Mostly I just want some tactics on how to manage elderly tantrums in the moment, if that’s possible.

    1. fposte*

      Two things come to mind when I read this. First, that this was mostly about your sibling, so I don’t think you needed to manage that one. Let her be upset at your sibling. Second, that validating her emotions may be hard, but I think it’s likely your best path. Right now it sounds like you’re still thinking about the logistics–what if you let them go in the conversation? “I’m sorry, Mom; it’s no fun to be disappointed. I know you miss Sibling and wish you could see them more.” While she doesn’t sound like somebody who will then melt into a puddle and sob “It’s so wonderful to be understood,” that’s both a helpful phrase and an exit line.

      I lied–three things come to mind, and the third is that this sounds like the kind of conversation Deborah Tannen focused on in “You Just Don’t Understand Me.” You’re conversing to fix the situation, and she’s conversing to share her emotions. (Though I think pointing out the ways somebody contradicted themselves is a feather-ruffling move in any situation, so I’d stay away from that.) So try not going for the logistics or trying to fix things unless she asks. “Geez, Mom, that’s upsetting–can I make you a cup of tea?” may get you a lot farther.

      1. Aurion*

        I am definitely a fixer, yeah.

        She’s been low key upset all week (when she stews, she does it for days or weeks, which is why the “wait for it to blow over” advice is so hard since she picks fights when she stews) because dad isn’t being caring/warm/looking after her (she had a surgery two months ago). I agree that my dad is very deficient in making one feel safe and comforted and I try to make up for it where I can, but I’m not the one she wants it from, and I can really only manage the logistics part in place of other people which… Is not what she values, sigh.

        Dad’s not gonna change either, but he’s a) not expecting care from others and b) is equally terrible at being comforting to everyone, so mom is not singled out. It just affects her more.

        I’ll check out that book!

        1. Aurion*

          That is to say, she’s been upset in general (and upset at dad) all week, sibling was just the spark that lit the fire (and given the misunderstanding I don’t think sib was really in the wrong either).

        2. fposte*

          It’s nominally about conversational difference between men and women, but I’m female and map more onto the male version there, as do plenty of women. And as long as I’m talking about Gottman upthread, you might find The Relationship Cure interesting–it’s definitely not just focused on marriage and talks a lot about how hard it can be to tell what somebody really wants from you.

          1. Aurion*

            What I find the most frustrating is that my mother is naturally a very combative person. She’ll go to the ends of the world for you, but she expects that in return, and when she is in a mood if you’re not with her, you’re against her. I am not normally very patient with people I deem irrational, so she pushes my buttons pretty hard too, I just have a longstanding principle to never yell at people or insult them when I’m angry. She sadly does not return this civility, which makes it very hard for me to remember to validate her feelings rather than tell her she’s being ridiculous. I’ll try harder on that front.

            She insists her temper has gotten better with age (she’s been like this all my life), I think her temper has not improved one iota. She genuinely does not understand why I don’t take workplace advice (which usually comes down to ‘fire back shots at your boss in the most adversarial way possible”) from her…

    2. Monsooned Malabar*

      My boyfriend just came Home from a course in nonviolent communication, maybe you could read up on this and try it out on your parents :-)

    3. I'm A Little Teapot*

      This kinda sounds horrible, but you might want to read some about how to handle toddler tantrums. Just because you’re 60 doesn’t mean you’re not going to act like you’re 6, and honestly, if you’re acting like you’re 6 I’m treating you like you’re 6. Some of the techniques of handling this kind of behavior in kids is going to be perfect (not the ignore them while they scream and bang their heads on the wall hopefully!).

      As for your mom in this instance, it sounds like she just needed to be upset and to hear that yes, she’s upset. You can’t fix her emotions and trying is probably going to make it worse.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I am 59. Just my opinion but they are too young to be acting this way. But this happens, so there’s that.

      You mom sounds like she acting like a wife who privately feels her husband does not take care of her. Once you see this once, you will start noticing this in more women around you. Likewise, you can notice husbands who feel their wives do not take care of them, but that is less common.This is good to keep in mind because you then you know that you can’t fix this.

      It’s also good to know that as a daughter you maybe too close to them to be effective help. Strangers might have more say, more push.
      Understand that as long as you live there bringing in outside help is going to be impossible. You are there, so why would they do that? This will be their logic. And they will work very hard at making you as miserable as possible.

      Your mom is very angry perhaps depressed or there maybe other things going on with her. A good doc and a full physical would be a good starting point. Ideally, go with her and explain about the yelling and arguing for hours on end. Yeah, big bold move on your part, but your other choice is just live with it. I am not a fan of choice number 2.

      Bottom line: Whatever plan you come up with will be thwarted with in a short time. So you will have to get another new plan. For me, I would start telling mom she needs a check up to figure out why she is always upset. And I would tell dad that the two of them have to take care of each other. Then I would expect nothing to change. But, hey, at least I tried.

      1. Aurion*

        You’ve hit the nail on the head, and I’ve had those big picture conversations with them many many times, but neither of them changed, so I need to work with in the moment tactics rather than strategy, unless and until something drastically changes in the current situation.

        Her bill of health is, as far as I know, pretty clean. As far as she’s concerned, it’s everyone else that’s the problem. I have no qualms admitting my father’s shortcomings when it comes to taking care of someone, but on some level they (and we) are very mismatched in the amount of care and attention we need from others and neither parent is willing to do much compromising.

        She’s a peach to outsiders, so it really is a matter of her family members failing her expectations, I think.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Yeah, my mother was miserable to live with but wonderful to others.
          It’s a facade. And facades crumble.

          Her facade crumbled a lot faster after I left. Then everyone saw who she really had been all along.

          You may have to get out of the way so others can get in to this situation. I did.

          It’s not up to you to make your parent’s marriage to each other work for them.

        2. Fikly*

          I heard something a while back that really struck me.

          If you run into one jerk in your day, they are probably a jerk. If everyone you run into in your day is a jerk, the jerk is probably you.

    5. Anon PhD*

      Hi, sorry to hear you are having a hard time. I have a slightly different take on this, based on own past experience with my parents. Is moving out an option for you? If so, that may help you and the realtionship with them. I had SO MANY fraught squabbles with my parents when I lived with them, and moving out fixed a lot of it. No amount of communication tips recommended by my then-therapist helped, moving out was the solution (the therapist recommended that as well and it was time for me to move out too). Working on establishing healthy boundaries was the next step. I even had a fraught relationship with them when I visited them every week. Biweekly visits, then, every three weeks helped. Ppl in their 60s are not elderly, far from it and you’re not mentioning any health issues. My folks have more stamina than me sometimes. Best of luck with this, hugs.

    6. Cartographical*

      A tantrum is just a tantrum if you don’t engage. If you engage, it’s an argument, and an argument is an engine that drives itself. Your mom isn’t going to stop throwing tantrums and sulking so I absolutely think that getting out of “fix it” mode in the moment and in the long term is probably your best bet.

      I’m experienced with toddlers and with adults with cognitive or mental health issues and sometimes the best thing you can do is work on you in terms of managing your disengagement, not their behaviour. The response to “Mom, you said we weren’t doing anything.” vs “I’m sorry you’re disappointed, what would you like to do about it?” can seem minimally different in the short term but it makes a big difference in the long run. Sometimes, what they want to do about it is yell. “Okay, I’m going to get some work done while you do that.” You get the relief of not having to fix it and sometimes the behaviour is extinguished over time as it gets little reward. Whatever you do, getting out of the cycle is going to reduce your burnout.

      You may have to bite the bullet and take her to see a professional about the memory issues. If there’s anyone in her sphere you can call in for backup on this — maybe you can leverage your sibling for a one-off intervention — it might help to provide positive pressure. There are some things, including health care, that aren’t optional no matter how big the tantrum. Aside from the books suggested above, you may want to see if there are any seniors’ supports in your area, especially those offered through a Chinese cultural/community center (we have one here that has language classes and a seniors’ group) to help take the pressure off you and give her contact with her peers who are also going through the aging process. I expect both your parents could use some commiseration with people their own age — that’s something you never grow out of.

    7. Age is not the issue here*

      While everyone ages differently, unless your family has a history of early onset dementia, this is not age, this is just who your parents are. My hubs and I are in our 60s, for reference. It’s not unusual for people to expect others to read their minds and be angry when you don’t. It sounds like your mom is like this. (Mine was too.) While patience is important, so is nailing things down. Her “we probably won’t do anything” was probably meant as “plan something for me so I don’t have to.” So listen closely for hints and ask questions. Once I figured this out “We probably won’t do anything” would have prompted me to say really? Are you OK with that? It’s an important holiday and if we don’t do something you’ll be sad. What is it you would like to do? After a long string of deflection and more questions we’d finally figure out the happy middle between what she wznted and what we were willing to do.

      You know your folks, and if they really are failing, check to see if there are elder services available in your area.

    8. RagingADHD*

      My mom was very emotive and emotionally needy (and pretty darn passive aggressive). My dad is a devoted & reliable husband in the traditional “provider and protector” style, but a terrible communicator and not very emotionally expresive in the ways my mom needed.

      The best thing that ever happened to me was the day I realized that their marriage problems predated me, would outlast me, were quite beyond my power to fix, and were NOT my responsibility.

      As long as my relationship with my mom was centered around making up for my dad’s shortcomings, it was very frustrating for both of us. I had to deliberately take a stance that our relationship was just about the way I treated her, and the way she treated me. That made it a lot better.

      (After Mom passed and I read her journals, I also found out that a lot of their conflict was based in things that were way, way, outside of my wheelhouse, like their sex life. And that my dad was not nearly as insensitive as she made it seem – the communication breakdown was equally her doing) There is no way a kid can compensate for marriage problems. It’s just far too complicated.

      Listen. Nod. Give some sympathy, but let her be upset and don’t try to fix it. It’s hard to break the pattern, but you’ll both be happier.

      1. Aurion*

        Thank you – I think on some level I knew this, but I’m still compelled to try.

        How would/should I deflect when she starts on my father/sibling’s shortcomings when I don’t think they’re justified? I know I’m too close to this. If she were complaining at length about her sister or whatever I can smile and nod, but it’s hard for me to take her side when the target is someone close to me. That’s what I struggle with the most, I think.

        1. Owler*

          Acknowledge how she feels, give her a plan to deal with it herself, and suggest a topic change. “I know that you’re hurting, Mom, but I can’t fix this for you. Please tell (Dad/sibling) and work this out with them.” And then change the topic.

    9. TimeTravelR*

      I have relatives like this. You can’t change them. Don’t try.
      But I am a little surprised that adults in their 60s need care. I mean, I know it happens, but it does seem pretty young still.

    10. No fan of Chaos*

      If they are having memory issues, put a gps tracker on all cars. Activate a phone ap that can locate everyone. I live in Reno and at least twice a week a senior is lost and often found deceased.

    11. YouwantmetodoWHAT?!*

      60’s seems quite early for that – are they late 60’s? Possibly medical issues going on here.

  22. 30-something angst*

    I turned 35 not long ago. Single and childless. A source of embarrassment to my (Asian) family.

    It’s not that I wish I could go back to my 20s (not a particularly happy period of time, especially the first few years), but I wish I was that young just so I don’t have to deal with the constant pressure about starting a family.

    I really like my life the way it is now (always room for improvement, but immeasurably better than in my 20s). I really want to enjoy this kind of lifestyle for a while longer and don’t want to change it up drastically. I’m not even all that sure I want children, but at my age I know it’s not something I can just keep putting off thinking about.

    It’s not that I wish I had more time to make changes. Rather, I wish I had more time so I don’t have to change. I wish I was normal and wanted all those normal things that would fit in with societal expectations.

    1. nep*

      Societal expectations are the bane of most people’s existence.
      I hope you’ll be able to get past any distress over this so you can spend your precious time being true to yourself and loving your life.
      (Just to note, I’m not saying that as someone who’s got that nailed…I say it for myself as well.)

    2. Anon Phd*

      Agree with nep. You must stay true to yourself and do what what makes you happy and continue to discover new things that make you happy. As for family pressure, look into assertiveness training and boundary setting. However much pressure your family will try to apply, as long as you keep them off you in a kind but firm manner, you’ll be fine. I had to do that A LOT with my parents and eventually we got to a happy place.
      And also, about being true to yourself..I don’t have it nailed either, but definitely working on it…trying to get better at it all the time.

    3. Ali G*

      How about just accepting who you are (which is completely normal!) and not changing? It’s your life! If YOU want to get married and have kids, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s great too.
      I know it’s easier said than done – I’ve been there – but the best thing you can do for yourself is accept where your life is now and decide what you want for your future, and work to make that happen.

    4. Dan*

      “I’m not even all that sure I want children, but at my age I know it’s not something I can just keep putting off thinking about.”

      I’m going to challenge this a little bit. (Not the actual feelings about having kids, but the “can’t put it off” part.) I’m a 40 year old dude who has always said that I don’t want kids in the next two years. That’s been true for 20 years, and I don’t see it changing. The way I figure things like this, by not having “decided” you in a way *have* actually decided.

      More broadly, life takes you where life takes you. It’s not always something you can plan. I got divorced 5 years ago (no kids) and at the time, I wasn’t sure if I’d get remarried and have kids. 5 years later, I don’t have a burning desire to get remarried *or* have kids. And for me, a side consideration is the costs of having kids. I grew up rather poor, although not quite in poverty. I knew from a young age I wanted kids only if I could afford them. I’m finally (as in the last year or so) at a point where the finances are truly in order and I can plan for things beyond the same-old-same-old. Except.. I like having the money to spend on myself to do the things I want, and I don’t see that changing either.

      Point being, if you’re actually happy with life, why change it? Being someone you aren’t in an effort to keep other people will just make *you* miserable.

      1. tangerineRose*

        “Being someone you aren’t in an effort to keep other people will just make *you* miserable.” This!

      2. OhCanary*

        The kid thing is different for women, though. Men can put it off forever and then decide at age 50 they’re ready. Women can’t, and that’s what the OP is referencing.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Deciding not to decide is a decision. Additionally, OP wishes she had more time so she doesn’t have to change. This is also a decision. Left to her own choosing, she would stand pat and not change. She likes her life.

          OP, I read somewhere that women of The Greatest Generation were among some of the most abusive mothers. The reason was because society expected women to get married and have children. Collectively many of these women did not want to and resented their roles that had been chosen for them. They slid downhill from there.

          I am not saying you would be an abusive parent. no-no-no. Bear with me.

          It’s in these extreme examples we can find what is really wrong with foisting social expectations on people. Unhappiness manifests in many ways and abuse is only one of the ways. Some people slide into depression, others get hugely sloppy with finances or make other irresponsible decisions. The list is endless.

          People without children (raises hand!) contribute in different ways to our society and we need both parents and non-parents to keep our society running. I’d say that there are many ways you can contribute to our world without being a parent. Because I am not chasing adult children and grandchildren around I have plenty of time to check on my elderly neighbor who was widowed last year. (She’s been a great friend to me, so this is not work in my mind.) Her family has told me they appreciate my efforts. Hey, I have the time to do this, it’s no effort on my part. There’s other things I do because I have the time to do them. And you will find the same thing, you are already saying you enjoy your life, so you are well underway here.

          I think the biggest thing you face here is waiting for your family to decide to quit pressing this point with you. Families fail us on a regular basis. They don’t cheer when they should, they don’t support when they should, they don’t let us cry when they should. Your validation for your choices will have to come from inside you and from your friends and other non-relatives around you. Your family does not have it in them to validate your choices. They may in a while, or never, it’s hard to know. I think in the long run you will find a couple supportive relatives here or there. But that could take time. Meanwhile, be YOU. Live as you see best. Our society needs people like you who are interested in doing different things.

    5. blackcat*

      My biggest advice is that if you’re not sure you want to have a child, don’t. Having a child changes your live immeasurably in the first few years, particularly if you carry the child yourself.

      There’s also more than one way to become a parent, and if parenting becomes really important to you 10 or even 15 years down the road, there are paths for you.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      You ARE normal.
      I hope you find a way to stop the pressure you’re receiving on a very private topic.
      I am childless by choice and I never regretted my decision. The other child-free women I know are all doing very well and none has ever expressed regret about being childless.
      A woman needs to decide for herself about kids. Whether women have children or not, I’d really like to see more acceptance and respect for women’s decisions on this topic.

    7. Lizzy, not borden*

      I married into an Asian family, had one child and it was a son. So I got it right, right? I had a son.
      No. Even if you had a kid or were back to your 20s, you cannot get it right!

      You are “normal”! Do what you want, stop letting them have rent free space in your head.

      My spouse gets all kids of crap from family – you have a wife, why are you loading the dishwasher, Americans follow laws, here we follow the family, one son married a woman from the “wrong” part of China,. . . etc. You cannot ever be normal from their standards.

      In your 20s you care what other people think, in your 40s you stop caring what other people think, in your 60s you realize no one was actually thinking about you!

      I know it is family and they are thinking about you so it is hard to let it go, but really, they are not thinking about you, they are thinking about themselves and what they want.

    8. Anonymous Educator*

      I feel as if the familial pressure never stops:
      Why isn’t your GPA higher?
      What college are you going to?
      When are you getting a job?
      When will you get a spouse?
      When will you buy a house?
      When will you have a child?
      When will you have a second child?
      Why don’t you raise your children this way?

      I’m amazed you escaped your 20s without that constant pressure. But I can tell you having one kid doesn’t make the pressure magically go away. I wish you the best.

    9. matcha123*

      I’m maybe a year older than you, living in an Asian country, but not Asian. I am also single-ish and have no desire for kids. However, even though I’m not Asian, I still feel the pressure from people around me. I can only imagine that it is ten times worse for local women.
      I get where your feelings are coming from…it is easier when you like and desire the things that those around you also like and desire. But, don’t give in and end up doing something just to make others happy. You only have one life to live.

  23. Amethyst*

    I posted a few months ago about my project from hell. (Converting an old dresser to a kitchen island. My dad accidentally sawed through his finger with his circular saw helping me with it.) I still don’t know if I want to finish it. I started patching things up after that traumatic day, but it’s been sitting in my house since. Anyone else have similar things happen with projects & cycling through “yes, finish the project–you’ve been through hell with it” & “no, toss it because it keeps reminding you of the trauma”? What did you end up doing? Did you dump it after all the money & time & labor you poured into it, or did you finish it?

    1. Iris*

      Objects exist to serve you, not the other way around! I don’t know what the right answer for you is, but I’d start by throwing the concept of “should” out the window and asking yourself what you want to get out of this. But I think it’s fine to have “emotionally uncomplicated furniture” as a priority her.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Tangentially, I need to thank you guys for the phrase “emotionally uncomplicated furniture.”
        It’s a good companion for a phrase I coined earlier this week: “emotional support food.”

    2. fposte*

      I’m finally giving up on a nearly finished quilt. I’ve been toting that thing around for *years*, but I’ve realized it’s not going to be very good when it’s done and I will neither want it nor want to give it to somebody. Is it at least out of the way so you can leave the question for a bit, or are you bumping into it all the time?

      1. Amethyst*

        It’s opposite my kitchen counter. I can’t hide it or put it somewhere else for a while. Right now it’s got the relevant tools for repairs & is serving as a kind of catch-all place for odds & ends, & my cats have found they like to sit inside the dresser & eye the rest of the room haughtily for a bit. :)

        1. fposte*

          Is that an untenable status quo, or could you live with it half-assed where it is, at least for a while? If you did decide to get rid of it, do you know what you’d do? (For me it would be figuring out its removal that would be the big block, so I’d make doing that its own task and then make a decision as to whether to do it right now or not.)

    3. Wishing You Well*

      Yeah, you’re allowed to dump it, if you want. You don’t have to keep something that has bad karma – period.
      Ask yourself: do you want this in your house when it’s finished? We have to start letting ourselves quit at some point. Maybe you’re at that point.
      Best of Luck

    4. LibbyG*

      I once abandoned a vintage sofa I was repairing and reupholstering. It was such a tiresome, miserable experience that I knew that, even if I finished, I wouldn’t feel good looking at it. Carted it to the curb; it was gone in an hour. Seeing it gone was the most pleasurable moment I had with than damned thing.

      I’m with those who say forget “should.” What do you want?

    5. Cartographical*

      Is it the working on it that’s hard or just having it there? If it’s the former, can you see if you can trade labour with another person and have them finish it in exchange for you helping them out with things? Personally, I HATE bailing on a project for trauma/upset reasons, though I’ll chuck project in a hot minute if I just don’t like it or I’m bored. I find losing out on the project as upsetting as the triggering event so I tend to fight it. Sometimes, I win; sometimes, I lose. Does your dad want you to get rid of it? If it’s going to bother him to see it, that would be a factor for me. If he’s a “hey, I cut off a finger to get that done!” kind of guy, I’d be more inclined to try to finish. I hope your dad’s healing well!

    6. Not So NewReader*

      I am a big fan of toss it because of the trauma.

      I have gotten rid of so many things with a negative vibe and it has changed my home for me so much. It’s also changed me to some degree too.

      If you save it because of all the money you put into it, then what happens next is you keep using it because of all the money you put into it. Meanwhile, as each day goes by you hate the thing more and more. This is way too much emotional labor. Somethings are just a loss. Write it off as, “I tried, but it’s a loss. I will have other attempts at things that will be a loss also. It’s better to just keep trying with new things.” Keep the willingness to try new things, ditch the dresser. That is my vote.

      1. NoLongerYoung*

        +1. there is a financial thing called “sunk cost.” I apply to lots of things (relationships, projects). Just because you have already invested X amount (dollars, hours, emotional energy) into thing, does not change the value of thing. It’s worth only what it would be worth, on the market (or with fresh eyes), today. $10K for that project car? But it’s been rusting 20 years? That’s sunk cost if it is only worth $500 now to anyone else.
        You spent 25 years being besties with a lying sneak and you just found out? The relationship is not worth one minute more than it would be worth if you started it today – knowing what you know now.
        I consider it sort of a fresh look. Nope, nope. Just because you carted it home, just because you have some time into it, does not mean you have to finish it.
        On the other hand, the great freedom you will feel when partially-done project is gone and you have a fresh start? That is priceless.

    7. Anono-me*

      I think that you need to ask yourself if the reason that you haven’t moved forward with finishing the project is because you don’t want to. If you don’t want this dresser in your kitchen or home anymore, then it is perfectly fine to curbcycle it.

      If you still want a diy kitchen island, look on craigslist or freecycle for a beautiul buffet and add a nice counter top.

    8. RagingADHD*

      I have a large Rubbermaid bin full of Native American artefacts taking up about 5 square feet of floor space in my home office. They belonged to an elderly relative who I had a very fraught relationship with, and they are the last remnants (other than family photos) of dealing with the estate.

      Technically I don’t owe anyone an accounting. But I don’t want them. I can’t sell them because many of them were illegally collected on public land, and I don’t know which are which.

      I contacted the nearest tribal authority right after the person died, but they wanted photos before deciding whether to accept them.

      The circumstances and baggage of this person’s death, plus the stress of dealing with the estate, put me into a moderately depressed state for about a year, and took another year to get my life mostly back on track.

      Between my feelings that this is essentially stolen property, and my feelings about the person and that bad year, it’s like the bin is full of bees.

      And there’s no guarantee the tribe will want them- then what do I do with the damn things?

      And if they do want them, it’s a 5-hour road trip back to a place I never want to see again anyway. (Though I would have a peaceful conscience to keep me company).

      I really want my 5 square feet back. But not enough to get the photos done (yet).

      1. Pippa K*

        Well, it has to be done, but it doesn’t have to be done by you. It’s such a specific set of tasks with a clear goal – if you were my friend or neighbor, I’d gladly do this for you. We all have things we just can’t face dealing with, for one reason or another.

        Also – changing my Procrastinator Extraordinaire hat for my Academic hat: if the tribe doesn’t want the materials or have views on how you should dispose of them, you might contact a university that has scholars who work on Native American history and related topics. They might have a scholarly use for materials that don’t need to be repatriated, as it were, and even if they don’t want them, someone might give you advice on what could properly be done with them.

  24. Iris*

    My FIL is clearly a narcissist, but my husband doesn’t see it, and keeps operating on the assumption that his dad is going to behave like a normal person. Obviously this is a path straight to a world of pain. Help.

    1. Lena Clare*

      Meredith Miller on YouTube is great about living with narcissists and how they can screw with your sense of perception.
      But really, if your husband is ok with the status quo there’s not much that you can do.

    2. Amethyst*

      Out of the FOG. It’s a fantastic website/forum for people who have personality disordered persons in their lives. You can find a ton of actual help there. The website is outofthefog (dot) net.

    3. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Long term, he needs therapy. It’s not easy to accept that your parent is not a good one, may not actually care about you, may be abusive, etc. Plus, it’s very possible that he’s got a lot of trauma and abuse to process from his childhood. Narcissists can really do a lot of damage to a person, especially a child, without it being obvious.

    4. Texan In Exile*

      Five years after his parents’ death, my husband is finally starting to realize (and to get really angry about) what a jerk his dad was. (I am talking about Sly, for those of you who know me as the golddigger.)

      It can take a lot of time to see what’s obvious to everyone else. It can also take being in a place where you are safe from the narcissist, which, as long as he is alive, your husband is not safe.

      (Although Sly and Doris have the amazing ability to be pains in the neck from beyond the grave! Thank you, trust and estate! And yes, everyone has told Mr T/Primo to walk away, but we have been unsuccessful.)

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Oh this is a huge point about getting to a safe place first.
        I remember Sly. omg.

        What is it with estates? People conflate it with one last shot of having their parents’ love. But it’s not love.

        I have watched many people wrestle with the fact that their parents were not perfect people. It’s hard and they definitely handle that at their own pace, not ours.

    5. WS*

      My partner also has a narcissist parent but didn’t understand it until her early 40s. You need to remember that your husband has grown up with this as normal and has been programmed from birth to give attention to the narcissist parent. Your job is to be supportive and make back-up plans, his job is to get therapy to deal with the constant hurt of that parent. Labelling the FIL a “narcissist” at this point isn’t helpful to your husband no matter how true it is, but discussing his past behaviour in context of whatever new thing is happening now can be helpful.

  25. T. Boone Pickens*

    I’m a guy so take this for a grain of salt. There appears to be a little bit of perfect being the enemy of good going on here. I think you should take a step back and let this relationship organically evolve. It sounds like you enjoy texting about everything and anything and he maybe doesn’t? Getting texted all day would frankly be a lot for me to handle as when I’m at work I try to focus on work. I think his solution of meeting face to face and hearing about your day is nice.

    Overall it sounds like you have what appears to be a healthy relationship in its early stages. You’re taking things slow and feeling each other out. Good luck!

  26. Lena Clare*

    Did…I…just answer a ghost thread about cat toast and now the thread’s disappeared, or am I going mad?!?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I moved it further down the page. It had been the opening comment, and my sense is that people visiting the weekend threads for the first time are less likely to stick around if the first comments they see are … fluffier rather than more substantive questions.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I thought I had noticed that pattern. Thank you for the clarification.

        I actually appreciate the floofier comments. It makes a pleasant break from the week on a Saturday morning. But I recognize I may be in the minority on that.

        1. tangerineRose*

          I enjoyed the cat and toast comment, but I can understand how new readers might want something more different.

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      I swear I responded to Lena about this thread moving down. It’s possible we’re both going mad!

  27. I am Groot*

    All of my close friends ghosted me after I told them I had PTSD– this even includes mentors of 10+ years and friends from middle school who had stayed close ever since. I’m feeling really lonely and isolated. Any suggestions on how to make new friends when I’m fighting an uphill battle against fear and stigma?

    (A PTSD support group is the logical option, but my therapist and I agree that it’s not a good idea for me based on how my trauma works.)

    1. Salymander*

      Sorry. That really sucks. I have cptsd. It can be very isolating. I have found that reading Captain Awkward posts, including all the comments, to be really helpful. Lots of the commenters struggle with these issues, and it helps to feel like we are not alone. The posts and many of the comments are very well written and can be quite funny and entertaining, and much less likely to be triggering (for me at least) than a support group.
      If you have any hobbies, or can take up a new hobby, going to a hobby group is a good way to give you a bit of a social outlet in a predictable, safe environment. You will always have a safe topic of conversation (hobby!), and you can leave whenever you need/want too. I would go to a knitting group, and had a small and manageable amount of social contact that didn’t leave me feeling stressed.
      Hang in there. You are not alone and I am sending all my good thoughts your way

    2. PTSD anon*

      Sending virtual hugs and some thoughts.
      Not everyone is ready or can cope with hearing about pain. Especially pain that they don’t understand or can do anything about.
      I have discovered that the ghostees are not going to get better at it but sometimes they do come back. Give them time.
      My issue is that the PTSD rears its ugly head at inopportune moments and my own behavior becomes an issue.
      I am snappish or unresponsive when triggered and this could be after a movie, the sound of babies crying in restaurants, an aggressive male voice nearby, too many people-too close, scary weather/gale force winds, driving rain. And the winners are sudden moves by other people and what I perceive as close-calls. That makes me difficult to be with and unpredictable and some people can’t deal with that.
      So- I have learned Not to share. I say oh, that startled me, I need a minute. Or oh, I can’t be here right now. Gotta go , I ‘ll text later. Also I have a breathing app on an electronic watch that I can start up and it vibrates to help me calm down and breath and not escalate.

    3. Disco Janet*

      Can I gently ask if it’s possible that your PTSD has contributed in you making decisions that led to the friendships ending, rather than the diagnosis alone?

      I ask because I have two relatives (sisters) who have PTSD from an awful childhood. One of them has been dealing with the trauma in really awful, unhealthy ways that make it difficult to spend time with her. Like, she quit her job, got sucked into Cutco knives, and called her mentor at 2am trying to sell them to her. And she wants to bring her 60 year old boyfriend (she’s 20) who she met at her other new job stripping and have him hanging around our small children.

      I realize that’s an extreme example, but it’s happening in my life right now and I know she’s sad that we rarely see each other…but I’m trying to take care of my own mental health/anxiety too.

      1. Moop*

        Yes to this. It can be….intense and draining to be around someone with mental health issues. When I was severely depressed I couldn’t see beyond my sadness. It was distressing for my close friends and family to be constantly around that level of emotional suffering. My sister eventually told me she couldn’t listen to me anymore about my depression. While it hurt to hear it I totally understand and accept it. Being around me was emotionally draining and stressful. And her feelings were no more or less important than mine.

        It’s beyond the capacity for most people to support someone else dealing with a major mental health issue, particularly when it affects their own emotional welfare and relationship with that person.

      2. Fikly*

        I would ask if her friends left after she developed PTSD, or after she told them she had PTSD. The answer is likely telling.

        1. I am Groot*

          It varied. One person who had been doing a lot of the emotional heavy lifting before I could get in to see a doctor ghosted after I moved; she just wouldn’t return my attempts to reach out. Another person ghosted after I told her, as part of a discussion about life-threatening medical problems we both had, that I had been in danger of suicide at one point, though that crisis had passed long ago. One long-time professional mentor who had actually hooked me up with some good doctors ghosted after I requested medical accommodations at an event he was hosting (basically, “no surprise graphic violence,” which should have been an easy request given the field). One person was going through a crisis of her own and I couldn’t help her because of the PTSD, and told them so and was very apologetic about it. One person deliberately kept sending me emails with my triggers in them, because she thought I needed to stop moping, so I had to cut them out of my life.

          The list goes on, but you get the idea.

    4. grr pwr into grrl pwr*

      First off, good riddance. Friendship should be through thick and thin. But that doesn’t help with the loneliness and isolation. Best practice for now is to keep busy – time to do all those little projects you have been putting off.

      The obvious choice for new friends would be through an activity you already enjoy. Go there to enjoy activity and strike up conversations along the way. Know that if it doesn’t work out the first time you try that adult friendships take time to cultivate and keep at it. There are also app for making friends for this exact purpose, I see them advertised in my city (lots of transplants for tech) a lot.

    5. Fikly*

      I have PTSD, CPTSD, and a whole host of other chronic life altering health issues.

      The vast majority of people cannot handle being friends with people like that. It sucks. It is also reality.

      If the issue is actually stigma, sometimes you can get past it by describing symptoms rather than a diagnosis. For example, if a symptom you have is a very sensitive startle reflex to say, loud noises, you can say “Loud noises just really make me jump, don’t worry if I do that.” Or even ask them to try to avoid making them around you. You don’t have to say that your startle reflex is because of PTSD.

      But if the issue is that you are sometimes limited in what you can do, or that you talk about how it affects you and they don’t like that you are not happy all the time, well, people suck.

    6. zaracat*

      I went through the reverse situation (I ditched almost my entire social group, because they were the source of the trauma), but same outcome = very few friends. It’s been an evolving process to make new ones and it has taken lots of time (as in, years) and therapy to get to the point where I feel like I’m actually getting comfortable being close to people again and less triggered in general. Lots of failures along the way eg taking up yoga and meditation turned out to be a horrendous mistake, I didn’t know that these could potentially unlock more traumatic memories. Similarly, an attempt at volunteering was extremely triggering and ended up making me feel even more isolated than before. Social networking group also hideous, lots of being hit on by men 20 years older (blerggh).

      Things that did seem to work for me were those where the interactions were slowed down and/or I was able to move closer or pull away depending on how I was feeling: aqua fitness classes; drop-in craft groups run by my local library; online support groups including an informal circle of mental health/trauma bloggers who followed and interacted on each others’ blogs; and MeetUp groups.

      The aqua fitness was a big relief after the yoga – it’s light hearted and fun, you are close but not too close to people around you, you can interact with them or just tune out everyone else and do your own thing, unlike floor classes it’s easy to slack off if you’re having a hard day as most of your body is hidden under water plus unlike some other types of exercise class there’s no touching involved. After two and half years (emphasizing that recovery can be VERY slow) I’m starting to make actual friendships with some of the women there. A walking group might offer similar benefits.

      The blogging “group” was great because unlike a face to face support group I could choose who to engage with, when and how much. Plus if something didn’t go quite right in an interaction with another blogger or commenter, you could read back over what had happened and then plan how to fix it, rather than having to react instantly. It was a fairly low stakes environment in which to practice new or different ways of interacting. I learned a lot from others sharing their personal experiences of relationship ruptures and repairs and also sharing their own therapists’ insights. Down side is that there are no facilitators or moderators. Eventually I moved on from that though – which was another useful lesson, that there is often a limited lifespan on activities and relationships formed during the process of recovering from trauma.

      I went through a few MeetUp groups, some I just didn’t click with (anxiety and depression group seemed to spend all the time comparing their meds and I’d just come off mine) and others too intense but the one that has been really good was a social activity group for asexuals (which is how I’ve recently begun to identify). Quite an age spread in the group, some like me have even been married before. We play board games, pool, ten pin bowling etc and it’s awesome to be able to hang out and chat etc knowing that nothing will be misinterpreted as flirting.

      Anyway, the specific things that might work for you won’t necessarily be the same but I think the key is finding groups and activities that are low pressure and low drama, collaborative rather than competitive; and going in with the expectation that it might take months or years of being around the other people in the group before you really start to feel comfortable enough for genuine friendships to form, and also that eventually you might outgrow friendships which formed at a particular stage of recovery and met a particular need at the time.

      1. zaracat*

        Hmm, I realise that doesn’t really answer what you you were actually asking – as far as overcoming fear and stigma. With stigma, I’ve found that being very cautious about what I share and with whom has been important (especially in professional circles) as a lot of people are judgemental and victim blaming, or else weirdly competitive over their own issues. To some degree stigma and being judged comes from other people’s fear – they don’t want to consciously admit that they could be a victim too so they find all the ways they aren’t like you which is expressed as victim blaming and rejecting. Over time I’ve worked out what ways of describing my problems and needs seem most acceptable to other people, and how to test the waters a bit before revealing more eg I’ll often use a label of “anxiety” rather than PTSD at first as that seems to be more easily understood and accepted. Or as commenters above have said, describe symptoms or behaviours without using a particular label. Ableism and people refusing to understand or accommodate your limitations can be a huge problem, and I treasure friendships with people who are accepting.

        My own fear – of being in a relationship (including being in any sort of organised group) – as a result of previous trauma, is a whole other issue and one that I’m not sure I’ll ever fully overcome. What is working for me is time, therapy and having “exit strategies” in place (both for situations and relationships).

    1. Jedi Squirrel*

      It’s on my to-watch list, so I’m glad I’ve seen nothing but great comments about it.

      Of course, I would watch Patrick Stewart read the weather report, so…I’m not the most objective person here.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        It’s not flawless… one part in particular made me roll eyes… but overall very happy :)

    2. Foreign Octopus*

      I watched it yesterday and enjoyed it. I like the questions they’re setting up for the season and the quiet call backs to the established canon (i.e. it’s not shoe horned in there). And it’s always great to see Jean-Luc Picard in action again.

      I do wonder what Gene Rodenberry would have thought of it though as it’s a much darker version of Star Trek that was introduced with DS9 and the conflicts there.

      However, I enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to the rest of the episode. I’m just hoping there are cameos from all the Next Gen crew, including O’Brien!

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Does one need to have watched all the Star Trek series in order to enjoy Picard and know what’s going on?

      I’m not a Star Trek fan at all. Growing up, I remember my dad always watching the reruns of the original series. I think I watched with him a few times, but I never got into it.

      Fast forward to today. I follow Wil Weaton’s Facebook page. He posted links to his first episode of Ready Room, which talks about Picard, and I decided to watch the episode. He interviewed a couple of people (producer and director, I think?) and they showed scenes from Picard. It looks interesting and think it’s something I might enjoy now that I’m an adult. And with surgery coming up in five weeks, I’m looking for something new to watch while I sit around, recovering.

      1. Akcipitrokulo*

        You’d probably get more out of it if you’d seen some next gen, but I don’t think you’d need to as a lot is covered in the catch-up.

        If you wanted to get a quick primer I think the episodes “Measure of a man” “Lal” and Possibly “The Defector” could be good. Also “Best of both worlds” (two part) and “Families”.

        Measure if a man is what I’d choose if you were to watch only one.

        But no, to follow its plotline, they give enough info. With poss one exception (Spoiler!)
        You’ll recognise if you watch best of both worlds – the big cuboid ship is borg, one of most scary enemies.

  28. OyHiOh*


    I mentioned this briefly awhile ago. The Project is the effort of the Brooklyn Art Museum, an entity in Brooklyn NYC that aims to explore creativity and storytelling through making and displaying and loaning sketchbooks. They say that their collection currently boasts books sent in from 130 countries. You do not have to “draw” to participate. You can do almost anything to your book, as long as it folds down to it’s original 5×7 size and is no more than an inch thick at the end. You can install pop ups, additional papers, include photos, etc, etc, and so forth. Books received before the middle of August will be part of their traveling display this fall. Mine has a digitized upgrade so mine will become part of the web searchable catalog as well.

    I’ve wanted to do this for a few years. Mr Oy never got the hint and I never prioritized it for myself. Neptune said that sharing a Project post on FB before the winter holidays was “too easy” and I’d be lucky if I didn’t get five of them. Well, either he’s just the special guy I know he is, or my family are incredibly odd (they are! :-) ) but his is the only one I got. At first, I though I’d just sketch for 32 pages and leave it at that but a lot of creative people develop a theme or explicit story in their books. What sort of theme or story could I tell??!!? And then it hit me. The story of the past year, in images instead of words.

    Yesterday I turned in canvases for a local art show and after that, I checked mail and found my Sketchbook in the mail. Fitting! This will be my “do something Saturday,” my “self care Sunday” and all of my creative hours for the next few weeks. It’s also “ventilator day” today – the day last year the ICU team and I agreed to put Mr Oy on ventilator, after he’d tried to escape the hospital the night before (ripped everything out of his arms, tried to get out of bed, collapsed as expected, and oxygen desaturation into the 30’s). Having this project to work on is helpful – focusing on where I am now, rather than how I felt that day.

    1. NoLongerYoung*

      Sending you a comforting hug. Virtual cup of warm something while you open the cover and have a new step in your journey. Memory days are hard. So glad you have a balance….

    2. Not So NewReader*

      hmm. Got some tears coming up here. This isn’t just going to be good, it’s going to be REALLY GOOD!
      You go, lady!!!

      I understand it’s probably asking too much, but if there was a way we could see some of it when you are done, that would be terrific.

      1. OyHiOh*

        Once I send it back, they’ll archive photo the entire thing and put it on their website for virtual viewing. Links will be provided when that goes live :-)

  29. RMNPgirl*

    Adopted another cat Thursday evening, more like he adopted me. I could not leave him at the shelter, so I decided to bring him home. Resident cat was very angry! She’s been the only one for 7 of the 8 years I’ve had her and when I tried another cat years ago, he was very aggressive and it didn’t work out. There was lots of hissing and growling, a couple swats. Luckily the new guy is just ignoring it and giving her space.
    Today seems to be going better so far, even last night was good with him on one end of the couch and her on my lap. This morning there’s been a couple hisses but that’s it so far. I’m hoping this works out because he didn’t come from a good place and I’d hate to give him up because she won’t realize he’s not going to hurt her and I still love her.

    1. tangerineRose*

      Sounds like she’s been telling him about her boundaries (and that she’s the boss), and he’s OK with it. The fact that they can be on the same couch already is a great sign!

      The last time I brought home a cat, there was some hissing from my 2 other kitties, but it worked out.

    2. Type 2*

      Hang in there…it took a few months with my two. Now they get along with the exception of the occasional chase. And good for you for adopting!

    3. MsChanandlerBong*

      We got a kitten right before Christmas, and my other four cats were super mad for about three days. One jumped on the counter and sat next to the microwave in a huff for several hours. There was growling and hissing. Now kitten is best friends with one of the other cats (other cat is almost 7), and he likes to roughhouse with another one (who is almost 8).

  30. Hamster*

    Anyone ever start an exercise regime while pregnant? I know the general advice has been to continue if you’re used to it but not start something new. I have a high risk pregnancy and my obgyn did give me the go ahead to begin exercising, just avoid heavy weights and getting my heart rate up too much.

    I found a personal trainer at my gym who specializes In pre and post natal fitness and I have a free assessment with her next week. I used to exercise regularly 2-3 years ago but life happened and I lost it. Curious to see how It works out and if others had any experience.

    1. LibbyG*

      I got a prenatal yoga DVD and did that. Loved it! The routine made me feel really, like, oxygenated, and it felt like the moves helped my abdominal organs adjust around the growing pregnancy. And it seemed to help me keep better posture, reducing aches. And somehow I had a light sweat going even though it didn’t feel strenuous.

    2. Fellow Traveler*

      I never excercised until I was pregnant, then with my third child, I did 20-30 mins of cardio or yoga every day and it was great- it really helped me keep my energy up. I wanted to start finding time for excercise because I was older (40) and this last pregnancy seemed so much harder on my body. I also think being active and in shape helped me have a relatively easier birth.

    3. Fikly*

      There are also physical therapists who specialize in prenatal and postpartum health, and particularly pelvic floor strengthening can be beneficial if you start while pregnant.

    4. Cartographical*

      You might find Grow With Jo to be a fun follow these days — I used her low impact workout ideas, then she got pregnant and has kept making exercise videos. All the usual caveats apply, of course, I just like her attitude.

    5. Jenny F. Scientist*

      If you are high risk it might also be worth it to consult a MFM; they tend to have a more reasoned perspective on such things than your average OB.

  31. MOAS*

    This happened to me yesterday but at work. Not sure if it’s appropriate to share since it was at work but it was a good laugh.

        1. MOAS*

          Haha ok, so a client messaged us making a request. It’s something that’s ’ against our company policy and she’s already been really difficult to deal with and my report who was tagged in the msg asked me how to proceed. I said I would handle it. I went back to respond and didn’t find the message so I called my report who was tagged on it and asked her if I was hallucinating. As soon as I said it the message was there *face palm*. We had a good laugh. It was a tough week.

  32. MOAS*

    Anyone learn how to work with their opposite hand? I’m a righty and prone to tendon issues in my right hand/wrist. I’ve been putting more emphasis on my left now. Would be neat to be able to do stuff perfectly with both hands

    1. Reader in ND*

      I’ve learned to mouse with my left hand because of a sore right elbow and I wanted to give it a rest. I try to occasionally write with my left if my right hand is busy because then I can write my note without me forgetting it, ha!, but it’s as if a child wrote it most of the time. Since my right elbow hurts, I’ve also started grabbing the water pitcher with my left and I find I can usually do the task, I just concentrate a bit more on not spilling for example.

    2. Lena Clare*

      Yes! I do lots of things with my left hand (I am right handed) because I have arthritis in my hands and my right one is sorer than my left one. I also work with stroke survivors and it is good general practice to try to use both hands – good for the brain and good prevention etc. Anyway, I am currently trying to write with my left hand. I am at the ‘toddler’ stage of my writing development – it is sort of legible, and it takes me ages.
      Practice is the only thing that’ll work, but it will work.

      1. MOAS*

        Ok Thsi is fascinating. How do you practice writing? D you just get children’s books or? It’s been 25+ years since I was in school learning penmanship lol.

        I’m getting a good grasp of holding things and leading with my left side/hand. Would love to master doing makeup too since my right arm gets tired v quickly

        1. Lena Clare*

          No book. Just get used to the pen in your hand and draw squiggles until you’re confortable, then do the alphabet, like you learned how to do it as a child. Keep practising for a few minutes a day. Same for the make-up!
          Now and then I’ll do something like write a couple of sentences out in my journal with my left hand instead of my right, or I’ll do a shopping list. Anything really to help practise it.

          1. Jackalope*

            I like writing out song lyrics to songs I know well so I have a largish chunk of text I don’t have to think about.

            1. The Other Dawn*

              For an 8th grade science project I taught myself to write left-handed and this is exactly how I did it. It’s a decent amount of writing and I’m writing something I like. I did OK with it, but I’ll never be able to write the way I do with my right hand. And not that I use a computer almost exclusively, I don’t ever see myself improving it. In fact, my regular handwriting is now kind of awful after so many years of using a keyboard.

    3. Chaordic One*

      With a lot of things, I think it is helpful to gradually move from doing things with your right hand to doing them with both hands. At first, use your left had to sort of guide and support what you are doing with your right. Then attempt to do it with your left hand but with your right hand guiding and supporting it. And then gradually do things more and more with your left.

    4. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      Yes! I can write pretty well left handed. It’s slower than right handed and needs more attention to look good, but its quite decent handwriting. I decided I wanted to learn and then started copying bible verses while sitting in church on Sunday. If you normally doodle during meetings etc try writing with your left hand instead. My original stuff is fairly bad, but it gradually improved. I haven’t practiced much lately so the skill has degraded, but it isn’t gone.

      What is really funny is trying to play a stringed instrument backwards, since a lot of the detailed work is done with your left hand normally. It feels the SAME kind of wrong to try to fret an instrument with my right hand as it does to do other things with my left.

      I was moderately ambidextrous as a child, BTW. I think some people are so strongly handed that they would have a hard time using the ‘wrong’ one.

      1. Chaordic One*

        As a child I was also ambidextrous. I went to Catholic school and our first grade teacher, a nun, had me sit on my left hand so that I wouldn’t use it. Eventually she tied the wrist of my left hand behind my back to the chair. I can’t believe that it happened and I don’t imagine it would today. I find that for lots of things (other than handwriting) I do quite well with left hand, including drawing. And really, my left-handed handwriting isn’t bad.

        1. WS*

          Yeah, this happened to two of my aunts. My dad too, but he was such a skinny little kid that he’d slip his hand out, do his work left-handed, then put his hand back in! So he’s still left-handed while his sisters are mostly ambidextrous. It was a terrible practice and I’m glad they don’t do it anymore!

    5. nep*

      Only slightly related–I used to be able to write my name in cursive quite speedily on an Etch A Sketch. That took some interesting dexterity from my left (non-dominant) hand. Every time I see one I try it…It’s been ages so I’d have to practice to get back up to the speed (and legibility) of the past.

    6. Fikly*

      I can do pretty much anything with my non-dominant hand except write, but I haven’t practiced writing much. I can use chopsticks, use a mouse, I cross stitch with both hands (one hand below, one hand above).

      It’s mostly practice, though when I was a toddler my parents tell me I knocked a chair over while on it and while I didn’t badly injure my dominant hand, apparently I scared myself and refused to use it for a couple of months. So that might have been enough at a young enough age to rewire my brain a bit.

    7. Autumn*

      I spent a few years off and on writing with my left hand (natural righty) because my handwriting was atrocious and I figured it couldn’t be worse.

      It helped me figure out that it was going slower and considering the formation of each letter vs just getting all the thoughts in my brain out that would improve my right hand. My handwriting has gotten so much better, though I still wouldn’t call it calligraphy lol

      (I mean it was really truly terrible. My poor high school teachers gave me memorable feedback such as “Holy illegible handwriting, Batman!” and “God bless you, and with that handwriting, you better be a doctor” and in the start of my career, anything handwritten like meeting notes had to be passed to others in my team once they saw I truly meant that I’m a chicken-scratch)

    8. Pippa K*

      This is a great idea for lots of purposes. Some drummers regularly practice with their kits set up in reverse, so to speak, to force the brain and body to be more agile. I’d like to be able to do more tasks with either hand, so your post has reminded me to get back to applying this in practice more!

    9. lasslisa*

      Just be careful – switching my mouse between hands when one would get sore is how I ended up with bilateral tendonitis / tennis elbow. Make sure you’re also getting ergonomics help, rest and stretching, and ice-if-it-helps to help with the tendonitis in the first place!

  33. Free Meerkats*

    Why do people get so wound up about somebody putting something in their trash can on the curb? I was walking along on the sidewalk, drinking a cup of coffee, finished it, and dropped the empty cup into a can in the curb. The “lady” of the house popped out and went off on me. I just waved and kept walking. I even waved with all my fingers!
    I know it’s garbage day, I passed the truck on the next street; so it’s going to be picked up in less than an hour. The can was less than half full, so she won’t get an extra charge for an over filled can.
    I mean, WTF?

    1. WellRed*

      Where I live trash has to be bagged. Therefore, your coffee cup may end up on the curb or stuck to the bottom of my large can where I can’t reach it. Either way, I have to deal with it. Thx!

        1. Auntie Social*

          Plus if you take milk or cream in your coffee it’s going to stink in a few days. My trash is bagged so it doesn’t stink, so I have to bend over and clean out my now-smelling trash bin. Thanks, pal.

      1. Ktelzbeth*

        We can even get fined or have the pickup refused if all the trash isn’t bagged. It’s not that I care about the space your cup takes up, it’s that I don’t want to pay a fine or have my trash left.

    2. fposte*

      I probably wouldn’t have yelled at you, but I don’t like that either. I’ve had to clean foul stuck dog poop out of my garbage can (and I don’t have a dog), I’ve had neighbors help themselves to my dumpster without asking or contributing, I don’t know what you had in that cup or how much of it was left.

      You’re right that your specific case wasn’t likely to hurt anything, and I’d rather you threw your cup in my garbage than on the street or my lawn. But I think your job may just mean you have a more holistic view of the waste flow than some people :-).

      1. Alex*

        This exactly.

        In my neighborhood, our trash is usually picked up around 8-9am on trash day. This means that I’ve usually already left for work, so I can’t drag the bins back before I leave, but they sit out there empty all day and people walk by and throw their trash–especially dog poop bags–in my empty can.

        The reality is that individual items don’t get dumped a lot of the time. If it isn’t in a bag, it will stick around in your trash can, and the collectors don’t do a thorough sweep, they just dump. And most of the time, people are leaving their trash AFTER it is picked up for the day, so I have to keep your trash all week. Dog poop especially (and this is what I receive most frequently) will get smushed by my bags of trash all week, leaving it festering for months unless I tip the can over and scrape it out myself. Even if it is something less disgusting, I still usually need to reach in and manually remove whatever trash people have dumped in in walk-bys and put it in my own trash bag so that I don’t keep that trash for months.

        So it’s just rude to make people clean up after you like that.

        I once politely asked a man I saw drop his dog poop bag in my empty can if he could please not do that anymore. He SCREAMED at me, and told me I was a stupid B**** and what the F*** was he supposed to do with his dog poop if he couldn’t drop it in any empty can.

    3. Jenna*

      You might not have been the first one to do it. She could have a general problem with randos using her bin as they see fit. I know I would have felt weird seeing a stranger using my property for trash even if it indeed was the trash bin. But I wouldn’t have yelled at you. Did you walk closer to her house to reach it? That is one more layer of ‘weird’. How comfortable is this stranger with being near and using my things?

    4. Unimpressed*

      I get fined if there’s unbagged trash in my can, so you’d have just cost me money doing that, and caused me a lot of hassle. Find an on-street trash can or carry your trash out, don’t presume to use mine. It’s a dick move.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        There’s definitely places where not only would you get fined, but the trash wouldn’t be taken due to an unbagged item, yeah.

      2. Blarg*

        I lived in a city where non-recyclables in the recycle bin could get you fined … so people strolling by and throwing trash in the recycle bin could result in charges.

      3. Parenthetically*

        Whoa, I have literally never heard of this! You get a FINE for a loose paper cup in your trash?

    5. I'm A Little Teapot*

      In addition to the logical reasons of possibly leaving a mess, fines, etc, some people are just nasty.

    6. grr pwr into grrl pwr*

      I want to be on your side, but I know it would bother me immensely. I wouldn’t have yelled (never know what kind of people are out there). I think for me, it’s something about people touching my stuff without asking. Had it been a matter of “can I throw this in here?” – the answer would have been yes anyways so really it’s all a personal issue.

      So you’re not in the wrong (if there aren’t any rules about garbage in that area) but I can see why she was upset, lol.

    7. Retail not Retail*

      It probably does come down to unbagged vs bagged. When I’m walking her majesty and it’s close to trash day or we’re by those houses that never take in their cans, I toss the bagged stuff in as long as there are no obvious witnesses.

      (And of course we have 2 enemies so if she can time her body just right for that – haha take that that’s what you get for SEEING US and letting your little dogs loose out the front door. You probably don’t remember but I do.)

      However! I lived in this tiny tiny town in Montana and the city provided cans, normal. The city had alleys in all the neighborhoods – normal? The cans sat in the alleys at all times so it was definitely okay for me to toss a drink or a busted flipflop in. The second place I lived there was not like a “legal” residence per se, and our trash solution was “throw it in the neighbor’s can” which was just so bonkers to me! I’m usually very diligent about trash out but I left it to the 2 guys.

    8. Retail not Retail*

      You could also go absolutely silly/watched too many crime shows in your explanation. You’re messing up their disposal of evidence OR you’re disposing of your evidence in random cans to send detectives on a wild goose chase!!!! How could you?

      /i may have watched way too much l&o as a child

    9. Moop*

      Awhile ago my local paper had a debate on this exact topic. People have so many first world problems these days.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      Generally speaking, it’s not your garbage can and you don’t pay the company to pick up the contents. So it’s not yours to add more garbage to. However, it is your coffee cup and getting rid of it properly would mean putting in a public trash can such as one outside a store or in a public space.
      It can come across to some people as if a person said, “Here, you can clean up after me.” I am not saying this was your intent because you show here it’s not, I am just saying that is how it can come across to others.

      We do have a problem with too much garbage in this country. I foresee in the future we will lock our garbage can lids so others do not have access. I have been noticing that businesses around here put their dumpsters in locked cages so people do not add their own garbage. It won’t be much longer and private citizens will be doing the same.

      I expect the yelling to increase.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          In rural areas, no. Smaller towns cannot afford to provide that service.
          Here we pay private haulers to pick up our trash.
          It used to be that we could get rid of recycling for free but now companies are charging.

          If you bring your stuff to the dump like I do, it’s almost 5 bucks to get rid of any decent amount of recycling. A 3o gallon garbage bag is $4 and change to toss out. But it it seems to be a bit heavy they will charge you $6 to throw it out that 30 gal bag.
          I choose to bring my stuff to the dump because I resent paying double or triple just to have someone pick it up for me.
          We no longer have anyway to get rid of electronics here, you have to travel to a different county. Sprau paint cans are impossible to get rid of also.

        2. The Other Dawn*

          I live in a city where most of it has city trash pickup, I, of course, live in the section of the city where we have to pay a private company for trash and recycling pickup.

        3. fposte*

          Some cities leave it to private industry. My current one does. I grew up with city-provided garbage and was blown away when I first moved to a place where it was privately contracted. (It was San Francisco, and it looks like it’s still privately run but more consolidated.)

          1. Miss Pantalones en Fuego*

            My home town was also like this. My parents had several different companies to choose from.

    11. Free Meerkats*

      A few answers.
      Bagging is not required here, I didn’t notice how hers was, I just tilted the lid a bit and dropped the cup with one hand.

      It was drip coffee, black, and it was empty. But, she couldn’t have known that.

      The bin was at the curb, I had to step into the street, so not waking on her lawn.

      I guess I didn’t get the territorial gene; unlike my wife, I don’t care if someone uses our driveway to turn around when they notice our street is a dead end. Or sits on the street in front of our house in a warm car, waiting for the school bus. She doesn’t yell at them, but kvetches about it to me in the house; and doesn’t seem to get that I don’t care. :-)

      1. RagingADHD*

        I’m with you.

        In my town, trash pickup is a city service. There are no rules about bagging. And technically, the bins themselves are city property – they provide them and replace them if they break.

        I get that people do care about things even when there are no practical consequences, because everybody is irrational about something.

        But it’s still irrational and kind of ridiculous. And screaming at strangers about one’s own personal bugaboo is not the work of a healthy mindset.

        1. Natalie*

          Yeah, my city works the same way, plus everyone’s bins stay in the alley and I’ve never known anyone to try and clean them. Between the long winters and the aggressive squirrels that would be a poor use of time. It doesn’t seem like a big deal to me but I also don’t think it’s a big deal to use someone’s driveway to turn around and I’ve met people who get incensed about that. *shrug*

        1. Free Meerkats*

          The language used was definitely not ladylike. That’s all the scare quotes were meant to convey.

          1. Valancy Snaith*

            Yeah, still not crazy about the idea that women are required to be ladylike in all social interactions with total strangers.

    12. Anon Here*

      She couldn’t see what you threw in there. Her response was over the top, but I get where she was coming from. In some places, you can get fined for having the wrong thing in the wrong bin. You also might have to remove trash that’s unsanitary or illegal. Like used syringes thrown in your recycling bin. For all she knows, your cup had drug baggies and used condoms stuffed inside it (I know, ick, but we all know the urban trash landscape . . . ).

      I speak as someone who occasionally puts a bag of dog poop or empty soda can in some random person’s bin. So I get where you’re coming from too! Just answering the question.

    13. Doctor is In*

      I live on a rural road and have picked up bags and bags of litter over the years. I would much prefer someone put their empties in my trash can. However when I pick up trash I only put it in neighbor’s cans or bins with their permission. Thanks for not littering.

    14. Jdc*

      Because you just got my trash can wet and soon it’ll smell like rotting milk. It’s illegal in some places.

  34. Bibliovore*

    Continuing the New Years Resolution less work/more everything else.
    Bailed on ALA Midwinterin Philly. Winding up virtual committee commitment so I don’t NEED to be there. I will miss the professional development, seeing the new books, picking up galleys, meeting authors and artists, and reconnecting with friends from over twenty years of service. Also the Newbery/Caldecott press conference.

    Already did the grocery shopping. Will spend today catching up on home stuff. Late lunch with friends downtown. The new Ann Patchett at the top of the TBR pile.

    Binge- watched Cheer last weekend. Thank you to who ever recommended it last weekend. It was amazing!

    1. fposte*

      Turbinate surgery! I know at least couple of people here have had it. What was it like and how long was recovery? Mine would be unilateral, I think–would that make any difference?

  35. Jedi Squirrel*

    For all the folks who watched and liked Cheer I would also recommend Red Hot Ballroom. It’s an older movie, but also really good. I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t like it.

  36. Colette*

    Last summer I took a group of Girl Guides (note to Americans: your equivalent group would be Girl Scouts) to Saskatchewan. That trip was a success, so I’m taking a new (and bigger) group to Yellowknife next March.

    We had our kick off meeting last night, and it went well. It looks like a really good group of girls! I knew 5 of them already but the remaining 10 are from other groups, so they are new to me.

    If you’re in Ottawa and want to check out our fundraisers, you’ll find them here: https://guidestravel.home.blog/fundraisers/

    If you have amazing fundraising ideas, I’d like to hear those, too!

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I can’t think of any ideas off the bat but I loved being a Girl Scout. Still support them here by buying cookies.

      1. Colette*

        Speaking from experience, that is very appreciative! I’ve ordered 600 cartons of cookies (7200 boxes) for March – it’s our major fundraiser.

      2. Goldfinch*

        Girl Scouts was a miserable, cliquey experience for me. I always encourage parents to investigate individual troop dynamics before joining, because a lot of people just assume the org is universally positive and wholesome.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I’m sorry it was so bad for you. :( That’s a good point.
          My experience was the opposite — the clique-y misery was mostly at school, but our Scout leaders didn’t put up with that.

          Plus, I’m old, so we got to use pocketknives and camped out a lot.

          1. Colette*

            My girls will be using pocket knives and camping out next weekend. :) well, they have a cabin for Friday night, but Saturday they get to sleep out in the snow if they want to and have brought the right stuff.

        2. Colette*

          I’m sorry to hear that! It’s true that the groups (I.e. leaders) can vary widely – it’s the nature of a far-flung organization staffed by volunteers.

  37. I am going to Bologna!*

    Going to Bologna, Italy in two weeks for 5 days. I will be on my own for the most part except for doing a cool thing. Deciding whether to out myself on cool thing. The AAM community is so incredibly supportive that I am dying to share.

    Taking one carryon suitcase and one backpack.

    Wearing short boots on the plane. These are my presentable all around walking leather boots that are fine with paints and dresses etc. Garanamal Eileen Fisher- leggings, one skirt, one dress, one sweater, one pair of pants, 2 long sleeve stretchy tops, polartec blazer for the plane. merino wrap. snacks.
    You all have made me a confident international traveler. Thank you!
    Advice for Bologna appreciated. I’ve got funds saved up for fun. I will have two days to myself. What shouldn’t I miss?

    If I decide to blow my anonymity I will put a link to cool thing in the comments underneath this post.

    1. Pucci*

      I would add a raincoat, thin wool socks, and a second (thin) sweater.
      Can’t help on Bologna per se, but just seek out things related to your interests (for example, mine is gardens, so I love to visit them when traveling). The food in Italy is amazing, so you can make trying different pasta dishes every day a feature of your trip.

      1. I’m going to Bologna*

        Yes smart wool socks. On the fence about a raincoat. I have a light water resistant winter coat. Never wore the raincoat in London.

        1. Colette*

          When I travel, I sometimes pick up a dollar store rain poncho to take with me. They are cheap, light, and compact, and good to have if it starts pouring.

    2. Cambridge Comma*

      Eat, drink coffee and walk around. The world’s third best ice-cream shop is in Bologna, Sorbetteria Castiglione in Via Castiglione.
      If you are at the train station, leave yourself extra time to look at the memorial.

    3. coffee cup*

      I would like to know what the cool thing is! Only if you want to share. But I solo travel a bit these days and am always interested in others’ cool things.

      When I went to Spain I convinced my friend to come with me to a flamenco class. It was so much fun (but really hard!).

    4. catsaway*

      Bologna isn’t that big. I’d recommend a day trip to another city in the area, if you aren’t also traveling there. I really liked Sienna, and Florence is also only an hour away.

  38. pinkLemur*

    Advice on using CreateSpace for books with lots of colorful illustrations? I’ve read their FAQ, and now I’m confused about bleeding edge and spot colors. They also want bank info, which makes me nervous (I understand why, but…)

    This appears to be the right address: https://www.createspace.com/

    Also, is it possible to make changes to a print on demand book after it’s been uploaded?

    1. Bibliovore*

      Full bleed means that the pictures /illustrations go over the edge the page. There will be no white space. Spot color usually means that you have a white page, a black line drawing and “spot color” filling in to highlight an image, imaging if there was a balloon, just color in the balloon.
      I don’t know createspace but you can shop around. look at Lulu. this book was print on demand and contains lots of color.
      Link in next comment. It a free download. The cover is a full bleed.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      Yes you can make changes before you publish and re-upload. But once it goes live, if you do anything more substantial than correcting typos, it will technically be a new edition. So if you’re thinking about purchasing your own ISBN, keep that in mind. A new edition will need a new ISBN.

      They give you the option to order a proof copy before you publish it, which is what I did. You only pay the cost to print it–for my book, which is $14.99, the print cost was around $4.71. The ebook went live and then I held off on the paperback until I got the proof (I forgot to justify the text and there were two typos). I fixed the typos in the ebook and then after fixing my manuscript, I re-uploaded the print version. Then and only then did I hit Publish.

      They also have templates for different cover sizes and page counts. You can download these and use them in Photoshop or GIMP. You can also go to Fiverr and hire people to make a cover for Amazon publishing.

      Look in the KDP community posts for help with common issues. You can also google questions and you’ll find tons of posts about publishing on KDP. There’s no hurry; you can take your time.

      1. pinkLemur*

        Thanks! I was hoping that if I found a typo I could just fix it, but I don’t want to get another ISBN number for a typo.

    3. RagingADHD*

      All my createspace print stuff got automatically ported over to KDP last year. You’d best check the specs directly through KDP Print, I have heard they are slightly different. Even if CS still works in your area for now, it’s only a matter of time before it switches over.

      The bank info is so you get paid. If you’re nervous, most banks will let you open a secondary checking account for free – use that one instead.

      No specific advice about illustrations, my stuff is all text. Sorry.

    4. Seeking Second Childhood*

      An IT friend gave me an idea for snk account safety in a day of identity theft: a second checking account that you tell the credit union is NOT linked to other accounts and it NOT authorized for overdraft protection. Our credit union has free checking, I know it’s not a reasonable solution if you’re paying monthly for the account.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Oh autocorrect….sigh. Bank account. That’s not even one of the acronyms I had to teach the phone.

      2. pinkLemur*

        That makes sense. I’ve also heard that CreateSpace asks for your SSN, because they might need to submit tax info to the IRS That makes me nervous too.

  39. anon 4 this*

    Lately, there have been a lot of people saying casually “when you are a mother” or “when you are married” as if it’s an inevitability (as a note, I am quite young – late 20s/early 30s). I don’t think I’ve made up my mind about either of those things yet. I’m not opposed but I take them both very seriously, in what it means in sacrifice and compromise as well as financially. However, if it never happens, I don’t think I will be that bummed out. The latter has always been really hard for me to fully accept because I feel guilty for not wanting these ‘goals’ so when people say things like that, it kind of makes that guilt resurface.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on what to (kindly) say to get people to shift their language when it comes up? Or maybe suggestions from other people who’ve been told the same things and feel the same way about how to just live life not worrying about “obligations”/”expectations” of others?

    1. londonedit*

      This is so difficult, and I sympathise!

      Some people will say ‘just don’t respond, there’s no point getting into a conversation about it’, and that’s totally valid, because if you do anything apart from smiling and nodding with people who make these sort of ‘when you have kids’ statements, you’re running the risk of getting into a whole ‘But of course you’ll have kids! You’ve got plenty of time! Just need to meet the right person! Of course you should have kids! It’ll be the making of you!’ thing. And there is nothing I hate more than that. So if you want to just smile and shrug and say something non-committal, that’s completely understandable.

      Your other option is to shut down that sort of statement, and I have spent quite a lot of time in my life trying to do that, because I really do believe that people’s reproductive choices are a private matter and we shouldn’t have to answer questions about it, and I also believe that women are not only ‘supposed’ to be wives and mothers. So I’m always tempted to challenge people’s thinking when they come at me with the ‘Oh, when you’re a mother…’ stuff. I try not to get into a conversation/argument (some people REALLY don’t like it when you say you’re not planning to have children) but I try to say something ‘breezy’ (to quote Monica Geller), like ‘Oh, well, that’s not in my plan’, or ‘Not going to happen, but anyway…!’ and do a quick subject change. Sometimes it works, sometimes it takes a few extra rounds of ‘Nope, not for me, but anyway how was your holiday?’ before people take the hint.

      1. anon 4 this*

        I don’t like to argue about it so I also usually just let it slide because I can only bite my tongue so much. I am also a very private person – I don’t even talk about my family or friends at work except is vague passing – so them insisting on things “to be determined” in my private life might lead to a “spat” (all verbal, even-toned, and HR-appropriate, of course!) Not so NewReader (below) even went as far as to give a few deflections out but I like the idea of questioning why they would even say that and why it was even relevant to the conversation.

    2. Parenthetically*

      Agreeing with londonedit that it depends on the relationship (and whether or not you actually want to get into it).

      For me, I had a longer, more serious talk with my grandmother, because she was one of the people who wouldn’t let it go and tried to steer every conversation toward my “progress” in finding a husband or how sorry she was that I wasn’t married. I talked about how I was very happy with my life as it was and not worried about getting married or having kids, that I was genuinely content with my life whatever path it took, and didn’t like feeling as though I had to check these certain boxes in order to be happy, because I already WAS happy. With other folks I would say something more casual and breezy — “Well, you never know what might or might not happen!” or a teasing, “Hey, single/childless people aren’t all that bad!” or “I mean, that might happen, but I’m pretty content where I am right now” or similar. Sometimes it also worked to preempt their inevitable comments with a remark about (an article I read about contentment and health/the things I appreciated about being unattached/how much I enjoyed the freedom to travel or help others or focus on my career or whatever), just to steer things in a more positive direction.

      Good luck!

      1. anon 4 this*

        “I mean, that might happen, but I’m pretty content where I am right now” – I think this could be a mantra!

        Thank you for your comment – this is exactly how I feel and it’s nice to see others who have a similar mindset.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      It’s odd that you assume I will marry and have children, when I myself have no idea where the road in life will take me.
      If I don’t marry or don’t have children will you be terribly disappointed?
      Would you say that to me if I were male?
      Whether I marry or have kids really isn’t relevant to what we are talking about.
      Marry? Children? That’s kinda personal, don’t you think?

      1. anon 4 this*

        These are so, so useful. Esp “Whether I marry or have kids really isn’t relevant to what we are talking about.” Often times, the spring board for this statement is “I’m a mom / wife so I have a better understanding to this situation you don’t” so I think this will be helpful, especially at work (which is where this happens most – although understandably, that’s where we spend the most time with ‘friendly strangers’, i.e. people we wouldn’t normally spend our free time with but are forced to interact with).

        Made me think of a new one: “Even if I have that experience, I don’t think I want any advice on it right now. Thank you.” Will maybe re-tool it.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Ah, that annoying air of superiority. I had a relative tell me that because I am not a parent I do not understand what love is.

          I said to myself that she is the one who does not understand what love is because I love her enough to ignore that remark. This worked for a while and then it ceased working as things were said that had ZERO thinking behind the statement.
          OP, I encourage you to consider the difference between part of a pattern of remarks or a remark that is a one-off example. If everything else is okay, I would respond differently than if there are other relationship issues going on at the same time.

          1. Goldfinch*

            I respond to the “you don’t understand what love is as a non-parent” thing with “I’m so sorry to hear that you think your kids can’t love you.” I’ve only gotten the chance to use it twice, but the blank stares and spluttering were worthwhile.

    4. Cambridge Comma*

      It’s easier to raise the topic when to someone talking to or about a third person. Try that and hope that your karma comes around?
      I‘m married and a parent now so I don’t get that any more but I raise it often and people are always surprised at themselves that they came out with it. Some things are very deeply buried in the subconscious.

  40. Anon woman with breast cancer*

    Hi all – another breast cancer update to share… This past week I had my 3rd Taxol, and there are some good and not so good things to share in terms of my side effects. Good news is I think my hair is growing back. It is like fuzzy 5 o’clock shadow but there is more there than 3 weeks ago. I would love. to be as pretty as SInead O’Connor – not sure that will happen tho! The glutamine has helped with the tingling neurotoxic effects. The one not good effect is nose bleeds that are mild but the sniffly constant blowing (no hair inside of nose) means a most of the day nose bleed but, it is still manageable. I will have my surgery in 11-12 weeks from now, and I am hoping that everything else goes well. I have also got a new pen pal in another country who writes me in email and I write her – about once a week – we have similar profiles of cancer. She suggested glutamine and it has really helped.

    Hoping everyone’s health is good and continues to stay that way!

      1. Anon woman with breast cancer*

        Thanks! I really hope as treatments get more precise, and detection is earlier, that everyone who goes thru this has an easy time. It’s not a picnic but it is also not as bad as I thought it would be.

    1. NoLongerYoung*

      good update, so sorry about the nosebleeds … hope they stop soon. Internet hug of encouragement.

    2. Fikly*

      I had never considered that nose hair would fall out. But why wouldn’t it?

      I am prone to nosebleeds from CPAP use. I find sticking a little aquaphor up my nostrils (before I put the CPAP on) massively helpful in preventing them. Not sure if it would work for you, but it sounds like the bleeds are basically being caused from the tissue being too dry?

      1. Anon woman with breast cancer*

        hi Fikly, yeah, all the hair – eyebrows, lashes, etc. :/ I’ll look up aquaphor, and am drinking a ton of tea for keeping hydrated. :)

        1. Breast Solidarity*

          Ayr nasal gel was recommended to me for the constant dripping nose. Not sure if you are getting Herceptin or not, but apparently that also causes drippy nose, so I have a whole more year of the faucet-nose, and the Ayr does seem to help.

    3. Dancing Otter*

      Glad to hear that you’re generally doing well.
      Two thoughts on the nosebleeds:
      1. Saline spray or saline gel morning and evening, or any convenient time of day that it isn’t already bleeding. I sometimes just use Neosporin or Bacitracin cream, if that’s what’s on hand.
      2. If the nosebleeds don’t go away after you finish chemo, you can go to an ENT and have the spot cauterized. (Silver nitrate, I think, not heat.) It only hurts briefly, and when I’ve had it done, it’s lasted for several years.
      Some people just seem prone to nosebleeds for no discernible reason, and once there’s a weak spot, it keeps breaking through over and over again. It’s a common problem, and a really common treatment.

  41. Figure Skating competitions this weekend*

    US & European championships are both this weekend. I’m following them via the amazing Jackie Wong at Rockerskating on Twitter. These set up teams for Worlds in Montreal in March.

    Jackie gives commentary, tracks scores, and adds videos of some (that stay up varying amounts of time).

    1. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      European Championship was RAD, RAD I SAY. The ISU streamed it all on Youtube and I watched all I could from start to finish. Also, it was the perfect distraction for my mum, who has a small fracture in one of her feet and is super cranky of sitting on the couch for most of the day. The ISU commentator delivered some sick burns like “I’m not sure about the [fanstasy] chain [on the costume] … did he lost his dog or something?”.

  42. fposte*

    Turbinate surgery! I know at least couple of people here have had it. What was it like and how long was recovery? Mine would be unilateral, I think–would that make any difference?

    1. Chaordic One*

      When I had it done it was as an outpatient surgery at a surgical center. I checked in in the morning. The actual surgery took a couple of hours, I woke up a bit after that and went home full of pain meds. Later that afternoon, my nose started bleeding and it seemed profuse so I called my doctor’s office. My doctor was performing a second surgery, but his P.A. had me come to his office (my parents drove me there) and she changed the bandaging while I petted the hypoallergenic therapy dog. I might have overreacted a bit, because it stopped bleeding shortly afterwards.

      It really was uncomfortable for the first couple of weeks and the first couple of days were the worst. The pain meds helped a lot. (I was given oxycodone.) The first couple of nights I ended up sleeping in a recliner so that I could keep my head elevated. I slept a lot the first couple of days. Rinsing out my sinuses with a NeilMed saline nasal rinse helped a lot, and scabs would wash out with the excess water. Everyday, the swelling would go down some more and the worst of it was over by the end of two weeks. I was unemployed at the time, and not really actively looking for a job, but I think I could have gone back to work after a week. It really took about 4 weeks for most of the healing to occur, and then a bit longer after that.

      I hope I didn’t make it sound too unpleasant. In retrospect, I wish I not put it off for as long as I did and had the surgery done earlier. While not 100% effective at eliminating my sinus problems, it did significantly reduce them and I would say that, depending on the day, things are between 80 to 95% better after the surgery so it really has been worthwhile and I really would recommend it, in spite of the down time and the discomfort.

      1. fposte*

        This is super helpful, Chaordic One; I remembered you were one of the people who had it (I think maybe AvonLady Barksdale was the other). I don’t know if it’s exactly the same for contact-point issues, but it’s still cutting down the turbinate so I figure it’s pretty similar. I’d rather know about the full story than believe sunshine and get surprised by how much time I take off, so I appreciate the gory details.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Yup, ’twas me! I had an outpatient procedure and quite honestly, the anesthesia recovery was the hardest part for me. I bled most of the day after the procedure but I was able to eat normal food an hour after I got home. I had no pain. I slept in the guest room, propped up, for a couple of nights. The following morning I felt GREAT, took the dog for a walk, then… passed out once I got home and back into bed.

          I think I took two extra days off from work, and apparently I sounded terrible, but my experience was pretty easy. My first surgery, so I don’t know how I would do in different circumstances. And it was worth it!

      2. Chaordic One*

        I had my deviated septum straightened and then the first set of turbinoids surgically reduced. It really made a big difference in my life and now I’m no longer a mouth breather and I no longer snore at night. I had sort of expected that during the surgery my doc