weekend free-for-all – April 11-12, 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: The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s the story of a woman born in 1800 to a wealthy family, and I have no idea how to capture what it’s actually about so I’m going to quote from an NPR review to explain its breadth: “Gilbert covers how to smuggle plant clippings to foreign buyers; the vulgarities of professional sailors; Cicero; Captain Cook’s being hacked to death; varietals of vanilla pods; a sky-high waterspout; abolition and poverty; Euclidean gardening; sodomy and self-pleasuring; what the Dutch serve at tea-time; and what a rugby-like, women’s-only Tahitian sport can tell us about the animal kingdom. (To name just a few.)” Which still tells you nothing of what it’s actually about, but it’s good, and long.

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

{ 1,808 comments… read them below }

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      Yay! Finally a book I’ve read. While a lot of interesting glimpses of a different time and station, it left me feeling morose. That’s not necessarily bad, I like a book that gets me feeling things.

    2. Nye*

      Is The Signature of All Things substantially different in tone to Eat, Pray, Love? Alison’s / Amazon’s description is intriguing, but I absolutely hated Eat, Pray, Love so am a little leery of trying another by the same author.

      1. C Average*

        Substantially different, as is Big Magic, her book about creativity. I haven’t even attempted to read Eat Pray Love, but Signature is fantastic.

        1. Nye*

          Good to hear, thanks! I’ve enjoyed hearing her in interviews, so I’ve been considering giving her writing another try. Maybe this will be the book. Just hard to get over my extremely negative reaction to EPL, especially since it’s a memoir (so feels like more of a window into the author’s perspective than a novel might).

          1. Lizzo*

            I have read *all* of her books, and she has always been an excellent writer, but I feel that her writing has evolved over the last 15 years. “Matured” isn’t the right word, but I feel like she needed to write EPL and also Committed (a book about the institution of marriage) to free herself of some things. Once that was done, she was able to write more fully and more creatively. Again, not that her earlier work wasn’t creative, but she’s in a different place now as a person and as a writer.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            I keep remembering a “Calvin & Hobbes” strip: “I forget that five of his ends are pointy when he lies like that!”

          2. Liz*

            Haha. My BF’s one cat does that. she’s fluffy, but also a chunk, with a small head and big round eyes. he routinely sends me kitty porn of her lying just like that, awaiting belly rubs

    1. BikeLover*

      I’ve always wanted a calico cat, but for some reason I have only had male cats my entire life (all strays/rescues). I have developed the impression that male cats are friendlier and more outgoing than females, mostly from interacting with friends female cats. Is this true?

      1. Anonyme*

        My lady cats are much more interested in snuggles from everyone than my gentleman cat is.

      2. Wired Wolf*

        I loooove calicos. We don’t have cats now, but when we did (all pets my family has owned have been strays, most of which literally showed up at the door one day) the males were far more sociable than the females. Our first boy thought he was a dog; followed us everywhere, learned his name and a few ‘tricks’, etc.

        The fact that our one female was a barn cat who was literally dumped on us (~1000sq ft apartment, cat had zero transition time the friend just scooped her up off his farm and here-you-go) might have had something to do with it. That cat was CRAZY.

        1. Liz*

          i agree; I’ve had both boy and girl kitties, and the boys were the more mellow and more snuggly. My BF has two; and his boy kitty is all up in his face, demanding snuggles. The girl wants them too but on her OWN terms.

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        We have three lady cats, two littermates and then a third. The extra is very friendly and outgoing, but only in her designated space – she belongs to my housemate, who has the basement as sort of his apartment, and I’m pretty sure I can count on one hand the number of times she’s even come up to the gate at the top of the stairs, let alone gone past it. (The dogs aren’t allowed in the basement – hence, gate.)

        The two littermates – one is very sweet, but again only in her comfort zone. She’s a big chicken anywhere outside of my husband’s office, but in the office, she’s very pleased to demand pets and in fact is the only cat I’ve ever met who legit loves tummy rubs.

        The other is sweet as pie, dumb as baked dirt, and will go anywhere in the house and demand love from anyone she can, but especially me, because she has decided that she is a dog and I am the dog lady so obviously I must be her favorite person. Like, she lines up with the dogs when they want to go outside, even though she’s never been allowed outside in her life. At suppertime, when they have to sit in the living room and wait for their supper, she will sit with them, even though her food is free-fed up in the office. Her favorite playmate of all time is my younger dog. And she either gives kisses like the dogs do, or she’s trying to sand all of our arms down for refinishing – we’re not quite sure which. :P

        1. AnonEMoose*

          One of our cats (who decided long ago that I am her human…she tolerates my husband) solicits belly rubs, but only from me. The other one is ok with belly pets, but only sometimes and very gently.

        2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          Have you considered getting your dog-cat a harness and seeing if she’ll go for walks with the dogs? I know some people have successfully convinced their cats to wear them, and if yours already thinks she’s a dog it might go well.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I asked husband about it – she’s his cat – but he does not want her getting the idea that outside is a place she ought to be, because she’s dumb enough that we’re not sure she’d find her way home again.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              (er, not sure she’d find her way home again if she got out unaccompanied or by accident, I mean.)

          2. Wired Wolf*

            One of our cats (the one who thought he was a dog) took to it right away…the ex-barncat not so much. She actually slipped out of her harness (my friend lost a bet that day–she thought the cat would chew through it first) and we chased her around the neighborhood for an hour.

      4. Jules the 3rd*

        Nah, different cats are just different, and it changes over time. In the last 25 years, my household’s had 4 female and 2 male cats.
        1 male: Doesn’t like anyone but his person
        1 male: Likes most everyone, currently focused on the kid’s lap.
        2 females: Strong preferences for their person, but interested in anyone. You sit, they were *there* for your lap, unless their person was also sitting.
        2 females: When mama cat died, her two daughters got more affectionate with humans. There was finally *room* for them (mama cat was one of the ‘sit on anyone’ cats).

      5. Undine*

        Not in my experience. Cats are all different, and a lot of it is down to socialisation and the rest to breed, in my opinion. My current boy is shy and only likes me. My previous girl cat was the friendliest thing and adored people. I also had a ginger boy who was super friendly previously.

        If your cats are rescues and strays, their socialisation probably has more to do with it than their being male does.

      6. Ann Onny Muss*

        Depends on the cat. My boy Calvin is very loving and affectionate if he considers someone “his” person. But he tends to be a jerk to the other cats. It varies with the six girls. Some are very affectionate regardless, some only on their own terms. For instance Lucy has taken to flopping down all over the house as a way to beg for pets. Lily will catch my eye and beg for belly rubs. Sadie will be anyone’s friend if they have French fries. Eleanor is just plain skittish, and highly selective when she wants attention. Zoey is a stuck up snooty bootch (and a calico; I suspect there’s a correlation) who can be sweet but only on her terms (and usually in the middle of the night). Izzy is affectionate with a few people and will turn over to have her belly rubbed. Other than that, she hates everyone and everything (including the other cats).

      7. New Normal*

        I think breed, socialization, and temperament has as much, if not more to do with it… but I just found out my 7yo cuddly female cat is actually male so I might not be the best source for cat gender opinions.

      8. Damn it, Hardison!*

        I adopted a calico a month ago today. She is a total lovebug, and very talkative. Her coloring and pattern looks a lot like Olive’s, but less floofy – she is a medium hair cat, and I can’t wait until her tummy fur grows back (from being spayed).

      9. BikeLover*

        Interesting, thanks for everyone’s thoughts. I don’t know how (out of literally dozens of cats over 40+ years) I’ve only ever had males, but since most of them “showed up on the front door” as strays, I wonder if that kind of self-selected for a more outgoing individual.

        When asked, I will always call myself a dog person because I love dogs with all my heart, but I kinda can’t imagine my life without at least one cat. They are so fun!

      10. MsChanandlerBong*

        I have four boys and a girl–she’ll be the last girl I ever have. She’s a great cat, but she’s nowhere near as sweet and cuddly as the boys. Orange boys are especially sweet.

    2. Deanna Troi*

      It looks so soft and floofy, but once you put your hand in there, you’ll find out its full of hidden sharp teeth and claws! And yet I fall for this trap over and over.

      1. Former Employee*

        For a moment I thought it was a picture of your cats and then I realized these were the miniature version of much larger (wild) animals.

        Such cute babies.

    3. Alexandra Lynch*

      Our floofy girl here flops down for tummy rubs.
      Our sleek black girl flops down, but it’s even odds whether it’s tummy rub or “Oo! Five pointy ends!” But she isn’t a year old yet, so I suspect she will age out of playing Five Pointy Ends.

  1. CastIrony*

    Hi! How is everyone doing today? What is something you remember from this week? For me, it’s that a customer at my job said he respected me even more because of my honesty.

    1. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      I remember how much nicer our living room became when we put a shawl over the TV. We’d been trying to have it on bird TV or photo safaris or whatever would bring nature indoors, but it turns out the overwhelming electronicness of it offset any of that, and it’s nicer just to leave it off.

    2. IrishEm*

      I got a card in the post from my Mum, who is stuck in a nursing home & having to isolate until she can get tested, and still so selfless, thinking of others (me & my uncles).

      1. Former Employee*

        Say hi to your mum from me – someone she doesn’t know, isn’t Irish and is located in Southern California.

        Right now, I feel as if everyone is my mum or my sister (since I’m a senior, that’s more likely) or my brother or my cousin… you get the idea.

        Truly, I believe that this is when many people have suddenly realized that they are part of “Mankind” or “The Family of Man”, especially after hearing and reading so many heartwarming stories of the good deeds people have done for complete strangers.

        (Please no one bring up the fact that women should be mentioned, too. I’m a lifelong feminist but, in this context, the meaning is clearly “Humankind”.)

    3. Julia*

      As much as this whole situation sucks, I am so lucky to have such amazing friends. We talk on the phone a lot now (very rare for us so far – maybe a generational thing?) and message a lot, and they are so supportive and awesome.

      1. CastIrony*

        I am glad you have great friends! I remember texting my best friend when we were long-distance, and it was wonderful!

        1. Julia*

          Thank you! We’ve always texted, but I am so glad we have the technology to make free calls via the internet. Imagine this had happened ten or more years ago? (I know Skype existed back then, but I didn’t have a smartphone to make calls to landlines in a different country wherever I am, and my parents have super spotty internet.)

    4. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      The time I was sitting at my kitchen table and looked out to see that our sheep and goats had opened the barn door and we’re making an unauthorized expedition to visit the backyard. It was quite a lovely midday interlude.
      (Fortunately they’re used to doing those expeditions with us, so I was confident they’d go back to the barn later, which did happen, so no stress, just delight)

        1. Just a Guy in A Cube*

          A bit. There’s not much there for them yet, but I don’t think they’re in any danger of destroying it for spring/summer.

          1. allathian*

            Nah, grass is resilient. At least sheep won’t destroy it, I’m not sure about goats…

    5. Damn it, Hardison!*

      How lucky I was to bring two new cats home from the shelter just before we had to stay at home. They are wonderful cats and it’s been nice having so much unexpected time with them.

    6. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      Waiting outside the grocery store to be let in. An older lady with a walker was behind me and I let her go ahead of me. Everyone did the same thing so that she was able to get into the store sooner. She explained that it was too difficult for her to come for the seniors’ hour which was 8AM. The casual kindness of strangers made me happy.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      For me it was the first Zoom meeting with [volunteer group]. As each person joined in all the smiles got bigger and bigger. Just a shared feeling of success in a time where everything is in such disarray.

    8. coffee cup*

      We had our first virtual team meeting on Thursday and it cheered me up to see everyone’s faces and be a bit more normal. I felt a little less I was totally isolated.

    9. Retail not Retail*

      This just made me laugh – a job rejection email that said i applied “recently” (it’s been at least 2 months since I applied anywhere) and there’s a hiring freeze so… no, we won’t be hiring you.

      I also got nominated for an employee recognition thing for eagerly filling any role and going outside my comfort zone. I’ve been doing what I’m told!

      And I have crippling depression and a grumpy work nemesis, so I fight that by finding something cool about each task. Weedeating all day? Check out my guns! Mowing all day? Look at all this space I cleared and wow I got a lot of steps for pokemon go! Spraying weeds? Steps and quiet for podcasts. Blowing the road clear? Steps and giving myself a break next to the farm to see the new lambs.

      I may not be moving as fast as the work release crew, but I’m also not whining.

      1. CastIrony*

        That is so important! I, too, love to find something cool about what I am doing at work! How are the lambs?

        1. Retail not Retail*

          SO CUTE they are gonna be unrecognizable when we reopen. I took this week off, i don’t know how big they’ll be or how big the new hoofstock fawn will be. They haven’t announced that one, I don’t know why – you’d think a fawn would be just as good for social media as our ambassador porcupine.

    10. Stephanie*

      My gym had a Zoom workout on Thursday, and again this morning. It was so good to see my gym friends! And today there were 95 people participating. It helped me feel a little more normal, for a little bit.

    11. Anonymous Today*

      I hope this isn’t too “worky for the no work thread” but, my company gave all employees a 10% wage increase for all of April as a token of appreciation. Deemed an essential business, so we have to go into the office. What a nice gesture during these scary times!

    12. Windchime*

      What a nice thread! I helped an older coworker get her zoom video up and running, and it was just so nice to see her calm and friendly face. We’ve talked several times in other voice-only situations, but I was surprised at how happy I was to see her happy little face. It made a difference to my day.

    13. Llama Face!*

      My martial arts studio successfully got zoom classes up and running and, despite my fears, my tiny home space turned out to be big enough to participate. It felt so good to be able to see my group and get a good long high intensity workout in for the first time in almost a month.

    14. DarthVelma*

      My best friend is a crafter and has been making face masks. She sent me one made from University of Texas cloth (our shared alma mater). Best best friend in all of explored space. :-)

    15. Lizzo*

      I’ve spent a lot of the last two weeks helping my church produce Sunday services for livestreaming and yesterday we reached a milestone with the production and behind-the-scenes coordination that makes me very happy (and makes other church leadership very happy too). Who knows how long we’ll be doing virtual services, but I think we’re in a good place now where we’re still offering all the things people want from church, but also thinking more broadly and more creatively about how to achieve those things. Yay!

      1. anonann*

        Thank you for what you’re doing to make sure the church is still being fed during this time! I’d been feeling a little down about worshipping at home for Easter so this is a great reminder to be grateful for technology and all those who make it possible.

    16. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A gaggle of kids laughing “in” the living room, via the magic of Google Hangouts and a shared Minecraft world.

    17. chi chan*

      All the people with caring emails and texts who reached out to check in on me. It made the week nicer.

    18. Thankful for AAM*

      My memories are work related: I won an award for an article I wrote in a professional magazine and I got a letter from a customer I helped online (online bc we are shut down).

  2. FaintlyMacabre*

    Part of me really wants to contact my ex and see how he’s doing. There are so many reasons why this is a splendiferously horrible idea. But there’s a tiny corner of my brain saying, “Go ahead! Kick the wasps’ nest! Maybe some honey will come out!” The rest of my brain is staring in horrified beffudlement at the tiny corner, saying, “Uh, you do know that is not how wasp nests work, right? Right?!?”

    Go home, tiny brain corner, you’re drunk! Brains, ammirite?

    1. willow for now*

      Some wasp species make a very little bit of honey. So no, don’t kick the wasp nest hoping for honey. Just walk away. And there there are reasons he is your ex.

      1. valentine*

        Just walk away.
        Stormfront’s comment on the pic applies here, and if you’re going to fall into a trap, choose lovely, fluffy Olive.

    2. Anon embarrassed*

      This thought is so strong for me for one ex. But I do want to know how he is doing too, as I am worried about him.

      1. Atgo*

        Captain awkward had some great advice about this recently. She said, to paraphrase: Write them a letter. Don’t send it. Write the letter you wish they’d send you back that remembered all the good times and apologized for what you need them to apologize for. Burn the first one.

    3. Effie, who gets to be herself*

      I’m in the same boat! If it helps, an ex from an acrimonious split contacted me in late March and my knee-jerk response was “ew”. I didn’t respond. It helped me see how I could come across if I tried contacting the ex that I want to contact. The message itself was perfectly cordial and even sounded like they actually cared. It still made me uncomfortable and I’d just rather have no contact with them.

      It’s harder when the split isn’t acrimonious. You may feel like you have nothing to lose. I recommend writing everything out in an email and letting it sit in your drafts. Captain Awkward said in a recent column that you can even write a response to yourself from them that would make yourself happy. Best wishes.

    4. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      It’s hard to resist because I used to do all the caretaking. Buying groceries, making meals, planning the garden and now it’s all on him. I know he will revert to peanut butter sandwiches for dinner but he’s an adult. I know how to plan and buy food for weeks ahead, it’s part of my work. It’s hard not to care but again he’s an ex for good reasons.

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        The wasps are not your friend.

        Let him eat peanut butter sandwiches. That’s not even going hungry, or living on candy; “he has the same vegetarian dinner every night” isn’t even a problem. And he’s your ex, so if he’s using Wonder bread instead of something more interesting or nourishing, it’s still not your problem. In normal times (i.e., when I can go places) my husband has peanut butter for sandwich on nights when I’m not home, because he likes them and I don’t.

        1. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

          I know all the reasons not to contact, and I won’t. He lived on PB&J before me and can live on them after me. Though as a cook, I know how to make healthy sandwiches and meals fast but not my problem anymore. This is a good sandwich for your husband to try: raisin bread, mayo, cheddar cheese, and thin-sliced apples. It’s very good. You can use multi-grain if you don’t like raisin bread.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Send good vibes to him through the universe and call good enough. Meanwhile, call someone who is actually active in your current life and see how they are doing. Avoid wasps’ nest at all costs. Think about Current Life with New Layers of Misery, avoid, avoid, avoid.

    6. Jules the 3rd*

      Brains… there’s always that piece that just wants the jolt of adrenaline and doesn’t care about the anaphylactic shock. We are multitudes…

    7. lazy intellectual*

      Don’t do it! You’re not the only person tempted to contact exes or flings due to being in lockdown. If I wasn’t FaceTime dating I would be, too. Everytime you feel tempted to text or call them, call a friend instead, get a snack, or play your favorite song. Funnily, the last one helped me get over my last ex.

    8. Bumblebee*

      Fun fact! Many wasps stockpile spiders in their nests to feed to their young, so more than one time I have knocked into a wasps nest and what came out was not honey but spiders! (and wasps…)

    9. Jedi Squirrel*

      I think part of this is that if you are stuck in your house for a long time, isolated, your brain really craves some drama, just to break up the monotony, and it knows that this would generate a lot of drama for you.

      Yep, brains are weird.

    10. Aetra*

      If you have any reasons not to, don’t do it! I did have an ex call me the other day to check on me, and I was glad to hear from him. Our breakup, however, was over a decade ago and never acrimonious. He has met my husband several times and we all get along great. This is the only ex I have where this is the case. I wouldn’t dream of contacting any of the others.

    11. Marion Ravenwood*

      I hear this. I had a dream about my ex-husband last night (for some reason I was at his place and his nan got really sick while I was there and I didn’t know if I should be helping him out or what). I know it’s just because we’re doing the final wranglings over the financial stuff at the moment so he’s vaguely on my mind, but I also just want to tell him to GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!

      But yeah, don’t kick that wasps’ nest. Even without everything else going on in the world right now, it stil wouldn’t be worth it. That said, if you need to get stuff out, I like the Captain Awkward letter writing idea. My therapist also recently suggested I try writing out the relationship story, but being objective, like closing the chapter (if that makes sense), which could work too.

      Alternatively, not that I necessarily recommend this, but you could do what I did and accidentally come across a mutual friend’s screenshot of their group chat (including him) on Facebook, and find out he’s grown a hilariously awful quarantine beard. (I know it’s shallow and petty, but it gave me a laugh and made me feel very glad I’m not with him any more!)

    12. Anono-me*

      Please slowly step away from The Wasp’s Nest.

      Your ex is fine. I promise you if there is anything going on bad enough to worry about, some ‘concerned’ mutual acquaintance will call you and tell you . Have some faith in the pot stirrers of this world.

  3. MissBookworm*

    What’s your version of self-care during this pandemic?

    For me, it starts with my bed (lots of pillows and blankets—I like to nest), a good book, and music. A steamy hot shower or bath is also on the list, depending on the bath bomb/salts situation—I’m out of the salts, have one bath bomb left, and my order of new ones probably won’t be here for a week. There’s also snuggles with our dog, when he’s being accommodating.

    I really can’t wait for this to be over. I need a spa day—massage, mani/pedi, facial. The works.

    1. Effie, who gets to be herself*

      I do a hot bath after I shower! During the shower I use a nice skin scrub so I don’t miss anything when I’m relaxing in the bath since my skin already got stimulated. Would that work for you?

      I also do some light yoga before back to open my chest after bending over my phone all day :P

    2. Princess Deviant*

      I like shaving my legs, putting body cream on, then getting into clean pjs and bed sheets.

      A walk every day, or otherwise shine form of exercise for 30-60 minutes, helps with sleep – which is the single biggest thing I can do for self-care (I’m not sleeping well at the minute though).

      I’m eating much more home cooked foods, which I’m definitely going to keep up once the quarantine is over. It has really made a difference to how I’m feeling – although I miss crisps, lol.

      I’m on my own, so skyping friends has helped.

      Last week, I arranged to watch a film with my friend on Netflix at the same time, then we Skyped afterwards with a coffee to discuss it. That was fun and similar to what we’d do if we could meet up face-to-face.

      Cuddling with my cats, and just generally being kind to myself and reminding myself that these are trying circumstances so to not expect my usual output at this time.

      1. MissBookworm*

        I’m not really sleeping well either.

        I work out almost every day. Haven’t really done much cardio though, no equipment and it’s been raining a lot here the last few weeks so haven’t been able to get outside as often as I’d like.

    3. Director of Alpaca Exams*

      Time with my kid where I consciously slow down and try to see the world like a four-year-old does. Some things are big and scary or don’t-wanna but mostly everything is SO COOL and FULL OF JOY and WOW NEAT and the best thing in the world is to pull a blanket over your head and laugh like a loon. It’s immensely restorative.

    4. IrishEm*

      A hot shower with lovely Origins or This Works shower gel, the scents are super relaxing. Then (my two biggest splurges on me last Xmas) my La Prarie serum and my Creme De La Mer moisturiser. My skin has always been dry and hard to keep in good condition since childhood, and it’s literally only since starting to use La Mer’s moisturiser and La Prarie’s serum that I’ve managed to tame it. But yowza the price tag hurts. It was a gift to myself, bought in the Duty Free (so, a good chunk cheaper) and I don’t know if I can justify buying it again when I run out :( But it makes my skin so soft and I get to feel fancy so while I have it I may as well use it.

      1. MissBookworm*

        I can relate. Have you tried any K-beauty (Korean) products? Neogen and Belief are my two favorite brands for hydration, specifically the Neogen Real Ferment Micro Essence and the Belief True Cream Moisturizing Bomb. They are much more affordable though Belief is a bit pricy for me, but nowhere near La Mer.

        1. IrishEm*

          I’ve never heard of them. I wonder where in Dublin would carry them, or are they online?

          1. MissBookworm*

            I’m in the USA. Neogen I get online from Amazon or Sokoglam. Belif I get from Sephora.

            Is Beautyshop a legitimate site in Ireland? I found them on their website.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Dry skin here too–my favorite solution turned up in a sample bag at a summer fair (Better Homes & Garden giveaway in case any marketers are paying attention).
        Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Repair Unscented Body Lotion. Totally not greasy, and no migraine trigger. (I’ve been known to add a few drops of essential oils that don’t trigger me.)

        1. Old person*

          I find that unscented lotions and creams are also the way to go for me as well. I follow both beautypedia and Dr. Dray on YouTube and Facebook for recommendations.

    5. Misty*

      My version of selfcare is I stopped trying to be super productive. Before this, I was taking full time classes, working part time, teaching myself spanish online and reading one nonfiction books a week. I tried to keep being productive once this started but now I’m just letting myself read the romance novels and lay on the floor with my dog instead. It’s easier to relax a little now that I’ve taken the pressure off of myself.

      Also I feel you on that, I really need a haircut and my eyebrows done.

      1. Quiet Liberal*

        I’ve been way less productive, too! It’s been nice not to plan out my days off to get the most done around the house. I’ve been doing way more reading and spending time in the beautiful Spring weather, instead. It’s been glorious.

        I also really need a haircut and color, but am more grateful that I and my people are all healthy!

      2. MissBookworm*

        I’m not being very productive either. Just give me a book (romance as well) or a good binge-worthy show, but mostly the book. I don’t want to do anything else—it’s a struggle just to work out.

        I don’t even want to think about my hair! Had to reschedule my appointment three times so far. Just waiting for the fourth, cause this likely won’t be over by mid-May.

    6. Ann Onny Muss*

      Walking at least once a day, preferably twice. Sticking with a routine as much as possible. Taking on a temporary part-time assignment at work so I stay busy. Hanging out with my cats. Talking/texting with boyfriend, family, and friends. Sometimes it’s deep and satisfying conversations, sometimes itself stupid covid memes. These all help keep the stress at bay. Plus I’m a homebody, so staying put doesn’t bother me as much as others.

      1. MissBookworm*

        I wish I could go for a walk consistently, but it’s been raining a lot here lately. Even doing my normal workouts are a struggle as I don’t have much room to do them in.

        1. Bluebell*

          We had rain a few times this week, and today it’s windy. At least I can see the forsythia from my window.

    7. Julia*

      Going out on the balcony and getting some sun. I don’t usually do that because I am really pale, but I need some vitamin D and warm sunrays, I’m not a vampire!

      Playing games (at least my Sim gets to go out!), hugging my husband, talking to friends…

      1. MissBookworm*

        I’ve resorted to getting my vitamin D the artificial way. We’ve had a lot of rain lately. I can just add the sun to the list of things I’m missing right now.

        1. Julia*

          I usually take supplements, especially in winter, but I’m afraid of running out (the big dose stuff is all imported where I am, or super pricey) so I thought I might as well get some real sun. It also helps me feel less stuck.

    8. coffee cup*

      Mine is mainly trying not to beat myself up if I don’t have a very good work day or if I don’t ‘achieve’ something productive. And trying to carve out time for reading, which I love but can find hard to get started with when my brain is all over the place with other thoughts.

      Plus lots of tea!

      1. MissBookworm*

        That’s understandable! I think a lot of us aren’t feeling as productive lately.

      2. A New Normal*

        Same! I finally downloaded the Libby app so I can borrow audio books from my library and listen to them while doing other things. Usually I’m more of a reader but with as scattered as things have been, for whatever reason it’s easier for me to listen and keep my hands busy than to read.

        And it’s ONLY light and fluffy books, the sort you’d pickup at an airport gift store. Sadly my library has NO Discworld audiobooks and I’m eyeing Audible because those are my ultimate comfort reads.

        1. Beaded Librarian*

          Reach out to the library. They may be able to purchase and add them to their catalog

    9. Sheworkshardforthemoney*

      My friend says it’s going to be like the Hunger Games for hair salons when they re-open.

      1. SaraV*

        I’m amused at the thought of people post-Covid walking out of salons with hairstyles, colors, and enhancements similar to those that lived in the Capitol.

        May the odds be ever in your favor.

      2. lazy intellectual*

        I had a work event at the beginning of March and got a haircut and blowout for it. Little did I know that it would be my last haircut for a while, so I’m glad I did it. I was going to return this month to get some highlights, but that’s obviously not happening.

        1. MissBookworm*

          I had an appointment scheduled in March (that unbeknownst to me was the week before my state shut down) and I canceled it because I didn’t want to chance anything. If I could go back and keep that appointment I absolutely would. And I usually don’t care about my hair, but I made a color choice at my last appointment that I don’t like. I’ve been living with my hair up because I just don’t want to see those highlights anymore.

        2. matcha123*

          This is me honestly surprised that people cut their hair so often. I’d always gotten my hair cut like once a year. By my mom when I lived at home and once a year after I started living alone.
          Mind = blown.

          1. ThatGirl*

            My hair is short, only to my earlobes, I usually get it cut every 6 weeks. Last one was March 14, so it’ll be shaggy by the end of April. If we stay in SIP through May I will look…interesting.

          2. allathian*

            I have a page cut to just below my jawline and my hair grows pretty fast, about an inch per month. To keep it looking really tidy, I should go every three weeks, but I’m too stingy for that so I only go when my bangs get in my eyes, about every five weeks or so. I also love the super-moisturizing mask my hairdresser puts on it every time I go.

      3. KoiFeeder*

        Yeah, I had to cut my own hair… I’m hoping that by the time quarantine is over enough other people will have tried to give themselves haircuts that the stylist won’t make fun of me.

        1. MissBookworm*

          I’m too terrified to even attempt to do my own. I’ll suffer until I can get in to see my stylist.

          1. KoiFeeder*

            Eh, I’m ugly anyways. Even if I’d mauled my hair, I can’t look any worse. And it actually looks fine from the front, and I’m only gonna be seen on Zoom anyways, so that works for me.

      4. A New Normal*

        Another week and I’m seriously thinking of messaging my stylish (we were church friends before I realized she’s an absolute magician with my hair) and asking how bad an idea an at-home purple hairdye would be. I have very fluffy hair that she keeps controlled with a short, super cute pixie cut and I was supposed to get it trimmed and roots touched up five days ago … I really don’t want to think what it’s going to look like by the time I can get it cut. Or how backlogged she’s going to be.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m seriously eyeing my teen’s color-depositing shampoo… honkin’ red, the one that made the shower look like a CSI set. It might distract from my outgrown haircut…which is starting to remind me of Bucky from Winter Soldier. Not a good look for a Gen X woman LOL!

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I am doing short nagging projects that have been nagging me for a long time. I got my utility cupboard painted. This involved sorting the crap in there and it also involved reorganizing it with well placed hooks/holders. All of which I had on hand, ready to do the project. Because of quarantining, no one sees me standing in front of the cupboard admiring my own work. I did a so-so job in my opinion, but after 28 years of looking at this tiny dungeon type area, it’s a huge relief to see it beefed up. I now want to put things in their proper place rather than throwing stuff in there and quickly closing the door like I used to do.
      This has inspired me to take on more grungy projects.

      1. MissBookworm*

        That’s awesome! It seems a lot of people are finally doing similar projects now that they have the time.

    11. Alex*

      I’ve been cooking lots of comfort foods and not worrying too much about “healthy” as long as I eat regular fairly balanced meals. I baked a cake last night just because I could and I wanted to.

      I’ve also decided to turn up the heat whenever I’m cold (usually I try to power through to save energy).

      And it’s been a month now, and I’ve found that I’ve neither gained weight nor increased my energy bills. So all the austerity I strive for in normal times doesn’t even do anything! Lol.

      1. MissBookworm*

        Now you know you don’t have to have to be “strict” (for lack of a better word) about certain things!

        My eating habits are definitely not as good as usual. We’re trying not to go food shopping as often as we did before the pandemic, so I don’t have as much “healthy” food as I would like (trying to make it all last). We’ve been eating lots of carbs. Thankfully I’m able to do my workouts from home to make up for it.

    12. T. Boone Pickens*

      Old-fashions, really good Bordeauxs and splurging for good cheese and meat when we can. My wife joked that we’re going to spend a fortune at the tailor getting all of our business clothes let out.

    13. lazy intellectual*

      I’ve always been kind of a homebody so fortunately I was well-quipped for this. I still do my Friday night routine of bubble bath, scrub and exfoliate, face mask, and moisturizer. I’m cooking a lot more while listening to audiobooks in lieu of going out to eat and drink.

    14. Overeducated*

      Daily outside time, even though it’s usually only 30-45 minutes walking or jogging around the neighborhood. It sets me right.

      1. allathian*

        Me too, weather permitting. I usually go during my lunch hour or after work, but today I went in the morning (Easter Monday off work). I’m just glad that they aren’t restricting outdoor exercise here.

    15. Raia*

      Honestly? I’m doing retail therapy like mad. I am doing my best to make sure it is things I need, like new pajamas, or supports local businesses like board game stores, and otherwise trying to walk once a day and reach out to check on one friend a day. My closest friend and i have been calling several times a week which has also been great for me.

      1. MissBookworm*

        We’ve ordered food a few times from our fave local restaurants; are doing so tonight as well and will continue.

        1. allathian*

          We’ve done the same. Usually pizza to make sure the small mom-and-pop businesses around here survive. The big hamburger chains will survive in any case.

    16. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I’ve been taking a lot of time to train my 6-month-old standard poodle puppy. We’re doing basic obedience, such as walking nicely on a loose leash, sit, down, stay; and also some fun stuff like: I drop a treat in the grass while she’s not looking, and then use the clicker to signal warmer/colder until she finds it — and then a quick little burst of 4 – 5 clicks while she eats it.

      1. Mallory Janis Ian*

        My kids are grown, so I’m going to hide easter eggs for the poodle tomorrow with bits of cheese, hotdog, etc. and help her hunt them Lol!

      2. MissBookworm*

        That’s awesome! I wish we had a puppy because this absolutely would be the best time to train them (except I’d worry about separation anxiety once we’re back at work).

      3. Former Employee*

        I started reading and missed the poodle part and wondered how you train a 6 month old [baby] to do anything!

        Awww, poodle puppy.

    17. Llama Face!*

      Nature has always been a big one for me so I’m getting my nature fix two ways: Getting outside regularly (trying for daily) and growing excessive numbers of house plants and sprouted veggies in my home. I currently have 14 plants & veggies in pots, 1 pothos sprout that permanently lives in water, and another three sprouted veggies that are soon to be planted. Once the snow finally leaves for good, I have outdoor container gardening in mind as well so that may bring me up to 20-something plants to keep me occupied.
      It’s possible I may have gone slightly overboard… lol. ;)

      I also love relaxing baths and am having them more often these days.

    18. J.B.*

      Yes! ALL OF IT! And to lie on a beach somewhere. The dog always obliges though, I am not allowed to work on my computer.

    19. Alexandra Lynch*

      Staying on the eating plan I started in January. (Down 25 pounds and two sizes on the bottom and one size on top!) I feel so much better already that following the plan feels like being nice to my body so that we lose the weight that makes us ache and gets in the way of yoga.
      I can’t go to the gym, which I miss, but I am doing yoga and bodyweight work in the interim. I haven’t lost enough weight for my standing budget to be able to incorporate walking for exercise yet, but I am sure that day will eventually come, given how much bigger my standing budget is now. (I had my feet put back together with pins and screws in my twenties and now they are arthritic in my forties.)
      I’m really working on getting rid of clutter and making the house beautiful. I have a brain that feels frantic when there is clutter and disorder, and so it is an act of self-support for me to tidy up. The project of moving is in a state of suspense because of the pandemic, but someone is coming to take photos of the inside on Tuesday for the realtor’s website, so getting things spiffy for that is my current project, and that is fun. Not as fun as packing, but still good.
      And even if we can’t go out to look at engagement rings, I can look at them online and think about exactly what I want. I’m a special snowflake who wants a ruby, so I can’t just order the ring, but I can look.
      I am having hot baths and reading lots of Golden Age mysteries, and drinking lots of hot tea, and making and eating good food within my calorie limits. The three of us are getting along well and laughing a lot together.

    20. Marion Ravenwood*

      For me it’s doing all the skincare stuff I used to say I was too busy for – body lotion after showers, face masks etc. Also painting my nails and wearing makeup; I feel like the last person left on the planet doing the latter but I’ve had a lot of fun going through my stash and playing with different looks. I am very much looking forward to getting my hair cut and coloured again when this is all over though!

      And just generally enjoying the slower pace of life. I’m usually always on the go and, although I struggled for the first week or so (mainly because I wasn’t seeing people regularly – but scheduling regular video calls with my friends/family/boyfriend has helped immensely with that), now I’m actually really starting to settle into it and feel strangely calm about it all.

    21. Liz*

      warm bubble baths, listening to audio books IN said warm bath. Binging on stuff i don’t have time to watch, and as I’m still working, making sure I have a routine down; i get up and make my bed every day, brush my hair, wash my face, put actual clothes on, including a bra. instead of wearing my jamies as I’ve done in the past when WFH for a day here and there.

  4. Leen*

    What’s the most encouraging, real, message you’ve seen or heard over the last few weeks? I’m thinking of going out with a bucket of chalk in my neighborhood this weekend.

    1. willow for now*

      In Denver, we howl at 8 pm every night. Lets us realize there are still folks out there that we can’t see.

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        Same in Colorado Springs. I don’t howl because it would end in a coughing fit but it does make me smile to hear all the coyote impersonations every night.

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          OMG you guys are howling every night? Why haven’t my Colorado relatives told me about this? We’re just clapping for the NHS every Thursday here.

          1. Ann Onny Muss*

            Yep. I’ll post a link below to a local news station that explains it. My friend wasn’t aware of the howling and almost had a heart attack while walking her dog. She thought it was a pack of coyotes.

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

        Weirdly, neither howling nor clapping seem to be a thing in my particular corner of the world, and I unfortunately live at basically the epicenter of it all. The only thing I hear at 7 pm is… silence, just like at every other hour.

        It impresses me as kind of a strange gesture anyway. Presumably, the people who are essential are still working or stuck commuting (on public transit that is drastically reduced here) at that hour and not hearing it anyway. But this sounds like it might be more a way for people trapped inside to interact with each other and let out their angst. :-)

      3. Mallory Janis Ian*

        We’re howling in my neighborhood in Arkansas, too. There’s a town Facebook group, and I “met” one of my neighbors who I’d never met before, because we got into a call and response howl and found each other by posting about it.

      4. SD*

        Also in Marin Co., CA. It turns out that my 7 yr old granddaughter has an adorable howl; she’s totally into it.

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      Yes, we’re howling every night for four minutes at 8:00 where I live in the San Francisco Bay Area also, and the chorus of sounds is fantastic. It’s a simultaneous appreciation for first responders and medical teams, and connecting with our neighbors. My community includes a harbor, and the sounds the last few nights have included boat horns, bells at the local church, and some percussion. It’s really heartening to hear the entire town take part.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      There’s a friend of a friend going round labelling the trees and plants on the sidewalk with chalk. It’s been very well received as it feels very normal.

      1. Ariaflame*

        Around my area they appear to be wrapping trees in knitted rainbows or coloured paper.

    4. Princess Deviant*

      Well, I really like “let go, or be dragged”, which is a Zen proverb, but I can see how it might seem a bit ominous if you wrote it in chalk on the pavement XD

    5. Jemima Bond*

      I walked past a child’s blackboard they had put out in their back garden (separated from a footpath by only a low chain link fence). It had chalked on a rainbow and “SMILE!”
      Reader, I obeyed.

    6. Ann Onny Muss*

      There’s a house I pass when I walk. They have kids, who have sidewalk chalk. They draw hopscotch squares, and invite passersby to use them. They also write messages like “Be happy!” Or “Stay healthy!” (Actually, they spell “healthy” as “heathy” but that just adds to the charm and makes me smile.) It’s just all around adorable and sincere.

      1. Shhhh*

        There’s a house in my neighborhood with little kids that drew a whole little course (including hopscotch, but other little games too) this week

      2. Claritza*

        A chalked hopscotch game in my neighborhood has 31 squares and goes down some steps! But where do you get a rubber heel these days?!

    7. LGC*

      “Sending Air Hugs” was a good one. And now you’re making me want to go out and get a bucket of chalk – I didn’t get one on my grocery run this week, but I can get one next week I guess.

    8. StarHunter*

      Random chalk rainbows on the sidewalk. Makes me smile every time. And someone wrote in chalk “We miss you!” in front of the closed local Chinese take-out place.

    9. MissGirl*

      During my (remote) church services last week, one speaker said, “We did not come this far, to only come this far.”

      Five years ago, I quit my career and my industry and accepted some dreams wouldn’t come true. I completely overhauled my life, and I was terrified all the work I’ve done to get this far would be wiped out. That growth was not for naught and I’ll overcome whatever may happen.

    10. Retail not Retail*

      Kids are decorating their brick mailboxes with chalk and starting on the brick lining of the houses.

      I also see random teddy bears in windows!

      1. Grandma Mazur*

        The teddy bears may be in support of children’s author Michael Rosen (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt) who has contracted Covid-19 (but I believe is getting better)… in the UK, at least, the idea is that children out walking can hunt for them :-)

    11. Anon5775*

      Our grandparents (or parents) generation went to war. You’re being asked to sit on a couch. You can do this.

      1. lobsterp0t*

        I resent this one so much
        My flipping generation went to war. Twice. Afghanistan and Iraq. Or did we conveniently forget?

        1. merp*

          Yeahhh not just this^, which is a very good and important point, but it’s also dismissive of the difficulties that come with this situation. This isn’t a competition. People are lonely and scared and losing their jobs and isolated from their loved ones. Sitting on a couch doesn’t really cover it.

    12. Windchime*

      The neighborhood kids here have been going crazy with the chalk. All over the sidewalks and in the street. I haven’t read a particular message but it makes me happy to see all of the colorful art they have created with their chalk. Also, there is a big group of kinds behind my house that bounce on their trampoline for hours on end. Normally it would annoy me, but now it’s serving as a reminder that it’s just kids doing what kids do, despite this weird and crazy time.

    13. Fikly*

      I hadn’t thought of this in ages, but it reminded me of an early college memory. I went to one of those small northeastern liberal arts colleges that had been around for several hundred years, and during orientation week, the matriculating class all lines up, and one by one, we went into this tiny one room cottage (one of the founding old white dudes of the college had been born in it or something) and signed a book to officially matriculate.

      Well, with a class of around 400 students, the line was long in length and time. So a few new found roommates and I dashed off to the bookstore, bought chalk, and then entertained ourselves as the line slowly inched its way forward leaving pictures and sarcastic comments about how much longer there was to go before you would reach the front of the line. Good times…

    14. Elizabeth West*

      Nobody does anything cool around here. I don’t know how my family always ends up in the most boring places imaginable.
      Although some dum-dum was shooting off fireworks the other night, which wasn’t exciting, just loud.

    15. anonann*

      I live near a ton of old, quaint churches that’s always have great messages on their signs. One of my recent favorites read, “love God, help each other.” Such a good reminder when individualism and self preservation seems to have taken over.

  5. Ola*

    Well, I just took a pregnancy test and it appears I am about five weeks pregnant. To say this is a shock would be an understatement. The only child my husband and I have managed to create in thirteen years was born via IVF nearly four years ago. But, you know what they say, it only takes one!

    I’m delighted and amazed but also freaking terrified. We’re in the middle of a pandemic, y’all! And this is not ideal life timing, either. Between COVID-19 and this nugget my final year of grad school is getting torn apart. But – BABY! Tonight I’ve been watching old videos of my big nugget as a newborn and feeling all mushy. Fingers crossed this little one sticks.

    And oh lord, I’m going to hear jokes about quarantine babies for the rest of my life. I mean… it’s true. But still!

    1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      A character in one of my favorite books said, “Nobody with a bit of sense expects babies to be convenient.” To be sure, it’s a bit extra inconvenient right now, but on the other hand the world should be getting back to normal in 8 months, so the timing isn’t too bad. And maybe there will be a good crop of kids just about your little one’s age for them to play with as they grow up. :)

    2. a boring pregnancy to you*

      Congrats! You’ll look back on this crazy time and have warm fuzzies.

    3. Ann Onny Muss*

      Many congratulations and sticky baby vibes heading your way. I hope the pregnancy is boring and uneventful, since world events and other things in your personal life are currently not.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Hip hip huzzah! May it be happily routine with a healthy family at the other end!

    4. Not So NewReader*

      You made me smile. It’s the universe’s opinion that we shall continue on. I had similar feeling about Sept 11th babies, they were our gift/reminder that we shall continue on.

    5. 'Tis Me*

      <3 Congratulations and good luck! Sometimes spontaneous babies do follow IVF babies – I think it can reset your hormones?

    6. Jules the 3rd*

      Congratulations! This made me smile widely.

      My IVF was 13 years ago, he’s snuggling the dog now.

    7. Perpal*

      I always thought having babies is like breaking a leg, in that there’s no good time to do it. You just go for it when you can! Humanity has muddled through quite well since this all started ;) But seriously, congrats, understand the combination of love and anxiety that comes with it. I think schools etc now are usually pretty supportive which also helps keep everything on track. Good luck!

    8. Dancing Otter*

      Congratulations! Echoing others’ wishes for an uneventful pregnancy.
      Also, now you don’t have to compete for hygiene products in short supply.

      1. Ola*

        Ha! This was actually one of the first things I thought of – that I don’t have to worry about my period for a while! I have four boxes of tampons (serendipitously purchased before the pandemic began) that are just going to languish in the back of the closet for a while.

    9. Analyst Editor*

      Congrats!
      I think that’s a great attitude for a baby! :) They’re never perfectly timed except in lucky circumstances.

      Good luck!
      At least you probably won’t have two in diapers by the time this one’s due….:D

    10. Courageous cat*

      Congrats!!! Hopefully when the 9 months are up all of this is long over, fingers crossed anyway.

    11. KoiFeeder*

      Oh, my goodness! Congratulations to you! I hope it’s a very boring and uneventful pregnancy.

    12. Fikly*

      Congrats!

      I knew someone whose first children – triplets – took 13 years and several hundred thousand dollars. Then child number four took one night, a $9 bottle of wine, and a deep conviction that birth control was not needed, 18 months later.

    13. J.B.*

      Congratulations! There is never a good time, is there ;) I wish you the best health and joy.

    14. RagingADHD*

      How wonderful! Congrats!
      Everything I’ve seen about covid + pregnancy indicates it’s not dangerous to the baby (though the pg does somewhat increase your chance of catching it.)

      Those jokes are happy jokes. Life wins.

    15. Marillenbaum*

      CONGRATULATIONS!!!! I hope you have a safe, healthy pregnancy, an easy delivery, and a baby that sleeps at least some of the time.

  6. Best Cat in the World*

    I asked last week about skin care recommendations for damage caused by wearing masks. Work got busy and it was rather late when I got to read it so I just wanted to say thank you. Unfortunately the headbands/cloth connectors are a bit of an infection control issue, but I have found a paperclip a lot of use!
    Thank you to moql for pointing out it was a pressure damage issue and not skincare. That’s something I’d honestly never considered but is so obvious now I think about it and the reframing has helped!

    1. Jules the 3rd*

      Someone’s also printing 3d plastic clips that look like –[–[–[–]–]–]– , to give people a range of fitting options.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      I am volunteering with this group: https://milwaukeemakerspace.org/covid-19/

      We are making and donating face shields to medical workers. This is a global effort. There may be a group near you? We are using an open-source design – user feedback is that it is very comfortable, even after nine hours of use.

      If you want to find the group’s facebook page (there is a link on their website and I am an admin for now), I will try to track down a Maker group in your area that is making and donating the shields.

    3. Call me St. Vincent*

      I know it seems like your issue wasn’t skincare products after all, but I wanted to let you know that my friend who is the Beauty Director at the Cut at New York Magazine started a movement where the major beauty companies are donating skincare and other beauty products for healthcare workers. I believe they are using @donatebeauty now but you can also contact Kathleen Hou on instagram to get free donated beauty products for you and your fellow healthcare workers from the major beauty companies! I think you just need to send her the name of your hospital, what your job is, and some verification that you actually work at the hospital and they will send a shipment. They’ve been sending them to hospitals all over the country! Thank you for what you do.

    4. Lizzo*

      Thank you for your frontline service!
      Something else that might help you out: my friend owns a small business selling no-slip headbands, and they’re customizing them to help with face mask fit.
      If you go to best nonslip headband [dot] com and click on “Frontline Workers” in the top right you’ll find more info.
      Hope this helps!

  7. Sabina*

    I ordered a fabric face mask that features a kitten dressed as an astronaut floating in a sparkly outer space scene. This is all.

    1. Jemima Bond*

      I feel like you would appreciate the fabric I have just bought to make into a simple sleeveless top. It features cats and sausage dogs, swimming among pale turquoise waves, wearing snorkels and masks.

    2. Ann Onny Muss*

      I have one with llamas on it, a swirly-pattern orange one, and one with kitties on it. I figure if I have to wear one, I’ll at least have fun with it.

    3. Jules the 3rd*

      A friend of mine is making Star Wars themed ones, very popular in my friend group.

    4. Enter_the_Dragonfly*

      My amazing sewing mother has been using scraps to make a face mask to match practically every shirt she’s made in the last 2 years or so. This is on top of the ones she’s making for others so I’m happy to see her finding some fun in all this, lol.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I made one from the CDC pattern for my dad, since a mask that can be laundered would be easier for him. Two layers of an old cotton sheet with interfacing in the center and elastic ear loops. I only have 1/4-inch elastic and it was a struggle getting it through the side. Ugh.

      I wasn’t going to get another sewing machine until I got settled, but rather than make it by hand, I caved and went to a sewing / vacuum store and got a very basic model Baby Lock machine for about $100. It works great; I like it a lot better than the old White brand I used to have. Anything that makes sewing easier; I really kinda hate it.

      1. Windchime*

        Oh man, I used to have a White sewing machine and we just never got along. It had constant trouble with tension and I was glad to lose it in my divorce. You really cannot go wrong with a Baby Lock, Bernina, or Janome.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          When I was looking for a machine to make skating outfits, I didn’t want a Singer because I’d heard their quality went way down after they were bought out. So I tried the White. I feel like I fought with it a lot, although that could have just been the difficult fabrics — stretch velvet, etc. aren’t really easy to work with even though the patterns I used were simple.

          The Baby Lock seems to work a lot better. I can’t really do that much with it, since I have almost no supplies right now. But when I have work again, I might make some household items.

  8. Funny Cide*

    Where do you buy your soft crew neck sweatshirts, friends? Bonus points for smaller businesses, and bonus points for not breaking the bank – because do I reeeally need one, or does a nice, new soft sweatshirt just sound comforting?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I love ‘Man who has it all’, although what constitutes expensive? I think they’re quite expensive but they are very well made and the colours seem good and able to withstand washing. Their sizing tends to be on the snug side.

      They have slogans on though which not not be what you want if you prefer plain sweatshirts.
      I believe they use teemill, so it may be worth going direct to teemill yourself and ordering what you want. Teemill aren’t a small business though!

      The only other places I know that do sweatshirts online are Primark or Marks and Spencer, neither of which are small or local businesses, sorry. M&S are good quality though.

      1. Funny Cide*

        The man who has it all ones look great! I wasn’t exactly helpful on budget there but I don’t think this is out of my price range at all. Thank you for the recommendation!

        1. Princess Deviant*

          Oh great! I have the “women will be women: born to lead” t-shirt, and the hoodie with ‘no’ on it.

    2. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Old Navy loose crew neck sweatshirts. The vintage ones are nice too, but I’ve found them a bit on the stiffer side.

    3. Timekeeper*

      Grocery shopping experience Thursday was less stressful than imagined after seeing the long lines on the media.

      I got to the local Safeway (SF Bay Area) when it opened at 7am for the elderly 2 hour shopping window and there was only a small line. No paper products or hand sanitizer, but otherwise fully stocked shelves.

      Produce area fully stocked. Some what limited varieties of meat. They had eggs, bread, flour and many other staples.

      Everyone observing social distancing, most everyone wearing a mask. Used self check out and I was in and out on 30 minutes.

      I noticed that several items were priced higher than marked on the shelves (meat and eggs) but I was happy to get them and didn’t quibble.

      Wiped everthing down with Clorox wipes, changed my clothes and washed my hands.

      1. Alison Faid*

        Just out of interest, do you not have something like the Scanning Code of Practice which we have in Canada? Most grocery chains subscribe. It is a voluntary code that grocers sign up for (probably because if they didn’t it would be legislated). Basically, if the price on the shelf is x and it rings in at more, the consumer has the right to the first one free – up to $10. I believe it works for other retailers too, but mostly useful in pharmacies and groceries. I’ve had a lot of free groceries over the years by being vigilant. :)

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That is the way it’s supposed to work here as well, but at least in Connecticut stores are stocking shelves quickly and just putting everything out at once even if it spills into the next section of shelf. I ended up with 10 boxes of whole wheat spaghetti before I figured that out. (It it turns out we like it so I’m not complaining anymore.)

      1. Washi*

        Ahh I love Pact too!!! I’m trying to buy more fair trade stuff for things I don’t want to thrift (like sports bras) and Pact is my go-to.

    4. MissDisplaced*

      I usually get things like that at Walmart or Target.
      Old Navy is good, and places like Marshall’s or TJMaxx has finds.

    5. T. Boone Pickens*

      Not sure if you are US based or what your budget looks like but there is a company named Raygun that makes some hilarious sweatshirts (cats holding laser guns, stuff like that) that are quite soft. I’d also recommend a company called Homefield Apparel if you like US college sports teams. Their hooded sweatshirts are incredibly soft and I’ve basically lived in them the past month.

    6. Notinstafamous*

      Highly recommend Kotn for a small business with very nice soft crew neck cotton sweatshirts. A little on the expensive side depending on your budget, but Fair wages paid, made in Canada or the US, organic cotton, incredibly durable and well-made, nice colours, all the good stuff. Fit is definitely on the snug size so I’d size up.

    7. Dumpster Fire*

      I’m a big fan of Life is Good tees and sweatshirts. I know they’re not a smaller business but their fabrics are generally high quality and they always have stuff on sale.

    8. Nicole76*

      I really like the Tek Gear sweatshirts at Kohl’s. I found them second hand but I see they’re currently on sale on the Kohl’s website so I’ll probably buy a few since I love them so much. They retain their shape, unlike Fruit of the Loom or Hanes. They do have holes in the sleeves though, as they are meant to be worn when working out, but for me they are lounge around and sleepwear because they’re so comfortable.

  9. willow for now*

    Sometimes Walgreen’s has surprisingly nice sweatshirts for really cheap. (They also have hoodies, which are my guilty pleasure for the last couple of years.)

    1. Funny Cide*

      Oh darn! I was just there picking up a prescription today. I’ll have to refill so I’ll keep that in mind!

  10. Blueberry*

    Here I am posting about National Poetry Month again. Also, this poem really spoke to me, as an antidote to the whole “you ought to use this time to self-improve” meme. I’m only posting an excerpt, and I had wanted to link to it elsewhere but I didn’t find a posting I wanted to link to, but this should be enough to find the rest.

    Quoted by Mary Oliver for Corona Times (after Wild Geese)

    by Adrie Suzanne Kusserow

    You do not have to become totally zen,
    You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
    your body slimmer, your children more creative.
    You do not have to “maximize its benefits”
    By using this time to work even more,
    write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
    Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.
    You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
    everything capitalism has taught you…

    1. Crazy Broke Asian*

      Wise words.

      For some time, I’ve had Donald Justice’s There is a Gold Light in Certain Old Paintings stuck in my head. I’m also working my way through AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad.

    2. Senior Montoya*

      This is one of my favorites. Denise Levertov, O Taste and See: uuwestport.org/o-taste-and-see/

      1. Blueberry*

        Oh that’s gorgeous. I may pair that with a drawing I did of a quince for one of the postcards I’m making to send to my friends.

    3. Senior Montoya*

      And here is another. Galway Kinnell, Blackberry Eating: poetrysociety.org/poetry-in-motion/blackberry-eating

      1. Blueberry*

        I like the fruit in poetry theme. :)

        Moonlit Apples
        At the top of the house the apples are laid in rows,
        And the skylight lets the moonlight in, and those
        Apples are deep-sea apples of green. There goes
        A cloud on the moon in the autumn night.

        A mouse in the wainscot scratches, and scratches, and then
        There is no sound at the top of the house of men
        Or mice; and the cloud is blown, and the moon again
        Dapples the apples with deep-sea light.

        They are lying in rows there, under the gloomy beams;
        On the sagging floor; they gather the silver streams
        Out of the moon, those moonlit apples of dreams,
        And quiet is the steep stair under.

        In the corridors under there is nothing but sleep.
        And stiller than ever on orchard boughs they keep
        Tryst with the moon, and deep is the silence, deep
        On moon-washed apples of wonder.
        John Drinkwater

    4. AVP*

      a friend posted this one the other day and it really resonated:

      Good Bones, by Maggie Smith

      Life is short, though I keep this from my children.
      Life is short, and I’ve shortened mine
      in a thousand delicious, ill-advised ways,
      a thousand deliciously ill-advised ways
      I’ll keep from my children. The world is at least
      fifty percent terrible, and that’s a conservative
      estimate, though I keep this from my children.
      For every bird there is a stone thrown at a bird.
      For every loved child, a child broken, bagged,
      sunk in a lake. Life is short and the world
      is at least half terrible, and for every kind
      stranger, there is one who would break you,
      though I keep this from my children. I am trying
      to sell them the world. Any decent realtor,
      walking you through a real shithole, chirps on
      about good bones: This place could be beautiful,
      right? You could make this place beautiful.

      1. Blueberry*

        That one made me cry the first time I read it, not least since I read it right after a kid I’m close to told me about dealing with sexism and I had to tamp down my upset and fury to help her deal with hers. And yet, I can’t be less than hopeful to her, it wouldn’t be fair.

    5. Pam*

      I love David Lee’s poetry. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/david-lee

      Ten Easy Steps To Fall In Love With Poetry

      1.Move slowly down the poetry aisles (the 800 section) with your fingertips lightly trailing along the spines.

      2. Imagine millions of words all waiting to speak, sing, whisper, and cry to you.

      3. Stop.

      4. Look at the spine of the book that you are touching for no particular reason.

      5. Pull that book off the shelf.

      6. Open it randomly.

      7. Use whatever light there is in the poetry section and read a poem.

      8. If you like the poem, check the book out.

      9. If not, try again tomorrow.

      10. No matter what, try again tomorrow.”

    6. M. Albertine*

      Edna St. Vincent Millay has had the balance of hope and macabre that feels fitting to the season:

      SPRING

      To what purpose, April, do you return again?
      Beauty is not enough.
      You can no longer quiet me with the redness
      Of little leaves opening stickily.
      I know what I know.
      The sun is hot on my neck as I observe
      The spikes of the crocus.
      The smell of the earth is good.
      It is apparent that there is no death.
      But what does that signify?
      Not only under ground are the brains of men
      Eaten by maggots,
      Life in itself
      Is nothing,
      An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.
      It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
      April
      Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

      1. Blueberry*

        Oh my wow, thank you for reminding me of this one. She was one of my favorite poets and this is so true for this year.

  11. Jaid*

    It was my mother’s 75th birthday this week AND the start of Passover. Not a very good day for her, since it was just her and Dad this year. But hopefully we’ll get together later in the year and celebrate everyone’s birthday at a really nice place to make up for it. She’s just very sad at the lack of contact with people, though Zoom chats with the folks from the synagogue helps. She keeps inviting me over, saying that they’re healthy and I have to put her off…

    In other news, the new Asian supermarket has outfitted it’s employees with disposable overalls, masks and gloves, put plastic to screen the seafood section and meat section employees, and plastic barriers for the cashiers. I must go at odd hours, because there’s hardly anyone in there and it’s fully stocked. If it had seltzer, Fancy Feast, and bagels, I don’t think I’d need to go anywhere else.

    1. MistOrMister*

      My mom is insistent that I go over for Easter dinner. I told her I will NOT come in the house. I think the plan is that I will sit on the porch and talk to them through the window. Maybe via speaker phone….

      1. Ann Onny Muss*

        My mom keeps trying to come over to my house. “I have masks [aunt] made for you.” I don’t need any at this very moment.

        “Well, your dad just got back with a side of beef. I can bring some to you.” (This was after she [understandably] complained about him going to Wyoming to pick it up.) My fridge and pantry are well stocked. No.

        “I should pick up your recycling.” I don’t need you to pick up my recycling. STAY THE F**K AT HOME, MOM. GOOD GRIEF.

    2. Raia*

      My mom just asked me to come over, bc my dad’s nose was bleeding and wasnt stopping. I feel for her and normally I would go over, though I highly doubt a difference would be made if I was there or not. They’re both at risk though so I said no unless there was something she thought I could do. Ugh.

    3. Jaid*

      Annd she just called to see if I’ll meet up with them at a parking lot. Still have to turn her down, though.

  12. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

    I just acquired a massive stash of colored thread and I need some crafty ideas for what to do with it. (Look, it was free AND they were going to throw it out. I couldn’t just leave it!) I can, of course, just sew with it, but A. it’s rayon thread and fairly weak. Beautiful for top stitching, but I’d hesitate to use it for a seam where strength was needed, and B. I doubt I could use this much thread up in a lifetime of sewing. I have probably nearly 1/2 a million yards of it in literally a hundred different shades. (I know, it’s way too much! But it was free and I only took one spool of every color.)

    1. Something Blue*

      Cross stitch!

      Have you ever said or heard someone say, you should put that (words of wisdom or snark) on a pillow?

      You could make little sachet-size pillows or signs of whatever “wisdom” makes you smile.

      Something that won’t get handled a lot so the weakness of the thread won’t matter that much.

      1. Jemima Bond*

        I’d think it would be way too fine for cross stitch, but another type of hand embroidery might be nice?
        Or it’s used a lot for free motion machine embroidery, you could take that up? Make some art for the walls?

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          Yeah, I think it’s too fine for cross stitch. It’s probably even finer than standard sewing thread.

          Great idea for free motion machine embroidery. I got a book about it from the library years ago, but had totally forgotten and never tried it. I’ll have to give it a go when I can take my machine to the shop.

      2. Anonymath*

        How about some thread art? Find an unneeded corrugated cardboard delivery box, cut out two largish identical pieces and glue together. Find a nice scrap of wrapping paper and tape to cover the cardboard on the front and sides. Use small nails (or even pins if you’re careful) to make a shape or pattern on the wrapped side. Tie thread color of your choice onto a nail and wrap around, making a pretty art piece. Add additional colors and tie off on another peg when finished! You can find free patterns online for ideas!

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          Oh, wow! I’d seen that before but only the kid’s version which was too simply to really appeal to me. People are making some beautiful things. I shall have to see what cardboard I have.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I’m old enough to remember string art– it was big in the 1970s. I’m thinking thread’s too thin. But if you know anyone with a dollhouse and you have the patience you could blow their minds by doing one in miniature!
            Either way it’s fussy enough I’d go straight to wood because it lasts longer than cardboard. :)

      3. Pippa*

        Clothesline bowls use a lot of thread and look great with colored thread. And are amazingly soothing to sew. Ok. I will stop now. Have fun with your find!

    2. Monty & Millie's Mom*

      I don’t have any recommendations, as I don’t sew and am not crafty, unfortunately, but I do want to commend you for rescuing the thread! It would have been awful for it to just be thrown away! I hate to see things wasted like that, but also – and I know this is illogical, okay?! – but think how sad that thread would be to be tossed away, never to reach its full potential! So kudos to you!

    3. Senior Montoya*

      You were very restrained! Only one spool of each color. I would not have been able to do that!

      1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

        These are industrial sized spools. There are 5500 yards on a full spool and most of the ones I got are full or almost full. A normal spool of thread has 250. And ‘one of each’ is over a hundred different colors.

        I don’t think I was really restrained.

        1. Arts Akimbo*

          I love the mental image of this, and I hope it looks as spectacular in your house as it does in my mind! <3

    4. Pippa*

      I save dull needles to use on cardstock for cards and gift tags. I try out my machine’s special stitches or use a darning foot to “free sew” shapes. It’s fun. I use scrap cardstock and cheap thread I can’t make myself throw away too.

    5. Pippa*

      Use your machine’s special stitches to add decorative touches to pillow cases or top sheets. Or shirt hems, short hems, skirts hems … whatever. Even rows of zig zags in multiple colors would be fun.

      1. Wishing You Well*

        I’d add: make a “special stitches” sampler with your machine to use as a future reference. Write the stitch name/number and settings next to the stitches. This will come in handy next time you’re looking a nice decorative stitch.
        You can also make thread bowls with wash-away stabilizer.
        And, WOW, what a great find! Have fun!

    6. Argye*

      Temari balls! They’re Japanese thread-wrapped balls. I’ve done a tiny amount of it. They use up thread incredibly fast. Link to a picture in the reply.

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          Ooh, pretty! Yes, that would use a ton of thread. I wonder if I could glue the thread down so the cat can play with it without destroying it? A layer of clear epoxy, maybe?

    7. it happens*

      Try out sashiko- visible mending. You do so many stitches that the strength might not really matter…
      And, hey, this is a good problem to have

    8. female-type person*

      Clearly, the universe wishes for you to own an embroidery machine. So. Much. Fun.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Thread jewelry is a thing–maybe try and see if yours looks lovely wrapped like that? And ooooo Google just showed me two forms. I was thinking of silk thread bangles & beads (I believe Indian), and it also turned up Peruvian thread jewelry that’s done like the string&board&nail art from earlier in this, er, thread.

  13. What Type Of Feminist Are You?*

    I’m online dating and have “feminist” in my profile.

    I got asked in a message “what type of feminist are you? 3rd wave or new wave or hybrid?”

    How do you answer that? I need ideas!

    (If this is too political a question for this space, sorry & please remove!)

    1. Princess Zelda*

      As far as I have ever been able to tell, 3rd wave just meant “became a feminist after 1980” and some people call #MeToo activists the 4th wave. It’s really unclear! The nature of feminism means that these kinds of distinctions are…. blurry, at best. I’m going to reply to myself with a Vox article I thought was a pretty decent quick explainer on the main drivers of the various waves.

    2. Crazy Broke Asian*

      Which of those descriptions fit your beliefs the most?

      Or your can ditch the label and just give a catchy, short summary of what you believe?

      I’d probably say something along the lines of “intersectional, Muslim feminist”.

    3. Effie, who gets to be herself*

      That’s a new one! I don’t think I’ve heard that one yet? “Intersectional feminist” might work well, as Crazy Broke Asian mentioned.

    4. Jemima Bond*

      I’ve never heard of any of those distinctions. You could as someone suggests just summarise your position briefly but my personal reaction to an online potential date asking me that would have been…..“ ooof this guy is a bit high maintenance …sounds like he’d give me a load of grief if I am the “wrong” type of feminist…think I’ll move on.”

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        Yeah, this. I’ve heard lots of these terms but not having a big interest in the (semantics? Philosophy? Theory? IDK what term I want here) details of various “kinds” of feminism this response raises a big red flag that this guy will be one of those tiresome “logical” types who will argue with you about why whatever response you give is illogical and inconsistent because actually, it conflicts with this definition that may or may not be widely accepted but I’m going to treat this one source as the definitive one despite any evidence to the contrary. I’d just pass without bothering to try to define it to his satisfaction.

      2. Parenthetically*

        Yeah, this is my take. I am now happily married, but when I was dating I was exactly 0% interested in indulging men who wanted to Discuss Ideas in abstract ways when those ideas were, you know… my EXISTENCE.

      3. Marion Ravenwood*

        Yeah, it sounds to me like this is the type of person who’d use whatever you said as an opportunity to pick holes in your argument. I’d say ‘intersectional’ and see what response that gets.

    5. Sir Freelancelot*

      I had this question asked me and I usually answer with “I’m the type of feminist that believes that men, women and human beings in general should have the same rights.”.

    6. Joh*

      I‘d say ‚intersectional feminist‘ (though I do quite enjoy some literature and political practices from the 70s and 80s). I would, however, not really be interested to debate my choice of feminism or the typology with some random potential dating partner, I‘d be more happy about a ‚Yeah! So cool you are also a feminist ‚…

    7. Analyst Editor*

      My guess is he’s fishing for whether you’re a social-justice/intersectional feminist (arguably the default position of you self-identify as a feminist in your profile), or someone whose view is more, “I don’t want women oppressed and I like my legal rights, but I disagree with the feminist movement in its current iteration/think the goals of feminism are largely reached”. For example, that more libertarian or conservative women might describe their feminism in the latter way.

      So based on how much you like the guy otherwise, keepesaaginf him but I’d argue that he’s probably not an intersectional feminist himself (or whatever the guy equivalent to that is?).

    8. Jules the 3rd*

      I’m kinda surprised everyone’s assuming this question came from a man…

      Either way, they may be checking for TERFness, and sensitivity to race. ‘Intersectional’ is a good answer *if* you’ve spent some time looking at the issues and if you’re willing to keep working on them in yourself.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        I’m kinda surprised everyone’s assuming this question came from a man…

        This is an excellent point. Just goes to show how heteronormative our society is.

        1. Jedi Squirrel*

          And….I just realized that I’m assuming @What Type Of Feminist Are You? is a woman because they have the word “feminist” in their profile.

      2. VI Guy*

        Yeah, my first thought was “This may be a question asked by a woman who is non-white or has a disability, or spends a lot of time with people who are, so if the OP is an intersectional feminist then that may get them a lot of bonus points”

      3. Person from the Resume*

        I assumed it was a woman, myself, but that’s who I date and who I’d expect a woman to be more aware of the types of feminist than a man.

        OTOH I’d say I am an intersectional demise, but I don’t know enough about feminist theory to know what 3rd wave or new wave or hybrid means so whoever is asking seems to be very academic.

        1. Anonnington*

          I had the same thought. I imagined it was either a woman or a man who was a) more knowledgeable about feminism than most, or b) cautious about talking to feminists. It could be anything from, “Awesome! What are your thoughts on this particular author?” to, “OMG are you gonna yell at me if I hold the door for you / get my nails done at a salon???” Woman or man, it’s hard to say where they could be coming from.

    9. Senior Montoya*

      Haha, I’d be tempted to say, in these times and in this place, isn’t “feminist” good enough?

      1. RagingADHD*

        Yes. This isn’t supposed to be a random Twitter argument, but the prelude to a hopefully enjoyable dating relationship.

        Don’t feel pressured to play a guessing game. It will just set you up for more guessing as you go on.

        Communication skills > labels.

        1. Avasarala*

          Yes. I would give a non answer like “Pre-Cambrian” or “Steve Rodgers and Capt. Raymond Holt. Wait, which Buzzfeed quiz was this?”

    10. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Try something like “I’m an intersectional feminist, what kind of feminist are you?” Their answer to that is likely to be informative. Anyone who asks “what kind of feminist are you?” and isn’t prepared to answer that about themself, or denies being a feminist, is probably not worth your time.

    11. RJ*

      Such a trolling question. I put that I was into Roe v Wade in mine and got 0 questions . . . And not a ton of dates but all were good.

    12. AnonLurker Appa*

      I disagree with others saying this is a flag. To me it seems like someone might be legitimately engaging with the info you provide in your profile, which (from what I hear about online dating) is rare.

      If you don’t already identify with a particular type of feminism, I would just try to summarize what feminist means to yourself in a sentence or two, and then ask them if they consider themselves a feminist and/or ask them about themself.

      1. Frankie Bergstein*

        This was my first thought as well — the respondent could have a thoughtful question and could be trying to start a conversation.

    13. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Online dating is a landmine. What about ‘easy-going’ as an answer? Or in some way implying you’re not doing this academically?

    14. Anonnington*

      Ok, as someone whose college minor was gender studies, I have to say that the waves are all broad generalizations incorporating a lot of different viewpoints.

      As a person whose social circle is broad and diverse, I have to say that feminism means really different things to different people. There is a lot of ignorance surounding it. And people’s understanding of it depends greatly on where they got their info. Not just Rush Limbaugh vs womens studies classes, but which specific authors they have read, what media they follow, who they talk to, all of that.

      If you identify with a subset of feminism, that would be one place to start. But I think that explaining your beliefs on key issues – and a basic definition of what feminism means to you – would be the most useful.

  14. Galxe*

    Do you police people’s language IRL like you do here?

    Many posters are quick to slap down the words of others, and I wonder whether you also do it face to face.

    1. Not A Manager*

      Hmm. I wonder if you would word this comment as strongly if you were speaking face-to-face with someone.

      For me, I do think I try to point out when someone is using language in a harmful way, even in person. I think it’s easier to tailor your tone to your audience when you know your audience. I’d speak to my parent differently than I would to my child; I’d speak to my neighbor differently than I would to my friend. For some relationships, it would take an extreme statement to cause me to intervene, for others it could be much milder.

      Online, you don’t really know your audience, and you don’t generally have a personal relationship with that person. So for me, at least, I’m more likely to address language in the abstract (“that’s exclusionary, that’s offensive, that’s stereotyping”) whereas in person I’m more likely to address the person in context.

      I think this board is pretty good about not “slapping down” anyone, though.

    2. Katrianah (UK)*

      Yes, I do. Anything from “hey can you not use that word/phrase/language around me, it’s not appropriate” to “wtaf did you say that for” depending on who I am calling out.

    3. Jemima Bond*

      Someone I manage used a word completely wrongly in a short email (just to me). I sent him an Inigo Montoya meme.
      Make of that what you will.

    4. Teacher trainer*

      Yes. I’m a teacher, and part of my job is pointing out when language used is harmful and educating them on why and how, and what to do about it. This is valuable, meaningful and significant work.

      I also see the importance of addressing this more generally with people, and I do. Obviously the context matters – if it’s someone I know, I will probably have a better idea of what will work with them. I may be able to appeal to a specific aspect, soften my language, or whatever, in order to be as effective as possible. Whereas online I don’t have that information so I default to clear and direct naming of the issue. Also, online and IRL, my goal is to address it as much for those witnessing the use as for the person using it.

    5. Retail not Retail*

      I have no poker face so I’ll wince if someone says something in a casual setting.

      It’s also easier to “police language” online because we can both calm down and formulate a response, rather than me snapping “don’t effing say that”

    6. Jules the 3rd*

      In general, yes, people police language IRL at about the same rate (or *more*) than here. This forum’s actually relatively good about it; derailing an argument by focusing on word choice is a really popular tactic on most comment sections that have disagreements, and I only see it once in a while here. (Like 20% on most sites, and once the word picking starts, that comment stream is over; maybe 5% here, and they don’t usually derail discussions here, more like sidebars)

      1. no apples today*

        ….I actually think this comments section is worse than a lot of other places on the internet. Discussions get derailed so often because people are nitpicking word choice. I honestly don’t post here much anymore because the nitpicking is so bad that you can’t even write something banal without people jumping on you for a variety of reasons. There’s a lot of people here who want to be offended by the smallest non-bigoted thing and it’s exhausting.

        1. Galxe*

          Not just nitpicking but also shaming. And not also shaming but a competition to be the first to shame.

          The word ‘crazy’ is all but banned here. You can’t post “it was crazy in the supermarket before the lockdown”. No reasonable person would assume you are taking about mental health, but here you’d be shamed for using it in that situational context.

          And it’s okay to write “my boss is a typical rich white man” here, but instant outrage if you write “my boss is a typical rich Chinese man”.

          But I have to say I laughed that some posters actually policed my question! Thanks for not helping yourself.

    7. Generic Name*

      I’m not sure what you mean by “police language”. If you mean point out when someone uses they’re/their incorrectly on Facebook, then no. But if someone makes a racist comment, absolutely.

      I recently had the following exchange with a coworker:
      Him: did you know they’re calling it [coronavirus] the Kung flu?
      Me: By “they” do you mean racist people.

      1. Analyst Editor*

        It does, which is Al the more reason why people can be so resistant to others “policing” or correcting them.

    8. JKP*

      My BF is a patent/trademark attorney, and he drives me nuts with correcting trademark names in conversation. It’s not “Fedex” it’s “Fedex Office” It’s not “Kleenex” It’s “Kleenex tissues.” I get how trademarks work, but we’re just having a conversation, and it’s not your job to assert these companies’ trademarks probono.

      I think everyone has their language things that drive them nuts like nails on a chalkboard. I grew up in a “pop” region and have now moved to a “soda” region. Every. Single. Time. I say “pop” whoever is standing next to me (even complete strangers) correct me “it’s soda.”

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I’m sure it’s no fun for you, but from the outside it’s very amusing. Will he literally say, “Can you hand me a Kleenex tissue?”

        1. JKP*

          He will generally just say “Hand me a tissue” without using the trademark name, but if he uses trademark names, he does use them properly. Also, when I said “Fedex” instead of “Fedex Office” he literally texted me a photo of their outside signage later that day when he was in their parking lot.

            1. JKP*

              Then he pretends like he can’t understand what I’m saying. (Confused): “What do you mean you googled something?” (Lightbulb): “Oh, did you mean that you looked something up with Google search engine?”

              1. allathian*

                And you put up with this? Seriously? Is he unaware or just a jerk? I wouldn’t be able to tolerate that sort of behavior in a friend… YMMV, obviously. Just reading about it has me almost breaking out in hives. His behavior sounds almost passive-aggressive, or downright aggressive policing of language. I hope he grows out of it. On the face of it, it sounds like a funny quirk. But funny quirks often turn out to be dealbreakers in the long run…

                I’m a translator/proofreader so I do a lot of language policing at work. IRL I don’t meddle in the speech of other adults and very rarely do I correct my kid. And even then it’s mostly a matter of genre rather than bad word choices. For example, I swear some, as does my husband. We don’t swear at people, but if I stub my toe or hurt myself in some other way, I will let out a few choice words. I think it’s hypocritical to try to prevent my son from swearing, although I do point out that swearing is not universally acceptable, especially from kids, and that he shouldn’t do it in front of his grandparents or at school, or at a friend’s house where the rules are probably different. As a result, he almost never swears, or at least not in my hearing. I haven’t heard any complaints from his grandparents or from school, either, so I assume he doesn’t swear there.
                At work, I stick to euphemisms like the equivalents of darn and crap, and use them very sparingly. Can’t remember when I last swore at work…

              2. LJay*

                I am imagining talking to a chat bot or a NPC character in a video game with this description. Or one of those automated phone lines (though even those recognize more natural speech nowadays).

            2. Arts Akimbo*

              Haha, yes! “Hand me that Kleenex. I need to go to FedEx to Xerox that printout of the Powerpoint I Photoshopped, and if I don’t mail it today I might as well Bubble-Wrap it and throw it in the Dumpster!

          1. alex b*

            This is hilarious to me. Where does it end?

            “This LEGO toy brick has injured my foot!”
            “This Xerox Corporation document has errors!”
            “This Band-Aid brand adhesive bandage is protecting my papercut!”
            “This Adobe Systems Photoshop picture is well done!”
            “This Otis Elevator Company mechanism is allowing us ascend to floor 5!”

            You’re dating a Seinfeld character!
            And I wish you both the best; everybody has quirks, and I think quirks can be endearing. :)

            1. JKP*

              Ironically, Seinfeld is his favorite show. And he would probably be proud to be referred to as a Seinfeld character.

            1. hey anony*

              “Hand me a tissue.”

              “Do you mean a Kleenex tissue? Or a Puffs tissue? I think we have may have some Generic Store Brand tissues in the closet. Do you have a preference?”

              1. Anonnington*

                I would be so tempted to buy a brand he’s never heard of and deny him tissues. Just get one of those tissue box covers that were popular in the 60’s. You can probably find one at a yard sale or Good Will.

    9. AVP*

      I think I’m actually *more* likely to do it in person than in writing or on the internet. If someone says something wildly offensive in person, it’s hard to ignore. When I get cc’ed on racist family text chains or emails, it often makes more sense to just remove myself from the thread and wait for a better time IRL to broach the topic (believe me, this is learned after decades of comments, I know I can do no good responding to a mass text chain with certain individuals…)

      1. Wishing You Well*

        I agree. While there are plenty of times to speak up about offensive language, you have to wonder if it’s worth your time and energy to “police” long-distance people online. Your chances of accomplishing anything are mighty slim. Still, I see hope for the future in that silence is no longer treated as the best or only option.

    10. Fikly*

      Are you the type of person who complains about things being PC, when really you’re just annoyed that it’s not as socially acceptable to say bigoted/raciest/horrible things?

    11. Blueberry*

      *looks at this question*
      *looks at the fluffy kitty above*

      I think I prefer that trap to this one.

    12. Mx*

      I police language IRL quite a bit when I feel the language used could be hurtful to others. For instance to an acquaintance referring to people born out of wedlock as bastards.
      By contrast, I do it little online. I tend to ignore rude and hurtful people online.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I’m more likely to give a longer explanation of WHY a word is hurtful when talking to a specific person.
        Especially when we have a friend in common. “So ok, you remember our friend $Name from college? She’s told me she cringes at the common use of the words gypsy because it’s pretty offensive to her family. She’s Roma, she doesn’t come from Egypt and she doesn’t ‘jip’ anyone.

    13. Thankful for AAM*

      As others said, I do it more IRL with people I know and less online with internet strangers unless it is an engaging conversation that is open and is a learning opportunity.

      My closest friend (not a poster here) just called me out on something I said, “that’s your privilege showing.” She also asks for my input on her thoughts and statements, “is my privilege showing when I do or say x?, how else can I handle this?”

      My coworkers and I do it with each other all the time and we ask each other to review something or to help figure out how to express something or if it should even be expressed.

      But we don’t tend to correct supervisors. I do ask them to explain using AAM type scripts to make sure I am not misunderstanding or to show I disagree.

    14. Analyst Editor*

      I think I don’t find many of the things others might consider offensive as offensive, but the subset I do find offensive I usually only address if it’s someone really close to me, so they have a reason to care about what I think, in contexts when the thing said seems to be specifically meant in a mean-spirited fashion intended to hurt or demean (vs. just joking), or is deeply un-funny to me, or I know is very offensive to someone who would be in the range of hearing it, even if I don’t think it’s so bad.

  15. Not A Manager*

    I finished my first set of face-masks this week, thanks to the help of people on this board and some other folks online. They came out great and I’ve given a few to members of my community.

    We just found out our stay-at-home order has been extended for more than a month. Between missing my family at Passover and now being stuck at home for even longer, I’m feeling a bit down. Not too keen on the direction our country is taking, either, unless that’s too political.

    1. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Passover kind of sucked for me this year, despite all of the efforts to make it better. So I hear you. This week has just been… not great. I remind you, and myself, that it’s ok to be bummed. I’ve grown weary of all of the qualifying, like, “We can’t be together but we’re on Zoom!” That works for some people, but not for everyone.

  16. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    I got a dog! (I posted about the difficulties I’d been having with this late in last weekend’s thread.) The other potential adopters for the rescue dog I wanted fell through because he was … exuberant in greeting their existing dogs and those dogs Were Not Having Any Of That Nonsense. Since I didn’t have any other dogs (and have a lot of experience in managing dog behavior), I got to take him home on Tuesday!

    He’s a big, goofy basset mix and I love him. Thinks dogs all want to be his friend, which is awkward as hell right now since I can’t let him get that close to other people even if they have dogs that want to play with all of his energy, and will probably only be slightly less awkward in a future time without social distancing because most dogs (and dog owners) have limited patience for large, enthusiastic dogs that want to play in the middle of a walk. We’re working on his manners now, and I hope that in a year or so I’ll have him in good behavioral shape to go to dog parks and run off his excess energy with some dogs who will appreciate him.

    However, I’m worried about how he’ll get along with cats. Whether he sees them as friends or toys/prey, I think he’s just going to be too rough of a dog to safely have kitty friends at this point in his life. I don’t have any cats (allergies), but I have 4-ish neighborhood cats that are used to hanging out in my fenced backyard, and I want to give them fair warning that there’s a dog back there now. So far, I’m only letting him outside on leash, but as I get more confident that he knows where home is I’ll gradually give him more and more freedom in the fenced yard. Aside from encouraging him to mark territory back there, and just generally walking him around in the yard and stinking up the place, is there anything else I should do to help let the cats know about the change in yard usage? My yard does have plenty of trees and other vertical options the cats already chain together to get in and out, so it’s likely that a cat chase will end with the cat getting out of the yard by a route the dog (hopefully) can’t mimic.

    1. Alston*

      congrats on your big goofy dog!

      Can we see a photo please? Seeing all the dogs on my walk but not being able to pet any is the WORST.

      1. Monty & Millie's Mom*

        yes! I have no advice about the cat thing, but would love a picture of a big goofy basset!!!! (or any dogs, to be honest……!)

      2. Ellie Mayhem*

        And my Leonberger who absolutely loves everyone shares your dismay. He his heartbroken during every walk because no one loves on him.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          yeah, my dog does not understand why everyone got ‘busy!’ (my word for ‘don’t go over to them’) this last month, even her regulars. She misses them.

    2. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Mazel tov! And yeah, so many doggies are starving to meet people and buddies.

      For what it’s worth, and this may not be the case where you live, my encounters with owners of new-to-them doggies on my walks have been so wonderful. My bud is older and very chill (and somewhat aloof) so we’ve been able to keep our distance while saying hi and I am not put off by big energetic dogs (I don’t let them jump on me but I don’t yell at them). But I love seeing all of the new pups out and about, learning the ropes.

      As for the cats… my dog is afraid of them and pretty mean about it. When we moved to our previous house, there was a neighborhood cat who was used to hanging out on our porch. She learned pretty quickly not to do that anymore. I don’t think you can actually give cats a heads up, they’ll just adapt.

    3. Animal worker*

      Congrats – he sounds awesome. On the cats, just establish some sort of cue before you let him out to alert the cats that he’s on the way and they’ll figure it out. I used to do that when I pet sat for a friend with some really prey-driven German shepherds, I knocked loudly on the door before I opened it and the squirrels close by quickly learned to scatter at the sound.

    4. Dog Fosterer*

      Do you know of any dogs in the area that might be a good match for play? I have a neighbor whose dog loves to play with mine, and we have arranged for her to bring her dog over and let the two of them run around together while we stand a distance apart. You would want to do it leashed at first, maybe walk together a few times while they get used to each other, which is my technique when introducing any two dogs. Walking allows them to sniff and become familiar while also expending energy on walking, so they are getting to know each other without the threat of a fight. The backyard play may not currently be possible in your city, but consider it as an option. The recommendation that I have heard from dog trainers in the past couple years has been to avoid dog parks completely, as they are often full of dogs that are badly trained, and my experience often lines up with this. Weekdays had been okay, although I worked during that time, and I found that weekend afternoons were my best time yet also when the asshole dogs and owners came out of the woodwork. So I have instead chosen to play in our neighborhood, and have even exchanged contact info with my favourite dog owners, and invite them over to my yard.

      I love bassets, although they can be really big so thank you for committing to training some manners!

    5. EddieSherbert*

      Outdoor cats are smarter than people think – They tend to have a ‘territory’ of several blocks and I absolutely guarantee someone else in their range has a dog they’ve learned to avoid. I think having pup ‘stink’ up the yard with his scent should be plenty of warning. If you start every trip outside with a bunch of noise or pup on leash for 5 seconds, that should be plenty of notice for them that it’s time to move.

      If you were feeding or providing outdoor cat shelters for the cats, I would either remove those or put them somewhere outside of the fenced yard (side of house, front porch, whatever). If there’s no kind of ‘subtle’ options, I would just lose them (as if they’re really obvious, neighbors might start to complain). Again, there’s no way you are their only source of shelter or food, so they’ll be ok :)

    6. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Re the cats – they will figure out that there is now a resident dog just fine, don’t worry about that. And you can’t help their response, though if they decide to stand their ground your new dog will lose that battle.

      Congrats on the new dog :)

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Doggie! Does he have a name that fits him or are you likely to try another? It’s not impossible–we had a family dog that answered to three names. My brother used her original name, I shortened it, and my grade-school niece called her a completely different thing. I miss having a dog…and I’m having a hard time remembering that when we’re not in isolation I have too long a commute for a critter to have enough company.

  17. KR*

    I’ve got those quarentine blues. Worrying about never getting to a pool or the beach this summer. Sad about missing hiking season. Sad about not getting to wear the pretty bathing suits I just got in the mail today. Worrying about my routines being further disrupted, and once the oppressive heat starts out here, being basically confined to my house except for a dog walk in the evenings. I’m so sad about the deaths, the impact on the economy and people’s lives. I know other people have it way worse. I’m just so distraught.

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      Secret is: focus one hour at a time. Not even one day at a time. And I’m speaking to you from a country that has been in a quarantine state for 2 months now. Every day you find something to do. At worse, order a kit for a new hobby from Amazon. Clean everything. Volunteer to interact via Skype with people in need of some company. Do whatever you want to do and sometimes you don’t have time to. But even more important: keep in touch with family/friends/whoever makes you feel good. Establish a sort of virtual date with the rule to talk for 5 minutes about the virus, and the rest of the time have a coronavirus-free conversation. Watch a movie together sharing the screens. Stuff like that. I feel you and it’s ok to be sad and stressed! I just want to let you know that humans are amazing at adapting, even when they think they’re not. Keep going, you can do this!

    2. TimeCat*

      I was going to do a baby splash class with my son and got all the stuff. By the time this ends, none of it will fit. That swimsuit makes me a little sad.

      1. Jules the 3rd*

        back yard? bath tub?

        I feel ya both, we love the pool / beach. I’ll probably introduce the kid to the joy of sprinklers this year.

        1. TimeCat*

          Apartment sadly. He loves bath time, but I can’t really see putting him in a swim suit for a bath.

          I am a big swimmer and not being able to swim myself (I would go to the community pool, which is closed) or take him to start learning has been tough.

    3. Mimmy*

      I feel you. I’m sad about not having Easter this year with my family. Plus, our annual summer gathering (usually in first week of July) is up in the air. We’ve been doing that in various locations since 2006. This year, it’s supposed to be in Cape Cod.

    4. lazy intellectual*

      I’m also sad about having summer ruined for me. I’m fine with lockdown when it is still cold, but summer is my favorite time of year. Rooftop bars, outdoor festivals, etc are probably all canceled this year. It seems like all of 2020 will be canceled due to COVID-19. I don’t even know if I will be able to travel during the holiday season to visit my family like I was originally planning.

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        Yep. One of the festivals I was really excited about going to this summer just got cancelled. The other is still going ahead AFAIK, but it’s not in my home country and I’m pretty sure my flight will be cancelled. (It’s not until July, but I’m not holding out much hope at this stage.) Right now I’m just hoping lockdown will be lifted here in time for my boyfriend and me to take our planned trip up North at the end of the summer.

      2. Arts Akimbo*

        I know the feeling. My boy’s birthday is coming up and ALL he wants is concert tickets… but we don’t even know what concerts will be happening vs. postponed or cancelled at this point! :(

    5. IAmOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I do not understand why beaches are closed. You can go to the park for a walk so why not the beach? I understand that you shouldn’t be there with other people (that you don’t live with) but as long as you are staying far away from others then it should be fine.

      (Beaches where I live at not crowded places)

      1. Tris Prior*

        Speaking for my own city: because people refused to social distance and insisted on congregating (even though the lakefront is a BIG PLACE and it is not that hard to stay 6′ away from others. Just another case of a few ruining it for everyone.

      2. Nita*

        The idea of anyone coming to the beach this summer gives me nightmares. Hundreds of people within arm’s reach of each other. Even if they spread out, who knows if it’s safe to get in the water. Considering that in the past I’ve seen people spitting in the water, losing band-aids in the water, etc., I doubt it. My husband loves loves loves the beach, so IDK if he’ll be able to stay away.

        Hiking, on the other hand… I really hope hiking will still be safe. We don’t have any way to go outside and be far away from others, unless it’s in a big park.

      3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        It’s often also that although the park/beach/lake is large, the car park may be small, or there may be narrow entrances which cause bottlenecks and/or require touch (eg gate to open). Where you can walk directly on to the sand/grass from just anywhere the risk is far lower.

        But yes, also Covidiots spoiling things for everyone else.

    6. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      In the UK we are currently on lock down and able to leave the house only for: exercise (running, walking or cycling) once a day, essential journeys to buy essential items, and to go to work where it’s necessary and can’t be done from home. It’s come out in comments that exercise should be in your local area, not for example driving to a nature reserve 5 miles away for a walk.

      I take quite a long term view of things usually and even though rationally it seems that these restrictions could perhaps be lifted in 3 months or so… I can’t help thinking of 2020 as it will be the “lost” year… and from a personal perspective I’m a bit downhearted about that since (prior to coronavirus) we were sort of in the place that we are finally in a stable position, able to move forward in life and just kind of consolidate.

      As awful as the humanitarian aspect is (not enough capacity in hospitals, etc) my mind keeps going back over and over to the ‘markets’ of China where this is presumed to have started from and the conditions of their animals and so on. This is something I was vaguely aware of before but hadn’t really thought to dig into … now I am starting to obsess over it and have intrusive thoughts all the time… I recognize this as my anxiety playing up and am already managing it well enough with medication, but even so, it’s a struggle these last few days. I am alternately obsessively seeking out information and burying my head in the sand, not good.

  18. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going?
    For the record, I mean all kinds of writing, be it fiction, non-fiction, a diary, a blog, a technical manual,… Everyone’s welcome here!
    As for my own, I’ve mostly been working on something that can’t be named in the free-for-all, but it’s coming along nicely! My Fanfiction is coming along well too.

    1. StarHunter*

      I have been wanting to start a travel blog. Have a bunch of stuff written up but actually getting the blog setup and things posted has not happened yet. And I am not working right now so I have the time (but maybe not the mental bandwidth). I am also still trying to figure out the best blogging platform to use. Would like to make a little bit of money off of it if I can.

      1. MissGirl*

        I follow some travel bloggers and most do it as a hobby because competition is so fierce and plentiful. They have to sink a lot of money before any (tiny) return. As you’re in prep stage, I would think about what you bring to the travel blog world that no one else does. What can you offer a reader that they’re not already getting somewhere else?

        If you’re not sure or don’t have something, start with a free platform like WordPress and have it be a hobby. Of course, all career travel bloggers are currently out of paying work.

        1. StarHunter*

          Yeah, this will mostly be a hobby. I have no illusions of grandeur about making money :-) We like to travel to cool places for hiking adventures so that’s what it mostly is about. I like to take pictures too and have tons of them for nice visuals. I figure since people can’t travel right now maybe they will want to at least read about it.

          1. MissGirl*

            Just to warn you, most people are bitter about what they can’t do so clicks and likes are really down. I do outdoor and hiking stuff on my Instagram and Twitter, and I’ve mostly stopped posting.

            Totally set something up; just be aware that you might not get traction for a long time. Do it if it brings you joy.

    2. Annie Oakley*

      I started a novel last fall and I’m struggling with the direction the plot wants to go. I keep trying to write it in a different direction but it’s just. not. working. Add to that, a good part of the story involves mass genocide by a engineered virus (which came into the plot long before corona)..and with the current worldwide situation (obviously not an engineered virus) just seems a little too real. I’m trying to just keep writing and see where it goes, but i might just end up scrapping it.

    3. Claire*

      I’ve been sick with COVID-19, so I haven’t been doing much (any) writing over the past couple weeks. However, I seem to be doing better today, so I hope to manage a brief session this weekend.

    4. Jedi Squirrel*

      Bunches, but I’m having trouble getting to a published state with stuff:

      Updated the quarantine resource post I mentioned last week.

      Published third edition of weekend reading links.

      Found some recording I made during the Great Recession when I was working crazy hours trying to save my house, and am currently working it into a podcast. (Very NSFW.)

      Worked on my blog post about watching the second season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Should be published early next week.

      Worked on a couple of stories for the third issue of my zine, which has kind of been on hiatus since last October.

    5. Princesa Zelda*

      Everything has puttered out, mostly. I spent a couple hours outlining, and that’s it. My energy has been completely sapped out of me :/

    6. Elizabeth West*

      I started taking a screenplay course on Coursera, with an idea that started as a novel but I thought would be better as screenwriting practice. Frankly, I do not think a MOOC platform is the place for a writing class. We’re supposed to each get together with six people in writing groups, but there are so many in the class it’s impossible to connect with anyone. Plus, at least in the free version, there doesn’t seem to be any instructor feedback. I’m wondering how we’re supposed to help each other when we don’t know anything ourselves.

      On the bright side, trying to write a decent logline and a dramatic question forced me to finally finish the treatment I started last year. It’s a strange way to write. You literally can’t include anything an audience can’t see or hear.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Oh, forgot to add, referencing a discussion we had hear about writers not finishing a series, I declared on my blog my intention to finish my trilogy. Now I can’t NOT do it, lol. Not that anyone wants it, but it will be out there if they do.

      2. Most things may never happen*

        Have you watched any of those Masterclass videos on writing? There are several of them – the one I remember had Aaron Sorkin and some students writing an episode of The West Wing. I’ve mostly focused on the music ones – the one with Hans Zimmer is awesome – but they’re interesting and motivational. Good production values, too.

    7. Liane*

      More editing than writing currently. A new writer at the blog submitted something he’d clearly forgotten to read over, or just put through Spell Check–which never flags wrong homophones, typos that are real words (cat/cab), missing words, or that word that does not mean what you think it does. So *of course* it had most of those. He was gracious about fixing them and I do understand how hard it is to catch errors in your own writing. But it also makes me want to track down my favorite Language Arts teachers on social media and apologize to them, not for the first time.

      My blog writing is in a slump, alas. I don’t know if it’s one of my usual Writer’s Block Phases, or part of my pandemic-induced doldrums. Thankfully, this isn’t a big deal, as I have over a month’s worth of pieces submitted. If the block lasts a while, I will have to scramble though.

    8. Marillenbaum*

      I’ve dived back into some fanfiction I started ages ago. I don’t really share it anywhere–it’s just for my enjoyment–but I really enjoy getting to spend time in that world. It feels fun!

    9. Arts Akimbo*

      I finished the Story part of my Kickstarter and it got approved! This is huge writing for me, LOL! It probably sounds so lame to the people who write a lot, but it is often incredibly hard for me to put into words *why* I do the art that I do, just saying it in a manner that is meaningful to me but without devolving into pretentious-sounding word garbage.

      I’m going to coast on that good feeling while pretending not to feel bad about the book I’ve set aside for now.

  19. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    For the record, I don’t just mean video games, so feel free to share board game experiences too or apps teaching you how to play card games or whatever as well!
    I got almost all the endings in Steins;Gate, currently going for Kurisu’s ending and True ending after that. Why do I feel like Kurisu’s ending is going to break my heart even more than Mayuri’s?

    1. Katrianah (UK)*

      My Time at Portia – which is a lot like Stardew Valley except not pixel graphics (I still love Stardew! Its just MTaP caught me more). Crafting! Farming! Exploring! MORE CRAFTING!
      World of Warcraft – that xp buff tho
      And I re-discovered our box of boardgames so I’m going to get repeatedly beaten at backgammon by my husband later.

      1. Tau*

        Omg, I love My Time At Portia. It’s like someone went and took most of my favourite parts about Stardew Valley, distilled them and then got a bit creative. The crafting system! The questline! The adorable adorable non-pixel people! The crafting system!! (It bears repeating, OK). Like, I also still love Stardew, but I like the way MTaP has this sense of clear progression through the questline and the sense of accomplishment when you finish a big crafting project.

        Also, who doesn’t love beating Higgins to the commissions board every morning. :D

        1. Katrianah (UK)*

          YES. That’s EXACTLY it. I need an aim, and as much as I love Stardew’s relaxed nature, having a storyline the way MTaP does is so my jam!

      2. A.N. O'Nyme*

        I’ve been eyeing My Time at Portia for a while now. It feels a bit like Rune Factory, which is a good thing. I really should pick it up sometime but I already have quite the backlog (I have already accepted the fact that I’ll die next to a stack of games I meant to play and a stack of books I meant to read).

      3. Hamlindigoblue*

        I started playing My Time at Portia this week, and it’s so much fun!

        My daughter wanted to bust out the old Xbox 360 and play some older games, but the power brick isn’t working. I ordered a new one last night, and it should be here by Monday. Monday is surprisingly fast because most things I’ve ordered lately are taking at least a week to ship.

      4. AVP*

        um, thank you for this! So much!

        I’m a Stardew obsessive but absolutely outplayed it in the quarantine already and really needed something new to download. Time between reading your post and buying Portia was approximately 45 seconds.

    2. Julia*

      Doing online raids with a friend or strangers on Pokémon Shield, playing Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (and got stuck lol), and I powered up the Sims for an hour the other day, but got frustrated because the house didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.

    3. Ariaflame*

      Currently in a lot of Stone Age games at yucata.de and three asynchronous Ticket to Ride games via the app.

    4. Anonymath*

      Thankfully, my 6 year old just got into board games right before the pandemic started, so we’re doing games with dinner one night per week. Some old classics like Sorry and Uno, but also some new to us ones like Labyrinth and Up the River. I’ve also introduced him to the NES emulator and he enjoys playing Super Mario Bros as a treat between schoolwork.

      My husband and I were subscribed to an “escape room in a box” for Christmas, so we’ve been enjoying those and trying out some older two + person board games to see if they’re suitable to play with our son.

      Personally I’ve been playing WoW classic with my sister one night a week, and also just started playing Magic Kingdoms on my iPad/iPhone.

    5. Dr.KMnO4*

      A while back, maybe a year ago, I started playing “I Love Hue”. Last month I discovered that it has a sequel, “I Love Hue Too”. It’s amazing, though its difficulty curve is very different than the first one. I’d say that the first one just increases in difficulty as you progress. The second one is more of a difficulty roller coaster with plenty of hills and valleys. I love that the second one tells you, after you complete a board, the minimum number of moves to solve the board. And if you solve it using the minimum you get a little crown above the board.

      1. fposte*

        OMG. I first heard about I Love Hue here and fell in love with it, and check periodically to see if they’ve added new levels. I somehow missed that there’s a sequel! Thank you so much for the alert.

        1. Dr. KMnO4*

          You’re welcome! The sequel mixes things up with different shapes in the same board, and once you get far enough in, a quick mode called “Daily Devotion”. I love it even more than the original.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Husband and I are back into WoW – leveling up some characters that we haven’t played in a bit so that we can unlock the option to play fox-people characters. They’re cute. :) He plays mostly during the evenings, and I play a little bit after work but mostly on the weekends, so we haven’t been playing together, but that’s okay – I don’t actually much care for most of the MMO parts of the game, I just treat it like a solo adventure.

    7. Tau*

      I bought an adorable little ecosystem building game called Equilinox on Steam. I was going to play some Skyrim but then it crossed my Recommended list and idk, I felt the urge to go plant some polygon grass for bouncy polygon sheep to eat. I was a bit iffy because some of the Steam reviews complained that it was slow and fiddly, but I find it really nice and relaxing with the occasional cute puzzle when you have to create the right conditions for the next step in the evolution tree. I’m currently considering just ignoring the predator tree for a while in favour of filling all the oceans with fish, and have an isolated mountaintop where I’m breeding goats for extra speed and bounciness for no reason at all. It’s very soothing.

    8. Nicki Name*

      More FE3H! I made it to the timeskip and whoa! I’ve been thinking about how that must work if you picked one of the other houses… I’m getting definite VN vibes here.

      I probably have weeks left on this playthrough but I’m already planning my next one. Definitely going to pick Black Eagle and up my recruiting game sooner.

      Also, I made Lorenz my dancer because I’ve never played a FE game that allowed male dancers, and I think his dance is ridiculous but I regret nothing.

    9. Professor Plum*

      Just discovered Online Dominion this week. Played one evening with a friend—we often play together in person. Plan to play more this weekend.

    10. LDN Layabout*

      I took advantage of the Switch sale to buy a few more games. The ones I’ve actually played (alongside hours of AC:NH):

      Just Dance 2020: I’m pretty scared of leaving the house right now, it very much triggers my anxiety. Also, I am very out of shape. So playing a dance game every day for some movement is really nice.

      Voez: Since I stopped using my original DS *mumble* years ago, I hadn’t realised how much I missed rhythm games until I played the demo for this and I’m really glad I did.

      Katamari Damacy Reroll: Never played the original, very fun, very weird. The King of Cosmos is a bad father, js.

      1. Nessun*

        Oh Katamari games are TRIPPY! I may have to look that one up – once I get tired of AC:NH.

        1. LDN Layabout*

          I think it’s just a remaster of the original? But it’s so strange and fun. I am very bad at it.

    11. Nessun*

      Doing my best to use AC:NH and GW2 to distract myself from the horror of FFVII:Remake not being in my hot little hands yet (thanks Squeenix for couriering international orders the same day as national, so my US friends have theirs and I don’t) *cries*

    12. Liane*

      My Saturday night Discord RPG group is still ongoing. We are in the final arc of a Star Wars Force & Destiny campaign, with only 3 or 4 sessions left. While all 4 of us got Kewl Moments, my character ended the final combat of the evening by using the Force to hurl the big, fierce beast we were fighting through a bunch of even bigger trees. Way to go!
      While I can’t wait to see the climax of this long-running game, it’s of course bittersweet to say good-bye to a wonderful PC, her twin, and their friends. What’s next? A one-shot, probably Savage Worlds RIFTS for a couple sessions. Then, sometime in May, I will GM Star Wars Age of Rebellion using the campaign book Onslaught at Arda.
      ******
      In related news, please spare some sympathy for my husband, whose groups went from tabletop to online. There have been glitches since all the online venues–Discord, Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc.–have their quirks. Plus the Pathfinder group has a couple of what he calls “neo-Luddites” that he has been coaching/handholding. Due to the acoustics in our house and the fantastic pickup on my mic, my group overheard his side of one chat a week or 2 ago. Husband was very frustrated; we were somewhere on the Amused/Sympathetic scale.

    13. KristinaL*

      Does it count that I wrote a small “guess the number” game for younger family members? It gets a random number from 0 to 100, and then when you guess, it tells you if your guess is too high or too low.

  20. Kiwi with laser beams*

    Les Mills have given permission for some videos of their exercise classes to be shown on TV and the TVNZ app for free. I tried one of them out today and it went really well. I’m glad they’re doing that, I’d always meant to get into a proper exercise routine in April after the busy period at my WFH job ended, but then That Virus closed the gyms and pools, and going out for a walk really isn’t the same now that we can’t go far and have to keep a distance from other people.

    I couldn’t help laughing at some of the obviously pre-pandemic commentary, though. One of them made a joke about having a sore throat after the exertion of those particular exercises and for a moment I was like “that’s a bit tasteless…” before I realised that they’d shot it earlier. They also made a comment about “how great it is to travel to other countries”.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      I have been doing my PE with Joe Wicks, and whilst it took a while to realise I will not be as flexible as an 8 year old, it does help structure the day.

      Oh, and bunny and kangaroo hops are always fun!

    2. MissBookworm*

      I do barre and pilates—the instructors have been doing these online for us so I’m at least keeping active that way. Just wish I could get my cardio in, but the weather hasn’t cooperated much for me to go walking or running.

      1. Not A Girl Boss*

        I’ve been having a lovely time doing Tabata intervals indoors. Even just one 4-minute session can give you a metabolism boost, and theres a whole album of songs to guide you through work/rest intervals out there. I do Jump rope, kettlebell swings, burpees, jump squats, mountain climbers, Russian twists, bear crawl shoulder taps, etc. For lower impact you can even do static holds like wall sits, holding the hardest part of a pushup, or reverse planks – you’d be amazed at how sweaty you get trying to stay still.

        I’m actually enjoying the opportunity to work on my cardio (which is absolutely terrible after a winter of strictly powerlifting).

        I do that off days from lifting with the adjustable dumbbell set I was lucky to have before all this started. I also like to pop on Yoga with Adrienne.

        1. MissBookworm*

          I miss having access to a rower. That was my main method of cardio at the gym, along with the treadmill. We do have a kettlebell lying around somewhere; I’ll have to dig around and see if I can find it.

          Yoga with Adriene is one of my faves as well—I don’t do any dedicated yoga practices anymore now that I’m doing pilates (since they’re a quite a bit similar), but I do have a few favorite videos that I still follow on occasion.

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            Ugh I miss my rower too. I wish I could justify spending money on a water rower right now. It would be a dream come true…

    3. Bob*

      Thanks for the heads up. I’m tickled that TV2 has a Les Mills class scheduled for 3pm tomorrow, immediately followed by Goodnight Kiwi – Are the classes so hard that I’ll need a nap right after?!

      More generally I’m loving the variety of options for exercising at home these days. The ever-fabulous Wellington-based Shut Up & Dance are doing their classes online and I love that I get to ‘attend’ them from my living room here in Christchurch.

  21. Vic tower*

    Does anyone have suggestions for ways to connect with your tribe around pregnancy? I’m unlikely to be able to have a baby shower, but there are things from baby showers that could maybe be adapted – like getting people to write their advice about parenting down perhaps? I’ve got some time to think about it, but thought I’d see if anyone had ideas on AMA. What was the best pregnancy/New baby thing friends or family did for you – maybe it can be adapted!

    1. Rollergirl09*

      At my shower, they had birthday cards for every year of my son’s life from 1-18 and each person took a year and wrote him a card. While coordinating that online would be a pain, I have another similar idea. Set up an email address for your baby. Have your friends send an email to it with life advice or memories of you/you and spouse. You can read it now, but keep sending emails to it as your baby meets milestones or there is an important event. When he or she is older, maybe 13? Give them the password and let the read it.

    2. Fellow Traveler*

      Not sure how adaptable these are, but here are two ideas: My favorite baby shower activity was that the hostess had people write messages on diapers. It was pretty uplifting to be changing diapers at 3am and pull out a diaper with a cute message or smiley face drawn on it.
      We also had this idea to make and alphabet book where everyone picked a letter of the alphabet and made a page about that letter, scrapbook style. The idea was to gather all the pages and either scan them into a book or laminate and bind them into a book. We never did that one because my baby arrived eight weeks early, before we could have the shower, but I would have loved it.

      1. New Normal*

        That last one would be especially easy to do right now – possibly even slightly easier than in person! Have people do their job ages then send a scan or picture of it to one person and all the coordinator needs to do is upload those pictures to Shutterfly or such and there’s an amazing keepsake!

    3. Vanellope*

      I threw a virtual baby shower several years ago and one thing I did was buy pretty baby themed scrapbook paper, sent a sheet to each guest to decorate with well wishes/advice/etc and included self addressed envelopes to mail back to me. I then assembled the pages into a book to send to her. It was a lot of work on the front end but the finished project turned out great and she loved it! Not sure if that would work now but possibly an online vendor would have paper if the craft stores are closed.

  22. dramatic flair*

    Y’all. My kid does drama. Two hours after she goes to bed I find her standing in my room crying. Her head hurts, her stomach hurts. She has all the blankets and can’t get warm. I stay with her in her bed, her breathing is quick and shallow. After an hour her breathing is better, she’s feeling warm with all the blankets. She decides it was gas based on what she’s burping. Oh, and it’s her 16th birthday. Hopefully we can all get some sleep before she finds the 50 balloons in the living room.

    1. Rollergirl09*

      That sounds like maybe a panic attack. Has she had a lot of anxiety surrounding COVID19 and quarantine? I have two teens and they are beyond stressed about not being able to see friends and have the newly found freedoms they were becoming accustomed to.

      1. Misty*

        My first thought was panic attacks or anxiety too. I know a lot of people think anxiety can come across as drama since it doesn’t seem like on the outside that anything is wrong, and as a 16yo she “should know better.”

        When I was younger (lol actually even now) I’ve suffered from anxiety and I know people thought I was overreacting or being dramatic a lot. It would make sense for a person’s anxiety to come out during this time considering all the news and life changes that people have had to endure! Esp if she is missing seeing her school or friends.

        What really helped me back when I was a teen and even now was getting professional help. I saw a therapist, still do, and I was put on an as needed anxiety med. I know medications aren’t for everyone but for some it can be helpful for a (long or short) period of time.

        I would try to talk to her during the day (not at night when she comes crying to you) about what she is feeling and if she thinks she needs some more support during this time/in general.

        1. Kiwi with laser beams*

          All of this! Also, the fact that she felt able to tell you about it is a really good thing. I would have hidden it from my parents.

      2. Julia*

        Yeah. My parents called me a drama queen throughout my entire life (when in fact I had a) chronic pain and b) emotionally abusive parents…), and I still haven’t forgiven them for that.

        Please talk to your children before you call them dramatic, and really listen!

        1. Fikly*

          Thank you.

          Just because you see something resolve quickly, doesn’t mean it didn’t exist in the first place.

          My parents never believed me when I said anything was wrong, until a doctor confirmed it. And time after time, despite everything being confirmed by doctors, every time I said something was wrong, I was making it up, or I was just lazy or wanted attention.

      3. only acting normal*

        I thought anxiety attack too. Even the gas, since a lot of the symptoms can mess up your digestion.

    2. Kezi*

      Is she a social critter? I imagine spending her 16th bday in C19 Purgatory had to be tough. I hope she’s feeling better today.

    3. Generic Name*

      I know it feels dramatic to have an adult-sized person crying and hyperventilating, but think back to when you were 16. Remember how little things felt like The End of the World? Except now things feel like the end of the world for adults. Everyone is having trouble coping. So add that to the normal teenage stuff. I’m glad you laid with her until she calmed down. I think it’s just what she needed. Heck, my 13 year old son has been asking me to sit and watch shows with him, and he’s been letting me hold his hand. Kids are really having a tough time. I hope she has a nice birthday.

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

      I had those sudden bursts of angst and crying from ages 7-18, and nothing could stop it. My parents didn’t know how to handle that, they yelled at me to “calm the fuck down”, sent me to several therapists… In the end it sorted it out by itself, now I only have random episodes nearby my period.

    5. Jedi Squirrel*

      I’ve been reading a few articles about how this quarantine is really hard on kids and teens. Stress does show up in different ways in different people.

      Plus, kids really do crave structure and this period has totally unstructured their lives. Even if they didn’t like school, it was still structure. And now it’s gone.

      I’m sorry she’s having a rough time.

    6. Saddesklunch*

      You might check to see if her school counselors or social workers are offering remote services during closures. I’m a school social worker and I’m still seeing kids and taking referrals for new ones. It can be a nice option that allows her to talk to a professional outside of her family without having to do the work of getting her set up with someone outside the school system.

      1. Vanellope*

        Thank you for doing that! My kids are in elementary school and their guidance team has a separate class on Google Classroom with different emotional learning topics/stress relief/etc and PM capability if they want to talk. It means a lot to them to still have access to trusted authority figures (who calm them down and tell it’s going to be alright)!!

  23. Chocolate Teapot*

    After last week’s post on my broken washing machine, I had a go at washing sheets and towels in the bath. After spending more time draining, changing the water for clean and rinsing, then came the problem of wringing out the water. It is amazing how heavy a waterlogged bath towel can be. It took twice as long for everything to dry as well.

    I went past the site of the laundrette. Not only were the shutters down, but there was a big For Sale sign above it.

    1. Katefish*

      Sending sympathy! I don’t have a washer/dryer, and the 2 closest laundromats closed due to COVID. The day the closures happened was my meltdown day. Currently washing at the third string. Good luck with everything!

    2. Jedi Squirrel*

      Oh yeah, I washed a light synthetic blanket and it took forever to wring that sucker out. At least it dried quickly.

    3. RagingADHD*

      Those hand crank laundry pods that work like a salad spinner cost about $75 US, which is steep.

      But maybe you could work out contactless dropoff with a neighbor and share?

    4. NewReadingGlasses*

      Do you have room outside? I found that swinging wet items around in a bag at the end of a cord works great to getting water out.

    5. Dancing Otter*

      Stomp on them to squeeze the water out, preferably wrapped in another, dry, towel. You’ll be amazed how much more water comes out.
      Just don’t do it to underwire bras.

    6. Sam I Am*

      If you have a (5 gallon is great) bucket with a fitted lid, you can make it a mini spin washer. Must be able to lift it. Add water 1/2 way full (more full if you can lift that much water / are using a smaller bucket )a smidge of detergent and your clothes. If you spin it back and forth, the you get a decent wash cycle. Empty water and refill with clean water for a rinse cycle or two. Maybe this is too much for all your laundry but for underwear, socks etc it works great. If you have a racquetball handy you can toss that in there as an agitator.

      Doesn’t help with the wringing out, though.

    7. Liane*

      I’m not alone? My dryer’s not heating. My husband is hoping it’s something (like a fuse in heating system) that he can fix. I am hoping either there are local laundromats that are open for wash/dry/fold service only, even if DIY is closed.

  24. Crazy Broke Asian*

    One of the girls who bullied me in high school is getting married (after the pandemic ends) to her high school sweetheart, who also bullied me. I don’t use social media, and I promised myself I’d never look any of them up, but I still got the news anyway.

    It . . . hit me unexpectedly hard. I thought I was over it, but turns out I’m only over it as long as I can pretend they don’t exist. I try to put it out of my mind, but they keep popping out at random times. I’m so down that this week I stopped doing my exercise routine, it even messes up my sleep schedule.

    I know that real life is not like in the movies, where the bully victim ends up successful while the bully don’t, but it still hurts to know that life is going well for them. They’ve both got jobs in lucrative fields, obviously have a good , long-lasting relationship, etc. etc.

    Meanwhile I’m still my old, single, plain self, working an entry-level position with entry-level salary in a not lucrative, not my preferred field. I know it’s on me to clean up my act: maybe lose some weight, learn to dress better, take a personality class or whatever. But I’m just . . .

    At least with the pandemic going on, I don’t have to be afraid of running into them (or other people I’d rather pretend don’t exist) while running errands.

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      Hey, cut yourself some slack. You’re human and it’s human to feel down about this. But you already know what the only solution is, and it’s in front of you: change what you’re not happy about. Don’t do that to show them a lesson, though. Improve your life because that is what is good for you. Let them go. Your bullies’ lives are not your business, because it’s a waste of energy you could employ better somewhere else. If you’re not on it, perhaps you could consider going to therapy to process your feelings and planning how you can improve your life? If you can’t afford it, there many resources for free, online or books.
      Also, take away from them the power you’re giving them over your life. Why are you afraid of running into them? If it’s because they’re still being mean with you, remember yourself you’re an adult, and as an adult, you have the strength to put them in their place. If you’re afraid to meet them because of confronting your lives hurts you, just ignore them and carry one with your life.
      I don’t want to sound harsh, but I was where you are now: my life seemed to go down, my bully’s seemed to rise up. Then someone told me the things I’m telling you now, and I realized that they were right.
      My improvement started that day, and once you start, you never stop.

    2. Julia*

      I remember my high school bully couple. Ugh, I’m so sorry.

      Looking at it differently, though, they now both have to live with someone awful (each other), and maybe that is what they deserve.

      1. tangerineRose*

        “they now both have to live with someone awful (each other)” I was thinking this, too.

        1. Kiwi with laser beams*

          And that also means that they won’t be inflicting their mean selves on partners who are good people!

    3. Linguist*

      I really hope this doesn’t come across as victim-blaming, because that is the last thing I want. But it sounds like your self-esteem isn’t the greatest (“Meanwhile I’m still my old, single, plain self, working an entry-level position with entry-level salary in a not lucrative, not my preferred field. I know it’s on me to clean up my act: maybe lose some weight, learn to dress better, take a personality class or whatever. But I’m just . . .”)

      Having low self-esteem is a really debilitating thing for a lot of people (way too many people, if you ask me)! I see it as one of the biggest problems in the world, because it’s such a starting point for a lot of negative things, like overcompensating by picking on “weaker” people.

      Which leads me to my next point: bullies who victimise others are the lowest of the low, but they’re doing it because it’s easy and because they can. And that is (just to be very clear) not your fault! The blame lies 100% with them, and making someone who may already be feeling low worse is truly despicable.

      But as you said, it’s up to you to “clean up your act”. Which starts with, Instagrammy quote on a dreamcatcher background incoming: loving yourself.

      We will probably never meet, but if we did, you might not be as open face-to-face as you are here, anonymously. That’s natural! But in my experience, people really enjoy openness and genuineness in others. What I’m trying to say is: you already have a personality. Own it. Be it. Hone it! Here’s another Instagrammy quote on a dreamcatcher background: be yourself. People dig “yourselves”. I once read people have an authenticity detector, and I believe that to be true.
      I also believe that confidence is one of the most attractive things and that you can fake it, in fact, that most people fake it, at least in the beginning, until they grow into whatever they faked it for and actually feel it.

      (This is like the flipside of “impostor syndrome”: more people than you can ever imagine are benignly blagging their way through life at the highest levels of apparent competence. This includes yours truly, who teaches and conducts oral exams, presenting an unruffled façade while feeling like she’s absolutely winging it.)

      I’m not trying to tell you to become a Frank Abagnale-type confidence trickster, but I think the clue is in the name: if you walk into a situation feeling confident, people will see that and believe you.

      Lastly, a personal note on the weight loss. It’s possible. Please don’t let people make you believe it isn’t. (I’ve lost a large suitcase’s worth of weight – and yes, saying I was able to do it which means you can too isn’t always useful, but what I’m trying to say is, find a way that works for you, research the basics, download an app, write a plan, love yourself, stick to the plan, make an exception, go back to the plan – depending on your, er, personality. It may not be easy to do, but the mechanics of it are… simple.)

      And as for the “dressing better”, I’d start with: what do you like wearing? What do you like to see other people wear? Clothes can work wonders for your confidence level. Be a fashion Frank Abagnale-type confidence trickster. ;)

      If none of the above applies to you at all, I hope someone will get something out of it, and I sincerely wish you all the best.

    4. valentine*

      You’re bullying yourself with that projecting comparison. I bet you’re fiercely protective of others. Can you focus that inward, instead of the litany of criticism?

      obviously have a good , long-lasting relationship
      There’s no way for you to know this. I hate when people give a number as though it’s meant to prove that a marriage is/was successful. People stay together for all kinds of odd reasons.

      I think a therapist is in order here, to help you detach and forge a path where you’re going to do what you do, regardless of what they do. You’re keeping the connection alive. Cut that cord.

      1. Generic Name*

        I agree with this entire comment. The bit about their relationship “obviously” being good and long-lasting really struck me. Nobody but the two people involved in the relationship knows if it’s any good or not, and they’re not even married yet, so how long-lasting is it really? I had a marriage that probably looked “good” to people on the periphery of my life. While it did last a long time, it certainly wasn’t good.

        I heartily second getting therapy. It’s really helped me. May I suggest that this really isn’t about them? I’m guessing it’s really about how you feel about yourself and where you are in life, but the good news is you are in complete control of yourself! Go out and create the life for yourself that you’ve always wanted! I have faith in you.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Grief isn’t just for funerals. Grief can also be for betrayals. They both betrayed you on the most basic level. Cry. And as you cry, tell yourself, “This is over now. It’s not happening any more.”

      Not a consolation right now, because it can take decades to play out- in years to come you might find out that you would never, ever, in a thousand years trade your life for theirs. I am not wishing awful on them, because I don’t have to. Most people encounter something in life that is extremely hard.

      Another angle to look at is one I have mentioned before. Sometimes when we get to a safe place stuff like this can rear it’s ugly head. This can happen because we are a safe distance away from the source. While you are saying your life is not where you want it to be, you have successfully been away from these people for a while. That can be a subtle relief on its own.

      Last. Don’t be a bully to yourself. Talk nicely to you. Yes, it matters. I know first hand how easy it is to list off what I don’t have or haven’t done. The truth is that each one of us has a set of circumstances unique to each of us. The truth is that there are people out there who have more than I have and they have done less with their lives. And the reverse is true also, there are people out there who have less than what I have and they have done MORE with their lives. Reality is that I am in that broad middle area somewhere. We can teach ourselves to be proud of our own selves for the parts we got RIGHT. Please think about the part of life that you got right.

    6. Grateful Healthcare worker*

      Life is not a movie which is awesome because it means there is no winner and no loser. Your success is not tied to theirs in anyway. You be a success at being you (I know it’s not that simple)

    7. Roy G Biv*

      “They’ve both got jobs in lucrative fields, obviously have a good , long-lasting relationship, etc. etc.”
      Or so the highlight reel of their social media would have you believe. They might also have a long-lasting, codependent relationship that is stuck in a real rut. But you’ll never see that, you’ll only see the facade they wish project.

      You, on the other hand — you rock! Be kind to yourself, allow this news to work it’s way out of your psyche, and then shake it off. Because, you know, YOU ROCK! And better days are ahead.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        In my experience, the people who brag the most on social media are the most miserable. One of the most toxic couples I know declare their love for each other on Facebook every 5 seconds.

        Also, the most senior people in my last job were very dishonest people. It made me reconsider what I considered to be professional success. Like, would I be proud of myself if I got promoted through the ranks by being shady?

        A silver lining of encountering people like this is it makes me really take a close look at my values. Like, I care about my career, but there are limitations to how I want to acquire what I consider to be professional success.

    8. lazy intellectual*

      Is there any way you can block them from your feed on social media?

      You are allowed to have feelings. You are human. But I highly recommend trying to prevent them from popping up on your feed to the extent that you can so that these negative emotions don’t get triggered as much.

      Also, try to un-internalize the idea of romantic success as a reward for being a good person. Usually, like attracts like, and I’ve seen some truly horrible people couple up to team up in their horribleness. (I’ve also seen them make each other miserable, so there’s that.)

      But their happiness doesn’t take away from yours. Continue to live by your own values, take care of yourself, and go after the life you want.

    9. lazy intellectual*

      Also, I don’t agree that you need to “clean up your act”.

      Nothing wrong with self-improvement, but you seem to assume that you haven’t found what you want because you don’t deserve it. Know this is not true. You deserve the things you want. You don’t have to change anything about yourself to get them. Getting the job or partner you want takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s not because you are flawed. It’s because finding these things is hard! It’s normal to struggle with these things.

      The only thing I would work on is self-compassion. Would you tell your friends/loved ones the same thing you are telling yourself?

    10. RagingADHD*

      I’m sorry you’re dealing with that!

      If it’s any consolation, being single is waaaaaaaaay better than being married to a bully. So I’d say you have them beat, hands-down, in that department.

  25. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

    Hi all!
    Tuesday I had the lumpy bastard tumour removed via lumpectomy, along with 2 lymph nodes, which were cancer free and the lump was smaller than a pea! Chemo shrank it from very large marble size! Stitches will come out next Friday and the radiation plan will be discussed.

    While I stayed in the hospital I had 2 roommates with the same diagnosis and surgery. They were both over 60, I am just past 50. It was a positive and affirming experience and my surgeon, she was fantastic!

    Enjoying my quarantine more now that I am cancer free! And my balcony garden is growing, too. Happy weekend to all and big hugs to those who may need them in this trying time. Thank you again to all the folks here for all the support!

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      These are fantastic news to hear! You’re a true warrior and I wish you all the best!

    2. MistOrMister*

      This is wonderful!! I cannot imagine the peace of mind you must be experiencing right now. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on tv, but I assume the lymph nodes being clear must be some of the best news you could have. And the garden starting to grow is fabulous too! I have yet to plant mine, but we are having an unexpected cold snap so I’m glad I’ve been too lazy/distracted. Here’s hoping your radiation goes smoothly!!

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Thanks, it is, and with all we are all going thru now, I will take it!

    3. tab*

      Yay! You won’t miss that stupid tumor at all. I found radiation to be a breeze. My oncologist let me bring in a CD, so I listened to Mozart while I imagined the radiation turning the nasty leftover cells into fireworks.

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Your onco sounds cool. Thanks for the comment. I am hoping it is a breeze, too.

    4. fposte*

      It did not spark joy and you got rid of it. Good Kondoing! Hope recovery is smooth and peaceful.

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Haha this is true it did not spark my joy! Yay for kondoing it out of my life!

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        You are welcome, and yes, please do self checks and get a mammogram once you are over 45-50 (?) I found this at age 50. Fingers crossed for your check!

    5. 'Tis Me*

      Hooray! That must be such a huge relief! Here’s to enjoying good health in 2020! *Internet toasts*

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Thanks, and to your health and everyone’s, especially now. *Cheers*

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Thank you, I am trying to! Out for gentle walks avoiding people, sleeping a lot, and drinking tons of fluids, soups, etc!

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Thanks, Kuododi! See my comment to you below too. Sending you good vibes!

      1. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

        Thanks, and thanks for the extra points! The lumpy bastard was its nickname from October when I was diagnosed!

    6. NoLongerYoung*

      Great news! Have been following your story and so very, very pleased to hear this…. (internet hug)

  26. Foreign Octopus*

    Book thread!

    What’s everyone reading this week?

    I’m finally doing what everyone else has done and am reading Wolf Hall, by Hillary Mantel. I’m halfway through the chapter Anna Regina and since I know how her pregnancy is going to end, I keep getting knots in my stomach every time they refer to the coming prince and son. I’m enjoying it but I’m also not if that makes sense. The writing is really engaging, though sometimes I get lost with her dialogue because of the format, but it’s one of these books I can’t put down but, when I do, I’m not in a hurry to pick it up. I think because it’s so detailed and really drags you in is part of the reason I need a breather before picking it up again. Definitely going to take a break before I start the sequel.

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      “The secret diary of Marie Antoinette”. Historically accurate, great writing, engaging first person narrator!

    2. nep*

      Burmese Days. (Can’t recall whether mentioned last week that I was about to pick that up.)

    3. MistOrMister*

      I’m re-reading Till We Have Faces by CS Lewis. It’s been absolutely ages since the last time….can’t find it in the library anymore. But I recently found it on Prime and was just tickled pink. It’s a “re-telling” of the Greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. Set in a different country and told from the POV of the ugly half sister. So far it’s holding up as I remember and I’m enjoying it.

      1. BikeLover*

        I just ordered this from amazon (a used copy). I had been thinking a bout it a lot lately for some reason. I loved it when I was younger- read it multiple times in high school- but it’s been 20 years. I hope it holds up as well as I remember.

        1. MistOrMister*

          I kept trying to find a copy and it was just never available. So far I’m still happy with it. I think it’s one of those timeless books!

          1. 'Tis Me*

            I googled and found a PDF available online – what a sad, haunting story with that change…

    4. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      Started Best American Essays edited by Rebecca Solnit, and nearly finished Priory Of The Orange Tree which I am slogging through only because it was a gift from my daughter who enthusiastically asks if I’m enjoying her Christmas present! It’s been a long time since I read epic fantasy with so little idea why it wanted to use the trappings of genre.

    5. Grand Admiral Thrawn Is Still Blue*

      The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. It’s a Dracula novel. Elegant writing style.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I enjoyed The Historian, though more for the creepy “things found in books” setup than the Big Reveal as to who was behind it all. Still, very atmospheric!

    6. StarHunter*

      Reading through all my Issac Asimov sci-fi books. I’m currently reading Foundation.

    7. GoryDetails*

      Re Wolf Hall and “enjoying it but I’m also not” – I do know what you mean; I’m feeling that way about The Mirror and The Light, with each new setback or threat to Cromwell ramping up the impending doom. [I do wonder how I’d react to the trilogy if I knew nothing at all about English history!]

      I’m reading the usual variety, including:

      The Lost Art of Walking by Geoff Nicholson, an intriguing combination of memoir, travel-narrative, and history-of-things, with nods to eccentric walkers of times past and of more recent eras, and the author’s own observations of such things as getting (temporarily) lost in the Australian desert or walking up and down the length of London’s Oxford Street multiple times in one day to see how the pedestrian population varied over time.

      The Summer We All Ran Away by Cassandra Parkin, which features two different timeframes and alternating viewpoints: back in the late ’70s, where a famous musician is trying to enjoy his half-refurbished mansion while juggling career, love life, and rumors/pressure from outside, and a contemporary timestream where a battered runaway finds himself harbored in the same mansion, now apparently abandoned but with some eccentric squatters forming a family of their own. Really intriguing characters so far.

    8. Jules the 3rd*

      Patricia McKillip’s _Riddle Master of Hed_ trilogy (1976 – 79). High fantasy, reluctant hero, but… different. She’s very lyrical, and her characters are spectacular.

      And also: the more I read, the more I’m like ‘oh, so that’s where George R R Martin got that from.’ No dragons, no sex, little violence, and Martin’s way more explicit about everything, but the themes of family, ‘the other’, destiny, economics, she’s got them in ways that are very different from Tolkien’s. You have to work to notice them, but the story and characters are so good that it’s fun even if you stop at the top layer.

      1. Hello Sweetie!*

        Patricia McKillip is one of my favorites and the Riddlemaster of Hed trilogy is fantastic. I might go reread it for the XX time!

      2. hi there*

        This is one of my favorites too! I especially love how fully developed Raederle is in her own right.

    9. AngelicGamer, the Visually Impaired Peep*

      I am very slowly reading Shadow of the Wind because it’s just not hooking me. It’s for my now virtual in person book group but we keep on pushing back the date. That’s just fine with me.

      In books I’ve devoured recently – Get a Life, Chloe Brown was excellent with a very nice with two main characters that were both fleshed out with their flaws. Hers was chronic pain and scars of people leaving her behind while his was emotional abuse and I just loved it. I’m not a fan of contemporary so I like it when I can find books that I do enjoy in the genre. I also devoured Winterwood, YA fantasy that has so many shades of Practical Magic in it, and an ending that makes you cry/be happy at the same time.

      I’m planning to start Merciful Crow later today / tomorrow so we’ll see how that goes.

    10. Tortally HareBrained*

      I’ve been reading Julia Brannan’s Jacobite Chronicles series this week. Re-read books 1-3 this week. Delighted to note on Goodreads that she’s added a book since my first read thru.

    11. Undine*

      Wolf Hall didn’t do it for me. At some point Cromwell started to feel like a total Mary Sue, way too modern. And somehow, for how dramatic the history was, the fiction ended up feeling curiously static, perhaps because I didn’t really care about the characters.

    12. Nessun*

      An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield- his advice on understanding the negative in order to be prepared and enjoy the best outcome is very timely. Also about to look out my Summon The Keeper series to reread for the billionth time – comfort read ftw.

    13. Teacher Lady*

      Literally just finished Song of Achilles about an hour ago. I am also working on My Sister, The Serial Killer and All This Could Be Yours.

    14. Kiwi with laser beams*

      I got a bunch of the Ramona books out of the library before they closed all the libraries and I’ve finally started reading them. So much nostalgia.

    15. Marion Ravenwood*

      This Is Going To Hurt, by Adam Kay. He’s a comedian and TV writer now, but this is a diary (though I suspect possibly embellished in some parts) of his time working in the NHS as a junior doctor. Maybe not the best choice right now, but I’m actually really enjoying it – it’s funny and poignant in equal measures, and I can see why everyone I know who’s read it loved it.

      I’m also now about a third of the way through War and Peace with the Tolstoy Together project on A Public Space.

    16. Art3mis*

      Tricks for Free by Seanan McGuire – seventh book in the InCryptid series, it’s about a family of cryptozoologists, people who study and help cryptids which are creatures like Bigfoot, Chupacabra, etc.

    17. allathian*

      Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. AMC is comfort literature for me, and this one is set during an influenza pandemic.

  27. This is stupid.*

    Does anyone remember a few weeks ago, the kid who went to on South Padre Island Texas for Spring Break and whose father refused to let him back in the family house when he returned? His Dad told him to get his car and leave, and made his friends pee in the bushes?

    Why can’t all parents be this hardcore?
    No, instead my husband and I are fretting about useless siblings needlessly going about in public and then showing up at Mum’s house.

    My Mother In Law has been fighting leukaemia for years. My husband’s brother, who knows this, has been ignoring stay at home orders and has continued to ride the bus all over town and do as he pleases. Fine whatever. He is a grown man, and is free to make his own choices regarding risk of illness and arrest.

    But we found out that he then has been coming by Mum’s house for no good reason. She, of course, has been letting him visit.

    We also found out kid brother, who still lives at home with her, has been in and out partying at friends’ houses. He is an adult too, but never lived away from home.

    Throw in another brother who flew into town on business, and just HAD to drop by.

    Mum knows they’re in a hot zone, and we’ve told her if they keep it up, this may be the end for her.

    We live out of state and there is nothing to be done I guess. But it’s been hard to accept that she’s likely to be infected and killed for no good reason. Doing our best to remind ourselves that if she never put her foot down before, she isn’t going to now.

    Damnit.

    1. nep*

      This is so tough. It’s awful feeling powerless in the face of something so reckless and potentially dangerous.
      I don’t understand some people–I really don’t.
      All the best. Hope your mom stays healthy.

      1. valentine*

        Their bodies, their rules. Let them live/die with their choices. If possible, take steps now to reduce the burden on yourself. A BIL who kills his own mom seems like he’d stick you with handling everything.

        1. nep*

          I’ve got a niece who plans to travel to a cottage (about six-hour drive away) with her husband and six-year-old. I struggle with ‘their bodies, their rules’ on the one hand, and someone’s got to be the adult in the room and save this six-year-old from irresponsible (generally flaky) parents on the other hand. Ugh.

          1. Jaid*

            The folks in the community she’s going to may give her hard time. I remember reading how one community knocked down a tree to keep people out…

            1. WellRed*

              That was here in Maine. We can be a bit…provincial in even the best of times. Where do they plan to have the six year old use the bathroom on that long drive? I also doubt they’ll be welcome wherever they are going.

          2. Jedi Squirrel*

            My state recently extended the Stay at Home order and made this kind of travel illegal.

            1. nep*

              Yes. Same. Fortunately they didn’t go, and the new restrictions (no travel from residence to a cottage or vacation rental) went into effect today. Can’t fathom why they’d even think about it. Head explodes.

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

            Is it a shelter in place or social distancing state? Do you have a number to call for guidance?

        2. WellRed*

          I agree with all this. Have the talk with her about making sure her affairs are in order. Remind her if she gets sick with C19 she will die alone. Make sure younger BIL knows you want be supporting him in any way.

          1. New Normal*

            That’s how my MIL had to deal with her mother. All the pleading and facts wouldn’t deter that 85yo woman from going everywhere she had before and seeing all her friends in person so finally MIL just moved to factually asking her mother where the will was, how she wanted her kids to divide the estate, etc.

        3. Epsilon Delta*

          In theory, yes, “their bodies, their rules.” But let’s not forget the other non-consenting bodies they’ll take down with them, like grocery workers and healthcare workers. Although I agree that there isn’t much you can do to make a grown-a** adult comply with public health guidance if they won’t do it willingly.

          My in-laws are also refusing to social distance, and they are also all high-risk. If we all make it through this, I am going to have a hard time not social distancing from them for the rest of my life.

          1. nep*

            +1
            Bloody hell I just don’t get this ‘refusing to distance.’ Virus is spreading like wildfire and people are dropping like flies. It’s not just the individual who’s affected–how tough is that for people to comprehend? Or they just ignore or don’t ‘believe’?
            I feel as if I’m playing Russian roulette each time I venture to the supermarket, with mask and keeping well over six feet away from people.

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      My grandmother isn’t cautious, she says she’s ready to die. My mom isn’t cautious, because this is overblown and just a leftist conspiracy. My little sister went to SP. Island on spring break (right when it came out NOT TO) because it’s her first college spring break and she wants to experience it. Of course they are all interacting and visiting grandmother. I’m very far away, I’ve said my peace and just let it go… Until the worst happens and then I *might* lose it and go off on all of them.

      I just hear Samuel L. Jackson reading, People, just stay the f*ck home.

      1. blackcat*

        “My grandmother isn’t cautious, she says she’s ready to die.”

        This is my grandmother, too (in her mid-90s, a widow for 5 years, I get it). So far, she listens when we say “You may not care if you die, but other people in your retirement community do! And we won’t help kill them!”

        1. Not So NewReader*

          “Yeah, okay. But there are others around you who are not ‘ready to go’ yet.”

          I do understand the mindset. I have seen it in a few relatives now. And who am I to say they have to live, except for my own selfishness. I want them here. However, it’s a whole different horse when we start realizing that others can be infected also. We don’t get to decide life/death matters on behalf of others.

          1. Tau*

            Yeah, this is where I get stuck too. Even if you may be ready to die… if you get COVID, you could infect someone else. You could end up in hospital, contributing to the overload on the system, adding to the stress the medical professionals are under, potentially infecting one of *them*, or potentially taking a bed or a ventilator away from someone who *isn’t* ready to die. At that point, your personal opinion on the matter is no longer what weighs heaviest – you have a duty to your surroundings and community to do your level best not to get infected.

            1. Salymander*

              It isn’t like all those not ready to die folks will just crawl away into the wilderness to die alone if they start having symptoms. No, they will infect others before symptoms appear, infect others while seeking help for their illness, and add to the overload on the healthcare system. That “I’m ready to die” stuff typically translates to “I want to do whatever I want, and damn the consequences (to everyone else).” At least that is how it seems with the noncompliant folks in my sphere. MIL claims that it is safe for her friend group to get together for cards and drinks, because they are all clean people who shower regularly. And she thinks the prevention is worse than the disease.
              I just can’t even.

      2. RagingADHD*

        If grandma is “ready to die,” get her the paperwork for aan advance directive and a DNR so they don’t deprive someone else of a ventilator trying to save her.

    3. LGC*

      I’ll talk about running…and it’s going to be a jumble of ideas.

      First, I didn’t realize this…but 40 years ago tomorrow was when Terry Fox started his run across Canada. I’d had a bit of passing familiarity with his story, but I read an article on PodiumRunner about him that gave a pretty good overview. (I’ll link that in a subsequent comment.)

      Second…there was a model that was going around the Internet this week about how the six-foot rule needs to be extended when running or cycling with others to 15 feet or even more. (For cycling, it suggested up to 65 feet.) Intuitively (having been farted on in group runs because we’re all filthy animals), this feels true…but the proof is pretty speculative right now. It did help me feel a bit more smug about doing all my runs solo for the past month, though!

      Finally – if y’all want to bail out now because this talks about COVID-19, now’s your chance – I’ve personally been thinking about the races I’ve been looking forward to this fall, and I’m just not sure…even if things get under control and they do go off, is it responsible of me to do them? (Right now, I have Boston, Chicago, and New York lined up as marathons this year.) I know that the race directors will probably have everyone’s best interests in mind – the BAA and NYRR have already been fairly proactive in adjusting, so unless things get better really quickly I don’t think this is going to be a problem – and if God forbid I feel sick I won’t go. But for anyone else who has rescheduled races coming up, do you feel a bit selfish for still wanting to do them?

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          too late! Several epidemiologists are saying that article is overwrought and premature, but the races are a bad idea, you can’t get even the standard 6′, and this is not going to be over, like, really over, until we get a vaccine.

          *IF* we get an effective therapy for the worst cases, then we might be able to relax somewhat before the vaccine, but we should plan to avoid large group events (races, sports, concerts) until either there’s a vaccine or 70% of humanity’s had it.

      1. A bit of a saga*

        The study was done by Dutch and Belgian researchers (so where I live) and I’m mainly afraid it’ll influence our ability to do sports. I’m overall really conscientious, avoid contact, run alone, try to pick less busy times etc. but if they limit our ability to go out and run on the basis of that study it’ll be such a blow to me. In terms of cancelled races: If they’re on I’ll assume that’s because they are fine to run. But at the moment I really don’t see any end to this situation. The next race I’m running that hasn’t already been cancelled is the Copenhagen Half in mid-September. Denmark has already cancelled all bigger gatherings until end-August so hopefully that one will stand. In the meantime, I’m running a few virtual races. I did one last week where I beat both my 5 and 10 km PRs, I’m signed up to do an online German Easter race on Monday and I also just signed up to the Whistler Half-marathon – it’s unlikely I’ll ever actually make it to Whistler so I think it’s fun to join it as a virtual race. And it gives me something to focus on and train for. Does anybody know other physical-gone-online races I could join? I quite like the idea of ‘around the world in virtual races’

    4. Not So NewReader*

      One morning I got up and decided this is it. I am not going into people’s houses for the duration of this event. I got pooh-poohed for a short bit. Then people started thinking it through and realizing, yeah we need to do this.

      But to each person I have said, “If I go into your house and you get sick, let’s say just a common cold, your family will STILL blame ME because I was in your house. Worse yet, I will go through the rest of my days blaming myself if you have difficulties. I don’t even want to start down this road.”

      I do think that with this virus we are seeing the stark differences in each other regarding How to Approach Life. The risky behaviors that we could ignore before cannot be ignored now. Probably if you think back there have been other times when these people played a little fast and loose at life. For Reasons, you were able to ignore it or work around it. Now the rubber is meeting the road.

      I think the core issue is you still love your MIL in spite of her self-defeating habits. This gets mind-bending. We can still keep loving people even though they make very poor choices. I like to think of that song, “And in the end only kindness matters.”
      Sometimes situations just boil down to being kind. To be clear, I am talking about being kind to your MIL. The others, I won’t even mention. Your MIL is the key person here. Sometimes we have to let our love override our immediate concerns.

      My friend had called hospice in for her husband before Covid went rampant. She says that what she is doing is treating every conversation like it is the last conversation. This is challenging because his difficulties provoke him to say and do things he would not do under normal conditions. For her life has boiled down to just remaining kind to him, no matter what happens. She has decided her role is to be the soft place for him to land. And she is doing that role to her fullest ability every day. Sometimes this is what love looks like. Yeah. It’s very hard, probably one the hardest things we will face in life.

      1. Alexandra Lynch*

        This is one of the two reasons our moving process is on hold.
        1: We don’t have it, and haven’t (to our knowledge) and one of my triad has damaged lungs. She’s getting over her spring attack of bronchitis now. I don’t want her to get a garden-variety cold, let alone COVID.
        2: When you show your house, you have to leave. Where the heck can we go for an hour or two, with everything shut down, and none of the three of us good to walk around a park or the neighborhood all that time?
        So we’re waiting until we have somewhere to go. Then we’ll start showing the house.

    5. Blue Eagle*

      This makes me really mad. For the past 28 days I have been staying at home and not going anywhere except the grocery store once a week and it burns me to read about people visiting other people while I am trying to do the right thing by staying in my own home but bored to tears. What an outstanding idea, though, that whenever you hear about someone allowing others to visit or doing the visiting themselves to ask them about their will and how they want their assets divided. Genius! And maybe it might even make them think twice.

      1. Venus*

        I think we should also provide them with the paperwork for DNR (Do not resuscitate) as they are free to do what they wish, but they shouldn’t be an unnecessary burden on the health-care system. Maybe that will also push them into being more thoughtful of others.

      2. This is stupid.*

        Yeah I personally got fed up during a conversation with Mum IL.

        Since she’s not willing to put her foot down and tell Younger Brother to stay home, Older Brother to stop coming over, and Out of Town Brother to stay at the hotel his business reserved for him, I asked her, “You ready to Die?
        Because that’s what’s going to happen!”

        She just laughed. Sounded as if she’d have liked to slap me, but she laughed nonetheless.

        I am upset to think of the efforts of her oncologists and cancer support team have made to preserve her life. These people have made it their personal mission to ensure she has lived long enough to see Grandchildren, but now that she has to avoid seeing them in person, none of it seems to matter.

        For what it is worth, Mum is not an evil lady. She is someone who would give last meal to someone in need. All are welcomed in her home (currently the problem obviously.) She is not running about willy-nilly herself, and would never deliberately hurt anyone.

        Sadly, she has likely been depressed since my Father – in – Law died. She will never admit it, nor seek help of course.

        Obviously it’s been suggested my husband and sensible Sister – in – Law speak sense to the Terrible Trio, and we all have. At this point those Brothers just avoid the calls. When they did answer, our pleas were met with:

        “I’m not going to kill Mum! I love Mum! I just don’t want to have to stay home with her all day!”

        “I’m a clean person and I take precautions!” (From the man who dabs a bit hand sanitizer after snaking a toilet.)

        “Why are you making Mum worry for no reason? If travel were that dangerous, do you think I would have flown here?” (Said the man who changed his return date avoid quarantine.)

        For his own sake, my husband has been excusing himself from the phone whenever Mum brings up the topic of these Brothers. I refuse to blame him.

        My sincerest sympathies for everyone else dealing with similar Bull, I know we are not the only ones.

        Come what may, I am praying for us all.

    6. Abby Gail*

      I posted about this below, but I am in the same boat as you. My parents had my sisters, brother and their spouses and kids over for Passover Seder. We live in New York. I am no/low contact with my family since I ‘left the faith’ but I found about the gathering during one of the occasional calls I get about coming back. Not only that, but my sisters and brother have also been visiting our grandparents and my parents have had visits from their siblings and our grandparents. They aren’t taking this situation seriously at all and it is business as usual for them. I live alone and I haven’t left my place in 3 weeks and besides one grocery delivery. My mother claims my father is the one making the choice and she is just going along with it but in my mind that is a cop out. They are all adults but my siblings and cousins all have children who have no say in this. It makes me so mad. I haven’t even opened my door. I am just waiting to hear that there’s been an outbreak of COVID-19 in my family the way they are going.

      1. This is stupid.*

        I am so sorry Abby Gail.
        It sucks to feel this powerless.

        Best wishes to you, I hope you ride out this nonsense safely.

  28. Katrianah (UK)*

    Anyone else’s nails just… shredded at this point? I was a chronic nail biter as a child, so I was proud that I managed to start growing them out and taking care of them – they’re thin and weak due to medical issues, so I gel polish them for extra strength – and now they’re just… wrecked. Not just from handwashing/sanitising, but also my picking habits are coming back as a stress reaction.

    Its such a small, vain thing in the scheme of things but its really bothering me.

    1. CoffeeforLife*

      I have terribly fragile nails that shatter. I learned how to gel them myself. Everything is available on Amazon and is the equivalent of 2-3 mani at the salon. Maybe just try painting them with regular polish as a reminder not to pick/bite.

      1. Katrianah (UK)*

        Oh I have gel polish! I did them this morning, its what inspired the post, I was just gutted at the state of them. They are currently Wedding Pearl.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Nails need to breathe.
      You can look at nutrition and food if you feel inclined. Nails like calcium and vitamin D in some instances. Personally, I think extra vitamin D is also helping me with stress.
      Since I seem to have the extra time (sigh) I have been making sure I eat a decent size salad everyday. I have been doing this for two weeks and I think (?) my nails look a little better?
      Nails and hair can telegraph when a body is not getting the right about of nourishment. Homemade soups are a good way to capture some nutrients and the soup can actually be enjoyable, too.

      1. Katrianah (UK)*

        Yeah, being stuck indoors has tanked my vit-d again (apartment living so no garden or open spaces), and I’m trying to keep us on track food wise but we’re both disabled, so its haaaaard.

        Oof I’m whiny today, sorry.

        1. New Normal*

          If there’s ever a time to be whiny, this is it! I’m bad about getting outdoors so my vitamin d comes in pill form. And my diet’s only improved because, well, it couldn’t get much worse! Just saying so you don’t have this impression that I’m taking long, sunny walks along deserted cliffs and coming home to a plate of locally-sourced vegetables beautifully prepared or such.

          On YouTube, Simply Nailogical has a good guide to growing nails and something about her whole approach to life works for me so see if she clicks with you. And see if you can make your nails fun. And if you can’t … no worries! They’re just nails and if anyone gets judgy then that’s their problem!

        2. New Normal*

          Also, it’s totally ok and normal to spool about one “silly” (aka not life-and-death) thing right now. I’m spooling because I just found out our girl cat is actually a boy. It doesn’t actually matter but right now it’s rather helpful to have something small and immediate to focus on.

    3. TimeCat*

      I have found wverybstress reaction I have is coming out. I’ve had the worst acne breakout since this started.

      Gel is terrible for nails though. Try a thin clear hardener coating. I had some trouble with my toenails breaking after I had been sick in college and it really helped.

      1. Katrianah (UK)*

        Huh, weirdly I found gel helped them get longer where strengthner and regular polish didn’t. But I’ll definitely give the strengthener another go when I need to redo. Thank you.

        1. TimeCat*

          Yeah I just googled it and a dermatologist group specifically notes gel manicures can cause brittle or thin nails. They aren’t sure if it’s the polish or the extra steps you need to remove them.

    4. New Normal*

      Weirdly my nails are the best they’ve been in years which I did not expect since I’m a picker as well. I don’t know if this helps you but for me the reasons seemed to be:
      1. better diet/actually taking my vitamins
      2. Finding a nail art YouTube channel I liked
      3. Make painting my nails and trying new techniques to various degrees of failure my new nervous habit.

      For the last one you just need a dedicated nail area, a handful of fun colors, base and topcoats, a glass nail file, and good remover and cotton balls/toilet paper.

      Normally I have to have conservative nails for work but I’m furloughed so time for the fun colors! And who cares if my attempt at gradient nails looks like a toddler did it? It’s not like anyone but me (and DH, and the cat and I’m not sure which cares less) will know!

      1. Katrianah (UK)*

        Yeah, I did hit a slump where I wasn’t maintaining them, so that probably didn’t help. Enjoy your nail creativity!

        1. A New Normal*

          Thank you, it’s a small silver lining of being furloughed and I’m trying to enjoy the heck out of it.

          My feeling is as long as dressing up your nails makes you happy, go for it! Fortunately they do grow pretty fast – mine aren’t speed demons by any measure but they went from nubs to long enough for me to shape a bit in these last four weeks.

          And if you don’t find keeping your nails up is fun then no worries! It’s not like any of us are looking too professional right now!

      2. Avasarala*

        Glass nail files are a game changer. I hate the sound and feeling of regular nail files, but the glass ones are perfect.

    5. retirement is all it's cracked up to be*

      Okay, this is purely anecdotal, but I started taking glucosamine for my arthritis. It helps with that, but I started noticing that I have to clip my nails twice as often as before. And they’re shinier and healthier. It’s like two benefits from one pill.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        A lot of things that are good for joints are also good for hair and nails – they’re all different types of connective tissue, if I recall correctly from many moons ago anatomy class :)

    6. Maria*

      I’m also a nail biter (for me it gets bad when my anxiety flairs up). My sister-in-law is a nail tech and she recommended a cream called “Gena Healthy Hoof”. It has made my nails so much stronger and healthier. I get it on Amazon for £13-£19 (plus shipping) and one tub lasts forever.

      I’m sorry it is bothering you and I hope you are doing well and keeping safe.

    7. Not A Girl Boss*

      I started the long, long journey to fix my health years ago, and finally found the diet combination that worked for me 2 years ago. About a year ago I noticed my nails weren’t shattering anymore. Now, I constantly have to cut them because they grow so fast. I can’t help the goofy smile that comes across my face every time I catch myself thinking “omg they already need to be cut again??”
      It’s such a small thing but it feels like such a win for my vanity and my health.

      The one piece of advise I can give is to give Cronometer a try for food tracking. It tracks micronutrient (vitamin/mineral) intake as well as macros, and I was genuinely surprised by some of the things I was chronically low in. That alone didn’t fix all my health issues, but it was a piece of the puzzle.

      1. WS*

        +1, I have recently been diagnosed with Crohn’s and that explained why all my mineral levels (iron, zinc, magnesium) were so low as to fall into the “error” range. My nails are not great yet, but they’re no longer splitting and shredding.

        1. Not A Girl Boss*

          Oh man, the worst. My mom went through the same vitamin deficiencies due to gut issues. She had some good luck getting IVs of vitamins until her gut was healed enough to absorb them again.

    8. Dancing Otter*

      You have to be ruthless about trimming off the damage immediately, before the splitting or peeling goes further. Plus, at least for me, it’s just an invitation to pick at the damage and make everything worse.
      The other thing I can recommend is OPI Nail Envy. It’s the only product that has ever actually helped my nails. I got it on Amazon most recently, but they carry it at Ulta and Target.
      My mother swore by white (denatured) iodine for nail-biting. The denatured kind doesn’t stain, but it tastes just as bad as you think it will and then some. Doesn’t stop picking, though.

    9. MissDisplaced*

      My nails are ok, but man, my hands are like sandpaper from all the sanitizing and extra cleaning.

      1. allathian*

        Mine are the same. The only thing that seems to help is moisturizing every time I wash my hands, in addition to using a moisturizing hand soap. O’Keeffe’s Working Hands seems to do the job, and it’s not only unscented, but pretty scentless.

  29. IrishEm*

    If you managed to win the lottery of your choice (and coronavirus was not a Thing to account for), what a) amount would you like to win and b) would you do with the winnings?

    For me, I’d like to win about €5mil and move to Italy or Switzerland and just live my best life in a climate that doesn’t physically hurt me.

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I’d like £400,000 so I could sell the house I’m in now, move to The House I Really Want and do it up (it’s on the market right now but I can’t afford it and it basically needs everything doing to it), give up work and self-publish, while still studying, and set up my own therapy practice :)

    2. Sir Freelancelot*

      5 millions dollars. I would give 1 each to my parents and siblings, and keep one for me. I would still continue to work because I love my job, but I wouldn’t fear for the economic part of the future anymore. I would buy a house comfortable enough for 2-3 people, and every once in a while splurge on a holiday somewhere. But I think the real luxury I would afford would be to hire a helper to clean the house!!!

    3. nep*

      US$5 million would be great, but I’d take 10 too. Put aside a bunch for nieces and nephews and grandniece. Get all my much-needed dental work done. Buy a house. (That would be the most important thing on the list.) Buy a car. Give to organisations / causes I care about.

    4. Kate Daniels*

      $10 million USD. I’d pay off my student loans and buy a condo in my city here in the United States and one overseas in Europe (London, Paris, or Germany). I’d give a million each to my parents and brother. And then with the rest, I’d give the money as a surprise gift to my friends and co-workers and workers in my apartment building and others who are in need. (My grad school friends and I actually made a pact that if any of us were to win the jackpot, we’d pay off each other’s loans!)

      I don’t know why billionaires and wealthy celebrities don’t do this more often because it feels so good when you’re able to surprise someone out of the blue. I love how Taylor Swift has been sending $3K to many of her fans these last couple weeks who are struggling right now. How amazing would that be to be able to spot and help so many people like that?

    5. Julia*

      As much as I need to buy a house big enough for all my friends to live in if they ever need a place to go, a pool (swimming is the only exercise I don’t hate, but public pools have not been kind to me), and a big meadow for the tortoises I will finally get to have, plus enough money to have financial security if I ever end up unemployed or want to quit a job I hate, and so that my husband can get his PhD without working on the side, and for me to take singing and dancing lessons and try to make it on Broadway for one year.

    6. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      Don’t know the specific amount but I’d like to pay off my house and student loans, maybe buy a car (the most green and economical one possible) and get the interior of my house totally renovated. I’d like to hire permanent home help for my grandma and get all of the issues with her house fixed. Pay for education for all my nephews and cousins, especially specialists for my cousin’s kid who is definitely not getting what he needs. Fund serious work on reducing homelessness and unemployment for people who would rather be working. Fund research into floo powder so I can go visit my parents without the tiresome sitting on a plane.

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      I think I would like enough money that I don’t have to worry about it again i.e. enough to buy a moderate sized house in the countryside with a bit of land, a functioning car, enough for bills and the occasional treat, but not so much money that it’ll change me and make me forget my roots. For me though, it would have to be a house that I spend the money on. Something that I can call my own and not worry about a roof over my head, somewhere my parents can come and live with me as well if they need it when they’re older. Also, I’d give some money to my older brother to help finance his dreams and the same amount to my younger as well to help him out.

    8. The Witch of the Wilds*

      Around 5M USD would be fab. I could become a career student at a decent university, get a nice apartment, adopt several more cats, throw money at some health problems, and maybe even travel a bit.

    9. ECHM*

      Our small community had a Powerball winner who got $340 million or something. (She then moved away.) One night I stayed awake thinking about what we would do if we had won it. My husband and I wouldn’t need much of it, enough to pay off our mortgage/make a few trips/have some nice dinners with friends/tuck some in savings, but I thought of how much we could do in our community … repairing an eyesore building in the park, fixing roads, helping schools, feeding the hungry, etc. … plus we could bless our friends and family with some generous gifts.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I’d get my own setting squared away first. Since I want to continue living here, this would be a fairly modest amount of money.
      I have always wanted a “kitty” of money to respond to stories I see in the news. If I saw someone lost their house in a fire, I could just write out a check and send it to them. Or if someone lost a child, I could just call the funeral home and pay the bill. It’d be pretty random the way I would handle it.

      I think I’d have a good running start on this because I like where I live and I have no desire to leave here. This gives me a foundation to build on. It’s uplifting to think about stuff like this.

    11. Sibling-less?*

      I would like $500k.

      What I’d do: finally be able to afford and have 3 kids (being an only child with a stillborn brother was very lonely). Also, we’d afford the best of the best healthcare just in case (chronic conditions run in the fam). And travel 3x/year out of the country or to beaches, and afford all of the best schools and daycares (language immersion, excellent on-staff nurse). And perhaps a cat friend for our cat too….

    12. Perpal*

      It’s fun to think of having stupid amounts of money, what I’d do probably comes down to 1) splurge on some nice but totally not vital house rennovations (add a greenhouse/solarium, lots of landscaping, finish off part of the basement) then 2) spend the rest on my own and institutional cancer research (I’d keep working for sure)

    13. Jules the 3rd*

      $1M: I pay off all my debt including mortgage and take a lower paying job in the public sector.
      $2M – $5M: Above plus start giving some away to fam, friends, UNCF, Habitat for Humanity, and Doctors without Borders.
      >$5M: Pay Gates Foundation $$ to work for them and learn what they do, then create my own foundation. Or just retire, it wouldn’t be terribly early.

      I definitely had a dream about that $1B payout a few years ago, and using it to create a manufacturing co-op in a rural area in my state. Some form of specialty clothes or costuming, hire anyone who comes in the door and train them.

    14. Jaid*

      100Million sounds good, ‘cos I have to take into account taxes and that I’ll be splitting it with my bestie. I want a three bedroom condo with a terrace in the city and to get a similar condo for my parents. I’ll make sure that any debts my brother and his wife have are paid off. I’m not close at all to my aunt and cousins, but I’d settle money on them.
      Traveling would be nice.

    15. Nicki Name*

      I wouldn’t know what to do with more than about $10 million other than donate it to the Gates Foundation.

      Things I would do with up to $10 million: stash a million or so for late in life, pay off the mortgage, fix up the house, travel a bunch once we have a C19 vaccine, spend a couple years writing books and getting a music degree, then go back to my original career if the book-writing looks like it’s going nowhere.

      1. Nicki Name*

        (Figuring that taxes will take about half of it, so probably not enough to flat-out retire on at my age.)

    16. Chaordic One*

      I think I’d like to have a house with a fenced yard so I could have a dog. I could have a dog now, but I’m a bit lazy and all the having to take one in and out would get to me. I’d like to just open the door and let the dog run outside to do their business and play without having to be there. I’d also like to buy a piano.

    17. Buni*

      There was (may still be, I don’t play) a lottery deal here that was ‘£40k a Year for Life’ ($50k). That’s the one I’d want – not one huge lump sum, but a guaranteed steady income.

      You could still get property – if you did need a mortgage that’s fine, you’d be able to pay it – could have reasonable holidays (or move abroad), a reasonable standard of life, and even if you were the type of person to go mad you’d never be able to blow it all in one go, which is what a lot of lottery winners seem to do.

      1. JobHunter*

        There is a Lucky for Life in the US that pays $1000 a day for life. Aside from the normal mortgage/student loans/etc., I would donate to underfunded nonprofits. There are a number of shelters that could use the help. My pets and I are fortunate enough to have a home and adequate food, everyone else should, too.

    18. Alex*

      I’d want The Big One. As much as possible. I want an unfathomable amount, and I would spend the rest of my life working hard to give it away. I realize that would be a hard and busy life, but I’m up for it.

      My top priority would be assisting refugees.

    19. purple otter*

      This is a kinda fun thought experiment! I’ve thought about it every now and then, when there’s a massive lottery jackpot amount and it shows up on the news (like that record powerball jackpot a few years ago).

      If I won $5mil USD, I could pay off my house, my car, and student loans and then live comfortably on my day job income. Maybe spend up to $50k on a nice family vacation (think business class plane seats, luxury hotel, etc) to treat my parents, that sort of thing. Put the majority of whatever is leftover in investments/retirement. Donate amounts to local nonprofits. (I mean, I currently donate on average $25-$100/nonprofit that I’m interested in, but they’re always asking for thousands of dollars… Would be nice to be able to afford to that.) Maybe help pay off some of my sister’s medical school loans. Maybe go part-time on my day job and live off investment income?

      I think $1mil USD would be enough to pay off my house, my car, my student loans, and then maybe a month’s vacation to Australia & New Zealand once. Then I would just live off my regular day job income, which isn’t six figures, but good enough to live comfortably on.

      If I had $10mil or more, once I finished paying off my house, car, and student loans, I’d think about investing a good chunk of it to get interest income to live off of and go traveling around the world. Contemplate buying another house and being able to pay it off all at once, and rent out my current townhouse.

    20. T. Boone Pickens*

      Minimum of $100mm USD. That’s enough for multi-generational wealth, being able to give generously to charities and purchase anything I could fathom. I’d want ‘eff you’ money.

    21. Dog Fosterer*

      I would have rescuers trap every outdoor cat they could find, and pay to get them spay/neutered. Technically I shouldn’t do this if an animal is owned, but I’m also not likely to win the lottery so this is all a dream.

    22. C Average*

      I would keep my current house, partner, etc.

      I would pay off my sister’s and my best friend’s student loans.

      I would put a sensible amount in savings for retirement and future fun.

      I would cash out the rest in $100 bills and I would stick them in pockets and purses at thrift stores for people to find. I’d be a kind of reverse pickpocket.

    23. Most things may never happen*

      It’s a fun fantasy. Sadly, I’ve read that a significant number – like 70% – of people who win (or are awarded) a large cash windfall lose it all within a year or two. It’s also reportedly tough on a marriage: “like a bomb” was how one marriage counselor described it.

      There’s a book titled The Millionaire Next Door which (of course :) I read when I made my first million, and in my experience, it gets a lot of stuff right. Contrary to popular opinion, wealthy people don’t make like Rodney Dangerfield in Caddyshack and throw money around like confetti.

      If my net worth was $50M or $100M, maybe it would be different. But I haven’t changed my standard of living at all: I just bought a new car to replace my 20yo BMW: It’s a Honda Accord Hybrid. I *could* have bought an Aston Martin – but why?

      Having several million dollars stashed away provides a certain amount of security and freedom. Oh, and – very important – lack of stress. For instance, my wife still has a job because she gets a lot of personal fulfillment from it. But if the job ever became a major, unhealthy source of stress for her – she’s outta there.

    24. ShortT*

      I’d buy a home in the Greek village where my dad was born, an apartment in Jerusalem, and a three-bedroom condo here in Boston.

    25. Black Horse Dancing*

      I’d love any amount over 1 million but really would love one of the huge jackpots. Like 750 million or so. Half to taxes, the rest for travel, taking care of friend and family, and helping animal rescues and wildlife charities like Bat Conservation, The Wildcat Sanctuary, wolf sanctuaries, and so much more.

    26. Wishing You Well*

      Y’know, whatever amount I actually win/get is one fourth of the jackpot. Choosing the cash option (and I would because I don’t want a 30-year payout) cuts the amount in half. Taxes then take about half of THAT. YMMV. So to pocket $1M, I need to win $4M.
      A lot of it would go to charity. I would give a lot to domestic violence shelters because they’re so underfunded. What I would do for myself is buy experiences. I’d like to spend a weekend in a huge beautiful mansion and I’d like a day cruise on a huge private yacht. I’d like a ride in a rare car. I’d like to be backstage at a big event.
      The trick is to win enough to buy peace of mind but not so much that it actually does the opposite!
      Bonne Chance, everyone!

    27. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      About £2 million perhaps – enough to have an income earning “safety net” to be able to maintain my modest lifestyle (through investments) and enough to start a business to generate wealth for myself and others and work on what I really want to instead of working for an employer.

      It may be uncharitable of me but I’m afraid I wouldn’t want to have more and just give it away to people who have made bad choices in the past and are struggling as a result, and it fails the “would everyone have access to that?” test.

      I currently live “below” my income in terms of neighborhood etc and it is much more diverse and interesting than moving to a place “in line with” my own income with cookie cutter people.

      It helps that I am happily childless and don’t have a large “upstream” family.

  30. Sir Freelancelot*

    Hi everyone! This year, for the very first time, I will spend Easter alone (my family lives in a very hard hit Coronavirus country, and I’m quarantining in another hit almost as bad, so no flying home, no meeting friends to celebrate together, nothing!). I decided to still celebrate because as a Catholic I especially feel this day. So, I’m ready to prepare a fancy lunch for one, and we decided with my friends to eat together via Skype! Then I will have a toast with my family. I was wondering: how are you going to spend Easter, or Sunday if you don’t celebrate it?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      I’m not religious not do I celebrate Easter, but I was raised Catholic and for some reason this year I’ve really wanted to be at the mass (which of course I can’t), so I’ll watch it from the Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral on YouTube later in the afternoon, or live stream it if I am able to.

        1. Sir Freelancelot*

          Oh, I’ll try to watch the Mass form the Vatican and not to burn my meal in the meanwhile! I wish you a lovely day!

      1. Oxford Comma*

        Not religious either, but this year, I think I am going to watch mass. The parish I technically belong to has a YT channel. Making myself a nice meal. Call my family.

        Best I can do.

        1. Princess Deviant*

          I think there is something comforting about the highly ritualistic aspect of it that is appealing to me in this routine-less time.

    2. Traffic_Spiral*

      I live with people, so we’re all dressing up pretty and doing a roast lamb dinner.

    3. Anon woman WITHOUT breast cancer*

      Easter via Zoom with friends in another country, and calls home to family. I hope you have a nice day tomorrow!

    4. Tau*

      I’m currently with my parents – I effectively moved back in in mid-March, when it became clear which direction things were going in – so we’ll have a nice Easter breakfast with eggs and baked lamb-shaped cake later on and Easter decorations as is traditional. It’ll be weird not having my brother and niece here, though, especially because lack of niece means there will be no egg hunt.

      …..I actually spent the last few days making her a virtual one, using my professionally-honed web developer/enthusiastic amateur image editing skills. It came out surprisingly well! So I’ll send her the link to that on Sunday, fingers crossed she enjoys it – but it’s still not exactly the same.

      1. Myrin*

        Osterlämmer, Osterlämmer, Osterlämmer! (I came home from work just a bit ago so I’ll be baking mine more towards the evening hours. Got a new baking mould last year and while the lamb itself has a bit of a weird goofy look on its face – which my sister loves – the tin itself has worked absolutely beautifully. Let’s hope it’ll be the same this year.)

        And also! Don’t let the lack of niece be the reason to not have an egg hunt! I mean, I guess it’s probably too late for you now but my sister and I clandestinely bought stuff last week and will be doing a surprise egg hunt for our mum! We’ve got a list with all the hiding places and everything! (We normally do egg hunts for each other, so my mum will hide stuff from us and we will hide stuff from her and we have to be really careful to not cross paths but this year, mum hasn’t gone out because of the virus and is all morose about the first-ever lack of Easter egg hunt. Little does she know!)

        1. Tau*

          Yes, Osterlamm! :D I’m trying a new recipe this year because I’ve never been too enthused by our old one – it’s decent but not spectacular at the start and turns dry as dust quickly. We did banana bread lamb last year and I decided to try carrot cake lamb this year. (The Easter bunny can eat the Easter lamb! Circle of life!) It’s in the oven right now, fingers crossed that it turned out OK.

          And that is an awesome idea re: your mum! I hope she enjoys it. :) I can’t quite see it working here, sadly – Easter egg hunting has very much been a “youngest generation searches” thing since I can remember, it sort of moved smoothly from me and my brother to my niece nine or ten years ago. I think we just all sunk the energy into the virtual egg hunt instead, I went all out with animations and everything and my mother organised the hosting.

          The thing I’m more considering stepping in on is that my mother has said she doesn’t want to colour eggs this year because she’s not really feeling it. The idea of the Osterlamm without colourful eggs around it makes me sad, so I might just sneakily do that myself later on and surprise them tomorrow morning.

          1. Myrin*

            Fingers crossed regarding the new lamb recipe! Ours isn’t amazingly great either, I have to admit, but I have yet to encounter one which doesn’t turn dry rather quickly, too, and I like the taste enough to stick with it. I usually get one with egg liqueur from my workplace (the inn’s kitchen, not the drugstore) but since they’re closed this year, I’ll need to make all three lambs myself, which pleases my sense of symmetry. (And I make carrot cake at least once a year – my sister’s birthday – but I’ve never thought to put it into the lamb mould. Maybe I’ll try that some time!)

            And, I mean, Ostereiersuchen is something for kids, we just never stopped doing it because we’ve always lived together and neither of us have children and it’s always a pretty big and fun event. We’re making our own traditions, which is something I love, but I do think it would be different if we had actual children in our household.

            And I totally did not comment on the virtual egg hunt in my first reply, I’m sorry! It sounds really awesome, I’m convinced your niece will love it! How exactly does that work, if you don’t mind my asking? Do you have, like, a landscape where you deposit the virtual eggs?

            And good luck regarding the colouring, too. My sister went all out this year and made the most beautiful egg with the most real-looking Blaumeischen (I’m sorry but I refuse to use that English word, you can’t make me!) yesterday – I’d never have the patience for that, and she jokes it’s her (probably) ADHD brain doing all the work. (No new reports on that front, btw, naturally.)

            1. Tau*

              It’s come out fairly well judging by the foot*, although there was a moment of panic where I thought it was underbaked. I think fruit/vegetable cake like banana bread or carrot or zucchini cake do very well at staying moist, which as you rightly point out is the big big problem with Osterlämmer. But I think one of our issues is just that we don’t eat it quickly enough. ;)

              Yeah, my niece was born when my brother and I were still fairly young (early twenties), so I think what happened is that the existing traditions switched to her before we had the chance to really revise them from an adult perspective. Re: the virtual egg hunt – OK, I will babble about this because I’m quite proud of it-

              So I took a picture from our Alps holiday last year where we were all on it looking fairly busy, downloaded some clipart of easter eggs, and Photoshopped them into the image in appropriate locations + coloured and shaded them so they wouldn’t be too obvious. Exported the background image plus each egg in its own image with a transparent background, layered them on top of each other in a HTML page, then added some Javascript which when you click the composite image checks each egg layer to see if you hit a non-transparent part and makes the layer vanish if you do. That’s the core of it, the rest is just prettying it up a little (an animation of the clicked egg “dropping” into a basket, an egg counter, various notes from the easter bunny, etc.) In true web developer fashion, the hardest part actually turned out to be stacking all the egg images, I forgot that the CSS layout system was clearly designed by space aliens and is not meant for human use. But it worked out eventually!

              Those eggs sound amazing, wow! We just do really boring monocolour ones anyway, surely I can manage these… (and yeah, global pandemic is the best time to try for ADHD assessment clearly /o\)

      2. Sir Freelancelot*

        I understand that right now things aren’t as we expected them to be, but I think that the virtual egg hunt is a fantastic idea! And the Easter breakfast menu sounds really tasty! I wish you and your family a lovely Easter!

    5. WellRed*

      Technically Catholic, never religious. I will be celebrating alone, just sort of …peaceful contemplation. I’m not much of a cook but will be looking for something a bit more special to make for tomorrow.

    6. Laura H.*

      Catholic as well and very thankful that there are plenty of parishes streaming masses and such.

      We ordered take and bake casseroles from a local eatery for tonight (Tonight’s will be hot for pickup) and tomorrow (cold to bake tomorrow). Certainty not Easter ham and fixings but still on the special side of things

      1. Sir Freelancelot*

        Yeah, streaming Masses are, pardon the joke, a blessing in moments like these ones! And I think your plan for the email sound really tasty! Have a very happy Easter!

        1. Sir Freelancelot*

          of course, I meant your plan for the MEAL sounds really tasty, but my autocorrector decided otherwise!

    7. Shell*

      Episcopalian here, so I’ll be watching the livestream from the National Cathedral in DC. And I gave up soda for Lent, so I’ll probably drink a couple of Cokes. A blessed Easter to all who celebrate it, and a happy Sunday to those who don’t!

      1. Sir Freelancelot*

        Happy Easter to you as well, enjoy those Cokes! I gave up chocolate for Lent and I’m COUNTING the minutes: tomorrow that cute chocolate bunny on the shelf will found a new home in my stomach!

    8. Parenthetically*

      Dressing up for church (which will be on our couch). Skyping with my husband’s aunt and grandparents. Taking some family photos (ourselves). Having a nice, simple, hearty late lunch.

      1. Sir Freelancelot*

        Ah, yes church-on-the-couch will be my way to go as well! I wish and all your family a very happy Easter! Take some nice shots :-) !

    9. Blue Eagle*

      DH and I just put on the calendar what we are planning to do for tomorrow. First it’s Easter Egg hunt for me sponsored by our webhost. Last year I won the egg worth $25 for credit on this year’s hosting fee. Next it’s Easter Mass from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York (thanks to ABC for carrying this live at 11AM Eastern on the TV so we don’t have to watch it streaming on a midget computer screen. Then it’s a delicious ham dinner carried-out from the restaurant we always go to on Easter Sunday. Then watch the rerun of Phil Mickelson winning his first Master’s (which we are taping today on CBS but will watch tomorrow when the final day of this year’s Master’s was originally scheduled). I’d say it would be an Easter “tradition unlike any other” except that it will be similar to the Easter tradition that we have every year – which is at least one happy thing in the midst of this oddball situation.

    10. Dancing Otter*

      We are having ham (lots of sandwiches in our future) for Easter dinner. Still hesitating between scalloped or baked potatoes, because of the leftovers. (I’ve never tried reheating scalloped potatoes before.) Haven’t chosen the green veggie yet, as we disagree on virtually all of them and I don’t want to start a fight over Brussels sprouts or asparagus.
      I wish I had a lamb cake mold, but I’m usually more of a cake mix and bundt pan baker. Do you have to decorate with fancy icing or just use a glaze? I could do a glaze.
      When my daughter was little, I had oval pans to make an Easter egg layer cake. I frosted it a pastel color, and let her draw designs with tubes of decorating icing.

      1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        Back around Thanksgiving, I bought a big pan of scalloped potatoes from Costco and re-heated them a serving at a time. They re-heated just fine, so I suspect homemade ones would too.

    11. J.B.*

      Our church’s youth group is sending out kids to hide Easter eggs (in return for a food shuttle donation). Otherwise lazing and giving kids more presents than I usually would for Easter. Our church will stream services. It’s nice to have that structure to the week.

    12. LQ*

      I normally host with an aunt for my very large family. (40 or so people.) I have access to space that is accessible so we can get the folks with wheelchairs and other walking issues all in so it’s the one time that side of the family is EVERYONE everyone usually.

      It’s a huge amount of stress and prep and I kind of hate doing it every year. But I also desperately miss it. I miss getting to see my family. I miss the food. I miss brunch. I miss planning and all of it.

      I’m just going to do what I do every day tomorrow. But I think I may at least try to make myself breakfast.

    13. A New Normal*

      My husband’s an Episcopal priest and I’ve become the emergency camera and tech person as someone has to film the services for live broadcast to all our members so I’ll spend tomorrow behind the camera in our empty church and then we’ll both come home and fry up some bacon (we gave up meat for lent) and generally collapse. He’s had to take on altar guild tasks as well as wire our 100-year-old church so we could even get a signal in there, on top of all the normal Holy Week services so he’s probably going to shovel in that bacon and then sleep.

    14. Anne Kaffeekanne*

      We usually have about 10 people at my parents’ house for the entire week around Easter and another 5 guests dropping in for coffee and cake on Easter sunday. This year it’s just me and my parents, which is an adjustment. We’re not religious, and too lazy to colour eggs etc just for us, but we’ll have a nice dinner with some roast beef we’ve been saving for a special occasion and we’re lucky to have a garden so we’ll be enjoying the nice weather. The most lowkey Easter in ages and I miss our chaotic crew, but honestly I’m just glad we’re not all on our own.

    15. RagingADHD*

      My kids are at the age where the Easter Bunny is a game we play, rather than magic they believe in. So I smuggled some candy & non edible treats in my last grocery pickup.

      I’m going to make waffles and we’ll watch the streaming church service.

      At noon, there’s a community plan for everyone to ring bells.

    16. On a pale mouse*

      I will go to work and be annoyed at the people who should be staying home (it’s groceries, people have to eat, but people are shopping too often and bringing too many people with them). I don’t have the energy to cook, so I will probably buy myself a more expensive and larger frozen meal than usual (I’m thinking Marie Callender’s pot pie) to cook while I take my post work shower, and then I’m doing some online gaming with friends I haven’t seen in ages and haven’t played online with since last summer.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      I’m no longer strictly Christian so I won’t be doing anything to speak of. My mum will probably watch Mass on TV. If there was no coronavirus, we’d probably go to my brother’s house for dinner, but that won’t be happening this year.

    18. WoodswomanWrites*

      I don’t celebrate Easter and was oblivious to the holiday–oops–when I scheduled an online gathering for the outdoor-oriented Meetup group I organize. We’re supporting the local nonprofit shuttered theater by downloading a nature documentary they’re showing digitally. About twelve of us are each watching it individually in advance, and then having a Zoom call to discuss it as a group. I did this as an experiment last weekend. It went well and there was so much interest from more people that I’m hosting a second event. I’m thinking I might do this again with some other nature documentaries so we can get together online until we can head out on a hike together again.

    19. Atchafalaya*

      My husband and I will find a service streaming from a local church and worship with them. Very excited to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. I wish all of you a lovely, peaceful day.

    20. Liane*

      Methodist here. We haven’t had church services, other than sermons and some music online, since mid-March. But I believe it doesn’t matter to the Lord that I am worshiping alone, sitting in front of a computer. I am missing singing in choir & playing handbells, and missing my friends there more. So I listened to Andrea Bocelli’s live stream concert, then the end of the live stream of the US Army Field Band. Now I am listening to Huw Priday’s performance of the hymn “Here is Love Vast as the Ocean,” which I sometimes play on tenor recorder solo as an offertory or prelude.

      Our grown kids, who live with us, are both working (grocery store), so I won’t see them until later–but I am so grateful I CAN see them in person when so many cannot do so. We will have a simple Easter dinner–turkey ham (daughter is allergic to pork, beef, etc.), green beans, mashed potatoes, and a carrot cake. I am also going to make some bread in the breadmaker.

    21. Thankful for AAM*

      Its a regular quarantine Sunday for us. A little extra sleep, books, talking to son who is quarantined in a different city, cooking lunch and dinner, walking the dog. Maybe a movie on TV.

    22. Marillenbaum*

      Yesterday, my mom, my sister, and I did our annual comedy-screening of The Ten Commandments (1956 version with Charlton Heston). I’m self-isolating in a hotel, so my mom came over and stayed 10 feet away, and we called my sister (she lives in the UK). It felt SO GOOD to hang out as a family, and we’ve been doing regular screenings of this movie since my sister and I were kids.

    23. Princess Zelda*

      My family isn’t religious and I didn’t even know Easter and Jesus had any connection until high school. Even so, we’ve always celebrated Easter in the Easter Bunny and Chocolate In Baskets secular-y kind of way. Even though I’ve been on my own for a bunch of years, I’ve always had something to do on Easter, even if it was just distributing Reese’s Eggs and rabbit puns at work. This is the first time I’ve ever just been alone, in my apartment, doing nothing. I played a little Animal Crossing and I nibbling on the overpriced chocolate bunny I bought last time I made a grocery run, but mostly I’ve just been watching TV. Hopefully my siblings’ internet is good enough later that I can do a skype call but we’ll see.

  31. Lily*

    Hello everyone!
    Every Thursday National Theatre is showing one of their plays for free on Youtube. It is subbed and available for one week before the next show starts. Last week was “One man, two guvnors”, this week is “Jane Eyre” and next week will be “Treasure Island”.

    I am half way through “Jane Eyre” and it is the first time I’ve really enjoyed that story – the actors are AMAZING!
    And I am so stoked about “Treasure Island” because I’ve loved the story ever since watching “Treasure Planet” as a preteen and because I just recently got a celebrity crush on Arthur Darvill and he is playing John Silver! (I mean, he was my favorite companion on Doctor Who (Rory Williams) but I hadn’t really thought much about him until youtube started recommend videos with him singing and I didn’t know he was such a great singer!! I now prefer his “Falling Slowly” over the original! Sorry, I am just fangirling at this point and I am so excited that I will get to see him playing :D )

    1. Grace*

      If you like Arthur Darvill, try to find footage of the Faust production where he was Mephistopheles. It’s very fun, and he looks good in red.

    2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Ooh I didn’t realise they were subtitled – that makes them accessible to me! Jane Eyre is one of my favourites so I’ll make time.

      I have been enjoying the weekly “Shows Must Go On” on YouTube – JCSS is available until Sunday 6pm UTC.

      1. Lily*

        Yeah, I didn’t notice it at first, either, but it was written at the very bottom in the description box of one of the Jane Eyre previews/trailer. I am so very glad that they have put the effort into subtitles but they should make it clearer. It is a great help for hard of hearing people and non-native English speakers.

        I saw one with the POTO musicians playing “All I Ask Of You”, it sounded great!

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      Thanks so much for telling us about this! I love the National Theatre and this is perfect.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I watched One Man Two Guvners last week, and it was quite funny although I can’t stand James Cordon. We do get the live transmissions at the cinema but they always seem to clash with other plans.

          1. Pennyworth*

            OMTG was my first exposure to James Corden (I saw it when it was first broadcastyears ago), and I thought he was amazing both then and when I re-watched it last week. It was a funny as I remembered and as a bonus I was able to introduce my daughter to it, and she loved it too. Luckily it was easy to blank out the current iteration of James Corden! I go to nearly all the cinema broadcasts, so I have seen all the four plays before. I’m really looking forward to seeing Twelfth Night again, with Tamsin Greig as ‘Malvolia’, she’s a great comic actor. I hope the National Theatre will show some more plays after these four.

    4. DistantAudacity*

      Yes!

      I managed to catch «One man, two guvnors» last week. It was tremendously funny, and James Corden (the lead in that one, and the thing was written for him) is an amazing comic performer.

    5. Lemongrass*

      I was skeptical about ‘One man …’ because I’m just not a fan of James Corden, but reviews for it were so positive and raved about how funny it was (and Heaven knows I need some laughs right now!) so I gave it a go. Very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it! Complete and utter nonsense storyline with everyone taking things completely seriously is one of my favourite styles.

    6. Princess Deviant*

      My mum told me about this yesterday funnily enough, and I have just watched Jane Eyre this evening – it was absolutely fantastic! Highly recommended.

    7. NoLongerYoung*

      Thank you!!! I bought a ticket to see Amadeus streamed recently (Syracuse); my smallish TV didn’t do it justice but it was still amazing.
      I will be adding this to my list… I am so grateful!

  32. MistOrMister*

    What book have you tried to read recentltly and your brain just is not having it? For me it’s Frankenstein. I keep trying, but first it bored me to tears. Then things picked up a bit but I am finding it completely implausible and had to put it down again. Maybe I will finish it before old age hits….maybe not.

    1. Rollergirl09*

      Think about it this way—this book was written by a 20 year old woman in the early 19th century. It’s implausibility is part of what makes it interesting. Read it from the cultural context of the era and not from 2020 knowledge of science.

      1. MistOrMister*

        I have no problem reading old novels. I enjoy Jane Austen, Arthur Conan Doyle, HG Wells, etc. My problem is just the story doesn’t fit for me. The protagonist builds a monster and just leaves him in his room and runs away? And the monster….disappears? Literally no one sees it? Then it goes to the protagonist’s home in a different country and kills his little brother. What the frick??? Maybe this stuff gets addressed better later in the book but to me it is completely absurd.
        I really disliked A Quite Place because things were set up in a way that was, to me, completely unbelievable. Modern or a few hundred years old doesn’t matter, but when illogic bugs me, it bugs me something awful.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Look at it through the lens of Victor Frankenstein as an irresponsible baby daddy and it might be more interesting.

        2. Grace*

          The middle half or so is the creature’s point of view where he explains what happened and how – so yes, it does all get explained later. Up until that point, the creature is very much like a phantom that just drifts in and out of Victor’s life seemingly at random, but after that you can very easily see that there was reasoning and structure to it. At the moment we’re seeing it all from Victor’s point of view, and to be blunt, Victor doesn’t care about very much besides himself, much less how his creation is managing to survive.

          1. MistOrMister*

            That’s helpful to know! Maybe I will be able to slog through it to get to where it all stops being a huge mishmash of god knows what. But I really hate when it’s this much work reading something!!

    2. Sir Freelancelot*

      “Wuthering Heights” for me! I loooooove classics, so I was shocked when I realized I never read this one. I finished it out of sense of duty, and after putting it down uncountable times. It’s just so… a no for me? I find Cathy insufferable and blaming everyone for her own misfortune except herself it’s so annoying, and Heathcliff is her perfect counterpart. The story was so slow, uninteresting (sorry to people who like it, this is my personal opinion). I disliked it as much as I liked “Jane Eyre”.

      1. Myrin*

        Oooooh, I had to read Wuthering Heights for a university course and while I found it interesting in the way I always find literature from that historical period interesting, I had much the same problems with it as you – I found almost everybody highly irritating!

        1. TimeCat*

          Thenthreensisters have some surprising differences between them.

          Tenant of Wildfell hall is basically a treatise on why it’s a bad idea to marry the tempestuous romantic type.

      2. Roy G Biv*

        Lit minor in college, so I read many heavy duty works of literature, back in the day. And some of them were so hard to plow through, even though passing a course was on the line. I had to keep reminding myself, having someone read aloud, while the rest of the family darned socks or knitted, was what passed for entertainment, so having a long, slow moving story was not necessarily a bad thing.
        I agree, cultural context makes a difference.

      3. MistOrMister*

        I also read Wuthering Heights because I felt obliged to do so. I didn’t enjoy it and all I remember is the names Cathy and Heathcliff and there was maybe a love triangle? A hate triangle? I don’t know!

        I only read Jane Eyre once, in high school. I didn’t really enjoy that either, but I guess it made more of an impression because I can at least remember the gist of the story :)

    3. Retail not Retail*

      I’m struggling with non-fiction. I find myself doing the seminar stuff of reading the intro and conclusion and weighing the writing style as worth my time or not.

      I’m giving Silent Spring a try though I feel it’d be easier to read in physical rather than kindle edition (In Cold Blood was also a chore in ebook).

      I did read two great crime books – Under a Ruthless Sun and The Queen. The Queen is about the Linda Taylor, the “welfare queen” and probable double murderer. However. That book killed me because it was kindle, so the citations were blue and obvious. And in the middle of sentences. Before the quotes. Inside the quotes. And they grew as the book did, rather than resetting every chapter. Interesting choice, incredibly distracting.

    4. Jonah*

      For me, it’s Alma Katsu’s The Deep. I struggled with The Hunger (a horror twist on the Donner party), but the concept was good (a horror? twist on the sinking of the Titanic), but it’s just not doing it for me. I can’t keep track of who’s who and what she’s doing with the perspective shifts. I’m going to give it another go because I bought it, but not anytime soon.

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        I liked The Hunger, but couldn’t get into the Deep. What I would really like is a new Werewolf novel, anyone have any suggestions? Those Across the River is excellent

    5. university minion*

      Lord of the Rings. All of it. Books, movies, you name it. I’ve tried and tried to get into them and… nope.

    6. TimeCat*

      I love Frankenstein but I initially read it for a class and I think that makes a big difference.

      1. Rollergirl09*

        Yeah I read it in freshman lit in college. It was the first book we read and the way the professor discussed the text was so much better than anything I’d experienced in high school.

    7. NewReadingGlasses*

      I’ve been trying to read The Sisters Brothers, just can’t get into it. So far all the characters are unpleasant, and I don’t care about their motivation. I’m on page 27, may not make it to page 28.

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      I started reading a Dick Francis novel that I’ve had on my shelf for YEARS. I’ve read many of Francis’s books and he’s a superb writer, so I was surprised at how shockingly ham-handed the writing was. I put down the book after about 50 pages and only then noticed on the cover that this title was co-written by Dick and Felix (his son) Francis. Ohhh. Yeah, in hindsight I could clearly tell which parts of the book Dick worked on and which parts were the son’s. I also googled some reviews and learned that the plot gets even dumber, so I gave up. That one is going in the resale bag.

    9. Lost in the Woods*

      I’m on my third or fourth attempt at War and Peace. Things really start to slog for me when Pierre’s father dies and he starts making lots of bad life choices. I might need to try a different translation.

    10. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      My partner has asked me to read Jordan Peterson’s “12 Rules of Life”; he looks up to JP in some ways without being a “fanboi” and thinks there are a lot of useful information in there that I could apply to my own life.

      I have tried, really I have! Not because I was asked to, but because I feel like I’ve been on a quest of “how to be better” for a while now, and not really found a source of truth, so I thought I might as well try it! But you know how you find some authors easy to understand and just fly along with what they write because it is in ‘your style’ and everything they write seems ‘obvious’ even though you wouldn’t say they are just writing about obvious things, but I mean it just seems self evident when you read it and think “duh, of course! Why didn’t I think of that!” or it just seems natural in some way.

      Well… this book is the opposite of that. Chapter heading – some soundbite of “a rule for life to adhere to”. Then: Anecdote from experience (he’s a practising clinical psychologist), analogy, sidebar about some other author’s writings, tangent about a study that’s vaguely related, return to analogy, ideological diversion, …. then a jump to “and that’s why this rule is applicable to your own life!”

      For those following the Myers-Briggs stuff – partner is a INTJ and I think JP is a ENFJ. Partner normally abhors “bullshit” which I see this as, but he finds some kind of truth in it!

    11. allathian*

      I found it tough going. I don’t know if it’s just the fact that she wrote long rambling sentences with a quill pen, or what… Still, the book is more than 200 years old and a precursor of modern sci-fi and fantasy literature.

  33. MistOrMister*

    This is wonderful!! I cannot imagine the peace of mind you must be experiencing right now. I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on tv, but I assume the lymph nodes being clear must be some of the best news you could have. And the garden starting to grow is fabulous too! I have yet to plant mine, but we are having an unexpected cold snap so I’m glad I’ve been too lazy/distracted. Here’s hoping your radiation goes smoothly!!

    1. MistOrMister*

      Stoopid nesting comment fail! This goes with the poster who got the tumor removed….

  34. Schmitt*

    TMI gastrointestinal

    I have had intermittant bloating and poosplosions for years now. Have not been able to tie it to anything diet related. Colonoscopy results were fine, so that rules out stuff like celiac. My doc is reluctant to do food allergy tests, says they are rarely conclusive and believes that if it were food-related I would have picked up on a pattern before. Have tried probiotics with no change.

    In January I did a month of no alcohol, no wheat (almost no gluten, but did eat spelt-based products a couple times based on doc advice that it might be OK). In January itself I noticed no change. However *February* was completely incident free.

    It seems illogical but does anyone have similar anecdata? Could it take that long for effects to show up?

    1. Princess Deviant*

      My gastro stuff is related to stress for sure.
      The thing that helped me the most with that was therapy and giving up caffeine.
      And yes the effects took a while to come through.
      And becoming vegan – don’t know if the vegan thing is accidental, but I’ve felt better overall since giving up dairy (I was already a vegetarian).

      1. Schmitt*

        I really want it not to be related to stress… but it sure has blown up this week and I sure am stressed. Urgh.

        1. New Normal*

          Stress might not be the main cause but I don’t know anyone who doesn’t get at least a little tummy trouble when stressed.

        2. Smol Book Wizard*

          I used to be thinking I was allergic to milk and probably lots of other stuff until I went on anti-anxiety meds. The first difference I noticed was that suddenly I could be in a stressful situation and not feel sick at the concept of food for days. Of course, everyone’s situation is different, so I would definitely recommend exploring the physical reasons as well! Best wishes.

    2. MistOrMister*

      Oh boy, I feel for you. I also had some weird, unexplained stomach things going on and the normal GI testing wasnt finding anything. Have you done more testing besides just the colonoscopy? An endoscopy for the stomach, x-rays, mri, etc? My colonoscopy and endosocopies were completely clear and it turned out the mri caught a big cyst. Which, after surgery, turned out to have been a big endimetriosis issue that was causing intestinal issues. So I am a big fan of looking for zebras, horses, unicorns, ducks and centipedes when I hear hoofbeats now b/c you just never know!!

      I haven’t done a diet change and had yo wait to see how,it impacts me, but I could how it could take weeks or months before one sees results. If the issues were due to any imbalances in the gut biome, it could conceivably take a while for a changed diet to have an impact and for the biome to repair itself. Hang in there, and I hope you get a diagnosis or at least find a treatment plan that works for you….GI issues are their own special kind of hell, unfortunately. It’s a wonderful feeling though, once they’re under control and the poosplosions go the way of the Dodo.

      1. Schmitt*

        So many endoscopies, bc the first one caught stomach irritation due to pain meds and the start of Barrett’s syndrome. That’s cleared up, but no change to the gut issues.

        The MRI thing is scary – who knows what lurks on our insides just waiting. I get the feeling my doctor thinks it’s not worth getting super worked up about, which I bet would be a different story if HE had the symptoms. *farts in his general direction*

    3. river*

      Yes it can take a while, because even after you have stopped eating the offending foods, your insides need to heal and start functioning normally. Also, your doctor is clueless saying ‘it would be obvious’, it can be very tricky to figure out which foods are the problem. A carefully structured “elimination and challenge” diet is the best method in my experience. It’s tedious but gets the best results, meaning: information.
      Some foods are only a problem if you eat them constantly, but don’t harm now and then. Some are ok cooked but not raw. Some will give you a reaction quickly, some after a day or two. Observe your diet carefully and take notes. See if you notice recurring patterns.

      1. Schmitt*

        I would like to start with eliminating gluten/wheat again… but would rather not do it while in quarantine! Darn it.

        1. Observer*

          Gluten and wheat are not the same.

          From what you say, you didn’t go anywhere near to gluten free – the reality is that gluten shows up in a LOT of products that are not wheat. But wheat itself is a very common allergen. So, you might want to look at that, to start with. It’s also easier to avoid wheat that gluten, so it’s easier to try. If that doesn’t work, you could go full on gluten free. But if you’ve done the testing, it’s not likely to be your problem. (Not impossible, just not likely.)

      2. Tennie*

        Definitely this. I’ve spent years identifying multiple problem foods and additives. Recently id’d sucralose as a culprit and it’s being added to just about everything these days from cough drops to toothpaste to soft drinks to cereal. Also be aware that what triggers someone else might not be one of your triggers — had to explain that to a few medical professionals who kept insisting that I must be lactose intolerant. I’m not.

      3. Jedi Squirrel*

        Also, your doctor is clueless saying ‘it would be obvious’, it can be very tricky to figure out which foods are the problem.

        This. Unless you prepare everything you eat from scratch, it’s really difficult to figure out. When you see all the warning labels on menus and food at the grocery store saying that this was processed in a facility that also processes x, y, and z, and then realize how very little it takes to irritate something in your system (I’m thinking of peanut allergies here), it’s almost impossible to figure this out without being very systematic.

        It may be time for a new doctor/second opinion.

      4. Observer*

        Also, your doctor is clueless saying ‘it would be obvious’, it can be very tricky to figure out which foods are the problem.

        And how! Seriously. How do doctors provide this kind of nonsensical advice to people? How do they get into practice with so little understanding of allergy and food?

    4. pugs for all*

      I agree with the above poster – your doctor doesn’t sounds like he/she is on top of it. It is very difficult to pick up on patterns if you are just going about normal life and eating your regular diet.

      You might want to try the Whole 30. I know it’s a bit of a “fad” but at it’s core, it’s really a 30 day elimination diet, cutting out dairy, gluten, legumes, sugar,etc. And then reintroducing then back in in a systematic way so you can see what affects you.

      Good luck, I have had issues for years with no real diagnosis. But through trial and error I now have a pretty good handle on what/how much/when to eat. I’ve created my own manifesto to refer to when I go off the tracks – which I inevitably do, because things will be going great, so I’ll assume I am “better” and start eating bad foods (for me).

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I’d move to a different doc. Find someone who follows this stuff more closely.
      Yes, it can take a month or longer to see results.
      It’s April now, so if you have continued on you should be seeing changes in your skin, hair and nails which would also help to validate your choices.
      The rule of thumb I have heard is that a food can stay in our systems up to 7 days. I have also been warned about combinations of foods. Some foods do not play well together in our stomachs.

      I have had a couple docs who only had to say one sentence to make me move on. One doc said, “Food has nothing to do with health. Eat whatever you want.” I got out of that office as fast as I could. Keep searching for that doc who has interests in the areas that you want to work with.

    6. fposte*

      Have you tried low FODMAP? That’s usually something that would have been in the mix by now. I agree with others that your doctor might not be as on this as they could be. Is this a PCP or a GI?

      And yes, for me with both Crohn’s and associated problems, responses can be highly delayed, both in the positive and negative reactions. But also it’s pretty common for stuff to bother you sometimes and sometimes not, depending on the robustness of your gut at the time; it’s sometimes less that a person reacts really badly to, say, broccoli than broccoli is the canary in the coalmine when the gut is getting kicked up generally.

      1. Schmitt*

        PCP. I had researched the FODMAP stuff online but what I found was very overwhelming and the page recommended doing it only under a doctor’s advice.

        1. fposte*

          I think it might be time to go to a GI, but in the meantime, you could ask your PCP if they think low FODMAP is worth a try. You shouldn’t do it for very long anyway–it’s not a lifestyle diet. The Monash University app is very helpful; just don’t get sidetracked by all the Australian food we don’t have.

    7. university minion*

      For me, it’s stress/anxiety and booze. I hopped on the wagon 8 months ago and that, along with what I thought were hormonal night sweats, were the two changes I’ve noticed d/t giving up beer. TBH, I was hoping for no changes, because I do really like beer.

      As far as wheat goes, if I have GI issues from it, it’s not because I’m sensitive to it, it’s because I have no self control and eat entirely more pizza/pasta/bread than any person reasonably should in one sitting. And I never learn.

      Caffeine is my last vice, and since I hear the coffee in prison is pretty awful, I’m not giving up my Diet Coke/tea/coffee.

      1. Schmitt*

        We have an indoors pizza oven. If it turns out to be wheat, I will be heartbroken!

        Sounds like maybe another booze break is sensible for me. I was doing Dry January, not specifically for gastro testing, but can’t rule out the effects. Hm.

    8. Bowel Woes*

      I’ve had various gastro problems for a while. Several years ago it was gastritis, but last summer I had a whole mess of problems, and since then I’ve had multiple tests. Fortunately, the major tests have ruled stuff out (celiac, cancer, etc) which essentially leaves IBS. I feel like my doctors have been very thorough – primary doctor went with a CT scan after a month of prilosec did nothing for me (original theory was the gastritis had returned because I was so bloated and also unable to eat). He also recommended I start eliminating FODMAPs and that has been very helpful. The GI is willing to do more because the tests keep ruling things out (and I’m thankful they are!). But right now of course any tests are on hold as they’re all elective and nothing urgent.

      The only test that came back “positive” for me was a hydrogen breath test and that indicates bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Has your doctor mentioned that as a possibility? My GI brought it up on my first visit with him, I think partly to reassure me that he expected to find nothing on the colonoscopy. Is your doctor suggesting any other tests? Do they have a plan or goal for getting you to a more “normal” status? If not, I would press for more if you can afford it or find a doctor who will take you more seriously if you can.

      I have also recently started working with a registered dietitian to tackle the process of following a low FODMAP diet. It certainly can take a while for effects of an elimination diet to show up. And it’s hard to suss out what are effects of the diet vs other factors – for example some of the progress I was making has gotten completely wiped out by the world going sideways last month. Stress is definitely unhelpful even if it isn’t the original underlying problem. If you want to do any kind of elimination, I strongly recommend you get a consult with a dietitian if you can.

      Wishing you all the best in getting things sorted – GI stuff can be so frustrating!

      1. Schmitt*

        Yeah, I think I’m going to need to ask for a referral to a specialist. Doc has not mentioned any of that sort of thing.

        1. Bowel Woes*

          In case you’re back (sorry slow to answer again) – I would definitely ask about a referral to a GI specialist. Even if your doctor isn’t seeing patients in person, I’d get in touch virtually and ask. It took a few months for me to see the specialist, so even if they aren’t really seeing patients now, maybe they will be by the time your appointment rolls around. I see in another comment you had endoscopies for stomach irritation and Barrett’s syndrome. If you took a protein pump inhibitor for those problems, it wouldn’t hurt to ask your Dr about bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). Taking those for an extended time is one of the theories for why people are susceptible to the overgrowth.

          If you want to look more into low FODMAP, check out the website FODMAP everyday. It’s got a ton of helpful resources. As others have pointed out, it can be pretty hard to spot patterns if what you are experiencing is an intolerance. Especially if the intolerance is related to FODMAPs because there seems to be little rhyme or reason sometimes to which foods and what amount are ok.

    9. JobHunter*

      GI problems can be hard to pin down. Sometimes food allergies manifest in wierd ways. For example, dairy allergies sometimes don’t have any discernable effect until you exercise. It’s called exercise-induced anaphylaxis. This was one of the topics we covered in a graduate-level course I took on nutrigenomics (interaction of your genetics and diet and subsequent effects on health outcomes).

      BTW, your doctor is incorrect about spelt being ‘OK’ but not wheat. Spelt -is- wheat. All wheats (emmer, Einkorn, durum, bread, spelt) produce the proteins that form gluten that trigger celiac reactions, just with variations in protein sequence and quantity. I could probably explain it a little better (but then would blow my screen name).

      1. Observer*

        You are half right – spelt is not wheat, but it DOES contain gluten, and if gluten sensitivity is the issue then it’s just stupid to suggest that spelt is ok. On the other hand many people who are allergic / sensitive to wheat are NOT sensitive to gluten, since gluten is not the only thing that can trigger a problem for people.

    10. Alexandra Lynch*

      I eat no beans, and no cruciferous vegetables, because my body does that sort of thing if I do, and makes me very sorry for my sin.

      I figured it out with food diaries, and I pretty much know that I can put a tablespoon of chopped cooked spinach in a curry for pretty, and I can have a small side salad of iceberg lettuce only once a week, and that’s as good as it gets.

      1. Schmitt*

        How detailed did you go with the food diaries and how did you figure it out? A lot of times I’ll get the bloating after eating something that 100% did not bother me when I had it last week, sort of thing. So I feel really helpless trying to think how I would be able to parse the data.

        1. fposte*

          Underweight negatives and overweight positives. It’s useful information to find out what bothers you sometimes, not just all the time. It’s common that a particular food will be trouble if you have too much of it or have it when you’re stressed, but that experience shows you how you can eat it without trouble.

    11. Jenny F. Scientist*

      These kinds of things are so hard to pinpoint! You might also want to look at something called food-pollen allergy syndrome, which can cause this exact set of symptoms (along with… a bunch of other stuff, so it’s not really conclusive). I will also say from my experience that, as fposte mentions, it’s often cumulative-dose-dependent. Like, a little of X is okay, and a little of Y is okay, and a little of Z is okay, but all together in one week it’s not okay. The only way I figured it out was with a strict elimination diet – like I ate nothing but rice, steamed fish, and boiled peas for a week, and then introduced foods one at a time, it took two months and was no fun.

      Lots of research shows people rarely have a real wheat intolerance (though- I have one- it does happen!) but often do better with, for example, less carbs and more protein/veg, or whatever.

    12. Wishing You Well*

      It’s common to have a delayed reaction to whatever is bothering your gut. If you’re in contact with an irritant, it can take time for your gut to heal and show changes. That said, stress can absolutely cause intestinal problems. Try experimenting with that. There are meds, but there’s also therapy, meditation, yoga, exercise, etc. Your brain and nerves are all connected.
      Sounds like you need to keep good record-keeping on what you’re doing since something really went right in February. So there’s HOPE!
      Sending good thoughts!

    13. Observer*

      You either need a GI or a better PCP.

      The amount of bad advice you seem to have gotten is mind boggling. The three most consequential issues:

      1. If you have GLUTEN sensitivity it is NOT enough to avoid wheat. You need to find foods that don’t have gluten in them when raw and / or find processed foods that are certified gluten free. (Some foods are generally safe, even if not certified but you are going to need o educate yourself.)

      2. You would have picked up pattern if you had food related issues is jaw droppingly ignorant. You’ve gotten a ton of explanation of why this is so, in terms of how our bodies can react to food etc. Beyond that, unless you are keeping REALLY meticulous food diaries – including ALL OF THE INGREDIENTS, you simply don’t have the information you need to discover patterns. Someone mentioned the use of sucralose in all sorts of places. You would never know that you were eating that stuff, most of the time. Same for at least a half a dozen other food items I could think of. And I’m not even a food scientist.

      3. Related to #2 – Why on earth has he not referred you on to a specialist. Or at least looked at stuff like IBS and IBD? (Those two actually cover a lot of conditions.) While it’s *possible* that the testing you have done rules out the IBD, it sure can’t rule out IBS. And, yes these things often DO respond to diet changes, but it’s not so easy to see without some sweeping changes.

    14. allathian*

      One of my favorite things about WFH is that I can fart with almost complete abandon. I just need to make sure that I remember not to when I’m on Skype calls.

  35. Misty*

    Does anyone else feel like they have no concept of time anymore?

    Some days fly by and some days feel like a week long. I have no reason to wake up at a specific time and obviously no reason to leave the house so there feels as if there is nothing marking the time.

    I wonder how difficult it will be to go back to appointments and leaving the house when this is over. Anyone else thinking the transition may be odd in the future?

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      It feels like a perpetual period of time similar to the one that occurs after the 25th of December and before the 1st of January.

    2. Oxford Comma*

      The days all bleed together. They go by both with astonishing quickness and excruciating slowness.

      I feel like I’m existing in some space/time anomaly ala Star Trek.

      1. London Calling*

        I thought today it’s like being in a city under siege and waiting for the moment the enemy breaches the walls. One minute I was at work doing normal work stuff and the next I’m throwing work and laptop into a bag and for three weeks trying and failing to establish a normal – or even an approximation of it.

    3. Choggy*

      Yes! Even though I’m still working (from home), my work schedule is completely different. I no longer need to get up between 5:30 – 6:30 am to take a shower, get dressed and drive 40+ minutes to work. I roll out of bed around 7, maybe take a shower (depending on how long it’s been), put on comfy clothes (I have never worked in my pjs I’m proud to day), and then spend my day in front of the computer. I try to get up and out at lunch but don’t always make it. I sometimes don’t know what day it is because they are all the same (Groundhog Day!). It will be an adjustment, but a welcome one, when I can go about my day as before.

    4. PX*

      Had this conversation with a friend this week. Having to wake up early, commute to work and be there by a set time is going to be….not great for me. I’ve absolutely loved being able to roll out of bed late, and start my day while still slowly eating breakfast and drinking coffee. I hated my commute anyway even though it short.

      Just the effort of it all is not something I look forward to :/

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I was shocked to realize it’s been 4 weeks since school & my office went remote.

    6. GoryDetails*

      Yeah, I’m getting that drifting feeling – a mix of “what day is it” and “this is going to last FOREVER”. [Side note: there’s an amusing parody of Foreigner’s “I Want To Know What Love Is”, with the lyrics “I Want To Know What Day It Is” – seems like lots of people are having this feeling now!]

    7. Generic Name*

      I keep thinking how weird it will feel to wear shoes and clothing that isn’t knit and stretchy. I gaze at my closet full of clothes and shoes and wonder why I even have them if all I ever wear is workout gear and slippers.

      1. Misty*

        I don’t think I’ve ever related so hard to a comment in my life. In order to not have to have all the roommates go out and have to do laundry, we have one guy doing it but the problem is the first week he shrunk a bunch of clothes so now I don’t want to wear my clothes and have him shrink them. But it’s too late for us all to switch tasks three weeks in.

        So I’ve taken to wearing leggings and pj bottoms and his giant shirts and sweatshirts. One of my other roommates also is wearing his clothes too. It’s actually kinda hilarious.

    8. Lady Jay*

      Oh god yes. When I moved the courses I’m teaching online, I established a rhythm, a little project due on Thurs/Fri and a bigger one on Sunday; repeat the next week. And only like, two days ago, did I realize that my scheduling meant that I’d accidentally set something due on *Easter Sunday*. :P :P :P

      1. Mimmy*

        That’s okay…one of my instructors pushed one of our projects to being due Easter Sunday (original due date was last Sunday, 4/5) due to pandemic-related circumstances. I have a feeling your students won’t mind too much since most Easter celebrations are scaled way back or not happening at all.

    9. Mimmy*

      My husband and I have always been homebodies, so my sense of time isn’t as discombobulated as others are probably experiencing; I don’t drive (visually impaired), so the only change for me is not going to work 3 days a week and going to occasional meetings and events; hubby works from home full time.

      I will say, though, that the longer this goes on, the harder it is going to be to adjust going back to normal (or whatever “new normal” it will be). I have been getting up no earlier than 8:30 most mornings, so I am DREADING the day I have to resume getting up for work. Interacting with other people is going to feel weird too.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        This. When I start working again (if I ever do, gah), I know the first few weeks are going to be rough.

    10. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I am keeping track of time significantly by when our trash is picked up. That makes Wednesday afternoon/evening a fixed point, because we have to move the bins to the front for collection, and Thursday because that’s when the trash collecting truck comes.

      Automatic calendar reminders are helping some, evenwhen they’re weird: I set a reminder to be home between 1 and 2 today for an ice cream delivery.

    11. Alex*

      I’m personally dreading having a schedule again. I LOVE a timeless existence.

      I am working from home and need to make sure I make a showing on slack by 9am, but I naturally wake up well before then so it doesn’t feel like a schedule.

      1. Misty*

        I feel you on the schedule thing.

        I used to wake up at 6am in order to get to classes on time. I can’t imagine waking up at 6am at this point…

      2. A New Normal*

        Honestly same. I’m feeling better physically than I have in a long time and I love this lack of mental alarms. On the other hand, I lost a day last week and missed the garbage pickup and almost missed a Zoom meeting so that was less than ideal. I’m still not sure which day I ‘skipped’ but I swear there were only two days between Sunday and Thursday.

      3. Not A Girl Boss*

        Yes, seriously. If we weren’t on furlough watch and stressed about money, I’d be in my glory right now. I’m such a home body and I LOVE having permission to just be true to my own wants for life. I’ve got my little home gym setup, my dog walking schedule, and lots of time to bake and read. I’m dreading going back.
        I feel guilty because I know so many people are having a hard time with this or are financially struggling. But I really like it.

    12. lazy intellectual*

      The weeks feel longer than normal. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a month since I’ve been teleworking. It feels like MONTHS. Just last month I was at a conference!

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been feeling that way for a while, especially after moving. I’m staying in a basement space and while it’s very nicely finished, it’s like living in a cave. The days run together and I keep staying up too late.

      Also, the days seem very long. Maybe that’s because there is so much crazy stuff happening all at once. The meme “today was a very long year” sums it up pretty well.

    14. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      People are remarkably resilient and adaptable. (by design!)

      You suddenly have no sense of time – why? – you have been suddenly uprooted in time – because of the current situation (I’m assuming you are suddenly not working or not doing whatever your normal routine is due to coronavirus).. You accept that “some days fly past and some feel like they last a week” based on your new activities I presume. How quickly this happened! This is the new normal!

      When you go back to appointments and so on… I think you will likely have an equally quick transition back really.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        If it bothers you that you are losing track of time (I didn’t get the sense that it did, from your post.. especially as you expressed concern, rather than relief, at the though of going back to the ‘old normal’) … you could always set an artificial schedule for yourself to the extent that it’s useful, e.g. set an alarm to wake up at X.00 AM, work on Y project for Z hours, take lunch…

  36. Rollergirl09*

    I bought ten pounds of potatoes for Easter Dinner for two. I’m going to have to get creative with the potato recipes this week.

      1. Rollergirl09*

        I’m making the potatoes for Easter twice baked with bacon and cheese. I’m also making a ham and some sort of vegetable. I have pork chops, chicken, and skirt steak to use up.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’ve done a sort of shepherd’s pie type casserole with chicken cooked in salsa, like for tacos – layer taco fixings with mashed potatoes. Freezes well too. (Just generally, mashed potatoes freeze pretty well.)

          Pork chops go well with a scalloped potato and cheese casserole. Potato soup maybe?

          I accidentally ordered *A* potato on my last grocery order rather than a bag of them, so I have the opposite problem. :)

          1. Roy G Biv*

            “A” potato – that’s kind of awesome! Don’t you wonder what the person packing the order though when they saw ONE potato on the list?

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              It was delivered by my favorite Shipt driver, and when I was unpacking, I texted him and was like “I meant to change the quantity on that – what kind of noob orders A SINGLE potato!” He was like “Oh, I didn’t even think about it, people get one banana or one apple or whatever all the time!” I fully expect that the next time he gets my order, he’ll be like “How many potatoes did you MEAN this time?” Because somehow, he always remembers the things that we chatted about during his previous shop. I don’t even know how. (But that’s part of why he’s my favorite driver.)

        2. Misty*

          That sounds really good!

          One of my roommates made this sweet potato casserole dish that’s like sweet potato, reg potato, ground up turkey meat and veggies. It was pretty good. Bacon and cheese sounds yummy.

        3. saf*

          Twice baked potatoes freeze very well, and can be baked the second time straight from the freezer.

    1. Alex*

      Potatoes keep a while, and they are so versatile.

      My favorite potato-heavy recipes:
      Potato soup
      Pre-coked (I microwave) potatoes sauteed in butter with shallots and bell peppers, with an egg on top.
      Baked potatoes with chili and cheese on top
      Cottage pie

    2. tab*

      I use this for leftover mashed potatoes. They’re very popular the morning after Thanksgiving.

      Cheddar-Bacon Galette
      Adapted from Josh Downing

      A good use for leftover mashed potatoes, from the chef at the Four Seasons Biltmore Hotel’s Patio Restaurant

      2 cups leftover mashed potatoes
      ¼ cup cheddar cheese, grated
      ¼ cup chopped bacon or ham, cooked
      1 tablespoon chopped onions, cooked
      Chopped parsley to taste
      1 egg

      Combine all ingredients and form into 2” diameter by 1” thick patties.
      Flour lightly and sauté over medium heat in a little oil for 3 minutes per side.

      Yield: 4 patties.

      1. Jedi Squirrel*

        Oh, that sounds really good! I may have to make some mashed potatoes just to make these.

      2. Sam I Am*

        I keep looking at leftover mashed potato recipes but we never have any leftovers. We tried making more but, uh, that didn’t work out either!

    3. Cambridge Comma*

      I know people who buy all their potatoes for the next 12 months in one go. So you’re probably safe to keep them for a while.

      1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        How do they store them, do you know?

        I buy more potatoes than I need (before this crisis) as I like to have different varieties but they all grow shoots and so on.

        I only throw them out if I have to – the ones that go soft I make into soup etc.

        But I can’t imagine preserving potatoes for 12 months unless perhaps they are frozen..

    4. fposte*

      I had an Instacart substitution that left me with a plethora of potatoes, and they seemed to be losing their snap after a month so I made a huge pot of mashed potatoes and froze it in servings.

    5. MuttIsMyCopilot*

      Colcannon! I’m stocking up on potatoes and cabbage since they both keep well, and my wife (who is very meh about cabbage in general) even prefers colcannon to plain mashed potatoes.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Cool dark airy place, they store longer than you expect.
      Potato torte. Chilli over potatoes. Hash browns. Home fries. Doubke-baked. Au gratin.
      And “the Martian”–plain, with milk. :)

    7. Jedi Squirrel*

      I have been making air fryer french fries. Once you adapt the technique to your air fryer, they’re better than restaurant.

    8. Koala dreams*

      Oh, potatoes! Potato gratin, potato soup, baked potatoes, fried sliced potato with vinegar…

    9. Bluebell*

      Go look at Passover recipes. They are all about the potatoes! :) potato pancakes are great to freeze!

    10. LDN Layabout*

      The Guardian has some Yotam Ottolenghi recipes for potatoes online that I really want to try.

      One of them is for mashed potato cakes stuffed with meat, a variation of which might work for your leftovers.

    11. GoryDetails*

      I made a nice potato soup recently – well, potato/cauliflower: roasted the potatoes and cauliflower, sauteed some onions, carrot, and garlic (recipe called for fennel too but I didn’t have any), added the roasted veggies and some broth, and simmered until done. Pureed the results, very tasty and creamy. [I made mine with purple cauliflower and blue potatoes, as I got the recipe from an “eat the rainbow” cookbook, but it’d be just as tasty with white potatoes and cauliflower. Hmmm…. and I think there’s an orange cauliflower too, so maybe that with some sweet potatoes for an orange version… Off to update the shopping list!]

      Don’t know how well this freezes, btw, as I wound up snarfing the lot over a couple of days, but I’d think it’d be OK. Will try it next time I make it.

    12. Fikly*

      Someone at the place we do not mention on weekends ordered one onion, and somehow ended up with a 10 pound bag of onions. He’s been having to get pretty creative, but the results have been interesting!

    13. Salymander*

      Potato leek soup

      Or, if no leeks, you can use an onion and some green onions or chives. This version is my very picky kid’s favorite. Good with shredded cheese and bacon on top.

      I freeze the soul in bags with 3-4 servings per bag.

  37. coffee cup*

    Did you treat yourself to anything this week? Can be a tiny thing! Mine is a purchase, but it doesn’t have to be at all.

    I bought a few traybakes from a local bakery (well, local-ish) and they arrived this week. I don’t usually eat cakes and chocolate at home, and I’m not even very into chocolate generally, but they’re delicious and just something nice for myself to keep me going on my own. Plus it’s supporting an independent business, so I didn’t mind too much.

    1. Sir Freelancelot*

      That is really nice, both the purchase and the supporting of independent business!
      I bought a new bed set, splurging a bit, but I really like how my bedroom has now a very “springtime vibe”.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        One of the chocolate shops in town was open today, presumably to try and sell their Easter stock. I bought a bag of chocolate ducks, chickens and rabbits.

      2. coffee cup*

        A good bed set is great for cheering you up! Especially when we’re all spending so much time at home now.

    2. A bit of a saga*

      I bought 6 cup cakes with Easter decorations from an independent baker – I’m picking them up this afternoon. It’s not normally something I would buy but as you said above, I wanted something a bit nicer for the girls and I now that Easter won’t be what it usually is, and this woman specialises in cakes for special occasions so for sure hard hit by COVID-19. She’s also very local to me so that makes me extra sympathetic. In a similar vein, I bought a big poster to colour in with the kids, again from a local shop. It arrived with a handwritten note that read ‘thank you from the bottom of my heart’ which of course was very nice but also just underlined how terribly things are going for these small shop keepers (I mean, maybe she is always quite effusive but that seemed to be quite a heartfelt greeting for what was quite a small purchase)

      1. coffee cup*

        Yes, mine were more expensive than I’d usually pay for a few cakes but I just got paid and I’m saving a wee bit by not commuting every day, so I thought might as well. And they are yummy!

    3. Ranon*

      We also did a bakery order! Ours was fully indulgent and includes cake, pastry and quiche. When it comes down to it at the end of this thing this bakery is pretty high on the list of places I really want to see make it through so I’m happy to send money their way (plus pastry!)

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I bought a pet toy for my dog. The toy is Lambchop, (Shari Lewis) from the 1960s. It’s really cute with big eyelashes and a knitted sock face.

      1. Not a cat*

        Lambie (as we call her) is VERY popular. She comes in different editions (we have an easter, a Christmas and Halloween) and different sizes from teeny to the size of my 14 lb Chi-Terrier mix.

    5. PX*

      I’m treating myself to 1 (or 2) food deliveries a week.

      Lots of small restaurants or market traders in my area have moved to home delivery and honestly I’m really excited about it because I normally wouldn’t be able to get their food otherwise. So I get to feel good about supporting small businesses and get delicious food out of it.

      Dumplings and bao buns are coming my way this evening! Bummed I missed out on cupcakes though…

    6. The Witch of the Wilds*

      I had to make a food+soda run a few days ago and I ended up grabbing a few pints of the new Lucky Charms ice cream because I figured I deserved sugary goodness. It’s definitely ‘magically delicious’, would absolutely recommend.

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I bought a 2lb bag of chocolate chips and hid them from my family so I can make cookies occasionally without finding the whole jar empty.

      1. J.B.*

        Haha, I keep finding things like chocolate chips upstairs and no-one will admit to sneaking them out of the pantry.

    8. Nicki Name*

      I got some Easter chocolate on the weekly shopping trip. Ghirardelli bunnies, should be yummy!

    9. Undine*

      I got a box of traybakes delivered from a local independent bakery yesterday too, and they are delicious. Also got a big delivery this morning of baked goods from a local wholesale bakery that’s switched to online orders for local delivery to survive. Croissants, pain au chocolate, tarte au citron, bannoffee tart, sourdough bread, quiche Lorraine and the BEST cinnamon buns. An Easter feast!

    10. Overeducated*

      Haven’t done it yet, but planning on getting delivery dinner soon, and I’ve been fantasizing about a big Indian meal all week. We’d planned to order in weekly, and haven’t for the past 2 weeks, so that means I can get ALL THE FOOD, right?

      Last week I also ordered a couple of books I’ve been wanting from a local independent bookshop. I never buy brand new books, i am a big library user, so that was a splurge justified by “supporting local businesses” and sponsored partially by a random check I got for participating in a study. Now i just need time to read them!

      1. Kate Daniels*

        Same here re: books! I get all of my books from the library, but since the library has been closed since mid-March and will be closed until at least the end of this month, I treated myself to three physical books from Powell’s.

    11. Bluebell*

      We ordered wine for Passover. The wine store carries candy and other gourmet foods, so I added a package of salted caramels.

    12. Fikly*

      I gave in and spent $5 to access the vast archives of a podcast I love. I would not normally do this, but hey, stress relief, right? Also, think of all that money I’m not spending at coffee shops two or three times a week.

    13. Nessun*

      Rocks! As in, pretty polished stones, from my local small business that sells those, along with crystal grids and Tarot decks and all that jazz. They do IG showings and people note which one they want, and it’s very friendly and fun – plus supports local business that can’t open right now. There’s a gorgeous black moonstone that fits in my palm and feels so lovely to hold….

    14. Blueberry*

      I need to stop buying things. I have bought a range of things from gourmet meat to freeze dried fruit to art supplies. I need to un-memorize my credit card number!

    15. J.B.*

      Bought an office chair and takeout lunch from a bakery that was also doing pay it forward, so bought some loaves of bread for the food shuttle. It is hard to get craft stuff but origami paper came sooner than anticipated.

    16. Sparkly Librarian*

      I took the $20 I sold some cloth diapers for (I’d ordered the wrong thing and didn’t want to pay shipping to return the pack) and put it toward $40 of bulbs to plant! Ranunculus (buttercups), black and white anemones, and one root of black-eyed Susan. The shelter in place has been VERY good to my backyard garden.

    17. A New Normal*

      Nail polish! I’m furloughed from the job that requires nails to be nothing more exciting than red so I’ve been playing with ALL THE COLORS and various nail art techniques. I just ordered black and a dark blue for an Avengers themed day.

    18. cleo*

      My spouse made chocolate mug cakes in the microwave and they were delicious! Cheap and easy to make but they taste really rich and indulgent.

    19. Dancing Otter*

      I bought hair color online, and put a green streak in my hair. (Punky Colors’ semi-permanent, in vivid green)
      Now that I’ve seen how it looks after the first washing, I plan to do my whole head next week.

  38. Sibling-less?*

    Yesterday was National Siblings Day. I’m an only child with a stillborn brother ~4 years older than me (already named but birthed sleeping). All my cousins lived 500 miles away and I wasn’t allowed to play with the neighbor kids growing up. Also, I was left alone during the summers to fend for myself and my mom was a huge supporter of corporal punishment.

    My current situation reminds me of those summers except now I have a husband and a pet. And I am surrounded by those bittersweet childhood memories. Each time people showed sibling photos, it was a stark reminder of what I almost could have had. In a dark humor sort of way, I used to say “DUDE, you had ONE job (to be born).”

    But I also think of that one time 5 years ago when I was walking down an avenue and a car nearly hit me but miraculously didn’t. I’d like to think it was the older sibling looking out for me (corny, I know).

    1. Katefish*

      Can’t think of a clever phrasing, but wanted to let you know your story moved me. Sending virtual hugs if you want them.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      Likewise, only child and lost older bro before birth. Not missing those summers AT ALL!

      Yeah, I think they watch out for us. I really do.

    3. Generic Name*

      I don’t think it sounds corny at all. He probably is watching out for you. I’m sorry your childhood was so lonely. All the feels.

    4. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m sorry you went through that, you’re not alone in this. I have an older brother but I still grew up very painfully lonely as he wasn’t interested in spending time with me and my parents didn’t like me playing with other kids or even my own cousins. I yearned for younger siblings.

    5. Piano Girl*

      I posted a picture of my siblings and I that was taken probably thirty years ago. We are all making funny faces. The picture also includes my foster sister who came to live with us when she was nine and left when she was a teenager. All contact with her was cut off as she went back into the system. She reached out to my parents when she got married and she has been somewhat in our lives since. She commented the first time it was posted how much it meant to her to be included.
      Perhaps posting a picture of you with someone you consider “like a sibling” would help to fill a little bit of that hole. I know it helps me.

    6. Anne Kaffeekanne*

      Also offering virtual hugs!! I’m also an only child who wasn’t supposed to be one – should’ve been the first of five, but my mom got sick and couldn’t have any more kids after that. I often have the same ‘what if things had turned out as planned’ thoughts and I know it can be hard!

    7. valentine*

      You wouldn’t necessarily have been close to your brother. Parents who isolate you can do that in a houseful of people.

      FOO (family of origin) isn’t the only way to get siblings! You can make close friends. Found family is still family.

    8. Wishing You Well*

      I have siblings and childhood felt like we were just strangers on a bus we didn’t want to be on. Loneliness takes many forms. I am sorry for your childhood and hope you can find some “radical acceptance”. I hope we all can.

  39. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Governor Hogan (Maryland) reassured constituents that the Easter Bunny is an essential employee. And one family member says the kindergarten kid stopped worrying about the bunny getting stopped by police.
    HOW BIG IS THAT RABBIT?!
    (But until I made that leap of logic, I was weepy.)

    1. Retail not Retail*

      We saw the bunny on a trip to the church’s children yesterday. It seemed a bit weird to do it on Good Friday, especially since you won’t be going to church Sunday.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      In my house, the Easter Bunny is also Little Bunny Foo Foo. So every year, the dogs catch him hoppin’ through the back yard, scooping up the field mice and bopping ’em on the head, and THAT IS NOT NICE, so they bop HIM on the head, confiscate all his candy, and bring it inside and leave it in baskets on the table for their favorite people.

      1. Fikly*

        Can I drop in my favorite Easter anecdote?

        My parents would do an egg hunt in the yard for my sister and I when we were kids, the typical chocolate in plastic eggs thing. One year, they decided they wanted to sleep in, to they put the eggs out the night before.

        The next morning, suddenly a shriek came from my parents’ bathroom. My dad looked out the window, and saw a squirrel very happily chowing down on an egg. Sure enough, just about all of them had been cracked open, and the chocolate devoured.

        Years later, my grandmother sent my mother some chocolate for some occasion, and the package was left on the stoop. Once again the squirrels feasted. We never told my grandmother what happened, just thanked her and told her how tasty it was!

        1. KoiFeeder*

          My grandmother sent my family some cranberry cookies that got left on the doorstep, but it was raccoons that got into that one, not squirrels.

          We know it was raccoons because the package went missing and we found it in the woods, next to raccoon tracks and cranberry carnage.

    3. Wishing You Well*

      The Easter bunny can be as big as some dude in a bulky rabbit suit. They don’t make handcuffs to go around THOSE wrists, so the Easter bunny is safe from arrest but could get egg-stradited!
      …sorry…

    4. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Cue an upsurge in people going on non-essential trips in an Easter Bunny costume…

  40. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Hope it’s okay to hijack this from the usual poster — how does your garden grow? I’m excited about mine…but have some serious hard work to fit in around raindrops.

    1. Retail not Retail*

      Everything is growing like mad – mild winter, endless rain.

      My mom wants mulch for the bed in front of the porch. I grabbed a few bulbs and seeds that were in front of the pharmacy and she was like… okay….

      This isn’t the work thread but my work has infected my brain and i see people’s yards as I walk and I say hmph take care of those weeds and that looks like way too much work you’re crazy. I haven’t been to work in a week – usually our summer annuals come this upcoming week. Coleus, potato vines, and secretsia vines are the most memorable from last year. The secretsia have the grossest roots ever and then in october they were monsters to remove.

      I of course want cactus everywhere to keep out the dang ducks but i get shot down. Our winter stuff – ornamental cabbage – gets eaten by ducks and squirrels.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My winter work paid off. I have 8 geraniums, including 2 in bloom and one that’s filling a 2-ft pot. I have 3 dahlias. I have 2 or 6 empress lilies depending on the results of my aphid treatment. Almost 30% of my crazy-old seeds sprouted. (Either they lived or they didn’t oh, there was no in between.) My canna did not make it.
      Being home days means I’ve taken many weeding breaks, so the bad-tasting mint is out of the garden… now I ‘only’ have to fight the runners in the lawn. (Not sure why my husband was surprised to see mint in the lawn…he mowed it more than once last summer LOL.)
      The stevia made it through its second winter indoors. It’s doing better now after going dormant in the cool basement than it did last year in the living room. More light helped I’m sure. (I love LED bulbs!)
      Today appears to be my gap in the rain to do some digging. I anticipate a good crop of rocks, as I’m in New England.

    3. Jdc*

      Peony’s, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and broccoli in the ground. Also planted some wild flowers out front since we have a ton of land and no color. Just starting to see the flowers sprout.

      Husband has started a whole hydroponic system in our basement. He finally got it fully up and running yesterday. He’s enjoying doing it. We shall see how it goes as it’s our first year doing it.

      Our goal this year is to not buy any veggies at all. Lofty goal so I don’t expect to get there this year but we will know with how much we planted what amount to add. I also am doing a ton of tomatoes I will can to hold me through the winter. Also zucchini.

    4. Venus*

      Thank you! Definitely not a hijack as I only started from someone else when they didn’t post one week. If anyone else is ever able to do it before me then please do!

    5. fposte*

      I’m on the verge of the tulip-splosion; I’m guessing about 10 days to full glory if the weather stays nice.

      Seeds are due to arrive next week so quite a few will be going in both inside and outside.

    6. WellRed*

      Does anyone have wisdom for how damp it o keep soil for herb seeds planted last week? The directions say a spray bottle is best, so that’s what I do but it seems so dry. I really want these to take.

          1. Not So NewReader*

            Yeah, that’s a little tricky. You might try putting a piece of plastic wrap over them until they germinate at any rate. That would help to keep the moisture in. You may prefer to go with a tent type of set up so some air gets in there to prevent mold.

            OR If you have some peat moss or a friend would give you a couple handfulls, you could probably wet the peat moss and set it on top of the seeds to help keep moisture in. The seedlings should be able to push up through the peat, as long as it’s not real thick.

    7. MommaCat*

      Everything is growing like mad, and my fancy new mint plants (orange and chocolate) showed up this week, thankfully alive. I set up a drip system yesterday for all the plants in the back yard yesterday, now I just need to get the front yard into better shape. I’ve been picking aphids off my potted miniature roses, so I’ve shifted them closer to the marigolds in hopes that will solve the problem. But the roses are about to bloom for the first time! It’s exciting, my later blooming camellias are almost done blooming, and I love the idea of having blooms at all times. I started setting up my garden this winter, though I’ve definitely ramped up my ambitions with this shelter in place.

    8. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I am growing herbs in pots on the porch, because we learned a few years ago that one of the cats will destroy seedlings. I have transplanted thyme, sage, and rosemary from the tiny containers the garden center sells them in to reasonable-sized pots, and am hoping they’ll get enough sunlight.

      I also happened to meet a neighbor who was sitting in our little parking lot, earlier this week, and we worked out an informal division of outdoor planting space. Now to check in with the rest of the neighbors: our building is two apartments, and hers is three.

    9. Anonymath*

      My passion fruit vines are blooming like mad, and I’ve got at least 50 little green fruit hanging down. I will admit that I spend some time each afternoon hand pollinating them (not that they need it, but it makes me feel useful).
      I’ve got a banana starting to fruit, and some baby avocados on my avocado tree for the first time. Still have some kale and collard greens going strong and providing my salads. Also tons of dill and other herbs. Now that I’ve been trying to get rid of my non-productive asparagus, it’s finally started growing. We’re almost fully weeded and mulched, and I’ll have a few more flower seeds to plant, but otherwise everything is slowly sprouting.

    10. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I’ve started a project of digging up the front disaster area completely and getting rid of the weeds and random volunteer plants so that I can create a somewhat organised space to grow a mix of vegetables and flowers. I think I was too early with starting some seeds indoors so now I have some very enthusiastic seedlings that are rapidly outgrowing the available space. It’s probably still too cold to put them out though.

    11. Fikly*

      Oooh, do indoor plants count?

      I just got a bounty of tiny succulents, almost all in 2″ pots. I usually kill my plants by forgetting to water them, so I’m hoping to make that work for me. I will be checking to see if they seem dry, but is there a general time frame they might need to be watered? I’ve got them in sun, but not super bright sun.

      1. Venus*

        Anything counts if you want it too, even mould on a coffee cup! This is just a spot to talk about what is going well for you, or where you might need help, so there are no limits.

        Unfortunately I’m not the best judge of when to water most plants. My suggestion is to lift up the pots and notice when they are starting to get lighter. Not desert dry, but when you lift it the plant should feel noticeably lighter, not just slightly. Ideally, you would take note of when you first watered it, and then when it needed watering, and then set a reminder for that time period for the next watering. So if it takes 17 days the first time, then you can just set that reminder for the next one. It may vary from month to month, as cooler days tend to have less humidity in the air and might need watering more often (or the plants may hibernate a bit and need less water) so you would hopefully check the pots each time. That is the more time-consuming way, although it is also more likely to work well.

    12. Sparkly Librarian*

      I’ve become very ambitious! Time with dirt and plants in the backyard is helping my soul during this time, so it looks a LOT better than it has the last… two years. Unfortunately, I am not original in this, so delivery of (some of) the seeds and starts is delayed, and I really want to get them in the ground! So far I’ve planted, in pots and raised beds: basil, zucchini, onion kitchen scraps, marigolds, sage, borage, salvia, lemon balm, lemon verbena, mint, cornflower, calendula, nasturtium, cosmos, poppies. Some cover crop in the unused beds. Started seeds for more marigold, feverfew, watermelon. Waiting on pea, carrot, lettuce, and spinach seeds, tomato starts in May, and some bulbs. Repotted some succulents (including a new prickly pear!). Plus I have other seeds it’s not time to start yet (beets, broccoli, cauliflower, onions). It’s my birthday next week, and I decided to finally subscribe to the garden planner app I’ve been using with a free trial every spring for, like, 5 years. I am probably being ridiculous, but I’m refusing to feel that way right now.

      1. Venus*

        It’s not ridiculous! Food is an essential service, and it is important for us to start growing our own if we are willing and able. I am really impressed with your diversity, and would need an app or something if I was that ambitious. Good luck!

    13. Dahlia Enthusiast*

      I got started on my ‘Spring Project’ now my ‘Isolation Project’; building a raised bed for a vegetable garden. I’ve got the frame constructed, and soil ordered for delivery this week. I usually get vegetable starts rather than seed, so I’ll probably head to the garden centre next week. I’m really excited by how it’s all coming together.
      The dahlia tubers are waking up, some are even sprouting. My club has cancelled our annual tuber sale, so I can probably start planting them in a week or two. The bed is half prepped, maybe when I’m filling the raised bed, I’ll get the momentum to go turn over the rest of it. I hope our dahlia show will still be able to go ahead later this year.

    14. Venus*

      My tomato and pepper seedlings continue to make progress. I feel that they are likely a couple weeks delayed as I wish that I had planted them sooner, as the season is a couple weeks warmer than it is in other years, yet I can’t change that so I’m just thankful that I managed to get the seedlings started indoors. It took me a while to arrange to get the potting soil, which didn’t help. Yet I don’t know how easy it will be to get tomato seedlings this spring so at least I will have something.

      I haven’t yet cleaned my garden as I have read that the insects (bees in particular) overwinter in the leaves and stems, so I’m waiting until we have at least a few consecutive days of +50F before I do a lot of work. That definitely won’t be this week, but maybe the next? It isn’t much fun to work in the cold, so I don’t mind having an excuse to wait.

    15. Arts Akimbo*

      OMG OMG OMG– I am growing a garden this year, for the first time ever!!! It all started when our grocery store was out of potatoes and onions for weeks, and I swore that once they got some in, I would sprout some. Well, it has been like two weeks and I have scallions thriving in jelly jars, growing beautiful roots and putting out enough greens that I’ve been able to harvest the top 1/3s! My onion-bottoms are sending down roots and sending up green shoots, and the potato eyes are sneakily testing the air with tiny sprouts! Plus, I rescued some wild allium from my neighbors who were weeding, and I got four tiny cloves off them already! I’m trying celery and radish next! Oh, and I’ve started a small kitchen compost bin, with my eye on making a larger one to go outside!

      ALL the exclamation points! I am so excited!!

      Now I need some dirt so I can grow these veggies properly. I’m thinking of mail-ordering. I’d rather do potting soil and containers than risk my urban dirt, because the houses around here were built in the 1920s and most had lead paint originally, some of which is surely in the soil.

  41. Anon baby woes*

    I went to bed very late last night and today my baby decided to wake me up two hours earlier than usual but won’t eat lying down while I half asleep, won’t settle on my shoulder, won’t settle at all,so I should really get out of my cozy bed and go onto the couch where it is cold and lonesome so at least my husband can sleep.

    Not the baby’s fault, it’s probably something I ate or fed her last night giving her the tummy rumbles but I SO BADLY NEED THE SLEEP. That is all.