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  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Last week, I experimented with a change in the format of the weekend open threads. I’d like to continue that experiment this weekend. So:

    On this post, comments should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. Recommendations or updates on things you received advice about in the past are also fine.

    What does that leave out? Mostly: venting without a desire for advice, and “here’s an update on my life” personal-blog-style posts.

    We had extensive discussion of this change last weekend (it’s here if you want to read it), so if you’d like to comment about it on this post, please make sure it’s adding something truly new that wasn’t covered in last week’s discussion, which I’d ask that you take a look at first.

    Thank you, and let’s see how it goes!

  2. Fitness watch?*

    I’m looking for fitness watch recommendations for swimming. I need something that accurately measures the distance I cover in a 25 or 50m pool. I’m tired of counting.
    Pools have been closed for a while, and there are no plans to reopen then yet, but it feels so good to pretend for a moment that this is something I’ll need soon.

    1. Zooey*

      I have a Fitbit Charge 3 which is pretty accurate at counting lengths, and is on the cheapest end of swim watches. However, it’s pretty limited as it doesn’t show the count while you’re swimming – only on the app when you sync it afterwards. So it’s a good inexpensive option if what you want is just to swim and then find out afterwards how far you swam, but doesn’t help with sparing you the count in the pool if you like to swim 100 lengths, say.

      I know the folks at my swim club seem to favour Garmin watches which are much more sophisticated and much more expensive! Very interested to hear if anyone has experience with this type of thing… I have a big birthday coming up and have wondered if this could be a good ask! So this is only partly an answer to your question – I also wanted to keep track of the thread for myself!

    2. Annie*

      I was looking for a watch like this as well last year – track the distance in a swimming pool, decent pulse measurement underwater, and also sleep tracking because I really enjoyed that on my simple Huawei Band 2. My boyfriend actually did a multiple day internet survey to find the best option and give it to me on my birthday (<3).
      The result was a Garmin vivoactive 4s (I know Zooey, it was expensive!). It shows the distance covered while swimming and the pulse is somewhat accurate. Bonus is that it can also count the strokes if you swim breast stroke or crawl.
      A small drawback is that the Band 2 actually was better in sleep tracking – for example, the Garmin cannot tell if I am still sleeping or if I am having a lazy coffee in bed. ;) It doesn't track naps either. And I sorely miss the friendly guy from Huawei's running trainings. The Garmin does not give you audio, or I haven't figured that out.

      Looking forward to pools opening again soon!

    3. TechWorker*

      I have a Garmin Venu which buzzes on a certain number of lengths. I mostly use it for running and cycling but also liked that it came in colours pretty enough to just look like a normal watch (rather than huge black obvious sports watch). Agree not cheap though mine was a gratefully received gift!

    4. Not A Girl Boss*

      IMO the Garmin watches are just truly unbeatable in terms of accuracy. Definitely the industry standard.

      I have a VivoActive 3 and love it, except that the sleep tracking is super lousy because it has no HRV sensor. So I also wear a whoop (which is horrible at activity tracking, sigh). But the newer Garmins do have HRV, albeit buried deep within the “body battery” option. So I’ve been thinking of upgrading.
      I’ve had FitBits before, older generations, and I just never found them to be remotely accurate. The Garmin + chest strap integration is a huge step up for heart rate zone training.

      1. Triplestep*

        I also have a VivoActive3 and I like it. I also like that it “talks to” some other apps, like my carb tracking app.

    5. Turquoisecow*

      It might be more than you need, but my husband recently updated his Apple Watch as the newer versions are water resistant. He’s taken it in the pool a few times now without issue.

    6. Oatmeal*

      If you want it specifically for swimming, look at the Garmin Swim. It’s been insane recently and is a good amount cheaper than a Venu or Vivoactive. google DC Rainmaker, he has very exhaustive reviews on all kinds on fitness tech and has a comparison table for watches.

    7. So Not The Boss Of Me*

      I’m on my second Fitbit (charge 3) and each one has stopped working properly after one year. Can’t record my hr, sleep info stops recording for days, settings change by themselves– and can’t be fixed on either device or phone, requires computer! (where is that damn password?)– and that’s on top of how inaccurate it is. What more steps? Talk with your hands. Caveat: I don’t get to swim, I just walk some. I take good care of the thing and it just doesn’t last. $170 is too much for one year. And now they’ve added Premium and want me to pay them every month for marginally more info. I’m looking for a new brand. Just my two cents. :)

      1. Artemesia*

        I traveled to France shortly after my husband gave me a Charge3 for my birthday and it has only spoken French since. All of my email notices are in French which I don’t speak — although I have enough tourist level French to cope. I find it amusing. I never ‘registered it in France’ or did anything besides just spend a couple of months there.

      2. Zooey*

        Yeah, Fitbits are cheaper as an entry thing but they are definitely not robust. Although I will say that I reported mine broken when it was technically just over a year old (so out of warranty) and they replaced it for free.

        I think it’s best to think of Fitbit as a good trial for whether fitness trackers work for you and then if you find you really like it you know it’s worth investing in one of the pricier devices. I never would have thought I wanted a tracker before I got my Fitbit as a gift and now I love it and (as noted in thread above) am contemplating a much pricier option!

  3. squareround*

    Has anyone had their fortunes differ from that of their friends? I grew up privileged and now due to circumstances find myself quite struggling and it seems this may be long term or even forever. Many of my friends are very wealthy, some even on rich lists for my country. So, a pretty big disparity in some cases.

    I feel a little bit of discomfort about it. Does anyone else have cross-income friendships where there is a significant gap in wealth between you, one way or the other? I’m not the only one in our large broader friendship group finding this an issue as we have aged and our fortunes have differed substantially. Am I being precious? It just feels hard sometimes and think maybe going the other way it’s hard too.

    1. Mid*

      I make more than double what my partner makes, and a significant amount more than most of my friends. There can definitely be some awkwardness around things. But, I also grew up pretty poor and I only very recently got to a financially stable place, so I think my mindset is still very much “uber broke count your pennies”

      Mostly I just try to help out my friends when I can—maybe slightly nicer presents that I know would help them, trips for both of us that they probably couldn’t go on alone. Not that I think of my friends as my charity projects or anything else. I just know that it’s by luck more than anything else that I’m in the financial situation I’m in, and I want to try and spread that around with those I love.

      So I guess, at least from my side, there isn’t really any awkwardness or resentment, at least not yet.

    2. Some clever pun*

      I make substantially less than many of my friends. Luckily we have compatible values around fairness so we’ve managed to work out some systems that work for us. For example pre-lockdown I’d do the work of travelling to visit my friend’s house and they’d give me the money for the bus or taxi fare. I have a couple of good friends that take me on trips occasionally, or who I meet for dinner and they pay since they want to see me and I couldn’t afford regular restaurant trips on my own.

      To me some of those things are over-the-top expensive and I would never have the guts to ask for such generous gifts, but for my friends making more money than they can spend it’s no big deal to help me enjoy a fun thing with them. This does all require talking about money, and some rejection of society’s idea of what ‘fairness’ looks like so ymmv, but I was deeply surprised what my friends were willing to offer when I talked about the dreaded money issue.

    3. Anonymous for identification*

      Yes it’s hard the other way too. When my mom died, we sold the family home and I put my share into a house in a town with a really good school system. Some friends from my daughter’s old school visited once, looked extremely uncomfortable the whole time, and never came back. I feel like I need to defend it… but to borrow a phrase I read somewhere else, I’d really rather have my parents back.

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

        That sucks SO MUCH. I’m so sorry you and your daughter had to go through that.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t think you are being precious. There are huge differences in how people go at life and these differences sometimes are income based.

      Some of my friends talk about their trips to Europe, Australia, etc. This is nothing that is in my budget. All I can really do is listen or ask questions about points that interest me. I do have one friend who used to tell me that I should be out touring the world and it’s seems to be a crock that at this stage I can’t. umm. Let’s see. Both of our educations are paid, I paid off all his medical bills and I am set to pay off the house early. For my setting this is great. Framed that way, her comment kind of hurts. She did not mean to and I know that. It’s her way of noting how life can be really uneven/unfair. And we don’t get to pick people’s word choice FOR them.

      My friend and I tend to go toward what we have in common. We share an interest in plants, pets, social issues, and health. So those seem to be the topics that get the most conversation. I think that both people have to look for ways that the other one adds value to their lives. My friend and I know each others strengths and we will ask each other questions for discussion on particular topics.

      Unfortunately, for my friend, life is slowing down for external reasons. Time really can level the playing field. But it can take huge amounts of time to see that unfold.

      Another friend had a huge change in life circumstance where Big Events X and Y happened to him. This is a friend that had a 6 digit income. That is gone now. And so is his savings because of X and Y. We chatted about the drift our friendship experienced. I point blank said, “Cruises were not in our budget, as a few other things were not in our budget.” He nodded. He understood. We didn’t love our friend any less, we just had different things going on in our lives and we each got caught up in those different things. He agreed. I will probably see more of my friend now that things have slowed down on his end.

    5. Vina*

      I have been on both sides of this. When I have money, I share it with friends who need it. When I don’t, I have no issues with letting others pay.

      It was difficult when I was younger, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve decoupled disposable money from any sense of self-worth.

      An example: I have a friend who was homeless, so we let her stay in our house. Now she’s makign 3 times what I make.

    6. Overeducated*

      Yes. As I am getting older in a HCOL area this is becoming very visible with housing – both what housing people can afford and where they can afford to live (commute time, school districts). In some ways it makes it harder to spend time together because we’re scattered across the city and suburbs up to an hour away. That’s the sad part. But it also makes comparison harder.

    7. HannahS*

      Honestly, as the (usually) wealthier friend, it’s probably easier on my end. I’m deeply grateful for the financial security I have, and acutely aware of how much privilege was involved in getting to this point. I also really respect why/how my friends are where they are. Some chose to pursue the arts. Others sustained disabling injuries and stepped up to take care of ill relatives. I share your feelings that it can be uncomfortable–I think it throws inequality into light. It’s not fair that I can afford to visit family members on other continents and other people can’t, and I don’t want other people to feel bad because I have more. Luckily, by and large my friends and I share interests–so it’s not like all I can talk about is golf and my wine club, you know?

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

      I’ve been in both sides.
      When I was little, I had a friend whose father was a COBOL programmer who made a fortune preparing for the Y2K, so she was super spoiled. Every school break she would talk endlessly about her awesome holidays at the Caribbean, Brazil, Europe, even lying about them, like when she said she had “found” a Spanish carabela full of gold while scuba diving in Brazil, meeting some random royals at a ski resort, or attending the recording of a show that aired before she was born. When she got older she attended an expensive and exclusive private university that has a bad reputation in her industry of choice (and of course bragged about it). Imagine how annoying it was growing up next to her, “being nice”, and enduring her constant bragging. That’s when karma hit, her father was laid off and she found out her degree was meaningless to hiring managers. Now she complains about how hard life is and how she can’t get her dream job. I hope she learns to be more humble, especially after the pandemic.

      1. ShanShan*

        I didn’t hear what her “bragging” sounded like, but unless it was pretty excessive, this seems a little mean. Very few high school kids have the social graces required to talk about money in a delicate way. That’s just something you learn as you get older.

        If she was laughing at you for not having money or something, sure, but if she was just a teenager describing nice vacations she went on with enthusiasm, that hardly seems like a mortal sin.

    9. Formerly poor*

      I have been on every part of the spectrum. Growing up, my parents had done Ok for themselves but because my father grew up below the poverty line, we never realised we could afford more than what we had. I never had new clothes, everything was thrifted, yet we lived in a nice apartment but in a lower middle class neighborhood. In primary school, I was in the norm, then as I moved to high school, we had a divide because it was in a poor catchment, but had some special programmes where students from elsewhere would come. One guy once snarkily said, ya right we had meat for dinner, as a joke, then it hit me that not everyone can afford meat in my area. That was the first time, I realised I was not at all poor compared to the students from the area. Then I got a scholarship to the most exclusive university in the country. I only heard of it from one of the high school students in the special programmes so I applied and begged for a scholarship. Once I got in, I realised I was poor. People there were at a level of wealth I never knew existed. Then after graduating, I started getting into good high paying jobs, moved countries a couple times, and am now in the top 1% for take home income among people who graduated my university. They still have family money etc. but only few managed to get past the six figure income. I have been surrounded by wealth for 15 years and inevitably some mannerisms rubbed onto me even if I do not do the most extravagant things. Some people who only knew me recently assume I came from money but I don’t pay too much attention to it.
      I have the ability to dip in and out of poor and posh but I see me drifting from my older acquaintances because we no longer have anything in common. My best friends did not change, I only had three, 2 of them are doing really well and we are evolving at a similar pace. The third one betrayed me few years ago and I can’t event look at her, and karma seems to have caught up with her. I think the truest friendships transcend hobbies and physical locations, but these are rare, so I’d say the more entrenched I am into a lifestyle, the weaker my links to acquaintances with other financial/social/cultural or other capital volume or structure

    10. No Tribble At All*

      Yes, and it’s very weird to me. My parents were more frugal than many of my friends’ parents, so eg I never went to summer camp with everyone else. Now that we’ve been out of college for a few years, it seems income is dependent on career. We have one group of friends that’s mostly software engineers who are doing great. Most of them are buying homes and (before covid) would go on epic vacations. We have another group that’s a lot of grad students, teachers, counselors, and they’re… in different places. I’m an engineer; spouse and I are doing very well. One of my siblings loves their hands-on, lower-paying career, but is now furloughed because of covid. I’ll always be richer than them, and that’s very weird to me.

      I think it’s interesting you phrased it like this, lol. “would you rather be rich with a group of poorer friends or poor with a group of richer friends.” Of course it’s harder to be struggling if your friends are very wealthy! You’re not being “precious” at all. I hope your friends are sensitive about this and that your circumstances improve.

    11. Bubbles McPherson*

      I have friends who are elementary principals, attorneys, magazine editors, foreign correspondents, speech therapists, radio talk show hosts, tech employees, and nonprofit executives – so a wide range of incomes. Quite a few of them have gone on global trips and cruises and the like. As we approach or hit the 40-year mark, many more of them have kids and are thus doing things like roadtrips to national parks or backyard camping. It’s been fascinating to see how it’s all evened out.

    12. lazy intellectual*

      The discomfort is normal I think.

      I have a group of friends I’ve known since high school and college. We all come from similar socioeconomic backgrounds – suburban middle class, college-educated parents, we are all also college-educated etc. However, some of my friends fared better career-wise than others. Those of us who chose more lucrative career paths are doing fine financially. Two of my friends chose careers in the humanities…and it hasn’t worked out for them so much. They haven’t been able to find salaried jobs and one of them still relies on their parents.

      As the more privileged person, I try to be as considerate as possible. (Only suggesting free things to do. Sometimes if we do go out for drinks I will buy a round for them, etc.) However, I stay out of the emotional management aspect of it, even though I know what they are going through is stressful. I had to stop talking to an ex-friend who always tried to make me feel guilty for doing so well, even though they technically had more resources than me growing up, and is White and don’t have to deal with racial/religious discrimination in the workforce (I do.) So..yeah it’s not always pretty.

    13. Russian Stranger*

      Oh, that is such a great question, thank you!
      So, I am Russian who moved to Europe; for my Russian friends, I am a Rich Friend when I visit Russia, for my European friends, I am a Poor Friend. Income disparity can really cause discomfort, it can break friendships, but it can also be a great possibility to learn to trust yourself and others. Here, a couple of things that I learned:

      – Being a Poor Friend can be really testing for your own self-worth and relationships. My friends group are in situation where we can go to same restaurants and cafes together, but trips or more expensive outings are not possible and our living situations differ widely. It can breed envy from a Poor Friends’side, and also cause self-doubt, as is, “how much longer are these happy people willing to put themselves with my misery, and when do they decide that they need someone less negative as a friend”? It had taken me a lot of time to finally accept, that they are adult people who had all the possibilities to walk back and still decided to stick with me, so may be, just may be, they like me as I am? And I always try to repay back. If I ever loan money, I always return it on time, if I can’t ever invite them all in my tiny studio for a house party, I will organise a picknick and bake pies, or find some nice free event and organise the meeting.
      And I am really grateful that as a Poor Friend I could learn some things from my affluent, more privileged friends: self-confidence, or healthy assertiveness, or even just considering more ambitious goals in life. Often, they are my window to the life I want to have. So, something to aspire to and trying to learn things that I can apply in my circumstances:)

      – As a Rich Friend, I learned that sometimes you need to be willing to step from your comfort zone. If I suspect that I am more of a Rich Friend, I always ask my friend if she could recommend some place to go and stuff to do, because, u know, I am living abroad and have no idea! If she suggests some nice cafe, we will go there and I ask her if I can invite her “as I am seeing you so rarely”, if she suggests McDonalds, we go there, if she suggests a park, we go to park, etc. (Learned a hard way. I once tried to persuade a friend to move from a 2-bed room in a hosel hostel to a nicer hotel on a shared trip – and the hostel wasn’t even dirty or especially unsafe, it was just very basic and ugly as hostels are. *headdesk*).

      – And as a Rich Friend you need to really, really think about others’ circumstances and sometimes do emotional labour of selecting topics. I think that sharing Expensive Fun Things can sometimes be okay as long as you have shared interests there. If a friend is interested in a certain London museum but can’t ever afford a trip, I will make a million photos, buy books and souvenirs from that museum and tell her ALL that she wants to know (if she wants to, but I am trying to ask in a joking way, such as, “I spend so much time there, I can be fangirling for hours if you want to hear all that!”).
      Sharing negative things…. Much more complicated. I think that it is possible when you are roughly on the same ground. If we both work in white-collar jobs, bosses and coworkers and promotions are mostly OK. But I won’t mention that I REALLY want to move and have a separate bedroom and living room instead of studio if she lives in one apartment with per parents as she can’t afford to move, etc.

      – As a Cross-Income friend, sometimes you can’t sustain a friendship if the other person is resentful. One very closed friendship really turned toxic. We met online, on a shared fandom and fan fiction writing, met couple times in Russia on shared trips and FaceTimed a lot. First, I made a mistake of not thinking of her circumstances. There was a lot of misery in my life, but it was living-in-a-nice-quiet-European-town misery, while her misery was living-in-a-poor-Siberian-shithole with closed factories, destroyed environment and high criminal rate. If I just googled a street view of her town!!!! But I didn’t, I overshared, she grew resentful but was silent for a long time, than she snapped…. Than she guilt-tripped me about that. For years. I tried to change, I asked her which topics are safe, she set all the rules of conversation. Finally, I could never ever tell her anything about my life, because even a mention of a trip in a nearby park or a fact that I was having a Facetime outside (because of a good mobile connection in my area) just rubbed into her face what kind of a good life I was having, and then she wanted to start “a class warfare” (quote) or “start building some guillotines, u know?” (a quote with a smirk). After being too patient for too long, I ended that.

      …So, Cross-Income Friendship can be complicated… But if one overcomes this, I think one can be awarded with a very close friendship where both sides are committed to thinking about other’s needs, and know that they are connected on a much deeper level and not just a membership in a same club or something.

      1. Also Cross-Income*

        Just wanted to say I found your experiences very relatable from the USA and think you sound like a very kind and thoughtful friend. :)

    14. RagingADHD*

      We have some lovely friends with whom we are very similar – temperament, curiosity, parenting styles, overall values, etc. We always have so much fun talking and spending time with them.

      Due to career choices, they make an awful lot more money than we do. They now live overseas, and have invited us on several trips. Of course, flying our family over there is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime expenditure for us. For them, it’s more on the order of a twice-a-year vacation.

      Once we accepted their help with airfare to their country because they had earned free tickets through work that were about to expire anyway (or so they said). We tried to reciprocate by bringing some treats they requested from our country, by treating them to some dinners out, and cooking our share of the meals.

      Once they came here, and we hosted them at our place for a week, and then they hosted us for a week at a very upscale beach rental that we could not afford to even pitch in half of.

      It’s slightly uncomfortable when there’s a big disparity in our hosting, but it’s manageable as long as there is some way for us to reciprocate in a reasonable way. They have offered several times to fly us over again, but that’s too much. We just can’t stand feeling like charity cases.

      In a way, it’s the distance that has put a damper on our friendship. But in another way, it’s the disparity because we keep having to decline invitations.

      1. RagingADHD*

        I also have a friend who is really struggling financially, due to both career choices, some family circumstances, and just kind of overall low life skills. Over the years we fell into a pattern of me (now us) hosting, making or paying for dinner, etc.

        They will from time to time offer to host or make dinner, but TBH their home is a rented room where they don’t have free use of the common space, so visiting was basically standing in the kitchen or sitting on their bed – which was awkward but ok as a singleton but not really feasible as a family. Also, they are a terrible cook to the point of having given me food poisoning (like, found out afterwards that it was because of failure to use common sense on their part). So that was a do-not-repeat sort of experience.

        We would sometimes go for walks or do free things to hang out, but I live further away now and between work and family my opportunities to do that are limited.

        So that’s not so much about the money per se, but that the relationship is just one-sided in many ways that are entwined with their life skills, income, lifestyle, etc. If I want to spend time with them I have to do all the work, and I don’t have as much margin to do that work as I used to. So I don’t see them as much.

        I guess, for me emotionally, being the richer friend is more comfortable than being the poorer friend, because I am happy to host when I can. But in the long run, both kinds of disparity have led to drifting apart from those friends.

    15. Chaordic One*

      I can certainly relate to this situation. I’m kind of embarrassed by my financial situation and much less well-off than many of the people who I went to school with. Our relationships have devolved to the point where we’ve become “acquaintances,” rather than “friends,” and we no long have much in common. I suppose that indicates that we (myself included) are probably a bit shallow.

      When we meet, (usually at family events, funerals, weddings, things like that) we’re still polite, make small talk and keep each other updated on our lives. (Mine seems pretty boring and uneventful compared to theirs with nothing much going on except going to work and coming home, but that’s a bit of self-pity seeping into my consciousness.)

      Sometimes people just grow apart.

    16. SP*

      Yes – we currently live both of those realities. Our families, particularly mine, have a lot more money than we do. It means we can’t go on the group vacations they tend to go on, and we will never have as many “toys” as my inlaws. However, we have a nice home in a low-middle income neighborhood with a lot of newcomers. Our neighbourhood friends definitely appear to have fewer resources than we do, so I try to do lots of hosting and making sure I am contributing when we visit others. Basically I try be as generous as I can in terms of sharing what we are able, appreciating what we have, and accepting assistance when it is offered.

    17. OTGW*

      It was harder when I was younger—my family has never even been middle class. Hearing the kids when I was in primary education was hard, as they talked about going to Europe or disney world or could go to the local swimming pool more than once or twice a summer. My parents struggled to pay the mortgage/rent and there were times when we could barely afford to eat. While we weren’t as bad off as some people, uhhh, it still sucked.

      Now it’s easier. All my friends—we’re in our mid-20s and pretty much all in the same boat. Some, yeah, did have more privilege growing up, (and even now, there’s a few whose families have a cottage somewhere) but none of our parents are like…. paying for everything and we’re all working and trying to move out or get full time jobs or whatever or finish college or whatever. We all understand that sometimes when we want to go out to eat, if someone is having more trouble than normal, one of us can chip in.

      Will it change when we get older and probably have different paying jobs? Probably, but I think we all generally value the same things so I don’t think it will impact much.

    18. Sunset Maple*

      I’m in a weird middle area. I’m not an unusually high earner, but as a CF person, I definitely spend a lot less than my parent friends. On the opposite side, many of my CF friends have chosen a more unusual/beatnik/starving artist lifestyle, whereas I’m just an average cubicle drone with a moderate-but-steady income.

      One of my favorite ways to go about spendier social gatherings is to approach the person with the money already spent, and request a favor in return. For example, my friend Mei is a great companion for concerts and festivals, but I HATE navigating major cities with a fiery passion, so I pay for the tickets/gas/tolls and she does the driving.

    19. Grapey*

      I grew up with a single parent on food stamps and so did my closest middle/high school friend. We grew apart when I went to college and got a well paying job right out of school. Years later my husband and I were able to save enough for a down payment for a house…the first thing she said when I invited her over was “YOU were able to afford this?” and no other nice things. Other things ultimately drove us apart but I still remember that exchange.

      My current best friend grew up in a super wealthy household, but isn’t wealthy now. We met in college and our friendship hasn’t changed much despite each of us being in an opposite financial situation from about 15 years ago.

      No matter what I say though, you are not ‘being precious’ if you feel changes in friendships due to financial differences.

    20. Nita*

      I’ve been on both sides. It can definitely be a strain on a friendship, but I find that income disparity is never the friendship ender on its own – if I lose a friend, this is only one of many factors. Also, I’ve rarely had a friendship where one of us is clearly the “lucky one” and the other one is “down on their luck”. Everyone has their own success and their own troubles. It only puts a dent in the relationship when the common ground that made the friendship erodes, or when one of us starts to fixate on what the other person has that they don’t.

      I’ve had periods in my life when I resented someone close to me for being rich and clueless about how hard life is for me. I’ve had periods when someone close to me resented me for the same thing. In hindsight, in both cases, it wasn’t really so clear cut who’s really better off – our mind was making the gap much bigger than it really was.

    21. Beth Anne*

      Yes I have struggled with this most of my life. I still struggle. I graduated in 2008 and really never found any great job…still don’t. I am very introverted so I don’t really have many friends to begin with and I don’t do much socially b/c I just cannot afford it. It sucks b/c I want to do all the things. But I can’t afford it.

    22. Nott the Brave*

      Yep! I went to theater school so a lot of friends who went into the arts are struggling (especially now). My family was poor growing up, and my pivot away from theater had me working a part-time job for slightly above minimum wage for a while. I was the broke friend for a long time, until I got a job that paid more. Now my salary is near or above many of my fiends. I also have quite a few single friends so me and my spouse’s dual income puts me in a better position than many of our friends.

    23. Devil Girl from Mars*

      I grew up super privileged and currently have a lot more in savings and assets than most of my friends. It’s not usually an issue but sometimes I have to check myself because I worry that talking about what I have or things I grew up doing could come across as braggy. I also take care of my friends when I can.

    24. Dust Bunny*

      I have individual friends who make about the same or less than I do but most of them have partners who make at least as much. I’m one of my few remaining friends trying to get by on a very modest single income. Granted, I don’t have kids, etc., but it’s not like I get to pay 1/4 for everything just because I’m only one person. My family wasn’t poor but we didn’t have much to spare–I didn’t know that at the time because we lived in neighborhoods where nobody else did, either, so it wasn’t noticeable. When I was older we moved and at least some of my later social circle came from families that weren’t technically wealthy but could help them with down payments on houses, etc. I’ll never own a house. I can barely afford a one-bedroom apartment. I resent that I apparently will always have to have a roommate to afford a decent place to live.

    25. allathian*

      I’ve never been in a position of being very much wealthier than my friends, but there was a period in my late twenties when I was barely making ends meet and my then-bestie was making six figures. We enjoyed each other’s company enough that she occasionally invited me out for a coffee and sandwich and paid a sum I basically spent on food the rest of that week. I would occasionally reciprocate by inviting her to my apartment for coffee and homemade sandwiches. It wasn’t awkward, because we valued the friendship and recognized that our circumstances were different. We remained friends as I got a decently paying job and out of poverty, but then it sort of petered out when I got married and had a family. She’s very career-oriented and while I would have appreciated a chance for non-kid chat, we haven’t seen each other in about ten years. Because I’m not active on social media, I have no idea how she’s doing.

    26. Pommette!*

      I am *much* poorer than most of the people I was friends with, or who were part of my extended social circle, in high school and university. I was on the wealthier end of our group while growing up (I never wanted for anything and never had to deal with the constant nagging worries that come with poverty; events were often hosted at my parents’ house because there was always room and food for everyone; etc.). Most of my peers went into well-paying professional fields, while I chose a poorly remunerated one (which would have been fine) that was decimated during the mid-2000s and 2010s, making it hard to ever cobble together a living, or to get any kind of job security (that part is not fine!). The gap between my peers and I has gotten wider and wider over our twenties and thirties, as they have accumulated savings. It’s now vast, and I feel it.

      The gap doesn’t have a huge impact on my relationship with the two friends that I was closest with back then, and am still close with today. We’re on intimate enough terms that we talk about our lives and our struggles, so they get what money means for me right now, in the same way that I get what trying to find opportunities for a child with learning disabilities or dealing with an awful ex and co-parent means for them. It’s part of the fabric of our lives, which are different in *many* ways, and always have been, but we make it work. They see me as a whole person, and I see them as a whole person.

      But the gap *has* created a big, awkward distance between me and the rest of the friends and peers I grew up with. I’ve lost touch with people because I just afford to couldn’t keep up with the events through which they like to stay in touch. But more deeply, it feels like we’re often living in different worlds. And sometimes it feels like they judge me when they do realize what my financial situation actually is (like, something *must* be wrong with her, for her to be living like this).

      For example: I was a renter until super recently, and most of my current friends and peers are renters, while a lot of my high-school friends have gone on to invest in housing. They own houses and apartments in neighborhoods that they would never be willing to live in; they talk about how hard it is to find “good” tenants (you need a credit check, of course!)… I hear them talk, and all I can think about is how hard people like them make it for people like me to find a safe place to live.

      Similarly, a lot have gone into healthcare professions. It’s emotionally draining to have people tell me about their clients (“Did you know that some people can’t even afford medication or therapy? It’s shocking how we treat poor people!”. “Erhm, yes. Yes, I did know that. Intimately.”). They talk about people like me as if they were some exotic other. It’s draining.

      So… it is hard! You are not being precious.

  4. Egg*

    Has anyone read the Witch PI series by Adele Abbot? What are your thoughts? I’ve just started b/c they’re on kindle unlimited and I’ve got a free trial going. I’ve got kind of a love-hate relationship going with it….the books are quick, easy reads and fun fluff to pass the time, but there are a number of inconsistencies that are bugging me. (Seriously, how stupid is this main character that she knows someone is out to get her but she keeps getting poisoned and blown up and whatnot!! Gah!!) Also, 8 books in, I’m finding the main character is taking her sweet time to mature and she’s reminding me of Stephanie Plum who never does seem to grow up even after 700 million books.

    Or, have you read a series where you’ve run into a similar situation? It’s all lighthearted fun at first, but goes on and on and no one seems to learn anything? I would limit to a series because in a standalone book it doesn’t seem to be such an issue if a character stays emotionally stunted.

    1. Lemonwhirl*

      I haven’t read that particular series, but a big pet peeve of mine is when the main character (especially in a first-person narrative) keeps getting grievously injured or “accidentally” runs into the bad guy at the very end of the book and only realises just in the nick of time to save themselves.

      I’ve been listening to Tony Parsons’ DI Max Wolfe books and that guy must be the most traumatised and scar-ridden detective in all of London. It strains credulity (and detracts from otherwise excellent stories) to have a cop encounter that much physical trauma. The close-escapes are getting tiresome!

      1. Egg*

        “It strains credulity” is exactly what is happening in this series. This woman is well aware that big scary guy that no one has ever seen and his many minions are out to kill her. Yet she continually blindly putting herself into situations where anyone with common sense would have paused and said, wait, this seems highly suspicious.

        I wonder if these authors get into a rut. Maybe they think, well this close escape was a smashing success in book one, let’s do another! And then by book 15 it’s turned into a crutch, perhaps.

        I’ve been looking for some audio books to listen to during work, I will have to look into this DI Max Wolf.

        1. Lemonwhirl*

          Oh, if you want to listen to REALLY good detective books, I highly recommend Tana French. The narrators they have for the books are excellent. And she was an actress, so she’s attuned to writing stuff that sounds great out loud. The Dublin Murder Squad books are loosely ordered – a minor character in one book becomes the main character in the next book and so on, so you can listen/read them out of order. The Whych Elm is a stand-alone book so can be listened to anytime. (And bonus, all these books are super long so you really feel like you’re getting your credit/money’s worth!)

          1. MistOrMister*

            Thanks! I’l check it out. It can be so difficult to find audiobooks that are really well done.

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Authors in a rut are sometimes bound by a contract. Apparently Piers Anthony was totally done with Xanth, but his publisher wouldn’t let him out of his contract, or change it to a new series. They only did after he weaponized his contract… He had full control of story, and full control of book title, and delivered something he knew they would not have an easy time marketing to parents of middle readers. And that’s just the most eye-popping example of how a contract can ruin a good book.

          1. MistOrMister*

            That’s interesting, I hadn’t realized that couuld happen. Don’t know that I would want to be in charge of the title, personally. I can’t manage to think up ones that actually grab one’s attention. I think control of the story and veto power on the title would be the way for me to go.

    2. Ronda*

      I was just listening to In Death series. She is supposed to be a great detective, but she is solving all her cases by getting kidnapped and the killer explaining how he did all the killings before she is saved. The last one I read was incredibly stupid plotting…. they framed someone else (and detective fell for it) and then they kidnap her and explain this.

      And the Temperance Brennen series….. She is always getting beat-up / kidnapped, just doesnt seem necessary. I also was annoyed by the writing end of each chapter as a cliff hanger.

      Also agree on the dresden novels. They also have the getting the shit beat out of you thing, then suddenly you win for no reason (I guess it is his powerful magic)

      I think a lot of authors get a formula going and just keep doing it. There is some good to that…. if you liked it in the 1st book you read, maybe you will keep liking it. But I also think the physical danger / kidnapping etc are huge tropes in these type of novels and hard to find books without them.

      1. Dear liza dear liza*

        Completely agree on Robb. Plus, her husband being a billionaire was incredible enough- but how often he was entangled in cases, and how much time he had free to play junior detective- nope. Gave up after a few books in.

    3. Intermittent Introvert*

      I love Donna Leon’s Inspector Brunetti series set in Venice. Interesting stories. Well rounded characters. Beautiful locations.

    4. Mephyle*

      I agree that the detective who never learns is annoying, but there are a very few exceptions where the trope is deliberately played for laughs, and if well written, it works for me.
      Stephanie Plum is actually one of those for me. However, I’m only basing my liking on the first 8 books. After that it got too repetitive and I didn’t like the turn it took into the paranormal.
      Two other examples where I find the bumbling, dull detective funny are Ethelred in the Herring Mysteries by L. C. Taylor, and detective Charles Paris in Simon Brett’s mysteries.

    5. MsChanandlerBong*

      Don’t get me going on Stephanie Plum! I could probably write another Stephanie Plum book right off the top of my head…Grandma has gunmetal-gray hair, Uncle Nestor left them a powder-blue Buick that drives like a “refrigerator on wheels,” Grandpa went to the “big buffet in the sky,” Stephanie botches every fugitive capture, and she can’t choose between Joe (who lives in the house Aunt Rose left him) and Ranger (who wears all black and uses Bulgari Green shower gel). And let’s not forget Bob the dog, who’s always eating stuff he shouldn’t be eating.

      1. NeverNicky*

        And the world’s longest lived hamster, who appears to live on the odd grape and never needs cleaning out…

    6. Tea and Sympathy*

      Or it goes on and on to a strange place. I stopped reading Patricia Cornwell because the main characters seemed to become more and more depressed and in need of therapy. I felt sad for everyone. And I really like Nevada Barr, whose character works for the park service. There was always interesting stuff about parks, animals and/or hiking and camping along with the murder mystery. But her latest book was just the main characters lurching from one painful attack to the next one. There really wasn’t much of a plot besides violence. It was very disappointing.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Yes on Patricia Cornwell. It felt like, after a certain point, that she was in a bad business relationship with all her characters and that she was just putting them through as much misery as possible.

      2. Clumsy Ninja*

        I loved Patricia Cornwell’s books for the longest time! Even though they gave me nightmares, they were so well-written. And then she got to a point where I don’t know if she just was done, or she was using a ghostwriter, or what…..but they just weren’t that great anymore.

    7. TexasRose*

      Victoria Laurie’s Psychic Eye series borders on the “too stupid to live” problem, but IMO just squeaks by because of the series explanation of the psychic effects: if you make your living by relying on psychic powers that provide general, cryptic guidance, you really CAN’T override the instructions with too much logic or caution. The books are still a fun read, and the author wisely ended the series when the protagonist and her husband had to enter the Witness Protection program to escape the bad guys… (She pulled it off, really.) It’s fluff, but fun, and there is _some_ character growth. First one is called Psychic Eye.

      If you are looking for an excellent series with character growth and lots of action, try Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson and Alpha and Omega series (both set in the same world, with werewolves, vampires, the fae, PLUS all those interesting supernatural NON-European entities as well…) Believable and many sympathetic characters, good plotting, good romance, politics, etc. These are best if read in sequence.

  5. Road trip!!!*

    Does anyone know of a US hotel company that is leaving its rooms empty overnight between guests?

    1. NotADoctor (Don't even play one on TV)*

      I had a look around for you but didn’t find anything. they all seem to be focusing on cleaning and visible verification of sterilization process (stuff like a sealing the room door and putting stickers or whatever on remotes, glasses, etc). I get where you are coming from though because I heard a guy on NPR saying that the virus is dead on most surfaces after 24 hours.

      Honestly though, I would be more concerned about the A/C and recirculation of air and would want to know policies on cleaning filters and how old their systems are. Hotels are maybe not as bad as cruise ships, but it still feels like they could be a similar breeding ground. (Although maybe my fear/bias is coming from what I remember of Legionnaire’s Disease, which is bacterial and can grow in the air filters of poorly maintained air conditioners, so not the same thing as getting germs sucked into the system and then recirculated into a different room.)

      Saying all that (and it pains me to say this because I have Problems with AirBnB), but if you were concerned, it seems like maybe a good alternative to a hotel room would be an AirBnB house/flat rental where you book an extra day or two (depending on your comfort level and budget) before you plan on being there.

    2. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Unfortunately, not that I know of… at least not one that’s publicly announcing it as policy.

      I had an out-of-state vacation scheduled late this month and would have canceled it regardless, but was curious to see what practices hotels had in place these days, so I did some searching around the web site. I found absolutely, positively nothing. Just business as usual. This was a Clarion Inn, one of the Choice Hotels brands. They didn’t even send one of thosr phony-baloney “All the stuff we’re doing to stop COVID” emails that every business and their mother, including even a local bowling alley, sent out when this all started. Hilton, which owns Hampton Inn–where I have a stay scheduled in August– also has sent and posted nothing regarding changes in protocols. It does not inspire confidence.

      1. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

        Update: Hilton, as of June 1, is only this month rolling out increased protocols thanks to a new corporate partnership with Lysol.

        No mention made of leaving rooms empty for a night between stays.

    3. Moving cross-country*

      I am currently in the process of moving cross-country, so I can tell you that a number of Airbnbs are advertising that they are leaving X days between guests and you can tell that it’s probably accurate by their calendar (but also because they’re having a hard time getting guests due to COVID-19). A number of them also mention increased sanitation proceedures. YMMV by area, of course, and it will depend on how much you trust people, but I’m also moving to an area with a low incidence rate and not staying in a tourist-popular area so I feel that it’s more on me to be careful that I don’t contract it and then infect others through my traveling (I have to fly on a plane for this move).

    4. Sled dog mama*

      I didn’t find anything in websites but when I called a couple of hotels a few weeks ago (had a stay for work that I couldn’t avoid) the 3 I contacted said they were waiting 72 hours after checkout before housekeeping enters the room. When I was looking at booking each hotel noted limited availability on their website, this was why I called I was worried they were packed but they told me the limited availability was due to keeping rooms out of service for so long between guests. All the places I checked with were IHG properties (Holiday Inn/Express, Kimpton, Candlewood, etc) so I suspect but don’t know it’s a corporate policy.
      This was mid May but I wouldn’t think much has changed.

    5. Not A Girl Boss*

      Hmm this is interesting. We’ve had 0 luck booking any hotel rooms in surrounding states (anywhere in New England), because each state has a 2 week isolation period requirement for out of state visitors. So the minimum hotel stay you can book is 2 weeks, and have to prove essential travel status.

    6. Sunflower*

      I heard Marriott was doing 72 hours between guests but this was probably 6 weeks ago and not sure it’s still the case. Chains at this point should have publicly available cleanliness procedures and details.

    7. acmx*

      Hilton brands. Probably Hyatt, Marriott (can’t recall if these chains merged) Holiday Inn etc. These are the ones we use for work.

      Hilton brand said they left rooms 3 days. You can do digital check in / key, also if you want to avoid people.

      Looks like you’re asking due to a road trip but if you can plan it a little, call and ask the hotels at your stopping point. I travel for work so I have other needs but I call the hotel ahead (to see if they have shuttle service etc).

      1. acmx*

        Whoops, didn’t finish my thought. I call ahead because not all hotels within the brand still offer all of the services. Sometimes the restaurant is doing take out, sometimes not. Shuttle service is limited etc.

  6. MistOrMister*

    Agatha Christie fans: do you prefer Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple? I’ve always favored Miss Marple and wish Agatha Chrisite had written more stories on her. I like Poirot as well, but something about Miss Marple tickles my fancy.

    1. Teatime is Goodtime*

      Poirot! In the books, at least. I think he was the more active of the two, which fits my preferences just a smidge better. But Miss Marple is lovely and charming in her own right.

      1. MistOrMister*

        One thing that bothers me about Poirot on screen is his mustache. The books go out of their way to describe his luxuriant mustache and yet the movies/shows I’ve seen do not do justice to that mustache.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I can’t imagine anyone other than David Suchet or Joan Hickson playing Poirot or Marple respectively.

        2. Traffic_Spiral*

          Have you seen the new Murder On The Orient Express? They really do the mustache.

          1. Vina*

            That’s one area (of many), where Branagh’s version is closer to what Christie intended.

            I’m a huge fan of David Suchet, but his show isn’t the only way to accurately portray what she intended.

            And I really hate the Lumet version. Bad acting, not in the spirit of who Poirot was in the books, to me.

            And the movie is gorgeous. Also, I love Michelle Pfieiffer in it.

            1. Vina*

              PS Christopher Walker beats Sean Connery any day of the week in terms of acting ability.

            2. Traffic_Spiral*

              Branagh’s version struck me as just a little too kind, cheerful, and likeable to be completely true to canon – but I liked him immensely.

              1. allathian*

                I enjoyed the movie and I’m looking forward to Death on the Nile whenever it comes out. That said, it took almost half the movie before I was comfortable with Branagh. For one thing, he was far too physical for my liking. David Suchet’s said in his biography Poirot and Me (shouldn’t that be Poirot and I?) that he feels Poirot is asexual, and yeah, I sort of get that vibe from Suchet’s version. I didn’t get that vibe from Branagh. If you like Suchet’s Poirot, I recommend the book.

                1. Just Another Manic Millie*

                  Oh, I never thought that Poirot was asexual! He was so attracted to Ariadne Oliver in a number of books. I think that he never made a move because he thought that she was out of his league.

                2. pancakes*

                  Same here, kind of — I didn’t like Branagh as Poirot but enjoyed the movie anyhow.

                3. Nessun*

                  I much preferred Suchet over Branagh, but I have never been a Branagh fan. Ironically his ego projects off the screen and makes him impossible to see as any character but himself…given Poirot’s towering ego I had hoped it would work, but nah, I go back to earlier versions of Orient Express for a better time. I will almost definitely watch his Death on The Nile though, if only for new Christie in my life.

                4. RagingADHD*

                  Yes, I got the impression that his fascination with the Countess was romantic and emotional, but not in any way physical. There are certainly a lot of folks whose feelings operate that way.

                  His connection to Ms Oliver always struck me as being a very friendly camaraderie and liking, but not any more romantic or sexual than his relationship with Hastings or Miss Lemon.

                5. pancakes*

                  Nessun, I haven’t seen many Branagh movies but I can definitely see having that impression! I just saw My Week with Marilyn recently, though, in which he plays Laurence Olivier, and it works perfectly with his character there.

                6. allathian*

                  Poirot might be asexual but he’s not aromantic. I think I need to read some of the books with Ariadne Oliver again to get another look at how Christie wrote the character. They could have been simply very good friends.
                  Certainly there was nothing either romantic or sexual between Poirot and Miss Lemon, whom he admired as an efficient secretary.
                  Poirot was fascinated by Countess Rossakoff to the point that he made sure she wasn’t prosecuted for jewel theft, but he made very sure she returned the jewels he caught her stealing.
                  One thing that always surprised me about Poirot was his willingness to allow criminals to commit suicide rather than face justice (and hanging, at least in most of Christie’s works). This happens quite often in the major books, such as Death on the Nile, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and The Hollow, and there are probably more. Or else he lets them get away with it, if the victim was a criminal, as happened in The Murder on the Orient Express.

                7. BetsCounts*

                  It was too difficult for me to see Branagh, almost the quintessential englishman, as Belgian. But the rest of the cast was phenomenal.

              2. KoiFeeder*

                Huh. I guess I’m weird, but for all that Poirot has been egotistical and morose at times, I never got the feeling from the books that he was anything but inherently kind. It may not be so obvious as in Branagh’s version, but it’s there.

                1. RagingADHD*

                  Haven’t seen the Branagh yet to compare, but yes Suchet’s version is kind. And of course deeply moral about the value of human life.

                  Though there is also pettiness and vanity and bit of cynicism to him. He gets irritated and can be very condescending to Hastings.

                  Not enough to make me like him any less, though.

                2. pancakes*

                  I agree with that, RagingADHD, and would add that he’s generous with his friends, too. I love when he insists on cooking for Hastings and fusses over the meal. He’s very vain and thin-skinned at times but there’s often an element of comedy in it.

                3. Traffic_Spiral*

                  Oh, OG Poirot is kind, yes, it’s just that Branagh’s is, like you say, more… ‘obvious.’

    2. Sophia*

      I love Miss Marple. To the point that as a kid, my fantasy of adult life was to be Miss Marple. I think it really encouraged observing people’s behavior and making connections and I still do this. Also interesting to observe that Miss Marple is effective by blending in and Poirot by standing out. I also like Tommy and Tuppence.

    3. allathian*

      I like both, but generally I prefer Poirot. Granted, his pernickety ways and vanity irritate me occasionally, but Miss Marple’s excessive modesty both when presenting her solutions and as an older unmarried and sexually inexperienced woman grate on my nerves. That sort of feminine abasement is so foreign to my nature that it’s hard for me to deal with it. In addition, I think most Poirot mysteries are more complex and intriguing than the Marple ones.
      That said, I far prefer Miss Marple to Tommy and Tuppence or any of the other standalones, with the sole exception of And Then There Were None (I own a paperback first edition of this book, with the extremely non-PC name), which is less of a mystery and more of a thriller.

      1. Vina*

        Have you seen the version from a few years ago with Adien Turner and Toby Stephens in it?

        1. allathian*

          Yes, I have. I enjoyed the miniseries, but I don’t like them in the books as much as Poirot and Miss Marple.

      2. MistOrMister*

        To me Poirot is a little too bombastic. He can be very kind, but the way he treats Hastings a lot of the times rubs my nerves the wrong way. I am happy with Miss Marple as a product of her times. A modern character acting the way she does would be a huge turn off, though. I don’t care for Tommy and Tuppence at all…I think I read one od their books and scoffed at the rest.

        And Then There Were None is such a good book. Had me on the absolute edge of my seat the first time I read it. The only standalone book I remember enjoying is Sparkling Cyanide. Although I believ we get Superintendent Battle in that one – can’t remember for sure if it’s him but it’s definitely someone from the Poirot series.

        All of those are better than that Black Coffee book, in my estimation. The library fooled me. I thought someone had discovered an unpublished Poirot book. Turned out some guy was writing in Christie’s “style”. I thought it was complete hooey. It wasnt true to her at all! Can’t believe they even got it published. I don’t think it was necessarily a bad book. But if you tell me something is Christie-esque, you can’t deliver just any old thing!

        1. allathian*

          Sparkling Cyanide features Colonel Race, a recurring character in several books. He appears with Poirot in Cards on the Table and Death on the Nile, and as a standalone character in The Man in the Brown Suit. Sparkling Cyanide is a novel that’s based on the short story Yellow Iris that has the same basic plot. I haven’t read the story, but it was filmed as one of the early Poirots featuring David Suchet.
          AFAIK Black Coffee is a novelization based on a script for a play by Christie. I haven’t read it. I have read a couple of Poirot novels by Sophie Hannah. They’re okay, I guess, but the crimes are too macabre to have been written by Christie.

        2. Kate*

          Ugh, I hated the books that were rewritten from Christie’s play to book “in Christie’s style” – it seems that the writer just took some recurring phrases and stuck them everywhere. And I know those phrases are in Christie’s own books, too, but somehow not so blatantly.
          There was another book that was about Poirot but not by Christie, and it was nothing like the actual books. Why oh why couldn’t the author just make up a detective on his own?? Ugh.

      3. Observer*

        To me Miss Marple is an excellent example of a certain type of adaptability. She’s only modest in presentation, but she absolutely believes in herself. It’s not just the times she says or implies that her nephew, the Inspector or whoever else is naive. It’s just something about the way she presents that indicates that the fluff is just an exterior, a way to get people comfortable enough to listen to the core.

        1. allathian*

          That’s true. But it’s just that the necessity of abasing yourself as a woman to get heard at all grates on me. Reading this blog, I realize that in the professional world it’s very much still an issue in many places, especially the US. I’m sure it exists in some way in my culture as well, but perhaps less so than in some others. I’ve certainly never felt unheard at work because I’m a woman, and a fat one at that.

    4. Millicent*

      I think I’m on Team Ariadne Oliver! She was an author who kept stumbling into murders and whatnot.

      I still like Poirot, and Marple is good because of the quiet village life teeming with murderous intentions setting. Miss Marple as a character kind of annoyed me though.

      1. Vina*

        I love her. I also love the portrayal of her int he Suchet books.

        For Poirot fans – watch Father Brown. Christie was a fan. She allegedly took the name Hercule from Flambleau.

        1. allathian*

          I like Father Brown. And I agree, the feeling is fairly similar to Poirot. Although to be honest, Father Brown is a much more ordinary kind of person than Poirot. He’s smart but not a genius like Poirot, at least in the show.

          I like Ariadne Oliver! She seems like Christie’s alter ego. I think Agatha Christie was a bit tired of fan and publisher demands for more Poirot books, but couldn’t stop writing them due to demand. I also like Zoë Wanamaker’s performance.

      2. MistOrMister*

        Oh, I adore Ariadne Oliver!! Whemever I write I like to have tea and an apple when I start, in nod to Mrs. Oliver’s bursting apple bag and random apple cores. She is such a fun character.

    5. sswj*

      I much prefer Miss Marple. Poirot is too full of himself. And for some reason I can’t get into the Tommy and Tuppence books.

    6. GoryDetails*

      Miss Marple for me, though I have enjoyed some of the Poirot tales as well. But my favorite Christie stories are the “mysterious Mr. Quin” ones – mystery-with-a-hint-of-magic, usually in the service of lovers (living or dead).

      1. RagingADHD*

        I love Mr. Quin. Though I did read an entire Quin story collection in one sitting once, and it left me very unsettled. Some of those are very dark.

          1. Morticia*

            If you haven’t read them yet, you’re in for a treat. I’m definitely Team Quin. I also loved Parker Pyne.

            1. Observer*

              Parker Pyne is much more light hearted, though. A lot of the Harley Quinn stories are dark.

    7. Detective Rosa Diaz*

      I stan one (1) elderly detective and her name is Jane Marple <3 I don't dislike Poirot, but an elderly single woman solving crimes via her deep knowledge of human nature??? Yes. A thousand times yes.

      1. KaciHall*

        Same here. I love that she doesn’t think she’s all that special, she just pays attention to people! Whereas Poirot is horribly stuck up and generally obnoxious.

    8. Mystery Bookworm*

      I prefer Poirot, but that’s really because I prefer Hastings.

      Captain Hastings and his pechant for auburn hair charmed younger me so much.

      1. Hound Mom*

        I am in the minority as I love Timmy and Tuppence but enjoy Poiroy more than Miss Markle. I really liked the Mr. Quinn. On Kindle there are a couple of early versions of her novels and a book about all of Christie’s notes in her notebooks.

        1. Kate*

          Last year, I took the “Partner in Crime” and looked up all the authors that they had referred at. I think there was one author whose books I didn’t manage to find un Gutenberg, but the rest took me months to dig through. I found a new favourite detective in Thorndyke!

        2. Clisby*

          I like the Tommy & Tuppence books, but not the TV versions. To me, they didn’t capture the humor of T&T.

      2. tangerineRose*

        Hastings’ point of view almost always led me down the wrong path on who to suspect. He seemed like a nice person, but I preferred it when he wasn’t in the books.

        1. pancakes*

          Ha! I don’t have strong feelings about him in the books but I like Hugh Fraser as Hastings on the show a lot.

          1. allathian*

            Me too. Poirot needs a sidekick of some kind to explain his discoveries to so it doesn’t feel like a big infodump on the reader/viewer. If not Hastings, then Battle, Japp or some random character. Although it’s cool when that random character turns out to be the criminal.

            1. pancakes*

              Good point! And now that I think about it, other detectives have similar relationships — if not a sidekick, someone very close to them, like Roderick Alleyn and Agatha Troy or Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane.

              1. allathian*

                Or even Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson. It’s amazing to think that Conan Doyle was still writing Holmes stories when Christie was starting out as an author 100 years ago.

    9. Pharmgirl*

      I haven’t read many of the stories for either, but I loved Geraldine Mcewan’s Miss Marple! The

    10. Karou*

      Marple! I haven’t read many of the Poirot books but I can’t stand Poirot’s arrogance and how he keeps clues to himself—part of the fun of mysteries for me is trying to figure out the culprit along with the sleuth, which I cant really do when he keeps important information from the other characters and therefore the reader as well.

      1. allathian*

        Oh, no, Christie is scrupulously honest with the clues. She tells the reader everything they need to know to basically solve the mystery, just not the conclusions that Poirot draws from the clues until the final resolution. Some other mystery authors are much less honest with this and come in with new information before the end. That feels like cheating to me. I’ve read the books so often that I know who did it when I start reading, and then it’s cool to just watch the pertinent clues popping up one after the other. Of course, she does plant the occasional red herring too, or it wouldn’t be any fun!

    11. Academia blues*

      David Suchet’s Poirot is the only one for me. I still remember the opening music theme.

      I always found Miss Marple to be too scary. She’s tough as nails and her friendly old lady facade doesn’t fool anyone. I would never risk crossing her. Poirot, on the other hand, is funny and harmless.

      1. allathian*

        He’s very good at making that impression, with his pernickety ways and odd mannerisms. But he’s not harmless, as countless criminals have discovered to their cost.

      2. BetsCounts*

        I read an analysis of ‘The Murder of Roger Ackroyd’ that hypothesized that the doctors sister, who has a lot in common with Miss Marple, was actually the murderer and the doctor confessed to safe her.

    12. The Other Nigel*

      In the books, I prefer Miss Marple. I find the written Poirot to be irritating, and not in a good way.

      But I loved David Suchet’s portrayal of Poirot. He was irritating, arrogant, fussy and very intelligent in just the right amount. Prior to that, Poirot had always been played as a bit of a comedic character.

      One more thing (sorry, wrong detective): in the Joan Hickson “Miss Marple” show, there was inevitably a brief shot where Miss Marple would pause, and stare into space. There would be a musical sting. That usually meant that something in the immediately previous scene was the vital clue. In the days before DVRs, this was very annoying :)

      1. allathian*

        I remember this! I like both Geraldine McEwan and Joan Hickson as Miss Marple, and the pauses certainly always gave me pause, too.

    13. Miss Dove*

      Personally, I prefer Christie’s books that aren’t Poirot or Marple. _Passenger to Frankfort_ and _Destination: Unknown_ are two of my favorites. I’m also a big Mr. Quinn fan.

      1. MizPurple*

        I like both Marple and Poirot – Marple a bit more. But there are a few non-mystery books that Christie wrote under the pseudonym Mary Westmacott, and these are really interesting, especially one called Absent in the Spring. I’ve always wanted to see a movie version of that one. It’s kind of like the Barbara Vine pseudonym used by Ruth Rendell (another GREAT and prolific mystery author).

        1. BetsCounts*

          Oh my gosh Absent in the Spring was BRUTAL. Just BRUTAL. It was interesting to read about an unreliable narrator slowly becoming more aware and reliable.

      2. allathian*

        I guess I should read those, too. It’s just that whenever I’m browsing Christie’s books in a bookstore and there’s one I don’t own yet, I’m more likely to buy it if it’s either Poirot or Marple… I haven’t read any of the Mary Westmacott novels yet.

    14. Square Root of Minus One*

      I don’t prefer either. If anything, I actually prefer that they are both here: I find it fascinating that the same author could imagine and depict those two incredibly different and equally successful ways of crime-solving. As far as I know (not super far tbh) the feat hasn’t been reiterated, or not as well.
      Most of my favorite novels involve Poirot, though. Almost all cases where Poirot himself can be led astray during the case, while I absolutely cannot name one case like this with Miss Marple off the top of my head.

      1. Observer*

        I agree that it’s fascinating that she managed to create two such different characters, very completely.

    15. KoiFeeder*

      I could never enjoy Miss Marple, but that may just be because my view of human nature wildly differs from hers. Possibly also because I’m autistic and human behavior is the greatest mystery of all.

      1. allathian*

        That’s an interesting take on it. My biggest gripe with the Marple novels is not that she’s observant of human nature, because in a village where everyone knows everyone else, there’s really no such thing as privacy. It’s is rather the way she draws parallels between people, as if they were machines bound to follow a predestined pattern. That maid reminds her of the other maid who stole her spoons, so she must also be the thief, etc.
        In these days when death has replaced sex as the great unmentionable subject, it feels at times really odd to read about, say, a murder that was committed to prevent someone from spreading the information that someone else had a child without being married. It simply wouldn’t be an issue today, at least not in largely secular circles in the West where virgin brides are an exception rather than the expected norm.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          > It’s is rather the way she draws parallels between people, as if they were machines bound to follow a predestined pattern.

          Oh, I agree! If you could assign people to patterns, I’d be a whole lot better at this whole social interaction thing. I suppose one way to put my view of things is that human beings are animals which are incredibly contrary about the fact that they are animals, so they’re just as likely to do the absurd as they are to do the sensible.

        2. Observer*

          I don’t think that she sees people as machines destined to follow a certain path. What I find interesting is WHY one person reminds her of another person. It’s never about externals but about behavior patterns – and patterns that most people overlook.

          Like why would someone be carrying an umbrella on a sunny day? Who else do I know that did something like that?

    16. RagingADHD*

      I like the two detectives equally, but IMO the Poirot stories have more variety in them of setting, tone, etc. I feel like the Marple stories have a bit more character development in the secondary characters.

      Overall, I’d be hard pressed to choose one over the other!

      If you like Marple, have you read any of the Miss Silver books by Patricia Wentworth? They are a bit formulaic, so I wouldn’t advise bingeing them. But they are charming and have that gentle Marple-y feel.

    17. Chaordic One*

      I’m more of a Miss Marple fan. She seems so down-to-earth and sensible. Like someone you could imagine running into and having as a friend or at least make interesting small talk with. In fact, I’ve run into people who, at least superficially, do seem to be a bit like Jane.

      Poirot always seems a bit pretentious and affected (and it is not because he’s French). It’s his affected dress and the ridiculous facial hair. I can’t imagine running into someone like him or someone like him having a sincere interest in me or someone like me.

      1. allathian*

        Oh, I don’t know. Poirot is simply interested in humans as humans. He talks to servants like the thinking, feeling humans they are, which means he can get information from them, rather than treating them as nonentities (which upper-class people need to do, or they wouldn’t be able to dump their dirty underwear to be washed, by hand, by someone else). That said, he’s also a staunch royalist and accepts as given that the aristocracy are allowed more leeway before the law than the other classes, except in the case of murder.

    18. Koala dreams*

      I have different favourite books depending on where I’m in life. They are good in different ways. As I get older, I also understand more of the humour in Christie’s books, so I have more appreciation for the relationship between Hastings and Poirot, as well as the charming (or not so charming) characters in the Miss Marple books. However, I also find the Miss Marple books more sad. So many tragic things! The tragic things in the Poirot books seem less real, somehow, and easier to smile at.

      I had a period in my twenties where I absolutely adored the Tommy and Tuppence books. Now I’m getting more and more fond of Ariadne Oliver. The animal themed clothes and the apples! Some day I’ll get my own shirt with flamingos on it, or something like that.

    19. RC Rascal*

      I am on Team Poirot. Despite being persnickety, Poirot spends most of his time in interesting places. The locations are always colorful and glamorous, plus he is sartorially inclined and Christie devotes lots of space describing the locales and what he is wearing. It catches my imagination.

      Marple is usually in St Mary Meade, or another similar locale. If she travels, its on a house tour or estate tour. I find it stuffy and generally find her to be annoying. I have a hard time finishing her books.

      I don’t like any of the film versions as much as the books. Suchet does capture Poirot’s fussiness well, I admit. And I like the 1970s Murder on the Orient Express simply because its a smorgasboard of the best stars in Hollywood from that decade.

      1. allathian*

        Have you read The Caribbean Mystery? It’s the only case Miss Marple solves abroad. It’s one of my favorite Marple books. I do have a few issues with Christie’s portrayal of the island natives, but she does a far better job than some of her contemporaries. After all, she was a well-traveled woman of her time. In the 1920s she went on a tour around the world, or rather the British Empire, with her then-husband Archie Christie, and later she traveled a lot in the Middle East with her archeologist husband Sir Max Mallowan.
        I like the fact that she put so much of her life into her own books. During the first world war she worked at a hospital dispensary, and while she had no formal training as a pharmacist, she learned a lot about drugs and poisons and how they affect people. That’s one reason why most of her murders are committed with poison, because she knows poisons. I read somewhere that she could never tell a revolver and an automatic apart, which is why guns didn’t feature much in her books.

    20. Emilitron*

      Miss Marple, because we both love Damson gin. :) And because she was as sharp of a lady as Christie probably felt it was safe to write.

    21. Fellow Traveler*

      I’m a Miss Marple fan, but I think that is mostly because I don’t love first person narratives, and many of the Poirots are recounted by Hastings. Maybe that is a superficial reason?

  7. Mid*

    What are your go-to breakup survival moves? It’s breakup season in my friend group apparently.

      1. Lena Clare*

        Oh brilliant! I thought it meant moves also >.<
        I'd go with eating ice cream, crying, talking it over with friends.
        As for movies, I prefer anything non-romantic. Something cheesy with lots of action in that's easy to watch, like the "fallen" films.

        1. allathian*

          It’s been so long since I last broke up (23 years!) that I can’t really remember what I did. It was a long time coming, though, so I felt relieved rather than sad or depressed.

    1. Traffic_Spiral*

      Pretty much anything non-romantic. Action, comedy, drama – doesn’t matter so long as there’s no smooching.

    2. Mystery Bookworm*

      Personally I’ve always found dry, slightly cynical comedies to be the best for me when I’m not feeling my best (things that are too cheerful tend to make it worse somehow). So stuff like Little Miss Sunshine, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, almost anything directed by Nicole Holofcener or Noah Baumbach.

      I also found the This American Life episode on breakups to be comforting.

    3. Sunflower*

      500 days of Summer ALWAYS. It’s one of my favorite movies in general but I always feel hopeful and reinforces that the relationship was probably not all sunny skies and rainbows.

      I also vote for mindless TV(Old MTV reality seasons, Sex and the city) or series that keep you super enthralled (I watch Alias when I’m looking for something like that).

    4. Generic Name*

      Not a movie, but shortly after my ex husband moved out, I suddenly found myself in charge of the remote with nothing to watch (we always watched what he wanted to watch). I watched the entire series of How I Met Your Mother, which I had never seen before. It had enough of a narrative arc to keep me interested, but not too much of one that it didn’t matter if I was a bit distracted or unfocused sometimes. :)

      1. Johanna ky*

        I love the scene in New Girl where Jess watches Dirty Dancing and later, her roommates sort of sing the song to her at a restaurant.

    5. Morningstar*

      Under the Tuscan Sun? Sad because the main character gets a divorce, but then she goes on an adventure & has a happy ending without necessarily needing to be coupled up.

    6. I love my dog.*

      Not necessarily a “go to” since I only did it once, but during my last bad break up, I got a dog, haha.

      My dog had some behavior problems (sort of like my ex) and it was great to channel my energy into helping him become a Good Boy vs. pining for my ex. When I got back into the dating scene, it was so much easier to walk away from people I wasn’t into/accept when people weren’t into me because I had someone waiting at home who loved me unconditionally.

    7. WoodswomanWrites*

      Walks in nature with the trees, birds, and sunshine have been helpful for me. Then again, I find that to be true in every circumstance.

    8. Please Exit Through The Rear Door*

      Looks like you got a lot of movies when you didn’t want them, Mid. Personally, when I was dumped, I played a lot of heavy metal and other aggressive music, took lots of random drives to clear my head, went to bookstores and just read all day and chilled out (probably not an option now unfortunately), and took up distance running. The latter was the most effective. I’ve been married nearly 10 years now and still do weekend long runs.

    9. Usually Late to the Party*

      Every time i go through a breakup I re-read On Beauty by Zadie Smith.

    10. Zona the Great*

      Tinder and fine healthy sex on dates. Drinking during the day when needed. Cats. Binge watching trash reality shows. Cleaning the house.

    11. Treebeardette*

      I went through that a few years ago. It’s hard honestly. I still dream about my ex friends because I really did love them a lot but it was getting really mentaly unhealthy.
      I took up jogging, I focused on being selfish or self focused. I traveled to Mexico a couple times on cruises and planned trips with my family. In four years I’ve been to Mexico twice, Bahamas, Disney World, Universal Studios, and traveled a lot across country. I loved traveling. I also started a Master’s degree.
      Basically everything I felt a desire to do, even if I was a little afraid, I did. I learned more about myself and took time to find friends that treated people more how I would. I also found some travel buddies. I made a great support network.

    12. LegallyRed*

      When my ex-husband moved out, I tried to embrace things that I couldn’t (or wouldn’t) have done while he was still living with me. One of the big ones was scented candles. Suddenly, I didn’t need to consult someone else before choosing a fragrance — I could get whatever *I* liked. Also, jigsaw puzzles at the dining room table — I could finally leave out the same puzzle for over a week and work on it periodically, since I didn’t care about not eating at the table.

      For TV/movies, I tended to prefer re-watching old favorites so I wasn’t blindsided by any content that might trigger my emotions too acutely. Weeds is my go-to because my life choices will always look better in comparison to Nancy Botwin’s.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        I’ve done this too, after each of my two post-divorce LTRs ended. (When I left my ex-husband, the list of things I couldn’t have done if I was still with him looked a lot like “pretty much anything fun”, so that was easy.) After my last breakup 4.5 years ago, I went to dozens of live music shows in the first year after the breakup, because my ex had a weird combination of hearing issues and near-perfect pitch and who knows what else, which made it impossible for him to listen to basically any music I liked. I spent a year catching up on what I’d missed out on while I was with him.

    13. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      No movies to recommend, but I have a Spotify playlist that I keep around for these situations. I play it on repeat for a few weeks until I feel better.

  8. Teatime is Goodtime*

    Anyone have any good slapstick comedy stories from real life?

    I was sitting in a chair putting pants on my toddler this morning, stood up to pull them up and apparently looked like I was done because my husband moved the chair. I didn’t notice because my toddler was squirming all over the place, and so I sat back down on nothing! I was peeved at the time, but now I think it is funny: the oldest trick in the book! Of course, he didn’t mean to do it, and was quite apologetic. :)

    1. Egg*

      One of my favorites is from when I went to get my first driver’s license a million years ago.

      I chose a seat towards the back of the room, because at 16 I was soooo cool and in class you always tried to sit in the back. When they called my name, I got up and confidently started up the aisle. I then proceeded to somehow catch my foot on the leg of a chair along the aisle. I was unable to extricate myself and made an unholy amount of noise wrestling with this chair. When I finally managed to get free, I resume walking up to the counter….and repeated the entire thing with the very next chair in the line. It is not an exaggeration to say that by the time I FINALLY freed myself and moved to the center of the aisle, everyone in the DMV was staring at me. All I can say is thank the good lord this happened way before smart phones or I would likely be an unwilling internet star!

      1. WellRed*

        Thank you for sharing this, I may come back later and reread so I can experience it all over again (i’m one of those people that likes to watch videos of people falling when they are trying to look cool.

    2. Ismis*

      I think it was my second day at a new job and the organiser of a meeting realised about 10 minutes in that they had forgotten to invite me so rang and asked if I could join. I arrived into a packed meeting room and sidled my way past senior managers to the front where the last chair was blocking the projector screen. I couldn’t drag it out of the way because it was all caught up in cables and when I picked it up, the bottom of the chair fell off!

      A couple of weeks later, one of the managers asked if anyone had some chocolate. When I threw it to him, it bounced off the top of his monitor and hit him in the face.

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      Here’s mine. Once at that place we don’t discuss on weekends (Alison, I hope this is okay for the weekend thread), I went to the kitchen to put a dirty dish in the dishwasher. I rinsed it first, then put my wet hand on the dishwasher door to open it. My fingertip slid into an unseen gap and was completely stuck. I managed to reach the kitchen door with my other hand and hold it open, waiting until someone came into the hallway while my finger started swelling and got more painful. After about 10 minutes, I heard a door open down the hall and shouted that I needed help in the kitchen.

      Somehow it was appropriate that the person who responded was the insurance agent there for a a meeting, only a few weeks after his session on reducing injuries. He went and got the EMT on our staff, who was on a conference call with his headset on. What followed was a sequence of various people looking for tools to take the dishwasher door apart, an appearance by the building maintenance person, someone bringing me tissues because the pain made me get teary-eyed, the EMT saying to whomever he was talking to “Right now I’m taking apart a dishwasher door,” three of us balancing the door so it didn’t hurt me further as I lowered myself to the floor, and eventually the EMT managing to unscrew the entire door off the dishwasher. Then he and the insurance agent pushed apart the offending plastic piece far enough that I was able to pull out my finger.

      I ended up with just a small cut and we all laughed about it. The building maintenance guy had to put the dishwasher back together.

    4. Jemima Bond*

      Years ago I was visiting friends who were having a barbecue in their back garden. I went to go into the house to fetch something and walked straight into the glass patio door (which had been open throughout the even but was now closed). There was a resounding “doink” as forehead met double glazing and the wine in my glass went up in the air (like a fountain, according to one observer) and down onto my head. It even got in my eye but I washed it out by crying with laughter along with everyone else.

      Also once at a party my (silk satin, tie waisted) skirt came loose and fell CLEAN OFF. I mean straight to the floor in an instant. Fortunately I was amongst girlfriends I’d known years. And was wearing a waist slip.

      1. Ismis*

        I walked into a glass door as well once! I was rushing to leave and when I came back, I could see the imprint of my face in the glass. Apparently I realised just before I hit the door because my mouth was in the shape of an o.

      2. LPUK*

        I wasn’t quite so lucky! Once a wore a lightweight circular skirt that only fastened with one button out to dinner and after the meal, feeling constricted, undid the button while we continued to sit there. Unfortunately I forgot to do it back up when I left… made it out of the restaurant but once on the street, the skirt drifted down to fall around my ankles on the pavement. NO slip and suspenders! ( garters in America). Grateful it was dark outside.

        And my poor mother… we went out to posh dinner and waiter took us to a table alongside a business dinner – about 12 men. Waiter went to help her off with her jacket, so she turned her back to him, facing the men, and as he pulled off her tight-fitting jacket, the front buttons on the shirtwaist dress came undone, and he pulled the top of her dress down to her waist, along with the jacket… leaving her in a half-cup bra in from of all those men!! Good thing no one can actually die of embarrassment.

      3. MistOrMister*

        Ah, yes! The glass! I walked into a glass wall in a Macy’s once. Been to that mall a thousand times, but i must have got turned around or been in a hurry and next thing I know, THUD!! Of course the couple of teenagers walking by had a hearty laugh at that, as well they should have. Fun times.

      4. willow for now*

        I walked into the glass door on my way out of the divorce lawyer’s office, and I just started crying uncontrollably as I continued out to my car.

      5. AVP*

        Oh no – I did the door thing at a very fancy hotel brunch in front of a bunch of coworkers – it was way too early in the morning for me to be trusted with a plate of food and pristine glass.

    5. Jean (just Jean)*

      I stood up in a dimly lit restaurant to go to the bathroom, mistook a floor-to-ceiling mirror for a hallway entrance, and waited politely for my oncoming reflection to walk past me. Fatigue was involved, but no alcohol.

      1. lasslisa*

        Oh, there’s a restaurant near me that has a thin strip of mirror on the wall between the two single-person bathrooms, and it’s positioned in a corner such that I ALWAYS walk in and do a double-take because it looks like a gap connecting the two bathrooms. Other friends have commented on it when we go there together, so it’s not just me.

    6. GoryDetails*

      I’ve had my share of pratfalls, but the one that would probably be funniest if captured on video happened when I was in my early teens. In winter, I’d leave my next-day’s school clothes on the radiator so they’d be warm in the morning (a nice feature of forced-hot-water radiators). One chilly morning I went to pull on my knee socks and something jumped inside one! I ripped it off and threw it across the room, hopping on the other foot in the process, and imagining some heat-seeking spider had sheltered inside. When I got up my nerve to retrieve the sock and try to shake out the invader, I found…

      …a penny. Must have got in there via the washing machine, and “hopped” due to the action of the stretchy sock being pulled up over my foot. (But I was careful to check my socks for stray contents for quite a while after that!)

      1. knead me seymour*

        I had the inverse of this situation happen to me, when I was living in Italy in an area where they air-dry all clothes, in all seasons. Partway through the morning I felt something weird in my sock and thought it might be lint or something. I took my sock off and a very confused wasp flew out and went about its business.

    7. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I was trying out a human sized hamster wheel type contraption at a museum (actually a replica of some early industrial machinery). The belt to regulate how fast it turned must have been broken because on my first step my feet went out from under me and I landed on my forehead and knee. My Dad was with me and somehow thought I did it on purpose to be funny and was laughing at me. I had a bruise on my forehead and a huge knot on my knee that lasted for months.

    8. Ellen*

      A long, long time ago, I was visiting a local hospital for military personnel (mostly retired) to drop off my boyfriend at the time, who had psychological challenges. The room where I saw him off from was glassed in on three sides. I waved him into the office visit, turned around and walked directly into a wall. I backed up, renegotiated, and walked into the wall on the other side of the door. I was completely prepared to give it another go, but the receptionist (and probably nurse) at the desk made me lay down on a couch “for a moment”. Being fairly passive and young and slightly dazed, I obeyed. Over the next 20 minutes or so, what has to have been every doctor in the place came in, looked at me for several moments, shook their head at the lady at the desk, and left. My boyfriend later told me that evidently “a patient had gotten disoriented and lost, hurt herself walking into a wall, and they couldn’t figure out who her doctor was or even which ward she belonged in” and that was why his appointment took a lot longer than it should have. They did eventually let me go, in the care of my boyfriend (which was a bit of a change for us, as I tended to be regarded as the responsible one).

    9. James*

      A friend and I were walking to class one day in college. We went to college near the Great Lakes, so lake-effect snow was a major issue–I started wearing a beard because I had a mile walk to class every day and there was a real risk of frostbite. Anyway, we got to a point where there was slick ice and, in unison, our right feet flew out in front of us and we landed on our butts. It was like something out of a 3 Stooges or Abbot and Costello bit; it could not have been choreographed better. I couldn’t help but laugh, it was just so absurd. I still get a chuckle out of it.

      Child-rearing has its share of these as well. We went to visit my parents, and my daughter ran up to my father to give him a great big hug. Unfortunately her head was exactly the wrong height and…well, let’s just say it’s a good thing my parents can’t have any more kids!

    10. Stephanie*

      I was on a weekend retreat with my church youth group, a million years ago. It was in February, and we were staying at a camp-type place. There was quite a bit of snow, and the camp had a toboggan/sledding hill. The guys all decided to go down the hill standing on the sleds. surf-style. I was standing at the bottom, watching, but the sun was in my eyes. One of the sled-surfers came flying down and fell off his sled. The sled kept going, in my direction, and it literally knocked my off of my feet. I fell face first into the snow. It happened so fast that I didn’t even have time to put my hands out to catch myself. Everyone thought I was horribly hurt because I stayed down for a beat, but I was fine. When they pulled me to my feet, I was laughing hysterically. I kind of wish I had seen it happen, because it must have been quite a sight.

    11. MRK*

      Happened to my mother but it always leaves me in stitches, especially because my mom is a polite cheery little 60 year old:
      Mom works in a grocery store. An older man comes up to her from the bread aisle looking confused and asking for help finding an item. My mom follows him and they arrive at the jelly/jam section where he’s struggling to find the brand his wife wants. Finally my mom asks to see the shopping list…

      And then ever so politely has to escort him to the health and beauty aisle where they keep the KY jelly

    12. WellRed*

      I just remembered, I have several but all on this variation. In my 20s, worked for a print shop and often did picks up and deliveries. Our little shop was on a corner, big glass windows with parking lot up behind it. I came back with a box containing paper or something and, as I was rounding the corner, the hook on one hiking boot caught on the hook on the other and I went down (I was also on the downward of an incline so I *really* went down), the box and its contents went up in the air. I looked up from my sprawl /face plant to see, the horrified looks through the window of my boss AND the customer he was helping.

      1. FoxyDog*

        I have a similar story, with opposite footwear. I was wearing sandals, and on my way back to my desk the edge of one toe got stuck under the plastic mat that was under my rolling desk chair.

        I tripped, flailed, and did what was probably a hilarious cartoon dance trying not to faceplant straight into the edge my desk.

        The little spikes on the underside of the mat cut my foot up pretty bad, but I managed to avoid breaking my nose or knocking out any teeth at least.

    13. Seal*

      When I was a kid my grandmother would occasionally wear a wig. Not sure why; the wig was more or less the same color as her hair, which she still had. At any rate, my family was hosting a birthday party for my father and my uncle, whose birthdays were within a week of each other’s, and grandmother was there. At the end of the night, I went over to give her a hug goodbye. As I threw my arms around her with a 10-year-old’s enthusiasm, I accidentally snagged her wig and yanked it completely off her head, much to the amusement of our extended family. Grandma laughed as well, but I believe she stopped wearing wigs shortly thereafter, at least to family gatherings.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I think that was a thing back in the day; my mum had one too, exactly like her own hair. It wasn’t a sheitel because we’re not Jewish.

    14. Buni*

      I walked in to teach my class once and one of the chairs – those cheap plastic stacking ones with the metal legs – was at the front of the class. I asked why, and it turned out one of the metal legs had corroded through and snapped clean off; apparently one of the kids in the class before had sat down and of course the 3-legged chair had tipped him out. As kids were occasionally coming up and down I picked up the chair leg and stood in front of the chair to ensure no one else tried. I began using the chair leg to gesticulate, to point at kids and the board, to wave around as I spoke.

      I was still holding it 15 minutes later when I stopped speaking, finished with a flourish, and sat down in the nearest chair…

    15. Kathenus*

      This is when to was a little kid, probably about 7. Our pet rabbit had escaped from the patio so my brothers and I and other neighborhood kids were looking for him.

      Someone spotted him and we were all running to that location. Someone called me from behind and I turned my head to look at them, still running, and ran into a telephone pole.

    16. Chaordic One*

      When I was a kid, for some reason, my sisters and my friends were running up onto the picnic table in our back yard and then jumping off while striking ridiculous poses for the fraction of a second when we were in the air. We were kind of using the table like a ramp. The poses were like posing as an Iwo Jima solidier, the Statue of Liberty, or like an Egyptian from a mural in a pyramid.

      So my sister says, “This is how a professional dumb dumb jumps,” and then she runs up onto the picnic table, jumps off, strikes a silly pose and then lands on the grass. Upon landing she hollered, “Oh, oh, I bit my tongue, I bit my tongue.” We all thought it was part of the act at first, and everyone laughed heartily.

      But she really did bite her tongue. She bit a hole in it, it hurt and it bled profusely. Our mother had to take her to the hospital emergency room and they put two stitches in her tongue to close the hole. Still, for those few moments before we knew it was real, it was hysterically funny.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve told this before, I think, but this happened shortly after I met my ex but before we actually started dating (we met on the job—he worked in a factory and I in the cafeteria inside the factory, for a different company). He had come back into the cafeteria from the lunchroom, apparently to spend a bit of time seeing me before his lunch break ended.

      So my supervisor was standing there too, and the three of us were just chatting (ex and I were flirting a bit). I said something like, “Wow, I’m tired,” and proceeded to arch my back in a stretch. Only I leaned back too far and completely fell over —SPLAT— right on the floor.

      I wasn’t hurt and we all laughed, but it was mega embarrassing. We were together for nearly five years and every once in a while, he’d bring it up randomly and laugh like a loon.

    18. FionasHuman*

      CW: blood

      One morning years ago, alone in the apartment I realized I’d waiting way too long for breakfast and my blood sugar level was hovering somewhere around my right little toenail. I had just enough executive function to decide on a piece of toast with peanut butter.

      The bread was in the freezer. I grabbed a knife to separate two slices, and promptly sliced one of my fingers open.

      Then I looked at the bleeding finger and started going into shock. So, while counting 1-10 forwards and backwards in French to counter the shock, I tossed the separated piece of bread in the toaster, rushed to the bathroom, rinsed and wrapped the finger in a clean washcloth and then put the hand on top of my head to help slow/stop the bleeding.

      Back in the kitchen, the toaster pinged — and so, back to the kitchen, slap some peanut butter on the toast with my shaking available hand, and there I stood, with one hand upside down on my head, eating peanut butter toast while counting 1-10 in French.

      The finger was fine, btw, the cut just hit a capillary or two. And when my blood sugar came back up it was easier for me to wash and dress it properly.

      1. Oh Behave!*

        You should watch the episode of Frasier, Three Valentines. Niles cut his finger and hilarity ensues.

    19. knead me seymour*

      I’m not sure if my description can live up to the real event, but once my dog ran straight into a chain link fence at full speed, not realizing it was there. He bounced back in a giant, magnificent arc. It was poetry in motion. I only wish I had video evidence. (He was fine.)

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        My entire family laughed out loud at this one! (My son wanted me to read it after I laughed out loud randomly).

      2. Buni*

        My brain is providing…just the BEST sound affects for every action in this sequence…

    20. Ann Furthermore*

      For my daughter’s birthday party last year, we did bowling. The morning of the big event, I took her to the party store to order balloons. We ended up with 2 good sized bunches.

      She had a basketball game before the party, so after it was over I told my husband to take her over to the bowling alley, and I’d pick up the balloons and meet them there.

      I picked up the order and headed to my car. It was REALLY windy outside so they were blowing all over the place. I was trying to figure out how to get them into my car. I have a Nissan Murano. I tried putting them in the passenger seat, but they wouldn’t fit. I tried putting them in the back seat, but again they wouldn’t fit. I opened the back, but they wouldn’t go all the way in because the back seat was in the way. All the while, they were blowing violently around in the wind and I was having a hard time corralling them.

      I’ve only put the back seat down a couple of times, so I couldn’t remember how to do it. I put the balloons down on the ground (each bunch was tied onto one of those balloon weight things) and was trying to figure out how to get the back seat lowered.

      The next thing I know, the wind has picked them up and started carrying them across the parking lot. I just stood there in disbelief watching them.

      Thankfully, some very kind stranger saw it happen and ran and chased them down for me. I finally figured out how to lower the back seat and at last was able to get them all in.

      And of course I had a bunch of texts from my husband asking me what was taking so long.

      I spent the next couple weeks hoping that whole fiasco wouldn’t become a viral video. I’m sure anyone who might have been watching found it pretty hilarious.

    21. Just us chickens*

      Once upon a time, we were in HK at a fairly nice restaurant. This was summertime, so we’re all dressed in shorts and t-shirts. The restaurant was fairly dimly lit for ambience and we’re sitting there having a nice meal. I felt something on my leg, kind of like the tablecloth brushing against it, so I swiped at it and that was fine. Until I felt it again. This time I looked down and there was a cockroach crawling up my leg.

      I jumped up and screamed while trying to get it off my leg. Needless to say, my screaming caused a few heads to turn in my direction. I didn’t care though, as long as that thing was off me, I didn’t care who saw.

      I’m sure the restaurants in HK are much better now.

    22. Devil Girl from Mars*

      A cute guy working at a record store told me he liked my hair and I immediately freaked out and tried to leave and ended up walking smack dab into a glass door.

  9. Frapperia*

    I’m getting a kitten in about… An hour or two? I caved after 12 weeks of not touching another person with no idea when I might ever again… I have done my homework but any top tips?

    1. Lizzie*

      Fantastic! If you have a piece of sheepskin or a woolly scarf that your kitten can knead or suck or snuggle into, that will help them settle. Sometimes I have bought ‘Baby’ (washable) sheepskins for kittens or adult cats, but even a small piece will please a kitten. Maybe you have an old knitted or fur lined hat? A furry collar on an old coat or jacket? Fake fur will do but sheepskin seems to really hit the spot.
      And a word to the wise – a dear little kitten that likes to ride on your shoulder will one day be a 3kg cat that still likes the same spot!

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        Towels are good too! And things that smell of you, once you’ve bonded.

        Our cat hated car rides (eg to the vet) until my husband put a towel I’d been using in the cat carrier. Now he just goes to sleep on that instead of complaining increasingly loudly throughout the journey.

      2. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        Oh and it’s true about the shoulders, but oh well! My cat is nearly eight and still likes me to carry him on my shoulder like a baby!

    2. TechWorker*

      Yay! We got two last weekend :)
      Check them for fleas (!) hopefully yours has been treated but ours clearly wasn’t and we would have been much more careful if we’d known. (I spent half this week hoovering everything and spraying the whole house).

      Practically this means using washable bedding, restricting them to one room for a bit (good practice anyway so they don’t get scared), checking their bedding for anything that looks like eggs/flea poo (little black/white bits respectively) and combing them to see if you find any flea poo or live fleas in their coat. The latter was easiest to do when they were really sleepy cos then they happily sat and got combed for a while. Live fleas are pretty gross and also surprisingly difficult to kill so make sure you have a cup of soapy water near by to drown them in.

      Good Luck! Enjoy the cuddles :)

      1. TechWorker*

        Oh also – kittens I think are less good at cleaning themselves than older cats. We’ve been trying out different types of litter and found that the one that’s really sandy, although they like it, they’re more likely to track it around the room, sometimes after stepping in their own poo first >.<

        Hopefully yours will be more coordinated (and it’s probably worse with two, usually one of them goes then the other decides they want to get in on the action and the first one moves around and stands in their poo…) but worth watching out for it if you don’t want poo everywhere :p

      2. tangerineRose*

        Watch out for a lot of ear itching – that can mean ear mites. It’s a good idea to get your kitty checked out by a vet not long after you get the kitty.

        1. TechWorker*

          (Yep we would have done this normally but our vets is open only for emergencies cos lockdown…)

      3. nonegiven*

        Also when they are too small for the flea treatments, you can wash them in Dawn and it will kill the fleas. You have to make a ring of it around their neck first because every flea on them will head for their face as soon as you start. Be careful not to get it in their eyes and rub them dry with a towel and hold them close to keep them warm.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      Get a second kitten. Seriously. Depending on the temperament and energy level of the kitten, it may need lots of interaction and playtime from you. If you’re not able to keep up with that, you may end up with a kitten who’s destructive, bored, etc. With two kittens, they’ll entertain each other.

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        I do wish people wouldn’t routinely give this tip, as cats are actually solitary animals who happily live alone with humans and don’t necessarily want to share their territory.

        1. LPUK*

          Also you then need to double up on everything else – baskets, places to hide off the floor etc so they have their own territory and the recommendation is that you should have one more littertrya than you have cats, so that’s three to clean out every day!

          1. tangerineRose*

            It does mean more litter boxes to have 2, but 1 kitten by itself is bouncing off the walls. 2 kittens together are usually playing together. A kitten has incredible energy – it’s nice to have 2 so they can wear each other out. I’ve got 3 adult cats, and they get along. Some cats like having other kitties around.

        2. sswj*

          No, +some+ cats do not do well in groups, but most domestic cats are pretty social. Look at the feral cat populations and anyone with many multiples of cats. My 4 barn cats are pretty well inseparable, and my 11 house cats don’t all love each other all the time, but they definitely seek out their friends for nap time and play time. My guys aren’t kittens any more either, all are adult and several are well into their teens.

          Getting a 2nd kitten can be a help if you have somewhat limited free time because they can entertain each other, and socialize each other too.

          1. Four-legged fosterer*

            Completely agreed. Tigers are singles but lions and many other large cats are grouped.

            For domestics, in my decades of experience I have seen that they do seek out cat company when possible. Outdoor cats are in colonies. Two cats in a home are often friends, and typically cats who don’t get along with others were separated at a young age and don’t communicate well with their own kind.

            Our rescue requires that young kittens have a buddy, either they are adopted in pairs or to a home that has a friendly cat or dog. Kittens want to play at 2am, and humans do not! If someone wants a single kitten then they can adopt from another rescue or get a slightly older kitten. We get updates and photos from adopters, and their kittens are always snuggled together or with their older sibling.

            I don’t push people to adopt two kittens, but want to push back on Pie’s statement about them being solitary. I would be interested in their experience. Is it based on thousands of cats? (I have fostered hundreds and so have others in the rescues I support)

            1. TechWorker*

              Can I jump in here and ask in your experience how much we should worry about our two kittens play fighting? I’m trying to watch them for signs of whether they’re actually scared (eg that the instigator is not always the same one, body language etc) but they’ve not quite learnt to put their claws away yet and I do worry a bit when one is kicking the other repeatedly in the face! (Especially since one already had a bit of a dodgy eye and is on eye drops for it). What’s your bar for separating them/distracting them vs leaving them be? Obviously aware they probably fight at night when we’re not watching them too :p

              1. Four-legged Fosterer*

                It sounds like you know exactly what to look for. Is it always the same instigator? How is their body language? Also, is one a lot bigger or older than the other?

                Kittens ‘yelp’ (high-pitched “Hey! That hurts!”, same as puppies) when they are injured. In addition to your other signs, I would listen for those sounds, and see if one kitten is making them often. Once or twice in play is normal, although the idea is that they should do it less often as they age because they learn their limits. If they aren’t yelping or squeaking then there is a good chance that they are both enjoying the activity. Although watch when they make the noises as I have had screamers (usually runts) who aren’t at all injured but make the noise as “I am a princess who will instigate play but two minutes later I have had enough thanks”. In those cases the kittens are learning the right lessons, as they stop when there is a yelp, but the yelping is extra loud and frequent and I know the little one isn’t actually hurt. I have had pairs of kittens who are simultaneously and often kicking each other in the head… which is a reminder that little kittens are surprisingly physically resilient (although we lose so many to disease, but that’s a different problem). It is possible that they are being too rough but aren’t making the noises, in which case they wouldn’t be regulating themselves well because they don’t have the right feedback, but that is unlikely.

                I don’t know if this helps, but I also trim the tips of their nails when they are quite little. I do it so that they can be cuddled by humans without scratching me, as their tiny nails are super sharp and easily break skin, and it also helps them get used to nail trims, but it also makes them less lethal to each other.

                If they are very fond of kicking each other then you might try getting ‘kick stick’ / ‘kicker toy’, typically sold at pet stores, so they can maybe redirect away from each other, but chances are good that this is a popular game with them and they prefer to do it to each other.

                Hopefully that helps. Body language is one of those things that is much easier to sort out in person, unfortunately! But at the least I can confirm for you that very physical play and kicking each other in the head is not unusual… !

                1. TechWorker*

                  Thank you all super helpful :) they are from the same litter, one is slightly bigger than the other but the smaller one is a better jumper and I reckon the aggressor slightly more of the time :p

                  They miaow when they want food but play is pretty silent so I don’t think they’re in pain. Will talk to my partner about trimming their nails :) thanks again!

            2. The Other Dawn*

              “Our rescue requires that young kittens have a buddy, either they are adopted in pairs or to a home that has a friendly cat or dog.”

              Same here. Our rescue does the same thing. Kittens go in pairs, unless it’s clear it wants to be an only cat. If someone only wants one then we require there be another young cat or a friendly dog.

              1. Generic Name*

                That’s so funny because when I last got kittens, I wanted to get 2 at the same time and the rescue wouldn’t let me. They said that 2 kittens tended to bond with each other rather than with their people. So I went back a week later and got a second kitten.

                1. Four-legged fosterer*

                  This is true of puppies, although it’s still rare. Littermate Syndrome. But if kittens are well socialized before 8 weeks then not a problem that I have encountered. If a foster cat or kittens are more skittish / undersocialized then we try to pair them with a friendly.

          2. The Other Dawn*

            Yes, thank you. I volunteer with a cat rescue and we typically adopt kittens out in pairs so they have another kitten to play and socialize with. Sure, some kittens and cats prefer to be the only cat, but it’s not universal.

            If the OP doesn’t want a second kitten or can’t afford it or whatever, then OP shouldn’t get another kitten.

        3. Black Horse Dancing*

          Lemon, that’s not necessarily true. The most recent information is cats may have descended from a small wildcat that lived in family groups. It is true that cats can be happy as solitary pets but it is best they have a companion much of the time.

        4. No Tribble At All*

          I think there are some grown-up cats that are better as single cats, but kittens are pretty rambunctious and learn how to playfight better from another kitten. If they get too rough, the other kitty will smack them just the right amount. Humans can’t discipline well that way.

      2. Blarg*

        I’m a big fan of two cats. I had one cat, with an ex. And we broke up and I was working multiple jobs and was rarely home, living in a shoebox studio. I’d get home and my cat would drive me bonkers cause she was bored and I was exhausted. So I got her a kitten, and it was amazing. She molded him in her image. They got along great for 16 years until the “kitten” died last year. Now it’s just the two of us again. Losing him was awful but so glad he was here with us.

      3. Paulina*

        I adopted my girl as a single kitten, and for the first month I would tease her into a lot of play every evening. Exhausted her out so she (mostly) let me sleep nights, and set a good pattern. Plus I only have one cat to keep track of, and she doesn’t have competition for my lap. Nothing against having multiple cats if that’s what you want, but if you want one only then the early rambunctious stage can be managed with a solo.

    4. Anne Kaffeekanne*

      Train them to come at a signal – for ours it’s using the clicker. So you use the clicker, give them a treat, repeat again and again until they come running when they hear the clicker. We’ve had outdoor cats and indoor cats and various stages in between and being able to call them to us in an emergency has always been extremely useful.

      Have fun with your kitten!! Our baby cat is 9 months already and firmly in bratty teenager mode.

      1. sswj*

        Oh yes! I do the canned food dinnerbell – tap the can (or a metal bowl, something resonating) with the spoon just before I dish out the yummy stuff. They very quickly learn to come a runnin’, and it has definitely helped me get an escapee back into my hands and into the house.

        1. Mid*

          The downside is my cat sometimes makes a run for it in an attempt to make me give her the Good Stuff xD

    5. Daily reader, rare commenter*

      Enjoy your furbaby! I rescued one just a few hours ago. Saw something from afar that looked like crumpled paper or plastic, and when I got closer, the car ahead veered slightly and drove on and right there in front of me was this wee bundle of fur. I slammed on the brakes, hopped out and grabbed the terrified little thing, put it in the car and drove home about 10km away. Along the way, it managed to find a crevice below the glove compartment and crawled inside to hide. Once home, I tried to coax it out but couldn’t see where it was, just heard a lot of hissing. So then I had to head out to the mechanic. They pulled out the entire glove compartment and found it huddled at the furthest corner. I managed to pull it out and put it into a carrier. It’s now in the spare room, still huddled inside the carrier. Won’t eat or drink, just a lot of hissing. Poor thing’s lost at least half of its nine lives.

      1. Book Lover*

        Oh poor thing. I hope you will update as time goes by. I imagine it may just need some quiet time to figure out it is safe, with a litter box and food and water close by.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Begin as you mean to go on – don’t let it do things now that you don’t want it doing as an adult. “Aw look at froshus little tiger nommin on my toes isn’t that adorable” doesn’t stay adorable :) if you want a collar on, start early and get a cat specific one with a breakaway.

      If you have the space, leave its carrier out so it gets accustomed to it – if the only time the carrier comes out is for vet trips, kitty becomes a thousand times harder to wrangle in an emergency evacuation scenario, god forbid.

      Watch out for cords – if fluffy likes to chew, you can get bitter apple spray as a deterrent. I had a kitten take a huge shock from a cord once, spent four days at the emergency vet, and still had mild seizures as a result until she passed at 16 (for unrelated reasons). Also, don’t let kitty play with string – it can cause major health issues if they swallow it.

      Enjoy your fuzzball!!

      1. DarthVelma*

        Seconding the warnings about electric cords and string…and adding hair ties. My cat is obsessed with hair ties. Like string, they can really do a number on cats if they eat them.

      2. Damn it, Hardison!*

        Putting Vick’s Vapor Rub (or some similar mentholatum product) on cord works too. Fortunately my cat only chewed through a printer cord. You can also buy toys specifically for chewing. My young cats really liked them.

      3. Wired Wolf*

        A friend has a cat who loves the taste of the apple spray…just a heads-up that there are cats out there weirder than most who may take a shine to the stuff.

    7. Lemon Meringue Pie*

      A few random tips:

      Cats won’t drink water if it’s right beside their food. Put them in different spots.

      Cats don’t like closed doors. Just an FYI. We shut ours out of the bathroom and as a result he is obsessed with trying to follow people in.

      Continue the same food they’ve been having, if you can.

      1. Vina*

        My cat’s won’t drink water unless it’s next to their food. Then again, they are both weirdos.

        1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

          Ha – I stand corrected.

          My own weirdo cat is obsessed with sitting in the kitchen sink.

          1. Vina*

            My little black cranky girl wants to always drink my bath water. Just my bath water. No other standing water. And not the husband’s bath water.

          2. Rebecca*

            My cats have perfectly good fresh water, twice a day, in a dual dish so one can drink from each side…and they pester me first thing in the morning for water from the bathroom sink. When I get up in the morning, I go to the bathroom and there they are – well, let’s get moving, that nice cold running water isn’t going to start itself!

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Ours mostly do okay with closed doors – my rule from the get-go was no cats in my bedroom or the guest bedroom, so as long as people just open the door and go through and close it, rather than standing around holding the door temptingly open while they dawdle, it works out okay. My husband’s one-eyed wonder loves to run into closets though. (So the dog has taken to guarding the coat closet when he gets home from work to chase the cat away from it. If the cat does get shut into the closet, we’ll know about it because the dog will yell at the closet. In my head, she’s yelling something like “I TOLD YOU TO STOP GOING IN THERE, YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THERE AND NOW YOU’RE STUCK.”)

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        If the cat is in the bathroom, it can leap dramatically onto your shoulders after the shower and ride to the closet, where it can transfer and yell at the towels stored on the top shelf for a while.

      4. Wired Wolf*

        We just had to accept that there was no such thing as a closed bathroom door for longer than 30 seconds…our oldest cat (had him for 23 awesome years) was polydactyl and figured out quite quickly how to open an unlatched interior door. He hated getting a bath but loved sitting in the sink and tub…

    8. A.N. O'Nyme*

      This isn’t really an immediate thing, but keep an eye on where your kitten likes to scratch. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally rather than vertically (we have two cats, and they both prefer to scratch differently). Once you’ve noticed which way they prefer you can get scratching posts accordingly, although I should add my mainly-horizontal scratching cat will sometimes scratch vertically as well.

    9. sswj*

      My tip is to handle him/her A LOT. Get her used to having her feet and toes played with, to having nails trimmed (which is easy and saves a lot of damage to you and your belongings :p ). When she wriggles to be put down, hold on for a bit longer and put her down when she relaxes just a bit. She needs to learn that sometimes she has to put up with stuff being done, and that’s a MUCH easier lesson to teach when they’re just a handful of fuzz! Also, get her used to you opening her mouth, playing with her lips and putting your fingers in her mouth. At some point you’ll have to give meds and again, this is a lesson that is much easier to teach when they’re little. Trimmed claws are a big help to you in this too.

      My basic rule is that they get to do pretty much whatever they want all day every day, so they can put up with me for 5 min here and there. I want them to learn that if they just do the feline version of sigh, roll their eyes and wait it out, the pesky human will get bored and go away. Learning patience and to handle frustration is good for all creatures!

      1. tangerineRose*

        You also may want to give the kitty a treat right after doing this kind of thing.

    10. Jaid*

      Watch the Kitten Lady on YouTube!

      Start manipulating the toes early so they’re used to it and you can clip their nails.

    11. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      If you give them lots of belly rubs when they are little, they will grow up to still love belly rubs. Has worked great for us 6 out of 6 cats. 2 of them didn’t love belly rubs when we first got them, but they do now. And when my cats curls on her back into that critical cuteness overload position, the “it’s a trap” one, I get to pet the fluffiness.

      1. Oldbiddy*

        My long haired cats have hated belly rubs, but the short haired ones love them. I cant remember if I stopped trying early on with the long haired ones, though.

    12. Aphrodite*

      So many good comments here. In addition to making sure you put ribbons, string, cords away, take extra precautions around dental floss. Be aware that kittens can get into very, very, very tiny spaces, spaces you can’t begin to imagine they could. Or lower than you think. Ideally, a second cat is an excellent idea, and I say cat. A cat will teach a kitten good cat manners.

      Lots of great information can be found at TinyKittens, a Canadian rescue organization of feral cats and kittens. Right now, Shelly has Feral Maternity Wards, each room has two mothers who have given birth, one has an older kitten as well, and all the families live very happily together. Since TK’s mission is to educate they have a lot of information on their site that will be invaluable to you.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Try to avoid the use of tinsel during Christmas. Cats will sometimes swallow it, which can kill them.

        Chocolate, onions, garlic, grapes, and raisins are toxic to kitties. Some cats don’t deal well with dairy, especially milk and yogurt

        1. Anne Kaffeekanne*

          Oooh also speaking of Christmas – if you celebrate it and put up a tree and your kitty is a climber, make sure that tree is standing rock solid and preferably attached to something even more rock solid. Yes, we learned this the hard way.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Or get a fake tree that’s lightweight and won’t be a problem if (when) it falls over.

            1. Aphrodite*

              Fake is better (not flocked) but if you get a real one make absolutely sure the cat cannot get to the water. Lot trees are often grown with manmade chemicals and those leach into the water. (Also, keep toilet lid closed at all times!) The ASPCA has a list of safe and toxic plants for animals. Easter lilies are deadly (all lillies are) and poinsettias are not good either. Boston ferns are fine and my one cat makes it her mission to ensure the house is free of them, or at least that their fronds are minimized.

    13. FionasHuman*

      For litter training: it’s probably too late for you to ask for a bit of your new kitten’s poop in a plastic bag to bring home, but if you notice kitten poop somewhere else, take the poop and put it in the litter box. Then scrub the area where the mistake happened with some Nature’s Miracle or another odor remover — and promptly do the same with any other mistakes until the issue goes away (if it even occurs in the first place).

      Cats/kittens (at least the ones I’ve raised) seem to instinctively want to relieve themselves in an area where they have done so before.

  10. WoodswomanWrites, need advice on rats getting into compost*

    I know there are a lot of gardeners here. I’ve had an old Smith and Hawken compost bin in my yard for more than a decade. Buried in the ground with a mesh lining, it never had rodents get into it. Its purpose is diverting food scraps from the landfill and it’s not used for anything else.

    When erosion caused it to slope so the lid didn’t fit anymore, someone I know volunteered to level it again because I physically can’t do that work myself. Alas, they didn’t understand how to make it animal-proof like it had been all those years. A rat and I came face to face once so I know the culprit. When I let my helper know, they came back twice to fix it, and no dice.

    I’ve blocked up the holes the rat dug with rocks and thought that would work, but now the rat is chewing directly into the plastic. I stuffed them with steel wool which I’ve used in the past for mice who didn’t like chewing on the metal, and piled rocks around them, but the rocks were too small and the rat just moved them out of the way along with the steel wool.

    Would bricks around the outside base take care of this, or do you have other suggestions? Or do I need to get a new bin and have someone build it right this time with the appropriate metal mesh at buried at the base?

    1. Jack be Nimble*

      I haven’t composted, so I’m coming at this more from a rat-knowledge perspective, rather than a compost knowledge perspective: rats are extremely smart and very social — there’s probably more than one, and they’re probably working together now that they know there’s a source of food for them in your compost bin. I think it’d take some really serious rat-proofing to make sure that they couldn’t get back into any replacement bin placed in the same spot. If replacing the entire in-ground bin is one of the options on the table, I’d consider relocating it, if at all possible, or potentially looking into another type of composter entirely :(

      1. MistOrMister*

        I agree, once the rats know a food source exists, good luck keeping then out. They can gnaw through just about anything!

        I currently have one of those tumbling composters. It’s raised uo on metal legs and so far nothing has gotten into it besides some sort of small flying insects. Not sure if that might be an option. But, if you’re using the composter as a sort of trash heap and not to produce compost, that might not be something you want to do.

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          Rats are smart and persistent critters for sure, definitely more challenging than the mice I successfully dealt with in the past.

    2. Me*

      I’d consider redoing the base. I’d also go with some 12” square pavers as the base and then top that with hardware cloth. Heck, I might even mortar between the pavers. Or I might frame an appropriate sized square and pour concrete as a base.

      The worms would prefer soil at the base of the composter but you would prefer to not have rats. You should be able to harvest enough of the worms before putting a new base down to keep the new pile happy. I’d save some of the composted material and worms before starting the work.

      (We used to have mice in our master bedroom walls because the room was built out past the original foundation. After *15* YEARS of hearing mice scramble up the walls in the middle of the night, we finally addressed part of the issue by extending the foundation. The rest of the issue was taken care of by ripping out the walls and ceiling of the bedroom. When rebuilding it, I went absolutely nuts with hardware cloth and spray foam in the base of every.single bay. I think I used like 6 cases of spray foam. Nothing is crawling up those walls. I *hate* rodents.

      Also, I lost my very best mouser of a cat this week. It’s going to be hard to not replace him.)

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Yikes, that sounds terrible. I’m glad you made it through all that. And sorry to hear about your cat.

    3. Mimosa Jones*

      If you have the space, you could also consider not composting there for a while until the rats move on. Maybe add to a friend’s pile or something. I’m storing my compost in our chest freezer and making more frequent trips to the dump because our neighbor has rats.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I hope I don’t have to take that step but it makes sense that it might be necessary.

    4. Not So NewReader*

      I live in a rural area with lots of farms. And we get rats. I have a compost pile that I use and I think it annoys some people. But it’s open and I only use the compost for non-food plants. I have also caught deer peeing on it.

      Not trying to be scary but if they are in the compost, they also can be in your house (walls). This could be a a problem greater than rats in the compost. Please take care here. Handi-foam (expanding foam for insulating) can be a friend and ally. Rats will eat it sometimes but rarely from what I am seeing here. Please check your home for any and all openings. I had a field stone foundation. Because it was old it was crumbling, the rats figured out how to move the field stones to access the crawl space under the house. We’ve pulled rat chewed wiring out of the walls. I plugged Pestacators in to the outlets. (They come with a money back guaranty.) Not everyone has good luck with them, but they have literally saved my house.

      Since rats will eat right through metal if they need to and they can move rocks around, I am not super hopeful about your compost system. Maybe a concrete vault?— not really joking. I have been through the mill and back on this problem.

    5. Rebecca*

      Rats are the worst!! They’re right up there with chipmunks, mice and squirrels. I keep bird and deer feed in the garage under the house, had not had a problem…until this week. Food all over the floor, a hole chewed through the bottom of the sack, etc. I walked out and found Mr. Chipmunk with his face so full of food he looked like he had the mumps, who quickly ran out a small hole at the corner of the garage door. Ugh. I just spent a half hour cleaning up the mess and putting things in metal cans. That will fix the problem!

      For your compost issue – you may have to go with one of the above ground rotating bins as mentioned above, but even that might not keep them out, unless it’s metal and you can securely fasten it.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m appreciating all these suggestions.

      Every time I think about it, I get annoyed with the person who “fixed” the bin for me. The thing was bomb-proof for a decade until they worked on it to get it level again. They told me they knew how to do this work, and I assumed they knew to use the same structure with the wire mesh barrier it originally had at the bottom. It’s frustrating that I can’t physically do this work myself, but I do have another option for the labor.

    7. Pennyworth*

      Rats will happily chew through heavy plastic, I’d suggest using steel mesh. Make sure the holes are small enough to prevent even baby rats crawling through, and if it is flexible you should be able to bend and push it in in place and make it fit tight. Use tie wire to fasten the mesh in place so it can’t be accidentally dislodged.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Thanks. The original bin construction included steel mesh and worked great, and I discovered that for the reconstructed version that wasn’t the case. I’ve been reading today about hardware cloth as the recommended material. I’m going to try having someone help me retrofit the old bin with steel mesh on the remote hope that it can be fixed without having to start all over.

  11. Jack be Nimble*

    What are people reading, lately?

    I recently bought a used book lot (specifically, a curated book bundle from the Last Bookstore in LA) and received a copy of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, a memoir originally published in 1789 by a black British abolitionist about his own experiences with the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

    It’s been a really incredible read — difficult at times, for obvious reasons — and I can’t recommend it enough, especially for people who are looking to dig into the origins of white supremacy and systemic racism.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      My book club just finished A Gentleman in Moscowby Amor Towles. I enjoyed it for many reasons: good writing, memorable characters who remain with me beyond the last page, history, and good visual information without an overload of detail. (Most of the book takes place in a Moscow hotel and I was more or less able to imagine the locations of public and private spaces in relation to each other.) It was a wonderful escape from my own locked-in-location coronavirus circumstances.

    2. Jaid*

      I’m reading a translated Chinese danmei called “The Film Emperor’s Daily Live Cooking Broadcast”. I’m a sucker for the cooking ones, especially when the translators are kind enough to provide pictures and recipes.

      [I am a Chef in the Modern Era] is basically food porn. *drools*

    3. Retail not Retail*

      I hurt my left thumb in such a way I can only do ebooks! Luckily I have 2 Library accounts – I’m taking a random approach and working from the last page of my wish list.

      I enjoyed Sleeping Beauties by owen and stephen king. The next book is proving a challenge. I am very petty when it comes to rejecting a book

      1. Rebecca*

        I enjoyed Sleeping Beauties, too. Are you reading “If It Bleeds” right now? It’s next on my list.

        1. Retail not Retail*

          I’m not, one of my ebook accounts is 2 cities old so I’m worried about it locking me out so I’m just starting at the end of the wishlist.

          I prefer a scattershot approach to library books, because I literally never know what’ll appeal. So I check out a wide range of titles at once.

          I just zipped through Stay With Me, very good. I’m giving Building Suburbia a shot now. It comes with illustrations, always a plus!

    4. AdAgencyChick*

      Ooh, the Last Bookstore. A friend brought me there the last time I was in LA and it was heavenly!

      I’m reading MBS, the book about Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia. Books about current events figures are not my usual fare, but the NYT book review sold this one pretty hard. It doesn’t seem quite right to say I’m “enjoying” this book since it’s about a guy who systematically goes after his rivals and had a journalist murdered, but it is well written.

    5. Just a Guy in a Cube*

      I’m really loving Beyond A Boundary, which is a Cricket memoir by CLR James, one of the great sociologists of the 20th C, and apparently one of the best sports books of the last Century according to Sports Illustrated. It’s brilliant.
      Also looking forward to Jemisin’s The City We Became

    6. WellRed*

      I think my little local independent bookstore opened this week and plan to visit today (masked up, of course).

    7. Lily*

      I began Northanger Abbey and have already read half; I was in the mood for a laugh and now wondering if I should continue in a Jane Austen marathon.

      1. Sled dog mama*

        I did a Jane Austen marathon one summer in college. I didn’t make it through all of them but it was wonderful to read the all back to back and see the nuances in her style.

    8. nep*

      Yesterday started Into the Magic Shop. Not really something I would have picked up–a friend gave it to me last year or so.

    9. i heart salt*

      Just finished “Nothing to See Here” by Kevin Wilson. LOVED IT!! I had to reread the ending it was so good!

    10. Valancy Snaith*

      I was dragging my heels when I got started on Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher, but now that I’m pretty well stuck into it I’m really enjoying it and kicking myself for waiting so long! It’s nice to have a big monster of a book to escape into.

    11. NeverNicky*

      I read Equiano a number of years ago as part of a university module – I was thrilled to find out as part of his speaking tours he spent time in the city I was living in. It made him more real, somehow.

      Anyway, I appear to have my reading groove back after struggling through books for review/book group lately, and this week I’ve read Lindsey Davis’s Graveyard of the Hesperides (Flavia Albia is less annoying than Falco) and the first two in Ben Aaronvitch’s Rivers of London series. This appears to be Harry Potter meets Neverwhere meets Logan McRae. Nothing here too taxing!

    12. Rebecca*

      I’m listening to Andromeda Evolution right now – I remember seeing the movie on one of the Saturday afternoon sci-fi features as a kid, eventually read the book, and now am intrigued by the new one.

  12. Vic tower*

    Thank you to everyone with baby shower ideas last week. So many great suggestions!

    New issue, I’m supposed to eat more eggs due to a study I’m in. But I don’t really like them much. What are your favourite egg containing recipes? Ideally something I can cook on Sunday then take to work for lunches (I’m supposed to eat six eggs per week)

    1. Lizzie*

      That definitely sound like quiche material, as you can load the quiche with vegetables, ham or whatever you fancy and thus downplay the eggy flavour.

      1. Carlottamousse*

        +1 for quiche — great way to get vegetables in your diet that are good for pregnancy, too (like leafy greens), and is very portable and reheatable or even good cold.

    2. Sara(h)*

      I’m totally in love with the Trader Joe’s Shaksuka, where you add your own eggs. Might not work for work lunches, but it’s so delicious! And quite healthy too!

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Homemade shaksuka is delicious and easy to make too. The base is a thick sauce of onion, red bell pepper, tomato, red pepper flakes and a bit of wine vinegar, plus herbs, and it freezes well. I’ve seen claims that you can then prep it in the microwave after cracking the egg in, but I haven’t tried it. Some crumbled feta is a nice addition too.

        Quiche should keep fairly well for a day or two – add cheese, some diced ham, and spinach. You can easily use up six eggs in a quiche.

        Spanish tortilla, which is onions and potatoes cooked in a pan with eggs. It’s tasty cold, and can be reheated.

        Savory bread pudding – stale bread torn up, mixed with various stuff (ham, cooked spinach, cooked mushrooms, cheese, etc), then pour over a mixture of milk and eggs. Let it soak into the bread, and bake.

      2. Pennyworth*

        My favorite egg dish is roast vegetable fritata. I just put olive oil, seasoning and herbs on chunks of vegetables such as onion, pumpkin, red bell peppers, potato, or whatever I am in the mood to eat, cook them in a hot oven until the toughest ones are done. More eggy than quiche, no pastry to bother with and the filling can be varied to whatever you like.

    3. TechWorker*

      Agree with the quiche suggestion, most egg recipes don’t reheat that well! You could also hard boil a batch then put them into salads? Egg mayonnaise keeps ok too but I’m guessing isn’t a great suggestion if you don’t like eggs :p

      I’ve also made scrambled egg stir fry a few times recently which is ok a day or two later but probably not a whole week. Basically just make stir fry with whatever you want, crack some eggs into a different, non-stick pan, mix up the yolks and stir them whilst they’re cooking til they’re just solid. Add to the stir fry right at the end.

    4. Kuododi*

      I’m a huge fan of breakfast casseroles. (A baked combination of eggs, your personal favorite breakfast meat and sometimes different types of veggies.). I don’t have a particular recipe I follow however a Google search for “breakfast casseroles”should be fruitful. If meat is an issue, shouldn’t be a problem to sub in extra veggies of choice. Good luck

    5. Alexandra Lynch*

      I make a casserole whose base is ten eggs and two 8 ounce packages of cream cheese. One can then flavor it from there according to likes.

      The one I am making today will have shredded swiss cheese, caramelized onions, chopped spinach, and applewood bacon in it, along with some red pepper, because he likes a little heat. The last one had ground lamb seasoned with gyro seasoning, fresh onions, chopped fresh tomatoes, and feta cheese!

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I make scrambled egg muffins for my husband to breakfast sometimes. Beat together six eggs, then pour the mix into the greased cups of a muffin tin. Salt and pepper and add cheese and toppings to each cup individually, bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. They freeze quite well and reheat at just 30 seconds in the microwave – he sometimes eats them as is, sometimes mashes them up with a fork and puts them on toast or a tortilla. He’s eaten them after two weeks in the freezer and says they’re still perfectly fine. (I don’t like eating eggs plain unless they’re hard boiled with mayonnaise involved, so I feel you :) )

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      For pure camouflage that gets it into your body without you knowing about it? Fried rice. Dice up whatever you want to eat, fry them from longest cooking time to shortest to cooking time, add the rice, let it get really hot, whisk your egg and stir it in. It’s cooked when it’s not shiny anymore.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I make a sort of frittata all the time as a portable breakfast. The last iteration I was making included cooked quinoa which made the whole thing more like a muffin. It’s not a true frittata because I just mix up the ingredients and put them in the oven, but it’s very easy to make.

      2. Me*

        Yep. I have a frittata recipe that uses 8 eggs and 2 cups of rice, along with various spices. I add green chiles and salsa. I prefer it cold as a leftover but Dh reheats it. It makes 8 servings.

        (Also, I have chickens, so they produce between 6-10 eggs/ day. I’m giving away eggs like a gardener gives away large zucchini’s, practically abandoning them on my neighbors’ porches).

      3. Jack Russell Terrier*

        Yes – you can make one large one and cut it up for several days. I really like an onion frittata. They key here is to ziz up the onion in a food processor. You can grate it on the large side but that’s hard on the eyes. This means that you get lovely onion juice seeping into the egg adding wonderful flavor.

    8. Terrapin Problems*

      There are four eggs in a lemon meringue pie, so one pie would get you through most of your week’s allotment :)

      Otherwise, I’m a big fan of egg drop soup, where the egg almost becomes like thin noodles.

      1. mobuy*

        Excellent idea! I was thinking lemon bars (6 eggs per recipe) or creme brulee (6 egg yolks), myself!

    9. BethDH*

      If you don’t like eggs much, what about a puff pancake (sometimes called Dutch Baby pancakes) or crepes? Both of these are often breakfast, of course, but we eat them frequently for dinner as they aren’t sweet in themselves, just usually have sweet toppings.
      A puff pancake is great with dressed greens thrown on top or even just a grating of cheese.
      Crepes can be treated like a wrap with veggies, ham, cheese, etc. inside.
      Crepes can be made ahead of time, but the puff pancake should be eaten the day it’s made.
      Consider also soups made by stirring an egg in at the end for thickening, like avgolemono.

      1. BethDH*

        Oh, and maybe okonomiyaki? That’s the Japanese cabbage and egg cake — kind of like a frittata, but with more flavors to distract you and some flour added to the egg so that it doesn’t have the egg-like texture.

      2. lasslisa*

        Huh, I find puff pancakes / Yorkshire pudding / Dutch babies to be SO intensely eggy. Like just a giant omelet with different texture. Do you do things to change the flavor?

        1. Me*

          Have you tried the Sunset magazine version of the Dutch baby? I don’t find that one too eggy.

          You can make a savory one by cooking it then topping it with things like pesto, smoked salmon and grilled asparagus. My youngest likes to put lightly poached eggs on top of that along with some arugula.

        2. BethDH*

          My typical version is about 1/4 c flour and 1/4 c milk per egg. But I suspect it also depends on what you dislike about egg. When I was pregnant, the texture of plain eggs really bothered me but not so much the flavor.

    10. GoryDetails*

      Re eggs: I’m very fond of deviled eggs, which can be flavored in all sorts of ways; if it’s the taste of eggs more than the texture, this might be something to try. Mix in some sriracha for hot-and-spicy eggs, or avocado for “green” eggs, or – well, almost anything.

      For other ideas, I’d recommend the Budget Bytes site – search on “eggs recipes” for a variety of things, many of them with make-ahead options. Freezer burritos, microwave scrambles, shakshuka, lots more.

    11. Anon, and on, and on...*

      Saw a mention of fried rice; will second it.

      Will also suggest looking into the concept of (marbled) tea eggs.

    12. TheIncredibleEdibleEgg*

      If you really don’t like eggs, you might want to “hide” them a little more. Some baked oatmeal recipes can be heavy on eggs (or you can probably add an extra egg without messing up the recipe – it’s a pretty forgiving recipe). I’ve made baked oatmeal on a Sunday and reheated every weekday for breakfast. Quick breads (pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, etc.) often have high egg content, as do muffins. Also easy to make ahead, grab & go. Egg noodles for dinner? Homemade waffles have a relatively high egg content. Maybe make sandwiches using waffles as the bread?

    13. Stephanie*

      I make egg muffins sometimes. They’re really good. Here’s how: brown a pound of ground turkey, season it with sage, garlic powder, salt and pepper (the sage is essential for me, it makes it taste sausage-like). Cook the meat through. While the turkey is cooking, crack a dozen eggs into a large mixing bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt and whisk thoroughly. Add the cooked turkey and a half cup of shredded cheese of your choice (I like cheddar, but any kind will do). Stir together, and portion into a 12 cup muffin tin sprayed with nonstick spray (fill the cups about 2/3 to 3/4 full). Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. I refrigerate them and reheat in the microwave for a minute or so. They’re very good, and very filling.

    14. Spessartine*

      I absolutely haate eggs and was given three dozen of them a few weeks back. Since I felt obligated to eat them (and I know they’re good for you), I scoured the internet until I found out about tamagoyaki. The right way to make them is to roll them up into a little layered egg omelette, but that was too much egg in one bite for me. I found that if I mixed up all the ingredients (egg, soy sauce, a little sugar, and some water) and fried it nice and crispy and flat like a crepe made of egg, I could stomach it. Then I went a step further and started folding it in half and throwing it in a ham and cheese quesadilla. The egg taste all but disappears and the texture is masked by the melted cheese. I don’t think I’ve ever tried to reheat a quesadilla but I imagine the only damage would be loss of some of the crunch.

    15. MistOrMister*

      What about egg salad (or maybe even just a sliced boiled egg) in a sandwich with strongly flavored additions? There’s a place I go once in a while to get egg salad with cheddar cheese and sauerkraut. I love it, even thought they look at me crazy when I place my order. If you’re putting the equivalent of one egg in, likely you can overpower it with the other flavors. Maybe add some bacon if you eat meat.

    16. Sunflower*

      I like to add red peppers, onions and tomatoes and then load up with salt, pepper and garlic. Trader Joes Everything bagel seasoning is also great in them. Definitely try to experiment with some different seasonings and spices. I find eggs to be a little heavy so I always add liquid egg whites to them. I will cook usually 2-3 days worth in one batch, split them into containers and take them to work all week.

      1. Sunflower*

        To add on this- I don’t like hard boiled eggs alone but really enjoy them in salads. Egg whites don’t have much flavor to me so I load my salads with them

    17. Aphrodite*

      I adore cilbir. It’s a Turkish dish made of poached (or lightly sauteed) eggs on top of flavored yogurt. It’s odd sounding but fantastic. Just google “cilbir” and you’ll come up with a lot of recipes.

    18. OTGW*

      Carbonara! I always use the Trisha Yearwood recipe. I think it uses like 3 eggs? Not vegetarian friendly though.

    19. Koala dreams*

      The tip I see the most is putting the egg in a smoothie, but I haven’t actually tried it myself, I’m not much for smoothies. I prefer pancakes, fried rice with egg and vegetables (put some soya sauce in it so it won’t look eggy), savory pies and quiches (beets and feta cheese taste amazing!). If I have leftover boiled eggs, I cut them into small pieces and fry with pesto (from a jar) to make a pasta sauce.

      I love desserts made with eggs too: chocolate cake, sponge cake, homemade ice cream, chocolate/vanillla mousse, coconut mousse… Won’t work for you if you need to eat the eggs as part of a savoury meal, but maybe you can add one or two eggs in desserts on the weekend or something?

    20. TimeTravlR*

      i made a goat cheese and tomato tart this weekend that would be perfect. Just google it. Mine is a low carb recipe if that matters.

  13. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread!
    So what issues have you all been having with writing? For me, at the moment, it’s time/motivation. I’m currently rather busy, so while I do have time I find myself doing random other things (insert memes about writing meaning browse the internet for six hours). I do tend to get some writing done, it’s just…Fragmented rather than fifteen minutes at a time as I used to do. Any advice?

    1. Alexandra Lynch*

      The necessary logistics of getting the house packed and moved has entirely occupied my brain. I’m barely reading. This week was making scale plans of our furniture and the rooms of the new house to figure out things like what wall to put the bed on and where the china cabinet will fit, so any of us can tell the movers where any of that goes.

    2. BethDH*

      Has anyone tried writing by voice memo? I’m going to have fragmented writing time till daycares are open/safe, but I have papers that really need to be written before that happens. I’ve never thought it sounded appealing, but I’m desperate.
      If you’ve done it, I’d love to hear favorite methods/tools/approaches.

      1. lasslisa*

        I do some of this for repetitive stress reasons and I definitely like it. You still have to do some sort of thinking and outlining, but it is SO convenient to just dictate and then fix errors later.

    3. Mystery Bookworm*

      I was doing really well for quite some time but anxiety over the recent news coupled with a re-introduction of some family political disagreements (over a variety of things, not all news-related) has got me all distracted.

      I’ve fallen off the wagon with healthy eating, writing, meditation and reasonable bedtimes. I need to figure out how balance cutting myself some slack without completely dropping the rope.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      I wrote a blog post and ten more screenplay pages; I’ve gotten behind in the class a bit. It’s HARD, y’all! My dialogue in prose writing is usually pretty good, but trying to use it to tell the story without resorting to exposition is very difficult. Also, this is kind of a locked-in-a-bunker sort of story and there are only sporadic bursts of action at the beginning. Working hard to embrace subtext. Plus, I should have seen this coming but we’re expected to do table reads with friends. I don’t know anyone here.

      I’m determined to master this, however. I think once I do, I’m really going to like writing this way. It’s so clean.

    5. Annie Moose*

      I’ve just been feeling a lack of inspiration lately, honestly. I have loads of time to write, I just… don’t particularly want to work on any of my projects. I did Camp NaNo and have a half-finished project as a result of that, but I feel like I got all my motivation for it out in April, and it hasn’t come back yet. I have a couple short stories/random ideas that I noodled around with for a few hours each, but nothing complete and nothing that grabbed my attention for more than a day.

      I dunno… I think I need more structure in my writing than just “write every day”. That’s why NaNo works so well for me, because I have a specific goal I’m writing towards. Been thinking about doing some writing exercises (like, not just prompts, but exercises focusing on description, character, dialogue, etc.) but I haven’t found any compilations that really grab me yet. If someone has suggestions I’d love to hear ’em.

  14. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! As usual, this thread is not limited to video games.
    I’m gonna shake this up a little bit and ask: what are games you played a long time ago that you remember fondly?
    For me, it’s the Humongous Entertainment games (specifically Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam, and Spy Fox. Never was all that into Putt-Putt, for some reason). I think we only had the first game of those series, but boy did I have fun with them. There was also a game that I recently found the title of again (Dracula’s Secret, which is a similar kind of game to the Humongous ones but with a horror vibe) that I really loved, despite being a scaredy-cat (it’s really not all that scary).
    Feel free to hijack this thread if you have fond memories of a game but can’t remember the title – maybe someone here will know what you’re talking about, or at least be able to find it somewhere.

    1. The Other Dawn*

      I’m a child of the 80s so for me it’s the Atari system, which I still have and it still works. My favorite game is Megamania. I also love Breakout and Super Breakout. Great memories of spending hours in front of the TV with my best friend playing Atari. I also love Tetris, but I no longer have my original Nintendo system anymore.

      1. DarthVelma*

        I’m a little bit older than you – child of the 70s (yup, my first video game was Pong) and I loved the old Atari systems. In my book, you can’t really call yourself an old school gamer if you never played the Atari 2600 on a portable 11 inch black and white TV. :-)

        My favorites were Frogger and Berzerk (my brother and I would spend hours lining up shots where you could shoot through the space between your opponent’s body and head). But my best memories are of the Journey Escape game. We never did find out if that game had an “ending” or you just dodged things for all of eternity.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          I loved Pong, too. And I most certainly have played the Atari 2600 on a portable black and white! I liked Frogger and River Raid, too, among others. Ah, those were the days. :)

          1. DarthVelma*

            Awesome! Isn’t it amazing to consider how far the graphics in games have come since Pong and Space Invaders? :-)

            I play online with several kids in their teens and one of the first questions they all asked was “what was your first game?”. When I said “Pong” they either had no clue what I was talking about or I immediately had ALL of the OG gamer cred.

      2. Anonymath*

        I loved the original Eye of the Beholder series on my PC. At the time it was about as close as a game could get to real D&D play. You could even sort of roll up your characters.
        I missed my original NES and the games I grew up with so my husband bought us one of the new little emulators for Christmas a few years ago. We’ve having a good time introducing my son to the old games.

    2. Beancat*

      Banjo-Kazooie and Chrono Trigger! They were two of my favorites growing up and I always really loved them. So many good memories of them :)

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My first multi-user dungeon was a text-based thing in the early 90s in California I do not remember the name. I do remember going under the same bridge over and over again to kill the troll, because it was the only place my character could survive without companions, and my real world friends were not around that day. There were ways to customize homes and houses …very clever stuff. I’d love to find that game again.

    4. CatCat*

      When I was a kid, I had a game called “Take Off” that I loved. It came with a huge map that was rolled up and you had little airplanes that you raced around the world. I don’t have that anymore though.

      The other is “Clue: Master Detective,” which I also loved as a kid. It was an expanded version of “Clue” with more people, rooms, and weapons so. When my mom moved a couple years ago, she still had that game in storage! It even had scraps from 30 years ago with writing on it from when I’d play it with my friends. My family and I have played it since and… it’s more boring than I remember so my nostalgia and enjoyment of it as a kid is stronger than my enjoyment of the game now.

      1. Redkitty*

        Yes! My sister and I had the Take Off game and loved it, though one of our few physical arguments growing up involved me whacking her over the head with the tube the game came in ! neither of us can remember now what started the argument, but she was not seriously hurt, I got in trouble (quite rightly) and we get along very well as adults. Wonder if my mom still has the game?

    5. TinyRaptor*

      My childhood game is Roller Coaster Tycoon, which I still have in multiple forms (you can get it on Android now) and still love to pieces. I played it long enough to beat all the classic/non-expansion simulations, and used to specifically follow guests with t-shirts and pants of the same color so that I could make sure they bought a same color hat as well and didn’t ruin their one-color look look.

      I also have fond memories of my dad wrestling with QuickTime in order to get Myst working on our computer, and also remember making music in SimTunes, which I didn’t own but regularly borrowed from the library.

    6. Melon*

      My parents had a business a decade ago seeking these titles on CD-ROM. They still get bulk orders on occasion from Japan and South Korea from tutoring centers that keep some refurbished computers around just for these titles because they help with learning English so much.

    7. Fikly*

      Oooh, nostalgia time!

      For PC: Zoombinis! The Dr. Brain game with the elements game in it, and where you herded those neurons. The Treasure Mountain game and that whole series.

      There is one PC game I have never been able to figure out the name of. It was on my grandfather’s computer, and I only got to visit once a year, so very vague memories. I likely played it in the mid-90s, but I’m not sure when it dated from. It was definitely a Rogue-like game. Graphics were very text-based. Background color was gray. Dungeons and coming up to a town. I think the text indicating the walls was brown? There were a lot of yellows and browns and maybe greens, very earth tones. Not much to go on, I know.

      1. Fikly*

        Wait, how could I forget my all time favorite?

        Mordor II. Not about Lord of the Rings. It was another Rogue knockoff, I adored it, and played it through many computers until finally I couldn’t get it to work. I still periodically google to see if anyone has modernized it.

      2. Tonks*

        I LOVED zoombinis! My 5th grade teacher had it on the 2 computers in the classroom, and if a student finished their work early they could play. It’s available for iPad on the App Store now! Best $5 I spent in quarantine.

    8. Johanna Ky*

      I’m not a gamer at all, and we have a Xbox one (that I keep calling a 360 because I used to work at Toys R US. The only game I’ve played is zoo tycoon. Don’t know what else to try. I used to really enjoy sim city on the pc. Don’t know what other games to try

      1. veggiewolf*

        Try Two Point Hospital! It’s a hospital management sim that I’ve found surprisingly addictive and is available on consoles now.

    9. Holly*

      Okay, I like lots of games and could talk about them forever (hello, Journey, Monument Valley) but there was this game that I played when I was in grade 1, on the school computers.. so this would’ve been 1997. It was like “tiki” themed for lack of a better term and I think it maybe had to do with spelling. Certainly it was educational. There were statues on either side of a waterfall, I think? I have been trying to find out what the heck this game was for years now and I haven’t been able to figure it out. Help, anyone?

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        Spelling Jungle AKA Yobi’s Basic Spelling Tricks AKA Yobi’s Magic Spelling Tricks (why does that game have three names???)? That’s what I get from Google.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      Titanic: Adventure Out of Time!

      I played the crap out of that game and hung onto the disc for ages even after it wouldn’t work on later Windows systems. I found a hack online that ran it on Win 7, but then FINALLY, GoG got it, and I can play it again. \0/

      If anyone ever rebooted it with really good graphics, that would be amazing. I’d really like them to fix the card game in the smoking room. As it is now, if you blow that, you might as well quit the game right there. There is no other alternative to get the item you need from the gambler; you can’t punch him or gas him or steal it when he’s not looking.

      I also like the Myst series. Although I have them all (once again, GoG to the rescue), I have yet to finish it.

    11. NforKnowledge*

      Yeees Freddi Fish, Pajama Sam and Putt-Putt were the best! Also Geobee, quizzes are fun ^^

    12. Andrews*

      In college I loved the GameCube game Eternal Darkness: you skip around in the same location but in many different time periods (so you explore the same house in the present day, in Victorian times, in WWII…) and as the eldritch horror big bad preys on your character’s mind you start to experience weird effects both within the game (paintings on the wall moving as you go past) and in a meta way (randomly taking you back to the home screen for a few seconds or telling you the game’s about to delete). I think it was the first game I ever fully completed.

      I’ve spent the last couple of days obsessed with Return of the Obra Dinn, and the non-linear style of that made me think of Eternal Darkness (to the point I thought for the first half of the game there was something Lovecraftian going on)

      1. Aealias*

        Omigosh, Eternal Darkness was AMAZING! There’s this moment when a madness effect impacts the player instead of the character, and it’s just pure genius. I was so disappointed when I heard that a planned sequel had been shelved.

    13. Koala dreams*

      Tetris! My family used to have a black-and-white version, and I got quite good for a while. Very addictive!

      From my young childhood, I played a memory game with small chickens in different colours and a die with different colours instead of numbers. The chickens were made of small wood pieces, or maybe thick cardboard. I don’t know what it’s called. Chicken memory? I’ve seen quite similar games as an adult but not that exact game.

    14. Finny*

      O’Dell Lake, which we played in school and I loved even more than Oregon Trail. I so wish there was a home version of O’Dell Lake. It was picking a fish to be and then eating food and avoiding being eaten. I most remember having to avoid ospreys.

    15. Aealias*

      I was a PC gamer, and have fond memories of the ASCII game Castle (I think). You used arrows to move and simple text commands to interact with objects and the environment. And I remember it fondly because after several years of childhood play, I beat the game! Once. But it was possible! I hate endless games, they irritate my completionist streak.
      Board games, Parker Brothers made this game called Klondike, about the Alaska/Yukon gold rush. It’s like Monopoly, but time-limited (cause the gold runs out) and property values drop to zero at the end (cause everyone abandons the Klondike). Oh, and actually fun. If you see it in a second hand store, grab it!

    16. Wishing You Well*

      I remember fondly the Star Wars Lego video games. So to help myself get through quarantine, I bought the Harry Potter Lego games. Still very fun and you don’t have to be a kid!

  15. Brainless Knitting*

    Any recommendations for « easy » bingeable TV series that have actually aged well? Needs to be available on Netflix.

    I’ve been going back and watching a bunch old series on Netflix while I knit, and I am amazed at what shows have decidedly not aged well. Lots has been written about Friends of course, but lately I’ve been watching Modern Family and my jaw has been dropping at what was considered acceptable to joke about in the early seasons (please don’t tell me if it gets worse later on, I’ve only made it to season 3 and I have like 250 rows left to knit in this project)

    I didn’t find old episodes of Big Bang Theory as offensive as some on the internet did (but there was still some decided eyebrow-raising), to give you an idea of my barometer…

    1. TechWorker*

      The IT crowd has aged ok-*ish* I think – like there’s definitely some stereotypes in there (the IT nerds don’t have social skills, no-one outside of IT understands technology at all – regardless of gender), but the stereotypes don’t come across as cruel (eg, all the characters are a bit weird). I love the actors and script, it cracks me up.

      1. TechWorker*

        Oh woops and the big boss is a massive sexist, but the joke is definitely on him.

        1. DarthVelma*

          Love The IT Crowd. “Have you tried turning it off and on again” is the go to response any time something doesn’t work or goes wrong at my house.

          Speaking of sexist boss, he’s pretty funny in the What We Do In The Shadows tv show. That show is a hoot, though it hasn’t been on long enough to be a proper binge watch.

          1. London Calling*

            My IT department posted a message on the company Workplace – ‘look, we know we say all the time ‘have you tried turning it off and turning it on again’ but that’s because it very often works.’

          2. Elizabeth West*

            Whoops, I posted that below.
            I hope WWDITS is on forever–he’s so funny in it.

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

        The IT Crowd is 100% accurate description of my first job as help desk. And the sexist inept boss is too real to me.

      3. fposte*

        There’s a deeply offensive trans episode, and the backlash against that has resulted in the series creator revealing himself as a massive and obsessive transphobe who posts incessantly about it on Twitter. Bummer, as I love Richard Ayoade.

        1. Natalie*

          Oh wow, that is a bummer.

          Have you watched Travel Man, Richard Ayoade’s travel show? He does a “mini break” somewhere with another guest. He and Jon Hamm in Hong Kong is probably my favorite. They get corduroy suits and are generally hilarious.

          1. fposte*

            I’ve been a fan of Travel Man for years, and I’ve been rewatching it lately as cheering end-of-day fare. I just rewatched the one with Rhod Gilbert last night, which I think is probably the best time Richard ever had on one of those, despite its being the city least likely to appeal to him.

            I thought it was interesting when he started getting the bigger name non-English travel companions. Jon Hamm does a fair bit of British stuff (have you ever watched Toast of London?), but Paul Rudd and Lena Dunham were surprising.

    2. Vina*

      I know it’s not on Netflix, but I’m really enjoying Magnum PI on Amazon Prime. I don’t know where it is, but Murder, She Wrote has aged very well.

      Both shows are comfort watching. Sorta like Mac and Cheese for the soul.

      1. Vina*

        One thing about both of those shows, in some areas, we’ve become more racist and sexist. There are some times in there where women and black men do things that might get push back today, but are treated as normal.

        It’s bizarre b/c this is the Reagan 80s.

        One example, there are a lot of women in positions of authority in Magnum and none of the main 4 ever treat it like it’s odd. Women’s sexual desire is never treated as being horrible or existing only for the men. At least once, Magnum and TC pretend to be a couple to get out of trouble. It’s not played for laughs, but rather what they do b/c it’s something that would be natural given the context.

        1. Vina*

          Oh: and while the women tend to skew white, they do show all of the main male characters interested in a variety of ages, races, and types of women. On one show, Magnum is smitten with a woman who looks to be middle-aged and post-menopausal. (The actress was early to mid-50s). It’s really weird to watch and think we have regressed in some ways.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            OMG the whole dismissal of older women really bugs me. They did it with the character in Under the Dome. In Stephen King’s book, the younger male protagonist Dale Barbie beds the older woman reporter, Julia Shumway. Well I guess the network didn’t think that was feasible, and they cast a thirty-something redhead who looked like a model to play Julia. They ruined the character.

            They also ruined Big Jim, but that’s a rant for another day.

          2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

            We’ve been watching old episodes of Inspector Morse, and it is quite striking in this show, too. Granted, Morse is in his 60s or so, but there are only occasional episodes where his love interest is a bit young. Most of the time they are 40+, which is at least better balanced.

            1. allathian*

              The thing about Morse, though, is that John Thaw looked older than his real age, he was 44 when they started shooting the first episodes in 1986 (broadcast in 1987) and he looked at least ten years older than that.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My teenager is hooked on the old MacGyver. Not a problem with me I’m a Richard Dean Anderson fan…. but some of it really makes me cringe. A general is kidnapped, MacGyver rescues her, and when he reports in, he refers to her as the “lady general”. I got pissy about that.

      1. allathian*

        I remember that! I’ve been watching MacGyver with our 11 year old. I’m a Richard Dean Anderson fan and I had a huge crush on MacGyver when I was a teen.

    4. annakarina1*

      I’ve been watching old episodes of Angel, and aside from the 90’s dated look, most holds up fine. Except when characters occasionally call something “r**arded.” Cordelia says it a few times, as do a couple of others, and I did cringe at hearing it said so casually.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Well, but Cordelia was the sort of person, at least initially, who *would* use terms like that. Cringe-worthy even when the show was new.
        Kind of like Archie Bunker: his inappropriate-ness was meaningful both to his character and to the show’s message. Not that “Angel” was social commentary, but …

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Yeah, there were a few things like that on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and some early Xander stuff that had me internally screaming. Overall, however, I really enjoyed watching it again.

    5. Llellayena*

      I don’t normally watch sitcoms because they do tend to be over the top insensitive on various issues. I think it’s actually intensional so the issues do push buttons during the short half hour of the show. I agree with Murder She Wrote recommended above, and also recommend Law and Order (and its various spin-offs) you’ll have enough content to finish a record setting blanket!

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      I really like Avatar, newly on Netflix, which is animated and *okay* for kids, but not limited to them. It’s an interesting ongoing story, and I love that they actually have a fight choreographer who thought about how to relate the different elemental-magic combat styles to existing martial arts.

      1. Annie Moose*

        Been rewatching Avatar since it came out on Netflix (ironic, given that I own the DVDs and could rewatch any time I want!) and I’m happy to report I’m as much in love with it as I was when it was first coming out. Sure, it’s ostensibly a kids’ show, and as such dances around topics like death (“Did [spoilery character] just die?” “You know, it was really unclear.”), but the characters and their journeys are so great. A lot more nuance than you’d expect; it’s not a simple “good vs. evil” show.

        Plus, it looks lovely. The fight scenes are inventive and never get repetitive, and the settings are unique and varied.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I get irritated at more mature offerings that pull “Here are 500 characters, 2 of whom get a little screen time. Guess which 498 are about to die, in a way that we think makes this story “have stakes” but the deaths won’t actually affect the main characters’ psyche past the end of this episode?”

      2. MedLibrarian*

        Yes! This is the only show my husband, fifteen-year-old daughter, and I all really like. Highly recommended.

    7. Mystery Bookworm*

      These aren’t old series, but they have finished, so are bingeable and mostly aren’t too problematic.

      Parks & Rec
      Jane the Virgin
      The Good Place
      iZombie

      It’s been awhile since I’ve watched it (and I’m not sure if it’s on Netflix in the US) but I’ve been told that Malcolm in the Middle has aged pretty well.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also not mostly not problematic, despite the title’s implication.

        1. ThatGirl*

          In fact, it mostly turns that on its head and examines what “crazy” means. That only ended last year, so it’s pretty modern.

        2. RebeccaNoraBunch*

          Obviously (see my username) I can’t recommend Crazy Ex-Girlfriend highly enough. There’s 4 seasons, and while I love the first season the most, there are 1-2 very slightly problematic songs that they actually address and fix in the final season. Fans know what I mean. Also, there’s a ton of diversity, including body shape for women and different races, orientations, ages, etc across the board. In fact, it’s been lauded as a defining show for bisexual folks, as one of the main characters comes out as bi in their mid-life (don’t want to spoil it!).

          It’s a pure delight and I love it so much. Highly, highly recommended.

          1. Forensic13*

            I LOVE Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but oh man is it not an “easy” show. Especially from the third season on. There are a lot of really intense episodes and topics.

      2. university minion*

        Agree with Malcolm in the Middle. It’s been on Netflix before, but isn’t currently.
        Also, My Name is Earl. There is some off-color humor, but most of it is about the main character *correcting* his messed up assumptions about people and righting his wrongs.

      3. Cat*

        Parks and Rec is my favorite. I skip the first season when rewatching though. It’s only six episodes but they didn’t find their rhythm till season 2 in my opinion.

        Also love the Good Place!

    8. Anonymous Educator*

      I don’t know if “aged well” means the show has to be old, but here are some shows on Netflix that are easily bingeable:
      Derry Girls
      Kim’s Convenience
      Never Have I Ever
      One Day at a Time
      Rilakkuma and Kaoru
      Rita
      Somebody Feed Phil
      Summertime
      Salt Fat Acid Heat

      1. Brainless Knitting*

        Yeah in this case it pretty much had to be old, because I have sadly watched almost everything recent (like almost your entire list). They were all great but I gotta branch out a bit.

        1. Lady Jay*

          Have you watched Space Force yet? Super new and pretty good . . . funny enough to make it (for me) worth binging at the end of a long day.

        1. MMB*

          I can’t wait for the 5th season! I’m also incredibly disappointed that it will be the last :(

    9. HannahS*

      Star Trek The Next Generation holds up pretty well! I watched MASH in high school and am 100% sure that while much of it has aged well, the jokes about Klinger haven’t.

      1. university minion*

        The Klinger and his character have aged surprisingly well, IMO, because he was cast as an extremely sympathetic character to begin with. Some of Henry and Hawkeye’s (but especially Henry’s) lines towards female characters are pretty cringey. I feel like while Hawkeye could be incredibly juvenile, he respected the nurses and their role. Henry viewed them as playthings.

        One movie that I only saw for the first time recently and was SHOCKED at how much I enjoyed it and how well it had aged was Victor/Victoria.

      2. Generic Name*

        I second Star Trek. Voyager and Deep Space 9 have all aged really well. I’d say they’re almost timeless. The captain of Voyager is a woman and the Commander of DS9 is a black man.

        1. voyager1*

          Chakotay was handled pretty badly though on Voyager. He was pretty much a stand in for all indigenous peoples.

          Also the actor who played Sisko wasn’t not happy with ending of DS9 because of how it left his character and the stereotypes with black men.

      3. Melody Pond*

        Aren’t there a couple of episodes of Star Trek: TNG in the first season or so that are pretty racist and sexist? I’m thinking of one where it revolves around a whole planet of “savage” people of color, and another episode where they go to a planet that is super matriarchal and led by women.

        In fact, isn’t protesting against these scripts what got Gates McFadden fired for the duration of the second season? (before fans demanded she be brought back)

        From about season 3 onward, I’d agree that TNG has aged better, though there can still be troublesome spots here and there.

        1. Holly*

          When I first started watching TNG in 2018, I was told to just skip the first season entirely. I did, and think that it was a great call! I don’t feel like I missed anything hugely important except one character’s death, which is easily fixable enough with the internet. The reasoning was explained to me as basically, the show was getting its feet and figuring out what it was going to be and as a result the entire season is basically trash. Doesn’t excuse any sort of racism, sexism, whatever other garbage may be there at all, but if someone wanted to watch TNG, they can definitely skip season 1 and not suffer for it. As for the rest of the seasons, I think I’ve only made it to season 4 maybe, but definitely there are a couple of troublesome spots, as you put it. But nothing that was a dealbreaker for me in terms of continuing to watch. Part of the joy of TNG for me is understanding it in a historic context, so, idk!

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I disliked TNG season 1 when it first ran. But I was in college, and that’s what the dormitory television showed at a point where I needed a rest. By the time we got to season 2, the characters have gotten into a roll and it was a lot of fun. Somewhere after season 3, I had a chance to watch the first episode again. And it made sense this time. The actors and screenwriters were actually too prepared, so the audience needed more information about past history of character relationships and then we had access to. The insanity of how a captain is interacting with his doctor makes sense when you realize how long those two have worked together. But they didn’t tell us that.

          2. blackcat*

            I mean, some of the original series is really interesting to watch in a historical context. If you can get access to the original (unaired) pilot, it’s something! Majel Barrett (aka Lwaxana Troi from TNG/DS9 aka the voice of the computer for most of the universe) was the originally cast first officer (not Leonard Nimoy).
            Some of the original series is like… really painful to watch. And Nichelle Nichols’s memoir is a really interesting read about what it was like to be one of the only black Americans on prime time TV at the time, and read her reflections on the complicated sexism and racism of the time and how she still felt able to inspire black girls to be scientists.
            It’s… IDK. If you’re looking for a show to offer really interesting insight into the mid/late 60s, the original series is a good one. Similarly, TNG was a creature of the 80s/90s. The other shows didn’t lean into social commentary in the same way.

    10. lazy intellectual*

      I still enjoy TV shows and movies from the early 2000s, but you would be hard pressed to find popular ones that are completely unproblematic – ESPECIALLY when it comes to gender issues. In the early 2000s, most shows used sexual harassment as a punchline (like AHAHA look at how stupid these guys are, rather than, this shit needs to stop. I think it’s why it wasn’t taken seriously for so long.)

      Some examples:

      I really like The Office – you need to be tolerant of a certain kind of humor (it’s about very obnoxious people), and there is nothing super problematic in it, but the sexual harassment stuff would NOT fly if written in the #MeToo era.

      I also recently binged Gilmore Girls, which I also enjoyed, but some storylines definitely wouldn’t fly today. (The part were Kirk breaks into Lorelai’s house to install a security system, and the relationship btwn Paris and her college professor.)

      1. lazy intellectual*

        I actually realize these haven’t aged well lol so don’t watch them.

    11. Morningstar*

      Community? I just watched the whole thing & love how it subverts common tropes.

      New Girl? Though Schmidt does have some crappy lines about Indian people (but the Indian characters themselves seem normal/3-dimensional) and I don’t love the “I used to be fat” trope.

    12. Radar’s Glasses*

      I enjoy “In the Heat of the Night” tv series now shown on Amazon Prime. Carroll O’Connor as the Police Chief and Howard Rollins as Detective Tibbs. Integrated cast, and everyone gets an episode focused on them thru the 8 season series.

      1. pancakes*

        I’ve never seen the show but the movie with Sidney Poitier is terrific. I went to a screening of it introduced by Lee Grant — she’s still going strong!

    13. Sciencer*

      For some pure fluff, I was amazed how much I enjoyed bingeing Virgin River. It’s based on a romance novel and I should have hated it based on my general tastes, but for some reason it was pure comfort food and I was sad when it ended. There’s only one season so it won’t get you far, but maybe worth a try.

      I haven’t been able to convince my husband to try The West Wing yet, but I hear great things about it. For a slow-paced, thoughtful series, try Abstract: The Art of Design. I wouldn’t necessarily call it binge-worthy, but I like to watch an episode here and there for a change of pace.

      1. Morningstar*

        Ooh, have you tried Sweet Magnolias? It’s also romance + quaint small town life + female leads.

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Do you mean Steel Magnolias? That was a good film but wow don’t watch it when you’ve got family in the hospital with issues deriving from diabetes. Especially not alone.
          (One guess how I watched it…)

          1. Morningstar*

            No, Sweet Magnolias is a new Netflix series! It’s a drama so it has its ups and downs but I think it’s pretty balanced.

            Steel Magnolias is rough even when watched during good times so I don’t envy you there :(

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

      Don’t know if it’s available for US Netflix, but here I go.
      Los Simuladores. The only mainstream tv show I’ve watched in real time. Twenty years later it’s still relevant, quoted and even used for memes. Interesting concept, excellent actors, superb writing (some plot twists blow my mind even today), full of small details that make them realistic, which is even more surprising for a medium-to-low-budget series shot in through one of worst economic crisis I’ve lived so far. Two seasons of 13 episodes each.
      (I think I outed myself with this recommendation, but I don’t care)

    15. Chaordic One*

      I liked “Devious Maids,” as a light, but still interesting and amusing show. It was a bit simple-minded and improbable but still with clever witty dialog, character-driven humor (often black humor) and high production values. It was nice to see so many Latinas in the cast and I especially liked the character played by Ana Ortiz. Many of the people responsible for the show had just come off of “Desperate Housewives” which ended the year before “Devious Maids” came on and there is a certain similarity in the style of the writing and production. Still, “Maids” has aged better than “Wives.”

    16. JerryTerryLarryGary*

      Parks and Rec. And Taskmaster and Would I Lie to You have lots of episodes on YouTube, British shows that are light and funny.

    17. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m not sure if it’s available on Netflix, but despite the fact that I haven’t watched television in many years, I love the old episodes of the British series The Avengers. It was ground-breaking at the time with Mrs. Peel as an action hero. The show is a fun blend of a spy show and wit.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I don’t think it is still on Netflix, but it is on Amazon Prime. It was a show that evolved over time. During the first year of the show the star was a police surgeon and John Steed (played by Patrick Macnee) was his main assistant. John Steed took over as the main star at the beginning of the second year and he had several great female assistants over the run of the show.

        Before Emma Peel (played by Diana Rigg) there was Cathy Gale (played by Honor Blackman) and after Emma Peel there was Tara King (played by Linda Thorson). These three female characters were all pioneers in how they showed women as being both strong and intelligent. The shows with Honor Blackman were kind of dark and serious, but the show took on a lighter, more tongue-in-cheek comic approach with Diana Rigg and that continued with Linda Thorson.

    18. Hi there*

      This isn’t on Netflix, sorry, but the hubs and I are enjoying watching “Elementary” on Hulu. It is a really absorbing version of Sherlock Holmes. The episodes are short, and the seasons are long, so lots of shows for us to watch.

    19. CastIrony*

      If you liked The Bug Bang Theory, I’ve seen clips of Young Sheldon on YouTube, and it doesn’t seem bad.

  16. Potatoes gonna potate*

    I read a few of the threads last week that had information on what to look for when buying a house, and I bookmarked them for future reference because there was a lot of great information there. I had a similar question but related to rentals. We’ve rented apartments in the past but will be looking at houses this time around.

    We’ve narrowed down the area and general timeline. In the past we’ve rented apartments with a live-in super so minor repairs were taken care of. The things I looked at for each future apartment were based on my previous living situation. for example, when I lived in a basement that flooded constantly and was a little bit further away from public transit, the next place had to be an apartment and near public transit. The next place I found ticked those boxes, but then had roaches so the next place needed to be roach-free in addition to the previous requirements.

    So in our current property, we have the following “invisible” issues?

    -water leaks through the windows when it rains

    -basement flooding issues

    -our insulation is terrible. our winter bills are easily $600+. Since its’ a house we will be paying the utilities.

    -thank God no roach problem here but I’m still dead terrified of them.

    When I’m looking at rentals, how will I be able to determine these? I mean let’s say I visit on a warm sunny day, it’ll be hard to tell if there’s rain flooding or bad heating. Not sure how much of this is location specific, I can provide that if it is necessary.

    1. Katefish*

      One useful thing, possibly: Just flat out ask and watch people’s facial expressions as they respond. You can also usually see/smell water damage.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yep. When future tenants asked me in front of the agent, I was very careful in my phrasing. As a result they left a pair of gloves on my counter. When they came back an hour later without the agent for their gloves, I gave them my own tour. Shockingly, the agent had neglected to mention to them that the floor had moved 3” away from the walls on one side of the house and that we’d had to have the front door adjusted four times in two weeks so it would continue to line up with the jamb to actually, you know, latch and lock. So that might be a thing too – “forget” something and then go back for it and ask questions without the letting agent present. Results not guaranteed, but.

    2. Kuododi*

      A personal suggestion once you’ve narrowed it down to the top 2-3 houses. Take time to drive thru those neighborhoods after dark. Pay attention to things such as after dark activity, noise if any, lighting for safety and all other related issues.

      That trick has been quite helpful for DH and myself. (In one case it saved us from a 3am garage band with delusions of fame and fortune.). Best regards.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        When I moved to a totally new area that I wasn’t familiar with, I saw such a range of prices for similar items that I called the police department and asked about the neighborhood. The person who answered the phone identified one of the neighborhood as a high crime area. New coverage verified that within a few months. :(

    3. legalchef*

      Where are you looking? Some cities have publicly accessible records of complaints from tenants.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        We’ve narrowed it down to a few areas in New Jersey that are within an hour commute of NYC.

        1. legalchef*

          You should google around and see if they have an equivalent of NYCs Department of Housing Preservation and Development, which has everything online. You can also try googling for the county name + tenants rights and might get some useful resources.

        2. AVP*

          Do you currently live in the area? If you don’t – I grew up there and would highly, highly recommend doing a mock commute into NYC from whichever town you settle on. My experience is just that each little town has a wildly different commute, even places that are only a couple of miles away from each other, so you want to make sure you’re happy with the one you end up with.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            No, I live in an NYC borough. I was looking at listings the other day and spent time looking up each area’s commute. I don’t have a job atm, so that could open me up to working within NYC or even within Jersey since I drive.

    4. Gatomon*

      You can call the utility company and tell them you’re considering renting a property and they will usually give you the average or high/low bill.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        That’s a great idea, I didn’t think of that. i have friends who live in the area I m looking at and they told me around how much their bills are but its just 1 person…could vary amongst the diff properties and areas.

    5. Clisby*

      Since you loathe cockroaches (who doesn’t?) ask whether pest control is included in the rent. It’s been years since we rented a house, but the last time we did the lease specified that the landlord was responsible for quarterly pest control and monthly lawn maintenance.

    6. MizPurple*

      The general orientation of the house to the sun – my last house was on the “cold” side of the street, meaning that in winter I was trying to clear my car and shovel walks without the benefit of whatever morning sun was available. The opposite side of the street got sidewalks and windows nicely thawed and melted. Added negative was that the deck on the back of the house was pretty much unusable during the summer and early fall months because it got too hot! And would fry any plants I tried to grow back there.

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        hunh that’s interesting. I wouldn’t even know how to figure that out. Isn’t shovelling the responsibility of the owner/landlord? or is that dependent on teh state/terms of lease?

        1. StrikingFalcon*

          It’s determined by what direction the house faces. The north side of the house will always get more sun than the south side, and the east will get more sun in the morning and the west more sun in the evening.

          As for snow removal, it can vary. Apartment complexes will usually clear sidewalks and parking lots, but for individual houses it’s often your responsibility.

    7. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Hoping it’s not too late to ask this but this just occurred to me –

      Does applying to multiple rentals affect your credit score? I’ve been looking at listings and they just say must have good credit. I remember back when I was looking for apartments they wanted to run our scores which I know they could reduce it.

      Is this something particular to certain areas (NYC vs NJ) or dependent on landlord/type of property say a private home vs apartment?

      1. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Just a little concerned because I’ve worked hard to get my credit score up to 700 and don’t want it to be ruined by constant checks. Not sure how it goes on that end

      2. fhqwhgads*

        My understanding is if you have multiple credit checks for the same thing in a short period of time, they basically count as “one” because the algorithms are smart enough to tell this is someone shopping around. Of course the algorithms are all proprietary and no one really knows exactly what they do, but I’ve always been told not be concerned about this, just as you wouldn’t be concerned about multiple banks running your credit during the same month while shopping for a mortgage or car loan.

        1. Potatoes gonna potate*

          Thanks. Something to research over. I try to compare some of the online applications to see what they say. So far the only things I caught were deposits/last month rent etc.

  17. Beancat*

    How do you stay motivated when working on a big project that gets hard?

    I’ve been writing a manga for the Shojen Jump Tezuka Contest and I’m very excited to do it! But with how badly my hand has been hurting lately my motivation wanes some days. This is something I want more than anything, but some days are harder than others. Are there any tips or anything you could tell yourself to get yourself motivated again in the moment?

    1. LGC*

      So wait, let me get this straight: your main difficulty is that your hand hurts, right? I’d be a little worried about injury, myself. Take care of yourself so you can finish!

      1. Beancat*

        There’s that part of it – I’ve talked with my doctor and it’s essentially overuse. I’m trying to be mindful about what activities I do so I don’t cause strain. I promise I’ll be careful and take care of myself! :)

        A lot of it is also just general motivation – sorry, I don’t think I worded that clearly! When I was younger I would often back out of something if it got hard because family always crowed about being perfect. I’m working on that with my therapist but I wondered if anyone had tips for pushing through that bit, or lack of motivation.

        1. tangerineRose*

          Are there exercises you can do to help your hand? Can you use your other hand to make notes or basic drawings that will remind you of what you want to do?

          You need to listen to your body when it says it hurts. If you don’t, you’re likely to hurt yourself more.

          1. Beancat*

            I try to do stretches but can find more! The good news is I have my entire storyboard done, this crunch is just me trying to get ahead of my deadline. I could ease up for a while and do fine for time, I think.

        2. Katia*

          I usually tell myself that I’m going to do something related to the project for just 5 minutes, and then I can stop. It works quite well for me

        3. StrikingFalcon*

          Can you experiment with some braces? They might help, even if you only wear it when you aren’t drawing (to help your hand rest) and take it off to draw. I’m not sure what part of your hand hurts, but this works with carpal tunnel.

      2. Fikly*

        Yeah, not wanting to do something that is causing you pain is not a motivation problem, it’s a pain problem.

    2. Nervous Nellie*

      Beancat, I am sorry that you are in pain! I have pins in both of my hands, so I know pain. :) I use tight wrist braces when I need to. They can be used when typing but are not great for writing. I alternate between typing and writing whatever I am working on to reduce the pain. It works, sometimes.

      But for motivation – when I was writing a short chapter book of critter stories for a child in my building last Christmas, I had days where I couldn’t get going on the stories at all, and had a deadline looming. I stayed motivated by imagining my little animal characters visiting me and telling me what they were up to, even if ‘their’ accounts didn’t fit with the narrative I was building for each one. Even snippets of ‘their’ visits helped, as I wove them into the stories, or changed the direction of the stories completely. I just kept talking to the characters in my head, and that gave me little pieces to be going on with. That organic process really took off the pressure of creating a linear tale, and gave me a jumpstart at times when I wasn’t motivated to do any actual writing.

      And as a manga writer I am sure you are quite an artist. I can sorta draw, so I did line drawing critters to go with each story, with the anyone-can-draw guidance of Sachiko Umoto’s Let’s Draw Cute Animals book. My little neighbor also wanted a coloring book, so that addressed that! :) And sometimes I drew the critters before the story and hung them on my fridge to start the conversation with them about their story fodder.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        And I meant to add – I too grew up in a ‘you’re perfect or worthless’ family script, and the way I surpass it now is to remind myself that those beliefs were not mine, but theirs, and that I am an independent adult who has done okay for herself, and that that was a very long time ago. Good enough is good enough, and I am the only judge I care about. Nobody deserves the pressured yoke of perfection. :)

      2. Beancat*

        I love the idea of your characters visiting you! I’ve always done that kind of thing and I think it does help :)

        I’m so sorry you know pain too! I’m definitely keeping an eye on it with my doctor and once this is finished will probably take a big creative break.

        1. Nervous Nellie*

          Good, yes! Keep an eye on it, and keep letting us know here how your contest entry is evolving. I have been following it since you mentioned it first and are cheering for you! :)

          1. Beancat*

            Thank you so much! I’ve gotten three pages sketched in two days (finished 12 of 54)… my hope is to have the sketching done by June so I can go nice and slowly with inking in July!

            1. Nervous Nellie*

              Yay sketching, and yay inking! Keep it up as well as you are able. What a positive and exciting pursuit!

    3. Not A Girl Boss*

      It’s a little tough to give advice since this is a pain thing more than a motivation thing – probably a good idea to get that looked like.

      But my standard advice is “motivation comes and goes, it’s discipline that carries you through.” If you have strong habits to fall back on, it will matter much less whether or not you “feel” like it on a given day. For example, if you get up every morning and write 2 pages, regardless of how good or bad the two pages are, that’s a really good habit. Then on particularly motivated days you can use those to do more of the critical thinking / editing, go back to fill in the blanks, etc.

      I’m a powerlifter and there are definitely days I don’t feel like doing my workout. But I go through the motions anyway, just to maintain the habit. Half the time I feel a lot better by the time I finish my warmup sets. Other days I don’t. And some particularly motivated days I do extra.

      1. Beancat*

        I’ve been working with my doctor and will definitely continue to keep an eye on it!

        I think it’s true sometimes you just have to do it, even for a bit. You mentioning going through the motions to keep the habit is really good advice, so thank you!

    4. LQ*

      I’d agree that this is not a project gets hard thing. This is a RSI issue. I’d have stuff like this with my voice when I was doing a lot of recording. Shifting to another element of the project can be helpful. So if you’re hand hurts from drawing, taking some time to sketch (not literally) the story elements, edit those pieces, etc. Or shifting to do some…intense work on the other side as a consumer. (For me it would be listening to a book with a really intense focus, disecting it, pulling the audio into an editor and just looking at that.) Or doing some learning, an online course or the like.

      But you gotta give your hand time to recover. (Honestly, I’d read about how the pros in your field handle RSI issues too. That’s well worth your time here.)

      1. Beancat*

        The more I read down the replies the more I’m realizing I do need to rest my hand. I’m going to try to do more of that this week!

        I often forget that doing other parts of a project is still working on it! Maybe I can spend some time icing my hand and tapping through e-manga on my laptop with my non-drawing hand.

        1. PollyQ*

          Please take your hand pain seriously. I know a number of people who permanently injured themselves by not being attentive enough to RSI issues. Second the recommendation to try voice-to-text, which has gotten better in recent years.

        2. LQ*

          Absolutely take it seriously and rest it. It may not be full blow RSI or carpal tunnel yet, but you get that by overworking yourself continuously and restressing stress. Be careful with it.

          I don’t know if there are groups for the contest you’re a part of (I’m sure there are for manga authors though) but it may be useful to ask for tips there too. I know that for authors and vo work there are and there are tips and support there both for the RSI and for the motivation that can be really useful. (As long as you don’t end up with those forums as another distraction!)

          Good luck!

          1. Beancat*

            I’m currently replying to this with a swipe keyboard and my non dominant hand :) I’m definitely going to be more careful. Thank you for the suggestions to find a group! I’ll see what I can do!

    5. Purt’s Peas*

      Yeah, I would not discount how much your hand pain is affecting your motivation!

      That said, I’d start to break down the tasks you have to do into things you can accomplish, or change up your workflow a bit. I’ve found that in any project you get small accomplishments as you finish steps, but those are diminishing returns as you progress—it just not as meaningful to finish the thirtieth panel as it is to finish the first. So I usually have to do a bit of thinking to figure out how to finish a project in a satisfying way. I’m terrible at delayed gratification :p

      Also take care of your hand!

      1. Beancat*

        It really is satisfying to make accomplishments happen. Hmm…maybe while taking a break and resting my hand, I can think about how to break down this big task.

        I’m working with a doctor, and I promise I’ll take more time to rest!

    6. Beancat*

      Thanks for all the well wishes and concerns about my hand! I promise I’m working with a doctor on it and at this point it’s just overuse, not carpal tunnel or anything. I need to be more mindful about which activities I do and rest more often.

      I do also have general motivation issues at times! There’s days where my hands are fine and I look at my tablet and go “Mmm…maybe not right now…”

      I will definitely focus on resting my hands when I’m not drawing!

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Late here, but will try to offer some encouragement.

      I have a project where I need to move 22 LARGE plants out several feet from where they are now. I look at this project and tell myself “I’m gonna die. These plants are going to kill me.” (Whoops- poor self talk!!!)
      I decided to break the project into many smaller parts. (NOT happy here. It feels like I will spend the rest of my life moving these monsters.)
      So I started by getting rid of the plants I will not be keeping. I figured I needed to get rid of 11 of them. I divided this project down further by digging 3 plants per day. (These are large and heavy plants. Digging three of them a day is at least 3 hours probably longer.)
      Surprisingly that went a bit easier than I anticipated. And even though it took three days to get them all, I did enjoy the part where I could just give them to people. (Rewards are important!)

      So now I have 11 left. Crap. I did not notice the other 3 in the corner. 14 left. I went out and moved the three in the corner the other day. It really did not go as badly as I thought it would. I got the corner cleaned up and put a plant in that I really enjoy. (Another reward!)

      Now I am back to the last 11. It’s taken me 4 days to move 14. So even though I am on the downhill side of this, it’s still daunting to me. I have to deliberately NOT think about the remaining group and just concentrate on the current set of 3. I have to stick to my promise to myself to quit when my back starts hurting. I have to say encouraging things to myself. I have to sit with a hot pack……. It’s all about balancing everything out, balancing the work load, balancing the pain treatment plan, and balancing out my self-talk so that I can let myself be proud of the parts I DID do. I did not expect this to go as well as it has been going so that gives me encouragement to keep showing up and working my plan.

      (Yes, 14 does not divide by 4 and equal 3. I had two days where I took out one more plant because one of the three came out much easier than the others. I dug an extra one on those days. But after number 4, I quit for the day. I had to know that I could quit for the day- that was important.)

      1. Beancat*

        I agree sometimes it can be hard to look forward and that sometimes it’s best to focus on what’s right in front of you. Good luck with moving all of your plants! Balance is the key in a lot of things :)

    8. Healthcare Worker*

      Have you considered getting a talk-to-text app? Recently there was a thread with a lot of good suggestions. Then your hand can rest and you can write!

      1. Beancat*

        When I get to a point I’m making text bubbles I may do this! The entire script is already written which helps on that front – now the issue is just drawing the panels in which to put the bubbles :)

  18. Ducksgoquack*

    Can anyone else relate to giving people the benefit of the doubt….too much? I’ve been doing serious reflection lately and I realise I have been way too understanding about crappy behaviour. As a result I have missed major red flags about another person’s shady character.

    I don’t want to judge people unfairly but it’s meant I subconsciously make excuses for awful people.

    1. LibbyG*

      I have that tendency. I’ve been described as being very “accepting.” I’ve gotten better over the years at being accepting of people but not their behavior. I can’t identify any specific strategies for that. It’s just a gradual reframing.

    2. Venus*

      It is human nature. As in, studies* have shown that we are wired to believe others. So you are normal. For your benefit it is better to learn to question others and their red flags, but don’t criticize yourself for trusting others.

      * full disclosure: someone I trust read about this recently, not me, so I don’t know the details of the studies and I don’t have the enthusiasm to look right now

    3. Anon for this*

      I found that I was far more accepting when people were crappy to me, but when they pulled the same with my kids I woke up and finally limited contact. It might help to frame it that way. If you don’t have kids, maybe focus on someone else you care about. Would you give this person the same benefit of the doubt if the crappy behavior was directed at kid/sibling/dear friend?

      1. Disco Janet*

        Ducksgoquack, be aware that this method is not foolproof and depends on the person. Some people go all mama bear/protective when they see others treated this way, but some people will just encourage the person being treated badly to give the benefit of a doubt. I cannot tell you how many times my mother has tried to talk me out of being upset that her sister treated me badly and given a million ridiculous excuses for her behavior. She does this when people she doesn’t know are the one treating her or us badly too. In her mind, I’m being unnecessarily upset and causing problems when I could just come up with reasons to excuse their behavior. In my mind, she’s teaching people that it’s okay to be nasty because she’s so afraid of rocking the boat that she’ll never stand up for herself or anyone else.

        My advice would be to think about WHY you are giving this person the benefit of a doubt.

        1. lazy intellectual*

          Oof – I definitely blame my mother for the way I am now. My mother has no sense of boundaries and normalizes abusive behavior and has projected this onto me. This goes both for herself – she allows people to walk all over her – and the way she treats me – doesn’t respect my boundaries. She has also defended every toxic relationship I have ever had, and told me the reason I couldn’t preserve any of them was because *I* was the problem.

          I know always blaming your parents has an expiration date, but there is a reason people end up the way they are.

    4. Reba*

      You don’t want to judge people unfairly — you want to judge them *fairly*.

      That seems simplistic but was actually a really helpful reframe for me. Yes, it is good to judge someone by what they do and say! That’s who they are!

    5. lazy intellectual*

      GUILTY AS CHARGED. This has actually been on my mind a lot this weekend so its interesting someone brought it up here!

      I’ve gotten sliiiiightly better at this the past couple of years, but I still err on the side of ignoring problematic behavior. I think the times I have done this the most is when TECHNICALLY both of us were at fault, but the other person used it as an excuse to just be very nasty, yell, etc. Both times I had made honest mistakes and apologized, and they doubled down in their behavior. But since I messed up I felt like their right to be nasty and yell was more important than my right to be…not verbally abused?

      Luckily, both times I was able eventually remove myself from the situation and no longer interact with them. Nowadays, I need to repeatedly remind myself that I have control over the types of relationships/interactions I bring into my life, and to not just accept whatever behavior comes my way. I also don’t need good, objective “reasons” to decide I don’t like someone and don’t want them in my life.

      1. Ducksgoquack*

        Your last sentence is an eye opener for me.

        I recently blocked contact with a friend. I felt guilty and questioned myself whether there were “good enough” reasons for doing so. But you’re so right. Like, it’s fine to choose company based on what brings us pleasure rather than what doesn’t cause pain.

        Thanks for sharing your wisdom :D

        1. lazy intellectual*

          I’m glad I was helpful on some way. I wish you the best in finding more fulfilling relationships.

    6. leukothea*

      Yes, I have had a lifelong tendency to do this. For me, it came as a coping mechanism from childhood issues in which a loved parent treated me very unfairly. I made endless excuses for them because I was a child and it was terrifying to think that a parent could really mistreat me, so they must have had a good reason. It was also a way of asserting some internal mirage of control over a situation in which I was helpless. These coping mechanisms helped me when I was a kid, but they are not helpful in adult life. They led me to excuse truly awful behavior based on my dream that someday the behavior would magically get better.

      For me, it has been a long journey towards judging others based on what they actually say and do, not based on my wishful thinking about what I assume they have the ability to say and do.

      1. Generic Name*

        I totally agree it’s a coping mechanism. And to add to your second paragraph, watch to see if someone’s words match their actions. Do they do what they say they will do? That one was a hard one for me.

    7. Generic Name*

      Yes, I’m guilty of this too. I think people who you know well deserve the benefit of the doubt. People you’ve just met? Judge them on their actions now. Trust is earned, and I think that being given the benefit of the doubt should be earned too.

    8. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I don’t want to judge people unfairly but it’s meant I subconsciously make excuses for awful people.

      This sounds all too painfully familiar. There’s a balance between judging people unfairly and making excuses. For me what’s helped is just age and experience. And asking around for gut-checks cz sometimes something seems off to me but could be totally reasonable or vice versa.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      I found boundaries books very helpful. It got me started thinking about where my lines are.

      The most helpful thing anyone ever told me was what my wise friend said: If you see a behavior three times, then you have a pattern. You should address that pattern in some manner. [Tell them to stop, or move away from them, whichever.]

      As I worked with this idea, it dawned on me that there are some things I only need to see once: screaming at a small child; kicking a pet; or reckless driving. (These are just a few examples, there are other things that I am not “good with” also.)

      Here’s one last thought, just because we understand why a behavior is happening does not automatically make that behavior okay. “Well, my friend is screaming at her small child because Friend’s mother screamed at her.” Well, yes that is why it’s happening but it was not okay when Friend’s mom screamed at Friend and it’s still not okay when Friend screams at her toddler.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        Yes to all of this. I’m so tired of the “they had a hard life…” It’s not on other people to emotionally manage problematic people who have had a hard life, especially when there are plenty of other people who ALSO went through hardships without being toxic to others. Same goes for people with mental illness.

        1. Wishing You Well*

          Just a head’s up: I read “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. It’s VERY Bible-oriented. Nothing wrong with that but one should know that before buying and/or reading the book.

          1. RagingADHD*

            True. Personally I found most of the Bible quotes to be pretty accurate descriptions of human dynamics, rather than preaching. So unless the Bible as a book of traditional wisdom is a no-go for someone, Id say it’s worth it.

            One example that sticks with me is the discussion of “bear one another’s burdens” vs “each one should carry their own load.” The original language for burden meaning a special difficulty or hardship, while the word for load indicated your ordinary life stuff that everyone deals with day to day.

    10. Holly*

      I feel like this was me for most of my life. If someone wronged a friend of mine, I would have an appropriate boundary about that and respond accordingly, but as soon as someone wronged me, I would be able to think up a million reasons for why it might be understandable or okay, actually, or whatever. I therefore opened myself up to a lot of shitty treatment that I look back on now and go, oh my god.

      The number one thing that got me out of this habit was unfortunately, being treated like shit over and over again. Now, I have very sensitive boundaries (probably over-sensitive) and won’t take any kind of shit.

      However, I don’t recommend that method of going about things, because it means you suffer and become bitter lol. What I do recommend first over all things is therapy, probably CBT aimed at creating healthy boundaries – therapists will have many more tools at their disposal that may help you than we will. This might not even need to be one on one – in my area, psychiatric outpatient clinics in hospitals offer free group sessions aimed at building particular skills, such as distress tolerance, boundaries, etc. Therapy can sound scary sometimes but often if you’re just looking for a skill, it’s a shorter-term thing where you go and get the information and then practice it (easier said than done haha).

      Some of what a therapist may do is have you focus on your feelings. How does it make you feel when X person does Y? How would it make you feel if X person did Y? Why does it make you feel that way? For me, I was conditioned at a young age to not trust my feelings, and to block them out, as a survival mechanism. That survival mechanism worked at the time, but no longer works, so it was time to say thanks and goodbye, and start getting in touch with my feelings. Being in touch with feelings can be really hard for a lot of people, especially if a person has buried them for most of their life. If this is your case (not assuming but trying to be helpful!), I’d recommend google image searching “feelings wheel”. There are a lot of them, so you might want to look at a few to see which one works best for you, but basically the idea is a person starts from the inside quadrants with a “main” or big emotion, and then moves outward to help narrow down the specific emotion they’re feeling. This can help with recognizing and naming emotions, which helps internally to make sense of things, and also helps communication when trying to express how one is feeling. Then basically, practice is the thing. Feeling a confusing emotion? Try to recognize that, sit with it, maybe bring out the wheel if it feels helpful, analyse, learn, etc.

      For me, the next step was the ‘trusting my feelings part.” The truth is that you can end relationships for any reason you want. You don’t actually even need a reason. Or you can decide any behavior is unacceptable to you. A quirk of personality that you’re not interested in. Etc. If someone makes you feel a way you don’t like, that is enough of a reason to end the relationship. You don’t need permission, you don’t need to suffer some predetermined amount before you’re allowed to call it quits, you don’t have to try a certain (unspecified) amount before giving up on someone/a relationship (this is a big part of what got me into trouble in the past – the idea that “everyone can get along, if only you try hard enough” …. yeah, if one person becomes a doormat, sure you can ‘get along’ with everyone). You get to decide what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable. Whether that’s broad strokes or very specific things is up to you. For example, if a person, but especially a man, is wearing white rimmed sunglasses – I do not want to know that person. That’s a boundary of mine. It might seem goofy or shallow to other people but I don’t care! An example of a more serious boundary is that I won’t be friends with people who are rude to anyone in a service industry or retail industry. The list goes on…

      Not being in touch with my feelings and acting accordingly with them is a very big part of why I let people treat me like garbage for so long. Everyone, including YOU, deserves to be treated with respect and kindness and love, and as soon as someone doesn’t do that, that’s important information they’re giving you about their character. Meanness doesn’t come into the picture, you can just say “oh, I see how this is, now. No thanks.” and move on your merry way. I like what another commenter said below too, of course you don’t want to judge people unfairly, but we do want to judge people fairly. And the other key part of this learning for me was that actions really do speak louder than words. I think that axiom is kind of hard to process by itself because it’s been repeated ad nauseum but like… someone doesn’t text you back? That’s communication. Someone calls you mean names ‘playfully’ but it happens all the time? That’s communication. Pretty much everything humans do is communication of some kind and to be like “oh well, I can’t know what they mean, maybe they didn’t mean it THAT way” is maybe kind of true, in that you’re not a mindreader, but again… how does their form of communication make you feel? If it’s bad, it doesn’t matter why they didn’t text back, or that the name-calling was “only a joke”. Good feelings only my friend!!! Thanks for reading my very long comment if you got all the way down here haha.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        This is suuuuuuper insightful. Every single sentence resonates with me.

    11. RagingADHD*

      Some shifts in my thinking that helped me a lot:

      1) Learning and valuing the distinction between “judging” and “discerning.” You can be wise and discerning about someone’s past, present, and likely future behavior, without judging them as evil, irredeemable, or worthless. If you discern that someone has a pattern of behavior that is hurtful to you, or even exhausting to you, you can decide that you are not here for it. That’s not any kind of judgment on their identity. It’s a decision about how to use your time in a positive way.

      2) Realizing that I am not a diety. Even if I were to judge someone, there are no cosmic consequences for them. They are not going to suffer or die because I judged them.

      3) Learning how to extend kindness and generosity without being emotionally enmeshed with someone, and what sorts of kindness are appropriate to different kinds of relationships. For example – I have an ex-friend who I have downgraded to an acquaintance because she stirs up trouble in friend groups. I will still babysit her kid in an emergency or give her zucchini from my garden, but we don’t hang out and I don’t take her into my confidence about anything.

      4) Realizing that I can be understanding about why someone behaves the way they do, without letting them do it to me. The metaphor would be a toddler who hits. I understand why they hit. I don’t think they are “bad” for hitting. I don’t hit them back. But I also don’t allow them to sit there and hit me over and over. I tell them it’s unacceptable, and change the environment so they cannot hit me anymore (such as by moving further away, taking them out of the high chair and ending the meal, etc.) And if they later want to hug me instead of hitting me, that’s great! I will hug them back!

      Obviously if part of the bad behavior is luring you in with friendliness/affection and then turning on you, that last part of #4 would not apply. It’s just a metaphor for how setting limits is not the same as “judging”.

  19. Vina*

    Topic for the week given all that’s going on: when white people try to be progressive and fail miserably in your fav pop culture.

    For example, I love Doctor Who, but it’s very white British post-colonial.

    Two examples: (1) Use of Geronimo. (2) The POV of the 50th anniversary (we should all just get along).

    I now the historical use of Geronimo in British military culture. Doesn’t excuse using it so cavalierly and carelessly.

    WRT to the 50th, if you make the earthlings Indians (from India) or Native Americans or pick a colony the Zygons the Europeans, you can see what the conclusion it comes to is deeply problematic and justifies colonialism.

    Everyone focuses on Moffat’s issues with gender, but he was majorly blind with respect to race and colonialism.

    Other examples: Treatment of Loki as a pure villain and Thor and Odin as the good-guys pre-Ragnorak. Odin was a colonial invader who took a child from his culture and denied who it was. Doesn’t excuse Loki, but Odin shouldn’t be viewed as anything other than horrible. What does he do to redeem himself of this crime? Other than “oops, sorry!”

    Also, there’s a discussion of Agatha Christie above. I hate how many people slag on Branagh’s MOTOE b/c he retconned it to make it less Lilly white and more in line with the diversity that existed back then. I hate, hate, hate white people getting upset with adding diversity.

    I’m not looking for people to tear apart/counter what I’ve said above. What I’m looking for is other examples that obgther people. The point is to get to critically think about how even “woke” and well meaning white folks can get it wrong.

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Star Trek.

      I love Star Trek – check out my avatar – and will defend it till the day I die as I think they did an excellent job for most of the shows but there area couple of episodes that make me wince. The first one that comes to mind is early season 1 TNG, I think episode 4, and it’s called Code of Honour where an away team beams down to an alien planet that is just a white person’s idea of an African community – and I mean African in the way that they haven’t bothered to make any distinguishing features, they’ve just grabbed a mixed bag of what they think a tribal village looks like and jammed it onto a set. The entire episode was a little much.

      1. Queer Earthling*

        If it helps, the ENTIRE TNG cast agrees with you, and Frakes has said he’d be delighted if they just stopped releasing that one on DVDs etc.

        1. Foreign Octopus*

          Actually, that does help, thank you.

          I know that the TNG cast disagreed with a couple of episodes in the early seasons. I remember there was one about drugs that just really rubbed them the wrong way but they had to film it anyway, so I’m glad that this was also something they didn’t like.

          1. Queer Earthling*

            Yeah, for one of the best sci fi shows ever, TNG had some extremely horrible and/or stupid episodes. (They’re also collectively salty about The Outcast, which was supposed to be pro-gay rights but wound up being, like, Riker vs. The Evil Lesbian Cult.)

            1. allathian*

              Yeah, but even there, Jonathan Frakes said that the Outcast character should have been played by a male actor. It wouldn’t have been a problem for him to have Riker kiss a man and it would have improved the episode.

              1. Queer Earthling*

                Oh agreed. Not the fault of the cast at all. Most (not all, but most) of those decisions can be blamed on producer Rick Berman.

      2. No Tribble At All*

        Yes, and also, when a show that started so progressive has big gaps in later series. Voyager, for all its great women characters, has the very awkward Chakotay as an attempt at Native Americans, and poor Harry Kim gets stuck as Ensign for 7 years because he’s the Young Asian Dork. Enterprise mostly stars white men. Discovery had the first gay main characters!! And one of them promptly gets killed off. (I’ve only seen season 1, and apparently he comes back?) It’s much harder to say “ah it was good and groundbreaking for its time” when the time was the late 90’s.

        1. Generic Name*

          Aw, I love Voyager. This is a useful perspective, so I thank you for that. I said above that Voyager has aged well as TV show, but now I’m reconsidering.

          1. No Tribble At All*

            I mean I’m white so Your Milage May Vary on my opinion. It’s kinda shitty to be like “Voyager was the show for [white] women while Deep Space Nine was the show for Non White People” which is sorta what I felt like Star Trek did? I think DS9 had better female characters than Voyager had characters of color. I watched Ds9 before I watched Voyager so I have some nostalgia for DS9 — I’ve only watched Voyager once. Voyager has some good plotlines with B’Elanna being biracial iirc.

        2. allathian*

          It just goes to show how much the world has changed, in the 60s the miniskirts on Trek were seen as progressive, whereas I can’t see them as anything but horribly sexist.
          I love Star Trek in all the incarnations I’ve seen, but I admit I love Voyager less than the others (I haven’t seen Picard or Discovery yet). Mainly because the writing for Mulgrew was so inconsistent and because Voyager was made for a serial format, but it just came out a few years too early, before streaming and binge watching became a thing. One reason why I like DS9 so much is its more serial nature. The same can be said for Enterprise, I’m just sad that it got canceled after four seasons, just as it got going.

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

      The only thing Moffat is good at is killing characters. I’m still not over the balant queerbating in Sherlock and the wasted potential of a proper Mary redemption arc (my favourite theory is related to the AGRA usb drive) with John and Sherlock as side characters.

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

        Also, the plot twist in the Abominable Bride was so laaaaaaame!

        1. Reba*

          Yes, that was one of those moments that was such a bad ending it really diminished all the story/seasons that came before. A show I really enjoyed, mansplaining me in my own living room!

      2. Vina*

        No real spy would use a USB drive. The military doesn’t even use them. I used to work for a defense contractor. USBs were verboten. Too much of a security risk.

        Also, I have known a few intelligence officers who only use regular old pen and paper for anything that important

        One of many things in that show that make it clear Moffat and Gattis were too Divorced from reality

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

        Before I forget, the Mary Morstan theory was related to The Valley of Fear. It’s one of my favorite fan theories and it would’ve been perfect for season 4. Too bad they never used it.

    3. lazy intellectual*

      This is an obvious example but…Disney’s Pocahontas?

      I love this movie in itself – it’s so visually beautiful and I love the soundtrack, but the story and the context around it is super messed up. I’m not sure if the writers were trying to be woke or what, but depicting a Native American woman being romanced by a colonizer (even though he has redeeming qualities because NOT ALL WHITES ARE BAD YOU KNOW), esp when in real life John Smith and Pocahontas were 20 years apart and JS was likely kind of a creep, is all types of messed up.

        1. lazy intellectual*

          I know that. (That is also messed up for its own reasons.) FWIW, Disney Pocahontas didn’t marry John Smith, either. It’s just, the set up sucks.

    4. Star*

      Firefly. I love that show and it’s my favorite of Joss Whedon’s works. I can simultaneously love the varied and interesting Black characters and note that there’s not a single Asian character in the whole series, in a heavily Chinese-influenced fictional universe. (Also Joss Whedon could have whole essays written about him on this topic in general — he exemplifies arriving at a place and staying there while progress catches up to and goes well past.)

      (Plus the REavers, which at first looked like a REALLY UNFORTUNATE trope. I’m not sure I can say the Movie redeemed the concept by showing where they came from, but i’m definitely glad of the extra info.)

      1. Avasarala*

        I have a whole essay I wrote on your first paragraph somewhere. That was my main complaint with the show–where are all these white folks learning Chinese from? Not a single Asian anywhere, not even in the background.

        1. Star*

          Depending on where you put it I may have read it and cheered. :) I read several such essays, not least when discussing/fighting about this topic with some people I knew.

          For example, nothing against Sean Maher and Summer Glau, but the Tams are so obviously Chinese it’s beyond annoying how they were cast.

        2. Anonymous Pterodactyl*

          The language situation is kind of explained by background info outside of the show – “Alliance” is short for the Anglo-Sino Alliance, which was formed by the cooperation of the US and China as they worked to leave Earth-That-Was. Most people in the Firefly ‘verse speak some amount of both English and Mandarin, and planets vary in which is the dominant tongue. They didn’t really get a chance in the partial season that aired to get into a lot of the history & underlying concept that has since been revealed.

          Obviously, within the show, they mostly used Mandarin to get around censors (rather creatively, too), not as a means of communication. And I’m not going to defend the lack of Asian cast members; even if not in the crew, there are plenty of opportunities for the show to have done better in diversity of casting. But Mandarin wasn’t chosen as random and in-universe it makes sense that all of the non-Chinese characters still know it.

    5. allathian*

      Just one counter here: I far prefer Suchet’s Poirot to Branagh’s, but my preference is all about the portrayal of the main character Poirot, it has nothing at all to do with diversity or the lack of it. I’m all for diversity.
      That said, some of the more disturbing fanfic I’ve come across has Poirot and Hastings as gay lovers, and I’m just like nonononono! Sure, they were roommates for a time but please don’t make everything into slash.

    6. MissDisplaced*

      Oh Star Wars for sure.
      With the exception of Lando and Finn and the various “aliens,” most of the main characters are white.
      And let’s not forget the tragedy of Jar Jar Binks. Just… Why?

      With Doctor Who, I think there are efforts being made, but yes, some things are still cringey.

      It’s the case with a lot of pop culture. You revisit things you thought you loved, but see the flaws you didn’t previously notice.

      Ultimately entertainments are the product of the inputs of many people. Imperfect people and imperfect society.

    7. Forensic13*

      If you like podcasts, the podcast Métis in Space looks at TV/movies that are Native-themed and critique them along these lines. The media that try and fail to be woke are often the ones that they hate most, heh.

  20. Lemon Meringue Pie*

    Memory foam mattresses: how have you found them?

    We’re trying an Emma on a 200-night trial. My husband liked it right away and I think I do too. Lots of reviews mentioned heat retention but we’ve had no issue with this despite very warm weather.

    Although I didn’t anticipate how hard it would be to sit up in bed, as you end up in a dip / at a weird angle, so it’s more a case of lying down and propping myself up a bit on pillows and elbows. I probably sat up in bed more than I should have before – I have a chronic illness and need a lot of duvet days, and I like to read in bed.

    I figure I’ll move the duvet days to the sofa (seems worth it for a comfy sleep) and I’ve got into the habit of listening to audiobooks in bed instead (husband falls asleep immediately, I need something to help me drift off – got to love sleep timers). But I just hadn’t anticipated this issue and am now wondering if it was strange that I ever sat up in bed that much in the future.

    I looked online and it was weirdly difficult to find out about the sitting-up issue – people had asked about it and got unhelpful or sarcastic answers, and then there were unhelpful articles about how your bed should only be for sleep (unrealistic with my health).

    1. Vina*

      I have an adjustable bed with a memory foam mattress I got at costco. So sitting up isn’t an issue.

      The only downside to memory foam is, um, it can be more difficult to get traction during recreational activities.

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        I’ve only recently discovered adjustable beds are a thing, but I don’t know how it would work with a partner if only one person wants to sit up?!

        1. Vina*

          Ours is a Cal King with two separate sections. Works fine.

          Typically, larger adjustable beds are split.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Is it strange that you sit up in bed a lot — no, not necessarily. I mean, I don’t pretty much ever, because I don’t have health issues and the closest I come to spending time in bed when I’m not sleeping is that pretty much every night I get ready for bed and lay down and read for 30-45 minutes before I put everything down and go to sleep, but I get up pretty much right away in the morning and pretty much don’t even go back into my bedroom during the day, let alone back to bed. But I could see sitting up in bed being a little fiddly on a memory foam mattress.

      Maybe one of those husband/bedstead type pillows might be useful? I guess that’s still just propping yourself up, so doesn’t really address any “I’m sitting in a giant divot” issues, but.

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        Reading in bed for 30-45 minutes = exactly the kind of thing I mean. But how do you read lying down? Do you hold the book up or something?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I read mostly on my phone, but yeah, hold the phone or book up. I don’t read hardcover books in bed because I’ve dropped too many on my face, which is actually why I got my first kindle – it was way lighter. :)

        2. Thankful for AAM*

          Lemon, I read lying down on my side. I read in my phone mostly, sometimes a kindle paperwhite. I prop the device against a pillow or a bit of blanket and touch to turn the page.

          1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

            It just never occurred to me to read lying down!

            I’m enjoying audiobooks though actually, and may just stick with those in bed,

          2. Jack Russell Terrier*

            My paperwhite cover can be used to prop up my kindle on the bed itself like a tent, so I can lie on my side and place my kindle where I like. This does mean I spend a lot time reading on my right side as obvs I can only do this on one side!

          3. allathian*

            I read lying down on my left side, but I’m pretty much limited to fairly thin paperbacks (300 pages or less) for reading in bed. Otherwise my left hand gets numb. I have a FF cup, so if I’m lying on my back it feels like I can’t breathe.

        3. Sciencer*

          Ok this is highly specific advice so may not work for you, but my husband and I literally had this conversation last night so I thought I’d chime in. I’ve always, always read while lying in bed, since childhood, and it never occurred to me that others… don’t? My husband swears I have abnormal hand strength/endurance from years of conditioning because I can hold a paperback book up with one hand for an hour or two (it’s a running joke but he’s also half-serious, as he physically can’t do it despite being much more fit than I am). He’s been trying to read more and this simply does not work for him.

          I got him a Kindle with a pretty hefty/stiff cover flap case, and he discovered that he can use the cover to prop it up sideways, so that he can lie on his side and read comfortably without having to hold anything. The only downside is that if I have a book I love, he has to buy it again on the Kindle, or find it through the library, rather than just reading my copy. But he’s a total convert and refuses to bother with print books anymore (whereas I’m the opposite, so as a family we still support our local shops ;)).

          1. allathian*

            I don’t want to have any electronic devices by my bed. I guess I could use a non-backlit e-reader, but I just prefer to read paper books. I do read ebooks on my commute sometimes, but it’s very rare. Those are usually free ebooks, mainly fanfic. I prefer reading long fanfic stories on the phone rather than on a computer screen.

    3. Jack be Nimble*

      I had a memory foam mattress for about a year and a half, and it just didn’t work for me. I overheated so easily and it turned out that I just needed a firmer and more supportive sleeping surface. My current mattress is a $200 innerspring from IKEA (we also got a box spring for another couple hundred) and I’ve slept SO much better in the year since making the switch!

      If you’re replacing a mattress, I do think it’s worth it to go to IKEA or another store where you can lay on the mattresses and test them out a little. A couple minutes was long enough for me to figure out which kind of mattress was going to be most comfortable for me!

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        I live in England and there is zero chance of me being able to try anything in a shop any time soon— they’re mostly closed and I need to stay out of them as I’m vulnerable to covid. In any case I can never figure this out in a few minutes – it’s great that you could! But that’s why we went for something on a trial where we can return it.

        We haven’t had the problem with being hot, I’m pleased to say!

    4. lasslisa*

      My sense is that the depression in my memory foam mattress is much less than in my old old spring mattress, but that may be a function of wear and tear or simply that the divot in the memory foam actually matches my body.

      They do have different firmness levels out there.

      I’ve found the heat retention to be really hard – I wake up sweaty a LOT now as we get into summer – but different brands have done different things to manage that.

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        Have had zero problems with heat retention despite it being very hot weather, so hopefully that will continue to not be a problem…

    5. CoffeeforLife*

      I hated my memory foam mattress. After a few months it felt like I was sleeping on a board. We gave it to our stepson and he loves it. Switched to an innerspring with an adjustable frame. Yes and thank you.

    6. fposte*

      I’m okay with a memory foam topper, depending on circumstances, but I’m a latex person. I like give but not surrender.

    7. Ewesername*

      I have a wedge “pillow” that I use for my duvet days. It’s more supportive than the pile of pillows. Love my memory foam mattress, although I did get a cooling gel mattress cover of the days I’m having, ahem, “my own private summers”

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        I was looking at those wedge pillows and wondering if they were a gimmick – I’ll give them another look, thanks!

    8. Dan*

      I replaced my bed in January, it was ten years old, and I had been waking up with semi-regular back pain. Several years ago, I had purchased a two-inch memory foam layer from Amazon or Costco, and I really like the top. I just wasn’t getting support for my lower back, and that was leading to soreness.

      I find bedding to be such a personal thing, and TBH, shopping online useless. All of the mattresses I reviewed all had great scores and rave reviews. I also knew there was no way I was going to buy a “bed in a box” online that I couldn’t try out ahead of time. (As luck would have it, there’s a store in my area that is essentially a show room for bed-in-a-box mattresses.) One of my big problems with “bed in a box” is that if you return them, there’s a good chance they end up in the landfill because they don’t get resold.

      I did get a chance to demo several different mattresses, and almost all of them did not offer any more support for my lower back than my current mattress did. I realized that those would just be a waste of time or money, because I’d either return it, or keep it buy not be completely happy.

      I ended up with a Tempurpedic with an adjustable base, and I absolutely love it. The kicker is that Tempurpedics are NOT CHEAP. I absolutely did not want to spend the money, but it was either that or keep what I had. The adjustable base makes sitting up in bed a non-issue, and it’s been months since I’ve had any back pain.

      If you really need the ability to sit up in bed, then I’d recommend looking into something called a “split base” (I think that’s the right term.) Some adjustable bases are a single base, so everybody gets the same position, but a “split base” will let each person do what they want. I think, though, that you’ll have to return your current mattress to do that. (It might be possible to get an adjustable base for your current mattress, but not a split base.)

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        It feels more meaningful trying them at home though as then you can actually sleep on them. I’ve always found it so strange trying beds in a shop! Even if it was possible now, it’s just not the same!

    9. KoiFeeder*

      I’ve just got a mattress pad rather than a full memory foam mattress, but I’m quite fond of it. The extra cushioning does a lot for pain and joints just falling out.

      1. MelMc*

        The last time I replaced my mattress I was given the recommendation to buy the firmest traditional mattress then top it with a 2-6″ memory foam topper. The logic was that the topper is easier to move and less expensive so you can change it out every couple of years as the foam breaks down. I prefer a very firm bed so I get the 2″ topper but if I wanted something different it would be as simple to change as a trip to Walmart. I’ve changed out the foam 3 times so far. The used foam has come in handy for restuffing pet beds and other projects.

    10. RagingADHD*

      We got a Nectar, and got the firmest one they had. No issues with sitting up, it’s really like a brick until you lie on it a while and gradually sink in. Even then you only sink in a tiny bit.

      It is very hot though. We put an extra cooling cover on it that’s supposed to stay cool to the touch. It’s a little better with that one, but I still wind up kicking the covers off a lot. Which is a bummer, because I love my weighted blanket!

      1. Lemon Meringue Pie*

        We ruled out Nectar as they have major delivery delays over here and also I read some not great things about their service.

        1. RagingADHD*

          We got ours a couple years ago so service stuff always changes, it was fine at the time but that’s no guarantee now.

          I’m okay with being hot because it ended my back pain.

    11. Killer Queen*

      I have a Zinus mattress – my biggest issue is it gets HOT at night. It absorbs all your body heat! Great in frigid winter but wakes me up 75% of the year. I think all memory foam traps heat like that. And we only got a Full size so there’s no room to shift to a cooler patch.

  21. Medieval mysteries*

    For some reason I really love to read mysteries set in medieval/”old” times, and if with some monk or nun, even better – think Brother Cadfael, Dame Frevisse, Priscilla Royals’ books, etc. Does anyone have any other recommendations that might might fall within this category or adjacent?

    1. mreasy*

      If you haven’t read Eco’s In The Name Of a The Rose, it is a masterpiece of this genre.

      1. RC Rascal*

        I third this suggestion. Sean Connery movie from the 1980s is pretty good,too.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I’ve really enjoyed C. J. Sansom’s Tudor-era series featuring lawyer Mathew Shardlake; religion is a common theme of the plots, and the first book, DISSOLUTION, is focused entirely on a monastery that Shardlake (then working for Thomas Cromwell) is investigating.

      Another series I like: Mel Starr’s “Chronicles of Hugh de Singleton” – again, not a priest (Hugh’s a surgeon turned bailiff for the local lord), but given the setting there are many plots that involve the church one way or another. Lots of period detail along with the mystery plots.

      The “Sister Fidelma” series by Peter Tremayne might be of interest: set in the 7th century it’s well before medieval times, and features a Celtic nun who’s also an official advocate in the courts of law.

      1. Fikly*

        Massive +1 for Dissolution, which I am currently in the middle of the audiobook of, and am enjoying immensely.

    3. Roman Answer*

      Not the era you’re looking for, but Steven Saylor’s Sub Rosa series are murder mysteries set in Ancient Rome. The main character is a sleuth named Gordianus the Finder. They’re entertaining!

      1. MMB*

        Not the OP, but thanks for the rec! I downloaded Roman Blood yesterday morning ripped through it and just started Seven Wonders while cooking dinner!

    4. CatCat*

      “The Crown” by Nancy Bilyeau is going to be your jam. Nun, mystery, Tudor England.

    5. Nicki Name*

      If you can stand some magic in your mysteries, Dave Duncan has a couple historical series your might enjoy. The Alchemist series is set in Renaissance Venice with a protagonist who has a kind of Archie Goodwin-Nero Wolfe relationship with a famous fortuneteller. The Witchfinder General books are set in late 12th-century England and are also, to some degree, about history itself and how it gets suppressed or rewritten.

      1. Nicki Name*

        Sorry, that should be Enchanter General. My fingers were thinking of something else entirely.

    6. MMB*

      You might like the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels by Anne Perry she also does the William Monk series both are set in Victorian England.s

      Oh! I also love the Barker and Llewellyn series by Will Thomas. (The editing does seem to change in the last few books and I noticed one or two inconsistencies if that type of thing bothers you but otherwise a very fun series.)

    7. Nancy*

      Not medieval, or monks, but I’ve really enjoyed the Kamil Pasha novels by Jenny White. They’re set in late-Ottoman Istanbul. Jenny White is an anthropologist specialising in Turkey, and the historic details in the novels are great!

    8. IntoTheSarchasm*

      The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Historical Fiction about the building a Cathedral and politics within the Church and community. There is a sequel, the name escapes me. Not Ken Follet’s usual genre but a great read.

      1. Roman Answer*

        There’s two sequels: World without End and Column of Fire, both set in the same fictional city in other time periods. I think there’s an additional book coming in the fall too.

    9. lazy intellectual*

      I thought I was the only one! Following this thread – I have found my people!

    10. Generic Name*

      Pope Joan was really good. It’s a factionalized account of one of the early popes who supposedly was a woman who passed as a man.

    11. Karou*

      Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. The books are excellent though can get very dark.

    12. KoiFeeder*

      Not exactly the geographical area you’re looking for, but I enjoyed the Judge Dee series quite a bit.

    13. pancakes*

      It’s not a mystery, but Sylvia Townsend-Warner’s The Corner That Held Them is set in the 14th century and it’s a superb book.

    14. Jack Russell Terrier*

      Maisie Dobbs series. they’re excellent. Wonderful storylines, beautiful character devlopment.

      They start out during the First World War and the author went to the Imperial War Museum and read countless letters home from the front. She has an effortless knack of capturing dialogue of and interactions of the period that she keeps as she moves through to the the Second World War. I love this because one of my biggest annoyance with period books is that people don’t react or talk as they did back then and it’s jarring.

    15. emm.ell.dee*

      Have you read any of Candance Robb’s books with Owen Archer? They’re set in England in the 14th century. It’s been years since I read one of her books, but I enjoyed them.

    16. NeverNicky*

      S G MacLean’s Alexander Seaton series is great. Set in North East Scotland in the early 1600s, Alexander is a disgraced minister of religion when the series opens.

    17. Love Mysteries*

      I love historical mysteries here are my suggestions which are a varied era:
      Excuse any repeats!
      Mary Reed
      Boris Akun
      Priscilla Royal
      Susan Spann- Shinobi
      Dale Furuntani
      John Maddox Roberts
      Jeri Westerston
      David Wishart
      M. Louisa Locke
      Deanna Raybourn- Veronica Speedwell
      IJ Parker
      Alan Bell Jr
      For laughs, this is a tiny story compilation of stories An Elderly Lady is up to no good – Helen Tusten

      Enjoy

    18. Seeking Second Childhood*

      How adjacent? This one’s a big step to the left, but has a big nod to your time period.
      Murder at the War (Peter and Kori Brichter Mystery, book 1) by Mary Monica Pulver
      It’s set within a history club event… think Boy Scout Jubilee but in historic clothing — and the ‘capture the flag’ tournament is in armor.

  22. LGC*

    Okay, so – I might as well do something a bit different, and something I should have done last month: I’m a black runner, ask me questions. I’m just one guy, so I don’t have all the answers (obviously).

    1. Foreign Octopus*

      Hiya, thanks for putting yourself out here like this.

      I’m not a runner but I am an avid walker and enjoy listening to music and podcasts when I do so, is this something that you feel comfortable doing when you run, or do you feel that you need to keep your attention focused on your surroundings, particularly after Ahmaud Arbery’s murder?

      1. LGC*

        I’m pretty guilty of this myself! I usually have earbuds in when I go out.

        I’ve actually thought a bit more about my own safety lately. I live in a fairly progressive suburb just outside of NYC, so I’d gotten a bit relaxed since – like – I’m pretty recognizable anyway. But there have been times lately where I’ve caught myself thinking that I should have ID on me.

      1. LGC*

        …this is a hard question.

        I haven’t experienced direct harassment because of my race. (The club I run for is mostly white, although our captain is also a POC.) I have – of course – lived through a fair amount of awkward jokes involving my race in my time. (And – okay – because I deal with things with terrible jokes, I’ve kind of fed into it as well.) So I’m pretty lucky in that regard – at least so far.

    2. lasslisa*

      Is there something people in a neighborhood or passers by can do to make you safer or feel more welcomed, or would that actually be unhelpful?

      1. LGC*

        I’ll speak for myself, but I think what’s been helpful for me is that…in my neighborhood, I’m treated pretty normally. We routinely have runners passing by on my street, actually. So I’ll wave to people or (more likely) give them a thumbs up, but also it’s not that big of a deal if I don’t. So basically, “be friendly, but not overly so.”

        COVID kind of scrambles things – especially since I’m just outside of New York City, and here a huge portion of the population caught COVID. I’ve joked that now I’m crossing the street to avoid people!

    3. Generic Name*

      I don’t have any questions for you, but I do want to express my appreciation. I’ve been trying to tell my white friends not to ask the black people in their lives to do (more) emotional labor for them by asking them to tell white people what they should do to help. So thank you. And I know that this means very little, but I do want to apologize for the behavior of my fellow whites. We can, and should, do better, and I’m working with the leadership of my company to do just that.

      1. LGC*

        Thanks! I actually had to think about posting this precisely because of that issue – I don’t want to make it sound like just because I’m willing to answer questions this weekend, that all Black people are duty-bound to tell White America how to handle their guilt, or that we’re required to do emotional labor we don’t want to do. (One part of privilege: you feel like you can speak for yourself, as opposed to your entire group.)

        And…don’t take this the wrong way, but your apology means less than the fact that you’re taking action. I’m wishing you the best of luck.

    4. Lost in the Woods*

      Thank you for doing this! I’m a fairly new runner just getting involved in running communities. Is there anything I as white runner can do to combat racism in running, other than calling it out when I see it? Are there organizations that are particularly good to support and others to avoid?

      Also I just wanted to say that I’ve really appreciated all your running posts in past open threads!

      1. LGC*

        I think one of the things you can do is to seek out media that features runners of color, and notably black runners. (I’m biased, I’ll admit.) I’ll write from the perspective of competitive distance running (basically, “age groupers” up to elites – I’m SOLIDLY an age grouper here), but it’s often not shown as being a “black thing.” (Or rather, it’s seen as an “African thing,” not an “African-American thing.”) I’ll try to get some links together, although that might come tomorrow – I’m posting this Saturday evening.

        1. Lost in the Woods*

          Also, I imagine that this is a lot of work – I really appreciate the labor here.

        2. Ktelzbeth*

          As a white person, I hesitate to add to this thread, but I intermittently listen to a podcast called “300 Pounds and Running.” I started listening because it is geared toward middle to back of the pack runners who are trying to meet personal goals rather than win or set records, which definitely describes me. The host is African American and in several of the episodes has interviewed another runner in the BIPOC community and discussed of racism in running.

  23. Coco*

    Does anyone have any makeup/ fashion / trendy websites that you like? I read whowhatwear, the strategist and the cut, and the huffpost lifestyle section but looking for more, esp for older (gen x ) people. I sometimes read refinery29 but its target audience is a bit younger.
    Thanks

    1. nep*

      The prices are mind-blowing but I enjoy looking at revolve, just to see some trends.
      On YouTube, Audrey Coyne is sublime…I love her voice, her vibe, her tips. She’s unique and lovely.

    2. Lily*

      I love Justine Leconte on youtube. French fashion designer who knows a lot about the business and what colours and shapes look good on you and lots of other stuff. She just did a couple of interesting videos about the fashion industry and corona.

    3. Mimosa Jones*

      I’m GenX and I like Get Your Pretty On. Her style is pretty on trend with lots of classics and very wearable wherever you are. She also creates capsule wardrobe subscriptions (like menu planning for clothes) and has a few free ones to get you started.

    4. Cimorene*

      It’s not technically a fashion site, but my favorite blog (other than AAM of course!) is Cup of Jo. they doa series called a “week of outfits” and one called “beauty uniform” and they have gotten pretty good over time featuring diverse age ranges, ethnicity and backgrounds. I highly recommend going back through the archives on those.

    5. pancakes*

      Not a site but Karen Brit Chick on YouTube! Despite the title she’s based in NYC. I particularly love her What Everyone is Wearing videos. She has a great eye for interesting people to talk to and her enthusiasm always cheers me up.

    6. cat socks*

      A couple of blogs I follow:

      Wardrobe Oxygen
      Makeup and Beauty Blog

      These are some YouTube makeup channels I watch:

      Hot and Flashy
      Risa Does Makeup
      Lisa J
      Stephanie Marie

    1. Lena Clare*

      I managed to get rid of that woody plant, which took days but was extremely satisfying. It filled 3 bin bags it was so huge, and the roots alone filled 1. It was a huge monster!

      But now the neighbourhood cats use the space left behind as a toilet uhh.

      1. Venus*

        Thanks for the reminder. I have an invasive bush that is much too big, about to destroy my fence, and I need to get rid of it including the roots. I should find something else to put in the hole, as I don’t have too many neighbourhood cats but holes are always a problem! ‘Nature abhors a vacuum’ applies to gardens as well.

    2. BethDH*

      The weather is cooperating, but critters got into all our baby sunflowers. The other plants are okay. We’re going to give sunflowers another go and maybe try some netting. Any other ideas?

      1. Venus*

        I have heard that sunflowers hate to be repotted, but I start mine indoors in damp paper towels to give them a better chance against the critters. I don’t know if it really helps them though!

      2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I had some roses to cut back so I laid all the thorny branches on top of my little seedlings in the hopes of discouraging the cats. I also squished a lot of aphids on one plant. It depends on what the critters might be.

        1. BethDH*

          Pretty sure it’s the squirrels or chipmunks; could be rabbits. Thorny branches might help. There are plenty of other tender greens so just making the balance tip in favor of clover in the yard might be enough. Thanks for the suggestion!

      3. Me*

        Consider tithonia. It’s also called Mexican sunflower. It’s the only thing I can grow in my yard that is remotely sunflower-like that the deer don’t mow down.

        Gets to be about 6’ tall and 2’ wide. Lots of zinnia sized orange blooms. Center stalk gets as thick as a sunflower.

        I start from seed inside in March in the PNW as it’s too cool to germinate the flower outside. I have about 20 of them throughout the yard this year. Bees and hummingbirds love them.

        1. cdn gardener*

          I grew tithonia last year (started seedlings inside) with great success. Attempted the same this year. Critter(s) (suspect rabbit and/or chipmunk) ate them entirely in the first few days.

          Interestingly, the critter(s) is/are also eating the parsley, basil and tomatoes this year. None of which have been touched in previous years.

          I’m using fleece, fencing, netting and plastic cloches in efforts to protect these plots now. We’ll see how it turns out.

          My big problem at the moment is the cucumber beetle. It destroys my squash, cucumber and melon seedlings. Has anyone had success in dealing with these?

          Overall this week has been discouraging – between the critters, the insects and the weeds I’m having a hard time keeping up. I’m pretty sure I feel this way every year. But by the end of July the garden is abundant and happy and I forget the early struggles.

    3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      It’s become quite windy and cold here the last couple of days, but on the last warm day I planted out a few things that seem to be having no trouble with the weather. I have started yet another round of seeds as for some reason I had great success in February, which was a bit too early and half the plants died, but the second round of seeds mostly failed to germinate at all. I have no idea why as I would have thought warmer conditions and more light would be an advantage. So far my vision of having tons of homegrown vegetables is looking pretty pathetic.

      1. Venus*

        I would have thought so as well! Is it possible something was getting at the seedlings? I only thought of it as BethDH mentioned it…

        1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

          They have all been indoors on the kitchen windowsill so I have no idea what’s going wrong. I thought maybe it was *too* warm, or possibly too wet (they are in a plastic propagator) so I let it dry out a bit and put in new seeds. We’ll see what happens.

    4. Venus*

      The weather here is finally warm, and there is some rain yet also a lot of sunshine. The weeds are growing so quickly! My plants are trying to keep up, although they are still getting established. At least the yard is green, and I am enjoying my puttering. This weekend’s plan is to remove the big bush growing around my fence, plant the potatoes and the remaining seedlings, and do a bit of weeding. I’m not quite sure where to put the potatoes, so will have to think about that a bit!

    5. Wired Wolf*

      We planted a few peas before buying stakes for them and now one is attacking the cilantro. I’m going to give the peas their own container…don’t know why my mom insisted on planting everything together in the first place.

    6. Queer Earthling*

      Our first tomato ripened! It was delicious. We had to bring the plant inside, though–it’s been too hot in the yard. The rest of our plants are still outside and seem to be okay, though.

    7. lasslisa*

      I did a bunch of work on amending my clay hardpack (digging, compost, manure) and it seems to be paying off in the first happy squash plants I’ve ever had. I thought I had had happy squashes before except for not fruiting, but these leaves are huge and it seems like they double in size every time I look.

      Plus two of my tomato plants over-wintered so I have 20??? baby tomatoes on those already. Maybe that’s not a lot but it’ll keep us in salads for a while. Being home all week means I’ve been watering them much more than my usual, and they seem to like it.

    8. Me*

      I hired someone off nextdoor to do some weeding for me. My knee isn’t doing great, despite wearing my brace.

      I asked her to target a specific weed in one general area. She did it all in less than a hour. That would’ve taken me more than a day, just because I’m not as agile right now. She did a bunch of other work in my perennial beds, which leaves me more time to do mundane stuff like add string to my bean teepees.

      My mustard greens are setting seed so I’m pulling most of those out this weekend. I’m going to let some go to seed, as I really like the new variety I planted this year. It is Wasabina from Territorial Seed and I just can’t rave enough about it! Super spicy but not so hot that you can’t eat it raw. I used it a bunch in taco salads as the base.

      I saw my first reddish raspberry last night. Sadly the plants seem to have gotten leaf rust so I won’t have the amazing bumper crop that I have this year.

      I also found an almost ripe Hood strawberry yesterday. I’m very hopeful that my very first Hood will be as good as any that I’ve bought. I’m nowhere close to growing enough for jam.

      Dh and I keep talking about trading out our half acre for a 60 acre coastal farm. Oh so tempting.

    9. Natalie*

      My parents came over this week so my dad and I finally managed to get the sets in that I had already bought while my stepmom hung out with baby. Of course now I’m going to get some cherry tomatoes and a couple of herbs, but I feel confident I’ll actually get them in today. It will be a greatly reduced garden from previous years but, shrug. Maybe next year I’ll get the garden boxes built and eliminate the need to weed the whole flipping ground.

      1. fposte*

        You grew a kid. I think that’s the equivalent of at least several rows of tomatoes, and maybe even the zucchini.

        1. Natalie*

          She doesn’t make cherry tomatoes though!

          And apparently neither do I as they were all sold out here. Everyone is planting a garden for the first time. :(

          1. Nita*

            If you can’t find seeds to buy, just get some cherry tomatoes at the grocery store, and chuck the seeds into the soil! I tried that two weeks ago and oh my. I think every. single. seed sprouted and now I’m trying to find room for all the seedlings. From past experience, I thought I’d be lucky to get a couple, but apparently starting with a nice sunny spot really helps.

    10. NeverNicky*

      About a month ago, I took a heap of rosemary, sage and lavender cuttings. I’d never taken cuttings before so I did heaps expecting some attrition.

      And of course, everything has rooted! My variegated sages’ roots are trying to escape the pots, and my lavender has new leaves…

      I hope my local friends help me out and take some!

    11. LQ*

      Indoor garden (aerogarden and clickgrow) here. My tiny tomato got it’s first flowers and I’m super excited! I’ve had lettuce nearly every night this week. Not enough to have a full salad of it, but plenty to put a decent amount on tacos or a sandwich. Weirdly the basil is the thing that is doing the worst. It’s not bad, but not flourishing. I have a couple pepper plants which aren’t doing great, but are coming along.

      The tomato seems to be growing better in the click grow than the aerogarden. The aerogarden is MUCH more thirsty than the clickgrow.

      1. Venus*

        Make sure to fertilize the tomatoes as you don’t have bees indoors! Very easy, just vibrate them briefly (tap with fingers, electric toothbrush, etc). I’m impressed with your success!

        1. LQ*

          Good call! I showed the tiny little flowers off a few times, which I imagine would take care of it but I don’t know that I would have bothered with the others so very much appreciated to do that in the next few days.

          I’m really excited. I’ve had ok success with basil in the past, but the lettuce has been really good, better than expected.

          And now I kind of want another. Lettuce, tomatos and peppers, and herbs. 3 of these doesn’t seem like too much does it?

    12. RagingADHD*

      The blueberries and blackberries are coming in gangbusters, and we’ve harvested the first plum off our tree. The rest should be ready over the next few days. It’s the first year the tree bore, so that’s exciting. It’s a weeping Santa Rosa, and the fruit is delicious.

    13. Parenthetically*

      Oh my goodness it is going GREAT GUNS and the greens are unstoppable right now. We’re on cutting 10? or so from the swiss chard plants, the spinach is trying to take over the world, we’ve picked our first ripe tomato, and the peas are bursting. Beans are juuuuust starting to come on and carrots and onions are looking wonderful.

      We already have plans for next year to make it even more productive by fixing a polytunnel over the raised beds — we may yet do it this fall to keep the greens going into the colder months. Would absolutely love to have a fresh-picked salad on our Thanksgiving table!

    14. fhqwhgads*

      The lettuce is thriving. The herbs seemed to die something like two days after planting and I have no idea why.

    15. Nita*

      So I finally took a deep breath and tackled my parents’ poor, sad, weed-ridden backyard. I used to be the yard caretaker, and I couldn’t give it much time for a few years, so it was a mess. I seriously expected to be at this for several weeks. Pleasant surprise – my husband got the kids to pitch in, and with all these extra hands we were done in a couple of hours. Pleasant surprise # 2 – the sad backyard soil that couldn’t even support weeds last time I checked (thanks to being covered with gravel and plastic for years) has finally healed and looks nice and healthy. Pleasant surprise # 3 – the yard has turned into a cool little ecosystem, with earthworms and bugs and snails. Yes, I know the snails will eat my plants, but they’re so cute and so rare in NYC that I’ll just put up with it. All told, it’s a nice feeling to see something that used to be so broken, and now is whole. Good news is hard to come by lately, and every crumb of happiness is welcome.

      Otherwise – those things I thought were tomato seedlings last week still look like tomatoes. And there seem to be even more of them. I had to spend a lot of time separating them so they don’t all grow on top of each other. I hope we actually get tomatoes – they’re crazy expensive, and they’re one of two veggies that the toddler eats, so this would be a big deal for our budget :) The radish is growing OK too. The carrot seedlings are showing up but look tiny and very frail. I’ve never grown carrots before, so no idea if that’s normal. Finally got those peas I ordered back in April, so into the ground they went. I soaked them before planting, and they were starting to plump up, so hopefully they will grow.

  24. OKGO*

    Responding to insensitive/bigoted jokes and comments in a group chat. Any suggestions/tips? Now that so much of our communication is taking place over text (even more so than it was), I was curious if other people had been running into this with family or friends.

    My story: My brother and I were exchanging messages about a new bicycle I’m looking to buy. I mentioned that I’d already decided on a name–>Marvin! (which I maintain is an excellent name for a bicycle, but that’s sort of beside the point here). My brother responded with a message, “Did you just assume his gender?” I was pretty taken aback by this message and wasn’t sure how to respond. My brother is the sort of cis white guy who has at various points in his life tended towards “edgy” humour that in my opinion makes fun of marginalised communities. We’ve had some fights about that and have gone through periods when we don’t really speak to each other. At one point, I put a lot of effort into trying to make him see my perspective on these jokes and comments, then I pretty much shut it down or ignored it, but he hadn’t said/written anything like that in a while. This time, I just messaged to him in response “?”. He hasn’t responded and I haven’t followed up. Later I felt that was maybe a cowardly response on my part? And I wondered if anyone had a better way to approach it. Thanks

    1. Traffic_Spiral*

      ‘?’ is perfect. Simply denying him the payoff he wanted without having to make a huge lecture over it. In real life, you don’t actually get the opportunity to give Stirring Monologues On Right and Truth that often, or if you do, it ends like those comedies where everyone’s asleep by the end of the speech. Short and sweet is better.

      1. BethDH*

        I agree. A lecture might even have been worse given that the brother already knows the issues enough to mock them. He was trying to make a joke and maybe get you to “overreact” to reinforce his view that everyone who takes choices about gender representation seriously is ridiculous. (I’m picturing him going to like-minded friends and saying “OP is so into this gender stuff that he got mad when I made a joke about his bike!”)

    2. NowayMary*

      I’d say no Marvin and I have had multiple in depth conversations about gender identity and preferred pronouns. Marvin and I are cool, I hope you can be.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yeah, if my brother (who is similarly “edgy” on many occasions) were to make the same ‘joke’ I’d have responded something like “Nope, we had a nice chat.” Kinda takes the wind out of his sails, because he’s looking to rile me up and failing, but what’s he gonna do, whine to my mom that I answered his question? :P

    3. LGC*

      So this is tough because you really have to know your audience and be willing to deal with the consequences (which I admit that I myself often don’t want to deal with the consequences)!

      I think, also, that a lot of the messaging makes people (or – okay, at least me) feel like if they don’t have a snappy mic-dropping, YAAAAASSS KWEEN, trending on Twitter clap-back, they’ve failed and they’re a bad person. But I’d venture to say that given your history with your brother, he likely got the message. You could have been more direct by saying “that’s a weird thing to say” (bonus if you say it in Alison’s voice), but you probably didn’t need to.

      (Or “I was planning on naming my daughter Marvin, actually,” or “why do you think Marvin is a male name,” or “the bicycle’s gender is Schwinn/Trek/Canyon/[whatever the brand is].” Granted, these responses kind of play into the joke. Also, for what it’s worth, one of my friends has a traditionally male name and is AMAB, but is non-binary.)

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        I think it’s also worth noting that sometimes we respond too defensively it can play into someone trolling or really validate their feeling ‘edgy’. In those cases a sort of flat reply that implies they’re kind of more…small and boring than cool and challenging can often be better.

        1. LGC*

          True!

          (Although now I’m thinking about it, and if “my bicycle’s gender is [brand name]”, it should be. Apologies if I stole this joke from someone else.)

    4. Courageous cat*

      Fav food blogs specifically for dinner recipes? I always have the most trouble deciding what to make for dinners.

      Things I already use:
      Budget Bytes
      Smitten Kitchen

      I tried to use Bon Appetit but it’s only giving me “sections” for chicken, pasta, and one other thing which I thought was odd.

    5. Mimosa Jones*

      I think the “?” is a nice way forward. You can continue to text with him as you wish and when he drops one of those jokes you just let it fall with a “?”. His response doesn’t matter. Hopefully this will train him away from those sort of jokes, but if not your response takes very little energy and still gets your point across.

    6. Generic Name*

      I think a question mark response is great. When people around me tell offensive “jokes” I never understand what they mean, and I always ask them to explain. Or when people say, “I’m not racist, but…..” I respond with , “I’m not racist. I just say things that racist people say.”

  25. Traffic_Spiral*

    Inspired by the Fitness Watch question above: what are you buying/going to buy as your ‘I have faith this too shall pass’ thing?

    Me, I got myself a slutty suit (took a good-quality summer wool suit I don’t wear much to a tailor to alter it to be way more form-fitting) and my friend has finally bought herself a Little Red Dress. Staying in is overrated, and when this ends we’re gonna hit the town looking like a million bucks!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I booked a vacation for October. (I’ve already lost three vacations, a convention that my husband and I have both gone to for 20+ years each and actually met at, and a six-month executive leadership program at work to this thing.)

    2. LGC*

      True to my own form: another pair of carbon-fiber racing shoes. (For the curious, the Saucony Endorphin Pros.) They’re $200, and my Nike Vaporfly Next%s are still good for a few more races (I’ve worn them intermittently for training, a marathon, and a half marathon), but I have a preference for Saucony as a brand and also I’ve heard they’re really good.

      (“But running is a cheap hobby!” Yes, but then you get into shoe geekery and race fees.)

    3. Nervous Nellie*

      Traffic_Spiral, you made me laugh aloud at your description of your suit! Cool! You go!!! :)

      For me, I have bought a kinda large gift card for my favorite used bookstore, and am watching every day to see when limited access will begin there. I am gonna blow that whole card in one trip, I am sure. I SO miss browsing in bookstores.

      1. Traffic_Spiral*

        Thankfully for me I have a library nearby – my house is already stuffed with books. But yeah, nothing’s quite like getting lost in a bookshop.

        1. Pomona Sprout*

          Do you have a library that you can actually GO TO right now? Where I live, neither bookstores NOR libraries are open. Having to do without both has been REALLY hard for me. One result is that I’ve been purchasing (online) a lot more books than I usually do, including many that I would have checked out of the library under normal circumstances.

          I miss browsing books, AND I miss being able to check books (and other materials) out of the library for free. The only things I’ve been able to check out for over 2.5 months now are ebooks, which I just don’t find that enjoyable to read. I’m not even allowed to return the big old pile of books I checked out right before the pandemic hit the fan. (There’s a message on the library’s website saying not to put materials in the book drop, because no one is available to collect them and check them back in.)

          On top of everything else, I also greatly miss being able to go to the library and just hang out for an hour or two like I used to. For me personally, losing access to the library has had more of a direct impact on my life than anything else.

    4. Disco Janet*

      My husband and I booked an adults only vacation to Jamaica next summer! I’m very excited about it.

        1. Disco Janet*

          Sandals vacation. So it is an adults only resort, but not in the way I think you’re asking. Since we’re traveling without our own kids, we really didn’t want anyone else’s around either, haha.

          1. Traffic_Spiral*

            Yeah, I’m cool with kids in some places, but something about kids splashing around pools or beaches makes me nervous.

    5. Potatoes gonna potate*

      Inspired by the Fitness Watch question above: what are you buying/going to buy as your ‘I have faith this too shall pass’ thing?

      Oooooo

      A house.

      Jk jk. I feel like I have so many *things* that I can’t justify another purchase. But I have decided that in my next home (rent or whatever), I want to buy a Peloton. or a comparable exercise bike.

    6. Kate*

      I booked a course that gives me permission to teach, even though what I want to teach is not well taught online.

    7. Jean (just Jean)*

      Interesting question. In the practical realm, I bought a laundry “dryer”–really, a centrifuge/electric spinner that eliminates almost all water from just-washed items–from The Laundry Alternative. My motivation was to head off additional carpal tunnel woes from hand-washing delicate clothing in the bathroom. (My spouse’s fragile health ruled out use of the building’s shared laundry room.) Hand-washing remains a Production for Various Reasons but this dryer was a godsend. For larger, bulkier, or sturdier items, such as sheets, towels, and T-shirts I eventually located two wash-dry-fold services provider based in laundromats with commercial washers & dryers.

      My main personal purchase was more of a subconscious decision. Small bits of silver jewelry are my personal confidence-booster. Early in the days of WFH (work from home) I began escapist-browsing the jewelry auctions on shopgoodwill (dot) com. For a modest sum, although less modest with the addition of shipping and handling fees, I now have several new-to-me pieces.

      Because the library was closed and I’m not yet hip to using electronic books I also picked up a few used books from the dealers under the Allibris umbrella. (This seems to be a U.S.-based network of individual used book dealers all posting their wares on the same web site.) E-books are supposedly ridiculously easy to acquire, but my overtaxed-by-adjusting-to-life-in-pandemic brain refused to even consider learning one more piece of information.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        One of the stones fell out of a ring I always wear, so I need to get it repaired. In the meantime, I bought a new one from Swarowski, which is quite modern looking.

    8. allathian*

      We bought a big fridge. Our fridge/freezer combo is still working, but because we also have a chest freezer, we wanted a big standing fridge. We like to have more space in there to do bigger weekly shopping and it has a 0 C/32 F section to keep meat fresher longer. Also great to store soda/bubbly water so you don’t have to dilute it with ice cubes.
      But we really got it so it’ll be easier to host friends and family for dinner when it’s safe to do so again.
      My husband is building a storage shed where we’ll keep the fridge as a spare, although it’ll only be running when it’s warm outdoors.

  26. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

    Anyone sewing face masks for themselves? What is your favourite pattern or style so far?

    I tested several using scraps of old shirts. So far the one by Dhurata Davies (has darts for your nose and chin), Craft Passion, or Olson and variations seem to fit the best, though the ones based on surgical style masks are quicker to sew. I have also seen one that is like a neck gaiter, designed in part to cover a beard while still providing a decent seal. I thought some commentors might be interested in looking at the latter after some comments about beards last week.

    1. BethDH*

      I made two just by tracing the profile of my face and measuring distance from center to ear and adding a seam allowance. That worked well and since it’s shaped to my own face size it stays in place well even with glasses on.
      As I’m spending more time outside I’m realizing I do need one for times when I’m encountering enough people to wear a mask outside. Even a little shifting makes my sunscreen rub off. I’m thinking of trying the gaiter style for that, maybe in an athletic knit for breathability. Anyone know whether that breathability compromises effectiveness? I’m guessing it’s still a tight enough weave to stop droplets.

      1. allathian*

        You wear cloth masks to protect others. None of them protect you from viruses, all they do is stop droplets, as long as they aren’t damp. As the weather gets hotter, they’re going to be an exercise in uncomfortable futility. My face sweats to the point of me needing to wear waterproof sunscreen as soon as it hits 75 F outside. Perhaps fortunately I live in such a cold climate that it’s only a factor from June to September. Also fortunately for me, our government decided that they would not issue an official recommendation for people to wear masks in public. So far, things have worked very well, in a population of about 5.5 million people, we’ve had about 7,000 confirmed cases (the real number is probably at least twice that because at the start, only people showing symptoms severe enough to be hospitalized and healtcare workers were tested) and 320 deaths in the country as a whole.

    2. Millicent*

      I’ve had a pile of material sitting on the dining room table for weeks now, and many patterns bookmarked on my phone. I have yet to do anything with any of this because I am not a great sewer! I own a machine and barely know how to use it.

      But I also wear glasses so the masks I have bought are not working with them, and I think I need to custom make one. I just can’t seem to get started so open to more pattern ideas if people know they work better for glasses, and the pattern explains all the steps for clueless people like me…

      1. lasslisa*

        The big thing that helps me with glasses is having a good nose seal. Do you have a nose wire on your masks? Have you tried – this is gonna sounds weird – a little tape on over your nose to see if that helps “redirect” the exhaust down around your neck instead? I remember reading a nurse’s blog talking about using tape to seal the edges of a mask and pass the fit check.

        1. BethDH*

          I wonder if that tape they use for avoiding wardrobe malfunctions would work? At least it’s supposed to be okay on your skin.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          We added a little pocket over the nose of our homemade masks. It can be open at one or both ends. My husband uses a pretty heavy gauge wire from the shop, bent to fit his nose; I like pipe cleaners, similar to the weight of the clip on the disposable masks at the hospital. (Though I had my son look for more, and it seems Target’s whole craft section has been pretty thoroughly razed.)

      2. HannahS*

        We bought the anti-fog stuff that’s used for hockey masks to use on our glasses! Haven’t tried it yet, though, so YMMV.

        1. HannahS*

          Also, as a bespectacled healthcare worker, even the masks with the wires are imperfect for glasses, unfortunately, which is why I’m so excited about this anti-fog stuff.

        2. fposte*

          Please report back, Hannah! Everything else I try just seems to leave my glasses goopy. I’d rather let them fog and unfog.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          Snorkeling, the guide said that what they use in the masks is a bit of diluted baby shampoo. A very slight soap film that doesn’t hurt the eyes. I’d give that a shot.

      3. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I’ve had fairly good results sewing a wire into the masks and bending it around my nose. The Dhurata Davies and Craft Passion ones fit a bit lower on my face and I have not noticed any issues with fogging when I wore them to the supermarket. Maybe your glasses design is part of the problem? I usually make sure to get glasses that have nose pads so they don’t sit too close to my face. Not sure what you can do about that though…

      4. Fellow Traveler*

        @Millicent- just start, for sure! I’m a beginner sewer, and was all hung up too and couldn’t decide where to begin, and then our church was looking for volunteers to sew pleated masks for the hospital, and I signed up to help and I’ve now made 75 masks for them. The pleated ones are super easy- basically a series of seeing straight lines, plus the church group made it easy by cutting all the fabric for us, Anyhow, it gave me confidence to sew fitted masks for my family. I’ve been using the pattern from Japanese Creations because there is less cutting involved.

        1. Scarlet Magnolias*

          I have been sewing masks for my library and for town employees. I’ve used 3 different prototypes which I found on YouTube. It’s very difficult to find the narrow elastic that works best. Also I find that one size DOESN’T fit all. I’ve made about 100 masks and was only really happy with the later ones

    3. James*

      My wife is sewing masks with the kids. I’m not sure the pattern, but she’s teaching my 5- and 6-year-old boys to sew by having them help with the masks. It’s a good opportunity to teach a useful life skill, parent bonding time, and kills a few hours of quarantine.

    4. Nervous Nellie*

      I have been sewing Dhurata Davies darted masks and the reviews from my friends and neighbors is that they fit better than the one that came out in the New York Times. I first saw her masks on Peter Lappin’s beautiful blog Male Pattern Boldness. His photos of the masks he sewed from her pattern are sheer perfection. He even made a matching Peanuts mask to go with a Peanuts shirt he had previously sewn.

      So yeah – Dhurata Davies all the way! :)

      1. Reba*

        His mask-and-shirt combos are so cute!

        I did one shaped mask but ultimately didn’t like it. I’ve made more surgical-style (with a wire for the nose) mainly for sewing speed.

    5. cleo*

      I’ve been sewing masks for myself and friends and family and to donate. I’ve tried several patterns and settled on one that fits my face really well (even with glasses) and is easy to make a lot of. I like the fit of the craft passion mask but it’s too complicated for the way I like to sew.

      Claire’s Easy Sew Mask on YouTube – it’s kind of a variation on the pleated mask (NY Times pattern). It’s made from two rectangles, has gathers not pleats, nose and chin darts and one cord.

      The cord made from t-shirt rope is the best part of this pattern (and you can use it in any pattern with side channels, like the craft passion). I’m (a very small) part of an amazing FB group sewing masks for IL and they taught me about the wonder that is cord made from old t-shirts. So much more comfortable than elastic.

    6. Me*

      I like the craft passion pattern. I’m making 18 right now for my sons. They’re both outdoorsy and want masks without the interfacing layer. They’ll both be in college classes this fall so I assume they’ll also need to wear masks on campus.

      I ordered some 1/4” elastic off Amazon, all clearly being shipped from China. I hedged my bets and ordered from 3 different sources.

      I now have 2 of the 100 yard rolls of 1/4” white elastic.

      Elastic is the new zucchini.

      1. Sciencer*

        Oh interesting, I’m finding that I prefer my masks with interfacing over the ones without, because they don’t suck against my face when I’m breathing hard (and they generally stay in place better). It’s really such a personal preference! The college where I work is asking for volunteers to help make thousands of masks for students come fall, and I’m happy to help but also wondering if it’s really the best approach. The pattern they chose happens to be my absolute least favorite of the ones I’ve tried, but I’m hoping that’s just me being picky and won’t be common among the students!

    7. Grits McGee*

      I’m working on a prototype for a surgical-style mask that incorporates 2 layers of polyester chiffon, based on the recommendations from the mask material study from ACS Nano. I wasn’t able to find any examples of masks with chiffon online, and I’m starting to understand why- it is such a pain to cut and sew!

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        I saw an article about that study but I wasn’t clear on what fabric they were using, exactly. I have some off cuts from some inexpensive polyester sheer curtains that are chiffon-esque but surely they are too sheer to be of any use? As a general rule I avoid polyester clothes so I don’t have any blouses or scarves to cut up.

        1. Grits McGee*

          I did some google image searching and I’m pretty sure what I have is the same thing-it’s recycled chiffon from a bridesmaid dress, which feels a little thicker than curtain material, but it would definitely be worth it do some research if you have access to info about the weave and content of the fabric. I hear you though about the difficulty of finding polyester chiffon though; nobody wears that stuff recreationally.

    8. LNLN*

      My favorite pattern is the A.B. Mask 2.0 for a nurse by a nurse. It has a dart at the top edge for the nose and a tuck at each jaw along the bottom of the mask (plus 3 pleats on each side) and overall provides a nice, snug fit for the mask. I slip a piece of aluminum wire into the binding on the top edge, to get a close fit over the nose. I can make a mask in about 30 minutes. Good luck!

    9. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      I’m making some today to donate. They are the pleated ones. Everything was fine until I got to the pleating part. And I’m struggling with it. The instructions just say to add the pleats, pin and sew. Not where to put the pleats. Then I ironed the fabric when pleating and the plastic around the nose wire melted.

      1. Fellow Traveler*

        I definitely had a lot of trial and error when placing pleats- I feel like the pleating doesn’t have to be perfectly even across three pleats.
        For the wire- I’ve been successful slipping the wire in after I iron my pleats and then letting the top stitching keep it in place.

    10. RagingADHD*

      I do pleated flats when I’m sewing in bulk, and have kept a few for myself. I made Craft Passion ones for my kids, and will probably make one for myself when my sewing-burnout eases up.

    11. Elizabeth West*

      I’ve been making one with a filter pocket.from an Instructables post: https://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Face-Mask-With-Filter-Pocket/

      It’s a bit fiddly to make, but it works pretty well. For a nose wire, I went to Lowe’s and got some of those long plastic-coated twist ties you use for tomatoes, etc. I can’t for the life of me pleat them any smaller than four inches, so the side pieces are shorter. I can bang one out in an hour.

      I’d ditched my White machine when I moved since it was old and I wasn’t making skating dresses anymore, so I bought a basic BabyLock sewing machine for $100. If it weren’t for the ‘rona, I would have waited to get another one until I got settled.

  27. Droid Mechanic*

    My state is starting to open up from lockdown and I’m really torn about it. I still don’t feel comfortable going out into public other than for groceries but friends who I thought were on the same page as me are now going out and about. So now I’m worried I’m overthinking this or my anxiety is getting the better of me but then I read that cases are still on the rise and the dreaded second wave.

    If your areas are starting to reopen again, now are you reacting to it?

    1. Lcsa99*

      I am in NYC and I am very nervous about them starting to reopen. I am not very knowledgeable about this stuff but it really feels like they are rushing.

      My work hasn’t said anything yet, and I think that’s part of the reason I have a giant knot in my stomach. I am a planner so not knowing the plan, and if I will be safe at home for just two more weeks or if it will be longer than that isn’t helping.

      1. Nita*

        NYC also. There’s a dramatic drop in ambulance sirens outside my window, and that’s my personal gauge of how bad it is. It’s been nearly quiet for almost two weeks. So less nervous about reopening now, health-wise. Seriously scared about going on the subway though. I know several people who take it regularly and are fine. But also several others who reported being harassed, and an attempted mugging. My BIL’s office actually opened for a couple of weeks, and then closed again because staff members were getting harassed on the train. I hope this will change once more people are on the subway, but not too confident of that. There were plenty of folks who seemed psychotic and thisclose to attacking other riders even before coronavirus. I imagine there are many more of them now.

    2. Venus*

      I think human nature is such that many people are going to start wanting to spend time together, so better for governments to allow it yet try to have some control in order to minimize transmission.

      I am spending time with more people, but only outdoors and at a distance, for example on my driveway or back deck.

      1. lazy intellectual*

        Same. We are taking advantage of the reopenings to meet up outside, but that is it. I can live without going to restaurants and salons for a year, but not seeing anybody in person isn’t sustainable for me. My friends and I are fortunate to be able to isolate otherwise – we are all probably going to be working from home for the rest of the year, so meeting up one on one is low risk.

    3. Grim*

      I have a negative reaction to reopening, considering that the Corona virus is rapidly increasing in many States within the past two weeks.

      We may be headed for a tsunami of additional covid-19 illnesses and deaths because of all the protests.

      Let’s revisit this topic in 2 to 3 weeks and see how things were going. My bet is it’s going to get much worse.

      1. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        This is what I’m thinking. I feel bad that I have not gone to any protests in person but I also expect that the cases are going to rocket up in a few weeks and I didn’t want to contribute to that. My sister has gone out shopping, not quite like normal times, but I’m not happy with her. If my father catches it he will almost certainly die, and my parents watch her kids all the time.

        Shops around here are starting to open but I have resisted the desire to go.

      2. Potatoes gonna potate*

        I try to stay positive but I’m fearing the same. And that we’ll be right back to where we were a few months ago with hospitals being overcrowded, shelves being cleaned out and not being able to get the necessary health care and items needed. I’m worried when it comes time for me to deliver, things will be bad if not worse. I can deal with not going to a salon or hte mall (god knows I need to stay away from the latter) but not being able to go outside or have people visit me and my kid.

      3. MatKnifeNinja*

        I gave up when the day cares (for everyone), summer camps and outdoor pools are now open. Nothing but giant petri dishes.

        Everyone by me is acting like the Ro is gone. People aren’t wearing masks. Aren’t social distancing. People wear a mask to get into a store, but then slide it up on their heads afterwards.

        Nothing is really changing for me. Not eating sit down, not look loo shopping, gave myself a buzz cut so no worry about a hair cut. WFH still and that won’t change until next year.

      4. Alice*

        I’d encourage you to ask yourself how many of the new cases (which I also expect) are from the protests, versus, say, casinos reopening and other aspects of non-protest re-opening.
        I also wonder how many cases are from protestor behavior (shouting, singing, and mingling) and how many are from police behavior and government decisions (unnecessary use of tear gas which provokes coughing, police officers unaccountably declining to wear masks, arresting people and preventing them from wearing their masks in lockup).

    4. Blarg*

      I’m in DC and hadn’t been out except for grocery store in months. We started to reopen last Friday and then the protests started, and we got hit with curfews and an overwhelming helicopter presence that was, for me, disturbing even being 1-2 mi away from the main protests. So I still didn’t go anywhere. On Tuesday, though, I’d signed up to help at a polling site for our primary so I went from no interaction to hundreds of people all at once over several hours. It felt good to support people in voting and I thought maybe going out would start to feel more normal after that … but nope. Haven’t left home since. (90+ temps and crazy afternoon storms also started this week). I don’t know what it will take for just leaving the apartment to feel normal and routine again.

    5. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

      We sell food at a flea market in NJ. It opened last week and everybody with whom I spoke with reported outstanding sales. I can afford to wait a couple of more weeks to go back and continue to monitor the health department reports for the surrounding areas (which are trending in a good direction) If you are not comfortable going out and about, don’t. If your friends chastise you on your decisions, then are they really your friends?

    6. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

      I’ve been keeping an eye on the infection graphs (the city and county where I live have websites with case counts graphed over time), and they are holding steady. The rising numbers is pretty much a line, a bit steeper in April and a bit lower in May.

      It’s been about 2 weeks since the traffic started really increasing, and it’s almost 2 weeks since Memorial Day, so if rates were going to soar, they already would.

      1. Cambridge Comma*

        Three weeks is the key period, max. 14 days incubation plus 5–7 days of illness before hospital admission.

        1. Elspeth Mcgillicuddy*

          Max 14 days incubation, average 4-5 days. Add the 5-7 days before it gets really bad and you get 9-12 days from transmission to hospital. Plus a lot of people would get tested way before hospital admission and the numbers I’m looking at are confirmed positive cases not hospitalization cases.

          We should be seeing numbers at least start rise by now if they were going to. And in my city the numbers aren’t showing even a slight increase.

    7. Nervous Nellie*

      Droid Mechanic – you are not overthinking this. Everyone must do what they are comfortable with, and nothing more. I have friends who are eager to get to a restaurant when they start limited openings next week, and I have said thank you but I am not ready to face that risk. They are cool with it, and may do a Zoom call at the restaurant with me at home.

      Be safe, and don’t do anything you are not ready for. :) Your comfort level will grow at its own pace.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This. I live alone and have a couple high risk friends. So I have been going out for groceries and other errands for them and myself once a week. I stayed out of the bigger and very popular stores. Of the stores I went to, I wiped the handle of the cart, etc. I inched along.

        I totally agree with inching along and doing what you are comfortable with. It does help to see friends and acquaintances and see them moving around doing things. Traffic has increased here and I noticed there are a lot of big heavy trucks moving materials around. There seems to be a point where we can just allow things to comfort us and still keep our own boundaries. There are things I would not do, yet I see others doing those things. I am not there yet. I belong to the school of thought, “I made it this far, I shouldn’t relax too much now and blow it all.”

    8. Disco Janet*

      I’m happy my state has held off longer than most on reopening and that our numbers/curve are encouraging – I’ve been baffled by things like Florida theme parks reopening when their numbers have been going way up. I know the argument is that their testing has increased – but so has ours here in Michigan, and our curve is way down.

      But I’m nervous about reopening, too. I’m still only going out for the grocery store. I would like to be able to get together with a couple friends and just sit six feet apart and chat, but they’re not comfortable with that yet, and I respect that. My husband is an essential worker, so at no point during all of this have I felt totally safe. I feel torn on reopening. I’m so sick of being cooped up here with the kids, but of course I want to be safe. But given how long it will likely take for a vaccine or treatment to happen (if it ever does!), I’m not sure how long it’s feasible to keep our lives on pause.

    9. fposte*

      I was forcibly launched into my personal reopening by medical stuff. Once I was out, it seemed an okay place to be. Mask-wearing is by no means 100% here but it’s preponderant, and a lot of places will check at the door.

      The problem we individually and collectively face is that we can’t be in full lockdown until there’s a widely disseminated vaccine. In the meantime, we have to make our own decisions about what we do and who we risk exposure to, and as long as people are following responsible CDC/state guidelines and paying attention to the regional, not just the national, situation I think going out is okay–but also it’s not mandatory.

      Remember that a lot of reporting is in cumulative overall numbers, so those numbers will never drop–they will only go up or stay flat. If you look at the ongoing numbers, deaths are steadily dropping in the U.S. It’s true cases are doing up in some areas, but that doesn’t need to control what people well outside of those areas should do. European countries are reopening without a new surge in cases. That doesn’t mean I’m saying “Lalala, everybody back to school, we’re all done with this,” but “risk is minimal with careful precautions” is good enough for me.

      1. Reba*

        I went to a rescheduled doctor’s appointment this past week. I was pretty nervous about it but was reassured by the precautions they took. I’m glad that I have punctured my isolation bubble, I suppose. I could definitely see myself developing anxiety about going out and especially with close interactions like medical care, so I’m glad to know I can do it in a reasonable way.

        The medical office told me face covering mandatory, gloves recommended, and to bring my own pen!

    10. nep*

      I’m going to continue just as I have been–going out only when I absolutely need to, and masked up, keeping more than two meters away from people.
      Spikes are coming–it’s inevitable. Just a question of how drastic they’ll be.

    11. Jaid*

      Other than going to a farmer’s market, I plan on just going out for groceries. I’m fine with going for long drives on my own and that satisfies my need to “get out”.

      1. nep*

        Same–love long drives and I will spend time outside with just trees. So glad weather is nice now. It helps immensely.

    12. WellRed*

      I’m still sticking to my total lockdown routine, for the most part. Groceries or the drugstore. I do want to visit my local bookstore. Wearing masks indoors. Restaurants and lots of other things not opened yet, although hair salons are. However, I am not making a hair appointment for a while yet. It seems unsafe (they are right in front of your face) and who’s going to see me anyway?

    13. Lemon Meringue Pie*

      I’m in England and am still fairly anxious but have no issue with people going out and about if – big if – they follow social distancing.

      1. Adnan*

        We live on a touristy island with very few cases due to restrictions on non-essential travel. I have lung disease and plan to social distance for a long time – going out for groceries every fortnight (masked), daily walks and chatting with folks outside but keeping the distance. I will be working from home atleast till end of the year and just love it.
        My neighbour who lives at the end of the hallway is 75 years old. Pre-Covid she would come over 2-3 times a week to watch TV. I found out recently that she has been going out regularly (non-essential) and had family visit from out of town. She does not feel the risk and would like to get back to our regular TV watching but I am not confortable socializing until we have a vaccine or new cases in neighbouring cities have bottomed out.

    14. Sunflower*

      Everyone has to be true to their own comfort level and I think that’s where most people fall at this point. I think both you and the people who are going out and about are both right.

      I have been spending time with friends(trying to keep it outside and always small groups and make sure to not share things, etc) but I don’t feel that people who aren’t comfortable with that are overthinking or wrong. It’s still a little too early to know exactly what the risk is which is why I’m happy the government has started opening up as it allows people to decide their own risk.

    15. Fikly*

      Given pretty much all the states that have reopened to whatever degree are now seeing infection rates spike, I do not think you are overthinking this.

      1. fposte*

        I don’t think this is correct, though. There’s a great site on ProPublica called “Reopening America” that gives the direction of the metrics state by state. Some states are rising, some states are flat, and some are dropping, and it doesn’t necessarily depend on whether there’s a stay-at-home order in place (it looks like there are only three or four states that still have one); I’d also differentiate between a rise and a spike. Some states with good downward trajectories, like Connecticut, Delaware, and Illinois, still end on higher percentages than states with upward metrics. Louisiana and North Dakota, which were hot spots, are faring really well.

        I’m a believer in restrictions and I also believe that we can’t at this point know the difference between a wise nonrestrictive choice and a gamble that a state got away with. But the illness really doesn’t follow a neat predictive path based simply on whether a state has reopened or not. It’s not going to make understanding it that easy.

        There’s still a ton we don’t know about this virus, so we don’t necessarily know why

        1. Cat*

          Though just saying there’s a stay at home order or not is not the fully story either. Like here in Oregon most of the state has reopened to some degree and I think it shows as reopened on most maps. But the densest part of the state – Portland – mostly hasn’t. So there’s a lot of gradations that I don’t think we’ve had a chance to dig into yet.

          There was an interesting article this morning in, I think, WaPo about European countries not seeing big spikes with broader reopening.

          1. fposte*

            Yes, totally agree. There’s also varying degrees of adherence to guidelines–a stay at home order, even with the exact same terms, is going to play out differently in different places. One thing that I also like about the ProPublica page is that it offers two positivity metrics because of states’ varying reliability on the positive test rate, which is another confounding factor.

            And I’ve been hearing that with the European countries too; it’s also interesting to look at Japan, where they did hardly any testing by US standards but seem to have kept things in remarkable check with thorough mask wearing and an emphasis on social distancing.

    16. Rebecca*

      I’m in central PA, and many people I’ve talked to are over it. They’re tired of our Governor lecturing us on what we need to do – like, no haircuts for you, but when he clearly gets a haircut, curbside pickup for liquor and mixed drinks, but other businesses shut down, our health secretary’s 95 year old mother taken out of the nursing home and into a hotel right before the big spikes in nursing home infections and deaths…you get the picture. In my county of 38,000 people, there were 3 deaths and 60 confirmed infections. I crunched the numbers on our dept of health website, and a majority of the infections and deaths are in 6 counties, mostly around Philly.

      I’m cautious – I’m still wearing a mask when I go to the store, use hand sanitizer frequently (thankfully I was able to get a full liter refill last weekend), wash my hands up to the elbow when I get home, feeling a bit like a surgeon, and staying away from people as much as I can. I’m happy the weather is finally warm so I can sit outside with friends and neighbors. I still haven’t gone into anyone’s house, though, and text if I’m outside to either drop something off or pick something up.

      I’m worried about a spike in spread and infections in a week or so, after Memorial Day and now all the protests. I went to pick up pizza last night, ordered ahead online, paid ahead, etc. and the workers were wearing masks but none of the customers were, except me, and they looked at me and I got a few smirks. I will wear a mask and wash up a lot until I am satisfied that I don’t need to any longer. Other people can smirk all they want.

      1. tangerineRose*

        “Other people can smirk all they want.” Good for you! I’m wearing a mask the few times I go out where I might be in some limited contact with people, and a lot of people in my area are too. Maybe the smirkers will eventually get a clue and try to protect others.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Same. Most people here have been wearing masks. I’ve been shopping at Aldi, who are very good about wiping carts and limiting the number of shoppers. I went to Sally Beauty yesterday. All the clerks were wearing masks, as was I. Haven’t been to Walmart but once to get a prescription. It’s packed and less people there wear any kind of face covering, and they’ve given up trying to count people, arggh.

        1. Rebecca*

          I just drove to Walmart for grocery pickup, and while I was waiting, watched people in the parking lot. I saw very little distancing, about 1 of 10 people was wearing a mask, etc. We have a very low infection rate here, though, and it’s warm, but I put my mask on when the worker brought my stuff and still washed up really good after taking stuff in the house.

      3. Not So NewReader*

        “Other people can smirk all they want.”

        Good for you. Of the two extremes- being one of the first to shed the mask or being one of the last to shed the mask, I will take the latter. Hey, we just don’t know and the people we rely on for this information are loaded with conflicting information. I will err on the side of caution.

    17. Not A Manager*

      I am still stuck on “what’s my goal, here”? The stay-at-home order was never for my own personal health, it was a public policy meant to not overwhelm our health services. “Flattening the curve” doesn’t necessarily mean fewer infections over all, it means probably the same number of infections, spread over a much longer timeframe.

      Now that my state is “opening up,” my question for myself is, was I staying home because I’m a good citizen who wanted to help flatten the curve? If so, then when my state opens up, I can be a good citizen and still go out and live my life. But if I was staying home because I personally wanted to not get sick, then I don’t see how any sort of “opening up” order makes it less likely that I’ll get sick now than it would have been two months ago.

      That’s where I get stuck. I don’t *want* to get sick, but I’m not at an especially high risk of severe illness or complications if I were to get sick. On the other hand, people aren’t statistics, and there’s no guarantee that I wouldn’t be an unfortunate person in my demographic who does have complications.

      So, fairly high risk of exposure if I personally open up, fairly low risk of complications if I get sick, extremely high cost to me if a bad outcome were to occur.

      Balance that against rigorous social distancing until… a vaccine?

      I just don’t know.

    18. Workerbee*

      I still mask up when I have to be out in public. I feel so bad for store employees who have to face unmasked patrons all day. The employees I’ve seen are masked and in some cases, gloved, so the risk does go down a bit. There are still six feet separation markers for retail checkout lines.

      I’m high risk and so is my husband, but we also could be asymptomatic, so wearing a mask for the benefit of others and, hopefully, ourselves, just makes sense for the time being. I am definitely not comfortable dining in at a restaurant or going to a bar right now. All of our fairs and festivals have been cancelled, which leaves mixed feelings: I most likely would not have gone, but the memories of just last year and previous years do flood me with disjointed longing.

    19. Tris Prior*

      I am in Chicago and am very uncomfortable that Chicago has started to reopen, given the protests. (Which I support! But I think a lot of people who protested were exposed, the pix/videos I saw did not show people keeping distance, and we are going to see a spike from that, never mind all the people who were taken to jail which is a high exposure risk.). One of the things that’s open now is outdoor dining, and, on my socially distanced walks in a couple of neighborhoods, I am seeing tables crammed way too close together. It makes me very nervous.

      Our lakefront is still closed (though people are still going there anyway, since the cops are all busy at the protests and not enforcing the closure), which doesn’t make sense to me since outdoors is supposed to be safer than indoors. So, we can go into a tiny airless store but can’t go to a large outdoor area. But, it is what it is, a friend said, “people lose their minds when they’re near water, especially when it’s nice out, just look at Lake of the Ozarks” and I can’t say she’s wrong.

      I personally am still not comfortable going to the grocery store – my partner makes a quick run maybe every 2 weeks, which I hate but I can’t convince him otherwise, he insists on choosing his own meat – and we get everything else delivered. I am not comfortable eating out alfresco or going into an enclosed space, and I can’t imagine when I’m going to feel comfortable riding a bus or el. Mask wearing is pretty common where I am, but I see a lot of people wearing them incorrectly (nose hanging out, mask dangling from ears and exposing mouth and nose, people constantly removing mask to puff on a cigarette and then replacing it, people removing mask to have a massive coughing fit and then putting it back on?!?).

      The only thing that didn’t totally freak me out was going to my local garden center, which is totally outdoors, practiced capacity limits and good social distancing, and protected the cashier with as much plexiglas as one typically sees at a currency exchange.

        1. Tris Prior*

          I agree in theory, but I fear that everyone is going to crowd in there and lose their collective minds and then she’ll just shut it down again. She wouldn’t have had to close it in the first place if people had socially distanced. I mean, come on! The lakefront is HUGE. Is it really that hard to stay 6 feet away from people? Apparently. And all it’s done is to push all the joggers and bikers inland so now you can barely get down the sidewalk without some jogger trying to run you over…. ahem. I’m ranting now.

          I live close to the lake and the lake is pretty essential to my mental health. I admit I don’t understand why it’s not OK to be outdoors, masked, near water when now it’s apparently OK to eat a meal outdoors unmasked(because you can’t eat with a mask on!) right on top of other people, because most restaurants do not seem to be spacing out the tables enough on their patios. Ahem. I’m ranting again, sorry…..

    20. Kate*

      We are still not even going to get groceries, but rather, having them delivered. Pur child was just forced out to exam, and I need to bring our car to repair, but apart from such things, we really avoid other people. Good thing we have so many computers at home. :P

    21. Sciencer*

      I’m quite anxious about these reopenings and don’t feel it’s appropriate for a lot of places, including where I live. Husband and I are still being cautious and staying home except for grocery trips and outdoor exercise, but we’ve now also gone to a couple of backyard happy hours with small numbers of friends. He admitted that he felt uncomfortable at the last one as we were sitting around a table together instead of six feet apart, which made me realize how hard it is to speak up among friends (harder I think than among strangers).

      Overall I feel like masks are not as pervasive as I would like/expect to see, even in the grocery store, and anyway it’s impossible to keep a mask on through a meal or a beer. I know masks are not the be-all end-all, but they’re a visible symbol of the precautions people are willing to take and sacrifices they’re willing to make for public health. So I don’t really understand how states can justify reopening in the way we’re doing when large proportions of people are unwilling to change their behavior to suit the situation.

    22. Pomona Sprout*

      My state is geadually emerging from lockdown, and I do mean g-r-a-d-u-a-l-l-y. Our governor shut things down pretty decisively and relatively early on and the guidelines for reopening things have been spelled out clearly. Nobody seems to be trying to rush things around here, which us fine with me. Masks are still required in indoor spaces, and people seem to be adhering to that. (For example, I literally can’t remember when I’ve seen an unmasked face in a grocery store.)

      I haven’t changed anything about my own routine yet, except that I am seriously considering getting a haircut. Salons are open again (not all, but a lot of them), and my hair is driving me nuts, so it’s very tempting, to say the least. I’m planning to make a separate post about this, so I won’t go into details here, except to say that I’m approaching the decision very cautiously, to say the least.

      1. tangerineRose*

        Where I am, almost everyone in the grocery store was wearing masks… except the guy behind me in line when I was checking out. But he mostly kept his distance.

    23. LQ*

      I’m going to be the person on the other side of you on this. We can eat out in a very limited setting and I’m going out tomorrow morning and I’m overjoyed about it. I got to have my first human contact and wept when I got to touch someone else. I’ve been in a really horrible place with all of this and I’m just as angry at the people who are dismissive over my health concerns as they think I am over theirs.

      I’ve been frustrated with people on here and in my personal life who say that I care more about money than about lives because I don’t think that everything should fully shutdown for an unknown period of time to handle this. I think that this was an overreaction and I think that people are ignoring the severe consequences of isolation. I’m thrilled that states are opening up. I’m glad mine has been doing it in slow ticks because I think that’s a good balanced way to handle it. I think that trying to limit the spread is good and finding humane ways to do that is important. But I think that no one is talking about it logically. (To be fair that ABSOLUTELY includes me. I’m at a place where logic has left me on this.) Even trying to find good actual data is nearly impossible and it is so skewed because this has become so political.

      For everyone who wants to stay home I’m fully supportive, but I’ve stopped talking to some of those friends for now because I cannot handle their anger at me for having to leave the house every day for my essential job. I cannot handle their complete unwillingness to understand that this may be hard for some people.

      1. tangerineRose*

        They’re mad because you leave for an essential job?! What do they not get about “essential”?

        1. LQ*

          Because in their mind it could be done from home. So I’m a monster for leaving home at all. And then there are some people who don’t think that all essential jobs are essential. (I’ve only had one person mad at me about this though, most people get my job is essential.)

          1. Not So NewReader*

            They should call up Government Decision Maker (GDM) and tell the GDM that they are wrong and you are not essential. Seriously. You did not just randomly decide to keep working, it came From Above.

            I guess they don’t realize that the public did not have a lot of say in who is and who is not essential. Their anger is wildly misplaced and shows their lack of understanding how our systems work. I do have a good friend who will get on rants about this or that. Their misunderstandings stick out like sore thumbs. In as flat a voice as I can muster, I softly say, “That’s not the system we have in place and that is not how the system works.” Then I just stop talking. This seems to give my friend a nudge to rope in what they are saying.

            Sometimes I talk to my friend about ideal vs practical. That can look like, “Yes, x response would be ideal, however, here is what we need so we must use practical y response instead.”

            LQ, I do want to mention that like you I am deeply concerned about how isolation has hurt people over the long haul. I think there is very little recognition that this is a problem. And I think we (government and society) can do better than what we have done so far.

      2. MatKnifeNinja*

        I look at it this way, you roll your dice you take your chances. I have relatives who have flat out refuse to do anything. I won’t be seeing them until a vaccine is out. I haven’t told them that though….lol.

        There is a family by me, that had a big Easter dinner. 3 of them died from COVID-19 about a month later. Grandma, mother and a 50 year old son. There were a bunch of other family members who caught it but didn’t die. Two are in a nursing home still for rehab.

        I assume the risk was worth it, and there are no regrets. The funeral was “sit in the car and watch the casket being lowered.” That was it.

        If you catch it, was the activity worth it? That’s the answer to the equation. I can’t picture, for myself, a restaurant, venue, a huge group activity that would be worth it. Even if everything open up tomorrow, I’m not changing what I’m doing. I’m willing to put the social happy stuff on hold, and let the others be the lab rats. Every month I dodge the Ro is another month health care can fine tune what they do.

        Your friends wrong for running their mouths. The job is essential, so I don’t understand there issue. You have to go in.

        Curious, would you rather have absolutely no precautions now? I’m almost to that opinion,, because of the non stop whining from my relatives. In a weird way, I support you being the canary in the coal mine. Have your fun, and what happens happens.

    24. Chaordic One*

      I don’t feel good about it. My state was slow to close business, and made more recommendations than actual lockdowns. Then they seemed quick to lift the restrictions they had put into place and in the last week the state has had record numbers of new cases diagnosed.

      I’m still quarantined in my house except for trips to the grocery store once a week or so. I think I’m becoming agoraphobic.

    25. RagingADHD*

      For general life maintenance, we are maintaining the same precautions of masking & distancing, minimizing stores & public gatherings. I originally rescheduled my dentist and hair appointments for later in the summer, but given the recent protests here, which I assume will be superspreader events, I’m just going to cancel the hair appointment altogether. I’ll have to go to the dentist eventually.

      We are venturing into outdoors, distanced visits with neighbors who we know to be responsible and careful. For Father’s Day we are going to have a distanced picnic with him in his backyard (assuming we all pass temperature checks at that time).

      1. RagingADHD*

        Oh, at the end of the month one kid has to get scheduled vaccinations, so I’m going to take that opportunity to ask the doctor about antibody testing (perhaps we had it already) and her latest info/opinion on antibodies and immunity. She’s a really awesome doc, I trust her judgement completely.

        Even if we were 100% sure we were immune and not spreading it (which may be a pipe dream), I would still do public masking/distancing for the time being as a courtesy and to help normalize it. But it would be good for peace of mind and to be able to visit people at home. I want to hug my dad!

    26. CTT*

      So, I just went to two stores that were not the grocery store for the first time since March. One was the plant nursery and I feel like they handled it well; it’s mostly outside which helps, but I felt like the staff was really present and they kept people moving. The other was a used book/movie/music place. I ONLY went because the website said they would be limiting capacity to 50%; that turned out to be a lie. No one was counting people coming in or monitoring and while I’ve seen it busier on a Saturday, it was still packed. No staff anywhere, people openly flouting the one way aisles. I left after 10 minutes because I was uncomfortable.

      tl;dr, I’m probably not going to venture out again for a while. I think some of this was cabin fever, and now I know to get back in the cabin (unless I need plants)

    27. Pumpa Rumpa*

      I live in a state that has a four phase approach to reopening. The county I live in just entered Phase 1.5. You’re able to get a haircut and restaurants can reopen with limited capacity.

      A brewery I love posted a video on Instagram today showing their reopening. There was a line around the block. No one in line was wearing a mask and the groups were barely 6 feet apart. An employee ran by with her mask completely pulled down. They’ve since taken the video down.

      I’m open to the idea of socializing, but only if it is outside (park or someone’s backyard), no more than 5 people, and social distancing is maintained. I’m not yet comfortable with going to a restaurant or brewery, especially after seeing that video.

    28. Oxford Comma*

      Not well. I am continuing to hunker down, but I am starting to get pressure from all sides from people who seem to think that it’s all gone away. Not knowing what is going to happen at my job is not helping with my anxiety (that’s all I’ll say about that). At best, it’s with pity. At worst, it’s an insistent stream of invitations and incredulity that I do not want to go to their home for a party or go out to dinner.

      FWIW @Droid Mechanic, I don’t think you are overthinking this, cases are rising. It’s summer. People are tired of quarantine. They are going to start traveling. This is not going away.

    29. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I’m kinda mixed. I’m basically resuming normal life plus masks in public. However, my normal life is already pretty socially distanced. I didn’t go to restaurants or the movies before covid anyway, so that’s no change. I am seeing some friends, but I really only saw one person regularly anyway. That hasn’t changed. Big change is no one is hugging.

      I am hoping that my office stays closed as long as possible, or at least that I don’t have to go in much. I really like not having a commute, though I do miss seeing my coworkers.

    30. AnonWestCoaster*

      I’m in Los Angeles, and in general, I’m confused. My area began gradual reopening at the same time curfews were being imposed. Since the government, and the news, is, naturally, focused on the protests, it’s not entirely clear what, if anything is actually reopened. Add to that the fact that most storefronts in my area are boarded up, and things get even more confusing.

      That being said, I’ve been inside since mid-March, only leaving my apartment a handful of times to get groceries &c. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to adjust to the “outside world” again once things do reopen, as I’ve gotten accustomed to solitary confinement.

  28. Anon for this*

    Question about anti-inflammatory foods and update from last week.

    I posted last weekend about my upsetting and very painful severe GI issues. I am happy to report that I am mostly back to normal. The colonoscopy results showed nothing scary (such a relief), but I have internal and external hemmerhoids (fun!). Thank you to everyone who commented with compassionate advice and support.

    While I am relieved and have incorporated advice from the GI doc (and advice from commenters here who had tips based on experience), I am very paranoid about it happening again since the inflammation brought me some of the worst pain in my life. About three weeks ago, I had severe inflammation elsewhere in my body that also caused me severe pain and required a cortisone shot to treat. The Google tells me that foods can cause inflammation so I wanted to explore adjusting my diet accordingly.

    However, many resources I have found also seem a little woo woo, which is concerning to me. I found one that seemed legit (MD with nutrition focus) only to later find that person’s professional ethics and science had been criticized. Are anti-inflammatory foods really a thing or just hocus pocus? Anyone have any experience with this?

    1. Rebecca*

      This is hard. My PA told me that foods in the nightshade family can cause issues with inflammation with some people, and apparently you can stop eating all of them for a time, see how the pain goes, and make a judgement call on it. I also have issues with arthritis and joint pain. Is there a physician or dietician within your in network physicians? (I’m in the USA so I have to keep “in network” to avoid paying full office visit fees) I know what you mean about the woo woo thing – it’s so difficult to sort everything out. I think it is “a thing” and that if it’s a thing for you specifically, not eating those things can help, but getting from Point A to Point B can be tricky.

      1. Wired Wolf*

        You might try the FODMAP Diet. It’s not intended as a permanent thing, mainly to figure out the types of foods your body reacts to, how and in what quantities. At the start you have to cut out a ton of foods and it takes a lot of discipline, but is helpful. That’s how my dad figured out he was sensitive to large amounts of cooked onions (no problem with raw or cooked in very tiny amounts as flavoring).

        1. Rebecca*

          I’ve heard of that, looked into it, and to be totally honest, I don’t have the discipline to do it. I just don’t. If I were in a controlled environment, and someone gave me certain things to eat each day, I could do it, probably not be too happy, but I’d survive, but doing it myself? Not going to happen. And why dieting doesn’t work for me either sadly.

    2. Lena Clare*

      Yeah, it’s a tricky one. I’ve heard mixed views about them.
      A few of the most consistent views I’ve heard are about avoiding dairy, foods from the nightshade family, and processed sugar.
      I can say that I’ve rialled and made errors with this, and I did feel better with no processed sugar or dairy, and minimal nightshade. I tend to avoid potatoes the most but have a lot of tomatoes and peppers, cooked.
      Another thing that was bad for my whole digestive system was caffeine.
      So I think that the views are basically try and see what works for you.
      The British Dietetic Association has some excellent fact sheets on their website, which you might find helpful.

    3. Thursday Next*

      I think if you try an elimination diet with a controlled reintroduction of foods, you might find there are foods that cause inflammation for you. There are doctors and dieticians who can help with a medically supervised elimination diet, if you’d prefer that to doing it on your own.

      I did an elimination diet two years ago, and the reintroduction phase gave me a lot of information.

    4. Em*

      There’s some evidence that eating Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil can reduce inflammation. Many of the super restrictive anti inflammatory diets are based on theory (which components of foods are thought to be pro-/anti-inflammatory), but we know from the past that it is more complicated when you are talking about whole foods than components and sometimes people get this wrong. Most of these diets that eliminate tons of food categories (grains, nightshade vegetables, etc) have to my knowledge not been rigorously studied.

      Just because someone is a doctor does not mean they are knowledgeable in nutrition. I am a physician and had very little training in nutrition in medical school, despite trying to seek it out, and am NOT an expert in nutrition. Most doctors have had little to no formal nutrition training.

    5. Venus*

      I know of friends and family who have had serious health problems with food, and several of them have started with the paleo-AIP diet (Sarah Ballantyne) for a couple months and then added back foods to see which ones caused a problem. Well, all of them tried a restricted diet and then added foods back in, and those with the biggest problems tried paleo-AIP as she has done a lot of research.

      These diets work well for some people and not others. I can eat whatever I want without pain. But if you are experiencing pain, then why not be really careful about what you eat for 6-8 weeks and see if you feel better? What do you have to lose (other than time in preparing the meals as I know that they can be time-consuming, it isn’t a perfect system!)?

    6. lasslisa*

      The body and microbiome and immune system are a complex system and we don’t totally understand how all the pieces fit together. But we know diet can help with certain inflammatory and autoimmune conditions: diet for heart disease or diabetes isn’t controversial at all, for example.

      My doctor recommended I try one anti-inflammatory diet that’s used by some for MS (no refined sugar or white flour, no dairy, minimal meat and only grass-fed, lots of whole grains and vegetables and regular fish, minimal oil [no frying]…). But it’s actually really similar to the AHA recommended diet overall.

      There are some things that are unique to one diet (nightshades or drinking straight olive oil or avoiding certain fruit sugars) and some things that are pretty common (no doughnuts; yes to whole grains, veggies, nuts, and fish). I like looking at the methods that have a broader base of support rather than the extreme/”clever” ones, and the AHA diet or diabetic diet recommendations are actually a pretty good place to start. If you need to go more extreme for your own body or psyche, cut out entirely sugar and alcohol. I found it much easier to eat zero cookies than to eat one cookie (some subconscious logic like if that one was ok, why isn’t this one ok? It’s the same cookie.)

      No quick fixes but if you can make the changes, it really does make a difference to your overall health.

      1. naptime!*

        out of curiosity: how do you cook your food, if you don’t fry? do you just bake everything? boil everything?

          1. lasslisa*

            You can still saute and roast things! It’s not total oil elimination, polyunsaturated oils like olive seem to be fine or even healthy in moderation. But no deep frying.

    7. Thankful for AAM*

      I really like Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Gregor. They are both focused on research.

    8. Fikly*

      There isn’t good solid evidence for any diet (other than ones to address very narrow specific medical issues, like keto for severe epilepsy, or strict gluten-free for Celiac) because the truth is that everyone’s body reacts differently to diets, and we haven’t figured out how to compensate for that adequately in studies.

      So you’re left with trial and error.

    9. LNLN*

      You might want to check out the book Diet for the MIND by Dr. Martha Clare Morris of Rush University. She writes about the results of a study in which researchers combined the Mediterranean and the DASH diets and evaluated the impact on participants’ risk of dementia. The focus was on reducing inflammation. The diet recommends limiting certain types of food (including sugar, beef, dairy) and consuming other food (whole grains, greens, berries, fish, etc.). Nothing super radical, no completely forbidden foods, but definitely not the Standard American Diet. Good luck!

      1. RagingADHD*

        Of all the diets tested, Mediterranean and/or DASH seem to always come out being good for everything – heart, longevity, dementia, depression/anxiety, ADHD, blood pressure, diabetes. It’s just overall a good way to go.

        They also have the best long-term compliance rates because they are really flexible.

    10. KoiFeeder*

      My dad has had success with the Keto diet, but that’s not intended as a long-term diet change. I’ve also heard about the Mediterranean diet being helpful, but weirdly, it’s always been post-menopausal women in my anecdata. There’s probably a study there.

      It’s kind of painful for me to eat and I don’t really absorb nutrients that well anymore anyways, so I just go with the “foods that I like enough to eat despite the pain and multivitamins” diet. I do not recommend it.

    11. RagingADHD*

      Hell0! Autoimmune sufferer here, with a loooooooong history of experimenting with food to control inflammation.

      A lot of it is going to be individual. There are some things you can tolerate that others can’t, and vice versa. The #1 most likely culprit, and the most common to nearly everyone, is sugar.

      After that is excess salt, and other additives in highly processed foods – artificial colors, flavors, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, etc.

      Personally for me, dairy is no problem. There are studies that show it increases inflammation, and others that show it decreases it. I do find that yogurt and other probiotic foods seem to help, especially with gut stuff. So if you’re feeling better I’d encourage you to try very gradually introducing unsweetened yogurt rather than avoiding all dairy on principle.

      Foods I try to eat nearly daily, and feel worse if I don’t, include blueberries, almonds, banana, and leafy greens. Whole grains are not a problem for me (and the fiber helps). Some people have issues with them, but rice and oats tend to be the best tolerated commonly-available ones. Quinoa is usually fairly safe as well. Healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, and nut butters are often good. Meat isn’t an issue for me as long as it’s not covered in processed sauce or seasonings. I can eat lunch meat from time to time, but not every day or I get issues.

      Overall, when I’m eating whole, minimally processed foods, I feel good. Particular culprits are sauces, salad dressings, packaged cereal, and snack foods – even the ones with “organic” or “natural” type branding. They are still packed with sugar and salt.

      Unfortunately there’s just a lot of trial and error to figure out what works for you. Starting out on a limited diet of whatever you’ve been eating since you got home, and gradually trialing one new food at a time, is the way to go. And drink LOTS of water. Water helps with everything.

      Good luck, hope it works out well for you!

      1. RagingADHD*

        Oh, BTW, if you have been eating a bland or lower-fiber diet lately, go slow on increasing your fiber intake with the fruits & veggies. Long-term it’s good, but too much too fast could be unfortunate if your gut is still sensitive.

    12. Ariadne Oliver*

      If you get inflammation, I would recommend you try eliminating gluten from your diet. So no food that includes wheat as an ingredient, also avoid soya sauce. There are other things that hide gluten but you can read up on that. It might not be the cause for you but that’s the trigger for me. I get inflammation throughout my body and nerve pain. I found that a dose of cortisone is really helpful for an acute attack.

    13. Not So NewReader*

      I have been looking at foods and diets to help my health for decades now.
      A few things I have learned:

      If you are looking for the advice of someone who has NEVER been criticized for what they are saying, you won’t find a soul. My idea is that it’s better to look at what a wide range of people are agreeing on, find the common threads and try those things. For example, a lot of people favor leafy greens. So probably lettuces, kale and the like are something to consider.

      Do one thing at a time. If you change a bunch of stuff you have no idea what is working and what is not working. Not only can you end up wasting money but you can also end up feeling defeated and overwhelmed. The latter is worse.

      Simplify where ever possible. I actually enjoy the simplicity of having a piece of fruit for dessert as opposed to making a dessert type item. Some dietary changes can actually make life easier- less work.

      But I can give you are huge YES, it is worth looking into what you are eating and how it is helping you or undermining you. I am a fan of encouraging a person to prove it to themselves. From my own experience I have only stayed on my “diet” because I know for a fact that I have less pain and my body works better. I can move about better, I call in sick a lot less and most importantly I am not afraid. I had grown afraid of my own circumstance and did not trust my body to work as it was designed to work.

      Just recently, I cracked down on gluten in my diet. I have been told that I do not have a gluten problem, so I paid no attention to this aspect of my diet. For decades, I paid no attention to this. OMG, the differences in me without the gluten are amazing.

      Just my opinion, but I think the number one thing people can do to help themselves is to hydrate. This means getting in the same amounts of water each day, day after day after day….. I broke down and started measuring my water out in the morning. This way I know how I am progressing as the day goes along. And I like to get most of the water in to me before dinner so I am not getting up in the night. Measuring it out in the morning also helps with that goal. I am always amazed by how many little annoyances can be pushed back just by having adequate water.

    14. WS*

      Foods definitely cause inflammation…but unfortunately it’s highly variable as to what can cause inflammation in any individual. A good way to go is to keep a food and symptom diary so that you can keep track of trends. It doesn’t help much in the short-term, but in the long-term it really can. My whole family has autoimmune issues, but even within that small group of genetically close people there’s major differences in what sets each person off. My brother is sensitive to gluten and FODMAPs. My other brother is sensitive only to nightshades in large amounts. My mother has problems with mushrooms, red wine (very common) and nightshades in general. I have Crohn’s but nothing food-based triggers it*, my dad likewise has no food triggers. But I didn’t know this until I tried keeping a journal.

      *If I am having a flare-up, spicy or hot food can make upper gastric pain worse, but it doesn’t cause a flare-up.

    15. KeinName*

      I commented on your question last week – I have Chron‘s in remission, managed by medication and, I would say, daily exercise such as walks in the woods and going on the elliptical. Curcuma, blueberries, and many other foods are said to be antiinlammatory, but you‘d have to war a shitton of them to make and difference. Without knowing how you eat at the moment it is hard to reccomend anything. If you eat a balanced diet with little processed foods already I‘m not sure you should leave anything out or add lots of new stuff since that can stress your system and bring on attacks. Hämorrhoides can be due to very soft or hard stools so Maybe take care to eat Fiber. I‘m very sorry about your pain. However it is super that you have a diagnosis now!

    16. 00ff00Claire*

      Congratulations on a nothing scary colonoscopy result! I know that kind of relief. I have had quite the gamut of GI issues and I highly recommend seeking the advice of a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist if it’s possible. Depending on your insurance situation, a RDN consult might or might not be covered. I have been working with one for a few months now, and it really does beat the “throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks” or method or using internet resources. It’s made a huge difference in my quality of life and I’m now working on incorporating more foods back into my diet. I’m also not a fan of “woo woo” and a good RDN won’t be either and can help you sort out woo from science. If working with someone is just not possible at this point, I would talk to your doctor about what she recommends or ask if she has resources on either the Mediterranean Diet or the DASH Diet. Wishing you success and GI relief!

    17. Traveling Teacher*

      Make sure any elimination is supervised by your doctor! You want to be sure you are still getting your essential nutrients, especially after a health scare. If you’re not getting enough of certain B vitamins, for example, it can seriously throw your digestion off.

      Also, one of the best things to incorporate into your diet that’s specific to hemorrhoids is oatmeal! Easy, cheap, and tasty, and it works!

  29. Rebecca*

    What home projects have you started, completed, thought about during the last 10 weeks or so?

    I cleaned out the extra bedroom upstairs where my room is, all except two dressers, moved them, and am making a home office. I gave myself a budget of $100, with the goal of using things in storage here or repurposing things to make them work rather than buying new things. I’ve spent half that on a 6′ folding table to use as a desktop, and I’m on the hunt for a nice office chair free or cheap. Hoping that if people are going back to the office, maybe they impulse bought things they really didn’t need and they’ll put them out at yard sales. I even have an old 1950’s typewriter stand with wheels that I’m reusing to hold my desktop tower and printer.

    1. LuJessMin*

      Hey, Rebecca! I’ve missed your posts. Should you ever decide to write a blog, please let us know.

      1. Librarian beyond the Shelves We Know*

        I’m going to second this! I have only come to the open threads in the past to see your follow-ups, because I love how much you’ve taken control of your life and moved forward. <3

        Back to your question: we want to finish our office space. It's kind of been used as a storage/dumping room since we moved into this apartment, and we're trying to get that working for us better. I have two more months (at least) of working from home, and I'd really love to have a better workspace than just my living-room chair and a hospital table (one that I can use as a standing desk if I want).

    2. CoffeeforLife*

      We worked a bit on my office/workshop. Painted the walls and ceiling (was such a gross smoker beige), moved a new work bench in. I was nice to make the space more me rather the catchall room it was becoming.

    3. Thankful for AAM*

      I have been thinking of tackling the garage but have not found the courage to start!

    4. Belle*

      How are things going with your mom and your wildlife camera? Any new sightings of your bear or raccoon? It reminds me of when I used to live in a rural area and I used to take walks outside in nature.

      1. Rebecca*

        This morning I took laundry out to the clothesline, saw a small wobbly brown creature at the edge of the yard, and thought oh crap, a rabid fox. Went in the house, grabbed binocs, got a bead on it – not a rabid fox, a newborn fawn! I had never seen one so small. It bedded down in my yard, and about 2 hours later, I saw it with its mother. What a treat! And last Sunday afternoon I was taking clothes off the line, looked over, and a small bear was watching me! He vanished…then I turned around to take the basket of clothes in the house, and he was standing by my car. I said “we’re not going for a ride, if that’s what you’re hinting at”, and he meandered into the woods :) The other night I got engrossed in watching Dark Shadows, forgot to bring the bird feeder and hummingbird feeder in, and looked out to see a raccoon staring up at it, with two deer standing there too – I wondered what they were plotting.

        Do you have a game camera? Mine is just a simple one I got on Amazon, and I used a long extension cord and AC adapter so I don’t burn through batteries. I’ve also been identifying birds and learning calls, using the Merlin and eBird apps (my neighbor and hiking friend is into bird watching, so I’m learning to help her count birds here).

        1. Belle*

          When I lived in the country we did have a game camera. It was so nice to see what visited, especially at night. Now we are too far in the city to get much other than woodpeckers and some hummingbirds.

          Do the bears ever give you trouble? We didn’t have those around often. Ours were usually deer, rabbits, possums and a rare coyote.