weekend open thread – September 5-6, 2020

This comment section is open for any non-work-related discussion you’d like to have with other readers, by popular demand.

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: One to Watch, by Kate Stayman-London. A friend recommended this and I was skeptical, but it’s very enjoyable: It’s about the first plus-sized contestant on a Bachelorette-like show, who is rightly cynical about the show but agrees to go on to help her brand, and what happens. It skewers some of the worst parts of reality TV and talks more honestly than you often see about weight.

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

{ 1,381 comments… read them below }

  1. c_g2*

    I’m trying to organize my stuff. I collect crystals and perfume (alongside other stuff — but these two are giving me the most trouble). Any ideas? I have 1 display case for the crystals that I received as a gift, otherwise I’ve been repurposing other boxes to display them.

    1. Germank106*

      Rotate them. I collect Elephants and my collection is way too large (well over 100 pieces) to display at one time. I show off about two dozen of them at a time and keep the rest in boxes. When I get tired of looking at the same ones I rotate them. There’s only three that stay out all the time because they have a very special meaning.

    2. Experienced perfumista*

      I’m a pretty serious fragrance collector, and here is what I have learned. Perfume flacons should be kept out of the light, and away from any heat source.

      I don’t keep the original presentation boxes from each perfume flacon, so I have several large storage boxes in which I store them alphabetically by house (Amouage, Byredo, Chanel…). I have perfumista friends who store them by season, or even by fragrance family (floral, woody, fresh, amber/spice). What most of us have in common is that we select a few flacons to display (on a vanity or shelf, but in a low-light area) for the week or month or season, and then we rotate them out.

    3. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A friend recently shared a wall display from a Rock Hounds group on FB.
      Depending on the size of the crystals, you might get a really lovely effect hanging them as a mobile.
      I’ll post the links separately.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Rock samples wire-wrapped & wall-mounted : https://www.facebook.com/groups/NWRockhounds/permalink/2918279014897882/
        One artist who’s shared how he makes his mobiles: https://www.marcomahler.com/wire-for-hanging-mobile/
        ….and one person who’s made a suncatcher mobile out of crystal beads: http://www.jewelrymaking-beads-library.com/handmade-crafts-ch0230.html
        On second thought this might mean too much dusting. And possibly get too much interest from cats if you have them!

        1. Osmoglossum*

          holy cow. those wall-mounted rocks/crystals/gems are stunning! thanks for sharing the link, SSC!

    4. Lovesick or Something*

      Maybe get a little display area where you can display them together? KKW Fragrance has the crystal collection and it would be cool to use those to tie them together! (I have 3/4 of them & personally love the scents and get lots of compliments, but am in no way a perfume expert.)

    5. charo*

      Ikea has an all-glass square cabinet w/glass shelves, not that pricey. I was planning to put my crystal chunks in one, and then realized I could also display my semi-precious beads that are waiting to be strung, too!

      The beads may go in a glass bowl, maybe w/a few “dripping out” — maybe some fine sand underneath them.

      It hit me that the beads, esp. faceted Carnelian and Amethyst, are the same stone as the agate, quartz, and amethyst chunks, and would look nice displayed instead of in the closet. It’s fun to think of the raw chunks and the smooth and faceted beads coexisting.

      I envision this tall glass cube sitting near a window to catch the light.
      Perfume needs to be away from that heat, I realize.

      Anyway, I like figuring out I have a collection I never see because all those beads are hidden away, and am looking forward to putting it together on display. The energy should encourage me to string some beads, and even if I don’t, I’ll enjoy looking at them.

    6. it's-a-me*

      I have a coffee table with a glass top and displayed inside are all my crystals. It was from Ikea though I bought mine secondhand.

  2. AnnaAnon*

    I read the House in the Cerulean Sea, Alison’s book recommendation from last week. I loved it– great recommendation! I’m not usually much for fantasy but it was really well suited for people who liked Harry Potter but not much more from the genre. Does anyone have recommendations for other things that fall in that category?

    1. Lady Heather*

      I’m reading Earthsea right now and having a blast. It’s very coming-of-agy with an interesting twist on magic and a strong focus on personal responsibility.

      1. Np*

        Oh my days, I am also reading Earthsea! Can’t imagine how it slipped past me as a child. Highly recommend. (The audiobooks by Kobna Holdbrook-Smith are phenomenal, too.)

        1. Not Cut Out for Mgmt*

          If you can find the first audiobook of “A Wizard of Earthsea,” it was read by Ursula LeGuin and Harlan Ellison. Well worth finding.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      In the category of YA fiction about trainee wizards, Diane Duane’s Young Wizard series is lovely (starting with “So You Want to be a Wizard”). Secret wizardry alongside normal society, but it also addresses issues like telling your family members about wizardry, and why adolescents are risking their lives while adult wizards stand by and watch. I also like the way the two main characters come from generally healthy, supportive families, rather than the standard trope of abused orphan with powers.

      The first few books pre-date Harry Potter, but the series is still in progress. I think newer editions of the first few books have been updated a bit in terms of technology.

    3. Np*

      I also loved the Dark is Rising series. I try to read it every Christmas and it never fails to entrance me. (Less Harry Potter, more fantasy — but still within our world, if that makes sense.)

    4. Bagpuss*

      Anything at all by Diana Wynne Jones . Her work varies in setting and in the age group it’s aimed at but the Chrestomanci books are a lot of fun, (a world mostly like ours, with occasional visitors from ours, where magic is a normal part of life which some people can do and some can’t, and which is offered as an optional subject in school) or ‘Deep Secret’ and They Merlin Conspiracy’ which are adult rather than YA .

      1. Book Lover*

        I am listening to the audiobooks after reading them a dozen times and it is wonderful to get someone else’s take on them – how the different characters talk and express themselves.

      2. Stormfeather*

        I also love Rivers of London (and am actually re-reading them now!), but I’d describe them more as Dresden Files meets London Cops myself. Not sure how much overlap they’d have with Harry Potter fandom but… maybe? Certainly worth a try.

    5. TechWorker*

      Rosewater by Tade Thompson I loved. You’ve reminded me I need to look up if the sequel is out yet :)

    6. Kage*

      The Name of the Wind (also called The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) by Patrick Rothfuss. It’s amazing and long and you will never want it to end. There are a couple in that series out already; fans have been waiting for the next book for awhile. But it’s so good and very accessible to folks who like Harry Potter but not usually all fantasy.

      1. Forensic13*

        I have to say, I liked the first book and HATED the second one. All the interactions with women started to feel really gross to me.

        1. Jules the 3rd*

          Yep, this, from both my husband and me. Loved the first one, the second one was mediocre at best and the women sucked.

    7. Mystery Bookworm*

      A different sort of mood, but I highly recommend Carlos Ruiz Zafon as good fantasy for people who don’t love fantasy (maybe it’s more magical realism).

      I also really enjoy the Shadow and Bone series, by Leigh Bardugo

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        I should also note: I seem to remember Christopher Moore, William Goldman and Eli Brown’s Cinnamon and Gunpowder: A Novel as having a similar-ish tone to last week’s recommendation. But it has been years since I’ve read any of the above, so I could be off.

        Cinnamon and Gunpowder is technically not fantasy (pirates and chefs) but also sufficiantly historically innaccurate that it kind of IS fantasy, just with no magic.

    8. Ranon*

      F.T. Lukens “Fair Play” and “Monster of the Week” have a very similar gentleness to them- they’re YA but the angst feels more like the author is sympathetic to what it’s like to be a teenager rather than trying to see how much angst and trauma can fit into a teen. And the fantasy side has that “unusual but also totally normal” vibe that Cerulean Sea does.

      1. Ranon*

        Argh, wrong title – should be “The Rules and Regulations for Mediating Myths and Magic” not “Fair Play” (Libby lied to me).

    9. Bittersweet_silver*

      Favorite of all time—the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix (start with Sabriel). It’s got mystery, really cool magic, and a great female lead. When I first read it I was so riveted I tried to let my parents leave me in the car to keep reading…in the parking lot an amusement park. The additional books are also incredible stories; I’ve also devoured pretty much anything else Nix has published as well over time.

    10. Book Lover*

      Agree with so many above – Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones is extraordinary, contemporary – Ben Aaronovitch, Ilona Andrews for something a bit different. Classics – Chronicles of Prydain, Earthsea.
      My son likes Rick Riordan, especially the newer ones which i think are a bit better written than the first Percy Jackson books.
      Dearly love Naomi Novik also.

    11. Ali*

      For fantasy genre, I really love the Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore, which starts with the book Graceling. It’s a terrific exploration of the psychology behind abusive family relationships (but not gory or explicit) and is also just a great adventure story. For sci-fi, I love The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers, which has a lovely theme of found-family.

    12. elizabeth*

      I realized recently, as someone who has always thought of myself is not really liking fantasy, that I am really interested in YA contemporary urban fantasy. there’s less world building I think than historical fantasy tends to have. The shadow shaper series by Daniel José older and a song below water by Bethany Morrow are both great! Also for something that is like a gay version of Harry Potter, the Simon snow series by rainbow Rowell also works!

    13. c-*

      Laura Gallego’s stuff is great, too! Finis Mundi is one of her less fantasy-focused books and it is a great read, short and with a very interesting plot. I’d recommend starting there to see if you like her writing.

    14. Everdene*

      I have recently fallen hard for The Chronicals of St Mary’s by Jodi Taylor, despite having never heard of her 6 months ago I am now trying not to open book 11 before my holidays next week. The first is called Just One Dammed Thing After Another. It’s about historians who investigate events in contempory time. It’s funny, dramatic, educational, silly, emotional and fast paced. Light but not vacuous. Perfect stories for during All This.

    15. allathian*

      The Chronicles of Tornor (Watchtower, The Dancers of Arun, and The Northern Girl) by Elizabeth A. Lynn. It’s not contemporary fantasy, but the books are fairly short. The first two are about 250 pages and the last one is about 350 pages, so while there’s some world-building it’s not excessive. The books were published in 1979 and 1980, and they’re most notable for having mainly lesbian and gay main characters, very unusual for the time. Even more unusually, there’s no fuss about it. The main characters do have their challenges to overcome, but they’re not ostracized for being homosexual. I usually reread the series about once a year.

        1. allathian*

          :) My favorite is The Dancers of Arun, even if I realize that the incestuous relationship between Kel and Kerris (brothers raised apart who meet again in young adulthood/late adolescence) can be a bit too much for some. It’s odd, but I don’t feel the same way about incestuous homosexual relationships as straight ones, probably because there’s no risk of a pregnancy. (I would be seriously disgusted by a story about a brother and sister who have a sexual relationship, even if they were raised apart and didn’t think of each other as brother and sister).

    16. OtterB*

      If you like historical fiction, then you might check out these historical-feeling fantasy series:

      The Glamourist Histories by Mary Robinette Kowal. Begins with Shades of Milk and Honey. Has the feel of Regency romance with magic. Kowal also has a wonderful alternate-history series about early space travel beginning with The Calculating Stars; try this if you like the Hidden Figures book/movie.

      Mairelon series (duology) by Patricia C. Wrede. Begins with Mairelon the Magician. Also Regency with magic, but different from Kowal – more humor, delightful urchin in trouble, a YA-ish feel to it. Also by Wrede, I love the Enchanted Forest series and reread it often.

      The Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan, beginning with A Natural History of Dragons. A lady biologist traveling the world, has the feel of Victorian-era travels and science.

  3. Ask a Manager* Post author

    Crocheting update! I have finished two scarves and have started a third. I made a dishcloth. I made a cat toy, which the cats didn’t care about. I am really enjoying it!

    However, I started this blanket, which you make by doing five separate scarves and then sewing them together … and have hugely messed it up. I didn’t do a swatch first to check the gauge (I know), and I realized when I was nearly done with the first scarf piece of it that I had made it far, far too wide. I considered just doing the other four pieces that wide too (since they all need to match), but I think it’ll be enormous and take forever. So I’m going to rip out all the work on it and start again.

    Some questions for crocheters, spurred by that project:

    1. When you’re making a blanket, are there advantages to doing it as one big piece (as opposed to multiple separate pieces that you then sew together)? When I imagine doing it as a single piece, it seems like it would be unwieldy to make because of the size. But is there an advantage to the finished project if you do it as all one piece? Does it look better if you don’t have seams from sewing the pieces together?

    2. For that project linked above, if I want to do double crochet instead of half double, would the rest of the pattern still work? I know double crochet will probably make it a little longer, which I’m fine with, but I wasn’t sure if it was a bad idea to mess with the instructions in that way.

    Thanks to everyone who’s been guiding me on this! It’s been so nice to have a place where I can ask questions, since I’ve been relying on YouTube videos to teach me.

    1. Tortally HareBrained*

      1. I personally prefer blankets all in one and have learned to fold them as I work. But if you get satisfaction from finishing smaller pieces then you may enjoy working it that way. For the effect of the blanket you’ve chosen I think you’ll need to do it in pieces.

      2. Yes swapping to double crochet should just make it longer which could change the proportion on your blanket but otherwise should be okay.

    2. RagingADHD*

      1) The advantage of doing a color-blocked piece as one large project instead of piecing it would be strength. Since you’re joining the yarn at only one point, it’s going to be worked into the previous rows more securely than if you stitched it.

      That benefit is marginal, unless the piece is subject to abnormally hard wear. The convenience of having smaller strips is usually a bigger advantage.

      If you join the new color and work the blocks together, you will have a row that’s half one color and half the other. So you would get a cleaner edge by working them separately and stitching them together. That’s really an aesthetic choice.

      2) Since all the stitches in the pattern are the same, it doesn’t matter a whole lot whether you use dc or hdc. It will slightly change the scale and make it a slightly looser/more open texture. As long as you’re consistent, either one is fine.

    3. Yvette*

      Can you make the too wide strip the center and the other four narrower, or make it the center and instead of four more thinner strips two more wider strips to add up to the intended width?

      1. Pharmgirl*

        Yes, I was thinking this too, have the first wide strip in the center. You can make the other four narrower like Yvette said, or even keep them the original width they were supposed to be. The blanket might be a little longer or wider than you planned for but nothing wrong with that.

      2. CC*

        As far as doing it in strips or one full blanket, just make sure you don’t stop when finish all the strips but have not put them together. There are a lot of knitting & crocheting projects in the world that the bulk of the project is done but no one ever put the pieces together!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          That gives me a smile… my mother loved to knit. Her friend next door loved to crochet. When Mom made a sweater, Mrs.Crochet would connect the panels. I miss them both.

    4. tangerineRose*

      People who like crochet and cozy mysteries will probably like Betty Hechtman’s books since they’re about both.

    5. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I’m really glad you have found your “crojo” (crochet mojo).

      I generally make blankets out of 12″ squares, with a very visible sc join. Benefits include manageability and also so I don’t get bored. I do baby blankets all in one because it makes them sturdier and it doesn’t matter about the weight and size.

      You can do invisible joins, eg whip stitch, or you could look out for decorative joins where the join is a design feature. There are some very pretty lacy patterns.

    6. Germank106*

      If you work this in double crochet your blanket will be quite a bit larger, but you can stick with the pattern without a problem. The only thing you should do different is to chain 2 at the beginning of each row instead of chain 2. The extra stitch will bring your beginning stitch to the same height as the double crochets. I actually like to make blankets in pieces. For a throw or baby blanket one piece is just fine, but for a queen size bedspread the large amount of stitches is a bit overwhelming. I’m currently working on the Snowflake afghan. https://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/snowflake-afghan

      It’s 59 motifs but I join as I go and I crochet over my ends, so I don’t have to weave in a lot of ends when I am finished.

      1. Germank106*

        The second sentence should read “chain 3 at the beginning of each row instead of chain 2.” Looks like I have fumble fingers today (and probably not enough coffee yet)

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I agree that a double crochet will be “taller” than a half double and your blanket will be noticeably longer. You might be able to find a logical stopping point in the repeat of the pattern and end it earlier in order to get it around the approximate finished size. Yarn is also a consideration, tweaks can blindside with suddenly there is not enough yarn.

        I do like the more open weave of double crochet. To me it works like a thermal blanket, where excess warmth seems to drift away and I retain only the warmth I need. I never wake up because of being too warm with a thermal blanket.

      3. RagingADHD*

        The pattern rows run widthwise, and the length is just “continue until strip measures X”

        So the only difference is that she will get there in fewer rows.

    7. MistOrMister*

      Re question 1, with crochet I would much prefer to work smaller sections and then sew them together. I’ve done this with some knitting projects and it works well as long as you make sure to keep measuring and get each panel the same size. I have a crochet blanket I’m working on that is all one piece and I just hate it! I find the hand I use to hold the needle gets too tense because I run the yarn through my pinky and hold is as tight as can be and it is just awful. The bigger the work gets, the more difficult it is for me to keep going, and I have trouble controlling the piece as I work But I guess this is a personal quirk of mine as many people seem to be able to crochet without issues.

    8. Slinky*

      I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Making toys is my favorite. I can’t have pets right now, so I’ve filled my apartment with amigurumi cats. Since toys generally use less yarn, it can be a fun way to use up scraps.

      It looks like others have answered question 2 pretty well. For question 1, I prefer to make blankets in one piece because you don’t have to put anything together at the end. When it’s done, it’s done, and you don’t have to worry about swatches or having pieces come out different sizes. (I often skip making a swatch, even though I’ve learned over and over again that this is a terrible idea. I just get excited and want to jump in!) The full size blanket is only unwieldy when you’re turning it. A bonus is that you can cover up in it while working on it, which is very cozy on cold days!

    9. another Hero*

      knitter, so maybe a little less unwieldy bc I don’t have to keep track of the edge, but I always make blankets as one big piece. mostly because I really really hate stitching bits together and I’m not usually making projects with a bunch of different colors in different places. (I do tend to think blankets look better without stitching, too, but that’s an extremely subjective position to take.) but once it gets big, it’s really just like having any other blanket in your lap. perfectly nice at times of year when you were going to have a blanket in your lap anyway!

    10. Crafty Crafter*

      Oh, goodness, don’t rip out! That pattern is so forgiving that there are several things you can try first.

      * How wide is the one strip? If you did four strips instead of five, would you get the width you’re going for? Since you’re using ombre yarn, the color interest will still be there no matter how many strips you have.
      * You can do a variable width sequence. 8-10-12-10-12″ if you want to be symmetrical or even random strips. For this blanket, anything will look just fine. I actually think a random-width sequence would look very cool.
      * Just keep on keeping on with four more strips the same width as the current one. It’s a blanket, so if it comes out to be 41″ or 42″ or 50″ wide, who cares? The more, the cozier!

      For your questions:
      1) Each to her own, but I find sewing pieces together to be a pain in the tuchus. When your blanket gets large enough, it’s not exactly a portable project, but who’s going anywhere anyway nowadays? The other con is that you don’t really want a blanket draped across your legs in the middle of summer. On balance, though, the sewing-tuchus-pain outweighs the rest for me. If I do a project in pieces, I prefer larger pieces–the General mentioned 12″ squares–to tiny 8″ squares. I don’t care for seams, so I crochet them together so it creates a border, rather than a seam, as part of the design–like a braided join or another technique that doesn’t result in a seam bump. Plenty of options there.

      2)Yes, but…. Since the patter is an hdc repeat, you could do all dc instead. You simply adjust the number of stitches per row as necessary to get the right width, then stop when it gets to the right length. However, I think you’re going to find that the ombre yarn color changes are less attractive in a dc than a hdc or sc. Before going all in, I’d start a small sample near a color change and work through the change to see if you like the result. The looser weave of a dc will also impact the melding of the colors when you join the strips, so take that into consideration, too.

      It’s also trickier to sew together dc because of that darned chain 3, which is much skinnier than a normal dc. Sewing along a dc can result in a gappier gap at the ends. If you go this route, there are techniques to use instead of the chain 3 to create a bulk similar to a standard dc. Check back in with us for more info if you go that route!

      So glad you’re enjoying crocheting!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Hmmm, I didn’t realize the ombre would look different in dc vs. hdc, or that dc is harder to sew together.

        Do you think it would look odd if the center strip is dc but the rest is all hdc? (The one that’s already done is dc because I’ve been trying different stitches for everything I do and, apparently, throwing pattern reading to the wind.) Right now my ideal plan for this blanket would be: Keep the too-wide strip I’ve already done in dc, use it for the center, and do the other four strips in hdc and the correct width. Bad idea?

        1. Not So NewReader*

          For me it would be a pain, I would rip it out and start over. And that is because of matching the other strips to the first one AND because of just starting out to learn crochet. This might be more challenge than I would enjoy.

          HOWEVER. It occurred to me that you could “sneak up” on the whole question by doing the other four strips and how they match up. IF necessary you could rip out the first strip later.

        2. Crafty Crafter*

          Pattern schmattern!

          Generally speaking, there’s no reason not to to have the center panel in dc and the others in hdc. I would give it a shot, but would lay the new strip next to the finished strip several times as I’m working it up just to make sure I like how the colors and stitches are meshing. The center strip is going to look different from the rest of the strips, but that doesn’t mean it will look weird. Many panel projects have different patterns in the panels.

          Your row count for the hdc strips will be different than for the dc strip, and your lengths are more likely to be slightly off, so you may need to block the strips or (and this is what I would do, because I’m too lazy/impatient to block) put a thin border around the whole thing to even out the edges.

          If you decide you don’t like the mixed stitches, add a few inches to the dc strip and voila, it’s a scarf.

    11. Suffering spouse*

      Often pieces made exactly the same do not come out exactly the same size- but that can be adjusted by blocking. Even additional stitches in error can be hidden when joining sections.

      Advantage to big pieces- no joining and matching problems- fewer ends to weave in- no blocking often needed. Disadvantage is the eventual size of the piece on your lap- but that is easily dealt with by having the excess either folded on off to the side if you are sitting on a couch. Only really a problem in the high heat of summer if your room is not airy.
      I have adapted the size of many patterns- there will not be lightening bolts if you change the pattern!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Yeah, I’d been wondering about how likely I really am to get all five of these strips the correct size! I figured this may end up being a lumpy blanket.

        1. Crafty Crafter*

          If your panels are all the same stitch and row count, if you are very consistent when you sew them together, you should reach the end of the two strips together. Then you can block the whole thing afterwards to smooth everything out, and it should be lump-free.

          If your panels have different stitches, one solution is to NOT cut your yarn when you finish the second panel. Sew the two together and if the second panel is too short or too long when you get to the end of the seam, add or subtract rows on the fly.

          Or, radical thought, just offset the panels to start with. Second panel starts 2” above the first panel, third panel is down 2”, etc. There’s no rule that blankets have to have even ends!

    12. CopperPenny*

      I make blankets in one piece because I don’t like joining projects. I have a baby lovey I need to sew together and my baby is almost 8 weeks old.
      I like to take patterns and tweak them. While switching to double crochet will make something longer you can just stop at the right length. In fact that pattern gives you the inches instead of the number of rows.
      I also almost never do a swatch and instead measure my first row to make sure it is the right width with the right number of stitches for the pattern stitch which isn’t a concern for this pattern. The pattern I’m using now needs to be a multiple of 3 plus 2. And says that which most blanket patterns will.

      This is my current project. https://daisycottagedesigns.net/easy-blanket-crochet-pattern/
      Only I’m using yarn I already had and didn’t have two skeins of any colour so I added an extra colour instead. I hope that makes sense

      1. Crafty Crafter*

        This is a lovely pattern, CopperPenny. I’ve always preferred granny rows to the more traditional granny squares, and mixing with regular dcs looks quite nice. I’m really bad with color coordination. What colors did you use?

      2. Pomona Sprout*

        That is gorgeous, and omg, I love that site! I have a feeling I’m going to be spending lots of time there. <3<3<3

    13. AGD*

      Watching this has been inspiring the heck out of me, for the record. I’m into a lot of other crafts – I got the hang of knitting easily, and am gradually getting better at sewing – but have spent years finding crochet elusive!

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I am surprised I stuck with it, after how frustrating I found it at first. I wanted to throw it across the room many times in the beginning, and it was making me so grumpy! I am terrible about sticking with things that are hard if I don’t have to (truly, the only two optional things that were hard that I’ve persisted on have been this and Guitar Hero) so I don’t know what made me stick with this, but I was strangely drawn to it and I’m so glad I did, because now it’s so rewarding!

        1. Keener*

          I am a knitter not a crocheter to no useful advice but just wanted to say it makes my heart happy to see another person joining the fibre tribe of the world and the community around supporting your journey.

      2. Not So NewReader*

        I agree, I think crocheting is really hard compared to other things. I learned to crochet when I was roughly ten years old but I did not finally “get it” until I was in my twenties. I think I needed a very long incubation period on that one.

        I think that crocheting builds up faster than knitting. Seeing results can be encouraging.

    14. NoLongerYoung*

      I have done two blankets, both in “pieces.” One in strips, one in squares. The benefit is portability and a sense of accomplishment- I could see the progress each time. Car, listening to music, even watching – it got to where I could literally crochet without watching each stitch.

      You are inspiring me to return to the hobby, by the way. After years of no time for crafting, I’ve been thinking about life balance, and remembering how much I enjoyed this years ago. (Let’s just say – pre-dates disco when I stopped!)

    15. Esmeralda*

      Cat toy: dunk it in catnip. Even better, leave it in the catnip container overnight.
      Works for my furry little addicts…

    16. Germank106*

      You can always make your way over to Ravelry and ask questions in the Pattern forum. There’s a hive mind at work there that is pretty amazing.

  4. Jackalope*

    Does anyone have any plans for Labor Day weekend? I know it’s hard to do fun stuff this year because COVID, but anyone doing anything you’re excited about? I’m mostly using it as a staycation, hoping to get some good reading in this weekend. (I’m trying to read a bunch of books for a reading challenge with my local library but only have a few categories left that are less interesting to me, so I’m trying to power through a few books that aren’t my normal type….)

    1. someone or other*

      A local farm is doing a drive through where you can look at their animals. Social distancing + animals sounds good to me.

    2. LadyRegister*

      I’ve had some real success with audiobooks when it’s something outside my usual genre. For “my” books I love to curl up and turn the pages myself. For anything outside my favorite genres, I pop on the audiobook during walks/drives/chores. I want to read them, I just can’t bear to give up precious reading nook time for anything I don’t LOVE.

      For Labor Day weekend, we rented a cabin in the mountains and we can’t wait to fall off the grid for a few days! I got a stack of books and some new wines to try. When I stay home I end up cleaning and organizing. So we are getting out of the house for the first time since a work trip in January.

      1. Kate Daniels*

        A cabin in the mountains with a stack of books and no electronics sounds delightful! That’s a great tip about listening to audiobooks for books outside of your ordinary genre. I want to start reading more widely, but it’s hard to give up my early morning or just before bed reading time!

      2. Jackalope*

        That’s an interesting idea. I’ve had people try to convince me to take up audio books, but I’ve generally not been willing to try since I can read so fast that I don’t want to take hours and hours on a book that I could finish up much more quickly by myself. (I’ve been told that it’s a whole different genre of story experience and not the same kind of thing as reading a book with my eyes; has that been your experience?) I’m not sure when I’d be able to do that since most of my busy time is already taken up (for example, I often listen to specific online radio when I’m doing dishes that I can’t at any other time), but maybe I’ll pick something and give it a try? I have a book I’ve been considering doing this with for awhile; a few years ago a book club I’m in read the book “Bossypants” by Tina Fey. Everyone who listened to the audio book (read by Tina Fey herself) thought it was hilarious, everyone (including myself) who read the paper version thought it was so-so. It’s been long enough that I’ve probably forgotten a lot of it and could do an audio reread without feeling too impatient because I’ve already read it.

        The book I’m reading right now is likely not in audio book. I’m reading “Cogewea: The Half Blood” by Mourning Dove. Mourning Dove was (depending on your source) either the first, or one of the first, Native American female novelists, and was born at an interesting time – she was born right at the cusp of when whites were taking over her region, so she was raised with both the old traditions and the new. My copy of it is one of those old library books with the old library book smell, and it has an errata page carefully taped to the inside that has the pages of the corrections, what the wrong word is, and what the readers should replace it with in their minds. (I also checked and there have been some newer editions, but nothing in audio book.) But some of the others might be.

        1. Jackalope*

          (For those interested in a book rec, I will also say that the reason I found out about this book is that I read the author’s wonderful book “Mourning Dove: A Salishan Autobiography”, which I really enjoyed. This one is not as easy to get into, but I’m hopeful that it will also be good once I do.)

        2. elizabeth*

          I read far faster than I can ever listen, so I listen to books on higher speed. I started at 1.2 and now I mostly listen to things at double speed. I definitely agree that’s starting with humor audiobooks is the best. They just offer you so much more than their written book does! I definitely think that wow, no thank you by Samantha irby is a great audiobook to start with, or to listen to second after bossy pants! Trevor Noah’s autobiography is also amazing because he does so many voices in it so well.

        3. Wehaf*

          Levar Burton has a great podcast called “Levar Burton Reads” – he picks short stories he likes (mostly science fiction or speculative fiction) and reads them aloud. Something like that might be a good way to try out audiobooks because you’re only committing to an hour or so.

        4. GoryDetails*

          From Jackelope: “I’ve had people try to convince me to take up audio books, but I’ve generally not been willing to try since I can read so fast that I don’t want to take hours and hours on a book that I could finish up much more quickly by myself. (I’ve been told that it’s a whole different genre of story experience and not the same kind of thing as reading a book with my eyes; has that been your experience?) ”

          I’d say it is definitely a different story experience, though not always a better one – some books seem to be more enjoyable when absorbed slowly, while others are better when skimmed. (My personal taste there, of course.) I read very fast myself, always have multiple books in progress, and can be impatient to See How It Ends at times – but I love listening to audiobooks as well. Usually while driving, though I can listen during rote chores like washing dishes. I’m very picky about narrators – a good one can make a so-so story enjoyable, and a bad one can ruin the most awesome story. I often choose audiobooks of books I’ve already read, so that I can listen while driving without getting panicked if a tense traffic situation makes me lose track of the plot – but I’ve enjoyed new-to-me audiobooks as well. (The re-listens of favorite books often delight me with little tidbit that I’d skimmed past while reading the text, a nice bonus.)

          I have friends who’ve said they simply can’t enjoy audiobooks – being “read to” puts them to sleep. And some can’t listen while driving, as they get too distracted. So audio’s definitely not for everyone, but for me it’s amazing – I’m much more relaxed during heavy traffic when I have a good tale to listen to!

        5. kat*

          In regards to your comment – I read so fast- it’s possible that you’d also like to listen to thinks a bit faster. Depending on the complexity of what is being read and the speaking style of the writer- 1.25 – 1.5 times makes some things much easier to listen to.

      3. charo*

        I can PROMISE you, you won’t be missing anything!

        As a news junkie, I guarantee that there will be nothing new that can’t wait.

    3. Jaid*

      Hoping to go for a long drive along the Jersey shore with my BFF. But if she’s not up to it, then I’ll go to the Columbus Flea Market and drive home via a non-toll option using the bridge at New Hope.

      Either way, I’m stocked up with snacks.

    4. HannahS*

      I’m on call Friday-Sat a.m. and then Sunday-Monday a.m. so that kind of stinks, but I’m going to try to get some work done in the Rosh Hashanah outfit I’m sewing! And go for some nice walks.

    5. WellRed*

      First weekend I’ve been home in a month and the humidity has broken! Clean, grocery shop and make a pot of soup to freeze (chicken tortilla) also reading and Netflix and Acorn.

    6. Leap Day Highway*

      It’s my five-year wedding anniversary tomorrow! My wife and I picked Labor Day weekend to get married because that’s when my grandparents got married, and they were awesome, and we always loved the big family barbecues we had to celebrate them.

      But now there is no seeing family or going anywhere (said wife randomly had a fever yesterday so REALLY no going anywhere!) and I have to write a long-overdue article for work that I’ve been putting off. I guess we will… get slightly more fancy takeout than usual?

    7. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It’s DERBY DAY!
      I will be raiding my garden to see if any of the mint survived the summer weather and if yes, making juleps. Since the event itself is so short, and my family has little patience for the before&after hype, I’ve pulled out Francis Ford Copolla’s “The Black Stallion” to give me a double dose of horsie nostalgia. (I grew near Belmont & have Walter Farley’s autograph.)
      Musings of a long-ago horse-crazy kid who no longer follows sports: This is a wild year for the Triple Crown races. Contenders usually plan for races of increasing length, in the spring. This year the first/shortest race is going to be held in September (Derby). The second/middle-length race is going to be in October (Preakness). And the third/longest was already held in June (Belmont). In a sweet twist, it turns out the trainer was delighted to have a quiet track and no commotion from the stands.

    8. island ecologist*

      There are so many amazing ideas on this thread! I am WISHing that I lived by a local farm that was doing a drive-thru tour of its animals.

      Last weekend my husband and I did an intense, long-mileage days backpacking trip a couple hours from our house to celebrate our anniversary! This weekend we’re sticking at home and getting things done – bike repair, cooking, etc. But also reading and board games and meeting a few friends on the nearby river beach for an evening.

    9. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m planning on sleeping as much as I can, and making myself a nice ribeye steak. I was contemplating asking a few cousins to stop by for a drive by but don’t think i can :(

    10. Might be Spam*

      My daughter and I are ordering Thai food and really good cheesecake for a backyard picnic. I have a mini grill, so we might roast marshmallows.

    11. Esmeralda*

      Catch up with work I’m behind on because first classes all went online and then students were all sent home and classes were cancelled for two days while students moved out and responding to students because classes online/they were sent home/they have covid/they have crappy home situations….

      Gotta get ahead because who knows what will happen next.

    12. Josephine Beth NotAmy*

      We took a ride to a little harbor town, got takeout and ate on the commons while watching the boats. We usually do a lot of shopping there but today just enjoyed people-watching. Then we had ice cream for dinner! Pretty much our perfect end-of-summer day trip, even pre-covid. The rest of the weekend is for housework and reading and puttering. I

    13. ThePear8*

      No real big plans, but my dad and dog are coming to visit and I’m gonna make a spanakopita (spinach pie)

  5. Aurion*

    I’m writing a story that will involve a trial, so I’d like the commentariat to fact-check me on a couple of details that my Googling failed me on. You are not my lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Thank you in advance, all!

    Persons A-E are all (potential) witnesses. A, B, and C are friends; C, D, E are family members and live under the same roof.

    1) as I understand it, witnesses need to avoid each other prior to trial to minimize the chances of influencing each other’s testimonies, corroborate, etc. In that case, are they outright forbidden to have any form of contact prior to the trial, or are they allowed some (how much?) contact so long as they do not talk about their testimony?

    2) since C, D, and E are family and living under the same roof, there is very little chance that they can avoid each other. Assuming they are all sound of mind and are otherwise capable of testifying, would they all still be considered witnesses? Or would the attorney select the “best” witness of the three to call to trial and leave the other two since it’s probably too optimistic to assume they could firewall their testimony from collusion? Assume the three of them saw basically the same thing.

    3) are witnesses allowed to observe the trial after their testimony? I think the pages I read were mixed on this, but now I can’t find any of my tabs again…

    1. legalchef*

      I don’t think they need to avoid each other; they’d just need to avoid discussing their testimony.

      As for if they can stay to watch, I suppose if their testimony is definitely completed (ie no chance of recall for direct or rebuttal) it would be fine, though this might depend on local rules.

    2. WellRed*

      I agree they probably don’t need to avoid each other. I do believe once they testify they can watch the trial, at least in the US.

    3. 100% not a lawyer*

      IANAL but.. basically anything in the US is jurisdiction dependent and if criminal or civil. You can create an imaginary jurisdiction, or research your specific one. I would look at the whole process from the witness perspective, which includes deposition, initial interviews etc. and which are a matter of record. I wonder if there are some guides for witnesses that might help give you a non technical perspective as a start.

      Also, look at rules of sequestration and exclusion as they apply to the questions related to all these issues.

      All else fails, depending again on jurisdiction and how reality based this story is, just write the rule yourself, or just make the judge rule on some motion to get the result you want.

    4. Clisby*

      If you know what jurisdiction your story will be set in, you might find good information at the website of your state’s top court (in SC, it’s the SC Supreme Court, but might be different in other places.) For example, if you were setting it in SC, you’d learn that the prosecuting attorney is a solicitor; in other states she might be a district attorney. It also might describe the different courts (criminal court is called General Sessions Court in SC, but Superior Court in Georgia); methods of jury selection; etc.

    5. pancakes*

      Civil or criminal trial? The Model Penal Code is adopted in many jurisdictions in the US and the rules for witness impeachment are probably worth a look.

    6. Aurion*

      Ah, I should’ve specified (apologies, it was late when I wrote this): criminal, this is fanfiction set in a fictional fantasy world, and the canon is a mess.

      I could get away with making anything up, but I’d like to know the general best practices (if such exist) before I break said practices, and I’d probably lampshade any ridiculousness I write. Things like avoiding witness tampering would be applicable anywhere, right?

      1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

        Witness tampering in general is about what the parties to the case, or their attorneys, do: if my brother and I were both witnesses because we saw the same car crash, us talking about it might make our testimony less valuable, but it wouldn’t be tampering. The driver of one of the cars talking to us might be tampering, even if she was our cousin or my college roommate.

        Maybe pick a real-world jurisdiction that is somewhat similar to the fantasy setting, and look up their rules? For example, if it’s Metropolis or Gotham City, you could use New York State law and procedures.

    7. charo*

      Did the witnesses not give a statement? When I was in a car accident I was questioned by their attorney and it was recorded, so I was aware I was under oath before it could possibly go to trial. A “deposition.”

      And a witness or a victim often gives an oral statement to the police.
      So the police statement may not be so accurate, but the recorded one is.
      Judge Judy nails people all the time for saying one thing in their written, signed statement and then another thing to her.

      And even if witnesses don’t speak to police or get deposed, “witnesses” would make a statement to “their side’s attorney” wouldn’t they? They could still change their story, and then their side’s atty. has to “treat them as a hostile witness.”

      All this is from TV! Except being deposed after an accident.

    8. Not So NewReader*

      I’ve been following the Vallow-Daybell case on and off. I see the grandparents are sitting in the “audience” during the prelims. Now you would think that they would be witnesses at some point, but they are sitting there watching what other witnesses are saying.

      I do think that even a less-than-sharp defense attorney would try to discredit the three witnesses that lived together. That is just a sitting duck for scrutiny. One thing I’d might consider above all is the reader’s willingness to believe the story line and keep reading. So even a casual reader is going to think, “Oh these three people who live together will synchronize what they will say.” What would you like to do there that you think would keep your reader engaged?

      1. Aurion*

        Honestly, my first instinct was that the attorney would call one of the three and leave the rest due to possibility of collusion. Then I tried researching online and was thoroughly reminded that I am not a llama, hahaha. :) It’s why I was more aiming for “rule of thumb/guidelines” rather than rules of a specific locale when I asked the question, though I realize now that that seems to be folly. I may just have to pick a jurisdiction, map it as closely as I can with respect to canon’s nonsense, and disclaim profusely in the author’s notes. :D

    9. Data Entry Shell*

      Work for a District Attorney’s/State Attorney’s office in Florida so–

      1) They’re not allowed to discusssed the case but I’ve never (in almost 10 years) seen any witnesses banned from contact. Unless the witnesses are for opposing sides and there is a chance one could purposely intimidate the other into not testifying, then there are clear ‘no contact orders’ put into place.
      2) Yes, they are all witness however attorney’s can ‘pick and choose’ who is called.
      3) Yes, once you have been released by both sides you can observe.

      4) Federal prosecutors are usually way more strict on the no contact between witnesses/victims. In my circuit, at the state level, witnesses and victims usually provide a sworn written or recorded statement asap to officers. This ‘locks’ them in to their statement and what occurred, they also are allowed to have a copy of their own statement at any time. Felony cases take about a year to get to trial and our office typically provides copies of statements to our victims/witnesses.

      As someone else mentioned there a lot of variables. What state, is this a civil or a criminal trial, any juveniles involved, state or federal level?

      1. Aurion*

        Ooh, thank you so much! To answer: criminal, this is fanfiction of a fictional fantasy world (whose laws as written in the canon is so nonsensical it hurts, so this is me attempting to paper some semblance of sense onto its gaping judicial system), technically yes two are juveniles but said fantasy world doesn’t have any problems with 13 year olds running around the world and being the accepted leader of a mercenary guild, so I doubt they would treat adults or children much differently anyway.

        I really should’ve put more specifics into the question but since the canon was nonsense anyway I was hoping for guidelines such as “yes, witness tampering is bad, these circumstances would probably be all considered obvious breaches of protocol no matter where you are/which reality you’re in” but I now realize that was kind of dumb of me. But thank you for your help, and I think that’s enough for me to go on!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          In my state, testimony of under-age is sealed and not available to the public. I think they clear the court room when an under-age testifies also.

        2. Data Entry Shell*

          Fantasy world, go crazy. My mind immediately went to a John Grisham style legal thriller. Lol. If this was pre-Covid (and you were really interested/curious), I’d suggest you look into your areas rules regarding observing trials. Where I am, courts are open to the public so anyone can go watch a trial as long as there are no juvenile victims. There is a local pre-law professor who offers extra credit for every trial a student observes and rights a summary of.

    1. fposte*

      Be careful—some of those are turning out to be just stuffed fish, no movement. I haven’t heard that happening to anybody who buys through Amazon, fortunately, but don’t get tempted into buying it from a random website that’s sponsored an ad.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I bought one! The cats were totally uninterested. They are, however, currently obsessed with one of those sticky “wall walkers” from the 80s. We threw it at the wall for them a couple of times around 11 pm, and now every night around 11 they line up at the wall and look for it (so we have to throw it, which is reinforcing their belief that it comes out at 11).

          1. charo*

            The best FREE “cat toy” I’ve found is an old cord from a computer that I tied to the handle of the armoire next to my computer desk, w/the “plug” at the bottom to provide weight.

            Mimi hangs out near me and bats the cord, or I reach over and swing it for her. Doesn’t take long for her to be done. For extra thrills you can re-tie it to vary the height. Or lift it up and say “Look at the birdie!”

            1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

              I’ve bought my cat lots of cat toys, which she has mostly pointedly ignored to run off and play with bits of garbage, like vinyl twist ties from packaging, zip ties, and pretty much anything that’s a smallish bit of flexible plastic that’s headed to the garbage.

              1. cleo*

                I once bought a stuffed toy with catnip for our cats. The stuffed squirrel had a velcro opening for a little sachet of catnip, like a teabag but with catnip. One cat went crazy for the squirrel with catnip. The other cat ignored the toy and went crazy for the piece of cardboard that had been packed next to the catnip bag. He knocked over the recycling bin to get the cardboard and then rolled in pleasure on it.

      1. Girasol*

        Stepmom bought our cat a moving toy, a ball that rolled in random directions. Put it in a paper bag and it looks like there’s an animal in there trying to get out. I thought he’d love it. He flattened himself against the far wall and would have nothing to do with it. But the box it came in, well, that’s a different story.

  6. MBTI question*

    There have been a lot of opinions on Myers-Briggs here. I wonder if introverts and iNtuitive types tend to find the results more useful since (at least in the US), these types are rarer (each about 30% of the population). I’m an INTJ myself (estimated to be 1 to 2% of the population), and I found it really helpful.

    1. Jules the First*

      Hi! (INTJ waves at another INTJ on the internet). INTJs tend to find Myers Briggs useful because we like to categorise, systematise, and explain things. From what I’ve seen, it’s an NT thing (heavy on the T) rather than an IN thing.

      1. BonzaSonza*

        I’m also INTJ, and I also enjoyed the Myers-Briggs test. Hello!

        It’s funny that I’ve made my way into a very niche, very technical position where I’m the Principal Llama Wool Classifier – I joke that I’m paid to give my opinion on varying shades of grey, and it makes my heart happy.

    2. Pomona Sprout*

      I’m an ISTJ, and I found Myers-Briggs to be incredibly useful, especially in understanding why I gravitate to and enjoy certain kinds of activities and hate certain other kinds.

      I’ve read negative comments about Myers-Briggs, about how it’s not really scientific and stuff, but I gad a great experience with it. The descriptions of the various components of my type explained SO much about myself to me. When I got the redults, I found that my type (ISTJ, as mentioned above) described me so perfectly that I felt like somebody had been inside my head!

      Probably the most positive thing about it was that I felt like it gave me permission to be the way I am, for the first time in my life. Especially the “I” part. I had an extreme extrovert for a mother, and she did NOT accept my introversion as an okay thing. I was always made to feel that it was a defect, something that was wrong with me that I needed to change about myself. Since I was never able to do that, I was left with feelings of failure. Myers-Briggs was the first time anyone ever said to me, “Hey, you’re an introvert, and that’s perfectly all right!” It was amazing.

      1. MBTI question*

        “The descriptions of the various components of my type explained SO much about myself to me. ” “Probably the most positive thing about it was that I felt like it gave me permission to be the way I am, for the first time in my life”

        Yeah, I felt this way too.

      2. CJM*

        I’m an ISTJ too! Just as you said, the Myers-Briggs results and descriptions resonated with me and helped me to relax about myself and how I tick. And I too had an extroverted mother who treated my introversion as a problem. I was fortunate to connect in my 20s with an aunt on my dad’s side who was also introverted and loved that about us both. Her understanding was a great gift.

    3. Square Root of Minus One*

      According to Myers-Briggs I’m an IN but it doesn’t make me find the results useful, mostly because they’re not consistent. I’ve taken this test a few times over the years and I’ve landed in a different IN subdivision every time. And I don’t necessarily recognize myself more in one profile than the others.
      I don’t put much weight on non-reproducible results, so I’m not convinced by MBTI.

      1. Kate (INTJ)*

        Funny, I first took a Meyers-Briggs test when I was 12 or 13 (I was bored and going through my mum’s bookshelf), and I have tested the exact same way for 25 years. It’s weird.

        1. Dr. Anonymous*

          I’m pretty variable as well, so although I found it useful the first time I took it, I’ve become less of a believer over time. It reminds me of The Amazing Randi going to school classes and passing out everyone’s horoscope and everyone reads it and seems to feel how keenly it describes them. Then he has them exchange horoscopes and the learn he gave them all the same one.

          1. Mystery Bookworm*

            I could see that. I’ve never taken a personality test that I didn’t find overly vague (with the exception of the Big 5, but that doesn’t offer up paragraphs summerizing you the same way others do).

            One of the things I learned in grad school was that one of the reasons personality is incredibly hard to measure because people compare themselves not to the general population (which we don’t usually have a great read on) but to the people they spend the most time with.

            So if you’re the most introverted person in a very outgoing family, you will likely identify yourself as more introverted than average, even if you’re not.

          2. charo*

            BUT an Introvert is not at all like an Extrovert. You know that, right?
            You could be in between, maybe.

            But a true Introvert feels other people wear her out,
            while a true Extrovert derives energy from others.
            Look at your life pattern, not the mood you’re in when you take a test. Do you HAVE to be social all the time? Or do you need alone time to re-charge your batteries?

            If you can’t decide on even this, then ask those close to you which you are. They probably know even if you don’t.

        2. Filosofickle*

          I test all over the place. 3 main ones (INTP, INTJ, INFP) plus others pop up too. Nearly always IN.

          Two tests helped me see why this happens. One broke down each letter by how strong you were on it (ex. 55% I vs 45% E). I was close to 50/50 for each one, so it makes sense that my results vary. A question or two in either direction could give flip me over the line to a very different combo. The second gave a percentage for every 4-letter type (ex 78% INTP vs 20% ESFP). On that, I had 3-4 in the 70s and nothing above that. I’m not solidly in any corner.

          It also depends on how the test is written and how the questions are framed. In particular, if it asks what my first reaction or mindset is, that leads me to INTP. If it asks what I actually do or value, that nets INFP. (I’ve spent decades learning how to set aside my immediate Spock tendencies and take an extra minute to access my empathic and emotional sides.)

          I don’t put any credence in the “science”. But I enjoy personality typing as a self-investigation tool. I like analyzing and breaking things down. It’s fun for me :)

      2. Overeducated*

        I have always tested as an introvert but can’t remember the rest of my results because they vary and I didn’t find it helpful. I think there are two reasons for this. First, a lot of the questions are hard for me to answer because I can’t just answer based on who I am, the context of where I am and the situation could change my answer. Second, I think the categories are just too broad and oppositional – e.g. thinking vs feeling? In some areas of life I am all about risk assessment, cost benefit analysis, etc, and I like to think I am pretty scientifically literate, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate how important emotions are as a source of data for personal decisions and expressing values. I object to being boxed in, i guess – life is about growth and change!

    4. Helvetica*

      I’ve taken the test a couple of times and I vaccilate between INFJ and INTJ, mostly because I’d like to be more of a T but really I am F. Their helpfulness is just as good as other similar tests as there are many and as long as you don’t think yourself into a box with the result, they can add some nuance to your understanding of self, which should be a process anwyays.
      I also think introverts are the ones who are more likely to be introspective and search out such tools as the Myers-Briggs and they tend to take such results more to heart. This is not a bad thing, I just feel we’re overrepresented since we are already interested in finding out more things about ourselves.

      1. JustEm*

        I also vacillate between INTJ and INFJ. I did my first test as a teenager because I thought it was fun.

    5. MistOrMister*

      I forget what I tested as (I something), but personally I don’t put much stock in the labels. I have a friend who will throw out “well as a xxxx, it just makes sense that…”and honestly, I don’t get it. To me it’s kind of along the lines of astrology. Sure, some of it fits me but not all. I don’t see what it is I’m supposed to get out of it. Not knocking it though, I know a lot of people find it helpful. It just isn’t for me.

      1. MBTI question*

        Astrology gets compared to MBTI a lot, but astrology is based on when you were born, and MBTI is based on the answers to questions. There are a lot of different MBTI tests, and some are better than others though.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’ve never tested as anything but INTJ, but I’m not sure what you mean by “helpful”?

      1. MBTI question*

        I guess it made me feel more comfortable being me. Stuff that made me feel different was suddenly normal for my MBTI type.

    7. Thankful for AAM*

      I dont know what helpful means but I don’t find it helpful or scientific.

      i forget how I test, usually the same, and sure it describes me. But in college a psych prof did a thing, he gave 4 of us tests like m-b. For homework, we were to evaluate the validity and reliability of the way we were described. Everyone except me ranked him very highly as describing them well. He had given us all the same descriptions.

      To me, it is not that helpful. I think it would be more helpful to have general descriptions of things that you might see in yourself or others but with a big emphasis on what to do with that info. So you are an intj, how does that help me interact with you to be collegial and productive at work. There are 2 problem coworkers at work right now – one is angry all the time, for years, and is hard to be around, the other is, in the way Alison describes it, a tattletale but she asks you for info then tattles that your suggestion did not match hers. Neither of those problems has to do with M-B stuff nor does the failure of management to manage them have anything to do with M-B.

      1. MBTI question*

        MBTI can’t fix everything. Some people are just jerks, regardless of type.

        It can be helpful when dealing with people of different types – an extrovert may find an introvert to be annoyingly quiet (and vice versa).

        1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

          “Some people are just jerks, regardless of type.”
          In “Quiet”, Susan Cain says that extroverts are more likely to be unfaithful than introverts. I would say that’s logical in that they tend to be more outgoing, sending out friendly signals and meeting lots of people.
          So the type might just influence the type of jerky behaviour, and it can be good to understand the mechanics of it?
          And I agree entirely about results depending a lot on context. I’m an introvert, born into a family of extreme introverts. I was labelled the extrovert because I (thought I) wanted to get out and meet other people because home was stifling. In fact I just needed to find my own shell rather than share my parents’.
          Years later, I discovered that I am in fact an introvert that has been trying to fit the extrovert label. I now feel much more comfortable. We were invited to a small party on Saturday and I warned my extrovert partner that I wasn’t going to mingle or anything – Covid is a great cover for introverts!. In the end, I knew practically everyone and had a lovely chat with most friends. Covid turns out to be a great limiter, so parties stay small and manageable for me!

    8. Elf*

      I have a theory that Meyers-Briggs N people are the people who are actually in Piaget’s Formal Operations stage. My (admittedly weak, but I’d love to attempt a study) evidence is that they are near-identical shares of the population and that the actual N/S differences align really well. It would be really cool if so, because even though I’m sure Meyers-Briggs is not THAT reliable in its results, it would be incredibly useful from an educational standpoint to have an easy first-level screener for Formal Operations.

      1. Mystery Bookworm*

        It’s been awhile since my child development classes, but I’m fairly certain all normally developing adults reach Piaget’s Formal Operations stage!

        1. Elf*

          No, that’s one of the things that are taught horribly wrong in psychology/education classes! Piaget was working with a really biased sample (Upper middle class white boys in a private school run by an IQ test developer) and so he said formal operations develop between 12 and 15, but more recent research (and by more recent I mean approximately 1980 so there is absolutely no excuse that it is not in the curriculum) found that approximately 2/3 of adults never progress from concrete to formal operations (the research was spearheaded by a college professor who was trying to figure out why so many of his science students had particular misunderstandings, and eventually figured out that it was because many of his students lacked formal operations). It’s a real problem on the ground in education because the high school math curriculum I have to deal with is predicated on the notion that all the students have formal operations, and they absolutely do not.

          1. Mystery Bookworm*

            Reputable sources? Formal operations has to do with abstract thought and problem solving – most adults I meet are able to do that!

            1. Elf*

              I can’t recall exactly where I learned it (it was years ago) and I don’t have time to hunt through the bibliographies of the papers I can find to track down the original sourcing, but a quick Google search finds many sources (including those linked below) in addition to many dissertations, etc in which this is a background fact. Sources are not completely aligned on the exact percentage of adults that acquire formal operations (which is reasonable, since unbiased sampling would be extremely difficult) but they are aligned that a significant proportion of the adult population never acquires formal operations.


            2. Elf*

              My comment with links is in moderation, but you should be able to find significant evidence by googling “Piaget formal operations percent of population.” The rest of the comment is copied below.

              I can’t recall exactly where I learned it (it was years ago) and I don’t have time to hunt through the bibliographies of the papers I can find to track down the original sourcing, but a quick Google search finds many sources (including those linked below(in the comment under moderation)) in addition to many dissertations, etc in which this is a background fact. Sources are not completely aligned on the exact percentage of adults that acquire formal operations (which is reasonable, since unbiased sampling would be extremely difficult) but they are aligned that a significant proportion of the adult population never acquires formal operations.

              1. Mystery Bookworm*

                I followed your suggestion, but I don’t think I’m as convinced as you are! At least for me, the results are VERY dated. I’ll take a look at the links though if they come through. That said, I think Piaget is broadly taught today in much the same way Freud is — he’s considered a significant father figure in the field, but contemporary theories tend to trend away from stage-based theories of development, which certainly makes much more sense than me.

                I am a bit dismayed to hear that you essentially align your result on a personality test with a “higher” form of cognitive development and that it sounds like you may be bringing this attitude with you towards teaching? The tendency to value some personality types more than others is part of why I feel skeptical about widespread use of tools like Myers-Briggs.

                On a personal level, I had a rocky relationship with mathematics growing up (although I use it fairly regularly now) and I always did much better with teachers who conveyed belief in my abilities!

                1. Elf*

                  I do not think some personality types are better than others, I think that the particular test accidentally maps to whether people have formal operations. I do not think that people with formal operations are better OR smarter than people without. I know several extremely smart people who I am pretty sure do not have formal operations (including best friend, surrogate aunt, and father-in-law). They are often as good or better at learning and retaining information, and each has skills in some (different for each) areas that far outstrip mine, but they have very similar difficulties with certain specific types of reasoning. It almost never comes up, and doesn’t generally cause them difficulty in their lives. It is something I find particularly useful to keep in mind if I want to explain particular things to them, because I can take a different approach and avoid frustration on both ends.

                  I absolutely believe that all of my students can learn, but NO ONE can learn if the information they are being given and the manner in which they are receiving it is not appropriate to their development or to their prior knowledge, and this causes many problems across the curriculum. Curricula need to be designed with the idea that not every student will learn at the same pace or in the same manner, and the current version of Common Core math in NY is a disaster in that regard. For example, the curriculum does not introduce operations (+-x/) with negative numbers until 7th grade, and then expects students to go from that point to being fluent in all operations not just with negative integers but with negative fractions and decimals too in a three-week period. There is not another time in a later grade for students to try again if they didn’t get it the first time; all of the curriculum after 7th grade assumes fluent knowledge of integer operations. Earlier in my career, I had a job teaching 8th grade math at a 6-12 combined middle/high school, and when we had department meetings with all the middle and high school math teachers, a major problem for my students in 8th grade and my colleagues’ students in 9-12 was that they did not know those integer operations and we were not allowed to put down our required “grade level curriculum” long enough to actually try to teach them a skill they needed.

                  In the high school algebra 1 curriculum, there are many topics that used to be in the pre-calculus curriculum, and the students really struggle with them (function notation, domain and range, etc.). As precalculus topics, they were pretty easy for most students, and did not take up a great deal of instructional time, but topics that would take a few days in a precalculus class take a month in algebra 1, and many students still don’t have them mastered at the end BECAUSE they are too abstract and developmentally inappropriate. I fully believe that these same students would have little difficulty with these topics if they were presented 2-3 years later, after some additional algebra practice and brain development. There is a real pattern to these topics, and it maps very neatly onto Piaget’s idea of the difference between concrete and formal operations.

                  The thing is, math is a series of abstractions built on each other (even numbers/counting is an abstraction). That doesn’t make it impossible for students without formal operations to learn math, it simply changes the way it must be taught. Students need to fully master one level of abstraction to the point where it becomes concrete before they can use it to build up another level of abstraction. Failure to allow for this turns each math problem into a house of cards; students end up memorizing long series of arbitrary steps for which each one is a major cognitive task.

              2. Analyst Editor*

                Your assessment below of math curricula jives very well with my and acquaintances’ experience with NY math curricula.

    9. another Hero*

      I’m an introvert, and I very much doubt I’d have a consistent mb type (I imagine it’d vary by mood etc) but I was an intj when I took it in high school………and no, my attitude is (consistent with the current attitudes of the people who made it and any other data iirc) that it’s just as fake as all other personality tests

    10. Label No*

      I tend to test as either INFJ or INTJ, depending on mood. I used to be more fascinated by it. But the irritation was always there as well, with this and other personality tests, debunked or not. There are so many nuances and inward and outward dependencies that can make some of the more general questions difficult to decide on. So over time, the irritation won out. (A friend would pop up around this time to say “That is so INTJ of you!”) My perception was that a lot of folks, myself included, were apt to use the results to comfortably box themselves up. You don’t have to go through the hard work of learning and growing when you’ve got a label on you.

      I also have found a few too many people using the results as a crutch. Among friends and colleagues, I hear things like, “Oh, I’m an introvert, I need X and Y”—and expect it from all— or “My son is an extrovert and depends on other people to entertain him.” It’s really weird.

      My old company left it up to its departments to take the test or not. One department went so far as to have their team list their individual top three How You Should Treat Me on the outside of their cubes. One person wanted people to IM before walking up to her cube. This made interactions awkward when people from other departments walked up, saw the sign for the first time, and then didn’t know if it was at all okay to proceed or go back to their desk and IM first!

      Perhaps it’s just my corner of the world, I don’t know. I see how it might be comforting to some. I also see it as capable of holding people back.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        Obviously, you go back and IM first! Then I’ll IM back “OK just come right back, thanks for respecting my note!” and the “since you’ve just broken my thought chain anyway, you might as well get your question asked and answered straight off then pretty please you can all leave me alone to finish this thing.” will not be perceptible in my tone of voice and I can prepare a “happy to help” smile as you head back over.
        Although if I’m reluctant to pull myself right out of my work, I might just answer, “well since we’re messaging, can you just ask your question here and I’ll get back to you asap?”
        Either way, I really don’t know why it shouldn’t be obvious that you go back and IM first. Otherwise why bother putting up signs? I can just envisage the person who doesn’t know: “Oh sorry I didn’t know I had to message first, but anyway, since I’m here, could you bring me up to date on the llama grooming?”. Then next week they’ll have forgotten about the sign and will just remember having a delightful llama grooming update convo, and they’ll be back with “Oh sorry I forgot I had to message first but anyway, since I’m here…” and others will see her doing this and reckon it’s OK to do it too and AAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH read the sign folks, it’s there for a reason!

    11. AGD*

      I tested the same way in high school health class, then spent time reading a pile of stuff about MBTI because I was fascinated. Eventually learned in undergrad that in academic psychology it’s not particularly reliable – Big Five/OCEAN is what you want for something grounded in science – but as an offhand way of capturing some rough tendencies in terms of personality, I’d say it’s better than astrology. Grain of salt, etc.

    12. NeonDreams*

      I’m an INFJ and it helped me explain why I act the way I do. I read about the type and couldn’t believe how well it matched my personality. I thought, okay, I’m not broken. This is the way I’m wired and I have to learn how to cope with that. So, it was a great starting point in my journey of self acceptance.

    13. Cynical INFP*

      I think it is over-rated. While the information was somewhat helpful in confirming why I’m the way I am, ultimately it was a bit disappointing. I think it is sort of a case of unrealistic expectations in having the knowledge that the test provides. People seem to think that it is a big “Eureka” moment that will provide enlightenment, and while the enlightenment is there, it’s more of a “meh” kind of thing. It was a start, but then I find I need to constantly go out and find more resources to help me develop new ways of coping and of maintaining my coping skills with stuff, life and everything.

      The book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” by Susan Cain was similar in that way. While not bad, it is trying to explain introverts to extroverts, and introverts already know this stuff. It isn’t all that helpful to introverts and not the be-all, end-all some people think it is. You still need to go out and find additional resources that will help you cope.

      1. WS*

        Yes, everyone I know who has read and recommended that book or found it important has been an extrovert trying to understand introverts. For introverts like myself, it’s more important to understand that it’s normal for socialising to be tiring. I tested around 99% introverted on the Myers-Briggs and closer to 50/50 on everything else, so there was no big revelation there. If it makes people feel more comfortable with themselves, that’s great, but it’s hardly unique there.

      2. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        For me, the wrongly diagnosed extrovert, reading that book was most enlightening because it confirmed that I’m actually an introvert, not just an inept extrovert as I previously had been told.

    14. Alex*

      Fellow INTJ here. I will say that I found the descriptions of myself to be accurate, in both positive and negative ways, but I wouldn’t go so far as to have found it “helpful.” As in, I didn’t do anything in particular with the information.

    15. Eeeek*

      Eh I wouldn’t say it’s useless, but close. I’ve taken multiple times over the years and results completly different every time. It’s also really hard to pick the answers and I feel like I’m giving a random guess instead of a real answer when I do it

      1. charo*

        I think people who like to be critical of “tests” that can provide insight sometimes are just uneasy that they can be “captured” by a test.

        It’s similar to a psychic reading. There are good ones and not so good ones. A good one would shock you by telling you things that person could not know. Someone like “the Amazing Randi” will make sweeping slams and some will like that because who wants their “secrets” to be told to them by a total stranger? It scares some that their inner self could actually be accessed by another. A psychic can’t read anything you choose to keep hidden, of course, but if you ask a good one to read you and you’re open, and don’t lie, then what? What if they’re right?

        It takes a very secure person to ask personal questions and listen to answers.
        Many choose to believe psychics and other New Age disciplines are fake, because it comforts them to. They’ll believe a scientist, even though scientists may disagree about the same issue. They’ll choose who they believe. Cause they have a “gut feeling” theirs is right.

        But a “gut feeling” — which gets praised in CEOs — is just INTUITION.

        1. Hrodvitnir*

          That is an interesting take. People (like me) who are not fans of unscientific tests dislike them because they have absolutely no backing in reality (or at the least in some cases do not work reliably without professional analysis), and most importantly because people wanting to believe them can have harmful applications. See: pigeonholing people based on whatever system you happen to like. Worse, see: businesses making hiring decisions based on them.

          I trust science and not the other things you mention because it’s evidence-based (and constantly evolving). I actually find personality tests highly entertaining, but I find people believing they deeply define who you are very concerning.

          I certainly support people feeling more freed to be themselves by their result! That is understandable, if you feel like some of your traits are “wrong” rather than neutral without something external providing reassurance.

        2. Bees Bees Bees*

          That’s part of the reason it’s useless. There’s a lot that goes into psychological studies to try to account for bias (which is always an uphill battle, despite attempts to be rigorous), because people’s self-reported responses cannot be relied upon.

          MBTI doesn’t account for response bias (an umbrella term for various types of survey bias). It has the illusion of science for those prone to confirmation bias for those it “works” for.

          It’s like getting sorted into a Hogwarts house. Might be vaguely accurate, but ultimately useless, aside from letting you feel special (just like everyone else!).

    16. The New Wanderer*

      I’m an ENTJ but borderline I/E, everything else is hardover into the N, T, and J categories and hasn’t budged any of the three or four times I’ve taken it.

      I first took it in high school and the results (INTJ originally, shifted to ENTJ after I started working) were used to generate “recommended career tracks.” Turns out it wasn’t that far off from what I went into as a career, but I wouldn’t put stock into it as a predictive measure any more than any other qualitative survey (and less than some). I found it interesting, especially when they came out with the Type exemplars – ENTJ is Field Commander, I think, and that kind of suits my work personality. But to be fair, I used to read my horoscope and Tarot cards and do dream analysis out of the same interest in introspection. Personally I think it’s a lot less about what the test says than what the results mean to you personally, and always with the grain of salt that you can take or leave anything about it that you want.

    17. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      I did a similar sort of assessment at my work, people who rated as introverted or analytical got bullied as “not a culture fit.” So I see no usefulness to those tests except to put targets on certain people for not getting the “correct” result.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I did a Meyers-Briggs assessment as part of a training course a long time ago. The trainer then demonstrated how to use the results to bully people by dismissing any challenging questions or comments with ‘Well, you would say that, you’re an INTJ’ (or whatever).

      2. Thankful for AAM*

        @that girl from quinns house,
        At my workplace, most ppl test as quiet introverts and extroverts and anyone direct are seen as aberrations and bullies.

    18. Anonymous Educator*

      As long as you recognize there isn’t anything scientific in terms of those categories being empirically discoverable, it’s a good language (shorthand) to use for describing personality types, general preferences, and ways of approaching things.

    19. Not So NewReader*

      I am more of an introvert and I can run intuitive or use gut feelings in some situations, but not all.

      I thought that M-B was kind of a simplistic explanation of how people “work”. I guess it’s good in some ways that it lays out some foundational concepts that people can expand on later. But from the little I worked with it, I was glad I did not spend money on it. It wasn’t that helpful to me.

      The reason I say simplistic is because people change with their setting, others surrounding them and the stakes involved, etc. There’s a lot of variables in any given situation. I don’t think it helps people understand why others can react one way one day and a very different way another day. I am not sure how it helps people to just TALK to each other. I picture people running for their books, “This person is an [whatever], and they are doing x, now what am I supposed to do/say?”

      I am really not a fan of labels of any sort, either. I’d hate to see these labels used as a reason for holding others back, but I bet they do. I think we have too many labels going on now and I don’t see how more will help us. My grandmother used to say, “Eh. That is his/her WAY.” And that seems to explain a lot of behaviors, it’s just the way the person is, that’s all.

    20. Another beautiful day*

      INTP here. I’ve found MBTI to be extremely useful in coming to terms with the SJs NEEDING allllll the details. It’s really hard for me and recognizing and reminding myself that details are basically their operating system really helps.

    21. Oldbiddy*

      I’m also an INTJ, and I found it interesting. It serves me well as a scientist in a pretty specialized field, and I suspect that some of my colleagues may also be INTJ’s.
      I’m a woman, so that’s an especially uncommon combination. I can’t say it changed my behavior, but it did help explain why sometimes I feel like I’m from another planet.

      1. AGD*

        Yeah, me too (INTJ, woman, scientist). My teenage years were a bit hard, because most of the time I didn’t manage to find people to be nerdy with. Things improved in college, and especially grad school.

      2. Alex*

        I think it is so interesting that they say INTJ women are rare….but I know a bunch of INTJ women and here just in this small group we have several. I wonder if INTJs seek out other INTJs or we’re not as rare as the test claims.

    22. Choggy*

      I too have liked the Myers-Briggs interpretations of introverts, but find, depending on the situation, I can be downright extroverted if the company and subject are of interest to me. Of course, I am always drained the next day, so yup, an introvert I am and shall forever be!

    23. Artemesia*

      Many of the people I know are INTJ as am I so I am surprised it is rare. I think the useful thing about the system is that it gets people to reflect on differences and that different people bring different strengths to the table. Most people I know tend to find their categorization more or less accurate and it helps co-workers understand that what is annoying about someone else might be a different way of approaching an issue — and sometimes those differences are valuable. The important thing is to not accept it as an ironclad immutable truth.

  7. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going.
    I’ve actually made quite a bit of progress on a piece of fanfiction, so I’m excited. That said, it seems the plot bunnies are multiplying like…well, rabbits.

    1. HannahS*

      I’ve gotten better at taking blog photos, so that’s encouraging! My current set up involves stacking a bunch of books on a desk and balancing my phone in a drinking glass and using the timer. So very low tech, but I’m becoming more comfortable taking photos of myself, which feels good! It’s a sewing/knitting blog, so that’s pretty necessary lol. I’m working on just posting more, instead of trying to make every little thing perfect, because it’s something that I enjoy, and it’s never going to be perfect.

    2. C Average*

      Sigh. I read somewhere about a famous writer saying something like, “some days I spend half the day adding a comma and the other half taking it out.” I am attempting to revise my novel and this is EXACTLY my current experience.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I spent two days struggling with three paragraphs. I think I arrived at the threshold of what I wanted to do (I wanted to plant something but not make it super obvious). I fear it is still too obvious, but if so, I still want the reader to have doubt. If I can’t get “OH MY GOD,” I’ll take “I KNEW IT!” :)

        I think my projected release date was a little too early; I may have to adjust that. (Shades of George R. R. Martin. :P)

  8. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week?
    I’ve been playing a lot of Story of Seasons: Friends of Mineral Town on my Switch, as it doesn’t require too much concentration so I can watch the Tour de France at the same time. I also played some Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and just beat Andrealphus (I think that’s how you spell it? The one who gives you the double jump) during a very boring part of the tour. I love how the Librarian seems to be three or four in-jokes rolled into one.

    1. DarthVelma*

      Still wrapped up in Elder Scrolls Online. We finally finished the major story lines in Northern and Southern Elsweyr, so I had to say a fond farewell to the Khajiit – at least for a while.

      We started up the quest line around Lyris Titanborn last night. Good grief the other Nord are annoying and suspicious bastards. My character is a Nord. Now that I’m meeting the other Nords, I’m making up his back story. Mostly to amuse my partner as we play. :-) So far I’ve decided he’s originally from the most annoying of the two Nord factions. His mom is a “clever woman” – that’s what they call magic users. They really don’t trust magic, but my character’s mom doesn’t care. We’re about to have to visit a “clever woman” in the story and I’ve decided she’s his mom and I will be making up dialog to that effect. Should be a hoot.

      Anyway, he left because the other Nord are annoying, suspicious bastards with no sense of humor or adventure and he was hoping the rest of the beings on the planet were less terrible. He was right. Sometimes. And he’s really not happy about being back among the Nord. And he grumbles about it…A LOT.

      There may be board gaming this weekend as well. We’ve been making vague noises in that direction and I would like to get in some more Gloomhaven bef0re I completely forget how to play.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I’m looking at a friend’s posts about Second Life and the virtual Burning Man being held inside… unfortunately my husband is the Linux wizard, so I need to get him to install it on the crazy PC I have. And that means talking him into taking time off of his Guild Wars 2 quest for an underwater skimmer. :)

      1. Nessun*

        LOL good luck…everyone I know is on that quest right now! Heck, that’s my plan for the weekend, dreaming of Cantha and tacking up XP for the skimmer mastery!

    3. Grand Mouse*

      Currently, getting back to Slime Rancher! I played it a lot when it came out but was frustrated by some limitations, and it sounds like a LOT has updated since launch. It’ll be fun to discover all the new things, and with a mode to disable Tarr slimes from popping up, much less stressful

      I’m also playing Ooblets, so far it’s fun but still early release and I can tell.

    4. General Organa*

      Anyone get into a slump with Animal Crossing, and how did you get out of it? I was playing regularly for months but now I feel like the next thing to do is redecorate my island, and honestly, I find that idea kind of tedious…but it looks a mess haha.

      1. JenC*

        Yes, a bit…the fact that the season has changed now helps though. I set mine to southern hemisphere even though I am in Canada (I’m planning a tropical island getaway during winter!), so it is now spring for me. The other thing I did was go to a bunch of mystery islands for a bit. Maybe you could just pick one tiny area to work on…like I made a plant stall near my plaza, and worked on an entrance path for a while…some days are boring though…when Isabelle says there is no real news…sigh…it is very realistic in thst there are even mundane days on a beautiful island! If all else fails, you could be like my kid who got sick of it and deleted everything and started again!

    5. The Other Nigel*

      Don’t know if it counts as a game, but I’m having a lot of fun with Microsoft’s Flight Simulator 2020. I even broke down and bought a joystick and throttle peripheral. Still learning the intricacies of the simulator — there are billions and billions of options.

      And in my spare play time, I’m revisiting Outer Worlds to prepare for upcoming DLC Peril On Gorgon.

  9. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

    For artists/writers/other creative types, how do you get over wanting other people’s approval/validation?

    Earlier this week I posted an artwork in a hobby site. Now I know my limits, and I’m nowhere near the most skillful/popular artist on the site, but my previous artworks got some likes and even occasional comments. I really like this one, and I thought it was decent enough.

    And then … it got more than the usual clicks (the site tells you how many people clicked on the work), but no likes. I had a previous work with fewer clicks and more likes, for comparison, and I wasn’t really satisfied with how that one turned out.

    So now I feel really embarrassed for posting the artwork. I feel like I made a horrible misjudge on the quality, and now I’m second guessing myself.

    Any tips or advice would be really appreciated. And should I remove the post? I feel embarrassed every time I see it on my page.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      Don’t likes mean “it spoke to me in a personal way” not “I have viewed this and judged it as likeable.”

      I know I sometimes do like things and don’t remember to hit like. Its about my clicking mood and not the item.

      But you asked more about letting go of needing the likes. Weee you raised with a lot of praise? I was and I have had to unlearn depending on it. Learning about praise as we raised outlr son has helped me see the harm in it and helped me ease my dependence on it. Punished by Rewards by A. Cohen is a good book.

      We raised our son without judgement, that means praise or criticism in that if he set the table or showed us his art, we told him its impact on us, not whether we judged it good or bad. “Thanks for setting the table, it saved us a lot of time/helped the family.” “I enjoyed hearing about your picture!” We can see the difference it has made for him when he was a child and now as an adult.

      And the process was helpful to me then and now in a workplace that has no idea it is not giving feedback of any kind.

      1. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

        Hm, that’s a perspective I hadn’t thought about. Even if an artwork doesn’t speak to me in personal way, I give likes anyway, if I think it has artistic merit. That’s a helpful framing; I think I’ve been expecting people to behave similarly.

        I do realize a major part why I feel embarrassed is my lifelong issue of needing praises and to be liked. I didn’t talk about it because it would be too long/emotional and it’s not okay to dump it into strangers.

        That’s great what you taught your son. I hope he’s a healthier/happier adult because of it!

    2. Always a couch potatoo*

      What do you think about changing your perspective to measure the clicks/views as the number of people who were interested? (That’s how I do evaluate the few pieces of writing I’ve posted online and it’s a more positive outlook for me that works.) I encourage you to keep going and posting your artwork! You’ll find the right people and your audience who’ll start liking your posts over time.

    3. mlem*

      To your actual question: It’s so, so hard! I’ve posted series in which likes/commenting dropped off, and I wanted to go back to prior readers to ask what I did wrong that they’ve ~abandoned~ me.

      But as a reader, I lose track of series all the time, or don’t have the time/energy for certain aspects of them, which says nothing at all about their quality. Some readers click “like” on anything they open simply because they want to encourage posting; some on anything they think is well-done; some only on things that they found appealing; some only on works they absolutely loved. Fic differs from art in this, but if –for example — I read a story that has a great setup only to end on several paragraphs of sex as the apparent “point” of the story (which is very, very common in fanfic), I might not bother to “like” before closing, even if I was really loving the earlier parts of the story.

      There’s also the question of whether the forum makes likes easy. Do you have to have an account to like things?
      (If so, hits might be from people who don’t want to create an account, or might not want to log into an account from work, etc.) Could you be getting traffic from people who don’t know how “likes” work on that site? (If you can “like” things at DeviantArt as a guest, that’s news to me, for example.) AO3 lets you “like” something as a guest, or once when logged in; is it possible that one user has viewed the art multiple times from different devices, inflating the hit count?

      Is the subject matter something that viewers might not bother to inspect closely to judge your technique before clicking away again? (I saw an intriguing relationship rec, clicked through, saw the tags, and noped right out of there because that content is not my cuppa.) If you’ve drawn a charming Thorki or smut or fluff or spider scene and people don’t care for Thorki or smut or fluff or spiders, they might have clicked not knowing they’d find that and then just left again.

      And some people just hate the “like” system. I don’t get that myself, but then, I used to be snooty about commenting/replying always being essential. And then I somehow lost the ability to find the words for either side of that, so I try to not judge anymore. Emphasis on try.

      1. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

        Ah, that abandoned feeling! I can relate lol.

        The site allows you to give “likes” anonymously (not DeviantArt). But anyway, yeah, I think you hit the nail on the head about the subject matter. Thanks for answering, you’ve given me a lot of perspectives to consider.

    4. LQ*

      This may sound odd, but why do you want the likes? Or maybe more to the core of it why do you make the art?

      Assuming it’s not trying to make a job of it and a living from it. Are you trying to speak to people, convey a message? Are you trying to be heard? Are you trying to create something beautiful? Are you trying to improve your skill or test a new skill?

      Don’t remove the post. You made something you were satisfied with. That’s good. That’s worth celebrating. The best thing I can suggest to do is just keep moving forward and making more art for yourself. Share if you want to share it, but sometimes just know that it’s for you. Also, age has seemed to help me. I don’t know if that helps, but I’m way less likely to care if I get less praise about something now than when I was 20. I’m also more ok making things that only I like. (And making jokes only I get, weirdly I attribute some of my shrugging off of caring what people think to my endless litany of inside jokes. I’m the only person inside, but I’m hilarious.)

      1. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

        I do it as a hobby, a way to have something fun to do and to give myself an identity that is not tied to work. And yes, to create something beautiful as well as to improve my skill.

        Which makes me annoyed with myself for wanting the likes, because it means that those are not my only reasons – that deep down I still want approval/validation. Because if I really only do it for myself, then why did I post it publicly?

        That part about age does help, because it means there’s hope for me still xD I’m still on the process of convincing myself that “what I like is okay”, so maybe a few years down the road I’ll get where you are. Thanks a lot!

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Creatives seem to pour their own body cells into their work. And the lack of acknowledgement can really cut like a knife.
      Unfortunately, in order to sell work, people have to like it. If they don’t like it they don’t buy it. Lack of income and Hunger only adds to the misery.

      I have several suggestions:
      Read about great artists and writers in history. Absorb what they went through. When you start seeing patterns, you might be able to detach a little bit as you realize that some of it is a process.

      Another idea is try to get a gauge about how you feel about a given piece. If you are unusually fond of it, maybe consider not posting it where others will comment or not comment as the case may be. In other words, control how much of you that you put out there.

      And yeah, people can tend to like the “lesser”. Ever watch dancers on TV? Growing up I was amazed to see the audience applaud little dance moves and then remain silent when the dancers did something spectacular. Why is that. I don’t get it. But it’s good to know that this stuff happens all. the. time.

      I have a friend who does wood work. He holds back some of his pieces. He’s kind of selective about who he shows his work to. And like you are saying, he shakes his head at what people gravitate toward. They tend to pick out the stuff that he threw together in one afternoon.

      I have another friend who is an artist. I think there might be something disconnect in my brain, because there are times where I just don’t understand what she is showing me. Part of me feels stupid because I don’t get it. (This leads me to thinking about how there has to be different types of intelligences, as in this is one I do not have.) After I say, “Oh that’s nice.” I have nothing else to add to the conversation. I’m not an artist, so, yeah, I don’t know and I don’t fully appreciate.

      I do think that after this let down, it will be a while before you experience another let down of this size. In some ways we can “toughen up” but that’s not the right word. Perhaps we gain a perspective or a way of thinking about things where it matters less?

      1. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

        Ooh, these are all very helpful, thanks! And yeah, my current situation is like you wood work friend: I keep wondering why some of my other artworks, which I don’t consider as good as this one, get more likes.

        And don’t worry, even I have times where I just don’t get other artworks. Then again I consider myself a hobbyist, not an artist, so…

    6. RagingADHD*

      The main “get over it” thing for me was turning professional. Did it sell, did I get the gig, did we sell tickets, etc.

      There’s still an element of wanting approval and enjoying it, but it helps you separate from the thing as a product. It also helps you separate the stuff that is personally meaningful to you from the stuff that sells – it’s often different.

      Another aspect of taking your creative work seriously/with a professional mindset, is knowing what your intention was for the piece. What were you exploring, expressing, or trying to achieve?

      Then you can step back and see whether the piece succeeded or failed in getting that across.

      1. Embarrassed Regular Going Anon*

        But in assessing whether the piece succeed in getting my intention across, wouldn’t that kind of depend on other people’s reaction to it? I mean, if I’m the only one who manage to “get” the piece, can you really say it’s a success?

        1. RagingADHD*

          Yes, absolutely. But the difference is that you are separating the piece from yourself. You are not taking those people’s opinions personally.

    7. ThePear8*

      Likes are so subjective. A lot of the pieces I’m proudest of have some of the least likes – my most popular illustrations are fan art for big, active fandoms. Likes mean nothing.
      Maybe one thing that might help, is when I look at a piece and feel proud of it, I don’t think “dang this piece got X likes”, I’m proud of it because every time I look it I go “dang, I made that, it looks good”.
      Try not to compare yourself to others. I know with art it’s extremely easy to, but be proud of it because it’s something YOU created and that compared against your own work looks amazing, not because however many people decided to arbitrarily click a thumbs up button.
      You have nothing to be embarrassed about. Leave the post up.

  10. Amethyst*

    A friend was here yesterday with two flea-infested kittens and begged me to show her how to bathe them, so I did. And I’m worried that the fleas have gained a foothold in my own place. I have two cats. I can’t afford an expense like Frontline at the moment. I found a half-dead one before bed last night. I’d already vacuumed as soon as she left with the cats, dumped the towels we used for them, and I soaked the clothes I was wearing in the tub with hot water and some of my laundry soap. Now that hindsight’s 20/20, I wish I kept her outside and brought a bucket of water out instead.

    Any ideas to keep them out? I’m mostly worried about having to live in a flea-infested house. I know just how bad it is and how hard it is to get rid of them.

    1. Lena Clare*

      If they have them you will have to treat your cats.
      I’ve heard that feeding them grated carrot works to kill the fleas. I’ve no idea if this works or not!
      Keep your cats out and safe then spray some water with a drop of tea tree oil around your fabrics.
      Wait till the smell has gone and the fabric is dry (if it got wet) before letting your cats back in as essential oils are harmful for cats.
      You’re probably ok if you hoovered though :)

        1. tangerineRose*

          I don’t know if they can eat carrots, but obligate carnivores can eat stuff that isn’t meat (my vet once recommended giving my kitty some pure canned pumpkin. Obligate carnivores have to eat meat, but they can eat other stuff.

    2. MistOrMister*

      If you’re able to take your cats somewhere for a day, you can bug bomb the heck out of your place. We got fleas years ago (never had them while the dog was alive but got infested right after he died, which was weird). Got a number of those fog bombs from home depot, set them throughout the house, pulled the pins and ran for our lives. We were gone all day and when we got home there wasn’t a flea left. I am afraid I don’t know any other ways to get rid of them.

      One caveat about vaccuuming, I suggest taking the bag outside (or dumping the canister outside) immediately afterwards each time. An exterminator once told me to do that for carpet beetles are they are very small and can get back out once,you put the vaccuum away. And I realized that was happening when I had those horrid meal moths! I kept vaccuming them up and they apparently kept getting out the bag and into the cupboard again. Hugely frustrating…

      1. TechWorker*

        I wouldn’t have thought fog bombs are much cheaper than frontline? Not sure what country you’re in but where I am 2 doses is ~$15 (from amazon/online pet shop rather than a vet). You obviously know your own budget but it feels like if your house does get infested you’ll spend lots of time and stress on it and it might be better to try to lump up that cost now :( good luck!

        1. MistOrMister*

          Our issue was the fleas were in the carpeting and whatnot. Frontline might save the pets, but the fleas will still bite the humans. So if the fleas are inside, they might still need to do some sort of treatment to the house. I have no idea what bug bombs cost….was just saying that’s what we did to do to clear up our issue. I also dont know what frontline goes for now. The last time I bought it, I think it was more than $15 though.

      2. Artemesia*

        This was the only way we got rid of fleas from our cat decades ago and after that all cats were indoor cats as I didn’t want my kids exposed to the poisons needed to control fleas (this was before those flea drops you put on the neck of the animal– I don’t know if they would have worked). The bug bomb worked — we kept the kids out of the house for 24 hours and thoroughly aired it before we came back. We also vaccumed like crazy and we didn’t have a resurgence from left behind flea eggs.

    3. Meh*

      I had fleas without any pets one time and I found bringing a dehumidifier around the house and having it bring the humidity as low as humanly possible in each room seemed to kill them. I was able to do this in the South but if the humidity is heavy all the time, it may not work as well.

    4. Rebecca*

      I’ve never found any of the natural or non chemical ideas that worked. I use Advantage II on my cats, and echo the previous post of taking the vacuum bag/canister outside to empty it. I empty it into a doubled plastic grocery bag, then spray the contents with Deet (like you’d use on yourself when outside), then put it directly in the garbage can. I’m helping a friend rid her new rental of fleas, and she put a flea collar in the vacuum canister in case any fleas are left behind after she empties it. Another thing I’ve found helpful is filling glass pie dishes with soapy water, placing them on the floor under a nightlight or rechargeable flashlight pointing down (plug it in and turn to the on position). Fleas are attracted to the light at night and will jump into the soapy water and drown. Good luck!

    5. Lorine*

      I just had the “OMG fleas” fire drill myself, and I did the following (although I would check your cat with a flea comb first to confirm fleas):

      1. Gave my cat Capstar, which starts killing any adult fleas on the cat within 30 minutes. They literally fall off dead, which is horrifying and reassuring at the same time. Capstar is about $30 for 6 tablets, it is not long term treatment like Advantage 2, but it works almost instantly. The next day I gave her Advantage 2, which was $27 for a 2 month supply.

      2. Used home flea spray ($10) all over the house systematically after vacuuming (and put a flea collar ($8 for a pack of two) in the vacuum to kill any buggers who may end up in the vacuum canister). It dries after about 2 hours so I did the whole house except for my room, cat and I hung out for 2 hours in my room, then did my room.

      3. All of the laundry. Just, so much laundry: clothes in the laundry bin, all of my bedding, towels, etc.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      In the days before Frontline, an engineer friend had a cat get out and bring them back. He did some of things mentioned above and one more for his curiosity. You know how insects are attracted to light? He set up a lasagna pan of sudsy water on the floor with a high-intensity desk lamp set up so it was about 6 inches over the center of the pan… and it worked. This was in addition to other treatments, but it did cut down the population in just one night. Oh and because it was a small single-level place, he credits having this in the central room for a few nights for keeping fleas from finding his bedroom. (That and the flea dip he gave his cat!)

      1. Bagpuss*

        You can also buy flea traps which work in the same way – a lamp over a tray lined with sticky paper. I found it worked pretty well and was reassuring as it gave me confidence that they were gone! (I am not 100% sure but I think I wound up with them in my house as a neighbour’s cat liked to sit immediately outside the front door, so although my cat was treated and was flea-free, they kept coming into the house.

    7. tangerineRose*

      Can you ask your friend to pay for the Frontline? It’s her fault there are fleas at your house.

    8. Anxious cat servant*

      My boy cat is likely part Russian Blue with the crazy-thick fur of that breed and of course he was the one to get infested with the most resilient fleas imaginable one summer. He’s allergic to most flea treatments and these fleas were resistant to most of them anyway so the ONLY thing that worked was daily brushings with a flea brush and vacuuming and laundering everything we could every few days. For brushing I’d keep a bowl of soapy water and a wet wipe next to me and every time I ‘caught’ a flea in the tooth combs I’d use the wet wipe to deposit it in the soapy water. Eventually it would drown but it took a while. It was disgusting and took a full month but eventually he went from horribly infested to flea free. Decidedly not something I want to repeat.

      A couple years later we took in a kitten who had fleas and I didn’t want to bathe as she’d just had surgery. The flea comb method worked and she was flea-free in a couple days. It helped that we were keeping her in a bathroom so it was easy to launder her bedding and mop everything else.

      Good luck!

    9. Not So NewReader*

      My vet had me sprinkle Borax on the rug and let it sit for a few hours. Then vacuum it up. I kept the critters off the carpets, of course, while the Borax was on there , but it seemed to work well.

    10. WHAT!!!*

      Sorry I don’t have ideas, but what was your friend thinking bring them to your place?? She could have called you for help to her place or asked for directions.. That was so thoughtless.

    11. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Honestly, I’m sorry, but find the money for flea treatments. It’ll be cheaper in the long run. Advantage/Advantix (whatever it’s called I forget) is what I use now since Frontline stopped working on fleas in my area. It may be cheaper than Frontline.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        We had our cats treated with Frontline a few years ago, and it didn’t work at all. Our youngest got neutered and brought fleas home with him from the vet’s office. We ended up using food-grade diatomaceous earth to get rid of them (along with combing the cats daily).

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Frontline has been around for a very long time, and there are areas where the fleas have become resistant. Thus why I changed. Your vet should have a sense of what works best in your area.

        2. Artemesia*

          I use that in our storage locker and when we stored all our furniture for 6 mos it really did keep it from picking up bugs at the locker — I rimmed our locker with a couple of inches of the stuff and when we moved our furniture out, there were all sorts of dead bugs in it and we didn’t bring home bedbugs or roaches etc.

          Never thought of using it for animal fleas. It is nice in that while it can be an irritant it is not poisonous — you can in fact eat it — you don’t want it in your eyes though.

          1. Sam I Am*

            Yes to the DE, just make sure you buy “food grade.”
            I think the 20lb bag we bought cose about $15. All natural, no chemicals, treated the house thoroughly. We also treated the cat with Revolution, the DE was to treat the house.

    12. Books and cats*

      I would spray the house with Ortho Home Defense. You can use it on carpets, furniture and hardwood. Just put the kitties in another room until it dries, usually less than an hour depending on the weather. Then I would bathe my cats.
      I’ve used Home Defense for years and never had a problem with fleas. I use it once a month inside and on the porches.

    13. JobHunter*

      You have my sympathies. I have 2 Maine Coon mix cats and a Mini Schnoodle whose hair felts and mats like crazy. Flea combing was a nightmare when our house got infested. I shampoo the carpets and preemptively use a treatment spray containing an insect growth hormone inhibitor that is supposed to work for 6 months twice a year, but the infestation got out of hand fast last fall. I tried all of the suggestions others have listed here, and used a yard treatment on the lawn and trees (including the boulevard) to kill anything that hopped off of untreated dogs being walked by their owners. I rotated flea treatments monthly (imidocloprid, permethrin, etc.) for 4 months with no reduction in the severity. It wasn’t until we introduced Sentinel for dogs to the rotation that we made some headway. Drier conditions during the winter probably helped, too.

    14. PNW Dweller*

      If you end up opting for medicine you put on your cat, go with Advantage or Frontline. I watched a video of a cat that was administered a cheaper alternative. It was not a good outcome. I’m sorry your friend infected your house. It’s like the pet version of bed bugs.

    15. Amethyst*

      Thanks for all the replies. I’ll be enacting several things from your suggestions this week.

      Thanks also for several of you raising the excellent point of “why doesn’t [my] friend pay for the flea treatments?”. TBH, it never crossed my mind, & I never considered it an option (extremely dysfunctional childhood in which anything I needed or wanted was a battle or a “wait until you make your own money” type situation). I asked her last night if she could; she has a 6 month supply of topical treatments coming to my house. I plan to split the box between my two cats & hopefully winter’s dry air takes care of the rest. :)

    1. MistOrMister*

      My basil has sprouted hugely, but mostly, my entire yard has been taken over by cucumber vines. I’ve nevrr seen anything like it. They strangled my,poor green beans :’-(

    2. NeverNicky*

      We’ve been on holiday and while we were away, a friend who is a garden contractor came and pruned, chopped and tidied – some to my instruction, some at his discretion.

      It’s amazing. I woke up happy to see the garden, rather than frustrated at how much work it needed, and there’s still the capacity to do the fun stuff: harvest tomatoes, take cuttings, move plants that haven’t thrived (or got a bit rampant).

      We’re very fortunate not only to have such a trusted and capable friend but to have the money to solve problems by getting in expert help.

      1. Venus*

        Oh wow, wish I had this! I have been busy the past couple weeks and my garden is an overgrown, weedy disaster!

    3. Me*

      Lemon cucumbers, zucchini squash and sun gold tomatoes continue to be prolific. We’ve enjoyed zucchini pancakes (moosewood recipe that uses feta) 2x this week.

      I’ll be out there today clipping a few things, tidying up a bit.

      Still getting a lot of hot peppers, but I’ve already made hot sauce and pickled all that I need. Don’t quite want to rip out the plants but I’ll need to figure out something else to do with the peppers (fireball and jalapeño). Suggestions?

      I have a prolific squash in my birdie bed. I do not remember what it is that I started from seed but I’m starting to think maybe baby butternut. The fruit is still very small. Definitely a winter variety. It’s crowding out some of the green beans but I’m pretty tired of those at this point!

      1. pancakes*

        There are a lot of mutual aid projects right now – maybe check a map and see if there’s a local group or spot to donate your peppers to.

      2. c-*

        You can dry peppers in the sun for cooking and decoration (granted, it is a rustic look: you tie them together by the stems and hang them like a garland or down a wall), or donate them as pancakes said :) Maybe a to a kitchen feeding folks? Those projects are always grateful for spices ime.

    4. Hotdog not dog*

      Still getting lots of tomatoes and zucchini, although we’re currently in a turf war with a gang of outlaw chipmunks. Green beans are trying to take over, and everything else seems to be winding down. Our local nursery is having a big sale on perennials this weekend, so I think it’s as good a time as any to redo the beds.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Not only have I managed to keep my spider plant alive for like four months now, but it’s got a stalk come in that I’m told is where it’s going to produce offspring! As a notoriously black-thumbed individual, I am unbelievably stoked about this unexpected success.

      1. c-*

        Congratulations from another black thumbed person! That’s great :D

        I’m scrupulously following my dad’s instructions for taking care of his lemon tree while he’s away, and not only have I not killed it yet (!), it even sprouted a flower (!!). So I can relate :)

      2. Venus*

        I’m very happy for you! I can grow tomatoes from seed but quickly kill spider plants. So you’re doing well!

    6. Thankful for AAM*

      I have an iguana problem (south Florida) and I’m trying again to grow a little in a raised box. I planted mint and basil around some tomatoes bc I did an experiment last year b4 I gave up and theye did not seem to like mint or basil. I noticed a nibble on the basil but so far so good. I left space for some kale that I am starting from seed.

      I don’t know when to move the kale to the beds from the seed starter things I have them in. I have one of those Styrofoam rectangles with small sections that you fill with dirt and plant seeds. I’m assuming I will notice when they look sturdy enough to move but any help would be appreciated. I have not really gardened since I was a kid.

      Also, anti-iguana suggestions gratefully accepted! I have heard coyote urine is an effective deterent.

      1. Me*

        No idea about iguanas!

        Are you starting the kale inside or out? If it’s already out then you could transplant them once they get like two sets of true leaves (first two leaves that pop up aren’t true leaves). Water well ahead of time and then just gently work the starts out of the soil while trying to not totally destroy the roots and transplant.

        If it’s hot (iguanas?!) then aim for transplanting during the coolest part of the day and water well. If that’s the cool morning of a hot day then consider shading the plants for a day or so, making sure they have enough water.

        Kale is a good fall crop around here as it tends to like cooler weather. We don’t have iguanas though.

      2. fposte*

        It is funny how different gardening challenges can be in different places. To this Midwesterner, “iguana problems” are so exotic as to be delightful, but that’s probably no consolation if you’re seeing plants chewed to stems.

        1. Venus*

          I was thinking the same, then remembered that my wildlife would probably be exotic to someone else when it isn’t at all to me.

    7. Lena Clare*

      Thanks to Zooey who recommended the fruit tree grease to deter ants on my red robin.
      It’s worked and there are no more green fly, but it’s looking a bit sorry for itself because I had to remove lots of leaves they’d munched on.
      I’m going to put some special feed on it and top up the soil, plus water of course, and see how it fares over the next week.

      I’ve been getting rust on the lavatera. I’ve removed all the affected leaves and watered the soil only, not from above, but it’s been raining a lot so there’s not much I can do about that. Now the stems’re looking very small and pathetic.
      I think the rust is coming back.
      Anything else I can do or will I have to resort to special rust killer?

    8. pancakes*

      It’s just a fire escape and windowsill garden since I’m in NYC but it’s getting a little wild! I have a pot of zinnias indoors that are at least 3.5’ tall and have been blooming all summer. I was very, very lazy about potting on my tomato seedlings but the plants are thriving and they’re both varieties that produce fruit on the small side (Roma and Principe Borghese), and I think I’m on track to finally have some tomatoes later this month or in early October.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        What sunlight do you have and for how many hours, and what’s the general temperature range of your apartment in spring and summer? And how big is the container? Zinnias are such great flowers! You’re inspiring me to try them indoors next summer if we have the right conditions.

        1. WellRed*

          Mine are outside on the front steps, they get full sun for most of the day. The pot is oh, 20 inches high, 15 in diameter? A typical floor plant pot size, if you will.

        2. pancakes*

          They’re in a south-facing window that gets several hours a day of bright but indirect light (indirect due to modest height tenement buildings across the street & a tall tree on our side). They’re in a 7” self-watering plastic pot and I’m glad I put them in one of those rather than standard terra-cotta because they seem thirsty. They’ve “cactus” variety, multicolored, and the blooms last a long time. A cheap thrill all summer from $1.50 packet of seeds!

        3. pancakes*

          Temperature range: We turn the a/c on if it’s around 83, 84 and/or very humid. Probably averages low 70s Fahrenheit.

    9. Seeking Second Childhood*

      End of summer blues — I need to get in and take things out and decide what to overwinter. Most of the squashes got mildewed and collapsed, but there’s one or two more yellow squashes on the pots I put in strange places. Our Thai hot pepper was a resounding success — half a pint of peppers already, with more still ripening. That has earned a place in the plant bathroom for sure. (We learned accidentally that the bushy Asian hot peppers are a tender perennial that goes dormant inside in a New England winter.)
      The fig cuttings that my husband experimented with all have rooted, so we’ve given away some and will probably experiment with overwintering them in different ways.
      The beauty success? The blackeyed susans are in such full bloom I get to have flowers in the house without feeling like I’ve cut anything.
      The fuscia that I got for mother’s day last year had died almost the whole way but I attempted overwintering it. This year I almost gave up on it but halfway through the summer it cheered up and started to bloom. It’s not as bushy as it was last spring but it seems healthier. No idea if it’s weather or just a better root system for the amount of foliage.
      I have two late-forming tomatoes that I fear will not ripen before frost.

    10. Might be Spam*

      I still only have 1 green pepper out of a dozen plants. But now it looks like they’re going to get more flowers so I have my fingers crossed that they will have time to bloom and pollinate before the weather gets too cold. They are in pots so I can bring them inside once it looks like actual peppers start forming.

      Just in case, does anyone know how to pollinate plants by hand?

      1. pancakes*

        With a watercolor brush, wet with a little water. Not that I’m an expert on this – I tried growing rocoto peppers on my fire escape once and got a single one before the summer ended! But I think I’d have had a lot more if I’d realized sooner the brush needs to be wet for best results. I knew I needed a brush from websites I consulted at the time but none of them specified that.

      2. Artemesia*

        I used a fluffy small paintbrush dry to pollinate my pear tree and my lemon trees and that works fine; you can see the pollen clinging to the hairs. Best are those Japanese or Chinese calligraphy brushes or similar very soft brushes. I have used q tips in a pinch with our indoor lemon trees and that worked too.

      3. Nita*

        I don’t pollinate my peppers. They do fine anyway, even the indoor ones, so they must be self-pollinating. I do see a big difference in the number of peppers by amount of light. My pot of peppers, in indirect light, gives us one pepper a month. My kid’s pot, right next to the window, has five peppers ripening at once, and is still blooming.

    11. Cruciatus*

      Maybe y’all will have some explanation for my plants. They started growing great and I was excited that there’d eventually be a bunch of veggies but then everything just…stalled. I got one cucumber and no more would form, one zucchini started to form but it ended up rotting on the stem and the rest of the flowers on the vine just shriveled up. The green pepper plant still looks good, nice and green, but I still only have 1 green pepper! And similar story for the tomatoes–nice and green, but only 2 ever formed.

      They were placed to get lots of sun, had potting soil with plant food, they were watered frequently (I admit I may have missed a day or two over the few months the plants were doing well, but I don’t think that should have done this?). The leaves had some bites in them but whenever I visited the plants they weren’t overly picked over. It’s really like they just stalled and couldn’t get back going again. I’d like to try again next year but am not sure what went wrong since they started out so well.

      1. Venus*

        I wish that I knew. I had something similar this year! My tomatoes haven’t grown much and my pepper plants not at all. Ugh!

      2. pancakes*

        I don’t know anything about cucumbers, but my understanding is that too much plant food early on can discourage tomatoes from producing fruit. From an SF Gate gardening column:

        “Over-fertilizing tomatoes early in their lives results in plants that are tall and spindly, with lots of deep green foliage, but few flowers. Tomatoes can’t simply use the ideal amount of nitrogen they need to thrive. Instead, excess nitrogen in a tomato plant tells the plant to produce more leaves and stems at the expense of blossoms and fruits. Sometimes, excess nitrogen can be leached from the root area of tomato plants by repeated, deep waterings.”

        I know @BuildSoil on Twitter has written about this but I can’t find the thread right now. I’m learning a lot from him.

      3. lasslisa*

        I had a part of my garden with this behavior this year and I’ve realized it doesn’t have good drainage at ALL. I bought a cheap moisture meter and the top inch or two of dirt will be cracked and dry but at 4 inches down it’s absolutely soaked, not only does the moisture meter spike but I can feel the ends are damp after I pull it out. The dead squash plant pulled up right from its crown, maybe 2″ of unrotted roots left.

    12. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      The lettuce seeds have sprouted and I’ll need to thin them, and I transplanted a bunch of mail-order strawberry plants, mostly into strawberry bags and a couple into terra cotta flowerpots.

      This is all experimental and wildly optimistic: the company that sold me my cucumber plants emailed with “plant strawberries now for next spring” and it seemed reasonable.

      My cherry tomatoes seem to be pretty well done, though.

    13. Ranon*

      Planted seeds for a fall garden today (rain yesterday made it easy going), indoors we’ve had a rough month for the succulents but I’ve finally abandoned some of the truly dead ones and am propagating some of the leggy ones for replacements. My mom brought me some cuttings from some of her indoor plants so working on getting those going too.

      Really what I need to do is repot my nepenthes but that’s a whole thing…

    14. Eyeball*

      My pumpkin vines, which have taken over the entire patio pretty much, are beset by gross little white bugs that look like sesame seeds. Like, literally, the bottom of the leaves look like sesame candy. When I shake the vines, they rise up in a white cloud and settle right back down, covering the buds, and the stems, and the leaves, and UGH IT’S SO NASTY.

      I also have corn plants, that grow ears with no kernels on them, and bean plants with no beans, and tomato plants with a summerlong total of two hard green tomatoes. My peppers are doing great, though!

    15. Liane*

      1-Poinsettia question:
      I got one last Christmas. It is very green & bushy now. Looks lovely but no flowers or red bracts. How do I get it it produce them? I know it needs repotting, is getting root-bound.
      2-Hen & chicks question:
      What potting medium? My daughter got some we repotted & they died & I want to get her more. Should I just get the ones already in nice containers?
      3-Christmas cactus will be 2 years old this season. I will put it back outside this week so it can experience the shortening days. This & some standards Job’s houseplant spikes gave me lots of blooms last year.
      4-I picked up some $1 mums last week, will be getting more come payday. They are called pink & purple; each bloom is a mix of white/yellow/lavender. Beautiful.

      1. Venus*

        1. I’ve heard that it’s about daylight hours, same as christmas cactus.
        2. The best tip I ever got for succulents is to use water from my dehumidifier. Mine used to do badly and now they are thriving. But I also have a different home so maybe it’s another factor? Although it’s working, and the suggestion was from someone with a lot of succulents.

  11. Helvetica*

    Recommendations for a house plant which is:
    *safe for cats (my cat tried to relentlessly eat an anthurium I was sitting for);
    *thrives in low to medium light – I have West facing windows but they get direct sunlight only in the afternoon and since I live on a high second floor, facing another building, I don’t get a lot of light in anyways and I’m always confused how bright should a bright light be when looking at plant specifications;
    *is not too fussy to take care of, as I am bad at seeing the nuances in plant satisfaction;
    *looks pretty.

    So far, I’ve narrowed it down to some palms, like the parlor palm, some kind of air plant, the nerve plant and/or an orchid which I’ve successfully maintained previously and are so far the only ones I’ve found which bloom and are safe for cats.
    Anything I’m completely missing and isn’t a succulent (as they are very much recommended but I don’t care for them)? I am also fascinated by the Venus flytrap which is safe but I guess wouldn’t like the light conditions?

    1. MistOrMister*

      I have a fern (I forget the name of it) that my cats mostly ignore, but gnaw on once in a while when they can’t get outside. It doesn’t require much care. This year I got some liriope, which they love to chew on. It just looks like big grass mostly, but now it’s flowering with these cute little beaded things. Only caveat is if your cats are gnawers like mine, lirope will likely start looking raggedy. But the cats are happy!! I also have a corn plant that is toxic to cats, but is one plant my cats have never tried to eat, for some reason. I believe spider plant is supposed to be non toxic for cats, but I wasn’t able to find any in the store. The google tells me,something called a Mosaic Plant is also safe for cats and has low light requirements.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I think Amazon has them too, but since I’m generally looking for fairly hardy, low maintenance plants anyway, I figured something that will survive shipping is probably a good start, haha!

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          Spider plant roots so easily you can probably ask on freecycle or Buy Nothing or a neighborhood community group for someone else’s cuttings.

    2. TechWorker*

      Our Venus flytrap is one of the more difficult plants we have to keep alive, would say orchids are easier!

      I think from google ferns are not cat friendly though might depend how inclined yours are to nibble (there’s a long list of plants that aren’t highly toxic but I think could probably cause them trouble if they ate a lot of it).

      Side suggestion – there are some really good looking fake plants out there now… zero maintenance, low light, probably cat friendly unless particularly breakable. I mix them in with real ones :)

      1. Katherine*

        Slightly OT & you may already know this, but some tips on venus flytraps. They need to sit in a saucer of rainwater at all times (either rainwater or distilled, unless your tap water is very, very soft). They do like a lot of sunlight, and also benefit from a winter rest outside (they are more hardy than you would think). And, it’s generally best to cut off any flower stems as soon as they appear. Oh, and never trigger the traps or try to feed them stuff! (I love carnivorous plants, I have a greenhouse-full – but no cats!)

        1. Red Sky*

          I’m very impressed you have a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants! I wish botanical gardens would do something like this.

    3. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      Believe it or not, but mint makes a great houseplant! I was surprised to learn that it doesn’t just thrive in full sun, and besides being a really pretty (I think) hanging plant, it smell nice (not too strong as I have scent ‘issues’, haha!), it grows fast and you’ll always have mint for your ice tea, lemonade or adult beverages! :-D

    4. CSmithy*

      Money trees are super non-fussy and cat-friendly! I also have a peperomia magnoliifolia that does well in medium light and is also cat safe and very cute.

      I failed miserably both times I had a parlor palm — they were too tempting for the cats and they got eaten down and died both times.

    5. Reba*

      I’ve got a parlor palm (“bamboo” variety), it’s lovely. Or what about a cast iron plant, Aspidistra? No direct light, supposed to be easy going.

    6. AceInPlainSight*

      I have wheat grass- it’s not particularly pretty, but it looks nice enough, is low care, and the little purr goblin loves it!

      1. Red Sky*

        I do too…well, oat grass. It’s just for the foster cats and I find that, given the choice, they prefer to chew on that rather than the houseplants. I ordered a lb of organic oat seeds and start a fresh pot for them about every week or so.

    7. JobHunter*

      I keep some of my plants on old birdcages and aquariums to protect them from my cats. You can get lights and stands for them easily. I don’t think I have spent more than $10 on any of the setups I found at tag sales or auctions.

    8. Helvetica*

      Thank you all! In the end, dependent on the choices at my local plant shop, I got a fittonia/nerve plant! It’s cute, non-toxic and okay with my light conditions.
      The parlor palm is something I’ll keep an eye out for the future, as well as the other recommendations on this thread.

    9. Artemesia*

      I got a money plant that was about 3 feet high with a braided trunk because my husband wanted some greenery — the thing has put out about 20 new leaves in a month and looks great. My indoor lemon trees are fighting spider mites but the money plant has not had any bug problems and looks fabulous.

  12. LadyRegister*

    Any New Hampshire folks here? My husband and I are hoping to move closer to family next year. I’m originally from NY so winter will be a familiar (and welcome) friend after a few years in NC. Looking at the Seacoast area. We adore Portsmouth but it’s just not in our budget. For $500K-$600K, we’re hoping to find a town that’s driveable (<1.5 hours without traffic) to Boston, *great* schools, more on the progressive side (we’re in a hyper conservative area now and constantly feel like outsiders), and family friendly with lots of parks/trails. We have one young son and one dog (is NH dog friendly?). Exeter seems the closest to what we’re looking for, with the bonus of an Amtrak station right in town! Any advice on the area or things you wish you’d known before moving? Ex. Try to find a house with a natural gas hookup.

    1. Pharmgirl*

      I’m from the Boston area but lived in Manchester for a few years, mostly working in Concord. Both are among I93 whereas it looks like you’re looking along I95. I’ve had to work in the Portsmouth area a lot as well and the 101 connecting those two is LONG. Not sure where your jobs will be but just something to keep in mind regarding commute.

      I liked living in NH, but didn’t own.

      1. LadyRegister*

        Yes! I should’ve clarified that I work remotely so as long I have good internet (which rules out more towns than I expected in NH!) I can work from anywhere.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I was thinking of Exeter when I read your description of “wants” – haven’t lived there myself, though I’ve visited a number of times. There are loads of towns in southeastern NH that are within an hour’s drive of Boston – and (one thing I really love about the area) also within an hour of the seacoast, and even the Maine border. Haven’t checked on property values in ages as I’m happy where I am, but I suspect that some of the towns that are off the main highways would have lower real estate costs – Atkinson, Hampstead, places like that? Good luck with your search!

      Oh, re dogs: I’m a cat person so I don’t use dog-parks myself but there do seem to be a lot of them, and most of the many, many parks-with-hiking-trails are dog-friendly.

    3. Former NH Anon*

      I grew up in the New Hampshire seacoast area, but now live in Boston. Parents are still there and sibling right over the border in Maine. It’s a great place to grow up! If you want to be in the Portsmouth area (but I agree, prices are really high) I would look at smaller towns like Durham, Lee, Madbury, etc. which all feed into Oyster River High School which was top notch when I was growing up and very influenced by the University of New Hampshire. A lot of small towns don’t have their own high schools and go to regional high schools (or you can pay to go to good high schools in other towns) so that’s worth thinking about. There are parts of the area that feel very progressive (Exeter is probably one), but also the state is very white, even in the places that feel progressive. I think I turned out okay – and became very progressive after growing up there, but going to to college and spending some time in the south really showed me how white and non-diverse NH was. As for dogs and trails, enthusiastic yes to both. I go up there all the time to escape the city and the very cool part is that you are within close distance to the mountains and the ocean, lots of wonderful things to do!

      1. Blackcat*

        Yeah, I’m in the Boston area, and one of the things that prevents us from moving to somewhere that 600k buys more than a shoebox is how white things get once you leave the inner Boston suburbs. It’s important for me to raise the small human in a place with diversity. In New England, that means sticking to just a few cities.

      2. LadyRegister*

        I come from a diverse family and both my husband and I have both lived abroad so it’s a fair point about diversity. We’re hoping that by being closer to family and having extra funds for travel/experiences that we can try to invest in our son being well rounded. Thank you for your thoughtful insights!

    4. NH Native*

      Hi! I grew up in Exeter, and my parents lived there for many years after. It was a great place to grow up. It’s a fairly progressive and academic area of the state. Between being close to UNH and being the home of Phillips Exeter Academy, there is a lot of thought diversity and the area schools are quite good.

      It, and the surrounding towns all feed into the same middle/high school. Very dog and pet friendly. There are definitely propane heat/septic tank/well homes in the area, but most places will have natural gas pipes and sewer hookups. Maybe not AC though. There’s also a range of oldness. The town was settled in the 1600’s.

      That’s the good stuff. The not-so-great. It is not racially/ethnically diverse. I’m white and grew up in a very white community. I live in the SF Bay Area now and really appreciate the differences here. I’ve been told it can feel insular – there are families that have been in the town for many generations. Same in the surrounding towns.

      That was a book. I could probably write more…

      1. LadyRegister*

        This is so helpful!!! My husband just asked – are there any cultural quirks/unspoken rules/faux pas we should be mindful of coming in as outsiders? Does the town see many transplants or would we stick out like a sore thumb? Trying to figure out the best way to plug into the community once we move.

        1. Synonymous*

          My aunt and uncle live in a small town in CT, so not exactly the same. However, they are still considered the “newbies,” after living there at least a good thirty years. So, there’s that.

        2. Another NH native*

          I didn’t grow up on the seacoast (I’m from the Upper Valley) but my dad grew up very close to Exeter in one of the less upscale towns. The farther south you go in NH, the more transplants you’ll find and I very much doubt you would stick out. Some people are annoyed and feel like Massachusetts sends us all their Democrats and some feel like Mass is sending all their Republicans and other people are annoyed at the big out-of-state libertarian contingent that wanted to take over. Since you’re coming from NC, not MA, you will probably find the occasional griping easier to ignore since everyone likes to hate on MA :)

          Some things that can annoy NH natives:
          – Saying stuff like “I miss ‘real’ malls/cities/bars.” Basically, don’t be condescending about what things are like here. NH is a package deal!
          – Not acknowledging neighbors. Conversation is not necessary, but if you’re out and about in your neighborhood, nod/smile to people you see.
          – Don’t say Manchvegas or use other derogatory names for NH towns. That is a special privilege for those towns’ residents. :) Also there’s a weird stereotype that New Hampshirites hate “flatlanders” but I have literally never heard a New Hampshire person actually use that word, let alone say that. However, feel free to say that MA people are terrible drivers.
          -A lot of people don’t even know their state’s motto, but Live Free or Die is very accurate. My mother still holds a grudge against our neighbor who called her to report that she witnessed my teen brother biking without his bike lights on. I actually don’t think NH people are as unfriendly as they are cracked up to be, but there is a strong MYOB sentiment.

          Really though, there is a lot of NH pride in our state, so if you move here and express that you are happy to be here, you shouldn’t have any problems. Mainly, it’s annoying when people move to a cold, generally rural state like NH and then complain that it is cold and rural :)

        3. NH Native*

          I think that there are a fair number of transplants, esp those with young families. And as someone says below – just don’t move then complain about the weather. :) also, knowing how to drive in snow and shovel are a necessity.

          I have no clue about the housing market – living in the Bay Area has completely messed up my ability to understand salaries v housing cost.

          Couple random thoughts – ask about water tables, foundations, sumpumps and furnaces.

          There are several lot cemeteries very close to houses/businesses. And some of the old houses have their own family plot. (No idea if it would be a problem for you, but it is a big negative in some cultures.)

          1. NH Native*

            I just remembered – since my parents were born in other New England states, I may not be a NH native. No idea where I heard this as a kid – but – “just because a cat has her kittens in an oven doesn’t make them muffins”. Lol.

    5. not a native new englander*

      how set are you on the seacost? i live in hollis NH and think it would fit a lot of your buckets. very good schools (or so i hear, my wee one isn’t old enough yet), 15-20 min to nashua which is where you will find your target, TJs etc, but it feels like living in nature. tons of trails, active community. and i would say pretty evenly split btw conservative and progressive …maybe slightly more progressive? either way i don’t think you would feel like an outsider. On the other hand, as many folks have already noted, its definitely not diverse which can be really hard if you are used to that (moved to NE from DC area about 4 years ago). That said, this pretty much applies to most of new england so not really a problem with hollis specifically. You are also right on the border with MA so only an hour to boston and only an hour to seacost. You can get a big house with a big yard surrounded by trees in the price range you are talking about. Lots of people also like the nearby towns of Milford or Amherst which i think are a little less rural feeling but a little farther north or west. We also looked at exeter and it was too pricey for us for less size/space and was a little bit more of a commute to boston/nashua for jobs which was a factor for us. As for internet, i have heard some people complain but we have high speed internet with no issues, seems like it might vary by neighborhood. hope this helps!

    6. KR*

      Exeter is great. Kind of expensive. If you look on the school’s page, a couple different towns are in Exeter’s school system so you can live outside the town itself. There is a great technical high school that Exeter, Epping, Sanborn, Raymond, and Winnacunnet (Seabrook area) can attend. It’s all very close to the beach. Newmarket schools are not good. The school itself is in disrepair. The whole area is great to live in but can be expensive. Keep in mind you will have to deal with snow removal, so look at your driveway when you buy. Route 16 and the Portsmouth Traffic Circle can be congested at times, as can the 93/101 split in Manchester/Hooksett.

  13. Blackrail*

    It’s a week or two until I say goodbye to my childhood home forever (parents both passed and the house sale is about to close). Although I’ve lived elsewhere for years it’s still where I call ‘home’. Any tips to make it less difficult? I am feeling all the feelings at the moment and am a bit of a wreck about it.

    1. LadyRegister*

      This is so so hard!

      I’ve found that part of the grief is that there *isn’t* an established ritual for processing this change. There isn’t a community outpouring of support or a set structure to follow. We have so many customs for when things are shiny and new (Weddings! Housewarmings! Baby showers!) and a sort of deafening silence on the other end. Divorce. Foreclosure. Miscarriage. The events are equally, if not more, emotionally significant but we just don’t have the social tools to address them.

      When my parents sold my childhood home, the process took almost two years. I was able to visit many times, help empty the attic and pack boxes, and I could see that it was time for them to move on from the home where they had raised a very large family. And even with TWO years notice there were a lot of feelings.

      Please be gentle with yourself and don’t let anyone tell you that it’s “just a house” or that “now others will be able to make memories there”. I find journaling helpful but of course YMMV. Writing down your happy memories from home and some of the things you will miss. As you write, you may remember some of the flaws as well. Like that time we had to dig up our septic tank. You may laugh. You’ll probably cry. But a bit like after a breakup, you’ll start to get more emotional distance from the initial hurt and begin knitting together your new reality. Depending on where you live now (ie not a small city apartment) hopefully you’ve even been able to keep some furniture or art or even kitchen supplies from home that will remind you of childhood. I have some of my mom’s pots and pans and they bring me real joy when I cook with them.

      I’m sorry you’re going through this and I hope you can lean on your loved ones for some support and extra kindness at this time.

    2. Morning reader*

      If you like ritual you could probably come up with something from your tradition. In the same situation, I took many of the things within the house home (clocks, art, mirrors, knickknacks) so I have Some of them deployed in my home now. I have a railing from the front porch and I took some tulip bulbs from the yard. I visited the back yard pet cemetery one last time and took pictures of the resting place of Thumbs, Kitty Girl, and various gerbils. Then I cyber stalked the real estate listing to see what the flipper who bought it was doing to upgrade (omg the kitchen! All those changes I fantasized about for years but could never do!) and actually my BIL went to the open house and took pictures. I miss it but I hadn’t lived there myself in 40+ years and I don’t miss having to go back there for every holiday. Think fondly of the memories and try to develop appreciation for no longer having the burden of the house.

    3. Getting There*

      When my siblings and I were selling our childhood home, on our last day there before closing, we invited all our aunts, uncles, cousins etc over for an informal get-together. It was nice to have everyone together there one last time. It was a lovely last memory of the house.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I actually found Marie Kondo’s book to be really helpful about things like selling my mother’s house, or beloved objects that have been lost in the mists of time. Her distinction between the object itself as opposed to your own feelings/memories/etc. that the object represents was hugely important to me.

      1. voyager1*

        Do not visit the house or look it up on websites like Trulia. If the house is put up for sale again and it is remodeled, you may find it hard to see. My old childhood home was remodeled and had some exterior work done, it was painful to see since all the character of the house was gone.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      It was heart-wrenching for me, too. Take pictures more methodically than I did — I took pictures of all the things that were going to other family members, but I wish I’d taken pictures of the views themselves. The corner where I worked puzzles. The view from the stairway landing where I read as a child. The crazy space between the garage and the back hedge where I hid and watched bugs. I did take the slates from back there — they were just salvage laid down to keep out weeds, and they’re now serving the same purpose at my house.
      If you’re a gardener, think through the year and take at least one shoot from one perennial to replant at your place. This is a good time of year to dig up and transplant daffodil bulbs if you can figure out where they are. Or go on a mission to find the same kind of plant to put one of them where you live. For me it’s dogwoods and pansies and daffodils.

    6. Tex*

      Can you hire a photographer to take some moody, artistic photos of it? Maybe take a cutting or two of the plants?

    7. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      Definitely take some pictures! My parents moved out of our childhood home a few years ago and I took a bunch of pictures. I have not done it yet but I plan to try and make some pen and ink drawings of it as a fun art project soon.

    8. Another beautiful day*

      It helped me to save something tangible and then integrate it into my current life. I’ve saved a jar of sand from the family camp, a flag stone from my grandparents’ walkway, replanted saplings and roses from my parents’ house.

    9. Blue Eagle*

      I’ve done the same thing and the only thing that keeps me from getting sad is that I never go by the house. It has been 7 years since it sold and I refuse to go down that street.
      Oh, one other thing is that I transplanted a bunch of Mom’s flowers into my yard so whenever they are in bloom it reminds me of how loved I was by my parents. So, maybe that is another thing that made letting go of the house easier.

    10. Marie*

      A family member of mine recently moved away from her house where she’d lived for almost 30 years. She was really emotional about it, so via Etsy I found someone who made a watercolor of the house based on a photo (the Etsy shop is FineArtbyTina). It turned out absolutely gorgeous, and she hung it up in her new home and it really helped her move on. Might be a nice way to treat yourself!

    11. Lucia*

      A bit late to this, but when my parents sold the house they’d lived in for 50 years (and in which they’d raised 9 kids), my aunt gave us a way to think about it that helped with the sense of loss: the house had done its job for our family, and now it was time for it to do the same for a new one.

  14. Nameless Shark*

    TRIGGER WARNING Mentions sexual assault.

    My sister recently told me she was raped about 10 years ago when she was in her teens. She told me she has dealt with it and is okay now. She doesn’t seem to want me to do or say anything in particular because for her it is something she has already moved on from.

    While this happened a long time ago it is a bombshell for me. I can’t even begin to describe the devastation I feel for her. I had already moved out of home at that point and never had an inkling she went through something so traumatic.

    I would give anything to change places with her and have this happen to me instead. I spent the past few days blanking out and crying. I don’t want to share my feelings with my sister because she doesn’t need to deal with my trauma.

    I wonder if anyone else has gone through this – having someone you love experience sexual violence – and how you coped and how you’ve moved past your own part of grief and anger and heartache.

    I’m going to see a psychologist but it will be another few weeks before I can see one. I would appreciate some advice in the mean time. Thank you.

    1. Squeakrad*

      I’m so sorry to hear this. Can you talk with a sexual ,assault hotline in the,meantime – I am guessing they may get calls like yours.
      Take good care of yourself as well. Do you journal – maybe write your feelings and help express them that way.

      So sorry this has happened.

    2. Anonymous Educator*

      I wonder if anyone else has gone through this – having someone you love experience sexual violence – and how you coped and how you’ve moved past your own part of grief and anger and heartache.

      Yes, unfortunately. I’ve had several friends confide in me that they were raped. It’s very distressing, as you well know. In theory, you know all the statistics and know the likelihood it has happened to tons of people you know is high, but when someone close to you actually tells you about it, it’s devastating in a whole new way.

    3. c-*

      Yeah. I focus on the fact that they survived and make sure to validate them if they ask for my opinion. If you want to, you can thank her for trusting you and hug her or express your sympathy/condolences, that tends to be well-received.

      My fear and anger and helplessness I take to my therapist or to angry rock music or to a recipe that needs a lot of chopping, depending on mood and availability.

      You can also talk it out with a friend, without naming names, or with a friend who doesn’t know your sister and is not ever going to meet her, if you must disclose who it is when asking for support for you.

      Well done on not asking her to soothe you! Comfort in, dump out, as the circles of comfort theory goes. I’m so sorry you all are going through this, and so glad she survived. She is ok, and in time you will be, too.

    4. Emma*

      I’m really sorry. While it’s not quite the same, I recently found out that my little cousin and goddaughter, who is now 20, was raped at 16. She called me to ask me for advice about the upcoming trial (I’m a lawyer, she had a lawyer of her own but wanted my advice on whether or not to take a settlement). I was completely in shock and it was really hard to give advice and coolly ask the relevant questions instead of hanging up the phone and crying and shaking with rage. Your trauma is legitimate. If your sister does not want to talk about it, I would respect that but talk it through with a therapist. Your childhoods were intertwined so it’s absolutely normal that this affects you too. But please don’t wish to change places – while I absolutely understand it’s coming from a good place, neither of you should have to go through that.

    5. Yes*

      This happened to my adult step-daughter last year. It’s so awful to have someone you love be hurt. I tried to be supportive and caring for her and my husband/her father while I tried to deal with my own feelings privately. It was very difficult, as you may imagine. I feel her feelings are more important than mine. I didn’t feel I could talk to any of my friends about it as rape is such a huge fear for women and I didn’t want to upset them. I did finally confide in a friend and that helped me. I’m glad you are going to talk to someone- this experience is a lot to process for anyone. I’m so sorry that this happens to anyone.

  15. Moggins*

    Does anyone have thoughts for good mother/father of the groom and father of the bride presents?

    We’re getting married at the end of the month (hurray!) after being delayed due to Covid. Our parents have been amazing taking on much more work to make it happen!

    We want to avoid anything cheesy or chintzy – no quotes about how they’ve raised the perfect child and that we’re honoured to join each other’s families!

    Thank you!

    Any thoughts?

    1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      We got married in a city none of our parents lived in, so we gave them a hardback copy of a book about the city with lots of glossy photos, including of our (famous) venue.

      Your culture may be different but in mine the parents’ presents are a token, so flowers/cufflinks etc would be standard.

    2. LadyRegister*

      You can often get a bottle of whiskey or bourbon or wine engraved with a personal message. Very common in the military and I’ve seen some absolutely lovely notes. That’s actually the part I would emphasize. The personal message is what will be cherished more than anything else. Your joy, your gratitude, and your excitement for the next adventure ahead.

    3. 00ff00Claire*

      We gave each set of parents a framed picture of us from our engagement photos. We settled on that because it was both a reminder of the wedding and also something we thought would be useful in a sense. Of course it wouldn’t have to be an engagement photo – any decent photo of you and your new partner would work.

    4. Jen Erik*

      My husband gave my mum an engraved fish slice on the day, during his speech – genuinely can’t remember why, or what it said – I think we’d just found out engravers would engrave anything, and were living our best lives.
      More sensibly, our daughter made up her own wedding album from the photos, so made an additional album for each set of parents, and sent it with a very heartfelt and appreciative letter.
      We obviously got that some time after the wedding, so it wouldn’t work if you want to give them something on the day, but it was a lovely surprise when it arrived.

      1. Thankful for AAM*

        Lol Jen Erik! I’m in the US (and vegan) so fish slice read to me as . . . he gave her a slice of fish!
        I’ve lived in the UK so i pulled fish slice, a fish slicer, a tool for serving fish, out of the dim recesses of my memory.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Lol #2! Also with a family with British background. I remember being amazed by the specialized cutlery owned by older relatives. Fish forks! Fish knives! Quite the culture shock for an American child used to the all-purpose knife and fork.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            Can testify to specialized cutlery owned by older relatives in the US too. My great-aunt once chastised my husband for eating his mini-wheats with the wrong spoon. He had just made her breakfast … he was not amused.

    5. Leap Day Highway*

      We gave my parents a gift certificate to the nice hotel in my hometown (where they live and where our wedding was) so they could have a little getaway.

      1. Ellie*

        We also gave a gift card to one set of parents to a hotel (they haven’t used it…and it’s been 5 years. But I’m not salty…) and the other a gift card to a nice restaurant here in Portland. I especially liked the last one because my parents chose to use the gift card with us, so having a nice dinner together after the wedding madness settled down was especially nice!

    6. island ecologist*

      Congrats on your upcoming wedding! How fun!

      We gave the moms different pieces of jewelry and the dads ties – so nothing too unusual, but spent time picking out really beautiful, high-quality ones that we knew they’d each love – and pricier than they’d ever buy themselves, we wanted to splurge a little. I also wrote my parents a long letter about all of my thoughts and all of my gratitude at this auspicious moment.

    7. ..Kat..*

      The bride and groom are supposed to give wedding presents to their parents? Just another thing my husband and I didn’t do (and didn’t know people were supposed to). How can anyone afford to get married with all these things people must buy and do?

      1. Zooey*

        Like all things wedding it’s not compulsory and depends on your traditions. In our case we did give gifts (various nice bits of glassware /crockery) but our parents had given us very generous financial support so it was a recognition that that’s how we were able to pay for our wedding!

  16. MistOrMister*

    I have a fern (I forget the name of it) that my cats mostly ignore, but gnaw on once in a while when they can’t get outside. It doesn’t require much care. This year I got some liriope, which they love to chew on. It just looks like big grass mostly, but now it’s flowering with these cute little beaded things. Only caveat is if your cats are gnawers like mine, lirope will likely start looking raggedy. But the cats are happy!! I also have a corn plant that is toxic to cats, but is one plant my cats have never tried to eat, for some reason. I believe spider plant is supposed to be non toxic for cats, but I wasn’t able to find any in the store. The google tells me,something called a Mosaic Plant is also safe for cats and has low light requirements.

    1. Esmeralda*

      Liriope: just be careful it doesn’t get outside in your lawn or beds. It is invasive, happy in both wet and drought conditions, thrives in sun and shade, and almost impossible to kill off or pull out.

      It’s sold as a ground cover around here. Works great for that and looks pretty nice, unless you don’t want it.

      Re cats: clip off the flowering stems once the flowers are blown, otherwise they will go to seed and the seeds fall off pretty easily.

  17. MistOrMister*

    Preference on knitting versus crocheting? I do both, but I find I don’t enjoy crochet as much and can’t manage to do it really well. My hands get tired with crochet and big pieces are a pain for me to work on. Plus, I cannot do a granny square to save my life, which is just enbarrassing!!! Granny squares are supposed to be so easy but for some reason anything beyond super simle crochet patterns are beyond me and my brain can’t figure out what to do. Now, knitting I can do all day without hand pain and a big piece makes me happy as long as it wont try to fall off the needles. Also, I am not always sure I am working in the correct stitch when crocheting, but don’t have that problem when knitting. Am I in the 3rd SC or the 4th?…be danged if I know, I can’t tell! Haha.

    Note: I’m not bashing crochet and don’t intend this to be a “this is better than that” post.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      I do both, and find crocheting easier, but that’s probably because I learned crochet as a child and knitting last year. I suppose after decades of practice I was bound to get the hang of it! I don’t like to make granny squares at all as I prefer to just do straight rows of the same stitch. I really love the feeling of the hand movement in knitting and find the clicking sound of metal needles soothing so I haven’t given up on it, but in the last year I’ve completed about a dozen crochet projects and my first knitted scarf is still in progress!

    2. BonzaSonza*

      I love knitting. I just finished the Geo Lace sweater by Jenise Hope as a gift for my sister, it was five months of knitting a tunic in sock yarn!

      I prefer knitting as I can knit basic stocking or garter such without looking at the needles and I like to keep my hands busy while watching TV or settling my little one to sleep. I am able to crochet, but it never really clicked with me the way knitting did.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I do both – learned to crochet at 5 and to knit at 20 – and base my preference mostly on the project. But I do a lot of fairly intricate stuff – lace, cables, colorwork- that works way better in knitting. My goal for this weekend is to finish a double knitted colorwork scarf I’ve been working on sporadically since February 2017.

    4. Thankful for AAM*

      If it helps, I also find knitting easier though I like the appearance of crochet better – I mean, if i watch a video of them, I am mezmerized by crochet and sooo want to do it but I find the actual process of crocheting confusing and frustrating. But I can decipher knitting patterns and have even taught myself to knit the way they do in England which is backwards to the way I was taught as a child. Every once in a while I try crochet again but still find it less rewarding than I expect and it makes me sad.

    5. A.N. O'Nyme*

      I’m the opposite: I just can’t wrap my head around knitting! I keep dropping stitches or the needles shift or things like that. I suppose I take after my father in that regard (although he can’t wrap his head around crochet either despite having learned both in school).
      As for the hand hurting when you crochet: do you hold your hook like a knife or like a pen? If I recall correctly the knife grip is supposed to be better for you.

    6. HannahS*

      I find crochet easier and more enjoyable, but I prefer the outcome of knitting, because knitting gets a relatively softer and more fluid product–so I prefer it for sweaters and hats, but I’ve crocheted apt of cozy blankets. Knitting is a bit more unwieldy, since you carry the whole item on the needles–I find it harder to see what I’m doing, and harder to fix mistakes.

      1. OyHiOh*

        I do almost all my knitting on circular needles for this reason. The weight isn’t on my arms after about the first 6 inches of blanket.

    7. another Hero*

      I like knitting better, but I suspect it’s because I can do it better. I have more muscle memory to be able to do it while attending to other things, better intuitive understanding of patterns (such as ability to look at something and see how it was made, sense when I’m working of whether the thing I’m doing is right, capacity to combine and adjust designs, etc), knowledge of how to fix my mistakes……….whereas I’m quite a basic crocheter. there’s a lot of stuff crochet can accomplish more elegantly than knitting, and if I spent more time doing it, I might appreciate that more. my mom finds crocheting easier; just a personal thing.

    8. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Crochet, by a mile – I could never get the hang of knitting tension so everything was super tight.

      I crochet mainly for a charity in the UK which provides hand knit blankets for those who need extra love (eg children in hospital or foster care, seniors with dementia, refugees, women being treated for cancer) so my work needs to be quick, consistent and sturdy. I tend to work in the round though occasionally I like a (ch3 3dc sl) c2c. I also join collaborative blankets and it is *much* easier to join work in the round than back and forth.

      I’ve offered a good friend a blanket to celebrate her home renovation (just starting). I’m excited about choosing colours and patterns with her. I’m not going to tell her what it would cost on Etsy…

    9. AGD*

      I am an advanced-level knitter, but crochet consistently baffles me. I’ve made a few attempts, and someday may be able to get over the learning curve, but clearly I found knitting much more intuitive. One of my siblings is exactly the opposite.

    10. Lost in the Woods*

      I have tried to learn to crochet a bunch of times, and it has never ever clicked. I think there are a few reasons. I’m left handed, and knitting (at least the way I do it) is a two-handed activity, whereas crochet is pretty one-handed. I am not dexterous enough with my right hand to manipulate a crochet hook. I have trouble learning the basics from videos and tutorials, and I’ve never met a lefty crocheter IRL who could teach me. I also just intrinsically got how knitting worked (loops inside loops) fairly easily; everything in knitting is fundamentally a variation on one stitch in grid motifs. This makes sense to my brain. I have really hard time envisioning what’s going on in crochet.

    11. Snark no more!*

      Have you ever tried crocheting with an afghan stitch? There are a lot of variations, but the basic stitch provides a dense “single-crochet-type stitch with a bit more elegance. I even found a crochet hook that has a tube on the end for when you want to make a wider piece.

    12. Anonymous Educator*

      Even though I know crocheting goes more quickly, I found it difficult to pick up, and knitting felt more right to me. Something about having two needles? I don’t know.

    13. Dancing Otter*

      I CAN crochet, after a fashion, but I mostly just use it in conjunction with knitting: a crocheted cast-on or edging, for example. I made a couple of crocheted afghans when I was in my 20s.
      I get frustrated because I want to be able to crochet in the round or do color-work, and it never comes out right. These are techniques I’ve mastered in knitting, so….
      Some of the designs for amigurumi are adorable, but I know my limits.
      Now you’ve got me thinking about another ripple afghan, though. There’s a knitted version, properly called “feather and fan”, but the crochet version is just better.

    14. RagingADHD*

      I like the processes of crochet and knit equally well, but I’ve developed a preference for the look of knitted things over crochet. Crochet is always going to be knobblier or lacier. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course, but my taste lately has been for smoother, solid fabrics.

    15. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Here’s a cross-over with the “reading recommendations”: Debbie Macomber’s “Blossom Street” series starts with a woman who starts a yarn shop and starts offering knitting lessons. Several books in, the knit-vs-crochet divide shows up as a plot point.
      The books are written to be read in order, but if you want to jump to it, it’s [SSC goes off to check the internet] Book Six: Summer on Blossom Street.
      That’s the book that made me pick up crochet after a lifetime of failing to get the hang of knitting. And my mother said “Oh, my mother liked crochet not knitting!” Well there you go, I’ve got something in common with Nana.
      Once I got comfortable with one craft, the other came a little more easily. I’m not good at either, but I’m getting a little more even. (In fact, I’m spinning off a swatch question waaaay down at the bottom of today’s post!)

  18. BonzaSonza*

    I had to say goodbye to my dog yesterday, and it was so hard. He was just short of his 12th birthday, which is pretty good innings for a dalmatian. His name was Jasper.

    He was the best dog for our family. He was our baby, then took the addition of three actual babies in his stride. He tolerated them climbing all over him, cleaned up under their high chairs and loved playing hide-and-seek.

    But he was always my shadow. Always at my side: laying on my feet under my work desk, sleeping beside my beside, and even squeezing his way into the bathroom if given half the chance. He was patient, loving, affectionate, slightly neurotic, so very handsome, and just an all-round good boy.

    I went grocery shopping today, thinking it would be good to get out of the house, and I saw black and white polka dots everywhere. Disney’s 101 Dalmatians was for sale in aisle 8. There was a funny father’s day card with dalmatians on it. I started crying again in the dog food aisle.

    So I was hoping people might like to share funny or heart-warming anecdotes about their beloved pets? I’d love to hear them, and celebrate how good pets are (even when it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye)

    1. Jaid*

      My Bella…I had to let her go recently, so I feel for you.

      She loved cream cheese and beg for a dollop by winding around my legs when I was prepping her meals. She knew when it was time for me to go to bed and meow. And when I cradled her like a baby and pet her head, she would gently hold onto my arm. She also enjoyed being put in a box and carried around on my head – super tall and she could look down at everything!

      Ah, so quiet now.

    2. Hotdog not dog*

      I’m so sorry for your loss! We have an adopted Husky who is absolutely the light of our lives. He is in fact responsible for my getting out of bed at 5:30 am on a Saturday. He howled to go outside (he’s an old man dog, so sometimes he can’t wait) but then the second I got out of bed to take him out he leapt into my warm spot and fell sound asleep. He’s still there, and here I am!

      1. Lena Clare*

        Ah that’s really funny, and so cute :)

        OP, my condolences. Pets are beautiful and heartbreaking.

    3. Lena Clare*

      My kitties were feral when I got them at 5 wks old. The girl would meow at me when her younger brother would start to toilet outside the litter box so I’d know to pick him up and put him in before he had an accident.
      She’d also sleep in front of him in the box they had, to protect him as he was weaker and iller than her.

      They’re old now, but still realky funny in their personalities.
      He is more adventurous, but hates the rain. He’ll come in and meow at me VOCIFEROUSLY when it’s raining as if I can do something about it.
      She’ll go out to sunbathe when it’s hot, except she has white ears and every time I put lotion on she’ll run back inside so i hate to spoil her fun.
      She’s a bit like a meercat, she’ll stand on her hind legs and meow for pets.

      They’re gorgeous and cuddly and I love them. I can’t imagine life without them. My heart breaks for you OP.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Aw, I’m so sorry.

      We were just talking last night about the last few months we had my husband’s old man cat, the Sir, which overlapped with the first few months after we brought home my younger dog, the Junior Ambassador, as an 8 week puppy. Her first morning in the house, he came up to us where I was sitting on the floor with her in my lap and inspected her from ears to tail, then mewed once and patted her gently on the shoulder with one of his paws three times before he wandered away. In my head, that was “ok, I suppose you can stay.”

      My Elder Statesdog (who is going on 13 now) really likes cats. At one point I heard a weird thumping noise and looked up to see that she had cornered the one eyed pirate cat and was basically bonking the cat over the head with her front paw, looking for all the world like she was trying to pet the cat (who just looked very confused, but wasn’t trying to leave or anything).

      Junior Ambassador is a little tricksy – if the Elder Statesdog has a bone or toy that she wants, she’ll run to the back door and bark bark like there’s something huge going on outside. When Elder Statesdog comes to see, Junior Ambassador will run back and grab the bone. She tries it on people with food too and gets visibly pouty when it doesn’t work.

      Both dogs have trained my husband that when they come in from outside they get baby carrots. So this leads to, once he gets home from work, them asking him to let them out, then like thirty seconds later they come back in, run straight to the fridge, and sit pretty (in a queue no less), repeated like every ten minutes for the next three hours. (They do not do this with me or when he’s not home. :-P they also don’t get carrots *every* time when they do this. That wouldn’t be super healthy and that would be a TOOOOON of baby carrots in my grocery budget. :-P )

      Also, I adopted Elder Statesdog from a friend when she was four because he was moving overseas in a last ditch attempt to save his failing marriage. It did not work and friend came back. I told him he couldn’t have my dog back, but he could crash for a month or two while he sorted himself out and finalized his divorce. He never left and we got married in 2017. We joke that he married me for my dog. :)

    5. Thankful for AAM*

      I am so sorry! It is very hard and he sounds like a wonderful boi!

      Our family dog (husband and I and son when he was home) is the first dog for my husband. He went from very uncertain about dogs (raised in a country where they were not really pets) to carrying our 20 pound pupper like a baby belly to belly. Honestly, it does not look that comfy for the dog and he does not let anyonr else hold him that way but its their thing.

    6. beancat*

      I’m so sorry. Sending you and yours all the warmth during this time.

      For heartwarming…this week, I discovered that my “stimky boy” rescue (he doesn’t actually stink, he’s just a stinker) who didn’t like being picked up now follows me in the mornings and cries until I pick him up. Then he purrs and lets me rock him and it means so much to me that he wants it!

    7. sswj*

      Oh BonzaSonza, I am so sorry. I know that pain well, I surround myself with animals and their lives are just so short. It utterly sucks too that the best thing we can do for them hurts like hell :( My family is ever-changing, and it’s wonderful but heartbreaking too. I truly feel for you, and I totally get the crying in the pet food aisle …

      I had a Dal too, years ago now. She was a liver spotted girl with blue eyes, and she was deaf from birth. A friend at the time worked at a vet school’s clinic, and she came to the barn where I taught and kept my horse bringing a cute Dalmatian boy puppy, saying that he’d been surrendered for euthanasia because he was deaf. She was fostering him and looking for a home for him. I said he was adorable, and what an interesting challenge for training (I do obedience trials with my dogs) but that I got along better with females. My friend appeared at my door the next day with another puppy, and said “Rico has a sister!” LOL! Well of course I was smitten, and that was that.

      Tess was a great dog, and a fun challenge to train. She was actually pretty easy because she kept her eyes on me always, and because I had a Lab that I was doing obedience work with. Tess would follow Breeze everywhere, and when I used a hand signal for ‘come’ they both would gallop towards me. She was quick to learn, and oh so sweet always. Deaf dogs had a bad rap then for being testy and snappish. Not true at all, at least for Tess, she loved everyone, but I was definitely her person.

      She was the noisiest dog I’ve ever had though. She barked at everything, and if I wasn’t in her line of sight there was no way for me to tell her to hush. She barked if anything startled her, or looked interesting, or there was movement out of the corner of her eye. Turn a light on, she barked. Cats run by playing, she barked. Drop something on the floor heavy enough for her to feel it, and she’d bark. She had no idea mostly what she was barking about, but she just couldn’t help herself!

      My favorite memory of her though is in the car. She’d always stand behind the driver’s seat and rest her chin on the driver’s shoulder while watching the world go by. She liked my husband’s shoulder better (height & width?) but she’d do it to me too. I spent a lot of years trying to get short spiky Dal hair out of the right shoulder of jackets, and out of the headrest in the car!

      It is an honor to be loved by an animal, and that thought has gotten me through some very tough losses. I’m glad Jasper had you to love.

      1. sswj*

        Oh, and one more funny thing!

        I can’t tell you how many times people would watch me call her to me from a distance with a hand signal, Tess come to me at a run, and then sit with a hand signal, and then say “Wow, she does really well for being blind!” LOL! I guess because her blue eyes were so striking and you can’t see deafness they just picked the difference they could see? Too funny though …

    8. Sleepy time*

      When my dog was a puppy, she loved to chew on shoes and socks. We learned to put our shoes in the closets and she stopped bothering with Socks. But now when she wants attention, she will come running into the room with a sock in her mouth and then spit the sock at me. It is her way of saying “I’m not kidding play with me now”. We call her our little sock monster.

    9. nep*

      So sorry for your loss, BonzaSonza. Sending you love. I hope you’ll let yourself cry and grieve and heal.

    10. BonzaSonza*

      Thank you everyone for sharing your stories, I really appreciate it.

      I thought of my own funny anecdote. Jasper loved tricks. He could beg in the most classic pose perfectly, plus the usual sit, shake, roll over, play dead tricks. But his favourite was fetching my slippers: I’d come home and ask him for my slippers, he’d bound down to the bedroom, grab them and come bounding back and drop them for me, and I’d play with him.

      Over time it morphed into him grabbing a shoe and dropping it at the feet of whomever he wanted a pat from. Visitors to our house would be greeted by a loud dog who would turn and run away from them, only to reappear with a random shoe that he’d drop expectantly at their feet. They’d stare bemusedly at the shoe while patting Jasper, who was obviously very proud of himself.

      Getting ready in the mornings was always a scramble to find a matching pair of shoes, any shoes. He never, ever chewed them, he just liked to carry them around with him, just in case.

    11. MistOrMister*

      So sorry for your loss. My childhood german shepard died just shy of 13 and even though logically I knew it was coming, it hurt more than I could ever have imagined. He was so spoiled! He wasn’t allowed on the couch but when my parents weren’t around i let him have couch time, I’d make extra when I was eating so he could have some too, etc.

      My mom’s late dog – she was the laziest thing I’ve ever seen. Even as a puppy. I was walking her through the neighborhood when she was young and supposed to be full of energy and she just flopped over on someone’s yard and refused to move. I had to drag her to the concrete (if you dragged her right to the edge of the grass, she would get up and walk again). Some poor lady comes rushing out asking if we’re ok and I said she’s fine, just LAZY. Ha!

      My current cats – I was flopping around on a mattress noisily to see how they would react. My girl left but the boy stayed. I reached out and petted him and apparently he was totally spooked. Jumped up and over and ended up a few feet away looking confused. I about died laughing while I apologized. Also, one day I was reading and heard weird noise in the other room. I go look and he has jumped up and tangled himself in the blinds with his back feet scrabbling madly for purchase. After I sprinted in and saved him I realized it was hilarious and started laughing. Said blinds are now raised at all time so we have no more mishaps.

    12. Leap Day Highway*

      I’m so sorry about Jasper! He sounds like such a good boy.

      We don’t have any permanent dogs, but we’ve had five different foster dogs since the pandemic started. The first one was an 8-year-old American bulldog named Chester. He had the personality of a sweet, grouchy old man and was more of a roommate than a pet – he did his own thing and even slept in the bed in our spare room, like a person. He snored like a freight train and “talked” like Scooby Doo when he got excited. We absolutely would’ve kept him, except our house has too many stairs for his arthritic legs. He got adopted by a young single guy (whose apartment building has an elevator) and is now living his best life watching TV and eating popcorn on the couch.

    13. theAcademicBeanMovesOn*

      I’m so sorry, we had to let our girl go on monday and it hurts so much.

      my little peanut was 15, she loved coffee and would always try to steal a sip if we had step to away from the mugs. But one time i had made some tea and she jumped on the couch, took a sip and made the most disgusted face. she never tried to steal coffee again .

    14. NoLongerYoung*

      I am so sorry, and my heart goes out to you. My girl was 12, and it seemed too young. She was a wonderful walker, who stepped up the pace to multiple times a day while I was dealing with grief, and seemed to know that I needed to just keep walking while I dealt. She walked more the last 8 months of her life than the previous 3 years. I credit a lot of my initial coping and recovery with her positive, joyful bounce as she gleefully walked and wanted “just a little more” each time. Miss her.

    15. Books and cats*

      I am sorry for your loss. We’ve had 3 Shelties, they all looked like miniature Lassies.
      Candy “learned to spell”. She hated baths and would hide if she heard her name and bath together. So we started spelling bath, after the second time she started hiding! She loved my dad and would get in his car and refuse to get out when he visited. She’d hide behind him at his farm when it was time to go home.
      Scamp was in the pasture on lovely spring day and rolled in fresh cow manure! Now, in the early spring when cows eat fresh, new grass, the result is manure that is tinted green. Yes, his white mane was stained grass green for two weeks! My son and husband went deer hunting and my one job was to keep Scamp home. I took him out the back door, around the side of the house he went and was gone before I made the corner. Half an hour later I get a picture from hubby. There’s Scamp asleep on the floor in front of the heater in the stand. Where he remained the rest of the day.

    16. Not So NewReader*

      When I lost The Dog of My Life, I prayed/wished/threw out to the universe for a dog that would not remind me of my old dog.
      And the universe roared in laughter as it said, “Okay, sure thing.”

      I came home with a husky mix. The first 24 hours were sooo very normal. And that was over for the next two years.

      The dog could open locked doors, he took off his collar and left it on the floor, he opened cupboards and took everything out. He talked non-stop. All his words began with W. He had a knack for saying “Wi Wove Wu” (I love you) or “wuck wu” (I think you can figure that out) at the worst times possible.. such as phone interviews. He picked pockets and he was good at it. He could get candy out of your pocket and you would not even know. He picked up a $20 bill and ate it. He quickly figured out to rummage through my purse and tote bag to find snacks like apples. And every time he came in from outside he would bring me a pebble. My list goes on, I had to sleep with one eye open.

      He’s eleven years old now. I no longer worry about him tearing down my house while I sleep. I did get him some stuff for calming, which slowed down all these stories but every so often I see my precocious pup that I brought home years ago. A few weeks ago we were over at the neighbors. I guess he never noticed welcome mats before because as we were visiting I noticed he was staring at her welcome mat. He took one nail and used it to pick up the corner of the welcome mat to see what was underneath it. We all laughed.
      He has never learned all the proper dog commands. He can’t do “sit” or “stay”. But he will do “Go to the window and let me know when [company] gets here.”

      Just as my old dog showed me things and taught me, this dog has taught me so much and given me so much. They are all so different one to the other.

    17. ThePear8*

      I’m so sorry for your loss, losing a pet is definitely tough. I definitely understand seeing the polka dots everywhere, my first dog was a golden retriever and after he passed I wanted to cry at every single pet product ad because they all seem to be golden retrievers.

      Right now though I have two happy and healthy puppers! Our mini goldendoodle lives with my dad and is the cutest sweetest thing, he especially loves to play tennis and his favorite thing is to go to the tennis courts at the local park and chase tennis balls. After I moved for college we adopted the English Mastiff puppy we’ve been wanting for over a decade and he’s the biggest, mushy-wrinkly-drooly-faced bundle of love we could have asked for. From the couple times our goldendoodle visited, he’s become a tennis dog too!

    18. Ali G*

      My stinker just plopped down next to me! My old man dog currently has heart and kidney issues, but is hanging in there. He’s 13-14 years old and has been with me for almost 12 years. There were times when he may have been the only living thing I interacted with during a weekend.
      Anyway something new he has been doing, which we find hilarious, is that he gets really happy and goofy after he poops. Literally jumping up and down, running around the yard, jumping on and off the couch and zoomies. It’s super silly.
      I’m sorry for your loss. Jasper is always with you.

    19. Pippa K*

      Oh, I’m so sorry about your dog. He sounds wonderful.

      I love your idea of sharing anecdotes – it’s a great reminder that we all sympathise together about the grief of losing one. Here are a couple of mine:

      Had a huge Labrador who was the biggest chow hound ever to walk the Earth. She once ate a bag of pancake mix. And a whole pie. And a bag of Hershey’s kisses (which apparently don’t have enough real chocolate to hurt a big dog, but which did make her poop sparkly). She once dragged a five-pound bag of flour off the kitchen counter and into the living room and ripped it open (the contents were apparently disappointing; she didn’t eat much of it, thankfully). There were flour paw prints all over the house.

      I also had a hound dog who was…somewhat intellectually limited, although sweet. One day I walked into the kitchen to find all 70 pounds of him standing in the middle of the kitchen table. He wasn’t doing anything, just standing there. He had pushed out a chair to climb up. He never did it again – apparently once was enough to satisfy the urge to survey the kitchen from that height.

      Our current 3 are starting to get older, and I know how this story inevitably ends, but we wouldn’t give up life with dogs for the world. My condolences to you.

    20. Seeking Second Childhood*

      My cocker spaniel hated Vick’s Vapor Rub. (Mom’s first line of defense for a bad cold.)
      If mom or I opened the jar with her in the room, my pup would creep to it growling, then go into a one-sided skirmish with it, barking and jumping away and coming back growling again. Repeat until we put the lid on. Then she’d prance around like she’d done something heroic.
      She didn’t shun us when WE were wearing it, by the way, like I’d expect if the scent hurt her nose.

    21. Windchime*

      It’s been a few years now, but I had to say goodbye to my old 19 year old cat. I had that cat longer than I was married, so he was the longest relationship I’d ever had. He was so funny and curious. He always wanted to be in the middle of any project and he loved my dad (who is not a cat lover). If Dad came over to do a project, kitty would want to be right in the middle of it. He would explore the tool box or any open drawers.

      He also once stole a cigarette out of my sister’s purse. He loved getting into any kind of purse or bag and exploring the contents. I miss him still sometimes, but enough time has passed that my memories make me smile and the sadness is in the background.

    22. B*

      I’m so sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose a beloved pet.
      My Bassett hound, Audrey, was the best bad dog. I had to get a child safety lock for the fridge because she would nose it open and clear out the bottom shelf. She once climbed my desk (floor to chair to main desk to reach top shelf) to retrieve a mixed bag of mini snickers and rolos. She ate all the rolos but couldn’t get through the mini snicker wrappers so she ‘buried’ them all over the house.
      Once we were sitting on the couch and I was eating carrots and pb. She got tired of waiting and started staring over my shoulder at the wall. I turned my head away to look and she ate my carrot.
      If people were over in the evening she would start to sigh and groan at bedtime.

    23. londonedit*

      I am so late posting, but I hope you come back and read these lovely anecdotes again, and I’m so sorry about your dog. My family has only ever had one dog, and he was also a Dalmatian. He died 10 years ago at the grand old age of 14 and a half. Everything you said about your Jasper rang true with me – our dog was just the best. He knew a million different words and phrases, but he’d ignore the heck out of you if you were trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to do. He was kind and patient, he would always do the Dalmatian ‘smile’ and mad tail-wagging when he saw someone he loved, and he had a basket full of toys and would be beside himself wiggling around trying to pick out the perfect one for whoever had just come home. Even after a decade without him, my family all still miss him and we talk about him all the time, remembering the silly things he used to do!

  19. beancat*

    Share something you’re proud of this week!

    I’ve been waiting eagerly all week to share with you all that I finished my manga!! It’s finished and been submitted to the contest! :)

    I’ll share the link in a reply if anyone is interested!

      1. The New Wanderer*

        That’s awesome! I’m going to show my daughter for inspiration (she loves graphic novels and writing stories). She gets frustrated if she doesn’t finish something in a ridiculously short period of time so I can tell her about how much work you put into this and give her an idea of the effort it takes. Thanks for sharing!

        1. beancat*

          This means so much to me to hear! I hope it can inspire her :) there were times that I thought I might not make it, or got frustrated it wasn’t going as quickly as I wanted, but it felt so sweet when I ultimately pulled it off!

    1. Laura H.*


      Um… we survived a week without my mom (who went on a solo vacation to see a friend out of state for a week.)

      My dad has some newish conditions and some quirks manifested while mom was away. Staying up later than usual and in bed longer than usual the primary ones. They admittedly annoyed me just a bit…

      But I didn’t bite his head off and the week was pleasant and mom is back in our box and all is good.

      And On a lesser note my plotbunnies are having a population boom!

      1. beancat*

        I’m glad the time without your mom went as smoothly as it could, and good luck with your bountiful plotbunnies! I always loved that term :)

    2. Purt’s Peas*

      Congrats!!!! That is a huge achievement! No matter what happens with the contest, you should feel incredibly proud of taking that idea and ambition through every grueling stage of work to make it a reality. That’s a hell of a thing. Plus I bet the result is awesome :)

      1. beancat*

        Thank you so much!!! Honestly, all along I’ve never known if I would place in the contest and I was perfectly okay with that. This was to see if I could do it, after a lot of my family telling me when I was younger that my art (and particularly Shonen Jump) was a waste of a time.

        I just kept thinking of Kermit’s quote from The Muppet Movie: “I guess I was wrong when I said I never promised anybody. …I promised me.” I promised myself I would do it, and I finished :)

    3. Emily*

      Yaaaayyyy!!! That’s awesome, beancat! Whether or not you win the contest, it’s super cool that you saw this opportunity and actually went for it – bringing a big artistic project to completion is a lot of work!

    4. Nicki Name*

      Wow, congratulations!

      I’m proud of finishing up a difficult and very high-profile work task heading into the weekend, which I won’t elaborate on because not the work thread.

      1. beancat*

        Thank you! And congrats on finishing your task! Enjoy some well earned relaxation this weekend if you can :)

    5. OyHiOh*

      Packing up to head back home next weekend. It’s a lot. I’ve been here (spent COVID summer with parents) for six months and apparently I lived well and enthusiastically because I swear I’m packing double what I brought. Children are staying with grandparents for a few weeks longer while I settle our home and get new job off on the right foot so also navigating all their fears, anxieties, etc. They’ll be fine and are well loved and comfortable here so it’ll work out but the anticipation is killing us.

      Putting it here because this was my goal:. Heading back home with a job “by the end of August.” Within two weeks is pretty good!

        1. Not So NewReader*

          Congrats, you guys! Everyone deserves to have things work out well for them. It’s nice to see it happening.

    6. Seeking Second Childhood*

      This weekend I challenged my high school kid to cook dinner. Parents had OT work weeks, (remote) school hasn’t kicked into high gear yet, and the fridge had easy stuff.
      Forget easy, she served up sautéed meat & veggies (squash & herbs from our garden), steamed rice, and a cake for dinner.
      Bonus– She called her grandmother in the nursing home and they talked through the entire prep time.
      The kitchen was not left total chaos either, she mostly cleaned as she went so dad&I had an easy time with day-end cleanup.
      She’s definitely going to be a better cook than I am.

  20. mreasy*

    Does anyone have a very small cat? I have an almost-grown kitten (10 months), and she seems to be plateauing in size at six-and-a-half pounds. She did have some digestive and immune issues at an early age that she’s still working through, so maybe that could have inhibited her growth? Anyways, it’s mostly funny because my other cat is a giant, but does anyone have experience with adult cats who are just teeny?

    1. sswj*

      Yep, I have a couple and have had a few over the years. She will probably bulk up a bit as she ages, especially if her systemic issues get resolved, but some cats are just teeny :) At least it makes litter box duty a smidge better! (Oooh, maybe not if she has digestive difficulties … :x )

      Yay for kitties!

    2. Valancy Snaith*

      We used to have a cat who was fully-grown and went between eight-and-a-half and nine pounds for her adult life. Her sister, who is still with us, is about nine, and the vet has always described them just as “petite.” I think yours would qualify as “extra petite!” Anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if yours continues to grow a little bit more until she’s even closer to 2, mine just seemed to grow awfully slowly for some reason until they reached their full adult size.

      Also my tiny tortie cat who’s gone now was the absolute loudest cat I’ve ever known. Her voice echoed all throughout the house. If she was upset, everyone else was going to be upset with her, by God, because she wanted to make her complaints KNOWN.

      1. mreasy*

        YES! I had a tortie of about the same size who was the sweetest (she lived to be 18, I was so lucky), and she was also the loudest cat I’ve ever known. She was particularly troubled whenever she walked into a room where no people were, and she would yell about it. Agreed, cats are the best! Having one tiny and one giant is particularly fun when the small one thinks she’ll win in a fight with the big one…and the big one insists on being the small spoon every time they cuddle.

        1. Valancy Snaith*

          Oh, God, our cat used to do that. She’d go from the living room, where my husband and I and her sister were all sitting peacefully, go upstairs where there was no one, and just scream because she was all alone up there. So we’d yell “we’re down here!” and she’d come back down like nothing ever happened. She was so weird, I miss her. I don’t miss the decibel level.

      2. pancakes*

        I have a calico Scottish fold who’s approx. 9 lbs. and she’s loud too. Not often, but when she wants to talk to us about something she really makes herself heard! When I think about her size and her ability to communicate I’m always amazed — a 9 lb. creature with a brain maybe the size of a walnut (?) is an effective lobbyist for treats, let us know she prefers filtered water, and has trained me to make the bed daily so she can crawl under the duvet around 11 am daily.

      3. mlem*

        I have a grey cat (with buff undertones, really pretty) who is small, maybe 8 pounds if I’m lucky. And I’m certain she has to have Siamese-cat heritage somewhere in her tree because boy howdy is she LOUD.

      4. Clisby*

        My daughter’s tortoiseshell does that. She WAILS if anything isn’t going her way. Breakfast not on time? Pest control guy entered the apartment? Not enough attention? Lucky for her she’s beautiful.

      5. Oldbiddy*

        My two fluffy female tabbies have both been small, even though one looked and acted like a Maine Coon and the other is more like a Norwegian Forest Cat. The older one was about 7.5 lbs and just had a very delicate frame, although she was of average length. She was slim but didn’t seem scrawny. She was one of a litter of 9 to a big male fluffy cat and a tiny female cat, so I assumed that it was some combination of genetics and maybe not getting enough nourishment when she was young. My current one is very long but only 9 lbs and kind of bony. It’s hard to keep weight on her, but this is largely due to my chowhound tortie who eats everything.
        Both of them were/are very loud.

    3. Lena Clare*

      Yes mine are small. Adults (aged 8) and both weigh under 8 lbs. You just have a tiny cat, that’s cute :)

    4. Helvetica*

      My cat is 7 yrs and she’s maybe 7.5-8 pounds approximately. People frequently think she is much younger than she is. I did take her from a shelter and she had been found on the street so maybe it stunted her growth a bit. But I haven’t noticed any issues from it – she is light as a feather when picked up but she eats well, is very playful and just doesn’t gain any weight. I think that’s easier than having a cat who you’d need to put on a diet.

    5. SmallCatMom*

      We adopted a tiny senior cat from the shelter after his owner died. He was the absolute best lap cat and he just loved being hauled around like a football and slung over shoulders. Wasn’t more than 6lbs soaking wet. He unfortunately passed earlier this year at age 15 due to kidney failure (thanks 2020). He had no ongoing medical issues other than a food allergy that developed in his last year or so that caused him to lick some fur off.

      Sorry I can’t give more info about what might have happened earlier in his life, but he had the one owner for 11 years and his given name was Mr. Runt (which we changed!) so we just assume he was born the runt of the litter. We also guess he needed special handling to be fed/cared for at a young age since he was extremely comfortable around people – the minute we opened his cage at home, he walked on our laps – and didn’t care to socialize with other cats. He was clearly dominant over our other cat who was literally 3x his weight (swiped a snack right in front of him), and you’re right that it’s hilarious to see the size difference. I miss that little buddy. Enjoy your smallcat!

    6. Generic Name*

      My tiny calico is about 8 pounds. She is minuscule, especially compared to her (not actual) brother who is 11 pounds. Both cats are 3, so they’re probably done growing. She was so tiny as a kitten we had to wait a few months for her to be able to get a rabies vaccine. In my cats case, I think she was taken from her mother too early. As a rescue, who knows what happened. She is such a great cat. The vet and techs fawn all over her when she gets her check ups

    7. Cat Lady*

      Yes, but not mine. One belongs to a friend, and she’s a teeny mama! They live in the country and have several outdoor cats. She (about 6-7 lbs) and the other female usually have kittens within a week of each other, and they get along so well that they don’t really care which kittens they are feeding after a couple of weeks. She’s very outgoing and her mission is always to get into the house, whether she has kittens in there or not (the only time she is allowed in the house!) The other is my neighbour’s, and it’s a boy. He is a very shy boy, and it’s taken a while for him to get comfortable with me, but now he’s really lovey-dovey and comes a-runnin’ when he sees me outside. His brother is a big lump of a thing but equally sweet, however I prefer picking up the smaller cat because he’s much lighter (maybe 7-8 lbs)!

    8. Paralegal Part Deux*

      My cat Sassy, before she passed away in April 2020, was a whopping 7 lbs as an adult. She was just tiny, even as a kitten. She was still queen of the roost, though, and she let everybody know it, too. I was able to free range feed her and never had an issue with weight or her health.

    9. fposte*

      Some breeds and some cats are just small. I know some wee Russian Blues who didn’t make 6 pounds until well over a year and will never exceed 7.

      1. Belle*

        +1 our Russian Blue is 5 years old now and he is still just barely 7 pounds. Our vet said he is healthy, just small.

    10. Summersun*

      I had a purebred chocolate-point Birman who was barely 7 pounds her whole life, but her fur made her look gigantic. People who met her for the first time were enchanted by her crazy floof (she was truly stunning, her registered name was “Beauty”) and would always bobble when picking her up because they expected her to weigh a lot more. My dad joked that he nearly threw her through the ceiling the first time he held her. She was surrendered to a shelter when her cattery owner died, and I tried to find her lineage and adopt some of her babies, but had no luck.

      I urge you to keep a very close eye on your tiny cat’s weight as she gets older. Buy a VERY sensitive scale (rounding to half-pounds, like for human weight, is not good enough). I didn’t realize Beauty was drastically losing weight because the ratios are so different at that size, and her huge fur hid it as well. If I’d caught it sooner, we could have managed her kidney failure better, and had more time with her. Everything is harder when they have so little weight to lose (water consumption, medication dosing, needle size, etc.).

    11. The New Wanderer*

      My brother had a cat that looked like a large tabby squirrel – she weighed only 7-8 lbs but had super long fluffy fur and a giant plume of a tail. I don’t think she ever had any medical issues and lived for 16 or so years.

      Of my two cats, one seems like a little guy but weighs a surprising 11 lbs – compared to his buddy at 17 lbs he’s small!

    12. RC Rascal*

      This spring I adopted an adult calico who was 6 lbs. She had lost some weight in the pound and is now 7.5lbs. It’s quite a change as my old cat was a giant; between 20-22 lbs most of his adult life and tall to boot. What I am finding is that I have to watch her carefully because she will wedge herself into odd and silly places and I can’t get her out. Old cat never did stupid stuff like that; he didn’t fit, he knew it, and was more dog like in that way.

    13. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Yep. My new cat is around 6.5-7 pounds and she’s 10/12 years old. My parents have a similar size cat. Honestly, they’re cats, just much smaller. They can get into slightly smaller spaces than the 12 pound cats, but cats are liquid anyway so it’s not a significant difference. And the “large” size litter boxes at the stores are closer to appropriate size for them.

      At 10 months, yours isn’t fully grown, though is getting close to full size. Filling out will still be happening for sure.

    14. C Average*

      My patched tabby, Mitzy, is always in the 7 – 8 pound range, and she’s about 12. She isn’t very food-motivated, and she’s small-boned. She’s very healthy, though, and has plenty of energy and affection.

      She has the loudest purr I’ve ever heard. Small cat, huge purr. We call her the Purricane.

    15. Dancing Otter*

      Seven pounds is a pretty normal size for a female DSH, though of course some breeds are much larger, like Maine Coons or Norwegies. She could well have some growth yet. Ten months is still the equivalent of a teenager.
      Your larger cat isn’t eating more than his fair share of the food, is he?

      1. WS*

        I had a fully-grown 5 pound Tonkinese cat. His sister was slightly larger, so they looked like normal cats to me, but my next cat, also Tonkinese, was an enormous skinny noodle of a boy at 14 pounds, so that gave me some perspective!

      2. mreasy*

        She eats a TON. I separate them for meals because if I don’t, she’ll eat his food! So maybe just a little gal with some growing left.

    16. PNW Dweller*

      My sweet Chloe was a very small cat. Her smallness didn’t affect her health. But she did play up the smallness. She affected a kitten voice (unless she was upset). One time when I was on vacation, she was staying at my parent’s house and got very upset about something. She used her ‘adult’ voice to get my stepmom’s attention and as she followed her downstairs to see what the fuss was and commented on the voice change. Caught out, Chloe went back to her kitten voice.

    17. Square Root of Minus One*

      My cat (6 years old) is about 7.5-8 pounds, and my mom’s cat (about 3 years old) is even smaller.
      According to the vet mine is in amazing health, and mom’s cat is nowhere near skinny, more like the athletic kind. No worries there.

    18. frystavirki*

      My aunt’s previous cat, who I did not realize was super tiny when I was a child, was 4 pounds flat. She lived to the ripe old age of 21 and made up for being super tiny by being super, super loud. Like you could hear her the second you walked up to the front door. Mitty was a good egg.

    19. Windchime*

      My mom used to have a little bobtail calico cat who was between 4 and 5 pounds. She was 100% cat; loved to hunt and bring dead birds and mice into the house. She was perfectly normal and friendly and cat-like; she was just very tiny. Her name was Chelsea. :)

  21. TechWorker*

    Lots of cat talk today which I’m adding to :p

    I have 4 month old kittens where the girl was neutered this week (or is it spayed? I always forget). She’s normally the instigator of play/play fighting and post-op has been more subdued. Now though she’s getting a bit more active but vet wants her to be kept relatively quiet for about another week (!).

    Anyone have recommendations on how to keep a kitten entertained without encouraging running/jumping etc? Also a bit worried the other one is going to get bored because they’re always together and if I play with him she comes running! (I was meant to separate them after the op for a few days but ended up not doing so because they’ve never been apart and he’s so gentle anyway. If you leave her in a room by herself she cries until let out and I didn’t want to stress her… maybe that makes me a bad cat parent but her stitches are totally fine according to post op check-up).

    1. TechWorker*

      (Fun story: she was licking at the wound and running in circles on the first day trying to get to it, so I went to the later opening branch of our vet to get a pet t-shirt, they guessed at the size based on weight & was comedically large. I then went to a different, 24hr vet who put her in one 2 sizes down from the first. I was relieved at it being sorted… but she got herself out of it in the carrier on the 20min drive home. I gave up at that point :p)

      1. mlem*

        I can’t help you with discouraging activity, but my small-but-adult cat recently had surgery to remove an abdominal growth. (Just weird, it turned out, not cancerous.) The cone FREAKED HER OUT, so I tried various t-shirt options. The internet will tell you an inverted infant onesie with a head-hole cut out works; it *can*, but it takes a lot of trial and error, and my cat isn’t kitten-sized for all that she’s only about 8 pounds, so I don’t know how feasible it would be for you..

        What eventually worked for me was putting her in something called a “bunny jacket”, which is basically a velcro-sealed harness meant for actual pet rabbits, and then covering her back half with an inverted baby onesie, and then safety-pinning the two snugly together. That’s the one combination she never managed to get herself out of for her couple of weeks. (The actual small-dog harness was too big for her, so it wasn’t as effective.)

        1. TechWorker*

          Good to know! The vet who put it on described her as being ‘melodramatic’ which is 100% true lol in the t-shirt she was basically playing dead – clearly not happy about it. I *think* she’s ok this time around, but I will bear that option in mind if either of them need surgery in future!

    2. Forensic13*

      Have you seen those “tower of tracks” cat toys? They’re a stack of 3 or so tracks with small plastic balls stuck inside them. My kittens love it and tend to just lie and bat at the balls, though sometimes they do chase them somewhat. It’s cheap, too!

    3. That Girl from Quinn's House*

      I adopted my cat the day after her kitten spay. They gave us strict instructions to keep her from jumping around for 7-10 days, except…try explaining that to a kitten. She spent the 7-10 days doing parkour off everything. I couldn’t even restrict her to the bathroom because she’d jump from floor to tub to toilet to sink. I took her to the vet for her checkup and she scaled the shelves in the exam room and 12 feet off the floor.

      I gave up. I figured if jumping like a lunatic hurt, she wouldn’t do it (this might not be medically true) and just kept an eye on her. She healed fine.

      1. TechWorker*

        Haha I know :) mine is definitely less keen to jump than normal so I would guess still in a bit of pain but she would hate be shut in the bathroom cos it’s tiny and every other room has a windowsill! I’ve compromised by moving out the tall scratching post, not throwing balls down the stairs (usually their favourite game) and letting her play with bits of fabric that don’t have anything metal to get stuck. Hopefully she will heal just fine like yours :)

  22. My Brain Is Exploding*

    Grocery shopping was fun this week as I found many of the items other people mentioned last week that they could not find! So there must be regional differences. Still no crushed pineapple!

    1. nep*

      Not really groceries, but I found a thermometer at a department store yesterday–They were out everywhere for a long time.

        1. Nita*

          Yes! I was shopping for school supplies and there was allll that sanitizer. And I didn’t really need any, but a small part of me kept going “grab a few bottles! What if it disappears again!”

      1. Llama face!*

        I still only have the “mood ring” style of thermometer (it’s a plasticized piece of paper with a temp range strip that changes colour on the bar closest to your current temp when you hold it against your forehead). Still haven’t seen hide nor hair of any regular thermometers in stores nearby.

    2. WellRed*

      My roommates and I agreed to all pick up things like hand soap and cleaning supplies as we find them rather than taking turn. We are not hoarding, but anticipating issues fall/winter and that stuff is still hit or miss, either on Amazon or locally.

      1. Generic Name*

        I’m doing the same thing. Normally when I run out of a thing, I put it on the list and get it next time I go to the store. Now if I see I’m running low-ish, I’ll buy it if I see it at the store. I live in a major metro area, and if you really think about it, it’s pretty astonishing that I could purchase literally anything I could want, when I want, and never worry about not being able to get something. There are plenty of places in the world where that’s never been possible. Even in the US. So it’s been humbling to want something, even something simple like eggs, and not have access to it.

    3. Summersun*

      I have been unable to find lime juice, but there’s plenty of lemon juice. So strange.

      On the plus side, going to no other stores forced me to buy a pair of scissors at the grocery store, and I LOVE them. They easily come apart for the dishwasher, so I can get in there with Bar Keeper’s Friend and scrub away the tarnish/rust spots. (I know I’m late to the party in buying kitchen-specific shears, but I grew up in a cheap “make do” kind of family, so specialized tools are still a luxury in my mind.)

    4. Caterpie*

      I could not find bean sprouts! My store usually carries a name brand and store brand, but did not have either today. I was going to make pad thai this week, but now I suppose I’ll have to find something else to add as a substitute.

      1. Llama face!*

        It’s not quite the same (less crunch) but enoki mushrooms might work in pad thai if you like them. Of course that might also not be easily available depending on your region. I get mine at the neighbourhood asian market.

    5. CTT*

      The weird thing I can’t find now are those starter packets for vinaigrette that are filled with dried herbs. I know that I can easily make it myself and the packets are probably filled with sodium (which is why they’re so good!), but I am just slightly too lazy to start making my own dressing totally from scratch.

    6. Marthooh*

      Canned tomatoes with hot peppers (for use in refried beans, yum). They ran out of the fancy brand weeks ago, then the store brand recently D: D: D:

      But on the other hand there now seems to be a steady supply of beans, which is the main thing.

  23. DominoMama*

    Has anyone here had their thyroid removed? I found out this week that I have thyroid cancer and need to have my thyroid removed. The doctor said it’s a pretty easy procedure and recovery but just wanted to hear if anyone had any personal experience with this.

    1. Felicia*

      I have about 4 years ago!

      The recovery itself was easy and the procedure itself wasn’t bad. The hard part for me was the adjustment to my thyroid meds. They kind of guess your first dose based on your weight and mine was off. I needed two weeks off work to recover from the not having a thyroid part, the surgery part was a piece of cake. My first week back at work I still wasn’t 100%

      Also my parathyroids were stunned or something by the surgery though not permanently damaged which is apparently not uncommon so I had to take a shot lead of calcium for 3 months during which time my hands and face were still kind tingly.

      Dont want to scare you or anything it really wasn’t that bad! Everyone I’ve heard of needed a week off work at least and two isn’t unheard of,but it’s not really because of recovering from the surgery.I felt recovered from the surgery after a day or two. Its more the recovery from/getting used to not having a thyroid. But 4 years later I’m fine, my meds are at the right level (though had to be adjusted recently because I gained the quarantine 15 and they were no longer enough) and my scar is barely noticeable

      1. fposte*

        Ha, same thing just happened to me with dosage—I didn’t put it together with the lockdown weight until reading this.

        1. Felicia*

          Technically the dosage probably needs to be adjusted any time you gain/lose weight especially without a thyroid that can make these adjustments itself I just happen to be very conscious of the constant proximity to my fridge having caused the weight gain haha

    2. No thyroid*

      I had my thyroid out 12 years ago now. Long term, I agree with everyone else that keeping the thyroid levels right is the tricky part-mainly because there is a lag. It takes a couple weeks to see if any given dose is right. When my levels are off, it really effects my emotions and energy level, which is both a good tell and a little annoying.

      In terms of the surgery, it took me a couple days to recover. I didn’t have any complications. But I wasn’t able to talk for a couple hours after surgery, which scared me because I thought my vocal cords were damaged. But it was fine so don’t freak out it that happens to you. Also, if you are feeling nauseous after surgery and they ask if you want anti-nausea meds, take them! Throwing up with you neck cut open isn’t that fun.

      1. DominoMama*

        Thank you all for the insight! I have a friend who is a clinical pharmacist so she told me it can sometimes take awhile to find the right dose of meds. I think the hardest right now is the unknown of how I will feel afterwards! I’m a pretty active person so I am really hopeful I can bounce back quickly!

        1. Felicia*

          This totally reminded me another thing that hurt my throat after surgery was laughing. And bumps on the road the would jostle too much. And yawning. But I forgot all that because the real struggle was the right dose of meds. I went back to my dance class after 3 weeks though my dose actually was still wrong at that time

    3. Fiona*

      I had half my thyroid removed 6 years ago. (My tumor was benign so they only removed half.) It was the one and only surgery I’ve ever had and it went very smoothly with an easy recovery, so your doctor is correct. They gave me prescription painkillers that I never touched – I wasn’t in much pain, it just took a little while to lift my head/neck up without help. The scar is almost invisible; they did an amazing job with that. They didn’t give me very clear instructions on what to do with the bandage/stitches so I think I wore the frayed bandage on my neck way longer than I needed to or should have – I guess that’s the only thing I wish had been different. Sending you all the best for a safe and smooth procedure!

  24. Always a couch potatoo*

    Does anyone have any recommendations for a compact treadmill? I have a small condo so need something smaller and foldable, but I’m not interested in the bells and whistles that come with the “big” treadmills, like WiFi, subscriptions, Bluetooth. I did have a manual treadmill for a while but never used it because it was too hard to keep a steady pace.

    1. The New Wanderer*

      I have a “Performance 400” treadmill that folds up and has done really well for 6+ years. It’s still pretty heavy and I don’t use the fold option much at all because we have the floorspace for it, but it’s solid and the tread action is good both flat and at the max incline and at varying walking/running speeds. I think we bought it through Costco.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I got this one a few years ago and I really like it: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00P6V09AE

      It folds flat enough to roll under a bed IF you put the bed up on slight risers. That was important to me in my space. However, it only rolls vertically, which means you need enough space at the foot of your bed to pull the thing out and set it up. You can’t slide it sideways under a bed to set up next to it.

  25. nep*

    Headache triggers…
    I have experienced almost chronic headache for a long time–pretty much a constant low-grade nausea headache that would sometimes spike. A few weeks back–and it’s impossible to convey how monumental it was–suddenly that feeling was GONE. Gone gone gone. I was a new person. I didn’t take anything special (I don’t use painkillers). There are a few changes I made–in supplements and food as well as habits–so I have no idea what helped, if it was any of that. Or a combination? None of it was done expressly for headache relief. I don’t really care what helped–these are all things I’ll continue to do.
    What’s odd is for a period of a day or two the pain roared back and I thought that was it–the relief was to be short-lived. But I looked at a couple things I’d done differently in those two days, stopped them, and the pain is gone once again.
    I would be really interested to hear what habits or foods/supplements trigger or ease headaches for people. Particularly avocado–does anyone have bad reactions to avocado? (I gather some people are allergic, but I’ve never heard of it as a headache trigger…)

    1. Lena Clare*

      Allergic reactions can inlude headaches, so if you’re allergic to avocados then i guess they could trigger a headache
      Not headaches but migraines for me. Triggers include stress, not enough or too much caffeine (I actually drink a couple of decaff teas and only one decaff coffee per day, but there’s still a bit of caffeine in it, and apparently I’m susceptible to any amount of caffeine), and lack of sleep.
      Sometimes I get a migraine after orange juice, chocolate, or something very sugary. Also if I’m dehydrated it can be a trigger.
      Hormones – ack. I can’t do much about that at the moment.
      Managing stress, being careful about my decaff & food intake, and maintaining sleep hygiene all help.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I have avocado issues, but mine are digestive (it makes me barf), not headache-related.

      Headache habits though – I have found that, while I can sleep with my hair in a bun at home with no problems, if I do so on hotel pillows, it gives me crazy headaches. I can sleep with a bun and NO pillows in a hotel, or pillows and no bun, but both together is a recipe for ouch. I don’t even know why, but it is specific to hotels.

    3. What the What*

      If I do heavy aerobic exercise (with sweating and breathing hard) for at least 45 minutes a day, my chronic migraines are about 75% less frequent and when they do occur, 50% less severe.

      I always hate telling other people with chronic migraines about it though, because the last thing you want to hear when you have a migraine is “Just do hard exercise every single day!!”

      1. Hi there*

        I was having trouble with headaches (not migraines though) months after a concussion in an ice hockey game, and my neurologist recommended half an hour of cardio 4 to 5 times a week. It was amazing how much it helped!

    4. mlem*

      One of my weirder headache triggers is … edible cookie dough. Every time I’ve bought and eaten it, I’ve had a vicious, vicious headache later that day and/or the next day. Correlation is not causation, etc., but I’m not prepared to risk it again.

      I once tried gingko biloba supplements, back in the 90s. By week four, when they were really supposed to be making my memory super-great, I was getting constant headaches. Those eased up when I stopped taking it.

      Chamomile soap makes me just about pass out — not so much a headache as such, but still a weird reaction. I had to sit down in the shower every time I tried to use up that bottle.

      More common ones:
      – Sitting in a chair with a seat that tilts forward. (This is apparently considered an ergonomic benefit! Ugh.)
      – Sitting in a car seat with a headrest that pushes my head forward. (This is ALL OF THEM.)
      – General neck/shoulder tension.
      – Falling asleep without brushing my teeth, which apparently makes me clench or grind them in the night.
      – Hormones.
      – Sinuses.
      – Perfumes.

        1. nep*

          Interesting re ginkgo. I bought some supplements a while back that include ginkgo. There they sit on my shelf, because I have not wanted to venture into ginkgo and risk side effects. I was feeling (adventurous?) when I bought them…or just didn’t really think it through. Waste of money, but I don’t care; especially now that headaches have eased, I’m not taking the chance.

    5. Summersun*

      My triggers include several that people claim are “debunked” so I get (sometimes hostile) pushback on them. They’re real for me, nonetheless. Artificial sweeteners, MSG, nitrates, and alcohol are the big ones.

      Similar to Red Reader, I have tried during my journey with CGM to pineapple my curly hair in a covering at night (headscarf or bonnet) and found it completely intolerable. Having material or elastic pressing against my scalp or neck is guaranteed to wake me up with a terrible throbbing headache. I had to go back to piling my hair on my crown with a jaw clip, which ruins the curls, but gives me pain relief.

      My neuro has told me that I need to give in and take a migraine pill as soon as I feel a headache coming on, instead of trying to tough it out first, because they work more effectively the sooner they’re taken. I have not found that to be the case. I put off taking them because I don’t like the side effects (numb face, tingling hands that lose mobility and dexterity) and I won’t be changing that behavior, because her claim is not correct in my case.

      I also get a certain kind of headache that acts like a cross between a regular one and a migraine, and I can head them off by chugging a can of ice-cold regular formula Coke (that brand and type only). When I feel pressure behind one eye and a slight bit of nausea (but no light or smell sensitivity, like my usual migraines) I immediately run to the garage for the beer fridge and pound a soda. The pain disappears 90% of the time.

      1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        My triptans don’t work well for me if I take them at the first hint of a migraine, either. They will temporarily abort it, and it will just come back later. Often, the first hint won’t progress to anything meriting a triptan for a day or so and will sometimes go away on its own or with an OTC pill like Advil, so when I followed the doctor’s directions I ended up overusing my triptans and triggered a medication overuse headache cycle, which was miserable.

    6. StrikingFalcon*

      Pretty much any food can be a migraine trigger, so I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that food and diet can cause the kind of headache symptoms you describe. Supplements definitely make a difference for my chronic migraines – B2 in particular (400mg) noticeably reduces my migraine days, and I also take magnesium.

      The most effective lifestyle things I’ve tried for my migraines: a regular sleep schedule (same bedtime/wake hours every day), identifying and eliminating specific triggers [like chocolate :( ], a flicker-free monitor, and snacking as needed (long periods without eating = migraine).

    7. KarenTheLibrarian*

      I hope you can figure out what is causing your headaches! Avocados/guac give me severe stomach cramps and diarrhea within an hour or so of eating them, which is sad because I love them! They do no love me back, unfortunately!

    8. Alexandra Lynch*

      I am a migraineur.
      Stay up too late, get up too early. Essentially if my sleep is disrupted, I’ll have a migraine the next day.
      Lots of stress, stress suddenly removed.
      Low-pressure systems, especially fast moving ones, will do it to me every time.
      Exposure to chemicals will trigger a migraine. That was last week. (But hey, the shower door is clean now…)
      Of course, if I don’t get my usual dose of caffeine I get a headache, but that will also often trigger off a migraine.
      I have a fructose intolerance, so white or brown sugar (sucrose cracks into fructose + glucose), honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, and of course high fructose corn syrup make me feel nauseated and give me a headache within about thirty seconds of consumption.

      And I have peripheral vascular disease so I can’t take migraine meds. I structure my life in such a way that if I have to lie down for four hours in the middle of the day I can, because that’s all I’ve got.

    9. Parenthetically*

      I can’t eat avocado — it makes me feel… early pregnant and hungover simultaneously. Just a really yuck feeling.

      Red wine and tequila are major headache triggers for me, and it seems not to have much to do with quantities. Staying hydrated cuts down headaches by probably 75%.

    10. RC Rascal*

      Former coworker had a avocado issue. She claimed it was due to an enzyme deficiency. It used to come up with business travel when we were entertaining; for some reasons customers always wanted Tex Mex or sushi.

    11. Nita*

      I’m not sure, but I think my two main migraine triggers are getting dragged out of bed abruptly, and dental problems. I get a little background headache whenever there’s something off about my bite. Usually not a full-blown migraine, but a couple of years ago all of this came together at once – teeth, hormonal stuff, and early rising – and I had migraines every. single. day for three months. I don’t know how I managed to go to work every day, but I did have to stop driving until it was better.

    12. Not A Girl Boss*

      Honestly, triggers are sooo personal that the best move is a headache journal. There’s some cool new apps out that work well. It’s helped because sometimes my migraines come a few days after the trigger.

      The one thing that has made a huge difference for me is following a ketogenic diet. I went from a migraine a week to 2-4 a year and have sustained that for 3 years! There’s a good kindle book called Keto for Migraine that explains why it works (short version: the same reason ketogenic diets were originally formulated for seizures).

      But my triggers include:
      -sugar alcohols and artificial sweeteners (until I figured this out, keto made my migraines worse)
      -red dye
      -Chinese food. Everyone says that MSG doesn’t cause migraines, so maybe it’s the sodium, who knows
      -Red wine (low tannin wine is less problematic)
      -weather, particularly those foggy drizzly days
      -hormone changes (continuous BC has helped that)
      -soy and flax (potentially related to hormones)
      -strong smells, particularly candles, perfume, and “new car scent”
      -light (I have special flicker free monitors and wear blue light blocking glasses. Flourescent light drives me crazy.
      -blood sugar fluctuations (keto fixed that)

    13. Not So NewReader*

      Before I got into eating whole foods and taking nutrition I had lots and lots of headaches. I would not think of them as migraines but they definitely pulled me down and made me do less.

      I cut out sugar, even watched how much fruit I ate. I did various vitamin B’s and vitamin E. So many things go into blood flow it’s hard to nail down one thing. Calcium and other minerals were helpful.

      Dare I say… Water??? Regular hydration, not just summer time and not just when I happened to think of it every few weeks.
      Paying attention to bowels has been a huge help. Constipation, even minor constipation can go into other problems and we don’t even realize. I also watch congestion, if my nose plugs up from grass, or whatever, I take something sooner rather than later.

      Rest. Stress levels. Chemical cleaners. Perfumes and fragrances. omg. My practicioner said tracing headaches is one of the hardest things to figure out.

      I don’t eat avocados, so I’m not of any help there. I do know that different bodies have different needs. In an opposite example, my husband wanted something with tomatoes at every meal. Well, tomatoes have lycopene which seems to help fight cancer…. which is how he died. I can’t help but wonder if we intuitively eat what we need to protect our bodies. With that said, my guess is that there is something in avocados that your body does not need more of. Perhaps when you get too much of x thing, you get a headache. I tend to believe that if a being does not do well with a whole food, that is cause enough to avoid the whole food.

      Over the years, I have had questions like this answered in my own health concerns. So probably that is what will happen to you, as you go along the answer here will become clearer. But yeah, I was surprised to see that even in eating whole foods, there is still stuff that can make us feel yukky.

    14. Anon for this*

      Magnesium is a well documented preventative supplement for migraines, if anyone is looking for a preventative treatment.

    15. Chaordic One*

      In addition to caffeine (too much or not enough), dark chocolate, foods high in nitrates, skipping meals, not getting enough sleep, stress, smoking (I stopped quite some time ago and have had noticeably fewer headaches since then), air pollution (I used to live in L.A. and if I had to be somewhere where there was a lot of traffic it could set me off). Also barometric pressure, like when the sky is full of heavy clouds before a big rain or snow storm. Sometimes I’ll wake up with one only to find that while I was sleeping a low pressure area has moved in.

      Sometimes what starts out as a sinus headache can turn into a migraine. For me the worst trigger for a sinus headache is caused by, in the summer, having to move between air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned spaces. If I can just stay put in one or the other, I’m fine, but the back-and-forth seems to cause them and sometimes they do turn into migraines.

    16. KeinName*

      Avocados have Histamine, and some people get headaches from Histamine rich foods. Could be you intuitively left out the Histamine rich things in your diet?

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The 3 migraine triggers I’ve been able to nail down :
      -standard filtered cigarettes (I don’t like the smell of cigars or hand-rolled cigarettes but they don’t trigger migraines. So I suspect it’s the glue or wrapping material.)
      -florescent lighting (YAY LED bulbs)
      -artificial fragrances. Be aware that some ‘unscented’ products actually add something to cover the product’s odor. I used Secret for decades until I ran out on vacation and bought Tom’s of Maine….and the migraines stopped until I bought another stick of secret at home. Even their unscented.
      Good luck finding the reason.
      Please though, do talk to a doctor if these came out of nowhere. Yes migraines are the common answer, but the “zebra” options can be serious enough it’s good to catch them early.

      1. TL -*

        Oh yeah I am not prone to headaches but I cannot do most air fresheners – the spray ones tend to be okay because they don’t last but I can’t tolerate plug-ins or automatic spritzer. The worst headache of my life was because I fell asleep in a hotel room minutes after arriving without realizing they had a plug-in air freshener – woke up with a pounding headache that cleared up within minutes of going outside and the room was fine once I turned it off and let it air out before I went back inside.

  26. Mohr*

    Can I get some podcast recs?
    I generally listen to two different types: comedy (like My Brother, My Brother, and Me or Hello from the Magic Tavern) and journalism (Reply All — I especially like that Reply All is focused on the people who use the internet/exist in the world. I really liked Emmanuel’s Alabama Democrats episodes, for example, but I find a lot of other politics podcasts are dry, or unempathetic, or just plain uninteresting.)

    I’d love to get suggestions in either of those two veins! If you’re looking for something to listen to as well, drop some of your favorites and I’ll see if I can return the favor.

    1. Helvetica*

      I really like Off Menu, which is by two British comedians, James Acaster and Ed Gamble. They do a dream restaurant type of thing with a guest who explains the foods they’d like to have, which can be something they’ve had before, or just what they really love and why, and talk about everything around it. I think it’s very funny and interesting because people’s memories and experiences with food are fascinating to me. And I just think both Acaster and Gamble are hilarious.

    2. Leap Day Highway*

      My current favorite is Sawbones, which is hosted by one of the brothers from MBMBaM and his wife, who’s a doctor. They talk about weird things from medicine/medical history and it’s funny and informative with progressive values, so maybe it would be a good combination of your interests! No Such Thing As A Fish is another funny/informative one.

      Also I can’t talk about podcasts without recommending You’re Wrong About, which is clearly the best podcast of all time (but it might not be what you’re looking for).

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Yes! I was coming here to recommend You’re Wrong About.

        Also thinking you might enjoy Wind of Change, which is a mini-series podcast that investigates whether the CIA was actually behind the Scorpions’ power ballad “Wind of Change”.

    3. CTT*

      I really enjoy Kaiser Health News’ “What the Health,” which is a round table discussion podcast with health care journalists about the week’s news.

    4. Nicole76*

      Did you ever watch the comedy Scrubs? There’s a podcast for it called Fake Doctors, Real Friends that I find highly entertaining.

    5. Anonymous Educator*

      For comedy, I’d recommend The Guilty Feminist. For journalism, I’d recommend You’re Wrong About.

    6. Purt’s Peas*

      Dungeons & Daddies is a really genuinely funny D&D podcast. The Dream is journalistic and empathetic, and has a great season about MLMs.

    7. Buzzbattlecat*

      Conversations, an Australian- made (available everywhere) podcast which is literally a 50 minute conversation with people with a story to tell- authors, scientists, cultural change agents, performers, journalists, travellers, the list goes on!
      There are thousands archived and they can be searched by topic. The interviewers, Richard Fidler and Sarah Kanowski, are great and well-read and curious.

    8. Moocow Cat*

      The Villain Was Right (comedy pop culture)
      A podcast that analyzes film from the villain’s perspective and asks, were they really all that bad?
      FWI the Shark from Jaws was totally in the right.

      1. Anono-me*

        I want to listen to that one.

        I always disliked The Wizard of Oz. I love individual scenes from it but the overall premise of the movie was upsetting. Somebody kills my sibling even if by accident and then steals off of her dead body and goes on a road trip with a bunch of random strangers. I’m going to be pretty pissed off too and try to get my sisters most precious belonging back.

    9. Plum*

      For comedy I recommend Dear Hank and John. They’re the Green Brothers who are writers and entrepreneurs. The premise is that they answer questions sent in by their fans regardless of how off the wall the questions may seem. They’re very smart and funny and, not surprisingly, as brothers, they have a great rapport. I often laugh out loud while I’m listening.

    10. pet*

      Journalism – In the Dark.

      CBC has a bunch of journalism ones that are good too (particularly Uncover and Someone knows something). Those tend to be true crime, though. Also BBC’s Crossing Continents is particularly good.

    11. MsChanandlerBong*

      Comedy: Special Viewing Unit (if you’re a fan of Law & Order SVU) and Dork Forest (a podcast by comedian Jackie Kashian)

  27. Treebeardette*

    Any other LDS people here? I’m a SA and I find it frustrating trying to date outside the “bubble”. I love my career and probably will not be able to have kids due to medical concerns. I find most guys have this weird expectation to get married and me to give up everything to have a kid. I know old general conference talks saying women shouldn’t be so focused on their career but that’s silly because I’m going to support myself in the best way possible.
    I’m struggling with the idea to date outside my faith because I don’t think I can inside.
    (FYI, I’m not really open to anyone criticizing my faith for this. I find peace and I love being a member.)

    1. MissGirl*

      I don’t know where you’re located or how old you are. I’m having trouble dating mostly because I’m 39 and the well of potential guys has dried up—and that’s true no matter what faith you are. By my age those who want to settle down have. The guys I go out with seem to be committed bachelors or looking for perfection. The divorced guys seem to be so busy with family obligations they have a hard time making a date, let alone a relationship.

      My friends of the same age but of different backgrounds and faiths all have the same problems. My one friend just broke up with a guy because he didn’t want to grow up and take on any responsibility like a permanent job. They could’ve gotten married but it would’ve been her supporting him while he played.

      I wouldn’t go out with a guy who expected me to give up my life, but in all honestly I haven’t dated anyone who has communicated that. Of course, I usually get ghosted by the the third date. I’ve been ghosted by three guys in the last month. Most women I know, even in the faith, work in some capacity so there are definitely plenty of guys okay with it. I wonder if you’re younger and dating more immature guys.

      I wish I had better advice than you be you. If you’re in Utah, I’ve joined a hiking group that mostly singles in their thirties and forties. Most are LDS because that’s who the group started with but it’s rapidly expanding beyond that.

      1. Generic Name*

        Omg, the divorced men with kids. I mean, yeah, put your family first, but when I was dating as as a divorced woman with a kid, it kind of pissed me off that somehow I was able to find time to parent my kid half the time and also find time to date but some men weren’t. It made me wonder how much of the parenting work those guys were doing when they were married that doing half the work seemed overwhelming to them. When I was divorced and single, I had so much free time. My house was ridiculously clean, I exercised regularly, I went out with friends, and yes, I dated. Sometimes multiple first dates in one week. Anyway, total tangent. Don’t give up hope though, I met the love of my life at 38, so there are still good guys out there.

        1. MissGirl*

          I don’t understand it either. But I can’t tell you how many divorced guys have canceled at the last minute citing family stuff. I’m totally for putting family first but if you don’t have time for a phone conversation, maybe you don’t have time to date and you should get off the app. One guy canceled our phone call three times.

        2. Treebeardette*

          Lol The weirdest thing I got from divorce men was guys who wanted to do online dating but were put out because I didn’t want to move across the country to be with them. They couldn’t move at all because of their kids, which I understand. But it was all weird.

    2. Laura H.*

      Not LDS, but female and I can kinda relate.

      You love your faith and you want similarity in your SO… that’s somewhat universal.

      I don’t have any advice, but are there ladies in your faith community who are married and for lack of better words have their own lives? Pick their brains?

      Good luck and best wishes. :)

    3. Generic Name*

      That’s really tough. Maybe try dating men from other conservative Christian faiths? Have you decided you don’t want kids at all, or are you open to adopting? Many religious men have a hard time with the idea of not having children, but I know there are many who would love to grow their family via adoption. I think the first thing to do when one is intentionally dating to look for a life partner is to do a lot of thinking and decide what you really want in a husband and what you want your life to look like. Then look for men who #1 you really like who fit those parameters. And by “what you want in a husband” I mean things like personal qualities (loves animals, volunteers, doesn’t take himself too seriously, kind to his mother) and not physical parameters such as height, weight, hair color. And for what it’s worth, one of my coworkers is LDS, and while she does have bio kids, she says she’s a “weird Mormon” in that she has a career she loves (she’s an engineer and a principal at our firm). So it is possible to marry within your faith and still work outside the home.

        1. Christian mingle dropout*

          From my experience Christian dating sites are worse than ‘mainstream’ ones. So much spam too! I am a non-denominational Christian- I don’t think dating conservative Christians is a good recommendation. If you want to stay in the LDS church I doubt you will find someone age compatible who is already in a Protestant based denomination willing to convert. I hate being Debbie Downer with no encouraging comments. It seems universal that single women of faith outnumber single men of faith.

          1. Treebeardette*

            I wouldn’t force someone to convert. I think that wouldn’t be right of me to push that on someone. I just hope he has a strong faith in God. But thanks for pointing that out about the Christian dating sites!

    4. Blackcat*

      A good friend of mine is LDS, and has a BRCA mutation that put her at extremely high risk of ovarian cancer. Her mom and most female relatives died young of cancers (generally under the age of 35). When she was 20, she went for a full hysterectomy and double mastectomy.
      So obviously no kids.
      She wanted to date/marry within the faith. She ended up marrying a significantly older widower who already had three kids. Obviously that’s not for you if you don’t want to raise kids, but for her, it was a way to have the life she wanted within her community. If you do want to parent despite not being able to have kids, there are ways to do so.
      If you don’t want to parent at all, you can try dating within your faith and being up front about this, but I think that’s a hard stretch. You may be able to find someone who is devout in another faith but one less inclined towards lots of kids, and that may work well.
      I do think your best bet is being up front no matter what. If you can’t have biokids, but want to parent, say that. If you don’t want kids at all, say that. If you’re up front, you shouldn’t have to deal long with men who have very different expectations.

      1. Blackcat*

        Also, she was open and honest in her community about her goals and her medical history. Her church was very supportive throughout–it was the same church that had helped her father raise her and her siblings after her mother’s death. They 100% supported her decision to not have bio-kids and brought meals and such when she was recovering from her surgeries (3 total).

        Her husband came from another church, but it was an active match-making thing. She was 24 when she married her husband. He was 37? I think. Over 35 but under 40 is what I remember.

        She finds being a step-mother to kids who experienced a similar loss to her really, really rewarding. (Slightly different b/c her kids bio-mom died suddenly) It’s super hard, but worth it to her.

    5. Eeeek*

      Well it’s going to be hard because the tradition of LDS is women marrying and having children so that’s what men will be looking for. Maybe try men who are a little bit older in the faith that aren’t as tied to kids anymore? Like 40 plus?

      1. Filosofickle*

        I was thinking this. I am not LDS but grew up in a very strong LDS community and still have many friends in it. While it’s not universal, especially today, IME that’s not actually a weird expectation for them. (It’s weird to ME but not them.)

        But more modern LDS men do exist. Keep looking for one that matches your values.

        1. Dan*

          Yeah, OP uses the phrase “weird expectation” but my understanding is that it is part-and-parcel for the religion.

          1. ...*

            Yeah, that is what the religion teaches. So men will expect that. I think that may just be dating within LDS.

            1. Treebeardette*

              This entire thread is off on a tangent and it isn’t what I’m looking for. I’m well aware of what my religion is. I ask y’all to step off since you don’t fully understand.

              1. theguvnah*

                we understand that you’re asking for men to somehow be believers of the religion you subscribe to but not believers of the gender roles that are a core and inherent part of sad religion. You’re looking for a unicorn.

              2. CleverGirl*

                I am also LDS and spent a long time in YSA and SA wards so I likely do “fully understand”, and these commenters are 100% correct. The church is all about “family family family, kids kids kids”. “Good Mormon men” are raised with the expectation to be the “provider” of the family, and marry a woman who will raise their children (see: The Proclamation) and it’s hard to find men who are still all-in that don’t have these ingrained expectations. Not impossible, but very difficult. I’m not sure why you are being so combative. These commenters are basically validating your struggles and you are acting like they are telling you to have your name removed and burn it all down.

                1. elletee*

                  Yeah, I’m LDS and single and I agree with what CleverGirl is saying – I don’t think the commenters are off-base here, and I didn’t read them to be attacking you or Mormonism generally. If you want to marry a religious and idealized Mormon man, you have to understand that what they’re looking for a wives who fit a certain religious and idealized version of a Mormon woman. Is it fair? No. Do I think this is the way things should be? Also no. But being realistic, if you want a Mormon husband who is active and doesn’t have kids yet, he’s going to be looking for a wife/homemaker AND kids. There are like, 3 or 4 single active Mormon women over 30 for every single active man, so men can afford to be picky. This sucks for folks who don’t fit this idealized standard, but like, that’s what happens when you’re in a patriarchal religion.

                  You asked whether you should consider dating outside of the faith, and I think you need to decide what’s important to you: do you want to find someone to marry and have a life with? Or do you only want to be married if it’s to a Mormon man? Because if it’s the second, then you should consider what areas you’re willing to settle in (income? relationship history? religious commitment? attraction?) and how badly you want to be married to a Mormon man. If it’s the first, get out there and find the person who is best suited for you. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend conservative Christian dating websites because there’s some historic conflict between Christians and Mormons (some Christians don’t consider Mormons Christian and won’t date them, similar to how some Mormons won’t date non-Mormons).

    6. Dan*

      You asked people to not criticize your faith, so I’ll stay away from that to the extent that I can. You did however, ask about dating outside your faith.

      I think it’s tough. For those that practice other religions, many of them discourage dating outside that particular faith. For those that don’t practice at all, don’t believe in religion or what have you, LDS comes with a number of stereotypes or stigmas. And for me, it doesn’t matter what religion you are — what matters is how important your faith is to you. When I’m on dating sites, the more emphasis people place on religion, the more I stay away. I’ve found the reverse to be true too — people who place a high value on religion have noted that I don’t talk about it, and for that reason, it’ll be a pass. I’m not saying this is true for everybody, but I’m saying this is tough.

      1. Treebeardette*

        It’s pretty clear my religion bothers you. I would appreciate to leave it alone like I asked.

        1. Dan*

          You asked people not to *criticize* your faith.

          You also asked for advice on dating outside your faith: “I’m struggling with the idea to date outside my faith because I don’t think I can inside. Thoughts?”

          1. Treebeardette*

            I asked you to stop. Your focus on this is very odd. This is a safe place and I’m allowed to ask other women and members of my church for help. Others, who aren’t of my faith, have been nice about this.

            Stateing out loud that you’ll “try” not to criticize while trying to explain my religion to me and claim there are stigmas and sterotypes is actually criticising. I’m asking you to move on, there plenty other comments you can focus on.

            1. Anon for this*

              AAM has specifically said that this is not a safe place, it’s a discussion group. Not every response you receive may be to your liking but people are allowed to respond when you post here.

              1. All kinds here*

                Agree with this. If OP had her own forum, she could moderate responses as she likes. I haven’t seen any intentionally disrespectful responses so far. Ones that might miss nuances of LDS or fall into stereotypes I imagine. They clearly greatly offend the OP. I hope treebeardette, that you realize people do genuinely wish you the best, even if you find them unhelpful. It’s okay to be gracious.

                1. SchoolHousePebbles*

                  Removed. Do not post under additional user names to make it look like your position has additional support here; that’s sock puppetry and it’s in bad faith. Dan’s comments were fine. This is not. I normally ban people for this. – Alison

            2. Sylvan*

              How do you want people to address the results of being in a patriarchal religion, without discussing the patriarchal religion? It’s not like they’re bringing up unrelated things about your religion.

    7. c-*

      Captain Awkward has really good advice on how to meet new people as an adult and on how to look for things that you like in dates, maybe look up her “Dating guide for geeks”? Lots of the advice there extrapolates really well to not-geeks.

      Good luck and have fun! I hope you are able to meet nice people.

        1. c-*

          It’s cool to meet a fellow fan! :) If I remember correctly, her blog has a “dating advice” tag, that may be useful for sorting through the archives.

    8. Zooey*

      I’m not in the faith, but I think being very open and explicit about your situation and goals might be the way forward. While lots of LDS men will think that it is important for their wife to give up work, it won’t be true of all, and making in clear in your community/ on dating sites that your faith is important to you AND your work is important might help you find people from the faith who match those feelings (or people from outside the faith who will respect it). And making it clear early on where things stand with you via a vis options /desires for having children is probably also important.

      I know it can be tough when you’re in a ‘minority’ dating wise but as I’ve seen with friends in similar positions, it can happen. Good luck!

    9. Nameless Shark*

      Are you open to dating people outside of your faith? Based on my observation, a couple’s individual personalities and mutual respect for each other’s beliefs will create far greater compatibility than having a shared religion. I know couples with wildly conflicting religious beliefs but they’ve made their marriage work.

    10. Piano Girl*

      I am LDS. I have a dear friend who, like you, is single with a career she loves. Although I know that she has grieved the fact that she will never had children, she has told me that she has had unique opportunities to “parent” others. She has stood by me and others through difficult times, both personally and professionally. I have watched other singles find mates both in and out of the church in their later years. My husband had an LDS mother and a father who was not – and he was a wonderful man.
      As a former leader over the teenage girls of my congregation, I highly encouraged them all to get an education, a philosophy that is becoming more and more prevalent. The more education that anybody gets, the better, no matter if they go on to a career, raise children, or do both, as I did.
      Bottom line, I would encourage you to find what makes you happy, whether that includes marriage or not, in or out of the church. The more of us with careers, the more normal it will be. Good luck!

  28. Maybe a Sugar Baby*

    If this is considered work, I will move to work thread.

    I am looking to become a sugar baby. I’m over conventional relationships. I’m pretty self sufficient and independent. I have children but I’m not looking to have anymore. I’m pretty content in my life overall except I do miss the occasional intimacy and companionship of another.

    Anyone who’s had this relationship on either side, advice? How often did you meet? What were you looking for? Any rules?

    1. pancakes*

      I think one could write a book on the question of whether that’s work or not!

      It didn’t meet him on one of the sugar baby websites that exist these days & haven’t ever used those, but I’ve often dated older men, and in my mid-20s had what turned into a too-conventional relationship with the wealthiest among them. I’m sure it 100% looked like a sugar baby relationship to people who saw us in hotels & restaurants & whatnot. I was already in an open relationship and wasn’t looking for that. We were both initially looking for a very casual thing but fell in love. I mostly had a lovely time and don’t have many regrets about it, but I did end up breaking things off because he was clearly uneasy about me being as independent-minded as I was, and I was uneasy about him wanting to change that about me. The sort of person who is both capable of & wants to splash out financially on a woman that way is probably quite likely to have a set of expectations as to how things will be between them, and the woman being truly self-sufficient and independent is, I think, not likely a big part of those expectations. Jealous and controlling dudes are hard enough to avoid in conventional relationships, even among ostensibly progressive men, and adding an element of extreme wealth imbalance only complicates that.

      I’d be very suspicious, too, of someone who’s very open about their finances with strangers, or purports to be. I dated this guy for several months before I had a real sense of just how wealthy he was, and to me that makes perfect sense. It was clearly a sort of milestone in our relationship when we sat down & had a long talk about it, and it was after I’d met his family. I think it would be very difficult to put yourself out there as someone impressed by or looking for wealthy dudes and not have to filter through hustlers living above their means.

    2. I need tea*

      Why not just casually date, and be clear to anyone you date that you don’t want to follow the relationship escalator? Sugar babying is real work, and falls more into the “work” category than the “relationship (even casual)” one. You need incredibly strong boundaries, you need to handle your own marketing and taxes, you need to do market research and figure out what rates per hour are like and what services are commonly offered, extra grooming, extra research if the client has particular interests they want to discuss and there’s a massive power imbalance between you and a client which will inevitably affect any relationship you have with them, because ultimately you’re providing a service to them… there’s a lot of work that goes into it, and if your goal is occassional intimacy and companionship, you can do that without starting a new side job. It’s a job that involves a lot of time and work outside of actual sessions – this seems a bit like wanting to cook more elaborate dishes, so you take a job as a chef whilst studying a cookery course when you could just treat yourself to a cooking class or try some new recipes.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Is it possible that you are conflating escorts with sugar babies? I’ve known some sugar babies, and typically they do not have anything like a “rate per hour” or even “services” per se. The set-up is usually (in my anecdotal experience through my friends) like a very extreme version of the stereotype of dating in the mid-60’s. The man’s attractiveness is directly tied to his wealth and status, and the woman’s attractiveness is directly tied to a combination of youth, beauty, and ability to be charming and entertaining.

        The “currency” exchanged is lavish experiences, gifts, and sometimes gifts of cash in exchange for few-to-no emotional demands, general availability when desired, a willingness to entertain oneself when not on call, and the ability to appear enthusiastic about whatever interaction is occurring.

        My friends either loved or hated this arrangement, but the ones who loved it really seemed to benefit in a number of ways, including getting some pretty good mentorship.

        1. I need tea*

          Sugar babying is very frequently presented as “not sex work” by sugar babies who want to believe they aren’t doing sex work. The general position by sex work activists is that sugar babying *is* a form of sex work – it’s an exchange of sexual services for money. There generally isn’t a rate per hour, no – but rates per month and availability per month are negotiated, usually involving being available, and providing sexual services is nearly always part of the agreement whether agreed implicitly or not. The services involved may seem less obvious but that doesn’t mean they aren’t there – those lavish experiences come with a significant burden of providing emotional labour that wouldn’t be expected of a casual date. Skilled sugar babies are very good at making the services they provide look like not real work – after all, how much work could be involved in a nice dinner now and then? But in actuality, it involves grooming prior to the date with an eye to what the specific client would enjoy, prepping topics of discussion tailored to the client, providing emotional labour to the client throughout the dinner, and constantly managing boundaries to maintain your privacy. You’re tailoring the whole experience to the client in a way you wouldn’t if you were just casually dating.

          That’s not to say sugar babying is wrong, or that you can’t benefit in other ways – but Maybe a Sugar Baby doesn’t seem to be looking to benefit in those ways, they seem to be looking for occasional intimacy and companionship that presumably won’t infringe on their individuality, and taking on another job isn’t necessarily the best way to achieve that goal and it will colour every aspect of any relationship they develop with any client, and that’s important to consider.

        2. pancakes*

          That was my impression too. I need tea referring to “rates per hour” raised my eyebrows because that’s not legal in the US except in Nevada, and even there brothels have to be licensed.

      2. Courageous cat*

        Yeah I don’t think this is quite what being a sugar baby is. It’s a lot more casual, for lack of a better word.

    3. duckduck*

      I think it is important to be honest with yourself. A sugar baby is sex work and involves all that sex work entails with the good and the bad. Many sugar babies kid themselves they are not sex workers or that they choose their dates or get something out of it more than money or something. Well guess what most sex workers choose their clients and get something out of it other than money sometimes. It’s sex work.

      As a former sex worker let me tell you there is no such thing as a a free lunch. It is hard work. The only people who get an easier time of it are aged 18 – 22, slim, white and preferably blonde and very good looking. They have enough demand they can be choosy and not offer much. Anyone else needs to offer enough to get work and if you’re outside this demographic you may end up taking on clients you’re not keen on or do stuff you’re not keen on.

      If it were so easy to turn a boyfriend into an ATM and have all the same rules apply more people would do it. But once he’s paying he has expectations and it’s not the same as a regular boyfriend who just happens to give you money.

    4. Amalieee*

      I would be interested to know why you want to be a sugar baby versus just having a casual or unconventional relationship. I have been a sugar baby briefly in college and it was a lot of work which just got harder as I got older. I would not recommend unless you truly think through the pros, cons, your boundaries, and do a lot of research.

      1. Blackcat*

        Yeah. A friend of mine is in a similar position–not wanting anything serious after her divorce–and she has never had trouble using Tinder to find guys who want to bang and maybe have breakfast afterwards with zero long-term commitment. I think there are like 3 guys currently in the rotation? Generally people come and go if they do want something serious (like, they want something serious long term, but happy to have a f- buddy in the mean time). But this works well for her and requires little effort. It’s not sex work, just… casual sex. She only does it when her kid is with her ex, because she thinks it’s confusing to expose a young child to a rotating cast of f- buddies.

      2. duckduck*

        Most ‘sugar babies’ are people who can’t admit they want to paid for sex and are sex workers. It’s a dressed up term to make sex work more palatable. Functionally it may imply a higher level of choosiness or more time spent that isn’t sex but it’s still sex work dressed up as something more socially acceptable.

        Any woman of any age or looks who wants a strings free relationship unpaid has no problem finding that. Guys are begging to find women up for casual intimacy and you don’t need to be young and hot. OP needs to admit the sugar baby thing is about the cash. If you want a no strings boyfriend then that’s totally valid and easy to find. If you want to get paid then you want to be sex worker, also fine but it’s a whole different ball game to having a casual boyfriend who doesn’t pay you. I’ve done both – casual boyfriend in an unconventional relationship and sex work. They are world’s apart.

    5. fposte*

      Be aware that this is a big scam area, especially if you’re receiving an offer from someone who has never met you. There are sugar lifestyle forums that can help you with information on how to do this more safely.

    6. Traffic_Spiral*

      Like everyone else said, it’s a job, not a recreation. You don’t get the benefits of companionship because you’re the one that puts in all the emotional labor to be interesting, agreeable, and willing to listen to the most tedious rambling if that’s what s/he wants to do. You don’t get emotional intimacy because the general point of paying is that, again, money takes the place of the emotional effort required to be intimate with someone.

      The sex probably won’t be very good either because they aren’t thinking “I like this person and want them to have a good time,” or even “I’d better make sure they enjoy it or else they won’t want to have sex with me again.” It’s a job they’re paying you to do.

      So… yeah. Do it for the money if you’re gonna do it – not for any hope of good NSA encounters.

      1. duckduck*

        Exactly! So many wannabe sugar babies are kidding themselves. It’s just a socially acceptable term (to some) for sex work and implies a little more choosiness and a little more non sexual time, a little less bang by the hour. But still sex work.

        As a former sex worker OP should know old men are hard work in the bedroom. I am not sure if I can say this on AAM but lets just say it is hard work because one of the words in this sentence is often absent from the occasion.

        1. Pomona Sprout*

          It took me a moment to figure how what you meant, but it suddenly dawned on me, and I burst out laughing! Thanks for the chuckle, even though I know that wasn’t your main goal. :-D

    7. Courageous cat*

      Wow, people are providing a very different take here from what I’ve understood it from friends with similar arrangements. It was an arrangement to be sure, but it was not laid out like work in the way being an escort is. I imagine it varies a lot.

      1. ...*

        Perhaps they didn’t divulge all the dirty details to you to make it sound a little higher end. Im not judging sex work or prostitution, but its just prostitution with a bow on it. (again not making moral judgements) A former friend was kind ‘into’ the SB word and on that seeking arrangement site. So she meets this guy to send foot pictures too. What she would tell our other friends who didn’t know her ‘dirty laundry’ was that she sends foot pics and he sends money. Ok. But he also wanted her to mail him dirty socks and underwear along with extremely graphic photos and videos. But to her more casual friends it was ‘he sends money for a few foot pics’.

      2. Hanna*

        Keep in mind that you only understand your friends’ arrangements based on what they’ve chosen to tell you.

        1. pancakes*

          Of course, but what are the commenters who take for granted that these arrangements involve being paid by the hour and women entirely lacking self-awareness basing their understandings on?

          1. I need tea*

            I believe this is referring to my comment above – the “by the hour” is so you can figure out how much to charge for engagement overall, usually a monthly arrangement of x dates per month lasting y hours. You need to know local rates per hour to help you figure out that kind of information and market your services, such as by offering discounts for extra dates per month etc. Sex work is heavily stigmatised (your comment above implies there’s something wrong with it due to it being criminalized, for example) and so yes, some sugar babies prefer to believe the services they provide don’t fall within sex work or they actively present themselves as “not sex workers” to avoid further stigma and criminalisation.

            My information is based on years of personal extensive research, sex work activism and discussion with sex work activists and academics, attending multiple workshops by and for sex workers, and close friendships (including discussing details and sex work related politics such as “wh*rearchy” and the ways in which that affects ) with over a dozen different sex workers who do various kinds of sex work.

            1. Amalieee*

              Yep. Youre exactly right. I got a monthly allowance but it was based on the going rates and how much time a month we spent together.

            2. Reading along*

              I need tea, thank you for all your clear-eyed comments on sex work being *work*; I’m learning a lot from you and I appreciate it.

      3. Not A Manager*

        No one knows all the details of anyone else’s intimate relationships. But my friends’ experiences were much more similar to what Courageous Cat is saying. I had one friend in college and two in grad school who fit what I would think of as “sugar baby,” although that wasn’t the name at the time.

        They were each dating an older man who had other responsibilities and no desire for a long-term relationship. The men wanted attention and affection from someone who admired them, and they were willing to provide material benefits within that relationship. I don’t think the men or the women thought that the man was “buying” affection with money, but I think they also all knew that the man wouldn’t be as attractive without the money.

        But all of the men wanted to provide a good experience to the girl within the confines of that set-up. They did provide advice and counseling about school and careers. They didn’t interfere with classes or family events or anything like that. They tried to be good lovers. Two of my friends felt real affection for their men and remember the relationship fondly. One had a more complicated takeaway. There was a power differential and ultimately she didn’t feel good about it. But when I was in college I had a few non-sugar relationships with a power differential and I also didn’t feel so great about them.

        Those relationships, from the outside, looked a lot more like “dating with benefits” than they did like sex work, to me.

        1. Amalieee*

          There can be a real difference between dating an older man with money and being a sugar baby though.

        2. duckduck*

          If he didn’t the girl benefits would she still be with him? If the answer is ‘no’ – and it usually is – then that is sex work. Just because you’re not banging by the hour in a brothel doesn’t mean it’s not sex work.

          If the benefits are why you are with someone then it’s sex work. If you wouldn’t date or sleep with him without the gifts, cash, dinners or whatever then it’s sex work.

          Girls are just kidding themselves because they don’t want to admit they are doing prostitution because of the stigma. You can call it soft hooking or light sex work or whatever but it is still under the umbrella of sex work if you would not sleep with him without a ‘benefit’.

          1. Not A Manager*

            I think this is quite harsh. I know a number of people in sad marriages who feel they can’t leave for economic reasons. That doesn’t make them prostitutes. But they literally “wouldn’t [stay married] or sleep with him without the [rent and food money],” so according to your logic, that’s what they are.

            On a lighter note, I also know a lot of people in decent dating relationships who wouldn’t stay in them if the other party suddenly didn’t bring anything economic to the table. But while they wouldn’t continue dating without the economic contribution, they also chose their partner for other reasons as well. It doesn’t mean that they are ONLY dating for the economic contribution.

            Money is a form of currency. But so are lots of other things – attention, attractiveness, emotional availability. And everyone wants *something* in exchange for whatever they are bringing to a relationship. Implying that monetary considerations are completely sordid and that any consideration of material benefit automatically makes one a sex worker is just false. I respect sex workers, and I don’t think it does them any particular favor to be lumped in sugar babies or gold diggers or just people who want to date and marry within a certain economic class.

            1. Fulana del Tal*

              I think you’re being disingenuous if you’re not differentiating between someone in a bad marriage or someone not wanting to date an unemployed/underemployed person and sugar baby/ sex worker. If the only reason you’re with someone is money own it. Like duckduck states a lot of young women don’t want to admit they’re sex workers.

              To me it doesn’t do sugar babies any favors separating them from sex workers.

            2. RagingADHD*

              The idea that staying in a loveless marriage for financial security is a legalized form of prostitution is hardly a new or unconventional take.

              It is, in fact, one of the standard arguments for supporting pay and gender equality. And one of the standard arguments for legitimizing sex work.

              Indeed, Shakespeare cites it in Portia’s plea that Brutus confide in her – that without trust and emotional intimacy, “Portia is Brutus’ harlot, not his wife.”

              If your friends are unhappy in their marriages, I’m surprised they haven’t mentioned similar feelings. It’s a very, very common perspective.

            3. duckduck*

              I think marriage is a different ball game as is wanting to date someone with like a job or some get up and go or that you’re attracted to.

              What I am being clear about is people use euphemisms like ‘dating with benefits’ to describe something like dating a man who buys them expensive dinners, a designer handbag and gives them some ‘pocket money.’ If you would not sleep with that man without those benefits then you’re a sex worker basically. Don’t kid yourself.

              You can get given gifts by a significant other of course. The test is would you be with them without the direct exchange of benefits. For most sugar babies and their clients the answer is a clear no.

            4. Traffic_Spiral*

              “That doesn’t make them prostitutes. But they literally “wouldn’t [stay married] or sleep with him without the [rent and food money],” so according to your logic, that’s what they are.”

              Well, not prostitutes because that’s one specific kind of sex worker, but if you’re having sex basically as “work” because you need to get paid rent and food money… um, yeah. That’s sex work.

              “On a lighter note, I also know a lot of people in decent dating relationships who wouldn’t stay in them if the other party suddenly didn’t bring anything economic to the table.”

              That’s called not wanting to be someone else’s sugar daddy/mama.

    8. RagingADHD*

      You do you, but I am unclear on how being independent and self-sufficient aligns with being a sugar baby?

      I was under the impression that a sugar baby is financially dependent on a man’s whims, and that it entailed catering to his moods and preferences.

      That’s true to a certain extent in any job for a “sole proprietor,” but at least in legally recognized jobs you have some protection to collect wages owed, etc.

      It seems like you’d wind up much less independent.

  29. Teapot Translator*

    Hi everyone, months ago I wrote in for advice for adopting an adult dog vs a puppy. You very sensibly recommended an adult dog, but well, I’m getting my puppy tomorrow morning!!!
    So, what is one piece of advice you would give to a first-time owner of a puppy?

      1. MinotJ*

        Yes! Expensive chew toys seem like an extravagance, but even the widest selection of the fanciest chew toys is cheaper than one of your $150 shoes, or one of your $200 shoes, or one of your perfect $125 shoes that aren’t manufactured anymore.

        Also, why not chew on the drugstore flip flops, puppy? Or once you’ve destroyed half of a pair, why move on to another pair instead of finishing the first pair?

        1. slmrlln*

          Bitter apple spray works wonders when the puppy targets a particular piece of furniture for chewing. We only needed to use it for about a month.

        2. pancakes*

          I’m still mourning a pair of Stephane Kélian heels my dearly beloved and long-departed dog ate in the late 90s. He chewed the straps off one and didn’t touch the other, but what good is one shoe? It wasn’t lack of Nylabones or other suitable chew toys that drove him to it, either – just my idiocy in leaving them out!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Begin as you mean to go on!

      When my Junior Ambassador was a baby baby, my husband worked in a toxic job and hadn’t started treatment for his mental issues yet, so he came home from work and would just lay on the floor and let her romp all over him and give him all the face kisses and you name it. And it was cute, it was SO cute. But I did not let her romp on me or lick me in the face, because I didn’t want her thinking that was okay. (And I was not as strict with HIM as I should have been about HIM letting her do it, but see also, toxic job and mental issues and puppy kisses make everything better.) What I did instead was let her sleep in my lap while I was working.

      Now, she’ll be six later this month and at full grown, she’s about 50 pounds. Any time my husband lays down, she goes and romps all over him and covers his face with kisses. She won’t lick me in the face (unless she’s really sleepy and I stick my face right up in her face, then I occasionally get a tiny kiss on my nose before she remembers). But I had to replace my desk chair with a big butt-and-a-half armchair because she didn’t register that she didn’t fit in my chair anymore at full size and still insists on climbing up. During the winter, she still naps in my lap. I’m not sure how fifty pounds of dog with six miles of legs curls up that small. When it’s not cold, she usually takes her half of the chair at the back.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also – be judicial with your toy choices. I didn’t want my dogs learning that stuffy toys are for chewing, because I collect them and have a lot of them around my house and I wasn’t real sure of my ability to teach them to distinguish between “this stuffy is okay to chew” and “this stuffy is not okay to chew”. So I never gave them any stuffy toys, and they have never chewed any of MY stuffy toys. (I also didn’t ever give them squeaky toys because I didn’t want to listen to the squeaking, so now if I DO accidentally give them a squeaky toy they won’t go near it because they don’t like the noise either.) Basically, don’t give them toys that look like things you don’t want them to chew on :)

        1. Generic Name*

          This is so hilarious. My dog loves stuffy toys and squeak toys, and fortunately I have a high tolerance for listening to a constant squeak…….squeak……squeaksqueaksqueak lol My husband is very good about picking up the wads of fluff that inevitably develop within days of getting a new toy. I don’t mind this so much because I love buying new dog toys just about as much as my dog loves destroying them. :)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            When she was younger, Elder Statesdog was an expert at surgically dismantling catnip toys, but she mostly broke that habit after a couple years when we didn’t have cats who wanted catnip toys, so the current cats’ toys are mostly safe. :)

        2. Teapot Translator*

          Right, I do have a few stuffy toys that are mine (not the dog’s). I’ll avoid stuff toys and squeaky toys (I don’t think I want to hear it constantly during the day).

        1. Katniss Evergreen*

          Watch what stuff you leave in low places/the floor no matter what sized dog you have. My 10 lb. pomeranian mix is part keeshond, and has what the vet lovingly calls “real dog teeth” – I think even without those she’d have been a shred monster as a puppy. She ate tons of weird stuff – among them cardboard boxes under our bed, a phone charge cord (not plugged in, thank god), and the entire baseboard of a crappy bathroom vanity in the apartment when she was all less than 8 months old. She still will eat earplugs if she can get ahold of a stray one, occasionally laundry (like chew a random button off of a shirt), and dirty tissues. She is 7 and will clearly never grow out of it – she even knows it’s wrong because if we catch her she hides in shame and makes a guilty face. It’s disgusting, but I have to admit, often pretty funny.

    2. Sleepy time*

      Just one? Lol. Ok- Crate train. It will make your life so much easier in so many ways. Helps with housebreaking and napping when pup is young; gives the dog a “safe” place of her own; protects your valuables when you’re out (and keeps dog safe); allows others to come in to your house without having to interact with dog (service people don’t need a canine assistant); acclimated dog when she is held at the vet or boarded.

      1. LNLN*

        I second the crate training! We raised 2 guide dogs as well as several family dogs and they all loved their crate. It’s like a den to them. When they are scared or tired or have been naughty, the puppy will head to the crate. And when you need to clean up a mess (dog or man made) you can pop the pup into the crate and make things clean again. Ah, this is making me nostalgic for that puppy smell!!! Enjoy!

      2. sswj*

        Yes to the crate training! And also find yourself a good puppy class – it’s never to early for them to learn. I’m not a fan of the BigBoxStore classes, I prefer actual dog club/organization classes, but if the store version is all you’ve got it’s usually better than nothing. They need the socialization for sure, and they are able to learn simple commands. The key with babies is to be very clear and very consistent, and to keep each session short. Have fun!

        1. Teapot Translator*

          I’m trying to find a puppy class. The last place I checked was full; I guess a lot of people chose to adopt like me.

      3. Teapot Translator*

        I did buy a crate! and it has a blanket and a small pillow. I hope he likes it; I want him to be safe when I have to go out.

        1. Sleepy time*

          Be very careful with the pillow and blanket. If he’s a chewer, he could eat them. Just keep an eye out.

    3. Generic Name*

      One piece of advice? Get used to saying “no” all the time. Don’t worry that you’re being mean by telling a puppy no. Dogs need structure and boundaries, and it’s much easier to train a dog if you correct them early on. Don’t let the puppy run wild and then try to train them out of behaviors that were cute in a 12 lb puppy but are a nightmare in a 50 lb dog.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I need to keep that in mind. If it wouldn’t be cute on a 50 lb dog, it’s not cute now. My dog is a small breed, but it’s still a good idea not to give him a pass just because he’s adorable.

        1. Katniss Evergreen*

          Mentioning my 10 lb pom mix again – she jumps really high, which was adorable when she was 4 lb, but she’s 7 and still occasionally kicks me in the hip when she’s waiting for her treats if she gets too excited (I’m not short either – 5’7″, she really does jump high). If we’d known she’d love it so much and never tire of the habit, we’d have tried harder to train her out of it when she was tiny.

    4. Black Horse Dancing*

      Read and find positive trainers. And socialize your puppy! We took our dogs to puppy class, Tractor Supply, Home Depot, ren fairs, sat on a bench and people watched, etc.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I’m kind of looking forward to socializing the puppy. I have the appointment with the vet tomorrow so I’ll ask them if I can start right away. I have no idea if the puppy can get anything from the grass right now.

    5. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      Puppy training as soon as the pup is old enough/has all its vacs. Honestly? It teaches the human how NOT to confuse the dog, which is surprisingly easy to do.
      And then have all the people that live in the house do the training multiple times a day. Everyday.
      People are always saying to us how well behaved ours is, and ask why. Puppy & intermediate training and 4 household members that all wanted to do it. He’s the BEST doggo. The best. <3 <3 <3

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Aaaaw. I want the best doggo, too. I live alone, so the hard thing will be to get my family to respect my instructions (once I know what the dog needs).

    6. Kara*

      Start training and socialising the puppy as soon as your vet says it’s safe to do so (once they’ve had all the required vaccinations etc). And be prepared to put a LOT of time and effort into training and socialisation for the next few months.

      1. Natalie*

        Nah, don’t wait until vaccinations are finished to socialize your dog – the critical socialization window will have closed. “Socialization” doesn’t mean social interaction with other dogs, it’s more properly acclimating a dog to many unusual aspects of the human world and shouldn’t require any exposure to doggy pathogens. If you’re in an area with a truly high rate of parvo, just take your pup out in a carrier or wagon instead of letting it walk on the ground.

        1. Teapot Translator*

          I already have the appointment with the vet tomorrow, so I’ll ask how I can safely socialize my dog.

        1. Black Horse Dancing*

          The is a book–The Other End of the Leash by Dr. McDougall I believe, She’s an animal behaviorist. Read it! It does a great jobe of showing how primates and canines communicate differently! It opens your eyes as to how humans are really bad at communicating with other species.

    7. Stephanie*

      If you don’t want a dog who begs for food, do NOT feed it anything from the table, ever. If you want to give it a small tidbit of human food, put it in the dog dish.
      We have never fed our dogs from our plates or the table, and they know that our food is off limits. My son’s best friend’s family fed their puppy bites of food all of the time because they thought it was cute, and now that he’s fully grown (and he’s big–70 or 80 pounds), he’ll snatch food right out of your hand as you’re eating it. Not so cute anymore.
      Be patient and consistent. Puppies are very much like newborn babies at first.
      Crate training is awesome, and makes everything easier with a puppy.
      Good luck, and enjoy that amazing puppy smell while it lasts (it is one of the best scents in the world, seriously)!

      1. ThePear8*

        Second this, we knew my mastiff would grow big enough to be able to easily pluck anything from the table if he learned he could – so he never, EVER gets anything from the table, always in his dish.

      2. Teapot Translator*

        Thanks! I still need to know which human foods are safe for my dog, but I’ll be sure to put it in his dish!

        1. Stephanie*

          We don’t give our dogs much in the way of human food, but if you do want to, be sure to ask your vet for a list of things to avoid. I do know that onion and garlic are toxic to dogs, as well as grapes. Our dogs absolutely love fresh bread, weirdly enough.

        2. Black Horse Dancing*

          I give my dog carrots, meat, peanut butter– right now he’s licking out the lasanga pan. No to chocolate, garlic, onions, raisins. I do feed from the table but my dog knows to sit, stay and not beg. He merely waits impatiently to lick the plate clean.

    8. BellaDiva*

      Have a “no” word that isn’t actually “no”, so she doesn’t get confused when she hears you use the word in normal conversation. It could be “uh uh” or “phooey”, or “kaplank” or whatever you want.

    9. JKP*

      Play with his feet and his mouth every day as part of rubbing/petting him down, so he doesn’t fight having his nails clipped and teeth brushed.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        This! I think most dog owners worry about random bites. Handle the pup, put a finger in his mouth. Rub his paws. Act happy, use a silly voice.
        I got bit once when I was five y/o. I was putting food INTO the dinner dish. It was MY fault somehow. Now, I train all my pups that their dinner dish can be taken away while they are eating. Key part: I add more food and praise them up and down for being so goood. I now have a 60 pound dog with eye teeth that would scare any thinking person, who does not bat an eye, if I reach for his food dish. He “knows” for a fact he will get more food.

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        And ears. I stumbled on this by pure luck. ..I loved my childhood stuffy’s long floppy ears so when we got a cocktail spaniel I played with them too. (Be extremely gentle, and don’t try this if either of you feels jumpy, or if there’s fireworks or other startling sounds.)
        The luck is that when she got ear mites, she’d let clean & treat her ears. Not even mom could get her to hold still for that, and mom was the source of food. She also let me groom her — clippers and all.
        I could also take things out of her mouth –possibly life-saving the time she got into the garbage can and we heard bones splinter.
        About training classes, also look online. No it provides no extra socialization for the puppy, but at least half of obedience training for the first-time dog owner is for the human to learn how to consistently speak Dog.

    10. Not So NewReader*

      I think my number one piece of advice is, “If x behavior will become annoying over time, then it cannot be cute and adorable today.” This covers jumping on you, taking your food, barking, etc. I don’t even teach my dogs to play tug, because they will guess wrong at some point and tug on the wrong thing with me. Set rules and be consistent. If you found you are too strict you can loosen up the rules.

      With pups you have to deliberately create fun things or else it can feel like all you do is correct behavior. My current dog was a mouthy pup. He would nibble on my hands when I held him. So I stuffed a toy in his mouth then picked him up. He was fine with that. He has never forgotten being in my lap. I got an over-sized chair to hold the two of us and we nap together. I use lots of redirects with the pups so I am not sounding like “that angry person” all the time.

    11. Amy*

      Congratulations on your new pup!

      As others have mentioned, socialization is SO important! It has gotten harder in the age of COVID (depending on where you are) but you really have to put in the effort to do it. The socialization window closes at 14-16 weeks (about the time they are finishing their puppy vaccines) so you do need to get out and do it before they are fully vaccinated, but just be careful. Keep up with the puppy vaccine series, go to upscale areas where there tends to be lower risk of unvaccinated dogs wandering around, stay away from dogs with unknown vaccination status, and for the love of pete, no dog parks! One behaviorist I’ve worked with recommends going on fun trips to Lowe’s or Home Depot because they’re full of machines, men, weird sounds, and other things dogs commonly develop fears of. Hopefully you can find some friends who love dogs (and ideally have vaccinated dogs of their own) to set up play dates with because with social distancing in place it’s easy for puppies to get the idea that strangers are scary, since most people are actively avoiding them right now.

      There are some great socialization checklists out there – check out Sophia Yin and/or Ultimate Puppy. https://ultimatepuppy.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/ultimatepuppy_social_schedule_NEW.pdf

      Be aware that socialization is NOT the same as training. You should also start training (housetraining, sitting for treats, stopping play if puppy gets mouthy, etc.) as soon as puppy comes home. But socialization has a finite window and doing it right will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

    12. ThePear8*

      Lots of good advice already on socializing etc, so I’m gonna say – start house training right away!
      Don’t use pee-pads, they will get chewed. Train your dog from the get-go to go outside.
      At the start, take your puppy out every 30 minutes. It seems often, but it really works, and puppies especially have small bladders and won’t be able to hold it in as long as an adult dog. If you know they drank water recently, be vigilant and possibly take them out even sooner. Wait until they finish their business – don’t say anything during – and then give them lots and lots of praise. They’ll get the hang of it pretty soon if you stay consistent.
      Accept that inevitably, there will be accidents – you can call it out if you catch them in the act, but if you discover it afterward, don’t scold them as the moment has passed and they won’t understand what they did wrong. Just be prepared to clean up the mess. Make sure to use some chemical like Nature’s Miracle spray to spray the spot and get rid of the smell so they don’t come back and pee there repeatedly.
      Also, be prepared to be up early. Puppies are like toddlers – they need a lot of play and then a lot of rest, and they will wake you up at 5am to go outside and pee. Remember it’s temporary and they’ll grow out of it.
      Above all, be patient and loving with your puppy. They can be a handful sometimes, especially during the mouthing phase. They will need time and guidance, but if you put in the effort it is so worth it for an unconditionally loving and loyal companion.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Every 30 minutes! I was thinking every hour, but I’ll try to take him out every 30 minutes when he’s awake.
        I’m going to sleep on the living room couch at first because that’s where his crate is. Hopefully, I’ll hear him when he wakes up. I’m already thinking of what I’ll be sleeping in so I can go out quickly.

        1. Sleepy time*

          If it’s a small breed, that means tiny bladder so very frequent outings are essential. Because of the tiny bladder issue, a lot of smaller dogs take longer to housebreak; they just can’t hold it. Be patient with yourself and the pup. Pear8 has solid advice on the training.

    13. PuppyLove*

      Good luck! The thing that I wish someone had told me is that the house is a dog toilet for what seems like forever. But it only SEEMS that way. the constant accidents will eventually stop.

      Even if the puppy is claimed to be housebroken, make sure you’re scheduling frequent potty breaks. Puppy bladders are teeny and control isn’t always there.

    14. Nita*

      The chewing. It’s not a bad habit, it’s their mouth being very itchy from teething. Dogs lose their baby teeth in their first year, and they need teething toys so they don’t chew the house to bits. Hide anything you don’t want chewed, and make sure any poisonous houseplants are out of reach. And don’t freak out, like I did, if you see that all this chewing caused a tooth to fall out (I feel dumb now, but it took me a few minutes to realize that’s a baby tooth).

  30. Catbus*

    I have a wonderful 15-year-old Non-binary kid with Asperger’s. Unfortunately, the lack of school and activities, plus COVID related snacking, has led to a precipitous weight gain in the past few months. Because they already have body issues, I’ve been very hesitant to bring up their weight gain. When I have brought it up in the context of “being healthy and able to do things,” they have told me they don’t care about conventional beauty standards (that’s fair, neither do I), and that they hate their breasts and want surgery to remove them. In their rather rigid thinking on this topic right now (that’s the Asperger’s), nothing can happen until surgery, so why bother making anything else better?

    Well, that _was_ the situation. As of yesterday, they are ready to start exercising so their pectoral muscles will be strong for the post-op recovery process. I’m so pleased we’re over this mental block!

    So here’s my question. I already have a ton of resources for cis women’s fitness, because that’s what I do. And I can easily find a ton of resources for cis men’s fitness. Are there any fitness, nutrition, weight management sources (books, plans, blogs, videos, podcasts) by / for / about (1) Non-binary or non-gender-conforming people, (2) teens, (3) the Asperger’s syndrome crowd, (4) AFAB pre-top-surgery fitness and surgery preparation, (5) any combination of the above??? I have been googling on my own, but so far I have found only very generic advice. I know this crowd is filled with a diversity of helpful people. Thanks for any input!!!

    1. Aly_b*

      I don’t have any resources personally but one thing you could try is writing in to Vice’s Ask A Swole Woman column. She’s got her finger much more on the pulse of what resources are out there and is definitely trans/enby friendly.

    2. Summersun*

      Not sure if this is appropriate, since it is geared towards women, but there’s a book/program by Kellie Davis called Strong Curves. It’s meant for creating muscle and strength in a woman’s body (instead of a delicate slim look). May be a way to get started, since your kid is still in a body that reacts (hormonally) like a woman’s?

    3. Generic Name*

      Gosh, I never really thought about looking for non-gendered fitness advice, and now my brain is exploding thinking that there might not be all that much out there. What about stuff like CrossFit or orange theory? Those don’t strike me as particularly gendered and I know both men and women do those programs. CrossFit focuses on strength and performance and orange theory focuses on aerobic fitness, and neither strike me as focusing on how you look (even if that is the goal of folks who participate). I’m also wondering if they don’t mind the additional weight because their breasts read more as “rolls of fat” rather than “breasts” and they are more comfortable in a body that doesn’t have breasts.

      1. KoiFeeder*

        I’ve found non-gendered fitness advice when trying to figure out how to exercise around my disabilities, but that’s obviously not helpful here!

      2. That Girl from Quinn's House*

        I used to teach senior fitness classes and most of the material available to instructors is more focused on health and function and not appearance. Most of the people who take senior fitness courses are either older adults, or younger adults with health restrictions that mean they have similar workout needs to older adults. So a lot of the workout advice is oriented around health outcomes (building endurance, flexibility, improving heart function and breathing, ability to participate in target activities) and only a little bit around weight goals, and very little of it is around appearances or looking sexy.

        Senior fitness has a MUCH healthier and medically sound outlook on fitness than what gets marketed to younger people.

        1. Catbus*

          I like that idea and I would not have thought of it on my own. In old age, the differences between sexes really do become less and less noticeable. No one is building any muscle at that age (well, except for that one grandma on instagram) — they’re focusing on mobility and maintain what they have.

      3. Catbus*

        It’s rough. Anything where the instructor says something seemingly innocent like “All right, ladies,” or even having two set workouts (one for men and one for women), and my kid is already OUT. “Well I guess that doesn’t APPLY to ME…”

        It would be so helpful to get fitness stuff where gender is not mentioned at all!

    4. KoiFeeder*

      I’ve seen fitness advice for trans men wrt to the top surgery thing somewhere, so I know it exists! I just… don’t remember what it was or where I saw it.

      1. Catbus*

        If it comes back to you please comment — I’ll check back! But also you gave me the idea to just contact the local gender clinic and ask them. I’m sure they have resources! So thanks!

        1. KoiFeeder*

          I’ve been looking for it, but I’ve only found stolen pieces of it on pintrest, not the full thing :(

    5. Saddesklunch*

      Honestly Instagram might be the easiest place to start looking. Decolonizing fitness is one account that comes to mind.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      No advice to offer in response to your question, but I’m chiming in to say what an awesome parent you are. I used to volunteer as a peer counselor on an LGBTQ+ hotline, and we received so many calls from teens who were terrified of sharing their non-binary identity with their parents because the consequences would be awful. You are awesome!

      1. Catbus*

        Awww thank you. We are trying, in uncharted waters. It took me about 2 years to consistently get the they/them pronouns right… which my kid is always happy to remind me of. ;)

    7. Alexandra Lynch*

      I do know this: The better shape they are in before they have surgery, the easier the surgery will be and the easier the recovery will be. What I guarantee they don’t want is to go in at 18 and have the surgeon say they need to lose weight first. They also want to have eating habits that work for them so that once they get the top surgery they don’t gain weight and have a shape come up they don’t like and that feels dysmorphic.

      I’m not-quite-cis, and on the spectrum. I have also had losing weight as my year’s big project. So far I’ve lost 45 pounds. (Would be more, but COVID and moving house in the middle of that stalled it.) I know that having had three large babies my abs have split and the only thing that fixes that is surgery. But I also know that I have to get to a good weight and maintain for six months for the surgery, and any other surgeries for loose skin that I may feel I need. If I went to a surgeon right now, he’d say, “Finish losing weight, and when you stabilize, call me.” The weight is the first step. The surgery is the next step.

      I focus not so much on sexual attractiveness, but on being strong. I kink(and it’s almost something deeper than that) for being strong. Able to lift and carry and walk and do more than anyone thinks I can. Just as I like being smarter and more well read and more thoughtful than most people are. And I like strong people in my life. Strong, confident people will be attractive to other people regardless of bent. And not just in a sexual sense. People want to be friends with them; they want to help them out at work. So I would tell them, work on becoming strong and flexible, and get ready for the surgery, and it will serve you well in life afterwards, too.

      1. Anon for this*

        I find humility and a genuine regard for and interest in others to be attractive qualities to cultivate, rather than seeking to be superior.

      2. Catbus*

        Thanks for this — first hand knowledge of this kind of issue is just what I was looking for. I will pass along to my teen that surgeons won’t do the procedure if the weight issue is unresolved; I bet that will help them with motivation. Best of luck to you in your quest!

        1. Anon Lawyer*

          Do not do this and do not listen to this person who is talking about “kinking” on strong bodies. The poor kid needs nothing less than their parent haranguing them about their weight, even if it’s kindly meant. Do some research into studies on this – even “nice” comments about weight from parents do damage for YEARS to come. The surgeon may or may not have weight rules, and your kid may or may not be over them. You don’t need to guess in order to “motivate” them to lose weight.

          1. Anon Lawyer*

            Also, like, teenagers are super good at google. Why not just support the exercise they want to do instead of asking random strangers on the Internet? It sounds like you’re invested in your kid’s weight in a kind of dangerous way.

        2. Middle School Teacher*

          Wow, no, please do not listen to Alexandra Lynch. “Kinking” over strong bodies? What even is that.

    8. AGD*

      You sound like an awesome parent!

      I know that Lydia X. J. Brown (Autistic Hoya) blogs about being non-binary and autistic (and a person of color), and about what these groups often have in common in terms of misconceptions and mistreatment.

      My enby friend who had top surgery worked with a personal trainer – possibly an option? Not particularly helpful to the community in general, though!

    9. Elizabeth Bennett*

      What about a non-gendered sport? I practice taekwondo. Except for competition categories, at least in my experience, all genders work out together, spar one another, etc., and the fitness expectations are not gender or appearance based. Plus everyone wears the same uniform…which is gender neutral. You’d want to check out the school culture, because it can vary, but in a healthy training environment with healthy leadership, my experience has been overwhelmingly positive – though I am speaking as a cis woman (who is super sensitive to gender bias & resists conventional gender expectations).

      1. Elizabeth Bennett*

        Oh, I also wanted to add that the studio where I train is also seems to be non-neurotypical friendly. I trained for several years next to and with a teen with Asperger’s and it was amazing to watch him learn and grow over the years. So, a good studio would work with special issues, as well. A lot of places are meeting on zoom right now.

      2. Catbus*

        They were doing beginning fencing before COVID, and the studio has reopened with strict social distancing requirements so I’m hoping they can restart. That’s great because the body armor and face mask really de-genderizes everyone!

    10. Historic Hamlet Dweller*

      Do you have junior roller derby anywhere nearby. As a sport it’s (generally) super enby/gender non-conforming/trans friendly, and focuses on health and strength, not size, which can be super helpful. There are also likely to be a lot of adults, including coaches who are autistic and/or enby around.

      1. Catbus*

        We definitely did have junior roller derby in the area, but I know they had to move their location and I’m not sure of their COVID reopening status. My concern with roller derby was always the noise. It’s really loud, and my teen has sensory stuff going on that makes loud, echoing spaces a problem for them. Maybe with earplugs and earphones on??

    11. Chuck*

      Trans guy here. I recommend swimming although I understand that given dyphoria it might not be for your kid (also maybe it’s not good for sensory issues-my relatives on the spectrum both hate putting their heads under water). Pre-top surgery I used to swim in board shorts and a rash top with a loose binder underneath (old sports bra might work too). When I was dysphoric I used to greatly prefer solo physical activities so maybe something that could be done from home would be suitable for your kid as well. There’s a lot of workout routines and excercises on youtube, I used to do a set of easy dumbell exercises but not sure I would recommend that for your kid given their age

      1. Catbus*

        Thanks for the first hand experience — so helpful. My teen is one of those who loves the full body sensation of being underwater, so I think swimming would be great. They have a full-coverage body suit (long sleeves) that they picked out and that I think looks great, but now they think it makes them look like a girl so they won’t wear it. It’s such a pity, because before puberty all they wanted to do was swim and run around, and now they won’t do either one because of breasts. Anyway, maybe if we can get over the swimsuit thing they can get back into the water! Thanks again — swimming is such good exercise.

  31. DIY advice*

    I’ve run out of personal projects to do so now I’m moving onto fixing up the house. with plans to sell in about 2-3 years. I’m redoing my powder bath and upgrading features from shiny chrome builder-grade. I’m upgrading most of the hardware, but I’m wondering about the lighting. Should I change the lighting too? I don’t mind the vanity lighting now (it’s a wall sconce with 2 bulbs) but I could change it to something more my style. The other bathrooms have the exact same sconces/lighting types so the matchy-matchy makes me hesitant to change the lighting.

    1. Ranon*

      I’m a total lighting snob but I can’t imagine you’d get your money’s worth out of it unless you hate the fixture- even inexpensive fixtures are not that cheap and the good looking stuff can be quite expensive. I’d keep half an eye on your local reStore in case you see a deal on something you like but otherwise I’d consider better bulbs (90+ CRI/ color rendering can really make a difference in a bathroom) and leave the fixtures be

  32. blaise zamboni*

    Piggy-backing off c_g2’s post above (but different enough that I don’t want to hijack their comment):

    Anyone have tips for where to buy relatively large display cases that aren’t super expensive? I need it to be roughly 10-12″ long, 6-8″ wide and probably about 8″ tall. Doesn’t have to be those specifications exactly but I have trouble finding anything that large on even one dimension, let alone all three. I found a lot of larger cases that are specialized, like to display a basketball or something, so the floor of the case has a plastic stand embedded that can’t be removed. I could try to make that work but it seems silly that I can’t just find a big plastic case with a flat floor. Any ideas?

    In case it helps to know the project – I used to be into “vulture culture” and still have a few boxes of skeletons. None of my specimens are very complete, mostly just a lot of skulls, so I want to create a few little ‘landscapes’ to display them rather than getting a bunch of small cases for each piece. Basically I’m trying to go for a Natural History Museum type of vibe with the kind of cases/materials I use.

    Thank you in advance for any suggestions! :)

    1. fposte*

      It sounds like you’re talking those clear acrylic boxes (I was thinking of cabinets at first and got confused). Amazon has 12x8x8 for $32.99; that may be more than you want to spend, but I suspect the bigger ones are just going to be considerably more expensive.

    2. Reba*

      We use various kinds of decorative glass cases with brass trim that we have gotten over the years from Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and Wayfair.

      We use them in basically the same way, for our collection of mostly sea things.

    3. C Average*

      If you’re not already browsing Craigslist, I’d recommend it. A number of businesses are, sadly, closing up shop due to Covid and selling off their fixtures, including display cases, and you might stumble across something perfect.

      I’m redoing our backyard and have scored so much great stuff for free or cheap from Craigslist lately.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        Really good idea. When Kmart went out they were selling their fixtures to anyone with money. You don’t have to be a business to buy this stuff. Companies will unload anyway they can.

    4. StrikingFalcon*

      You may be able to get clear plexiglass and the right kind of adhesive (there are aquarium specific ones but for what you need, any plexiglass appropriate adhesive should work fine) and make your own. Past a certain size, this is the cheapest option.

    5. Ron McDon*

      You can get made-to-measure acrylic boxes made really cheaply (at least, you can in the UK!). I had to price up a trophy display cabinet for the school I work at, but we didn’t want glass due to the risk of breakage and cuts – I got several quotes from companies online at around £30. I was shocked it was so cheap!

  33. CatCat*

    Looking for ideas for hobbies that can be done at home and don’t involve a lot of stuff to do the hobby. I live in an apartment and already have hobbies that require a lot of supplies so there’s not really much left by way of space for more supplies.

    1. Leap Day Highway*

      For a while I was really into making collages, either on paper or on objects/decoupage. You just need old magazines and scissors and glue/modpodge! I used it sort of like journaling – cutting out words that spoke to me and making sort of found-language poetry on a background of assorted pictures. I found it very soothing to do while listening to audiobooks.

    2. OyHiOh*

      Origami – probably the simplest. Squares of paper and instructions (lots of good instructions via internet). I like using magazine paper and have friends who collect mags for me. Makes lovely mobiles, 3D collages, or small/low stakes gifts.

      Quilling – strips of paper and glue to secure ends. Can buy precut strips or cut your own. I like advertising that has a solid background color for quilling. Shapes can be used to sculpt a photo frame or box, decorating a card, etc.

      Decopage – to do it well on wood items requires a bunch of specialized tools and materials and lots of time but can transform simple cheap wood items into timeless gifts.

      I use all of the above to make 3D pieces that fit somewhere between 3D collages and sculpting.

      1. JobHunter*

        In a similar vein, quilling. You just roll strips of paper into coils and glue them to a backing material. There are lots of examples on Pinterest.

    3. Caterpie*

      Jigsaw puzzles! They do require a bit of surface space, however. Its nice to do them in front of the TV or while listening to audiobooks/podcasts too.

      1. MsChanandlerBong*

        And if you don’t have the space, I recommend the Magic Jigsaw Puzzles app. My laptop is a 2-in-1, so I can turn it into a tablet and do puzzles on the 15.6-inch screen. All the puzzle fun without losing pieces or trying to keep the cats away from them! It also works well on a smaller tablet. There is a phone version, but it’s not quite as much fun since there isn’t much room to work on a large section of the puzzle.

      2. Firefly*

        I have a puzzle roll which is a cardboard tube with felt that lets you roll up a partially-finished puzzle to store it for later. Love it!

    4. Forensic13*

      Something that involves creating non-physical objects? Writing, making a podcast, YouTube videos, etc?

    5. HannahS*

      Watercolours (pad of paper, some brushes, a small watercolour palette)–I’ve been using YouTube tutorials and it can be fun, despite my being fairly terrible at it! Same with something like calligraphy.

      Cooking is a good one, because you can eat what you make–I’ve taken up making big batches dumplings; you just need the freezer space. I like dumplings in particular because it involves a lot of what I enjoy about baking–the tactile stuff–without being many many batches of cookies that I can’t pawn off on my coworkers.

    6. Alex*

      What about a musical instrument? (a quiet one?) A guitar doesn’t take up much space. I keep mine under my bed. Finger picking is soft and won’t bother the neighbors.

    7. CJM*

      My cousin has been creating colorful mandalas by hand and finds it soothing and meditative. I think her only supplies are paper and gel pens. She sent me one that I’m framing to hang on my den wall. It’s gorgeous, and so are the others that she posts on Facebook.

      I’m really into Sudoku since the pandemic started. I enjoy how my brain works in two realms as I play: I calm myself with numbers and logic while daydreaming about plans and people. I prefer to play printed games on a clipboard while I rest on the couch. My dollar store sells books of Sudoku, and I think you can find free games online (to print out or play online).

  34. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Pondering the pros and cons and logistics of pre-retirement snowbirding. It’s probably not likely any time soon, we have a lot of pets (two dogs, three cats, four snakes) and while I work full time from home, my husband’s job is still not inclined to let him work remotely full time. But I don’t handle our Midwestern winters super well, so it’s an interesting mental exercise to consider. Anyone have any snowbirding experience, either pre or post retirement?

    1. Clisby*

      Not experience, but it seems to me an obvious pro would be finding out whether you like living in a particular place, which you won’t really know just from taking some vacations there. That is, I can guarantee you’d like a SC winter better than a Cleveland winter – but would you like SC as much as OH? (I’m from SC but lived almost 9 years in OH and loved it – so I don’t assume the answer is yes.)

    2. Not So NewReader*

      It works for a while, then it doesn’t work. That sounds negative, sorry. I am not a good risk taker, so this is where that comes from. We have plenty of snowbirds around here. After some time passes they have to decide where they will stay year round. This is because of age/health/finances. For me, the only way I could consider it is if I figured out where I wanted to be as I aged. Snowbirding would be temporary in my mind.

    3. NoLongerYoung*

      I have 3 diff sets of family that is trying this – an Air-bnb type house for a month (one, is three months) in different locations each winter. So far, FL, TX and AZ each have different cousins spending the winter month (February being the most popular one to escape the frozen hinterlands). Remote work for one, retirement for the other family member, or some combo that allows WFH flexibility.

      Each family group picked a location with a starting point – other relatives or friends there, etc.

      My one cousin is now returning to the same location this upcoming winter (a longer stay) – AZ. Another bought a second home in FL after their 2nd winter there (they have other family close by).

      So it can be done…

  35. Oily Kitchen*

    I have a contractor-grade kitchen, so thin cheap laminate countertops and pressed-board insides to the cabinets.

    We store our cooking liquids in a cabinet under the island (oils, sherries, wines, soy and fish sauces) in glass or plastic jugs. The bottom of the cabinet is lined with paper towels. We’re always careful to wipe drips before putting anything away, but I’m still noticing an increase in oily odor inside the cabinet. It’s gotten strong enough now that I can smell it while standing besides the cabinet with the door closed.

    I’ve tried a white vinegar wash, standard kitchen surface cleaner, and even rubbing alcohol on the inside of the cabinet (not all at once, over a period of a few weeks). I washed all the container outsides as well. It still smells oily. Any other ideas?

    (I know renovating the kitchen would fix it, but this is not our forever home, and that isn’t a level of expense we’re willing or able to take on.)

    1. Enough*

      Maybe a light sanding if possible. Then paint the floor (possibly walls as well). This would be easier to clean and should seal in orders. Then put down something less porous then the paper towels. A metal tray, contact paper, or even aluminum foil.

      1. Generic Name*

        Yeah, I was going to suggest painting with A sealing primer like kilz. Also consider that maybe the jars themselves need to be cleaned or tossed. I kept smelling a gross smell in my pantry for a while and I kept cleaning and scrubbing the insides. Then I found the culprit: a jar of rancid coconut oil. D:

      2. Pharmgirl*

        Yes, you can get some kitchen cabinet or drawer liners at bed bath and beyond or target. I have some plastic ones that work really well.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I would spray the entire interior with Goo Gone, let it sit, wipe it out completely and then wash with soap and water. Put some baking soda into a shallow dish and let it sit inside the cabinet.

      I keep my jugs o’ stuff in plastic bins. It’s easier to find a particular item if you can pull out a bin of six things and pick it out, rather than have to push everything around, and the bins themselves are easy to wash occasionally with soapy water.

    3. The New Wanderer*

      Check for rancid oils? I think a wash with dishwashing liquid (specifically the kind advertised to handle grease and oil spills) might help too. Last ditch if you can’t determine that any of the oils has gone bad just by smell/look would be just dumping all the oils you currently have and starting over with freshly cleaned containers. I couldn’t tell that our peanut oil had gone bad until I tried to cook with it. Wow, bad way to find out!

      Once you do have it cleaned out, I’d recommend putting down sticky shelf paper on the bottom and up the sides a bit. It makes wiping up oil spills much easier and they won’t soak into the wood/pressed board.

    4. 00ff00Claire*

      I would also double check that it’s the cabinet and not a container and / or one of the actual liquids. If there’s nothing visibly stained on the cabinet but you’re pretty confident that’s what it is, I would try some baking soda – sprinkle in a bowl or on a plate that you can set under there for a few days. Or sprinkle directly onto the shelf if it would be possible to to clean it up. There are also some products that are supposed to remove odors from the air. They are small containers with holes in the top. They are similar to fragrances air fresheners, but the good ones had no scent or a subtle one. Odoban brand has one I believe. You could also get some shelf liners that would not allow drips to soak through to the shelf itself to prevent the problem from returning or worsening.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      Oil gets into the air and indiscriminately coats everything.

      The best example I have is old timers used to oil their clocks by putting a pan of oil underneath the clock. Eventually every single part of the clock would become greasy with oil. (Please do not do this to your antique clock, it’s not a desirable result.)

      I would stop using paper towels period. Perhaps you can find a washable tray – glass, plastic, metal that you can line the bottles up on.
      And I would try using blue Dawn to really clean out the cabinet. Be sure to wash the inside of the door and if there are shelves be sure to do the “ceiling” of each shelf space. If the shelves come out, then take them right out so you can really see what is going on.

      Just so cleaning does not mean a big drill each time, you may want to store the oils away from everything else. Don’t forget each item in the cupboard is also coated with oil.

    6. Wishing You Well*

      First, make sure your cooking liquids are not source of the smell. Remove them from the kitchen entirely for a day or two and do a sniff test. If it IS the cabinet, ask a place that deals with cabinets what they’d recommend.
      Just FYI: I place all oil-based items in shallow waterproof containers (pie tins, etc.) to prevent the oils from soaking into my cabinets. Oils can be very difficult to remove from a non-washable, absorbent material.
      I hope the solution to your oily smell is simple and inexpensive.

    7. Artemesia*

      I’d sand it and then line with a vinyl stick on shelf liner so you can clean the oil when it leeks. I used a plastic shelf liner in my cabinets and it really does allow me to clean the oil/vinegar cabinet when needed. I’d never use something like paper towels which won’t keep the inevitable drips from soaking into the wood.

  36. Keymaster of Gozer*

    People with dry skin/eyes/mouth etc issues?

    Mine are caused by medications and I can mostly manage them but I’ve got a recurring problem with lip cracking that then bleeds….for ages and won’t stop. 15 minutes later it’s still going. This caused an interesting problem on a video call yesterday as I had to hold up a tissue constantly!

    Tips on how to either stop it from bleeding or cover it up better?

    (Have tried Vaseline but it bled through it)

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Query: cheap or expensive? I’ve got a tube of Elizabeth Arden 8 hour stuff I’ve had for a decade that generally helps but isn’t working in this case.

        1. My Brain Is Exploding*

          Not expensive. Carried in local stores here, may be more expensive to order. I think now there’s one just for lips not the other one would probably be ok, too. Best thing ever for when the skin on your fingers cracks.

    1. Blackcat*

      I also have try skin caused by some meds. Have you talked to your doctor about if it’s safe to just increase water consumption? I drink 4-5 liters of water a day, about 2x a normal human, and it helps a lot.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Adding my tea consumption to my fizzy water consumption and I’m around the 3 litre mark I think. I’ll ask my pharmacist if any of my meds (too numerous to list) would be affected by additional water consumption.

        Got to speak to the GP though about my antipsychotic dose on Monday so I could work in asking about water then. Good tip, thanks!

    2. Generic Name*

      Lanolin. It is decidedly non-vegan, but I swear by it. It seems to have antimicrobial properties too. It’s commonly sold as a balm for breastfeeding mothers.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Am omnivore so no worries on vegan stuff. Also, live in the countryside so have ready access to sheep wool etc. Will definitely try that, it’s likely my MIL has some actually (she spins her own wool)

        1. Clisby*

          Lanolin feels great on the skin – plus, I like the smell. I like good old reliable petroleum jelly as well – especially in winter, I rub it all over after every shower.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Tried a dry mouth spray on the recommendation of the pharmacist which helps with not getting food stuck in my throat but doesn’t seem to do anything for the frequently cracked upper lip.

    3. Summersun*

      What helped me was not just treatment, but prevention: Rinse your mouth thoroughly, and clean your lips and the corners of your mouth, as soon as you finish eating or drinking. Just dabbing with a napkin isn’t good enough. Actually wash, like you’re doing a miniature version of your night-time face routine. All the acids in foods and beverages are sitting on your skin and contributing to the problem.

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Problem with that is I don’t have the energy to wash my face after every drink. Nice idea for others though!

        1. Summersun*

          Gently, the idea is that the only thing you should be sipping all day long is water. If you’re consuming caloric drinks constantly, rather than just during scheduled meals, then yes–you’re going to have problems.

      2. ..Kat..*

        Just holding a damp wash cloth to your lips afterwards cleans off irritating food and drink. This also moistens your lips. Put balm on lips immediately after to seal in the moisture.

        Also, applying a good balm before eating and drinking can protect your lips from irritating food and drink.

    4. AnonymousNurse*

      I was on Accutane for a year which caused terrible lip dryness. I swear by Aquaphor (the lip one) and it was the ONLY thing that helped.

      1. A313*

        I was going to suggest aquaphor also. It’s got petroleum jelly in it, but it’s somehow thicker and stays on much longer.

        1. Stephanie*

          I was going to say the same thing. Aquaphor is a lot more effective than plain petroleum jelly, and I’m not sure why. And it’s really cheap and easy to find.

    5. PX*

      My top tip is to use Vaseline regularly. If you only use it when your lips are cracked it’s too late. Personally it’s part of my night time routine, just before going to sleep I give my lips a good coating of vaseline. That alone tends to keep my lips in good condition, other than during winter when usually I need a bit bit more if I’m out and about.

      Otherwise make sure your general hydration levels are good and that should help.

    6. Jody*

      I had chapped lips my whole life and used various chap sticks and lip balms. Nothing helped until I started using CocoCare’s coacoa butter lip balm.

    7. Not So NewReader*

      Be sure to mention it to the prescribing doc that this is a problem. It’s still fairly close to summer and humidity, in the dead of winter this could be an even larger problem.

      You could consider adding healthy oils to your diet.
      For me, I’d want to look at my soaps. I use an organic body wash and that has helped dry skin issues.
      If you have hard water and no water softener you can add baking soda to your bath.

      I was using a product called “Fast Heal” from a health food store. I have never seen anything close a small wound so fast. It stings but only for a second or two. I used to wait for the little sting because it seemed to indicate the product would work soon. Now I can only find it online. I thought it was a bit spendy but it did work well for me.

    8. Wishing You Well*

      I have very dry skin. I use Chapstick or equivalent multiple times a day. I have lip balms all over the house so I can reach for it whenever my lips feel dry.
      My fingertips used to crack and bleed in the winter. I use Working Hands to prevent that.
      Hope you find something that works for you.

    9. MsChanandlerBong*

      O’Keeffe’s products are the only thing that helped my dry skin without aggravating my scent sensitivity/allergies. I applied their lip stuff for two nights, and my cracked lip was all better on the second morning. Their lotions and foot creams are awesome, too.

    10. Anono-me*

      Liquid skin spray (one brand is Nu Skin) to stop the bleeding immediately.

      Check with your doctor about the dry mouth, maybe your dosage can be tweaked. Also flax or fish oil supplement might help longer term.

    11. Chaordic One*

      Hydrocortisone ointment.

      Originally, my doctor gave me a prescription for one, but I find that the OTC brands with a slightly lower amount of hydrocortisone work as well as the prescription for me. Make sure to stick to the ones with a petroleum jelly (Vaseline) base, as those work much better than the various and more common hydrocortisone creams and gels for chapped and cracked lips.

      “Cortizone 10” and “Cortaid” are two widely available brands, but there are many store brand versions which work as well and cost a bit less. I used to get the store brand of hydrocortisone ointment at Target, but they were out the last time I was there and I broke down and bought the more expensive “Cortisone 10.”

      Apply it regularly before sleeping and then during the day as needed and after eating and/or drinking. After it heals you might want to moisturize your lips with plain petroleum jelly at night and if they are unusually dry during the day.

      1. A313*

        Don’t use hydrocortisone for more than a day or two on your face, and definitely not more than once or twice those 2 days. Hydrocortisone thins the skin, and in this instance would likely lead to more bleeding/cracking. It might be good to try using a small dab right before bed, with a layer of aquaphor on top. But for this, I’d ask a dermatologist.

    12. Ron McDon*

      Blistex Relief Cream is the only thing that moisturises my lips so that they don’t crack. Vaseline or other oily products put a greasy layer over my lips, but Blistex seems to sink in and really soften and moisturise them.

  37. nep*

    Anyone have issues with knee pain? I know there are a million causes so I’m not looking for that kind of answer–just wondering about people’s experience w knee pain that radiates to other parts of leg.
    (I went to an urgent care yesterday just to rule out anything dangerous, because this is a new pain experience for me–it was a useless, horrible experience. Heaven help them–I appreciate these health workers and I know they’re stressed out. But it was like I didn’t interact with a single human in there.)

    1. nep*

      (I should add–it’s on my left side and left hip has long been very, very tight…I’m thinking the knee issue might be related to that.)

      1. Keymaster of Gozer*

        Not saying this is the case, but that’s exactly the initial symptoms of my rheumatoid arthritis and I wasn’t given any treatment at the time. So, given that:

        I tried heat on it but that actually made it worse. Cold, icy stuff worked better. I was once at the point of trying to make my leg go numb because I could not handle the pain. Also with you on the ‘doctors don’t investigate pain well’ thing…which of course stresses you out, which makes the pain worse….

        On bad days any attempt to put any weight on my left knee causes hideous pain that shoots right up and down. Got 20 years of experience with limb and also spinal pain and open to any questions, no matter how personal!

        1. nep*

          Thanks. I’ve been wondering about whether it’s RA.
          Appreciate your input. I’ll be interested to see how this evolves. (The doctor didn’t look at my knee. Until I asked him to look at a red mark; I’d started wondering whether I’d been bit by something. It was rather surreal. I’ve not been to a physician in ages; I’d forgotten how…well, I just won’t go there.)

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            Surreal is definitely the word for it! ‘I was fine last week and now suddenly my joints don’t work?!’. Like a well behaved computer suddenly blue screening on you.

            Mate of mine got rheumatic inflammation on his left hand after a mosquito bite, couldn’t use his fingers, doctor said it was ‘just sore, take ibuprofen’. Eased off within a week or two so hopefully yours will settle.

          2. Hotdog not dog*

            You may also want to get a Lyme test. A red mark and joint pain are both symptoms. I’ve had it twice and recovered well after a course of antibiotics.