weekend open thread – May 1-2, 2021

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: What Could Be Saved, by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. Two sisters are contacted by a man claiming to be their brother who disappeared decades earlier when they were kids. It alternates between the story of their reunion and what happened to their family 47 years ago, and it’s beautifully written and riveting.

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

{ 1,223 comments… read them below }

  1. DistantAudacity*

    I’m getting an airfryer!

    I know about using it for the potato chips (fries), of course, and I’m excited about trying it out on tofu, and also chicken.

    What are your best (or worst!) airfryer tips/tricks/recipes?

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Anything drippy, put the broiler pan at the bottom rack to save yourself killer clean up!
        We adore the bread proofing setting on ours; it gave us consistent rise all through wacky winter weather.

    1. L6orac6*

      Hard boiled eggs for salads, cook for 15 minutes at 130 C or 266 F, run under cold water and into a container with ice for about half an hour or so in the fridge. Beats cooking in a saucepan, I usually forget until it smells and all the water is gone.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I do sausage and root veg in mine, kinda like a sheet pan roast? Chunk up the root veg (always potatoes, sometimes also a combination of carrots, sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash) and smoked sausage into bite-sized chunks, toss them with a bit of olive oil and seasonings (I do salt, pepper, garlic and Italian seasoning usually, but whatever), into the fryer bin for about 12-14 minutes at 425. I used to do this in the oven, but it takes 40-45 minutes that way, plus pre-heating time – air fryer makes it SO much faster. (I tried it in the instant pot too, but between pressurizing up and then depressurizing, the time wasn’t actually any better than in the oven, plus the root veg didn’t get that nice crisp on them the way they do in the oven or air fryer.)

      1. Natalie*

        Huh, I didn’t know you could roast things in an airfryer. This sounds really similar to one of my staple winter recipes (just replace the sausage w haloumi or feta since I don’t eat much meat) and I love it but it requires so much planning ahead, something my husband and I are both terrible at.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yep! It’s basically a mini convection oven, so most things you can do in an oven you can also do in the air fryer, it’s just a question of getting them to fit :)

    3. Chilipepper*

      I am buying an air fryer! Any suggestions of which one to get?
      I will be doing veggies only, want one that will dehydrate, and have lots of counter space.
      Quality and easy of cleaning are important to me.
      Any suggestions?

      1. DistantAudacity*

        I got the Philips airfryer.

        It’s a gift to me, but it’s because my dad and his wife are so pleased with the one we gave them for Christmas :)

      2. KaciHall*

        I have a ninja foodi and it’s my favorite thing I’ve ever big. Bit of a splurge, but it does pressure cooking and air frying, along with baking, broiling, dehydrating, I bring it to work for potlucks and cook cheesy garlic pull apart bread because I did it once and now I have to every time. I’ve made everything bbq pork, hot sauce, firecracker chicken, mozzarella sticks, I’ve even used it a a broiler to crisp up meringue on a pie.

      3. Seeking Second Childhood*

        We got a Cosori partly because the other brand with the features we wanted had reviews talking about sharp edges inside. The only frustration is we haven’t been able to find anyone selling a second air-fryer basket. It’s been in daily use for over a year because it’s a more consistent heat than our kitchen oven!

    4. BRR*

      I’ve read cooking sprays might be bad for baskets so get a spray bottle for canola oil. The americas test kitchen chicken nuggets is one of my favorite recipes.

    5. MissB*

      Some folks buy a stainless steel basket to use in theirs.

      I have an air fryer lid for my instant pot so it’s not a free standing air fryer.

      I love cooking bacon in it, because the grease drops off the bacon and down into the pot. Bacon isn’t healthy but at least this way it’s not cooking in the grease.

      Fish is good in the air fryer. I do chicken breasts too. Breakfast potatoes are good.

    6. GoryDetails*

      I got a small air fryer a while back (roughly $60 I think?) and have found it easy to use, and – for some things – quite marvelous. My favorite use of it so far is for chicken wings, whether Buffalo-style or with other types of sauces or seasonings; the size is perfect for a single serving, the wings come out nicely crispy, the cleanup’s not bad, and I plan to keep the gadget in rotation for that alone. But I also found that it works beautifully for the frozen Portuguese custard tarts from Trader Joe’s – bought them on a whim, saw the air-fryer option in the instructions, gave it a try, and was delighted.

      Also great for veggie chips or “fries”, whether potato or other types. Eggplant fries are surprisingly good!

    7. Hi Hello*

      Watch your timing until you get to know your air fryer. I would stand near it when you cook a particular item in there for the first time because instructions don’t take into account air drying times. Sometimes it’s quicker.

      But it’s easy and makes good food.

    8. Wry*

      We’ve made really great chicken wings in it. You can keep it really simple – just salt, pepper, Parmesan, and parsley – and they come out amazing. Also try Brussels sprouts!

    9. RussianInTexas*

      Cauliflower! Toss in olive oil, seasoning (we do Italian seasoning), 400 degrees, 10-15 minutes. Sweet potato fries with Cajun seasoning or Cayenne pepper.

    10. Juneybug*

      Congs! You will love it!
      We purchased a Cooks 5.5 Quart Air Fryer. They are around $75 but you can find them on sale for $60. Its a basic model but it does a great job cooking french fries, chicken nuggets, pork chops, roasted veggies, etc. I pour a little olive or avocado oil in the bottom of the basket (about 1/2 tablespoon).
      I love the fact that I can cook a dinner for 4 or one person in a short time, depending on amount of food I put in. If I doing batches, like french fries, I will put the cooked food in my oven on warm setting with no problems.
      One thing I wish was different about the Cooks air fryer is the rubber feet on the cooking tray can get greasy and they are hard to clean. I took them off and had no problem.
      Have fun with your new toy!!

    11. Lisanthus*

      Asparagus, if you like asparagus: brush with olive oil (and seasoning if you want) and give it about 7 minutes at 390 in a preheated air fryer. I’d check it partway through, though, as the tips can frizzle. A little lemon juice after it comes out is a nice finish but you don’t need it.

      Also halloumi cheese cut into chunks and brushed with olive oil. Timing depends on size of chunks. And tofu is great; just press the heck out of it first.

    12. Katy Pillar*

      Any frozen convenience food that I would usually do in the oven is so much quicker in an air fryer: Fish fingers,mini spring rolls, frozen bread rolls, pizza baguettes, mini pizzas…
      Just do at a little lower temperature and for less time than the convection oven instructions on the package; you’ll have to experiment a bit. We have a list that we use to jot down best times/temperatures for our favorites that we keep in our recipes folder.

  2. Avid Reader*

    Just have to say, your book recommendations are so, so good! How do you have time to read so much with everything else you do??

    1. Fran*

      I have wanted to comment on that for a while. I have read a ton of Alison’s suggestions and the worst was just ok but I loved so many of them. If I am between books, I just look at previous recommendations and find one that feels right for the moment. I like that there are fluffier and more serious books as well as business books recommended.

      1. Fran*

        I just finished Sorrow and Blish which was recommended a few weeks ago and I loved it.

        1. Blue Eagle*

          I just finished The Night Circus (which was on my list since Alison recommended it in 2015) and loved it! A great fantasy story with such evocative descriptions of an unusual circus.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have weekends off now! (For years I didn’t.) Also I stay up too late reading most nights (I was up until 4 or 5 a.m. reading every night this week, and now I am very tired).

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Solidarity. So far this week I’ve read a six book series and three memoirs. Thanks, insomnia! :D

      2. SarahKay*

        So glad I’m not alone in my inability to put down a good book and go to sleep. Although a few times I’ve started awake, not realising I’d even been asleep, and discovered that while I’m still holding my eReader it’s turned itself off, which means I’ve not turned a page for (at least!) the last 15 minutes.

    3. Another Teacher*

      Slightly related question for Alison and others: where do you get your book lists? I’m also an “enthusiastic” reader, and this year it’s been my main source of entertainment. For financial reasons, I mostly get books from the library, but by the time a book comes on my radar, there’s often a many-months waitlist. That’s not a problem in general (I don’t mind being patient!), but I often run out of things to read.

      Alison and other heavy book users, do you have any suggestions for sourcing books? I love almost everything Alison has recommended — the “year end” lists are a real source of joy. Thanks in advance!

      1. MaskedBandit*

        Two places: GoodReads and the What Should I Read Next podcast. I’m a recent convert to both but I’ve already found a year’s worth of books.

      2. Lilo*

        I read a lotnof scifi/fantasy so I lurk on the subreddit for those genres. I also just read Hench, which I enjoyed a lot and got from Alison’s recommendation.

        I also will check out what’s popular on Libby.

      3. Cheshire Cat*

        My library emails me lists of books every month; they call the newsletters Next Reads. Maybe your library does something similar? I was able to sign up for different topics (science fiction, mysteries, history) on the library web page.

        And your librarian may be able to give you suggestions, too.

        1. Not a cat*

          You are lucky. My library’s recommendations are awful and there’s no way to request genres.

          1. Cat Mom*

            Ah, your librarian didn’t take Readers’ Advisory class either. Google that phrase and you’ll find some tools, including some of the ones already mentioned.

      4. GoryDetails*

        I’ve been an avid member of BookCrossing for many years now, and I get a lot of book ideas from the discussions in the site’s forums – and sometimes from spotting an intriguing-looking title in the “recently released” sidebar. [The site’s about assigning unique IDs to books that one intends to pass along, in hopes that future readers will log their thoughts and/or the book’s travels online. I leave a LOT of books in Little Free Libraries or other book-swap shelves or on park benches or dangling from trees…]

        I also follow some bookish blogs, including John Scalzi’s “Whatever” blog, where he frequently highlights other authors.

        Other sources of ideas: the American Library Association’s “banned or challenged books” lists – it can be fun to see what all the fuss was about {wry grin}. I like to check out the staff recommendations at local bookstores, too, especially the independent stores.

        And sometimes I find surprising new reads just by browsing secondhand shops or thrift stores – an eyecatching title or cover doesn’t guarantee a good read, but I’ve found some dandies that way.

      5. Chilipepper*

        Your library might have a “read-alikes” service. It suggests titles for you. So if you like x book (that is really on your holds list), you will also like these [lesser known so still on the shelf] books.

      6. SarahKay*

        For what to read: Alison’s recommendations, the ‘What are you reading’ threads here, recs from friends. I have a (huge) wishlist on Amazon that I add them to, and then I can use this to search for books at the library or from Kobo, since these days I prefer not to buy from Amazon. If money is tight and you don’t object to Amazon then (at least in the UK, hopefully something similiar in the US) they put a different set of books on offer at 99p at the start of every month. Sort your wishlist by price, and buy the ones on offer; you can always save reading them for later if you’re not in the mood for reading them right now.

        1. Joan Rivers*

          Also, my own shelves! Because the older you get the more a book you read ages ago will seem new to you. Even mysteries. Or you’ll recall enjoying it but do again.

          A great writer, say, Elmore Leonard, can be enjoyed the second time. Or the fifth.
          Even though he’s a “crime” writer verging on “mystery writer,” what he really is is a great writer w/humor about humans.

          And books set decades ago can be refreshing these days.

      7. Ask a Manager* Post author

        For me, it’s book reviews in the New York Times and Washington Post, and Good Reads. And also, on Amazon, the “you may also like” listings on books I’ve read and liked.

      8. Marion Ravenwood*

        Honestly mine all come from the Kindle 99p daily deals email and then usually I just start whichever book I’ve most recently downloaded – sometimes if I’m in a certain mood (usually for something lighter) I’ll trawl through, but it’s very rare.

      9. Dark Macadamia*

        Buzzfeed does good themed lists sometimes, or I’ll just search for lists with a specific trait that has felt lacking in my reading (books by Native authors, sci fi books with female protagonists, etc) and save everything that sounds good.

      10. Mephyle*

        For me, it’s, I mean, it was book bloggers. I had to stop reading the blogs Clothes in Books and In Search of the Classic Mystery Novel because I was buying too many books. As well as experiencing a type of anguish about the very appealing books I managed to resist buying (no doubt there’s a German word for that.) Also the archives of Bookshelves of Doom

        1. lemon meringue*

          There is a Japanese word for the opposite: Tsundoku, which I believe refers to books that you’ve accumulated but haven’t read yet. (This is an affliction that I have.)

        2. Joan Rivers*

          I always get taken by surprised when people talk about buying books!

          My HOLD list at the public library, which is free, is always long, and it’s some work to research books and add them to the list, but FREE.

          And the library has Author Alert for my favorite writers so it lets me know when they have a new one. So I always consider the Public Library to be one of the best ways the government spends our money.

          1. Mephyle*

            I used to be a very frequent visitor to the public library when I lived in an English-speaking country, and I hardly bought books at all, just like you. But now that I don’t live there any more, I have to make my own private library, or starve.

            I do read and speak the language of the country I live in now, but reading is a task, not an effortless thing like reading in my native language of English. So I take the easy way out, and mostly read in English.

      11. lemon meringue*

        I like to go to my local writer’s festival. I always find out about a lot of great local authors that way, who I might not have otherwise heard about because they are often published by small presses that don’t have as much promotional power. This year lots of them are going online (and free) so I’m planning to “attend” a bunch of writers’ fests across the country that I normally wouldn’t be able to go to.

      12. TardyTardis*

        Smart Bitches/Trashy Novels is the best (and expensive, oh my poor Visa) recommendation email blog. May I convert you to the cult of Courtney Milan? Here, I’ll leave a pamphlet…

      13. Slinky*

        The Shelf Awareness newsletter. It comes twice a week and provides reviews of new titles in a variety of genres. I’ve found a lot of great books there!

      14. Barbara Eyiuche*

        A few years ago I decided to read all the novels that won a Pulitzer Prize (back to 1970, then selected ones from earlier). I really enjoyed it, so then started reading the Booker Prize winners.

      15. Rebecca*

        There is a national library-staff recommended reads list, LibraryReads (www.LibraryReads.org). Many library workers have the opportunity to read books before they are published, and this list collects pre-pub “votes” to create a Top Ten most-anticipated list. The archive goes back to 2013, check it out! (Full disclosure: I’m the org’s ED)

      16. BetsCounts*

        Nancy Pearl wrote several editions of ‘Book Lust’ that has the books sorted by theme. If you have a particular genre you enjoy, look at what awards are given in that theme- Hugos & Nebulas for SFF, the Edgars for mystery. They usually announce a list of nominees in addition to the final winners, and they are a great source for potential reads. Especially if you look at historical wins/noms, there shouldn’t be much of a wait list.

        Also! I am sorry to beat a dead horse, but I always recommend overdrive. Last year, before everything shut down, I was traveling around California and got cards for like different library systems. So I can literally check out e-books from from over a dozen systems and read them on my tablet or computer.

      17. Not Your Sweetheart*

        Check with your library. My current one, and the one in my last city offered personalized recommendations. I gave them titles of some books I like, told them what kind of book I was looking for, and a few other things. They sent me a curated list of books. That’s how I discovered Neil Gaiman.
        I also belong to a few author fan pages on Facebook, and someone is always asking for or giving recommendations within the author’s genre/style.

      18. PhyllisB*

        I find mine in a variety of ways. I get most of my books from the library (if I bought everything I read I would have to have another house just for books!!) Our library has a double sided bookcase when you first come in that has new releases so I look there first, I get the Bookpages newsletter free at the library, I also belong to Goodreads and get a lot of ideas there. I have also just decided to explore a bit in different ways. From time to time I have decided to go by the alphabet. Would get at least one A author one week, one B the next, ect. The last time I did that I got up to G. Discovered some new authors that way, and discovered books by authors I was familiar with but had not seen before. Just a way to shake things up a bit.

    4. Bluebell*

      During the pandemic, I’ve bought books from bookshop.org and some independent booksellers. They send out periodic emails promoting books, and that has given me a lot of possibilities.

  3. Aphrodite*

    How do you decorate your bed? I am still, all these years later, not entirely satisfied. I’ve tried several headboards and I have come to realize I do not like any headboard. I live in earthquake country so I have only a single oversized canvas print (of a favorite painting, Nighthawks) above my head so any potential damage to me is minimized. I am not a huge fan of multiple pillows but do have two with shams and a small one. I don’t use throws tossed on the bed in an “artistic” manner. I like my bedspread/comforter to come to the floor so I don’t use a skirt. I like the look you see in magazine and website ads where the bedding is pulled back to reveal pristine sheets but I have cats.

    In other words, I keep trying but maybe I should just stick with what I have now. I am curious, though: what do YOU have or want? Or what have you done or tried and disliked?

    1. Aphrodite*

      Oh, and I refuse to do the “artistically unmade” bed look. Grandma stuck it in my head from a very young age that unmade beds are never allowed.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        Haha! And once I moved away from home, my stance since then is, “I’m just going to sleep in it again tonight and no one ever sees it but me and my husband, so why bother making it just to mess it up again?”

        1. The Other Dawn*

          That said, I’ve really been wanting to get a full bed frame for years now. I just never made an effort to get one. Staying at a historic inn for our anniversary a few months ago has renewed my interest and I plan to get one soon. The room had a sleigh bed, which I’ve always wanted. But I also really like the really tall four-poster frames. I’m not sure which one to get.

          1. SarahKay*

            YMMV, but I’ve found that sleigh beds and other beds with a foot board mean my duvet gets heaped up at the bottom and lets in draughts. Since I suffer from cold feet this is unwelcome, especially in winter! if you do fall in love with a sleigh bed it might be worth experimenting first by putting something up against the foot-end of your bed and seeing if the bed-clothes are comfy for you.
            Personally, I’d love a real four-poster but then I’d also want thick curtains that I could pull round it…which would entirely defeat my need for a cold bedroom if I want to sleep well :(

            1. footboard, blankets, and warmth*

              I had a footboard growing up. I now have a habit of rolling my blanket edge under my feet so it forms an air seal. But I also use duvet covers for my blankets instead of having blankets on top of flat sheets.

        2. Clisby*

          That’s me! And I passed that on to my 2 children, who as far as I know have never made a bed in their lives other than just after their sheets have been washed.

    2. KR*

      I do two shams with cheap pillow inserts that I remove before going to bed and a single throw pillow, in addition to the normal sleeping pillows. I keep a throw blanket on my bed because I like to be able to curl up without undoing the whole bed, or have some extra warmth. I don’t do a bed skirt or very long blankets, partly because my bed is tall and also because I have 3 animals that shed like it’s their job. I’m watching this thread though – I moved recently and tossed my comforter set so I’m on the lookout for a new setup.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Speaking of shams, this is a hint I got from my husband’s ex-mother-in-law: Buy two cheap pillows (or two old ones you already have) to put the shams on then put pillow cases on the pillows you sleep on. Then at night just move the shammed pillows. Sure beats taking shams off and replacing them every day!!

    3. Off the clock*

      I recently got into crocheting so for my summer comforter that doesn’t have coordinating pillows in the set (just shams in the same print as the bedspread), I’ve crocheted 2 square and 1 small rectangular pillows out of two complementary colors of velvet yarn. It gives the set a nice added texture.

      I’ve also recently bought a cozy shag rug and put that under the bed, perpendicular to the length of the bed. It makes my first few steps out of bed each morning feel luxuriously soft, and as an added bonus, my cats love lounging/playing on the rug.

      I’m selling my home (listing next week!) so I’ve watched some DIY staging videos on how to make your bedroom prettier for photos/showings. The tips I gleaned included folding my throw into thirds (to hide the edges) and laying it across the foot of the bed, and folding back the last 8-10 inches of my comforter to expose a contrasting color where I arrange my pillows (which won’t work for all comforters, but works for the one I’m using now).

    4. allathian*

      When I lived in a small studio apartment, I made my bed every morning, had a nice bedspread and a lot of cushions, because my single bed (60 cm/2 ft wide) also doubled as a couch. Now that I live in a 5-bedroom house, I absolutely relish in the luxury of leaving my bed unmade!

      1. londonedit*

        I live in a studio flat (though it is quite large) and I always make my bed because it doubles as a sofa (it’s an IKEA Hemnes day bed and I love it).

        I have a duvet, throw blanket, and then a load of pillows and cushions that make up a comfortable back for the sofa.

    5. Marion Ravenwood*

      Honestly for me it’s all in having cool bed linen. I have two sets I rotate – one is white with black polka dots, and the other is a sort of sunset-type tie-dye pattern in various different bright colours and a pale turquoise lining. I might also put my wool blanket on the end of my bed (folded in thirds) in winter so it’s easy to grab if I need an extra layer, and I have a friend’s painting of elephants over my bed as well. But generally, I don’t feel like I need any more than that.

    6. DistantAudacity*

      I do it with the nicest bed linen I can afford, which I normally wash and then put straight back on.

      I live in a location that uses duvets, so that it is typically the top layer (no additional bed covers) – hence the pretty sheets is what shows. I have a couple of big additional pillows, for support when reading (my bed frame is an IKEA Malm double).

      I’ve especially liked my John Lewis mumble-threadcount set, but it finally got worn out. And then The Thing happened, and my Easter trip to London last year was cancelled, where I was going to buy replacements :)

    7. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      I’m the opposite of you, I dislike not having a headboard, and our bed has a particularly high one made of a lovely wood. That way it takes up the space and I don’t need to put anything on the wall over the bed (in London now, but great up in earthquake country so I hate sleeping with things over my bed).

      All white bedding, one throw pillow I like and one throw blanket. I love a throw blanket, both for decorative purposes and to wrap around my shoulders when I’m reading!

      But the biggest thing for me is a made bed — so I would prioritize a set-up that is easy for you to maintain and keep clean.

      1. Windchime*

        I agree with a made bed. Not necessarily because I care what it looks like (mostly I don’t), but because I love crawling into a neatly made bed at the end of the day. It just feels so fresh and lovely.

        Mine is decorated with a duvet cover that doesn’t have a duvet in it (too hot). Matching square shams, 2 or 3 bed pillows and a decorative, sparkly pillow.

    8. Lobsterp0t*

      I don’t love headboards either but my wife refuses to go without one. Our current bed has one integrated into the frame with hidden cubbies behind / inside – I like but don’t love it. I’d prefer to have one that is attached to the wall and in a custom fabric, or none at all. The headboard is charcoal grey with blue undertones so it goes with just about anything.

      I would consider putting some ferns or a maranta in the top shelf or just above the head board on the wall, and letting it do its thing. We might also put some artwork overhead.

      Bedding wise, we have two nicer IKEA sets that we like. One is a soft brushed cotton tartan with a white base and one is a floral with a pale pink base. They pick up the dusty pink and olive green in our overall decor quite nicely.

      We don’t do a lot with cushions on the bed because they’re annoying to keep clean and tidy. We have a dog, soon to be two dogs. We just make the bed after letting it air and call it a day.

    9. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t make my bed or even much care what it looks like, to be honest. I spend about five minutes a day in my bedroom where it isn’t dark, if that. Heh. My bed frame is the Ikea Malm, so it’s about as plain as one can get. Husband and I have separate bedding (aside from the fitted sheet) because he’s a bed hog who will steal the covers, then when he gets hot throw them off the other side of the bed and leave me freezing, but we don’t even try to match them – I think right now he has a dark blue waffle-weave blanket, and I have a down comforter that’s in a white floral-patterned duvet cover. We actually used to have two different mattresses, because with a king sized bed frame you can do that, but he decided he wanted a new mattress that was like 8″ thicker than the old ones, and we couldn’t figure out logistically how to make that work, so we negotiated on the mattress and seem to have found one that works for both of us. (He normally likes a soft cushy mattress and I basically want to sleep on a dining room table with maybe a yoga mat on it, so I wasn’t sure how well that was going to work, but it’s going alright.)

      1. allathian*

        We’ve always had separate bedding, even when we slept in the same room. I’m a very restless sleeper and twist and turn in bed a lot.

        I don’t get the idea of sleeping under the same duvet, sounds like asking for trouble!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Well, if he was the one who was here explaining why we have separate bedcovers, I’m sure there would be mention of my tendency to rotisserie myself all night. :) (And if the dog were the one explaining, the purpose is obviously to give her the most options when she’s deciding how she wants to sleep, because she takes her half out of the middle.)

          Officially, it’s mostly just because we have different temperature preferences – he likes thin blankets and cotton sheets because he overheats, and I like big cushy fluffy blankets and flannel sheets because I’m always freezing.

          1. Teatime is Goodtime*

            Having two sets of bedding was an absolute game changer for me and my now husband. I’m quite certain we never would have gotten married otherwise. Firstly, we have completely different temperature needs and secondly I am the WORST about stealing blankets.

            Interestingly, separate bedding is totally normal where we live now…and even separate mattresses! Their queen or king size equivalent is often composed of two twin(ish)-sized mattresses laid side-by-side in the frame.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Yep, we had two twin mattresses up until about this time last year, I think :) Good way to emphasize “this is my half of the bed and that is your half of the bed” for people who don’t like sleep-cuddling. Hah.

            2. allathian*

              Yeah, separate mattresses is the only way to go if there’s a significant difference in size and especially weight.

        2. londonedit*

          This was honestly a revelation when I found out about it from the Finnish branch of my family! If it’s Moomin bedding then so much the better.

          1. allathian*

            I’m in Finland and I have Moomin bedding! The jungle and Moominpapa and the sea.

      2. Ikea Ivan*

        Omg, my saviour! I just bought the Ikea Malm bed frame this week and have been stuck at step 4 for 3 days now. I’ve watched tons of videos and read countless articles. I’ve managed to tighten 2 of the 4 corners but the other 2 just won’t tighten. Any tips?

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          oh, gosh. I put mine together almost six years ago now, so I don’t remember any of the details, but I don’t remember it being terribly difficult, I put it together by myself in about two hours. Is it the turny-lock-nuts that are giving you a hard time? My house is full of Ikea furniture and they do use those a lot, so if you can elaborate on what the issue is I can try to help :)

          (But, for what it’s worth, my Malm is, as I say, going on six years old now, and while we haven’t moved house since getting it, it has been moved around a little bit in bedroom reorganization and when we replaced the windows and such, and it’s still rock solid. So good choice!!)

          1. Ikea Ivan*

            Lol, yes, the turny Lock nuts. On 2 corners, theyre just not “catching” when I try to tighten them with the Allen key. I know it works because 2 of them went ok. So I don’t know what I’m doing wrong with the other 2.

            Good to know I made a good choice!

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Make sure you’re putting them in the right direction so that they fit all the way in around the sticky-in part on the bolt (TECHNICAL TERMS OKAY?? :P ) and that they’re going all the way into the hole and not catching on something and stopping early – usually when I’ve had problems getting them to catch, something was keeping them from going all the way in so they could get behind the bolt when I turned them. (When this happens, they generally just spin freely in the hole when you try to tighten them rather than catching and tightening.)

              Otherwise – they generally give out spare hardware for free, so maybe if your Ikea is close enough, try getting new turny lock nuts and see if the ones you got are just defective? The instruction manual will have the specific part number for the turny lock nuts next to their picture to make sure you get the right size.

            2. Shannon*

              I just assembled a Malm bed a few weeks ago! On the one corner that gave me trouble, I wasn’t pushing the round “wheel” thingy deep enough into the socket, so the bolt wasn’t able to catch. Make sure the wheel is pushed all the way into the hole and that the arrow is lined up with where the bolt will come in from the adjacent piece. Once everything is aligned you should not have to push too hard to get it to go together and tightening should be simple.

    10. Rebecca Stewart*

      We use weighted blankets, so I fold those up at the foot and lay a quilt over the whole thing, the night pillows at the top. That keeps the cat hair (we have three) off the sheet that I’m going to sleep on.

      I do own some decorative pillows that match the quilt, and we used them when we were setting the house for sale, but on a daily basis, nah, someone’s probably going to get a migraine or overstimulated and need to lie down halfway through the day, so dressing the bed up too much isn’t happening.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I don’t? I go for comfort and ease of use. Cotton everything, minimal number of pillows. I like to have the linens straight and neat each night, so each morning I “straighten” the bed. This is different from what my fore-mothers would have called making a bed. You can’t bounce a quarter on it. There aren’t even amounts of sheet and blanket hanging off each side. I do enough so that it’s not lumpy.

      I look at the pictures of beds in advertising and I think to myself who the heck has time to put 17 pillows on the bed and take 17 pillows off the bed every freakin’ day. No way.

      I do have a book case head board because I hate falling out of bed in effort to reach the nightstand. This means no nightstands and maybe a little less clutter? Not sure.

    12. LQ*

      First things first, good, all bamboo sheets. This is 100% my indulgence in life right now, there is nothing like crawling into bed with clean bamboo sheets.

      I live in a studio so having my bed look nice is a large part of having my home look nice since it’s the largest visual element in my home (I have a queen, my studio is on the larger side, but the bed is by far my biggest piece of furniture). I always make it. I don’t have a skirt, I do have a box spring. I do go for pulled back sheets and blankets with 2 functional pillows only. I do …like 6 layers of blankets, linen (don’t recommend), wool (highly recommend), and cotton. I’ve come to realize I’m a materials snob. I got a really soft fuzzy but poly blanket and I hated it so much I couldn’t stand one night with it on the bed. I have a weighted blanket that’s not on the bed right now for reasons, but will go back soon (also cotton). My top layer blanket is always super machine washable and gets washed at least 1/month because …I live in a studio, I spend a lot of time sitting on the bed.

      For my headboard I finally gave in recently and bought some peel and stick wallpaper mural to put up as a headboard. I didn’t want fabric, but I wanted something to visually delineate the “bedroom” space and the headboard is nice for that. So after a lot of looking at a bunch of different options I went with the wallpaper. I promised myself I’ll take it down after less than a year, in large part so that I commit myself to changing it out so that I feel good about actually putting it on. It was fairly easy to put on so check back in a year about replacing it.

      (I am still suffering some residual trauma from bugs so some of my bed is made for that reason. Also? I love this question!)

      1. LQ*

        Oh and I have 2 very large metal shelving units as nightstands that function to frame off my “bedroom” part of my bed. I need a good bed light and have been shopping for one for a while, but I want one that comes over my head but only about 3% of the time, the rest of the time the lighting in the rest of the apartment is entirely sufficient.

    13. Queer Earthling*

      I have cute/pretty blankets and a couple of plushies (currently a dragon and an alpaca), but I realize that’s not everyone’s look. I also have a number of pictures on the wall around my bed, not canvas but paper, usually nerdy art from conventions. My spouse and I have separate twin beds and we also have decorations on our nightstand, in between the two beds, of an assortment on knicknacks and so on–is that an option for you, to just decorate nearby?

      Also, during the day, an assortment of cats become the decorations.

        1. MissB*

          Lol! I used to have a perfect bed, but a bit more than a year and a half ago we got a puppy (he’s 90 lbs now) and then last December we got another one (he’ll be 40 lbs).

          They sleep in their kennels at night in our room but when we let them out in the morning they immediately join us on the bed.

          So I gave up having the nice quilt and pretty pillows showing in the daytime. I have an older microfiber comforter that hides the dog hair and that is what I pull up each morning when making the beds. The pillows get tucked underneath – a look I truly hate, but live with because I dislike dog hair on my pillows more.

          The things we do for the animals that grace us with their presence!

    14. Girasol*

      We used to have a bed box with no headboard or footboard. I found an arch-shaped grapevine wreath thing at the craft store and hot-glued an arrangement of leaves and dried flowers to it and hung it above the bed. It gave the illusion of a more complete bed and it was light so if it had fallen it wouldn’t be dangerous. I’ve seen pictures of painted wall designs that frame the head of the bed, which I’d like to try someday, maybe with stencils. A renter could do something like that with washi tape.

    15. SarahKay*

      Wooden bed frame and headboard but it’s a very minimal frame; it is there to hold the mattress rather than be a significant element in itself. Six pillows and a duvet; duvet cover matches top two pillow-cases, the other pillow cases match the sheet. I…have a massive weakness for colours in my bedlinen, so have about six duvet covers, some plain, some patterned, and six or seven fitted sheets in different colours.
      I would prefer only four pillows, two for each side of the bed, but when my ex and I split up I ended up in a much smaller place with more pillows than beds, and not enough storage space, so it just seemed simpler to put on a pillow-case and put the extra on the bed.
      My favourite is winter, when I have my puffy winter duvet, covered in a duvet cover with all different shades of red and some gold accents, and it just looks *so* snuggly and inviting.

    16. RussianInTexas*

      I don’t really, I barely make mine to begin with (not every day). Not do I use any decorative pillows. The bed is as it came from the store, with a comforter thrown on it, two pillows, and bed sheets. Nothing else. No bed skirt, I hate them.

    17. Oxford Comma*

      Bedspread, two pillows, two pillows with shams. A duvet that gets folded at the foot of the bed. That’s it.

    18. Clisby*

      This isn’t really decorative, but I wish it were easy to find the old-fashioned cotton sheets with a really low thread count. It was pretty much by accident that I found a supplier of 100% cotton, 140 thread count sheets. They take me back to my childhood days, when our sheets dried out on the clothesline and had sort of a crisp texture. These silky kinds of sheets that are much more common today are inferior, to my mind.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I hate the feeling of silk against my skin! I even prefer the roughness of unironed sheets against the skin. I do use a fitted sheet to avoid wrinkles, though. Sleeping in a hotel bed with ironed sheets feels weird.

    19. Sara*

      I have a bed with built-in headboard, and the headboard is upholstered. I love it for sitting up in bed reading, and I like the way it looks. Then I just have 4 pillows and a duvet. One set is sort of a muted colour blocking situation and the other is white and grey and floral. I usually hang most things to dry so having 2 sets is key to actually having a bed with sheets on it…

      I also have a small decorative pillow, but I often find I forget to put it on most mornings. I’ll put it on when I change my sheets, and otherwise it’s 50/50. There’s a shelf under my bedside table where it fits and it often stays there for days. I wouldn’t bother to replace it but I do like how it looks when it’s on there.

      Also related to decor of my bed is bedside lighting. I only have space for a nightstand on one side and I didn’t want it to be too cluttered, so I have plug-in pendant lights on either side and I really like them. They were Ikea diys with a wooden shelf bracket as the hook/holder for them and then just a plain lamp cord and minimal but decorative shades.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Yes, a good lamp is necessary! I’ve only had one nightstand but someday maybe I’ll have a big enough bedroom for two.

    20. Might be Spam*

      I love my storage bed. It’s 3 drawers long and 2 drawers high on one side and 3 double height drawers on the other side. It’s high enough that I have to step on a chair to get in bed, but getting out is easy. The top of the mattress is even with the window sill so I can look straight out of the window just by turning my head. I feel like I am sleeping in a tree house.
      During winter, I use an oversized blue and green flannel duvet over a thick quilted comforter. In the summer I use a thin red quilted blanket with matching pillow shams. So the room goes from warm and cozy in the winter to cool and sophisticated in the summer. This year, the changing decor really helped me to feel that time is actually passing.

    21. Elizabeth West*

      I really like having a headboard, but I’m kind of over the brass one my mom gave me. I want a solid headboard so when I put a pillow up against it and lean, it doesn’t squish through. Lots of little pillows are a pain in the butt. I like a few, though, with maybe one throw or a smaller blanket I can put over me if I want to lie down for a nap but don’t want to unmake the bed.

      A skirt is nice if I can’t find a long bedspread. I prefer my bed to be higher up, not low like a futon. I have a mattress and box spring now, but it’s getting old; I think I’ll go for a platform bed next time so I don’t have to mess with the box spring.

      I always make the bed, after letting it air while I make my coffee. A messy bed makes the room look messy. The only time I don’t do it is when I’m going to change the sheets (once a week).

    22. JobHunter*

      I use a shoji-style room divider as a headboard. It’s anchored to the wall so it won’t fall on me as I sleep. I also attached a string of LED lights (warm white, dimmable) to the back so it functions as a reading light, too.

    23. WoodswomanWrites*

      I have a simple set up that I love. I have an open wooden headboard with vertical slats and a comparable footboard and recently bought a beautiful handmade patchwork quilt that is long enough to cover the pillows. The two together are beautiful and that’s enough.

      Sheets and blankets are invisible and it’s all about comfort. I use LL Bean flannel sheets year-round and a combination of new and thrift store blankets depending on the season.

    24. Anonymous Hippo*

      Heck, I rarely do more than catch the edge of the blanket and heave it over top the rest of the bed so it isn’t full of pet hair when I go to bed.

      But I just do pillows. Not fancy pillows, just lots of regular pillows in regular cases that can be washed. I think I have 6 currently, 2 special neck ones, and 4 downalternatives. There are shams that go with my blanket stuffed in a cupboard somewhere but I rarely get them out. I tend to decorate with the colors of the based pieces in order to cut down on excess fripperies. So my walls are a beautiful gold, and my blanket is blue/white/gold, and the sheets are a beautiful navy. I have a nice navy bench at the end of my bed, so everything looks nice an coordinated, without excess stuff I have to clean pet hair off, lol.

  4. KeinName*

    What to do about the rage?
    In my country (which is small) femicides more than doubled since 2014. A man killed a woman (99% ex-partners/family members) every week last year. I organize a march for every women‘s day and have worked in pro-feminist violence preventive projects but I am so frustrated. In my opinion in times like these not only the government, NGOs etc. but also each indiviual man needs to take responsibiliy, and I want drastic measures (though I do not know which ones).
    As in the UK when a police officer kidnapped and killed Sarah Everard recently, here again the blame is put on women.
    I have also started to notice more street harassment (things like just yelling at me when I am on my bike or men trying to startle women when they walk on the street) this year.
    What can we do?? I need creative solutions. I am going to a demonstration now but it does not seem enough.

    1. Jackalope*

      I am struggling with this same issue right now. There’s so much awfulness going on around misogyny, and it feels like it will never ever end.

    2. Lobsterp0t*

      Honestly, carry a replica of Thor’s hammer and bat the offenders away like we are flicking dust off a piece of fabric?

      I don’t know.

      When I feel angry and hopeless I try to remember a line someone said to me recently, I’m not going to let this drive me into despair. I’m going to let it radicalise me instead. Or something like that!

      Obviously a statement like that that could apply in bad ways but it was said in the context of finding a compassionate way forward while dealing with the trauma of living in misogyny.

      You aren’t alone and even one woman’s life saved or made better by your work is a huge achievement. We shouldn’t have to count victories person by person but in this, the people are all that matter.

      You are also allowed to step back. Focus on being able to cope through it. This sounds traumatic and yes, we all have to keep going despite it being bad for us sometimes. But if you’re part of a movement then it is OK and necessary to step back a bit. The system wants us to burn ourselves out trying to change or dismantle it.

      Anyway, those are all my platitudes. I’m so sorry. You’re not alone.

      1. KeinName*

        Thank you! This made me tear up a bit! Also I like your first suggestion very much

    3. Girasol*

      I keep wondering if it would be helpful to start with schools. Sex education is poor in many places. Boys turn to porn to learn how it’s done and see violence and control. Many girls are taught in a general hand-wavy sort of way that they should remain pure, but they’re not taught how to deal with the specific advances of a porn-trained boy. Dress codes teach both of them that boys can’t control themselves and the responsibility falls on girls to present themselves so that boys are not “distracted.” Seems like we’re raising boys to behave in just the ways we object to, and girls to feel powerless and guilty about it. You may not be able to change the attitudes that legislators and judges and other men in power learned when they were very young but maybe you could change the next generation.

      1. KeinName*

        Yeah, you are right. Maybe there is hope in the next generation. With regards to the environment at least they seem to be very competent. And the school peer-workshops on masculinity and equality my former colleagues are organizing are really popular.

    4. triceratops*

      hi! I am currently in a PhD program and my research focuses on mass shootings, masculinity, etc. Often, I get asked why I study such a sad, difficult topic or how I deal with it emotionally… for me, my research is WHY I feel capable of waking up every day and confronting all of this terrible violence in the world. Research gives me a meaningful way to understand what seems unexplainable, grieve these tragedies in a way that feels true to me, and contribute my time/energy/knowledge to society.

      It sounds like gender-based violence is an issue you are passionate about and you do find meaning in the work you’ve been doing, but it doesn’t seem like enough. Are there other ways you could contribute to this cause that would feel beneficial? You say that it seems to be a problem at the individual level (that individual men need to take responsibility)… could you volunteer to work with at-risk youth, specifically boys, or sign up for a big sibling-little sibling program in your area? Could you leverage your previous work in violence prevention to begin giving talks/workshops at schools? Something like that might help you feel like you are contributing more tangibly, even though it sounds like you are making an impact as is!

      1. KeinName*

        Thanks! What a good use of a PhD!
        I take from your comment that it is helpful to learn more about violence and understand the reasons for it – I can imagine that working for me.
        I‘ve done a PhD in gender studies and worked in masculinity research and education and it really felt very worthwhile (but not very happy-making). I‘m still really angry about all that‘s going on (aparently my country is the only European country where more women than men are murdered each year).

  5. Amy*

    We found a nanny today! Yay!! I’ll be going back to grad school in a few months (after nearly a year away due to COVID fears, then maternity leave) and it’s a huge weight off my shoulders knowing that we have someone awesome lined up for the kids. She was actually my older child’s preschool teacher for several years before the pandemic and we loved her then, but never dreamed we’d be lucky enough to get her all to ourselves. But as luck would have it, she was looking for a new job that could work around her class schedule (she’s finishing her degree in early childhood ed) just as we were looking for a nanny, and it worked out perfectly!

    This is our first time having a nanny – does anyone have tips or general advice on how to make it a good experience for everyone involved? Also seeking recommendations for a nanny payroll service (both she and we prefer to use a service that will handle tax withholding for us.)

    1. Outside Observer*

      2 things, which you may already know – 1. Pay her like she is a professional, not a baby sitter. 2. Don’t micromanage what she can and can’t do. I knew a couple who hired a nanny, paid her peanuts, and insisted that she never leave the house with their baby. Then they wondered why she didn’t stay.

    2. Another Teacher*

      Appreciate and encourage the nanny to have traditions with your kid that you’re not a part of. I had a nanny at that age, and I still remember “movie Tuesdays” and “bagel Fridays” fondly. Why those events on Tuesdays and Fridays? I have no idea, but it was our thing.

    3. Alex*

      Definitely have a written contract that makes explicit how certain situations are going to be handled:
      What happens to her pay if: You don’t need her on a given day, your child is sick, she is sick, she needs a day off, you are late coming home, she is late arriving, your children have friends over she is supervising, she drives your children in her car, you want her to work extra hours either with or without notice.

      All of these came up while I was a nanny and the ones that were not in my contract became really uncomfortable questions.

      Also be explicit about what food she is/isn’t welcome to in the house, and about any non-childcare tasks you might expect her to do.

    4. Barbara Eyiuche*

      Don’t have her do housework or cooking as well. It is really better if she concentrates on the child.

    5. Green great dragon*

      Be explicit about as much as you can be. Do you want to be called if a child feels unwell or has a minor accident? How important is sticking to the routine/set meal times? Do you want to set out plans/outings, would you like her to decide these, or do you prefer for them to stay local?

      Provide money for incidental expenses (ice creams in the park, bus fares, entry fees) and consider whether she needs access to emergency funds (taxi to hospital if child hurts themself) or if she’d be able to cover something like that and be refunded.

    6. Sparrowhawk*

      As for a nanny payroll service recommendation, look at GTM Payroll Services.

  6. Off the clock*

    For anyone who’s sold a home while they’re still living (and working) in it, how much advance notice of showings do you think is reasonable?

    I’m going on the market next Thursday, starting showings on Friday, and while I’m going to approve every showing request Friday-Sunday (taking Friday off work), I was thinking of asking for at least an hour (preferably 2-3 hours)’s heads up on showings, and also restricting showings during the workweek to the late afternoon/early evening hours. It’s a hot market in my area and my realtor is hoping we’re only on the market for a week or two before going under contract, but for the time we are on the market, I’m struggling with how to balance staying productive at work and getting enough potential buyers in my home to elicit at least one good offer. I work from 9 AM – 5 PM so I was thinking of offering showings from around 4 PM (when my work day is pretty much wrapped up and I rarely have meetings ) thru around 7 or 8 PM on weekdays, which I know is a narrow window. I am a night owl so getting up early and cleaning and prepping for 7 AM – 9 AM weekday showings before my workday starts is not something I want to do.

    1. Kiwiapple*

      I think that is perfect – what always annoyed me is viewings during work hours (not every workplace is flexible).

      1. Off the clock*

        Thank you! Thankfully my work is pretty flexible, but it’d be so stressful to get 1-2 hours’ notice of showings during the workday and have to find another place to work on the fly.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      I haven’t sold a place but when I was in my last rental property and the landlord was getting potential new tenants in to view it, we would have at least 24 hours notice on viewings (which I understand is the minimum requirement here in the UK). Personally I’d prefer as much notice as possible so I could do a quick clean and make plans to be out of the house, but if your place is in a decent state (ie just needing a quick wipe down of surfaces) and you’ve got somewhere you can bolt to quickly then I think two or three hours would be sufficient.

      On the weekday viewings, I think your suggested window is totally fine – when I was looking to buy I much preferred to view places after work (as it gave me a rough idea what the commute would be like) or on weekends, and the impression I get is this is the same for most people.

      Good luck, and fingers crossed for a quick sale!

      1. Off the clock*

        Thank you! That’s a great point about people wanting to view after work to get a sense of their commute — I think most of my market will be people in town looking to relocate, so that makes a lot of sense.

    3. Rebecca Stewart*

      I don’t see where that’s a problem.

      We insisted on weekend only showings, but we also had three cats, and we just put a large outdoor dog cage with roof in the garage. That had room for the carriers, a box, food and water, and a scratching post. I wasn’t thrilled with locking them up for the weekend (we had no showings after Sunday 2 pm) but having to take them somewhere to board them would be much worse. The garage was already half-full of all the stuff we’d boxed up as inessential for showing but we wanted to keep, so beyond “yep, 2 car garage” I figured people didn’t need to see that the way they’d want to see the bedroom.
      Other than that I just pretty much kept a lot of stuff prepped and ready to toss into place to look good and bins to toss all the health and beauty stuff into that I could shove under the bed when we were showing.
      Our place sold over that weekend, and our only delay was finding a place ourselves. (But we did and all is well and the cats have forgiven us.)

      1. Off the clock*

        Thank you! That’s awesome that you sold over opening weekend — that’s my hope too! I’ve cleared out extra cabinet space in the bathroom and kitchen so I can quickly stash my health and beauty/countertop cleaning products underneath for showings, so as long as I have a few hours’ notice I can quickly tidy up, change the cat litterboxes, and go.

    4. Texan In Exile*

      If you’re in a seller’s market, then definitely set the rules you want.

      When I was selling my house (years ago), I got 20 minutes’ notice sometimes. There is no reason for that to happen – there is no reason someone can’t plan viewings more than 20 minutes in advance, especially now, when there is so much information about the house online.

      In this market, I would require at least a few hours, if not a day.

      1. Off the clock*

        Thank you! Yeah, in other homes my family has sold over the years (when I still lived with my parents as a teen), I remember getting no notice at all for showings sometimes. The doorbell would just ring in the middle of the afternoon when we were at home with a realtor and their clients, and we’d awkwardly stand outside as they looked around. Even worse, I remember sometimes potential buyers would come into the house without even calling when my parents where out, and my parents would come home to find strangers in their house. I’m hoping with the combination of a seller’s market and the updated lockbox technology (the Supra keyboxes that won’t open without an app and a code issued by the listing agent) I won’t have those issues.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I had to chase some people out of my yard when I was selling—they found the listing and just came over on their own. They parked in my driveway and were just randomly walking around the house on the property.

          I went outside and asked them what in the hey they were doing there. “We just wanted to look at the outside.” Well, call the realtor then! Otherwise, you’re trespassing!

          1. Off the clock*

            Oh no, that’s pretty weird! I’m hoping nothing like that happens to me — I live in a condo building with secured entrances (you need a keycard, fob, or intercom approval to get buzzed in), but I’m hoping random buyers without a realtor don’t manage to get into my building and start knocking on my door, lol!

            1. Elizabeth West*

              It should be okay where you are. Mine was a house, so there was nothing to stop them from wandering in off the street. And the stupid poobrain got mad at ME when I told him it was still my house and he couldn’t just come on people’s property without permission.

    5. Blue Eagle*

      Are you OK with having the listing restrict showings to weekends and after 4pm on weekdays? If so, have your realtor do that – – then you don’t have to worry about someone contacting you to show the house in 20 minutes in the morning or early afternoon.

      1. Off the clock*

        Yes, I just told my realtor that, and I’ve also asked her to text me at least an hour in advance of all showing requests so I can approve or decline them. The market here is so crazy that realtors are trying to get their clients into homes for sale even without confirming a showing appointment, but hopefully my realtor will do a good job of turning down requests outside of my available windows and no one will appear in my home when I’m in the middle of a work call (or worse, in the shower!).

    6. Malarkey01*

      One thing I always do when I sell is keep a laundry basket at the top of the stairs and on our main floor. If we get a call for a showing I throw anything random in the basket and put that in the trunk. Then the rest of the house is kept as show ready as possible. Having a basket to just throw stuff in as you run from room to room was so much faster than actually putting everything away.
      Good luck, being on the market is a pain.

    7. Sandi*

      When I bought places it was in a different city, so I would line up 6-10 viewings in one afternoon and early evening. I would have been in trouble if all the places had limited showings to only a few hours a day, but I would have also made it work by prioritizing my favorites, or I could have done viewings for two days. I also gave a lot of notice as I was coming from out of town which needed plane tickets, so I was planning a week ahead rather than hours.

      In my experience it was the realtors’ admin that booked the appointments. They sent me an auto email asking me to confirm or reject each request. I had a couple specific requests (during the workday I needed to know before I left for work as I had pets) and I ended up calling up the admin to let them know.

      I was willing to do last-minute depending on the situation, so told my realtor admin that they could always ask but I might reject. If I was in the middle of making a meal then try again later, but if another interested buyer had just left then great, please come in now.

    8. Anonymous Hippo*

      I would personally require 24 hours (not counting the weekends) notice. But I have anxiety and need to know things ahead of time or I get very upset.

      But I think balancing wanting to sell fast with your work, you have worked out a very good schedule. Most showings are going to be 4-8pm on weekdays anyway (you kind of need a job to buy a house) and/or weekends from say 11am-4pm.

    9. voyager1*

      If your realtor is good, they will put the house up on Friday, do showings on the weekend. If your house is priced right that is all the time you will need.

      I am a realtor. If your realtor is saying two weeks, find someone else.

      1. Off the clock*

        My realtor is thinking 1.5-2 weeks on the market at most. We’re pricing aggressively at the bottom end of market value in hopes of getting a lot of interest and a multiple offer situation that’ll hopefully drive the price up and yield at least one solid offer. The last bunch of homes my realtor has sold have all sold above asking price. I’m in a desirable neighborhood, and unless other listings crop up between now and Thursday when we list, I’m literally going to be the only home for sale in the neighborhood. Everything else that has been priced right in my neighborhood in the last few months has sold within a week or so.

    10. Coco*

      I sold in a pretty hot seller’s market last October. We asked for showings after 2 pm on weekdays and any time weekends with 2 hours notice and we accepted an offer in 6 days.

      We thought 1 hour was not enough to do last minute vacuuming , staging, getting the dogs ready, etc.

    11. Them Boots*

      I rented an in-law unit when my landlords decided to sell their home (& mine). I got three days (2 nights) notice and after the first few showings we had it down. Since the realtor liked most of my decor, it was just a matter of throwing some things (ie in use towels, etc) into a giant basket & into my car, sweeping, dusting and spraying the bathroom down with Windex. Yes, EVERYTHING except wood. Housekeeper secret sauce. Makes everything shiny & appear clean. Dirty dishes from breakfast artfully arranged in the dish dryer. My landlords were great about being as minimally disruptive as possible and the realtor was great! Place sold after 8th or 9th showing and the barn cat & I got to stay on! New landlords were even more lovely, so I was super lucky and glad I went out of my way to facilitate the sale.

  7. Mary Bennet*

    Hi everyone! I’ve been looking for a new hobby which could involve spending plenty of time outdoors, and I’m considering getting into beekeeping.
    Are there any beekeepers here? Any useful tips that you’d give a newbie? (Or should that be “newbee”? Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    1. Bagpuss*

      I used to keep bees. I would recommend doing an introductory course first if you can – I am in the UK and here there tend to be local groups which offer them.

      Also, check if there is a local group or association as this would give you the chance to get to know other local beekeepers so you have access to advice if you need it.

      Buy a good quality suit – cheap ones tend to be made of much thinner fabric and so aren’t so good at protecting you from stings.

      Enjoy

      1. Grits McGee*

        I was part of my college’s beekeeping club- totally agree with Bagpuss on taking a class first to get a good grounding before you start. A local class or group can educate you on the particular challenges of your area, including local ordinances. I’d also try to shadow or spend some time working with hives under someone else’s supervision before starting on your own.

    2. gsa*

      Oh my…

      If slept on a 60cm/2’ wide bed, my arms would fall off the bed or I’d sleep on my side.

      My shoulders are greater than 60cm.

      1. allathian*

        Nesting fail.

        I just kept using my childhood bed, although when I moved into a slightly larger apartment, still one bedroom but at least I didn’t sleep in my living room, I got a bed that was twice as wide, queen size?

        That said, I tend to sleep on my side and in a fetal position, so there’s that.

    3. MinotJ*

      We’ve had hives for three years now. My only advice is to prepare for heartbreak. We have two hives and we’re doing something wrong because they keep swarming, leaving us with sooooo much honey but no bees. Every year we have to buy more. It’s my partner’s project so I don’t have any other advice. They are lovely to watch, learning their flight paths through the yard and watching as they come back “heavy”.

      We have a fairly small yard and they let us get as close as we want to the hives to watch them – they just give us a little “bonk” when they’d like us to back off. My partner only uses the bee suit when he’s actually going to open the lid. We’ve each been stung once since we got them, and not near the hive. I got my one sting when I was walking around inside my house and had an itch under my bra strap. I learned to carefully check those out instead of smashing them.

      One of my favorite things about bees is that it gives me a reason to fill my yard with flowers. I’m not wasting money – I’m feeding my thousands of pets! But do check that you’re not buying weird “pollen-free” flowers – what the heck!

      Turns out I have no advice. But I love talking about my bees. As my (former beekeeper) father says “Bees are good people”.

    4. Chilipepper*

      I second the suggestion to connect with local beekeepers. I have a friend who can do anything and she could not keep her bees going, they were attacked by ants that killed the colony/dispersed them every time. Apparently it is an issue where we live. Connecting with local beekeepers could alert you to local issues.

      Also, I plan to do more geocaching as a way to get outdoors.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I was just going to suggest geocaching! (I’ve found a few caches that were located in or near “pollinator gardens”, to combine with the beekeeping theme.) I’ve been amazed at the many little out-of-the-way parks or hiking trails that geocaching has led me to.

    5. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Hello from a once & future backyard beekeeper. We currently have empty beehives …but two bait hives outside are getting some scout bee attention.
      If you’re in the US, there are local agricultural extensions connected to state colleges & universities. Facebook has groups too — you might like to try ‘women in beekeeping.”
      For buying equipment, I would suggest putting your money into the veil with a good hat, a good pair of elbow-length gloves, and something to keep your pants tight to your boots at the bottom. Everything else you can actually get by with a lot less than a full suit. I sprung for the full suit because I am a wuss.
      Save & dry your corn cobs because they make great smoke.
      For the reader who has swarms–put another honey frame on top & harvest it more often. They won’t be likely to go if there’s still room. And if you have a swarm go, consider requeening because it is possible for the soon to hatch queen left behind to fail to find a mate, get eaten by a bird, or if 2 hatch at once to kill each other fighting for the hive.

      1. Green great dragon*

        Agree with most of this, but for something to keep pants tight to your boots – elastic band and wellington boots worked fine for us.

    6. Pippa K*

      Glad you asked this! We just started our first hive as novice beekeepers, so I’ll be watching the advice here closely. We read up before starting and have found YouTube videos really helpful for showing how things are done in practice.

  8. My Girl*

    I’m subletting my apartment that I rent out through the end of the lease term- it’s only 3 months until end of August. The sublet is done all through the property management company so they will run the background checks, draw up the appropriate papers and the subletter pays rent to my property manager but ultimately, if she doesn’t pay, I’m responsible for covering and we’re both on the hook for any damage done.

    I had a potential subletter come look at the apartment today that I initially thought seemed great but I’m having second thoughts now and wondering if any of these are legit red flags or if I’m overthinking things:
    – She is moving in with only 2 suitcases of stuff, a couch and an air mattress. She is currently working remotely for a university about 2 hours away and wants to test out if she wants to move back to this city and start applying to jobs here. I offered to sell her my bed and she wasn’t interested. I can’t explain why this is nagging at me.
    – She said she looked at 2 other places and needs to discuss her options with her mom- she’s 45 and has lived at home the last 2 years. I hate that I’m finding myself being judgmental but I wish she had just said ‘I need to think it over tonight’
    – She told me she’s nervous about making the move here even though it’s for a short time frame. She also mentioned there is a guy here she is ‘on and off with/sort of dates’ and I’m nervous that is a factor and she might try to bail early if it goes south (note her agreement will state the start/end terms but I’m probably not going to bother taking her to court over anything with this place)

    I really didn’t think much about this but my friends think she seems flaky and I should explore other options(I’ve had a decent amount of interest come in so I’m pretty confident I could secure another party). At the end of the day, all I care about is that the apartment is in the same shape I leave it in and she pays rent every month and on time. I wanted to avoid renting to an intern/college student who might be having parties and people over frequently. Has anyone ever been in a similar situation and what do you think about how to vet people?

    1. acmx*

      Why do you care that she doesn’t want your used mattress? For one, if she decides not to stay there, she has another thing to move or dispose of.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        That’s it exactly. It’s easier for her to suddenly move if she keeps the air mattress.

    2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Do you have a way to check her references?

      I think the problem is that a 3-month sublet is only likely to be attractive to people who are in a transitional stage, consequentally even pretty reliable people might seem flaky. None of the bullet points you listed are (to me) red flags based on a 3-month sublet for someone who’s not sure if they want to live in that city, but I can understand why you’re nervous — it’s always a risk entering into a contract with someone you don’t know well!

    3. Anima*

      Do you know more about her background? I would have moved in with two suitcases and a blanked after my divorce and I was *not* stable back then – I would have totally rented to me anyway, because I would just like in bed and do nothing because depressed.
      That said, I think you gut feeling is valid – something is off here, and I can’t pinpoint what.
      But why not rent to an intern/student? Are party’s allowed were you live (panini related, I mean)? Most single people who only do an internship for three month do not throw partys, they work, and then collapse on the sofa. You can also vet students in the way – I lived for years alone and never threw a single party because I had to study. Ask what they study – chances are good if it’s maths/computer science/physics that there a no party’s ging on, ever. Just an idea – try to find you a Rory Gilmore and your subletting will be fine!

    4. AcademiaNut*

      The suitcases and air mattres sound totally reasonable to me – I did four month work terms in undergraduate where I’d take two suitcases and get a short term rental or sublet. I wouldn’t buy a bed for that short a time, because there would be the hassle of disposing it at the end, and two suitcases was enough clothes and personal items to last a semester.

    5. twocents*

      A 45-year-old woman with a minimal amount of stuff seems like not a problem? You don’t have to worry that her sofa is going to ding the wall when she moves in, and if I was only staying somewhere for 4 months, I’m not sure I’d want a ton of junk to move either.

      I think the sort of boyfriend is not your problem. She has her own contract to sign, and has her own reasons for wanting to check the area out that have nothing to do with him.

      I really don’t see how she comes across as “flaky.”

    6. RoseColoredGlasses*

      Ok, I’m in a similar demographic as your potential subletter (female, mid-40s, single, currently live w/ a parent) so I see where the “let me check with my mom” is a flag. AND YET, it’s entirely possible she is a caretaker and legit needs to check about moving 2 hours away, as that does place an extra burden on caretaking duties. I’d probably not say out loud that I was checking with my mom in this setting, but its been a long pandemic, and its entirely possible she’s checking with mom for reasons that aren’t ‘failure to launch’.
      As I plan to move on from my current living situation, if I were to sublet first, I’d definitely be packing light, and saving aaaalllll my stuff for a more permanent move, and wait till I was more settled to get bigger-ticket items, like a bed.
      All this to say, if this helps put you more at ease, great. If she still seems flaggy, or flakey, then only you can tell based on your interactions.

      1. Malarkey01*

        And really most people do have someone they bounce big decisions off of. It’s not weird if someone said let me talk to my spouse and if someone doesn’t have a spouse that person might be a parent/child/good friend. My 70 year old windowed mom discusses her big decisions with me just as a general does this make sense what do you think?

    7. CC*

      I wouldn’t read too much into her talking about it with her Mom. There could be all sorts of reasons for that. I mean, you’re talking about it with a bunch of strangers on the internet, yes?

    8. Tofu Pie*

      Could it be that your gut is picking up other red flags that your brain can’t quite articulate?

    9. SoloKid*

      I think you’re overthinking it.

      She sounds like an anxious oversharer with telling you about her mom and “on/off” dude but that doesn’t equate to flaky IMO. I agree that I’d just want to be told “I need to think it over.”
      I also personally wouldn’t want to buy someone else’s used bed (I assume you mean mattress? Frame is a different matter.)

      1. pancakes*

        Yes to all this, particularly since a management company is doing a background check. I subletted my old apartment for several years on my own and didn’t know this much about any of my tenants’ lives. Your friends are unlikely to be able to predict whether someone will pay the rent on time by hearing about their relationship with their mother or their love life, either. Neither of these tidbits speaks directly to someone’s ability or willingness to pay their rent on time.

        1. Joan Rivers*

          I’m intuitive and I think OP is picking up on some concerning issues. They may not create problems for her w/the sublet, they may just be applicant’s stuff.
          I’d try to talk to her personal references, and ask myself if paying 3 months of rent yourself might be less than the amount of stress she could cause you. Or could you discuss it w/landlord? If BF is “on” again it could get hairy.
          Maybe I’ve just watched too many court shows but people do some crazy things — as do BF’s and pets.

          1. pancakes*

            I have no idea what you’re trying to suggest is going to “get hairy” with this woman’s boyfriend, or what light you think the landlord could possibly shed on the matter. Having men over to one’s apartment, even a sublet, is not nefarious.

    10. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I get the concern– you’re worried about flight, not criticizing her life choices. Probably too late now, but can you ask for three months upfront? Might be a lot but would certainly help.

      Barring that, make sure you have a signed sublease agreement. Ask for ID. You can ask for references too. Above all, this is a business arrangement and you’re allowed to– expected to!– protect your own interests.

      1. pancakes*

        Attempting to do an informal background check on top of the management office’s official background check would scare away many prospective tenants, and doesn’t make much sense to me. I certainly wouldn’t turn my ID over to the tenant in those circumstances, and I’m not sure what you think should be done with it. I do agree that this is a business arrangement and My Girl should look after her own interests, but she said that she’s “probably not going to bother taking her to court over anything with this place,” which I don’t understand as a mindset. The idea that any and all risk can be avoided by trying to scrutinize the tenant’s furniture or love life or other aspects does not seem realistic to me. Being open to the idea of taking them to small claims court if something goes wrong seems far more reasonable.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          And I wouldn’t rent to anyone who wouldn’t be willing to show an ID– proof of name and some kind of traceable information. Small claims court is an option, sure, but personally I would rather do the legwork up front than deal with small claims (I had to sue a former roommate in one borough after I had moved to another, it sucked).

          And as the subletter, I would also want an agreement, just as I would as a tenant leasing directly from the landlord.

          1. pancakes*

            All of this is being handled by the management company: “The sublet is done all through the property management company so they will run the background checks, draw up the appropriate papers and the subletter pays rent to my property manager . . .” I’m not sure whether you didn’t read the original comment or think there’s something to be gained by trying to informally duplicate the process.

            1. AvonLady Barksdale*

              I read it and I saw that part. I just believe that when I’m on the hook legally, I need to do my own due diligence. The management company can go after the OP if the rent isn’t paid, they’re covered. The OP is allowed to do her own work if she prefers.

              1. pancakes*

                The comment also says the OP would be on the hook for the rent if it isn’t paid. It’s not an uncommon arrangement. Of course she can try to ask for ID and run her own background check of some sort — the question is whether it’s advisable to do so, and what exactly should or would that entail. It’s not clear what you think should be done with the ID, for example, if anything. Make a photocopy of it for . . . keeping in a drawer? Try to check it against a database of some sort? There should be a purpose.

    11. Paris Geller*

      I don’t think those first two are really issues. 2 suitcases, a couch, and an air mattress makes sense to me for just a couple of months. If I was only going to be living somewhere a couple of months, I wouldn’t bring much more. As for discussing her options with her mom–you say that you hate that you’re finding yourself being judgmental, so can you just let it go? Reframe it in your mind as her having said “I’m going to discuss with my family”–and that it doesn’t matter if family is mom, grandfather, spouse, kid, hamster, best friend since birth, etc.
      The last one is the only I think would give me pause. That being said, if you have a gut feeling, it’s worth exploring.

      I would also encourage you to reconsider renting to an intern/college student. Actually I think intern would make a lot of sense–that’s the kind of person who needs temporary short-term housing and like others have said, many interns work/sleep for three months. There are plenty of adults you could rent to who will throw huge parties and create a mess, and there are plenty of quiet and studious college students who would be great renters.

    12. Chantel*

      I don’t see anything wrong with this person from what you’ve written. A sublet is supposed to be for situations as she describes. The “my mom” comment could be cultural, i.e. generational living arrangements that are a function of such cultures. Also, some people, especially during the pandemic, had to move back home. That very real possibility for her shouldn’t escape anyone. And the boyfriend relationship being lukewarm? People break up and still pay their rent; one has nothing to do with the other.

      Also, that she doesn’t want to buy your bed is an absurd measure by which to assess a person. A stranger’s used mattress? Just…ew.

  9. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going? As usual, this thread is not limited to fiction writing.
    Still nothing recreational for me, but at least my writing for That-Which-Shan’t-Be-Named-On-Weekends is going well, so I’m happy there.

    1. Wry*

      Writing-esque: I’m supposed to be revising my novel, but lately it just hasn’t been happening. I just keep leaving it on the back burner while I prioritize other things. My own fault completely but it’s still frustrating! I’m hoping to jump back into it this weekend but we’ll see.

    2. Girasol*

      I’m pretty good at writing when I’m “in the flow” but I make excuses about writer’s block when I’m not and then don’t write for ages. So I’m trying now to be more disciplined about it: an hour a day, ready or not. It’s still a little early to tell but I think it’s working for me.

    3. DiamandisFan*

      Working on querying this weekend instead of writing. I find it both boring and overwhelming trying to research agents, so I keep putting this off. I’d so much rather just write and revise my fiction than try to get it published. But in an effort to be more of a main character in my own life, I’m trying to actually take steps toward my dream of getting published!

    4. I take tea*

      I’ve updated my hobby group’s blog regularly about once a week for a couple of months now. We are supposed to take turns, but everybody is very tired and I seem to be best at forcing out some text. It feels good to get it done, because I miss my own blog that I had to give up when I was burnt out / depressed, and I’d like to start it again, but I’ve been afraid that I’ve forgotten how to do it. Maybe I haven’t, then.

    5. Squeebird*

      I wrote 12 pages of backstory for my D&D character. Overkill? Sure, but it was fun.

      One of my tablemates read it and said it was “brilliant” though, which made me very happy! :)

    6. curly sue*

      I’m in editing mode for the book based off my dissertation, and while sections of the original are fairly clunky and thesis-esque, I’m rediscovering that I really like some of the chapters. It’s always interesting to come back to something after a year or two and look at it with fresh eyes.

  10. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Gaming thread! What’s everyone been playing this week? As usual, this is not limited to video games, so feel free to talk about board games and any other games you wish, including phone games. Also feel free to ask for recommendations or help identifying a vaguely-remembered game.

    Between watching Sony do PR damage control, I’ve managed to unlock the PSP version of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night on my copy of Dracula X Chronicles (my phone predicted I was going to say Dracula X factor for some reason…) so I’ve been playing that. Affordable physical version of SotN may or may not be the main reason why I own that version in the first place…Also, no offense to Yuri Lowenthal, but I vastly prefer Robert Belgrade to voice Alucard. To be fair though, most people would lose when they’re up against Belgrade XD.

    1. IrishEm*

      I fired up Dragon Age Inquisition for the first time in a while this week. Rolled a two-handed Dwarf with a beard who is nonbinary afab who (for gameplay reasons) continues to use she/her pronouns. Once I move into fanfic with this character the pronouns will change XD

      Trying to decide who to romance, and I think it’s going to be Josephine, who I have not yet romanced with any Inquisitor.

    2. twocents*

      My preorder for New Pokemon Snap is supposed to deliver Wednesday, so trying really hard to wrap up my replay of Fire Emblem Three Houses. The core game is a fun enough time, but I’m disappointed at just how little the DLC adds to the experience; I’m finding that it was kind of overpriced honestly.

      1. Decidedly Me*

        I didn’t realize there was a new one coming out! I still have a copy of the original one around here somewhere.

        1. twocents*

          I’m really excited! Apparently, it’s about 15 hours to beat the main game, 35 to 100% it, so that sounds like a good amount of time for the price. I am highly amused by all the people going “all you do is take pictures, really?” YES, and it’s amazing, thank you.

      2. LimeRoos*

        New PokemonSnap is awesome!! I pre-ordered the digital download and have already put in maybe 12 hours. It’s gorgeous and there’s so many pokemon included. The biomes are so different and cool, they really expanded the courses compared to the first one. Also, hitting pokemon with fruit is still as entertaining now as it was then, and now they’re adorable eating the fruit after. I have three pictures I already want to somehow use as art in my house and I’m pretty sure that’s impossible so I’m sad about it lol. The only thing I don’t like is Professor Mirror being too nice about crappy pictures XD. Professor Oak was so snarky and Prof. Mirror is very gentle in his criticism.

    3. Nicki Name*

      Today I tackle the last battle in the Crimson Flower route of FE3H, and then I need to figure out what to play next. I’ll take suggestions!

      Likes:
      * RPGs, adventures, casual games if they have a strong story
      * Science fiction and fantasy
      * Turn-based combat
      * Detailed character customization
      * PC, Switch, DS
      * Modern or retro

      Dislikes:
      * Action games where you have to do anything more complicated than mash one or two buttons randomly
      * Steam

      Examples of stuff I’ve loved: the Fire Emblem series, Infocom text adventures, the Bard’s Tale series, Planescape: Torment, Starflight, the Jewel Quest series

      1. twocents*

        You might enjoy Octopath Traveler, but as a fair warning, the 8 paths don’t have a *ton* to do with each other. I went into it knowing that, and found it a good enough time, but if you’re looking for where they converge, the answer is apparently “in a hella difficult end game” and I’m not that kind of gamer.

        Wargroove may be up your alley. It’s a tactical game like Fire Emblem, though it has more emphasis on the tactics than on the running around and interacting with characters. On that note, if you haven’t yet, you may want to try the Project Triangle Strategy demo; it’s about 4 hours, but I’m extremely excited from that taste for when it comes out.

        You may also like Pikmin 3 Deluxe. I believe there’s a demo on the eshop you can try. It’s about 15-20 hours; I played the original Wii U version, and liked it enough I picked it up again on the Switch.

        1. Nicki Name*

          Oooh, Octopath Traveler looks like My Kind Of Thing[tm]. Thank you!!

          The demo for Triangle Strategy looks interesting and I’ll probably try it.

      2. Jackalope*

        One note: if you haven’t played it yet, I’ll just say that the CF final battle is HORRID to riders (fliers are fine). I made the mistake of having one of my main fighters on a horse and I definitely regretted it.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Frustrated because I want to dive into my conlang but I’m still preparing for that stupid Project+ test. I feel like I’m never going to be ready to take it! I also need to finish tweaking a bit of exposition so I can get Book 2 off to betas.

      My VO actor finished his recording and it sounds great, so I was going to work on the Book 2 trailer tomorrow if I’m not struggling with vaccine side effects. He told me he had some issues with noise or he would have finished sooner. About 2/3 of the way through the recording, he paused and I heard him mutter, “I’m gonna kill that pigeon.” :’D

    5. Quoth the Raven*

      I’m playing Hades! I am having so much fun with it I don’t mind dying again, and again, and again… the characters are charming, the music is great, and the gameplay is pretty good — challenging, but not to the point it feels unfair.

      1. twocents*

        Hades is great!! And I don’t even enjoy the genre. I’m glad you’re having fun. :D

        1. Quoth the Raven*

          Thanks! :D

          It’s not really a favourite genre, either, but I just kind of took a leap of faith with it and figured I’d try it. So glad I did.

    6. Anonymous Hippo*

      I’m not playing, just sitting here super grumped because I still haven’t managed to snag a PS5, and the remastered Mass Effect comes out in like 10 days. Sadness and despair.

    7. Nicki Name*

      Update: Finished the final battle! I definitely see what people mean about Crimson Flower being the true ending. Verdant Wind is still my favorite, though.

    8. Nynaeve*

      I’ve really been enjoying Jenny LeClue: Detectivú. Though it did end on a pretty abrupt cliffhanger (the main mystery was solved, so there wasn’t NO closure, but it veered off onto a tangentially related conspiracy mystery and just…ended). Hopefully the sequel comes out soon!

  11. Ifyoulikepinacoladas*

    I know I will get criticism for this but just need to get it out somewhere.

    I’m infatuated with a colleague and have been for two years. We’re both married. There’s no affair, emotional or otherwise, nor do I have any interest in embarking on one. It’s not really about him as much as lots of other things (an emotional crutch when I really needed one), but God some days it is so exhausting and misery inducing. I genuinely just want to get rid of these feelings but they just hum along inserting themselves in to my brain if I’m not fully occupied with something else. Only at work, not at home. I know it’s about me, not him, so any tips on getting over this?

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Do you think you would be able to share this with your partner?

      When I developed an infatuation with a colleague, I brought it up to my partner and we were able to use it as a ‘jumping off point’ to discuss some stagnent areas in our relationship. Ultimately the crush passed and some aspects of our relationship improved.

      Also, it feels meaningful that this only distrubs you at work, not at home. How happy are you at work?

      1. Ifyoulikepinacoladas*

        Thank you for this kind reply. It’s not something I can raise with my husband at the moment due to some pressures in our life (part of why these feelings are manifesting too I think) which would make it an unfair burden at this point. But I think once this has passed it might be something to do. He’d definitely understand.

        I work in a school, so it’s very stressful and lonely at the moment! But is ordinarily a wonderful place that is really fulfilling and enjoyable. I’m a single person department so have spent most of the last 18 months without much meaningful adult interaction. My colleague is one of the few people I can engage with properly so that’s not helping matters.

        1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

          That makes sense. It sounds like an incredibly tough situation — loneliness is really corrosive.

          My advice would be to treat yourself kindly right now. It’s not weird or bad to have a crush (or any feeling) towards a colleague or during a marriage. Pretty normal, actually. Given what you’re going through, it makes sense that your mind wants a ‘hopeful’ outlet to drift toward.

          YMMV, but in your shoes I’d turn to activities like extra long walks with a favourite podcast or audiobook, engaging activites like cooking or gardening, some self-compassion practices and maybe confiding in a friend who I know will be supportive.

          Since the problem is worse when you’re at work, you might want to bring something that can help you there. There are a lot of apps (I like Buddify) with little 5-minute mindfulness practices. Or a small notebook – you could quickly journal out feelings if stuff is feeling overwhelming in your mind, plus write down some mantras or solidifying advice that you can turn back to when overwhelmed and nothing feels solid.

          Good luck. You sound very considerate and thoughtful!

          1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

            Book recommendations (again, YMMV):

            The Mindful Self-Compassion Workbook by Kristin Neff PhD

            Mindful Path to Self-Compassion by Christopher Germer

            Also: I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. (A little fiction never hurts.)

          2. Elizabeth West*

            I don’t recommend writing anything about the colleague if anyone can get hold of the notebook, though.

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Hmm, that’s a tough one. Do you think it would help to imagine him doing something that you find romantically off-putting but wouldn’t impact your opinion of him as a colleague? I’m thinking something in the direction of burping the alphabet as a party trick or chewing with his mouth open or microwaving fish.

      1. Anonymath*

        This worked for me. I thought about what the person did that I found unattractive. Anything that was a turn-off, any reason they wouldn’t be a good long-term partner. We’re still friends, but now I don’t think about him as anything more attractive than a good friend.

        1. Janet*

          Agreed! While I’m generally pro-crush, I found that imagining the person engaging in gross habits (hocking lugies, etc.) helps quash a crush that’s overstayed its welcome.

    3. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

      Was just listening to a wonderful Modern Love podcast that noted how there are a few people we will meet over the course of a lifetime who we instantly click with. When you’re young, you expect this will happen often, but as you get older, you realize how rare it is to meet someone who really matches you. A couple years ago I had a colleague who was that for me. I had taken him out for a work dinner when he first started to help welcome him to the team (he was a former colleague of a good friend). And it was like lightning. I realized that if I wasn’t already VERY happily married, this is someone I could’ve seen myself dating and marrying. We had everything in common, he was hysterically funny, and he was humble and good looking to boot. Did I mention that my job involves a lot of travel, drinking, and after hours socializing (sales)?

      With that kind of a lead up, you’re probably expecting me to describe the ensuing affair but it didn’t happen for a few reasons:
      – I was (and am) in a happy marriage
      – I didn’t fight the crush. I acknowledged the feelings instead of pretending they weren’t there. Pushing that stuff down means it’ll only pop up stronger later
      – I put up some strong boundaries. Less drinking around this guy. Trying to stay with groups so as to not be alone.
      – I leaned in really hard to the knowledge that every person, no matter how perfect, has quirks and habits that will rub you the wrong way. Leaving the toilet seat up. Not capping the toothpaste. Hates movie theaters. Nasty farts after certain cuisines. Whatever it is, disgust is an excellent antidote to crushes.
      – Leaning in really hard to the wonderful things about my husband. My husband was not and is not not as witty as my former colleague, but he kept me grounded during a fight with depression. He has gotten better every single year of our marriage, from extra household chores to putting the baby to bed. In the day to day that comprises the bulk of a relationship, he shines. He has always put me and our family first, even when it was hard (toxic family). There simply is no amount of wit or charm that can replace the decade we have had growing together
      – My colleague eventually left the company and I gently did not keep in touch. I miss having him in the office sometimes, but I’m grateful to be away from temptation. I rarely think of him now (though of course this post brought back the memory!). Know that this too shall pass

    4. Tofu Pie*

      Not the same as unwanted romantic feelings but I recently dealt with lingering hurt/anger. Rather than suppressing unwanted feelings I tried to process them more objectively, like, “I notice I am feeling X” and contemplate where that feeling came from without judgment. Meditation surprisingly helped a lot, too.

    5. Generic Name*

      If it makes you feel any better, I was infatuated with a coworker for some years. I was married and he had a girlfriend. I never acted on it. Luckily, we didn’t work super closely, so that helped. I eventually divorced and am now remarried. Coworker and I still work together, and I would consider us work friends. He’s a great guy, and I’m very fond of him. And I just told my current husband about my former crush, and he said he wasn’t worried. :)

      I would suggest avoiding fantasizing about having a relationship with him and try to focus on parts of his personality that would make him not an ideal partner for you.

    6. Sparkles McFadden*

      No criticism here. This happens! You’re human.

      I have always worked in male-dominated fields and it happened far less often than in a more mixed workplace because I got to see the men in a more relaxed state. Since I was the only woman in the department they would forget I was there…and a lot of them were pretty disgusting. Disgust works wonders.

      Still, it would happen and I found the best strategy was to get to know the person’s significant other. If you cannot meet the person, then at least learn about her. Remembering there’s a real flesh and blood other person really is like a bucket of cold water…at least that’s how it works for me. It’s a reminder that the person has an entire life outside of your interactions. Remind yourself that you are only seeing the good parts; not the whole package. It keeps you from idealizing the person.

      As my mom used to say, this too shall pass. Give yourself a break.

    7. Invisible Fish*

      Anyone who criticizes you over something like this is a jerk. Being in a committed relationship doesn’t mean you become unaware of the world around you, it means you select to be in a certain kind of relationship with a certain specific person. Of course you’re going to meet appealing people as you go through life- we all are.

    8. ....*

      When you think about him imagine him doing the grossest most embarassing turn offs ever

    9. lemon meringue*

      I may be projecting here, but I think that when you have these kind of feelings linger for such a long time even though you know they’re not going anywhere, it’s usually because the relationship is giving you a little bit of something you’re missing in other parts of your life. But it’s not enough, so it gets miserable the longer it drags on. I know it’s an advice column cliché, but therapy can really help unravel what is at the core of it that makes it so hard to let go. Or even just talking about it with a close friend. It seems like maybe this guy is standing in for support you need in other areas of your life.

    10. Groundhogs Again*

      Is this kind of track thinking something you’re prone to? I’ve had thoughts that won’t leave my head and the advice below is based on that. It may not apply at all.

      If it is, you can try acknowledging the thoughts without focusing on them. Like when it pops up in your brain thinking ‘yep still there’ and then changing the subject.

      There’s an amazing interview with Rachael Bloom on a podcast ‘The Hilarious World of Depression’ where she explains it so well. I did not know this was a thing until I heard her explain it, or that there were actual things I could do about it. To badly paraphrase her description of dealing with obsessive thoughts…just because a bird flys into your house doesn’t mean you have to make a nest for it. You can look up and be like ‘yep, bird is still there’ then distract yourself with other things.

    11. Anonymous Hippo*

      I’m basically asexual, so you might take anything I say with a heaping serving of salt.

      It seems a bit much to me to have a crush on someone for 2 years. You describe it as infatuation, and from your description it does indeed sound like this is well past a crush. I wonder if there isn’t something else going on in your life (or something missing from your life) and you are using this to fill that space, unconsciously building and feeding this so that it didn’t die the natural death of a crush. Maybe talk with a therapist, but I’d at least try and do some indepth soul searching to try and really put words and names to what’s going on. What about your coworker attracts you? When these thoughts are intruding during your work day, can you spot a trigger? Could it even be something as pedestrian as work sucks, and they are a bright spot in the day, and friendship/kindness got confused with other feelings? I feel like there is something very telling that this only happens at work. If you were “truly” infatuated, it seems like it would spill into your personal life. Just some things to think about.

  12. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread.

    What brought you joy this week?

    We’ve gotten some much needed rain and I’m looking forward to breakfast later from my favorite food place while I wait to go in for my short Mother’s Day stint at the place that shan’t be named on the weekends. But now to catch some Zs.

    Please share your joys.

    1. Jackalope*

      I fulfilled a life-long dream this week of having a bedroom painted my favorite color. It was a LOT of work (my last big painting project didn’t involve furniture….), but I’m excited with how it turned out.

      1. Lobsterp0t*

        Yay for paint! We painted our bedroom last Sunday – Lick Pink 02. It’s so warm and cosy and lovely but also not PINK-pink.

        1. Jackalope*

          It’s a bright sunny yellow maybe 2-3 shades lighter than daffodils but a similar type of shade. I woke up to a cloudy morning today but it was still sunny in my room and that was so cheerful. I know yellow is a bit of an acquired taste for some but it just makes me feel happy looking around my room now.

          1. fposte*

            That sounds lovely! I really enjoy hearing what colors people choose. Left to my own devices, I’d probably just paint everything blue so I appreciate people who are more creative.

          2. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I had a yellow kitchen in a rental after college and loved it!

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I finally finished successfully recreating my 2019 taxes so I can then do an amendment.

      I used a different tax prep provider this year and the person assigned to my case discovered an error from the 2019 taxes, so in order to do an amendment I had to recreate the tax return first (for various reasons I couldn’t use the old service to do this). Well, while going through this excruciating, tedious process (depreciation, passive activity loss…) I discovered three pretty significant errors that the previous provider made, which I hadn’t caught due to being fresh out of back surgery and otherwise occupied, and that has resulted in a refund! She didn’t carry over the total cost of the house, which included previous improvements; didn’t carry forward accumulated depreciation; and used the itemized deductions rather than the much higher standard deduction. I had to pay $191.00 for 2019 and now I’ll be getting back over $1,000.00! Once the IRS processes the amendment, of course, which will likely take a while. But now my 2020 taxes can be completed. I’ll still have a large tax debt due to the capital gains from the sale of the old house and a couple other things, but then I will officially be DONE with that house and will never have to think about it again! No more landlording for me again…EVER.

    3. allathian*

      I booked my first vaccine appointment for next Friday! I’ve been looking forward to this so much.

      1. allathian*

        And I just heard that my cousin’s wife’s just given birth to their firstborn. I’m so happy for them, especially because they’ve been trying for a while.

    4. Lilo*

      I was stressed about how my kid would adjust back to daycare (it’s been a year, they had reduced capacity) and he was just totally fine. Hurray!

    5. ThatGirl*

      I found the cutest AirBnB to rent in June for a long overdue weekend with my two best friends from college. It’s been a very long time, we’re all vaccinated now, we’ll be two blocks from the beach and I can’t wait.

    6. violet04*

      I had a busy week at work, so it was lovely to turn off the alarm* and sleep in this morning. My five cats are all on the bed with me as I read the weekend open thread.

      *The feline alarms still woke me up at six for food. There is an outdoor feral who is usually waiting for food as well. I came back to bed and slept some some more. It was nice not to have to stay up and get ready for work.

    7. It's Quarantime!*

      So I’m not sleeping well… I wake up several times a night and, where I used to just roll over and go back to sleep, I now have a hard time falling asleep again cause the tinnitus is just so omnipresent and frustratingly distracting.
      And yet…
      Around 4am I decided to wander through Tumblr as I waited for sleep to return. I was giggling, I thought quietly, about a group chat thread with a hilarious typo. My Dad heard and thought I was crying. He came in to offer comfort and instead I showed him the thread and we both laughed together.
      It was definitely little, but it was a joy.
      I’m not sure if this link will work, but this is the thing we were laughing at.
      https://mobile.twitter.com/DeusExCinema/status/1385596571572649985

    8. SarahKay*

      A couple of days ago I had a red kite swoop past my kitchen window. It came round twice, and can’t have been more than 15 feet away, at most. It was absolutely spectacular, not least because I hadn’t realised how big they are.
      I live in a very typical suburb in a south-of-England-town, so seeing a kite up close like that was totally unexpected.

    9. Girasol*

      Grass widows. The volunteer planting crew was up on a mountain this week where the snow is still melting off, and we saw the most beautiful flock of grass widows – pretty lavender star shaped flowers that look like they’re growing on grass stems. The whole gang was delighted.

    10. It's Quarantime!*

      So I’m not sleeping well… I wake up several times a night and, where I used to just roll over and go back to sleep, I now have a hard time falling asleep again cause the tinnitus is just so omnipresent and frustratingly distracting.
      And yet…
      Around 4am I decided to wander through Tumblr as I waited for sleep to return. I was giggling, I thought quietly, about a group chat thread with a hilarious typo. My Dad heard and thought I was crying. He came in to offer comfort and instead I showed him the thread and we both laughed together.
      It was definitely little, but it was a joy.
      I tried to post earlier with a link to the chat thread, but I’m not sure if the link got it stuck in moderation or how that works…

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        It’s there now–links wait for Alison to have time to check the link.
        (I wonder what % she has to reject as spam.)

    11. Wishing You Well*

      A pair of Northern Flicker woodpeckers moved into our newly installed Flicker box!
      (Maybe now they’ll quit drumming on our house!)

      1. Pippa K*

        Good luck. We have flicker boxes all over the place and the bastards insist on attacking the house anyway. Possibly we have some weird subspecies. The Antisocial Behavior Hooligan Flicker? Bastards, anyway. At least they’re pretty.

    12. Llama face!*

      I planted some new-to-me herbs in a pot under a grow light (cinnamon basil). They had a 7-14 day germination period but they sprouted in only 2 days! They are so tiny and cute looking atm.

    13. LQ*

      I got vaccine #2 this week. Day 1 after wasn’t a thing but day 2 I felt crappy and achy and tired and then it passed and I felt ……..AMAZING. Amazing.

      And most of my friends are now through both of theirs and it’s so nice to just feel this little bit of relief. I think a little bit of it was the permission (self-and outside) to take the day and feel like shit and not worry about anything else.

    14. Puppy!*

      80 degrees here in the upper midwest. Zulily had a sale on kiddie pools. Bought two a few months ago. Had a puppy pool party. Two shaggy puppies leaping and splashing were a real joy.

    15. Nicole76*

      Recently got a smart thermostat (Google Nest). I love how I was able to increase the temperature this morning from bed.

    16. Fran Fine*

      My little joys for the week are:

      1) I was able to purchase the three Last Chance Replica Surfaces I’ve been eyeing for weeks before they sold out. I’ve taken up photography as a hobby in the last couple of months as a result of my technical writing courses (and my desire to be a content creator on a freelance basis), and I’ve been splurging on professional-looking photo backdrops like these. Which leads to

      2) My product and food photography has gotten so much better! I’ve been studying the tips and tricks on Replica Surface’s website for how to take professional grade photos with an iPhone (I need to invest in a DSLR camera at some point), and with the help of their surfaces (and some cheaper alternatives I’ve purchased off Amazon), my content portfolio has been completely transformed. I’m getting kudos from actual professionals (photographers) on my work, which is giving me more confidence to keep going with this.

    17. voluptuousfire*

      Had a job interview go well and saw my cat do her meerkat impression for the first time when she sat up on her hind legs to check out the squirrels in the tree in my front yard. In three weeks I’ll have had her a year and adopting her is the best thing I ever did.

    18. Might be Spam*

      My mother has finally agreed to move to senior independent living. After years of us trying to persuade her, suddenly she is super enthusiastic about moving and she’ll be all moved by the end of May. It takes her a long time to make a decision, but once she does, get out of the way. I’m sure she will like it and the rest of the family is relieved.

    19. WoodswomanWrites*

      I led a Meetup hike in a beautiful place that’s a spring wildflower hotspot, and someone I’d never previously met walked next to me mid-hike to thank me for all the joy I was providing to everyone. I was really touched.

    20. StellaBella*

      Two little things. I found black cherry jam and got two jars. And Saturday was the 8 year anniversary of one parent dying, so I did a lot of self care including having a glass of really nice red wine and a hot bath with a cup of Sicily (Mothia) Sea Salt I got in 2017 when I visited where my parent’s parents lived. :) It was a nice day remembering them and soaking in sea salt water. :)

    21. Generic Name*

      We got a new (to us) truck! Husband and I are kind of in shock. We went to a dealer expecting to just look around and stumbled across a 2013 model with less than 40k miles on it! We were also able to get the interest rate down on the loan, and overall it is a pretty great deal. With our budget, we were expecting to get a truck with more like 90k miles on it.

  13. Marzipan*

    Help! I need recipe ideas!

    I can cook perfectly well and generally quite intuitively, but I’m drawing a bit of a blank with the various constraints here:

    – Vegetarian
    – Something I can have on the table within 10-15 minutes of getting through the door with minimal effort at that point. I can pre-prep stuff (so, for instance, I can make a pasta sauce in advance and just heat it up and boil the pasta when we get in) but it’s not really going to work if I have to get into a lengthy cooking session at that point. I do have a microwave and slow cooker as well as ordinary hob, oven etc.
    – Needs to be suitable for both an adult and a baby – so, no choking hazards, and things like salt or significant amounts of chilli need to wait until the end to be added to just my portion.
    – Preferably things I can batch cook to some extent

    I feel like I’m just going to be alternating a couple of things at the minute so any additional ideas anyone can add into the mix would be much appreciated.

    1. Laura H.*

      Pinto or navy beans (canned)and rice? (maybe mashing up/ pureeing the beans would eliminate the choke hazard?)

    2. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Hmmm. With the cavaet that the first 2-3 times I run through a recipe, it usually takes me longer than the allotted time, these are some recipes that I can now put together in about 10-15 minutes:

      https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/lazy-day-peanut-noodle-salad-recipe.html
      https://smittenkitchen.com/2018/04/asparagus-and-egg-salad-with-walnuts-and-mint/
      https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/soy-and-scallion-tofu-bowl
      https://www.themediterraneandish.com/baked-feta-recipe/

      Some recipes that I like to prep ahead & eat later:

      https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/marinated-beets-with-pistachios-and-tarragon
      https://smittenkitchen.com/2019/01/cozy-cabbage-and-farro-soup/
      https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/rustic-leek-and-potato-soup-with-fried-herb-gremolata
      https://www.theguardian.com/food/2020/nov/23/yotam-ottolenghis-mustardy-cauliflower-cheese

    3. Lobsterp0t*

      Green roasting tin cook book! Most of the recipes you can pre chop and then on the day you throw it together in the oven. There’s a good courgette feta and sun dried tomato bake in there and a couple others too, where you can easily skip some bits till the end.

      I don’t know anything about babies but I have ADHD and if I cook at all, 90% of it is from this book

      1. DistantAudacity*

        The Rukmini Iyer book? It’s great (the entire series is – there are vegeterian options in all of then) – I love it so much!

        And – definetly the reheat of leftovers on a lot of the dishes is super-quick.

        One of my favourites is the roasted gnocchi/tomatoes (incl stems/mozarella recipe from the original Roasting Tin Cookbook.

        1. Lobsterp0t*

          Yep, love her.

          I like the fold out section in the middle with the meta/recipes for different stuff.

      2. Reba*

        Love this cookbook! We always double or triple to have leftovers. You could do a lot of the roasting on weekends and then assemble portions on weeknights.

        There is also a “quick” book in the series which may be of interest to the OP.

        (For those in the US, the American title for the series is “Dinner’s in the Oven,” much less cute)

        1. Lobsterp0t*

          Yes! I want to try the quick one but we are pescatarian leaning to veggie, so I figure quite a bit of it may be lost on me.

          1. Reba*

            Yeah, I’ve moved away from buying “regular” i.e. meat-including cookbooks as a veggie person, but recently I realized I don’t make every recipe in vegetarian cookbooks so should I really be worried about missing out on some of the meat ones? :)

    4. c-*

      Hummus!

      It’s my go-to recipe for potlucks for all the reasons you listed. Super easy to make, too, but DON’T skimp on the olive oil, and add a chopped onion or half an onion in when pureeing the chickpeas ;) You can skip the sesame if you want.

      Throw in some raw carrots cut length-wise and breadsticks for dipping (that are kept away from the kids if needed), and enjoy!

      1. c-*

        And since I’m here and got some time to kill, I’ll just give you my hummus recipe:
        – 1 large jar of cooked chickpeas, around 800g liquid weight.
        – 1 onion, chopped
        – 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
        – 1 tablespoon ground cumin
        – 1/2-1 tablespoon salt, to taste
        – 100-200 mL extra virgin olive oil. 100 is the minimum, you can add up to 200 to taste.
        – 1 lemon’s worth of juice
        – 1 glass of water (optional)
        – Seasoning to taste: sweet paprika powder, salt, ground cumin, olive oil.
        – Garnish: raw carrot sticks, bread sticks.

        1. Put the chickpeas (with their liquid), onion, garlic, cumin, and salt to boil in a large saucepan. When boiling, lowest heat for 30-40 mins, covered. Add water if needed so it doesn’t burn.
        2. Puree well with a mixer and let cool.
        3. Once cool, mix in lemon juice, oil, and seasonings till you like the flavour. I like to use a lot of oil and lemon, adjust to your and your guests’ taste.
        4. Serve with garnish to dip, spread, or eat with a spoon. Enjoy!

          1. c-*

            You’re most welcome! I really like it and it’s super easy to make, I hope you’ll enjoy it if you try it :)

      2. Marzipan*

        Thanks for this! You reminded me that I have a great recipe for cooking dried chickpeas, with a grated onion in with them, and I’d been meaning to see how it came out as hummus. Feeling pretty tough today (had my first AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday and I think I’ve also caught a cold from the baby) but I still managed to put a sensible lunch of hummus and pita bread on the table (well, the baby pretty much just ate the hummus with his fists but it was a success). The rest of the chickpeas are now on their way to becoming a tagine-inspired vegetable stew. Result!

        1. c-*

          Yay! That sounds very pragmatic AND delicious, Marzipan :) I hope you feel better soon!

    5. recipe ideas*

      Budget Bytes has a lot of easy, quick vegetarian ideas. You might browse over there! We love the coconut lentil curry and the curried chickpeas with spinach. They are not ready in 15 min but the hands-on time is under 15 min — if you’re OK letting things burble for a bit. Both reheat beautifully as well, so you could pre-make them…

    6. Emma2*

      I make the Minimalist Baker spicy red lentils with pasta (it does not need to be spicy, you can just add chilli flakes to your own serving). If you have cooked the lentils in advance, it takes no time.

    7. Rebecca Stewart*

      I would encourage you to take a couple hours a week to do a meal plan and whatever prep you can ahead of the week. I know for myself and my family a lot of stews and curries freeze well, and I freeze them in one-meal portions, so I don’t have extra unthawed.
      Can’t help you out too much on recipes; my body hates vegetables and legumes so I’m sort of an obligate carnivore at this point.

    8. Richard Hershberger*

      My go-to vegan dish:

      Chop an onion and saute it in olive oil in a large sauce pan.

      Add the following:

      one large can diced tomatoes
      one small can tomato sauce
      one cup lentils
      seasoning to taste (I use oregano, thyme, basil, um, the one that’s not coming to mind just now, and a bit a salt. Frankly, Italian seasoning would work just fine.)

      Simmer for, oh, let’s say 45 minutes to an hour. Serve over the starch of your choice. My usual is couscous. In your case, make a pot the day before. It reheats just fine, while you are brining the water to a boil for the couscous.

      It is very simple, and tastier than you would think. The lentils give it that oomph that carnivores crave.

    9. D'Euly*

      I cook enough beans for the week on the weekend, portion them out in meal-size tupperware, and then heat up for the meal. I don’t like too much repetition, so the other components of the meal will be different: rice and tomatoes and salsa one night, roasted root veg another night, huevos rancheros another night. A very easy way to jazz up the beans is to heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a small pan with whatever spices/salt you want and then pour over the beans just before serving. Or you can treat them like a salad and add a mustard vinaigrette.

      For baby-friendly, it depends on the beans (well, and on the baby). Mine is happy to eat larger beans cut in half if necessary with his fingers. Lentils are easier if I dollop a bit of yogurt on them and then he can eat them with a spoon.

    10. Ali G*

      Fried rice. You can pre-cook the rice, buy the frozen stir fry mix, and then all you have to do is scramble up some eggs.

    11. HannahS*

      Fried rice? Depends if your baby is having finger foods yet. If you have the ingredients chopped beforehand and leftover rice from another meal, it takes a very short time.

    12. Chilipepper*

      I like to batch cook soups, have it for one meal, and freeze the rest in small portions. It means I always have something on hand that defrosts easily and well. Add some salad and bread and boom, dinner!

    13. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      Omelets (or scrambled eggs) for the days when you don’t have a prepared meal to reheat.

    14. Fellow Traveller*

      These are some really good ideas!
      Some of our go to fast meals:
      We do breakfast sandwiches on the evenings when we are really pressed for time. Egg, cheese, (sausage optional), on English muffins. Fruit on the side.
      Pasta salad- pasta with cut up carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, cannelini beans or chick peas. Balsamic vinaigrette. Or if I want something that that will hold up for leftovers I’ll make a grain salad version- takes longer to cook the grains, but you can do that ahead of time.
      Potstickers/ dumplings. Usually whatever we get at Costco or Trader Joe’s, though our favorite dumpling place has also started selling their frozen dumplings to buy in bulk. I prefer boiling to pan frying for speed and easy clean up.
      Noodles and vegetables. Usually soba, ramen, or udon noodles. I’ll cook the noodles and throw in veggies the last two minutes of cooking (carrots, broccoli, frozen peas, mushrooms, cabbage). Drizzle with sesame oil, white pepper, soy sauce, rice spice powder. If I want more protein, I’ll pan fry some tofu while the noodles cook. If i think ahead, I’ll press the tofu in the morning.
      Bagged frozen tortellini with jarred sauce.
      Mark Bittman has a cookbook called How To Cook Everything Fast which has a lot of really good 10-15 minutes meals.

    15. Lobsterp0t*

      Another thing we did was subscribe to GOUSTO for a couple months. They have a bunch of 10-minute meals and we kept the recipe cards. Even their other meals are really about 20 minutes of prep. We are in the UK, I’m not sure if you have Gousto in the USA or elsewhere. It didn’t feel like the best value for money long term but it was great early in the pandemic when my brain stopped working !

    16. Double A*

      I don’t know if its the healthiest, but we eat a lot of nachos. I get the heartier chia/quinoa filled chips, and we just put refried & black beans & cheese on there and pop it in the toaster oven. Top with salsa and avocado and sour cream if you like. You can also do a bean and rice bowl in a very similar vein. Nice and customizable.

      For the baby, we didn’t give her the chips, just the beans etc.

    17. Marzipan*

      Thanks everyone! Feeling slightly less stuck now and I have a meal plan sorted for the coming week.

    18. Jane of all Trades*

      Have you tried couscous? Fast, vegetarian, ready in 15 minutes! You can throw in any veggies you like, I like to mix & match peas, carrots, tomatoes, scallions or spring onions, peppers, maybe celery, eggplant!

    19. I take tea*

      Some favourite fast foods:

      Grean pea soup is really quick:
      Fry some chopped onion (shallops if you have them, but any onion goes)
      Add a little water and bouillon.
      Add a lot of frozen green peas
      Cook a couple of minutes
      Add cream, I prefer coconut milk, but any cream works
      Spice with pepper, lime, maybe a little chili in your own soup
      Mix until smoothish

      Pasta with green pea pesto is also really quick and good. Just mix the thawed peas with some basil and oil and a little garlic. Roast some sunflower seeds and add them.

      Cook red lentils with bouillon and mash them. Some steamed veggies, and you have a meal. Sometimes I add a veggie patty.

    20. lemon meringue*

      Highly recommend the Indian Instant Pot Cookbook. Not all of the recipes are vegetarian, but most can be adapted, and all of the recipes I’ve tried so far are extremely good, so it’s a high proportion of useable recipes anyway. I don’t have an Instant Pot, but I find that pretty much all of the recipes will work in a slow cooker. It just takes longer. I’ve never been able to make a satisfactory curry from home before I bought this.

    21. Natalie*

      For whatever it’s worth, pretty much anything can be baby friendly as long as you cut/mash/blend their portion suitably for wherever their eating skills are at. Babies can eat spices and even salt – sodium is an essential element for life, you just have to keep an eye on their overall sodium consumption since their kidneys are immature. I’m not sure how old your baby is or how you are weaning them, but I found baby-led weaning resources really helpful for preparation suggestions even though I didn’t use full on BLW with our daughter.

    22. Meal prep to the Rescue*

      prep work:
      make a big salad in the weekend – store dressings separately in a glass bottle.
      cook a few types of beans and grains in the weekend.
      make oatmeal bars, burrito wraps, lasagne, pasta sauce etc to freeze
      most veggie soups (without cheese) freeze well
      buy frozen veggies
      read up vegetarian meal prep – you’ll get more ideas
      buy Instant pot – best decision I ever made!
      Btw instant pot also makes easy one pot pasta, minestrone soup etc..

      1. Few more tips*

        I also love quinoa salad. This stays well for a week in fridge.
        Cook quinoa, cool it down, mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt and add to quinoa.. add beans, sun-flower seeds, chopped cucumber etc. You can keep some aside for the child before adding seeds, nuts etc..

        I also do overnight oats in different flavours, chia puddings, etc.. And I like to bake oatmeal in small mason jars, each with diff flavor and store in fridge / freezer. There are a lot of good baked falafel recipes around that freeze well.

        Add flax meal, almond meal, hemps seeds etc to boost nutrition ..

  14. Princess Deviant*

    I know that this has been covered a few times but I’ve been back (admittedly not very far) and can’t seem to find it.
    Do you have any migraine remedies please? I am absolutely at my wits end.
    This is the third day of an absolutely horrible migraine. They are hormonal for me (cis woman going through perimeno) but this particular one is also related to stress.
    Lately they’re very bad.
    I take ibuprofen and paracetamol (no caffeine) for the pain. I generally drink herbal or decaf tea or coffee, and try to swim which helps – I think it’s the regulated breathing in and out of water that does it – but the pools are still semi-shut so I’m only able to go twice a week. I also sleep if I can… But perimeno and sleep aren’t always good friends.

    1. I'd Rather Be Eating Dumplings*

      Not me, but one of my friends had life-long migraine problems. This may not be an option for you, depending on where you are, but she started taking a low-TCH cannibas gummy as well as an over-the-counter painkiller and said it’s way better than the heavy-duty prescription migraine medications she was taking previously.

      She still has to take a few hours off and lay in a dark room, but the pain is apparently much more managable and the side effects from the medication much better. I cannot for the life of me remember the name of the presciption medication she had beforehand.

    2. Grace*

      I seem to have so far avoided the hormonal migraines that run in my family, but everyone I know has a prescription for a triptan, usually sumatriptan, to take during a migraine to kick it. The other main remedy they use is a topical application, the UK brand is “4head”, not sure about internationally – my mum swore by it on the occasions she’d run out of her sumatriptan.

    3. twocents*

      When I got migraines, they were stress induced, so these may not work: limit screen time, limit light and sound, and only drink Gatorade. I don’t even much care for Gatorade, but something about it lets me keep it down and stay hydrated; I used to keep some small bottles around just in case I needed to try to stave off one.

    4. Rebecca Stewart*

      It sounds like you might want to see your doctor for one of the triptan meds. My mom had menstrual migraines and sumatriptan helped those a lot.

      I don’t have menstrual ones. I have stress and weather ones. (sigh) Menopause won’t do a thing for those.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        My migraines are also weather related (and glare – and dehydration – and low blood sugar), but they have diminished dramatically since menopause! I don’t know why, but maybe it’s in compensation for the hot flashes? (Which I will never joke about again lordhavemercy they are miserable.)

        1. Princess Prunella*

          Same. Menopause has really helped with my migraines from barometric pressure changes, lights, dehydration. But until then I HAD to use sumatriptan.

    5. peasblossom*

      Lifelong migraine sufferer here! If it’s this regular, I agree with Rebecca’s post: talking to a doctor about medication is a good idea. I was on imitrex for awhile in my early 20s when I was getting them frequently, and it made a huge difference.

      Two non-medication practices, though, that I credit with significantly reducing both the severity and frequency of my migraines were massage and yoga. I realize both of those things might be particularly tough to track down at the moment, but they’re are some good online yoga channels (glo!) and a good massage therapist should be very cautious about covid protocols.

    6. Ali G*

      For me it’s staying hydrated, but I also have to keep my electrolytes up. So not just water, but sports drinks. Or if you don’t have them, water and saltines or other salty or sugary stuff.

    7. Dwight Schrute*

      Yes! I am in love with my headache hat. I got it from Amazon. It’s about $40 and it has tiny little ice packs in it that you can move around to position exactly where they need to be, and you can adjust how tight it is so it can squeeze your head if you find that comforting like I do. Hope you feel better soon!

    8. PostalMixup*

      Agree with the tryptan – sumatriptan has done wonders for me. There are also a couple medical devices that have been shown to reduce migraines (cefaly & nerivio) that are basically TENS devices – I haven’t tried them. I also see an increase in seasonal migraine if I skip my antihistamine. If you don’t take one, you might try. If you do, you might try another. When my daughter weaned (hormones!) I had six months where I was having 3-4 migraine days a week. They were much reduced when I switch from Claritin to Allegra, like within an hour of the first dose.
      Hope you feel better soon!

      1. Windchime*

        I take sumatriptan as well. I’ve found that taking it earlier is better; sometimes if I wait too late it doesn’t help as much or, if it’s a bad migraine, I’ll barf it up. Bleah.

        Also….a hot shower or a heating pad on my head. I know the recommendation is generally for ice and sometimes that helps, too, but honestly standing with my head under a very warm (almost HOT) shower really seems to help.

        1. Cambridge Comma*

          I have one that melts in your cheek, you don’t even have to swallow, so you might want to ask to try it. It’s Maxalt in the UK and some of Europe, might have a different name elsewhere.

    9. MissDisplaced*

      I actually had good migraine relief success with the Tylenol + Codine you can get OTC in the UK.

      That’s not available here in the US without a prescription, but I would stock up whenever I went to London. I’ve also tried specific migraine medicine like Imitrex, but didn’t like how I felt on it.

      Other than that, an ice bag on your head helps a lot, laying down in a dark room, lots of water.

    10. saltedchocolatechip*

      Echoing the triptan rec, definitely helpful that you can combine with OTC. You mentioned no caffeine in your current routine so maybe you don’t want to try Excedrin (and certainly have to be careful about rebound headaches from the caffeine) but that (with lots of water) has often been what pushed back a headache before it got to the triptan need.

      I get mild nausea/loss of appetite with mine (which when combined with motion sickness is a true nightmare) and ginger tea or Dramamine sometimes help.

      Hope you feel better soon!

    11. California Poppy*

      My doctor prescribed: magnesium glycinate + B2 + E. I take them every night at bedtime and haven’t had a migraine in a year. I do have a Relpax Rx as a backup, which used to work well enough to end a migraine after it began. Getting dehydrated, not getting enough sleep, and flashing lights are all triggers for me.

      1. MissCoco*

        Magnesium oxide (500mg) was life changing for me, I still get a few a year, but they are far more manageable.

    12. Seal*

      I had hormonal migraines related to my monthly cycle for years. What finally worked for me was taking 400mg of vitamin B2 (riboflavin) daily. It was miraculous – I went from having bad migraines monthly to having mild ones maybe a couple of times a year. The only side effect was neon-yellow urine, which compared to the horrid side effects from migraine medications was nothing. Once I went through menopause the migraines went away, so I stopped taking the B2.

      1. TuxedoGato*

        Seconding the comments about taking magnesium and B2 supplements! That combo took a few months of daily use to work for me, but once it did, no more migraines. Can’t recommend enough!

      2. un-pleased*

        My dad was getting really awful migraines, and this is what worked for him, even though he had prescriptions for triptans.

    13. AvonLady Barksdale*

      In addition to supplement and medication suggestions, when you’re dealing with a multi-day migraine, sometimes you have to lie down with a cold washcloth on your forehead. Try to drink as much as you can, and don’t push yourself too hard.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I have a Puressentiel brand headache rollerball treatment which I find helpful, but for migraines, going for a lie down in a darkened room seems to be best for me.

    14. Aeryn Sun*

      I had this same problem. The thing that works for me is CBD oil (in pill form). Start taking them when it starts. And I take black cohash every day for all the hormonal symptoms as well.

    15. HamlindigoBlue*

      Migraines run in my family, though I fortunately do not suffer from them. My son has gotten them since he was about 8 years old. He has a prescription for sumatriptan (Imitrex) that he can take as soon as he feels one coming on. He has said it doesn’t do much other than take the edge off. My sister swears by 440mg of naproxen (Aleve). It’s the maximum dose recommended, but she has stopped filling her (and her children’s) prescriptions, and they just use the max dose of Aleve now.

      When my son was first diagnosed, the pediatrician recommended a piece of dark chocolate with a cup of Mountain Dew. Something about the sugar and caffeine combo was supposed to help, and it did for a while. -Until it stopped working, and we went with meds. We are going to try the naproxen/Aleve for his next one to see if that works any better.

    16. Princess Deviant*

      Thanks everyone for taking the time to answer :-)
      A combo of naproxen (and paracetamol) and supplements, plus ice and dark room, and sugar/salt are things I can try right now and if they don’t work over the next few months then I will book an appt woith my GP.
      Many thanks again x

    17. Bibliovore*

      thank you for bringing this up.
      Imitrex as soon as the colideascope visuals start. I take 375 mg of naproxen, plus 1 xtra strength Tylenol. I drink a small coke or gateraid. take to my bed in the dark.
      Dr. said it is the atmospheric pressure changing.
      Been worse since the Covid vaccines- about 4 a week for the last 3 weeks.
      Trying to get an appointment at a headache clinic.

    18. Qwerty*

      Always happy to help! I’ve tried a lot of stuff because I get desperate after a couple days of migraines. Mine are environmental rather hormonal, but there’s a lot of overlap in treatment.

      Medication
      – Excedrin (or generic equivalent) works better than plain paracetamol, partly because of the caffeine/aspirin combination. Unlike regular headaches that are from constricted blood vessels, migraines are tied to too much blood flow, so the caffeine helps mitigate that
      – Consider replacing ibuprofin with Excedrin or aspirin. I’ve read some stuff lately that suggests ibuprofen actually makes migraines worse
      – Sumatriptan/Imitrix – This is an Rx that has been lifechanging for me in stopping the pain for several hours at a time.
      – Nyquil helps at night. It either knocks me out, or it gives me temporary relief from the migraine. Sometimes both. So if I’m awake, at least my head isn’t being a jerk.
      – Willowbark topical cream – I use a brand call Willow Balm. This is basically aspirin, but in a topical form and with some menthol. The topical means that you absorb it differently which seems to help since migraines mess up our metabolism/digestive system. The menthol helps disrupt the pain while you wait for the cream part to kick in, so you can apply it directly to the part of your head that hurts (avoiding the eyes or below the eyes)

      Supplements
      – Electrolytes! Stuff like Gatorade and Smart Water are your friends because they help keep you hydrated and restore electorlytes. I prefer electrolyte waters that have magnesium too, so I’ve been partial to Smart Water lately. Vitamin powders like EmergenC are also good because they have electrolytes and other vitamins.
      – Magnesium! This was a life changer for me in reducing the frequency and severity of migraines. Most people are deficient in magnesium and its hard to absorb from food. If you are going to take supplement, there are some charts online about the different types of magnesium because different types are used to treat different symptoms. We absorb magnesium topically, so there a lot of creams and lotions with it. I use Dr Teals Lotion because it has epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) – you absorb topicals best in the inner thigh and inner arms, plus I put it on my neck and shoulders to relax those muscles
      – Vitamins in general. Taking a daily vitamin is super helpful
      – Probiotics – This one surprised me, but actually helped. There’s a theory the reason migraine sufferers are prone to digestive issues like nausea and vomiting is due to the vagus nerve. So gut health also influences migraines. (I feel like I can unofficially confirm the vagus nerve theory, because the migraine that my covid vaccine caused extended through that entire nerve system and made it feel like it was on fire)

      Other stuff
      – Avoid foods with thyramine. I might be spelling that wrong, but basically avoid the foods that people taking MAOIs should avoid, because apparently they make migraines worse.
      – Use a humidifier – This might be the wrong season for that, but I’ve found it helpful during drier seasons to have a humidifier. No idea why – not sure if it made my head less annoying or if the white noise was soothing.
      – Eucalyptus oil and spearmint oil are my friends. I forget the exact benefits of each oil, I started them because they were in my lotion and I liked the smell and eventually researched the other ways they are helpful. I put the oil in the diffuser spot of my humidifier and it makes me feel rather relaxed – I’m not saying it takes the pain away, but it makes me care less about the pain if that makes any sense. I also have a shower oil with these oils that I’ll use since steamy showers help me. The mint part also makes your skin feel tingly which helps disrupt the pain, which is another reason I like my dr teal’s lotion.
      – Massage your neck/shoulders or do exercises like stretching/easy yoga, tai chi, quinyong that help loosen/relax them. Turns out that the pain of a migraine can cause your muscles in your neck/shoulder to tighten to the point that they cause the next migraine. So you can basically get a loop where your migraine is caused by your migraine.
      – Blue light lenses – I wear them anytime I look at a screen if I’m dealing with a trigger for a migraine. Screens really exacerbate symptoms, even when I have the nightlight filter feature turned on. Sometimes I wear them for even watching tv. If it’s a super sunny day, I might even put them on just to help with a teeny bit of regular light filtering.
      – Brain freeze. It doesn’t feel painful during a migraine, just a bit tingly. I think it helps because its basically an internal cold pack, and for the reasons about needing to constrict blood vessels. It’s a temporary measure – I used to get a frozen coke from the grocery store to give myself brain freeze a few times (plus it has caffeine), and then I’d get some relief for an hour. Lately its been more of drinking ice water to keep my body temperature down or eating some sorbet.

      When really stuck, just do…something. Anything. Placebo effect is majorly your friend. I used to sometimes stick my head in a bowl of ice water – I don’t know if that actually helped but I felt pretty decent for like 15min after. I notice that if I feel like I’m actually doing something about it, I’m able to mentally notice the pain a little less and be less miserable. That might be why I like my willow balm cream, because applying it makes me feel like I’m an active participant in fighting the migraine rather than hoping a pill will take hold. Like, I doubt a foot or hand massage actually helps with a migraine, but I do feel better after giving myself one because it forced my brain into another mood.

      Adding this last part for people whose migraines are related to environmental pressure or think turbinates are the issue. Not sure if they’ll help at all for hormonal ones.
      – Afrin spray is a test for if turbinate size (something in your nose) could be related to your migraines
      – Snore strips help relieve the pressure and mitigate the symptoms. I don’t just mean at night, I put one on when I’m dealing with a migraine during the daytime if I don’t have any video calls scheduled.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Wow thanks so much for typing all that out! That’s really interesting about the vagus nerve …I am going too research more about that for sure. Thank you so much for these tips.

      2. Brooklyn*

        This is so thorough! Agreed about excedrin. My migraines are weather related and definitely not hormonal, so maybe it’s different, but my three stages of migraine coping are definitely denial, advil, and excedrin. Again, mine are weird – I can feel them coming hours in advance, but I’ve found that excedrin, gentle yoga, and a nap work better than almost all the RX drugs I’ve tried (and the side effects are much nicer).

    19. Jules the First*

      Sunglasses indoors (I was a huge skeptic because mine don’t come with visual symptoms, but my BIL recommended it, I tried it, and it works a treat) and an ice pack applied to the bone behind your ear.

      1. PostalMixup*

        I have a pair of TheraSpecs, which selectively block a certain wavelength of light and have clinical evidence that they reduce migraines. They’re pricey and look like I’m channeling Elton John, but I do think they help some.

    20. StrikingFalcon*

      Hormonal migraines are caused by a drop in estrogen levels during the menstrual cycle. My gyn put me on a very low dose of estradiol that I take only during my period. It hasn’t made them go away 100%, but it’s taken them from multi-day misery every single month to a level where I can take something and get back to functional most of the time. Birth control that includes estrogen can also help.

      You’ve gotten lots of suggestions for triptans, and they are definitely the first line of defense for acute migraine treatment. There’s also a new medication called Ubrelvy that can be taken during a migraine.

      If you are getting multiple migraines every month, your doctor may also suggest a preventative medication. There are more options for this than there were even a couple years ago, so it’s worth talking to a doctor about it.

      You’ll want to see your primary care doctor and possibly get a referral to a neurologist, depending on how frequent they are and how familiar your primary care doctor is with the options. Since your migraines are hormonal, you can also discuss it with you gyn. I hope you get relief soon! Migraines suck.

    21. Spice for this*

      I addition to all the recommendations here, have you tried:
      -green light therapy
      -acupuncture
      -mindfulness
      -rolfing
      -have your hormones testes via a dry urine test / to check levels better than blood test
      -had a food allergy test to find out if any foods are a contributing factor
      -or it could be a histamine issue

    22. Dr. Doll*

      I hope you can see a doctor, preferably a neurologist who is a migraine specialist. Waiting a few months to see if any of our well-meaning, knowledgable, but not expert, AAM advice works seems pretty miserable.

    23. PT*

      Take a dose of Benadryl at bedtime, two nights in a row. It’s a great way to kill a migraine that won’t go away. Apparently this is what you get if you go to the ER for an infusion, but I stumbled upon it by accident.

      I also recommend going to the doctor and getting a prescription for triptans. They are like magic.

      If you get 4 or more migraine days a month you’re considered to need treatment by a neurologist, and 15+ is considered chronic. I was up over 15 before I thought to go to a doctor and it turned out I should have gone way sooner. I didn’t realize how crummy I’d been feeling until we got my medication adjusted to the point where I went 5 days without a migraine and had all my energy back. There are lots of different options for treatment, so you’ll be able to choose what you’re comfortable with out of what is available.

      1. ampersand*

        What used to work for me during multi-day migraines that wouldn’t go away was Serapin injections in my forehead/face and neck, administered by my neurologist. It took care of the pain almost immediately, and sometimes it was the only thing that worked. I didn’t have any side effects; it did require going to the doctor during a migraine, though, and going anywhere during a migraine can be less than ideal when you’re feeling that bad.

    24. IHaveMigraineGetLost*

      Find your migraine triggers.
      – Red wine, chocolate, dairy, gluten, some type of lentils/peas, aged cheese, nitrites, sulphites, aged fish, bright light, heat, too much light, annoying sound, loud volume noise, certain scents, chemicals, Stress, chlorine, etc are some of my migraine triggers.. You observe and find what’s triggering yours.
      – I have to wear polarized sun glasses every time I step outside the door.
      – check if your computer/laptop monitor is too bright..
      – Migraine pills really messed up my hormones – so I stay away from them.

    25. Anonymato*

      What was really helpful for me is a supplement called Woman’s Passage from company Vitanica that is specific to perimenopausal women. They have different supplements for different stages/hormonal issues. This helped me both with the migraines and the extreme emotional swings and night sweats. There is some contraindications, so just check the label. Good luck!

  15. PineappleCandle2*

    Women’s health question: Have any other women had a fibroid while of childbearing age? I have one and am torn between doing surgery, which my doctor recommends, and trying more natural remedies to improve my health and fibroid situation by extension. My husband and I want to try for a kid later this year. The potential risks from surgery make me nervous, but I also don’t want to struggle to get pregnant due to this issue. It doesn’t help that so much of what I’ve read about fibroid surgery is for women who are near or in menopause, not younger. Any advice from someone who’s been in this position? (The surgery I would get is called hysteroscopic myomectomy for anyone who’s curious.) Thanks!

    1. Marzipan*

      I had a whole heap of fibroids (and presumably still do) while undergoing fertility treatment. Three definitive ones and probably a bunch of teeny ones as well. In my case, my doctor was happy that their placement and type wouldn’t impact my treatment, so I left them alone. They did grow considerably while I was pregnant (up to about 10cm each) bit I didn’t have any real problems with them and again, the location of them was such that they weren’t a concern for labour and delivery. I did have extra scans during pregnancy to measure them, and some additional precautions during labour. Obviously it would depend on which type and where they are, but it’s probably worth exploring with your doctor why specifically this fibroid concerns them. Best of luck!

    2. Risa*

      This is going to sound absurd, but I promise it’s true. I had a 4 pound fibroid removed when I was 30. Mine was growing out of the top of my uterus into the abdominal cavity, so I didn’t have the traditional symptoms associated with the fibroids. I was warned that a hysterectomy was a serious possibility for the surgery if the doctor determined it was needed once he got in there. Fortunately, the surgery went well, and the doctor said there was no reason to believe that it would impair my ability to have children. I didn’t end up having kids (just wasn’t in the cards for us).

      I elected to go ahead with the surgery, rather than take medicine that would temporarily put me into menopause and shrink the tumor. If I had to do it over again, I would make the same choice. I’ve had no issues resulting from the surgery in the 13 years since I had it. My surgery was a little different from what they are planning for yours, because they could not do it laparoscopically. Mine was actually much more invasive with a longer recovery period.

    3. Lobsterp0t*

      Ooh, I’m sorry you’re going through this. My mom had fibroids (but as you say, she was closer to menopause) and already had us.

      I don’t know about natural remedies. My mom tried everything they could throw at her and finally ended up having a hysterectomy (but again, for her that made sense, she was done having kids). I think it was elective but really, she’s been 150% happier since just having it all out.

      It has to be really hard to feel like you have to potentially choose between a pain free existence and getting pregnant- I hope you can find an effective treatment that allows for both so you have a real choice.

    4. Katefish*

      I have one annoyingly large one and two smaller ones. For the large one, I did two surgical consults (ob and fertility) and an MRI. They both ultimately decided against surgery because they thought it would weaken my uterus too much to have kids. The whole (stressful!) process did end up finding polyps, which I had surgically removed in December. Currently pregnant with our first after a long time trying, thank God. Once I’m done having kids honestly I would like the large one gone; also hoping they shrink after pregnancy. I think the key issue for fertility is if they’re in the way of where the baby would be and if you haven’t gotten pregnant already with them – the doctor can scan and make a recommendation but there’s also a comfort level there. I don’t think there’s anything natural that’s proven to shrink them but my woo mother thinks maca and good diet will help. Good luck to you whatever you decide – I’ve found this whole thing about as psychically comfortable as knowing there’s an alien in me, just one of those Why, Body, Why?! things.

    5. Jo*

      Not sure where you are, but I’m in the UK, and the advice I got (I have lots of fibroids) was essentially that doctors may monitor them, but wont do surgery unless they are actually causing problems. As far as having kids, the same applies, it depends a lot on where they are located, how big they are etc, but again, they wouldnt intervene until its actually been shown they are causing issues. If you look up the NHS page on them, there are a whole lot of alternative options to surgery proposed, so maybe take a look and see if it gives you more options to consider.

    6. Workerbee*

      Ah, fibroids. They’ve been taking up space in my uterus without paying rent for years now.

      Initially I went wholly macrobiotic, hoping to rebalance my system and shrink them at the same time. I upped my exercise routine as well. Some shrinkage occurred! And definitely the rest of me did. —but overall my doctor said it was negligible. I was glad to have discovered some foods that were all new to me, at least.

      Then I opted for an ablation where they went in to cut off some of the blood supply the fibroids were siphoning. It was an easy thing on my part, but ultimately didn’t take care of the issue, because—

      —I was growing a cantaloupe along with a whole bunch of little ones. I kind of just existed with it all until I finally got fed up enough, of being ashamed of my profile because my uterus was being pushed up and out, of not being able to stretch out on my stomach (fibroids push back), of just having days where I was more aware of them than others. This whole time I hadn’t been experiencing pain, but my periods were heavier and heavier, so I was turning anemic. The final straw was when something told me that something wasn’t the same, and that’s when I went in for an ultrasound and discovered there were far more inside than I’d fathomed. That and I was now having two heavy periods a month.

      My doctor, who has long known that I didn’t want a hysterectomy, recommended a laparoscopic myomectomy via a doctor friend of his whom he himself had taught.

      I met him, liked him, signed myself up. He took out the two pound cantaloupe, which had calcified and was an ugly thing (I have pictures). He took out as many of the littler ones that he could get to without damaging my legitimate organs. Everything else, thank goodness, was healthy. I had five little incisions around my abdomen that he said would fade within the year (they have). I also had to Do Nothing for 4 weeks straight while I was healing. I’m not saying it didn’t feel like a brand of fire the first few days—amazing how your core connects to everything!—but one does get through things.

      My uterus likes growing fibroids so after a pleasant year or so, they’re back, but still manageable for now. Eventually I can either decide to do the myomectomy again or just keep waiting for menopause…which may be another decade away if one can go by genetics.

    7. Texan In Exile*

      A friend had the surgery because she wanted to get pregnant and couldn’t. After the surgery, she used IVF and it took on the first try.

    8. Generic Name*

      I think fibroids can interfere with a pregnancy, depending on their location and size. I’ve heard of several women struggling with fertility who got pregnant shortly after having their fibroids removed.

    9. Calliope*

      Hmm I think it might depend on the size and location. I had large fibroids grow while I was pregnant, which is apparently not uncommon. The baby was breach and I did have to have a c section (which was fine – everyone tells me it’s MUCH easier if you haven’t labored first and I didn’t have a hard recovery). Apparently fibroids often force a baby into a breach position. There is more of a risk of hemorrhage so they had donor blood ready.

      But when I asked if I had to have them removed before trying to get pregnant again I was told no, that it shouldn’t be an issue. So if you’re not having symptoms from them and you’re not being told it’ll interfere with the pregnancy, it might not make sense to do the surgery now? Mine were at the top of the uterus; I think if they’re lower down, that can cause more issues with pregnancy.

    10. Fellow Traveller*

      Yes, it definitely depends on size and location. I have a fibroid and still managed to deliver three children (1 c section, two VBAC). My OB/gyn recommended waiting until I was done having children before removing them as he wasn’t that concerned. They do tend to swell with pregnancy, so there was a little concern that it would interfere with delivery and the placenta, which is why the first baby was a c-section delivered early. Can you have your doctor articulate their concern as to why surgery is the recommended option?

    11. matcha123*

      I had surgery for fibroids when I was 30. They had been there for some time, but became very large over a year and a half, so I had keyhole surgery to remove the largest ones.
      I don’t want kids, so I really didn’t care if they took out anything, but the surgeon was very careful to assure me that my reproductive ability would be retained. I don’t know much about natural remedies, but if they are large, I think you should remove them.

    12. Skeeder Jones*

      Not me, but a close friend had fibroid surgery, it must have been pretty intense because she was off work for 12 weeks. She is 5 years post surgery and has 2 beautiful children that were conceived after the surgery.

    13. anon for med info*

      I had a hysteroscopic (or laparoscopic? or is that the same thing?) myomectomy to remove a fibroid at age 36, which my gynecologist — who actually leans toward the holistic/natural-remedies end of the spectrum for an MD — recommended because it had gotten to the point where I was basically having heavy period-like bleeding for about 3 weeks every month. I later had a successful pregnancy and vaginal delivery at 43-44. It did take me about 3 years to conceive, but I think that was mostly because I didn’t start trying until after I was 40! So it sounds like the timeframe between the procedure and the pregnancy was considerably longer than what you’re thinking about, but this was how it worked out for me.

      I have a scar in/under my navel that’s about half an inch long and a quarter inch wide at the wider end. I asked the midwife at a prenatal visit if my past myomectomy would be a problem for vaginal delivery, and she said not.

      The myomectomy itself went really smoothly. It was an outpatient procedure, even though I had a general anaesthetic. I was a little sore for a couple of days afterward, but I just took ibuprofen and didn’t use the higher-power (opioid? can’t remember) prescription they also gave me.

      I later had appendicitis when my baby was 6 months old, so, almost exactly 9 years after the myomectomy. (Laparoscopic appendectomy — more small scars on my stomach, heh.) On the CT scan for the appendix they thought they saw evidence of fibroids again… but as of now, 5 years after that, I’m not having problems with bleeding or anything, so my gynecologist isn’t recommending I worry about it at the moment. (My cycles have started getting irregular — much *more* time between periods — but you know, I’m almost 50 now! And it’s been a stressful year.)

    14. WS*

      My mother had one at age 28 while pregnant with her first baby (me) and it grew so much that she had to have surgery while seven months pregnant to remove it. I also grew several around the same age and had them removed hysteroscopically which was very minor.

    15. Dancing Otter*

      Have your children soon, and then take whatever steps your OB-gyne recommends.

      Don’t try to wait them out. Menopause does not always fix fibroids. I had them scraped out once (preserving fertility); I had uterine fibroid embolization to cut off their blood supply. They kept coming back. At 62, I finally convinced my insurance company that heavy bleeding 3 1/2 weeks out of every month was a problem for which they needed to approve surgery.

      Surprise! After years of “eat more spinach and broccoli,” I wasn’t anemic once the surgeon fixed the d*** leak.

    16. Observer*

      Nothing you do with diet is going to get rid of that fibroid. And firbroids often make it hard to get pregnant, and to carry a pregnancy to term.

      When I had the procedure it was in and out same day. Yes, I was of childbearing age.

    17. PineappleCandle2*

      Thank you all for your replies! It was helpful to hear your stories and know I’m not alone on this frustrating issue. Definitely feeling better about getting the surgery at some point soon…

    18. allathian*

      My MIL had it rough because she had both fibroids and endometriosis and needed surgery both times before she had her kids. In her 40s she opted for hysterectomy and most of her symptoms disappeared. They didn’t get rid of all the endometric tissue in her abdomen, though, so she still had some symptoms until menopause.

      Good luck!

  16. Cyber Stalking*

    Does anyone have experience with cyber stalking or being a victim of online harassment? A good friend of mine is experiencing a myriad of strange and upsetting issues with her phone, emails, bank accounts etc. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but it is BAD. She has very good reasons to suspect that a certain individual is behind this, but it seems impossible to pin them down (or just make them stop).

    1. Myrin*

      I don’t know if this is feasible/recommendable where you are but I know (like, this was a topic that was explicitly talked about when I was still in school, which has been A While) that where I live, this would absolutely be a thing to call the police’s non-emergency line about, especially since she has a concrete suspicion and bank accounts are involved. I also recently learned that even our relatively small police department has a sub-division dealing with cyber criminality and you can explicitly ask to talk to them, so maybe she could look into that?

    2. A.N. O'Nyme*

      Inform the bank immediately if she hasn’t already. The safeguards they put in place may be inconvenient for your friend, but it’s better than having her money suddenly vanish.

      File a complaint with the police. Create that paper trail.

      Speaking of creating paper trails, have her write down every instance of this happening. Considering there is stuff going on with her phone and e-mails, do this in a notebook. Get her a notebook that is either glued or stapled together, not the kind with rings, as the ring kind is easy to tamper with by pulling pages out. When she writes something in it, make sure it is dated. Also (this may be unnecessary, but good practice) if she doesn’t fill out the line she is writing on entirely have her draw a vertical line to the end – this easily shows no information has been removed. Write everything in pen, not pencil. This may sound like overkill, but you cannot be cautious enough with paper trails should this go into court.

      1. A.N. O'Nyme*

        *have her draw a horizontal line at the end. Somehow mixed up horizontal and vertical, woops. Basically the idea behind this is make sure the entire line is filled out so it’s clear nothing was removed.

        Speaking of which, if she makes an error (like a spelling error), make sure she crosses it of with a single line rather than scribbling over it or using whiteout, so that whatever was there initially is still visible. Again, it’s a thing to show you’re not trying to hide info.

    3. chi chan*

      Can she get the stalker for some crime. Hire a PI and a forensic accountant and get home security. If she can get some sort of crime on video or evidence the law might help. In Gift of Fear, however, the author recommends starving the stalker of attention. She should definitely check out the book and the resources on his website.

    4. Pocket Mouse*

      Yes to telling the police, creating a paper trail, and changing ALL the passwords.

      Obviously I can’t tell from here, and it’s unfortunate to say, but this situation reminds me of one of the stories in a This American Life episode called The Perils of Intimacy. The line that stuck out to me was the storyteller saying the police told her, “It’s the boyfriend. It’s always the boyfriend.” And in this story, the police were right. If your friend has a partner, the partner’s access to these accounts cannot be above scrutiny.

      I hope your friend finds resolution and safety.

    5. Chilipepper*

      There are some good websites and online toolkits for what to do about cyberstalking. You can google cyberstalking toolkit, things like that. I will reply with some links.

    6. Generic Name*

      She needs to freeze her credit so the stalker can’t open accounts in her name. I would call the police non emergency line and ask what you can do. If she thinks the stalker is a current/romantic partner, she can contact domestic violence services as well.

    7. Tabitha*

      All the things people suggest and also be careful about who it is. I was cyberstalked for months – anonymous emails, strange texts, someone using my Amazon account to buy porn, even someone saying they were a private detective knocking on neighbours’ doors and asking about me, when I went out and who I was with. I was certain I knew it was a particular woman who thought I’d been involved in her work contact not being renewed. I was given plausible evidence she knew enough to do this. Turned out it was my supportive male friend who’d framed this woman.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        Woah, that sounds like a book! Or at least an article! If you want to write it.

      2. Cyber Stalking*

        Wow, this is crazy! Do you mind sharing how it was resolved? My friend thinks the police don’t believe her and/or don’t want to act.

    8. Cyber Stalking*

      Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I’ll definitely look for more resources online.

      Does anyone know of any sources that tell you about how to set up new electronic devices so a stalker can’t access them? They seem to get into every new phone and computer my friend uses, even with new usernames, passwords etc.

      Also, how does one know whether a stalker would even be able to do a certain thing, e.g. intercepting emails sent to work. We keep wondering whether an incident is malicious or just weird bad luck.

      1. Generic Name*

        Does your friend live alone or does anyone physically have access to her electronics? I assume she has a wifi router. Has she ever changed her password on the router? Make sure it’s got the highest security level enabled. Tell her to avoid connecting to public WiFi networks as hackers can use those to gain access to your computer.

        1. c-*

          Yep, if it’s recurring across new devices, then either the stalker has physical access to the devices or they’re intercepting data from her wifi network. This is unlikelier, but she should also make sure there are no unknown devices plugged in to her router or home. Some are very small, like an usb mouse plug or a raspberry pi.

      2. WS*

        That sounds like they have access to her router. Change the password on that, then change the passwords on everything.

        1. Natalie*

          With the router, be sure to change the password to Wi-Fi networks and the admin password to the router itself.

        2. WoodswomanWrites*

          When my laptop was hacked, the tech support team I work with told me to actually replace the entire router rather than just changing the password. I suggest your friend get a new router entirely.

          1. Observer*

            If you replace the router make sure you get one that doesn’t have a hard coded password somewhere.

            Get one this is up to date, and make sure to set it up for the most security.

      3. Observer*

        Also, she should put 2 factor authentication (2FA) on EVERYTHING. But do NOT use Text bases 2fa. Get a token. Google actually has excellent 2FA, and you can get the key from them or from some other good vendors.

        1. Lizzie*

          Domestic violence services have had to get very cluey about technology being used for stalking and harassment, so they should be a good resource for information.

  17. Myrin*

    I have a potentially very dumb question about dishwashers that I’ve tried googling but can’t seem to word in a way that makes a search engine understand what I really mean, so here goes:

    Our dishwasher has five programmes and each of them has a full-length mode and a short mode.
    Now it always says that the short programmes “use more electricity and water” and I’m trying to understand what that means exactly – does it mean that if you have the same programme running for 3 hours versus 1.5 hours, the short one still uses more energy and water? Or does it mean that if I stopped the long programme after only 1.5 hours, it would’ve used up less energy and water comparatively to the one that was only running 1.5 hours to begin with?

    I’ve looked at the user manual, which actually lists the estimated kWh and litre amount, but only for the long programmes, which doesn’t really help me!

    1. My Brain Is Exploding*

      The more efficient cycles use less water and less energy, therefore they take longer.

      1. Reba*

        Yes, the short one blasts your dishes with more and hotter (or more quickly heated) water to get the same effect as the longer, more efficient cycle. The longer ones recirculate the smaller amount of water, and slosh it around a lot more so the dishes still get clean.

        If they have a heat-dry part of the cycle that could also be a factor.

        I also wish the manuals would tell me exactly what the machine is doing (looking at you, Miele laundry machines!

    2. fposte*

      Think of “clean” as a physical destination that’s a mile away. The short program is running to it, while the long program is walking. The long program is therefore using less energy to cover the same distance, even if it takes longer.

      1. Myrin*

        That’s an excellent, easy way of putting it – thank you, fposte, also from my mother who usually cannot wrap her head around stuff like this but found this analogy extremely enlightening.

        (Off-topic, but I think I’ve only seen you on the weekend threads recently – are you doing alright/much busier than usual?)

        1. fposte*

          You are correct. And yes, it’s a very busy year and I’m trying to make myself take more offscreen breaks during the day for a while.

  18. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

    Difficult family question.

    I’m finally coming to terms with the fact that my extremely well educated sister has fallen into the cult of Trump. She won’t be getting the vaccine and sent me to a bizarre racist right wing conspiracy theory blog (sample headline: The Ghetto is on Fire. Another sample: Former Pfizer VP: Vax Passports May Lead to “totalitarian control” of “entire population forever”). This is my beloved sister who I was extremely close to growing up. People thought we were twins! I am both intensely grieving and intensely angry. Our mother is an immigrant. We are dual citizens. We have a black adopted brother. We have multiple family members and close friends working in healthcare (she’s been a volunteer EMT for years in the past). I just… don’t get it and I’m so tired of trying.

    Please, if anyone here is going through something similar or has any advice on how to grieve the loss of close family relationships, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

    1. Mx*

      I have family members like that who are racists, revisionist, or/and firmly believe in conspiracy theory. I know the feeling!
      When I was younger, I didn’t want to have anything to do with them. But I have learned to unconditionally accept people I love, despite of everything I dislike about their opinions/beliefs.
      Can you find a way to unconditionally accept her and love her (not her opinions) as she is ?

      1. Mx*

        Practicing mindfulness has helped me to do this. It has helped me cultivating non-attachement and compassion, so I can love my family members as they are, rather than having expectations of how they should think/behave.

        1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

          I try but it’s like she keeps finding new ways to disappoint. Hydroxychloroquine is a cure if Trump says so! But the vaccines administered to tens of millions after gold standard heavily peer reviewed clinical trials? Nope can’t trust it.

      2. Disco Janet*

        Not OP, but I can’t. Your beliefs are a part of you and I have some clear cut boundaries that I don’t keep people with harmful, reprehensible beliefs in my life. I don’t think there’s anything necessarily wrong with that approach – depends on the person. I see giving love to someone who holds belief that harm others to be complacent/enabling of that harm, to some extent.

        1. StripesAndPolkaDots*

          Disco Janet, same with me. I don’t see any point in keeping up a relationship with people who have fallen into a racist/anti-semetic/etc cult. I wouldn’t make new friends with someone like that and I won’t condone it in my life now. Q-anon and Trumpism are harmful to society. I can’t just pretend it’s the same as a difference in opinion on tv shows or where to eat dinner.

        2. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

          OP here. We’ve cut out overt racists/sexists/homophobes, and put lots of distance even between the more subtle offenders. We’re moving away so in reality I won’t see her more than once or twice a year. I don’t want to end the relationship completely because I have a hope that with time she will come to her senses, but it definitely hurts to know that this isn’t someone I want to have a close relationship with my son.

      3. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        I tell myself that I’ll always love her, but right now I don’t particularly like her. And I definitely don’t respect her current beliefs or share her values. I’ve survived the last few years by focusing conversations on cooking, my son (her nephew), our parents, my dog, childhood memories, and favorite movies. It’s… a short list and feels exponentially shallower than the relationship we used to have. It’s a way to keep the door cracked in case she ever comes to her senses :(.

      4. Lobsterp0t*

        I did not find it helpful to unconditionally accept my parent’s homophobia, racism and misogyny. Or his pandemic denial where he pulls his mask down as soon as he gets past the door staff. I let him go. Which is an equally fine way to handle things. I find the “unconditional acceptance” thing a bitter pill to swallow. It feels like “but faaaaaamily” and it might work for some, but is deeply harmful to others. Letting him go was my acceptance of reality. So if that’s what you mean then I get you, but you seem to mean “overlook” or “swallow your true feelings and needs” which isn’t the same as accepting the situation.

        1. Mx*

          I love my family members, not their racism. The unconditional acceptance is the acceptance of the person, not the acceptance of their beliefs. I can love a person, and make it clear I reject their views. It’s rejecting the “sin”, not the “sinner”.

          1. allathian*

            I get what you’re saying, but in some cases it’s simply not possible to separate the two. Especially if they get all up in your face for clearly rejecting their views. If you reject their views without saying anything about it, you’re tacitly accepting them. This is not the same as agreeing to disagree on a particular issue and deciding to never discuss it for the sake of family harmony.

            Rejecting the sin and not the sinner is like some religious people who claim to accept LGBT people, but only as long as they remain in the closet and stay single, but reject them as soon as they come out and openly have a relationship with someone of their own gender.

            1. Mx*

              Ok, in my family it’s easier, as we have come to the conclusion we should agree to disagree and avoid certain topics.
              In your example, they are actually rejecting the “sinner” (To be clear, I don’t see LGBT people as sinners at all).
              Being religious/spiritual should help to love all people unconditionally, so that’s a contradiction.

              1. allathian*

                I’m glad you’ve been able to agree to disagree, it makes things easier all round. Although obviously it depends on the issues involved.

                One of my maternal aunts who’s in her mid-60s has gone a bit weird. She’s always been a bit eccentric, but then she started seeing naked men in the trees outside her house, and would call people up in the middle of the night totally distressed. Now I know enough that flat out telling a delusional person that they’re seeing things that aren’t there doesn’t help, but the nighttime calls got so bad that in the end my mom, who was the main “victim” of the calls, told her straight out to get some medical help, and when all else failed, called emergency services to check up on her. My aunt got so mad that she blocked all of us, because we refused to conform to her worldview. She’s been on multiple medications for as long as I’ve known her, and retired on disability in her early 40s. She’s also never married, because her fiance died in a car crash a few weeks before the wedding. My mom, who’s the oldest sibling in her family, has always kept her eye on this aunt, so for things to get to this point is very tough for her.

                Seeing things that don’t exist is a far cry from becoming a Q-Anon supporter or Covid denier, but estrangements happen for all kinds of reasons.

    2. Neef*

      I am with you and going thru the same thing. As the oldest sibling with twin sisters who have fallen into the tiktok/QAnon cult it is heartbreaking to watch them spiral deeper into disinformation as the days progress. TikTok is their primary news source and it angers me that they are not curious enough to dig deeper and investigate further. I have cycled through the multiple stages of grief many times over these past four years. It feels sort of like a mourning for what a person or relationship once was. Despite all this— we are still in contact and we still see each other on holidays. We have agreed not to talk politics when in person and so the family dinners have turned into mostly surface conversations (Netflix, working out) that is on their level. I am doing this to be a bigger person and make my parents happy but honestly I wouldn’t be spending a minute speaking to them if it wasn’t for my parents or our children who should know their cousins (we shouldn’t penalize the kids for their parents’ stupidity). I notice how my sisters have become braver and less forgiving over “group chat” than in person so I’ve stopped responding to their baiting there. If they want to debate politics let them go to their local party and try to effect the change they want to see locally. You know… actually do something besides sit on the couch and pass judgment. If they really care so much let them actually pick up a history book.

      1. pancakes*

        I don’t at all agree that it’s unfairly penalizing to keep kids away from people like this, or that kids “should” have a relationship with someone just because they’re related to them in some way. I don’t think it’s a great idea to frame your sister’s (or sisters’) tendency to be antagonizing in group chat as bravery, either. Disregarding previously agreed upon boundaries is rude and selfish. Think carefully about sending kids the message that this sort of thing simply has to be endured no matter how unpleasant or hostile it gets.

        1. Fran Fine*

          This. Keeping your kids away from toxic people is not penalizing anyone and is actually ensuring your kids don’t pick up that shit behavior.

        2. Neef*

          I agree, I meant “brave” sarcastically…more like bold, but not in a good way.

      2. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        We generally manage to not talk about it (because the few times it’s been a conversation I’ve been horrified by her beliefs). My parents are definitely a factor in me wanting to maintain at least a surface level relationship. I still love my sister even if I don’t want to spend much time with her, and it would break my parent’s hearts for us to be estranged. They can see we are no longer as close, but true no contact would be awful.

        1. pancakes*

          That’s good you can avoid talking about it, at least. It might be good to read Luke O’Neill on this subject – he has a substack newsletter which I think is mostly pay-walled, but has written about people losing family members to Fox News for other publications too.

    3. Generic Name*

      Geez. Ugh. My aunt, who has a PhD in biochemistry, is apparently an anti-vaxxer. It just boggles my mind. It’s hard to understand how someone so smart could be taken in by these conspiracy theories. No advice, just sympathy.

      1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        Appreciate the sympathy! I don’t know why I keep trying to understand something that defies all logic and sense.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      I’m sorry you’re going through this.
      Ideally, a good therapist would walk you through this. That’s tougher these days but doable with Zoom, etc. If you’re in the U.S., consider calling 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for good advice.
      Mourning the loss of a living, close relative is hard. I’ve gone very low-, almost no-contact with a parent. Talking to them got me nowhere. Nothing was going to change. All I could do was preserve my peace of mind by withdrawing. Over time, the grief and loss become a low, dull ache.
      One caveat: Be very selective in whom you confide. People who don’t understand will offer bad advice, make you feel worse and/or want to “fix” it for you. They might take actions that undermine any progress you’ve made. When people ask about your family member, have a brief, vague, neutral response ready. Deflect and change the subject if people persist with questions. The aim is to spare yourself unnecessary hurt.
      Internet Hugs, if you want them.

      1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        This is a really good reminder to call my company EAP for some short term grief counseling. I am putting up boundaries and they’re working. I just wish it didn’t hurt so bad. I miss the sister I used to have. My husband has abusive family so I suppose I’m “fortunate” to have more tools than most to handle this challenge.

    5. Sparkles McFadden*

      I think you need to mourn the old relationship you had with your sister. From there, you need set the ground rules for a new relationship. You cannot make your sister listen to reason so you need to know where your own boundaries are. How much nonsense can you listen to before your blood pressure goes through the roof? The issue with the Trump Cult is that most of them don’t take “no” for an answer. They don’t want to hear any differences of opinion. They won’t agree to disagree, or stay away from any subjects. They subscribe to the theory that the person who yells the loudest wins, and it’s their job to scream at as many people as possible.

      When your sister goes off the deep end, say (in a bored voice) “We’ve been through this before and I’ve got lots to do today. Talk to you again sometime.” It will be hard but it’s really the only way besides just cutting her off.

      I’ve cut off some people but I am trying to leave the door open a crack for others in case sanity returns.

      I wish you all the best.

      1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        Oh this sounds so hard! I am grateful that’s she’s not belligerent about her beliefs at the moment. So when we don’t talk about anything of substance I do have moments of enjoying her company.

    6. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      I have a cousin and a brother-in-law who are in The Cult. I keep in contact with family via FB, and the first time each of them made a political comment on my page, I told them they’re free to say what they want on their page, or on groups or news sites they follow, but to keep it off mine – and I would never post my politics on their pages. The brother-in-law agreed and has never been a problem – the whole family still loves him and just roll their eyes a bit. My cousin has never been able to keep his mouth shut. I unfriended him on FB but we still kept in touch via email once in a blue moon. When my Mom (his aunt) died, I decided to reinstate him. Big mistake. So now I’ve not only unfriended him on-line, but pretty much in life. But a sister would be much harder.

      1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        This sounds really hard and I appreciate you sharing your experience! So many loved ones lost while living :(.

    7. Chilipepper*

      For me it is my mom and I just don’t talk to her. If she calls, I happily talk. As soon as she starts any comment I say, oh, gotta go, and hang up. I have to save myself.

      I have learned that it can be really helpful to hear an internet stranger say, you have permission to back off in any way that works for you.

      I know you really want advice on how to save her. I am sorry I don’t have that. I have seen articles online from folks or interviewing folks who drank the cool aid and snapped out of it. I don’t even see a pattern of how to help people from those articles but they might help you?

      I wish you the best, it is very hard.

      1. ButFaaaaaaaaamily*

        This is my dearest hope! If she could snap out of it someday I’d be overcome with joy.

        1. WS*

          She might! But it’s important that you don’t argue with her or try to show her what’s right or shame her at all, because not only does that push her further into the cult, but if she does snap out of it, she’s going to feel very ashamed and find it hard to talk to you. The best thing to do is just not discuss those things. At all. Keep any minor children out of it because it’s much harder for a small child to enforce that boundary- this is something you do for them.

    8. Analyst Editor*

      I think you’re going to have to meet her halfway somewhere, and because it’s someone you love and esteem, and who would presumably have your back in a bad situation and support you in times of trouble, I think it’s fair to extend this person much more courtesy and benefit of the doubt than you would to a stranger. Perhaps you can engage and probe more, and see what she has to say, and then actually engage with the views.
      Sometimes, you engage and you find that it’s not possible; this happens if you try with flat-earth believers. Those kinds of people, like people who go deep into religion, you can’t change; something clicked for them and you have to live with it or swear them off, and just tiptoe around the issue as much as possible. But not everyone who is not progressive is a crazy gibbering Q-adhering racist.
      The “gateway” to this sort of thing might be simple discomfort with the radical and fast changes our country is undergoing; and certain levels of dishonesty and hostility towards opposing points of view whenever you try to bring it up. You can be an immigrant and still support some limits on immigration, and also have a business and be against certain regulations or taxes; and also be very uncomfortable with a lot of the PC stuff and cutlure war stuff.
      There are lots of good resources of middle-ground, and “non-PC left”, and the like who take on these issues without being insane and with adhering to values that might be more palatable to you, so you can venture down the rabbit hole of those kinds of sources and try to persuade her or find yourself persuaded.
      Good luck – as it’s tough to lose the understanding and connection with someone you were close to.

      1. pancakes*

        It’s pretty appalling—and extremely unconvincing!—to try to characterize racist fear-mongering of the type the OP described as expressing discomfort with “the PC stuff.”

      2. Chantel*

        > You can be an immigrant and still support some limits on immigration

        Not without being a hypocrite, you can’t.

        1. allathian*

          Well, strictly speaking anyone who isn’t 100 % Native is an immigrant in the US. The question is, where do you draw the line? How many generations back do you have to be a naturalized citizen before it’s not hypocritical to be critical of illegal immigration?

          I think it’s perfectly fine for someone who came into the country as a student or with a work visa, or even as an asylum seeker who’s a part of the immigration quota to want to impose limits on people just walking across the border. That’s not being a hypocrite, YMMV.

    9. Lobsterp0t*

      My brother and I had to severely limit contact with a parent. Same reasons. Although he was on this path for a long time – the pandemic, availability of time to go down a YouTube rabbit hole, and being isolated was the perfect storm to get us where we are now.

      I did a huge course of therapy about it this past year. That helped. So did researching ambiguous loss. I’ve been grieving and it’s ok to accept that’s what is happening.

      I’m so sorry for your loss of this relationship. I hope it can change in future.

    10. NaoNao*

      I think part of the solution here is to gently ask questions around why these beliefs and ideas are resonating with her. It sounds like fear—maybe exploring where and why that fear is coming from might help her step away from these sites and ideas. It’s very hard not to feel fear when certain media outlets are designed to stoke fears!

      Trying to get to the root cause of these fears and concerns might help her realize that just shouting about issues or spreading inflammatory articles around isn’t a solution, and maybe work with her to come up with plans and solutions in reality that can help her feel more in control, calm, and in charge.

      It’s hard to counter these emotional articles with facts or reminding people of their personal circumstances because they will argue that, for example, feeling fear about businesses being broken into or property being destroyed isn’t racist and I suspect they haven’t made that conscious connection! But talking to them about keeping their neighborhood safe with neighborhood watch, or using NextDoor or something might be more workable.

      1. pancakes*

        I don’t think people with this mindset should be encouraged to think of themselves as protectors of their neighborhood, or to get involved in any sort of watch group. The world does not need more George Zimmermans.

    11. NRG*

      I have distanced from my sister for a number of reasons. I will talk civilly to her on the phone if she calls me, until she starts spouting stuff, but that’s pretty much it. It was a relief to stop trying.

  19. Venus*

    How does your garden grow?

    All updates welcome, from weeds to mold to your favorite neighborhood tree.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        A small argh… I did it again and have sunburned leaves on the big 3yo geranium. I put it in direct sun briefly… but I have the vax#2 sleepies and nodded off in the lawn chair. (I’ll probably be a bit sunburned myself.)
        The seedlings upstairs are under the eaves so not in similar danger.
        A small victory : All 3 of the late-planted daffodils came up and one is blooming.

    1. Bobina*

      I need to go out and double check, but I think I’m finally going to have my first flower from the bulbs I planted back in November! An anemone, and the ranunculus are definitely doing something (finally!) so I’m very excited for that.

      I also found myself looking up winter/early spring flowering plants for next year already because I realised that I really wanted flowers a lot earlier than I got them – and clearly my definition of when spring starts does not align with nature! (Or at least not this year when we’ve had quite a cold spring compared to the last few years)

      1. Joie De Vivre*

        Depending on where you are, Lenten Roses bloom late winter/early spring. Mine survived (thrived really) the extreme cold we had in my area earlier this year.

        1. Bobina*

          Ooh yes. I came across those under their other name (Hellebores) earlier this year and definitely saw some flowering in February when it was still pretty miserable here, so I think they’ll definitely be on the list!

    2. The Other Dawn*

      I’m very happy that the three peonies I planted last year came up and two of them have flower buds. Two were planted from a root and one was a plant I bought. The of the roots was very slow to emerge and I thought it had died, but it finally came up this week. I love the look of peonies in full bloom and I think they fit with the age of my house (1735), but the look pretty drab once the blooms fall off. My herbs are coming in, which were transplanted to the big flower garden last year. Rose bushes, too. Also, my hens and chicks multiplied. The poppies are almost ready to bloom. The garden has been overhauled twice in the six years we’ve been here and those things are still coming up. But that’s fine–they’re very pretty when they bloom.

      Now I need to do a little weeding in the big garden. I also need to remove and replace the dirt in two raised beds. We used the wrong dirt due to laziness and lack of knowledge and I paid for it last year with a ton of weeds and lack of veggie growth. I now know I should have used raised bed soil, which I used in the new bed last year and the jalapenos loved it.

      1. Hotdog not dog*

        I have Rose Campion interplanted with my peonies. They bloom right about when the peonies finish, and the stalks give support to the peony stems.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Oh good idea! I have some Rose Campions planted around my shed and a couple in the garden. The garden has lots of empty space so maybe I can plant more of those around the peonies and fill it in a bit. The peonies, I think, are two pale pinks and one fuchsia, so Rose Campions will match nicely.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I’m going to the garden center tomorrow! I want some railing planters and I need a planter for my phacelia tanacetifolia seeds. How do I figure out how deep the planter should be?

    4. Venus*

      We had snow this week. It didn’t last, but I haven’t done much outdoors.

      The tulips and narcissus are out, also the magnolia in the area. The small grass patch will need to be mowed soon. It finally feels like spring although I look forward to warmer weather so that I can fill the raised beds and put the tomato seedlings outside.

    5. Llellayena*

      Plant shopping happens today! I’m getting my overabundance of herbs (2 mint, 3 basil, rosemary, thyme, parsley), 2 lunchbox pepper plants and about 7 decorative plants for a large pot, color scheme TBD. Whee!!

    6. Ali G*

      I guess I was a little drunk when I shopped at Burpee back in Feb/March. Plants just keep showing up! Yesterday it was thyme. Lol.
      I was hoping to get some stuff permanently outside into their summer homes this weekend, but we have too many nights below 50 degrees, so I have to wait.

    7. Lilo*

      I’m trying to figure out tree netting. I’ve been warned brood X can hurt my smaller trees and something is already eating the little baby apples on my tree.

      The strawberries are coming in. It’s not feasible to net them so I have to hope the birds leave me some.

      (I previously lived in an apartment so all this stuff is new to me.)

    8. MissB*

      I still have all of my tomato and pepper seedlings in my basement under lights. I have a blink mini camera aimed at them, and the lights are all plugged into smart plugs.

      We are out of town – not quite for a week- so being able to turn on/off the lights is key. The camera is just to see that things are still alive. My sibling is watering them twice while we are gone. Hoping to start hardening them off next week.

      My plum tree has a ton of blossoms. Last year, it also had a ton and it resulted in a ton of plums. There were so many years while it was young where we got nothing and I would threaten to chop it down. It just needed to mature. I expect a ton of plums again this year.

      My honey crisp apple tree has yet to produce a bloom and I just need to keep the young plum tree in mind and be patient. I planted a columnar apple at the same time, and that produced its first apple last year (which I watched a squirrel run off with when ripe). Lots of blooms this year so hopefully it’ll produce more than one. Maybe the squirrel and I can share.

    9. Spearmint*

      I’m attempting to grow potted plants from seed on my balcony this year. I currently have cilantro and beets in one long box and then 4 types of native wildflowers, each in their own pot.

      The cilantro and beets have already sprouted (!), but the none of the wildflowers have so far, even though it has been 3 weeks. I have read that it can take 4+ weeks for some plants to germinate, so I’m going that’s what’s going on. I also put some wildflower seed in ziplocks with wet paper towels yesterday to see if I’ll have more luck with germination that way.

      I’m really hoping the balcony garden is successful this year. I tried last year (my first time gardening as an adult) but I selected plants that need full sun and my balcony only gets 2-3 hours of dappled direct sun per day, and so the plants never grew and then died after a few months. This year I deliberately chose species that do well in full-to-part shade, so I’m thinking they will do better.

      1. Spearmint*

        Oh, and if anyone has any tips about getting wildflower seeds to germinate I’d be very interested in them.

    10. Girasol*

      Last year’s woad is alarmingly big considering that the rest of the garden hasn’t even sprouted. It’s going to flower soon and I want the seeds. Not sure when to take the leaves to dye with so that I get the most blue out of them but don’t ruin my chance of getting seeds. Does anyone here dye with woad?

    11. I'm the one with the iguanas!*

      So I have basil growing and I have some cherry tomatoes. No idea why they ate the plants a bit early on but have not come back for the flowers or fruit. I have enjoyed my handful of tomatoes!

      1. Venus*

        The eating habits of most animals are confusing to me, but great news if they are avoiding the flowers and fruit. Maybe there is an abundance of another food this time of year?

    12. Hotdog not dog*

      The asparagus is coming up! Nothing tastes more like spring than a fresh crisp stalk of asparagus eaten within minutes of picking it!

      1. Venus*

        Me too! I forgot to mention my asparagus, which is looking impressive right now. Except that my dog is eating everything he can get near, so I’m cautious about having him anywhere near the plants.

    13. Sparkly Librarian*

      Apple blossoms! I have several dwarf apple trees in their first or second year, and while there aren’t a ton of leaves yet, we have a beautiful spray of blooms on almost all. (On the central one that is multigrafted, the limbs of Gravenstein and McIntosh are not yet budding, which is weird because I thought they flowered earlier.)

    14. Llama face!*

      My baby carrots are starting to grow true leaves! We are still a ways away from last frost date here (June 1- I’m in the frozen north, lol) but have had some *very* nice weather lately. They are direct sown in a large clear plastic tub and I’ve been popping the lid off a bit during the day to give them some acclimatizing time and avoid steaming them.

      My young avocado plant has grown three leaves now and seems to be happy in its pot. I’m waiting a bit before taking it and my tomato seedlings outside since they are more cold-sensitive.

      And I started a pot of cinnamon basil which is a new herb to me. It sprouted in only 2 days! Has anyone grown or used this herb? Apparently it originates from Mexico and can be made into a tea.

      1. MamaSarah*

        ❤️ this! It’s a source of pride when the direct seeded plants start to germinate and flourish.

  20. Richard Hershberger*

    I watched the WeWork documentary on Hulu. It was a superb hate watch: the most horrifying Ask A Manager letters all rolled together. It occurred to me while watching that fifty years ago Adam Neumann would have founded a sex cult in a camp off in the middle of nowhere. Nowadays he founds a business and gets rich off venture capital.

    1. Damn it, Hardison!*

      This is in my queue, so thanks for the summary! I read the book, and frankly was baffled that so many people were willing to work/fund it. It sound like a low wage cult!

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Some of my co-workers at my new job came from WeWorks. I can’t wait until I know them well enough to ask, “What the heck?”

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          Were they employees of WeWork, or did they merely work in a WeWork space. My understanding is that for the latter, it was mostly just office space with a particular esthetic.

          1. Texan In Exile*

            Actual employees! Including someone really high level (and high level at my company, so I will probably never be able to ask him about it but I sure want to).

            1. Fran Fine*

              Wow! That’s amazing. The documentary was fascinating, so I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from asking all about it if I were in your shoes, lol.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      The podcast WeCrashed is another good telling of that story. Sadly, there is always going to be a market for charismatic individuals who spout industrial-strength bullshit about changing the world, no matter which method they use to promote themselves.

    3. pancakes*

      I’m curious how much the documentary goes into (or doesn’t) Softbank’s role in the debacle. My sense from having read about it here and there is that their valuations made no sense whatsoever, and it seems very odd that Neumann appears to have helped facilitate a deal between SoftBank and BowX.

      1. Richard Hershberger*

        Some. It’s not the main focus, but there is a discussion of the pressures Softbank was under to show high results. The outcome was desperate efforts by both WeWork and Softbank to show short-term numbers, regardless of their long term effect. Come to think of it, in this regard at least, WeWork acted like a tech startup.

        1. pancakes*

          It really makes me wonder about other valuations they’ve done. What a mess.

    4. WellRed*

      I just watched this. Listening to him talk in interviews … my head spins. It’s like, throw in a bunch of jargon like exists and margins, wrap it in new ages bs and boom! Nobody knows why he’s saying but it must be important. Pisses me off how much $ he walked away with.

    5. Slinky*

      I haven’t watched the documentary yet, but read Billion Dollar Loser, which Alison recommended a while back. Rarely do I find myself rooting against the protagonist, especially when they’re a real person.

    6. LQ*

      It was fascinating. The guy who in the previews says something like “They are just f*ing desks” seemed like he had a lot more to say about businesses like this that I wanted to hear about.

      I was surprised that there wasn’t more sex in it because it had such a cult feel to it and they usually control that, but it didn’t seem like that was part of it. But it was so culty. I’ve gone on to watch a bunch more culty documentaries, but that cult meets work place is very fascinating.

    7. not that Leia*

      I interviewed with WeWork about 3 years ago (definitely bullet dodged). In that particular instance, it didn’t present as cult-y, but they did use a lot of the phrases that Allison’s identified as euphemisms for “we’ll work you to death”, so I passed. The appeal/sales pitch was a slightly higher than usual pay rate (I’m an architect) and more design control.

      1. Voluptuousfire*

        I worked at WeWork for a few months, even met the man himself. He’s a charming, attractive man but holy hell, he reeks of bullshit. My internal bullshit detector was going off.

        And yes, they’ll try to work you to death. Ultimately I was let go due to that (because I stood my boundaries). Also was so stressed out I had a horrible attitude and the worst cystic acne all over my face that finally cleared up in June and I was gone in March.

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I need to watch that. I thought the concept of shared workspaces was actually cool, but it just freaked me out that the company went so far off the deep end.

  21. Teapot Translator*

    Exercise thread!
    What have you been doing? Discovered any new resource?

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I saw a trainer who specializes in hypermobility. She’s going to give me a program that will help compensate for my hypermobility. There is hope.
      In the meantime, the only nice day this weekend is today so I’ll go for a bike ride, although it’s a bit cold.

    2. londonedit*

      I ran my highest-mileage month of the year in April, so I switched my weekend long run to today and am awarding myself two mornings of lie-ins for the rest of the weekend (Monday is the May Day bank holiday here). I’m very excited about it! A running friend pointed out to me the other week that I’ve really had no cutback weeks at all this year – I’m not training for anything and that means I’m just running week in week out. So I think I could definitely do with an extra day’s rest!

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      I fell off the running wagon this week for personal reasons, but the past couple of days I’ve been doing some HIIT workouts (via the Joe Wicks/Body Coach YouTube channel). I’ve also signed up for a month’s trial of virtual classes with Frame – they’re a fitness studio with various sites across London, but have been offering online classes on demand during the pandemic, and currently have a half price offer for the first month. I tried their free ‘Cher-obics’ (yes, as in aerobics to Cher songs) class this morning and really enjoyed it, so decided to give it a go. They have lots of musicals/musical diva themed classes – I’m particularly excited about the Dolly Parton dance class – so looking forward to digging into those a little more.

    4. Loves libraries*

      I’m a trail walker and I love my new Salomon shoes. A tad big but I wear them with thick socks.

    5. Bobina*

      I’m back to my usual martial arts class (outdoors) which also means I have my first bruises of the year!

      I am also so unfit. I’m not cycling to work so my cardio is abysmal, and while I was pretty good about doing home workouts at various points last year, none of that flowed into 2021 – all of which is to say my body is not enjoying life right now. So over the next few weeks I need to ease back into some kind of stretching, and my improvised upper body home exercises (aka pushups on kitchen counters while things are cooking). Might need to do a few light cardio home workouts as well as some core soon (soundtracked by Little Mix).

    1. Teapot Translator*

      I’m making lamb meatballs this weekend. I love lamb but it’s so expensive. I need to think of two other recipes, preferably with meat. I didn’t eat enough meat this week and I was hungry all the darn time.

      1. Joan Rivers*

        I love lamb but notice that as lamb became more trendy in the last few decades it also became “less gamy.” So lamb doesn’t even taste like it used to to me. Frustrating. I used to buy a small chunk of a leg of lamb on payday and roast it w/garlic and rosemary but now a slice is pretty pricey. Meatballs sound great though.

        1. Clisby*

          In one of my Madhur Jaffrey cookbooks, she says a lot of recipes where she specifies lamb would ordinarily be made with goat in India. (I think at the time these books were written it was hard to find goat meat in the US, and probably still is in a lot of places.) But if you can get it, maybe try goat in whatever recipe you’re making? I’m in Charleston, SC, and have to kind of go out of my way to buy goat meat, but it is available here, and Charleston is not some big metropolis.

    2. Richard Hershberger*

      I have a current surplus of carrots. I am thinking about making carrot cake. This would make me popular with my family. I will have to pick up some cream cheese, that being key to the frosting.

      1. Clisby*

        Another possibility, if you like it, is carrot soup. Curried carrot soup is the one I’ve found that I like the best.

        1. allathian*

          My husband makes a fantastic carrot, potato and sweet potato soup with sweet chili sauce for seasoning.

    3. Ali G*

      I’m doing something with shrimp and asparagus tomorrow. Hubs and I are both in a big push at our Mon-Fri places so it’s not so exciting this weekend.

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      I’ve been doing a lot of asparagus now that it’s spring, including using it in place of chilies in migas.

    5. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Kind of a last wintery thing that’s also campfire food – main dish baked beans with ground beef and sausage in it, Carolina slaw, deviled eggs, and cornbread. I feel like a chuckwagon cook!

    6. HamlindigoBlue*

      I kind of got in a lazy funk and couldn’t be bothered with even trying to cook over the last couple of months, so I renewed my Blue Apron subscription to see if that would help. I get 2 dinner recipes per week. This week, I made chicken tikka masala and balsalmic burgers. Next week, it’s supposed to be lemon-caper tilapia and steaks with black bean-butter sauce (whatever that is). I do like the service, but it’s pretty spendy. I think it will be worth it to help me get interested in cooking again.

    7. Might be Spam*

      I just got a new brand of pickles and they are not at all crisp. Is there anything I can make with them or are they a lost cause? I use pickle juice when I make egg salad. Any other ideas?

      1. Brrrr*

        I have been to a couple of restaurants that serve dill pickle soup which is very popular. I think it’s an Eastern European specialty. I’ve always meant to make it, haven’t yet so I can’t recommend a specific recipe but a quick Google brings up several that sound yummy.

        I would also finely chop some of the pickle to add to potato salad, egg salad, or chickpea salad: roughly mash chickpeas and mix them with mayo, mustard, onion, pickles and serve on/with bread or crackers. Or add to any other chopped salad/sandwich fillings you like (tuna, salmon, chicken).

        Lately I’ve been doing a very easy pickled egg. When I empty the last dill pickle from the jar I hard-boil a couple of eggs (I use an Instant Pot for this), peel them and drop them in the pickle juice. A couple days in the fridge and you have delicious pickled eggs. Eat them as-is, or slice and serve on toast, or chop and add to salads, or use them to make unique deviled eggs.

    8. twocents*

      Made homemade tomato soup for dinner tonight! I can’t wait to have the leftovers with grilled cheese, but had dinner tonight with just a salad.

      I’m also hoping to find a corned beef brisket to make for dinner with potatoes and cabbage. I’ve found a recipe book that I’ve had fun working with, so I’m hoping this will be good! I found a cut at one supermarket, but it was an enormous size and ridiculous cost, so going to hopefully find a better option tomorrow.

    9. Potatoes gonna potate*

      We have chicken biryani that’s enough to feed 10 people with very heavy appetites. We were supposed to have 15 people come over last night but only 3 showed so lots left over even after sending the guests home with a healthy amt of leftovers.

  22. Foreign Octopus*

    (Sorry in advance for the grossness of this.)

    Chicken poop, is it dangerous for cats?

    I’ve recently got six chickens (Rhode Island ones for those that are interested) and my cat has been eating their droppings because she seems to forget that I actually feed her on the regular and I can’t keep an eye on her all the time to stop her. For the last two days, she’s been visiting the litter box frequently to poo and it’s very runny and smells like ammonia. I’m more than a little concerned about the effects this will have on her health but I’d like to hear if anyone has experience with this as my vet is not the most sympathetic of vets but is the only one close to me (the other is 50 minutes away).

    So if anyone has any experience or advice, I’d appreciate it.

    Thanks!

    1. Ali G*

      I think it might depend on what you are feeding the chickens. Is it grain based? If so, that’s prob why she has runny poo because cats don’t do well on a lot of grain.

    2. MissB*

      Yeah I’d try to keep her from eating their poo. My cat doesn’t bother with it, but my puppy has more than his share. I agree that it’s the grain though.

    3. Foreign Octopus*

      Thanks, Ali G and MissB. I am feeding the chickens grain so it’s good to know there’s a source too it. I’m just going to have to be more proactive with cleaning up after the chickens right now.

    4. Not trying to be rude, just good at it*

      If we had a cat it would not be able to get close. One goes and the other chickens fight over who is going to eat it. Multiple times a day you see feathers flying. I laugh and my wife turns a funny shade of green.

    5. Caterpie*

      In undergrad biology we did a project on “found feces”, and 100% of the students who brought in chicken feces from their backyard coops had extreme levels of salmonella (lizards from the pet store were also pretty universal culprits).

      I’m not sure if those strains are infective to cats, but it might be something to consider.

  23. I WORKED on a Hellmoith read this*

    I saw you posted last week, haven’t seen you around for a long time. Are you still sewing? What are you making? Anyone else? I haven’t made garments for a long time, but love hearing about what others are doing! My sewing project right now is a t-shirt quilt for a nibling. Not that fun but it’s a labor of love.

    1. AGD*

      Getting to the bottom of the alterations pile, at last! A few baby projects ahead, and after that I want to do some serious dressmaking.

    2. Texan In Exile*

      A woman in my BuyNothing group asked if someone would repair her blanket. (That her mom had used when she was sick in the hospital and that the mom stole for the woman because the woman liked it. Now it’s 20 years later and the mom is dead and the blanket has some holes and a long tear.)

      I said I would and hauled out my sewing machine. I have not used it in so long and thought I had forgotten everything, but muscle memory is amazing. I needed bobbin thread to match the top thread and even as I thought to myself, “I don’t remember how to wind a bobbin,” my hands were doing the motions.

    3. The teapots are on fire*

      I finished a jacket I’ve been working on for a LONG TIME, with cut-on sleeves and a gusset, and matched the plaid on the bound buttonholes. In between the beginning and the exciting ending was a long parade of multiple screwups, but the plaid is matched EVERYWHERE on this thing so it’s a win. It’s in timeout right now because I can’t even look at it anymore, but I’ll love it later.

      1. My Brain Is Exploding*

        Oh, the plaid matching! You are my hero. I have had many projects which have gone to timeout once they were finished, or I have sent off to be quilted and liked it a lot better once I got it back.

        1. The teapots are on fire*

          Glad I’m not alone!
          Basting is a key to plaid matching, but boucle WIGGLES.

    4. Enough*

      Made a t-shirt quilt for my daughter to give to her brother. (her t-shirts that were from his college) Was interesting. I had never quilted before. Didn’t really do anything the way any directions I found said to do. And a part on my machine broke near the end that slowed things down. But turned out exactly how I wanted it and everyone loved it. But do not recommend that you start quilting this way. But I will be making one for my daughter from her t-shirts from her college/high school/soccer teams.

    5. Marion Ravenwood*

      I have been on such a huge sewing kick since moving into my own flat and finally getting my machine back out of storage. Currently trying to work my way through the scraps pile with making masks/toiletry bags etc (though the fact that I keep buying more fabric to make garments is kind of counteracting this!). However I’m shortly about to start work on a short sleeved shift top – I’ve made a few skirts but this will be my first time making a top, including bust darts and a facing, so I’m a little nervous but also excited to learn new skills.

      1. The teapots are on fire*

        You’ll do great! Taper very gradually to the tip of the dart and press it over a ham or rolled up towel when you’re done. Look up favoring and understitching if you want your facing to be extra fabulous. It’ll be great even if you don’t.

        1. Marion Ravenwood*

          Thank you! I’ve done darts before in one of my skirts but they weren’t the best, and I’m aware that for various reasons fitting a top is going to be a bit more of a challenge for me so I’m definitely taking all this on board. And I’m reading up on favouring and understitching for the facing as we speak!

  24. Grim*

    Recommendations for a recliner chair for a 6″2″ 240 lbs man? Not looking for a massive, over stuffed chair as the space for the chair is small. Neck support is a must.

    Budget is $2000-$2500 US.

    Thanks.

    1. Another Teacher*

      I bought a recliner for my father who is a similar size, and he loved the Flexsteel one we got him. He’s had it ~5 years now, and it still looks (and feels) brand new. The one we got is more of the “overstuffed” style, but they had lots of options. It’s one of the more-recommended brands for larger people.

      1. StrikingFalcon*

        I have a Flexsteel recliner too and I love it. It’s the most comfortable chair I have ever encountered and it has survived many years and multiple moves without any noticeable effects. They are very good quality. It cost $900.

    2. SoloKid*

      I don’t have any specific brand recommendations but you can use “slim line” and “wall hugging” terms to narrow your results.
      “Wall hugging” means you can put it against a wall and it reclines forward along a track (instead of backwards against the wall), if that’s what you mean by space is small.

    3. SpellingBee*

      Look at Stressless recliners – incredibly comfortable and well-built. We have one that we bought over 35 years ago and it’s still in excellent shape (it’s leather). Back then there was just one size but now all the models come in 3 sizes, so you can pick the one that best suits your space and your personal size. Mr. Bee is 6’ and around 220, and the medium size is basically what we have; it works fine for him. One caveat is that not all the models have an integrated footrest, they have a separate ottoman instead – the integrated footrest is electric and those are more expensive. Highly recommended.

    4. M*

      Lazy boy has so many recliners for different sizes of people. Best thing to do is to test them at the showroom.

      1. Grim*

        Already did, and was disappointed with their quality.

        They’re not your father’s lazy boy anymore.

        1. Natalie*

          Yep, we bought one a couple of years ago and that was our experience. The metal is very poor quality and can’t stand up to the stress of actually reclining regularly. Half of ours stopped working within 18 months or so, outside of the warranty period and not repairable since the frame itself had come apart.

    5. Natalie*

      Room & Board sells recliners and it looks like they have at least a few in your price range. Their furniture is all sourced from small scale US manufacturers and good quality. I have a secondhand Room & Board recliner that has to be at least 10 years old. Other than wear to the upholstery from the prior owner’s kids and now our dogs and kid, it’s like it’s brand new.

    6. Blossom Fowler*

      I bought one for my father, similar height and weight, at Relax The Back and it’s great.

  25. anesti*

    How do you not get jealous of other people’s life progress?

    My husband and I have been separated for a couple years at this point but we keep trying anyway. It’s like he’s my boyfriend. I am paying for his life and rent at an apartment I originally rented for the both of us, while I live at my parents. He says I will be moving in soonish, he just had to get it ready. He has contamination OCD so it’s this whole terrifying thing for him. I have posted about him here before.

    My cousin and her husband had a baby and I’m jealous that they were ready and are happy.
    My other cousin and her husband are going through treatments to get pregnant. (She hasn’t told me, her mom told mine.) I’m going to meet up with her in a bit because she is in town and part of me is dreading it because she might tell me she is pregnant and I have to act thrilled instead of bitter and jealous that her life is growing/moving forward and I’m stuck. I am not dying for a baby, just forward movement.
    Although I am getting older. I’m also very nervous she will ask about my marriage, and I hate talking about it because I feel ashamed.

    1. anesti*

      edit to add, i am doing well professionally. I would be in worse shape emotionally if that wasn’t the case.

    2. Tofu Pie*

      I’m sorry, it sounds like a crappy situation. I would totally feel jealous and resentful and sad in your shoes. It’s such a natural human response that I don’t really have much advice on how to stop feeling this way. Except to add that it’s totally fine to protect your emotional health and stay away from certain situations for your own peace of mind. I know realistically you can’t ban all pregnancy/happy marriage news in your life; but you also don’t have to put yourself in situations you dread when you anticipate the interaction is going to cause you sadness.

      You say you’ve been separated for awhile but a bad relationship can mess with you in big ways, and for a long time too. So what I’m saying is, be kind to yourself.

      1. Reba*

        I totally agree with this!

        I also think, not that anybody ought to cultivate jealousy, but sometimes it can be information about yourself, your wants and ways you are dissatisfied. Don’t compare yourself to others, but instead look at the jealousy as like, a phenomenon and ask if it’s telling you anything useful, if not, try to set it aside.

        1. Fran Fine*

          This. I recently found out that someone I was very attracted to and wanted to date a couple years ago is getting married this summer, and I burst into tears! It was so alarming to me how emotional I got because I haven’t spoken to him in almost eight months, and I thought I was over him (he did something awful to a woman he was dating a couple years back, told me about it, and that pretty much killed any desire I had to be with him romantically), but I was depressed for days anyway.

          Well, I sat with my thoughts (and spoke to my therapist), and I realized that I wasn’t upset about him per se – I was sad because I’m lonely with no romantic prospects in sight for the foreseeable future (thanks, COVID), and it seems like everyone else has such an easier time falling in love and getting partnered up than I do. Like, when the hell is it going to be my turn?! I’m almost 34 FFS!! Lol

          OP, I’m going to tell you what my therapist always told me – you’re allowed to feel whatever it is you feel. Let the feelings be and don’t judge them. Acknowledge they exist, and like Reba said, really analyze where they’re really coming from. Your feelings could be telling you that your marital situation just isn’t sustainable for you long-term and you want something else for yourself. Or they could be telling you something else needs to change. But don’t beat yourself about how you feel – it’s normal.

          1. traffic_spiral*

            Yup. Most of our negative emotions actually do serve a basic survival/protective purpose on some level. Anger? Makes you defend yourself from attacks, and can override fear. Fear of heights/the dark? Keeps you from getting hurt. Jealously? Your brain is looking at the situation around you, comparing it to your situation, and telling you that something ain’t right.

            Now, can all these emotions cause problems if you let them get out of control? Of course! However, right now, it’s just your brain going “given the circumstances around you, your circumstances are unreasonably bad – so we’re gonna make you feel bad until you change your circumstances.”

            Given your current circumstances, I think your brain is trying to help you, and you should listen.

    3. Chilipepper*

      Another internet stranger here reaching out to also say be kind to yourself!
      It is so hard to not compare yourself to others! Or to feel sad when around people having babies or just moving forward when you want to too. I have felt that way too (fertility issues)!

      It probably does not help to tell you not to feel ashamed but that last part caught me by surprise. Instead of running away you are supporting your spouse and are doing well professionally. I was really impressed!

      Would it help to talk to a professional about all of this?

    4. Anona*

      For the asking about your relationship thing, I’d just say something bland like oh he’s fine. If she presses, and mentions that you’re living apart, I’d say you’re working on it, and then change the subject.

      My husband had an affair and we’re currently working on our relationship. Very few people know, so my responses are always really bland when people ask how he is, because I don’t want to talk about it.

      I’m sorry that you’re going through that

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I think I remember your posts because this tugged at my heartstrings.

      A couple of years is along time to wait for someone. Meanwhile, your whole life is on hold while you wait.
      Yep, you are stuck.

      I think jealousy happens for many reasons, one of which might be to motivate us to move forward in some manner. I do understand why you say you feel ashamed and probably there’s other emotions running there also? Not everyone’s life progresses at the same rate. If you both were 50 years older and her husband was in a nursing home I don’t think you’d look down at her for that. Stuff happens and sometimes really difficult stuff happens. She probably does not think anything less of you for your choices and events that have happened in your life. I’d suggest that you try just limiting your thoughts to what you think and try not to bring in other people’s judgements/opinions/etc.

      I do have one really tough question and I think it’s a core question. Do you think you are going somewhere with this guy? How long do you think you will end up waiting for him? Don’t answer here. But you may need to set some sort of boundary as to how much you are willing to do to help remedy your marriage. I hope you are working with a therapist to help give you an idea of what you can expect and in what kind of time frame.

      I think you are a very patient and very kind person. I wish you the best outcome here.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      As an internet stranger who hasn’t heard the first few rounds of this:
      How about a break of a month or two from your ex? Have him handle the apartment stuff, don’t call each other. Turn around and look at what your life might be without being in this holding pattern. It might offer some new perspective.

      1. traffic_spiral*

        Yeah, I’d say that the problem isn’t that your cousin and her husband had a baby. The problem is that you’re paying for your husband’s rent while you live at your parents. Seeing your cousin just gives you a wake up call about how very not-ok your situation is – and if it wasn’t her, it’d be something else.

        You don’t need to work on your jealousy, you need to work on cutting off your hubby and looking after yourself.

        1. Dancing Otter*

          That was my first thought, too. Anesti, WHY are you paying for a place you aren’t allowed to live? Why are you paying for his life? Even if a divorce court ruled you had to pay interim spousal support, it wouldn’t strip you of everything like this, and it wouldn’t be open-ended like this.
          He’s not going to let you move in and mess up his cushy setup as long as you keep supporting him without any reciprocity.

    7. WellRed*

      I remember your previous post which I think was more than a year ago? It sounds, from here, like there has been no progress on the marriage and living situation. Without change you will never make progress. Make a change. Any change.

      1. un-pleased*

        This. Your jealousy may be telling you something really important about how you really, really feel about this situation. You can choose not to be stuck, one step at a time.

    8. Generic Name*

      What if what you’re feeling wasn’t jealousy but grief over the life you thought you had/were going to have but don’t? You say your husband is like a boyfriend and “we” keep trying, but I’m wondering what your husband is doing? Is he planning dates? What about therapy for himself? Does he have a job/is he looking for work? What are you getting out of the relationship? I mean, he’s getting your money, apartment, a date partner, but what is he giving in return?

    9. Mstr*

      Perhaps you can’t move forward in your current relationship because of reasons outside of your control. You could move forward without it , though, couldn’t you? So maybe you really don’t have the choice to stay & progress but you could leave & progress. Stop paying for his place & instead pay for your own place or find someone who you could live together with, for example. Are you coming to that realization? Maybe this frustration/restlessness is preparing you to take a next step.

    10. Fran Fine*

      This. I recently found out that someone I was very attracted to and wanted to date a couple years ago is getting married this summer, and I burst into tears! It was so alarming to me how emotional I got because I haven’t spoken to him in almost eight months, and I thought I was over him (he did something awful to a woman he was dating a couple years back, told me about it, and that pretty much killed any desire I had to be with him romantically), but I was depressed for days anyway.

      Well, I sat with my thoughts (and spoke to my therapist), and I realized that I wasn’t upset about him per se – I was sad because I’m lonely with no romantic prospects in sight for the foreseeable future (thanks, COVID), and it seems like everyone else has such an easier time falling in love and getting partnered up than I do. Like, when the hell is it going to be my turn?! I’m almost 34 FFS!! Lol

      OP, I’m going to tell you what my therapist always told me – you’re allowed to feel whatever it is you feel. Let the feelings be and don’t judge them. Acknowledge they exist, and like Reba said, really analyze where they’re really coming from. Your feelings could be telling you that your marital situation just isn’t sustainable for you long-term and you want something else for yourself. Or they could be telling you something else needs to change. But don’t beat yourself about how you feel – it’s normal.

    11. EngineerGal*

      This situation with your husband sounds so very very hard. Taking a break and stepping back seems like a good idea.

      From an internet stranger who’s been through something similar-just because you love someone, doesn’t mean that they are good for you. You are allowed to give up and move on.
      Internet hugs if you want them.

    12. Natalie*

      I’m stuck.

      I mean, it seems like you’ve identified your problem and the source of your jealousy right here. So what can *you* do to become unstuck? What things, that are within your control, not dependent on your (ex)spouse to act first, would make your life better?

  26. Tofu Pie*

    Based on your own experience, what are your red flags when it comes to human interactions? Not talking about obvious negative traits that make you want to avoid someone, like aggression, blatant rudeness, etc. But subtle hints of dubious character you’ve come to pick up instinctively through bad past experiences or quiet observation.

    Mine is when people casually drop they are being honest: “….and that is the honest truth”, “I don’t tell lies.” Why emphasize your honesty unless you’re trying to cover something up?

    Another is when people don’t express basic gratitude or are egregiously bad at give and take. I used to make excuses for people like this but realized when a person fails to acknowledge when they have been a recipient of kindness or generosity,, it’s usually a sign that they take you for granted and don’t care about the efforts you’ve made.

    1. llamaswithouthats*

      Oooh good one. This is probably an obvious one, but if they are female and like to throw other girls under the bus. “Girls start so much drama/I’m not like other girls”. They always turn out to be the ones who start shit.

      Also, in similar vein to your comment, people who describe themselves as “nice” or any other positive attribute: “smart, responsible, etc”. They almost always turn out to be problematic. I once had a coworker who when she joined, would always brag about how competent she was. She ended up being fired for being highly incompetent after everyone got sick of working with her.

      1. llamaswithouthats*

        I also want to add, people who never own up to or apologize for their mistakes/when they’ve hurt someone. Similarly, when they lack self awareness.

      2. Caterpie*

        Agree about the people who “aren’t like the other girls”. I’ve had similar issues in the past with women who make it part of their identity to be the one girl in an otherwise all male group, and are hostile to any other woman associated with the guy friends.

        1. Not a cat*

          Yuck, I don’t like this persona either. I work in tech and at work, I am often the only woman at lunch or whatever. I also don’t like when work-friends complain about their female wives or partners to me (in a weird, almost flirty manner). I’ve told more than complainer work guy that, “I am contractually obligated not to take your side.”

        2. voluptuousfire*

          Same. The girls (it was all in my late teens/early 20s, it it was girls, not women) I knew like this were also fairweather friends. One of them I hung out with and had too much to drink and woke up in the ER and she wasn’t there by my parents were. She decided to ditch me because “she didn’t want to babysit.” I would hear stories about how other girls were bitches, guys were honest, etc. She also had bad relationships with her mom and sisters, which I think fed her mindset.

    2. Queer Earthling*

      Anyone who needs to be the smartest person in the room or who clearly get their self-esteem by making you feel dumb. Phrases like “lol you didn’t know that?”

      Cissexism, which is sometimes overt but sometimes subtle. Mistakes happen, of course, but often it’s literally because people don’t care to be inclusive, and that’s not a great look.

      1. llamaswithouthats*

        Omg the first paragraph is one the reasons why I found one of my ex friends such a pill to be around. I couldn’t put my finger at first on why she irritated me so much, but I realized that was a big reason (but not the only one).

      2. Might be Spam*

        I had a friend who kept testing my vocabulary. She kept talking about the exclusive east coast college she went to and trashing the local community college that I attended and where she teaches now.
        She also claimed to speak Russian. She couldn’t understand me when I said “Hello, how are you?” in Russian.

    3. Reba*

      re: excessively touting honesty, I don’t take that as someone is lying as but as “oh, they are about to be an asshole/really rude.”

      1. Qwerty*

        There’s a quote out there about how people who say they are brutally honest care more about the brutality than the honesty, and that really put those super-honest people into perspective for me. Just because it’s true doesn’t mean it needs to be said, and truth can be said kindly.

        1. allathian*

          This so much. I had an acquaintance once who made a point of always being brutally honest. She liked to dish it out but couldn’t really handle criticism at all. She flew right off the handle when I told her that I’d honestly had enough of her brutality.

        2. Reba*

          I’m not sure when or where, but I was definitely taught to ask myself if what I wanted to say was kind, true, and *necessary* or helpful.

    4. Texan In Exile*

      Someone who never asks me a single question about me. (Looking at you, Sly and Doris and former Bad Boss.) I am super nosy but try to dial it back, but even so, I am very interested in other people and will try to figure out appropriate questions to ask when I meet them. “Are you from around here? No? From Alaska? Wow that’s interesting! What brought you here? What was your biggest shock moving here? What’s your favorite place to eat? Are you excited about State Fair? What’s your favorite exhibit?” sort of thing.

      Too much charm. I learned with not one but two (yes it took me two) men that a lot of charm can hide a lot of jerkiness. Give me the nerd with the rough edges, please. I am so much happier with my not so charming engineer than I was with the ultra-smooth grad school jerk.

      Someone who doesn’t follow the basics of hospitality. If I walk into your house (where I will be staying for a few days!) after a two hour plane ride and an hour drive from the airport, I should not have to ask for water. (Again looking at you Sly and Doris.) Anyone who crosses my threshold – even if they are here only to pick up yard signs or petitions – is offered food and beverage.

      Gossiping about other people. Not sharing interesting news, but malicious gossip and sharing other peoples’ secrets. If you do it with me, you’ll do it to me. (Back to Sly and Doris.)

      1. RussianInTexas*

        The first one might be me – I feel like personal questions are prying. So I don’t ask them, unless the person is close to me. I would be weirded out if a coworker started asking me.
        I think I am opposite of you! If people want me to know things, they will tell me, and sometimes they will tell me more than I want to know – for example I don’t really care if a coworker having a culture shock, for example. What would I do with such information?
        Heck, I have don’t ask/ don’t tell policy with most of my friends and family! If I have a news I think you should know, I will tell you. If you don’t tell me something, I won’t ask, because I presume I don’t need to know.

        1. MinotJ*

          Yeah. I would probably set off all your red flags, Texan. I also find personal questions to be prying and after a few oversteps in my past, I just allow people to open up to me at their preferred speed. And because of my parents’ friend circle, I had no idea that I was supposed to act a certain way to people who entered my house. I learned from my environment that any friends who came into the house knew where the water glasses and comfy chairs were located.

          I’ve probably come across as rude to many people!

        2. Texan In Exile*

          That’s the struggle! How to show interest in someone – engage in small talk – without being invasive. I really want to know the personal stuff (I am nosy) but try not to ask. At work, I am super careful because I don’t want to pry, but if the other person opens the door, I will happily go through it.

          And yes the rules are completely different for co-workers from someone outside of work. Or, in my case, a then boyfriend, now husband’s parents. :)

        3. Filosofickle*

          I’m in a weird space between the two of you. I am a talker and not at all private, but I was raised with a sibling that is very private. Got my head bitten off a lot for pushing too hard, so I learned to not pry. What that looks like conversation is I share a lot about myself, but don’t ask a lot of questions, not because I don’t want to know — I do! I’m super curious! — but because I assume if you don’t offer up your stories in exchange for mine, that means you don’t want me to know. But of course lots of people then perceive me as self-centered and uninterested. Over time I’ve found a better balance of expressing interest without prying but it’s not easy.

          1. The New Wanderer*

            I relate to this, definitely! I don’t mind being asked personal questions, but I have a real hang-up about asking anyone else anything personal. Not because I don’t want to know but because I (sometimes wrongly) assume people will volunteer information about themselves if they’re comfortable doing so, as part of the flow of conversation. And if they don’t do so, I don’t want to pry.

            I’ve been chided by friends in the past for not asking or not reciprocating on personal topics when I didn’t realize that I should be doing so as an expression of interest. I am interested, frankly I’d rather the other people do more of the talking so I’d learn about them, I just suck at knowing what is okay to ask and what is considered prying. And I’m also bad at knowing when/how much is okay to share my related experience as a bonding thing and when is it too much making the conversation about ME.

      2. Tofu pie*

        “Too much charm” – that’s a good one. I’ve learned to deliberately notice when I walk away from any initial meeting thinking, “Wow, that person’s great. I REALLY enjoyed meeting them!” There’s friendly and there’s charisma. A charismatic person deliberately manipulates positive emotions, usually to hide a negative trait. I used to handle recruitment at work and noticed whenever I hired someone who presented themselves as charismatic, that hiring decision turned out to be an abysmal failure every single time. They don’t just leave; they leave after creating a tornado and havoc and leave the place in a much worse state than they entered.

        Similarly, I’ve learned to pick up when I feel like I need to impress someone. It’s a subtle feeling of not wanting to get on their bad side usually because they are critical or weirdly judgmental in some way.

        1. llamaswithouthats*

          I totally noticed this in myself too! I find myself trying to act extra pleasant around people I know to be unpleasant because I don’t want to give them an excuse to start up a shitstorm. (But I don’t befriend them either so there’s that.)

    5. Generic Name*

      Ooh, this is a good question. I’ve been reconnecting with my emotions and “gut feelings” and I’ve learned to pay attention when after interacting with a person I feel weird or bad or off in any way. This happened to me recently with a neighbor. She is perfectly nice and friendly to me, but the last time I saw her, I had a weird internal sensation immediately after, and I decided I would honor that feeling and be careful around her.

    6. Water Everywhere*

      Someone who dominates every conversation, even if it’s a perfectly innocuous subject, will likely have no time to listen to your concerns. I also second Texan In Exile on the ‘too much charm’ flag: someone who is too smooth makes ALL of my walls go up. Same with a person who kisses up and punches down.

      Great question!

    7. Dan*

      People who won’t take know for any answer, and/or have an answer for *everything*. These people get insufferable after awhile. These people are often pushy, but still…

      And Texan in Exile hints at this too, but I’ll rephrase a little and say “people who always have to be the center of attention.” These types of people are often abusive jerks or may be afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I married one once, and well, lets just say “never again.”

      1. Joan Rivers*

        People who deny your gut feelings. You ask them directly about something and they evade or deny. We don’t always know WHAT’s wrong but we pick up on something.

      2. Chantel*

        I work with someone who craves attention non-stop and it’s disturbing to watch her in action. We could never be friends, ever.

    8. Headaches*

      Just a vague bad feeling about someone. Gut instincts are actually pretty reliable.

      Patterns in relationships. If every ex is crazy, or every friend abandoned them, or every coworker is a useless idiot, you’ll be the next crazy person or bad friend or dumb colleague. Sometimes there are exceptions to this, so it really is just a red flag and not a cue to drop everything and run.

      1. llamaswithouthats*

        Yep. I understand that sometimes people are made to be pariahs in a specific social context where everyone rejects them (like a toxic friend circle or workplace), but if it is every single corner of their life they are getting rejected from, that’s the signal to avoid them at all costs.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I run far, far away from people who tell me their tales of woe during our first conversation in a casual setting. I’m very social and I enjoy meeting people, but I set a hard line at talking further to people who expect my sympathy for their sob story immediately. It’s hard to articulate, but if in the first five minutes of speaking to you I know all about your life trauma and your various ailments, without context, I peace out. I have met too many emotional vampires who started out that way so… no.

      1. Generic Name*

        Ha, my husband and I were just talking about people who seem to get a lot of enjoyment (?) out of complaining about everything. I don’t think everyone needs to be Pollyanna all the time, but if I just met you, it feels kinda icky to hear you complain about your spouse or your personal medical issues or whatever.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Exactly. I care deeply about my friends’ problems, I love a good bitch session, but let’s first get past “So how do you know John?” before I hear all about how terrible your life is.

      2. Texan In Exile*

        Yeah, you don’t get to share your emotional trauma with me until we have a bank of good times. I am not your therapist.

      3. Tofu pie*

        Ooof yes. I got burned with this too. Over sharing is a massive indicator of lacking boundaries. This will spill into other interactions and has ended with them not respecting mine / treating me as their on-call crisis therapist.

        1. Pennyworth*

          My SIL overshares about other peoples problems. She has a compulsion to know everything about everyone, them she spreads the information around, especially if it is someone she barely knows. I have been told really personal stuff about someone she might have only met once. I find it unpleasant, so I try to avoid those sorts of conversations, and I am very wary about what I say to her. If she wasn’t family I would run a mile.

      4. Potatoes gonna potate*

        Hmmm, is it any different if the person is making self deprecating jokes?

        This kind of reminds me of a meme I’m seeing floating around. I forget the exact wording but the premise behind it is that once the world opens up and socializing becomes a thing again (I saw this a while ago), “forget about small talk, I want to know your traumas and emotional baggage.”

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          No. If I’ve just met someone and they say negative things about themselves in the first conversation, joking or no, I’m going to come away thinking this person sounds like a lot of emotional work right off the bat.

        2. The Other Dawn*

          “forget about small talk, I want to know your traumas and emotional baggage.”

          That’s a big Nope for me. If someone unloaded all their traumas and emotional baggage on me after just meeting me, or we know each other and we haven’t talked for a while, I’d run screaming in the other direction.

          1. Potatoes gonna potate*

            and that’s perfectly understandable heh. I wish I could remember the actual meme. I had a different interpretation of it — that after being in quarantine/isolation for so long, people are throwing the general rules of socialization out the window, wanting to make meaningful connections in one shot. And maybe it can happen (with mutually consenting parties.. Not saying I agree with the essence of it or htat I’d do it, just thought it was a really interesting take.

    10. Seal*

      Mine is people who are overly familiar the first time they meet you or immediately assume you’re best friends. It’s one thing if you discover you legitimately have something in common and can discuss that, quite another the other people starts telling you intimate things about themselves out of the blue. That just makes me uncomfortable.

      Another is people who are obviously talking down to me based on my appearance. They’re the ones who not so surreptitiously look me up and down when they first meet me. I’m an overweight middle-aged woman with a well-controlled, invisible chronic health condition. I also have 2 masters degrees, a 6-figure income, and a very interesting backstory, but I’d rather hear yours that talk about mine. Seriously, stop judging me by my cover.

      And sometimes I just have a gut reaction to someone that raises a red flag for me. I can never quite put my finger on it at the time, but down the road something inevitably happens that confirms my initial discomfort.

    11. RussianInTexas*

      Over-solicitous people. There is a fine line between desire to help and being nosy or patronizing.
      Too personal too fast. I am a hedgehog, and I have spikes. You are not my friend because we hang out few times.
      People who have a pattern of canceling on you. I would rather you not RSVP or do it with “maybe”, than always cancel. I understand not commiting, but I hate commiting and then not follow up.
      Making to many promises. Sort of the same as the above point.

      1. allathian*

        Yup, I feel pretty much the same way.

        Over-solicitous people annoy me, especially when I’m shopping. If I need help, I’m perfectly capable of finding an employee and asking. I appreciate it if employees can take me seriously when I say I’m just looking around. Aggressive selling doesn’t work on me, and I actively avoid stores that pay a large part of the salary as commission. I haven’t encountered pushy people like this in my social life, though.

        I don’t get too personal with anyone until I know them a bit from casual chat. Some people think I’m too standoffish even for a Finn, and we’re notorious about not letting anyone get close until we know them fairly well.

        Incessant smiling annoys me, but then I’m used to people looking like Jason Bourne for most of the year. Matt Damon has Finnish roots, and when I watched the Bourne movies, it just struck me how he’d fit in perfectly here. Someone from an environment where people smile at each other in the streets would probably find my town extremely unfriendly.

    12. Black Horse Dancing*

      I always watch how someone treats animals. If they are cruel, careless, just plain idiotic, that sets off alarms. How someone treats a being, that’s important. Because everyone can be simply kind.

      1. The Other Dawn*

        I agree. I’d add to that people who meet me for the first time and when they hear I have *a lot* of cats, tell me if they’re having issues with their cat or Boyfriend decides she can’t keep the cat anymore, she “knows right where to drop it off.” Um, no. I’m not an animal shelter or rescue where you can just drop your unwanted cat because it became inconvenient for you.

        This happened to me at work in 2019. I met a coworker for the first time who had just moved into a new position and into our building (internal transfer). She was being introduced to people. The person who brought her over is a cat lover, too, so the three of us talked about our cats for a few minutes. When the woman heard how many cats I have, she went on about how her boyfriend “tolerated” her cat and that if he decided she couldn’t keep him anymore, or if the cat started misbehaving and she couldn’t/didn’t want to deal with it, she would just call me up and drop the cat off with me because, “what’s one more??” What an asshole. It immediately turned me off and I’ve disliked her ever since. She came off as pushy and cavalier. A pet, any pet, is a commitment and you don’t just get to dump the animal on someone else because it became inconvenient for you. And my sense about her has been confirmed over this past year. She’s been a bit of a PITA and definitely pushy.

    13. Paris Geller*

      I think one that goes along with the red flag you mentioned about honesty is whenever someone has to go on about how they’re such a good worker/spouse/friend/etc. Someone who constantly has to remind you they’re a good person/good at X/etc., probably isn’t, because if they were. . . they wouldn’t need to talk about it so much.

    14. matcha123*

      Based on my experience… people that always have to be the expert. People that agree with everything you say and are eager to be friends asap. People that complain a lot. I can’t trust people that complain. And people that “forget” information and then try to paint you as the bad guy. They will swear you promised to help them move all weekend when you know you promised to help on a Saturday after 5pm.

    15. Marion Ravenwood*

      Another vote for “I’m just being honest” or variations thereof. In my experience, that is always code for “I’m justifying saying mean/hurtful things and don’t give two hoots about how that impacts other people”.

    16. Llama face!*

      People who are too nice. That sounds weird but there’s a certain kind of Very Nice person (the only ones I’ve met so far are female but not ruling out that the male version exists) who is almost aggressively nice in a way that invariably hides their massive resentment issues. This is the person who turn out to be extremely passive aggressive and a mystery grudge holder. And they are always oversensitive and defensive about even the most gentle criticisms.

      1. comityoferrors*

        My new employee is like this and it is *rough*. I didn’t have any red flags for Niceness before, because most of the people I know are genuinely nice, but my three months of experience with this lady has made me much more prickly with this type.

    17. ThatGirl*

      People who casually use slurs or put others down. Like using “gay” as a pejorative or use the r-word casually. Or even just casually calling others stupid. I don’t want to be around people like that.

    18. All Monkeys are French*

      It’s not a total red flag, but I’m increasingly disappointed by the lack of conversation. It seems like most interactions I have these days are just a series of alternating declarations. If people ask any questions at all, it is so they can show that they know more. I don’t know if it’s the influence of social media or just that I seem to converse with people who don’t usually feel heard, and need to say their piece. I find myself doing it, too, and I really want to work on it. A real conversation with someone who asks questions to elicit more information and shows an interest in the answers is such a joy.

    19. Anonnington*

      The extent to which they treat me as an equal. I’ve learned that all the power trips are a bad sign – splaining, any kind of condescension, trying to provoke me, not respecting my space, “negging,” etc. I think that splaining can be a little hard to pin down because if you don’t know someone very well, how can you know how much they know about a certain subject? So I go by the tone and the context.

      I look for people where there’s a feeling of mutual respect and mutual acceptance.

    20. Unkempt Flatware*

      Indirect questions intended to answer a question not asked. An ex once asked if I had any cereal left. I said no but that he could have my granola if he wanted. After an exchange of dirty looks, he tells me all he wanted to know is if was okay if he finished the milk…?

      Or the coworker who asked if I had a chance to sign up for X. Yes, I sure did, thanks. “But I don’t see your name on the sign up list…?” So are you asking if I signed up or had the chance to sign up? So annoying.

    21. Chantel*

      I get immediately suspicious when someone who I just met or haven’t known for very long cozies up to me, especially by way of gossip. There’s just some vibe I get, like the person is shifty in other ways, too.

      I also cannot stand people pleasers, with their manipulative and controlling behavor disguised as ‘help.’ Nope.

    22. Potatoes gonna potate*

      One toxic trait that I have or used to have was – whenever anyone talked about something I would talk about how that applied in my life (I, uh, still may do that from time to time).

      In my mind I was doing it with the intention to relate to the person and that I had something in common with them. To build rapport I guess.

      It’s only now I’m realizing how annoying and toxic it was. Maybe there is a way to talk about yourself without coming across as a self absorbed person but I haven’t figured that out yet.

      1. Budgie Buddy*

        One way to neutralize the “I am uncomfortable when we are not all about me?” effect is to segue back into a question about the other person’s experience. People who have to make it all about them don’t do that; they immediately launch into a story about themselves.

      2. Old and Don’t Care*

        I have several friends who do this. I find it annoying but not toxic. I probably am guilty of it myself. I try to throw in connecting phrases about “the point being” or similar to make the connection between their story>>my story more obvious than when it’s just inside my head. So I may be annoying but also not toxic.

      3. The Other Dawn*

        Admittedly, I do this sometimes. I try not to, but I find myself doing it anyway. Though I’ve noticed I don’t do it with friends and family. I tend to do it when I’ve just met someone or they’re an acquaintance. For me it’s just a way to feel like I have something in common with someone and try to relate to them and make conversation.

    23. Explicit Mox*

      People who are judgmental of others, right of the bat. If you’re more interested in not understanding others than the opposite, it’s a warning sign.

      People who are habitually sarcastic/ironic. I can’t be friends with someone who hides behind a shield of ironic distance, ask me how I know. It’s incredibly exhausting to be honest with someone who seems incapable of giving anything back that’s not a quip, a clever twist, or a dry, sarcastic put down that you’re not supposed to take personally, because don’t you understand sarcasm? Also, people who never laugh at themselves but make jokes at the expense of others.

    24. The Other Dawn*

      When someone says, “I’m a realist” or “I’m just telling it how it is.” That’s a clear sign to me that they’re really just an asshole and they want to make someone feel bad about themselves under the guise of “being honest.” It’s a chance for them to throw someone under the bus.

    25. Astoria*

      People who talk at you rather than to you or with you.

      I try to discern whether a speaker genuinely wants to share information, or wants to be your “guru.”

  27. Buggy Crispino*

    I want to be a cord cutter – any advice? I’m tired of paying such a high price for cable service that isn’t giving me what I want. One of the reasons I’ve resisted getting rid of cable is that I often leave the TV on in the background and half-heartedly pay attention while I do other things. I could pick a channel with a type of programming I like (home improvement, classic reruns, crime programs, etc.) and have varied entertainment. But now it seems all these channels have all day marathons of one show. So if you don’t like Chip and Joanna, too bad, that channel doesn’t exist for you that day. I do know that I need some way to get or keep local channel programming, but I think I might be able to get most of those by installing an antenna – my big concern is I feel like with streaming services I have to search for something to watch rather than just seeing random programs of a general genre.

    1. Qwerty*

      I haven’t tried it yet, but Netflix has a “pick for me” option where it will select a show for you based on your viewing history. I’m not sure if it picks a random episode or starts at the beginning. You can either select instead of picking a viewer profile OR you can use it after you enter your profile (probably to allow for true random vs inspired by your interests).

    2. twocents*

      If it’s just that you want some background noise, you could always just pop in DVDs and let them run in the background. Alternatively, if you have a smart TV, you could play YouTube with autoplay on, and if you don’t, you can hook a laptop up with an HDMI cable.

      I haven’t had cable for probably 8 years since they wanted to jack my rates to $100 a month. I’ve occasionally gotten streaming services to watch very specific shows (Wandavision, The Mandalorian, Good Omens), but I cancel once I no longer have anything I want to watch. At least my DVDs have already been paid for.

    3. Charlotte Lucas*

      Depends on what market you’re in, but digital broadcast TV now has a lot of programming similar to basic cable. (I don’t even use streaming, because I can get so much media through my local library. I’ve probably saved thousands over the past 20 years by not paying for cable, etc.)

    4. Texan In Exile*

      For actual watching, it might work to get DVDs from the library. I can’t find everything I want there, but I can find enough that even after 13 years in this house, I have not run out of things to watch. And I don’t pay extra for it. (We do not have cable.)(We are super cheap.)

      1. Sunshine*

        Yes. The library is great for watching what’s on your list or background noise.

    5. TPS reporter*

      I recently switched from youtube tv which I just watch on an app on my phone or smart tv. It’s much cheaper than cable and you can get all of your local channels.

    6. CatCat*

      Get an antenna. We have one mounted on our wall that basically looks like a sheet of paper. We only use it for PBS, but it gets a lot of channels.

    7. AnonInCanada*

      I hear you: most of what’s being offered on cable are these marathons of shows you’re not interested in. The thing is, is there a relationship between your cable provider and your ISP? (i.e. are they the same?) If not, then you’ll have options. If so, you may find out you cutting the cable will end up with a higher internet service bill which ends up cancelling the savings you made cutting the cord.

      Even worse: if said ISP gave you an email address you’ve been using for years and you decide to go elsewhere for internet, now what? You’ll need to scramble to tell everyone you keep email contact with to contact you with a new email address, as your old ISP will cut that old email address off, if not immediately than shortly thereafter.

      Don’t you just love cable monopolies?

      1. Buggy Crispino*

        I do have cable and internet service together, so I know that I will be losing some bundle discounts. That’s something I forgot to mention in my initial post – I don’t want to increase my internet price AND have to pay for a dozen streaming services. It’s really kind of a balancing act when you start making changes.

      2. Natalie*

        The cost of internet only might be higher than the internet portion of the bundle, but I don’t think there are any providers that are selling their standalone internet for more than the total bundle cost. Keeping cable because you save money on internet is still losing money.

    8. traffic_spiral*

      Step 1: buy an HDMI Cable
      Step 2: Get adblock on your laptop
      Step 3: Hook up the laptop to your TV with said cable and watch all the random stuff you like by either streaming or youtube or whatever.

    9. Hazelnut Bunny*

      I cut the cord a long time ago. While cable can be nice with a DVR, I hate the price tag. So I have an antenna that I use mostly for local news. I have Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+, and Amazon Prime for $36~/mo. I know it’s a lazy hobby, but I love watching TV and movies. Everyone in my house always has something they enjoy and price wise, I can’t complain.

      1. pancakes*

        This is what we do. We didn’t have a TV at all for a long, long time, and we have one now and only use it for these type of streaming services. HuluPlus, or whatever they call it, has both live TV and a DVR function. I pay for that one pretty much solely for TCM channel, and often use it to record movies for later. It’s great!

    10. Pam*

      We have an antenna tv. Cooking shows and Jeopardy, with a smattering of old tv shows works for me.

    11. StripesAndPolkaDots*

      I haven’t had cable for years and I often have tv on in the background. I just put on a YouTube channel I like, or something on netflix/hulu/prime/criterion/etc. No or way fewer commercials than cable! I use a roku tv.

    12. Chantel*

      I bought an indoor, $35 digital antenna and LOVE it! I get all the major networks, PBS, the CW, Cozi TV, and various other channels. I kept my Internet for $40 a month and stream what I want via trials or free servoces like Tubi and Peacock (not premium).

      So all that for $40 a month, and what I want to watch.

    13. bunniferous*

      Get a Roku box. You can pay about ten bucks and stream youtube videos with no ads. Youtube TV and Roku are arguing right now but once they kiss and make up you can stream that with Roku. I have a Hulu account that I access thru Roku and between that and youtube I have all I want to watch. There are free things on Roku as well.

      My total price for media right now is less than 20 bucks a month. Actually closer to about 12 but I got the Hulu with ads for a really cheap price for a year.

    14. Belle*

      We cut the cord about 10 years ago when I was laid off and then never got it back. We have a Roku and haven’t missed it. Here is what we do:
      Antenna for basic channels, news, weather, etx
      Pluto tv – free and great to leave on in background. Lots of shows for free. We have Midsomer Murders playing often
      Paramount+
      Disney+ for our toddler

      We spend less than $10 a month this way plus internet

    15. Natalie*

      One thing we do to keep streaming costs down is cut and resubscribe to stuff as we actually watch it. This won’t be for everyone, of course, but it’s one way we fit Sling into our budget – we only have it during basketball season. Hulu also makes it pretty easy to add and drop extra channels.

  28. Qwerty*

    Any suggestions for shows that are lighthearted escapism? I really enjoy the early seasons of the Doctor Who reboot, Merlin, Robin Hood which felt like grown-up kid shows with a balance of fun storyline and humor without being a flat out comedy. My favorite episodes are generally the ones that have zero impact on the overall character arc or season story line.

    Or if does get dark and dramatic, for that part to go over my head like in Good Omens. Its easy to forget that show is about the apocalypse when there’s a sassy David Tennant.

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Have you tried The Musketeers, The Librarians, or any of the BBC adaptations of Discworld novels? (I particularly liked Going Postal.) The Good Place is a really great series that uses comedy while discussing ethical issues/moral philosophy.

      I know the feeling. I love SF/fantasy, but if it gets too dark & moody, I’m out.

      1. Qwerty*

        Discworld was adapted??? You have made my day! I loved Terry Pratchett novels back when I read a lot.

        I’ve watched Good Place a couple of times but wasn’t familiar with Musketeers or Librarians, I’ll check those out!

        1. Grace*

          The Going Postal and Hogfather adaptations are both very fun!

          And the BBC Musketeers has its darker moments, but is still a lot of fun – it kind of felt like a spiritual successor to the Merlins and Robin Hoods of a few years earlier.

    2. Queer Earthling*

      Warehouse 13, especially the first two or three seasons (I don’t remember if it was the third or fourth season that started to get ~dark and edgy~). Fun steampunky escapism, sassy dialogue, fun stories, history. Its “sister series” Eureka is also pretty fun; they were both SyFy channel original series about ten years ago that were really fun and inventive. (Alphas is also in that series but it’s a bit more srs bsns.)

      Also I’ve been REALLY getting into Columbo lately. The most stressful moments are about 5 minutes to the end, when you know he’s about to get the bad guy but you’re not sure how yet. Otherwise it’s jus