{ 1,127 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A reminder that comments in the weekend open thread should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas, rather than be “here’s an update on my life”-style posts. Thank you!

  2. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    I got chocolate covered pretzels shipped in from a store that’s in the northeast that my great-aunt would send us every year. She passed away in April. And enjoying those brought me joy as I thought of her. (Plus they’re darn good pretzels.)

    Please share your joys big or small.

    1. Moose of anonymity*

      After a period of no success on dating sites, all the sudden I have potential dates and a couple of actual dates to the point I’m worried about scheduling. One lunch date was a great success, we have date 3 planned after the new year.

      Who knows, rain may be falling to end my long dry spell.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Cue the entire commentariat in an elaborate choreographed homage to “It’s Raining Men.”

    2. Not Australian*

      Rather more sordid than yours, but … a payment that was due to me in April (legitimately delayed due to Covid) finally reached me last week, just in time to make the difference between a ‘careful’ Christmas and one where I don’t need to worry about a thing. Also, my grandson and his new wife are going to be able to join us for our festive get-together, which will be the first time for ages that the family are all in the same place – we had to watch their wedding on Zoom from 200 miles away, but we will be eight for brunch on Christmas Eve!

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      I ordered a bunch of maple candy, hard to find on the West Coast and something I miss from my Michigan childhood. I’m happily munching on it all myself and enjoying not having to share!

      1. Free Meerkats*

        Neil’s Bigleaf has just released this year’s batch of bigleaf maple syrup. It’s a different, deeper flavor profile than sugar maple. It sells out really quickly. Just search Neil’s Bigleaf. Expensive, but worth it.

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          Fascinating. I had no idea anyone was making maple syrup from West Coast bigleaf maples. Thanks for the tip.

          1. Sandi*

            Maple syrup can be made from any maples, it’s just that sugar maples have a higher concentration of sugar in the sap so it’s less work to boil it down. Which makes it more expensive to make, but otherwise just as maply.

            1. 2QS*

              Amazing! I grew up in the PNW and remember reading that you could theoretically make syrup out of bigleaf maple sap, but it would be such a laborious process that no one bothers. I’d love to try what they’ve come up with and I’m not sure this ever would have been on my radar otherwise.

        2. Edwina*

          Done! I just went to the site and placed an order! I can’t wait! Thanks so much! I’m so excited! Merry Christmas!

          Here’s my “return offer”: Green Mountain Goodness Pure Maple Sprinkles. Mapley and crunchy, and SOoooo good on plain yogurt!

        3. fposte*

          Ooh, I love maple syrup and think that it should get treated more like wine, so this is brilliant. Order placed!

          1. Venus*

            I have tried maple dessert wines from small Canadian vineyards, and let’s just say that it is possible to “treat maple syrup more like wine” with incredible success…

            1. fposte*

              Heh. That sounds fun too, but I really mean paying attention to the varietals, years, terroir, etc. of maple syrup.

              1. Venus*

                I knew that, but didn’t want to seem weird by saying that that happens too. Mostly the comparison between years is the temperature fluctuations which relates to quantity. This year it warmed up too quickly so the supply was bad. The varietals are the timing of the boil, light vs dark, and which types of maple trees are used. A good friend of mine has a family member who makes maple syrup and it’s delicious!

              1. Venus*

                Very sweet! I wouldn’t want to drink it often, or a large amount at one time, but it is very strong maple. I’m not sure when something becomes a liqueur, but it could easily be described that way too.

      2. Artemesia*

        I received a Christmas gift of a sampler pack of different maple syrups — no idea who it is from.

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          I received an unknown gift once. I asked everyone I could think of and it wasn’t from any of them. I eventually called the company to ask who it was from and weirdly, they didn’t have any record of the order. I never did find out who gifted it.

    4. Teatime is Goodtime*

      I’m having a rough week, but I currently have a cup of tea and a cat purring on my lap. No one else is awake, the house is quiet and I’ve got a good book handy. But first I am savoring the cat and the tea. And reading AAM :)

    5. StellaBella*

      My joys included snowshoeing for 4km with friends in amazing deep snow with sunshine and getting the OK all clear on my shoulder that has healed from a fracture in Sept. The pretzels sound good!

    6. Jackalope*

      My first theater since the Before Times! As in, being in the show. We’re opening tomorrow and have six total shows. It’s been a bit nerve wracking at times but we had vaccines required, masks required at all rehearsals (and people really complied), and so on. Tonight we had our second COVID tests and everyone was negative, so on with the show! (Audience is required to have proof of vaccination or recent negative test and wear masks the whole time.) As you can see, COVID has been tricky, but we did it, and I’m so happy to get to do this again.

      1. I take tea*

        So wonderful. I’ve been to a couple of plays this autumn, and although I’m thankful for streamed theatre, nothing beats the real thing!

    7. Hunnybee*

      The hummingbirds are still coming to my feeders and seem to be getting used to me coming by to fill them with sugar water. It’s always such a thrill to see them, especially now that it is dreary and rainy where I live.

    8. Papillon Celeste*

      We have two tomcats. One, my sweet boy, is a cuddle monster who will crawl into my lap whenever possible and curl into a purring ball of joy. The other, my husband’s darling, is affectionate too but not so much one for hugs and cuddles. He’s more the adventurous and playful Dude of the neighborhood.
      My husband loves him but sometimes is a little sad that he’s not crawling into his arms as mine does.
      But this week, all of a sudden, he started doing it! Climbing right into our arms, curling into a bundle of joy and purring as if it’s going out of style.
      It’s cute if he does it with me but even cuter seeing my husband’s happy face when he can cuddle his purring baby to his hearts desire.

      1. Heffalump*

        That is really sweet. Both my cats (now in kitty heaven) were cuddle monsters from the get-go, which is what I was hoping they’d be when I adopted them. If I were your husband I’d also be a bit sad at the cat’s previous behavior, but I’d be delighted by the recent change.

    9. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Yesterday was my birthday and one of the best things about that is that I am now 41, which is both an odd number and a prime number. I always feel slightly unsettled in even years, plus I got divorced during the years I was 20 and 30. Husband and I are good (though when he insisted on giving me my birthday present at 3 in the damn morning it was close :-P ) so my trend (curse?) is broken. :)

      1. Papillon Celeste*

        How funny, I always feel slightly unsettled with the odd numbers and I’m also 41. But I count the days to my 42nd birthday ;-)
        Anyways, happy (belated) Birthday to you!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Thank you! In my experience, most people who have a preference actually prefer even numbers, but for my head, balance requires a specific point for the center in addition to the equal parts on the two sides, and even numbers don’t have the center point. :) 20-20 doesn’t seem as balanced to me as 20-1-20. Not sure why. Brains are strange :)

          1. Papillon Celeste*

            I think you just helped me overcome my dislike for odd numbers. To me they lacked symetry. I prefer equal numbers because they’re easier to share with my partner if you think of bonbons or pizza slices ;-)
            But your picture of a center point is compelling. I like that!

        2. mreasy*

          About to turn 42 myself and I feel unsettled about the even number! So funny that our brains do things like this.

      2. Hsa*

        Happy Birthday!
        It was my birthday too yesterday and I opened a present from my partner before work and kept the packet from my family for after work. All were things I loved.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Happy birthday to us!! Since I was already awake anyway, I checked my email and found that in addition to the gift from my husband (which was actually thoughtful enough to get away with being excited about it at 3am, even if I couldn’t actually see it in the dark), my parents had sent me an entire series of books off my Kindle wishlist :)

      3. Voluptuousfire*

        Yet another Dec baby! My birthday is Sunday and I’m treating myself to a facial. It’s sorely needed.

      4. Morning reader*

        Omg, RRTAF, I love it when birthdays are prime numbers too! Never met anyone else who was into it. Happy birthday! 42 was cool for obvious reasons but I liked 47, 53, etc. ; now I’m getting into the idea of being 2 to the 6th power on my next one. Probably my last exponent although if I’m lucky I might hit 3 to the 4th.
        My latest number fun is counting my age by months rather than years. I just turned 761, and that’s prime too.

    10. I'm So Excited*

      Update from last week: I finally went ahead and got that pixie cut! No regrets whatsoever and it looks much better and more polished than my (previously ridiculous) long hair.

      Friends and family love it; I’m not sure how the wo** coll**gues will respond (they haven’t seen them yet), but that’s a matter for another thread!

      1. StillLongHair*

        I’ve been thinking about cutting my waist-long (and not very well cared for) hair really short. I may just follow your example!

      2. Daffodilly*

        When I did that in college, one unkind professor on mine literally grabbed me by the head, shook my head and said “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?”
        I do not know what she was thinking. Totally rude, and totally inappropriate for a professor to do. I have never been so shocked by someone’s rudeness. Thankfully she wasn’t my advisor and I never took another class from her again.
        I hope you have much better responses from your coworkers!

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      Both of my grown kids are now home!

      Sometime soon, maybe next year, they won’t both come home. It’s a coming transition. I’m really glad that this year, we get to gather again.

    12. Hotdog not dog*

      Best Good Dog and I managed to squeeze in an early morning walk before the rain starts. He is now snoozing with his stuffed ostrich and I am enjoying a nice cup of coffee and the Weekend Open Thread.

    13. LadyWhistledown*

      My husband received a 100% disabled rating from the VA and has started getting help for his various health issues (most importantly his PTSD). I know that doesn’t sound joyful but it’s been so validating to have his struggles recognized and the 100% rating means he will have guaranteed income for the rest of his life plus access to subsidized healthcare for the whole family. I would trade all of it to have him whole and healthy but barring that, this has been an absolute game changer.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        This is huge! Good wishes for his healing, and cheers for the guaranteed income plus family access to subsidized health care. No, he’s not whole and healthy but you can check several items off your list of concerns.

        1. Lady Whistledown*

          Thank you for the kind words! He doesn’t “look” disabled so it’s been really hard for him to get validation for his struggles. Folks have been assuming he’s unemployed due to laziness and not chronic pain and PTSD. Having guaranteed income means he can catch his breath and take his time deciding on what he wants to do with his life. Maybe back to school. Maybe part time work. Maybe volunteering. It’s a relief to have options.

          1. Venus*

            I know someone with PTSD who volunteered for a while after they qualified for the assistance. It allowed them to get back into some work-adjacent habits without the pressure. They took volunteering seriously and did quite a few hours, but mentally there was less stress because they weren’t paid. It also felt good because they were ‘giving back’ to the community, which started to balance out some negative feelings from their illness. Once they built up some confidence and habits, and perhaps more importantly they had also spent enough time in therapy to be much healthier, they pursued other options.

            Not suggesting this for your husband, but I noticed that you mentioned volunteering, and I wanted to share an example of ways in which it can be a nice transition.

            It’s an illness close to my heart, and I wish you and your family good thoughts.

            1. Lady Whistledown*

              It’s good to hear a transition success story! His next step (and a very brave one!) is a partial intake psych program. That’s going to be super emotionally intense but will hopefully result in some self compassion along with new coping skills. I think he’d be a wonderful person to volunteer with other veterans or perhaps with an animal rescue. He is such a caring, loyal person and was a highly respected leader while in the service. I think structure and service would do him well in the new year.

              Thank you again for the kind words and taking the time to write.

        1. Lady Whistledown*

          Thank you so much! We are slowly allowing hope to come back into our hearts for a truly brighter future for us and our son.

      2. NoImaginationForNames*

        I live in Pennsylvania. 100% disabled veterans are exempt from property and school taxes. If you own your home check what the rules are in your area

        1. Lady Whistledown*

          Thank you! We’re renting right now but when we do buy again that will definitely be on our radar! 100% disabled vets are also exempt from the VA funding fee on mortgages so that’s a wonderful cost savings. Really appreciate all the kind folks chiming in here!

      3. WoodswomanWrites*

        I’m sure that getting to this point was an administrative slog. So good to hear you and your family are past that now.

        1. Lady Whistledown*

          We confirmed it with 4 separate people AND during a visit on base before we actually agreed it was real and worth getting our hopes up about. The number of times he’s been promised or assured something by multiple people only to have it evaporate is depressingly high. He served for 10 years and had submitted his claim back in May. Was supposed to get expedited review because he was active duty. But nope, delay after delay after delay for over 6 months. It’s such a relief to finally be on the other side!

    14. Cookie*

      I’m currently working in an admin role, and it’s been a tough year with a lot of negativity from my boss and grandboss, plus pandemic stress. This week, one of the people I support, who’s 90% remote in another location, met me at the office to give me a pound of really nice, locally roasted coffee beans from her city as a holiday gift. She knows how much I love coffee…someone actually thought of what I liked and gave me that thing. I was stunned!

    15. Jean (just Jean)*

      I am facing some difficult circumstances with calm and purpose. Yes, I have a great support team, but as its captain I set a good tone (even when I’m feeling wobbly inside) and contribute many skills.

      Props to the AAM commentariat for sharing wisdom about self-care, clear communication, and small bits of humor I can recall in hard times. Humor is healing. Thank you!

    16. Jay*

      My daughter is home from college! Flew in on the redeye. We picked her up this morning and she’s tucked into bed . Love having her home.

    17. AGD*

      Two sets of neighbors put up Christmas lights. Both displays are very pretty and one of them shines into my bedroom at night and makes nice patterns on the ceiling that I’ve been enjoying.

    18. Admiral Thrawn Is Blue*

      This morning I got a wonderful Star Wars, Jango Fett candy dispenser. Press the belt and you get short voice clips from the movies too! I love SW.

    19. Lady Danbury*

      My brother and his family are home for Christmas. They weren’t able to travel last year, so this is the first time that all of my siblings and nieces/nephews have been home together for the holidays since the Before Times.

      I also finished my Christmas baking prep this morning, which means that all of my cookies and cakes are mixed, shaped/poured in pans and in the freezer waiting to be baked on Christmas Eve.

    20. Generic Name*

      A stressful week that ended on a high note. I had a biopsy that was negative for cancer, just have to re-check in a year. And my son needs a major surgery (which isn’t great news), and I was anticipating that his dad (we’re not married) would be difficult per usual. The good news is his dad agrees and I won’t have to have a court battle for son to have necessary surgery.

    21. Also Cute and Fluffy!*

      I am just so stoked for Sterlin Harjo, who is having such big success with Reservation Dogs. I first saw his movie Barking Waters five years ago, and I loved it.

    22. GoryDetails*

      Low-key joys, but I appreciate them:

      The snowstorm that’s coming in this afternoon motivated me to put away my vegetable planters, which I’d been meaning to do since first frost. (In past years I’ve sometimes left them out too long and then, unable to deal with frozen-solid lumps of earth, had to wait until spring!) Was able to move the soil to a spot that can use it come spring, and put the empty planters away. Freed up the space at the end of my driveway as well.

      Am also enjoying my XO “marshmallow of the day” calendar; recent flavors included butterbeer, mango, sriracha, and ube (!).

      I hope to enjoy the snowstorm, too, settled in with books and cats and hot tea (or perhaps a nice glass of red wine…)

    23. the cat's ass*

      A lumpy week. DD finished her 1st semester of love HS, and promptly came down with the GI thing i had. Both of us are feeling better now.
      DH got a flu shot AND his Covid booster and is also feeling better!

    24. Bibliovore*

      This is an odd one but I will take what I can get.
      My grief counselor has been encouraging tv watching for distraction and respite.
      He kept recommending the Great Pottery Throw Down.
      I finally watched it with a friend. The whole season last weekend.
      Then this week I pulled a favorite tea cup from the cupboard.
      It was hand made. I bought it over twenty years ago in a small store in SoHo NYC.
      I visited it twice- it was pricy but I really, really wanted it. I thought I can just buy one, just for me.
      So on Tuesday, as I looked at this hand thrown, white cup with the word tea on the side, I noticed it had a chop mark.
      OMG!
      It was made by one of the judges!
      Keith Brymer Jones!
      I guess I won’t be putting that in the dishwasher anymore!

      1. GoryDetails*

        Awesome coincidence re the cup! Glad you enjoyed the series, too – I find it delightful, both for the craftsmanship and for the emotional judge Keith.

      2. SelinaKyle*

        Wow! What a coincidence!!
        If you enjoyed that show, can I recommend The great British Sewing Bee. They have 2 Christmas celebrity specials in the next couple of weeks and the seasons are available on BBC iPlayer

    25. slmrlln*

      I started playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild for the second time (the first time was maybe 4 years ago), and I love it so much! I appreciate good world-building and I love how open-ended and how beautiful this world is.

    26. Rara Avis*

      My bell choir is back in person. We had a caroling gig last weekend which went really well and are doing it again today. We also had a gathering to which the regular director (who is currently on maternity leave) brought her 7 month old son and I got to hold him.

    27. Not A Manager*

      FANCY STAMPS! I’m finishing up holiday cards and I just realized that by far my favorite thing is selecting the correct forever stamp for each recipient. A few years ago I started buying whimsical stamps from the USPS website and now I’m addicted.

    28. Square Root of Minus One*

      I’m back at my mom’s house. It’s nice to have the calm, the fresh air, and the birdsongs. It’s a strange feeling to… just stop.
      I wish the cats could be friends, but that may be too much to ask.

    29. Purple Cat*

      I am hosting Early Christmas for the in-laws today and although my feet are killing me, I am so so happy we are all together.

    30. Database Developer Dude*

      Something that brought me joy this week? Seeing someone I care about being truly happy.

      Also, walking away from an extremely toxic (non-work related) situation. I’m so done.

    31. Might Be Spam*

      I just picked up my son from the airport. I had to circle the airport 3 times because the police were vigorously enforcing the no parking and no standing rule at the airport. It really helped. A few years ago it took 20 minutes to go 300 feet. This year the traffic was so much better.

      It’s my son’s first visit in two years. I brought him a bottle of his favorite root beer to drink in the car on the way home. My neighbor goes all out on the Christmas lights and they were still on by the time we got home.

    32. Chaordic One*

      I just read an article that noted it was the 50th anniversary of the release of the movie, “Harold and Maude.” Brought back some good memories. If I get the chance, I’d like to re-watch it.

    33. Mama Sarah*

      I was dreading the commute to the office only to be surprised by a double rainbow that seem stretch over the entire bay!! So instead of stressed, I arrived at the office amazed by the beautiful sky and feeling all sorts of gratitude for nature…and Bob Marley! Rainbow Country always sounds like a love song to me. ❤️

    34. Seeking Second Childhood*

      A flock of juncos on the back patio. A flock of Robins & Cedar Waxwings in the crabapple out front. The fruit is so big compared to their beaks it’s a marvel they go in.

    35. Clisby*

      I got to meet my brand-new great-niece, who’s not even a month old; my great-nephew from Ireland; and my great-nephew from here who I hadn’t met because of Covid. They are all, of course, adorable.

  3. CatCat*

    When does the Alison avatar on the site get the winter scarf? I seem to recall winter clothes in years past :-)

    1. Janet Pinkerton*

      There’s currently a high of 60° in our shared metro area so there definitely hasn’t been a switch to scarves and hats in real life yet! (Plus I bet the upcoming redesign has something to do with it.)

      1. Clisby*

        Christmas here is supposed to have a high of 72 F. I hope so. Winter in South Carolina almost (but not quite) makes up for summer in South Carolina.

    2. Incessant Owlbears*

      I haven’t seen the avatar switch to winter mode for the past several years. I miss it, too!

  4. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

    I know I’ve seen similar threads here, but cannot find them. For people who got diagnosed with Autism as an adult did you see any benefit? Or people with relationships with people who got diagnosed with Autism as an adult, was there a benefit?

    I’m an adult women who’s slowly realised that I might fit some autistic traits. I’m debating if I should try to get diagnosed.

    I remember when I was diagnosed with learning disabilities in university, I was disappointed that said I didn’t have ADHD. I wanted something to explain what was wrong with my brain. Why I felt so other. This year at 28, I’ve been diagnosed with OCPD. That has explained some, but not all. It’s been really nice to have words to describe things and for my husband to understand what’s going on. Is also helped me adjust my behaviour to better get along with others. But now I’m pondering autism. I would love to hear others experience.

    1. Hunnybee*

      We all have different feelings about it, and sometimes those feelings can change over time. I was also diagnosed (two years ago). I’m GenX. I knew I had ADHD for years, but when I got the additional Asperger’s diagnosis it absolutely made sense and lightbulbs appeared. That feeling of “oh, of course……”. There is comfort in the clarity that comes with giving something a name. I always just thought I was this weirdo hardcore introvert with major social anxiety (but super creative and great at problem solving).

      In many ways, though, I feel less positive about it. I understand crystal-clearly how many of my personal issues (and especially those in the career realm) have been related to unawareness of my Aspergers, but I also know that wherever I go, there I am.

      I think I’ve always been masking and trying to be “normal”. Now I understand why I am not, but really can do nothing about it. : /

      1. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

        Hi Hunnybee. Thank you for the response. Your last line really sums up why I am unsure about getting tested. My OCPD is treatable to help me manage it, but autism is not something that you treat. Am I going to just feel like I am spinning my wheels more. But your thoughts have been great. Thank you.

    2. Princess Deviant*

      Diagnosed autistic at age 46, about a year and a half ago.
      In last week’s open thread, Melody Pond asked about lounge wear and some of the responses talk about autism as well, which you might find helpful.
      It was 100% worth it for me.
      I actually asked a similar question on here about 3 years ago and because of people’s answers I did go for it and ask for a diagnosis.
      For me, it’s helped me understand myself more and I’ve realised how much I’ve masked throughout my life. I’m just understanding myself right now. It’s a mixture of profound grief that it was diagnosed so late, and joy at finally being me.
      I don’t know where you’re from. In the US I’d imagine you’d have to pay for the diagnosis, and that might factor into your considerations for getting it. However, for me, like I said I didn’t think it’d make much of a difference but I didn’t know how much of a difference it was possible to make UNTIL I’d got it, and so it was absolutely worth it for me.

      1. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

        Thank you for responding! I’ll check out that thread, thank you.

        That is a wonderful response. I think that makes me want to look into it more. I’m an American living in Australia, so I don’t know if I’ll have to pay for it here or not. I’m sure I will though and that is a large part of why I want to know if it is worth it. Thank you so much!

      2. Melody Pond*

        *waves at Princess Deviant* :)

        @OP – my diagnosis is less than two weeks old, so it’s hard to say yet whether it’s worth it. But I think it probably will be. Even though it really felt like ASD was the most likely answer, it’s harder to give in to imposter syndrome with the formal diagnosis (though not impossible, mind you). One of the reasons I did want the formal diagnosis, is because it helps with requesting accommodations through the ADA – for example, the doctor who diagnosed me, noted in my report that I should be allowed to work from home to the extent it’s appropriate for my job duties.

        Self diagnosis IS considered valid within the autistic community, though, because at least in the US, getting a formal evaluation is super expensive. And my spouse and I saw a big benefit before I got the final diagnosis, just from approaching everything as if I were autistic. There are books and support groups that you can likely access with just self-diagnosis, not to mention tons of youtube videos.

        1. Princess Deviant*

          waves back! Hi!

          One of the reasons I did want the formal diagnosis, is because it helps with requesting accommodations through the ADA – for example, the doctor who diagnosed me, noted in my report that I should be allowed to work from home to the extent it’s appropriate for my job duties… I saw a big benefit before I got the final diagnosis, just from approaching everything as if I were autistic.

          Yes! To all of this.

    3. Princess Deviant*

      Ah man I wrote a really long answer and I think it’s gone into moderation(at least, I hope it has and it hasn’t been lost!)
      Tl,dr: yeah it’s 100% worth it.

      1. Hunnybee*

        For the OP: there are some pretty decent online Autism tests if you are curious to go down that path. A reader of AAM posted this one recently in an open thread: https://aspietests.org/

        PS: Great to see you here, Princess Deviant!!! : ) Mine end up in moderation all the time (sorry, Alison). Too many long, heartfelt responses hahah

        1. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

          I took a test a few days ago that told me it was likely, but it wasn’t this one. I’ll take this one now thank you! And all my responses to everyone are going into moderation as well.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            It’s because “autism” triggers the moderation filter in order to stop what is sometimes a huge number of stigmatizing/inaccurate/rules-violating “this sounds like they have autism” comments on every post about anyone with mildly outside-the-norm behavior.

    4. Hunnybee*

      I also just want to mention that although this is a work-related blog, I’ve noticed that AAM has kind of a sub-group of readers who post comments about aspergers / autism / adhd in the open threads and comments. Amazing to find that here, so unexpectedly, and these AAM posts have helped me connect words with feelings around my own diagnosis.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Yes! Absolutely agree with this! It’s been really helpful just in work situations as well in terms of how to behave and even what to say in certain situations.

      2. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

        I’ve noticed this as well! It was why I decided to post here even though I mostly lurk. I love seeing all the posts from people with such different perspectives.

    5. Punzentraum*

      I’ve been diagnosed 2 years ago now, and it was SO worth it. Key upsides were a) knowing myself better, explaining why I was this way and felt weird etc, as mentioned by others. But also b), this has given me a new toolbox to deal with stress, because I feel that it’s now ok for me to f.ex. leave/avoid that social situation when it gives me overwhelm, instead of forcing myself to ‘stick it out and act like normal people’. So that has straight up made me happier in my day-to-day. And c), it has really helped my relationship with my husband, (who has been super supportive and ken to be informed), because it makes our communication so much better. F.ex, he knows that when he needs me to be especially considerate of his feelings or stress level, it is helpful for him to articulate those feelings or stress level to me, as I am very bad at intuiting them.

      The one thing I would change is how much I communicate about my diagnosis to family and friends, to be honest. If you are pretty good at masking, you’ll just have to defend your diagnosis over and over and over again, it is very tiring (“but surely lots of people don’t like social situations, etc etc”).

      Good luck with whatever you decide!

      1. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

        Thanks for the response. That makes me feel more inclined to try to get tested. I really appreciate the information about your relationship. I strongly believe that if I had not gone on medication for anxiety that helped with my undiagnosed OCPD, my marriage would not have lasted. It’s been 4 years for context but it caused major issues when we moved in forever.

        The information about communicating your diagnosis is helpful. I bet I’ll have some of that if I get diagnosed, but others who would believe me, no questions asked.

      2. J.B.*

        The family stuff is definitely something where my kids are concerned. I’m really happy to see this thread because it helps me think about what my kids are feeling.

    6. Adult Autism Diagnosis*

      Thank you all for the responses. I am an American living in Australia. I am not on the medicare system here though. We might be moving back in 6 months so another consideration is what country to pursue this in if I pursue it.

      It’s interesting to see so far everyone thinks it was worth it.

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Every couple years I ponder whether I want to try to get a diagnosis for my particular brand of neurodivergence, and so far I’ve always decided no — I’ve spent a lifetime of figuring out how to either work around my quirks or make them work for me, and at this point, I think for me it would be more disruptive to my life to start trying to categorize and label them. (I’ve also spent so long working around myself that I’m not sure I’d be able to sufficiently explain where the quirks ARE in order to facilitate getting a diagnosis even if I did want one.)

      But that’s just me, and if having the labels or more concrete knowledge or whatnot would work better for you, best of luck with the process!!

      1. RagingADHD*

        FWIW, with my ADHD dx I didn’t have to explain or pick out anything. I just had to answer pretty easy questions, like “on a scale of 1 to 5, how difficult do you find X” or “Would you say that X happens never, sometimes, often, or very often”

        And then when I had to do some follow up testing at a new doc, there were tasks to do that got measured.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Oh, right on. I’ll keep that in mind next time I start debating – for some reason I’ve always assumed the whole process would start with something like “so why do you think you need to be diagnosed with something? Please be specific enough to be convincing, because you seem pretty damn functional and we are skeptical.” And the more I try to think about it, the less I can actually explain it in real words. :) Thank you for the clarification!

          1. RagingADHD*

            When I went to my GP for the referral, I did mention the things I had read that made me wonder, and we had a conversation about it, but that was just like a regular “what brings you in today / what seems to be bothering you” like you always have at a doctor appointment.

    8. Charlie*

      For me, it’s been really worthwhile to get my autism diagnosis. Having a name for what I am has enabled me to learn about myself, find new ways to help myself, and to find other people like me. I’ve finally found my tribe. You don’t necessarily need it medically confirmed in order to do those things, but I felt more comfortable accepting it after a formal diagnosis. A diagnosis might be needed if you need formal supports like adjustments in the workplace. It’s really improved my confidence now that I have the diagnosis. I used to think I was somehow not as good as other people, but now I know I am just different and that’s not a bad thing. It can also help people around you to be more understanding of your differences, but that’s very dependent on individual attitudes.

      I would suggest continue to learn about autism, make contact with autistic people (perhaps online). If you still feel that you are autistic after that, and you do want it officially confirmed, then a diagnosis could be life-changing for you, in a good way.

    9. Mimmy*

      No advice or experience, but I wanted to commiserate because I too have been going back and forth on seeing if I have it (I’m 48). Definitely check out the link that Melody Pond posted last week (someone posted it above). They have a screening test–it is NOT meant to be diagnostic, but it may give you an idea of whether it’s a possibility.

      I was born with a rare condition that I think may be associated with autistic traits (I’m not saying what my condition is because it may be identifying). I have seen discussions about on a Facebook group of people with this condition wondering if there is a connection. I already have other diagnoses that explain some things, but I have sensory processing issues that I have not figured out (I also have vision and hearing impairments).

      On the one hand, I imagine that having a diagnosis as helpful if you needed certain services, such as Voc Rehab or a specific kind of counselor (not saying that is what you’re seeking, I’m just speaking in general). On the other hand, I was talking with my sister about this a few years ago and having that “label” could also be a hindrance since there may be limited understanding of autism. I will say that I think understanding has greatly improved since I first heard about it when Rainman came out.

      I know I’m probably not helping, lol, but I think everyone else in this thread have provided excellent insight. I will definitely be following along.

    10. Suprisingly ADHD*

      Getting an “official” diagnosis from a doctor can help you get accommodations at work or school. It can also help your therapists or any specialists you’re seeing point you to resources or strategies. It can also be a relief to have someone “professional” say you’re right, you DO experience this! However, it can be expensive, depending on where you are and what your healthcare looks like, and it can also be very frustrating if you end up having to deal with a medical professional who refuses to listen.

      A self-diagnosis is perfectly valid, if it gives you the vocabulary to describe what you’re experiencing. It can help you look for ideas on how to handle specific issues you are facing, when you have words to describe your difficulties.

      You mentioned that you suspected you had ADHD, but ruled it out. There is a lot of overlap in symptoms between ADHD and Autism, so it’s quite possible you do in fact have Autism.

      I wish you the best of luck as you figure out your specific brand of neurodivergence!

    11. Olivia Oil*

      Not the person you are primarily directing your question at, but I recently got dxed with ADHD as an adult. Before my diagnosis, I sometimes wondered if I had autism. When I realized I had ADHD, it explained a lot of my traits I thought was autism. That being said, I still sometimes wonder if I’m on the spectrum but have decided it’s not worth pursuing a diagnosis because there is no material benefit to doing so at this time. There is so much unknowns about autism in adults and adult women, and no real treatments in the form of therapy or medication. So it just doesn’t seem worth it.

      1. Generic Name*

        ADHD and autism often occur together in the same person. My son was diagnosed with ADHD at like 7, and while the treatment helped, it wasn’t until he was diagnosed as autistic that I felt like all the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place.

    12. Cat*

      Whether professional diagnosis is worth it often comes down to how much one needs access to services and accommodations. If you’ve done your research and suspect you may be autistic, self diagnosis is valid (many people struggle to get a formal diagnosis who don’t fit the stereotypes) and you can participate in the autistic community.

  5. Never Wake a Sleeping Baby*

    I have a three month old daughter who moves a lot in her sleep (kicking, arms waving, head turning). It’s my understanding that that’s pretty normal (mentioned it to the doctor, and the response was pretty much yeah, they do that), but I’m wondering about one thing. In the morning, I find that she has rotated herself about 90 degrees, from lying lengthwise in the crib to being almost fully crosswise. Has anyone else experienced this with their child? I’m concerned that at some point she’s going to start bashing her head into the bars of the crib and waking herself up!

    1. Never Wake a Sleeping Baby*

      P.S. – I have a ton of questions in general about sleep. If anyone has worked with a baby sleep specialist, I’d love a recommendation. My doctor had none.

    2. LadyJ*

      My son did that and suffered no real issues. I know it concerned me that I decided to call upon my granny and she said oh hun you did the same. As for waking up that depends on the kiddo. My son never did but I know my half-sisters baby did.

    3. Sunbonnet Sue*

      My daughter, now 10 months old, 100% did this in her early months in the bassinet. Rather than wake her up, it seemed she was ok or was even comforted with her forehead touching the sides a bit. Now that she’s older, bigger, and sleeping in a crib, there’s less rotation but she in definitely still moves quite a bit. Remember, your daughter has only been earth-side for three months. I promise she’ll get the hang of it, and so will you. Good luck!

    4. Just a person*

      Oh yes. All the time. My daughter is 17 months. Her favourite sleeping position is with her head crammed into the corner. She still sometimes sleeps sideways despite being to long for it. I don’t think you will have a problem with her waking herself up. If she does, she’ll only do it for a night or two before she realises that isn’t nice.

    5. RagingADHD*

      Completely normal. They migrate all around. She might bump up against the rails, but is unlikely to bash them hard. She’s just ooching gradually.

    6. Might Be Spam*

      Both of my babies did the same thing. They wore sleeper-sacks, which are basically a bag with sleeves and we couldn’t figure out how they did it.

    7. Never Nicky*

      I was (still am, at 52) a wriggly sleeper. My mum tells me I’d often turn myself sideways or even 180 degrees and she’d find me with my head buried under the covers.
      I don’t remember hurting myself, even when my sister and I had bunk beds and I was in the top one.
      I still tend to sprawl diagonally across the bed!

      1. Cookie*

        Me too – my first thought was “oh, I do that now!” It’s one of the reasons I like living alone…more room to sleep diagonally. Sometimes I wake up much nearer the foot of the bed than where I started, too.

    8. Pregnant during COVID*

      Totally normal! My daughter still does this at 9 months, now in her crib. As sunbonnet sue said, I think she likes the feel of the sides of the bassinet and crib on her forehead. My older daughter also sleeps sideways (and sometimes head and torso on the bed, legs completely dangling off) at 5 years old.

    9. Nancy in Scotland*

      Both of mine did that! They typically rotated round the cot, but quite often I’d find them squished up in a corner, too. They both wore these little sleeping bags, so at least they were still covered up.

    10. Papillon Celeste*

      My nephew did that a lot! Sometimes you could stand besides his crib and watch him rotating as if he was break-dancing in his sleep!
      My sister bought some padding especially designed for baby beds so he wouldn’t ding his head on the sides.
      The fact that such products exist in many varieties hints that this isn’t an uncommon phenomenon.

      1. HannahS*

        Hahaha yes, I also have a three month old and she does that. She also sticks her feet between the crib bars and wakes herself up when she can’t scooch away.

        Just make sure that if you’re using a vintage or second-hand crib, that it meets safety requirements for the distance between crib bars so that its it’s impossible for her to get her head stuck.

      2. PostalMixup*

        Yes, but also crib bumpers are not considered safe for infant sleep. There’s no real need for them, and they can cause suffocation.

    11. Legalchef*

      Yup, my son was a crib traveler too. Obv the full on padded bumpers are unsafe, but they also sell mesh bumpers that provide a little padding but are breathable (both my sons pediatrician as well as my pediatrician parent said they were safe), and that helped him from getting his little limbs caught in the crib slats.

    12. The OG Sleepless*

      Dave Barry wrote that that is why you keep babies in a crib, because otherwise they’d be miles away by morning.

    13. The Cosmic Avenger*

      When our kid was little we coslept, and we used to joke that we’d wake up forming the letter “H”! The kid’s feet were always dug into someone’s front or back, and their head butting into the other one! We didn’t notice any tendency to do this in the crib or toddler bed, though.

    14. Lizy*

      Only 90 degrees? My kids would full-on 180 or 360. As for hurting themselves, my youngest (18mon) will sit up and SLAM his head down. On my head. And then just continue sleeping. Good times.

    15. Enough*

      All 3 of my children did this even after going to regular beds. I even have picture. Including one where my older daughter has her feet on the floor and my so has the bottom part of his leg between the bed and the wall. They seemed to have all survived. They are one 36, 32, and 26.

      1. Rebecca Stewart*

        When we transitioned my kids out of a crib it was to a twin mattress placed on the floor. My family was horrified, but it meant I never woke to a kid who had fallen out of bed and scared themselves out of going back to sleep for the next two hours. After all, you can’t fall off the floor. When he was sleeping on the long axis of the mattress on a regular basis, I put a bed frame underneath it, no problem. They are 26 and 22 now and just fine.

    16. The Dogman*

      I was found with my legs up the wall in a sitting position but on my back a number of times as a baby and small child, so I would suspect, given what my friends say about their kids it is pretty normal really.

    17. Jay*

      Totally normal. Mine did that well into childhood to the point where I refused to share a bed with her when we traveled. She stayed in her crib until she was 2.5 and never banged her head that I know of.

    18. Theatre girl in an office world*

      My daughter would intentionally skootch herself around so that her forehead was pressed up against the bars. In exactly the same way her forehead was pressed up against my ribs for the last several months. She never turned and ended up with an indent in her forehead from my ribs when she was born (that went away quickly).

      Even if she is wiggling to the sides, it is unlikely to have enough momentum to be a bash. It sounds like she is a pretty good sleeper so she may already have the self sooth back to sleep thing down.

      1. Theatre girl in an office world*

        heh, also, kids can sleep through a lot, one time visiting my sister I fell out of the top bunk onto a concrete floor. I woke up on the way down (clear memory of sailing past the lower bunk) but was asleep by the time I landed. No injuries because I was so asleep and relaxed and just went to sleep on the floor until my mom freaked out thinking I was knocked out.

        1. The OG Sleepless*

          My son climbed out of the crib and landed with a giant KABOOM on the floor directly above my head. He was a big kid…he was about 18 months and I think he weighed about 35#. He had gone back to sleep by the time I raced up the stairs.

    19. Never Wake a Sleeping Baby*

      Thanks all for the reassurance! It’s good to know that it’s unlikely to be a problem. Though if I’d known at the beginning that this would be a thing, I’d have gotten a mesh-sided crib. :)

      Also – I posted this as a reply at the beginning, but it didn’t ever show up – any recommendations for a good online baby advice community where I can post more questions like this? The ones I’ve seen, I’ve found it kind of complicated to navigate, and as you might guess I’m not exactly awash in free time these days (and my brain isn’t exactly functioning at 100%!). :)

      1. Pregnant during COVID*

        I’ve found Facebook groups the most active and helpful. I’m in mostly local ones and some National/international ones for things like sleep advice and eating solids. The sleep one is called Baby Sleep Help-Respectful Learning & Training.

      2. Fellow Traveller*

        I like corporettemoms. I find the parents who post there are generally pretty thoughtful and well read. It is a certain demographic, though… mostly white collar working moms, though definitely not all.

      3. safesleep*

        I know you’ve received a lot of great answers here but I just want to note that any bumpers are unsafe – padded or mesh. There is a suffocation hazard but also strangulation (there are several prominent stories of babies getting tangled up in them) or as your baby gets older, they can use them as leverage to tip themselves out of the crib. It’s not nice but definitely something to keep in mind! :)

    20. HBJ*

      My kids at every age have done this sort of thing. They’re not going to suffer any lasting harm. They’ve been mashed up in the corners of pack n’ plays and had mesh imprints left on their faces, they’ve had one arm stuck up behind them against said pack n’ play wall. Once they were on mattresses on the floor, they’d be sleeping with just their or just their feet on the mattress and the rest on the floor. It doesn’t matter.

  6. Free Meerkats*

    Anyone else following the Sail GP series?

    How will Japan do with Great Britain’s hulls and their wing and foils?

  7. Dark Macadamia*

    Christmas desserts – whatcha making/hoping someone else will make?

    I’ve made 3 kinds of cookies and plan to do 1-2 more, but I’m trying to decide on a good “main” dessert to bring to dinner. Right now I’m thinking berry pie (my favorite and we didn’t have it at Thanksgiving this year) or some kind of cheesecake (I just got an Instant Pot and apparently you can make them in there!). I have a feeling I’ll be bringing a store-bought pie after my attempts at homemade pie or cheesecake go awry.

    1. banoffee pie*

      Berry pie? Sounds nice, what type of berries? When I make cheesecake I always make Baileys flavour, with enough Baileys to knock people out hehe. It doesn’t need to be cooked though, it isn’t one of those baked cheesecakes. Just a fridge one.

      I just made my Christmas cake and Christmas pudding last week, which was a bit late. You’ve reminded me I have to feed the cake with brandy again; thanks!

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Marionberry/blackberry! Bailey’s cheesecake sounds fantastic, I just had some Bailey’s in my cocoa this evening :)

      2. Princess Deviant*

        Whenever anyone mentions Baileys, I think of my dear nana who thought the cream would go off and so drank a whole bottle in 3 days.

        1. Quiet Liberal*

          Even though I know the cream won’t go bad in Bailey’s, I can still drink a bottle on the rocks in three days. ;) (not that I would, but it is yummy stuff)

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I love fridge cheesecakes and Baileys, and yesterday was my birthday, so, uh, recipe please? :)

        1. banoffee pie*

          No problem! I can’t claim the credit for this, my friend made it up (or claimed to). She would be really pleased to think the recipe is travelling to the US ;)
          This makes a LOT so I often halve it. It’s in metric, hope that’s ok. I don’t understand cups, sorry lol.

          For the base:
          340g digestive biscuits (you would use graham crackers, maybe?)
          170g butter, melted
          Crush the biscuits and mix with melted butter and put in a pie dish

          For the topping:
          In one bowl, whip 426ml double cream (google tells me you call this heavy or whipping cream, but double cream is a bit thicker)
          In another bowl, mix 454g confectioner’s sugar with 454g cream cheese (I use Philadelpia). Add 142ml Baileys (I use a little more). Fold in cream. Pour over base and chill overnight.

          It’s my favourite cheesecake ever. I hope you like it :)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I believe I have almost all of that already, so I will give it a whack tonight — thank you!

        1. PollyQ*

          * If you’re using the JofC recipe, use the largest amount of eggs & cocoa indicated in the recipe.
          * Grease the pan, line with parchment or wax paper, then grease & flour (or use cocoa powder).
          * Be careful not to overcook, or they’ll break while you’re rolling them.
          * Trim off any crispy edges before rolling.
          * Try to use a low-fuzz towel for the rolling to avoid sticking, and powder it generously with confectioner’s sugar, then also powder the top of the cake.
          * Move quickly once they’re out of the oven. The heat & steam that they have in them at point is what gives them the flexibility to roll up.
          * Let the cake cool while it’s rolled up for a while. We tend to fill & frost pretty much right before serving.
          * Even ones that don’t come out as a perfect spiral (srsly, even when it’s just a stack) are still pretty dang tasty, so don’t sweat it if they don’t look like Martha Stewart made them.

          Good luck!

    2. AcademiaNut*

      My Christmas dessert is something between tiramisu and a trifle.

      Soak lady fingers in sweetened almond milk, and layer in a pan. Whip 1 cup whipping cream. Beat 1L marscapone cheese with about 1/4 cup hazelnut syrup until well mixed, then fold in the whipped cream. Layer this over the lady fingers. Sprinkle whole blue berries (or other berry of choice). When you serve it drizzle with lemon syrup (made by heating 1/2 cup lemon juice, the zest from the lemons and 1/2 cup water until the sugar dissolves).

      It tastes fluffy and light, but is quite rich.

    3. Bazza7*

      Apparently you can make pavlova in an air fryer! So I will be doing a test run this weekend, to see if you get more crunchy bits then store bought pavlova. Will be using the recipe from taste.com.au.

    4. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      Probably just cookies. I’m getting lazier about holidays with each year. I’ve made molasses spice bars, fruity honey bars, Cherry Winks (need to make another batch!), and streusel-topped fig triangles that turned out better than expected. I’d love to get some Walker’s mincemeat pies, but I hate going to another store for one item. Maybe the fig ones are close enough.

    5. Weegie*

      I’m making Nanaimo bars for all my friends. Nobody actually demands them, but their eyes light up if I suggest I might make some. They go down a storm, every time.

    6. Missb*

      This old gal’s New York style cheesecake is a good option for a first time instant pot cheesecake. Just Google her up. I’ve made it multiple times. It has a very forgiving top to it.

      I have no idea what I will be making. Maybe cheesecake!

    7. Loopy*

      My husbands birthday is the 19th so his cake always ends up impacting how much Christmas baking I can do. Not much time off this Christmas season either- but I’ll be darned if I don’t get some gingerbread something in!! Molasses and ginger/nutmeg/cinnamon is my favorite holiday flavor combo and I have had ANY this year.

      Probably will go back to a favorite gingerbread cupcakes with browned butter frosting. They are just so good. Maybe I’ll have time to try a new cookie recipe. Maybe.

    8. Hornets*

      Making coffee snickerdoodle cookies, pear dark gingerbread, and cream puffs! Have no idea what else we’re going to eat and I don’t care.

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      Oldest is into baking, huzzah when I don’t have the energy to do everything. The last few years she’s made a gingerbread house. (Atop a sticky ginger cake, nod to Candice on GBBO.) This year she is contemplating a yule log and almond cake. Her brother is allergic to dairy now, so she’s working on how to adapt recipes to that.

    10. Colette*

      Here’s a baked cheesecake recipe I like – a graham cracker or oreo cookie crust with 3/4 of a can of pie filling
      on it (baked at 350 for 15 minutes) and then the filling – 2 pkgs of cream cheese, 1 cup sugar, 2 cups of sour cream, 3 eggs, 1.5 tsp vanilla. Mix and put on top of the crust, add the rest of the pill filling and use a knife to mix it in in swirls. Bake 1 hour (it’s usually done in an hour with convection bake, probably closer to 22 hours without. If the middle is jiggly, bake longer.)

    11. Thorswolf*

      I’m making a bunch of cookies, fudge and other candies with my wife. They’re mostly being gifts for our friends. I’m definitely making ginger snaps, Mexican wedding cookies, Zelda sugar cookie cutouts, a cherry almond cookie and maybe a batch of raspberry thumbprints. We’re making a snickerdoodle fudge along with the maple walnut and rocky road fudge that I found a microwavable recipe for. We’ll probably also be making peppermint bark and peanut butter balls but I don’t know if we’ll do hot cocoa bombs this year. Depends on how much time my wife wants to spend on tempering chocolate.

    12. Hotdog not dog*

      Rum cake…if I don’t make one I’ll probably be disinvited to any future gatherings. It’s a recipe from an old bacardi ad from the 80s.

      1. A313*

        Yes, to the Bacardi rum cake! Not only is it delicious, it reminds me of my Aunt Nancy, whom I remember making it for Christmas when I was a kid, and that makes me happily nostalgic.

    13. SpellingBee*

      I made 2 pies for Thanksgiving and decided to go with cake for Christmas, so I’m making David Liebovitz’s double chocolate Bundt cake. It’s one of my favorites, easy and delicious. For years I’ve been coveting the swirly Nordicware pan that he shows it made in, and I finally took the plunge and bought it as a little gift to myself. So pretty!

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Nice! I did a peppermint chocolate bundt in my Nordicware tree pan a couple years ago, their stuff is so cute. I’m hoping Santa will bring me the pretty shortbread pan this year :)

    14. Cookie*

      I’m on the fence, brownies for my partner or bourbon balls for me. Don’t say “both,” I’m already well stocked with cookies as it is.

      I’m dropping off something to a friend next week. Maybe a carrot cake as it’s his favorite. He wanted to have a little house party and I’m changing my RSVP but still bringing dessert.

      @Dark Macadamia, if you want advice on making a pie, let me know…I am pretty good at that and I’ll be happy to share tips.

    15. Lissajous*

      Just made gingerbread and whisky in lieu of rum balls today (using some of the gingerbread as the biscuit component in the whisky balls; it’s a good combo, especially if the gingerbread is nice and spicy).

      Seriously looking at making a cherry and gingerbread bombe Alaska that I spotted in gourmet traveller last weekend. It’s a lot of components but almost all of them can be done ahead… already picked up the ice cream machine from my parents so I can do the cherry sorbet and cherry semifreddo. And a couple of jars of cherries in amaretto to use in said sorbet and semifreddo.
      Worst case I just end up with tasty components and it gets presented Eton mess style!

    16. Reba*

      I made fruitcake for the first time. This is not like a tradition in my family, I was just looking for a project to try. The one 9-inch cake is comically heavy. I made some mini loaves for gifts and each is almost 2 pounds!

      Usually I head up the pies but I’m kind of hoping to get a pass this year.

    17. Chauncy Gardener*

      Making the apple fritter cake from the last King Arthur Flour catalogue. Made it for one of the Thanksgiving desserts and it was a huge hit, so doing it again. It was SO good! Also just tried the recipe for the Rosa Franklin cookie. It’s an easy meringue cookie with chopped pecans. Totally addictive!

    18. Elle Woods*

      Some years we’ve had gingerbread trifle (soft gingerbread cake with vanilla pudding and toffee bits); other years we’ve had rice pudding. Our all-time favorite was candy cane pie, which we used to pick up from a local restaurant. Unfortunately, that restaurant is no longer in business, so I’m going to *try* and replicate their pie for the holidays. Fingers crossed it works out.

    19. Lady Danbury*

      I made soft ginger cookies and sugar cookies. They’re currently chilling in the freezer (literally) waiting to be baked on Christmas Eve. I also ordered a pan of bourbon bread pudding and cherry nut cake for my mom. May also order one other dessert.

    20. The Other Dawn*

      I’m waiting on my sister to let me know if she’s having Christmas breakfast or Christmas dinner. If it’s dinner, I plan to make chocolate cream pie. I use the King Arthur Flour recipe and it’s to die for! I use Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chocolate chips to make the pudding. I don’t know if I’ll make a homemade pie crust, though–it depends if my food processor will cooperate.

    21. Theatre girl in an office world*

      You can make instant pot cheesecake although I had a hard time finding a small enough spring-form. And get HEAVY duty foil to wrap it. I make cheesecake cups in canning jars in the instant pot when I want cheesecake with less prep and presentation. Not as pretty but super fast.

      I’m making an apple pie and my daughter is baking several kinds of cookies (she is 17 and I never know what she is going to bake, but she bakes a LOT) Probably will either make a flan or a cheesecake.

    22. Bluebell*

      Not exactly a Christmas dessert, but an ex-roomie delivers a spectacular box of cookies every December. It’s always great to open the box, and pick out my favorites. She makes about 20 varieties, and this year we spent some time chatting on our porch, and it was lovely to see her in person. They include maple bears w tiny candy eyes, fudge, chocolate pinwheels, and macadamia meltaways. Yum!

    23. Girasol*

      Filled cookies with orange raisin filling for him, shortbread for me (because good coffee with some shortbread is my idea of total decadence), and a Yule log icebox cake (chocolate wafers with coffee whipped cream, cocoa for the bark, and some fondant mushrooms).

    24. Rara Avis*

      Sometimes my mom makes a Yule log — delicious, but a ton of work. My dad’s birthday is the 24th so I will probably put my daughter in charge of cake for her Zaida.

    25. Artemesia*

      vacillating between a lemon meringue pie and a souffle. For New Year’s Eve am trying out the new raclette grill with friends (it is a great meal with vegetarian guests that requires no special extra dish — they just choose potatoes and steamed veggies for their cheese drench and those who want meat add the charcuterie — one of our Jewish friends doesn’t eat pork and so we can also keep pork and non pork charcuterie segregated). Since I am doing the whole meal which will also include appetizers and salad, I think I may just go with good ice cream and cookies for dessert — Graeters.

    26. Missb*

      Other than a cheesecake or a chocolate chunk pecan pie for the actual dessert, I’m making:

      Toffee with almonds, peanut butter cookies with kisses, Mexican wedding cookies with mini chocolate chips, frosted sugar cookies, and probably some orange basil biscotti. Some of that will be gifted (toffee, biscotti).

    1. Seal*

      That picture is striking – he looks so serious! I’m also partial to black cats, as I have a lanky shorthair who’s an acrobat and lovable troublemaker. He always looks like he’s plotting something in most of the pictures I have of him.

  8. Jackalope*

    So what’s everyone reading this week? Anything interesting? Any good recommendations, or anyone looking for something specific to read?

    This week and next week are super crazy so I haven’t gotten much reading in, but starting next Friday I’m off until January so I got a huge stack of books from the library and I’m going to start working through them as soon as I’m off.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Just read “We Run the Tides” a week or so ago, it was excellent! I need 3 more books to meet my 2021 goal so I browsed the currently-available section of my library’s audiobooks and settled on “The Alice Network” which I’m enjoying. I’m also determined to finish “The Tenant of Wildfell Hall” – I started months ago and keep wandering away from because apparently I’m just not a Bronte girl.

      1. LittleBabyDamien*

        I find it is a different skill set to read 18th or 19th century literature, but I like to give it a try now and then. It took me about a year to read Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, because the style of writing is so slow moving. The novel is written as a series of 18 shorter ‘books’, each starting with a chapter that tells you what that book is about and who features in it, with the narrator very much visible and addressing the reader directly.
        It is interesting to read an early novel, then something slightly newer, say late 19th century, then something very early 20th. I see patterns and styles in writing more clearly when I can compare such widely differing novels.

        1. Cookie*

          I’m in a classic literature book club and I find it’s much easier to read when I know the group will be discussing it. For what it’s worth!

            1. Blue Eagle*

              Has anyone read Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo? I just started into it and I’m not really sure what to make of it. I’d like to hear what others think of it.

              1. Jackalope*

                I read it and ended up really enjoying it. Caveat that fantasy is my favorite genre so it was likely to be my style. But I too was a bit iffy at the beginning so I’d say keep going for a bit if you’re on the fence about it. I ended up enjoying the main character a lot; she starts off seeming like a bit of a punk but by the end she is very sympathetic and I totally appreciated how she got to where she was. Plus I enjoyed the twists and turns of the story.

                The one downside is that it’s the first book of a series and the only one that’s been published yet.

        2. Dark Macadamia*

          Yeah, I enjoy them sometimes but my pandemic brain just doesn’t have the stamina for books that take effort right now. This is the first year that more than half my books have been audio!

          There was a section of this one where she’s describing an unwanted suitor and it’s such a perfect illustration of mansplaining that I was laughing out loud. Now I’m several chapters into her loooong lament of her terrible marriage and it’s just not doing much for me

      2. GoryDetails*

        Re Tenant of Wildfell Hall – I don’t know if this would help, but there’s an excellent audiobook version read by Alex Jennings and Jenny Agutter. (I’d never really gotten into that one until I tried the audiobook, FWIW. And it’s definitely a book that I couldn’t have enjoyed when I was young; once I had a few decades of experience under my belt it was a much more impressive story!)

        1. Dark Macadamia*

          I should’ve done that! I’ve been listening to tons of audiobooks this year, which is one of the reasons I’m not coming back to this one as often

    2. Not Australian*

      I’m reading a biography of Bonnie Prince Charlie. I read mostly non-fiction/history anyway and he’s one of those figures a lot of people *think* they know something about (like Queen Victoria or Henry VIII) but when you dig a little deeper the truth is even more fascinating than the legend.

      As for recommendations, I’m happily working my way through Claire T0malin’s literary biographies, any one of which I recommend without reservation – Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, Samuel Pepys etc. Haven’t managed to get hold of her Shelley book yet, though, and there is one about H.G. Wells which has only just been published…

      1. fposte*

        I recently went down an internet hole on BPC’s later life; by my quick read it was sufficiently tawdry and unimpressive that I thought it was probably just as well he hadn’t been in charge of the country (as opposed to his father, who seemed to handle exile rather well). Am I judging too harshly, from what you read?

        1. Richard Hershberger*

          None of the Stuarts were actually good at ruling the country. The ones that look OK are being graded on a curve. I don’t know enough Scots history to judge the ones before James I/VI.

          1. fposte*

            I kind of like Charles II, who made a reasonable go of it in a terrible position, but otherwise I’m not a huge fan myself. But the Old Pretender seems to have done a fairly decent job of civilization in exile, which is also tough to pull off.

    3. Never Nicky*

      I’m currently reading a true life account of a Victorian murder, and then Richard Osman’s second book in the Thursday Murder Club series.

      1. JustForThis*

        I’ve bought the first one last week after reading the weekend thread, and I’m much looking forward to reading it.

    4. JustForThis*

      Someone in an open thread a while ago mentioned Rosemary Kirstein’s _The Steerswoman_, and I’ve read the first one and am in the middle of the second one and am enjoying them immensely. Clever, capable protagonists, many of them women, and an interesting world. One of the protagonists stumbles across objects that pose a riddle to how they think about their world, and to me it is an fascinating twist that we as readers may develop some advanced guesses based on our own world knowledge while the protagonists bring other ideas and approaches to the conundrum. Caveat: At least the first book does not really work as as standalone novel, too many central plot questions remain unexplained at the end.

      1. CU Tiger*

        I love the Steerswoman series. I sure wish she would finish it…it has been years so have been waiting.

        1. JustForThis*

          For some reason I thought the four published books were a complete series. Thank you for the heads-up!

    5. usernames are anonymous*

      Midnight Library by Matt Haig – one of my best impulse buys. I picked it up at the airport a couple of months ago only because I need a 2nd book to get a discount. Was disappointed with the Jack Reacher novel I got at the same time.

    6. J.B.*

      Our library has a recommendation form where you put in what you like, and I was reminded of Laurie R Kings Holmes and Russell series and am working my way through the series.

      1. tiredlibrarian*

        I love this series! Though lately I feel it’s gotten a bit stale — I should probably re-read from the beginning ’cause I’m sure I’m losing track of threads weaving through the later books.

    7. Foreign Octopus*

      I’m about 30 pages in to In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote and it seems like it’s going to be a good read so far.

      I’ve also given up on my Goodreads challenge. I wanted to read 52 books this year with an intention of one book a week but life got busy and that fell by the wayside; I’ve managed to do 44 but I realised I was just reading for the sake of reading and not actually enjoying the books so I’ve decided to jack it in.

      1. JustForThis*

        That seems like such a good decision! The joy rather than the job of reading :) Have fun with Capote!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Years back NPR had an interview with someone who revealed the secret to his reading: he put down books that didn’t hold his interest. And I realized that I could do this too–that starting the book did not obligate me to finish it. I finish most books I start, but have gotten pretty good about “You know, you’re dragging yourself back to this thing because you think you should like it” and sending it back to the library or to the book exchange.

        Honestly life-changing.

        1. The Dogman*

          I am like that but on steroids lol… if I am not gripped by the end of page 1 I put the book in the “never ever” pile and give it away.

          If someone really recommends a book that “doesn’t get going until page ‘X’ ” I don’t even pick it up, honestly if the author cannot be bothered to be interesting off the bat I can’t be bother giving them my time!

        2. Texas Rose*

          Remember, you can also skip ahead.

          You can even skip to the last 20 pages to decide whether you want to go back and wade through the rest of the story. (No this isn’t cheating; it’s an effective use of your time.)

      3. AY*

        I have been setting my Goodreads goals at pretty low levels for a few years now for this exact reason. I never want to feel like I need to or have to read or that I shouldn’t read a big chonker because I need to hit my goal. I think this year my goal was 30.

        1. Jamie Starr*

          I have several lengthy books I want to read (like 500-600 pages plus) and I know it will take me awhile to get through them, so while my 2022 Goodreads book goal might end up lower, I’m going to try to read the same number of pages (which are shown in book stats). I wish Goodreads offered a page challenge instead of just books. I can knock out a 300 page fiction book in a few days if I like it, whereas a critical theory book of the same size takes me considerably longer even if I like it. It just requires more focus from me; and I mostly read on the subway where it can be hard to concentrate on more “academic” writing.

      4. Richard Hershberger*

        Using “books read” as a numerator for the challenge is inherently flawed. A “book” can be a few hours diversion, while a different “book” might be a subject of weeks of study. This is not a matter merely of word count, but that certainly is a big part of it.

    8. Dino*

      I picked up “Outlaw” by Anna North for a friend’s holiday present, then bought myself a copy! I haven’t had a chance to crack it open this week but I’m looking forward to diving in this weekend.

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      Based on recommendations here:

      Just finished A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, about a wizard school that is safe only in the sense that the odds of coming out alive are better than if you hit magical puberty in the outside world. Our heroine is well-designed to be a dark sorceress but stubbornly resisting that. As it went on it became a pretty explicit examination of privilege, which I found compelling and has caused it to really stay with me. I was definitely feeling some stress on behalf of the constant vigilance needed against a range of monsters which keep picking off your classmates, while being aware it worked well as a metaphor for regular high school.

      Currently reading Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher, in which we go on a quest! To try to figure out how to stop the giant mechanical monsters launched by the neighboring kingdom, or–far more likely–die trying. Three middle-aged people who banter, and also there is a teenage scholar they largely ignore so far.

    10. CreepyPaper*

      Seven Pillars of Wisdom by T.E. Lawrence.

      A friend of mine mentioned to me that her friend had heard from ANOTHER friend that it was one of those ‘must read’ books.

      I’m on the fence about that. It’s interesting but I’m finding it hard going and not sure why – could just be a bad mood this week or it might be something about the actual writing itself. Kind of want to give up and just rewatch Lawrence of Arabia again but also kind of want to finish it!

      1. The Dogman*

        I gave up on that one… his writing is awful, far too flowery and impenetrable for me, and I like “wordy” authors.

        Apparently the man himself wanted it to never be published (at least that is one rumour about it!) so perhaps he too thought it too flowery…

        1. CreepyPaper*

          Flowery is the perfect way to describe it! I couldn’t think of the word.

          I’ll see if I can read a bit more tonight and tomorrow but my husband asked me earlier if I was going to finish it or, and I quote, ‘give up and watch the film’.

          If I quit I’ve got a ton of Agatha Christie waiting to be read! Might be easier on the brain…

          1. The Dogman*

            I would go with the Agatha Christie personally… you might as well enjoy what you read for leisure at least!

            And honestly the Wikipedia page on T E Lawrence is more than interesting, and a much quicker and easier read…

          2. UKDancer*

            I have found Agatha Christie very comforting in lockdown. There’s something soothing about the fact the murderer gets caught and punished and order is restored by the end. Her book have dated in some ways but they’re like comfort food to me.

            1. Chauncy Gardener*

              I adore Agatha Christie. I’ve found her comforting during this pandemic as well! The Secret of Chimneys, Cat Among the Pigeons, the Mystery on the Blue Train….I think I’ll read them all again!

              1. UKDancer*

                I was rereading the Murder of Roger Ackroyd last week. I still think it’s really clever and even though I know the twist, I still like the way the book was constructed.

            2. Anonymous Luddite*

              Her books have dated in some ways… Understatement, my friend.
              I just finished “and then there were none” – previously published as “ten little indians” previously published as “ten little oh yes, she went there.”
              Deeply amused that they’ve changed the title and central metaphor /twice/ but still have no problem leaving in all the anti-semetic stereotypes and tropes. Ah, publishing.

    11. Jay*

      I’m listening to “The Splendid and the Vile,” Eric Larson’s book about Winston Churchill and the early days of WWII. Love a narrator with a British accent. It’s long and I’ve been listening while I drive, so I’ve been listening to it for months. Now less than two hours from the end and we’ve reached the spring of 1941. I’ve learned a lot and really enjoy it.

      Actual books: I’m working my way through S J Rozan’s Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series and recently finished “A Bitter Feast.” “Stone Quarry” is next – probably will start today. I’ll be following this thread for more ideas to add to my pile!

      1. Jamie Starr*

        I read that a few years ago and really liked it. My neighbor always has ARC that she leaves in our building lobby, so I snagged that. I’d previously read his “The Devil in the White City.” I started reading “In the Garden of Beasts” (set in 1933 Berlin as Hitler comes to power) in Feb. 2020 and as COVID and lockdown happened I realized I did not have the mental energy to focus on it. Maybe I will give it a try in 2022.

    12. GoryDetails*

      Some good seasonal reads for me, including:

      A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS by Connie Willis, an expanded collection of her holiday-themed short stories, including “Miracle” – a delightfully snarky tale of a much-tried office worker attempting to juggle her work duties and social life. It features some in-story debate as to whether “Miracle on 34th Street” or “It’s a Wonderful Life” is the best Christmas movie, with some entertaining zigzags.

      EVERGREEN TIDINGS FROM THE BAUMGARNERS by Gretchen Anthony – I’d read this a few years back and loved it, and am listening to the audiobook now. Multi-viewpoint family comedy/drama centered around the annual holiday letters.

      And a non-seasonal mystery: THE STRANGE FATE OF KITTY EASTON by Elizabeth Speller, a mystery set in the 1920s and focusing on a family damaged by the disappearance of a child before the war. It’s rather meandering, but I enjoyed that – was never tempted to skim, just relaxed and spent time with the characters, wondering along with them what really happened.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Connie Willis holiday stories: My favorites are “Newsletter” for fun and “Epiphany” for makes you think.

    13. Max Kitty*

      I picked up a book called Midnight Taxi Tango by Daniel Jose Older at a book sale. Turns out it’s the second in a three-book series (Bone Street Rumba) and it interested me enough to go find the others. Apparently there are some short stories on Kindle too. It’s paranormal/sci fi/fantasy, set in Brooklyn with diverse characters.

      1. Wink the Book*

        I had a pretty good time with that series. It felt very early 2000’s urban fantasy pulp (in a good way!) that just hit the spot when I read them the first time.

    14. HannahS*

      I read The Purpose Driven Church, which is, perhaps, an odd choice for a Jew but I found it fascinating. My synagogue is currently having a meltdown and reading that book really helped me understand some of the underlying issues that religious institutions face.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Ooh, thanks for this reference. I’ll put it onto my list. (Also Jewish here! Human foibles are the same regardless of religion.)

      2. AGD*

        My childhood synagogue imploded for terrible reasons (basically, one side pushed the other out for being insufficiently bigoted) and it hurt my soul a little bit. I may pick this up. Thanks!

      3. Jean (just Jean)*

        To AGD as well as HannahS: There’s nothing like congregational politics to curdle one’s disposition (or cause one to join a different congregation or significantly revise one’s religious beliefs). What gets into people?! The only thing worse is when followers of Religion #1 persecute, physically harm, and/or impose conversion, expulsion, or death on the followers of Religion #2. Fortunately, all humanity is not so badly behaved.

      4. Anonymous Luddite*

        Understandable. I am very far from Christian myself but one of the greatest books I’ve read about church dynamics was “Antagonists in the Church” by Kenneth Haugk. Good luck in your meltdown.

    15. the cat's ass*

      finished everything by Laura Lippman. Loved most of them, especially Sunburn as well as all of the Tess novels. Didn’t love the verylast one-Dream Girl as i felt it was too similar to The Plot by Jean Hanz (sic) Korelitz. Now working my way through Denise Mina’s books at the recommendation of of of my fave patients.

      LOVE that my library has reopened!

      When i turned 60 i gave myself permission to put a book down if it wasn’t doing it for me. Why waste time?

      1. Jay*

        Oh, I should check to see if there are more Tess novels. I haven’t read one in years. Not nearly as fond of her other work.

    16. Theatre girl in an office world*

      After a few months of not reading, I entered Alison’s entire recommended list for 2021 to my wishlist on overdrive at our library (at least everything they have) plus I still have a bunch from 4 of “what do your favorite author’s read” recommended reading lists. And then I just grab what ever floats to the top as available NOW.

      This week, I finished two by Jennifer Weiner and You’ll Never believe what happened to Lacey.

      I just checked out Early Morning Riser, You Should Have Known, The Second Home, Klara and the Sun and Beginner’s Luck.

    17. Wink the Book*

      I am working my way through “Iron Widow” by Xiran Jay Zhao, and having a good time. The world building is super interesting, and while the norms being espoused are confronting and pretty awful, it helps to be in the head of the main character. She’s super mad about all of it, and I am just nodding along.

      I am also a third of they way through “Master of Djinn” by P. Djèlí Clark. It is the first full novel in the Fatma el-Sha’arawi series. I loved the earlier novellas, but this has been a tougher sit for me. I like it, but the longer form digs deeper and has higher stakes. I think it is a personal reaction (I can’t always do high stakes reads) and the writing is excellent. So I just need to keep chugging!

    18. Bluebell*

      Under the Whispering Door is waiting for me at the library, and I’m also working my way through Dara Horn’s books. I really liked A Guide for the Perplexed, and Eternal Life was good, but not as amazing as I had expected. All Other Nights is the next one I plan to read. I just placed a request for Lauren Groff’s Matrix, but it will take a few months.

    19. Girasol*

      Welcome to Bordertown, a short story collection based on the Bordertown in Emma Bull’s book Finder. I love that book. It’s sort of a cross between a fairy tale and a noir detective mystery with wonderful prose. I’m enjoying the trip back again.

    20. Golden*

      Anyone else do NetGalley? My reviews probably read like a middle school book report (I’d love tips/resources for writing better ones!), but I find it enjoyable either way.

      I’m currently reading an ARC of “Truth and Other Lies”, about a liberal young woman trying to land a flashy journalism career while her conservative mother runs for congress.

    21. Artemesia*

      Just read The Elegance of the Hedgehog for a second time for a new co-ed book discussion group that has sprung up during COVID as an offshoot of our weekly movie club — movie club is still on zoom because it is easy — but the book group now meets every other month for a meal in person. Loved the book. Would love a good rec for a similarly engaging book.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I adored that book! I felt like it was so unique, although I’m not nearly as well read as most of the folks here.
        If you like historical fiction, The Physik Book of Deliverance Dane was really good, but totally different from Hedgehog

    22. Katie*

      Girl A by Abigail Dean. A novel about siblings imprisoned by their parents, and the aftermath after they escape/are rescued. I was hesitant to read a book about forced captivity but thankfully those details were sparse, and the main focus of the book was “how do different family members deal with childhood trauma?” Even though I was inadvertently spoiled on a plot point (my fault for not collapsing the comments on a different Saturday AAM thread), it was still a very good (and sad) read. The book jacket makes it sound like a thriller or mystery, but don’t be fooled! It’s more of a family drama.

    23. *daha**

      I just bought one based on the seeing the cover in a photo on a cat-focused facebook group. The group is called Episcopal Cats With Problems and there is no religious test for entry (and the cats don’t need to have problems) but there are often religious-adjacent posts. Somebody posted a picture captioned (more or less) “My cat left a prawn on Trimble” and the picture was a stack of books with a shrimp on top of the top book. The title was irresistible. TEXTS OF TERROR: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narratives by Phyllis Trible. I found and bought a used copy at a local religious bookstore and will read at least some of it before wrapping it to give to my girlfriend.

    24. Puffle*

      I’ve picked up the Athelstan series by Paul Doherty again- I stopped reading them a while back, and it’s a pleasant surprise to see how much his writing has improved with the latest instalments. That’s not to say the earlier books were bad, just that his writing feels more polished now, and also the overarching series background plot has really picked up the pace so I’m excited to see where it’s going to go in the next books.

    25. Max Kitty*

      Last night, I read straight through Almost Human by Lee Berger with John Hawks, about hominin discoveries in South Africa. Someone on here recommended it a few weeks ago, and I found it very interesting!

  9. Hunnybee*

    Important question here: what tv series (or book) do you keep trying to watch but find yourself giving up after the first or second try (and in a few months try and fail again)?

    Bonus round: did you ever get past that roadblock and actually finish the whole thing?

    1. Anima*

      Made in Abyss. It’s an anime that should be absolutely up my alley, I like the art style, but it just doesn’t click with me. I don’t understand and have tried two times, I just have no interest in this specific anime.
      I am however a finisher, so I will finish all I start eventually! Currently watching in Seven Deadly Sins (also an anime) , which I dropped before c*** came. Now seems the time to watch a badly animated anime with good character development!

    2. Princess Deviant*

      Quite a few. Suits, Pulp Fiction (film rather than series), Wuthering Heights… they are a few that spring to mind!

      1. Cookie*

        Wuthering Heights was awful. Source: I’m an English major, read it once for school and once for book club.

        1. Jay*

          Also an English major. Managed to avoid it in school. Read it for book club a few years ago and HATED it.

          1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

            Also an English major, and I hated Wuthering Heights, too. My main problem was that I couldn’t stand most of the characters. The best books, imo, are ones that have characters I either like or at least find interesting in some way. With Wuthering Heights, I was like, “God damn ALL these people to hell!” I made myself finish it, but man, was I creeped out afterwards.

        2. The Dogman*

          Everything Bronte wrote was rubbish, like most “classics” it is not worth the effort and making teenagers read stuff like it at school is a major reason that reading is not popular now!

          Also Austins works are terrible, Dostoevsky is an awful writer too, Tolstoy is total rot… basically almost all the “classics” are awful and pointless.

          Dumas is worth a read, The Count of Monte Christo is an excellent book. Tolkien is great, even some Vernes works are worth a bash, but broadly most “classics” are just a waste of time.

          1. Dainty Lady*

            Seems like your interest runs to adventure rather than introspection and observation. Nothing wrong with that.

            1. The Dogman*

              No no, not at all, I like all sorts of books, read thousands of them in almost all genres…

              I loathe certain authors though… Do not get me started on Robert Jordan the Fantasy author though and I love fantasy almost as much as my favourite SciFi!

              I dislike some low effort genres though, anything Mills and Boone esque is not fun for me… Or Dick Francis… How many times can one person write the same book? Arrghghhhhggghhhh now I got myself back onto Robert “Repeat that last book again” Jordan!!!!!111!!!!!!oneoneone!!!

              The “classics” are mostly rubbish though, and I stand by it, a lot are impenetrable cos of old language, or poor translations for some I suppose, but broadly the books idolised as classics are pretty atrocious in content, writing style, tone and detail.

              1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

                You are certainly allowed to have any opinion you like, as are we all. But it’s one thing to say you don’t care for something, and quite another to dismiss something as “rubbish” because you don’t personally enjoy it.

                I have plenty of my own likes and dislikes, but when I know that an author (even one I don’t like) has legions of devoted fans, that tells me that that they are doing or have done something right, even if what they do isn’t MY cup of tea. Take Jane Austen (please note that it’s spelled with an e, not an i), for example. The lady died over 200 years ago, and yet she has fans all over the world to this day, some of whom are quite passionate about her books. I’m a fan of her books myself, which I find to be chock full of dry humor and keen insights about human nature. I know not everyone is going to “get” Austen, but I don’t think you have to “get” her to be able to see that an author who continues to have such a huge impact on tons of people 2 centuries after her death is deserving of at least some grudging respect for what she managed to accomplish in a life that lasted only 41 years, rather than simply dismissing her as “terrible.”

                Basically, it’s perfectly fine to not like something and say so. However, when you know that something you don’t like is beloved by millions, calling it “rubbish” is not fine; in fact, it’s actually rather rude, imnsho.

                1. The Dogman*

                  I disagree, nothing I like is free from being called “rubbish” by others who don’t like it, they can do that and it affects my enjoyment not one bit. And while I agree that many like Austen (not sure why I went with an I? Prob cos Austin Texas is more often mentioned) I think that her works, and most of the other classics of that sort of period put off more young people who are forced to read them than attract young people to read them.

                  I don’t think anyone liked the Russian authors at all in my education days, and the Bronte’s, Austin and the other male and female “period” writers were also not very popular in class… less depressing than War and Peace and the works of Dostoevski etc.

                  Feeling offended I called some books I think are rubbish is a strange one to me… You might think coffee cake is rubbish for example, and I think it is the best cake, but I would not take it at all personally if you were to write you have tried a terrible one and did not like it.

              2. Opinions, I've had a few*

                I agree a lot of classic literature is tedious at best and outright boring at worst. I’m a Lit PhD and I cannot stand Shakespeare, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and so many others. Science fiction is my jam, it’s what I love to teach; however. . .

                A lot of classic science fiction is rubbish, too. Verne and Wells are dull by today’s standards. And the stuff published before those two is abyssmal. The Victorian era was not a good time for science fiction after Shelly.

                I’m sorry but Asimov is painful, Heinlein is real hit or miss, Clarke is solid, Hubbard is trash, AE Van Vogt is pretty good but how many “Manly man conquers planet and wins woman under the guise of American Imperialism” stories can one person read? I swear that’s 90% of the classic stories.

                Even some of my favorites like A Clockwork Orange is arguably not really science fiction at all. 1984 is a rip off of the Russian novel, We.

                Bradbury didn’t even consider himself a science fiction writer. Frederick Pohl, Alfred Bester, Philip K Dick are masterful.

              3. RagingADHD*

                I completely agree that Dick Frances is rubbish, but his books are like potato chips – you know exactly the kind of rubbish you’re getting, and it’s fun.

          2. yikes*

            wtf

            you not liking them doesn’t make them rubbish. consider that opinions on literature are not objective facts.

            1. The Dogman*

              In my opinion they are rubbish.

              Which I am allowed to say.

              So I did, but I did not say you have to agree, that would be a bit weird really!

              1. Charlotte Lucas*

                And most people haven’t read Anne’s work, which is often what people find the most appealing.

                1. UKDancer*

                  Anne’s work is easily my favourite. I think Tenant of Wildfell Hall is a brilliant account of the challenges of leaving a violent spouse which has dated surprisingly little.

              2. The Dogman*

                Did I conflate the two/three sisters?

                If so I think that just adds to my point… I totally forgot the others wrote anything and mis-remembered, cos it is all awful writing, that is was just the one lady!

                1. Dark Macadamia*

                  So you don’t actually know what “Bronte” wrote, and are still unaware of how many Brontes even existed, but you think your ignorance of their collective work (which you attributed to a single individual) makes your opinion MORE valid?

                2. Charlotte Lucas*

                  The Brontes aren’t my favorite writers, either, but I know that there were 3 of them. And that they had a brother who was massively jealous of their game.

          3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I have noticed that you have a tendency to trumpet your opinions as if they were incontrovertible facts, usually in an aggressive and frequently rude manner.

          4. I take tea*

            I actually think that a lot of classics are classics for a reason and well worth reading today for a simultaneous understanding of older times and customs, and the realisation that people are alike and nothing is new under the sun. One of my most fascinating read in this vein was Euripide’s play Medea, which is written 431 BC, and Jason’s self-justifications could be any contemporary douchebag’s.

            Then you can dislike a certian style, of course, but to say that all classics are bad is just lazy.

            1. The Dogman*

              Oh well if you count the really ancient “classics” I guess my point is weaker…

              I like some of the old ones, and respect others I don’t like for their content and/or importance, but I reserve the right to opine that the more “modern” classics are rot!

              I think some of the ancient tales can be really inspiring to young people and get them interested in history and humanity, in comparison it seems to me the more modern ones are more likely to put off young minds rather than draw them in. At least this is my experience with them, I disliked them in school and collage, friends of mine went off reading entirely!

              Aesops Fables are great, the old style Grims tales are excellent, I dislike the way the Illiad is written but it is a great story, Heracles is a great set of stories, and there are so many more… Even Shakespeare can be a lot of fun with some of the plays if done right, so I suppose if we are counting those sort of things the classics are not so bad in total.

              1. Double A*

                Hm, noticing a pattern that the ones by and about women are rot and the ones by and about men are all excellent…

                You seem to approve of the adventure classic which is fine, but there is great value on reading the more domestic classics as well, which is what the likes of (Charlotte) Bronte, Austen, and George Eliot wrote.

                1. The Dogman*

                  “Hm, noticing a pattern that the ones by and about women are rot and the ones by and about men are all excellent…”

                  Are you accusing me of sexism?

                  When I wrote I disliked Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in ,my first comment about this topic?

                  One of my favourite authors is Anne McCafferey, another is Ursula LeGuin, and while I do not like Harry Potter I think J K Rowling did a huge amount of good work getting children into reading and fantasy. I have no aversion to reading about female characters or authors who are women, some of the best stuff I have read is by women, and if the ancient tales are a bit of a sausage fest that is not my fault, that is the fault of the deeply sexist Greeks of the ancient times and if the “modern” classics are lacking in female authors that is the fault of the sexist Victorians more recently.

                  In future perhaps actually read what I wrote and make fewer assumptions?

                  For example the short story I have published is about a female lead character who literally has zero people of either sex to rely on, she is alone and has to triumph alone. She, along with another female central character and one male central character make up the trio who are the main three threads of the book I am working on, and in the “extra info” short stories I’m weaving into the thread I have so far got approx 60% female lead tales. Some are not even human females.

                  So thanks but no, the Brontes wrote terrible books in my opinion, what sex they were and the sex of the characters is irrelevant, same as all the male authors I think wrote rot.

              2. Not A Manager*

                “I dislike the way the Illiad is written but it is a great story.”

                You find the original dactylic hexameter to be impenetrable, or is it the archaic Greek rather than the classical Athenian Greek that gives you trouble?

                1. Rainy*

                  I often get distracted reading the commentary when I stumble on a hapax, personally, but I know that’s a me problem. ;)

              3. Rainy*

                You dislike the way whatever translation of the Iliad you read and didn’t like is written, you mean.

            2. Dark Macadamia*

              In this vein, I recently read “Jane Austen The Secret Radical” and it was SO interesting. The main goal is to put her work in context of the time they were written – not just generally in history but the specific year she would’ve written it, where she was at the time, and how her personal and cultural context influenced her. It touches on topics like religion, slavery, and childbirth and explains why her works are Capital L Literature and not just old-timey rom coms.

              1. The Dogman*

                I will give that a bash then, context is important, and even if I still dislike Austin that sort of background stuff can be fascinating. Cheers!

            1. *daha**

              I love and multiply re-read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, but I bogged down in Silmarillion and haven’t read any of the later releases.

              1. allathian*

                Yeah, Silmarillion was a slog to get through, as were the Unfinished Tales, I haven’t read them more than once each.

              2. The Dogman*

                The Silmarillion is a bit of a chore… The Unfinished Tales should probably have not been published, at least not as a “book” more as a research into Tolkiens brain perhaps?

                Talk about poorly edited notes…

                1. RagingADHD*

                  I mean, publishing an author’s unfinished work really isn’t fair. They might have scrapped it deliberately because they didn’t think it was worth continuing, they might have just been using it as an exercise, they might have changed it completely if they kept working on it etc.

                  I’ve never read a “found” manuscript completed by someone else that was worth the trouble.

                2. Mameshiba*

                  That is literally what they were–his notes and stories left behind when he died. It’s right there in the title.

                  I wouldn’t recommend it to casuals but hardcore Tolkien fans might enjoy it.

            2. Anonymous Luddite*

              I first received the four books (Hobbit through RotK) in fifth grade.
              Every year, I would read the Hobbit, get psyched, and try to read Fellowship.
              Every year, I would get bogged down and stop – I think I made it to Tom Bombadil once.
              Finally one year, I -didn’t- read Hobbit first and just picked up Fellowship. Finished the trilogy in ten days.
              I realized that the shift in Tolkien’s voice between Hobbit and Fellowship was what stopped me.

          5. JustForThis*

            … alternatively, one could say that Dostoevsky offers intense explorations of human perception and shifts in human perception during a phase of crisis. ymmv.

            1. Nessun*

              I’d agree with that opinion. I loved Ctome and Punishment, but not until I’d finished it completely. Getting through it was tough.

            2. The Dogman*

              I would agree with that for sure… Just it is depressing and often dull around those bits.

              Of course it could also be argued that a lot of life is depressing and dull, and so the books are exploring that… but even if that is the case I still think making (especially young) literature students read that sort of thing is likely to put a lot more off it than get into it.

          6. RagingADHD*

            I’m just shocked that so many people who claim to be avid readers seem to think that anything without the “IMO” tag is being asserted as fact.

            Declaring a piece of entertainment or art to be “rubbish” is inherently subjective. Of course it’s an opinion.

            The question *asked* for opinions!

            Infer from context, y’all. It’s supposed to be a basic reading skill.

            You might as well go on the sandwich-condiment thread or the sensations-you-hate thread and argue that those things are “just their opinion.”

            Yes, of course they are opinions. That’s the whole point of the conversation.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I bounced off The Mandalorian three times (much to my Star Wars nut husband’s chagrin) but when it hit it hit hard and I binged the whole two seasons in a single weekend.

      1. The Dogman*

        How did I miss that there is a second season?

        I now am about to lose the ability to go to bed on time for a couple of days… thanks! :)

    4. TechWorker*

      I was given house of cards as a box set (the US version) a while back and just… never got into it despite trying! It doesn’t help that I tend to prefer things where I like at least some of the characters. Also everyone raves about breaking bad but I’m very much take it or leave it, some of the episodes got too violent for me. (Which is maybe a weird description cos I watch a lot of crime/murder mystery type stuff, but there it’s mostly described rather than on screen…)

      1. A313*

        I watched a fair amount of both of those shows and gave them both up. House of Cards was depressing and upsetting in a too-real way for me. Breaking Bad was one of those shows that got me way too annoyed — I know dramas thrive on people’s decisions, often their bad decisions, but I couldn’t take it anymore, wondering if they could really be *that* stupid.

      2. Elle Woods*

        I watched the first three seasons of House of Cards then gave up. It got increasingly hard to follow the plot line and difficult to care about the characters.

        1. Clisby*

          I had already seen the UK version, and liked the first 2 seasons of the US version. . Then I gave up.

      3. The Dogman*

        I got about 5 episodes into breaking bad expecting to find a sympathetic character but just got bored of how awful most of them were, and was not gripped by any level of care for how things turn out.

        So I gave up.

        So many people I know love that show I guess it is a me problem but I cannot see why anyone would care to finish it, or why it ran so long?

      4. RagingADHD*

        I really enjoyed the original UK House of Cards, and wanted to like the US version, but I just couldn’t.

        Part of what made the original so good was the way it was a complete and satisfying arc with tragic inevitability to it. Trying to adapt that story to an open-ended series took all the “oomph” out of it.

        1. UKDancer*

          Yes the UK version worked so much better for me for precisely that reason. Also it had Ian Richardson who is several shades of awesome in everything he does, has a beautiful voice and does Machiavellian better than most other people in the world.

          1. Clisby*

            Yes, about Ian Richardson. I’ve posted a couple of other comments about the UK vs. US version, but to me, one of the shortcomings of the US version is that Frank Underwood is just not in the same league as Francis Urquart when it comes to being viscerally vicious.
            For any joint House of Cards/Terry Pratchett fans here, Ian Richardson is the voice of Death in the movie version of The Hogfather. At one point he says, “You might think that. I couldn’t possibly comment.”

      5. Clisby*

        The US version of House of Cards is not as good as the UK version, IMO. I didn’t mind not caring about any of the characters – that was pretty much true of the UK version, too (at least for me.) The UK version just made a lot more sense. And it clearly was set to be done in 3 series – I guess to match the 3 novels it was based on – while the US version was just, oh, let’s drag this out as long as we can get an audience, regardless of whether the story line is coherent at all (it isn’t.)

    5. Dwight Schrute*

      Star Wars, LOTR, Twin Peaks,
      Breaking bad and the walking dead all come to mind for me. It’s odd because in theory I should enjoy them but they’ve never hooked me

    6. Let me be dark and twisty*

      The Sopranos. I just can’t seem to get into it and I’ve tried several times over the years.

      1. The Dogman*

        I watched the whole of the Sopranos years ago and while it had some great scenes the general tone is so pathetic and depressing I can see why you would not be gripped.

        I was injured and one arm was out of action, so reading was off the table for a few months, which is the only reason I got all the way though it, now if I started it I suspect I would be 2/3 episodes and quit.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      I gave up on The Wire.

      I really liked the criminal parts, and how there was a society with strict rules of behavior. The cop parts seemed incredibly rote and I–a person who does not watch police dramas–saw every plot turn coming a mile away. That can be an element of a tragedy, that you see everything coming but understand that the characters can’t turn aside. But I just sat there unmoved.

      That’s the rare example of critically acclaimed, people with other good recs like it, I am left cold. I am actually pretty ruthless about abandoning books or TV shows when they are just not zinging for me.

      1. Double A*

        Yes, I’ve watched the first three seasons, then ice watched the first 3 or 4 episodes of season 4 like… four times. And it’s good and interesting and I’m a teacher so the school stuff should drawn me in. But it’s just like, heavy, and I lost motivation for watching it. I still theoretically want to, and maybe I will if I get HBO again.

    8. Jay*

      Books: LOTR. Tried the books repeatedly in HS and after college – my husband LOVED them. Couldn’t get past the first 50 pages of LOTR or The Hobbit.

      TV Shows: I watched the first episode of “Gray’s Anatomy” and have made no attempt to go back. Full disclosure: I’m a doc and I hardly ever watch medical shows for what I presume are obvious reasons.

      Book I changed my attitude about: “Middlemarch.” Tried to read it in HS and couldn’t get through it. Read it again for book club three or four years ago and absolutely loved it. I think I had to grow up to appreciate the subtle humor and quality of her writing.

      Sort of the reverse: I adored Vonnegut in HS. We read “Player Piano” for book club last year and I was horrified at the depth of the misogyny – and even more horrified that I didn’t notice it at 16 (to be fair to myself, that was 1976).

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Medical TV shows: When I was undergoing radiation (so in the same waiting room at roughly the same time every day) there was a TV set to whatever station airs General Hospital. And there was never a scene set in a hospital.

        Aging books: When I was young a favorite was Podkayne of Mars, in which the heroine explicitly realizes that she shouldn’t buck for pilot training because no one will hire a woman, so she should be a baby nurse instead. But Heinlein was old–even older than my dad!!!–so I just totally ignored that aspect. I didn’t read Twilight, but didn’t worry that my daughter liked it in high school. What people take from literature varies so widely, including at different points in your life. (I liked a travel book by a guy who picked up Odysseus late in life and was like “Wow, I thought this was an adventure tale in high school–it’s actually a guy who wants to stop having damn adventures and sit at home and never see the damn ocean again.”

      2. I take tea*

        Hmm. Vonnegut made a great impression on teen me as well. I’ve been thinking about re-visiting, but maybe I shouldn’t.

    9. Golden*

      I like this question! I’ve tried to pick up Critical Role Campaign 2 (loved Campaign 1) multiple times, and while I get through an episode or two, I inevitably just stop. I watched the first half of Campaign 3 Episode 1 and it didn’t grab me either, so I think I’ll just look back on Campaign 1 fondly and consider myself done with the franchise.

      I loved Breaking Bad and kept finding The Wire on “what to watch next” lists, but that never worked for me despite giving the first few episodes a try.

      Stranger Things was an eventual success! I’ve seen the first episode a few times since 2017ish, but it didn’t click until last year and I binged watched the rest.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I love the end of season three so much I cannot evaluate it objectively. Everything about the Scoops Ahoy plotline is like an homage to classic Scooby Doo.

      2. Wink the Book*

        Hard same re: Critical Role. I just signed on for the VM story, and those characters. I did keep half an ear on c2, and ended up enjoying chunks of the latter half (the travelercon eps were pretty fun), but have zero desire to sit through the full series. Honestly, I think the fact that c1 started mid campaign was a reason I could get into it. We didn’t have to see the first chunk where everyone “found” their character’s voice/lived in self.

        That said, I had a fabulous time with the Darrington Brigade one-shot. And I will always respect CR for accidentally giving me a vast knowledge of how to play DND 5e without ever picking up a book/character sheet.

    10. Wishing You Well*

      Tolkien’s “Unfinished Tales” – whoo, boy. His son shouldn’t have bothered publishing them.
      “Eragon” trilogy – can’t deal with a hopeless, never-ending struggle right now. A little too real.
      Bonus round: nope, never finished. It’s okay to quit when a pastime starts feeling like a root canal.

      1. The Dogman*

        “Tolkien’s “Unfinished Tales” – whoo, boy. His son shouldn’t have bothered publishing them.”

        Agreed, many millions of times!

    11. Dark Macadamia*

      Both “New Girl” and “Parks and Rec” are shows I feel like I SHOULD like but have never managed to finish. I find most of the Parks characters really annoying, especially Leslie, so the funny parts just haven’t been worth continuing with the show. New Girl I enjoyed early on but I think at the point when Jess went on jury duty I realized the show was more enjoyable with Megan Fox and lost interest when Zooey Deschanel came back, lol

      I haven’t finished the last season of The Borgias despite it being a great show – I always want to rewatch from the beginning to refresh my memory and then I’m no longer in the mood for it by the time I get to new episodes.

      1. Golden*

        I totally forgot about Parks and Rec being on my list too! My ex loved it so I tried to watch several times, and kind of just came away thinking “this is The Office for people that are sad” (which could totally be my own projection about said ex).

        1. tiredlibrarian*

          I tried for years to get into Parks and Rec but I just couldn’t get past the first season. Didn’t like it at all. Someone then told me to start with season 2, and pretend like season 1 never existed, and that made it click for me. There’s a pretty dramatic tone shift starting with season 2, and I liked it a lot better. Try starting with season 2 and see if you like it?

          1. Laura Petrie*

            I agree, series 1 of Parks and Rec is awful. Not keen on the last series either, but everything in between is great.

            I never managed to get into Mad Men. I’ve tried several times but just can’t get past the first couple of episodes.

            I have tried to read both The Hobbit and LOTR but they’re just not for me.

    12. GermanGirl*

      I tried to get into Star Trek Enterprise a couple of times. I loved the first few episodes, then got meh about it and stopped. But once I got over the first lull, I finish all of it within a couple of weeks.

    13. Theatre girl in an office world*

      Schitt’s Creek. My friends keep telling me I will love it but I have never made it past the 2nd episode. I gave up when they followed up with “oh yeah, the first 2 seasons are hard to get through”

      1. Hunnybee*

        Ha, that validates everything! I have a coworker who keeps checking in all the time to see if I’ve watched it all yet, so I’m not sure if I’m becoming resistant to the show because of this, or its genuinely not my cup of tea.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I’m glad I’m not the only one. I didn’t try to watch it until after it ended. I watched maybe six episodes and it never hooked me. I might try again if it’s really the first two seasons that are tough.

      3. Dreaming of travel*

        Oh, make room for me on that train. People take it so personally that I don’t like it! And say things like, “Well, if you supported LGBTQ+ more, you’d appreciate it.”

      4. Dark Macadamia*

        I think it’s so weird when people say that kind of thing. “Oh yeah, the 33% of the show that’s meant to draw you in sucks, but it’s so good!” What? I don’t LOVE Schitts Creek the way a lot of fans do but I feel like I enjoyed it pretty consistently from beginning to end, with a couple episodes that are way better or worse. Likewise I’ve seen several seasons of Parks and Rec and I never felt like it got better or was worth the time I’d put in.

        Many shows take a season or two to find themselves but it’s still the same show the whole time!

    14. RussianInTexas*

      Wolf Hall. Like the series, but absolutely cannot get through the writing.
      Clone Wars (the animated series, the later one). Finally watched the whole, with the help of the list of episodes in the chronological order, and it became my favorite Star Wars media.

    15. allathian*

      Lost. I’ve tried twice, the first time I gave up early in the 3rd season, the second time at the end of the 1st. There’s so much good stuff to see, so I don’t really see the point of forcing myself to sit through it yet another time.

      Matrix lost me when they used humans for raw power. After that I could no longer suspend my disbelief. Now, if they’d done it as the creators originally wanted, and used human brains for *processing power* I might feel differently, but apparently the execs deemed that too techie for the average viewer. That might well be true, but it spoiled things for me. I’ve seen the first one twice and have no interest in seeing the sequels.

    16. LizB*

      I attempted the Wheel of Time series twice and both times got stuck on book 10 (out of an eventual 14, I think?). My husband absolutely adores the series, but does admit that it slows way down around books 8-10… and when each book of a multi-book “slow point” is 800 pages long, it’s not easy to push through.

      We’ve been watching the new Amazon TV adaptation of the series, though, and really really enjoying it! They’ve tweaked some worldbuilding and plot points, but the characters are great, the visuals are stunning, and I’m excited to see what happens next. If they manage to make it to the book 10 part of the series, maybe I’ll make it through this time.

    17. Tris Prior*

      I realize this is heresy, but: Firefly.
      I tried. Many times. I gave up. Not sure why? Based on other stuff I really like, I should’ve liked it.

      1. Anonymous Luddite*

        It’s been 20 years (and Whedon has since shown his true colors). Not heresy in the slightest.

    18. *daha**

      Dhalgren (Samuel Delany). It’s been decades since I’ve tried, I’m sure it’s worth going back to it.

    19. UKDancer*

      The Office. I just cringed too hard for David Brent. There’s a German word “fremdschamen” for the embarrassment you feel for someone else when they do something embarrassing. I felt that very strongly. I tried watching it twice but couldn’t get on with it.

      I’d say also “Friends” which all my friends were deeply into at the time. I found the whole lot of them very irritating and having tried it again more recently I don’t think it’s dated very well.

      Books – I’ve never been able to manage Thomas Hardy because I just find his work too depressing. I had to study it at school and didn’t much enjoy it. I tried it as an adult and liked it even less. It just reminds me how miserable life was for women at that period of time.

      1. I take tea*

        Haha, Finnish also has a similar word for second hand embarrassment. Adding “fremdschamen” to my German vocabulary.

    20. BadCultureFit*

      The Outlander tv show. I’ve tried at least 4 times to watch, and by episode 3 just find myself utterly bored to tears.

  10. Bazza7*

    Re-reading the A Seaside Knitters mystery/A Seaside Knitters Society mystery series by Sally Goldenbaum, about 15 books in the series so far. Currently reading book 2 – Patterns in the Sand. Cozy mysteries about a group of women who meet up weekly to knit and have a meal and more and some random murder known in for them to solve. Really enjoying reading this series again and how these women support each other. (I don’t knit anymore, but still like to crochet).

  11. Loopy*

    Warning: Covid Talk
    .
    .
    .
    .
    I’m back to being more confused than ever on what I should be doing to be responsible. I’m vaccinated AND boosted and always mask in public. For a while I felt like I knew what I was comfortable with – travel with all precautions, going to see folks with masking, still no major gatherings with close quarters (i.e large parties, concerts, super large crowds).

    With omicron I feel like I’m been shaken back into uncertainty on if it’s okay to do things with all vaccination/booster and masks still. Just curious where others are and if anyone else is feeling a bit confused with the new variant and best actions. I was going to book a plane ticket for late Feb and of course wear an N95 and only go if healthy, now I’m feeling like I’m not supposed to do those things again?

    Is anyone else as lost?

    1. Missb*

      Not lost just cautious!

      It hasn’t hit our city/state hard yet but will by New Years.

      We are seeing close family for Christmas but we are all triple vaxxed. Hoping that’s enough.

      1. Loopy*

        It just hit my state but we are one of the states that, well… lets just say no one was masked at the store I went to yesterday. But I’m seeing folks in other areas cancelling plans. So I always feel generally confused in this country!

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I am staying home a lot. I go to work and I get groceries, that’s about as exciting as life gets for me. BUT. There’s a lot more in the background that forms this decision. It’s definitely no one factor- my age, lack of family near by, and a couple of elderly friends who are actually dependent on me to stay up and running. My workplace needs me to continue to work. There’s plenty to do here- cleaning and painting sort of stuff. (We do this much longer and my house is going to be super spiffy.)

      We have plenty of covid in my area. People are concerned. Oddly, many of those highly concerned people are also planning trips. It’s not for me, I have no interest right now. My priority is staying low key and staying safe. It will be better in the future, that’s what I tell myself.

      1. Loopy*

        On a daily basis that’s usually me. Work, outdoor volunteering 1x a week (mostly alone), and errands. But I do want to travel safely occasionally. But I have family you are truly rageful at anyone even going out to do, well, literally anything. I respect their decisions, I respect everyone’s decisions to stay safe and understand them! But they are truly hateful of anyone who doesn’t align with their level of caution and honestly, it messes with my brain. I appreciate you sharing your take, I feel like I need to get a sense of others really badly right now.

        I’ve stopped talking to them about my entire life because there’s just nothing besides work that’s acceptable, no matter the vacc/caution level. They make me feel as if I’m a terrible, horrible, person. That reply is going a bit off topic- sorry! Thank you for your response!

    3. Janet Pinkerton*

      Honestly, with how much omicron is spreading among the vaxxed + the lesser severity than delta, it almost makes me want to give up, get omicron, and move on with my life. And I can’t do that on purpose for many reasons but the chief reason is that I’m pregnant and thus more susceptible to illness, and I don’t have a two week stretch before my due date where I can just not see anyone.

      I wouldn’t describe myself as “lost”, but my feelings have definitely changed.

      1. Swisa*

        When I had the regular flu while pregnant it was so awful, both because being more susceptible, like you mentioned, but also because there’s very little that you can take in terms of cold meds.

        I hope you can avoid omicron until you deliver!

      2. Wishing You Well*

        Please stay strong! I hear ya’!
        I hope people will keep taking precautions and not think “just get Covid and get over it”. Ask the Covid long haulers about it. Researchers are finding that even some “mild” Covid cases result in long-term severe lung damage.
        Sending good thoughts and Internet Hugs, if you want them!

        1. It's Quarantime!*

          Yup. Long Haul Covid is nothing to play with. It’s Russian Roulette, with even less certain outcomes.
          And I recently read a book about Polio that said people who had mild to severe polio and (mostly) recovered 30ish years ago are starting to relapse and their symptoms are re-emerging. It’s the same concept of chicken pox/shingles where it never really goes away and could come back to haunt you at any time. Can you imagine what would happen if covid has a nasty 30 year surprise? If even a percentage of the people who have had and recovered from covid have long term rebound consequences….. ugh.
          Better to just avoid it if you can.

            1. It's Quarantime!*

              It’s called Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret.
              I was interested in the roadmap for my own illness/hope of recovery as I have been living with Long Haul Covid since Feb ’21. And I was grateful for her perspective and willingness to share her experiences. It’s at the end where she talks about her and others’ recent relapses.

          1. dear liza dear liza*

            When Covid first popped up and comparisons to the Spanish flu were made, I learned that about a decade after the flu there was an outbreak of encephalitis among Spanish flu survivors. Viruses are sneaky little bastards.

          2. KoiFeeder*

            My aunt had post-polio syndrome that came on right at about the start of the pandemic. It was pretty haunting.

            1. It's Quarantime!*

              I’m sorry to hear that, KoiFeeder. I hope she’s coping well and that her symptoms are mild and fade soon.

      3. No Longer Fencer*

        Same…2nd tri pregnant and trying to figure out what I’m comfortable with. One county I live near, nobody masks (except me and partner). County we live in has mandatory masking. Plus a friend wants to host me a virtual baby shower. But also, my mom wants to host an in person baby shower for family and her friends…she originally was ok with remote but now realizes she’s not tech-savvy. And I just want to be safe….

        1. Golden*

          Also pregnant, and my OBGYN office is recommending we get boosted at 13 or 19 weeks, or “whatever we want”. Not very informative!

          Christmas occurs before I hit either of those weeks so it ruined my travel plans this year. My area is pretty well masked/vaxxed, but a friend in the medical field has recently been seeing tons of cases in people who have received their doses 6+ months ago. Foregoing travel until I can get boosted (I have an appointment at about 13 weeks) feels like all I can do.

        2. Lady Danbury*

          How about either a drive through shower or a virtual shower but have mom in the room with you? Either way, you limit your exposure (obviously virtual is safest) but mom doesn’t have to worry about the technology.

      4. allathian*

        That must be tough. I hope you stay healthy and have a safe delivery.

        There have been cases of very early deliveries (22 to 25 weeks) here when pregnant people have been so sick with Covid that ending the pregnancy was the only way for them to have a shot at survival. (Reduced lung capacity and immunity while pregnant, restrictions in meds.)

      5. David*

        On top of what other commenters are saying, when the omicron variant was first being observed, it looked like part of the reason it was so prevalent is that it’s more prone to repeat infections in the same people. In other words, assuming those initial impressions are actually true, getting omicron COVID gives you less protection against getting it again, compared to delta or the other variants. So it’s definitely not a “get it and move on with your life” thing, because even if you do get it, you’re still at risk for getting it again later.

    4. Teatime is Goodtime*

      Oh totally. Less about risk tolerance because I have an unvaccinated child who still needs to socialize with other children his age, but more about what to do when things inevitably do roll in close, or indeed on us. We’ve had two possible-Covids in the last month, both PCR negative, but in both instances the procedures were evolving and different. Who do I inform I what order about when? When am I (vaxxed but not yet boostered for legit reasons, working on that) allowed to do x, when is my child (unvaxxed) allowed to do x, and with whom? I understand the need to have evolving rules and approaches, but I’m paying attention and still confused. I’m just trying to be responsible and do the right thing!!

    5. usernames are anonymous*

      I’ve just cancelled a trip home to the UK for Christmas. I booked everything back in early November and have spent the last couple of weeks holding my breath hoping to be able to travel. The omnicron strain has changed the level of risk that is comfortable to me – I have 2 jabs but not eligible for booster until Christmas Day. Doesn’t help that the govt keep contradicting themselves with their recommendations for what is considered safe to do.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        I love your typo. It’s just so apt.
        “Omni-“ because it’s omnipresent, or soon will be!

        Where I am (Chicago area), we’ve been required to wear masks inside, even if vaccinated, ever since the variants started. There was maybe a month off between getting the okay to take them off if vaccinated and being told to put them back on. I never stopped wearing them, because I didn’t (and still don’t) trust the people I see without masks to be really vaccinated.

    6. Asenath*

      I’m not feeling lost, although I’m tired of it and fed up. I’m following the standard procedures as recommended by local public health officials – vaccinations, masks in public indoor places, hand cleaning, and very recent decrease in limits on large indoor gatherings. That last isn’t an issue for me since I didn’t go to large gatherings if I could avoid them pre-COVID, and the not really large gatherings I do go to are held in a large enough facility that 50% capacity is fine. I think I expected from the beginning (again due to public health info, but also from a very good book I read on the Spanish flu) that there would be lots of mutations with variations in their virulence and the ease with which they spread. So here’s another mutation, right. Just as expected. At least the early data seem to indicate that it spreads fast but isn’t extremely virulent. And I put on my mask before going into public indoor places, clean my hands, and that’s it. I do have faith in the local public health people, who have explained what they’re doing and why all through this mess, and in my fellow citizens, who have a very high vaccination rate. As a result, perhaps, I feel reasonably secure, but I know people who are more cautious, people who are less cautious, and people who really need to remain isolated because of their underlying health problems.

    7. Sandi*

      Even with all those precautions there was still a risk you could catch it, but with omicron that risk increased.

      I think a big factor, and a large part of the spread, is that people are often interacting unmasked if the are double vaxed. I continue to wear a mask when indoors, and limit my interactions (virtual work holiday parties).

    8. Dino*

      I’m not lost, but resigned. I don’t know what’s safe or whether any of the precautions I take will actually make a difference, so I’m at “fuck it”. I mask and distance and have been vaccinated (no booster yet, needle phobia made the first 2 hard enough) but I honestly think we’re on our own now. The government isn’t providing support anymore, messaging from health organizations is unclear, and it’s every man for themselves.

    9. Colette*

      Very much so. I’m supposed to fly to my mom’s for Christmas. I go back and forth every day about whether I should go or cancel. I have no idea what the right choice is.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      I traveled in the fall and am glad I did. After spending the pre-vacc period undergoing cancer treatment, my mom just died, and all “well you can always do stuff later” has been thoroughly beaten out of my world view.

      In early December three relatives (in two locations) had covid. But it was like a bad cold for all three fully vaccinated people–stressful because you wonder if you’re going to be the extremely rare number that lands in the hospital, cusp of a new trend, but it was a few days in bed feeling crappy and more days sitting at home feeling bored while quarantining. I think it is moving toward something where we assume it’s endemic, get our booster shots as soon as we can, and try to move toward a normal connecting-to-people model because we can’t go without that indefinitely.

    11. Jay*

      Absolutely – and I’m an MD, so I feel like I should know. I don’t know. Nobody really *knows.* I make risk/benefit decisions all the time and I can’t do that without knowing what the risk is. I’m vaxxed and boosted, so the risk of severe disease for me is low, but I could transmit it to other people who have a much higher risk, and how do I know what that risk is since the transmission could be indirect (someone catches it from me and someone vulnerable catches it from them…). And the benefit is to my mental health and emotional well-being – I don’t *need* to eat in restaurants or go shopping in person, except I do *need* to get out of the house and reconnect with friends and family in person and where I live it is now too cold to do that outside. So I’ve relaxed my behavior and I wonder if that’s really a well-thought-out decision or a giant rationalization to do the things I want to do.

      I’m retiring shortly – my last day is 12/28 – and once I’m done seeing patients I will probably stop worrying quite as much. I will still avoid indoor gatherings where I’d be close to people I don’t know, and I will continue to eat in restaurants that have space between the tables. I know that’s inconsistent. It’s the best I can do.

        1. Rooney*

          But the original commenter was the one to bring up work? It doesn’t make sense that the replies were deleted but the original one stands. Would the replies have still been deleted if they had agreed and/or sympathized with the commenter?

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Of course. I routinely remove work-related stuff here, sympathetic or not. (For what it’s worth, I agreed with all the comments I removed and thought they were correct!)

            I felt a single reference to work in a longer comment about non-work was fine, while replies that were exclusively about work were not. I’ve done the same in the past. That said, I’m second-guessing that decision now — the story of my month, frankly — and am removing the original as well.

    12. MissGirl*

      I’m boosted as well and masking. My goal isn’t to never get COVID as it’s inevitable that at some point I will. It’s to avoid getting it as far as I’m able to but if I catch it, not spread it and not get super sick with it. I’m also hopeful that we’re getting some anti-viral meds coming down the pipeline to help treat those who can’t build as much immunity.

      Something a doctor said a bit ago resonated with me. Living a healthy life is more than not getting sick. I can stay inside and never get COVID and lead sink into a deep depression. That said I’m also not going to a crowded concert and kissing a stranger (not that I ever had :)). I’m living somewhere in the middle.

      I’m also a data analyst and I’ve been watching the numbers but more especially the hospital numbers. I don’t care if everyone in the world gets COVID, if a very small percentage end up hospitalized. We still don’t know about Omicron. So far it’s still mostly unvaccinated people who are feeling the blunt of the virus.

    13. Courageous cat*

      I’m personally burned out. I’ve long since given up on trying to care or control anything. I’ve had 3 vaccines. It’s honestly all I can do. It’s not going away and I can’t let it take up half my headspace forever.

      My thought process at this point is kinda: if I get it, I get it. I can’t stop it.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Seriously – I didn’t even get *one day* to enjoy being boostered, as the day I got the jab was the day they announced omicron and started speculating that the vaccines were not as effective against it. I think what’s hard for me is that everyone is doing a separate cost-benefit analysis, and part of the equation is “how badly do I want to do this / how bummed will I be to skip this?” – which obviously varies by person / situation. So two equally responsible people may come to a different conclusion about a specific activity and it gets awkward fast.

    14. Swisa*

      I’m worried about my 3 year old getting it. I was really counting on the vaccine being available soon, but now it sounds like it will be longer.

      We take precautions, like not having her come into stores/doing pickup only, but she’s in daycare (though masked), so she has plenty of opportunity for exposure.

      I worry about the long term effects in kids. I got covid before I was vaxed, and though it was an overall mild illness, I still have respiratory effects, a year later. I worry that something like that will happen to her, and i I don’t want her to have to deal with it for the rest of her life.

    15. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m just tired. All the adults in my family are vaxxed and boosted, 6yo just got her second dose but 3yo of course hasn’t yet. We’re getting together for Christmas and I was fine with it but now I’m stressed. 6yo is finally going to school in person next month and I’m stressed. We live in an area with good safety requirements and high vax rates, which I’m so grateful for, but I’ve reached the point of “this is our life now” and it sucks.

    16. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      I just plan on getting Covid sometime or other. I first resigned myself to it back when Covid got big, then when I got vaxxed I thought I wouldn’t actually, but I’m back on the “Welp, looks like it’s going to happen” idea. I’m willing to take reasonable precautions to put it off, but I’m not willing to put my life on hold to avoid something that seems inevitable. I already did that for all of 2020 and more than I ought of 2021.

      I’m young and healthy (and vaxxed), though, so Covid is extremely unlikely to kill me. I understand that it’s different if you are higher risk.

    17. Lady Danbury*

      Cases were low in my area as recently as a week and a half ago but we recently had our first confirmed Omicron cases and the numbers have now started to rise. It doesn’t help that this coincides with peak holiday travel. I just started hanging out with friends again recently and now I’ll be scaling things back again.

      I haven’t resigned myself to inevitably getting it, as my country has mostly done well throughout the pandemic (other than one wave that was really bad) and the vast majority of my close friends/family haven’t caught it. I will continue to take a risk based approach and scale my activities up or down based on local case numbers/trend in cases. Right now that means smaller gatherings, scaling back my bubble, more outdoor events, etc. School is out for my nieces/nephews but 2 of them will be in camp next week, so hopefully there won’t be any pre-Christmas exposures.

    18. Aphrodite*

      Thank you for mentioning this. I am trying to keep intense discouragement at bay because I feel as if we are almost back at the beginning, and it’s . . . awful. I have never stopped taking all the precautions but now I have re-intensified them. While it hasn’t hit southern California (and Santa Barbara in particular) yet I know it’s here. My employer, a college, is taking a lot of precautions but it can’t do everything.

      Are we really going to be having no real holidays next year too? I am not a shopper but one of the most exciting things for me is to do all kinds of autumn and then Christmas events–fairs, gatherings, theatre, downtown, etc. And I had such plans this year even completely masked. Nothing. And the idea of not having any of them next year is beyond depressing.

      Nevertheless, I won’t give into it. I will try to remain polite, cheerful, helpful and keep life going as best I can. But that realization that, yes, next year may be the same is acting like a black hole edging closer to sucking me in. I may end up keeping a few of my autumn and Christmas decorations out all year just to have them as souvenirs of the season. Or maybe not.

      I am trying not to think we may be in this same position next year as that is overwhelming.

    19. Generic Name*

      I think the problem is that we are still laser focused on the number of cases and maybe we should be focusing on hospitalizations and deaths. I know so many vaccinated people who’ve gotten Covid and recovered just fine. My 3 year old nephew just had it, and he had a runny nose and seemed tired one afternoon. That’s it. I’m not saying to throw away our masks and go make out with strangers, but the vaccines are working. The people who are hospitalized are largely unvaccinated with a minority who were vaccinated but didn’t get boosters.

      I’m taking the following precautions:
      Got my booster
      Masking in public
      Working from home
      I am driving home for Christmas. We will do home tests before we leave and everyone has been vaccinated/boosted
      I’m not really eating out, but that’s more due to budget then anything else.

    20. OyHiOh*

      Myself personally, at this point, I’m taking an attitude of general strong hygiene precautions, rather than trying not to get COVID specifically. I wear a mask in congregant settings, because of all the airborne nasties we all breathe every day and I keep some physical distance, because I don’t like getting all crowded up with people I don’t know. I’ve always had pretty good hand washing hygiene but being vigilant about that too. My boss got an actual non-COVID respiratory infection a few weeks ago and admitted to me in the aftermath that he’d been slipping on hand washing/face touching and that’s probably how he got it.

      I went through a phase of reading Robin Cook novels as a teenager. One of the critical things I learned from his novels is that viruses mutate in ways that allow them to be successful. Ebola, terrifying as it is, isn’t a terribly successful virus, because it is kinda hard to spread (requires direct contact with bodily fluids), and kills people too quickly. Rhinovirus (common cold) is an extremely successful virus because it is extraordinarily easy to spread (air droplets), and it only rarely kills people. But we can easily imagine that when rhinoviruses first appeared on the scene, they were much more deadly than they are now.

      Something that gets mentioned only occasionally these days is that several of the viruses that cause “common colds” today are centuries old SARS-COV viruses. They’ve stayed in the population and become extremely successful because they’ve mutated in ways that spread easily and don’t immediately kill people. SARS-COV 19 is doing the same thing – mutating in ways that allow it to be successful and stick around. We’re seeing more and more people get sick, but over time though, the severity of those illnesses is declining, for most people. My spouse died of flu in his late 50’s, in part because he had underlying conditions that made him much more susceptible to lung infections.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I just read that in an article yesterday; they were talking about the theory that it could just eventually become a cold virus. Of course, they don’t know at this point. It’s not there yet, and seeing people behave as if it were is annoying.

    21. Aly_b*

      My big worry is timing. With this coming up right before Christmas and New Years, I’m worried that’s going to feed a huge spike with everyone seeing each other at the same time. We’re already seeing huge case count numbers in places that are a little further into it than us, and that’s before the holidays. I want to avoid catching anything when the healthcare system may be overwhelmed and when doctors and nurses may also be home self-isolating after positive tests. I’m basically treating this as take massive precautions for a few weeks, and then take a bit more than my usual level of caution following that.

    22. fposte*

      I was notified of a COVID exposure last week (guy working on my furnace), and it was interesting–my reaction was that I’ve probably been closer to people with COVID without even knowing it, and I was mostly concerned in making sure that I didn’t pass it along.

      I’ve got friends with higher risk tolerance and friends with lower, and none of their takes seem ridiculous to me–I think within general guidelines we’re very much individually negotiating tolerance and, hopefully, risk, which does not always correlate with tolerance. As long as we’re within those guidelines, I feel it’s very much an individual call on where we land (I think family rageful at you for going out have, unfortunately, really misunderstood the nature of the pandemic and where we are in it). I really like having the ability to test before and/or after group contact, even just with the antigen tests; it adds a data point to help in making decisions. Based on information so far, I’m more worried about omicron’s role in collective impact on health care during flu season and with other strains of COVID than I am about omicron itself as something I might get.

    23. Bibliovore*

      Exactly!
      I have a flight Christmas day. Plan was to be in San Diego four days.
      No idea what to do now.

    24. Girasol*

      I was looking forward to covid being kinda over in January after the holiday spike waned, but that looks pretty unlikely now with Omicron. I read last night that it’s a third less deadly than Delta but 7x as communicable. Here where 39% of the people are vaccinated, we may be hit pretty hard for several months after the holiday starts the spread. He’s immune compromised and I’m creeped out at the idea of long covid’s effects on the brain, so we’re careful again. Groceries are coming by delivery (thank goodness we can get that!) and when we go out it’s with an N95 mask and only to see a doctor or pharmacy. Such fun. Spring can’t come soon enough.

    25. WoodswomanWrites*

      Your reaction makes total sense in the landscape of COVID uncertainty. It’s really about what is comfortable for you personally.

      For myself as an older asthmatic, I don’t go to any gatherings with strangers even masked and haven’t since the start of the pandemic. No plane flights, concerts, or movies for me. I will only be unmasked indoors with a very small group of people that I know are as careful as me–vaccinated with boosters and wearing masks every time they leave the house. Basically that’s family members who have visited from out of town, my mother in a retirement community that gets tested every week, and a neighbor in my building.

      Next week I’m taking an overnight road trip with a friend, the first time I’ve done that in two years. We are getting tested before our departure. Assuming we are both negative, we will then ride in the car together unmasked and share a hotel room. But there’s no way we would take this trip together without doing the testing first.

    26. GermanGirl*

      Vaxxed (except the small kids) and tested (everyone) is our rule for getting together with friends/family indoors and unmasked.

      We sometimes meet friends (all of them vaxxed except the small kids) outside at the playground without everyone getting tested first. Maybe that’ll change when Omicron hits the area.

      We currently avoid meeting strangers with unknown status as much as we can, so no unnecessary shopping or using public transportation or things like that. But we’ve not yet started to order our groceries. We use N95 masks and try to hit the least busy times at the supermarket.

      I still go to dance class because it’s only open to people who are double vaxxed and tested or triple vaxxed, and they have air purifiers running, but I wear an N95 the whole time, which is not mandatory.

    27. Loopy*

      I want to say thank you to everyone’s who’s commented so far- I didn’t realize it but I was also feeling so isolated with only the news and my family who are at a far end of the spectrum and just hearing others are struggling to navigate this as much as me made me feel so much less alone. In the first year of the pandemic there was such a “we’re all in this together” sentiment and somewhere along the line suddenly everything became confusing and polarized and I didn’t realize how much I missed feeling like anyone out there was struggling like I was (not that I want that, but it does help not feel so isolated).

      Also so grateful for the AAM crew being so respectful, with how disdainful my family are of anyone making the decision to go out at all, it’s nice to see people falling on different places in the spectrum of responses and no one has attacked anyone.

      My heart goes out to everyone feeling undecided about upcoming holiday plans.

    28. cleo*

      Having to keep make the same decisions over and over with slightly changing information is stressful and tiring. At least it is for me.

    29. *daha**

      I’d been a regular gym-goer until Michigan shut everything down in, I think, May 2020. My my weight went up, my glucose and A1c (diabetes measurements) went up, my clothes got tight, etc. When my gf and I were both fully vaccinated I started back up again, but wearing a mask there including my 40 minutes on the elliptical. Omicron means it isn’t safe for me to keep going there. My weight and diabetes and age make me too vulnerable if I get infected, and omicron is highly likely to infect me there since no one else is masked and the vaccine + booster can still let it through. I can’t risk the “mild” cases.

    30. RagingADHD*

      My area got hit so hard for so long with Delta that we aren’t seeing much fallout from Omicron yet. A slight increase in cases, but hospitalizations and deaths haven’t ticked up yet (and may not for a while because of a lack of hosts).

      We came up with a plan earlier this year that we felt we could live with pretty much indefinitely. We’re vaxxed, my husband is 3x and I’m getting my booster next week, the kids aren’t eligible to boost yet.

      We mask indoors unless it’s a small group who are all vaxxed. We do church and school events, shop, and see friends. We go to the gym and work out masked. We wash our hands and sanitize a lot. We get swabbed if anyone has
      symptoms (no positives yet).

      We don’t plan to change the routine unless there’s public health guidance that advises it. I’m not a doctor or a researcher, and I figure second guessing the guidance is just as suspect in one direction as it is in the other. If I trust the CDC and the health department about masking & taking the vaccine, I’m also going to trust them about feeling free to live life.

    31. David*

      Personally, my approach has been that almost anything I can do that involves contact with other people is safer to not do at all. The only exceptions are when I go out to shop for food or other unavoidable things like getting my driver’s license renewed (or getting vaccinated!), and of course whenever I do have to come in contact with other people I wear the best mask I have available and spend as little time there as possible. I don’t travel at all except for the aforementioned necessities, in particular absolutely no long-distance travel; no visiting friends or family; no live events of any kind; no dining in restaurants; and I’m exclusively working from home. Of course I know that this lifestyle doesn’t work for most people, but at the same time I do think most people – even people who are legitimately trying to do the right thing – could be avoiding interaction more than they are.

      Everything I’ve been hearing about the omicron variant suggests that it’s far more easily spread than the delta variant – somewhere between 5-40 times, depending on how you measure. The number is certainly less for vaccinated people than unvaccinated, less with masks than without, and so on, but in every case it’s still high. (Some of this information comes directly from epidemiologists studying the virus; I follow a lot of scientists on Twitter.) At this point, who knows if there’s any way to avoid a situation where COVID becomes an endemic disease that infects many millions of people a year, every year, for the foreseeable future, but if there is, I’m pretty sure it depends on people drastically decreasing how often they come in contact with each other.

      So, while I know it’s not my place to tell people how to live their lives, my (decidedly non-expert but hopefully well informed) recommendation to anyone who would like to hear a recommendation is this: anything you’re considering doing that brings you into contact with other people, if you can safely skip it, do so. Period.

    32. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      I really don’t know what to do. Back in October, when things seemed to be improving, my sister talked me in to planning a trip back to the US for New Year’s (and my grandmother’s 90th birthday). As things stand right now I can still go on the trip (we’ve both had our boosters and stay home most of the time except to go to the supermarket, and all of our holiday parties were cancelled) but I haven’t actually made all of the final arrangements. And my husband is afraid that we’ll be bringing Omicron from the UK with us, although it’s already everywhere as far as I know. So I’m still wavering on whether to pull the plug.

    33. allathian*

      I’m not feeling lost, but certainly cautious, and a bit dismayed. I’d been cautiously hopeful that we were over the worst of it, but now with omicron that’s not realistic.

      I’m being very picky about when and where I interact with people. I’m more willing to interact with people I know and trust than random strangers, or coworkers when I don’t know the degree of precautions they’re taking. I realize that this is a luxury many people don’t have, so I’m grateful of my privilege: I have a job that can be done fully remotely, and an employer that puts employee health before intangibles like fostering community spirit (a value I support in unexceptional times), never mind a butts-in-seats mentality.

      My employer is recommending that everyone who can work from home should do so, to protect those who can’t (less than 10 percent at my office). We’re still allowed to go to the office for essential things, and with the manager’s permission for when it isn’t strictly necessary, but I’m not going unless I have to. My manager ordered a new work phone for me, but I haven’t picked it up yet. Getting all the software installed is going to take most of a day, and I’ll need to be at the office to do it, so I can get help from IT if I need it.

      Mask mandates are in place now at the office, and while I fully approve, I can’t see to work without glasses, and I haven’t found a mask that will fit snugly enough to avoid fogging, and I’ve tried plenty.

      We’re back to my husband being the only one who does our shopping. I’m not planning on doing any international travel for the foreseeable future, and only traveling in-country by car.

      Our son’s had his two shots, we’re scheduled to get our boosters after Christmas, and my parents and in-laws have all had their boosters. So we’re still planning a family Christmas this year, as long as all of us remain symptom-free. Our son’s gone to school, but other than that we’ve been voluntarily limiting contact even more than usual, and will continue to do so, for 10 days before Christmas.

    34. the cat's ass*

      I feel this. I work in healthcare, so i’m triple vaxxed and masked in a pristinely clean clinic. I grocery shop weekly and DH hits Costco every couple of weeks for the rest, usually during senior citizen hours early in the morning and it’s empty. We’ve taken a couple of short car trips as a family to outside things, two camping trips with our GS troop during the summer (we all slept in our separate cars), and while i adore takeout, I haven’t eaten inside a restaurant since Christmas of 2019. I did go out with a friend and we ate on the patio when it was warm. DD goes to school masked and there is at least one contact notification weekly but no close contact notifications. She and 4 friends went to a ramen joint of friday to celebrate the end of the semester and ate on the patio, even tho it’s freezing here. It’s pretty boring but we’ve all stayed healthy and plan to continue this plan for another few months till (hopefully) omicron blows over.

  12. Ditto*

    Input for your decision making –

    1. We have the same risk tolerance as you, but DH felt he had to attend a work seated dinner party last week at a restaurant. He’s vaxxed/boosted. Work a mask through most of it but was diagnosed 6 days later. This thing is spreading *exponentially*.

    2. However his symptoms seem to be very mild – like a bad cold. Most new variant cases seem to be milder. Caveat: age and pre-conditions can still make this dangerous but I’m seeing % more akin to flu fatalities than the original Covid death/hospitalization rate.

    I do feel the same sense of disorientation, like – I thought we were done with this but here we still are. I had to cancel a long-planned in-person brainstorming meeting with my team next week :-(

    1. Loopy*

      Stories like that are what is making me pause- I first read the booster was keeping you at the same level of protection from omicron and felt much relieved and went about life as a vaccinated, boosted, and masked person. This was probably almost 2 weeks ago. It seems like that is no longer accurate and that is a huge game changer for me. I think I’m also feeling thrown because they maybe said that too soon?

      1. Janet Pinkerton*

        Yeah omicron has convinced me we’re just all gonna get Covid at some point and that trying to fully avoid it is nearly impossible. Which is almost freeing? Being vaxxed reduces your symptoms which is twofold good—you aren’t as sick personally and you’re less likely to need hospital resources.

        1. rr*

          Yeah, I’m right there with you. I’m just hoping that the pills work and that they are here soon with a large supply. I am vaccinated and boosted, but I got a rapid test just now for symptoms. And apparently there is a large spread in my area. Which considering what I see is not that surprising.

          For me, I guess it isn’t so much as taking more restrictions as putting on hold plans I was looking forward to. Going out to see friends, going out to eat, maybe a book buying trip in a store.

          The only thing I can cut out at this point is work (I was remote before and won’t be allowed to be now and I need the job), medical appointments (not really optional) and the drive-through for coffee, which I do once or maybe twice a week, masked. Which I still might stop doing.

          We’re supposed to see my (vaccinated) nephew and his mother this weekend after 3 or 4 years, but we’ll see what my test results say. Honestly, just being in those walk-ins made me nervous. I tried so hard to get an at-home test, but couldn’t. And I had to go in to try, which makes me feel more exposed, even masked. And when I asked about it at one place, the woman I asked pulled down her mask to answer me. That is exactly the reaction I would have right to someone asking me about buying a covid test! No wonder things are getting worse.

        2. Cookie*

          We are all going to get some variant at some point (virologist and epidemiologist friends confirmed this for me). The hard part is not knowing how bad your case will be, so I’m not in a hurry to get it for that reason. I mask indoors, period. Even at the gym, where I go at odd hours so it will be less busy.

        3. Falling Diphthong*

          According to a medical friend of my daughter’s, getting her third shot a few months after her covid bout (which was like a bad cold) will make her super immune for a while, in the sense of how many variations her body has some primed cells to combat.

      2. Venus*

        I think the masking is much more valuable than many politicians admit. Our cases of Omicron here are related to indoor gatherings where people ate and drank without masks. Rules have now changed so that indoor events are always masked. I know of places where the vaccination rate isn’t high yet they wear masks constantly, including outdoors, and their rates are relatively good.

        I know that we don’t yet have answers and I could be wrong, but I feel that masks are what reduces your chance of getting covid. The vaccinations and booster help reduce that chance, but mostly they greatly reduce the risk of going to hospital.

    2. Mia*

      Same thing just happened to my husband, however now our 2 yo can’t go to school for 10 days and I’m unable to work bc I’m watching him and keeping my fingers crossed since I am pregnant. So yes, not greatly affecting my husband but could impact the rest of us. And it’s such a ripple effect – I was talking to a coworker whose dad was diagnosed with cancer a couple months ago but he can’t get his surgery scheduled because of all the covid cases. It’s so disheartening.

      1. Ditto*

        Yes! I’m so glad DH isn’t Really Sick but the ripple effects are so disruptive. We just visited my parents locally – should they now cancel their visit to my brother’s family? Work, daycare/school, plans … all up in the air.

      2. fueled by coffee*

        Ugh, so sorry about your husband and your coworker’s dad, and keeping my fingers crossed that you manage to avoid this!

        But I absolutely agree with you on the ripple effects. If I do get covid, my own personal risk for complications is super low (young, healthy, triple-vaxxed) and I don’t interact with anyone very high risk in my day-to-day life. But I’m very concerned that skyrocketing cases mean hospitals full of unvaxxed or immunocompromised covid patients, and then what happens when I get hit by a car or have a kidney stone and need medical care? If being careful and wearing a mask and limiting large gatherings keeps me from accidentally sending someone immunocompromised to the hospital, I will keep doing it!

        I’m EXHAUSTED from living through this pandemic, and I understand that social interaction is necessary for mental health and individuals are operating within our own levels of risk tolerance (I won’t eat indoors in a restaurant, but I’ve been to small unmasked dinners with 2-3 friends at someone’s apartment, for example), but treating this like an individual problem where people are just looking out for themselves is so aggravating — I despise anti-vaxxers as much as the next person, but the things you do affect everyone around you!

  13. Let me be dark and twisty*

    If you’ve been on crutches, how do you deal with the sore arms and muscles that come from using them?

    Broke my ankle a month ago and my arms are so sore from the crutches that I’ve had to use two hands for simple tasks like brushing my teeth or holding cups/drinks because otherwise my hands shake too much. Good news is that I’m getting a scooter soon so hopefully that will help.

    But man oh man do I wish the Harry Potter spells for healing/regrowing broken bones was a real thing.

    1. Cookie*

      The scooter makes a world of difference. Other than that I remember planning my activities such that I didn’t have to pick up something delicate very soon after a long crutch session. Resting for a minute or two may steady your hands enough to brush your teeth. Crutch into the bathroom, sit down on the lid and wait a bit before attempting to brush. Keep a magazine in there for something to read while you wait!

      Broken ankle was awful, for me – I hated trying to sleep and not being free to move into any position. Blow drying my hair was also a hell of a chore, and doing dishes was no fun. I hope your recovery is as speedy as it can be!

    2. The Dogman*

      For muscles strains I recommend HMB capsules (Calcium B-Methylbutyrate Monohydrate) . It is a precursor amino-acid that counters muscle wastage and supports muscle growth.

      We produce it naturally, there is no ill effect from overdoses (you just don’t use it all and the body gets rid of it), and it is synthesised for exercise/muscle damage recovery and for people with muscle wasting conditions etc.

      I take 4 a day or so as it stops minor strains from dogs pulling on lead from becoming crippling injuries.

      Cannot recommend this supplement more!

    3. PA Julia*

      The crutches may be too long. If they’re pressing into your under arms they can compress nerves affecting your hands. The top of the crutches should be a little below the under arm, not bearing any weight. You stabilize it between your upper arm and chest wall.
      Ask your orthopedist office if they have someone who can check. Or a physical therapist. Or just try shortening the hand grip.
      There are problems you tube videos. Maybe even something on your doctor’s website. Good luck!

    4. fposte*

      I would add to the advice to double check their height; they’re also supposed to be bracing against your torso rather than propping you up under your arms. Of course, you may be doing those things–it’s just hard on arms to do this extra work–but it’s worth checking to make sure.

    5. Free Meerkats*

      Having had 4 broken ankles (well, one was a serious sprain that took longer to heal than any of the breaks) in addition to the height under your arms, check the handle height. The tops should be about 2″ below your armpits when standing straight up and the handles about hip high. You should be able to use them with a slight elbow bend and not feel you’re vaulting over them at every step. And support yourself with the heels of your hands without a strong grip.
      But the knee scooter is a game changer, just feet one that steers.

      1. Cookie*

        I did love whipping around the grocery store on that thing while someone else followed me with a cart. It was probably the only fun moment in a winter of healing from a nasty break.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      I concur with others that the height of the crutches might not be correct. Have a medical professional give them a look and customize them for you. That made a world of difference for me.

  14. On Fire*

    Anyone have alpha-gal syndrome? A woman at The Place We Don’t Discuss On Weekends has it. I’m planning to give her a jar of homemade jam. I use Certo fruit pectin in my jam — but it contains lactic acid. She said as long as jellies aren’t made with gelatin, she can eat them. But is lactic acid likely to trigger her allergy?
    Hers manifests as gastro distress rather than anaphylaxis, but I don’t want her to spend the weekend vomiting because she ate a teaspoon of jam!
    Thanks in advance!

    1. Colette*

      I’d suggest being really clear about what’s in the jam, and letting her decide to eat it or not based on that. She’s going to know her restrictions best.

      1. On Fire*

        Oh, of course! I’m just thinking that if it’s *likely* to cause problems, I’ll give her something different entirely. In which case I need to go shopping this weekend.

        1. Cookie*

          Maybe give her something else too, so if she can’t eat the jam she can serve it to guests or regift it?

          Alpha Gal is the weirdest…did you hear the Radiolab segment about it?

    2. Dwight Schrute*

      I had never heard of it until this post but I have to say I initially thought you were trying to say she was essentially a mean girl and was very confused by the allergen part. Looked it up and it sounds rough to live with!

      1. On Fire*

        Lol. It does sound like a mean girl, doesn’t it? Yes, it’s very limiting for her. Plus she has other allergies, so eating has become Not Fun for her. That’s why I’m trying to make sure she can eat this jam. She LOVED it (before this allergy started), and I’d like for her to get a tiny bit of food pleasure.

    3. Reba*

      Certo claims to be vegan. Anyway, your colleague is the best source on this!

      Just weighing in because I know this Fun Fact! Lactic acid is so named because it was first discovered/isolated fermenting in milk. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with animals and in fact is usually derived from plants.

      1. On Fire*

        Ah, interesting. I couldn’t find anything about it being vegan when I was googling, so thank you! (Most results were about using Certo to get a clean drug test…)

    4. Lizy*

      Can you just… ask her? I mean, I know if it’s supposed to be a surprise you may not want to, but it might be best to just say “hey, I was hoping to surprise you but I want to be sure I don’t accidentally poison you… are you ok to eat these ingredients?”

      I learned my lesson when I gave my friend an allergic reaction to my dandelion jelly (which is freakin’ amazing. If anyone has a chance to eat dandelion jelly, do it. Sooooo yummy). She’s allergic to dandelions and her throat swelled up. Thankfully it wasn’t too bad but still. Whoops…

  15. LadyWhistledown*

    Best winter survival tips?

    We’re new to New England with our first real snowstorm happening today. What are your favorite tips for staying safe (house prep, snow removal, logistics etc) and/or staying cozy (lots of wine for mulling, plenty of hot cocoa, all the fuzzy blankets).

      1. LadyWhistledown*

        I had no idea that was a thing! Thank you for the helpful tip and I’m going to find the vent today so I know what area to keep clear.

        1. Colette*

          If you have an older furnace, it may not be an issue, but if it’s natural gas that vents directly outside (not through the chimney), it’s important.

          1. LadyWhistledown*

            The house uses oil for the furnace plus a pellet stove for alternate heating. But I’ll keep my eyes peeled either way!

    1. usernames are anonymous*

      Not so much for the house but for the car – remote starter if you don’t already have one. I moved from Miami to New Jersey and got one installed in my car so I could start it up before I left the house or the office so the windshield would be defrosted and the car warm to get into.

      1. LadyWhistledown*

        Our car is sadly too old for remote start BUT that’s definitely going on the list for the next vehicle! I love the idea of not spending ages scraping off snow and ice from the windshield.

        1. usernames are anonymous*

          You might want to check with your local garage if they can do it as an add-on. I had an old car at the time and had it installed by a local mechanic.

          1. LadyWhistledown*

            Interesting! That’s really good to know. Car is about to go in for an oil change so I’ll see if they can add it. Thank you so much!

        2. Bibliothecarial*

          Get a windshield cover – they are around $10, available from many major retailers, and you can flourish the snow, ice, and frost off in one fell swoop. Mine has mirror covers too!

      2. cat socks*

        I love my remote start. When I used to go into the office, I would start my car at the end of the day before leaving.

        The first car I had it on was a 2004 Accord. Viper is a common brand. Places like Best Buy will do the installation or there are other places that specialize in car electronics, stereos, etc.

      3. I take tea*

        If not a remote starter, then an engine pre-heater should always be used, if possible. That’s just a cable, it should be easy to add. Much better for both car and the environment. It will make the car warm much faster too.

        1. I take tea*

          Also a cover for the car top cuts down a lot on the scraping! And a showel and some cat sand in the back of the car if/when you get stuck.

    2. Michelle*

      I always like to do a thorough clean of my house before a storm. We have a track record of losing power, and knowing that my chores are all taken care of takes some of the stress off. I make sure the laundry is caught up and the dishwasher has been run, etc. so we have clean items for awhile. It gets dark much earlier in the winter, so having a light source, way of recharging electronics, even if it is with a portable power station that allows you to charge it ahead of time, that has outlets for plugging in USB, etc. is very helpful. I make sure ours is charged.

      I like to make chocolate chip cookies before a storm. It was a tradition that I started years ago, for no particular reason other than wanting to have treats in the house to enjoy if we were trapped for awhile.

      We make sure that the snow blower has had its tune-up and get gas for both it and the generator. The snow shovels are kept at the ready.

      Other than the cleaning/laundry, and doing some baking, I don’t really do much to prepare for a snow storm. We keep a well-stocked pantry year round, so we can typically avoid the rush for “bread and milk” that seems to happen. The threat of a heatwave, hurricane, or intense summer storm; however, is a completely different story. I have a list a mile long to prepare for those, as the threat is much greater if we lose power, even for a short time, and the damage potential is so much greater.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        Ha! I’ve literally been tidying all morning. Just threw in a load of laundry and turned on the dishwasher so this totally resonates. I love the idea of baking something special ahead of a storm. I call that kind of stuff gifts from past me to future me.

        Good reminder to charge up phones and spare battery packs. My husband picked up gas yesterday for the generator and snow blower. We haven’t used a snow blower before but our landlady provides one in a little outdoor shed.

        1. Michelle*

          You sound like you have all of your bases covered then! I live in New England as well, though I don’t know how much snow, if any, we are expecting to get. I am just pulling my last sheet of m&m cookies out of the oven as I speak (type?). I decided to switch it up from my usual chocolate chip, since I had holiday m&ms in my stash.

          1. Lady Whistledown*

            Sounds delicious!! Perhaps I’ll just off my baking stone for some homemade pizza. Hard to beat warm carbs with hot cheese!

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        This is exactly my pre-storm process too!
        We don’t have a generator, but have a wood stove fireplace insert and a gas stovetop and grill, so we can cook.
        We make sure whatever driveway reflectors we need are out (although my husband plows, but if it’s dark and there’s a lot of snow, it’s hard to see the edges)
        And I always have a lot of candles and fairy lights on hand, so if we lose power it feels more magical and fun than a pain in the neck. (unless it goes on for more than a day or two, that is!)

    3. Let me be dark and twisty*

      Shovel the snow periodically through the storm if it’s one of those day-long storms/blizzards, maybe every two or three hours, instead of waiting till it’s over. If you shovel throughout the storm, the snow should be lighter and easier to remove. Whereas if you wait till the end, then the snow will be heavier since it’s all packed in and there will be a lot more so your risk of getting injured is higher. And make sure you know which way the wind is blowing when you are shoveling so it doesn’t blow on your face too much.

      Of course all bets are off if you have a snowblower since they’re amazing. Depending on how much snow your area gets, a snowblower could be a nice long term investment if you decide to get one, do your shopping and purchase in late spring/early summer when demand is low so you get good prices. Delivery might take longer but the deals can be really good.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        We lucked out with a snowblower! Haven’t used it yet but I suspect we’ll be proficient by the end of the season.

    4. Lifelong Winter Survivor*

      You’re gonna want a good shovel (ideally one with the metal tip for breaking ice), good gloves, and good boots. Then you’ll also want a hat that covers your ears and a face mask or scarf to cover your nose. When you’re shoveling, you will actually warm up quite a bit, so go a step down in torso layer than you would if you were just walking. Shoveling is also easier if you take breaks or alternate; you don’t have to get it all done in one go. Car scrapers are also important. I have one that is a combo scraper and brush and has an extendable handle (essential for getting the roof of my car).

      There’s a common joke about how when a storm is coming everyone rushes out to get bread, milk, and eggs. That’s not necessary unless you’re low on one of them and the storm will impact your ability to run to the store for a bit. It’s also not a bad idea to have windshield wiper fluid on hand, but not essential.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        Ah I hadn’t even inspected our shovels yet (they’re provided by the landlady). If there isn’t one with a metal tip I’ll track one down! I did purchase an extendable combo brush/scraper so I promise we won’t be the people with a ton of snow on the roof of the car!

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      1) If your cars are parked outside, keep a snow brush in the house. (Ours lives with the umbrellas.) Then if you need to excavate your car, the brush isn’t inside the car.

      2) Figure out where your flashlights, candles, and matches are before the power goes out. It’s rare for us to lose power (we hypothesize we live near a power company executive) but you don’t want to be flailing around the house in the dark trying to remember where you saw a flashlight 5 months ago.

      3) It can be easier to shovel often. (A few inches at a time, rather than the whole foot at once.) The exception is if it’s supposed to turn to freezing rain at the end–it’s much easier to break up an ice layer on top of a few inches of snow, than an ice layer on top of your driveway and sidewalk.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        Our snow brush is in the car so I’m going to remove it right now – can’t believe I didn’t think of that!

        My partner is a bit of a prepper so we have oceans of flashlights but that’s an excellent reminder to put a couple more of them in easy to spot locations.

        The weather is going to flirt with snow/rain today so im bracing for a nasty mix of snow and ice.

      2. Bad Skin*

        I actually keep snowbrushes both in my house and in my car so I don’t have to remember to move them back and forth. (I’ve had to excavate my car at work before, sometimes without expecting to need to.)

        The freezing rain tip is a good one! I always thought it’d be bad to have to shovel both snow and frozen rain because it’s heavy and wet, but it’s true that ice on top of pavement is hard to deal with!

      3. Ali*

        Same thing with your shovel – make sure your only shovel isn’t inside your car trunk, in case the car gets completely buried in 4-5 feet of snow (ask my how I know…Boston about ten years ago…)

      4. PT*

        If you’re on the same part of the power grid as a hospital, your power will stay on even as the rest of the city goes down. I was half a mile from a Level 1 trauma center during a hurricane that took the whole city’s power down for 7-10 days, I had no idea it was that bad until my husband went back to work. My power was on the whole storm.

    6. It’s snowing here too*

      Always clear the tailpipe of your car before turning it on. Always. If it’s blocked by snow, the cabin will fill & that is often fatal.

      If you are shoveling, not using a snowblower, give yourself breaks rather than trying to do it all at once.

      Safety kit for your car should include snow brush & a small shovel, but also a way to keep warm. I have an old down comforter & a wool throw in the backseat, with extra hats & mittens. (Wool will help keep you warm even if it’s wet, down won’t.) I try to remember to swap out a phone power charger for the car when the weather is bad, so I have an extra power source if needed. (If left out in the cold too long those batteries lose power.)

      We have a battery operated lantern easily accessible for the house, & a good supply of batteries.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Also, drinking water, M&Ms (or granola bars or some kind of food that keeps), a candle, and matches in the trunk. Basically, stuff to keep you alive if you’re caught in a blizzard.

      2. Lady Whistledown*

        I’m going to make the car safety items a priority for tomorrow – especially since we have a young son. Want to be sure we always have a way to stay warm, hydrated, and fed. Thank you for the excellent list!

    7. Bad Skin*

      I keep a spray bottle of de-icer/windshield fluid in my car to help remove ice on my windows. (Defrosters in the back/rear windows and warming up your car probably works better, but I find that this still helps if the ice is on your side windows or your car takes a while to warm up.)

    8. C in the Hood*

      If you have sidewalks, I ask on behalf of your pedestrian dog-walkers & neighbors & to clear them well. Especially up to your mailbox.
      Another snow-shoveling tip: before you shovel, spray the surface with WD-40 to keep the snow from sticking to it. (A friend told me this & it really helps!)
      Car: make sure it has > 1/4 tank (if it gets really cold & there’s little gas, it can freeze); if not, be sure to have some dry gas on hand (available at gas stations).
      If you have a power outage & you have a generator, DO NOT run the generator inside the house due to carbon monoxide.
      Apologies if you know some of these already!

      1. A313*

        Yes, about the generator. Skimmed an article the other day about how companies that make portable generators could make them (at additional cost, I presume) so they would generate less CO2, but don’t, and people die from not knowing/following safety instructions.

      2. Lady Whistledown*

        No sidewalks in our spot but totally agree on being a good citizen there! Love the WD-40 tip. Pure genius. We did know about generator operators from our time in hurricane land but always an excellent reminder! This house has an outdoor shed to keep the unit safely covered during operations.

    9. Michelle*

      One other safety tip, is that New England can be prone to wet, heavy snows that drag the trees down, causing branches to snap. (Not likely during this storm, but potentially.) If there has been a particularly heavy snow, use extreme caution when walking under tree boughs while shoveling and blowing snow. People have died when high branches break suddenly under the weight and crash down on them. You may also want to consider where you park your car for this reason as well. Every year there are pictures of cars that have been crushed by a tree branch falling on them.

      1. Koala dreams*

        Also, don’t walk too close to buildings with snow or ice on the roof. Sometimes those slide off the roof. :(

    10. old biddy*

      I’m in upstate NY. People here don’t do the last minute milk and bread rush, but it is good to not wait until the last minute to replace them or buy gas. Def. check the furnace vent early and often. Depending on the snow texture, I may go out and clear the walkway and the area next to the garage door once or twice if it’s fluffy and light so that it doesn’t have a change to ice up. Put a snow-clearing brush/scraper in the car and consider putting a blanket/coats/gloves/kitty litter/shovel in your car.
      If you’re at work, try to leave before it starts snowing too heavily.
      If the conditions are ok for it, I like to take a walk. I’m a little bit weird that way.
      For staying cozy, I like to bake bread and make a giant pot of soup.
      Next fall, clean your gutters, install a new furnace filter, put up the driveway marking sticks, put on the snow tires, clear away any plant debris from the yard, etc.

    11. Not So NewReader*

      I have ended up being responsible for a shared driveway (long story). I try to get out while it’s still day light to do my last clean up before bed. And in the morning I try to wait for daylight to finish the clean up. This is not always possible with work, but I do it on days I can because dang! this gets tiring and even more so if I have to snowblow in the dark.

      We watch for freezing rain predictions. It is easier to remove the ice if there is snow under it. This changes how we respond to each storm, really. North of me there are freezing rain predictions so I am just waiting and watching. The snow has started here, but I can still see blades of grass sticking up. Predictions vary and go up to as much as 8 inches for today.

      When cleaning the mouth of your driveway do not assume cars can see you. They may be distracted by someone else or the snow piles might be too high or the road might be slippery. Tuck in for safety when you see a car coming.
      If your snow thrower has lights, please use them at dusk as well as after dark.

      Keep a set of jumper cables in the house. I can tell you first hand the cables freeze and you can’t uncoil them.
      At one point my husband had a car with a block heater. We set up an extension cord with an indoor/outdoor timer so the block heater would come on about 2 am. We always had one car that would definitely start.

      Locks freeze. Lock de-icer does no good in the car when the car doors are frozen. I get several and put them in my handbag, tote bag and a couple of coats.

      Windshield washer fluid graded for winter temps is well worth the money. My friends shared the idea of using Rainx on my car windows and that makes a HECK of a difference in cleaning off the ice.

      Those snow brooms for cars that are shaped like the letter T are a gift to humankind. They have a spongy soft head and they are on a long pole. Well worth the money spent, as it only takes a couple minutes to clear a car. One place I worked, I did my older cohort’s car too, both cars took me less than five minutes.

      I carry a covered bucket of sand with me in my car If I get stuck in a minor way, the sand will get me out. If I get stuck in a big way, I am probably calling for help.

      Speaking of calling for help- if you have Triple A or roadside assistance through your insurance- find those numbers and put them in your wallet or on your cell. Know where the number is.

      Check on the older folk around you- even if it’s just to look out the window and make sure no tree has fallen on their house. Give a quick check. I’m not *that* old but last year we had a sudden BAD storm and I could not use my tractor as it was just too much. A neighbor touched my heart when she called, “Got a plan for your driveway? No? I am sending someone to you!” oh my. (I ended up needing a front end loader on that one.)

      Starting a winter prep list and keeping it from year to year is very helpful.

    12. Girasol*

      If you get icicles on the eaves, water from the melting snow on the roof can puddle behind the ice dam and then leak into your ceiling. The builder of our place says we need to rake down the snow on the eaves so there’s no icicle buildup, or else to mount a heating wire to melt the snow off the eaves and prevent ice dams.

    13. SofiaDeo*

      I have a small Honda generator inverter for emergency use, for heat and running fridge/freezer. Originally got for camping! Get indoor/outdoor oversized extension cords. Plan on only using about 1/2 the generator wattage for extended time periods, there is a small wattage surge when starting appliances so be careful not to overload. I got a 2200 watt rated one, and either use the 500/750 watt radiator setting with a few hundred watts left over for lamps, or I turn off the radiator during the day and run the fridge/freezer along with coffepot, or electric skillet or other small wattage cooking appliances.I got a small oil filled radiator that can be rolled around, is almost silent, and isn’t a fire danger. The Honda generator costs $1K-1500K, the radiator around $50. This is for the “quick and easy to do” emergency setup. After losing power for 30 hours this past week, I am looking at a small whole house natural gas generator that kicks in when the electric goes out. I don’t want to spent big bucks (i.e. $10K) making it so the entire house is 100% functional as it is during “no inclement weather”, so we are looking at just enough to run heat/AC, plus fridge/freezer, and some kitchen appliances and a few lamps. The unit I am looking at costs $2K-3K plus installation. Will be going to Home Depot next week to start the process.

    14. Lady Danbury*

      On the less practical side, invest in stylish (whatever that means to you) yet warm outerwear. For a significant portion of the year, the only clothing most people will see are your coat, boots, scarf and hat. If you’re at all into fashion, the same boring black puffy coat gets old fast. I lived in Michigan for 8 years and built up a wardrobe of fuchsia, red, tan, grey and black coats with fun details such as belts or wide collars. Materials like wool, wool/cashmere blends and thinsulate lining will help add warmth but still look sleek. Even the puffy jackets have stylish options now (or maybe they always did and I just didn’t realize it). Earmuffs can be a welcome change from hair crushing hats. Warm scarfs come in an entire rainbow of colors and patterns. Post-holiday sales are a great time to stock up on winter gear.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        I confess I’m not terribly stylish but I do love a nice pop of color. I’ll keep an eye out for cozy hats and scarves!

    15. cleo*

      For your car: keep a box of kitty litter or bucket of sand in the trunk to use as traction grit if you get stuck. Cardboard also works for traction – I use flattened shipping boxes.

    16. David*

      A list of assorted tips (for context, I grew up in upstate New York so these are based on my experience there, yours may vary):

      Make sure to run the snowblower (or shovel, if applicable, though I noticed you mentioned you have a snowblower) before the snow gets deeper than the blower’s intake. A few years ago I was clearing the driveway through a big storm where 3 feet of snow fell in one day, and it would have been pretty much impossible to remove all the snow in one go at the end. Instead I went over the whole driveway every couple of hours, so I only had to remove like 8 inches at a time. It was quite a workout but definitely doable. (I was using a shovel in that case; with a snowblower it’s faster and you can handle more snowfall at once, but the same general idea applies.)

      Keep a shovel right by your door, or in an enclosed area where you can get to it even if there’s too much snow to walk through.

      Get a roof rake for clearing large snow accumulations from your roof. Well-built roofs are pretty strong and can hold a decent amount of snow, but it is possible for it to accumulate over a season (especially if there’s a particularly big storm) to the point where it puts a strain on the roof.

      If you’re in a situation where you have a driveway that connects to a road plowed by the local government, be prepared for a big pile of snow at the end of your driveway after the plow goes by. Unlike the fresh snowfall, this will be very dense, compressed snow. Depending on the circumstances, you might not be able to clear it with a snowblower; you might need a sturdy shovel to get rid of it, and make sure to shovel smaller chunks than you ordinarily would because it’s so heavy.

      Speaking of plowing: different roads get plowed at different times, and over time you’ll get a sense of where your street falls in the plowing priority, and thus how long you’re likely to have to wait after a significant snowfall before you can go out driving. You might find that certain grocery stores, gas stations, or other businesses are not accessible at certain times during a snowstorm because of the plowing patterns.

      If you go out driving in snow (and if you’re like most people you probably will, at some point, even if it’s not actually during the storm), make sure to leave extra space between you and the cars around you. If my experience is any indication, just because people are used to driving in snow doesn’t mean they will do it safely!

      When driving in wintry weather, well-trafficked roads are the safest, as long as it’s not too cold. The cars’ tire tracks keep parts of the road clear of snow and keep the moisture from freezing. Next best is driving on plowed and salted roads. After that, driving on packed snow; you can definitely do it, but your tire traction will be much less than normal, so stay slow and try to avoid sudden acceleration, deceleration (brakes), or sharp turns, because your car might refuse to cooperate. The most dangerous driving condition is “black ice”, where a thin layer of water freezes on an otherwise clear road. It can look just like a wet road.

      Any time you do take your car (or whatever vehicle you have) out driving in wintry weather, get it washed at the first opportunity after the weather warms up, and *make sure* to get an undercarriage/underside wash. At a lot of automatic car washes, it’s an option at some extra cost, but well worth it. The thing that really kills cars in wintry areas is road salt splashing up on to the bottom of the car.

      Whenever you or anyone else comes in from an extended period outside in cold weather (e.g. shoveling/blowing snow), they will appreciate having a hot drink prepared for them :-) Hot chocolate, tea, coffee, whatever you like.

      And last but most important: snow is fun! I mean, when it snows, don’t feel like you have to be stuck inside a warm house. If you feel like it, go out and make and throw snowballs or build a snowman/snow sculpture, if the snow supports it (it needs to be wet and heavy). Or, take a walk around your neighborhood or your yard if you have one. Accumulated snow is fantastic at absorbing sound, so during a proper snowfall (none of this freezing rain/wintry mix nonsense), it might well be the quietest and most peaceful environment you’ve ever been in. And that kind of wet, absorbent snow tends to fall when it’s not very cold, i.e. not far below freezing, so it won’t be too uncomfortable.

      1. Lady Whistledown*

        This was such a detailed and thoughtful compilation – thank you!!! We are one street in from a pretty well trafficked road that goes directly to a grocery store so we feel quite lucky (and will try to buy in this specific neighborhood!). I’m planning to build a snowman this afternoon now that the driveway is all done!

    17. KR*

      I like to do several maintenance shovels during the storm so when you’re doing The Big After Shovel, it’s not as bad. It also helps if the snow turns wet and icy because it isn’t as heavy. It’s more time overall shoveling but less weight (and a workout)! Keep your phone on a charger and it’s not a bad idea to have some oil lamps around the house (the old timey glass ones) as they provide a lot of light and a good atmosphere in case of a power outage.

      1. KR*

        Also, in addition to keeping your shovel by the door or inside like David said… keep your snow brushes in the house and not in your car! Otherwise you will get snow in your car and it will be a pain trying to get the brush out to clear off your car. Have fun! I’m jealous of the snow!

    18. Morning reader*

      Yaktrax.
      Layers.
      Walking sticks with ski pole type attachment.
      Keep your phone in interior layer, it doesn’t like cold.
      Heater cats, indoors.

  16. CatCat*

    We got an Oculus! For those that have one, what apps and games do you like?

    I’ve watched some cool YouTube VR videos, used Maloka meditation app, tried Supernatural, played the demos of Beat Saber and Super Hot VR, and briefly explored the International Space Station (made me motion sick though). So far, it’s pretty cool. Super immersive. I cannot handle things where you sort of move/float through virtual space (made me nauseous) so no more space station for me (too bad because it was so neat!) and I use teleport on Maloka instead of floating/walking around my island.

    1. anon24*

      I have a valve index, so I don’t know if any of these games are available on the occulus, but my favorite VR games are Synth Riders, Blade and Sorcery, Until You Fall, and (the best quality VR game ever but rather genre specific) Half Life Alyx. Also would recommend Nature Treks VR and my spouse really likes Moss.

  17. Historical Fiction Recs*

    I’ve become quite obsessed with historical fictions since Outlander, trying to find some other amazing books! I’ve become very interested in my ancestry since it, and found that a lot of my family came to the US during the British Colonial America times. Would love to read some historical fictions that have to do with that time period, also enjoy reading WW1 and WW2 stories. Love me a good love story as well (Outlander… <3<3<3)

    I never even thought I could like this genre of books but it’s a great way to learn about history without having to read nonfiction.

    1. Angstrom*

      Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin series that starts with “Master and Commander” is excellent.

      WWII: “HMS Ulysses” by Alistair MacLean

      US Civil war: “The Killer Angels” by Michael Sahara

      1. I take tea*

        I was just thinking of the HMS Ulysses the other day. Well written, but dear me it’s really bleak. Not his most uplifting story, to put it mildly.

    2. AY*

      For something on the historical side, you might want to try Ken Follett’s Century series. The first one is called Fall of Giants, and it’s set in World War I. Follett always has lovers separated by circumstances and villains, but it’s definitely not steamy like Outlander. For that, I would recommend Discovery of Witches. You have to wait until the second book for the historical stuff, but it’s super fun when it happens.

    3. Reader*

      Seconding the Sahara recommendation. He’s got a whole ton of books set during all different US wars. The Glorious Cause is set during the American Revolution and is excellent.

      Less historical fiction and more period romance, but To Love and To Loathe is one of the funniest and best books I’ve read in ages.

      1. Reader*

        Can’t believe I forgot these:
        The Paragon Hotel – historical thriller set in a Black hotel in 1920’s Portland, Oregon
        The Night Tiger – a mystery set in 1930’s Malaysia that starts with a seamstress who moonlights as a dancehall girl finding a severed finger

        Not historical fiction, but non-fiction written in a novelistic style: the works of Erik Larson. I’ve only read Devil in the White City (twining together the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who operated in the area), but it was gripping. My dad has read and recommends both In The Garden of Beasts (about the family of the American ambassador to Germany in the 1930s) and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania.

        1. Historical Fiction Recs*

          Thank you!!! Would be very into non-fiction that’s written like that. They sound amazing!

    4. Aneurin*

      Children’s/YA literature but very enjoyable: The Witch of Blackbird Pond (New England in Colonial America) by Elizabeth George Speare, Bonnie Dundee (Jacobite uprising) by Rosemary Sutcliff.

      (Rosemary Sutcliff wrote exclusively (I think?) historical fiction, most set in Roman Britain through to the medieval period, a lot of her books are children’s/YA but – especially the YA ones – I still enjoy them as an adult.)

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I love The Witch of Blackbird Pond! I remember it getting passed around at school when I was a teenager. I donated a lot of books before moving, but I kept that one.

        Bookmarking this thread—I enjoy period fiction even if it’s not set in ancient times or several hundred years ago. There are a lot of good children’s/YA books set in the 1960s, etc. The Watsons go to Birmingham springs to mind. Richard Peck wrote several too—Fair Weather, set during the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, and the Blossom Culp series in the early 1900s pre- and post-Titanic, particularly Ghosts I Have Been (that’s one of my favorites).

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Morgan Llewelyn’s Irish Century series (5 books, all titled by years, first one is “1916”) goes from 1914 to the turn of the century, following the families of a couple of (fictional) Irish Republicans against the historical background.

      This isn’t quite the same, but — I enjoy Harry Turtledove’s alternative history. He tends to take the events of one time and/or place and … recast? them into a different setting, and it’s neat to see where they go. (Also, if you like science fiction, he has a series that’s WW2 getting interrupted when aliens invade, and it SOUNDS hokey in the one-line description like that, but it’s actually remarkably interesting, and very well thought out in its application. First book is “In The Balance.”)

      Someone else suggested Ken Follett’s Century books, and I second that, they’re great — his Kingsbridge series, starting with The Pillars of the Earth, is also excellent.

      1. LizB*

        I love Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove (what if the Spanish armada wasn’t destroyed by a storm, and conquered England in 1588?), but I haven’t picked up any of his other series – I may try In The Balance now!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          There’s actually eight books in the series – a quad that covers the actual war with the aliens, a trilogy about the “immediate” aftermath (how the world stands 10-15 years on, IIRC) and a one-off that’s a little more distant :)

          Then I was reading another one of his books a while later and about busted a gut laughing when a sentry reported an issue to his superior and the response was “Hell’s bells, Turteltaub, next you’ll be telling me aliens have landed.”

          I did bounce pretty hard off his Atlantis series, but in general, I’ve really enjoyed just about everything of his that I’ve read.

    6. Shiara*

      Gillian Bradshaw and Rosemary Sutcliff are my two favorite historical fiction writers, although most of their stuff is more roman era.

      I really enjoyed the Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope, which is partially set during the revolutionary war.

    7. Fellow Traveller*

      More Revolutionary War than Colonial, but there’s a great mystery trilogy by Margret Lawrence featuring a midwife who solves murders. It’s called the Hannah Trevor Trilogy, the first book is Hearts and Bones. It’s fantastic, the writing is beautiful and evocative, and the plots really suck you in. I think the series is out of print but it’s worth seeking out.

    8. Dark Macadamia*

      I read a lot of WWI and WWII fiction:

      The Alice Network – reading it right now, alternates between a woman spy in WWI and a young pregnant woman post WWII

      Code Name Verity – YA but one of my favorites ever, a teen spy writing from a Nazi POW camp

      The Nightingale – sisters with a German soldier staying in their home in occupied France

      – Suite Francaise: written about French occupation while it happened, by a Jewish woman in hiding. It’s really extraordinary

    9. OyHiOh*

      The 1635 series, by Eric Flint, was one of my “not my genre, but damn good series” sets. Premise is a modern day village in West Virginia gets dropped into Bavaria/Germany in 1635. All hell breaks loose. The history of what was happening in Bavaria at the time is reasonably accurate for an alternative history novel and I appreciate that none of the characters dwell too hard on the long term historical impacts of what they’re doing. Everyone just trying to survive, and take care of each other.

      This is a series that immediately spawned a vast and enthusiastic fanfic community. Unlike some authors, Eric Flint embraced the community and he wrote several books in the series in tandem with fanfic authors, as well as having a couple of those authors publish books in the series fully on their own.

    10. T minus now*

      Phillippa Gregory has written a bunch of books set in the War of Roses and the Tudor Dynasty. Very well researched and a good read!

    11. Lizy*

      Phillipa Gregory has some awesome books, particularly the Plantagenet and Tudor books. She writes from the perspective of the women, and so while the historical facts are there, she’s able to take liberties into what they might have been thinking or feeling. It’s incredibly fascinating – she has covered a lot of the queens and main characters from Henry VIII’s great-grandmother at the beginning of the war of the roses, through Elizabeth I.

      I may or may not be rereading them chronologically for the bajillionth time, and I may or may not have discovered that I have duplicate copies of at least 2 of the books…

      1. Analyst Editor*

        I think her “Queen’s Fool” and “The Other Boleyn Girl” are the best; by the third or fourth you start seeing similarity in approaches to how she writes the character, which took me out of the story a bit.

        1. Lizy*

          Oh really?? I definitely don’t feel that haha! I’m reading “The White Princess” now (about Elizabeth of York – mother of Henry VIII for those who don’t know), and I feel like her personality is WAY different from that of her MIL Margaret Tudor or even her own mother Elizabeth Woodville.

    12. Florida Woman*

      A book that I enjoyed that deals with colonial history is Wind from the Carolinas. It focuses on Loyalists in places like the Carolinas who were basically run out of the US after the revolution and relocated to the Bahamas. As an American I had never learned much in school about the folks in the colonies who DIDN’T want independence to happen! It’s one of those multigenerational family sagas that includes plenty of relationships, not just the history.

      A historical series I recommend is the Hannah Vogel mystery series by Rebecca Cantrell. It’s set during the early Nazi era (1930s) and does a lot to illustrate exactly how the racial discrimination of the time changed workplaces, social interactions, and other aspects of the daily lives of people in Germany, especially Jewish people.

      If you ever want to focus on UK history, I highly recommend anything by Sharon Kay Penman. Here Be Dragons (13th century Wales) and The Sunne in Splendour (War of the Roses) are particular favorites of mine.

    13. LizB*

      Slightly later time period, but I love the Benjamin January series by Barbara Hambly – murder mysteries set in 1830s New Orleans, the main character is a free Black man, and the historical details around race and class in that setting are fascinating.

    14. PollyQ*

      Neal Stephenson’s 3-book Baroque Cycle. There is a LOT of plot and many characters, so it’s hard to sum up, but you can check the wikipedia pages if you want more details. (Note: Stephenson calls it science fiction, but it really isn’t. It’s historical fiction that’s partially about science with some tiny little itsy bitsy SFF details.)

    15. cleo*

      The Loyal League series by Alyssa Cole is set during the American Civil War – it’s historical romance and both the history and the romances are really good. Most of the main characters are spies for the Union working in the South during the war. My favorite is book 2. They all work as stand alones.

    16. RagingADHD*

      Try Stephanie Dray. My Dear Hamilton and America’s First Daughter are colonial/revolutionary war.

      The Women of Chateau Lafayette runs from 1774 to WWII.

    17. Booksy*

      I strongly agree with whoever recommended “The Killer Angels.” You don’t have to be interested in the American Civil War to like it. It’s a character study of the men involved on both sides and it’s amazing. Also: The books about Rome by McCullough — the first one is “The First Man in Rome.” All the synopses make these books sound very dull, but they are historical fiction full of intrigue, gossip, murder, heroics, you name it — and quite a bit of it is absolutely true, based on historical documents. A nonfiction book that reads like the best of fiction is Seabiscuit. I have NO interest in horse racing or horses in general, and I have reread this book three times. It’s so well-written, and makes you feel you know all the people in it. I also love Hawaii by James Michener, the prolific writer of historical fiction. It was written in the 50’s or 60’s, I think, so it does have some outdated notions in it that might irritate, but it’s a great story, and astoundingly, the most bizarre parts are true, based on a missionary wife’s recollections. Lastly (for now!): Shogun. Fabulous book. Some really harsh bits that are hard on the squeamish (that includes me), but an amazing book, based loosely on true events. Thanks for this thread, I love historical fiction and there are many books others have mentioned that I now look forward to reading!

    18. Sleeping Late Every Day*

      The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton, set in 17th century England and the New England colonies. It’s historical fiction, but as well-researched as any good non-fiction.

  18. Morning Dew*

    Need help with my slow shower drain!

    So far, I have done:
    (a) plain hot water multiple times
    (b) 1/2 cup (kosher) salt + near boiling hot water + hot tap water multiple times
    (c) few TBS of blue Dawn dish detergent + near boiling hot water + hot tap water multiple times
    (d) I tried “snaking” with that long plastic gizmo but no hair is coming out (I already use a hair catcher for the drain).

    I know about hot water + baking soda + vinegar method but it is not effective.

    I’m seeing people talking about just plain white vinegar or mix hot water with white vinegar then pour or baking soda + salt + wait some time + hot water. I also read about using epsom salt? (Note: one blog said it doesn’t matter which salt you used. Then another site said to use table salt. I only have kosher salt so that’s what I used.)

    Can you please share what methods you have tr