weekend open thread – March 5-6, 2022

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

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: Paula, by Isabel Allende. A mother’s memoir of family, as her daughter lays in a coma. Beautiful and haunting.

 I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 939 comments… read them below }

  1. Bibliovore*

    Podcast suggestions please. No true crime. No politics. I am fond of Fresh Air, On Being, WTF, The Business. Terrible thanks for asking.
    This house needs cleaning and I am avoiding my taxes.

    1. Holly the spa pro*

      My fav podcast atm is This Paranormal Life. It’s a comedy podcast about paranormal things and it’s hilarious

    2. MissElizaTudor*

      I’m a big fan of Hey Riddle Riddle. It’s three improv people from Chicago and they ask each other riddles and then do scenes inspired by the riddles. It’s an easy listen, they’re very funny, and if you zone out and miss something, it doesn’t really matter because there isn’t a plot or overarching story to get confused about.

    3. Ashkela*

      If you were ever a fan of the show Star Trek: Voyager, two of the cast members have been doing a podcast called The Delta Flyers as they rewatch the show and then talk about it. There’s a Patreon for visual and longer versions, but the free audio is plenty for me.

    4. The Prettiest Curse*

      I enjoy Criminal (crime-relared stories, but NPR so it’s classy), Decoder Ring (deep dive on individual pop culture topics), One Year (each series is about a different year in recent history), 13 Minutes to the Moon (the first series is about Apollo 13 and is particularly good), Uncover from CBC (each series is about a crime or major incident with a Canadian connection) and … Kermode and Mayo’s film review (if there are any fellow listeners on this board, hello to Jason Isaacs.)

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        Oh, and my husband really likes You Must Remember This (stories from Hollywood history), but I’ve never really been able to get into it for some reason.

    5. Posilutely*

      Terrible Lizards (podcast about dinosaurs for grown-ups by a palaeontologist and a comedian)
      ABC Conversations (really fascinating people being interviewed for an hour; each episode complete within itself and I only listen to the ones that interest me)
      Chat 10 Looks 3 (two political journalists who are close friends chatting about books, films, shows, podcasts, TV they’ve enjoyed but never politics)
      How To Fail (woman who interviews semi-famous people about their self-percieved three greatest failures)
      Phoebe Reads A Mystery (woman with incredibly soothing voice reading aloud novels from the late 18 and early 1900s)
      Grounded with Louis Theroux (lockdown chats between the documentary maker and famous people he knows)
      The Habitat (short series about a group of people who spent some time isolated inside a simulated Mars environment)

    6. Coast East*

      I’m partial to Stuff you Missed in History Class and SawBones. SawBones is a little more comedy based. If you don’t like true crime but willing to listen to gross stuff, This Podcast Will Kill You is fascinating. But if you need an extra little something to really get into a deep clean scrub, musicals hit the spot.

      1. Mom of Two*

        I also second Things you Missed in History Class. I also quite enjoy History of Fashion as well as Under the Influence.

        1. Lime green Pacer*

          Under the Influence is great, and the CBC site has visuals for the ads that he discusses.

      2. Fikly*

        For improvised musicals, highly recommend Off Book. Each episode is standalone, and can be a bit hit or miss depending if the topic grabs you, but some of them have me rolling on the floor, so it could be great for cleaning.

    7. JustForThis*

      Someone on a previous weekend thread recommended 99% Invisible. Each episode is a deep dive into an unlikely but always rewarding topic, such as the history of office layouts, the development of weight lifting, the tenaciously fought battle about margarine etc. Fun to listen to, and really insightful.

    8. IT Manager*

      Nobody Listens To Paula Poundstone

      They had Tom Hanks once and he said “what’ is this podcast called, is it the Chaos Hour?” which is pretty accurate. But it’s also funny and they have on random expert guests – I like the randomness of learning about ants one week and hurricane chasing the next.

    9. PollyQ*

      * How Did This Get Made? which is a group podcast that analyzes movies, mostly ones that are awful & flops. The “cast” includes various Hollywood pros, including regular Jason Mantzoukas and occasional guests like Kevin Smith. It can be VERY VERY funny, albeit also pretty fricken raunchy. (Seriously, I just finished the Lake House episode, and it was definitely N. S. F. W!.)

      * Pop Culture Happy Hour. Another show biz/pop culture offering, this time from NPR. Also funny, but a little more thoughtful.

      * If you have a Slate subscription, I like Hit Parade, despite its being slow, discursive, and overly detailed. I know, I know, I’m not doing a great job of selling it here, but it’s really grown on me.

      1. New car blues*

        Hidden Brain. Shankar’s voice is so soothing and the topics so interesting that I would just sit in the car to listen to the end of an episode

        1. Alex*

          +2 for Hidden Brain, and also agree about Shankar’s voice. Can he do a spinoff where he just reads bedtime stories? Lol. Love him.

        2. Too old for this*

          +3 for hidden brain.
          Also, How I Made This about how entrepreneurs started their business.

          1. LemonLyman*

            To clarify in case, I think it’s called “How I Built This”. It’s the one with Guy Raz

    10. Swisa*

      These are my faves!

      By that Book is two women who live by self help books for 2 weeks and then report the results.

      Forever35 is two forty- something women who are friends, focusing a lot on skincare and self care. Mondays and Fridays are listener episodes, where they respond to calls and emails. Wednesdays they interview a female or nonbinary guest. They’ve had Nora Macanearny, Busy Phillips, Jasmine Guillory and more on.

      Gee Thanks Just Bought It is in the same Podcast universe as Forever35, since it’s produced by the Forever35 hosts, but hosted by Caroline Moss. It’s a shopping podcast where she shares things she’s bought and typically has guests, including Nora Macanearny (from Terrible, Thanks for Asking). She and Nora actually also have a Patreon where they host episodes on early 2000s reality TV.

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      You’re Dead to Me from the BBC, in which a historian brings on a subject matter expert and a comic and then they do a dive into some topic, like Medieval Christmas or Josephine Baker.

      Says You on NPR, in which people good with words have a lot of fun.

    12. CTT*

      If you’re into movies, “This Had Oscar Buzz”, about movies that received no Oscar nominations but people thought would. The movies they cover are a mix of actually good (Hustlers, Where the Wild Things Are), okay but bungled (Solaris), and total train wrecks (the episode on The Tourist is amazing).

      Also, I have gone back to listen to “American Fiasco” when cleaning; it’s a miniseries about the US men’s soccer team in the 1998 World Cup and the history of soccer in the US up to that point and what led to such a bad performance in that tournament. The host is Roger Bennett, who’s one half of the Men In Blazers show and is established enough that he was able to interview EVERYONE involved. You don’t have to be into soccer to get it – my mom listened to it and enjoyed it.

      1. the cat's ass*

        again, if youre into movies, Brett Goldstein’s (Ted Lasso’s acerbic Roy Kent) podcast “Films to be buried with’ is a lot of fun!

    13. lobsterbot*

      99% invisible, it’s interesting, well-made and well-paced. I use it for cleaning regularly.

    14. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      Those are also my parameters for podcasts these days! so here are my favorites (NB, most of these are not at all family friendly, which I’m slowly realizing as my oldest child is starting to understand):

      Ologies with Alie Ward (science, talks to a different scientist every time. Huge back catalog and you can pick and choose the topics you’re interested in. Very chatty and informal to the point that I found it off-putting at first, but good hard science behind it, and Alie knows her stuff despite the casual/occasionally filthy demeanor. Bonus points because she puts an emphasis on diversity and talks to scientists about their paths to their field, which are often less straightforward than one might think! )

      Maintenance Phase (do you hate diet culture and love debunking bullshit health trends? This podcast is for you. It will make you mad but also bring catharsis. Got some internalized fatphobia you want to get rid of? Also great for that. It is hands-down my current favorite and cannot recommend it highly enough. Super well researched and the hosts are awesome)

      Our Fake History (looks at historical myths and the real history/lack thereof behind them. Excellent storytelling from a Canadian high school history teacher)

      You’re Wrong About (originally with two hosts, diving into misunderstood and misremembered recent history. Sometimes veers into true crime, but you can go by topic. Definitely not a before-bed listen but the hosts are super kind and empathetic and I will listen to them talk about anything. Recently changed format a bit but still good)

      Sawbones (mentioned elsewhere, also does a lot of fake science debunking as well as history)

      History of England (my go-to before bed podcast, hosted by a sarcastic English. Definitely causes eye-glazing at times but is overall entertaining and, as an American, mostly new information)

    15. eisa*

      I have no suggestions, but came here to say for those who *are* into true crime podcasts, “Only Murders in the Building” is an absolute must-see.
      (In fact, it is also a must-see for people who are neither into true crime nor into podcasts, such as myself ;-) )

      1. LemonLyman*

        I thoroughly enjoyed Only Murders! I’m 41 so I’m a bit young to have really seen any Steve Martin & Martin Short movies (other than Parenthood and the classic Three Amigos) and a bit old to have really seen much with Selena Gomez but I thought they all were great and a fun trio.

    16. bassclefchick*

      I also love You Must Remember This! The recent series on Dean Martin and Sammy Davis was fascinating. And, they had a really in depth series about the Blacklist era that was excellent.

      I Saw What You Did. Millie and Danielle each cover a movie every week. You don’t have to have seen the movies as they give really in depth discussions. Plus, I really love when they make each other laugh. The stuff they talk about before the movies is hilarious! Chauncey! Cinnamon Brooms!!!

      Both Alan Alda and Mayim Bialik have podcasts. Alan Alda’s is about communication and he has great guests. The one with Tom Hanks just made my pop culture heart explode with happiness. Mayim Bialik’s is about mental health and she really gets her guest to open up.

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        I Saw What You Did is so good! I love that their conversations range from “we need to talk about auteur Black directors who never achieved great fame because of racism in the industry” to “let’s make fun of this ridiculous volcano movie.” It fills such a need for the female POC perspective on film while being a complete joy to listen to. Chauncey!

    17. Janet*

      Working It Out, especially if you like WTF! The host, Mike Birbiglia, is comedian/storyteller. Every episode he interviews another creative-type guest (usually another comedian) and works through new material. I particularly like “the slow round” about guest’s memories, and there are a lot of warm and funny episodes.

      Seconding Maintenance Phase, too! That’s probably my favorite these days.

    18. AnonAgain*

      Don’t Ask Tig. Audio advice column with comic and actress Tig Notaro and guest answering listener’s questions. Answers are sometimes silly, sometimes serious and always entertaining.

    19. Sunshine*

      You’re wrong about. Just the gist. You are good. Song exploder. The moth. Pop culture happy hour.

    20. Also Cute and Fluffy!*

      Podcasts I enjoy and mostly fit your criteria:
      A Way With Words
      Sawbones (about medical myths and such)
      Native America Calling
      You’re Wrong About
      The West Wing Weekly
      Lucifer: A Must Be Tuesday Podcast
      How Are Ya Now: The Toughest Podcast in Letterkenny
      (I search for podcasts on my favorite tv shows, movies, spectator sports, etc)
      Coffee With My Ma ( Kaniehtiio Horn, Tanis from Letterkenny, interviews her mom about stories from her life)
      Ask a Clean Person
      Ask a Manager (2018-2019)

    21. Cj*

      I enjoy listening to the program “wait wait don’t tell me” on NPR. I guess it’s not actually a podcast, but I think you could probably listen to a recording of it by going to their website. It’s funny and informative at the same time.

    22. Damn it, Hardison!*

      Other folks have mentioned some of my favorites, but I’ll add American Scandal, which covers various “scandals” in the US, like Theranos, The Pentagon Papers, etc. The most recent is on a massive drug testing lab scandal in Massachusetts. Some seasons are more political, but you can just skip those.

    23. Elizabeth West*

      One of my favorites is on Thunder Grunt; it’s called Writers/Blockbusters. Three screenwriters talk about movies from a writing standpoint. They reference Blake Snyder (author of Save the Cat) a lot.

      It’s fun to hear them talk about all the things surrounding filmmaking and random facts about the story. Example: when they were discussing the 1992 Candyman movie, they got into the Cabrini-Green location and its history, etc. (some of the movie was filmed at the actual housing project) and how the film developed from Clive Barker’s short story “The Forbidden,” contained in his Books of Blood.

      It’s kind of a niche thing, but I’ve learned a lot from the podcast and the writing stuff doesn’t just apply to screenplays. Their analysis of Infinity War helped me when I was writing Book 2 of my trilogy. If you’re interested in filmmaking at all, it might be worth a listen.

    24. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      I’m a fan of “You’re Dead to Me” by the BBC. Basic concept: host has on two guests. A historian and an improv comic and they discuss a particular subject. Some really interesting bits.

    25. osmoglossum*

      So many great suggestions here — I will add How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz. He talks to inventors/entrepreneurs about how they started and built their businesses. It’s really interesting and absorbing.

    26. Marion Ravenwood*

      My go-to podcast recommendations:

      – Out To Lunch – Jay Rayner (Observer newspaper food critic) interviews famous people over delicious sounding meals in various amazing restaurants (and meal kits/takeaways from said amazing restaurants during the various lockdowns). Very insightful and you’ll have a restaurant wish list as long as your arm.
      – You’re Dead To Me – Greg Jenner (historian and self-styled ‘chief nerd’ on the BBC Horrible Histories series) talks to a historian and a comedian about a historical figure, event, culture or group, or a particular topic through history. Very funny and entertaining but also very informative.
      – Sentimental Garbage – female writers/comedians etc talk about the pop culture they love, particularly if it’s dismissed as ‘lowbrow’. Originally started as focusing on ‘chick lit’-type books but has expanded to TV etc as well. They also have a particularly good mini series on each season of Sex and the City as a Great American Novel.

    27. merope*

      I really enjoy Factually with Adam Conover (you might know him from the TV series Adam Ruins Everything). He interviews a wide variety of guests (some of which get a bit more political), all of whom are experts in their fields, and he has a really lively and engaging interview style. It’s like sitting in on a really great dinner party conversation about an engaging topic. I find the time really flies by, and I’ve learned something really interesting by the end of the episode. Most of the guests are authors, so if it’s super engaging, I can then order a book to read!

    28. Ann Furthermore*

      I have recently discovered Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd, who is Kristin Bell’s husband. He got his start years ago on Punked on MTV, so I always wrote him off as an idiot reality show guy. But he is extremely intelligent and has a huge range of guests on for an in-depth conversation, and it’s always really interesting. It’s mostly celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and Jimmy Kimmel, but he’s also talked with people like John O. Brennan (former director of the CIA), Prince Harry, and Rajiv Shah (public health official and president of the Rockefeller Foundation) and more than holds his own with them, and the discussions are usually pretty fascinating.

      It’s on Spotify. I just recently discovered it, so I’m listening to old episodes. And there are a ton of them, so you won’t run out any time soon.

    29. pieforbreakfast*

      American Dream- first season explores MLMs and why they’re terrible, second is about the Wellness industry
      Lore- exploring folklore and how it is tied to real events. The narrator’s rhythm of speaking takes getting used to but I enjoy the stories and they are shorter so a good pick for commuting or walks.
      Unending Thread- the hosts find interesting posts from reddit and delve deeper into what they are about.
      The Broad Experience- talking about women’s experiences, struggles and gains in the workplace.

    30. Absolutely Not*

      I’m super into Deeply Human! It’s similar to On Being, with a digestible science leaning. They’re currently putting out Season 2 and I can’t wait for the next episode.

    31. Greenfordanger*

      Seth Rogen’s Story Time is great. He just has people tell a story. A few of the people are well known, like the comedian Quinta Brunson who explains how running into Paul Rudd in an otherwise empty movie theatre persuaded her to give up the idea of getting marries and being a good Jehovah’s witness. Others are just people with a great story. And Seth Rogen is actually a really good interviewer who interjects rarely and provides the person being interviewed with all the space they need to tell their story; he’s not at all competitive with the subject of the interview unlike the guys – whom I otherwise like – on Smartless who are constantly tying to out kibitz each other.

    32. My Cat's Human*

      I’m quite late to reply, but since you mentioned house cleaning — “A Slob Comes Clean” with Dana K. White. Someone here recommended her a year or so ago. She focuses on decluttering + keeping up daily chores. Was a teacher and theater director, so she’s good at presenting. Shows range from specific topics, to listener questions, to real people who use her methods.

    33. DataGirl*

      Can’t believe no one has mentioned Levar Burton Reads yet. It’s exactly what it sounds like, Levar Burton reading short stories. It’s like Reading Rainbow for adults.

    34. LemonLyman*

      Fully endorse “The West Wing Weekly”. It’s concluded at this point but if you’re a fan of the TV show or have ever wanted to watch it, it’s an excellent podcast hosted by actor Josh Malina and Hrishi Hirway, who also does Song Exploder and Home Cooking. Also highly recommend both of those podcasts.

    35. Bibliovore*

      Thank you everyone. Hidden Brain for the win. Subscribed to a whole bunch. House is clean with three loads of laundry to fold.
      And had a friend over late afternoon and we opened the mail (that is the hardest task while grieving, had about three weeks worth piled up) paid the bills, filed the paper AND made a tax file for the accountant.
      I’m done adulting. Will spend Sunday reading The Sentence by Louise Erdrich, sipping tea, and watching the snow fall.

      1. osmoglossum*

        Brava, Bibliovore!!! I hope your Sunday was as beautiful and peaceful as you had planned. The one thing I miss about snowfall is the feeling of insulation from the outside world.

    36. Adereterial*

      I’m not sure how well it will translate outside the UK, but Shagged, Married, Annoyed is glorious. It’s a British comic and his wife, mostly as they snipe at each other or tell daft stories. It’s become a stand alone stage act here, selling out major, large venues.

    37. Meghan Thompson*

      The Allusionist – words, language, etymology and humour
      The Anthopocene Reviewed – touching essays on the human experience by John Greene
      Trampoline Hall – short lectures (often very funny!) by non-experts

    38. KathyG*

      In Our Time from the BBC. The experts do a deep dive into a subject: History, Art, Science, and Philosophy, I believe are their major categories. Basically everything under the sun, including the sun. Over 20 years of episodes.

      I’m also seconding Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone.

    39. Allornone*

      If you like people discussing movies that are so-bad-they’re-good, How Did this Get Made” is awesome.

      I also have a soft spot for “Quick Question with Soren and Dan.” It’s essentially two comedy writers, Soren Bowie and Daniel O’Brien (fomerly of Cracked, but now working for American Dad and Last Week with John Oliver respectively) who are good friends living on opposite sides of the coast just talking to each other and asking each other questions. It doesn’t sound interesting, but they really are just two good guys and the conversation is genuine and usually very entertaining. And no politics, despite Dan’s affiliation with John Oliver. Covid has come up, but nothing controversial.

    40. Quinalla*

      I tend to go for podcasts that are more conversational that produced. I really enjoy:
      Dare to Lead – Brene Brown – Brene talks to a guest or guests about leadership related topics
      Unlocking Us – Brene Brown – Brene talks to a guest or guests about life, family, etc.
      Feminist Frequency – FFR – The now 2 regular hosts and usually a guest host review movies, TV shows, and other media from a feminist perspective
      So Very Wrong About Games – Mike Walker and Mark Bigney – podcast discussing boards games
      Women at Work – HBR – podcast about unique challenge of women in the working world
      Our Opinions are Correct – Annalee Newitz & Charlie Jane Anders – they review/discuss scifi movies, books, comics & TV taking a deep dive into them

  2. Elizabeth West*

    I’m first! Or maybe I’m not; I don’t know. lol

    I watched Worst Roommate Ever on Netflix, and YIKES. It made me think of how I’ve had a couple of bad times with roommates and how I don’t really want another one (barring a spouse, which isn’t the same), so I really hope my future boss pays me well enough to avoid it.

    So worst and best:
    My Worst: Living in Delaware with a psycho whose dad owned the house (the psycho was the landlord) and his fiancee, and two dudes. One dude was dealing weed and the other was a rich kid from Baltimore who sold cars and threw away whole-ass suits instead of having them cleaned. I dated Rich Kid for a bit. It was a shit situation and I ended up going back home. I was really glad to get out of there because 1) I didn’t want a record if Dealer got busted, and 2) I was afraid of Psycho.

    My Best: When I moved to Santa Cruz, I was staying with my friend, her sister, and a massive amount of cockroaches in one room in a run-down apartment row. I applied to live in a house with these two women. They were the nicest people I’d ever met and the house was gorgeous, with a huge beautiful garden. We hit it off immediately, but unfortunately, they were renting through a property management company that wouldn’t negotiate the rent with me; I was just under the amount they wanted. The women told me if they were in charge, they would have accepted me and made it work, but they couldn’t get the company to agree.

    I found a share with another friend whose roommate wasn’t moving yet for a couple of weeks. So these wonderful women let me stay there completely free of charge. I tried to give them some money and all they said was “Just do something nice for someone when you can.” <3 I've never seen them again but I think about them sometimes and wish them well. I also wish I had that house; it was really amazing.

    What's the worst roommate you ever had, and then the best one?

    1. Keep Your Dirty Socks Out of the Common Spaces*

      A roommate once accused me of “making tuna salad on purpose to wake her up.”

      1. Venus*

        Did they also wake up to the smell of broccoli? This problem seems more widespread than I would have thought!

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          First I’ll chuckle. Very funny.
          Then I’ll let the Inner Curmedgeon speak: “That would send me back to bed. For three days.”
          Inner Comedian pipes up uninvited: “How about your roommate leaving you a note, spelled out in dead fish? Or on a single sticky note attached to a single dead fish?”

          Note to newcomers and recent arrivals: The history of AAM includes a letter writer & former employee who spelled out “I quit” using fish in the glass-fronted, fish-on-ice, retail display case.

      2. Overeducated*

        This reminds me of the time I lived in a household where about half of my roommates didn’t eat pork for religious reasons, and we all agreed not to cook it in the house so nobody would have to worry about shared dishes and cookware. Once I was making breakfast on a weekend and one roommate came in and said “are you making bacon?!” I said no, just eggs, and the roommate asked me not to cook eggs in the house either so they wouldn’t be reminded of bacon. (I can understand the revulsion, but I didn’t think that was a reasonable request!)

        1. Overeducated*

          (PS this is not a “worst roommate” story – former roomie, if you read this website, I still love you and respect your faith! the “waking up with tuna salad” post just reminded me of this interaction.)

    2. Ashkela*

      Worst roommate had an ad on CL advertising herself as ’28 y/o dyke pagan. single, no drugs, honest and open communication!’ Now I mention that because I was a 24 y/o queer Wiccan, so seeing those two identifiers were a relief. We met, were definitely NOT interested in each other OR the same kind of women, and while our specific faith paths were different, they were similar enough that we wouldn’t be dealing with oppression from either one.

      Within a month, I knew that the single and no drugs parts were both lies. Her girlfriend would come over, they’d use a still-very-illegal substance, lock themselves in her room (which had the only entrance to the backyard), and the girlfriend was abusive. Suffice it to say, I know the difference between abuse and things that some folx think are abuse.

      Multiple neighbors, as well as myself, called the police at times because of the noise. Cops would come, she’d let the girlfriend out the back. Eventually, I moved out on the sly after she started stealing from me and our third roommate (who is the BEST roommate actually) and trying to make us blame each other. Let the landlord know, squared up with him, and totally stealthed out while she was at work. She called trying to threaten each of us for weeks until she abruptly stopped. Friends from the building said she finally got arrested.

      Best roommate helped me get out of there. He and I stayed roommates and best friends (never romantic partners though) for the next nine years through 7 different homes. He literally saved my life when I wanted to unalive myself. He got me to a hospital when I went into anaphylactic shock reacting to a medication that I’d always been fine with. He kept me housed when I lost a job and couldn’t seem to find another one.

      He fell in love with my female best friend and they moved away together, but we’ve still remained close to this day, a good 9 years after that. So as much as I hate the worst roommate, if she hadn’t been so bad, I wouldn’t have left with him and had an amazing end to my 20s.

      1. Mannequin*

        What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing, I needed to read something nice today. XO

    3. Anima*

      Oooh, I’ve got stories!
      First one were two girls while I did my apprenticeship. We were ok at first, but we needed to move badly because the landlord was an absolute swear word. Second flat with them was great, garden and all (despite being right under the flight path for Ramstein US base), but I had to be at work at 7.30 next mountain over and the two were students. I could not make toast quietly enough in the morning. Also one of my roommates hated animals (studied biology and I suppose she did animal testing there?). I love animals and rescued a bird from a flea market. It all went downhill from there and I moved out early. Never knew what became of the two.
      Next up was awesome. Five people, and somehow I fell in love with my roommate. :D After we announced that, two of the other ones got together. Fifth roommates girlfriend had special rights and a key to at least try to make it even. I’m married now to my roommate and the other two are still together and we stayed in contact. Sadly, we had to move out because of a landlord who was even more of a swear word than then first one.

      1. eisa*

        “I had to be at work at 7.30 next mountain over and the two were students.”

        That reminds me of a joke ..

        Q: “Why do students get up at 6:30?”
        A: “Because the supermarket closes at 7:00”.

        ( I’m not from a country where supermarkets are open 24/7)

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My worst roommate was my ex-husband who wouldn’t hold a job or do any housework. Non-married, it was the sexist asshole who wouldn’t shower, wash his clothes or clean his cat’s litter box.

      Best is my current setup (we’re going on seven years of our current status, which is I own the house and my husband and brother pay me rent) – everyone has jobs and does their chores and gets along, we’re all going on vacation together in a couple weeks.

    5. Princess Deviant*

      A house mate I once had used to boil turkey mince and stink the whole house out. Oh and she used to also microwave prawn curry. Her food really smelt obnoxious! The best house mate was in the same house and we used to commiserate about the smells lol. But she was fun too and a good friend for a few years. It’s a shame we grew apart.

      1. fposte*

        I feel like boiled turkey mince would simultaneously have lots of smell yet no flavor.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            At one apartment I lived in, neighbors would cook something that smelled like burnt dog hair. It permeated the entire floor and was obnoxiously terrible. I worried that they were putting food on and walking away from it and would eventually catch the entire building on fire.

        1. Salymander*

          It reminds me of a description I read on how to make Victorian era beef tea. Gross yet tasteless.

          1. Mannequin*

            When I was a kid, my mom as hooked on a particular kind of bouillon cube that was called “beef tea” and could be sipped from a mug like any other hot beverage. I don’t like the taste of beef as it is, but this was truly nasty, LOL.

    6. Asenath*

      Oh my. Well, actually, I quit having roommates at a fairly early age, since I decided I’d rather live alone in a dump than in a nice apartment with roommates. There were Reasons. In my first experience outside of a traditional-style student residence, I actually got along with my roommates well enough, but we were all students, and there was a shortage of decent housing (especially for students, who as a group didn’t have a good reputation with landlords), and you wouldn’t believe some of what we were offered. We settled for a rather weird landlady who told us up front that she rented her basement apartment as separate rooms because they didn’t come under the same law as an apartment would. She could evict us and enter her property more easily. But the worst roommates, hands down, was in another city where there was a rather nice apartment building – not actually owned by the university, but intended for student renters. The units were set up as separate apartments with private bedrooms (I think 4 or 5) and a common bathroom, closet, an kitchen/sitting room. Since I was new to this city and knew no one, I chose to be assigned to a random apartment, with a random assortment of roommates. All I knew beforehand was that one of them was a male student who worked security for the building part time. I thought that sounded OK; the management must have checked this guy out and decided he was halfway responsible. In fact, he was always courteous to me. All of them were, actually, That wasn’t the problem.

      I am female. It turned out that ALL the other tenants were male. They were all filthy. There was a weed plant under grow lights in the closet, magazine photos of naked women stuck to the bathroom walls – and they must all have aimed badly while in the bathroom, and certainly never cleaned anything, there or in the common kitchen/living area. And me, still a bit naive, thought that I’d signed a contract, I was stuck paying for this place, had no money to pay for another one, and of course this part-time security guard must know what the norms for proper behaviour were. Now, of course, I wouldn’t put up with any of it for a minute, and this was one of the situations that taught me to be more assertive. I hunkered down in my bedroom, keeping my own basics there (pot, bowl, plate, food) and used the kitchen and bathroom as little as I could. I’m proud to say I very quickly decided that there was no way I was doing the cleaning. At the end of the year when I left, a young woman from the management checked out my room, and was absolutely appalled by the rest of the apartment. This was not a normal situation for that building. My eyes were opened. In spite of my contract, I could have complained and been moved to another unit. I did not lose any of my damage deposit due to my roommate’s behaviour, and moved out and on to yet another city.

    7. Sloanicote*

      Worst roommate – I paid the internet and the account was in my name. Got an aggressive letter from our service provider that I was doing something illegal – thanks to the young tech idiot I had rented a room to. Thanks, jerk. He wasn’t even all that sorry.

      1. Sloanicote*

        Oh yeah and same group house, different roommate – brought a girl over who had a dog, left the dog unattended in our house while they went out for *hours* – the dog peed repeatedly in our kitchen. A *different* roommate *in the same house* was a rover petsitter and would bring random dogs over – and then leave to go to work or run errands or whatever. Was not sorry to finally move out of that group house.

      2. All fall down*

        This reminded me of my 2 roommates who absolutely had to have cable tv, despite that none of us could really afford it. It voted “no,” but they went ahead and got it. Then they felt they needed to tell me I couldn’t watch it (on MY TV — the only 1 in the apartment). Just one of many issues, but I still laugh to myself over this one!

    8. the cat's ass*

      This is a GREAT thread!
      Worst roommate: the one who liked to sift through my drawers looking for i don’t know what, but was actually caught doing it and wasn’t apologetic. Put a lock on my bedroom door and found a new situation. She also would eat my food from the cupboards and fridge. No boundaries and more than a little creepy.
      Best roommates: I’ve been renting my in-law apartment to grad students for the last decade and that has brought the family some terrific multigenerational friendships and my DD wrote a very funny essay about how she’s been raised by grad students! Only one guy was a stinker and he was such a stinker that the B-school booted him! The space was so squalid that he did not get a dime of his security deposit back. I needed a HAZMAT suit to clean after he left. The rest of them have more than made up for him, though.

    9. Elle Woods*

      Worst: Lived with four other women for a year in college. We started out as friends; by the end of the year, it was a 4 vs. 1 situation. During the course of the year we lived together, the 1 became a vegan teetotaling born-again Christian who constantly chastised us the rest of us for our actions (like making a grilled cheese sandwich or going out to celebrate our 21st birthdays) and expected us all to be in bed by 10:00pm and up at 5:00am. It was a LONG year.

      Best: The four of us who survived the worst roommate ever lived together again the following year. It was glorious and we’re still in touch today. We were all in each other’s weddings and go on vacation together every other year.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Ugh, I had a situation like that when I was in music college. An acquaintance (Sue) who lived in a three-bedroom house with two other girls (Jane and Gert) asked me to move in, as Gert was getting married. I talked to them and looked at the house (I liked it a lot). Long story short, they eventually moved in a fourth girl, Fern, who was supposed to room with Sue. I guess Sue decided I wasn’t her cup of tea anymore. Also, we got a (forbidden) kitten and it preferred to be in my room, which I think Sue was miffed about. She and Jane started to get shirty with me over very petty stuff. Not long after, they kicked me out and put Fern in my room. :(

          1. Elizabeth West*

            No. :(
            I looked up that house a few years ago on Google Maps. It’s not even there anymore. The whole block of houses got razed and now it’s all block-style student housing apartment units. Very sad—it was a pretty street with a lot of older homes and mature trees.

    10. Seal*

      The first roommate I ever had was also one of the worst I ever had. We shared a dorm room as freshmen in college. Things started out OK, but a few weeks into the semester my grandfather died. While leaving the dorm to go home for his funeral, I tripped on the stairs and wound up with a badly sprained ankle. I wound up on crutches for almost a month and was constantly exhausted from having to hobble on one foot to my classes on a huge campus that at the time didn’t have a reliable transit system. By the end of the day I was so wiped out all I wanted to do was rest with my foot propped up and try to study. My roommate, who was in perfect health and had no mobility issues, complained that I was spending too much time in the room and demanded that I find somewhere else to go every night so she could have the room to herself. Because I was too overwhelmed by everything to argue, I dragged myself down to one of the TV lounges and spend my evenings trying not to cry in public. Once I started feeling better I talked to my RA and wound up moving into a single room before the semester ended.

      However, that was the first time I got to see karma in action. After I got off the crutches but before I moved out, my roommate demanded that I go home for the weekend because her boyfriend was coming to visit. Since I was going home most weekends anyway at that point (my family lived in the suburbs of the city my college was in), I complied. As it turned out, the boyfriend never showed up and instead called to say he was breaking up with her because he had started seeing someone else. Forty years later, I’m still cackling about that.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, the next roommate this woman had also wound up hating her and moved into a single room midway through the semester. She and I wound up being good friends, in part because we bonded over terrible roommate stories. As for the former roommate, she joined a religious cult and dropped out of college entirely by the end of our freshman year; no one ever saw her again. True story.

      1. Mannequin*

        “ As for the former roommate, she joined a religious cult and dropped out of college entirely by the end of our freshman year; no one ever saw her again. ”

        Well THAT escalated quickly! What a twist ending! LOL!

    11. Salymander*

      Worst: the housemate who didn’t clean. He piled dishes on the kitchen counter and left them for several months, then the dishes would disappear. Some might end up cleaned and put away, but he threw most of them away. Our other housemate and I each kept our own dishes in our rooms, and Worst Roommate would pound on my door angrily at all hours because he didn’t want to wash a dish and felt I owed him my dishes. He didn’t do this to other roommate. Just me. Because he thinks women are supposed to clean up after him, and don’t have the right to personal space or property.

      Worst Roommate would buy food like milk and broccoli, but actually ate only chips, ramen and soda. We always had huge amounts of spoiled food in the kitchen, but he would get violently angry if you threw it away. When I ate my own food, he would scream at me because he thought it was his. Because of course all my food is his.

      Worst Roommate would stay up all night, watching TV with the volume cranked up. He wouldn’t sleep for days, and then would crash wherever he was and would expect everyone to just tiptoe around him. At around 2 am right before finals, I asked him to turn the volume down. He screamed obscenities at me and threw the remote at my head.

      The last straw was when Worst Roommate screamed at me and threatened to beat me with a broom because he said the bathroom was messy. He did not ever clean it. He just thought that it would stay clean for weeks at a time if I used bleach to scrub it rather than vinegar and baking soda. Worst Roommate shook the broom at me and screamed that he was going to beat me, and I just stood there and glared at him. That freaked him out, so he ran outside to our other roommate and their friends so he could tell them I was threatening him. You all would have been amused to see this big, scary guy scurrying like a scared mouse. I moved out less than a month later. I had been trying to scrape the cash together to move, and fortunately at that point I had saved up enough to get myself out of that house. I ran into him years later in a public place, and he was still just as disgusting as he ever was. He spent the whole 30 second conversation staring at my breasts and telling me about how he wanted a woman to do his laundry in exchange for sex. He smelled like old beer and urine, and he had what looked like Doritos in his teeth. He was slightly more polite though, as in he didn’t call me names or scream at me, because there were witnesses in the store to any of his potential shenanigans.

      Best Roommate: the guy who took care of me when I was sick, cleaned up after himself, and was a good cook. Best roommate was someone in my dorm at university. He would bake raspberry cheesecakes for me in his tiny toaster oven. He kept things tidy in the common spaces and in his room. He went hiking with me on the weekends, and took me to eat pumpkin pie on the beach when I was stressed out.

      When I had pneumonia, Best Roommate went all over town looking for my favorite brand of miso soup and brought back lots of groceries that could be prepared in our dorm kitchen using only a microwave and a toaster oven. He bought several different kinds of tea also, to soothe my cough. Best Roommate spent almost two weeks taking care of me while I tried to cough up all of my insides.

      I married Best Roommate. He is still pretty great.

      1. Salymander*

        Oh I forgot about Second Terrible Roommate, who would smoke in her room and then say she wasn’t. It was a non-smoking household, which she knew beforehand and agreed to. I have asthma, and I was sick every day until I gave her the boot.

        STR also invited strange men home from the bar and left them in our house in the middle of the night unsupervised while she went to drop people off and fetch takeout for hours. I mean, she could have taken the dudes with her and then come back with them together at least, right? This happened a few times, but the last one was what made me throw her out. It was the middle of the night, with class the next day, and I awoke to weird noises in my living room from another random strange dude. He was rummaging through my music collection and “helping” to organize it. I never got some of those cds back. He mentioned that my sleep outfit (boxers and Tshirt) looked hot, so that was even more creepy because I had put on an oversized floor length terrycloth robe before leaving my room and my sleep outfit didn’t show. I was a young woman, the bedroom doors did not lock, and there was a strange drunk man stealing my stuff and creeping on me while I slept and making creepy remarks when I woke up. I grabbed him, took all the cds that I could see (didn’t want to really search because eeeewwww gross), and pushed him out the door. He collapsed on my front steps to wait for Second Terrible Roommate. She was super pissed off, and I just totally lost my temper. I don’t get angry too often, because a lot of bad stuff can also be a little funny if you look at it the right way. But when I do get angry, I’m usually more of the quiet seething rage sort. That night, after all of that nonsense, I was a towering volcano of righteous anger. I didn’t yell too much, but I was really super angry. She moved out within the week, and she quit the job where we worked together. She had complained to her mom and to our boss, and they both told her off. I think she quit because she was pouting, but at least I didn’t have to be polite to her at work anymore.

      2. Mannequin*

        “telling me about how he wanted a woman to do his laundry in exchange for sex. He smelled like old beer and urine, and he had what looked like Doritos in his teeth”


        Where do men even find the audacity?!?

    12. Llama face!*

      Oh I had a doozy! When I was a young university student I moved in with my best friend to the house of a couple she knew from her church. They seemed a bit odd but I was pretty poor and needed a place so I moved in anyways. Well turns out they were actually evil. I don’t say that about a lot of people but after the fact I learned that they had a habit of finding vulnerable young people, becoming their mentors/parent figures, and manipulating them into becoming dependent on them and isolated from everyone else- actively destroying all other relationships that person had. Then once that person was fully in their control they would turn on them and find a new victim. Well my friend (who was from an abusive family dynamic and had untreated mental health issues) was their victim of choice and I was the relationship they had to destroy. They got her to confide in them about any relationship frustrations she had and slowly worked to erode our relationship (while I was blithely unaware). One day I got home and they had left this bizarre 12 point document outside my bedroom door sayjng I was going to be evicted in a month and accusing me of things including cursing their dog and grimacing at them. Yes it was unreal. I had to pay the rent right after that and when I left my rent cheque they tore it up into extremely tiny pieces and dumped it outside my door. And they forbid me from eating with them or using their food (it had been a room and board situation). And then they started this absurd passive aggressive bullying where they would leave printed dictionary definitions of negative traits on the kitchen counter like “condescending”, “haughty”, etc. I moved out as soon as I could but that remains the worst living situation I’ve ever had. It sounds silly after the fact but it was really traumatic as I was going through it. And I lost that friend as a result of their manipulation.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        That’s HORRIFYING. :(

        I hope your friend managed to escape them eventually.

        1. Llama face!*

          She did but sadly it took a few years and there were some big life struggles/regretted choices she had as a result of that abusive relationship. We have since lost track of each other but last I heard she was married with a child.

    13. Llama face!*

      The best housemates I’ve ever had are my current ones. They are also my landlords. They buy me Christmas presents (gift cards for things they know I like) and I give them baking- which they love but don’t make themselves- in return. When the water has gone out in the neighbourhood they always make sure to get jugs of water for me. They’ve offered to get groceries for me when I’ve been sick, sewed cloth masks for me at the start of the pandemic when nobody could get any, reduced my rent when I was struggling financially, and have even offered to be job references for me. They are really fantastic!

    14. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Top two worst:
      1) In the Navy, after you finish bootcamp and arrive at your first actual duty station, you have to spend two months in the galley (food service). This means working 18-hour days, 5-6 days a week. While here, I was sharing a room with a guy who, in addition to his “day job” in the Navy, was the bouncer at the local enlisted club. One night, he brought someone home at 3am (mind you, this is a very small room with only a few pieces of furniture for “privacy.”) I never want to wake up to the question “got any rubbers?” again in my life, especially when followed by the question “want any?” At the time, I figured he was asking if I wanted any of the condoms back, and said to knock himself out. The ensuing congress was enthusiastic but thankfully short – I had to be up at 4 anyway. Next day, after my shift, when I finally understood what he had been offering, I said, “Dude, we share a room, a refrigerator and a sink, and a bathroom. I am NOT sharing that with you.”
      2) In college, I lived in a… shared house? group home? It was a house with five people in it, which often blossomed to ten on Saturday mornings (Who are you and why are you drinking my milk?) There was the OK roommate who politely informed everyone in the house when he was turning 21. The four others found somewhere else to be that night and (this is love) our birthday present to him was cleaning the house for him the day after. Granted, we started around 10am, so his hangover was pretty intense. But then there was Cory. Cory moved in with us because he had been living in the back of his truck… with his dog… at the ski resort… in the winter. But then – even while employed – managed to get his truck repossessed. So the owners invited he and the dog to live in the basement. I have NEVER seen someone consume so much cannabis in my life. Imagine a gallon ziplock bag, stuffed so full it looked like a throw pillow. That was gone in under a month.

      1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        Best (non-spousal) roommate:
        When I was part of the local Rocky Horror crew, both myself and another member of the cast needed a place at the same time. We talked about it and decided it was worth a try.
        Everyone else in the cast was firmly convinced we were going to fall madly in bed with one another, have a falling out, and be stuck in a lease for a year. Nope! Open, honest communication. Respect. Support. Yeah, there was that one time when she was dating someone with my same name. Nothing quite like waking up in the middle of the night to someone repeatedly moaning your name while you’re in an empty bed. But really wonderful person. We moved out in 2005 after the lease expired, but we still call each other “Roomie.”

      2. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        Bonus: The Craigslist Roommates.
        I had a killer apartment – remarkably nice place across the street from a Large Software Company for remarkably cheap. (It was an old Russian lady’s first condo that she had long since paid off but was renting it out for fun money.)
        Roomie #1 – The Ghost. He lived with me for a year. I think, if you include the time we spent configuring the wifi router, we spoke for a total of an hour in that year. He kept everything in his room from his bicycle to his one pot, one pan, one plate, one bowl, one knife, one fork, one spoon, one glass. Would bring them out, fix his meal, go back to his room to eat, then return to clean up. His half of the rent magically appeared on the counter every month on the first, in cash.
        Roomie #2 – Karma. Came home one late night to find two empty wine bottles in the sink, the Nine Inch Nails blaring from the stereo, and the roommate sobbing uncontrollably on her bed. I put a cup of water on the night stand, turned down the stereo and went to bed. Next morning, she came out “I’m so sorry. That’ll never happen again.” I said, “We all have rough patches, you’re good.” About two weeks later, I was working late at night (maybe midnight on a weeknight) on a leather project. I misjudged the angle and sliced a two inch gash in my knee. One peek and I knew it needed stitches. Hobbled down the hall wearing some pajama pants and a tank top with my hand pressed on the wound. knockknock “Hey T, you up?” “Yeah, what do you need?” “Can you take me to the emergency room?” “WHAT?!?!” She drove me there, sat with me, and drove me home after. On the way home, I said, “You know how I said we all have rough patches? We’re even.”

      3. Elizabeth West*

        ALL of these are amazing.
        I actually met my friend K. (the one who died in August) in Santa Cruz through a volunteer stint but she was a cast member. She played Magenta and the Criminologist!

      4. pancakes*

        “. . . when I finally understood what he had been offering, I said, ‘Dude, we share a room, a refrigerator and a sink, and a bathroom. I am NOT sharing that with you.’”

        It’s really not clear from this anecdote whether the overnight guest consented to this, or seemed too intoxicated to consent, or what. Clearly they aren’t meant to be the center of your story, but that’s a pretty significant detail to just skip over.

        1. Mannequin*

          OP was woken up at 3 am by their roommate asking for a condom, and having been woken from sleep, wasn’t able to process what the scummy roommate had actually been asking until well into the next day, which is kind of the point of the story. Why would a half asleep person notice if a person did/didn’t consent to a sexual encounter that the half asleep person did not realize they were being invited to participate in?

        2. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

          I am sorry my recollection of an event that happened 30 years ago, after being forcefully awakened, while under the influence of severe sleep deprivation overlooks a detail that some random person thirty years in the future would want to know about. Please forgive me.
          I was not privy to whatever pre-negotiations they had had and I -wish- I had not been privy to the soundtrack of their ensuing congress. Frankly, given my knowledge of one of the parties, I’m thrilled he thought enough to use protection.

    15. Marion Ravenwood*

      Worst roommate: The girl I lived with in my last houseshare, who was a very nice person but SO messy. Like, would leave dirty cereal bowls in the sink and there were still there when I came back from a trip away ten days later messy. I’d been looking to buy my own place anyway but that was the absolute final ‘I need to live by myself NOW’ moment.

      Best roommate: Assuming people who you’re not already friends with don’t count (as I briefly lived with two lovely friends who were genuinely so welcoming and supportive and we had tons of long chats together), my housemates who I lived with after my divorce. They were super kind and really welcoming, and a massive source of support to me during those early days and in the first UK lockdown – going for walks together, watching TV and setting up our own mini office in the living room. It really strengthened our relationship and I was genuinely sad when I ended up having to move out.

    16. Hattie McDoogal*

      Worst roommate wasn’t really bad so much as she was just… chaotic. At first it was me, chaotic roommate, and her boyfriend, who I later found out was actually her husband – they were childhood sweethearts who had gotten married at 16, though they had lived apart for most of their marriage. Very shortly after moving in together she started cheating on him with the guy who eventually became husband #2. She and husband #2 wanted to move in together but didn’t want to leave me, or husband #2’s then-roommate, in the lurch, so we all got a place together. Once while I was away at a family wedding she and husband #2 adopted a dog and locked it in my room for most of the weekend. Fortunately dog never had any accidents in there (or roommates cleaned it up really well) but the dog was absolutely terrified of me, and only me, forever after. Roommate was extremely needy and hated to be alone. Her first husband worked in a restaurant so was alternately getting home really late, or leaving really early for work, so roommate would often come into my room and sleep in my bed with me until he got home/until I got up. She and I worked together as well as living together but she would still get upset if I was going to out at a different time than her like if I had a class, or a shift on a day she was off, and would try to convince me to skip class or call out sick so I could stay home with her. In retrospect this may have been fear on her part, because she also had a guy kind-of stalking her. He didn’t know exactly where we lived but he knew the neighbourhood and would often call her up to tell her he was at such-and-such park, and didn’t she live near there? I knew what he and his car looked like and was on orders to keep an eye out for it, lest he follow me home from the supermarket or something. She was a very good and loyal friend and was generally fine to live with (not messy or loud, fine with money), but woof was she a lot of drama.

      Best roommate was my first roommate, who was a friend of a friend looking for a roommate when I was looking for a place to live. We became really good friends and are still close today even though he moved to another country a while back.

    17. Roommates*

      Worst: not me (23 F) but my partner (26 M). He owns his own home, and rented it out to a close friend (25 M) of his/the friend’s girlfriend (24 F). They were gross. Used menstrual products sat on the floor for a month, ham sat out on the counter for a week, the cat bowl wasn’t cleaned for weeks, the girlfriend was super into baking and wouldn’t clean it up…I told my partner I wouldn’t come over until they cleaned up or moved out.
      Best: in college, we’d have dance parties, and do makeup

    18. Wildcat*

      I had a roommate who would take anything left on the counter, throw it in the sunk and run water over it. Including boxes of cereal and oatmeal and rolls of paper towels.

      She wasn’t super clean or anything, when she moved out we had to take 3 like garbage bags worth of take out containers out of her room.

    19. Jacey*

      Reading this thread, I’ve been pretty lucky with roommates on the whole. But…

      Worst: dear friend from high school that I chose to live with after college. A truly kind person but bad at sharing a space with another person in a clean way. I’m a slob myself in my own space, but roommate let their mess spill out everywhere. It was hard to come home to it sometimes. We had fruit flies a few times because roommate would leave food in cabinets without proper packaging and then forget about it.

      Best: my wonderful “blocmates” in my second year of college! (My school had “blocs” of rooms centered on a shared common space). A fun, funny, kind, considerate group of people who worked together to make a great living space. Literally my only complaint was that with 12 people and one common room, sometimes I had to use noise cancelling headphones to do homework while people watched TV.

    20. DataGirl*

      I’ve had a lot of bad ones. Probably worst was the junkie who threw all night ragers and stole food, money, and everything else she could get her hands on from the rest of us. Trashed the house, ran up a huge phone bill (back before cell phones when long distance charges on your house phone were a thing). Disappeared when she got into a bar fight and a warrant was issued for her arrest.

      Also pretty bad was the one who secretly never paid the deposit, then moved out early, leaving me with all the fees and legal threats from the landlord.

      Best was probably my college roommate from Korea, who shared the food her mom sent in care packages, and shared my obsession with the Indigo Girls with me. We went to multiple concerts and on really fun road trips together.

    21. Virginia Plain*

      We were both in our first jobs out of university; hers in a standard office, normal public sector hours, and mine somewhat bonkers. Her idea of a long day was not leaving the office until six. One week during a particularly intense project i clocked three or four sixteen hour days (on the go, on alert, grabbing food and “using the facilities” when I could so not relaxed and comfy if you catch my drift) until the Friday when we finished a bit early and I arrived home at about seven or eight I think; exhausted, hungry etc.
      Me: “Hi Tangerina how are you?”
      Tangerina, finishing her dinner: “Oh I’m absolutely shattered”.
      Me: …

      I don’t like the idea of a hierarchy of suffering but in those circs I feel that the self control required to keep my trap shut required almost physical strength and I can only assume my medal got lost in the post.

    22. 653-CXK*

      Worst, hands down, was my freshman year college roommate. He was a jerk and thought himself as God’s gift to women. He tried to get me thrown out of the dorms but my suitemates “encouraged” (read: threatened to beat the snot out of) him not to follow through.

      Best (tie) was my sophomore and junior year roommate. Both were good people and we had some things in common. I kept in contact with both until I freed myself from Facebook in 2019.

      Once senior year rolled around, I moved to a single room dorm with no roommates at all. It was bliss…until one night when one of my suitemates tried to bang open my door after a night of carousing at a local bar. (Usually it was people setting off fire alarms, but this piece of work

      I now realize that I’m not exactly keen on roommates. I would prefer not to put up with their habits, idiosyncrasies, biases, rhetoric, and other things that would cause me to pull my hair out.

      1. 653-CXK*

        Arrgh – forgot to complete my thought :\

        (Usually when they came back from the bars, often on Thursday nights because many people did not have classes before 8am, the usual anti-social activity was people setting off fire alarms when they returned from last call, around 1:30-2:00am. This piece of work tried to break down my door as if it were a police raid, which scared the living crap out of me and was the only time someone had to physically separate me from him. Thankfully, he left in the spring semester.)

    23. Dragonfly7*

      Best: I was paired unusually well with my freshman roommate at college, and we lived together, either in the same room or the same house, for 3 years.

      Worst: I am the bad roommate, especially when it comes to leaving dishes for a several days, noise, and keeping odd hours. A recent severe allergy diagnosis would make trying to share a kitchen with me unreasonably demanding. Crossing my fingers I never need to share again.

    24. drtheliz*

      Worst flatmate: three weeks after moving into a new place on a one-year lease, she broke up with her boyfriend (our flatmate) and moved into the living room. A week later she told him (she was avoiding the rest of us) that she was leaving at the end of the month and since she wasn’t on the lease we were SOL for rent.

      I called up my friend who’d just been complaining that he had to move, he said he’d gladly take the living room so we would be a room down but wouldn’t be screwed for rent, so we told her it was fine and could she please have her stuff out asap. She then had the gall to be narked at us because apparently her ex-boyfriend, whom she’d cheated on with her colleague-cum-boss, was supposed to beg her to stay :/

      Yeah, we told her to take her drama when she left.

      1. drtheliz*

        Best was MrTheLiz. Still is. He’s a bit messy, sure, but he’s great about maintenance, he makes me laugh and he brings me breakfast in bed.

    25. Heffalump*

      In 1972 in Boulder, Colorado, I was living in a communal house. At one point “Jeff,” the owner of the house, took in a mentally ill street person who was known as Mad Mike. His real first name started with M, so it was still alliterative. I don’t know what his diagnosis was, but he’d been in Bellevue Hospital in NYC. You couldn’t use Mad Mike and social skills in the same sentence. I disliked him strongly within 30 seconds of meeting him, and I wasn’t alone in this. He would make absolutely infuriating remarks and have no clue why people got angry. One day when a group of people was talking in the living room, he came in and said, “Jeff, when I masturbate, nothing comes out.” I’m sure this could all be put down to his mental illness, but that didn’t make him any easier to live with. He wouldn’t have been living there if it had been my call to make, but of course it wasn’t. Ironically, he was strikingly handsome and would have had a lot going for him absent his mental illness.

      I moved on from Boulder but stayed in touch with my former housemates (other than Mike). At one point Jeff wrote me a note saying, “Mike is under compulsory tranquilization for some recent atrocities.”

      When I paid a visit a few years later, during one conversation Jeff said something about “back when I was essentially running a mental hospital.” In hindsight I wonder what the answer would have been if I’d asked why he had been doing it.

    26. Laura Petrie*

      Oooh I’ve got stories!

      Second year of uni, I lived in a tiny 2 bed terraced house with a girl from my course. We’d had rooms in the same block in first year halls so I thought I knew her well.

      She rarely bathed, washed her clothes or did her dishes and she ate loads of garlic. She spent most of her time in her room drinking absinthe. The house had such a bad odour I spent most of my time staying with friends.

      You’d think I’d have chosen my final year housemates more carefully after that but apparently not. I lived with three other women, two from my course and the gf of one of my coursemates. The couple split just before we moved in so as you can imagine, the atmosphere was awful. The other housemate had spent the summer sending me texts complaining about the others and saying they’d been talking about me. Looking back, I can see she was manipulating me, but I didn’t realise at the time.

      Once I’d got to know the former couple, we became really good friends and the other housemate hated this. I caught her spraying bleach on their food and she managed to turn some of my other friends against me. It was all very dramatic and unpleasant. The former couple did get back together though, so at least some good came from that year of hell.

      Fast forward a few years and I’d just had a very traumatic split from a long-term boyfriend that left me feeling very fragile and absolutely devastated. I decided to move back to the city I’d just left as I was miserable where I was living and working.

      Found a guy online who wanted a flatmate and we met up for a chat. He seemed great, we got on well and I decided to move in. His gf was there a lot of the time and whilst she was lovely, she didn’t contribute to any expenses but controlled what we watched, took really long baths in the only bathroom and used a ridiculous amount of toilet paper.

      Things took a strange turn about a year in when he lost his job and took him employer to a tribunal. His mental health deteriorated rapidly and his personality drastically changed. He smoked weed day and night, had the mega expensive electric heaters on constantly, made loads of noise when I was trying to sleep, ate my food, drank my alcohol and never bought stuff like toilet roll, washing up liquid or kitchen roll, so I started keeping that stuff in my room. He’d then go in my room and steal it while I was at work.

      Things got even worse, he started shouting at me aggressively, saying awful things to his gf, and got in arrears with his rent. By the time I moved out, he accused me of stabbing his football with a steak knife, stealing his none existent laundry detergent, told me he was going to report me to Sony for stealing his PlayStation account and all sorts of other stuff. My own health took a massive nosedive, I developed OCD and I was constantly on edge. My last night there he stood in the ball outside my room banging on the door and screaming at me. I didn’t have a lock so had to move some furniture behind the door as I was so scared.

      I really hope he got the help he needed.

  3. Forgotten Daughter*

    I’m coming to the realization that, as one of three kids to my father and step mom, I’m being taken for granted. I am the kid that is closest to them, just an hour drive, and it has translated to bullying phone calls for Me to come visit and well as making plans to visit with my siblings and leaving me out of it. I need to control them about this because it’s eating up my small bit of of self esteem. Any tips for confronting parents in a similar fashion?

    1. JustForThis*

      This sounds like a difficult and draining situation — I’m sorry. A good starting point might be to think about what kind of relationship you would like to have with your father and step mom. Would you like to have phone conversations with them? How often, about what kinds of topics? Would you like to visit them, but only of your own accord or only when your siblings are there as well? Etc. And then you could attempt to act in a way that alignes with what you want from the relationship.

    2. Scotlibrarian*

      I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I think the important thing is to be clear in your own mind about what you think is acceptable and what is not (eg happy to come over for dinner once a month, or to come on short notice if it’s a medical emergency, not acceptable to be shouted at, or to be guilted into coming over for their purposes). Then stick to those boundaries. If you get bullying phone calls demanding you visit, then say no you aren’t able to as you have other plans. If they continue to bully, then say no, then say sorry, I have to go, and put the phone down. No is a complete sentence. You have the right to say no. This is not easy, but it is simple. This will be hard to do, but you have the right to day no, to set boundaries. They have shown that they won’t think of your needs first, and I’m sorry that they won’t, but this ,means it’s really important that you take care of your own needs

    3. fposte*

      Oh, that sounds exhausting. But you say “I need to control them,” and you really can’t. You do things, but it’s up to them how they respond. You can tell them how you feel about being left out, for instance, and you can decide to hang up the phone or not answer when your mother is pushing you to visit; you also can dictate when exactly you will visit, and that’s a useful rhetorical strategy sometime–“I’ll see you in April, Mom–bye!” The idea is to find ways to give yourself more of what you need regardless of how they respond.

      1. Cj*

        This was my first thought. You can’t control them, only control yourself and your response to them.

        Scotlibraian has some good ideas on how to set and enforce your boundaries.

    4. Wishing You Well*

      Depending on what type of people your father and stepmom are, confrontation might not get the results you’re needing, unfortunately. No amount of confrontation would change my narcissistic parent. I had to set boundaries and limit contact which included never taking their phone calls and insisting on email instead.
      Consider assertiveness training if you’re not naturally assertive and/or maybe some therapy focused on this particular issue. Learn what boundaries you want to set and set them. Please minimize time spent with people who eat away at your self esteem. It’s not good for you.
      I hope you take good care of yourself.

    5. Changing your responses*

      Captain Awkward archives has some really helpful advice about setting boundaries for yourself and more importantly what might happen when you do. There will be extinction bursts of waaaaay increased pressure because faaamily, and you can get some help with that. There are ingrained patterns that will be hard to change & mostly you have to change your own responses and really stick to them. You may never change them, but maybe you’ll develop a more detached empathy with time and boundaries. Best of luck to you

      1. KathyG*

        This. Seconding the suggestion for Captain Awkward. She provides scripts for just those conversations.

    6. marvin the paranoid android*

      I think this is one of those situations where you’ll be served best by focusing on the part of this that is within your control, which is your self-esteem and how much of your energy you want to give these people who aren’t being considerate of your feelings. One of the best things I ever realized about my own parental relationship is that I have way more agency than I thought–I had really held on to a lot of childhood-era fears of being abandoned by my parent if I didn’t constantly appease them. It was very freeing to recognize that my parent no longer holds that kind of power over me and I can always walk away if I’m not being treated well. I recommend investing more of your energy into people who will appreciate and support you.

    7. Salymander*

      I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. I too am the forgotten daughter. I went no contact with my family for years because of their terrible and selfish behavior, and when I finally agreed to have a relationship with them again it was on my terms. I had to accept that my family is never going to treat me well because they are dysfunctional. I was there for my mom as she was dying, but I knew that no matter how much I was there caring for her I was still more of a servant than a daughter. My mom kept saying she was dividing her estate equally, because I was “finally being useful” and she wanted to reward me for overcoming my origins (I’m adopted, but my sister is not). My mom left everything to my sister except for a tiny bit of cash to cover my travel expenses. I had flown out there to take care of mom because she didn’t trust the nurses, and because I knew she was dying. Everything else went to my sister, who was really rude about the whole thing and is now avoiding me. I think she knows that the family treats me badly and abused me, and as she benefits from this system she doesn’t want to change it and lies to cover it up. That is easier to do when I’m not standing in front of her. I’m better off without them. My sister sends me an email every couple of years, and I email her back when she does. That is a level of contact that is not harmful to me, and satisfies her.

      I think that the best thing I did for my own mental health and quality of life was to force myself to stop trying to make them love me. They would never love or care for me the way they should, and living my life like I was constantly auditioning for their approval was soul crushing. It was hard to do, but therapy helped. Going no contact helped as well. It gave me some space to breathe and to get all their dysfunctional programming out of my brain. After that, it was easier to say no, and harder for them to make me feel like garbage. I told my mom that she had done things that made it difficult for me to be around her. I said that I needed to take time for myself, and that she should not worry if I was not in touch. She was angry and said lots of mean things, and then I just walked away. I told myself that she was saying mean things because that is what mean people do, and it wasn’t my problem anymore. Then, I didn’t see her or speak to her on the phone for years. I had therapy, so I could learn better ways of setting and maintaining boundaries. Any mean messages from family were mentally filed under Not My Job. It took awhile, but with practice I was able to help myself. My family, of course, never changed, but now I have pushed them farther out beyond my boundaries where it is harder to hear their cruel words.

      You don’t deserve to be treated like your family’s unpaid intern. I hope you can take some space and time for yourself so that you can enforce your own healthy boundaries. Your family may never change, because when a person is dysfunctional and selfish they frequently can’t or won’t see anything but their own wants and needs. Accepting that they are not going to be the loving family you deserve is actually a kindness you can give yourself. It gives you freedom and choices. It will give you a chance to find other people and things in life that bring you greater happiness and support. Moving on with your life should feel better than waiting for them to finally see all the great things about you. Once you are able to set and enforce boundaries, you can decide what kind of relationship your family is even capable of having with you, and what you want your relationship with them to be like. If they want more, they can always decide to behave better, but that is not your problem and isn’t up to you.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        This times 1,000,000 and so much better written and well though out than I could ever say it! We could be the same person, Salymander, except I wasn’t adopted, but exactly the same family experience.
        I am saving what you wrote because it is so perfect and kind and true and constructive and healing.
        Thank you!

        1. Salymander*

          Thank you, Chauncey Gardener! You are very kind to say that! I am sorry that you, too are one of the Forgotten. Isn’t it weird the way that so many dysfunctional families have one person that they treat badly and dump all their anger onto while simultaneously relying on them for care? The combination of dependence and resentment is really difficult to navigate away from when you have been raised from a young age to be their scapegoat/servant. I hope you are now in a better situation in life, with people who love and support you. If you don’t have that yet, I hope at least you are safe and well.

          1. Chauncy Gardener*

            Thanks for asking! I went no contact with all of them almost 25 years ago, when they started treating my kids the same way they treated me. Talking about the scales falling from my eyes! Momma Bear arose from the depths of despair and paralysis and that was that.
            It’s SUCH a strange dynamic in some families (ours). Really messed up. I don’t understand it and frankly, I don’t want to get inside it because it’s so nasty. I’m glad to be far away from all those dynamics and I am happy you are too!
            I’m saving what you wrote because once in a while I miss the concept of having a big family of origin (but certainly not the reality!) and I will reread it then and that will snap me right out it!

    8. Chili pepper Attitude*

      Don’t confront them, just set boundaries. You don’t make boundaries by telling other people what you expect, you set them by controlling what you do. So be busy when they want to talk and bully you, you have to take a work call or friend emergency, etc. or just say, I gotta go if you are gonna talk to me like that.

      And you don’t even have to spend time with them. It’s ok to back off contact.

      I wish you the best! It’s hard, I know.

    1. Bobina*

      I’ve been putting off weeding for a while and I thought today might be the day but… I’m feeling extremely lazy so maybe not. Its not raining but its colder than I thought it would be so that’s my excuse.

    2. Sloanicota*

      This time of year is when I work on my first crop of salad greens. Kale and baby spinach. Also my beautiful bulbs from last year start emerging and I generally realize I put them all in the wrong places … :D

    3. awesome3*

      Potatoes are in the grow bags! That’s basically all the work I’ve done so far lol

    4. BlueWolf*

      I started a bunch of seeds a while ago and my kale seedlings are getting huge so I need to pot them up until I’m ready to plant them out. I also need to build my new raised bed and start some more seeds.

    5. Missb*

      I am going to winter sow some artichoke seeds. I’ve been growing cardoons for a few years and I just don’t love them. However, the cardoon plants get super huge so clearly I could easily grow artichokes.

      I’m also going to plant some lettuce and round carrot seeds in my vertical planter.

      I spent some time yesterday working on an area by my garage. I have tons of ferns crammed into one place (came with the house that way) and I probably need to move most of them. Part of that side of the driveway has a new retaining wall and tons of sunny exposure so I need to prep the area for plantings of some perennials.

    6. comityoferrors*

      I planted most of my flowers last weekend – milkweed, freesias, lupines, and nasturtium. We just got a really good rain yesterday, and today I’m repotting my succulents and planting a flower mix my partner made for me (daisies and dahlias, my and his favorites).

      I really want to grow food this year but I’m not sure what to plant. This post just inspired me to research!

    7. Veronica Mars*

      So this is my first year gardening and I’m ITCHING to get started (but live in a state with a fairly short growing season, so have to cool my jets). However, soon I’m going to start my herbs indoors (with plans to move them outdoors) and I got my nasturtium and marigold seeds, so I’ll start planting those indoors soon too. Right now I’m mostly in the timeline and planning phase–figuring out what supplies I still need, what exactly I want to plant (I’m trying to start small, but it’s hard for me and my plans keep expanding), and when I should start planting things. I’m really excited!

    8. just another bureaucrat*

      I’ve been growing peppers in my aerogarden and they are just staring to bloom and turn into peppers and it’s so lovely.

      My thyme has been growing for over a year now and it’s still wonderful but it doesn’t smell up my place quite as good as it used to and I’m wondering if I need to toss it and start over which I’m sort of sad about because the thyme has been the outstanding grower for me. I have a few strawberry plants that are just taking off but I’m not sure how long for them to bloom because I feel like it’s maybe been a bit too long.

      And I still can’t get a cilantro to start so I think I need to chuck the latest one and try again. :(

    9. Salymander*

      I chopped down all the cover crops, piled them up on the planting beds, and put wood chips on all the paths. Planting all those cover crops kept all but a very few weeds from growing, and the soil is looking good. I have to go out there today and chop up the cover crops some more so they decay faster, pull the rest of the broccoli and beets and some of the carrots, and pick the sugar snap peas and swiss chard.

      I tried an experiment to see if I could prevent invasive plants from taking over my garden. I dug up the roots of a horseradish plant, and then planted garlic about 2 feet down, with the cloves about 2-3 inches apart. Then, I added soil and planted more garlic at a normal depth about 4-5 inches apart. The horseradish, which I have been trying to get rid of for years, has not returned! Garlic and it’s relatives can inhibit the growth of some plants, and in this case I think they have inhibited the horseradish into oblivion! I used about 10 heads of garlic in a 3 square foot area. FYI, never ever ever plant horseradish in the ground, especially in heavy clay soil. Plant it in a pot that is sitting on something impermeable. I love horseradish, but digging it up is the worst.

      When I pulled and chopped back all my cover crops, I found a lot of onions that I had forgotten about. Last fall, I saved all the root ends of the green onions I used and rented them in the garden. The cover crops grew over them, and now they are pretty big. Has anyone ever left green onions in the ground to see how big they get? To they bulb up like other onions? I only ever grow baby green onions and have never left them to mature.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I will try that trick with garlic to get rid of my horseradish. Thank you again, Salymander! Lord, I wish I’d never planted that stuff!

        1. Salymander*

          Horseradish is like some kind of plant-based demon. Good luck with the garlicy eradication!

          Upon review, I think I actually used a little more garlic than previously stated. It was maybe 2 or 3 more heads of garlic, so 12-13 heads I think. And so far, no more horseradish. I originally dug it up and planted the garlic in September, and it took a couple of months of pulling up the baby horseradish shoots before the garlic had sprouted enough to really work, but after that there were no more horseradish sprouts. At this time last year, the horseradish had grown from nothing to being 2 feet high at least and took up 2 square feet of garden space. Now it is all gone!!!!! Huzzah!!!!

      2. Crop Tiger*

        They don’t grow into onion size, but they do make a small bulb. I’m into year six with mine out of sheer curiosity. I do have to say that they’re in a planter which might influence things.

    10. Lizabeth*

      Going to replenish and amend the soil in the barrel and plant some lettuce! A stray lettuce is coming up in the ground nearby the lettuce barrel. Or at least I “think” it’s lettuce…

    11. DataGirl*

      Weather was good enough to do some minor cleanup today, but it’s not warm enough to plant anything until May/June in my state. I do transplants as I don’t have room in the house for seedlings. This year I’m thinking I’ll focus on strawberries and herbs, and just a few tomatoes, cucumbers, chilis, maybe potatoes and onions. I still have a freezer full of tomatoes from the fall that I need to can, and dozens of canned pickles and peppers that will probably never get eaten.

    12. The Other Dawn*

      No plans yet since it’s still too cold here, but I’m starting to think about where my displaced raised bed gardens will go. We got a spa this year and had to remove the three raised beds I have. We kept the frames and used the dirt to level the ground under the spa. So now I have three frames and no idea where to put them. Sun isn’t a problem, so I could put them most anywhere; however, they need to be within the garden hose’s reach. I don’t want to get rid of them since I’m really not wanting to dig up the ground for a regular garden.

      1. DataGirl*

        Maybe a longer garden hose to give you more options? I have raised beds too and they are so much better for my back.

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Yeah, we already have a hose that reaches pretty far and it would have to go around another in-ground garden if I put the beds in the logical spot. But I can’t really think of another spot that’s easy to reach. I still have a little time to figure it out.

          And yes, the raised beds are much better for my back, too! Also, I find it’s much less weeding, which I’m totally on board with.

    13. fhqwhgads*

      This might be a stupid question, but I figure the gardener types might know the answer. I bought a house from an owner who had A TON of plants. Clearly knew what she was doing. Also there’s a rain barrel in the back. But this rain barrel doesn’t have a hose bib on it. Or any other visible means of getting the water out. It’s rained a ton recently. The barrel is totally full. The water is also totally gross. What am I supposed to do with it?

        1. fhqwhgads*

          Yeah, that’s what I was hoping to avoid. That or siphon is all I could think of, but both seem like a pain in the ass/super inefficient/somewhat gross. Plus the bucket method wouldn’t help get it down more than 25% unless I rigged some sort of pulley system. I keep thinking, surely this is not how this was meant to be used? But I have no idea what the previous owner did.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          But I’d still need to empty it first somehow right? I can’t exactly drill a hole in it while it’s full. That’s the bit that’s daunting to me: finding a way to empty it that won’t soak me in contaminated water.

      1. Cedrus Libani*

        Look up how to use a garden hose as a siphon – that might do it.

        Also consider treating the water in the future to keep it from getting gross. If nothing else, throw in a bit of oil to keep the mosquitoes from breeding there.

    14. bratschegirl*

      Tomatoes are ready to go from the egg carton to the new 4” peat pots. I will have to thin them, which feels cruel – I had no idea if *any* of them would sprout, so I planted multiples in each little cell, and they all came up – but I know they’ll just strangle each other if I don’t. But it’s so much fun to see how they get bigger every day!

  4. Daily reader, rare commenter*

    That is an absolutely gorgeous kitty. She’s like a Renoir painting.

    1. sequined histories*

      “Such a pretty kitty!” was my very first thought upon opening AAM this morning.

    2. Be the Change*

      She’s definitely a perfect catwalk model ;-) with that dainty forward foot action.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        I was thinking this looks like a painting too! Olive is beautiful and the composition of the photo is amazing! Olive is in action which makes it dynamic. Her coloring complements the wood flooring and tree stump in the background. The green wall complements her eyes. If you ever wanted to commission a painting of her, this is the purrfect photo to use for a reference. ❤

    3. GoryDetails*

      I was struck by that photo as well! I’ve managed a few decent photos of my own cats, but I’m not that good at the timing of things, and my shots always seem to be just after their cutest rolling-and-stretching or batting-of-paws. Olive, caught in mid-stride, is just gorgeous!

    4. Voluptuousfire*

      Anyone else save the pics of Olive on their phone? Is it just me? She’s so pretty!

  5. A.N. O'Nyme*

    Writing thread! How’s everyone’s writing going? As usual this is not limited to fiction writing, any writing goes.

    I’m resisting the urge to start a new project and have instead written down the ideas for later. I’m also seeing if maybe I can incorporate some of them in one or more existing projects so my brain will shut up about them.

    1. Sloanicota*

      I’m starting the most interesting project – a collaborative story written in 3 POVs by 3 different authors. It’s going to be an intrigue plot with each character knowing different pieces of the central story. I think it will be fun!

    2. Maryn B.*

      I’m more than halfway through what I hope will be the final revisions of a novel, second in a series, based on high-quality beta reader feedback.

      This week I also had a moment of bravery and entered a local writing contest. It’s not a big deal, but if I were to win, I’d get more than I did from my last sale to an anthology.

    3. Jacey*

      I’m trying my hand at fantasy non-fiction (yes, that’s a complete contradiction in terms). I’m doing lots of world-building for a fantasy story and I find myself enjoying it more if I write as if I’m a historian in that world. It makes me figure out how someone living with these events might see them. I’ve had a lot of fun writing descriptions of the same event or historical figure from different perspectives (e.g. writing the “official” biography of an emperor commissioned by his heir right after his death and then writing a “modern” piece by someone whose culture and ancestors were decimated by that emperor).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Ooh, this sounds fun. I wrote a world compendium for my fantasy country, but nothing like this. It seems like a great writing exercise.

        1. Jacey*

          Yeah, I’m enjoying it greatly! I think it forces me to understand the world more deeply. Let me know in a future thread if you end up liking it (or hating it, or being neutral on it—any feedback welcome).

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I might actually write some *documents* for inclusion in the compendium. I’m willing to publish it as an extra if readers of the trilogy are interested.

            Worldbuilding is very hard. You have to think about every! little! thing! Up to and including how the people in your world, especially if it’s set in a past era, use the bathroom and what kind of facility it would be. I never thought I’d be writing about how fantasy humans wipe their butts. >_<

            1. Jacey*

              Yes!! It’s so much more of a project than you’d initially think.
              For good ideas on the butt-wiping end of things, I recommend the book Medieval Underpants and Other Bloopers, which is aimed at historical fiction writers but SO useful to me as a fantasy world builder!

    4. Cendol*

      It’s going! The rejections are piling up too which is disheartening, but I hope to have some good news later this month. After this next round of submissions I will take a break from short stories to start a novella.

  6. A.N. O'Nyme*

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

    I’m not sure why but I’m on a Klei binge now…I’ve been playing Mark of the Ninja. I’d forgotten how much fun this one was.

    1. Jacey*

      Beyond excited to try a new tabletop RPG: The Underground, which is based on the fabulous urban sci-fantasy webcomic Sam & Fuzzy. It’s my first time as a PC and not a GM in MONTHS!

    2. Jackalope*

      I’m getting ready to DM my first D&D game (as a DM, not my first game ever). I decided to start with a prepared one-shot so I would have less to invent myself, which I think was a good plan. I’m a bit nervous and a bit excited. Everyone is texting me with their ideas and I’m enjoying seeing what people are coming up with! Also, one person came up with an idea that coincidentally worked perfectly with one of the tweaks I wanted to do with the one-shot, and I’m super excited about that. (I would gush about it here since all of my good friends who play dnd are in this game so I can’t tell any of them yet, but one of them also reads the blog, so….) I’m afraid that I won’t be able to figure out how to make it lovely enough, but I’m still looking forward to it.

        1. Jackalope*

          Thank you! I appreciate it! I’m closer to being ready, but it feels like it’s eating my whole life at the moment. In a good way; it’s much more pleasant than, say, worrying about the looming threat of nuclear war. But it’s a lot of brain work.

    3. Rectilinear Propagation*

      I got really into Killer Sudoku recently. I’ve been doing the puzzles at Daily Killer Sodoku (they have calculators for finding which combinations of color and find I struggle with puzzles above a 3 (or a high average solve time).

      I’d love any tips that aren’t already in the site’s suggestions.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        Oh, the one game I actually play! Tips: the ‘leftover’ cells in a section otherwise completely filled by cages are a virtual cage, with a total of 45 – (all the other cages). Not sure if I explained it in a comprehensible way?

        1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

          Also, I like to highlight all the cells all at once and pencil them in for all 9 numbers first thing, then start eliminating possibilities.

    4. Girasol*

      The new expansion for Guild Wars II is out and the scenery is breathtaking. All our guild friends have been out exploring this week. It’s a great place to meet and enjoy each other’s company since most of us are in the last of the high-risk covid areas.

      1. Nessun*

        Haha I literally just wrote the same!! It’s an amazing expac, isn’t it!! My guild has been loving it too.

    5. Nessun*

      Spent the week on the story in the new Guild Wars 2 expansion. The maps are gorgeous, the music is lovely, and the story is very well done. It also feels friendly for new players (though I’m not one) based on how they’re teaching stuff and what you can get in the new maps that’s from the earlier content.

    6. Bookgarden*

      Mark of the Ninja is such fun! I never made it past one of the last levels as I was getting frustrated and put the game down for a bit, but always meant to come back to it.

      I’m still trying to make progress through FFXIV. My partner hasn’t had much time to play lately and we’re doing the main story together, so I’ve worked on the ninja job, beast tribes, and relic weapons.

      Also playing Pokemon Legends and am almost done! Love the Breath of the Wild feel to it.

    7. Smol Book Wizard*

      I gave in and returned to Fire Emblem Three Houses, with the Golden Deer house this time. I’m still getting to know the kiddos this time around, but I’m excited to see how it goes with a house leader who’s actually kinda chill and mentally with-it. I love Dimitri and Edelgard, bless them, but they’re pretty high-maintenance and I’m looking forward to more worldbuilding and less angst this run. (Although I’m also planning a classic-mode Crimson Flower playthrough someday, so obviously angst is on my line still.)

      1. Jackalope*

        I’m working on a specialty run through Crimson Flower – female cast only. I recruited everyone, since I don’t want to have to kill any of my students & other peeps, but am only using the women for this run. It’s been a fun challenge.

    8. The Other Dawn*

      We were in Las Vegas recently and we went to the Pinball Hall of Fame to kill a few hours. They had a lot of old arcade games I grew up with, like Frogger, Ms. PacMan, Tetris, Tron, Space Invaders, and Dig Dug. We haven’t played these games is so many years. The muscle memory wasn’t really there anymore and neither of us did very well. Those quarters went very fast! LOL We had a great time, though. Lots of great pinball machines.

    9. Suprisingly ADHD*

      Been playing Surviving Mars, I’m finally ready to start bringing tourists to my Dome of Extreme Opulence! Or at least slight opulence. It’s hard to get luxury on Mars.

    10. SparklingBlue*

      Haven’t touched the Switch this week, but am still loving Pokemon Legends: Arceus, and am excited for Generation 9 later this year. (Scarlet and Violet)

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Cantha is out in Guild wars 2.
      Bit of frustration in the storyline getting to the new zone (I can see where it might be fun for someone else’s taste)…and once there it’s beautiful!

    12. LimeRoos*

      Super late to the party, but I’ve been tending my ACNH island. I kinda let the flowers overrun everything and need to make a lot more space for all the Festivale decorations I accumulated the last few weeks. Not to mention all the other areas I had tentatively mapped out that got turned into flower fields. Also moving the flowers around to breed and get the fun colors – purple windflower, green mums, hot pink cosmos.

      Also playing Wordle with my husband. We just play with each other taking turns guessing a word and it’s been really fun and chill. Funny story, Wordle.net was a website that I found while “stumbling” through FireFox in college and it made word pictures – you type in words you want displayed, more frequently if you want them bigger and it made that fun random word art where the words all face different ways. So when this Wordle came out I was super confused and realized I don’t even know if that old website is still up. So that was a sad moment lol.

  7. Puffle*

    Yesterday I discovered the magnificence that is the official Duolingo Tik Tok account. Their PR/ marketing teams are comedy geniuses, these videos are hilarious. I watched them on YouTube, then actually created a Tik Tok account so I could watch the rest.

    Aldi’s #FreeCuthbert campaign in the UK the other year was also amazing and gave me some much needed laughs

    What are your favourite funny big brand social media campaigns/ accounts?

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      There’s a Duolingo one where the mascot is walking down the stairs as all the staff applaud and it’s set to worship music, it seriously makes me cry laughing. I just can’t believe this is their real marketing strategy but it does make me want to go back to using the app lol

      Kraft does ones for their Easy Mac where it shows a parent being overwhelmed by their kids and then Enya plays as they make mac and cheese, it’s completely stupid and I hate that I’m in a demographic to find it relatable but I laugh every time I see one.

  8. Advocate*

    Observation: I found this blog a couple of months ago and spend time here every day. As a result, I’ve read many of Alison’s answers to letters and your comments. I’m blown away and heartened by the level of compassion I see here for the more vulnerable people in society, whether they are struggling with an addiction, a fellow citizen battling homelessness, or someone maneuvering through life with mental health or illness. As someone who has advocated for services for vulnerable groups for many years and sees how the stigma keeps so many stuck, I want to say thank you. You restore my faith in humanity.

      1. the cat's ass*

        So grateful for this site, for Alison, and the commentariat. Y’all are the best!

    1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Agreed. AAM is one of the best moderated boards on the Web.
      (And if you like SF, John Scalzi’s “Whatever” is pretty good too, although not as busy as it once was.)

      1. Carpe Manana*

        “Eager to be a good human” is a such a great way of looking at what you can learn here. This blog has made me realize that I have a lot of work to do to become a mature, grateful human.

    1. Golden*

      Kind of! I liked Campaign 1 and the Traveler Con arc from Campaign 2, but have since fallen off a bit. I’m very impressed with where they’ve been able to take the franchise, but personally I miss the “random friends letting you watch their game” vibe. Now that it’s more in the professional production category, I find that there’s other professionally produced media I just gravitate towards instead when I want that, or more likely watch smaller creators on YouTube.

      I liked the Amazon series a lot though!

      1. Ashkela*

        I got into it because my favorite reactors were going to do the animated series. I have loads of friends who watch and/or play DnD. I don’t enjoy playing, but discovered I loved watching them play. Plus I fell in adoration of Laura lol. I’m on ep 50 of C1 and have caught up on C3 and this week was my first live show.

      2. Wink the Book*

        I am right there with you re: C1 and the TravelorCon arc. I am also a huge fan of the one shots because they are proper feral.

    2. eisa*

      :raises hand:
      Bidet !

      My daughter got on to it (and got me onto it) at some time during the pandemic. She started with Campaign 1 and is all caught up up to C3, including one-shots, XU, Talks Machina, you name it.
      Myself, I am pretty far along with C1, and I’ve seen I guess two or three episodes of C3.
      (the young’uns have more time after all ;-) )
      Speaking of C3, I currently have a fan art portrait of Laudna as my profile pic in Teams. Yes, at work :-) It got barely any reactions, I guess people didn’t notice any difference to my own visage lol ;-)

      My daughter and I watched the Amazon series together. On the Friday the first three episodes dropped, I even took time off from work for it; the three weeks after that, I went over to her place on Saturday or Sunday (by which time she had of course already seen it ;-) )

      She got Gilmore’s Glorious Bathrobe from me for her birthday. (it is really glorious!)

      I love these people so much .. except not being a huge fan of Sam’s (minority opinion, I know)
      When I think about my favourite or most memorable moments so far, a lot of them are actually from the Underdark arc. I enjoyed Orion and was sad to see him go.
      And they had fabulous guests throughout, I mean, Patrick Rothfuss, how great is that guy ? also some of the woman one-time guests (names escape me, but for instance Tova (character name) or the British lady who gave us a Tiefling with an Eastern European accent somewhere near the start of Briarwood arc)

      And Matt, I mean .. words do not express it, right ?

      1. Ashkela*

        Bidet! I got into it so I could watch the animated show, marathoned through the Briarwood arc, finished the show, marathoned C3 to get caught up, saw my first live show this week (and of course it was a near-5 hour one), and am about to watch ep 50 once I’m done on replies here.

        Sam in C1 has me screaming at him at the moment because there’s only so much purposeful distraction and contrariness that I can take and I know there’s going to be the whole leaving thing (because I fell in love with the ships so I started watching supercuts and so spoiled myself for so many things). I do enjoy Fresh Cut Grass more. Ashley being the chaotic one as Fearne just doesn’t bother me as much lol.

        Aww, I know who you mean about the tiefling. I think she was their artist at the time! I loved her well. And heck, without Will Friedle coming in and Kashaw randomly kissing Keyleth, who knows what would have happened with Vaxleth (is it just me, or did they make Vexleth a bigger deal than Vaxleth in the animated series? Like, if I hadn’t watched C1 up to that point, I would have thought that she rejected Vax because she had a crush on Vex with how she reacted when Vex called her darling lol)

        I adore Matt, but Laura is my queen. I’m rooting for Imodna this season because watching Laura and Marisha play Imogen and Laudna just is giving me all the vibes, but I’m happy to let it play out.

        1. Jackalope*

          I also get annoyed with Scanlon for nonconsensual flirting. I know it was awhile ago and consent wasn’t as big of a thing when they were recording. And at one point Matt basically tells him to back off (he tries something with an NPC and gets a major slap down) and it gets a little better. But I keep thinking that he’s the kind of guy that would cause one of Alison’s weekday letters about a coworker who’s probably fine but just a little sketchy, with all the posters saying, “No, he’s a CREEP.” I hope he gets better. (I’m close to the end of season 1 for C1 so he’s got a lot of time to improve.)

          1. Ashkela*

            Yeah, it never gets to the point where Orion got before he left, but it definitely stopped being funny to me. It helps to know what was in the letter he wrote Pike in episode 50. (He reads it out in the C1 wrap up on TM) I think it also helps that both of the real people are taken and happy in their relationships.

    3. comityoferrors*

      Me! I got into it mid-C2, so C3 is the first I’ve watched live from the beginning. I’m watching C1 sloooowly as I have time/interest. Laudna is one of my favorite characters they’ve ever had and I love watching Marisha (and Ashley with Fearne, another favorite) have the freedom to be silly and campy.

      Ashkela, are you staying current with C3 or did you get into the earlier campaigns first? Any favorites so far?

      1. Ashkela*

        I started with C1, marathoned through the Briarwood arc both to get through the awkwardness with Orion and also so I could be fully ready for the animated show, and then paused and switched to catch up on C3. This was my first live episode this week! I’ve gone back to C1 and today will watch ep 50 (as I hide in my room while my housemate has a party that I have no interest in).

        SO many favorites on different things. I’ve watched a million of the relationship supercuts because I’m absolute trash for all things Vex… okay all things Laura. The only cast member I knew before watching was Ashley, but I’ve fallen head over heels for watching Laura be all these different characters. So while I haven’t gotten there yet in watching, ‘it’s Lady Vex’ahlia…’ ‘I come up out of the water…’, ‘I cast counterspell, 9th level’, and ‘I wish…’ :swoon:

        I’m loving this campaign. I firmly choose to believe that Imodna has been canon before the campaign started and that they’re dropping hints. It’d be a new twist on relationships and this week’s offer from Laudna to Fearne seemed to help with that (my Twitter was having far too much fun talking about that). Sad to lose Dorian, but of the male actors, Taliesin’s Ashton is my favorite character of the season so far. Tal is a master class in playing I swear.

    4. Jackalope*

      I just started in January. I am almost caught up with C3 (one episode behind and I hope to fix that this weekend), and have been working my way through C1. I’m normally not a podcast sort of person so this has been a weird change for me, but I’m enjoying it. The one down side is that I haven’t touched C2 at all, which is where the friends who got me hooked started up (neither of them have listened to C1 at all) so we have some mismatch in our experiences. Still, it’s been fun and a bright point in a lot of heaviness this year so I’m glad I took it up.

      1. Jackalope*

        I will add after a bit more thought that I enjoy the fact that they try to make it warm and caring and inviting appeals to me. Their current theme song specifically asks fans to join them, talks about their friendship “rising” from the darkness, discusses finding allies, etc. And they act like people who genuinely like each other & care about their fans too. I know it’s part of their “brand”, but since we live in a time that sometimes seems like a race to the bottom in terms of civility, compassion, and general decency, I have a lot of appreciation for a group that became well-known and decided that this would be included in their brand.

        1. comityoferrors*

          Yes! The C3 theme really tugs on my heartstrings and reminds me every week that what’s important is being curious, being kind, and loving each other. The fandom is…passionate about the show, so there have been some loud criticisms from a vocal minority that certain changes they’ve made are “too corporate” and indicate that they don’t care about the fans anymore. But honestly, I struggle to think of other brands that have such a welcoming and loving vibe both with their fans and with each other. I love the show because it’s clever and funny and engaging, but more than that, I love the cast and the good they’re trying to put in the world through this medium.

        2. Ashkela*

          Everything I’ve seen of them shows them to be so very real and excited and loving this. Yes, it’s gone more corporate as it got bigger, but like you said, they encourage engagement and they’re just so awesome. I’m an Earper and our fandom is much the same way for inclusivity and helping one another, so it didn’t surprise me how much overlap there was (I mean, I was aware of the show because half my Twitter timeline was watching it on Twitch and tweeting about it so much I muted the hashtags back before I was watching lol)

          Housemate is now accustomed to me singing the theme song loudly, even though this week was the first time I got to do it live. And those vocals! The transition from Ashley to Laura at the start is perfection (I always need more Laura singing).

            1. Ashkela*

              Earpers are fans of the tv show Wynonna Earp. The fandom is incredibly tight and interactive with the cast. There are four North America Earp-only conventions, another one in the UK, and there used to be one in Europe as well for multiple years. The show only has four seasons, and that fourth season was a FIGHT to get. We’ve been fighting for a season five since SyFy rescinded the pick up of the fifth season after the fourth was written and filmed, but before it finished airing. Luckily for us, the showrunner had wanted to make sure that just in case they reneged, that season four wouldn’t end like the others in a cliffhanger, but in an acceptable ending if that was it. We’re still hoping and the production company is still actively searching and we still average 15-35k hashtag mentions a day, almost a year after the last episode aired.

              We have a hashtag to introduce ourselves, one for art and fic, and another for support – be it emotional, physical, or financial in some cases. Watching the early days of the stream of CR especially reminds me of how the Earpers are. We’ve spawned two non-profit orgs – Start the Wave and Bad Believers. Look up ‘Earp Time Square’ and see how we bought billboards and covered them in Earp stuff to help get our show. We call it all ‘Polite No Chill’ and we are legion.

              (Can you tell I’m passionate about it? lol) 4 seasons on Netflix. Think Buffy but make it modern pseudo-Western with actual good queer rep as well as an amazing story.

    5. eisa*

      In case other people here want to know what we are nattering on about : it is called Critical Role
      (…where a bunch of nerdy-ass voice actors (x) play Dungeons and Dragons).
      It is a Twitch stream, but also available on YouTube and as a podcast.
      They are crazy good at what they do, lovely people, and have a lot of fun.

      (x) there’s a saying ‘a face made for radio’ … well, voice acting nonewithstanding, that is NOT the case here ;-)

      .. btw, a few weeks ago there was already a mini-meetup here at AAM :waving at posters ‘Respectfully, Pumat Sol’ and ‘fine tipped pen aficionado’:

      1. Ashkela*

        Ooh, I get the Pumat Sol reference now! Thanks eisa. It’s been amazing getting into this world and like so many other things that have grown humongous, suddenly discovering how many inserts into ‘real’ life they have. Heck, Ashley’s character on Blindspot mentioning she was a gnome cleric was a joke I knew about back when it was airing, but I wasn’t watching so I didn’t get the significance at the time.

    6. Smol Book Wizard*

      I’m a CR2 fan and basically survived grad school catching up with it in every spare moment; it was the brightest thing in a very dark time for me, and I caught up right around Fjord’s class change and watched it pretty much week-to-week as I went through jobs, homes, states, etc. I love the dynamic among the characters and among the cast, too.

      I did not quite click with CR1 in the same way, but I did enjoy the new animated series a lot, as did my husband who was not a Critter hitherto. (I have trouble enduring Scanlan, although I will say he’s got the plus of being a team player and actually being serious and with-it when needed, as opposed to a total chaos flirt.)

      Campaign 3 started at a time in my life where I was less in need of, or open for, a 4+ hour commitment every week for a show :D That, plus my not quite loving the characters yet, has kept me on the fringes so far. But I could definitely see myself jumping back in someday, and the Mighty Nein are the guardians of my heart. Yeah, my username here is a Caleb ref.

  9. Princess Deviant*

    How has your week been?
    Mine has been… expensive and frustrating.
    The neighbour’s cat got into my house and sprayed everywhere, stressing my cats out and causing a lot of damage to the furniture.
    I got my couches cleaned professionally but the smell is worse so I’ve arranged for them to be collected and thrown out – but not till Monday, so currently I’m having to sit on the dining chairs in my cold kitchen because there’s no where to sit in the living room!
    I was just about to go to a large charity shop today to look at second hand couches but I went to get petrol first… and my petrol cap won’t open, so I’m now waiting for my mechanic instead of going couch shopping!
    Any tips for getting cat spray smell out, would be appreciated.
    Any other stories of “arghhhhh” that’ve happened this week to you – also appreciated :)

    1. The Dogman*

      White wine vinegar and baking/bicarbonate of soda.

      Mix immediately prior to putting on the couch, it will foam rapidly, so use a cloth or sponge to apply to the sprayed areas.

      With a couch/sofa let it soak in a bit.

      The vinegar is the best chance of breaking the smell molecules down to stop the smell.

      A regular furniture shampoo should remove the vinegar smell once the couch is dry again.

      Good luck, it is very effective Vs dog urine but cat urine is much smellier so could need a few re-applications.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Ooh, good tip! I wonder if I could try this on the fabric of my car … my dog has drooled and panted all over it and the inside of the vehicle just stinks of dog now.

      2. Granny Weatherwax*

        I don’t know why vinegar and baking soda have gotten so popular as a “cleaning hack” all you are doing is make water, salt, and CO2 which totally negates the benefits of the vinegar and the baking soda. Separately they can each be a great cleaning product, but together they are a science fair volcano.

      3. Princess Deviant*

        I didn’t have baking soda, but I did have vinegar and tried to clean with that, but it didn’t work.
        I’ve now bought some enzymatic cleaner and will have that for if/ when it happens again. I think the current couches are a goner. It’s ok. I bought a cool second hand one and that’ll do for the next couple of years. My petrol cap is fixed (ish) too. The lock is broken but at least I can fill the tank and my mechanic is getting a new cap to replace it, which is fortunately not too expensive.

    2. Cat and dog fosterer*

      The only thing that helps cat pee is an enzymatic cleaner from a pet store (you can also try vet clinics or hardware stores, maybe you’ll get lucky, but if you have a pet store nearby they should have something). The enzymes break down the urine, rather than masking it. Nothing else works nearly as well.

      For couches, soak the area really well. The instructions usually say to spray the area, but thick items like furniture needs a good soaking so that the enzyme cleaner makes its way down into all areas that have cat pee.

      The cleaner may ruin the look of material, especially if it is sensitive to moisture like suede. I use it on my carpet quite often (mostly with foster dogs) and the carpet looks the same.

      1. Xena warrior princess*

        I second the enzymatic cleaner. We use one called Nature’s miracle for cat pee and it worked pretty well for a cat who was having some bladder problems and not peeing in the litterbox.

        1. Admiral Thrown Rocks the Blue*

          Yep, great product. Sometimes needs multiple applications but it does work.

      2. Princess Deviant*

        Thanks! I have got enzymatic cleaner now, but I think the couches are too far gone! To be honest, I’m annoyed that the professional cleaners I got in didn’t use cold water and enzymatic cleaner (rolls eyes). I did tell them it was too clean cat urine up.

    3. Missb*

      I feel for you!

      I once had my husband make holes in the wall every 18” or so along the staircase landing (midway up the stairs). I was utterly convinced something had died in the wall. The smell was awful.

      Turns out the male cat had peed on the floor in the upstairs bathroom at the top of the landing, under the bathroom vanity where it wasn’t obvious.

      I hope you’re able to salvage your couches!

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Oh nooo! It’s so infuriating when can SMELL it but have no idea where its coming from. Yuk.
        The couches might be salvagable, but to be honest I just don’t feel like going through the rigmarole of soakong them then cleaning them, when they’re about 10 years old and pretty beat up anyway.
        I managed to get a decent second hand one which will do me for the next few years.

    4. the cat's ass*

      it WAS a week, wasn’t? I had to into the bank to reactivate an account i’ve been transferring $ into for decades, because putting $ into an account doesn’t make it active, and nobody could really explain that adequately to me. I had to go take 20$ US out (and then put it back in) and problem solved; car trouble; sick elderly kitty; DD bailing out of fri afternoon classes because she felt terrible; very cranky people at work, including my usually lovely MA who was really in a snit….and then the whole Ukraine situation. Glad the week is over and I have NO plans this w/e except groceries and cooking.

    5. GoryDetails*

      Sorry about the cat-spray problem! Enzymatic cleaners are excellent for removing the odors, though they may have to be re-applied, and if upholstered items got the stuffing soaked that might require actual replacement. But I hope it isn’t that bad! (I had a cat who started spraying late in her life, and managed to spritz all the books on the bottom shelves of my bookcases. That was… tough. Books with shiny covers were mostly salvageable, but anything with a matte cover or the ones where the spray reached the pages had to be tossed. But the shelves and the flooring were fairly easy to clean; washed them and then applied the enzyme cleaner, letting it soak into the cracks and sit for a while to do its work, then wiped that off.

      My own little challenges include plumbing problems! Noticed some seepage from under the kitchen sink, delved into the darkness and found that (a) the sink-trap was starting to corrode at the bottom of the bend, and (b) I had WAY too much unused stuff under there, making it harder to notice problems. Oh, and it looks as though the trap isn’t the only component that’s in need of work. So I patched the leak for the short term but will be making an appointment with a plumber soon. (I can manage simple repairs – leaky faucets or running toilets or whatnot – but replacing sections of pipe, especially when the entire structure is quite old, is not something I want to mess with.)

    6. Anono-me*

      Have you checked with your insurance company and your neighbor’s? They may pay for some or all of the damages . (I think we are in different countries, so the laws etc may vary, and of course insurance policy rules vary also.)

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Oh good idea! I think the neighbour almost certainly won’t have insurance though, I don’t think the cats are even microchipped and they’re left to themselves a lot… but that’s an assumption and maybe it’s an unfair one.
        I’m certain I don’t have accidental cover though, although I’m not entirely sure that other people’s cats count as accidental? I think they probably are!

    7. RussianInTexas*

      My brand new car needs a repair(at least the car is drivable).
      My dryer 2.5 years old died, and the home warranty people didn’t schedule the service appointment in time, so the next available technician visit in next Thursday.
      The cedar pollen is completely murderous.
      My back been hurting for a month now.
      My mom is in Russia, she is retired, and not well off. My step-dad has cancer and a host of other health problems. I am not able to send them any money by any legal means due to sanctions.
      Sleep is difficult to cover by, as a result.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        I’m really sorry about your mom and step dad. It must be really hard seeing what’s going on but not being able to help.

      2. Pennyworth*

        It must be very hard for ordinary people in Russia right now. I found out this week that even before the sanctions, the average Russian is poorer than the average Indian.

      3. WoodswomanWrites*

        I’m sorry to hear this. It must be so painful for you. My heart goes out to people in Russia who are suffering.

          1. Mannequin*

            Why not both?
            The ordinary people in Russia aren’t responsible for the atrocities their tyrannical government commits.

    8. Jean (just Jean)*

      Pretty damn awful:
      Spouse with terminal illness is not getting enough pain control support from his care facility. Spouse also refuses to do self-advocacy. Last time I checked the facility did not have mind-readers on staff.
      I screwed up online payment of a large bill by depositing funds to account X before trying to pay from account Y as per usual. The current payment can be redone via check but I dread having to write checks forever more if I can’t fix the online system.
      I am trying to accomplish various tedious, bureaucratic but necessary tasks, and everything is taking too long because I’m exhausted, depressed, discouraged, and dysfunctional. (See online payment above.) Did I mention that I’m the only person in my home with sufficient energy for basic chores?
      There’s more, but I’ll stop.
      At least I was able to call a friend and vent, and the sun is shining.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        I’m sorry you’re going through such a hard time right now. I bet you’re exhausted.

    9. Salymander*

      I was sexually assaulted several months ago, and I’m still dealing with the fallout from reporting it. Some people have been really great. Most are fairly neutral. Some people have been actively terrible. Many of the people in authority have been saying all the right things but not doing any of them. The police were respectful but very disorganized and careless. If I hadn’t continued to pester them they would have done nothing. It was really frustrating. I think the worst thing was the number of people who said really weird, sexist things to me. Most were just strange and didn’t know what to say, but some were really terrible. This week, I won a small victory against one of the people who is saying awful things and trying to do things to make my life harder. That is good. It doesn’t make up for the political situation, the pandemic, the environment, and the situation in Ukraine, but at least there is one, tiny bright spot.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        I’m sorry that you had to deal with all of that aggravation and grief. Sexual assault is bad enough without people being cluelessly or hatefully unhelpful. Good for you for winning your small victory. I hope the tiny bright spot gets larger.

      2. Princess Deviant*

        I’m sorry to hear this, how awful. I’m glad you can hold on to a tiny bright spot.

      3. Chauncy Gardener*

        Oh my goodness! I’m so sorry to hear that. Sending internet hugs if you need them!

    10. Bea*

      There is a product called Nok-Out that will help. I buy mine from Amazon. Google nok out everyday cheapskate for more info. That’s an advice column of household, budget, etc, hints I read.

    11. Pineapple in hiding*

      I doubt you’re as “TOTALLY bummed out” about it as the people of Ukraine.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        I’m very sorry, Alison. I think that was me that went off the rails there, My spouse is from Ukraine and I am beside myself. But no excuse. I’m sorry!

    12. MaryLoo*

      We bought our house from someone whose cat regularly peed and pooped all over small bathroom that had a tile floor, even though the litter box was in the bathroom. I think the pee got absorbed by the grout. After a year of trying everything I could think of ( I didn’t know about enzyme cleaners, this was years ago before the web) I finally tried Clorox. I would hold my breath, pour a puddle of bleach on the floor, run out of the room and shut the door. That bathroom would be off limits for a couple days. I’d open the window for it to air out, then repeat the procedure.

      After doing this a few times, the bathroom no longer smelled like a litter box. Although for a few years after that, if we had a spell of reallyhot humid weather, I’d catch a whiff of cat. I repeated the bleach treatment, maybe 2 more times.

      Good luck with the enzyme stuff. It’s amazing how long lasting the cat smell was.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Arghhhhh that is definitely annoying! Yeah I read that the urine contains uric acid crystals and so these reactivate in hot weather unless they’re removed, which is why just washing the stains won’t get rid of the smell long term. Happy days XD

    13. Rusty Shackelford*

      I know this is late and you might miss it, but professional carpet cleaners warned me the smell of pet urine will get worse after cleaning before it gets better, because there is always something that won’t come out, and it’s more smelly when it’s wet. Of course they were talking about the carpet padding, and I don’t know if the same is true for furniture, but it’s something to think about before you toss your stuff.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Thank you! That’s interesting … the smell is abating now that it’s drying.

  10. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Little joys!

    The litter with my new puppy in it was born, so I will definitely be adding a baby puppy to my household at the end of April when she is old enough to come home! (And oh my gosh, the pictures. The CUTE.)

    1. Wishing You Well*

      Great joys!
      The wait seemed forever but I learned this week I don’t need radiation and I don’t need chemo either!
      I am so relieved and grateful!
      Sending wishes for everyone’s good health and safety.

    2. Jacey*

      Awwww pupper! Please post pics here in future if you feel comfortable doing so!

      My house is cleeeeean! I finally broke down and hired a professional organizer and wow, she’s amazing.

    3. Chaordic One*

      I found out that Forte A Cappella finally got around to dropping a new video on YouTube. (Not everyone’s cup of tea, I know. I’m easily amused.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Normally we are adopting-out-of-shelters people for all our critters, but I specifically wanted a giant breed dog this time, and my husband had some concerns about health issues for giant breed dogs, so we talked about it and agreed that his health concerns would be at least mostly mitigated (enough for his comfort level) if we knew a health history for a couple of generations on both parents, so this time we are going with a reputable and registered breeder, and I am getting a Great Dane puppy in April.

        1. Ali G*

          That’s smart! Danes if poorly bred will not live long and/or have a lot of health issues.
          I’ve always been on the adoption train, but we had a lot of behavioral issues with the current Old Man, that we are also toying with the idea of going the breeder route next time. Then, once that dog is settled we will start fostering. One day we’ll have a foster fail and since two is my max, we’ll quit until we are ready for another again.

          1. Cj*

            I would love to foster both dogs and cats, but they would all definitely be foster fails, so we can’t go that route.

          2. pancakes*

            My understanding is that one of the primary reasons they don’t live long is because the size of their heart in relation the rest of their body puts a lot of strain on it. They do not live long as a general rule, not just the ones who are “poorly bred.”

    4. voluptuousfire*

      Yay! Can never go wrong with puppies, especially a Great Dane puppy. OMG.

      I got a new one of the things we’re not to talk about in the weekend threads. that’s awesome

      Also went to see one of my favorite movies at a midnight showing at a little indie theater that also serves food and drinks. I had a chicken sandwich, tater tots, and root beer. I had to make myself a travel mug of strong tea to keep myself caffeinated enough to be sure I was up for the midnight show. LOL

      I also have 5 garbage bags of clothes going to donate on Monday. Feels so good to get a lot of stuff out of the house.

    5. Filosofickle*

      I can’t walk very far right now due to an injury, but i could go just a little farther this week and that took me by an absolutely stunning tree loaded with plum blossoms :)

    6. Laura H.*

      My phone-less-ness is almost over!

      Have the device and the case is ordered, just need to get sim and phone number properly tied to it. So ready, it’s been a pain of a month without a phoning phone.

    7. Laura Petrie*

      I baked a delicious loaf of garlic, thyme and rosemary bread today. I rarely make bread but I’ve decided to do it more often.

      It’s been sunny this weekend and even though it has been cold, we’ve had the windows open and it has really cheered me up.

      I passed my driving theory test!

  11. Lemon*

    Happy weekend! I’m looking to get into cross stitch but I’m not sure what I can do with the finished pieces. I don’t have a lot of wall space so framing them isn’t an option. I’ve been embroidering (not cross stitch) for around a year and a half now, and I usually work on tote bags, clothing, cushion covers – things that I can put to use. But I am not confident enough to attempt cross stitch on a fabric that isn’t aida D: Not open to selling my work due to multiple reasons, primary one being it’ll take the fun out of a hobby (also I have never cross stitched before so I may not even be good at it lol)

    Looking for suggestions/ideas as to how else I can use the finished pieces. Thanks for reading!

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My mom used to get (I think it’s called “waste canvas”?), it’s basically Aida that you tack onto tote bags, clothing, cushion covers, etc, to do your cross stitch – then when you’re done, you either pull it out from under the stitches or there’s paper-ish kinds of Aida you can get now that will dissolve with water. My mom was doing this like 30 years ago before the dissolve-y kind was an option, one of my jobs as a kid was to pull the waste canvas out thread by thread when she finished a project :P

      I recently did a collection of fairly small pieces (like, 2×2 inches) of Star Wars ships, and I put them into plastic coasters :)

      1. Lemon*

        I’ll have to look into the waste canvas, that sounds perfect and I hope it’s available near me! What a cool idea to put your work into coasters :D thanks for sharing

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          If you’re in the US, I know I’ve seen it (in different count sizes even!) at the big box type craft stores, JoAnn’s and Michael’s for sure. Amazon has it as well, if you search “dissolvable Aida cloth” (careful, not all the results are the dissolvable kind, it brings up a bunch of the regular stuff too, but there’s at least one dissolvable option on the first page) or “waste canvas for cross stitching” :)

          1. Lemon*

            Sadly not, I don’t even know how to translate waste canvas into the local language to ask around in shops here :( but this is great news cause I can ask my friend in the US to purchase some for me!

      2. Buni*

        This is what I do – I’ve never heard of ‘waste canvas’ but I just buy the cheapest thinnest aida I can (weird colours can sometimes be cheaper), tack it on and pull it out after.

        I’ve jazzed up a couple of those cheap plain cotton tote bags this way.

        1. the cat's pajamas*

          So are you saying you sew the aida cloth to the tote bag, then pull the threads of the aida cloth out to just leave the pattern stiched to the bag?

          1. Valancy Snaith*

            Yes, that’s the concept behind waste canvas. The stitches remain but the Aida or canvas gets pulled out.

          2. Buni*

            It’s also incredibly satisfying – like peeling wallpaper! I just sit there with a good show and a pair of small pliers.

            1. the car's pajamas*

              Cool, thanks! I’ve done cross stitch occasionally but never heard of it, sounds awesome.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I did exactly this when I cross-stitched a Tweety bird on a sweatshirt. It worked great.

      4. HBJ*

        Yup, my mom’s used the type you pull out, too.

        There are also items with regular Aida canvas built into them. Baby bath towels (a hood made of Aida) and bibs (a front panel made of Aida) are two things I know of from long time ago.

        1. HBJ*

          You can also cut Aida into whatever shapes you want. For example, I’ve seen stockings where the whole front was a design. It was stitched on a rectangular piece of Aida, and then was sewn onto the rest of the stocking pieces. Someone upthread mentioned using waste canvas to transfer to coasters. You could also just cut regular Aida to size once you’re done and then finish the edges somehow, glue it to a backing, or whatever is best.

    2. The Other Dawn*

      Why not just give the pieces away as gifts to friends and family? That’s what I’ve done with mine. I enjoy cross stitching, but don’t always want to keep it for myself. So I frame it and then give it to someone. Obviously I make sure it’s a design they’d like and that they actually want it. For example, I stitched a snowy forest scene with deer, which I gave to one of my sisters who likes deer and country scenes.

    3. The teapots are on fire*

      You could also just turn under the edges of the fabric of your finished cross-stitch pieces and apply it to tote bags, cushions, the pockets of jeans, etc.

      1. Jacey*

        Yeah, I make lots of cross stitch patches because I get frustrated with waste canvas! You can buy lightweight, dual-sided interfacing and iron your finished cross stitch onto other fabric items.

    4. Dancing Otter*

      It’s been a while, but there used to be stamped cross stitch kits for embroidery on regular weave fabric. I have a beautifully embroidered tablecloth and napkin set my mother used for her bridge club. They sold pillowcases, too, with thread kits or “choose your own colors” suggestions. I know I’ve seen (fairly recently) kits for stamped cross stitch baby stuff, like bibs and quilts – though the practical aspect of putting a lot of work into a bib that is *intended* to collect stains seems questionable. Still, as baby gifts….

      If you hem it neatly, Aida cloth makes good placemats and napkins. (Same concern as the bibs, though.) Aida cloth isn’t the only fabric suitable for counted cross stitch, either. A lot of linen is woven evenly enough to be suitable, making the stitches over two or threads. The coarser weaves are pretty sturdy, too, for objects you actually want to use, not just admire.

      You can also embellish otherwise sturdy objects by embroidering on narrow strips of Aida that you then apply as trim.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      I’ve seen ideas for kind of a scrapbook or album of completed work – you can put the projects in page protectors or make like a fabric book where you actually stitch your work onto the pages (sewing version of gluing a photo to paper, not making the project on the book page). Or you could have a couple frames and rotate work through so you’re only displaying a few at a time.

    6. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      I will often frame smaller pieces for desks or other bits besides wall hanging.
      But the majority of my work is for gifts. It brings me joy to make it, it brings them joy to receive it, and I love the reflected joy of their receipt. They’re never huge things but a little handmade thing, given as a random “I was thinking about you” gift always brightens a person’s day.

    7. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Coarse weave linen – can make placemats, napkins, table clothes, table runner.

    8. DataGirl*

      I kept all my finished pieces in a box for years. Cross stitch/embroidery for me was more about the act of creating them than displaying. I was up to close to 30 pieces when my eldest moved out and I was able to turn her room into a sewing room/office, and now I have a place to display everything. So maybe just hang on to them until you have a place to hang them? Or give them away as gifts- I do that a lot too.

    9. NaoNao*

      Visible mending! Aka Sasiko–it’s very similar to cross stitching but you’ll use decorative stitches to repair garments and give them more life. And if it’s a tad wonky, it adds to the charm.

    10. Anon for This*

      My sister used to make Christmas ornaments and then give them as gifts. And someone else already suggested coasters – I have some Christmas-themed ones my MIL gave us. Pretty, useful, and sincerely appreciated!

    11. Fikly*

      You may or may not have come across this as an embroiderer – I exclusively cross stitch, so I’m not sure how much supply crossover there is – but there are also little boxes that are designed with small fabric sections that you can stitch on. They can be quite pretty when all assembled, and don’t require too much assembly to put the entire thing together.

      Otherwise, waste canvas is a fantastic suggestion and is exactly what you need to cross stitch on a variety of fabric.

    12. Stitching Wizard*

      A belated response but if you see this, there are lots of charities that take cross stitch projects! I do a lot of work with Love Quilts that takes Aida squares and makes them into blankets for children with life changing/terminal illnesses. I’ve also given projects to the World of Charity Cross Stitch which makes them into all sorts of items, including bags for women and children in domestic violence shelters. Look online for cross stitch charities, there are a lot out there!

  12. Teapot Translator*

    Which travel shows do you like? I just watched one with Joanna Lumley (silk road). It’s so beautiful. And she goes places that I probably will never go to, like Iran.

    1. Chaordic One*

      I spend a lot of time just vegging out to Rick Steves. He brings out the best of places and people. And I appreciate how he educates and informs about history, religion and politics.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        +1. My favorite episode is the one where he went to the Cinque Terra in Italy.

        I’ll often put on his show on Prime to help me sleep since Rick’s voice is so soothing.

        When it was on, I also enjoyed Globetrekker.

    2. Jacey*

      If you like history, I recommend Secrets of Great British Castles on Netflix; you follow the host through the whole island of GB and learn about the castles there (construction, historical importance, weird fun facts) plus see some lovely landscape shots.

    3. Marion Ravenwood*

      I’m not sure if it’s more of a food show than a travel show, but I got very into Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown on Netflix in the first lockdown.

    4. Forensic13*

      Travel Man with Richard Ayoade! He goes for a weekend trip with another celebrity. Super fun in that very dry, silly British way.

      1. pancakes*


        Also, Monty Don’s programs on various gardens. Gardens of Italy, Gardens of France, etc.

    5. allathian*

      I agree with you on Joanna Lumley. The Silk Road one was amazing. I also like the travel shows with Michael Palin.

  13. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

    I have a tapestry of Tutankhamen’s head wrapped around a brick as a door stop, he has saved me from the door closing and shutting me out a thousand times! His regal purple is as vivid as the day I stitched it, more than forty years ago.
    What I did with all of the other tapestries is lost in the mists of time.
    Maybe you could cross stitch onto material that you made into bags for storing seasonal clothes (pillowcase size), or perhaps embroider your own pillowcases themselves. I have done bits of embroidery on baby blankets or baby wraps, it is a nice personal touch for a gift. Do you know any children with dolls or teddies whose toys’ clothes could be jazzed up a bit? Or whose toys’ bed could use a little fancy bed linen etc?

  14. David Purfoy*

    Any off the beaten track fun things to do this coming week in Philadelphia? Thanks!

    1. coffee is my friend*

      Check out the Vietnamese food in south Philly – totally been craving a bahn mi

    2. GoryDetails*

      I don’t know if this would be considered off the beaten track, but I recommend the Mutter Museum! (Unless you’re squeamish about or not interested in human illnesses over the centuries.) It’s a mix of history, medicine, and sociology, absolutely riveting, and often very touching.

      Also, there are some really good pubs. {wry grin} But it’s been so long since I was last there I don’t know if the ones I liked best are still open.

      Have a great trip!

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        I went to the Mutter Museum several years ago and really enjoyed it, One of the funniest things was the gentleman who took tickets and then manned the gift store. He would ask each patron how they liked the museum.If they liked it and said so, he was very happy. If they hated it and were majorly grossed out or horrified, he was even happier.
        I got a tiny crystal block with the miniature Chang and Eng cast. It lives in a curiosity cabinet in my Edwardian dollhouse

        1. GoryDetails*

          “I got a tiny crystal block with the miniature Chang and Eng cast. It lives in a curiosity cabinet in my Edwardian dollhouse”

          That is AWESOME! (And now I want an Edwardian dollhouse. I could decorate it in early Edward Gorey, with Mutter Museum conversation pieces here and there…)

    3. Anono-me*

      The Rodin Museum. We went to Philly a bazillion years ago and spent about twice as long there as planned. Very powerful art.

      (I wouldn’t have thought it was a non mega tourist destination, but almost any time I’ve mentioned it people reactions say otherwise.)

    4. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Rosa’s Pizza – They have a big “pay it forward” slice wall that warms my flinty black heart.

    5. NeutralJanet*

      I went to the Sistine Chapel exhibit last weekend and loved it–art from the Sistine Chapel is projected life-size in a venue in the Fashion District.

    6. Claritza*

      Visit the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit at the Brandywine River Museum – approx 30 mi. west of the Liberty Bell! Through April 10.

    7. I don't mean to be rude, I'm just good at it*

      Not this weekend, but the Manayunk Streat Food Truck Festival is back at the end of April. Historically huge turnout and lots of variety, in food and people.

  15. Sloanicota*

    Dog thread! Anyone want to share updates on the dogs in their lives?

    A few weeks ago I was complaining about my recently adopted adult dog, who is a large breed, pulling me over in his excitement to meet other dogs on leash (non aggressive, but still too much). Several folks suggested general obedience training – and we’ve started a year long course. The trainer loves my dog and thinks he’ll do very well. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to take him to a busy place and have him be happy to chill at my feet while dogs go by, but maybe we can at least go back to the park instead of sticking to the neighborhood.

    1. Dwight Schrute*

      Don’t sell yourself short! My once reactive dog can now go places and chill at my feet :). I started running with one of my dogs this week and he’s been loving it and we have a show this weekend for the third dog!

      1. Sloanicote*

        Ooh, how exciting – was there a certain thing that made the difference (a toy, a command, an attitude?) or did it just shift over time as he grew older/more comfortable? It’s hard to imagine mine would ever be willing to just ignore another dog that was nearby, particularly if that dog paid him any attention.

        1. Ides of May*

          We raise puppies that are targeted to be guide dogs … so we have to try and get them used to ignoring other dogs. Very difficult for labs!

          One thing I do is hang out near the dog park. I bring a book or laptop and treats, and a 6-10 ft leash. When there’s not a dog around, the proximity to the dog park means she’s getting lots of smells to get used to.

          When dogs are coming and going, each time I call the pup and treat (every time) when she looks at me instead of the other dog. When she happens to look at me without being called, I go crazy and give lots of high value treats. But I *never* let them interact with the dog, that just reinforces the wrong idea. The idea is that they learn a distraction is a chance to connect with me for a treat instead of the other dog. Eventually they get it. Most of them.

          1. Sloanicote*

            This is my issue I think – I’m actually happy for him to interact on-leash when it’s not inconvenient, if he would stay calm! And sometimes my friends are bringing their dogs for him to meet (we didn’t do this until several months in, but now it’d be nice if we could All Hang Out) so I know I’m probably sending him mixed signals. Sometimes it’s okay to kindly greet the dog – other times, it’s a No.

            1. IT Manager*

              I’m not a real trainer, but our instructions from our guide dog org are to never let them interact on leash, instead find a fenced space and let them off leash to greet and play. Maybe that would work for your friends/dogs?

          2. UKDancer*

            I love guide dogs. I sponsor one through Guide Dogs UK and get pictures regularly. Last week we got one of her learning to sit. She’s a lab probably training involves food. It was so adorable as she has the cutest serious face. I’m allergic to dogs but love seeing the updates on her learning. I think puppy raisers are amazing.

        2. Dwight Schrute*

          A lot of slow training and “look at that” from a distance that gradually transitioned to being able to chill on a mat at my feet. Totally worth all the work!

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I said this upthread but – my puppy was born!! We will be a two-dog house again by the end of April :)

      Does anyone have tips on walking two dogs on a tandem leash? (The one I have actually has two four-foot leads on a swivel from the handle, not one of the little 12″-per-dog ones you clip on the end of a regular leash.) Difficulty level: Eventually, one dog will be twice the size (both height and weight) of the other. But we’ll have a few months to train when she’s the smaller of the two or they’re relatively comparable in size before the bigger one is full grown. I do also walk my dogs on gentle leader head collars – which is why the separate-leads-to-one-handle style tandem, so they don’t have the opportunity to pull each other around directly like they would with the shorter coupler style.

      1. Sloanicote*

        I saw your puppy post and it made me smile. I love babies!! Hope you have many happy years together :D

      2. RetailEscapee*

        Split leads are dangerous. It puts your dogs in a position where if a strange dog aggravates or approaches they are tethered to each other. You can’t quickly drop the lines to separate them. Ask how I figured that out :/

      3. ShinyPenny*

        So excited for you and your puppy!
        When I have two dogs I always use a double ended leash—a snap on each end for the dogs, and then I can hold it anywhere in the middle. I make our leashes out of nylon strapping from the fabric store, and clips/snaps from the feed store. (You can sew the snaps on, or just tie a knot. Or both.) I have multiple different lengths: a 9′ one for vet trips (3.5’+3.5’), up to a 20′ for regular walks (20′ total, so 10’+10’—which can then instantly become a 5’+15′, or 3’+17′, or any variation). Longer ones get used as the dogs learn good manners and voice control. I use martingale collars on 45-90 pound dogs, so the weight of the leash is not a factor for us– might be an issue if you use halters.
        There are several reasons I love my system. I can keep most of the length coiled in my hand most of the time, but I’m super slow (crutches) and can’t go off into the weeds—I love being able to let THEM go more distance along an interesting scent track. When it’s safe/convenient, we effectively double the leash range by having them take turns.
        From a training perspective, this is a fixed leash system (as opposed to a flexi-leash) so our “communication” is clear, and I can maintain excellent control. Also, we get to practice separate commands for each dog ALL THE TIME, which is generally an excellent skill for them to have. I send one out, while the other waits with me, and then switch. They expect to be addressed separately, and attend to their names and their specific different jobs, as an everyday frequent thing. And it’s interesting/rewarding for them. Win! Leash length can be easily customized along the whole walk, with the older/more skilled dog earning more privileges/more length (because she knows more verbal directions).
        From a safety planning perspective, this is a great system for me because at least one of the two is always very well trained, and one might be new/untrained. If something happened and the leash was dropped, they’d still be tied together and I’d have good voice control over at least one. (Also, the leash is likely to wrap around something in short order, which is best in my location.) With a (shorter) double leash, I’ve even let less experienced people walk my dogs nearby, when I’ve been unable to walk them, because of the older dog’s excellent voice control. It’s very reassuring to me. (If the untrained dog was a lot bigger of the two, this might add up differently!)
        Another commenter said her safety plan required separate leashes in case of a dog attack, so ymmv re safety. For me, I want to be right in the middle of any mess, wielding a crutch and the Voice Of Doom.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Second question: After months of walks at 9:30am, SOMEONE has suddenly started fussing for walks at 8:30 every morning like clockwork. I don’t know why – nothing has changed about our schedule, we didn’t have a time shift or anything. I don’t want to shift the morning walk earlier for reasons, but I also don’t want this to turn into “Well, obviously, I just have to whine for an hour and then she gives in” when it’s really still “9:30 is walkies time just like it has been all along.” It’s not that she needs to go outside for bio reasons, she has free access to the fenced in backyard, she specifically wants to go for a walk Right Now. Any suggestions on derailing the whining so I don’t have to listen to a leaking balloon for an hour every day?

      1. Sloanicote*

        Ugh I struggle with this too. At least where I live, Spring is coming so it’s getting lighter in the morning, meaning he wants to be up earlier. My dog’s previous foster parent was up at 5:30 every morning and my dog still feels like that’s generally the right approach. But dogs in general will always push for earlier on anything: meal times are set, but they’re always hopeful today could be the day. I work on the “go lie down” command or “go to your place” to give them something else to do, and don’t reward the nagging behavior.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          It’s weird, this is the ONLY thing that’s shifted on her notion of what the schedule should be. She doesn’t get up any earlier, and she’s more likely to sleep through breakfast time than to start demanding it early :) The staring pointedly at me for an hour would be really cute, if it wasn’t for the accompanying high-pitched whining :P

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Oh, man, then morning walkies will be on schedule but everything ELSE will have to adjust! Stupid DST. Huff puff.

      2. ShinyPenny*

        No idea if this could apply, but it’s a fresh direction to explore! Dogs can get weird about noises as they get older (weird, or weirdER). I’ve read that a common age for sudden new thunder phobia, for instance, is 8 years old. So, could there be a noise outside (or inside!) that she suddenly finds scary or disturbing?
        My example: My Sweet Dog arrived with so much generalized terror that it took a long time to figure out specifics. Turns out, every spring when the birds return and have loud song-battles in the backyard, he needs a human escort again to go outside to potty. He will stand next to me and stare at me for 45-60 minutes (STANDING AND STARING AND PANTING) in an attempt to convey his message. Since there is a dog door, which he (after much work) is NOT afraid of, I was very slow to understand exactly what his problem was. (I thought he was asking for early breakfast. He will EAT an early breakfast—but it’s a red herring that leaves his actual problem still unaddressed. Awkward!)
        So: angry birds. For about 5 weeks every spring, Sweet Dog needs an escort and he acts like there is no dog door. (And again in September: noisy school buses. He forgets/loses his tolerance for loud buses over the summer, and requires a human guardian to go out and pee in our own yard. For weeks.)
        It’s weird– but dogs can be weird about sound, and maybe some noise or other environmental factor is new, or newly upsetting, for your pup? The walk theory might be a red herring? Pretty easy to test by escorting her out into the backyard, “being boring,” and then going back inside?

        1. ShinyPenny*

          But also– look for Any Weirdness that might be happening at 8:30.
          Sweet Dog and I have had other instances of *Communication Expressed Unclearly* which ultimately turned out to be such things as “The ticking clock in the garage is now terrifying and the entire garage is now abhorrent to me please save me” and “The .0025 decible beeping emitted by the old laptop dying in the closet is suddenly forcing me to spend 98% of my time hiding in the mudroom please remove it.” Oh- and also “The Entire Outside World is now lost to me due to highway construction machines working 3 miles down the valley please Do Something.” Lol. The possibilities are vast!
          My other thought is, maybe check for a UTI? Because it’s a sudden, odd behavior change, and she is (I think?) not a youngster?
          Good luck, Detective Red! :)

    4. RetailEscapee*

      In addition to training have you tried a gentle lead or front clip harness, specifically to keep the dig from pulling? I have a SUPER HIGH ENERGY rescue who pulled terribly and does amazing on the front clip harness.

      1. Sloanicote*

        I do plan to ask the trainer about equipment. It’s sort of a specific behavior – he doesn’t generally pull on walks. It’s just if he sees another dog on-leash that gives him the secret dog signal (?), he was suddenly put all his considerable body weight into LUNGING forward. In the wrong circumstances, he can literally drag me right off my feet and across the ground. So the trainer thinks it’s more about teaching him self control vs the mechanics of how he’s being leashed.

    5. coffee is my friend*

      Our son was born just over two weeks ago. My mom came to take care of my three year old mutt. She was pretty figity the first two days but has since relaxed and is doing well with the addition. It is great to see her calm. Looking forward to getting out for long walks with her again!
      (Birth parent so not ready to get out yet)

    6. Reba*

      I’m so glad to hear you have started training. Even if you never get to Maximum Chill Dog level, I’m sure you will see so many positive changes. In my experience dogs really like knowing what to do, and having “work” for your dog to accomplish on walks and such will make it so fun.

      My dog is also reactive and old, so we are working against a big weight of ingrained habits. But she is also learning beautifully to give me her attention when we are outside — which was not even a little bit possible when we got her 1.5 years ago.

    7. Bibliovore*

      The best thing I did when I got my puppy was form a puppy play group with dogs of her own age.
      This is her “pack”
      We meet every morning in my back yard at 7:00 am and then sometimes at six thirty pm.
      I appreciate having a pack of puppy parents.
      When my husband died, the puppy pack rallied and took care of the dog until I was able.
      They took her for walks, took her for days into their homes and continued her training.
      It’s easy to have the puppy blues if you don’t have support.

    8. Alaska_Blue*

      My pup became reactive last year after he knocked me down and my leg broke in Jan 2021. The first time I was cleared for walking in March 2021, we went to a dog park and it was still icy, so when a dog was jumping around me, mine decided he must protect me at all costs-because I was afraid of being knocked down again.

      We met with a behavioral veterinarian and have been working on commands and treats and being calm ourselves, and over the last year the pup has gotten so much better that once again it is fun to go for dogwalks! He won’t ever be an offleash dog park dog again, but we can have fun together out in the world. I won’t lie, there were tears on my part of ruining him and also not having an easy dog. But the more I learn and read and see, it seems like all dogs have a quirk or two. So happy to have mine in my life, quirks and all!

    9. Cj*

      We applied to adopt a dog from a German Shepherd rescue. Application was approved, but somebody that was in line ahead of us was interested in the same dog. He was adopted out to that person yesterday, and they don’t have any other dogs available right now that’s it our requirements of getting along with other dogs and with cats.

      Just took in a 10 month old all black German Shepherd, who have lived outside on a farm and who had an extremely rough life. He is now take decompressing in his foster home, and the rescue will contact us when he is available for adoption, and if they figure out he likes other dogs and cats. We were looking for a dog that is a little bit older, the German Shepherds are so darn smart that hopefully he can learn the difference between chewing on a dog bone into and chewing on your shoes quickly.

      We want to make sure that we get the right dog for us, and that we are the right home for the dog, so I am trying to keep that attitude that if we can’t get a certain one, there is a reason for it, and the right one will come along.

    10. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      This month, my wife informed me that her “doggological clock” has gone off.
      We will be adopting from a rescue sometime in early June.
      I have never had a dog before in my life and I am terrified.

    11. Smol Book Wizard*

      Lancer is 7 months now and still pulling a lot on the leash, despite our martingale collar… unless I have a treat in my hand, haha. He HATED the Halti – has anyone had a bad experience with that and a good experience with the Gentle Leader?
      Aside from that, though, he’s my beautiful boy and getting better all the time at dealing with guests in the house. It isn’t an aggression thing by any means, just a Happy Happy Happy Bounce Bounce Nibble Nibble thing. I got a 4-foot leash and keep it on him when we have people over so that he can’t be too much of a fool. Most of our friends aren’t dog people, and he’s hopefully going to be a therapy dog someday, so learning to wait until people approach him is a good drill.

      1. Reba*

        For my dog, no front clip harness, dual collar, or head collar (gentle leader) worked. They are by no means magic solutions. In the front clip harnesses she would just put one shoulder up and keep running like a little rugby player breaking the line, lol. She hated the gentle leader–probably because she was pushing hard on it! It was just training training training slowly slowly slowly. She’s doing wonderfully now, using a conventional/back clip harness and pulling only when excited beyond threshold.

        You could try teaching him a greeting sequence – touching hand maybe? Sit to get pets? Then you would also need to train the humans in this scenario, but it might help getting through the initial rush of excitement.

  16. Come On Eileen*

    I’m headed to Palm Springs for the week to soak up some sunshine, and I’m thinking of getting a day pass in Desert Hot Springs — but can’t seem to decide where to go. If anyone has experience at any hot springs locales in DHS that are amazing and allow day use, I’d love your recommendations!

    1. KR*

      No advice on hot springs but Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve is a great visit and it’s right in the area. You might be right in time for the Joshua Tree Super bloom which would be a nice drive – you can either drive down to the Salton Sea and drive all the way through the park and back down 62 to DHS, or drive up to Joshua Tree and do the loop between JT and 29 Palms which is a shorter distance overall I believe. It’s the most colorful time of the year up there and it’s when everything in the desert comes alive.

      Have fun. I miss the desert dearly.

    2. Mannequin*

      I used to live in the desert and have friends that still do, for locals DHS is famous for its crack/meth heads.

  17. Qwerty*

    Know any good craft projects for charity? I make baby blankets for Project Linus, but the other groups I used to make things for aren’t around anymore and I need a break from blankets. I can knit, crochet, sew (machine & embroidery), cross-stitch/needlepoint, paint (figurines not freehand art) plus have dabbled in some other crafts. In the past I’ve stuck to simple things like baby blankets and scarves that I can churn out quick or fun things like amigurumi, but complicated stuff like clothing is beyond my skill.

    I’m looking for something where I can find the info I need online and not have to call/interact with people. One of my big joys in crafting is making things for someone else. I’ve got plenty of yarn and fabric and way too much energy for 8:30am on a Saturday – any ideas? I’m also always willing/excited to the craft store and buy more supplies…

    (Thanks to the commenters from a few weeks ago, especially Ravine, for helping get my energy back!)

    1. Sloanicote*

      Ooh I’ll be interested to hear people’s suggestions. I know a friend knits socks for the homeless. She keeps them in her car and offers them to people she meets, or donates them to outreach groups and shelters. Mittens too if I recall. I’m not sure every unhoused person would appreciate them, but maybe someone likes to feel the care and love she has put into them, and they’re good sturdy socks. I knit a lot of baby hats for extended friends and relations, because it’s the right size project for my current patience. Some of my friends don’t really have any crafty relatives so they value having something hand made.

    2. Professor Plum*

      If you’re on Facebook there’s a group called Relief Crafters of America. You can contribute to their ongoing or monthly projects, or get ideas from them and then look for similar ways to donate locally.

      Lots of support for animal charities—and they respond well when there are emergency situations to contribute to.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      You might check your local hospital? When I had radiation treatment they gave me a pillow to use when the burn came up (heart shape, fits under the arm to reduce chafing along the burn) that was simple but brilliant. Before covid they did hats and scarves, and might do such things again now.

    4. The teapots are on fire*

      Check out Grateful Garments–supplying clothes to go home in for survivors of sexual assault. Some American Sewing Guild branches have connections to them, as well.

    5. Ins mom*

      Little dresses for Africa. Simple cotton dresses and shorts are collected and forwarded to schools as uniforms

    6. A helpful craft*

      Period pads for African girls. There are a couple of online organizations with patterns for washable reusable pads/inserts. Girls in some countries miss school during their periods bc they don’t have sanitary pads. Washable reusable pads help girls stay in school.

    7. Camelid coordinator*

      Folks from my church knit hats and scarves for the Seamen’s Church Institute. I might start a hat soon.

    8. Dark Macadamia*

      I’ve seen hospitals do knit hats for preemies or cancer patients, although that might not be different enough from baby blankets. Animal shelters sometimes ask for blankets/pads for their kennels – a cat rescue near me gives volunteers the dimensions they need and you can do fleece, little quilts, etc.

    9. Jacey*

      It’s just the right time of year to enter the Desert Bus for Hope craft-along! DBfH is a charity fundraiser done in November by a group of Canadian comedians, featuring lots of geek celebrity guests; they stream for at least a week straight, being goofy, playing a terrible 90s video game called Desert Bus, and doing live and silent auctions for donated goods. All the money goes to Child’s Play, which helps kids in difficult situations get access to games and toys.

      The craft-along starts in spring, and is basically a bunch of independent crafters (no talking to people!) working on items to be auctioned off during the stream. Learn more at desert bus dot org.

    10. Generic Name*

      Animal shelters are always looking for old towels and blankets for animals to lie on. You could crochet or knit small blankets/beds for stray pets.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        I know someone who sews bandanas for the shelter dogs. No idea if it helps with adoptions, but they look cute.
        I made a batch of knitted and felted mice toys, with catnip in the stuffing.

    11. AustenFan*

      Check with the local labor and delivery ward of a hospital. I crochet tiny blankets for babies born still based on the request of someone I know who works as a labor and delivery nurse. You may be able to email them to see if they need help instead of having to talk to them in person. In our area there has been a huge increase in still births, in part because there are a lot of recent immigrants from Afghanistan whose excess stress is likely related to the increase in still births. You can probably also Google to see if there are any immigrant resettlements happening in your area. There’s often a need for hats, scarves, baby sweaters, and so on, especially if you are in a colder region.

    12. Twisted Knickers*

      How about Knitted Knockers? They are special handmade breast prostheses for women who have undergone mastectomies or other procedures to the breast. Volunteer knitters and crocheters offer free Knitted Knockers to anyone who wants them. More info at knittedknockers.org. Thanks for sharing your talents!

    13. Katie*

      Repurposing old wedding dresses or other formal ware into burial gowns for babies.
      I know of the organization in my area, but I imagine there are like organizations all around the US.

      1. Mad Hatter*

        Those are Angel Gown projects or programs. I’ve made a lot of tiny gowns for a local group to distribute to hospitals.

    14. MJ*

      Toys or things for children at your local women’s shelter. If they have to escape from home with nothing, having something new just for themselves can mean the world. Just check with the shelter (email) that they have an address you can send to – for security some don’t give out info on their location.

    15. HamlindigoBlue*

      KnotsofLove-dot-org accepts knit and crochet hats for cancer patients and blankets for neonatal ICU incubators. They have an approved yarn list that you need to stick with and so many suggested free patterns. They also have crochet and knit starter kits that you can buy that benefit the organization.

    16. Lbd*

      MCC (Mennonite Central Committee) distributes school, infant care, dignity (feminine hygiene) kits to many regions. They have patterns for infant nighties, reusable fabric pads, the drawstring fabric bags they package the kits in. They also accept comforters, the easier little sibling to a quilt. They have lots of tutorials and instructions on their website.

    17. Emily Elizabeth*

      Camp Boggy Creek in Florida is a camp for children (and their families!) with serious illnesses and it’s one of the most magical, joyful, giving places to ever exist. One part of the magic is that each camper gets to take home a hand created “Boggy Bear” teddy bear and afghan blanket, lovingly crafted and donated by volunteers. I know campers cherish these companions for years! If you go to the “Opportunities” page on their site they have the patterns and guidelines, as well as shipping address, no interaction required. :)

    18. 00ff00Claire*

      Is there a hospital with a nicu nearby? We have one in our town and there is a local group which sews tiny clothes for premature babies. I’ve always thought what they are doing is great because some of the babies stay a long time in the hospital and it’s hard to find clothes that fit them.

  18. Katie*

    Okay more venting than anything:
    Two of my kids are in wheelchairs. They ride a school bus to school each morning. Our driver is great and he treats our twins great.
    In another bus recently (at the school) the driver was getting another wheelchair bound kid off the bus. Before the kid was on the lift, he lowered it. Then the aid, didn’t pay attention and pushed the kid off. Both fell! The kid was hurt and needed stitches (and maybe more). The aid broke her arm.

    The school is establishing more rules to prevent this again. However, they were not getting rid of crazy bus driver! That solution was to switch drivers so that crazy bus driver was going to be my kids driver. Luckily my driver said no to the switch.

    But what the heck. The driver can’t be trusted with one kid but two will be fine??!! I know accidents happen but this is well beyond that. I am upset for this family and that they were just pushing this problem along to ours.

    1. Myrin*

      My goodness, how terrible! It’s great that you didn’t end up having to deal with Careless Driver but jeez, that poor other kid! It makes me so ragey when, instead of dealing with a problem employee swiftly, earnestly, and efficiently, employers just fob them off to another district/route/department/branch – especially when the safety and wellbeing of other human beings is at stake!

    2. coffee is my friend*

      Both the driver and the aide screwed up one of the most basic rules of transfers. So glad your driver is good but wow that’s nerve wracking

    3. insufficient coffee*

      I’m so sorry that happened! And, I’m glad you get to keep your bus driver. I don’t think anyone was being malicious, but rather “let’s move bus driver away from this route. Here’s another route at random”. What’s that expression? Never attribute to malice what incompetence can explain. Anyway, I’m glad for that you’re keeping your bus driver.

    4. Susie*

      My daughter is also a wheelchair user and takes the bus to school. Her bus has a lift that she can’t be rolled onto until it is fully lifted. There is a plate that is vertical until the lift is level with the bus floor, then it goes down and makes there is a mini ramp from the bus to the lift. It also is super slow and beeps when lowered. There is also a belt at the end of the lift that would prevent her from rolling off if any other safety measures fail. Also, her wheelchair has to be locked before the lift is lowered. So I can’t imagine a situation that would cause that kind of fall with these safety devices in place.

      So frankly, I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the driver (especially not call them crazy). Mistakes happen and it sounds like the bus didn’t have enough safety technology. I’d research school bus safety options and then advocate with the school to increase the bus safety.

    5. Millie*

      That’s a pretty big mistake by both adults involved. Training and monitoring is definitely in order. But for the driver to lose his job? It was an accident. I’m glad I didn’t lose my job every time I made a mistake or my kids got hurt.

    6. Salymander*

      This is just terrible! You must be so concerned for your twins as well as all the other kids on that driver’s bus!

      I think sometimes people underestimate the skill it takes to safely manouver a wheelchair on and off a bus or other large vehicle. A few vehicles are well designed for the purpose and fairly straightforward, but many of them are not very easy or safe to operate without a fair amount of training and a heap of patience. And even with regulations and mandated safety training, there are some folks who just don’t get it. I’m glad your regular driver does get it, and is speaking up for your kids.

    7. Laura H.*

      No. No.

      As a beneficiary of amazing lovely bus drivers and aids who were amazing and attentive in school, and who has pretty amazing drivers now- my stomach dropped.

      You DO NOT put anyone that negligent anywhere near that situation again- accident or not. They need to get that driver and aid remedial training and maybe put them on a desk duty of sorts. Swapping that driver around to another bus is a bad idea.
      All the hugs for the little who was injured and mad props to your good driver for saying no.

      If they persist trying to move those less than safe people to a different bus, I hesitate to suggest this (because I don’t ever want to be THAT person), but at that point, I’d go rational Karen on them. (Oxymoron I know but it’s what my brain popped me)

    8. Eluneth Nuwyarah*

      I starten bellydancing almost 20 years ago, in my thirties, and still go to class every week plus the occasional performance. It hast cured me of my self-image as uncoordinated and unmusical. And dancing ist such a great way for me to connect with my body and maintain my mental health!
      Also, I joined a country line dance group almost seven years ago and met some very kind and very fun people there. Interestingly, a lot of general principles and abilities from bellydancing transfer really well to linedancing. I really missed both activities when the groups had to pause b/c pandemic restrictions.
      For me, dancing ist a great source of body positivity, recognizing my own accomplishments and fun even when stressed out. Being part of groups that train together for performances helps to motivate myself when I feel to exhausted after work and tempted to skip practice – afterwards, I am always glad that I went.

  19. Stay-at-Homesteader*

    Adult dancers (ballet, belly, whatever)! Apparently there are a lot of us here! Come share your stories of your dance history, how you incorporate dance into your adult lives? How has your relationship to dance changed over the years?

    1. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      For me, ballet in high school was all about perfectionism and disordered eating. I focused on what I couldn’t do and felt bad about it. The amazing and pleasant surprise of taking it up again as an adult is that instead of being bummed about everything I feel like I’m doing wrong, I am so excited about all the things my body can still do! I’ve danced on and off since college and haven’t done it in about four years, when I started having kids. Now that I’m nearing a year out from my second and last baby, I can feel the urge to dance again. No idea how this post-partum body is going to work, but I’m eager to find out and enjoy the journey.

      Also, I just started back at the gym for the first time since covid and found a fantastic Zumba class, which is scratching the dancing itch for now. But as a former ballerina, boyyyyy do these hips not. want. to. shimmy. ;-D

    2. UKDancer*

      I never danced as a child. Mum had this theory that ballet ruined the feet. My grandparents did sequence dance so I always wanted to. When I was in my 20s I did a job overseas and then came back to London wanting some more activity. So I did an Argentine tango class at the local FE college. I fell in love with dance. Then I started Egyptian bellydance which I also love because it makes me feel powerfully feminine.

      I picked up ballet because I felt it would help my balance in tango and have been doing it badly for about 3 years now. I love how good it feels when I get a move right.

      I still love dance because it feel good. During lockdown I went to zoom classes for ballet, belly dance and a disco class. I am now starting in person classes again in tango. I love it so much.

    3. Dino*

      This is timely. I used to belly dance, started taking classes at 12 years old. I didn’t really have a conception of it as sexy, just interesting and hard with all the muscle isolation. I didn’t perform or join a troupe, just took classes and practiced on my own.

      I stopped at 18 when I couldn’t afford classes, then had some traumatic stuff happen and I spent a lot of years disconnected from my body. But lately, dance keeps calling…. Maybe I’ll get back into it.

    4. Angstrom*

      In my early 30s I moved to a new city for work as was determined not to sit home watching TV. Saw that the university offered a weekly ballroom dance lesson followed by open dance, open to the public, for a ridiculously low price. Enjoyed that for several years. Also started contradancing and met a great community of dancers and musicians. Now many years later we live where ballroom dance opportunities are limited, but I was a regular at the local contradances until Covid ended them. Looking forward to doing that again.

    5. Ali + Nino*

      Fun thread! I danced ballet from ages 8-16 or so, but definitely felt my self esteem dropping due to not having an ideal “dancer’s body.” I moved on to drama in high school instead. In college I also danced tango for a bit. Having tried a ballet class for adults recently, I’ve realized that I struggle with remembering coreography (tango was ok because I was following my dance partner!) and now I do Bollywood dance by following along with the routines the instructor comes up with. A lot less pressure and I love the music – it’s so much fun and I just feel good about moving my body. After a bout with covid earlier this year I got off track but I’m looking forward to getting back into it.

    6. DataGirl*

      I always wanted to take ballet as a kid but parents didn’t let me. When I was a teen and had a job I paid for my own lessons for about a year but quit when I went to college. Was out of dance for all of my twenties and thirties, then finally found an adult class for beginners. I’ve been dancing now for about 3-4 years and even got on pointe. I’m not very good, but I love it, it makes me happy, and my teacher and classmates are some of my favorite people.

    7. The Prettiest Curse*

      I did ballet as a young child and a teenager, gave it up both times but ended up doing a fair bit of physical theatre and other dance stuff at university (my degree is in drama.) Then I did very little dance for 20+years and took up lap swimming instead. After March 2020, I switched to doing ballet classes on demand with the brilliant Patricia Zhou: https://patriciazhouonline.squarespace.com/

      I LOVE online classes because during in-person classes, I can get quite distracted by what other people are doing, plus I can do class whenever I want. And best of all, nobody has to see me get all hot and sweaty!

      Now I’m in my mid-40s, different parts of my body will periodically decide to punish me for doing ballet and start acting up, but overall it’s been less uncomfortable physically than I thought it would be. (I’ve never done pointe work and I don’t do very much jumping, which helps.) I also do a bit of dance improv and contemporary, but I think ballet will be my main thing for now. It’s weird how you can forget that you really enjoy things and then, when you come back to them, you wonder why you ever forgot.

  20. matcha123*

    Any red wine or whiskey drinkers here?
    What are your reasonably priced recommendations? What do you snack on while sipping? Do you have any preferred preparation styles?

    I recently bought a cabernet sauvignon from Mighty Blue Flyer’s, an Australian brand, that is pretty nice. It’s from 2019.
    I usually have mimolette cheese, dark chocolate covered dried orange bits, or some other kind of chocolate with wine.
    With whiskey, I usually mix it with soda water to make a highball and have it with giant corn, popcorn, or chocolate.
    My whiskey is the cheap stuff: Suntory kakubin. Sometimes Tory’s or Nikka when I want to switch it up. I did get a mini bottle of Hibiki in 2017 and held onto it for a few years before drinking it. That one was wonderful.
    How about you all?

    1. eisa*

      I am anything but a wine connaisseur, but I know what I like ;-)
      My favourite red is called “Hardy’s Stamp of Australia”.
      Of the red wines of my own country, I like the variety called “Zweigelt”, if you come across it you might give it a try.

      Whiskey / snacks, I got nothing.

    2. Pippa K*

      For whisky cocktails, I like a Manhattan, using a decent but not expensive rye or bourbon (Buffalo Trace, Bulleit) and a good-quality preserved cherry (not the bright red ones!) For a party we once made champagne cocktails with bourbon, chocolate bitters, and a cherry, and they were well-received.

      I’ll never be a high-end wine person, but I am willing to spend on a nice single malt, which is worlds different from the cheap stuff (and I justify it by thinking of how long a bottle of Scotch lasts!) Cragganmore is one that I think a lot of people can enjoy, as it has some pleasant complexity but isn’t too heavy or peaty. If you like the peat smoke, though, a glass of Laphroaig on a cold winter evening is a lovely thing.

      1. Cj*

        Mention of manhattan’s makes me miss my dad, who died in 1973. He didn’t drink awesome, but when he did it was almost always a manhattan. And I would get a sip of vermouth when he made it (don’t tell my mom!).

    3. Xena warrior princess*

      I have a sweet tooth which extends to my alcohol. If I really feel like splurging on whiskey I’ll get a bottle of Old Forester’s Prohibition Style. It’s got lovely warm notes with a definite hint of brown sugar.

      Also I found an interesting variation on an Old Fashioned courtesy of the YouTube channel How to Drink: switch out your simple syrup for maple syrup (the real stuff, naturally, not the corn syrup stuff). Delicious and would recommend.

      1. Pippa K*

        Yes to the maple old fashioned! This works with a whisky sour, too, using bourbon, lemon juice, and maple syrup in a 2:1:1 ratio (plus dash of bitters if you like).

      2. Lcsa99*

        You sound like me! I definitely like sweeter cocktails. Love any whiskey with sttrong caramel vibes. We like regular Old Forrester so I’ve added the Prohibition style to our list to try!

    4. Charlotte Lucas*

      I like Apothic red. They’re nice blends for a good price. The Dark is especially good, as is a version aged in whiskey barrels. Not fond of their white, though.

    5. Llama face!*

      I have tried not to develop my whiskey tastes too far since I can’t afford the really good stuff so usually I buy Jameson. I have a nice whiskey drink I make that involves Jameson, Averna Amaro, and club soda. The whiskey to amaro ratio is 2/1 and I make it in a lowball glass. The original idea was from a drink I had in a restaurant and they added simple syrup but I never thought it needed more sweetening so I skip the sugar.

      I try to keep my wine tastes on the cheaper side as well but for an easy drinking red wine I have lately been enjoying Clarity Ruby Red which is a VQA wine from Ontario (Canada). The bottle description: “Bright ruby red colour with a fruity bouquet of red cherry and strawberry. This smooth red wine has notes of juicy red fruits and a touch of spice.” I find it sweeter so if you prefer a more dry, tart wine this one wouldn’t be for you. In that case I’d recommend something like Baron Philippe Rothschild Pays d’Oc pinot noir (France) which is more of a wine you’d have with red meat, not a sipping wine.

    6. RussianInTexas*

      We do a lot of Chilean wines – Concha Y Toro seems to be at the good intersection of price and quality. Some California reds too – Noble, Josh, Hess, Coppola, Bogle. Cabernet, temparanillo, zin. Usually cheese and cured meats with wine, I don’t like chocolate with dry reds, sugar makes the wine taste bitter and even drier. Olives are good too. And the traditional steak.
      For whiskey it’s usually bourbon – Basil Hayden’s, 1836, Knob Creek. I also like Scotch, but the ones I like are something like $100/bottle, so it’s not in a regular rotation. Also with cheese and meats, and fruit – bourbon in particular works with sweeter stuff.
      I’ve done a cheese and wine pairing class, and they recommend either pair the product from the same region, or go with the similar strength – mild and mild, strong and strong. It seems to work.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        Just to add, I drink my bourbon or whiskey/whisky on the rocks or as a simple Old Fashioned.

    7. Lcsa99*

      We love both!

      For wine, we live in NY so we’ve been exploring mostly local wines from the North Fork of Long Island, which we love. New Jersey, the Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania also have great selections. I think it’s been years since we’ve been in a wine store but a good montepulciano is always affordable and a crowd pleaser. For snacks I’ve found cheez-it’s work nicely! We also like cutting bagels into bite sized bits when we’re doing a tasting.

      For whiskey, Powers is a great, low priced option. We also like local whiskeys, Widow Jane and Kings County Distillery are our favorites, but they can be higher priced. Ezra Brooks, Hirsch the Horizon and Uncle Nearest are great options.

      We’ve been having a lot of fun trying different cocktails: raspberry martini, riffs on a Moscow mule, a delicious mojito with maple; and stuff like that. Since you like both, you should try a New York Sour! Basically a whiskey sour topped with red wine. I think my favorite so far has been one with bourbon, lemon, cointreau, simple syrup and cranberry wine.

      1. voluptuousfire*

        I no longer imbibe, but if you like a semi-sweet red wine, there’s a great winery in Bucks County, PA called Buckingham Winery. They have a really nice semi-sweet red called Diego Red, named after a long-ago winery hand of theirs. Their wines are screw top (was great for me since I never quite got the hang of getting the cork out of a bottle without making a mess) and the prices are super reasonable.

    8. Lizy*

      Barefoot is my go to.

      My husband found a bottle at the dollar store for $3 and got it because even if it’s crap and I dump it, it was only $3.

      It’s delicious lol!

    9. Frankie Bergstein*

      I love both red wine and whiskeys as well. I’m always into supporting women or BIPOC-run places. There’s Widow Jane in terms of whiskey, and there’s the McBride Sisters in terms of wine. I like their red blend.

      Other than that, though, I really dig Heigold from Down The Rabbit Hole, a distillery in Louisville KY.

    10. matcha123*

      Thanks for all of the suggestions! Especially so many low-priced and tasty ones. Going to make a list and see if I come across any when I’m out :)

    11. Tippler*

      Monkey Shoulder is, despite the weird name, a surprisingly cheap blended whiskey that is very drinkable. It is made from castoffs of serious brands.

      According to the web:

      “Monkey Shoulder was once made exclusively from a mixture of three well-respected single-malt whiskies: Balvenie, Kininvie, and Glenfiddich. As demand grew, the brand introduced other whiskies into the blend, with three single-malts still comprising the blend for each batch. The blend uses nine casks for each single malt. Hence, the blend is labeled “Batch 27.”

      Wondering where Monkey Shoulder gets its unique name? We were, too. According to Monkey Shoulder, the name is inspired by the traditional malt whisky distillation process in which malted barley was mixed by hand with shovels. This labor-intensive process often caused a shoulder injury to workers, causing their arms to hang low like those of a monkey. This injury was therefore dubbed “monkey shoulder” — the inspiration for Monkey Shoulder’s name.”

      1. pancakes*

        My boyfriend likes this one a lot but it’s a little too sweet for me. Agree that it’s a good buy.

        I forgot to mention in my own comment so will add here, we also enjoy YouTube whisky reviews from a guy called Ralfy. He’s Scottish and it’s fun to listen to him talk about what seems to be his favorite subject in the world!

    12. pancakes*

      Love both red wine and whisky. I recommend browsing my favorite local shop’s website because I’ve never been disappointed by their recommendations or staff picks: Astor Wines & Spirits. Located in NYC but delivers nation-wide, I think, and they have sales every week. We drink a lot of Côtes du Rhône. In my experience French and Spanish wines are often a much better value than California wines. I think the most important thing to get sorted out when learning how to shop for these is to get clear on what estate bottled, chateau bottled, and bottled on the property mean (Mise en bouteille à la propriété, etc.) – it’s not an exact science but I think it’s often a good way to start thinking about whether the price seems fair and what you should expect.

      Another recommendation, Imbibe magazine and Punch magazine are both quite good and have a lot of content online.

      1. Lcsa99*

        We are in the area too and love Astor! Especially (pre covid) the free tastings they offer(ed) that allow you to experiment without spending anything.

        We’ve found a lot of wine stores periodically offer tastings. It’s worth seeing what your local stores have.

        1. pancakes*

          Cool! I have been to so many tastings there over the years. I have been going there since it was on the corner of Astor and Lafayette, before that became a Walgreens. Discovery Wines on Ave. B and Alphabet City Wine Co. are good for tastings too (and even closer to home for me) but the selection and prices at Astor are hard to beat.

  21. AnonAcademic*

    I have an online interview for a job in Savannah. It’s a long shot, but it’s still fun to imagine what it would be like to live there. Anyone who lives or has lived in Savannah have anything to say about what it’s like to live there?

    1. Tybalt's Cat*

      I haven’t lived in Savannah, but I’ve spent a lot of time there. Do you have any specific questions?

      Like a lot of the South, it’s hot and humid for much of the year. It’s a little edgier than other cities (i.e. Charleston, SC). There are a number of historical sites in the area, if that’s of interest. A lot of nice beaches nearby as well. There’s a large Army base in the area as well, so sometimes there’s a lot of loud aircraft flying around.

      1. AnonAcademic*

        I guess I’m interested in the food scene, are there decent Asian supermarkets, cultural scene, and overall personality? I love heat so that will not be a problem!

        1. Tybalt's Cat*

          There are a plethora of great restaurants in Savannah. I don’t know about Asian supermarkets first hand, but a Google search reveals several around town. The cultural scene is pretty good for a city it’s size (and Charleston, SC and Jacksonville, FL are not too far away for other opportunities). The Savannah College of Art and Design sort of dominates the downtown historical district and they’ve done a lot of great work with preservation. SCAD also hosts a film festival in October. As far as overall personality, I’ve described it to people as similar to New Orleans except with a British background instead of French (at least that’s the feel downtown).

  22. Myrin*

    Potentially outing myself as a huge noob here but who cares (also, not a native English speaker, so prepare for my strange descriptions caused by not one but two parts of my background hindering me!):

    Is there a keyboard shortcut for the slow double click you use when you want to rename a file?

    What I mean is: For the last two days, I’ve been scanning book pages in several batches. My printer automatically assigns the files (PDFs in this case, but I don’t think it matters) a name related to the date but I wanted them to have names related to their content (which is all different, not a variation of the same thing but “part 2, part 3, etc.”). There were fourteen of those and I changed them all manually (meaning, one click to choose the file in question, second click to make the whole thing dark blue so that I can change its name; please marvel at how professionally I’m describing this) which is not a huge deal but whenever I do stuff like this, I think how much easier it would be to have a simple keyboard shortcut to do it more efficiently. But since I don’t know how anything is named, my Google searches haven’t been very fruitful.

    Does anyone know what I mean and if there is a solution like what I’m looking for?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      If I’m understanding you correctly – on Windows, F2 will do the second click part, but you still have to select the file you want renamed. (On a Mac, the enter key will do it, but likewise.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        But once you pick the first one, you can F2, rename it and hit enter to complete the rename, then arrow up and down to the next one and so on, no more mouse needed.

    2. eisa*

      F2 function key (usually located in the topmost row of your keyboard, even above the number digit keys)

    3. onebitcpu*

      Assuming windows environment, click once on the filename in explorer and hit F2. It will select everything except the file extension (.pdf etc) and you can start typing the name.

    4. Myrin*

      YAY, thanks everyone for the F2 “trick” – I don’t understand how I’ve never come across that before (I swear I’m not that bad with shortcuts and stuff) but yeah, that’s exactly what I’ve been looking for. Thanks a ton!

    5. Lifelong student*

      I just find the file- right click and a menu opens including rename. I click rename and just put in the new name. Or is that the double click you want to avoid?

      1. Lifelong student*

        I just tried the F2 thing. Using windows 10 on an ideapad. My f2 decreases the volume on the audio- doesn’t seem to do anything else.

        1. Raboot*

          Look for a key on your keyboard that says just “fn” on it. Probably at the bottom near alt and ctrl. Press it at the same time as the f2 key and it should do what f2 does.

          Explanation: some keyboards have extra abilities like volume and brightness control, media, whatever on the same keys as the f1, f2 etc keys. It’s a setting in your computer whether the default set is the standard f1 f2 behavior or the other functionality, but holding the fn (fn for function) key will change to the other “set”

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Some computers/keyboards give those keys dual functions — if it adjusts the volume as is, then you should also have a “Fn” or “Function” key somewhere (mine’s on the bottom row between right control and alt), and you should be able to hold down that key and then hit the F2 and it’ll behave like F2 instead of the volume function. Somewhere in the settings should be an option to switch, so that unmodified it behaves like F2 and you have to hit the function key with it to volume-adjust – that’s just a question of how you use your computer.

        3. Janet Pinkerton*

          Try holding down the function key as you press F2–lots of laptops seem to have the keys do double duty these days.

    6. MJ*

      As previously mentioned, F2 let’s you edit the scanned files. However if you are doing this a lot it might be worth figuring out if your printer scanning software lets you change the file name for your scans. Mine lets me set a prefix then adds a sequential number at the end of each file name.

      1. Myrin*

        It doesn’t, sadly. The printers at my alma mater could do that but they were massive and expensive beasts, whereas mine sometimes stops working entirely at completely random points in time. But thankfully I don’t actually scan stuff often enough for this to become a real annoyance.

    7. Suprisingly ADHD*

      Right-click menus often have keyboard shortcuts for the options. For instance, on Windows, you can right-click the file, then type “m” and it will automatically go to renaMe the file. When I am renaming vast amounts of files, I right click the file, type m, type the name, hit Enter, right click the next file.

      My keyboard at home has a key next to ctrl, it looks like a square with horizontal lines in it. It acts like right-click, for wherever the cursor is or whatever you have highlighted. So I don’t need the mouse at all! I use the arrow keys to highlight the file I want renamed, hit the “right-click” key, type m, type the filename, hit Enter, repeat!

      I hope any of this is helpful, I know your struggle.

  23. Be the Change*

    fposte, if you are on this weekend, I want to say “thank you.” Many many months (maybe years?!) ago I wrote into the weekend thread asking for help in supporting my oldest friend who was drowning in negativity. I don’t remember exactly what you said, but whatever it was set me free. I have been able to stay his friend, which I wanted to do, but without the burden I thought I had had. So thank you for the kindness, common sense, smartness, and leavening humor.

    This is a thread to thank members of the commentariat. And of course Alison for giving us this space!

    1. fposte*

      Oh, my goodness, what a lovely thing to read this morning! I’m glad it helped and that you’ve found a way that works for you.

  24. MissGirl*

    Before COVID, I had only ever left the western U.S. once and that was in fall 2019 to Peru. Before that, I never had the money nor anyone to go with so I was excited to finally have the funds and discovered a few group traveling companies. I was all geared up to become an avid traveler.

    First question: Now that the world is opening up, I am so excited to see it. I went to Costa Rica last month, I’m going to Vancouver Island in June, Boston/Maine in the fall, and hoping for Belize in January. Where else should I go? I love adventure travel and history but can only do museums for a few days before I get antsy. I don’t like cruises because of sea sickness and all the people and I don’t drink.

    Second question: Where are you going this year?

    1. Doctor is In*

      Going to Iceland in August! I hate long plane trips but going anyway, always wanted to see it.

      1. MissGirl*

        My friend is a professor who takes students on month-long travels every summer. When they did Europe, Iceland was their favorite place. I totally want to do it some day.

      2. Elizabeth West*

        Ahhhh lucky duck! I want to go there very much. I got the bug BAD when Geldingadalir was erupting.

    2. Jay*

      Iceland is AMAZING. We went four years ago and had one of the best trips ever. Hubs is a geologist and I adore waterfalls and Iceland was perfect for us. We went in March to have a chance at seeing the aurora (and we did!!!) and we want to go back in the summer because there were a lot of things we couldn’t do because it was winter.

    3. eisa*

      Re second question :
      About a month ago, I booked a tour of the Baltic countries, to take place in May.
      (Yesterday someone said to me : who knows, maybe it will be a trip to Russia by then .. )

      Re first question : Iceland is for sure worth a trip (I recommend high summer, though).
      For history, the U.K. has a lot to offer (x) ; as does pretty much any European capital, I’d say.

      (x) I read a book by Bill Bryson recently where he mentions that (a) the church in the village where he lives is older than Notre Dame (b) this is nothing out of the ordinary. Then he goes on to describe how his friend computes an estimation how many people are buried around there and it was some eye-popping number; well, many, many centuries of continuous settlement will do that.

      PS: I think you will be allowed to not drink whereever in the world you go ;-)

      1. eisa*

        Fun thing, when I started writing, the other replies recommending Iceland were not up yet, a case of great minds thinking alike ;-)

      2. MissGirl*

        I just mentioned drinking to filter out suggestions about wine tours and those kids of trips. A lot of group trips and places I’ve looked into are more centered around those activities. I’m not worried about avoiding it at all.

    4. Rosie M. Banks*

      Since you are already in the west, have you visited the national parks out there (Grand Canyon, Zion, Yellowstone, etc.)? I’m living in the east now, but I am an Arizona native, and as soon as I feel safe traveling again, the Grand Canyon will be my first destination.

      1. MissGirl*

        Oh, yes. I’m an avid camper and have worn out my state. I always do small trips and have three national parks scheduled in the next few months for weekends or long weekends.

    5. Roki*

      Pre-covid I did a lot of travelling with similar interests to your (adventure/hiking/outdoors as well as history). Peru, Costa Rica and Belize were all some of my top trips.
      I did a wonderful active-style group tour in Jordan. Also enjoyed Turkey a lot. Lots of historical sites to see in that part of the world along with beautiful nature.
      If you like nature and wildlife Africa is incredible. In addition to safari-tour travel in Africa I also enjoyed Capetown (Robbin island, table mountain) and Zanzibar had interesting history as well.

      Myself, I’m waiting for the world to settle down just a bit more before I get back to travelling, but I’m eventually hoping to do another volunteer trip to Africa, and Mongolia, Norway and Patagonia are some of the next places I’d like to visit

    6. Not A Manager*

      If you have the time and the funds, Japan is amazing. If you’re just going to one location, I would choose Kyoto. There are some nice art museums and many fun and quirky craft/history museums, but also wonderful temples and temple grounds, excellent cuisine, and it’s a good walking city in many places. The surrounding mountains are beautiful and it’s fairly easy to take a train into the countryside and stay in one of the lovely traditional ryokans overnight. We did not do any hiking but it certainly looked very possible.

      1. the cat's ass*

        Totally second the trip to Japan. I went there originally as a consultant during the AIDS epidemic and ended up making friendships that have flourished to this day. Went again 4 years ago with my DD’s GS troop focused mostly in the Osaka/Nara/ Kyoto areas and it was easily one of the best trips i’ve ever taken, even though it was pretty exhausting due to the high temps/humidity (95 degrees/95% humidity) and the desire of our Japanese GS sisters to cram as much as humanly possible into a 20 day trip. Looking forward to heading back in ’24 as a grad gift to DD and bring DH who is beside himself as a big train buff! We will take a slightly slower pace.

        Chile is also fantastic with lots of beautiful natural areas, great food, super transportation, and amazing spas/hot springs to relax in.


    7. Jacey*

      You might like visiting Catalonia! Barcelona is a fabulous city and not too far from one of my favorite adventures in the Iberian peninsula: visiting Our Lady of Montserrat (a beautiful statue of Mary housed in an abbey on Montserrat). You do part of a medieval pilgrimage to get there, so it’s a nice mix of history/culture and hiking. (Apologies if visiting a Catholic holy site doesn’t work for you.)

      1. MissGirl*

        This sounds really amazing. Thanks for the suggestion. I had actually looked at a group hiking trip in the Pyrenees mountains before COVID but had completely forgotten about it until your comment.

    8. Bluebell*

      I’m taking things slow, but in 2019 I went to Iceland, Cuba, Hawaii, and Santa Fe. Iceland was definitely the coolest, but I enjoyed all of them. Ireland has some amazing scenery, and their pub culture goes beyond drinking Two destinations I have on my list are Scotland and Morocco. I visited Puerto Rico in 2018 and really liked it. My daughter wants to do an international trip this year, so I suggested England as a good first step.

      1. MissGirl*

        I totally understand about taking things slow. Costa Rica was definitely anxiety-inducing for me (scheduled long before Omicron existed). One thing about the smaller, tourist-dependent countries is that they are far more COVID careful than the U.S. and U.K.. The only people who’d tested positive in the region we went to in the weeks prior to our trip were tourists who brought it with them. The ten days we were gone, most of my family and friends got COVID but not us who traveled. I quarantined prior to going and tested before leaving even though it wasn’t required.

      2. Sue*

        We go to Kauai once or twice a year and love it. I also had great trips to Croatia (great hiking), Ireland (also great hiking, if soggy), Cuba (people were incredibly friendly), and New Zealand (when it reopens, the scenery, activities and people are all spectacular). Also love Tuscany, Switzerland and Scotland. So many interesting places, travel is wonderful. I’ve really missed it.

    9. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      Joining in on the Icelandic love. We went in the Before Times but will definitely return.
      This year? We just got home from Las Vegas and Death Valley. (It’s a whole lot more palatable in February than July, just saying.)
      Beyond that? My company has crap for PTO, so all we have left is LA for a wedding in April.

    10. The Other Dawn*

      We just got back from Las Vegas Tuesday morning. It was a 10-day trip and we had a great time. I think Death Valley was my favorite. Best part is we both broke even, which is a big win when going to Vegas. :)

      I’m headed to Lancaster, PA, in July for a long-awaited concert (was supposed to be 2020, then 2021, now 2022). Afterwards I might pick up part of the MINI Takes the States drive that’s happening the same week; however, that would mean taking the MINI from CT to PA with another person in the car and a bunch of luggage, plus any stuff we buy along the way.

      I’d like to take another big trip later in the year, but I have no idea where.

      1. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

        I love the fact that there is a non-zero chance we passed each other, either in Las Vegas or Death Valley.
        Random wave to fellow commentariat member!

    11. Chauncy Gardener*

      Sanibel Island in Florida is awesome. Chicago is a ton of fun once spring comes, all the way through fall. DC is gorgeous during cherry blossom time and the museums and everything are always so interesting. Newport RI is amazing as is New Orleans. Hawaii, especially Kauai, is wonderful. Japan is so, so cool. Tokyo is amazing and huge, but I really love the smaller towns north of Tokyo. And Italy…..OMG. Sooooo wonderful!
      And you can spend a long, long time in Boston and Maine. Lots of history, good seafood, great beaches, outdoor activities, etc. Don’t forget to see Portsmouth, NH on your way to Maine

    12. Potatoes gonna potate*

      I’m actually planning a road trip to canada with my cousins for august. Most likely Toronto, as I’ve always wanted to experience the city with friends/family

    13. California Dreamin’*

      We had a fabulous long trip through Bavaria in 2019 that the whole family enjoyed, but after we got home my daughter elicited a promise that the next year would be a tropical beach destination. So that was supposed to be in 2020, but… well. We still owe her the tropical vacation, so we’re going to Maui this summer.

    14. Lemonwhirl*

      I am taking a weekend break to Berlin for a music festival. Berlin is my favorite city in the world, and my favorite band in playing, so it seemed like a good way to ease back into traveling. (And I live in Europe, so Berlin is about a 2-hour plane ride away.)

      My kid and I were talking about our travel bucket lists yesterday – we both want to go to Japan, so I’m hopeful that might be possible in the next few years.

    15. MissingTraveling*

      Here are my favorite places other than Costa Rica which you mentioned: Azores. Nepal. Thailand. Cambodia. Ecuador (beach, Amazon basin, Otavalo and Cotopaxi areas). Mongolia. (the cuisine is “challenging” for most non-Mongolians and esp vegetarians like me but the scenery/people are amazing). Republic of Georgia. Turkey. Latvia/Estonia.

      On my wishlist is Norway in the summer, Petra, Morocco

    16. Calm Water*

      June is the right month for Vancouver Island, especially if camping. Check the Google and local traffic reports for travel times though. June is also high season for road construction and with the flooding we had this winter the temp fixes are going to turn into permanent ones (hopefully!). In many places the highway is narrow and there is only one option.

    17. Eppie*

      I’m going to Thailand this fall, if travel remains open. My youngest will be kn kindergarten and my mom and I are planning a 10 day trip.

    1. Squidhead*

      Everyone I know who wears them seems to like them. Can’t speak for them personally (I wear hospital scrubs), but they have some style options I haven’t seen from other brands like the “petal” shaped sleeve (it looks roomier than cylindrical sleeves). Of course they have jogger-style bottoms, too, but I think everyone has those now. If I *was* going to pay for them I’d avoid the joggers…they are such a specific look, and I assume they will go out of style soon and would look dated. But I am not a fashionista so I could be wrong!

    2. La Donna*

      I’ve heard great things about them. The med spa I go to, all the gals there use them. They’re super cute and I’d even consider getting the bottoms for normal day to day clothing.

      1. Generic Name*

        I literally thought this post was about an exfoliant scrub made out of figs, and was intrigued. The comment about the med spa seemed consistent with that until the mention of “bottoms” where my brain went to the bottom end of a fig. Then I realized you were talking about clothing. Ha ha!!

    3. Healthcare Worker*

      My colleague wears them and loves them. They always look great, and I love the cut. I’ll try Figs next time I get scrubs, based on how much I like hers.

    4. Erin*

      You get what you pay for. I like them, they are more comfortable and well-fitting than the hospital issue scrubs.

  25. HigherEdAdminista*

    This is kind of a sad one for me. I had recently, as a fluke, met someone online who I had amazing chemistry with. Unfortunately, he lives 3,000 miles away and decided quitting while we were ahead was the smartest thing. And he was probably right, but sigh… it was a pretty unique connection, and I can’t help but wonder what if we were crazy enough to try it.

    1. Sloanicote*

      I’m sorry. Hey, maybe if you keep in touch fate will bring one or the other of you back around! Stranger things have happened. But I agree that starting such a long distance relationship would be pretty tough.

      1. HigherEdAdminista*

        That’s certainly true. I think in our case it’s a little unlikely, but I suppose the world is full of unlikely things… and all we can do is live and see how things unfold.

    2. Generic Name*

      Yeah, that’s hard. I had a similar connection with a man I met at a friend’s wedding. He lived in another country, and I was married at the time. I made it clear that nothing beyond “hanging out as friends” was going to happen, but I sure thought about him a lot afterwards. I’m not in contact with him, but occasionally I’ll hear snippets about him through my friend. I think you both are wise to not pursue a long distance relationship. I know lots of people have them, but they are very difficult.

      1. HigherEdAdminista*

        You’re absolutely right that I think the distance was the scariest part. Knowing that you can get more attached and that something as simple as where you happen to live could wreck it would be hard.

    3. Not So NewReader*

      The road not traveled. That’s a tough one, truly. I think it comes up more often than we would like to think about but there seems to be examples that stand out more than other examples.

      It can be helpful to trust the ebb and flow of life. Trust that we are where we are supposed to be. (This assumes our overall good health and safety are intact and going well.) Asking why is like talking down a bottomless well- no answers, only echoes.

      I have seen people get answers 40 plus years later yet some people never get answers. Maybe there is no “reason” maybe it just “is”.
      Maybe something is meant to be learned, or maybe not.

      I do think the next time a person strikes you as having a different yet still unique connection, you will be able to follow that road to see where it leads.

      I am sorry things did not work out better for you.

      1. HigherEdAdminista*

        I’m sorry I’m late in replying, but if you see this I just wanted to say thank you. It is very beautiful and this kind of thinking is part of what has helped me feel better. I just started thinking well, if it was really an ideal person, wouldn’t he also want to be willing to take a risk? If not, then maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.

    4. marvin the paranoid android*

      I don’t know if this is your thing, but when something like this happens to me, I like to imagine there’s a parallel universe out there where it went differently. I find it comforting to think that somewhere in the universe there is room for all of the permutations of events to work out. It makes me feel better about just committing to the timeline that I’m part of and seeing where it takes me.

      1. Angstrom*

        I do the same when I get an attraction that would be wrong to act on. It’s easier to move on if I can imagine that parallel me and parallel them are happy together somewhere else. It’s not “never”, it’s “not here, not now”.

      2. Bethlam*

        There is a Dean Kuntz novel with just that theme. Someone is sympathizing with the main character, who is 11 or 12 IIRC, and is blind. His reply is, “I am not blind in all the worlds where I am.”

        This thought has comforted me, as I was denied something I wanted very badly. But I can imagine myself having it in another (or many) alternate reality.

      3. HigherEdAdminista*

        This can be kind of comforting. I also heard the idea of doing the opposite, where we are supposed to imagine that it couldn’t have happened any other way, at least in this timeline. Like you said, maybe in some other universe, but in this one, these are the cards and we see where they take us, as you said.

        Definitely something I’m going to be trying.

        Thank you for caring and for leaving me such a compassionate response. It really is touching when people take time out of their lives to comfort a stranger.

  26. Racking my brain*

    What are some ideas for activities that don’t involve food, booze or movies? A dear friend of mine has some health problems (that will be resolved in 3 months after a surgery) but in the meantime is not enjoying food, can’t drink alcohol and we’ve resorted to walking/hiking and watching movies at one of our houses as our activity. It’s getting a little stale for us and I’m struggling for ideas to “shake it up”. They are also averse (understandably) to hanging out indoors around large crowds due to covid. I don’t think they are very artsy crafty but that’s the only category I can think of to branch out into for activities. I would so appreciate any ideas!

      1. GoryDetails*

        I’ll second that – though the number and type of caches will vary depending on where one is. In my area there are lots, including virtual ones centered on historic locations, multi-stage caches that might involve long trail-hikes, clever puzzle caches that might be urban or rural or some of each…

    1. the cat's ass*

      Pre panini, I did this with a local friend who had similar issues, and we toured every museum/arboretum/planetarium in a 50 mile radius, did a lot of hiking, saw some first-run movies. I’ve lived my my city for 25+ years and so has she, but we both felt like tourists in our city and saw things we’d never have gotten to otherwise! This might work for you depending on where you live/your local weather. You’re a good friend, and i hope your friend feels better soon!

      1. Racking my brain*

        You’re right, I’m probably aiding in my mental block by *assuming* I know everything to do in my area (have lived in it for 20 years) but it would be worth a quick google to see what is marketed to tourists for activities I may not be aware of

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yes, pretend to be a tourist and research attractions you take for granted/didn’t know about. Botanical garden, aquarium/zoo, sculpture park, outdoor markets or seasonal festivals…

        1. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I looked up my city on Atlas Obscura and found things I’d missed about sites I’ve already visited.

    2. suggestion*

      Table top gaming? A card game like Munchkin or Flux? The Sherlock Holmes table top game where you solve mysteries?

      1. Racking my brain*

        They are a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I’m going to look into that table top game, thanks!

        1. Reader*

          Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is absolutely excellent.
          Tangentially related there are various “escape room in a box” style experiences out there.

        2. VegetarianRaccoon*

          My daughter (21 y/o) likes Sherlock Holmes and games, so I got her that one on a recommendation from the comments here at AAM!
          :D she says it’s fun and very re-playable.

      2. GoryDetails*

        I love Munchkin! So many fun themes, from the original D&D to horror to spies to pirates – and you can mix and match the decks if you want, to play an elf-pirate-assassin.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      You might look into whether there’s a local umbrella group of “places people go to walk about a bit, maybe look at a historic thing.” Where I am it’s the trustees of reservations. It gave us places new to us, but in a reasonable drive.

      My local high school does an extension school for all sorts of things–local hikes, crafts, I am doing one on buying/selling a house. You could browse that and see if anything stood out–right now mine is a mix of in person and Zoom.

    4. Camelid coordinator*

      Jigsaw puzzles or coloring could be a nice change of pace. I’ve also gotten kind of into learning about birds lately. You could set up birdfeeders, identify the birds you see, or take a class from the Cornell lab of ornithology.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        And elderly friend and I do jigsaw puzzles. We use the 300 pc puzzles with larger pieces. We talk about life, we talk about things in the current puzzle and we cuss at the snow. It’s an escape for an hour or two. When we get tired of it, my friend leaves it on the table and we finish another day or my friend finishes it.

    5. Cordelia*

      Do you play games? Old ones like Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, backgammon, or learn a new one together – board games are so popular nowadays, there are loads you could try, and plenty that are suitable for 2 players

      1. Marion Ravenwood*

        I came here to say board games or card games! There are tons of good two player ones out there. I personally like Jaipur, Exploding Kittens, Codenames Duet, 7 Wonders Duel. Dungeon Mayhem, Star Realms and Rivals For Catan, but would recommend having a look at something like Board Game Geek or the Reddit boardgames sub for ideas as well.

    6. CTT*

      Are they adverse to ALL indoors or just huge crowds? I’ve found that museums mid-week are pretty quiet and I will be the only person in a gallery most of the time.

    7. GoryDetails*

      If your area has a historical society with access to tours of historic homes/buildings, that might be worth checking out. A friend got a membership to the society that includes free tours, and I’ve gone along on some of them – mostly to houses with great historical and/or architectural interest, and where the tours usually featured a handful of people at most.

      1. B*

        Also,coming up in spring are all the garden tours, designer show houses and vintage car shows. I like looking at the life I will never live. And if you are in the kind of area that has historical reenactments they can be a hoot.

    8. The Face*

      Some kind of volunteering, like is there a regular local litter pick-up in your community or something like that? My community has various different ones, this river path, that park, and so on. Or you could just bring a few garbage bags and sets of gloves to an area and do it yourselves.

    9. The Face*

      Another idea, if you live near anywhere rural or are able to get out in the countryside, are there any local farms that do activities? Around here one can see a sheepdog demonstration or go to an alpaca farm and learn about alpacas or take a day course about bees.

    10. marvin the paranoid android*

      You could try finding some kind of volunteer activity that appeals to both of you. There are all kinds of interesting places to volunteer–giving tours of historical sites, working in a community garden, handing out programs at local theatre shows, selling popcorn at outdoor movies, whatever interests you.

    11. Off My Lawn, You Must Get*

      I realize walking/hiking can get stale but I will add that spring is coming, so any local gardens or arboretums (arboritae?) will be extra nice this season. (I live near Seattle and there is both a Japanese garden and a huge tulip growing area nearby)

    12. Salymander*

      Are there any sculpture gardens in your area? I live near several, and they are lovely. Or botanical gardens maybe?

      There are people in my town (and maybe all over, I don’t know) who paint little rocks with inspiring messages and leave them all over the place for people to find.

      Guerilla gardening, maybe? Nothing too intense, just find a spot of waste ground and some local native wildflower seed and try to make the world a little more cheerful. I planted native wildflowers for my specific area in a small spot that had a lot of invasive weeds, and there are now a lot of flowers there. I didn’t even turn the soil.

      When I was sick and my mobility was poor I used to go to the dog park and just sit there watching the dogs. They are always so happy to be running around, and it cheered me up. It sounds like your friend is mostly getting around just fine, but that might be fun to do on Friend’s bad days when their energy is low.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Oh, yes – sculpture gardens and/or botanical gardens can be marvelous! There are some lovely ones in my general area, and most of them are worth visiting multiple times, to see how the plantings change over the seasons.

    13. pieforbreakfast*

      Look into the Humanities Organization in your state (google state + humanities, or maybe check the National Endowment for the Humanities website). The one in my state- Oregon- has events ranging from lectures, to small group conversations, to letter writing projects and exhibits.

      With Spring coming close there will likely be plant lectures and talks coming up, garden tours being planned. Check out any horticulture society programs in your area if this sounds interesting.

    14. HannahS*

      Some things I’ve done lately or am planning soon:
      Botanical gardens
      Outdoor historical “village” museum
      Board game night
      Zoom singalong (sounded questionable, was actually a lot of fun)

    15. 00ff00Claire*

      What about the zoo? I’ve gone to our zoo with a group of just adults and it’s nice – still a lot f walking but with a lot of rest stops. Also, do you have mini golf nearby? That’s outdoors but probably not crowded.

    16. Dragonfly7*

      Do any of the places you hike have guided hikes or classes? Maybe by their staff or an outside group, like the Sierra Club? My local nature center has guided hikes and short classes with topics that change every week. Most are included with a membership or have a discounted fee for members. The Sierra Club and a couple other groups on Meetup meet there for hikes.
      If they are comfortable being indoors with small groups, look into what your local library system offers to adults. Besides book groups, mine offers talks by local experts, live music at least once a month, conversational Spanish classes, an adult craft, makerspaces at some locations, and more. Some events are also broadcast online.
      Mocktails? I can’t drink alcohol anymore and was a beer drinker before so know next to nothing about other types of drinks. I would dearly love a friend to try mocktails with me.
      I am currently jealous of the person several threads up who had a dancing class at a local university. My local community college offers lots of classes that can just be for fun, usually short term and once a week.

  27. Double A*

    I’m looking for tips/insights about one parent doing bedtime for two little kids. Right now each parent takes a kid, but at some point we should be able to figure out how one of us can put them both down, right? It would be nice for us to be able to give each other the evening off occasionally.

    The kids are 9 months and 3 years. Our routine is after dinner at about 6, we go up, brush teeth, then my husband takes one and I take the other and we do 1:1 bedtimes. The baby is usually down between 6:30-7, the 3 year old is lights out at 7. They have their own rooms.

    How and at what ages have you combined bedtime routines for the kids? What have your routines looked like? And tips for transitioning to a joint bedtime routine?

    1. Katie*

      Read together with them? My older daughter loves reading, so I put her younger siblings in one of the beds and she reads to them while I do other stuff. Then it’s bedtime.
      However it’s still a group effort before that to get them ready for bed.

      1. Double A*

        Definitely eventually that’s how I plan to go; the baby is just barely getting to the point of looking at a book so I’m starting to incorporate that into his bedtime routine (up until the last month he’d just kind of wildly grab at a book and it wasn’t really possible to read with him).

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      It’s tough with a baby. What are you doing during the 1:1 time that needs to be 1:1? For example can you give the baby a bottle while reading to the big kid? Tuck 3yo in and sing to both kids while rocking the baby? etc

      My kids have a similar age gap and I think we started doing bedtime partly together when the younger one was 2? They both clean up toys, put on PJs, and brush teeth at the same time. Originally we’d read to them together but the older kid wasn’t falling asleep as early as the younger one, so now we do still split the second part: read to 3yo while 6yo plays quietly, then read to 6yo after 3yo is tucked in. 6yo also gets to read to herself for half an hour after being tucked in so at least part of the routine doesn’t require either parent’s involvement.

      1. Double A*

        And just to be clear, I’m not necessarily looking to do this ASAP, it’s more like, “At some point we could do this right? But…how and when?” We are quite attached to our routines and sometimes we do hold onto them too long! Our experience with our oldest her first year left us kind of gunshy about any sleep routine changes (though she is a great sleeper now, mostly).

        I’m figuring it’ll be easier one the baby is weaned, so more like when he’s 18 months. I’m just trying to think about what groundwork we could lay now and kind of envision ahead because like I say…we are very attached to our routines, ha. It’s just nice to hear what other people to so I can start picturing options.

        I’m think we can start combining teeth brushing, getting into jammies, and then some quiet playtime together. Then split up for reading and lights out in their own rooms.

    3. Fellow Traveller*

      My kids share a room, so maybe that makes it easier. They are 9, 5, and 2. They started sharing a room about eight months ago. The nine year old does her own thing, but we do jammies, teeth, with all three kids around 7:45, then I do books together with the two little kids. Then around 8:30, I tuck the five year old in and the two year old still gets nursed to sleep. She sleeps in a regular bed so i just lie down with her in bed til she’s asleep. Sometimes if the five year old isn’t sleepy he will go hang out with the nine year old until she goes to bed. I’m sure there are things that aren’t ideal about this scenario, but it’s how it goes.

    4. Lizy*

      My 2 littles are 4 and 1 1/2. Bathtime together (although we do have a big bathtub), if they need baths. I sit with Baby (or my husband does), we turn down the lights, and 4 lays down next to me, typically watching kids YouTube. Once Baby goes to sleep, I’ll let 4 stay up a bit longer and then the iPad goes up for the night.

    5. HBJ*

      Joint bedtime for us started when the baby was done breastfeeding (or in the case of my EPer, done with bottles). The last feed to drop for me was always the right-before-bed feed.

      Before breastfeeding was done, I would typically brush the older kid(s) teeth, get them pull-upped/pajamad, read a book, take them up, put them to bed. Then I’d come down and immediately brush the baby’s teeth (once they had teeth) and then sit down to nurse/bottle. Then take them up and put them in bed.

      They are not all in the same room, so I just take them all in one room to put the ones in that room to bed and then go to the other room.

      For us, bedtime routine is never very long. Maybe 10-15 minutes? And it’s never been a “thing” for one of us to do it alone, even in the very beginning of having more than one child.

    6. Daffodilly*

      I had the older one “help” while I put the baby down. They weren’t really much actual help, but they loved handing me a diaper, softly singing to the baby along with me, etc. Then we’d go to her room, read a story and she’d go to bed.

      1. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

        Yes, I was going to suggest this as well. Also, while you are still doing 1:1’s make sure you are switching who takes which child. Otherwise the older one (and even possibly the baby) might become “possessive” of one of you for bedtime.

    7. University Schlep*

      Mine had the same age gap. We didn’t really go solo until the baby was weaned, but you can actually start the practice earlier. We would pile everyone into our big bed, husband would read the story while I nursed the baby and as he got older and less likely to drift off while nursing he would pay more attention to the story. Eventually it just transitioned to story and bed. We kept the story in our bed and then move to your own bed because it was easier than negotiating 2 rooms.

    1. L. Ron Jeremy*

      I’d say it’s not work related just because it’s about a future work dystopia.

    2. CTT*

      I watched the first two episodes and am planning to catch up tonight! (I finished Afterparty yesterday and it tried to roll me into the next episode of Severance, which was not the vibe shift I was looking for!)

      I’m liking it, but I also have this weird thing with Adam Scott where I can’t totally disconnect him from the first thing I saw him in, which was an episode of Veronica Mars in which he plays (spoiler alert for an almost 20 year old show) a teacher accused of sleeping with one of his students and he turns out to be a real creep, so I always mistrust characters he plays!

    3. Arya Parya*

      Yes! So far I’m loving it. I love high concept stories, so this is right in my wheelhouse. I’m really curious where this is all going.

    4. The New Wanderer*

      I’m really enjoying it so far and bonus, I used to work in the building it is filmed in!

  28. Jacey*

    Crafting thread! What are people making lately?

    I’m working on a cross stitch for my sister’s bday. I designed the pattern myself based on a couple ideas from different pattern books: two kittens looking out the window together with their tails curled towards each other. It’s a simple pattern but I’m barely started and her bday is in a week—oof!

    1. wingmaster*

      Just started my memory quilt project yesterday. MIL gave me a ton of button up shirts that her departed husband had. I’ve never done a quilt before, so I’m just doing a 9-patch quilt.

    2. Marion Ravenwood*

      I got right to the end of the skirt I made, then stuffed up cutting the waistband tab so have had to unpick that and will start again. Also need to finish the makeup bag I’m making for my friend as her birthday gift – her birthday is on Tuesday (yes cutting it fine I know) – and then start on the sweatshirt I’m making for my niece for her birthday at the end of March.

    3. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Still working on the quilt with different yellow scraps on black background. I have 6 completed (18 1/2″) blocks. I mostly set it aside (to bring to a group sewing day later this month) to work on a flannel rag quilt.

    4. Excuse Me, Is This Username Taken?*

      Slowly, slowly, slowly working on an embroidery kit I got for Christmas. I’m more than halfway at this point, but the stitches required for this one are a little more advanced than what I was used to (roses featuring a satin stitch compared to everything in backstitch) so it’s slow going. Learning a lot for the next pattern though!

    5. ecnaseener*

      My ongoing project has been a skirt. Next step is to attach the buttons, which I bought months ago…and now I can’t find them. Grrr. (Did that package even arrive?)

      So the skirt is on hold, and instead I spent the day covering one of my two barstool cushions. They were a gift, but the color is absolutely horrid with the wood, so I’m covering them with a nice blue canvas. Thought I was done with the first one, anddddd discovered it no longer fits. I didn’t catch any of the elastic, but the original fabric itself must be stretchy and the new canvas isn’t. So I just need to add some ties, and THEN I’ll be done with 1 of 2!

    6. HamlindigoBlue*

      I will be finishing the sweather I’ve been working on. I finished the sleeves and just need to work on the hood.

    7. All Hail Queen Sally*

      I am knitting a scarf that has two cables on one side and three on the other. I love the look of cables and they are so much easier than I thought they would be!

    8. DataGirl*

      I have a couple cross stitch patterns started that I need to finish. One is a black cat, one is a skeleton ballerina. After that I have a huge queue of patterns to get through if I ever have time.

      I recently got back into sewing, I made an apron a few weeks ago and have a pair of flannel pants cut out that just need to be sewn.

      I have a crochet blanket that I work on when I don’t feel like working on anything else. It’s very slow going so far- I started it last summer and maybe with any luck it will be finished this year, but probably not.

    9. Ayla*

      I’m making a couple of socktopi. One for a friend, and another fuzzier one for my baby due in June.

    10. Lemonwhirl*

      I am working on an embroidery for my friend’s birthday at the end of the month. Still in the proof of concept phase and I had to order different fabric because I’ve decided I don’t like the texture and look of aida. So I got some linen. I also have two different ideas, so I think I’ll try both out. My husband and kid are going out of town next weekend, so I should have plenty of time to work on it then.

    11. Virginia Plain*

      Finishing off a baby quilt with a braid pattern – and making myself do it before starting another quilt for myself. Yesterday I went to an art exhibition (Bridget Riley) and feel very inspired to start a quilt I planned a few years ago, inspired by a few of her paintings, after seeing her work in the Tate Modern and have fabric for. Must finish the gift first though!

    12. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m trying to get through a growing pile of mending! I’m pretty good about staying on top of easy stuff like darning a sock or patching a pair of kid leggings, but I have several pairs of jeans that need reinforcing and I never get around to it because it requires hauling out the sewing machine.

  29. coffee is my friend*

    Anyone else drink teeccino? I’m drinking the coffee like ones (mainly french vanilla) and I’m using the grounds not the tea bags because I like being able to make it strong. How do others brew it? Been using the french press but getting tired of cleaning the press…so looking for other suggestions!

    1. Hattie McDoogal*

      I didn’t even know you could buy it loose – I love the dandelion caramel nut one, and I just buy the teabags.

    2. Pharmgirl*

      I just got the dark chocolate one and I quite like it! I’m not a tea person despite trying for years, but I like this flavor at night – hits that chocolate craving. It’s the bagged one though, so I just boil water in the kettle and dunk. Can you maybe get those tea strainer things and do something similar?

    3. Turtle Dove*

      Thanks for mentioning this new-to-me product! I’ve been drinking more herbal tea recently but prefer the fuller flavor of coffee (but not its caffeine and acidity). So this intrigues me. I’m ordering some now.

      1. coffee is my friend*

        Had to give up coffee due to the acid as well but I’m not into tea. I still miss coffee but this is a nice hot drink. I also like the maca chocolate because it reminds me of hot chocolate without the sugar!
        They sell sample packs – which I recommend for seeing which one you like!

  30. Teapot Translator*

    I haven’t seen a book thread and I like knowing what we’re all reading.
    I’ve read Quartet in autumn by Barbara Pym and The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson. What about you?

    1. fposte*

      Oh, I loved Quartet in Autumn; I should reread it. I read it along with Elizabeth Taylor’s Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont, and they were an elegant pairing.

      There is also a lovely dramatized account of her nomination for the Booker, called Miss Pym’s Day Out, with Patricia Routledge as Barbara Pym. It’s up on YouTube.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        I can’t remember if you were the one who recommended it, but I know someone recommended it to me. I’ll check out the other book you mentioned (although, I did think to myself, “What? The actress was an author???”).
        Any other British female writers you would recommend?

        1. Double A*

          I mentioned Quartet in Autumn to someone at some point! Maybe it was to you? It’s my favorite Barbara Pym book.

          I just finished The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt which is kind of a darkly comedic cowboy noir. It was really good.

          I’m going to the library today to pick up a book by Anita Brock we; I heard someone on a podcast recommend it as a beautiful book where nothing really happens, and it sounds like it’s a Pymian vein so I’m interested to try it.

          I’m also picking up Leviathan Wakes, which is the first book in The Expanse series. I’ve been really enjoying the TV show and my husband loved the books, so I’m interested to see if they’re worth reading in addition to watching the show.

        2. Isobel*

          Have a look at Persephone Books – they publish mostly British women authors, though also a few men and several writers from Europe/North America/New Zealand.

          1. Isobel*

            Also Dean Street Press – authors like Margery Sharp and Stella Gibbons under their Furrowed Middlebrow imprint, but they also republish Golden Age crime and thrillers.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m listening to the audiobook of “How to Be Perfect,” narrated by Mike Schur with the cast of The Good Place. It’s basically a compilation of his research for the show and has a similar vibe (what if we make moral philosophy funny and kind of stupid?) but you don’t need to know the show to enjoy the book.

    3. My Brain Is Exploding*

      Finished “The Warmth of Other Suns.” Wow. What an important book; a book that I think is a must-read for, well, everyone. Wilkerson skillfully weaves compelling stories of individuals participating in the “Great Migration” with the sobering and alarming societal context in which they occur. The information she provides in this book illuminates the current state of race/racial tension/race relations in the US.

    4. GoryDetails*

      Lots in progress as usual, including:

      TALES FROM THE CAFE by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, which I found in a Little Free Library; it’s a follow-on to “Before the Coffee Gets Cold”, which I haven’t read yet but will hunt up. The books are set in a small cafe that features a special seat from which patrons can travel in time – with strict limitations, leading to some intriguing accounts of the folks who choose to attempt this and what transpires.

      THE LAND OF STONE FLOWERS by Sveta Dorosheva – found this one via a “books by Ukrainian authors” post, which I sought out as a (very small) way of supporting Ukraine. It’s a fantasy take on a “field guide”, this one a guide to human behavior from the viewpoint of fairies!

      THE WALKING CAT by Tomo Kitaoka, a manga subtitled “A Cat’s-eye View of the Zombie Apocalypse” – quite an entertaining concept, mixing truly horrifying zombie-apocalypse scenes with poignant human characters as they try to survive and protect loved ones, all pitched against the viewpoint of a white tomcat who behaves in very cat-like ways while occasionally helping to warn, save, or comfort the humans.

      Audiobook: IMPACT WINTER by Travis Beacham, an Audible original with a full voice-cast; the premise is that a comet-strike has devastated the planet and created a years-long cloud-cover darkness – which has allowed the vampires to roam freely. So more of a vampire story than a post-apocalyptic one, but I am enjoying it so far.

    5. Jacey*

      I’m in the middle of rereading the Bad Machinery graphic novel series. Mystery solving teens deal with the supernatural and growing up! Great sense of humor and some of the best, most authentically written teens I’ve ever come across.

    6. Blue Eagle*

      Almost finished with City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert. Fun read (although kind of long) mostly about a young woman headed to New York to live with her aunt who owns a theatre in the 1940s. Totally enjoyable book.

    7. E. Chauvelin*

      I’m reading The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan and The Lost Summers of Newport by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, and Karen White.

    8. Atheist Nun*

      I just finished Louise Erdrich’s latest book, The Sentence, and I loved it. It was moving, challenging, and surprisingly funny at times (considering the setting is 2020 Minneapolis and thus COVID-19 and George Floyd’s murder are big topics). Now I am reading China Mieville’s The City & the City. I find that his books demand my full attention but are full of novel, imaginative situations and thus well worth the effort.

    9. Ali + Nino*

      Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong. I think I got the synopsis for this one mixed up with another book so it wasn’t what I was expecting, but has been a good read nonetheless – very quick.

    10. DataGirl*

      Currently working on the Rhea Lynch, M.D. series by Gwen Hunter on audio. I’m on book 2, Prescribed Danger, which is about a epidemic and a race war. I like the series but this particular book has been hard, given the last couple of years.

      I’ve also been working on the Shadow of the Apt series on audio by Adrian Tchaikovsky, which is a fantasy series in which all the different races of people have bonded with insects and arachnids and taken on characteristics from them. There is a war between the different types of ‘Kinden’ as they are called, and the story follows several characters from both sides of the conflict.

      In print, I’m reading Keep Going: The Art of Perseverance by Joseph M. Marshall who is a Native American author who writes a lot of books about Lakota spirituality and mythology.

      I’m also reading Israel: A Simple Guide to the Most Misunderstood Country on Earth by Noa Tishby which is a really excellent, easy to follow book about the history, politics, and culture of the country.

      Lastly in print I’ve been working on the Iron Druid series, which is an Urban Fantasy book about a 2000+ year old Druid in Arizona. Lots of mythology, vampires, werewolves, etc. It’s quite fun. I recently finished book 3 and will start book 4 as soon as I wrap up some of the other books I have going.

    11. allathian*

      Transient Desires by Donna Leon. Reading her books always makes me both want to visit Venice and determined that I shouldn’t…

  31. Bluebell*

    Looking for travel suggestions for a Spring weekend trip in the U.S.. College friend lives in Southeast, I live in Northeast. Ideally I want a nonstop flight and a place we can eat outside in late April/early May. This will be our first trip together since 2019. Past destinations have included Savannah, New Orleans, Nashville, Atlanta, Asheville. I have to go to TX in May, otherwise Austin was a consideration. We plan to stay in an Airbnb, and might go to museums too. Thanks!

      1. RussianInTexas*

        And if you have a car, Santa Fe is only an hour away, and Taos and Los Alamos aren’t far either. Los Alamos The Bradbury Science museum is fascinating.

        1. Bluebell*

          We went to Santa Fe in 2019 and really enjoyed it. Trying to keep my time in a plane under five hours if possible. My friend is fine with us driving an hour or two from an airport.

    1. Clisby*

      Charleston? (The Spoleto Festival starts May 27, so avoid that unless you want to be faced with big crowds and jacked-up housing costs. Don’t get me wrong – the festival is worth going to. But if the main purpose is to visit with your friend, it’s just going to be a giant inconvenience.) No problem eating outside in April and May.

      1. Bluebell*

        Not finding nonstop flights except for Breeze airways? Otherwise I’m interested in Charleston. Any info on them?

        1. fposte*

          What airports are you flying from? That will affect where you have nonstop flights to.

            1. Pharmgirl*

              I just flew nonstop Boston to Charleston – 9Am flight on Delta, a friend flew the 8 am JetBlue. Great walking city, great food. You’ll have excellent weather I’m sure.

              1. Clisby*

                Yes, a lot of people have higher tolerance for hot weather than I do. IMO, once you get to June, Charleston is unbearable, and it doesn’t get bearable again until October. But April and May are beautiful.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      Washington, DC? The Smithsonian museums never get old, the cherry trees should be blooming, and for some reason eating outside is a big part of DC culture.

      1. Bluebell*

        Friend suggested DC. I’ve been there lots to visit family and for work, so have been to many of the museums. Are there other towns a close drive from DC you might suggest?

        1. Fellow Traveller*

          Near DC- Annapolis is nice and I also like Baltimore.
          Philly has some great food and museums.

    3. RussianInTexas*

      Off the cuff suggestion – western New York, Lake Chautauqua area on particular. It’s about an hour away from Buffalo. Gorgeous nature area, lakes, wineries. Panama Rock scenic Park is like something of the Middle Earth.
      Watch for the weather.