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  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A reminder of the rules for the weekend thread: Comments should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. (Recommendations or an update or two on things you received advice about in the past are also fine.)

  2. advice givers*

    What are your favorite advice columns to read? I am especially interested in niche topics like this one on work or Slate’s on child raising. I like the general ones too like Dear Prudence but the niche ones are more interesting a lot of the time. Who is good?

    1. Bogey*

      I read all I can find. I’m addicted. Dear Abby, Ask Amy, Harriette Cole, Ask Someone Else’s Mom. I mostly like the comments people make. A view into people’s messed up lives.

      1. Evergreen*

        If you like the comments people make, love letters from the Boston globe is published as the columnist’s opinion with commenter’s opinions with it.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I like that one. I haven’t decided whether I’ll keep the paper when my discounted sub expires next month. Probably, if they offer a renewal that’s not too expensive. Definitely, if I get a job there. *fingers crossed*

    2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I like The Moneyist on MarketWatch about financial interpersonal issues although it does have a monthly free article limit.

    3. Mallory Janis Ian*

      I think it’s called Dear Penny (I read it when it shows up in my Facebook feed), and she answers people’s financial questions (which often happen to be relationship questions).

      1. Silly Janet*

        Besides this one, Captain Awkward, Dr. Nerdlove, Dear Therapist, and Hola Papi! The nerdier, the better.

    4. Weaponized Pumpkin*

      Ask A Therapist at The Atlantic — Lori Gottlieb — always impresses me with her compassionate insight

    5. BEC*

      My absolutely favorite is CaptainAwkward.com – she is right up there with Alison for me.

      1. VLookupsAreMyLife*

        Yep, I actually found AMA thru CA! I still go back & read the archives regularly. African Violet & the Sandwich of Love are now regular idioms in my home, right up there with BEC.

        1. No pineapple on pizza*

          Sorry, posted too soon! What I wanted to ask was, is the forum a good place to go for advice/chatting, and to discuss CA’s posts? I know CA herself doesn’t post there, and isn’t involved with it.

        2. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

          I was on the forum when it started and eventually left because there were so many rules about triggering, violent speech (things like “I hate Trump” was forbidden). I get why it was run that way, but I just couldn’t enjoy it when I had to tiptoe so much.

    6. Snow Globe*

      Love Carolyn Hax and Captain Awkward. Dear Prudence on Slate has had a number of different writers, some better than others, I’ll leave it at that.

      1. allathian*

        Yeah, I used to read several columns on Slate, but stopped when it went behind a paywall several years ago. Carolyn Hax was one of my favorites, but not to the point that I’d be willing to pay to get access to her columns.

        I read CA mostly for the comments, so the new posts aren’t all that interesting to me. I’m glad there’s lots of material in the archives, though.

    7. lobsterbot*

      I tried to give up reading so many advice columns, and was only somewhat successful since now I read reddit’s AmItheAsshole as much or more than I used to waste time reading advice columns. I do enjoy it sometimes though and if you like advice columns you might also.

    8. fposte*

      The Digg Good Question roundup is a nice way to sample different advice columns. And I’ll also add Carolyn Hax and two shoutouts to defunct columns: Caity Weaver’s Thatz Not Okay and, of course, the Bad Advisor’s That Bad Advice.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        Oh, Caity Weaver was wonderful! (Also loved her Best American Restaurant reviews with Rich Juzwiak — is it a good place to bring a doll?)

        1. fposte*

          I didn’t know about those–I’ll go hunt the archives.

          Her profile piece on The Rock was also one of my favorite reads.

          1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

            Ooh, thank you for the tip — I don’t think I’ve read the Rock piece!

            To find most of Caity’s restaurant reviews, try a search for “best restaurant in new york caity weaver rich” using the duckduckgo search engine. The most iconic one is about the American Girl store cafe. There is also an epic review of most of the restaurants at Epcot Center.

    9. Cocafonix*

      Carolyn Hax and AAM are the best for me. Worst is Captain Awkward. Such a rambling writer, I can’t understand why she has a following. I’ve tried several times after seeing people fawn over her here. But it’s torturous reading to me. Maybe I prefer the more insightful, direct and witty styles of Hax and Alison. I read Prudence, mostly because the letters are interesting, but Prudence changes so often the advice is hit and miss.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Captain Awkward used to be wittier and ramble less, but also used to have a lot more trouble with chaos in the comment section. Since she turned her comments off and since a particularly dark turn in response to the 2016 election, her posts have become harder to read and less enjoyable.

        She was more fun to read when she was a little more off the cuff and didn’t ruminate over each post so much.

      2. The Other Dawn*

        I agree about CA. I’ve tried reading her website several times over the years and I just don’t see why she has a big following. Her answers are just way too long and I generally lose interest about two paragraphs in. “Torturous” is definitely the right word.

        I used to like Dear Prudence, but stopped shortly after Danny took over.

        1. No pineapple on pizza*

          Have any of you used the forum, Friends of Captain Awkward? I know that CA isn’t involved with it, but I’d be interested in checking it out if it’s a good place for discussion and advice.

          1. RagingADHD*

            I got as far as reading the rules before registering, and it put me right off. So many draconian rules. So many updates and clarifications and rules-lawyering of the rules. And it was clear that the excessive rules were made in response to weirdly bad behavior and weird complaints.

            It appeared to be, as a CA fan would say, “full of bees.”

        2. Anne Shirley*

          I felt the same. I wanted to like that column after hearing so many people here talk about her but I would lose interest halfway through the (long) answers. Though I do remember CA and AAM collaborating on here once and I found her response to be pretty thoughtful.

          I’m kind of curious to know about the dark turn it took in 2016. Was it the comment section that turned that way?

          1. RagingADHD*

            No, she was just in a very dark place. IIRC, it was a convergence of her own & possibly her husband’s health issues, plus stress over the state of **things,** plus she closed comments because it was becoming unmanageable. I’m not even sure if the post I recall is still up.

            As far as closing comments, her entire appeal and audience revolve around folks with lifelong difficulty in communicating and interacting with others, so it was inevitable that moderating a community like that would become more and more work as it grew. I don’t think it’s a failing on her part that ya know, life got serious and she got serious.

            But people read blogs for different reasons, and it just wasn’t entertaining after that. It was work.

      3. Mademoiselle Sugarlump*

        I agree. Hax is my favorite for general stuff. I used to love Captain Awkward but yes, it’s torture to read. Edit! She has good advice but so often it’s buried in a lot of chaff.
        I read Prudence but agree, the writers change too much and some are awful.

    10. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Captain Awkward, Dan Savage, Dr. Nerdlove, an earlier Dear Prudence — but Captain Awkward is my fave!

    11. Anonymous Cat*

      Can anyone recommend advice columns from outside the US? It’s fascinating to see how other places handle similar human problems.

      1. pancakes*

        Someone asked that within the past few weeks – have a look at the last few weekend threads.

      2. Goddess Sekhmet*

        Ask Annalisa Barbiera and Ask Philippa, both in The Guardian are good. There’s also a column called Leading Questions but I can’t remember the name of the columnist.

    12. MEH Squared*

      I used to read several of the ones listed above/below, but I’ve gone off pretty much all of them for one reason or the other. I do still like Captain Awkward when I can remember to check (she updates very infrequently). This is the only commentariat I read on the regular, though. I find the commenters here to be thoughtful and able to look at multiple points of view in general, even if I don’t agree with them. I don’t find the same for most of the other comment sections.

    13. misspiggy*

      Eleanor Gordon-Smith in the Guardian is always wise, kind and insightful. Much like our own fposte.

      1. Outside Earthling*

        Agree. Annalisa Barbieri in the Guardian is also great. And Philippa Perry!

        1. pancakes*

          Those are the only ones I read at this point. I find Dear Prudence maddening, mostly not on account of the advice but the problems people write in with. So often it’s something along the lines of, “My family has treated me badly for decades on account of their [virulent homophobia / breathtaking nastiness / etc.] but I’d like then all to have a nice time at my wedding, how can I make that happen?” Or, “I’m about to marry this person I don’t see eye-to-eye with on anything, particularly raising children. We sharply disagree about [xyz]. Does that matter?”

    14. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      I used to be a big fan of Mr Blue on Salon but I don’t think they have his archives up. Salon also became a junk site like 10-15ish years ago maybe because it went broke?

    15. Fellow Traveller*

      A lot of my favorites are listed, but I also really like Meg Leahy’s parenting column in the Washington Post.

  3. bookwormed*

    I’d like to read some more retellings–classic stories told from another point of view. Examples: Wide Sargasso Sea (retelling of Jane Eyre from the wife’s perspective) or the Other Bennett Sister (Pride and Prejudice told by Mary Bennett) or even Bridget Jones’ Diary (P&P). What retellings have you liked?

    1. Frank*

      Circe and Song of Achilles, both by Madeline Miller, are novels about minor characters from The Odyssey and The Iliad. Not really re-tellings because their full stories were never explored by Homer, but damn they are so worth reading. Song of Achilles is one of the most beautiful love stories I’ve ever read. I HATE love stories! Miller is a phenomenal writer.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        In a similar vein, Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin.

        In a very broad way, the Athena Club trilogy by Theodora Goss has main characters who are the daughters/experimental subjects of literary mad scientists (Mary Jekyll and Diana Hyde, Justine Frankenstein, etc). It pulls from a lot of Gothic fiction, but from a very different point of view, and is a great read.

        Katherine Addison’s The Angel of the Crows is a delightful takeoff/retelling of Sherlock Holmes.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          Oh, and the newly released T. Kingfisher’s What Moves the Dead, a retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher.

          1. GoryDetails*

            I love Kingfisher’s horror-story re-imaginings – I have “What Moves the Dead” on my to-be-read list, and adored “The Hollow Places” (inspired by Blackwood’s “The Willows”) and “The Twisted Ones” (for Machen’s “The White People”).

        2. allathian*

          Seconding Lavinia, a great story that still stays with me although I read it more than 10 years ago.

      2. CatCat*

        Similarly, A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. It’s a series of short stories from the points of view of girls and women involved in and impacted by the Trojan War.

      3. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        LOVED Circe! (Content warning for abusive family, though.)

    2. Nitpicker*

      After Abel and Other Stories by Michal Lemberger. Retelling Bible stories from the women’s point of view. Very imaginative and very powerful.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      If you like Disney animated movies, there’s a series called Twisted Tales (different authors) that are sort of a combination of different POV and “what if this one tiny thing had happened slightly differently?”

    4. PollyQ*

      Christopher Moore has written a number of these, including the awesome Fool, which is a retelling of King Lear from (surprise!) the Fool’s point of view.

      1. cubone*

        Lamb: the Gospel According to Biff, Jesus’ Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore is another great one. I took a bunch of religion courses in undergrad and the references were so much. So funny and surprisingly touching.

        1. GoryDetails*

          I loved Lamb! Surprisingly touching indeed, much more respectful to Jesus’ character than I’d expected (though still hilarious).

          1. A Reader*

            I was going to suggest Lamb. I lent it to a religious friend who loved it, and he recommended it to his priest (who also loved it). I’m very non-religious and was a bit worried but was pleasantly surprised religious folk enjoyed it as much as I did.

    5. AY*

      You would probably love Longborn, which is told from the POV of a Bennett family servant.

      Barbara Kingsolver is apparently releasing an Appalachian retelling of David Copperfield this fall, so be on the lookout!

    6. Weekend Warrior*

      Here On Earth by Alice Hoffman. A retelling of Wuthering Heights that brings to life how chilling a dark broody “great love” really is.

      1. Pieismyreligion*

        I just now realized that Here on Earth is a retelling of Wuthering Heights. Thank you.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      MY FAVORITE GENRE!

      For adults:

      The Chosen and The Beautiful (Nghi Vo) – The Great Gatsby from the POV of Jordan Baker, who is queer and Vietnamese, and also there is literal magic.

      Gods of Jade and Shadow (Silvia Moreno-Garcia) – Mayan gods in Jazz Age Mexico, kind of Cinderella vibes, I don’t know how much any of it coincides with Mayan stories.

      Winternight Trilogy (Katherine Arden) – based on Russian folklore/creatures.

      The Snow Child (Eowyn Ivey) – based on… the Snow Child folktale.

      YA:

      Thorn (Intisar Khanani) – The Goose Girl with political intrigue, kicks off a trilogy.

      The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Mayer) – sci fi series based on fairy tales, Cinderella is a cyborg, Rapunzel’s tower is a satellite, etc. It’s kind of ridiculous at times – she loses HER FOOT at the ball instead of a shoe – but really fun.

      Language of Thorns (Leigh Bardugo) – series of short stories with dark twists to fairy tales, gorgeous illustrations that grow from page to page.

      Legend (Marie Lu) – sci fi, the main characters’ dynamic is based on Javert and Jean Valjean.

      1. Jortina*

        Loved The Chosen and the Beautiful! I think it helped that The Great Gatsby is one of my favorite books and I’ve read it probably over a dozen times.

        1. VegetarianRaccoon*

          I loved it too! I suspect I ended up checking it out because of someone’s recommendation here!

    8. CatCat*

      Wicked by Gregory Maguire. About the Wicked Witch of the West.

      The musical Wicked is… very loosely based on the book. They are quite different. The book is much darker. I’d view them as separate works.

      1. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

        I love Wicked (the book). It is an amazing example of world-building – Maguire takes hints and bits and pieces dropped by L. Frank Baum throughout the Oz series, and uses them to create a world that is simultaneously completely absurd and utterly believable. The musical is cute and has great music, but the book is on another level altogether.

      2. Pieismyreligion*

        I love the book and the play, two different things tho.
        Gregory Maguire also wrote different tellings of Cinderella – “Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister” and Snow White – “Mirror Mirror”.

    9. BubbleTea*

      A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley is a retelling of King Lear set in the Midwest. TW for sexual assault.

    10. KittyRiot*

      Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard (a play). Well worth reading!

    11. Irish Teacher*

      Toni Morrison has a retelling of Othello. Personally, I didn’t like it much, which disappointed me, as Toni Morrison is my all time favourite author and Othello my favourite Shakespearean play, but just ’cause I didn’t like it doesn’t mean others won’t.

      Then there’s Through the Looking Glass Wars, which is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. I did like that, probably because I DIDN’T like Alice in Wonderland.

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        I love her writing and just started reading Horse. I am curious about March but enjoy the female POV so much in Little Women I haven’t tried March yet.

        1. Susie*

          Agreed re female POV in Little Women. I don’t want to spoil March, but it is a very feminist book despite the protagonist being male.

    12. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton is a fantasy retelling of King Lear told from the perspective of each of the 3 daughters (told in alternating chapters). It’s LONG, but so good!

    13. Camelid coordinator*

      I am always up for a smart Sherlock Holmes take and enjoyed “A Study in Charlotte” and “A Study in Scarlet Women” & the books that followed. Also, Naomi Novik’s retelling of Rumplestilskin, “Spinning Silver,” is amazing. Happy reading!

    14. E*

      The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory. It’s about the sister of Anne Boleyn, who married (and was beheaded by) Henry VIII. There was a movie with the same name, which I don’t know anything about, but loved the book

      1. Snow Globe*

        Along similar lines, My Enemy the Queen (by Victoria Holt), from the perspective of one of Queen Elizabeth’s cousins, a lady in waiting who married the Earl of Leicester, the Queen’s favorite, and was subsequently banned from court. She was also the mother of the Earl of Essex, who became the Queen’s favorite in later years.

    15. CN*

      The Mersault Investigation is a retelling of Camus’s The Stranger from the perspective of the brother of the Algerian murder victim— it reminded me of Wide Sargasso Sea, which is a personal favorite as well, though I haven’t read The Mersault Investigation in a while.

    16. GoryDetails*

      I’ve mentioned this one before, but Mark Merlis’ AN ARROW’S FLIGHT is an intriguing retelling of Sophocles’ play “Philoctetes”, set near the end of the Trojan War. It’s set in a world that’s both modern and ancient, more than a little surreal; I enjoyed it very much.

      And down-thread in the mystery-series-recommendation thread I mentioned Alan Gordon’s THIRTEENTH NIGHT, the first of his “Fools Guild” series, which is a retelling (and significant re-imagining) of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” – I really liked it, though depending on how fond you are of the characters in the original you might find some of the tweaks disturbing.

    17. Falling Diphthong*

      Good Night Mr Holmes by Carole Nelson Douglas retells A Scandal in Bohemia from the point of view of Irene Adler. Or more precisely Irene’s story through the extensive diary entries of her dear friend and roommate Penelope Huxleigh. In this version Irene worked as a Pinkerton in America to make ends meet between singing gigs, and takes on the occasional investigative job while trying to get her music career established in London. Characters like Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde make an appearance.

      I really like this version because Irene is not rewritten to lose to Sherlock, a feature of far too many Holmes adaptations.

      1. Mephyle*

        Jane Fairfax by Joan Aiken. I actually read this some time before Emma, so when I got around to reading Emma, I had already had a different perspective than if I had come to the Austen classic first.

        1. the cat's ass*

          I love everything by Joan Aiken, so it’s lovely to see her here! Susan Howatch’s “The Rich are Different” is lightly based on Caesar/Cleopatra/Antony/Octavius. The sequel, “Sins of the Fathers’ is not but Howatch wasn’t done with the characters yet.

    18. Texan In Exile*

      Ahab’s Wife is sort of a re-telling of Moby Dick. (Except I didn’t have to force myself to read it.)

      The Mists of Avalon is the Arthurian legend from the women’s POV.

      And I agree with other commenters that Circe is amazing.

      1. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

        Have you read Mary Stewart’s Crystal Cave series? Another retelling of the Arthur legend.

    19. AnonAgain*

      My Dear Hamilton, telling the story of Alexander Hamilton from the point of view of his wife. I don’t usually read historical fiction, but LOVED this book.

    20. Nicki Name*

      Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters series is mostly (entirely?) disguised retellings of fairy tales.

      Tanith Lee’s Red as Blood is also retellings of fairy tales, with dark twists.

      1. lissajous*

        In a similar vein (although very different writing style from Mercedes Lackey!) Naomi Novik’s Uprooted and Spinning Silver are fairy tale retellings of Beauty and the Beast and Rumpelstiltskin respectively.

        Uprooted is good; Spinning Silver is amazing.

    21. Drago Cucina*

      Til We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis is a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche myth. It’s one of my favorite books.

    22. Lore*

      The Hogarth Shakespeare series is meandering its way through the canon with different authors taking on each play. (They may have abandoned the project but there’s about 8 so far. I’ve only read the Winterson and the Atwood, which both had their charms.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hogarth_Shakespeare?wprov=sfti1

      Also Mona Awad’s All’s Well despite its title is kind of a spin on Macbeth.

    23. Jessica*

      Snow, Glass, Apples. A retelling of Snow White from the stepmother’s perspective. It was a short story by Neil Gaiman but has been turned into a graphic novel.

    24. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Not a book, but just a shout out to the film *Clueless* for re-telling *Emma* in an amusing way.

    25. Elizabeth West*

      Mary Reilly, by Valerie Martin. It’s a retelling of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde told from the POV of the doctor’s housemaid. It was made into a film starring Julia Roberts.

    26. Westsidestory*

      Pride Prejudice and Zombies is surprisingly good, and succeeds as a suspenseful romance that doesn’t stray to far from the original story. The movie is also fun for anyone who’s reread P&P recently.

    27. Alex*

      I recommend “When She Woke” by Hillary Jordan. It is a modern version of the Scarlet Letter. Very on point given the events of the past few months.

    28. Pieismyreligion*

      I’m currently reading The Porpoise by Mark Haddon, it’s a re-telling of the Greek legend of Appollonius, and enjoying it.

    29. Chaordic One*

      “The Wind Done Gone,” by Alice Randall, a retelling of Margaret Mitchell’s “Gone With the Wind,” told from the point of view of Scarlet O’Hara’s mulatto half-sister.

    30. Imtheone*

      Such great suggestions! I am so happy you asked this question. I’m always looking for more things to read.

    31. I take tea*

      This is a Swedish classic, so it’s probably not familiar, but a pair of books worth reading, they are both translated to English with foreword by Margaret Atwood:
      Doctor Glas by Hjalmar Söderberg: a doctor in Stockholm around last turn of the century tries to help a woman avoid her husbands “privileges”. You can read about it on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doctor_Glas.
      Extract from Atwoods foreword here: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2002/oct/26/classics.margaretatwood
      After you have read this, you can read Gregorius by Bengt Ohlsson, which deals with the husband, from his point of view. It’s not apologist, but you can understand him. Very well written.

    32. the cat's ass*

      This goes back a ways, but “The Bloody Chamber.” by Angela Carter, is a feminist, explicit retelling of quite a few fairy tales, starting with Bluebeard.

  4. Wanderluster*

    Three related questions for those who like to travel a lot, answer any of them in whatever level of detail you want!

    1. What is on your travel life list/bucket list? How long is that list?

    2. How have you been doing on that? (The pandemic hasn’t helped, right?) What great trips have you checked off?

    3. Have you gotten a lot of guilting from family/friends about choosing to spend your vacation days/holidays/time/money/effort on travel? (Have you felt a lot of self-induced guilt?) How have you dealt with that?

    1. talos*

      I kind of have a two-track bucket list, with one set of super achievable trips (American cities and national parks) and another set of, like, world cities (the weirdest being Singapore, because I just have an endless fascination for no good reason). Between the two tracks there are probably 100+ items, and I’ve fully accepted that I won’t hit everything.

      What I’ve been doing is kind of saying yes to any trips I was offered by friends or whatever (yes, I will sleep on your couch if you’ve been COVID-safe lately!) and taking 3- and 4-day weekends to do basically anything close. In the last couple years I’ve done Baltimore, a couple days in DC (not enough time to see everything), and a road trip through northern California to see some national parks (Lassen, Crater Lake, and Redwoods). No international travel given COVID, but a lot of stuff on the first track of the bucket list!

      Fortunately, my family encourage me to take vacations and my friends travel with me or host me sometimes, so no issues there!

      1. Sally*

        You might like Mt. St. Helen’s. When you first see the blown out crater it is truly breathtaking. When I lived in Washington State, I used to hike around it with my son as often as possible. There are trails of all kinds of lengths and levels.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I want to see that so bad. If anyone has read Confluence,this is where a certain location came from. :) My childhood babysitter had a friend in Washington who sent her a jar of ash and she gave me some.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My big bucket list item is to go to all the Disney parks at least once. I didn’t go while I was in Paris a few years ago, and I’ve kicked myself for it ever since because I didn’t enjoy pretty much any of what I DID do in Paris on that trip, but hindsight is 20/20. So I’ve only been to the two US ones so far.

      I’ve done some good trips though. Paris was part of a summer spent touring through something like 13 cities in 9 European countries over six weeks, and that was wonderful (Paris aside). A few years ago my bestie and I did a road trip of civil war battlefields and the associated national parks, Gettysburg/Bull Run/Antietam and three days in and around Richmond. That was a really fascinating week.

      I have no travel guilt and I generally don’t spend time with people who try to guilt trip me about anything, so it hasn’t been an issue.

      1. Wanderluster*

        Tokyo Disney Resort is definitely on my bucket list! (As part of a larger Japan dream trip.) I’ve read so much about TDR and it really sounds full of charm and magic. I did visit DLP on my last Paris trip, we were visiting a family member and while they were at work during the week we spent some time at the parks. Definitely worth a visit (I can’t count how many times we rode Phantom Manor), but I would put the US resorts ahead on my revist list!

        1. Nina_Bee*

          Not sure if you’re into Studio Ghibli but they’re building a Ghibli theme park you could add to the Japana bucket list also. Even the small Ghibli museum is worth a visit for a few hours.

      2. Disco Janet*

        Whaaaat you have the same travel goal as me! So far I’ve only been to Disney World as airfare to other parts of the country/world are pretty expensive on a teacher’s salary, but I’ll get there eventually! Tokyo Disneysea is the one I’m most excited to someday see – particularly for their version of Pirates of the Caribbean. And it just works out that they’re all in countries I would love to visit regardless.

        I do occasionally get comments about how much of our money/vacation time we spend at Disney, but meh. We do what makes us happy, and it’s mostly from people who just don’t like the idea of a Disney trip, or amusement parks in general. Which is fine, obviously – I’m not trying to convince them to join. Would be nice though if people didn’t have to snark on me doing what I like and spending my money and time on things I enjoy, just because it’s not their cup of tea.

        1. Disco Janet*

          And realizing I didn’t answer the “how has travel been going” question. We had a big multi-generational Disney trip planned for the first Covid summer, and that finally happened this year. Probably our first and last time going with that many people, but it was nice for my kids to get to experience it with my parents, brother, etc., since typically vacations are just with our immediate family of four.

          Disney does wipe out our vacation budget for a while though, so otherwise we’ve kept it smaller and closer to home. I finally did the dune climb trail at Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes on the coast of Lake Michigan, which was strenuous but beautiful. Trying to get out to Hocking Hills in the fall, and squeezing in one more Lake Michigan weekend before school starts. Plus the occasional Cedar Point visit when we need a less expensive theme park fix!

        2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’m sure people have opinions on my Disney habit – I’m a child free early 40s woman living in the Midwest and I am also an annual pass holder to WDW, so I go three or four times a year, and usually without my husband :-P but if they do, they have the sense not to express those opinions to me :-P (Husband’s opinion, which is the closest to relevant, is that it’s my money, I have literally four times the PTO he does, he has crowd anxiety and leg problems, and he melts when the temperature hits 65, so he’s perfectly happy to stay home with the dogs and send me off to the house of mouse without him. He goes with me about once every other year and then we both remember why I usually go alone. :-P )

          1. Slightly Above Average Bear*

            I have a comment about your Disney habit. I love it! We’re APs in PA, but relocating to an hour away from Disney World.
            We had a Disneyland trip planned in 2020, but haven’t rescheduled yet. Tokyo parks are on my bucket list too. I figure with the money I save from not travelling to and staying in Orlando (although I will sometimes, because there are resorts I really enjoy) multiple times per year, I can cross some of the other parks off my list.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              I’ve half-joked about relocating, but see also, husband who melts when the temperature hits 65. :)

              I’m not sure that Indiana is actually any better there though – in fact, when I was at WDW over the Fourth of July weekend, he texted me, “I should’ve gone with you, it’s five degrees hotter here than it is there.” I said “yeah, but THERE, you’re inside in the a/c, not out walking around Epcot, and my ice cream is melting all over the place.” He was not sympathetic to my melting ice cream :)

    3. Hiker*

      All the Disney parks is on my list too. I keep thinking they’ll add another one before I get any more checked off my list.
      In 2019, my parents and siblings and I were starting to plan a trip to France, including Disney, for spring 2021. That, of course, has been put off for now.
      Instead, the kiddo, her aunt and uncle, and I checked a few more national parks off our list this summer as part of a 4,000-plus-mile epic road trip. We managed to survive without killing each other (my husband texted daily asking if he needed to pick us up at the airport nearest our home).
      My hiking boots, however, did not make the return trip. I should start a thread asking for boot recommendations, because I hate the looks of my usual go-to brands right now…
      As far as guilt, I spent three months this spring as the sole employee in my office due to one person being on medical leave and the other getting a new job. My two weeks off this summer is not guilt worthy.
      I’m also very open about my second job, which is janitorial work a few evenings a week, that I do solely to fund our travel. (“You, too, can travel like I do. You just have to clean public restrooms to do it!”) That attitude is kind of freeing, really. Despite a Catholic-school education, I’m not very susceptible to guilt. Maybe all those nuns guilted it out of me!

    4. Radical honesty*

      My husband and I travel quite a bit, we’ll have been to 3 counties by the end of this year (Italy, Costa Rica, Chile).

      We both make great money and are modest in other areas such as car, housing, clothes, and money out to eat. As another commenter said, I would never hang with someone who guilt trips me.

      Pandemic effed up travel but we went to Costa Rica in August 2021, and then halted until later in March 22. CR is so close to us, it’s easier and cheaper to travel there than most US cities I’d want to visit.

      Bucket list items:
      Argentina
      Brazil
      Greece
      Kenya or Tanzania to see the great migration
      Would love to revisit some of the countries I’ve already been, spend more time there and really get to know them.

    5. Square Root of Minus One*

      I’m not sure how long my list is… 20 to 30 maybe. And it’s eclectic because some are just countries or areas (Bolivia, Canada west, Hawaii), and some are plans (Cruise along the coasts of Norway, learn some Gaelic in Ireland, do that Namibia-Botswana-South Africa travel of that website)

      It’s going slowly but it’s moving. I usually go on a big trip every three to four years and an average (European) one once a year, though effectively there’s been a 3-year hiatus due to Covid and personal stuff.
      I tend to catch an occasion. Last January I checked off Dubaï, which wasn’t so high up the list but there was the Universal Expo and I’m so glad I spent 2 days there, it was the highlight of the trip.

      I do have self-induced guilt spending so much money on a couple of weeks, but then I remember those days are few and far between and leave long-lasting impressions on me, so it’s actually better spent than this unmemorable book or a barely passable restaurant right down the road.

    6. Ewesername*

      I love taking the train. It’s not the destination that matters, just the actual trip. I’m in the middle of Canada and here, getting on the train means you loose your cell / wifi service in spots, sometimes for days. It’s a great way to disconnect and relax.
      I had a trip planned on Amtrak that started in New York, went down the east coast, across the southern states, then back up to Seattle. The pandemic canceled it, so that’s back on the bucket list. I also would like to go across Australia by train.
      My parents are bad for laying on the guilt. They live in a different province, where if I want to take the train to them, it takes 3 days plus a day or two of layover to get there. I usually fly in to see them and train back. They get upset because it cuts into “their time”. Train trips here are also very expensive, so they see it as a waste of money. I’ve just learned to ignore it. The train trips represent a great mental health break.
      Train travel in Canada was restricted during the pandemic so VIA rail cut their schedule. During the first summer, when we were allowed to move around within our own province but not cross into another without quarantining, I was able to hop the train to Churchill MB. It was July, so the bears were out on the ice, but the whales were neat. It was a great trip!

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Trains are awesome. I’ve only ridden them in the UK. The US really missed the boat on expanding that network.

      2. Westsidestory*

        I hear you! I cherish the days I had time to Amtrak from the east coast to the west – it takes three days and I’ve done all three routes. I still have those images in my mind – the vast soy fields of Iowa eating up hours, waking in the middle of the night somewhere in (maybe) South Dakota, the strange beauty that is Utah, eagles diving along the Colorado River. The best part was being so inaccessible. Trains are a great mental health break. These days I often take a short trip to a suburban beach town, not too much actual time spent on the beach but I find the hour or so each way especially meditative. It puts me in a good place.
        You’ll be interested to know cross-Canada by rail is on MY bucket list. I want to see the Northern Lights.

      3. Cocafonix*

        Yessss, trains. My favourite train trip was in Sri Lanka. Through tea plantations, picturesque valleys and hills. The one through the spiral tunnels in BC is fantastic though nowadays it’s only a tourist train. I remember taking it as a child on CP rail. It’s indelibly inked in my memory.

      4. allathian*

        I love trains! My ears hate flying because my eustachian tubes are more or less constantly blocked (I hear a “crunch” every time I swallow).

        I’m in Finland, and I could take a train from Helsinki to Moscow, and another from Moscow to Beijing on the trans-Mongolian railway, but given the current political situation that’s not going to happen. The latter trip is very cheap, something like USD 300 for a 4,500 mile journey.

    7. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’ve daydreamed of taking a road trip for a couple of months to visit national parks around the country. I’ve visited those on the West Coast from the desert to as far north as Alaska but I’d love to revisit the Southwest canyon country and I’ve visited so few east of that region.

      Countries I want to visit for the natural landscapes are Iceland and the Patagonia region of Argentina. I’d love to visit South Africa both to see wildlife and to experience the culture and learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Process after the end of apartheid. I’d love to ramble around Ireland just visiting places and people where I can hear traditional music. And I really want to go to the Kentucky Music Festival someday and take an intensive old-time banjo class.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I got so caught up in the bucket list part I didn’t address the rest of your questions. I have indeed made some of my bucket list trips happen such as when I got dropped off alone by a bush plane for a week alone in Wrangell St. Elias National Park in Alaska. Backpacking in New Zealand was another.

        No guilt whatsoever for spending time and money on travel. My friends have told me they admire that I travel alone. I’m fortunate that my family understands that visiting parks and wilderness is what most makes my heart sing, and they’re understanding when I allocate most of my vacation time from work for those trips and my family visits are shorter.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I forgot to include New Zealand! I want to go full tourist and do all the LOTR locations, hahaha.

          1. Blomma*

            There’s a package tour one can take of all the filming locations and Weta. It’s at the top of my bucket list! Though it will be a long time before I can go because I probably would need three weeks off work and last I checked it was ~$4500 not including airfare for a single person.

    8. Ellis Bell*

      Is number 3 even a thing? That sounds so weird to me. Possibly it’s because I grew up in a port (travel is associated with being well acquainted with the world) and I’m in the UK (if you want any kind of sun, it’s well established that people have to go away for it). It’s seen as frugal to save money elsewhere SO you can travel. Like the only things more essential I can think of is literal survival, education, and.. no can’t think of anything else.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I think travel guilt usually comes in two flavors of entitlement.

        First, if you live far away from friends/family, it’s the “you spent your vacation time and money to go to [location you’ve always wanted to go to] instead of traveling to visit us! How could you!”

        Second, it’s the “you spent your vacation time and money to go to [location you’ve always wanted to go to] instead of the annual [family/friend group vacation in a location you have no interest in]! How could you!”

        In the US, this is compounded by travel not being the only way to see the sun (for most parts of the US) and generally lower amounts of vacation time.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Ahh, you have outlined this so clearly! I already knew the individual bits and pieces – The US has further distances, better climates, lower vacation times, the opportunity to live far away without emigration…but didn’t put the pieces together.

        2. Wanderluster*

          This is it exactly! I’m planning on spending the winter holidays traveling instead of visiting family this year and I anticipate 1. My sister skipped an annual family vacation this year and she got 2 from our parents… (she normally sees them twice a week…) A lot of reassuring from both her and me smoothed that over with the parents. I’m hoping sibling support will also smooth over my absence at the holidays.

    9. too hot go away*

      I saved every last cent in my 20’s & 30’s to travel – including things like almost never getting a cup of coffee (only $3, or whatever). In the end I spent 1 to 2 years travelling, with breaks. It was backpack-type travel (youth hostels), and actual backpacking (parks) or cycle touring (tenting or hostelling) and fancy cycle touring (hotels).

      it did put me behind, say, being able to buy a house/condo, both for spending the money and for two years out of work, travelling. It was totally worth it, though. I’m glad I did it when I was young, because I won’t be able to do it in retirement, due to physical issues.

      As for a bucket list: I’d love to live in the far north for 6-9 months or more: have the 24hrs daylight and night, just to experience the change. And see the aurora. There are many places in Europe I’d love to visit, or revisit: Portugal, Spain and France. I’ve never been to Japan, and I’d love to see more of Korea, especially down south. I’d eat my way through Argentina again.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        What a wonderful journey, sounds fantastic! I hear you about the changes with physical issues over time. In my heart, I’d still love to go on solo wilderness adventures I had when I was younger but in reality, I know I don’t have that body anymore.

    10. UK_explorer*

      I like to travel a lot and have made it a priority even when I made a lot less than I do now (there have been times when it simply wasn’t an option, but whenever I have had near enough disposable income a chunk of it has gone towards travel). To answer your questions:

      1. I don’t have a an explicit bucket list but there are maybe 8-10 trips/places/experiences in the back of my mind at any given time as travel I would like to do. But there are very few places I would *not* like to go to so I guess my travel life list is “almost anywhere.” Unlike lots of other areas of my life I don’t treat travel as an achievement in any way. I don’t track countries visited or tick off experiences or anything like that. Its more one big exploration of the world, in my mind.

      2. For both pandemic and financial and dog reasons we have scaled back a lot on big trips recently. To get my “hit” I have been planning UK-based adventures. I live in the UK and these islands are a bucket list destimation for many people, so we are trying to explore them more fully. I am also lucky to get to travel internationally for work so that gives me a bit of an opportunity to explore, though honestly lots of that time is stuck in hotels.

      3. I have self induced guilt about flying, for environmental reasons. I don’t feel guilty about the money – we have made lots of sacrifices in other areas to prioritise this and I feel like that’s just good financial management- spend in accordance with your values and within your means, ya know? I think others have been surprised sometimes at how much we manage to travel but not judgy I dont think.

    11. UKDancer*

      I don’t have a definitive bucket list. There are a lot of places I want to go but I won’t cry if I don’t make it to all of them. Things have been slowed down by the pandemic as well as the war in Ukraine because I was planning to go to St Petersburg this year as well as revisiting Kyiv and Lviv. None of which is possible because I won’t go to Russia and can’t go to Ukraine.

      Places I’ve loved visiting the most have been Norway (I did the Northern lights, husky sleigh in the arctic and the post boat down), Budapest (because it’s just so musical and beautiful), and Lviv because I just fell in love with the people and the country. I also deeply loved the Maldives because it’s like nowhere else, the stars are so clear, the sea is so blue and warm and it’s captivating.

      Other places I’m wanting to visit are Buenos Aires (to dance tango), and Lausanne (to watch the Prix de Lausanne). I also really want to go to Poland next year for the Chopin festival and my mother wants me to go to Porto with her because she’s not been. I also want to do a wine tour around Georgia and Uzbekistan when things are a bit quieter in the vicinity of Russia. I went to Tbilisi on business pre-Covid and want to see Georgia properly.

      My immediate plans are for Germany in the autumn (because I always love being there), then somewhere warm in January to escape the English winter for a week.

      My family all think travel broadens the mind so the only grief I get is when I forget to send my old aunt a postcard. I don’t feel guilt but I do try and get the train rather than flying when I go in Europe because it’s better for the environment and I really enjoy sitting there and looking out of the windows.

      1. pancakes*

        I’d like to visit Georgia one day. We have a few Georgian restaurants here and the food is so, so good.

        1. UKDancer*

          Georgia is lovely. It’s really under-rated and tourists don’t tend to go which is a shame because it’s got a lot to offer. The food is really good and they make some pretty amazing wine that deserves to be more well known than it is. Tbilisi is pretty and safe to wander around. I didn’t get to stay long (because I was there for a conference) but it was a stunning place with a lot to recommend it. So I’d definitely recommend it if you can.

    12. RMNPgirl*

      In the next few years I’m wanting to check off my big overseas trips that I want to do and then I’ll focus on domestic (US) and Canada.
      1. Overseas – first is doing the trip to London I had scheduled in April 2020 that, of course, got cancelled. Not my first time there but I had an amazing trip planned so I’m hoping to do that in Spring 2023. Then for my upcoming 40th birthday will be a third (and probably final) trip to Australia and New Zealand. And then finally I want to go to Iceland. Domestic – lots of cities like NY, Boston, Chicago etc and then I would love to go to every US National Park.
      2. Nothing really checked off yet because of pandemic and some personal projects that took some money. Working on saving up now for London next year.
      3. I get no guilt because my parents are big travelers as well and I’m single with no kids. I guess I do get some guilt tripping from the cat! But from other humans in my life, everyone just thinks all the travel sounds great.

    13. Elizabeth West*

      I wish I could travel more; I either lack the money or the PTO, lol.

      1. What is on your travel life list/bucket list? How long is that list?
      It’s pretty long. I’ve got Iceland, Hawaii, Ukraine, and most of Europe (I have friends there I can visit). Also I’d love to go to Antarctica but only if I can do it responsibly. There are also lots of attractions scattered around the US and the world I’d like to see. I’m a museum nerd so the list contains a lot of museums, plus the Anne Frank house and Colonial Williamsburg. Also the Film Music Festival in Krakow. It happens every year and every year, my friends go and I miss it! >:(

      Disney World has never been on my list, but I would consider it if I didn’t have to go alone.

      2. How have you been doing on that? (The pandemic hasn’t helped, right?) What great trips have you checked off?
      Not great, due to lack of either money or time. Some of them were attractions. So far:
      -Yosemite Valley
      -the La Brea Tar Pits
      -Biosphere 2
      -Loch Ness (a HUGE bucket list item from childhood and concurrent with another item, riding on a train overnight)
      -Sea World (this happened during a big family reunion with my dad’s relatives in Texas, before the Blackfish documentary came out; I’m embarrassed about this one)
      -the Hollywood Bowl (twice, for John Williams)
      -Stonehenge, although I didn’t get to go near it
      -the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. (a college choir trip enabled me to check this one off)
      -Royal Albert Hall (in 2015; some of my European friends and I went to see Titanic: Live. Mega cool, especially since James Horner AND James Cameron were there)

      3. Have you gotten a lot of guilting from family/friends about choosing to spend your vacation days/holidays/time/money/effort on travel? (Have you felt a lot of self-induced guilt?) How have you dealt with that?
      Not at all.

    14. Cataloging Librarian*

      I’ve been around the world on the MV Explorer (Semester at Sea), around the horn of South America, been to the Cape of Good Hope, through the Panama Canal, to Shang-hai and Hong Kong, Kyoto and Yokohama, the Falkland Islands, Egypt… I haven’t been traveling the past two and a half years — except this Feb. and March — I just couldn’t hold it in any more!! Those two months I was on the American Queen from Memphis to New Orleans, Walt Disney World in Orlando, and Las Vegas.

      What’s next? Well, I’ve never been to the Scandinavian countries, or Russia, Greenland, or Iceland. I would like to go to all the other Disney properties, see Paris, see Madrid, see Lisbon. I haven’t gone from Duluth, IA to St. Louis, MO on the riverboat yet. And I haven’t been to Maine or Baja California. I think I am addicted to seeing new places.

      1. UKDancer*

        If you like boat trips I recommend the Hurtigruten (post boat) down the coast of Norway. The views are stunning of the fjords.

        I went to Oslo then flew up to Kirkenes in the Arctic circle to spend a couple of days exploring on snow mobiles and husky drawn sleighs. Then I got the boat down to Bergen which was amazing and had some great views and stopped off in key places en route (Trondheim was my favourite). I also did a boat safari to see the sea eagles from a smaller boat which was really good. The food on the boat was not amazing but it was worth it for the scenery.

        1. Cataloging Librarian*

          I have a friend who took a boat up the north coast of Norway. Kind of like the coastal ferry in Alaska — it stopped at all these small towns. She loved it.

    15. Cocafonix*

      Hi, great question and so interesting to read the responses.
      Bucket List to do:
      – Japan… had to cancel bought plane tix twice. Once because we found the perfect house and twice pandemic.
      – Iceland. Getting checked off in 3 weeks, whee!
      – China and all its wonders (pandas too)
      – Arctic. Northern Canada but Scandinavia too
      – More Africa. Morocco, South Africa
      – Russia and the Baltics- that might take a bit
      Bucket List done:
      – Antarctica
      – Tanzania, Ethiopia
      – Most of Europe, incl language lessons
      -Galapagos, Peru, Ecuador and more language lessons
      – Belize and the blue hole
      – canyon touring USA
      – Australia, NZ – Great Barrier Reef a highlight
      – south Asia for months; India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Hong Kong

      1. Cocafonix*

        Also, I always wanted to take a year off and start in Alaska early summer, drive all down the west coast through to Baha C then meandering back across the lower states, Florida all through winter, then make my way back up the eastern states through the Carolinas, Rhode Island, Canada maritimes in spring, then driving back home on the west coast late summer.

        I’ve travelled a lot over Christmas or family holidays. Got some grumbling as a young adult, but setting expectations is key and everyone now thinks it a pleasant surprise when we plan to show up. When we do, we are present and glad to be there. Mostly family just want you to be happy.

    16. Cheezmouser*

      Husband and I did most of our A-list travel destinations in my late 20s/early 30s before we started a family. We tend to country hop, so we stay in each spot just long enough to get a taste for that destination before moving on to the next. So far we’ve done:

      Lisbon-Barcelona-Mallorca-Ibiza-London-Ireland

      Greece (Crete, Santorini, Mykonos, Athens)

      Taipei-Hong Kong-Beijing-Seoul-Tokyo

      Brazil during 2014 World Cup (Rio, Natal, Recife)

      Singapore-Bali-Sydney-Hamilton Island-Queenstown-Auckland-Bora Bora

      No, we don’t feel guilty at all because we play the points-and-miles game to bring down the cost of our trips. The big Asia trip above was 18 days, and we used hotel points and airline miles to cover all the flights and lodging. Our only out of pocket costs were food, souvenirs, and ground transportation. I think it was $2400 total per person for that trip, and that includes a $375 sushi dinner and first class flight back from Tokyo. We never pay full price for travel anymore.

    17. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      * All the major league ballparks
      * Every extant Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo Spacecraft. All four remaining Space Shuttles (just need Enterprise).
      * Israel
      * Antartica

  5. ThatGirl*

    For the partnered or those with roommates, kids, whatever – what do you do with your alone time? When you have no one else to answer to for a night or a weekend, how do you spend that time? My go tos are Thai food and Netflix – eating and watching things my husband isn’t fond of.

    1. Excited Law Student*

      This is a little silly, but honestly, sometimes I like to lay in bed and just zone out for a while. Or else – dance around my room like a crazy rock star (since no one is around to judge my moves!)

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I make a to-do list, length varying based on how much time I have, of projects that will make me happier to have done (examples: fill and drop off a box of donations, organize at least five cube sections in my office shelves, vacuum the stairs, put up the art that’s been languishing in the closet, get a pedicure, eat some ice cream, etc). Then I do the list, and after the list is done, I get takeout and watch trashy murder tv on my couch with my dogs. (Though the last of that is what I do whether everyone else is home anyway. It’s the project accomplishments that I enjoy about my husband-is-traveling weeks.)

      1. ThatGirl*

        When I have longer stretches I do things like this too – tackle projects, do fun self-care, etc.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I don’t know why but it’s so much easier to do stuff like that when nobody else is around!

    3. talos*

      Back when I had roommates, what I enjoyed about being home alone was the ability to get on discord with my out-of-town friends without worrying about making noise.

    4. Ginger Pet Lady*

      I eat foods I like but my partner doesn’t, too! I eat my meals when I’m hungry, not at any scheduled time. And go to bed when I feel like it and get up when I feel like it and play music as loud as I want. Which isn’t terribly loud, but I don’t have to worry about if my husband is watching TV in the other room or something.
      When we still had kids at home I’d clean up as soon as everyone left so that it would actually STAY clean for a bit. Now that we are empty nesters that’s not as big of a deal to me because it does stay cleaner longer without kids dumping stuff every time they turn around.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      I love hiking by myself, so I can go at my own pace (kids are fun but they are SLOW and need so many snacks). When I have the house to myself I like to work on projects that tend to be difficult when there are interruptions around.

    6. Missb*

      Our kids are all grown up now but from the time the oldest was 5, Dh and his best friend would take both kids on a bicycle trip each year. Usually these were 2 week trips.

      I would always do a home improvement project while they were gone. We had a fixer upper so it was easy to pick a room and a project. When they returned home, the kids would race around the house and try to identify the change.

      The only time I stumped them is when I did the back porch. It’s an enclosed back porch but it’s exterior to the house. Someone had painted it dark green and I painted it to match the exterior, installed hooks to hang coats, updated the light fixture, painted the floor etc.

      Dh is going on a bike trip this year and it happens to be while our first floor is completely cleared out so I’m taking the time to paint all the walls.

    7. Mid*

      For people who have been put under for surgery, what was it like? I’ve realized that I’m really nervous about that part. Even when I had my wisdom teeth removed, I only had Novocain, so I was awake the whole time.

      1. BooklovinRN*

        I have been an operating room nurse for almost 30 years. The best advice I have is talk to your surgical team about your nerves. They are there to answer your questions and help you feel and be safe. If any direct blood relatives have had surgery or procedures done with anesthesia ask them how they did-nauseous, no problems, etc., sometimes we have similar experiences during medical procedures.

        One minute you are awake. The next asleep. I have woken back up when moved back to the stretcher or the head portion of the bed is lifted. Usually groggy and smiley. I get PONV (post-operative nausea and vomiting) due to inner ear issues. I also get motion sick easily – always have. There are medications before and afterwards that they can give you that help tremendously.

        Good luck!

      2. heather*

        I had surgery recently and honestly, I found the anesthesia pleasant. It felt exactly like getting sleepy and falling asleep— so what I mean is, it didn’t make me feel high or woozy or weird. One minute I was talking to the anesthetist and then I thought “Ooh I’m sleeepy I want to take a nap” and that was it! Then I woke up after.

      3. Lilo*

        So it’s different for everyone (the longer you’re under, the harder the wakeup), but for me I couldn’t remember a lot. They told me to count down from 10 and I remember getting to 8.

        The experience of waking up for me was very slow. For the next day I remember feeling like I was very heavy. I’ve personally never done well with opioids (to the point I try to get along without them unless absolutely necessary) so I did have some trouble thinking during the recovery period. I did feel sick to my stomach.

      4. fueled by coffee*

        I’ve had general anesthesia administered by IV (so not a mask over my face). Was super nervous about it beforehand, but like BooklovinRN says, you’re awake and then you’re asleep. It did not feel like falling asleep, just suddenly I was waking back up.

        Afterwards, I felt groggy and a little dizzy, but that passed within a couple hours.

      5. The Other Dawn*

        I’ve never experienced it the way you see it on TV or in a movie, where they tell you to count backwards. It’s more like awake and talking one minute, then awake and rolling through the hallways to recovery the next.

        For a few surgeries, I was on the operating table just talking to the medical staff and looking around. I remember for my weight loss surgery they turned on the stereo in the OR and were very chatty with each other and smiling, laughing a lot. They seemed to enjoy working together. They put the mask on me, I felt like I was drifting off, and then I was awake and it was all over.

        For my two back surgeries in 2020, I was on the stretcher sitting upright, not on the table yet. I was talking A LOT because I was really nervous (for the first one, anyway). Next thing I knew I was in recovery. For the second surgery two weeks later, I wasn’t nervous but still had uncontrollable trembling for some reason. They must have given me something to calm me because then I was just talking–again, A LOT–to the nurse. We were talking real estate. Then all of a sudden I was in recovery again.

      6. Irish Teacher*

        For me, the time under…wasn’t really like anything. I was just being careful about getting up on the bed/trolley, ’cause I’ve a horror of heights and my focus was on how high it would be, then I woke up and the doctor was telling me all had gone well. Oh, and the first thing I did was lifted each of my arms above my head because I’d been told that there was a very slight possibility my ability to do so could be affected by the operation itself.

        I was quite sick for about 12 hours after the operation, which I had been told to expect as I get travel sick and apparently if you get travel sick, there is a good chance an anaesthetic will affect you in the same way.

      7. Westsidestory*

        My brother had the best advice: “just imagine you are taking a plane ride to a nice place. Close your eyes and enjoy the ride.”

        Honestly once they ask you to start counting back from ten, you will nearly make it to five.

        1. pancakes*

          This sounds about right. I’ve been under 6 times and I have no idea what number I dropped out at during any of them. It always makes me nervous, of course, but it’s always gone fine.

          If you wear contacts they’ll have you take them out beforehand, and I think it’s been helpful for me to not be able to see anything in ORs too clearly!

    8. heather*

      My son (11) is at summer camp right now. My husband just left on a business trip for SEVEN days. It’s a bit much. I love having the house to myself for a day or two, but— a week?? I’ve been cleaning out closets and re-painting trim.

    9. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I don’t do very well with home alone time, especially when there are multiple nights I have to sleep alone (the silent stretch of evening between dinner and bedtime is the worst, no matter how many podcasts or sitcoms I fill it with). My job is 99% remote, so at the end of a work day, I find myself craving face to face company. I have solo hobbies I wish I could find more energy for, but they’re mostly computer-based and I try to keep my spare time screen-free these days. Good for mental health, not as good for creativity.

      If I can, I try to attend social sessions for the sport I practice, or invite a friend to visit for the weekend, but dates don’t always line up. Or I find an art exhibition to take myself to, and make a small adventure of it (stopping for coffee, taking a long walk in the city or in a park).

      Seconding the cooking of food my partner doesn’t like, though. That’s the most fun part! I even don’t mind doing the food shopping for it, which usually feels like a massive chore.

    10. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      Are we the same person? Because Thai food and Netflix guilty pleasures are *exactly* what I do on my rare evenings alone!

    11. WellRed*

      When my roommates aren’t around, like last weekend, I love that I don’t have to immediately clean up after myself.

    12. OTGW*

      I mostly play the sims and watch youtube videos that I want to watch. I’ll read if I’m in the mood for it, either books or fanfic. Sometimes I’ll clean, which is what I’ll do today as my spouse is at work.

    13. Henry Division*

      Ideally a day alone is spent writing outside at a cafe for a few hours and then a nice solo bike ride, followed by video games or reading in the evening. Things that I could do with my partner but he doesn’t always like to.

  6. Ask a Manager* Post author

    People who’ve been having issues with the collapse-all-comments feature not working (not staying collapsed) or the page reloading on its own: Has it still been happening in the last few days or has it stopped? (It’s only affecting a small portion of users which makes it hard to recreate, as well as hard to know when it’s fixed.)

    1. M*

      This used to happen to me a lot and I realized it was my ad blocker. Once I turned that off it started working fine. Though when reading on mobile the comment box often comes up as if I’ve tapped to comment, when I don’t think I have

      1. Ella Kate (UK)*

        I’ve had that issue on mobile a lot recently too. At first I thought it was just me fat-fingering it but its happened when I’ve been nowhere near the comment link.

        (Chrome on Samsung)

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      I had given up on making it work so I hadn’t selected that option for a while. I just tried setting the collapse-all-comments feature again. It’s working fine. Thanks!

    3. BEC*

      It only happens to me when I’m browsing in private/incognito mode, which makes sense since it’s not saving the cookie installed when I selected ‘collapse’.

    4. Sc@rlettNZ*

      I switched to using Edge to read the site.
      But I noticed a couple of days ago that Chrome has gone back to collapsing all correctly.

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        Just to check, do you have the box at the top checked for “Set collapse all as default site-wide”? (If you do, it’s misbehaving and that is good for me to know. But if you had just collapsed them without saying to do it site-wide, that’s why; it’ll reset when you reload the page.)

        If you do have that box checked, can you tell me what browser and device you were using when it happened?

        1. AnonAgain*

          Did not have it checked. Just checked it, reloaded webpage. Posting this as a test, will be back with results.

        2. Happy Thursday-Yay!!!*

          I checked the box and reload to get to take effect (won’t work unless I reload). Works for while I have that tab open (safari on iPhone). Doesn’t stay checked when I close the browser and open the site anew.

          1. Ask a Manager* Post author

            Interesting. It’s based on cookies. Any chance you have that browser set not to allow cookies? That’s the only thing I can think of that would explain that particular behavior!

    5. Jean (just Jean)*

      Slightly different issue: I posted a reply with links to HannahS’s question. My reply went into moderation (because links) then appeared in its own individual “nest.” Did I do something incorrectly or is this a currently-happening quirk? FYI or ignore. It’s not a drop-everything-else level of problem. :-)

    6. Kathenus*

      I had still been having problems with this for a while, and as M mentioned they got better when I removed the ad blocker a couple of weeks ago – but I have other issues when the ad blocker is off that are annoying in a different way. But after seeing your message/question, I put the ad blocker back on and have been trying on and off all day and so far so good – no issues! Thanks for continuing to work through this problem.

    7. Ampersand*

      I’m having the reloading issue less often, but it’s still happening as of today. I haven’t had a problem today with comments not staying collapsed

    8. Former manager*

      It happened to me yesterday. Honestly a pretty minor annoyance on an otherwise very easy to read site.

    9. Books and Cooks*

      I hadn’t realized that was a common issue! I thought it was just me/my laptop needing an update. It hasn’t happened to me in several days at least.

  7. Paralegal Part Deux*

    Anyone have any good sci-fi/fantasy book recommendations? I need a good series to sink my teeth into and haven’t found anything so far. I love Orson Scott Card, Terry Brooks, Alan Dean Foster, etc.

    1. Chris_NZ*

      Lois McMaster Bujold has a great Sci Fi series (often called the Vorkosigan saga) and several great Fantasy novels in effectively two series – the World of the Five Gods, and the Sharing Knife quadrology (if that’s a word).

      John Scalzi has written several series, and standalone novels, and is well worth trying too.

      1. BooklovinRN*

        LMB is one of my favorites. Her Penric books are good as well – alternative Earth with lots of magic. Her relationship building is superb.

        1. Nitpicker*

          I second (or third) this. I love the Vorkosigan books and I adore Penric! What makes her books so good is that they are character driven – not always the case in SF and fantasy.

      2. Drago Cucina*

        LMB is one of my favorites. I rarely read romance, but Shards of Honor is my Sci-Fi with just enough romance, comfort book.

    2. CatCat*

      The City of Brass and it’s two sequels are the best fantasy books I’ve read in a long time. Fantastic and complex world building. Set in a magical middle eastern city.

    3. Hlao-roo*

      I read and enjoyed The Poseidon’s Children trilogy by Alastair Reynolds. The books are Blue Remembered Earth, On the Steel Breeze, and Poseidon’s Wake. I’ve also read a few of his stand-alone novels and liked those too.

    4. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      I am always surprised that John Varley and his “Eight Worlds” stories aren’t more popular. It’s a handful of novels and many, many short stories – not intended as a series that has to be read in order, but just as a loosely connected group of stories. Aliens have taken over Earth and kicked humans out, leaving us to try to survive as best we can in the rest of the Solar System. I recommend starting with the novel “Steel Beach” and then exploring some of the short stories from there!

    5. Lilo*

      Any specific criteria?

      Some completed series:

      Old Man’s War – Scalzi
      Expanse Series – SA Corey
      The Wayfarers Series – Becky Chambers
      The Magicians Trilogy – Lev Grossman
      Temeraire Series – Naomi Novik

      1. Paralegal Part Deux*

        I’ll try anything, tbh. If it gets recommended, I’ll give it a shot. I’m not overly picky.

    6. YNWA*

      Marianne de Pierres has a couple of great series, one more woman action adventure (Parish Plessis) and the other space opera (Sentients of Orion).

      You could also try William Gibson’s Blue Ant series, Bridge Series, or Sprawl Series. I really dig the Blue Ant series.

      I always recommend the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series by Cixin Liu. Strange and beautiful

      John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War series is phenomenal. Funny, poignant, really well written

    7. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Fantasy: if urban fantasy counts, Seanan McGuire’s October Daye books (first one is Rosemary and Rue) are excellent and there’s currently … 14? With another due out in a couple of months. Her InCryptid series is also excellent (first book Discount Armageddon) and almost as long and also ongoing. (The woman is amazingly prolific.) Also her Wayward Children series, portal fantasy about children going through doors – I can’t summarize this one but it’s beautiful, as well as being extremely representative across the queer spectrum (including ace which is kinda rare).

      Otherwise, I really enjoyed Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons series, which is written as the memoirs of a bluestocking noblewoman in a world that’s not high fantasy, but steampunk-y and has dragons.

      Sci Fi: the Murderbot books, anything by Andy Weir (though those aren’t a series), John Scalzi’s Lock-In books, Mira Grant’s mermaid books and also her Newsflesh series (though this series is sci-fi while also being a political action thriller set just after a zombie apocalypse- I know it sounds wacky but it WORKS, but if you’re not feeling political thriller or pandemic-induced zombie apocalypse, maybe hold off.) (Mira Grant is Seanan McGuire under a pen name. I told you she’s prolific.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I also love Harry Turtledove’s Worldwar series, first book In the Balance – it’s an alt history of WWII where the war is interrupted by an alien invasion. Very sci-fi, but also Turtledove is a military historian so also very military and there’s a lot of real people from history in it. May or may not be your thing.

      2. Rage*

        Seconding Red Reader’s Sci-Fi suggestion for the Murderbot Diaries. They’re by Martha Wells and they are fan-freaking-tastic. Probably my favorite series currently. Most of them are novellas, so you’ll get a good, quick story.

        And since Martha is probably my current favorite author, I’ll recommend her fantasy series “The Books of the Raksura”.

    8. GoryDetails*

      An oldie but a goodie: James White’s “Sector General” series, a mix of short stories and novels set in the same ‘verse and centered around a hospital that embraces the extreme diversity of lifeforms in both patients and staff. (It’s a loosely-linked series; there’s some enjoyment to be had from reading the books in order but they also stand on their own pretty well.)

      My current favorite fantasy series is Seanan McGuire’s “Wayward Children”, starting with EVERY HEART A DOORWAY, about kids who’ve gone through magical portals to other worlds and come back again – not always willingly. Lots of lovely, sometimes poignant, occasionally heart-wrenching riffs on that kind of story and on the feeling of being in the wrong world/life/skin.

    9. Nitpicker*

      Another interesting writer is MCA Hogarth. As is often the case, she has created a fascinating and complex world and has written many interlocking stories. Her characters and relationships have depth and individuality and develop and grow within the series.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      Sci Fi: The Murderbot Diaries is a favorite here for a reason. A security unit hacks its AI so it doesn’t have to obey orders, but rather than go on a killing spree decides to watch the Netflix back catalogue.

      Fantasy: The Scholomance, which I am rereading for, I dunno, the 10th time? It’s a magical boarding high school where the students are constantly attacked by monsters, but that’s treated as really stressful. The only reason to attend is that you’re even more likely to die in the outside world, so you take your chances on coming of age inside an isolated fortress that blocks most of the monsters trying to eat you. The description of how you routinely check your desk for monsters before sitting down, make sure to stretch between chapters so you can react fast, etc, really captures the stress of being an outsider in high school. The story has layers of metaphor for actual school and exploration of privilege, but it works gangbusters as just “What if you were stuck in a place where monsters regularly jump out and try to eat you? And had to figure out how to survive for four years? What would you do? What would those around you do?”

      1. Lilo*

        I believe the third one is out in few weeks too.

        Novik is a really interesting author because her stuff is pretty varied within fantasy. The tone and feel of her books differ from series to series. Scholomance is much snarkier than her Temeraire series (alternative history around the time of Napoleon). And Uprooted/Spinning Silver are more classic fantasy romances, very evocative of Robin McKinley.

    11. The Person from the Resume*

      The Steerswoman is a 1989 science fiction novel by Rosemary Kirstein. There are 3 more books in the series. It appears to be fantasy until the end of book 1 and the setting is an age that is just beginning to gain technology and advancement. The main characters are women and women are driving the plot and bring the heroes with help from the occasional boy or man.

      A Steerswoman is a traveling scholar (field researcher and map maker) looking to supplement as well as share her knowledge. They are required to answer any question put to them by anyone and in turn, any question they ask must be answered truthfully, or the questioner will be placed under a ban where no Steerswoman will ever answer a question from them again.

      There can be male Steersman, but it’s traditionally a woman’s role so much that most people of the world don’t know that there are Steersmen. There’s one comment/joke (only one) that being a Steerswoman (scholar, scientist, researcher) is not suited to the male personality / macho attitudes.

      1. Reba*

        A fellow Steerswoman fan! Hello!!

        My other go-to rec’s these days are the “Terra Ignota” books by Ada Palmer, and the “Ancillary” series by Anne Leckie.

        1. The Person from the Resume*

          Hello! I actually just read the Steerswoman series for the first time within the last 2 years. Glad I didn’t miss it.

    12. AnonAcademic*

      In the fantasy category, I love the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore – very fast-paced but also a really deft look at how people process trauma. Looks like the fifth book will come out any day now!

    13. Annie Edison*

      The Broken Earth trilogy by NK Jemisin is one of my favorite things I’ve read in a long time. The first 50 or so pages are slow going so it took a bit to get into it. But once I did, I basically couldn’t stop and binged the entire trilogy

      1. RosyGlasses*

        Second this – excellent writing but it did take me a couple of tries to get into the book.

    14. OTGW*

      I always recommend Sharon Shinn’s Mystic and Rider series. It has the best characterization, found family, amazing world building. And it’s complete! I’ve also been enjoying Brandon Sanderson’s The Way of King series. He has four books done, with number five (5) coming out next fall I think. Each of those books are like 1k pages, so plenty of time to read.

      1. Book the Wink*

        *high fives you* I love that series SO MUCH. I also really enjoyed her Elemental series from he mid 2010’s.

    15. KoiFeeder*

      I’ve gotten into the Darwath series recently. It’s a lot of fun! Mystery of Ireta by Anne McCaffrey or the Elemental Masters series by Mercedes Lackey are also good. I like McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern and Lackey’s Valdemar series, but Pern shows its age as do the earlier entries in the Valdemar series, so I can’t really recommend them without a caution warning (though if you like OSC that probably won’t be a problem for you).

    16. The OG Sleepless*

      Charles Sheffield was an underappreciated writer. His Beltwar series is one of my favorites.

      Dan Simmons’ Hyperion/The Fall of Hyperion and Endymion/The Rise of Endymion are excellent, but long. The Fall of Hyperion in particular is long and very dense; I had to put it down and pick it back up repeatedly over the course of a year. But so worth it.

      As a single novel, Greg Bear’s Moving Mars.

    17. Analyst Editor*

      Here are a few I only read because we read them in a class focused on scifi and fantasy, but we’ll worth it.
      Alfred Bester’s books (Demolished Man, The Star My Destination) make you think, if nothing else.
      Also, A Canticle for Leibowitz. Also makes you think.

      1. science fiction recommendations*

        Ha, I love that we recommended Canticle for Leibowitz at the same time. I have two degrees in literature, and Canticle might just be my favorite book. I read it anytime I’m feeling particularly discouraged about the state of the world.

        1. Seeking second childhood*

          All on my top list. (TV sf fans there’s a reason the name of Babylon 5’s psy-cop is Bester!)

    18. science fiction recommendations*

      A few recs I haven’t seen here yet. No particular order, vary from serious to pretty light; the only criteria for including them I that I liked them, e.g. four or five stars.

      Under Fortunate Stars; Ren Hutchings
      Canticle for Leibowitz; Walter M. Miller
      Xenogenesis; Ocatvia Butler
      A Memory Called Empire ( & its sequel, A Desolation Called Peace), Arkady Martine
      A Fire Upon the Deep, Vernor Vinge
      Four Roads Cross, Max Gladstone
      The Book of Strange New Things, Michael Faber
      Black Sun, Rebecca Roanhorse

    19. Nessun*

      The Otherland series by Tad Williams – mixes sci-fi and fantasy by using a setting of near-future tech immersive VR world. The first is City of Golden Shadow, and there are four books total (long books, big cast, lots happening). I re-read them every few years because I just love the whole series.

    20. Dancing Otter*

      Wen Spencer – mostly fantasy, but not entirely; there’s usually some root cause hand-waving, but nothing hard science. I especially liked “A Brother’s Price”, but it’s a stand-alone. The Elfhome series starts with “Tinker”, and I lost count around six, maybe, with some short stories besides.
      There are easily a dozen volumes in the Liaden Universe series, depending how you count the collections of short fiction. Authors are Sharon Lee and Steve Miller.
      The Heirs of Alexandria series by Mercedes Lackey and various collaborators starts with “The Shadow of the Lion”, set in an alternate Venice where magic and magical creatures are real, and the great library was not destroyed. It’s not strictly sequential, as characters from the first book go off in different geographic and plot directions.
      I’d check Baen Books’ website first for all these authors. They sell DRM-free ebooks in every format I’ve ever heard of (some titles are free), and they are NOT owned by Amazon.

    21. Smol Book Wizard*

      It’s not exactly a series, but Katherine Addison’s book The Goblin Emperor and its two companion books (Speaker for the Dead and The Grief of Stones) are very fine stuff. It’s dense and quiet and full of realistic characterization and the occasional flash of action. I haven’t read the newest yet, it’s fresh.
      I’ve read the first book of Dune, and found that while it’s a product of its time, it’s a far better product of its time than many others (translation: I cannot abide Robert Heinlein). I enjoy the vibes, although the characterization has its stutters in my opinion. There’s certainly a lot of them in the series!

    22. Gnome*

      My favorite fantasy series is the Codex Alera by Jim Butcher. The first few pages of the first book were horrible – just boring – but the rest of the series made up for it. The first book is also my least favorite, FWIW. I have read the series at least three or four times in the last 12 years.

      Same author, completely different series: Dresden Files. Takes place in Chicago mostly and has a crime-solving basis (to start at least).
      Characters are fairly complex and well developed… Mind, the story arc is something like 30 books and the author is somewhere around number #19.

      1. RosyGlasses*

        I really enjoyed the Dresden Files! Such a fun character to follow with a dose of dry wit, curmudgeonly wizardry and what-the-hell decision making.

      2. Flash Packet*

        I “knew” Jim Butcher back when he was writing in his spare time and working full-time as a tech support person answering calls from clueless computer users. We were in the same Laurell K Hamilton Yahoo fan group. I — along with many others in that group — proofread some of his early Dresden drafts.

        I helped catch a continuity error in a scene where Harry is handcuffed behind his back one minute but then is scrambling up out of a ditch by sinking his fingers into the dirt as he climbs the next minute.

        I’m so happy that he has made it to the Big Time as an author. :-)

        1. Gnome*

          I’m thinking that was the one with the loup-garu? (forgive my spelling if I got it wrong from memory)

    23. Mephyle*

      I just got introduced to Rainbow Rowell’s Simon Snow series. I recommend starting with Fangirl so you see where the series is coming from (as well as being excellent in its own right), followed by the three Simon Snow books, starting with Carry On. It’s like an ode to Harry Potter fan fiction (yet can be appreciated by someone who has never been into fanfic: me) but takes it beyond Harry Potter territory with the complex development of broken yet valiant heroes and heroines.

    24. Henry Division*

      My book club went through a Space Opera phase, but my favorite by far was the Imperial Radch Trilogy by Ann Leckie. First book is Ancillary Justice.

    25. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      For space opera, I recommend the Honor Harrington series. It’s kind of massive, but I thought it was worth it.

      For fantasy, I recommend David Weber’s War God series. Just reread it recently. And for light reading, I’m going through some teen stuff, mostly Rick Riordan.

      1. Silence*

        The first dozen books are great but have given up on his recent work as he needs an editor unafraid of telling him to get to the point

  8. Hiker*

    Looking for hiking boot recommendations. My last ones lasted for almost 10 years, but finally gave out on mile 21 of 22 in a national forest a couple of weeks ago. I’ve been looking for new ones and coming up empty. I used to swear by the LL Bean Trail Model boots, but I don’t like the way they look right now (because clearly looks are the most important thing when choosing hiking boots). The two different colors in the same boot are bothering me, for some reason. I don’t mind two shades of the same color, but that’s it.
    I prefer waterproof, and I do some cold-weather hiking, although I try to avoid hiking in snow. Most of my vacation hiking is in hot weather, actually.
    I don’t think I can afford full leather, although I love a good sale so I won’t say never. I’ve checked REI, LL Bean, Lands End, Columbia, and a few others.
    I also definitely want boots, not shoes. My ankles don’t like my hobbies!
    Any suggestions/recommendations?

    1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      I don’t know about their hiking boots, but I have a pair of Ariat steel-toe boots that are incredibly comfortable and have stood up well over time.

      1. Pippa K*

        I have a pair of Ariat hiking-riding combo boots (style name “Terrain”) I really like. They’re basically a hiking boot with a stirrup-friendly heel, like a riding boot. Half my boots are Ariat because they’re at that sweet spot of comfortable/durable/not expensive.

        I also like Merrells for hiking, and they’re usually not hard to find on sale somewhere.

    2. Ginger Pet Lady*

      Vasques are pretty good and held up well. I’ve had some Keens I liked, too, but they were more expensive.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Came here to give a huge plug for Vasques. My feet and ankles like them a lot and they last a long time

    3. Bluebell*

      Three years ago when I had a summer trip to Iceland I bought Merrill’s, and was very happy with them. They’ve mostly been in my closet since then, though!

      1. Jackalope*

        I too have had good experience with Merrill’s, and I’m also someone with ankles who dislike the hiking hobby. They gave good ankle support and my feet adjusted to them – and they adjusted to my feet – fairly quickly.

      2. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

        Seconding the Merrell recommendation. Waterproof, comfortable, and rugged. It’s used by the military. Wife and I both have them. Don’t know about what color choices there are.

      3. Elizabeth West*

        I have some, but they’re a bit stiff. Also not as much arch support as I would like as I have ridiculously high arches, like Barbie doll feet.

    4. I take tea*

      I’ve had Mindl for years and years, as have my partner, and they are really durable. Plus for being a bit broader, if you don’t have slim feet.

    5. Dumpster Fire*

      I love my Asolo boots; great ankle support, nice and snug around the foot but with a roomy toe box.

      1. k12 teacher*

        Yes Asolo! They’re pricey but best boots I’ve ever had. Mammuts are slightly cheaper and also pretty great. Either one will last a very long time!

    6. Snow Globe*

      I’ve found Keens to be both sturdy and comfy, as they are a little wider in the toes than some other brands.

    7. Hiker*

      Thank you all! I appreciate the recommendations, and will be doing some serious shopping this weekend.

    8. Generic Name*

      I’ve had my pair of Oboz hiking shoes (they make boot style ones too) for years, and they get heavy use.

    9. BookMom*

      I second Oboz. However, I think the main thing is going to a sporting goods store and trying them on! You’ll know when it feels right. I like Scheels and Bass Pro Shop here in the Midwest for excellent hiking boot selection and knowledgeable sales staff.

    10. Boot shopping is stressful*

      All the brands mentioned are great, but it really is about what works for your feet. I know that Vasque is a great brand and many friends swear by them…but they don’t fit my wonky feet so I’d never be able to wear them. Best option is to go somewhere and try on different styles. I currently have a nice pair of Lowa boots, but they were pricey. I’ve had good luck with Keen and Solomon as well (though my Keens tend to be lighter/less sturdy).

      I will, however, make a recommendation on WHERE to buy. If possible, get them from REI. They have a fantastic return policy if the boots don’t work out — if you’re a member, you have an entire YEAR to return them. Non-members I think is 90 days. And you CAN actually wear them out on hikes and still return within that timeframe.

      I buy almost all my shoes from REI for this reason. Walking around in a carpeted store, or at home for a few days, doesn’t tell me how the boots will feel on the trail. Most stores won’t take back shoes that have been worn outside, but wearing them outside is the only way I’ve found to figure out if they will work for me. (I find shoe shopping stressful, I have terrible feet and all too often, it feels great in the store but hurts once I’m out in the real world).

      A week or so ago, my partner returned a pair of boots that were close to $200. We bought them last September. She wore them on several hikes, although they weren’t trashed or anything. Realized they were hurting her feet. Full refund.

      1. Generic Name*

        I agree with both points above. In my area, all the “cool kids” wear Chacos sandals. I bought a pair and they hurt my feet. I got arch pain within 20 minutes of wearing them. I wore them about 5 times before I decided I couldn’t wear them. Fortunately, I had purchased them at rei and they refunded me, no questions asked.

      2. eeeek*

        This, 100% this. REI actually trains the people who work in the footwear department, and some are boot fitting specialists. (A good friend of mine used to manage and train for REI – to say she cultivated a passion is an understatement!) The key thing is to go at a time of day when you’re likely to have time and get the attention you need. Saturday afternoon during a big sale is not a great time to try on boots. They can also make recommendations about things like pronation (it’s not just for runners!) and stride/hiking style.
        Editorializing on a related pet peeve: I have known people who take a lot of time and work with a team member, then go away to buy the footwear they settled on somewhere else. That’s cheesy, not clever. Buying from the place that took the time pays the wage of the person who took the time, yanno? Don’t be that guy. (Ex who never worked retail because it was “beneath” him, I’m lookin’ at you.)

    11. Ampersand*

      Keen’s waterproof hiking boots. I love mine and have had the same pair for almost 10 years now. And they’re equally good for snow/ice. They’ve actually been a lifesaver a few times for me, like when it’s snowed in Texas and I needed shoes I wouldn’t slip in. Highly recommend!

    12. pancakes*

      My LL Bean ones are still going strong and I can’t quite justify replacing them, but there are a couple styles by Danner I’ve been eyeing.

    13. beentheredonethat*

      I love my Under Armour hiking boots. This is the closest I could find on Amazon. Under Armour Women’s Micro G Valsetz Lthr Wp Hiking Bootr Armour.
      Also socks make a huge difference, don’t laugh to much but check out the left /right socks

    14. Esmeralda*

      Lowa. I need a boot w good ankle support. I get them at REI— they’re widely available tho.

      Comfortable, good support, last well, easy to put stabilicers on them. When they die, I continue to use them for yard work.

      1. Lizabeth*

        Second the Lowa! Did a test hike with a pair before buying. Nearby the AT there was a place that you could demo. Incredibly light plus the other half wore them for his slot canyon hike (non Gortex) and came out impressed.

    15. Idyllic Gulag*

      Haven’t seen Danner mentioned yet. I’ve had a pair of Mountain 600’s for years and they’ve held up well. Waterproof, insulated, and very comfortable for me (long, narrow feet; high arches).

      1. pancakes*

        I mentioned them, and I’m glad you did too because that’s my foot shape as well! Very good to know.

        1. Idyllic Gulag*

          So you did; completely missed that! I’ve owned about a dozen pairs of Danners over the years between hiking boots, work boots, and lifestyle. Never had a pair I found outright uncomfortable, though I like the fit and support of certain styles better than others.

  9. Lattes are for lovers*

    My husband and I are considering moving to Nashville. We are in early 40s and no kids. We both work from home.

    Nashvillians – what do you love about living here? What would you change? Are there areas to avoid?

    1. VLookupsAreMyLife*

      Hello – It really depends on where you’re moving from & what you’re looking for. I’ve lived here 4 years, and I often wish we hadn’t moved here. I (white, straight, 45yo, cis-female) spent 20+ years on the quasi-west coast/PNW, so the culture shock of moving to the South was intense! The fact that you don’t have children is good, IMO – my progressive babies struggle to find friends & community. We live in South Nashville & I try to stay in Davidson County proper at all times and avoid Wonderful White Williamson, Rutherford, and Sumner at all costs.

      Some things I like: Nashville has a large immigrant population (specifically Kurdish) so there’s a lot of diversity; it’s centrally located so travelling to other places is quick & easy; since we’re a tourist town, there is ALWAYS something to do; the National Museum of African American Music is my happy place – I could go there every day!; cost of living is relatively low compared to many similar sized cities; FOOD – lots of local mom & pop shops with a variety of dishes, cultures, and flavors; it’s really just a big, small town so you can get to know your neighbors, your city councilperson, your postal carrier; growing economy & lots of job opportunities in many sectors like education, healthcare, construction, technology, finance, manufacturing, etc.

      Why I want to leave: like much of the South, Tennessee is not a safe place for people who can get pregnant, people of color, queer folks, or non-Christians (Nashville itself is better, but there’s only so much you can do as a city); tornadoes – we’ve been lucky but many in our community have not; underfunded public services (schools, healthcare, early childhood services, etc); Nashville is still extremely segregated despite its diverse population
      & there’s a lot of gentrification that’s destroying long-standing communities in historic parts of town; and on a personal note, I am allergic to every damned thing that grows here so my sinuses are trying to kill me daily.

      1. Rage*

        I don’t live and have never lived in Nashville, but I did live in south Georgia for a decade and some change and I will whole-heartedly second everything in VLookups’ final paragraph. I hated it for many of the same reasons and will never willingly live in the South again. (Atlanta itself would be the exception, but I can’t see that happening either LOL)

        My parents still live there, so I visit routinely, and have to carry a veritable pharmacy of allergy medications simply to remain upright. The allergens there have a very specific set of skills. They will find you, and they will make your life miserable.

        1. Salymander*

          Your last paragraph cracked me up. I have the same experience in North Carolina. I can be sitting upstairs in my MIL’s house, and I can tell that someone opens a door downstairs because I start sneezing and my sinuses and even my face swells up. I don’t live there and don’t spend much time visiting so I never bothered to find out what it is that I’m allergic to, but whatever it is makes me feel like the plant world has taken out a hit on me.

    2. Screen Porch Office*

      My daughter and her husband just spent 2 years living in Nashville while he attended grad school at Vanderbilt. The biggest thing she noticed is that living in a tourist Mecca has some upsides and large downsides. During the busy season, going out to dinner in town can require making reservations weeks in advance or being prepared for 90 minute waits. The party busses are loud and ventured further into quiet areas than she expected. The complaints from locals that Nashville us rapidly becoming NashVegas are legit. She did enjoy the variety of restaurants and available entertainment.

    1. UKDancer*

      Yes, such a pretty pussycat with long whiskers. It looks like they’re sitting in judgement on misbehaving bosses.

      1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

        He knows hes in show business, hence the intentional photogenic poses.

  10. Unicornucopia*

    I’m going to Dublin for a semester abroad this fall, does anyone have any advice, especially in terms of packing things I have now vs. buying later? I don’t really know where to go to buy dishes or bedding or anything like that. Are there any specific cultural differences between the US and Ireland I need to be aware of academically or otherwise that I might not have thought of? Thanks for any help!

    1. Yay, I’m a Llama Again!*

      Things like dishes and bedding you’ll be able to buy really easily, all supermarkets have all that stuff, plus charity shops are good for dishes. I don’t think I’d pack anything like that.

    2. BubbleTea*

      Caveat that I don’t know if the Irish system is the same as the UK one but something I’ve noticed is a difference between US and UK grading is that over there, 90+% is a good grade. Here, 60+% is a good grade. I got 59.5% overall in my degree and that was 2.i honours degree (thank you, rounding!). So if it’s the same in Dublin you’d need to recalibrate your expectations.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yup, very much the same in Ireland, especially at college. Our system isn’t the same as yours but that does hold.

      2. matcha123*

        This is interesting. Could you explain the thought process behind this?
        As an American, the grading in my schools has been based on what material was taught and whether or not the student’s level of understanding matches what was taught…with the material presented being adjusted to the student’s level.

        Over there is the grading based on the student’s understanding of any and all possible material out there, regardless of whether or not it has been taught or…?
        What would one have to do to get a 90%+ there?

        1. Irish Teacher*

          It really does depend on the subject and the level. At college level, you would be expected to do research yourself and show an understanding of the material.

          In secondary school, you have two major exams, one at the end of your first three years, covering everything you have studied in those three years and the other at the end of your time in secondary, covering everything you have studied in the final two years. You can be questioned on anything across the curriculum and 90% means you not only remember 90% of everything in your textbook and everything the teacher said, but that you also demonstrate an understanding of it and can get it down on paper in a short time frame under exam conditions. It’s not going to cover stuff you haven’t been taught nor are you expected to know “any and all possible material out there” but remember two years worth of work, in detail and being able to work with it in a three hour exam…isn’t the easiest.

          In these exams, what one would have to do is remember at least 90% of everything covered and be able to write about it in an exam, making sure your answer directly relates to the question asked. In English, for example, one studies four texts, one for the “single text” question and another for the “comparative study.” For the comparative study, you may be asked something like…well, looking at this year’s exam, to compare how those in power in each text maintain their position. Then there is the poetry question when you will be asked to say discuss the literary techniques used by a particular poet and you will have to remember not only what techniques they used but be able to quote from multiple poems you have studied by that poet, giving examples from each. You have to do more than show you understand the poems as you don’t have any way to refer to them so you have to remember the information off the top of your head and you have a limited time in which to write it.

          In Irish, you are expected to write an essay on a topic like “Ireland’s involvement in the European Union” or debate whether or not we should do more to prevent climate change. This is in a second language and should be about 500-600 words long. This is from the equivalent of high school seniors. To get 90%, you would need to write a reasonable insightful essay, showing near fluency in the language.

          I have not taught at college level, plus it REALLY depends on the degree. As an English and History student, obviously, I was expected to write essays, researching information beyond what was taught in class. I assume a Maths or Science degree might be different as those don’t have the same level of debate.

          I guess the thought process is that 90% doesn’t just mean “I understand 90% of the material” so much as “I know 90% of the material off the top of my head and can answer any question you choose to ask me on it without referring to a text or any supporting materials.” That’s probably an exaggeration, but certainly for the Leaving Cert. (final exam in secondary school), it’s close. At college, not so much as some topics are tested by essay, when yeah, you are expected to show an understanding of more than you’ve done in class.

          1. matcha123*

            Thank you for the explanation, that’s quite interesting!
            I can only speak for my specific schools, but the grading depended on the teacher and so could vary wildly. I had always assumed that anything covered in class or that was in our textbooks was fair game as a potential test question. Most of my classmates (elementary through high school) didn’t think that way and would (successfully) argue with the teacher that because the teacher didn’t state that xyz would be on the test or didn’t go over it in class, therefore it was unfair to include it in the test and we should be given a free point.

            At the university level, and this depends on the university and the professor, I think that if one were to do the minimum, you could expect a 70%.
            Usually the professor lets students know their grading style at the beginning of the semester and what kind of work they expect to see and we match that. It seems like the UK is more streamlined across subjects!

            1. Irish Teacher*

              In Ireland, all students in the country do the same exam on leaving school. The teachers have no more idea than anybody else what will come up. (I’m not sure anybody knows. I think more than one exam is made out and it is chosen at random which will be the one given and which will be the back up in case of disaster.) As teachers, we can often guess what is LIKELY to come up, but we are only guessing. We don’t know either. (Had fun with students who were insisting they read on facebook that the TAOISEACH (prime minister) had said a certain topic would come up and had to explain to them that he does not know what will come up either.)

              There’s no arguing as you never know who marks your exam (by the way, I mark the Junior Cert, but have no way of knowing whose exams I mark or even what schools they attend; all I know is that I will not get any from the school I teach in or from the area where I live and I have to disclose if I have any relatives doing the exam, so presumably, I would not get their schools either). Every student in the country has to be marked to the exact same standard. Students’ entry to college is based on their Leaving Cert. results so obviously it has to be fair across the board.

              At college, lecturers have a lot more leeway to set exams and they aren’t as full-on as the Leaving Cert. but you’re still not going to get 70% for doing the minimum.

              Some Leaving Cert. exams (I’ll choose subjects that aren’t very culturally dependent):

              This year’s biology exam: https://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2022/LC025ALP038EV.pdf

              Geography: https://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2022/LC005ALP042EV.pdf

              English, Paper 1: https://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2022/LC002ALP100EV.pdf and Paper 2: https://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2022/LC002ALP200EV.pdf

              Business: https://www.examinations.ie/archive/exampapers/2022/LC033ALP032EV.pdf

              Only English, Irish and Maths are compulsory. Then students usually do 4 other subjects. And the results of their 6 best subjects are added together to get their points (out of 600) which determine whether or not they will get into the college course of their choice. The points for various courses last year are available here: http://www2.cao.ie/points/l8.php This year’s SHOULD be out in a couple of weeks if it were a normal year, but given all the covid stuff, they won’t be out until September.

        2. Laura Petrie*

          Yes, in a UK university, you’re expected to do a lot of extra reading on the subjects of each module. Each lecture has an extensive reading list and you need to be able to use a variety of sources in your essays, exams and other assessments. If you only use the specific material the lecturer uses in class, you won’t get a very good grade. At undergraduate level, the pass mark is 40% and a first class mark is 70% or above.

          In my current degree, I’ve got some marks above 80% but that’s unusual both for me and in the UK system.

          1. Laura Petrie*

            Just to add I don’t know much about the Irish system, but the university transcripts I used to see for a previous job were quite similar to UK ones. The Leaving Cert was a bit of a mystery to me in terms of what to ask for in a conditional offer with grades pending.

          2. pancakes*

            That was the case at my undergrad school in the US as well, but then we also had dons, and an exchange program with one of the Oxford colleges. It’s not mandatory to do things the usual US way in the US, but very few schools seem to make a point of diverging from it.

    3. IrishAdvice*

      Rental places here in Ireland usually are fully equipped with crockery, cutlery, furniture, etc., apart from bedding sometimes. You will easily be able to buy bedding and towels in a local Dunnes (not a full department store, but supermarket + clothing + soft household goods). Don’t bring anything like that with you. Also if you are a hairdryer or straightener user, you can just buy very inexpensive ones here (less than 20 euro), often available at the local supermarket or pharmacy (e.g. Boots)
      Your other questions are too general to answer well. Academically, it is different. Depending on which university you are going to attend, the experience will be different. Speaking as a lecturer, make sure to factor in the exam period in your stay (I’ve had several international students forgetting to do this and then having to change their flights home). Otherwise, attend the lectures/ labs/ fieldwork, do the assignments, study, take the exams, and leave plenty of time for socialising. You will have a great time!

    4. Ireland advice*

      Pack layers. Depending on the time of year you come, you may find it cold and wet, and a good waterproof jacket will be essential any time of the year. Even if you are from a cold part of the US you might find yourself cold as Irish homes and businesses tend not to have the heating on very high and keep doors and windows open when you might expect it’s too cold for that.

      Make sure you have good shoes that are at least water resistant on top. Dublin is a walking city and if you are like most Americans you will not be used at first to the amount of walking you’ll do.

      Don’t bring bulky things like plates and bed linen with you, that is easy to find at Guineys or Pennys or Dunnes or charity shops.

      You might be surprised at how early a lot of shops and cafes and the like close compared to what you’re used to. After 6-7 there isn’t a lot open other than pubs and restaurants, though there are a few exceptions, like some fast food places and a handful of coffee places. I think there’s a 24-hour Starbucks on Stephen’s Green but not sure, I live in another city now.

    5. Nina_Bee*

      Not sure if they have it in Ireland (I live in London) but things like Freecycle or Gumtree is a great place to get free/cheap things if you really want to save money. There might be an Irish specific one there.

      1. Ireland advice*

        It’s been a few years for me, but the region-specific Zero Waste Facebook groups were great sources of free or cheap stuff pre-pandemic. Maybe they still are. So, Zero Waste Dublin might be a good place to look.

    6. Irish Teacher*

      While Dublin isn’t the same as the West of Ireland, I will say “be prepared for rain.” Lots of rain. To those of us in Ireland, Dublin seems pretty dry, but I think it still gets more rain/about the same as the city with the most rainfall in the US.

      The weather in Ireland really doesn’t change as much from season to season as you might be used to, though if you are coming from September to Christmas, this will probably be less of a surprise than if you came in the summer or the colder part of winter because our weather is sort of autumnal all year round. Temperatures are likely to be around the 50s Fahrenheit.

      The other things I’ve heard international students comment on when they arrive in Ireland are firstly our timekeeping. It has improved since my college days but that means most things run 5-10 minutes late rather than say…up to 30. I was quite surprised at some comments on this site about meetings starting a few minutes late because in Ireland, that would not even be noticed. If I go for an appointment, I assume it will take place within 15 minutes of the time. You should still be on time, because you never know if a thing is going to start on time or not, but just to be aware that a few minutes late isn’t even counted here. Our train service officially declared “on time” means “within 10 minutes of the time we are due”.

      Ireland is generally pretty informal. One thing I noticed about America students at college is that they will come over, shake your hand and introduce themselves. Irish students are not likely to do that. They are more likely to say “hi, where are you from, then?” (This is a common greeting in colleges, as everybody is from different places, it isn’t just to international students.) And you have a full conversation with them without even getting their names. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t go over and introduce yourself. I was very impressed as a teenage/early twenties with them for doing that, just not to be surprised if Irish students are less inclined to introduce themselves so formally.

      Related to this, it is normal to call lecturers by their first names. People don’t speak of “Professor X,” which isn’t a term we use for lecturers anyway.

      OH! One big thing is that college in Ireland is very much Monday-Friday, sometimes even more Monday-Thursday. My college used to finish up early on a Friday so everybody could go home. This is going to be less of an issue in Dublin where many people are living locally anyway, but students who are living away from home are generally going to go home for the weekend on a Friday and arrive back Sunday night. As a result, in my college, virtually all events took place Monday to Thursday. Rag Week (do ye have that in the US? It’s a week of events and collecting for charity) finished at lunchtime (12 or 1) on the Friday morning.

      I think college hours may also be different. Generally lectures take place from 9 until 6. (As I said, in my college, they finished at 2 or 3 on a Friday, but that may be different in Dublin where more students are likely to be local). This is the same with businesses, really. Now, again, Dublin is different from a town where little would be open outside those hours and you will be able to shop and so on in the evenings, but things don’t go round the clock like they do in the U.S.

      Another thing is drinking. The legal age to drink in Ireland is 18 and even for those who are underage, the situation is very different to the US. Nobody is getting arrested for buying a drink at 17 and certainly not for drinking at home with their friends. There are restrictions on underage teens being in pubs after 9pm or 10pm, but even that isn’t a huge deal.

      This means most college socialising will take place in the pub and if you are living in a college “dorm” or sharing a flat (apartment) with other students, people will sit around in the common room/sitting room, having a drink together. You don’t have to drink. I don’t drink and it was never a big deal. People will offer and you can say yes or no. But it is a different situation than there seems to be in the US.

      The other things that we seem to have different approaches to are politics and religion. Both of those seem to be quite controversial in the US, whereas in Ireland, you can call our taoiseach (prime minister) a complete eejet and everybody will agree with you. Now, as a foreigner, you probably shouldn’t do that, but you will hear it. (You should also know Ireland is staunchly Democrat, partly because the Democrats probably equate to our most right wing parties, so Ireland is pretty left compared to the US and partly for historical reasons – abortion is an exception to the Ireland being left rule and you probably will come across pro-life people. Not so much at college as younger people tend to be pro-choice but being pro-life isn’t seen as in any way shocking. However, it’s quite likely you will hear criticism of Donald Trump and so on. So if you like him, be aware that there is a bias in Ireland on this issue.) It would be very unusual for anybody to identify as a Fianna Fáiler or a Fine Gaeler here. You MIGHT get some people who identify as Sinn Féiners. But generally people who identify with a political party are actively involved in their youth wing. Most people will criticise all parties. Our parties also don’t really differ all that much – the most recent argument between the left and right was whether to bring in a package of supports for people affected by inflation now or wait until the budget in October.

      Religion is hard to explain and in a college, in Dublin, it probably won’t come up much anyway. Again, young people tend not to be religious and Dublin people tend not to be that religious, so it’s not likely to be an issue. But again, it’s not really a taboo topic and is quite integrated into ordinary life. The Angelus for example plays on national television. Nobody takes much notice, but it plays.

      People aren’t likely to ask you your religion or try to get you to go to church with them or anything like that

      1. UKDancer*

        It’s probably worth adding that Ireland is now a lot more socially relaxed especially in Dublin than it used to be years ago. Leo Varadkar, the Tanaiste (deputy PM) who was the Taoiseach in the last administration is openly gay and that’s not a big thing and doesn’t appear to have affected his popularity. He’s also part Indian which is not a big thing either. So I don’t think you need to worry about being visibly gay or BAME if this is a potential concern. There are bigots and idiots everywhere but Dublin seems like a fairly tolerant live and let live place judging from the few times I’ve been there.

        It’s also a surprisingly small place. I’ve a couple of professional contacts there and they seem to know everyone else so I think Dublin has a lot more of a village feel to it than London.

        Otherwise, you can get most things you need in the supermarkets or shops so I wouldn’t bother bringing too much with you. I’ve noticed that some Americans have a bit of a view of Ireland as being like it was in the Quiet Man (rural, quaint and old fashioned). There are quiet, small towns but Dublin is a large, cosmopolitan city with all the amenities you’d find in London or Frankfurt.

        1. Irish Teacher*

          Yeah, to be honest, the fact that Leo Varadkar is a middle class “South Dub” (basically urban and upper middle class) got him more criticism than being gay or of Indian descent did. Ireland tends to be fairly “mind your own business” about stuff like that anyway. Even if people have prejudices, they are USUALLY not too vocal about them (the exception being prejudice against the Travelling Community, but that is unlikely to apply).

    7. Ellis Bell*

      I found Dublin expensive, what with it being a capital city (Im in the UK, just a ferry ride away from Dublin). Lots of Dubliners come over to my city for the cheaper shopping. Considering that outerwear is cheap and great quality in many parts of the US, (plus the fact that there is more choice of everything generally), I’d probably get my coat and shoes before coming over. Particularly the shoes, so you can break them in for walking, unless you’re already in a part of America where people walk everywhere. I would get layers, sometimes it gets wet while the weather is still warm so something light like merino, possibly. You definitely need to be prepared for a lot of drizzly rain that soaks you through, but I think what you find most surprising will be how changeable the weather is, so don’t exclude fine weather wear (though that will be easier to shop for). Also, don’t trust that a fine start to the day will stay fine, because changeable weather. You’re probably going to need a fantastic backpack with lots of pockets if you’re going to uni. I’m quite jealous, Dublin is a very fun and friendly city.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Yup, always bring an umbrella. Dublin isn’t as wet as much of Ireland, but rain is still likely to be rarely far away.

        1. UKDancer*

          This definitely. I’ve been to Dublin on business several times (I think 4 or 5) and it’s rained every time. I’ce done about the same number of trips to Belfast (which is also worth a visit) and that was equally wet. It rains a lot but the best advice is to take an umbrella and just carry on regardless.

      2. pancakes*

        “unless you’re already in a part of America where people walk everywhere” – I have lived in NYC for 25 years and this is one of the single most eyebrow-raising topics to overhear tourists talk about. One day years ago I was waiting to cross the street in midtown behind a group of tourists complaining about walking, and one of them told another, “try to pretend you’re at the mall”! It’s wild to me.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          The mall sounds like it would be the best place to break in travelling shoes then! I have been to some places in the US where there aren’t even pavements, which made me feel very fish out of water – but it explains my love affair with New York! That really is a walking city.

          1. pancakes*

            Yes, the shoreline Connecticut town my stepdad lives in doesn’t have pavements / sidewalks. I think new developments are required to put them in, but otherwise the mindset often seems to be, “why wouldn’t we just drive everywhere, lol.”

    8. Dreaming of daffodils*

      Oh how fun! I did a semester there several years ago. A few odds and ends come to mind:
      -food there is generally made with fewer preservatives, so it spoils more quickly—we all got in the habit of sticking bread in the freezer after a few days and then using it for toast, rather than leaving it on the counter for a week
      -look into getting a Leap card! Even if your housing is close to uni, you’ll want to have some freedom, and the bus system and the Luas (tram) is quite good
      -if someone offers you “great crack,” they’re likely pulling your leg—the Irish word “craic” is pronounced “crack” and means fun or some such

      I’ll add anything else that pops into my head later!

    9. Jessica*

      Definitely pack light and don’t worry about bringing household supplies! If you’re a person who has periods, I would recommend bringing a supply of your preferred pads/tampons. Obviously you would be able to buy them there, but it’s nice to be able to stick with what you’re used too. And the real reason I recommend this is bc it will take up space in your suitcase, and you’ll DEFINITELY have more to bring home than you had to bring there. So forcing yourself to make space for disposable items on the way there will help you save room for all those gifts and trinkets you’ll be bringing back. (Same goes for hair products and American foods like peanut butter.)

    10. Voluptuousfire*

      I visited Dublin a few years ago in January. It wasn’t very cold, maybe in the upper 40s low 50s but it’s very humid. I don’t know how true this is, but apparently if you’re familiar with the weather in the Pacific Northwest, it’s similar to that of Seattle during the winter. Something about being on the same latitude or parallel.

      Definitely recommend layers for the winter. Be prepared for humidity. Yes, Dublin can be cloudy and rainy and all that but it’s really quite humid. Definitely wear layers, especially breathable layers. The few days I was there I surprisingly packed terribly (when I usually pack on point), so make sure you wear comfortable layers. I basically sweated my entire trip there and it was very uncomfortable.

    11. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

      Hopefully your university will have more specific advice for you. Or possibly an Ireland-specific forum somewhere. Be prepared to experience culture shock and find the accents hard to understand at first, even if you already know quite a bit about the place or watch Irish TV programs etc. I haven’t been to Ireland myself but I was surprised when I moved to England by just how different things are, even though I thought I was fairly familiar with England and had visited before on a short undergraduate class. It’s going to be an analogous experience for anyone doing a semester abroad type of thing.

      I’d suggest trying to take a “capsule wardrobe” approach for the typical weather, and expect that you will end up buying things while you’re there. Definitely don’t bother packing things like bedding or dishes, personal care products, or that kind of thing except maybe the same supply that you’d take on a short trip while you get settled in. You might not find exactly the same brands but you will definitely find equivalents. I’m sure you will be able to find some friendly people to direct you to an appropriate shop. The beginning of a term is a perfect time to introduce yourself to people and make friendly acquaintances at least and I’m positive you won’t be the only newly arriving student who needs to buy some supplies.

    12. Seeking second childhood*

      If you are from the US, check the web for discussion of common words and phrases that have drastically different meanings in US versus UK.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          And while it’s worth taking a look at, taking it TOO seriously could get confusing as we use something of a mixture of UK and US English and sometimes just ignore them all and come up with 9ut own word 9r borrow one from Irish. Or just directly translate the phrase from Irish. “I’ve a terrible thirst on me,” “you’re after making a mistake there.”

          So yeah, an article on Hiberno-English: https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/don-t-mind-us-jennifer-o-connell-on-the-marvels-of-hiberno-english-1.2035719

    13. UKDancer*

      You might want to go to Belfast as it’s quite a fun trip from Dublin and interesting for tourists. Be aware that you’ll need £ sterling for Belfast as opposed to Euros for Dublin. Some shops on the borders will take both currencies but otherwise it’s £ in Northern Ireland and € in Eire.

      This probably goes without saying but the Northern Ireland peace process and the Troubles are difficult and people have a lot of feelings about it on both sides of the border. It’s probably worth treading carefully if you’re not well informed about it, especially if you’re in Belfast.

  11. Frankie Bergstein*

    Along the lines of family dysfunction books that Allison has recommended (and I’ve loved, like The Nest), can anyone suggest books about narcissistic or mildly abusive parents and what their parent-child dynamic is like? Thanks for reading this :)

    1. Bluebell*

      I’m sure more will come to me later, but Lisa Lutz’s Spellman family mysteries feature a totally dysfunctional family, even though they do manage to solve mysteries.

    2. cubone*

      You might really like Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. It’s a graphic novel but it’s a deep dive into the author as an adult gay woman unpacking the dynamic with her father, a closeted gay man. It’s fantastic and her drawings are beautiful (tw for major mental health stuff).

      (Also she’s the source of the Bechdel test which a lot of people don’t know!)

      1. Nitpicker*

        The basis for the musical, also called Fun Home, which won the Tony for best musical back in the day.

      2. Patty Mayonnaise*

        There’s also a sequel about her relationship with her mother that’s very good too!

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      This is TV, but that describes Raylan’s relationship with his dad in Justified. It’s the first show I remember where the seemingly terrible parent of an adult wasn’t a misunderstood saint all along–he really sucked.

      So often Hollywood goes for “The father who abandoned you has popped up and wants a role in your life–obviously you need to give it to him, on his terms.” (I imagine this says something about the writers.)

      1. fposte*

        Oh, that’s a big part of what I’m struggling with in Ten Percent (British adaptation of the French TV show). There is a brief nod to some things being unfixable but there’s been too much rapprochement with people who just should be moved on from.

        1. pancakes*

          Boyfriend and I adored the French version and didn’t get more than two or three episodes into the British one. We didn’t see enough of it to get much of a handle on their Mathias, but overall it seems a lot slower and not nearly as sharp or funny.

          Have you seen any of Family Business? Arlette from the French version is in it. “In this comedy series, a Paris family decides to turn its declining kosher butcher shop into the first French marijuana coffee shop.” I keep meaning to check it out.

          1. fposte*

            It’s produced by John Morton, who did 2010 and W1A, both of which I really liked, but it’s not quite up to that standard (I did like it better than I think I made it sound). I haven’t watched the French original at all, so it sounds like I should really do that, and Family Business sounds fun as well–thanks!

            1. pancakes*

              Not familiar with those. W1A looks interesting. There’s also a Bollywood version of Call My Agent, which we’ve been meaning to check out. The French version was so well done, I think it will be very hard for anyone to best.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I enjoyed that element in Juliet Naked (the movie, which is an adaptation of the book by Nick Hornby). It’s been so long since I’ve read the book that I can’t remember if this is reflected in the book too, but in the movie you’re sure they’re going to go for that cliche but they deal with it differently.

    4. pancakes*

      I don’t have a book to recommend by I think there are a number of readers here who’d appreciate the Philip Larkin poem This Be The Verse.

    5. Lady Whistledown*

      Will I Ever Be Good Enough by Karyl McBride is an outstanding book
      The archives of Captain Awkward (plus the comments section!)
      Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents
      Research ACE (adverse childhood event) scores

      In each place you will find a mix of mental frameworks to name the dysfunction, build boundaries, script your dialogues, and emotionally heal/progress. I treated the journey a bit like Wikipedia – going from source to source to source. The concepts and patterns and language you learn are amazingly useful with friends and colleagues as well.

  12. Lemon pie*

    What’s the most creative embroidery piece you’ve seen?

    I’m feeling really inspired by 3D/textural/stumpwork embroidery. (The famous ipnot cheese pull pizza piece!) If anyone has some resources, instructions, tips and tricks, experiences to share, I’d welcome it.

    Happy weekend!

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I’ve seen some really cool ones involving UV reactive thread – someone on Reddit posted a coral reef one the other day that looks incredible with or without the glow.

      I always enjoy “aerial view” ones, especially the koi pond style where they connect a stack of hoops with layers of tulle to create depth.

      One time I came across an embroidered stop-motion animation! They did the scenery on fabric and then had several pieces of a stumpwork rabbit that they could manipulate to create movement, I’ll try to link in a reply.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      I had a book from a museum exhibit that recreated elaborate landscapes in embroidery.

  13. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    I’m looking for authors with well-written, somewhat humorous mysteries- writers like Sarah Caudwell, Simon Brett, Louise Penny, Josephine Tey. Any suggestions?

    1. Scarlet Magnolias*

      The Nicola Upson series where she writes about the author Josephine Tey investigating murders. She has obviously done her research and they are well plotted and very interesting. Just didn’t like it in one that she killed off cats. New one coming out so I am reading all the Tey and Upson I can find

    2. Pam*

      Ellis Peters. A 12th-century series about a monk, Brother Cadfael. Also, a modern (1960’s) police procedural series, and a bunch of cozy stand-alones.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I LOVED the Brother Cadfael books! I grabbed a book from a newsstand at a train station as I was rushing to get on the train in Wales in 1987, because the cover had a medieval church and the subtitle “A Medieval Whodunnit.” Sure, sounds good. It was The Sanctuary Sparrow, and it was my introduction to one my favorite mystery series of all time.

        1. Irish Teacher.*

          If you like Brother Cadfael, I’d recommend Peter Tremayne’s Sister Fidelma mysteries. They aren’t really alike – VERY different words – but both are mysteries set in the medieval era.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      Amy Stewart has a whole series of 1920s-set mysteries which would fit the bill. I’ve only read the first one, which is called Girl Waits With Gun, but there are now a total of 7 books with the same characters.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Yes!! I loved those books!! I was sorry to finish the series. I understand she’s planning to write more going into the 1920’s. I can’t wait.

    4. Irish Teacher*

      Dorothy Simpson’s Inspector Thanet series.

      And Robin Stevens’ “Murder Most Unladylike” series. Described as Agatha Christie meet Malory Towers.

      Also, the book I am reading at the moment most emphatically fits this description, “The Appeal,” by Janice Hallett.

      Anthony Horowitz is brilliant. Not sure how humorous he is, but he does put himself into some of the books as the Watson figure and makes a bit of fun of himself for messing up, so there’s that.

    5. Hlao-roo*

      A. A. Milne wrote just one mystery novel, but it’s a good one: The Red House Mystery.

    6. Teapot Translator*

      It’s been a few years, but I used to like reading Lindsey Davis’s Falco series (private detective in ancient Rome).
      Also, I love Sarah Caudwell. <3

    7. GoryDetails*

      Caudwell was awesome – so sad that she only finished four novels, but they are choice! (Also love Penny, Tey, and Sayers.)

      One of my favorites that isn’t as well known: Alan Gordon, whose “Fools Guild” mysteries set in 13th-century Europe and featuring a very clever professional jester – who’s part of the Fools Guild, an organization that is both a gathering of talented entertainers and an international espionage-and-influence outfit. The first book, THIRTEENTH NIGHT, is a direct riff on Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” (and I might mention it in the “classic retellings” thread farther back), though the series proper only kicks in with JESTER LEAPS IN. Truly impressive historical detail – the author has done his research – with entertaining characters and delightfully sparkling dialogue, especially between jester Feste (who takes different names for different jobs – it can get confusing) and his beloved and hyper-competent wife.

      1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

        Your name made me laugh- my introduction to Caudwell was through my collecting of books with covers by Edward Gorey. It was the Gorey details that drew me in, but her thoroughly enjoyable writing that made me stay!

        1. GoryDetails*

          Heh! Yeah, I think I first found her books via the Gorey covers too. I do love Gorey’s work! (Have been to his house on Cape Cod, now a museum/gift shop, worth a visit if you’re ever in the area.)

          1. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

            Sigh, I had a visit planned… in 2020. I will get there someday!

    8. Snow Globe*

      It’s been a few years since I’ve read them, but I’ve really enjoyed Elizabeth Peter’s books. There is a series about Amelia Peabody and Emerson, 19th century English archeologists, and another series about Vicky Bliss, an art historian who has an on again/off again relationship with an art thief.

      1. Hiker*

        Going to suggest these. Amelia and Emerson are lovely and fun to read, although some of the later ones can get a bit heavy. That said, I haven’t read those in several years and maybe I was just too young then.

      2. Chauncy Gardener*

        Great! This is the same person as Ellis Peters who wrote the Brother Cadfael books. Love her!

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        The Robert Tanenbaum books about Butch Karp and Marlene Ciampi (lawyer mysteries) are wonderful up to book 13. Then Tanenbaum’s ghost writer quit and the rest are lousy.

    9. Forensic13*

      Colin Cotterill’s Dr. Siri Paiboun series set in communist Laos! His MC is an old doctor who wants to retire at first but gets bullied into being Laos’ only coroner. He thinks his life is slowing down. . . and then things start going off the rails.

      The series mostly emphasizes humor, especially dry humor, but it is based on historic events so FYI.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Oh, yes, the “Dr. Siri” books are marvelous! The supernatural touches actually fit into the overall setting quite well, and I’ve actually learned a few things about the political situation in Laos at the time.

    10. Bluebell*

      Dorothy Gilman’s Mrs Polifax series is delightful. The main character is a woman in her 60s who is a spy. I also second the Elizabeth Peters Amelia Peabody series.

      1. Scarlet Magnolias*

        There was a sequel to the Amelia Peabody mysteries I believe that was written after the author’s death. It was terrible, in that she portrayed Emerson as an idiot who would try to assault any male who even looked at Amelia. Emerson was definitely protective and could be violent and had a temper, but he was an intelligent, engaging partner, and I didn’t like seeing him represented as a lout.

      2. PhyllisB*

        If you like Mrs Pollifax you might like Simon Brett’s Mrs. Partenger series. Double check that name. It’s years since I read them and may have it spelled wrong. I just remembered they were very good. Didn’t care as much for his Charles Paris series. I only read a couple of them.

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      I am a huge fan of Donna Andrews’ two series:
      You’ve Got Murder is the first of four featuring an AI as the detective. I believe the genesis was a conference challenge to come up with a truly unique detective. Turing’s creator trained her using mystery novels, as a way to get into how people interact, ideas of right and wrong, etc.

      Murder With Peacocks is the first of 30 (!) in the Meg Langslow series, about a blacksmith with a penchant for organization and a large and wacky extended family. This book takes place over a summer of organizing three weddings. I give real props for the romance storyline as a way real adults work things out (she meets her eventual husband in book 1) and for realistic use of cell phones (a pet peeve with cozies). There’s a bit of massaging of timelines so that people who are elderly in the early books are still able to get into trouble in the later books. In the later books the series has an aspect of idealized community that I just really enjoy immersing myself in.

    12. Captain Vegetable (Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

      Thank you all for the suggestions so far! I am incredibly excited to start diving into some new books.

    13. Annie Edison*

      I’ve been enjoying Mia P Manansala lately! Shady Hollow by Juneau Black was whimsical and delightful as well if you’re up for a murder mystery set in a village of anthropomorphized woodland creatures

    14. Ashley*

      I read The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith about 8 years ago and remember them being delightful. It’s set in Botswana and it was fun to learn about the country as well as follow along in the mystery.

        1. KoiFeeder*

          They’re by Van Gulik, who sadly has not published since the 1960’s. There is a french author writing sequels, but nobody’s translated them to english yet so I must chew on the bars of my enclosure and suffer.

    15. pancakes*

      Elizabeth Daly – Her detective Henry Gamadge is very bookish, which I particularly like, and has a really nice relationship with his wife, assistant, and pets.

      New to me, and I have high hopes for, maybe Carolyn Gold Heilbrun? She taught English at Columbia and wrote academic mysteries on the side under the name Amanda Cross. I’d never heard of her until a couple days ago and based on her wiki page she seems to have been living the dream:

      “Heilbrun enjoyed solitude when working and, despite being a wife and mother of three, often spent time alone at various retreats over the years, including her luxury Manhattan apartment and a country home in upstate New York. She also had a Summer house in Alford, Massachusetts. At the age of 68, she purchased a new home to use by herself, as she wanted a private place.”

      I think Raymond Chandler was often very funny but those are more noir than mystery.

    16. Drago Cucina*

      I lurve the Spellman Files series by Lisa Lutz. This quirky PI family is dysfunctional enough to be funny and endearing.

    17. OxfordBlue*

      The Andrea Camilleri series about Inspector Montalbano is full of clever jokes and sly witticisms.
      Sarah Waldock who has written several series is well worth the reading, try the one based on Jane Fairfax from Emma which is especially good.
      Jill Paton Walsh wrote a good series about Imogen Quy.
      Anne Swinfen wrote a great series about an Oxford bookseller.
      Susanna Newstead is writing a great series about the Savernake Forest.
      Andrew Wareham’s The Pinchbeck Peer and Longway Place are both interesting series.

      1. Happy Thursday-Yay!!!*

        Donna Leon’s commissario bruneti series (similar to the Three Pines books you already like—but in Venice)

        Tony Hillerman’s series featuring Navajo Tribal Police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee in the American SW

        Slightly different bent, Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series (think magic meets Endeavor/inspector Lewis or other masterpiece mysteries London-based mysteries)

        Midevil mysteries series by Ann Swinfin—Oxford a few hundred years before inspector Morse—added plus not only good characters and early CSI-type analysis by folks in Oxford, but each book also focuses on a specific trade or segment of society with titles as the Bookseller’s tale, the Novice’s Tale, The merchant’s tale, etc. (author was a phd in mideval studies).

        PD James (author)
        Inspector Morse (character)

        1. pancakes*

          I’m really getting into Inspector Morse lately. (The show; I haven’t read any of the novels yet). My most-similar TV buddy thinks he’s too cranky and my boyfriend initially did as well, but I won over the latter with the Ghost in the Machine episode. (I started watching it alone but within a half hour or so I thought nah, he’ll like this a lot too, this is the one!)

          1. allathian*

            Yes. If you like Morse, I also recommend watching Endeavour. Shaun Evans does a great job, the longer the show goes on, the more his character starts to resemble the one portrayed by John Thaw.

            1. pancakes*

              We haven’t seen any of it yet but I’ll definitely check it out, and the DS Lewis spin off. He’s very likable on Morse.

        2. pancakes*

          I had a look at the Rivers of London series, which sounds fun – there’s an article from earlier this month saying it’s going to be adapted for TV!

          The description reminds me of a website I really enjoy called Portals of London, which I’ll link to separately. They’re not mysteries, though; they’re more spooky / eerie stories.

        3. Mephyle*

          Speaking of the rivers of London reminds me of Christopher Fowler’s Bryant and May series. It starts with Full Dark House and consists of 13 novels and two short story collections. The overall concept is an Odd Couple of elderly Golden Age detectives in an era of modern technology and modern crimes (or in some cases, crimes that have their origin long ago). Each novel centres on a particular aspect of London history/geography (one of which is London’s lost rivers).

          The writing style is not for everyone, but if it doesn’t put you off, you will likely enjoy this series very much.

        4. Chauncy Gardener*

          PD James is wonderful. For sure some humor there, but not sure if it’s as light as you may want? LOVE her books though. She’s a superb writer

    18. PhyllisB*

      Thanks for asking this question. I love mysteries and have found some new authors to explore.

    19. Autumn*

      This thread is gold, thanks for starting it! My contribution: The Writing Class by Jincy Willett.

    20. Weekend Warrior*

      Robert B. Parker’s Spenser stories. Witty repartee, great recurring characters, and a sense of justice. Some violent descriptions that can be skipped without losing any of the plot. Work through them chronologically to enjoy detailed descriptions of changing fashion, food, and social mores. After Parker’s death new titles are being written by others but avoid these!!

      Emma Lathen! The pseudonym of 2 excellent writers. Banker John Putnam Thatcher solves murders in intricate settings, often with financial angles; a family company, a sports team, among the horsey set, etc. Witty, sardonic stories from the 1960’s to 80’s. If you liked Mad Men settings, you’ll love these. They can be hard to find, even in libraries. I scored an almost complete set of the paperbacks at a second hand bookshop.

    21. pancakes*

      I don’t know how I forgot about him earlier, but Edmund Crispin. Brilliant. It was a sad day when I finished his Gervase Fen series.

    22. Goddess Sekhmet*

      Apologies if other people have suggested these, it’s hard to keep up. I recommend Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody series (I live in Egypt so a particular favourite). New release – The Bingo Hall Detectives by Jonathan Whitelaw, I really liked this. It’s unusual and funny. SJ Bennett writes a series where the Queen is a detective, the first one is The Windsor Knot. Now this one is an outlier and definitely not for everyone – Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish author who has written black comedy thrillers and crime books. I’m never sure if you have to be Scottish to like them though. Kate Atkinson wrote a great series with a main character called Jackson Brodie which are great.

  14. probably sleeping in*

    Folks here who had to improve their running performance for a sport, how did you go about it? I recently signed up for squash lessons and my coach has told me I need to run faster. I am definitely not a fast runner, but what I’ve noticed is that I start out okay and then get tired within 20-ish minutes of playing. This makes my whole game suffer but shows up most prominently in my running speed.

    I’m pretty lost as to how to approach this – do I try to increase the distances I run on my days off from squash, or do I focus on increasing my speed first? If anyone has resources or experiences to share, please do!

    Happy weekend!

    1. too hot go away*

      I’ve had good luck with the following: interval training. I used to run this on a track: one lap as fast as I could possible go, then 1/4 or 1/2 lap walking recovery, repeat. That trains the fast. For the time/distance I did longer, slower runs. I’d look up marathon training programs, or something like that.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      I’d think you should improve your cardiovascular fitness first so you last at your baseline speed longer / don’t tire too soon. I suspect interval training is the way to go.

      In squash (which I’m not particularly familiar) you’re not trying to run for endurance. You need to be quick to get to the ball, stop, and then start again. It’s kind of like sprinting and stopping and sprinting again, right? So intervals would work on that. You’d probably want short intervals at about as fast as you can go with short breaks.

      To be honest, I think sprinting gets faster through improved form which won’t help very much for short bursts in any direction. I’m not sure how you get your baseline explosive run towards the ball for only a few steps faster. I feel like you can train to to stay at top speed longer through a match, but I’m not sure how to improve your top speed much.

    3. Hiker*

      I found couch to 5K very helpful. I used to have the paid app, but I liked the free version better, if either of them even still exist.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      a) Deep water running at a pool, probably with a flotation belt (me) but there are a couple of people (athletic teenagers) at my pool who don’t use one. It’s a good way to build endurance without impact on your knees and ankles. Not as the only thing you do for your particular case, but could be a good addition.

      b) I was rereading an old thread last week and someone commented, vis a vis an interview with a professional poker player but applied to running, about how the first 90% of a given skill you can usually get via determination and hard work. If it really matters, you can become pretty decent at something. The very top levels, moving up to the 1%, rests on details like your specific biology (sports) and breaks (the arts).

    5. TallGuy*

      I’ll be honest…it doesn’t quite sound like you have a running performance issue specifically, but an aerobic endurance issue. (Basically, the slowing down is a symptom, not the entire issue.)

      What I’d suggest is increasing distance. Or, more specifically, increasing time – that is, if you’re running 2 miles at 10:00/mi pace and then you absolutely need to stop (so 20 minutes), work up to going 30 minutes at a time. Even if you need to slow down to 12:00/mi to be able to run for 30 minutes, the extra time active is what you’re after.

      And if the impact is a lot: take up some other aerobic activity! Biking, swimming, anything. Once your stamina increases, you should see improvement.

    6. speed work running*

      I second TallGuy below, I think increasing the distances will help build up a better aerobic base. Decide what distance you’d like to run easily, then add a half mile to your long run every week until you reach it. You could pick a distance arbitrarily (say, 5 or 8 miles) or pick a distance that approximates the time/distance you’d move during squash (so, if you’re spending an hour playing squash, how far could you run in an hour? For me, that’s 6-7 miles at a slow-ish pace).

      But for speed, yes, what too hot go away says about intervals is the way you increase speed in particular. You don’t always have to go a lap –– you could do 200s (a half lap) but should also probably do 800s (2 laps) or even 1000s (2 and a half laps) as fast as you can, which will also build up endurance. You might look and see if there’s a running group that does speed work in particular near you, sometimes having the group can be extra motivating or provide a little coaching.

    7. Camelid coordinator*

      You got a lot of great suggestions already, but here is one more. You might want to add some strength training. My running coach always says the fastest way to speed is strength. There are some running-specific strength workouts on the web, or your coach may want to put something together.

    8. Ranon*

      Nike Run Club app has great training routines both for working on time/ distance and also speed. I don’t even like running and I found having their coaches in my ear really helpful as I tried to get my aerobic fitness back up.

      If you’re aiming for 20-30 minutes a couch to 5k program is a good starting spot and there’s one on the app, or you can just pick runs off similar time/ distance. It’s very useful!

  15. Cat’s Cradle*

    Has anyone here moved a significant distance with a significant number of cats? During the pandemic we took in a litter of four kittens and could NOT find homes for them so finally admitted they were already home. Those four plus our two preexisting cats make six and they all get along incredibly well despite the whole range of personalities. I love it.

    However. We’re committed to moving out of Texas and are looking into several options. One puts us near family on the west coast and I love everything about that except the logistics of getting a half dozen cats there. Especially the one who gets a nervous tummy just going to the vet. I’ve thought about most options from a pet courier (I want to keep them in my sight), three long days with them divided between two extra-large carriers in the car (the ones that span the whole width of the car – will that be enough space?), to winning a small lottery and buying an RV.

    I’d love to hear from anyone who’s been through something like this and survived with all cats still present and not too terribly traumatized. Thanks!

    1. No Tribble At All*

      They make kitty Xanax basically — you can ask your vet for a prescription. It just makes your cats kinda loopy and sleepy, like my mom after 2 glasses of wine. Try it out before the move.

      I have a friend who drive from Colorado to Maryland with her 2 cats. She & her husband worked up to it by just having the cats in the car (she said they’d go to Sonic and have the cats yowling angrily as they ordered from the drive-through!)

      Cole and Marmalade also did a video walkthrough & blog about traveling with cats. They only had 2 at the time, and since they’re professional cat bloggers they really went the whole nine yards but they have some really good suggestions including a DIY cat carrier for the car. I’ll link in the next comment.

      If your cats wear collars and you have iPhones, I’d spring for AirTags for each kitty. Hopefully they’d just be in the car or the hotel the entire time, but I’d like something that could track them in real-time!

      1. Cat’s Cradle*

        Thank you, those are some great leads and tips! They’re all chipped but that doesn’t help us find one that houdinies in a hotel room which was one of the long list of scenarios keeping me up at night.

    2. Svetlana*

      Perhaps you could ask your vet about something to give the kitties to chill them out a little during the journey ? Not sure how you feel about medicating them but that might be your best option.

      Wishing you luck!

    3. RMNPgirl*

      You could rent one of those Cruise America RVs to do the trip with the cats. I only moved cross-country with one, but she did really well with space to move around. I know it’s not as safe as having them in a carrier, but she was fine once we were on the road long enough for her to realize we weren’t going to the vet. She ended up becoming fascinated with semis!

      1. Wicked Witch of the West*

        Several years ago a friend moved from AZ to Atlanta with one if these RVs. She had 3 large dogs, 1 small dog and 2 cats. It worked out great. They have different size RVs, and you wouldn’t need hotels.

      2. Cat’s Cradle*

        Thank you, that’s a great idea! I do like not having to worry about cats in a hotel room. Or three hotel rooms as most have a 2 cat limit.

        1. pancakes*

          We took our cat on several road-trip vacations and never had trouble in hotels, but they were ones we’d selected as destinations, not roadside motels we had to stop at on account of tiredness. I am guessing there are long stretches of road in much of the US that don’t have particularly nice or thoughtfully designed pet-friendly hotels. And, of course, this was just one cat.

          Don’t forget to pack the litter, food, treats, etc. within easy reach, rather than, say, putting them all in the trunk first and burying them under your own bags. We did do that once with litter and had to rearrange it all in the parking lot.

    4. Seal*

      I moved across country (Deep South to Upper Midwest) with 3 cats 5 years ago and everyone came through it just fine. Each cat had their own carrier that sat on top of the boxes in the back seat so everyone could see me and vice versa. There was some initial protesting when we got underway, but eventually they settled down and only occasionally reminded us they didn’t like car rides. One of my boys is very nervous traveler who hides when he sees the carrier, so the vet prescribed a sedative. I put it in his food, but by the third day he figured it out and ate around it, and handled the last leg of the trip just fine without being sedated. When we stopped for gas or breaks my friend and I took turns staying with the cats so we could keep the air conditioning running. There were 2 nights in pet-friendly hotels that were fine, although I made sure to put the Do Not Disturb sign on the door both nights so no one from the hotel would open the door and accidentally let one of the cats out. Once we got to my new house everyone hid for a few days, only coming out at night to explore. Within a week everyone settled in and took over the house like nothing every happened.

      When traveling, make sure you have plenty of food, litter, and water for the cats, as well as paper towels and trash bags. I didn’t put food or water in their carriers because they were too stressed to eat but put it out immediately when we got to the hotels along with the litter box; everyone ate and drank overnight. I’ve always lined the bottom of the carriers with old towels and brought a few extra. My sedated kitty wound up peeing in the carrier one day, so we tossed that towel, cleaned him up, and put in a new one. Also, make sure your cats are up-to-date on their vaccinations and micro-chipped.

      Good luck with your move – the kitties will be fine!

      1. Cat’s Cradle*

        Those are some great tips! And what a scary moment for you and your cat; I’m so glad he’s ok! I have one who can find trouble in an empty room so that’s good to know. He’s the reason we found the litter in the first place as he got himself trapped in an enclosed space. A week later he nearly hung himself with a towel. He’s gotten better but our house is cat-proofed to an almost ridiculous extent.

      2. My Cat's Humsn*

        Veteran of many 8hr car trips with 2 cars. Seconding the recommendation to take turns at rest stops, to keep AC running..

        Re swapping towels lining the carrier if one gets peed/pooped/barfed on: We line the carrier with several alternating layers of towel/kitchen trash bag/towel/kitchen trash bag/etc. Then it’s easy to remove a dirtied towel, usually with cat sill in the carrier.

        We also go with 2 cats = 2 separate carriers. If one freaks out, they are not confined with the other one, possibly a danger to the other, or to us trying to separate them.

        Indoor cats, so at home no collar or tag, but in car each wears a harness with her tags attached – so we can easily attach a leash if needed – and give us something less slippery than fur to grab if needed. A fussy (but not freaking out) cat is sometimes allowed out of carrier – to try petting/quieting them – with leash attached and non-driving human holding leash.

        Best of luck!

    5. Spessartine*

      I moved from Ohio to Colorado with five cats a couple years ago. We debated a lot about how to handle the cats and ended up just keeping them in their individual carriers, but we did have to split them up between vehicles due to space issues (three in the car, one in the uHaul, and one in my parents’ RV which also had the dog). I was *positive* that the cats would be horribly traumatized by the end of it, but believe it or not they were all perfectly fine! As soon as we let them out in the new house they vanished underneath furniture, but after a day or two it was like nothing had happened.

      That said, I do have a couple notes.

      1: We did drug our cats. The vet gave us teeny tiny little pills, and the cats did not like them and we ended up having to manually pill them most days, which was stressful. Also, one of our girls is quite small, and I had a massive scare one morning at the hotel when she went completely limp/unconscious after I got the pill in her. I had only managed to unlock my phone to google “emergency vet” (we were in a tiny little town in the middle of nowhere that probably didn’t even have a vet) when she woke up again. Super groggy, but she was okay. I, however, was *not* okay and I think that was the last day we used any drugs. Honestly, the cats were fine without them. Unhappy, but fine.

      2: Not a single one of our cats went to the bathroom while in the car. The first day, we attempted to let them out of the crates in the car with a litter box, but none of them used it, and then we had cats running around the car trying to get out, and getting them back in the crates was a bear. They all just held it until we got to the hotels and it didn’t seem to do any harm.

      3: Speaking of hotels, be very, very careful if you book cat friendly hotels. In my experience, “cat friendly” just means you can stay there with your cats and they won’t kick you out. MAKE SURE THE ROOM IS ACTUALLY CAT-SAFE! I can’t stress this enough! The last morning of the trip, all three cats that had been in my hotel room with me completely vanished. I finally found them inside the box on which the mattress sits. Some previous cat had torn a hole in the fabric enclosing the space, and all my cats were inside, which I only discovered after sticking my phone in there with the camera on. But that wasn’t the scary part. Other previous cats had partially destroyed the fabric underlayer of the mattress, and one of my cats had gotten all twisted up and stuck in it. It was wrapped around his neck. I think only the fact that he completely freezes when he gets scared is what kept him from strangling himself in a struggle to get free. I had to disassemble the bed to get them all out. It was a rough morning. If I ever had to do it again (please god no), I would probably shut the cats in the bathroom overnight. It would absolutely suck for them but unless I can ensure that the room has *zero* danger spots, I’m not risking it.

      1. Cat’s Cradle*

        Oh, wow, thank you and I’m so glad all yours made it safe despite the adventures! And good to know about the litter box non-use. My old boy can clear out a whole section of the house sometimes (he’s been examined and the vet diagnosed him as “naturally smelly”) and, no lie, I was seriously concerned how we’d handle it if he used the litter box while we were on the freeway.

      2. My Cat's Humsn*

        Re litter box: Similar here – we used to put a small disposable roasting pan of cat litter on floor behind front seat. Only once in many long trips did a cat use it. (So now we bring easily accessible pan/litter JIC but don’t put it out.) They seem to do fine “holding it.” At home we do remove food/water an hour-ish before leaving.

        Re hotel room – yes! Good to check for and block entrances to under or behind the bed. We may have used hotel blankets, pillows, other furniture, to fortify. :)

    6. cat socks*

      Another recommendation for gabapentin. My vet used it on her cats when she did a cross country move.

      You could look into getting a pet playpen to corral the kitties in the hotel room. I have an octagon shaped one I’ve used for foster cats. It’s big enough to put a small litter box, food and water. It’s lightweight and collapsible.

      1. Mid*

        I’d also suggest the liquid form, as I’ve found it much easier to dose the cats with because you can mix it into wet food and they can’t eat around it, or put it in their mouth more easily than a pill, and it’s easier to adjust how much you give. My cat is generally fine with car rides if she isn’t stuck in a carrier, but when driving cross country she needed to be in her carrier, so we gave her a half dose to help reduce anxiety without knocking her out, and if she started getting too stressed we could give her more.

        I’d do a trial run with all the cats in the car and driving for at least an hour to see how they react, and see if a sedative would be helpful. And even if you think they’ll all be fine, I’d still get some just in case. From personal experience, 14 hours with a cat yelling nonstop does a number on the sanity.

        1. Cat’s Cradle*

          The trial run’s a great idea. Four of them are yellers when we do vet visits so really hoping they calm down after some point!

        2. Jackalope*

          If you go the liquid medicine route, here’s my suggestion: put the medication in a syringe and then squeeze it into the *side* of their mouths, not directly through the front. Cats have a natural bit of a gap between their canines and their back teeth, so you don’t have to get their mouths open as wide. It’s also aimed better that way, and easier to get down their throats. Plus having a syringe come in from the side is often less disturbing for them than going down the front.

    7. Sparking Stardust*

      Along with the other ideas, try Feliway pheromone spray to help calm your cats

    8. Eff Walsingham*

      Not quite the same situation, but I was once compensated with a free trip by spending 26 hours in a van with 5 dogs, 3 cats, 1 man and 1 woman. The cats basically seemed to go into stasis in their carriers and were no trouble at all. The dogs, on the other hand, and one of the humans… but that’s another story. It was quite the adventure as it was pre-GPS and -cellephone. As I recall we got turned around in Montreal, where driving is not for the faint of heart, and we were a 3-vehicle convoy including a horse trailer.

      Aaaaannnyway, even through a ferry ride and the fact that the German Shepherd decided that the only place he would sleep was on top of one of the cat carriers(!), the cats were only ordinarily irked by the long car ride. Yes, none of them ate or peed until we let them loose in the house at the end. (The Doberman Pinscher also refused to pee, which stressed out her owner a lot.) And, even though she was a huge animal lover, my Mum refused to hug me until I’d taken a shower because I *reeked* of Nervous Animal upon arrival!

  16. A.N O'Nyme*

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

    Not much for me this week other than some outlining.

    1. Girasol*

      I’ve been stalled while working on a plot that I just can’t seem to get right, but another one popped up fully formed and I’m back writing again, yay.

    2. Elizabeth West*

      This week has been a nope for me also. I’ve been tired physically as well as mentally. But I hope to get some work done this weekend.

    3. Smol Book Wizard*

      I turned in a Critical Role fanfic for a fic-writing exchange! Reveals come out Tuesday and I’m so excited to see the gift I got.

    4. NaoNao*

      Huge leaps forward for me!

      I’ve published a novella and full length novel under my pen name, which is great. But my biggest “score” is the tremendous amount of information I’ve learned doing market and genre research for my pen name genre.
      I went back to my two ‘real name’ books that had been languishing in a dusty corner of Amazon getting zero traction or interest.
      I completely overhauled the covers, rewrote the blurbs, and am using my new formatting software to reformat the actual manuscript (as one of the books had some odd formatting errors that wound up pushing two words together at times likethis which was super frustrating to see in a printed book!). I’ve also used my newly acquired keywords knowledge to completely overhaul my keywords—I was using keywords like “college town” (smh) for a dark academic thriller set in a small New England town.

      My old covers were “fine” but I read an article about passive marketing that basically says your keywords get people to your cover, your cover gets them to the blurb, the blurb gets them to the “look inside” and that gets them to click buy.

      So the cover has to be *perfect* but it also has to tell the reader what kind of book they’re getting. My existing covers were pretty but didn’t convey the type of book. I researched comps and did a soup to nuts overhaul on my covers, using the knowledge I gained making my pen name covers. They look amazing if I do say so myself!

      I am on a hot streak and enjoying every minute!

    5. Henry Division*

      I finished (mostly) and posted my fic’s first chapter on A03 this week >.< It's freaking 90k words and a little bit messy, but I hope at least one person likes it.

  17. 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 went back to Age of Empires II, currently on the Saladdin campaign.

    1. Jackalope*

      I’ve started playing The Forgotten City, which for those who aren’t familiar is a sort of mystery quest in which you end up in an ancient Roman city and have to figure out the rules of the city and what’s going on. I’ve enjoyed it so far, although I got myself to a kind of tense spot and am taking a little bit of a break while I think about what to do next.

      1. Henry Division*

        I had a really good time playing that game while I was recovering from COVID. Hope you enjoy!

    2. DarthVelma*

      Still playing ARK. We’re starting to run into issues with having too many bases on too many maps and not always remembering to check in everywhere and make sure all the dinos have enough to eat and generators haven’t run out of fuel.

      Of course we’re going to make it even worse today. Our goal is to find our big base location for the Fjordur map. Right now we have a starter base on a tiny little island and a small base in a gorgeous purple biome. But there’s this glowy cave my partner wants to check out. So today we decide – glowy or purple. :-)

    3. Phoenix Wright*

      Finished Ghostwire Tokyo after getting all collectibles. It’s mostly a mindless treasure hunt game with a lot of fetch quests, which to me was perfect for unwinding after work. I can recommend it to fans of Japanese culture and supernatural stuff, as long as they’re aware that the game doesn’t have a mindblowing story or a deep combat system.

      Afterwards I went back to Guardians of the Galaxy, which is surprisingly long and a lot of fun. The writers seem to have a great sense for comic timing, because it’s one of the most hilarious games I’ve ever played, up there with Portal 2 and Tales from the Borderlands. I want to finish it so I can move on to other stuff, but I also kinda don’t want it to end because I’m enjoying it too much.

    4. Smol Book Wizard*

      I started Genshin Impact! I am unskilled, uncoordinated, 25% frustrated, and 75% delighted. It’s so blinkin’ pretty, and I now understand why the last convention was overrun with its cosplayers (I refer to them as the Genshinites). I need to get all the friendships and all the lore! And also most of the costumes, for my self in this world to wear.
      I hope the gacha will never become important – it really isn’t at all yet, although I do a Wish now and again with my in-game earnings for the fun of it.

    5. Seeking second childhood*

      I just received Stardew Valley as a gift from my teenager, So I anticipate potatoes in my future. :) Also getting Stray–yay!

    6. Henry Division*

      My partner and I started Dead Cells which is very fun but I am very bad at it (my partner is very good). It’s an absolutely wild game, though.

    7. Books and Cooks*

      Just finished Ghost of Tsushima (which is incredible; can’t wait to start NG+), and am about to start, once again, my favorite game of all time, Far Cry 3. I know it’s old, but I love it so much (for sentimental as well as game/setting/etc. reasons–it was the first game I ever played by myself); I generally replay it about once a year.

      (I wanted to wait to play GoT until we had a PS5, which we finally got for Xmas this last year, and then it took a few months to have time to start it and then several months to get through, what with limited time to play and my habit of spending upwards of 150 hours on these big open-world games. [I put over 300 hours into AC: Odyssey, between game, DLC, and NG+, and enjoyed every minute].)

  18. Pony tailed wonder*

    I am seeking wisdom from the crowd. I recently moved one county over and I am wondering if I should get a new doctor closer to my new home. I have had my current doctor for almost 25 years and am very happy with my health care. It would be an hour an a half drive to the doctor’s office. I have diabetes and cardiovacular problems. I have good health insurance. It’s been so long since I have doctor shopped that I have forgotten what questions to ask but my health has changed so the questions most likely have changed for me as well.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      I hate saying this because it’s hard to do- but I think find docs closer to you now and don’t wait for a problem to come up to start searching. Maybe you can get recommendations from your current docs. My thought is that it’s not just an hour and a half for you, it’s also an hour and a half for them. If you are in the hospital that is just that much longer you’d have to wait for them to get to you. They may decide that you are too far away, also.
      Ugh. I hate saying this, sorry.

      1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

        I like the idea of getting recs from your current docs. Then, maybe look the recommended doctors up on line and see what their patients think of them. Also, you might not have to change over completely if your current doctors are really outstanding. My dad had his local opthalmologist for regular appointments/emergencies and also his big-city fancy opthalmologist for the sophisticated treatment his glaucoma required.

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      NSNR may have a point. Would your doctor continue to treat you if you were admitted to a hospital that far away. He possibly doesn’t have privileges there. IDK

      I was going to say, though, that finding a new doctor you like is hard. If you’re not happy, you have to try a new one at your next appointment whenever that is. Unfortunately friends’ recommendations have not been helpful to me because their great doctors are not taking new patients.

      I very much start looking for a doctor, dentist, optometrist by how close they to me, but if you’re very happy I’d probably stick with the one you know.

    3. RagingADHD*

      Forty-five minutes’ drive is my limit, even for a doctor I love. If I lived in a very rural area where there were very few options that would be different, but I don’t.

    4. Turtle Dove*

      My GP is 45 minutes away and in the next county to the north. He became my GP when he worked in my town, but the healthcare system he works for closed their family practice in my town roughly seven years ago. I still make the drive because I like and trust him and his staff. But the distance is a pain, especially in the snow. And I definitely seek medical care less often than I used to because the drive is prohibitive, and that’s not good as I age. I mostly use their portal to ask questions and request prescription refills, and they’ve been flexible and try to help me so I’m not driving out for routine stuff. I’ve looked around for a new GP in my town or the larger town next door, but most places are full, so I haven’t found anyone yet. The sticky issue for me is that I have to gamble on someone new, have my records transferred to them, and call the new person my doctor before even meeting the person! Ridiculous. But that’s what I was told when I asked point blank how the process works. I try to check online for available GPs (“accepting new patients”) a few times a year in case someone seems worth the gamble. Sooner or later, I’ll make the change.

    5. WorkNowPaintLater*

      You may want to check with your insurance company to see who locally takes your insurance – I usually check online to see who does whenever we move/I get new insurance coverage. Your company may also note if they know who is taking new patients.

      My current dr. is a 45 minute drive in the next county over…but due to my insurance almost no one is covered in my current county of residence.

    6. Squidhead*

      Two thoughts: If the length of drive will deter you from seeing the doctor as much as you used to, then you should probably find someone closer. Also, if your doctor has been in practice for 25+ years they might retire at some point. Maybe they have a handoff plan with other partners, but otherwise you could find yourself starting over anyway.

    7. SoFarSoGood*

      True confession–my primary care doctor is a four hour flight away, in my old hometown. I have some chronic health stuff that we manage together, and I just did not want to educate a new provider when I moved here many years ago. I see him in person up to twice a year when I visit my family. I go to walk-in clinics for non-exciting stuff like antibiotics, which is more convenient anyway. He is happy to provide advice over the phone in an emergency (though not true telehealth because he is not licensed here), and can refer me to local specialists as needed. (If it is complicated enough for a hospital admittance, it is complicated enough to require a specialist or five, so my primary care doc would not be doing more than quarterbacking regardless of my location.) One county over feels really close if you will ever have other reasons to go back.

    8. Dr. Anonymous*

      Start looking now. So many primary care doctors have closed practices now and it will be nice to have someone nearby who knows you if you should have a serious illness.

  19. Janet Pinkerton*

    What’s a weird quirk of how you learn?

    For instance, I can’t “see things in my head” and do my best by imagining things in their relative locations. This makes me great at quizzes like naming every country on a map with one exception—it totally falls apart when I try to remember which island is which (especially in the Caribbean). It’s like my brain goes ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ it’s an island!

    (If given a map I can name Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago, but that’s about it.)

    1. Disco Janet*

      I do subtraction backwards. Instead of mentally thinking of the larger number and subtracting the smaller number, I think of the smaller number and figure out how many more I need to get to the larger number.

      At least, I think this is a weird quirk, my 7 year old who likes to quiz everyone on math facts was horrified by it, haha.

      1. Myrin*

        I think that’s pretty common, actually. I generally do that, too (unless the numbers lend themselves well to simply being subtracted), and (at least in Germany) that’s how, for example, basically every cashier talks about the change you get back so at least here, it’s pretty widespread.

      2. VLookupsAreMyLife*

        SAME – I do it by place-value, starting with the ones & working my way left.

        Ex: 158 – 23 … I start at 23 & go up 5 to get to 28, then I go up 30 to get to 58, then up 100 to get to 158 & that’s how I get to 158 – 23 = 135.

        Ex: 135 – 58 … I start at 58 & go up 7 to get to 65, then go up 70 to get to 135, so 135 – 58 = 77.

      3. Clisby*

        That’s not backwards. It’s just one of the ways to get the answer in subtraction – my children were taught this in school (along with the method of “taking away” from the larger number).

        It’s basically the same as counting back change.

      4. allathian*

        I can do it both ways, thanks to a number of years working retail in my late teens and early 20s, it’s just like counting back change.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      You know that’s called aphantasia? I have it too and it explains an AWFUL lot about how I learn. I didn’t know it existed until I was in my 30s, but yeah, it explains my difficulty with spelling (spent my childhood being told “you should be better at spelling, with all your reading” and being completely confused because…I don’t sound words out letter by letter, so how would that help; that it was possible to picture a word didn’t occur to me), why I am so much better at algebra and arithmatic stuff than geometry, why I can’t draw, why I can’t give directions…

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        … Why I can’t remember faces, why when my husband asks me where the widget is I have to act like I’m physically reaching for it, and in my case, why I read crazy fast :)

        Aphantasics unite!!

        1. Girasol*

          Face blindness has its own name, prosopagnosia. It’s a terrible thing to have as a project manager in…that place…when you can’t recognize anyone in the weekly team meeting and don’t dare let anyone know. You have to guess them by their voices, hints from things they say, and that unforgettable sweater.
          My learning quirk is a fortunate one: My short term memory isn’t quite photographic but it’s close. I can review notes briefly the night before a test and then when I see a question, think “that was on the second page, bottom right, let’s see…ah, I see the answer!” I may not actually learn well but I’m good at tests.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I’m not quite face blind. I just can’t remember what people look like when I’m not looking at them. Like, I can tell you my husband is 6’4” and has black hair and facial hair, but I couldn’t give enough details about his face shape, eye color, the style of his facial hair etc for someone to even really start to draw an accurate representation of him. I might remember that the grocery store cashier’s name tag had a Y in it somewhere, but I couldn’t tell you whether she had dark hair or blonde, long or short, unless it was really distinctive like a bright neon pink mohawk or something.

          2. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

            I can totally relate to the “that’s on the bottom right of the next page” experience! That’s a feature/benefit of prosopagnosia. I remember reading that the same part of the brain recognizes faces and text. Some people have great recall of faces and are terrible at text, some people have great recall of text and are terrible at faces, and some people have a more even split and are okay at both.

            1. Girasol*

              I had no idea those two things were related. So if people just spelled themselves out, I would recognize them!

              1. allathian*

                Thank goodness for Teams/Zoom!

                I’m terrible with names, but I have the opposite of dyslexia in that when I’m learning a new language, I just need to see a word written down once while I listen to someone say it, and I can spell it correctly, even if I don’t know what it means. This includes diacritics as soon as I understand how they relate to pronunciation. Granted, I’ve never attempted to learn a language that doesn’t use Roman characters…

                I’m not exactly face blind, but I have trouble recognizing people from photographs or in an unexpected setting. I also can’t reliably remember names unless I see them in writing. The most reliable way for me to remember them, though, is to write them down by hand myself.

            2. pancakes*

              I relate to that too – often I’ll go back to a book looking for a bit that really stuck with me or that I want to write about or whatnot, and I generally know approximately where to find it that same way. I won’t have a page number (and I’m bad with numbers generally) but I’ll have a visual memory of where it is on the page and where in the book that page is. Unfortunately it’s seldom helped me with school tests! It only seems to happen with things I care about for personal reasons. Which is probably the same reason I don’t retain the rules of card games for more than a couple hours. On some level I just can’t bring myself to care enough to find mental storage for them! A refresher will generally do the trick but I won’t hold on to any of it.

      2. RagingADHD*

        I don’t have complete aphantasia or face blindness, but my mind’s eye is very blurry and vague. (maybe related to being very nearsighted as a small child and not corrected until well into my school years? IDK)

        When I need to write a detailed physical description of anything – a view, a house, an object, a person – I have to find a photo that looks the way I want, and describe the photo.

        Most of my character descriptions are just height, hair color, a notable accessory, and mannerisms.

        1. Owler*

          I think I would be an awful eyewitness. I can recall enough for a picture match, but ask me to use my own words to describe it and I would not be able to think of enough to help.

          1. Clisby*

            Eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. In general, that is. If you testify that you saw your father or your best-friend-since-kindergarten shoot someone, it’s highly likely that you either are speaking the truth or that you are deliberately lying. You’re not likely to be innocently mistaken. But eyewitness identification of a total stranger? I don’t know why juries put much stock in that, but apparently some do.

    3. A.N O'Nyme*

      When learning languages, my brain is usually good at the easy early stuff, struggles a lot with the intermediate stuff…and then my brain basically clicks and I’m pretty much fluent. It’s a bit like if you wanted to change the language on your phone, but you have to download the language first (not how that usually works but just imagine it does for a moment). When the download starts it goes fast, then it’s super slow and then boom, you have it downloaded and can swap to it whenever you want.

      Also, once I can think in a language (meaning I no longer have to translate stuff in my head) I basically know it forever and can swap to it without too much difficulty even if I haven’t used it in a while, which is handy, but getting to that point can be frustrating.

      1. allathian*

        This sounds so familiar it’s uncanny. Sure, my French and Spanish have deteriorated a lot in the last 20+ years, but I doubt I’ll ever drop below intermediate level. I was fluent enough to go on exchange to France for my master’s degree and to study exclusively in French, and later to go on an Erasmus internship to Spain, where I interned in customer service at a chamber of commerce.

    4. AGD*

      My auditory retention is so inferior to my visual/textual memory that if you ask me for instructions or directions or how to spell a word or what someone’s phone number is, I will probably want to give you a piece of paper. If I write out instructions or draw a map or show you how to spell a word or write down someone’s phone number, it will be correct even if I don’t stop to check it even once. If I try to give you this information out loud, it will probably be wrong because I will lose track halfway through of what I did and didn’t already say. I also can’t easily process sequences of details given verbally, unless I write them down immediately. It’s almost all highly visual in my brain and the obstacle is having to translate to/from speech. I’m starting to suspect that when I remember music well, it’s partially based on very abstract visual maps and colors of the musical work in question (I also have sound-to-image synesthesia).

      1. Lore*

        Me too! I am a theater critic as my side gig and everyone always asks me how I take notes in the dark. The answer is it doesn’t matter because I only look at them on the rare occasion I need a quote and didn’t get the script, but if I don’t take notes I don’t remember anything. God help me trying to listen to a plot heavy audiobook.

        1. AGD*

          I know this feeling too! I take so many notes, and then never look at them. But if I don’t, I remember next to nothing.

        2. Imtheone*

          The physical act of writing stores things in the brain, making use of muscle memory. It’s quite different from typing, where you are just moving your fingers to different spaces.

          1. Clisby*

            My fail-safe method for studying math was to take notes in class and then re-write them in a separate notebook. Not only did it reinforce the material, it often made me realize when I should have asked a question about something, so I could do that in the next class.

      2. allathian*

        Apart from the synesthesia, this sounds very familiar. I can’t get anything out of audiobooks, podcasts, or audio dramas, because they just go in one ear and out the other without leaving any traces in my memory.

        Don’t get me started on how much I hate online video courses. Given the choice, I’d much rather just read the material, in half the time and with a much better retention rate.

    5. fposte*

      My brain operates in 2D. That’s become clear as I try to learn more about physiology, where I can understand a joint when I’m looking at the front or the rear but then you start to pivot the thing and I get lost. I blame being a lifelong Midwesterner where flat is the name of the game.

      1. pancakes*

        I think something similar might happen with pilots when they’re driving vs. flying. I dated one once and he could not get it into his head that taking a left exit would indeed have us emerge on the right side of the road, for example, because why wouldn’t you just steer over to the right directly in a straight line?

    6. FACS*

      I’m a medical person and if you tell me someone’s name and occupation their history unfolds in my head.
      And I take paper notes because something about it records it for me.

    7. inkheart*

      Not really learning, but I found through a Nintendo game that I can hear a maximum of 2 voices, so 3 part harmonies are lost on me, even if one starts, then one joins, then the third joins – I can hear 1, and 1+2, but as soon as 3 joins, it all gets “blurry”.

      1. pancakes*

        That’s an interesting one. I’m wondering how much self-testing you’ve tried with non-game music? I’m not a gamer but I would think the recording and playback specs are quite different from, say, a FLAC file of a non-game song played through top-quality speakers. I would expect game music to be more compressed somehow.

        This reminds me of a fascinating article in the New Yorker years ago about a scientist who studies how the perception of time works in people’s brains. He found that really talented drummers are way, way more precise in terms of fractions of seconds than the rest of us. I’ll link separately.

    8. Invisible today*

      I can only learn by linking new facts/concepts to existing ones. Which means that when im learning somwthing completely new, im hopelessly, cluelessly lost until i reach a critical mass of facts at which point all of a sudden it clicks. And then I’ll never forget. Im still surprised that my husband doesnt remember stuff he learned in HS whereas if i learned it well enough to score well on a test then, i still know it now. (His HS grades were better than mine by a lot, but he forgot everything already)

  20. Cat Lover*

    Alison- I’m not sure if this violates your rules. I’m not asking for medical advice and I’m going to keep it non-graphic.

    Have any cervix-owners here had to have a colposcopy done? I’m 27 and had an abnormal Pap smear result. My NP wants me to go to a full gyno to get it biopsied.

    I’m a bit nervous.

    1. Mid*

      I have, and I personally didn’t find it that terrible, but I’m also weird/have a very high pain tolerance. I also didn’t think that IUD insertion or removal was bad. So I’m not sure I’m super helpful in that regard. The whole trip to the office was under an hour, it was a fast procedure. I felt a mild pinch when getting the actual biopsy, less than a bee sting, more than a mosquito bite. They might have used a numbing spray? But I don’t recall for sure. They did some sort of spray wash thing before getting the biopsy.

      1. Colpos*

        Same as you, I have a weirdly high pain tolerance and honestly didn’t feel anything during 2 past colpos. (IUDs aren’t bad either, just a big cramp honestly.)

        One thing I do want to warn you (OP, not Mid) about is that they will put a weird solution on the areas they biopsy which in turn will come out over the next few days (up to a week IME) and it’s kinda weird. Just a head’s up.

        1. Cat Lover*

          Thank you so much :) I don’t have an IUD (I used nexplanon, aka the arm one) so I don’t have that to compare it to, but my usual pap smears don’t hurt.

    2. migrating coconuts*

      Had one done a number of years ago. I honestly don’t remember anything too bad about it. Just the normal discomfort of the usual yearly exam/pap smear.

    3. Red Sky*

      Had one a few years ago, not much different than regular pap and gyn exam. If they do need to do a biopsy, that’s where I had the most discomfort. Not gonna lie, it hurt a lot in the moment (maybe a smidge worse than a wasp sting), but was over in about 2 seconds, and I don’t feel any anxiety about having to get another one if necessary.

    4. Invisible fish*

      Mine apparently hurt more than other people’s, but the doctor is/was a jerk, so that may have impacted things? (My regular doctor was called to an emergency, and he’s in her practice, so he filled in- never again. Ugh.) Even though it was painful, it was only for a moment. It’s very fast.

    5. Hiker*

      Agree with everyone above. It stings a bit, and make sure you have something with you for the inevitable spotting, but I find getting a cavity filled is much worse!

    6. Lucia*

      Have you ever had other issues with responses to gyno procedures? I react badly to anything happening inside that whole area of my body (strong vaso-vagal response; I can mostly tolerate PAP smears but almost passed out when I had an IUD inserted), and find colposcopies to be torture. I always ask for a topical anesthetic, which sometimes helps and sometimes doesn’t.

    7. Annie Edison*

      I’ve had two – the first one I don’t remember having any issues with, the second was a bit more painful. Take a few ibprofen before the appointment (which I forgot to do before the second, which could explain the increase in pain).
      Another commentor mentioned the vaso-vagal nerve? The body can have a weird reaction to having that stimulated, so if you get a bit lightheaded, just know that’s why. You can ask for a few minutes to rest and an icepack or some juice and it will help calm your body back down.
      Yoga breathing helps a lot too!

    8. LK*

      I’ve had two done and found them to be no worse than a Pap smear. The second one they removed some polyps, so a bit of a pinch, but not too bad.

    9. Generic Name*

      I’ve had two. The first was okay, but the second hurt more. If I have to have another, I’ll have my husband drive me and I’ll ask for a topical anesthetic. If you’re feeling very nervous, you could ask for a mid anti anxiety pill (I think it would be Xanax?).

    10. SEB*

      Nervous to reply here and make you more anxious, but since a lot of high-pain tolerance people are responding, let me rep those of us with a low pain tolerance. They did use a topical anesthetic, but I swear that did nothing. My doctor said it would feel like a quick rubber band snapping against me…LIES. It was pretty painful, BUT it’s quick – super quick. So even with a low tolerance of pain, it happened fast and the pain/shock subsided within 20-30 seconds.

      Now, here’s the part to warn you about. I had a vasovagal response afterwards. I had left the appointment, seemed totally fine, sat down in my car and started driving home and somehow I guess the adrenaline wearing off, who knows, but I passed out while driving. I’ve passed out before giving blood and am generally anxious during medical procedures, so honestly, I should have gotten someone to drive me, but it just didn’t seem like a big deal. So, if you’re a regular passer-outer at the doctor, take a friend to drive, otherwise, I think you’ll be A-ok :).

      1. Cat Lover*

        Thank you! I have a.. normal? pain tolerance I guess? I don’t really have any abnormal responses to medical procedures. I had blood taken last week and I don’t feel it at all. I’m desensitized to medical stuff since I’m an EMT, but this is a new procedure for me :)

        Thank you for responding.

    11. Anonogyn*

      Health care person and colpo provider here. The topical anesthetic really helps. As does the method of biopsy, if indicated. We don’t do the “take a bite out” method. There are other options. It is a brief procedure.

  21. Puggle*

    Wallace is indeed resplendent. What a joy he must be. With the highs, comes the lows. My own bundle of joy (dog) has lymphoma. She has been having chemo and we’ve reached what the vet is calling ‘partial stable remission’ having been diagnosed in September last year. Does anyone have any insights on I might expect going forward? She is doing relatively well, except for some ongoing diarrhoea. I recognise we’re on borrowed time, having gotten this far.

    1. SheLooksFamiliar*

      I don’t have advice, and am so sorry you’re both dealing with this. But I’m sending you virtual hugs, and your doggie virtual ear and chin scritches.

    2. Pippa K*

      My beloved old hound had lymphoma some years ago, and while yes, we knew we were on borrowed time, he tolerated the chemo really well and was with us for another 15 months after diagnosis. He had occasional days when he felt sick, but was his normal self almost all the time, and clearly still enjoying his life. When the end came it was a quick collapse rather than a drawn-out decline and difficult decision. I’m grateful it went that way for him, although it was hard (for me) at the time.

      Also, he developed a deep love for candied ginger as a treat after his chemo and whenever he felt ill. Since ginger can help nausea in people, I thought why not try it? And he adored it! (The vet found this weird and amusing but said it was fine to give him.)

      I wish you and your doggie all the best.

    3. ShinyPenny*

      No experience, just a lot of sympathy. My own pup is eleven now, which is pretty old for his size, and he’s just begining to develop old-dog issues. Sigh.
      You never know what this part of the journey will hold. But there will be a lot of love.

    4. Dumpster Fire*

      My first “my own dog” (i.e. not the family dog while growing up) was diagnosed with lymphoma in early May 2000….and I realized just a few days ago that it was the 20th anniversary of his passing. He made it almost 27 months with a variety combo of chemo and radiation. During the last few months, his platelets were low – he was feeling fine – and I think that was actually what led to his death, more than the lymphoma.

      A friend reminded me to think about it as my dog living with lymphoma, instead of dying from it. He didn’t know he was sick, just that he felt kind of punky some days; so I really tried to do the “one day at a time” thing (which is SO not my nature!)

      I wish you and your best good girl smooth sailing in the days and months ahead.

  22. How to short term foster for adult cat*

    Hi
    I didn’t get a chance to respond in real time last week but just wanted to say thank you to everyone for their tips/recommendations about the short term fostering for my adult cat. I spent the week at my friend’s house and we kept her in one room surrounded by things from home and lots of treats and short visits from my friend. She seems to be doing ok and is curious/friendly to my friend. I, on the other hand, burst into tears as I left and had to pull over cause I was crying as I drove away. Hopefully the next couple of months will go well and quickly.

    1. Red Sky*

      I’m glad you were able to spend quality time with kitty at your friend’s house before leaving, I’m sure that has helped kitty adapt to a new environment, and friend. easier. I know it’s hard to be away from our pets, they’re beloved family members, but you’ve set her up for a good mini-vacay while you go ahead and get settled in at your new home. In a couple months she’ll be able to join you, without all the added stress of getting set up in a new country that you’re personally going to be experiencing with this type of big move. When she arrives you’ll have a home ready for her. So perhaps the delay, while frustrating and emotional, has a silver lining?

    2. Numbat*

      Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion grieving her lost husband) or I’ll Take Your Questions Now (being press secretary to Trump and all the accompanying weirdness)

  23. WoodswomanWrites*

    It would be great to get recommendations for first-person memoirs, which I’m enjoying reading. Examples of books that I found to be good reads are Educated by Tara Westover, Steven Callahan’s tale of his survival Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea, Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat, and my current read One Hundred Names for Love by Diane Ackerman. I think it’s easier to describe topics that aren’t of interest than those that might be so off the top of my head, my no-go topics are violence, making money, academics, and celebrities. I love nature themes. I find survival stories interesting if they’re not bloody. I tend to find that good writers can make many topics interesting and I welcome your suggestions.

    1. Weegie*

      The Foundling by Paul Joseph Fronczak is absolutely riveting. If it were fiction, it would be completely unbelievable – but it’s all real. He also has a good website with updates on the mystery at the heart of the memoir.

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson is really great. It’s about growing up as the adoptive (gay, closeted) daughter of ultra-religious parents in the north of England in the 1960s, which she previously wrote about in the novel Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit.

    3. too hot go away*

      Biking:
      Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road, Kate Harris
      Miles from Nowhere, Barbara Savage
      Setting up a farm:
      Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucía, Chris Stewart
      a classic:
      a year in Provence, Peter Mayle
      Labrador:
      A Woman’s Way Through Unknown Labrador: An Account of the Exploration of the Nascaupee and George Rivers, Mina Benson. Hubbard
      — there’s also a memoir of a woman who recreated this journey in the 1990’s or very early 2000’s that wasn’t a bad read, but I’ve forgotten the title/author.

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        Have you read “French Revolutions”? It is a hysterically funny biking memoir.

      2. allathian*

        Seconding Driving Over Lemons, it’s fabulous!

        Gerald Durrell’s books are old, but most of them are quite fun to read. The ones about his childhood in Corfu are probably familiar to many people, but I also enjoyed the books where he described setting up the Jersey Zoo, and the collecting expeditions he organized to various parts of the world, especially South America and Africa.

    4. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m a fan of Deborah Levy’s Living Autobiography (in 3 books: Things I Don’t Want To Know, The Cost of Living, and Real Estate which I just started). She writes beautifully and has many deep, intelligent and wise things to say. I find her words very calming, even when she describes struggles in her life, and find myself wishing I had an older woman that thinks and talks like her in my life.

    5. Podkayne*

      Three of the most memorable autobiographies/memoirs for me:
      1. Adventures of a Bystander, by Peter Drucker, 2. Coming of Age in Mississippi, by Anne Moody, and 3. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl.

    6. Camelid coordinator*

      I love memoirs too! If you haven’t read The Solace of Open Spaces you might enjoy it. This year I loved Lost & Found. My minister side really liked “Here if You Need Me,” by the chaplain to the game wardens in Maine.

    7. Old and don’t care*

      West With the Night by Beryl Markham. Not quite as much flying as you might expect, and more about growing up in Africa. A fair amount of flying, though.

      National Geographic Adventure magazine had an issue with the “100 Best Adventure Books of All Time” that you might enjoy perusing. I’ll post the link in a follow up comment.

    8. GoryDetails*

      I loved all of Tony James Slater’s humorous travel/adventure memoirs, covering various parts of his life from a stint as a volunteer at an animal-rescue organization in Ecuador to traveling around Australia with his sister and her best friend in a barely-holding-together van. He’s snarky and adventurous and cheerfully self-deprecating, and I enjoyed his accounts very much. [There are audiobook versions that are well-narrated by Tim Campbell.] The books start with THAT BEAR ATE MY PANTS.

    9. Bluebell*

      Suleika Jouad’sBetween Two Kingdoms is about her surviving leukemia and then traveling. Grace Cho writes about her relationship with her immigrant Korean mother in Tastes Like War. Even though some parts are terribly sad, I loved Crying in HMart by Michelle Zauner, and though it’s not technically a memoir, A Woman of No Importance about spy Virginia Hall is fantastic. She was amazing, and I had never heard of her.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      Bill Bryson’s The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid about growing up in Iowa in the 50s and 60s, and A Walk in the Woods about attempting to hike the Appalachian Trail.

      I frequently reread his In a Sunburned Country about visiting Australia. Particularly resonant for me because we were in Australia at the same time and yes, that was quite a rainy season.

      1. AY*

        Bill Bryson is my favorite living author! I haven’t read all of his books yet, but I plan to read one a year until I make it through his whole backlist.

    11. ThatGirl*

      It’s not quite first person, but I really loved Anne Serling’s book about her father, Rod.

    12. Formerly in HR*

      ‘Desert Flower’ by Waris Dirie, ‘The Measure of a Man ‘ – Sidney Poitier, ‘Never have your dog stuffed’ – Alan Alda, A hundred and one days’ -Asne Seierstad, Ron Suskind -‘Life, Amimated’, Gerald Durrell – The Corfu Trilogy

    13. Astoria*

      Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Story of an Owl and His Girl, by Stacey O’Brien. A biologist adopts an injured baby barn owl. She has an interesting, informative story.

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        OMG. Love this book! Also, The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery, as well as everything else by her…

    14. Hotdog not dog*

      Bicycling With Butterflies by Sara Dykman. She travels the path of the migrating monarch butterflies from Mexico to Canada and back via bicycle, solo trip, no support van just occasional volunteers along the way. I read this book last winter and it inspired me to put in a pollinator garden this spring.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also on butterflies: The Fallen Stones by Diana Marcum. She went to Central America to help run a butterfly farm.

    15. OTGW*

      Crying in H-Mart by Michelle Zauner. It’s a tear jerker, but I found it really interesting.

    16. Water Everywhere*

      Commenter too hot go away mentioned Labrador which nudged me to recommend a favourite of mine: Northern Nurse by Elliott Merrick. It’s written in the voice of his wife, Kate Austen, about her experiences as a nurse in Labrador in the late 1920s just before they met. Engaging, touching, funny, just an all around good read.

      Another good read: Love Lives Here by Amanda Jetté Knox. Both her child & her spouse come out as trans and the book takes us through the struggles of this family basically reinventing itself and becoming ultimately stronger & happier for it.

    17. asdf*

      beautiful country by Qian Julie Wang – about being undocumented in NYC as a young child

    18. LBD*

      “A Pioneer Gentlewoman in British Columbia: The Recollections of Susan Allison”.
      She writes so matter-of-factly about the astounding challenges she faced living a life very different from her upbringing. She arrived by ship from England in her mid teens, with her mother, stepfather, and sister, and once married threw herself wholehearted into her husband’s world of homesteading and ranching in a remote area.
      The actual memoirs are short; the notes and introduction are longer, but she is an engaging writer and I have read my copy several times!

    19. Frankie Bergstein*

      Shrill, by Lindy West
      Negin Farsad’s autobiography
      Unbowed, by Wangari Maathai (nature theme!)

    20. Foxgloves*

      Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer is incredible. I’ve also recently heard good things about Leaving the Witness by Amber Scorah.

    21. Fellow Traveller*

      In the same vein as Wild, I thought The Salt Path was really good.
      Also – kind of all on the same topic (Death Row and the American justice system) The Son Does Shine, Just Mercy, and Dead Man Walking were all really really good.
      The Long Haul by Finn Murphy written by a long haul truck driver.
      The Desert and The Sea by Michael Scott Moore, a journalist who was captured by Somali pirates. Surprisingly funny.

    22. WoodswomanWrites*

      Wow, y’all are fantastic, thank you! As a slow reader, I think I’ve got enough recommendations here to last me for decades.

    23. Chauncy Gardener*

      Have you read any Bill Bryson? He’s hysterical, for one thing, and really connects to place, which you may like.

    24. Charlotte Lucas*

      This is old, but Rose Marie (of Dick Van Dyke Show fame) has a really fascinating memoir. I read it years ago, & she really had an interesting life.

  24. Bella*

    Sims 4 enthusiasts! Do you need a computer to play it or is it sufficient with a laptop? My ten year old Mac can’t take it anymore with just the base game + 2 expansion packs and I have my eye on at least three more expansion packs.
    Any recommendations? Is it enough with a gaming laptop? (I don’t want a Mac again) Thanks in advance!

    1. A.N O'Nyme*

      A gaming laptop should suffice, yes – many of them come pretty close to desktop computers. Though considering the code for the Sims 4 seems to be held together with duct tape and hope, it may still have a lot of quirks.

    2. aubrey*

      A gaming laptop will be able to handle lots of expansions plus a significant mod list no problem – that’s what I have, with several expansions and a ton of mods. A standard laptop (not the cheapest but not gaming) should be fine for the base game plus a few expansions.

    3. OTGW*

      An Asus gaming laptop would be a good bet. I use my husband’s old one for it, and it works like a dream. My husband has a newer one and it plays high quality games extremely well.

    4. Raboot*

      The things to look for in a laptop are a decent CPU (more common) and a graphics card (less common).

    5. Disco Janet*

      I play Sims 4 on my laptop – it’s not quite a gaming one, but also isn’t a basic one – I want to say I spent about $700 when I bought it a few years ago. It’s an HP.

  25. Rufus Bumblesplat*

    I posted a few weeks back for advice on driving anxiety.

    I just wanted to say thanks again to everyone who chimed in with advice. I was expecting to have to wait a while, but it seems like my timing was good and the driving instructor I contacted had an opening available. I had my first lesson with him 2 days ago.

    I was anxious to the point that my Fitbit insists I was exercising for the entire lesson, but I managed to get through it without crashing or running anyone over so I guess that’s as good a start as I could hope for? :’) I think I’ll get along well with his teaching style, and he reckons I’m teachable, so with luck, perseverance, and time I’m hoping I’ll be able to get my licence eventually.

    1. Not So NewReader*

      This is a big step- congratulations! Yes, as long as you listen to and follow instructions you will remain teachable! :)
      My instructor had me back into a parking space that was so tight neither one of us could open our doors. I still dunno how he did that from the passenger’s seat. But I ended up being able to park in most spaces without too much concern. My point is that I hung on to his every word and did exactly what he said. I still chuckle at the thought that HE knew I could do it, even when I was loaded with doubt.
      Decades later when I was helping a friend get her license, I could see it myself. I could see what challenges she was up for and would be successful at. We did not park in any tight places, though. ha. Trust your instructor to have a really good sense of where you are at and what you will have success with each time you go out driving. Eat some extra proteins before you go so you have that extra “fuel” in your body for all that “exercising” you are doing.

      1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

        Thank you!

        I’m definitely listening, but following instructions was occasionally a little hit and miss as I was having difficulty trying to get hands and feet and brain to cooperate in a timely manner. He did say that he’s had other first lessons go a lot more poorly than mine, so that was reassuring to me.

        1. Not So NewReader*

          He’s got a brake pedal on his side of the car. He has final say! I’d say if he did not reach for the brake pedal at all you are doing well. If he reached once or so, you are still doing okay- keep going.

          1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

            He had to do a couple of light taps, but nothing major. The only emergency stop was the one he had me perform deliberately at low speed to make sure I knew how to do it.

    2. Laura Petrie*

      Yay, well done.

      I used to have mini panics during my lessons all the time. I also used to hold my breath when I changed gear or had a relatively difficult manoeuvre. I don’t do that now and can look back and see how far I’ve come since January.

      If I could reliably find 5th gear I’d be happy though!

      1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

        So far 3rd gear is my favourite one to find. Not that I’ve tried getting up to 5th, but I didn’t expect to in lesson 1! Hopefully I might be marginally less stressed in my next lesson? I’m hoping I can be like you and it becomes easier with practice.

        1. Laura Petrie*

          I didn’t get up to 3rd until several lessons in so yay, well done you. I hope you’re giving yourself plenty of credit for how well you’ve done getting this far!

    3. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

      Congratulations! I’m so very happy for you for being brave and going forward with this. Keep up the great work! : )

      1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

        Thank you, though I’m not so sure about brave, I still feel rather petrified behind the wheel. :’)

        1. Squirrel Nutkin (the teach, not the admin)*

          Hey, you were scared, and did it anyway — that is super brave in my book! : )

        2. allathian*

          Yeah, courage is all about overcoming your fears, rather than never being afraid in the first place, which is a pretty surefire recipe for recklessness.

    4. WoodswomanWrites*

      Hooray for moving forward so well even when it’s scary! From a former anxious driver as an adult learner, you’ve got this!

  26. Glasses Are Cool*

    Looking for advice from people who have experience buying glasses online.

    Many years ago, I bought a pair of half rim glasses from Zenni to wear occasionally when I didn’t want to wear contacts (like if my eyes are irritated or tired at the end of the day). Never liked them because the frame looked too wide on my face and the nose pads were annoying to clean and felt uncomfortable. I adjusted the pads so that they were spaced out more, but still find them uncomfortable.

    I’ve been needing to wear glasses more and more recently (dealing with insomnia), so I bought a pair of full rimmed glasses in a narrower frame without nose pads. They seem to fit my face better, but the bridge (18 mm) is uncomfortable. I’m a very petite woman, so it’s hard to imagine I’d need an extra wide bridge. (There really aren’t many options for small frames with wide bridges that that fit my PD range…and the bigger the bridge and temples are, the more likely they are to slide down your nose from what I read.)

    So, has anyone had problems with getting glasses that were comfortable for your nose? Did you just need a lighter frame? Are glasses always going to be uncomfortable because I don’t wear them regularly?

    (Note: I don’t want to buy eyeglasses from my optometrist because they’d be super expensive and I don’t have vision insurance to cover any of the cost. Already have issues with my optometrist trying to convince me to buy contacts from her even though they’re way more expensive than online.)

    1. Rufus Bumblesplat*

      I’ve not bought glasses online as my rx is tricky enough that I don’t trust myself to get it right.

      I was wondering if you’ve had the arm bend of your glasses adjusted? I need a wide fitting frame, but don’t need a huge amount of depth. I always need the arm bend adjusting to sit more neatly behind my ears. It does help with the sliding issue.

      If you don’t wear glasses regularly it may be why they don’t feel so natural to you. Are you able to describe what feels uncomfortable? If the weight of them on your nose is causing discomfort a lighter frame and thinner lenses may help. If they’re pinching your nose a wider bridge could be what you need

    2. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      Try bringing them to a LensCrafters or other place that does free adjustments. Just like with back pain – sometimes the *source* of the pain isn’t located anywhere near the actual pain. They might be able to adjust the arms around your ears and you’ll find that it sits more comfortably on your nose!
      I always buy my glasses online now, and I almost always have to get them adjusted. I don’t know if my ears are crooked or what, but they’re never straight on my face when I get them. Something like that could definitely cause a spot of pressure on the bridge of your nose!

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Echoing this. Having a professional adjust my glasses is essential, even when I’ve bought them in person. And when I’ve later had a problem, such as a screw falling out of the frame, I’ve taken them to any glasses store and they’ve fixed and sized them again at no charge. The only time I was charged after a glasses mishap, it was only $10.

        I also want to chime in on the issue about weight on the nose. I have this exact sensitivity and ended up purchasing the lightest yet durable frames I could find, which were metal and not plastic. I have my day to day glasses and reading/computer glasses, plus a spare for the reading glasses when there was a sale on spare frames.

        My daily glasses are titanium and the reading ones are some sort of flexible metal. Although the frames were initially pricey, they’re so bomb-proof that I’ve had all three for 15 years. I’ve sat on them and dropped them and they’ve always been fixable, and they’ve ultimately saved me money because they don’t break. When my vision has changed, I’ve only had to replace the lenses.

      2. nobadcats*

        During college, I worked as a dispensing optician. I was the person who helped you pick out your frames and adjusted them, measured your PD (with a stick, not a machine… I think I still have one floating around here 30 years later), used the tonometer to test your eye pressure, taught you how to insert and remove your contacts… basically, everything the optometrist/opthamologist doesn’t do. Pro Tip: the eye doctor has been out of school so long, they really don’t know how to adjust frames anymore.

        A good optician knows that everyone’s face is crooked and their ears are not at the same height. If you see your optician put your frames on the dispensing table and make them square, ask for a different optician. They’re adjusting to the flat surface of the table, not your face and ears.

        As for temples (not arms, not stems, not ear holders), I think the average length for them is still 120-150mm (at least that’s what I’ve seen when purchasing new frames), mine are 140. MOST people need them adjusted over and behind the ears with a little twist at the bridge or at each temple to match the differing heights of your ears. A good optician will feel the ends of the temples around your ears to ensure they’re resting comfortably atop your ears, and holding snugly (not tight) behind your ears.

        I advise against adjusting plastic/polymer frames yourself, we have a bin of heated glass beads in the lab to warm up the frame so we don’t snap it.

        And if you’re looking for measurements, the left temple should have three numbers in a row. Mine, for example are: 53/16/140. That’s lens height (very important for people who have bifocals or progressives), bridge width, and temple length.

    3. AnonAgain*

      Costco and Sams Club have eye glasses, cheaper than optometrist office and cheaper than Lenscrafters. You may find it worth the membership fee to get pricing like online, but ability to try on in advance and get recommendations and fitting. I got mine at Costco) Also Warby Parker has stores in some cities. Good luck!

    4. ThatGirl*

      Try Warby Parker. They send you up to 5 frames at a time to try on, so you can get a sense of how they look at home. I bought glasses this way and it was easy. I did get the earpieces adjusted in person because they were sliding down my face – they bent the earpieces back further and it helped immensely.

    5. fposte*

      I’ve bought glasses online with reasonable success. For me the key was building the size, measurements, and other details on existing pairs that worked for me; I don’t know how well I’d do if my first glasses were online. If you’ve never bought in-person glasses, I might bite the bullet and do that for a pair and then model on them after that.

    6. Owler*

      Are there any other in-person stores in which you could take your prescription and buy glasses? I find the in-person fitting makes a huge difference in how my glasses fit. And perhaps once you have a pair you like, you can use those measurements to buy online.

    7. Seeking second childhood*

      As an in between thought is there a membership shopping club near you that you have considered joining? Places like BJ’s and Costco both sell prescription eyeglasses; some locations have medical staff to do the exams. They are less expensive than mall stores and medical offices, but may not be not cheap enough to offset the membership price if you weren’t already joining.

    8. Dwight Schrute*

      Eye buy direct lets you filter by bridge size I believe, so you could measure yours and see what may fit better

    9. Grits McGee*

      Another small face here- the last time I got glasses from Zenni, I ended up getting child-sized frames, and they worked out great. I prefer the solid plastic frames, and they were a little tight the first couple times I wore them but they eventually stretched out to the perfect, snug size.

  27. Cookies For Breakfast*

    The commute backpack that served me well for 5 years is starting to fall apart, and it’s time to replace it. I’d love recommendations for a backpack that can hold:

    – 13 inch Macbook and charger
    – Plastic box with packed lunch (I think this means I need a backpack more than 14cm deep)
    – A tote bag with my exercise kit (rolled up T-Shirt and leggings, fabric chalk bag, and once I get round to buying them, climbing shoes)
    – Wallet
    – 500ml water bottle
    – A book
    – Various smaller bits (pack of tissues, face masks, office pass, pens, mini portable brush, earphones, loose makeup items)
    – Umbrella on grey days
    – Sunglasses case (only in spring or summer, but mine looks like a box rather than a sleeve, so it takes up space)
    – Optional: with warm weather, an extra jumper to wrap up in the evening (but this is the UK, so most of the time I’ll be wearing the jumper, or going out with a jacket on).

    Budget up to £150 (though that’s already a stretch), size between 15-20L. My current backpack is a smart leathery material I like, and while I’m not opposed to fabric, I don’t want a bag that looks very sporty. Thanks in advance!

    1. Laura Petrie*

      I love my Fjallraven Kanken. They do one now that is designed to hold a laptop, although my laptop fits in my older bag

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Thank you! I remember looking at the Kanken ages ago but probably stopped at the size that was too small. I’ll see if I can check one out now at a store.

    2. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

      It sounds weird, but anytime someone needs a work bag that can hold a ton of stuff and keep it organized, I always recommend a diaper bag. Some of them are absolutely beautiful and you’d never know they were originally meant to carry baby stuff! Tons of pockets (some of them insulated), water bottle loops, comfortable to carry, and I have seen them in both backpack style and in leather (or at least faux leather).

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        It doesn’t sound that weird to me! As long as I can distribute the weight between two shoulders, anything goes. Do you happen to remember the brands of the beautiful ones you’ve seen?

        1. St. Mary’s Institute of Historical Research*

          I don’t, but if you search on Amazon for “diaper bag backpack” you should be able to get an idea what’s available… not sure your style but they go from sporty to preppy to super fancy!

          1. Cookies For Breakfast*

            I googled a few quickly on the train and see what you mean. Some of them have very nice designs, and kind of ruin things for me with brand name tags that are very baby-related (I know, it’s just a patch stuck on a bag…but I hardly ever wear anything with a visible brand tag, and when I do, it’s got to be the most unassuming ever). I like the Fawn Design ones a lot and saw Anthropologie might stock them here, not enough time to stop by today though. Saving that for another time!

      2. Paddy O'Furniture*

        Not weird, but not something that most people would think of. It sounds like an excellent suggestion worth pursuing.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I’m a big fan of Osprey packs. I have a small one that holds less than you describe but is perfect for laptop + purse + book + a few items; my husband a larger one that is probably about what you’re aiming at; and the first ones we bought were designed to carry all your gear for a week. (For a trip to Costa Rica.)

      One thing I really like, beyond super sturdy construction, is that they have useful handles and the right number of pockets. Not so many you can’t remember which one seemed logical for the ibuprofin, but enough for the pack to lend itself to a variety of configurations and I can remember where I tucked the Kleenex or Kind bar.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Thank you! I’ve read very good things about Osprey bags indeed. I’m afraid, though, that the design of the ones I’ve seen is what I’d consider too sporty for my taste. After a trip to a few shops, I think I’ll keep an eye out for sales on Away backpacks in the future, unless something similar in design but cheaper comes up sooner.

    4. T. Boone Pickens*

      They might be too sporty for you but Herschel Supply company makes some pretty fantastic bags and they would fit in with your listed budget.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Thanks, and you’re right – not quite what I’m after. I admire them often on other people, but they’re not as compact as I’d prefer for myself. My partner got given a backpack that looks a lot like a Herschel at a work event, and it feels quite bulky when carried around, but it might just have the space I need in the short term without buying another that looks very similar. I plan to use it on gym days while I wait for the Away bags I have my eye on to go on sale.

    5. HHD*

      Late to the party but knomo might fit your needs. I have one of their very slimline packs, but they have a much larger range now. Mine has dealt with 4 years of abuse pretty well.

      I also second herschel supply, because their options are endless and they stand up to rough commutes

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Thank you! I totally get why you’re recommending Knomo, it was the first brand I ever looked at when looking for the first bag years ago. The Beauchamp would be right up my street, but it’s narrower than other options I’ve looked at and wouldn’t fit my lunch unless I tilt the box vertically (tricky as my lunch is soup, sometimes).

    6. RosyGlasses*

      Timbuktu is my go to – and they are a local ish to me company so I take that as a bonus. I like that they are slimline but still hold quite a bit. I’ve used it as a carryon as well as work pack.

    7. The Other Dawn*

      Is that same backpack still sold? Why not just buy it again? Or is there something about this one you don’t like?

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I need a larger one now, probably around 18-20L to the current one’s 14. Otherwise, I’d definitely buy the same one again.

    8. Lady Alys*

      I don’t know what their shipping situation is, but TomBihn dot com (San Francisco, CA USA) makes fabulous bags in a wide range of styles. I have used the medium Cafe Bag (not a laptop bag) for years and it looks brand new. Their logo patch is not obnoxious either :-)

  28. Myrin*

    Short version: My friend used her well-known blog to talk about a dream she had which was basically an expansion/background lore of an existing media franchise. People loved it and drew art of it, added their own headcanons, etc. Now some guy is making and selling plushies whose design is clearly an amalgamation of a lot of the fanart people drew and whose basic idea, of course, stems from my friend. He doesn’t mention either in the plushies’ description. She’s already contacted him and received a rude answer with him claiming he was only a little inspired by the art and he came up with most of the concept independently and that it’s all been his idea. Given that the original franchise is a commercial property my friend has no ties of ownership to, does she have any recourse here at all?

    (I’ll post a longer version with links as a reply.)

    1. Myrin*

      Longer version: My online friend, who is somewhat famous in certain circles of the internet, had a dream and made a tumblr post about the teletubbies you can see in the children’s show being the babies of their kind with adult teletubbies being metres-high giants with complex antlers and a sinister aura roaming the woods. I want to say this was about two years or so ago? People on tumblr took to the idea like nobody’s business and immediately started drawing ominous and fantastic art of it, all being sent to my friend for her to see and maybe even comment on. A lovely community effort which has been coming up again and again every few months.

      As these things go, though, the concept left the circle of those familiar with its source and people began reposting the art to sites like reddit or imgur, often without crediting anyone. My friend knew about this and was annoyed, mostly on the artists’ behalf, but figured she couldn’t really do anything about it.

      However, about three weeks ago, someone contacted her to let her know that some guy is making plush toys of exactly the adult teletubby variety my friend came up with, and is selling them. My friend didn’t know what to do since she obviously doesn’t own the teletubbies franchise and isn’t generally someone to come down too hard on others without knowing the exact circumstances. So she took to her community for advice and ended up simply contacting the guy, assuming ignorance and the best of intentions on his part.

      Well, turned out he chose to indeed play the “ignorance” card but also being a massive dick about it. He says this doesn’t have anything to do with my friend or the countless designs made by others which simply “inspired him a little”. In fact, my friend made it public only a few days ago that he said “his intellectual work has been so original and independent, and he’s done so much of his own world building, that he now entirely owns the concept and it is separate and independent of work made on tumblr”. Everybody is aghast by this brazen approach but nobody knows what to do. My friend is mostly annoyed on behalf of the people who came up with original designs for the fun of it and now there’s some rando taking credit for and making money from them, but she’s also not too happy with her idea being used like this.

      This is the original post where my friend got contacted about this whole business, with her reaction and a few updates already included; there’s also a link to a twitter thread she made on the topic. And here is the latest post on it from only a few days ago, detailing her inner conundrum a bit more.

      Is there anything she can do here at all and what could or should be the takeaway from all of this?

      1. fposte*

        With the additional info I would guess this is a grayer legal area, in that there could be an argument made for hers/the artists’ being a transformative work, which is an intellectual property loophole. Whether it’s a loophole she’d fit through or not would have to be parsed by actual lawyers, and ones who practice in the relevant areas of the planet; my guess is it’d be harder to prove her rights to anything here than the artists whose work got copied, but IANAL anywhere at all.

        I don’t think it’s utterly unreasonable for her to be somewhat annoyed; there’s often a silent (or even stated) “do not monetize” code in some sharing spaces, and he’s broken that. (I remember somebody I knew selling off-air tapes in a culture where they were traded for the asking, and that was similarly offputting.) But I don’t think that’s a really deep wrong, and that’s always the risk you take of public collaboration with media. So I would encourage her to say to herself that this was a bummer and he’s a jerk but it’s a waste of energy to focus on this any longer.

        1. Lilo*

          The problem is you generally don’t have rights in a derivative work unless you have permission from the original copyright holder to create a derivative work.

          But again, this is NOT legal advice. I have NOT done due diligence. Your friend, should seek her own legal advice.

          1. Lilo*

            I should note a fun example where derivative work came into play. Glee once copied an arrangement of the song “Baby Got Back” made by Jonathan Coulton, to the point they repeated a lyric change Coulton made referencing his own name.

            However, the license under which Coulton recorded his version did not give him legal rights to the arrangement. He had rights in his recording (which is a separate copyright) but not his rearrangement itself. Without the right from the original copyright holder to create a derivative work, he didn’t own the arrangement at all. It was sketchy, but legal behavior on the part of Glee.

          2. fposte*

            Understood. I’m speaking more generally, knowing that Myrin isn’t in the US and her friend may not be either, so US law may not apply here. And my gut reaction is still that it’s likely to be viewed as somebody complaining about their ripoff being ripped off.

      2. pancakes*

        On some points (mostly the reposted fan illustrations, I suppose) it seems like she’s more worried about trying to enforce other people’s intellectual property rights than they are themselves. I’m not sure clear on what she wrote to the guy or wants him to do, if anything, or what she wants to do with her own drawings, if anything. If she wants to try to monetize her own drawings or posts (as parody or satire?) posting them on Tumblr is probably not the best way to do so.

        This stuff gets especially complicated because US copyright law and trademark laws often dominate discussions of this type of thing online, but other countries have their own intellectual property laws as well. In France, for example, there is something called droit d’auteur that we don’t really have an equivalent to in the US.

        If she wants to ask specific things of this guy, she’s going to need legal advice on what she has a right to ask of him.

      3. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Not legal advice, but legal information:

        In U.K. copyright law, if you don’t have the licence (permission) to create an adaptation (“derivative work” in the U.S.), and unless that licence includes ownership of the copyright of that adaptation, then the person who made the adaptation has no copyright to protect as against anybody.

        Also, a mere, vague concept doesn’t qualify for copyright protection at all. However, a piece of art inspired by that concept, and also based on a copyrighted work that sparked the concept, might infringe on the rights of the owner of the copyrighted work. The question would be how transformative that object is from the original work. A court would have to decide whether a “substantial part” of the original work remains in the object, in order for the object to sustain a copyright challenge.

        The rules are essentially the same in the U.S., except that an accused infringer tends to have more leeway in a transformative work defense than in other countries.

    2. Lilo*

      This is not legal advice. This kind of thing is very fact specific so she needs to talk to an attorney specializing in IP, sorry. There are some details here which, if this came in front of me, I’d want to thoroughly chase down.

      1. Not So NewReader*

        IANAL. But I am a low risk taker- so that is my bias. I don’t think either one of them are on solid ground and that is based on my risk aversion that I have. She should talk to a lawyer.

    3. fposte*

      I agree that it’s a question for lawyers in her jurisdiction, but I don’t see much grounds for “your media ripoff rips off my media ripoff.” (That sounds like I have a hate-on for fan media that I don’t, but I think to the court that’s basically how it will look.) That’s especially true since he doesn’t seem to have copied *her* design.

      If it’s a genuine OC, she’s probably got more grounds, but I would bet that no matter where she is, suing about intellectual property is an expensive and lengthy proposition.

    4. Bexx*

      IANAL, but I don’t think your friend has any rights here. From my understanding, she took an existing property, came up with her own twist (expansion/ background) and then monetized it through her blog. Other people added their own art. And now someone else is expanding further in a different direction (make plushies) that’s based on that art, and she’s upset?

      It does sound like the guy was rude, but I don’t think your friend really had grounds to reach out in the first place.

      1. Myrin*

        My friend didn’t monetise it in any way – she just talked about it because it was fascinating! I don’t know what exactly in my comment made you think that but for anyone else reading who might be confused: the only person getting money out of this is the plushie maker.

        1. Glomarization, Esq.*

          To clarify a point that I see misunderstood many, many places on the internet, “I didn’t monetize it” is not a defense to a claim for infringement, whether in U.S. copyright law (fair use) or the U.K. (fair dealing).

    5. Still*

      I have no idea, but maybe the Organisation for Transformative Works’ legal team might be able to help? OTW are the people running Archive Of Our Own and they do a lot of fandom research and advocacy. A link to follow.