weekend open thread – August 27-28, 2022

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

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: The Foundling, by Ann Leary. A young woman in the 1920s gets a job at an asylum for women and begins to unravel the dark truth of what’s happening there.

I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 1,261 comments… read them below }

  1. Free Meerkats*

    Is anyone here other than me going to attend Chicon (Worldcon 80) next weekend? If so, let’s plan an AAM get together.

      1. Chilipepper Attitude*

        I’m assuming those attending the Chicon event chose a mtg place and time, like a coffee shop, near the event and meet there. I’m jealous! I think I’m going to start asking for a meetup at every conference I attend!

      2. Free Meerkats*

        Every con has a large bulletin board where people can post things. A simple note that says “AAM meetup at {place & time}” and see who shows up.

        Hitting the road from Seattleish in about 10 minutes.

      1. Free Meerkats*

        No competition costume this year.

        Currently 1000 miles into the drive there, about a thousand to go over the next two days.

  2. Missb*

    I need advice on buying a gift (or not!) for a woman in her early 20s. Recently graduated from college. She’s my son’s newish girlfriend, and the two of them are coming to stay here for a few days. She has a birthday right before they arrive. I know he’s getting her some jewelry (no, not a ring!)

    They’re both outdoorsy, climber types. I am leaning towards a nice bouquet of flowers in their room, but I don’t know. I’m clueless. I raised boys and I’ve always been very practical.


    1. Denver Laurie 64*

      Given the love of outdoors, a nice pair of hiking or running socks. My favorite are Balega.

    2. Yaz*

      That’s a very sweet idea! If I were her, I might enjoy a pretty scarf, water bottle, funny / cool tote bag, or nice perfume bottle (not filled)… I think it’s more the thought that counts – you can’t perfectly know what she’ll like or use, but a thoughtful gift shows that she is welcome…

      1. Unum Hoc Scio*

        You can get refillable, travel sized perfume atomizers (about the size of a lipstick tube). They are pretty, useful, and not very expensive. Cheap enough not to be embarrassing for a new acquaintance but thoughtful.

          1. Still*

            Unum Hoc Scio wasn’t suggesting buying perfume. Perfume atomizers are tiny bottles that make it easy to take some of your favourite scent with you when traveling. The girlfriend would be able to fill it with whatever perfume she already uses.

            Plus I actually think that something like a scented shower gel can be a perfectly fine gift. It’s an affordable product that you use up and are under no obligation to keep in the long term, you can also regift it or donate it without it being noticible. Sure, you might end up buying something that doesn’t match the person’s taste, but the same is true of confectionery. I wish people who don’t know me well would just buy me consumables instead of trying to come up with something I will keep.

            1. Dancing Otter*

              Except that shower gel is like soap. It can be misconstrued as a hint, like offering breath mints.

    3. Jennifer*

      How about a cake during dinner? Then it is both a birthday cake and a welcome to our home cake!

      1. Missb*

        I do like the idea of cake! I think that’s best. Someone else below essentially said that a gift may seem like “love my son or else”, and that’s not a bad point!

    4. NLR*

      Flowers seems like it’s more for both of them rather than a birthday gift for her. A birthday cake with writing on it for her is a nice idea and very welcoming!

      1. Filosofickle*

        Right, I would read flowers as part of hospitality — flowers for the guest room. A cake or welcome dinner in her honor will read as more intentional and personal. Have you checked with your son about what would be meaningful to her?

    5. The Person from the Resume*

      I’d say there’s no need. She’s not yet a person you’d consider getting a birthday present for (a newish gf you haven’t met yet) and you’re not actually with her on her birthday.

      OTOH I’m not a gift person. My family isn’t a gift family. Adult kids no longer get birthday gifts. Also gifts are so damn hard. My nephews (18 and younger) get money because that’s a lot easier than trying to find the right thing.

      1. PhyllisB*

        I think a gift would be a nice welcoming gesture. Just keep it low-key. The hiking socks or tote bag sounds perfect. You could check with your son on ideas.
        I would also do the cake, but again nothing super elaborate, just a nice cake with Happy Birthday “Julia ” on it. This would have made me feel very welcomed in my 20’s.

    6. AcademiaNut*

      I rather like the cake idea – it’s personal and thoughtful, but not enough to make her uncomfortable. Check with your son about whether she’d like it in general, and what sort of cake she’d enjoy.

    7. Persephone Mulberry*

      Putting myself in 20-something me’s shoes, I feel like receiving a birthday gift from my newish boyfriend’s mom who I just met would be weird. I would skip the gift.

      Flowers in their room is a nice gesture, but let them be “welcome to our home” flowers, not “happy belated birthday.”

      1. Expiring Cat Memes*

        Agreed. Gift-giving can be an awkward swamp to navigate, let alone when you barely know the person and have limited information to go from. I think cake (or flowers) would be a nice welcoming gesture without being over the top.

        1. feline outerwear catalog*

          I would have loved that, my family was not very thoughtful or affectionate but ymmv.

    8. Mid*

      REI gift card is always a winner in my (outdoorsy, climber) book, or carabineers, I always need more carabineers. But for something less $ focused, flowers really are a great option, or cake. Or a card with a little note! Since she’s a new girlfriend, I don’t think you need to do too much.

    9. Atomic Tangerine*

      I think I’m falling in the “gift would be weird at this point in the relationship” camp although you are so sweet to think of this. I do like the flowers/cake or maybe take the two of them to dinner. Just being welcoming and making some effort to make sure she’s comfortable is probably going to be most meaningful to her at this stage. You got this!

      1. Clisby*

        Agree. I would feel strange if I went to stay with this person I didn’t know and she gave me a gift. A cake is a nice idea, but I don’t like sweet food, so then I’d have to figure out how to avoid the cake without giving offense, or eat a tiny slice just to be polite. Dinner is a nice welcoming gesture.

    10. Numbat*

      I think there are some great suggestions, but whatever you go with “small and inexpensive” is best at this stage. Something that says “I know it’s your birthday and want you to feel cared for and welcome” rather than “here is some pressure to love my son and be part of the family”.

      1. Missb*

        This is a really good point, as I mentioned upthread.

        I have met her, ever so briefly. Dh and my other son had a meal with her and my son, so I’m pretty much the only one who hasn’t had much of a convo with her (other than a 4 am drive to the airport).

        So I think I’ll settle on a cake. I’m afraid any gift will overshadow the one that my son is giving, while a cake is simple and yet can be personal enough. Thanks!

    11. Still*

      If I were in her shoes and got a gift from you, I’d then be stressed that now I’m gonna be expected to give you gifts for your birthday, Christmas, etc. I’d probably also wonder if I was supposed to buy a gift as a thank you for hosting.

      I think I’d be wary of setting any gift-giving expectations when the relationship is this new.

    12. Becky S.*

      I agree with those who said to not get a gift. I wouldn’t expect that of someone I just met. A cake would be nice. If I were that age, a gift might make me think I should get my boyfriend’s parents gifts for their birthdays. It helps that her birthday will be over before the visit, even if it’s the day before.

    13. mreasy*

      I think flowers with a note saying happy birthday and welcome, her name is very gracious. I wouldn’t feel weird about a small gift (like a hiking headband or socks) but it’s not necessary.

    14. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Oooh, I just went through this experience!! My son’s new girlfriend bought me a gift and I did not have one for her! And we are not into gifts so I was unprepared.

      I feel like you should be like Sheldon when he got all the gift options for Penny so he could reciprocate in kind.

      Have a birthday cake for sure. And flowers in the room if you like. But maybe also have something small to give as a gift like a cute water bottle or REI gift card just in case it seems appropriate to you to give a gift?

    15. Bluebell*

      I agree that the cake idea is nice, and doesn’t set up expectations. Just ask your son what flavor she prefers. Not everyone is a chocolate fan. (Controversial opinion- I know! )

    16. just another queer reader*

      If it were me, I’d buy or make a nice dessert- cupcakes, flan, something like that.

      Admittedly I’m not much of a gift person, but I think that this occasion doesn’t really call for a gift.

    17. Not Surprising*

      I think doing anything (baking a cake or buying a gift) is unnecessary. She’s a newish girlfriend and it’s the first time you’re meeting, so there isn’t really a relationship there yet. It would never occur to me to buy a gift for someone I have no relationship with (and who I may never actually see again).

      Personally, I would feel weird about having any sort of birthday celebration with strangers.

    18. BellyButton*

      Check out the sales on portland leather goods. I think the perfect gift for a new college grad is a nice leather tote or backpack that will last them forever and loo great for the first job.

    19. Edwina*

      Girls can be practical too!! I second the idea of climbing or hiking socks — you can find really cute and extremely well-made stuff at REI.com. Another thought is a $25 gift certificate to REI! Climbers’ paradise!

    20. JustEm*

      I wouldn’t do a gift, but asking your son if she likes cake and having a cake for the first night is great! With flowers my only caution would be to avoid super fragrant ones unless you know she likes them – if someone put a fragrant bouquet in the room I was sleeping in I’d get a migraine and/an asthma attack (depending on which type of flowers) and if it was a boyfriend’s mom I was just meeting I’d probably be too embarrassed to say anything and would suffer through …

    21. Endorable*

      I am seriously leaning toward ‘or not’ here. Newish girlfriend, coming to stay.. (recent birthday is irrelevant) is in the ‘she should be thinking about a hostess gift’ category. There have been many interesting suggestions for gifts, but no… this is NOT a gift giving occasion for YOU. You are already offering the gift of hospitality. It would be really weird to be giving her a gift too… frankly if I was your guest I’d be kind of creeped out by it. Be warm, and hospitable, and save the gifts for Christmas or her NEXT birthday, if she’s still around!

  3. Yaz*

    Tips to enjoy your weekend when The Thing We Don’t Discuss is draining your will to live during the week?

    1. NLR*

      During the week when you’re at work, what do you wish you could be doing instead? Do that thing tomorrow!

      1. Invisible fish*

        This made me reflect that when I wish I was doing something else while at work, all I imagine is being quiet and alone!! (I gotta imagine better, I guess!)

    2. The Person from the Resume*

      Honestly when I feel like that I give myself permission to have a lazy weekend. No guilt about not getting chores, shopping, cooking done. I read (that’s an escape for me) or watch tv or movies.

      Maybe a nice walk in nature – a park or along a body of water. But nothing that requires a lot of time.

      1. Rose*

        Yuppp, me too! My life has been kind of a mess (no food in my very untidy house, etc.) but my brain is totally turned off on weekends because I’m not trying to DO anything and it’s 10/10 worth it for me.

      1. Chief Petty Officer Tabby*

        Lol yes! I scheduled 3 days off to do absolutely nothing this week! And while it was boring, I kinda needed boring. I ended up thrifting a bunch of cropped tees, though it’s sort of late in the year for them. I can always get some camis to wear under them for contrast later in the year, though.

    3. Atomic Tangerine*

      I do love a day of doing nothing (with books, pajama pants, coffee and cats) and intentionally labeling it as “self-care” lest my jerkbrain try to make me feel guilty about it.

    4. Expiring Cat Memes*

      I asked something similar here a few months back, and the suggestions I found most useful were physical activity, planning a novel activity to lose yourself in for the weekend, and a “changeover ritual” on a Friday afternoon (eg: a hobby or exercise class that happens on a schedule and helps your brain know it’s time to shift modes).

      The other thing that really helped me though (and this is going to sound a bit… average) is learning to just care less about The Place That Shall Not Be Named. My husband is great at war gaming this stuff with me: after a bunch of “so: abc fails/you don’t manage to xyz – then what?” questions, I realised that I had limited ability to influence the outcomes I was really worried about and therefore continually worrying about them was pointless. I still care about what happens at TPTSNBN, but I care about it 9-5, M-F. If I start feeling sick about it on my weekend, I reject the feeling and tell myself “not now, I can feel that on Monday”.

      We’re so hardwired to be exemplary performers and always on. Giving yourself permission to be satisfied with simply being competent within your allocated hours can be remarkably liberating (and quite likely, all anyone else expects of you).

      1. Elizabeth West*

        learning to just care less about The Place That Shall Not Be Named

        This is how I survived the dysfunction at OldExPlaceThatShallNotBeNamed. Once I left for the day, I tried not to think or talk about it. The drive home was only ten minutes, but I used it as my physical unplugging. Evenings and weekends were mine to do whatever I wished. I was working on fiction during that time as well as a freelance content writing gig, and being able to disconnect helped me focus on it.

    5. Qwerty*

      I found it really helpful to get a “win” by making something. During a really bad job, I ordered a new desk chair that took about an hour to put together and it put me into a surprisingly good mood! I think its the combination of doing something with my hands and also having a product at the end. I’m usually a lot less drained on the weekend if I’m able to knit or crochet a bit on weeknights.

      I plan Sunday as me-day to rest and hide from the world. Any errands, activities, housework, etc get planned on Saturday. Frontloading the weekend on activities and then using Sunday as my recovery day helps me feel more rested going into Monday. Everything is optional on Sundays so its totally ok if all I do is watch netflix in sweatpants all day. I even avoid cooking by having leftovers for lunch and was ordering sushi for sunday dinner for a while.

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

        Love that idea! I think anything that improves my space so that I can enjoy it more later, whether I make it or not, works similarly for me — ordering a new bath pillow, cleaning up a messy corner, etc.

    6. the cat's ass*

      I’m fortunate enough to flee The Place That Must Not Be Named at noon on Fridays, so i generally do some laundry,change into house clothes, order takeout, and i go to bed really early after hanging with the fam and/or watching or reading something really mindless. Then I try to do most of the errand-y things I can’t get to on Saturday, leaving Sunday for fun and rest!

    7. Yaz*

      Thanks all! Ended up spending some good time hanging with my partner this morning, followed by a challenging hike, and takeout from a neighborhood deli. I might have to try my hand at glass blowing soon … :)

      1. Rose*

        That sounds so lovely!
        My husband signed us up for glad Blount for my birthday. We’re both not crafty and I wasn’t overly excited about it. It was SO FUN!!

  4. Quinn*

    I went to an information meeting my county held for prospective foster parents this week and wanted to say thank you to Alison for putting the idea in my head and making me think I could do it. I am working on my application now.

    1. BellyButton*

      Fantastic! My husband and I have been fostering LGBTQ+ teens for about 7 years. They are so vulnerable and it is insane how many parents kick their kids out because they come out, especially if you live in a conservative area.

      1. Rose*

        Do you request LGBT+ teens specifically? How does that work?

        I deff want to foster when we own a home and I’d love to foster within the community.

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

      That is so cool! I have never gotten it together to do this, but I really admire those who do. Best of luck to you and your future kids. : )

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      This is lovely to read. I personally wouldn’t be able to do it but recognize how important it is for kids who need it.

  5. It's Bamboo O'Clock, Tick-Tock*

    I’ve been really sensitive to a lot of cleaning smells since a few months after I had Covid a year ago. I’ve seen a few other people mention it, but most of the attention seems to be on loss of smell or unpleasant tastes. Anyone else had this issue?

    1. Fikly*

      I’ve been having hallucinations with my sense of smell, hearing, and sight ever since covid (feb 2020) so I have no idea if what I’m smelling is real half the time. Sometimes things seem to smell much more strongly than they should, and I’m pretty sure they are real smells, though. It’s not restricted to cleaning products, can be just about anything.

      No idea what to do about that sensitivity, sorry, but I’m pretty sure you’re not the only one with it.

    2. GraceC*

      A coworker had it in late 2020, and did regain smell/taste after a few months. I believe their issues that lingered (until recently at least, possibly still going on) were the taste of lime being like cleaning chemicals, and the smell of deodorant being like overpowering garlic

      I think the deodorant one was partially solved by wearing natural deodorant, so it seems like the scent problem was being caused by a specific chemical composition that’s common to all mainstream deodorants

    3. Helvetica*

      So, I haven’t had COVID but after I had the vaccine – and after the booster -, I went through a period of being a “super-smeller”. Everything smelled so much more potent, and I have a very good sense of smell already, so it was a bit distracting at times. It passed in a week or two, and maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on me but it was weird!

      1. allathian*

        Oof, sounds a lot like me when I was pregnant. I could smell an open bag of licorice in my coworker’s desk drawer, when the drawer was closed and I was standing 10 ft away, and she wasn’t eating it at that moment. I craved licorice, but because my blood pressure was already slightly elevated, I wasn’t allowed any…

        1. PhyllisB*

          Yes!! When I was pregnant my sense of taste and smell would go into hyper gear. I couldn’t even wear perfume because even light scents were too strong. The good thing is it made me not want as much salt in my food and that never went away.

        2. Helvetica*

          Yeah, I’ve heard that for pregnancy but not for COVID vaccine for anyone else. I had no other effects from the vaccine at all, just this superhero sense of smell.

    4. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I personally haven’t but a friend of mine has also experienced a noticeable uptick in smell sensitivity post Covid. For them it’s across the board, not just cleaning things, but it’s definitely there.

    5. BellyButton*

      I have read that COVID has messed with women’s hormones in a way that isn’t understood yet. I have been a hyper smaller in the past and it was all related to hormones. I went a year where all raw meat smelled rotten.

      1. Rose*

        Ughhhhhhhhhhh. Thank you for sharing. I’m not surprised but I am annoyed.

        I have PCOS and since getting covid gained a solid 13 pounds (on a very small frame). Nothing in my habits had changed and I can’t loose it no matter what I do.

        I’d like to be more body neutral but this brought me from “no chub rub” to “chub rub” and I can only wear dresses and skirts (my pants no longer fit and I haven’t had time and money to shop), and both of these things are wildly annoying.

      2. Quinalla*

        Interesting, I haven’t had COVID yet, but the vaccine appeared to interact with my pre-menopause hormone-weirdness in a weird way. The first vaccine not too much, but the second one I was going from hot to cold and back again what seemed like every minute for hours the day I got it, was really weird. I definitely knew others who had fever/chills, but this was another level. It was hot flashes and chills after which I usually get on steroids.

    6. Sundial*

      Yes, my nose is cranked up to 11 since I had Covid in May. I’m a human bloodhound. I have to do things like rinse dishes before plating up a meal, because I can smell the (fragrance free!) dishwasher soap still on the surface.

      I’m used to having olfactory hallucinations due to migraines, but this is not the same. I’m not smelling things that aren’t there, I’m just noticing every little fragrance that used to fly under my radar.

      1. anonymath*

        I get super-smell with my migraines. It’s not olfactory hallucinations, but instead just being overwhelmed by smells (even ones I love, like bacon). My migraines had some hormonal modulation component, and I wonder if the folks above are on to something (covid/hormones).

    7. Roy G. Biv*

      I had Covid November 2020, and still have occasional super sensitivity to strong smells – onions, scented toiletries, alternating with Covid nose “phantom smoke smell;” i.e. stale ashtray smell. These come and go once a month, staying for about 24 hours and then my sense of smell is back to normal. I’ve been trying to track if something specific triggers it, or is it hormonal fluctuations related. So far no pattern detected.

      1. CB29*

        I had COVID in January 2021 and I’ve also noticed the phantom smoky ashtray smell several times (as recently as yesterday), always in or near the laundry room.

        Also for a few months after COVID, cilantro tasted like soap (for me, it never had before) but thankfully now tastes normal and delicious again.

    8. Rose*

      Not cleaning stuff specifically but a lot of more chemically smells are weird now. Taste is pretty much the same.

  6. brain breaks*

    Any recs for

    a) fun British or Irish mysteries / detective stories? (I love Agatha Christie; love Tana French. Love a satisfying story – some darkness is okay, but like some levity/humor too. Doesn’t need to be too *cozy*.)

    b) exciting travel / adventure memoirs, especially by women? (e.g. Wild; Welcome to the Goddamned Ice Cube; Eat Pray Love; etc.)

    c) recent light, fun TV series about pretty people and their drama? : D

    1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*


      a) I discovered earlier this year that Georgette Heyer of regency romance fame also apparently wrote a bunch of murder mysteries. Some of them are pretty bad, but they all made me laugh aloud at least once (her use of slang and general cattiness is really on point). My favorite of the bunch that I could get from the library (definitely don’t spend money on them!) was Behold, Here’s Poison.

      b) I haven’t read it as an adult to see how it holds up, but as an impressionable teen, I read Maiden Voyage by Tania Aebi and LOOOOOOVED it. I would immediately have run away to sea after reading it had I not been stuck in a landlocked state.

      c) not really my genre, but I did finally just get around to binging Abbott Elementary, and it’s definitely got both pretty people and drama, with a light touch. It was exactly what I needed to get me through a hard week– YMMV depending on your tastes.

      1. Sarah*

        A) I love Elly Griffiths series about Ruth Galloway who is an archaeologist in Norfolk.

        I also like Allison Montclair’s Sparks and Bainbridge series about two women who in postwar London who set up a matchmaking service and end up solving mysteries.

        If I can add a Canadian to the mix, Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series about a police chief inspector in Quebec.

        C) i recently watched My Life is Murder with Lucy Lawless as a retired cop set in both Australia and New Zealand.

        1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

          Sparks and Bainbridge sounds amazing! Checking my library immediately to see if they have it.

        2. brain breaks*

          Just got the first Sparks & Bainbridge from the library! Thanks for the recs! I’ve read both an Elly Griffith and a Louise Penny but for some reason didn’t love-love them. The Louise Penny was an audiobook though which may have been the problem.

          1. S*

            LP can take some getting used to. The first one(s) are very slow, but they are worth sticking with. I can’t do them on audio though

        3. allathian*

          Yeah, Ruth Galloway is great. I’ve only read a couple of those, but I’d like to read more.

    2. Dreaming of daffodils*

      Would an Australian detective series be okay? I also love Tana French and found Jane Harper’s books described as “Tana French in Australia”—I believe there are three, soon to be four, published!

      1. brain breaks*

        Ooh, thanks! I really liked ‘The Survivors’ and ‘The Dry’ by Harper and didn’t realize she had more!

    3. Dont be a dork*

      Have you tried the Miss Fisher murder mysteries? They’re Australian, but I find them and Kerry Greenwood’s other series, the Corinna Chapman books to be pleasant reads. Miss Fisher is both a series of books and a television series.

      I do *not* recommend the Modern Miss Fisher, though. They try too hard and I can’t feel very sympathetic to the main character, who appears to be a very lucky nitwit rather than a clever detective.

      1. Helvetica*

        I was just going to say Miss Fisher. Don’t know if it is still available on Netflix but it is delightful.
        I didn’t mind the modern version, though; if you detach it in your head from the original, it is quite entertaining. But yes, do not start with it.

      2. Fellow Traveller*

        If your library has Hoopla, Miss Fisher is also available there for free.
        Also do not really recommend the Chinese version on HBO Max, called Miss S. The story lines are the same, but not the tone. Unless you’re only in it for the costumes. The costumes in the Chinese version are stunning.

        1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

          I actually went to check out Miss S just based on the description of the costumes and am loving it so far! Thanks for the tip, I probably never would have stumbled across it otherwise!

          1. Fellow Traveller*

            I’m glad you are enjoying it! It *is* beautiful.
            I have to admit that I am mainly into Miss. Fisher for the amazing chemistry between Phryne and Jack. Sigh. The Chinese version just doesn’t have that same slow burn tension.
            But I do continue to watch it so I can practice my Mandarin and enjoy the visuals!

      3. PhyllisB*

        The Miss Fisher sounds interesting. Who is the author? I’m loving this thread. My TBR list is really going to grow.

    4. AcademiaNut*

      Dorothy Sayers Peter Wimsey books – if you’re in a life+50 copyright country, they’re available on fadedpage.com for free. Several books in you get the start of a very satisfying relationship story that goes across multiple books.

        1. Eff Walsingham*

          A caveat… I have reread a couple of Ngaio Marshes lately, and, even allowing for the time period, have been horrified by the overt and persistent racism. Worse than Christie (who I still love).

          Sayers and Allingham I highly recommend, along with my mother’s favourite, P.D. James, who I sometimes suspect was paid by the word. Simon Brett wrote Charles Paris, a hilariously believable professional actor / detective. Peter Robinson (I believe) is originally from Yorkshire but lives in Canada. Martha Grimes is a bit hit or miss — but her characters are unforgettable. Reginald Hill writes Dalziel and Pascoe. Colin Dexter wrote the Chief Inspector Morse mysteries.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        At least one of Sayers’ books is rather problematic as to anti-Semitism. I just remind myself DS isn’t espousing it, but reflecting the society of the period.
        Also, Jill Paton Walsh has done a good job continuing the series through and after WWII, if you like Lord Peter and Harriet.

    5. strawberry ice cream*

      b) -miles from nowhere by barbara savage
      -lands of lost borders by kate harris
      – A Boat in Our Baggage: Around the World with a Kayak
      by Maria Coffey
      -A Woman’s Way Through Unknown Labrador by Mina Benson Hubbard
      -if you like anthologies/short story collections, “solo: on her own adventures” by susan fox rogers (also a couple of other books: maybe with pairs of women?)
      I have another couple in my bedroom I’ll try to post tomorrow.

    6. Cookies For Breakfast*

      a) The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman. It’s good fun, free of graphic violence (any hints of darkness come from reflecting about aging and decline, given it’s based in a retirement community), and a bit whimsical if that’s something you might like. It has a sequel already out and one on the way.

    7. Lead Balloon*

      Seconding Dorothy Sayers. Murder Must Advertise is my favourite. Sayers worked in an advertising agency before she became a novelist and it really captures the feel of the 1930s.

      You might like Ngaio Marsh too. She was writing a similar time to Christie and Sayers.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, seconding Dick Francis. I also like the more recent books by his son Felix, who took a few solo novels to get truly into his stride, but he’s there now, IMO.

    8. Square Root of Minus One*

      For books, I was just reading H.Y. Hanna series (Oxford Tearoom Mysteries) and Rhys Bowen (Her Royal Spyness). I think they’re both worth a try :)

    9. CJ*

      The Hilary Tamar series (Sarah Caudwell) is a lot of fun.

      If you like YA and especially if you like boarding school stories, the Murder Most Unladylike series (Robin Stevens) is awesome.

      I’ve also enjoyed the Daisy Dalrymple series (1920s mysteries, Carola Dunn).

    10. Emma2*

      For travel/adventure memoirs, although this is older than what you have listed so the style is a bit different, you could check out Dervla Murphy. Her first and best known book was Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle. In 1963, in her early 30s, Dervla set out on the journey she had dreamed of since receiving a second hand bicycle for her tenth birthday – cycling from Ireland through France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Persia, Afghanistan and Pakistan to India.

        1. Emma2*

          I know – definitely a life very well lived. Her final interview, which was with the FT a few months before her death, is worth reading.

    11. Angstrom*

      Dick Francis mysteries. He was a professional steeplechase jockey, so most of the stories have a connection to the British horse racing business. “Reflex” is one of my favorites.

      1. Lizabeth*

        Second the Dick Francis! I like how he mixes horses with another profession. Always learn something from them.

      2. Daisy*

        Another Dick Francis fan! Proof is my favorite. Personally, I prefer his stand-alone books over the series.

    12. Bizhiki*

      A clerk at the second hand mystery book store in Victoria, BC (sadly defunct now) recommended Josephine Tey for an Agathe Christie/Dorothy Sayer fan in my life, and her books were a big hit.

    13. Irish Teacher*

      Ireland has the Sister Fidelma mysteries (OK, not sure if the author is British or Irish, but the stories are set in 7th century Ireland).

      Otherwise, anything by Anthony Horowitz is awesome, especially Magpie Murders.

      And I’d second Murder Most Unladylike and Josephine Tey.

    14. The OG Sleepless*

      a) Ellis Peters’ Brother Cadfael series

      b) Inside by Susan Conrad, her memoir about her solo kayak trip up the Inside Passage

      c) The Morning Show is not always light (at all), but definitely plenty of pretty people and drama, and they all live in lovely houses and work in good-looking offices.

    15. Camelid coordinator*

      I was reminded of the Reverend Mother series by Cora Harrison the other day, about a nun in 1920s Ireland. Also, have you read The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor? I seem to be giving you series set in Ireland, hope that isn’t too far from what you asked for.

      I started watching Virgin River on Netflix the other day, which you might want to consider.

    16. Fellow Traveller*

      For 2) I really liked The Salt Path by Raynor Winn.
      Not by a woman, but Between the Desert and the Sea by Michael Scott Moore was gripping. It recounts his time captured by Somali pirates. Surprisingly funny in parts.

      1. Nitpicker*

        If we are talking TV, also Midsomer Murders (for England) and Murdoch Mysteries (for Canada). Both have been on forever and have amazing casts.

    17. Snow Globe*

      #3 – I just finished binging “Extraordinary Attorney Woo” on Netflix, a fun Korean comedy/drama, with lots of pretty people.

    18. PhyllisB*

      Have you read Carlene O’Connor? She has a series that starts with Death in an Irish Village. I’ve only read two of them so far but I liked them. I’ll have to go peruse my reading list for more. I read a ton of mysteries, but I can’t think of specifically Irish writers.
      Just thought of another one. I believe Tara French is Irish. Haven’t read any of her books yet, but I know she’s popular. Also I enjoy Ruth Ware. She’s not Irish, but she is British.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        Oooh, I think I need “Death in an Irish Village.” On the whole, I don’t think Ireland has the tradition of murder mysteries that Britain (or maybe specifically England, not sure?) does and when we DO, they often tend to be a bit darker than the English ones.

        There IS a Quirke series, by Benjamin Black, but…I would not call them anything like cosy. Pretty dark and with a lot of political allusions. I read a couple but got a bit tired of the political/church conspiracies/scandals. Not that they are unrealistic or anything – we had quite a few scandals in the latter half of the 20th century – but it just seemed like every mystery the guy solved had to get into social commentary.

    19. PhyllisB*

      Ugh. I need to read more carefully. I just realized that a; you said British or Irish, and b: you already mentioned Tara French. I’ll drink more coffee to get my brain in gear and chime in again later.

    20. EdgarAllanCat*

      For mysteries, I recommend Rennie Airth and Charles Todd books. Travel memoirs are Round Ireland with a Fridge and Playing the Moldovans at Tennis both by Tony Hawks.

      (Awarding myself bonus points because Tony Hawks is a British comedian – melding a & b.)

    21. Pieismyreligion*

      C) not new, but have you seen Craxy Ex-Girlfriend? Everyone in that show is terrible in their own way. And there’s a singing and dancing interlude in every episode.

    22. Bagpuss*

      A) Margery Allingham and Ngaio Marsh – both contemporaries of Christie – Marsh are mostly straight mystery, quite a few have a theatrical setting , Allingham has more humour.
      If you can find them, Pamela Branch – murder every Monday , and a few others. They were written in the same period and are very funny (one has a household of young, somewhat bohemian friends all trying to dispose of a body and all believing that one of the others is responsible.
      Ellis Peters – she wrote the brother Cadfael books which are gentle medieval mysteries but also wrote modern detective novels. ‘Never pick up Hitchhikers’ is a stand alone and quite funny in places, and then there is a serious featuring Inspector George Felse and in some of the books, his wife and son.
      I agree that Georgette Heyer’s mysteries are nothing like as good as her Regency romances, but reasonably entertaining.
      I wouldn’t say Josephine Tey was fun but hers are extremely good, and she had a sense of humour.

    23. Anon5775*

      For a book, “Sand in my bra and other misadventures” edited by Julia Weiler and Jennifer Leo.

    24. merp*

      for A, have you read any Ruth Ware? might be a bit more grim/thriller-y than you’re looking for but they are fun and I couldn’t put them down

      1. merp*

        oh gosh, and this has been ages but I just remembered a travel book I read years ago called Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven. definitely a wild ride!

        1. brain breaks*

          Ahh I loved Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven! And I also thoroughly enjoyed a couple of Ruth Ware’s. I should see what else she has that I haven’t read!

      1. feline outerwear catalog*

        I enjoyed “Jann” on Hulu, semi autobiographical comedy with Jann Arden about an aging one hit wonder trying to make it in a social media world.

        1. Pennyworth*

          Hamish Macbeth was a brilliant TV series. Agatha Raisin on TV leaves me cold, I think the casting is all wrong.

    25. Emily Elizabeth*

      I’ve been loving reading the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn (which I’m pretty sure was first recommended to me on here!), set primarily in London in the 1880s. Veronica is a lepidopterist who falls into mystery solving with her very good looking natural historian partner, Stoker. There’s lots of wonderful banter, clever mysteries, and an enjoyable odd-couple romantic subplot – very Bones meets Agatha Christie to me.

    26. WoodswomanWrites*

      This isn’t memoir, but you might enjoy the book On Top of the World: Five Women Explorers in Tibet. It’s a profile of European and American women in the 1800s, published by Mountaineers Books.

    27. Wilde*

      I’m surprised no one has mentioned the tv series Only Murders in the Building – it’s like a screenplay Agatha Christie. I loved both seasons so much.

      For light pretty drama I’d also recommend Hart of Dixie, although I don’t know how well it’s aged.

      Ngaio Marsh mystery stories. I loved them because I felt like sometimes I actually guessed the murderer! And the Maggie Hope series by Susan Elia Macneal. An undercover spy in WWII working in London/Berlin/Washington DC etc.

    28. Isobel*

      Seconding Elly Griffiths – she has three series protagonists: Ruth Galloway (forensic archeology set in Norfolk); Stephens & Mephisto (1950s/60s Brighton); and most recently DS Harbinder Kaur.
      Also Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver series – 1930s Scotland, but not too cosy, and Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan series (London-set police procedural, though Casey is Irish and she gives Maeve Irish parents).

    29. cleo*

      For #3 – light, fun tv. I’ve just finished watching the new A League of Their Own series on Amazon Prime and it was so good and so fun.

      It’s a remake of the 1992 movie and like the movie, it’s based on the real life women’s baseball league that was started during WWII. It delves more deeply into existing issues like sexism, racism and homophobia than the movie did, but the overall tone is light and fun.

      It’s not obvious from the trailers but there are several queer players, which is more historically accurate. There’s a couple swoony sapphic romances.

    30. brain breaks*

      Thanks so much to all for all of the many, many great recommendations! So many things on my list now!

    31. Buona Forchetta (formerly Pregnant During Covid but now she’s a toddler!)*

      Another rec for Louise Penny’s Gamache series set in Quebec! I love disappearing into those stories.

    32. Rose*

      Uncoupling! By far the most charming best thing I’ve watched in ages. It’s from the producer of SATC but this time he made it about his own demographic (gay men in their 50s) and I think it lands much much better.

    33. EJ*

      I love Miss Fishers murder mysteries on TV, but the books were hit and miss for me. I am another fan of Dick Francis, Charles Todd and Rhys Bowen.

      But my most favorite of favorites is the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear, wonderful books!

    34. A Little Bit Alexis*

      Blair Braverman (Welcome to the Goddamned Ice Cube) wrote a book with her husband called “Dogs on the Trail: A Year in the Life” about raising and racing sled dogs. It’s a photobook, but it has interesting information and stories. Blair has some really good Twitter threads and articles in magazines as well – not the same as reading a memoir, but still really good and exciting! I always enjoy her stories about the dogs and followed along during and after the Iditarod when she told stories about the race.

    35. ProducerNYC*

      Not sure if you mean reading or tv/film, but Richard Osman’s Thursday Murder Club series (2 so far) is so delightful a read I can hardly contain my excitement. I just know someone is going to pick it up and translate to big or small screen.
      Scott & Bailey series is a bit older now but stars the fab Suranne Jones & Lesley Sharp as policewomen in Manchester. Still love it. River, starring Stellan Skarsgard and the riveting Nicola Walker was short but mesmerizing- deals with mental health, grief, and has some good police work as well. Echoing the cheers for My Life is Murder as well.

    36. Lilacs against white houses*

      Denise Mina is a Scottish crime writer. I really like her Garnethill trilogy, although some of her later stuff is hit or miss.

    1. Chocolate Teapot*

      It’s based on a Belgian series called Clan or The Out-Laws. I don’t know how much Bad Sisters deviates, but Clan is very dark and funny.

      I have been watching Father Brown, and a friend recommended the spin-off, Sister Boniface Mysteries, which are both fun, retro comedy mysteries.

    2. Bobina*

      Sharon Horgan is involved so I’m definitely interested! I’ll probably wait for all the episodes to air and then binge it though – but it definitely seems hilarious :)

      1. TPS reporter*

        She is amazing and her co stars are equally good. Catastrophe is another recommendation from her resume

  7. Atomic Tangerine*

    I read Gideon the Ninth (recommended a couple weeks ago) and then immediately read Harrow the Ninth right after because she kind of left it on a cliffhanger. And then it took half the second book for anything to happen.

    Book three comes out next month and it seems she is now switching to a completely different character and I dunno do I really want to invest my time again? Are we going to do another 200 pages of describing skeletons and analyzing our feelings before we find out what happens to our heroines? I do wonder what happens next but I’m not sure I want to commit. Change my mind?

    1. slip*

      ah yeah, I’m excited but also really looking forward to getting back to our main cast. Gideon was such a great narrator, I’m curious how Nona will be.

      1. Atomic Tangerine*

        Yes [[[[[SPOILERS]]]]] when Gideon showed up again in book two I was delighted, she’s so much more fun to read. I think I want reassurance we’ll hear more than a few pages from her in book 3!

      2. The Person from the Resume*

        I don’t know what you mean. Harrow was basically the co-star with Gideon. I wouldn’t count on a “return to the main cast” as Nona wasn’t in book 1 and 2 and the fourth book is named Alecto the Ninth and they have not been introduced yet.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      Yeah, the first book worked much better than the second book for me. It’s all about the narrator voice. I’ll borrow the new one from library, but I wouldn’t bother it if I had to pay (actually, the only reason I finished number two is because I hadn’t paid for it).

    3. Virtual Light*

      Well, given the various kinds of unreliable narrators we have been given, and the truly weird way the first two books ended, I’m not so sure we have any idea WHO will actually be in the new book. Muir is rather devious. Perhaps naively, I am expecting some furtherance of the main storyline. If not, I enjoy the world enough to be happy!

      Maybe wait a while then read some (spoiler-free) reviews before you commit?

    4. Lilo*

      I just couldn’t make it through the first book. On paper Gideon the Ninth should be just up my alley, but about 75% of the way through I just found it a chore.

    5. Double A*

      Woo! I think think this might have been my recommendation as I am recommend Gideon the Ninth far and wide. I haven’t read Harrow yet, I’ve got it on my library list. I can’t imagine it could be as entertaining because Gideon was almost a self contained book with a bridge tacked into the end, so the next book won’t really be a continuation of what was so entertaining about the first book (basically a self contained whodunnit in a Gothic space mansion). And Harrow would be such a different voice.

      It’s interesting that people are calling Gideon the narrator because the book is written in 3rd person! It’s just such close third person that it practically is her narration; when I was in the middle of reading it I remembered it being first person.

    6. The Person from the Resume*

      Actually I’m with you. I will not be reading Nona although I expect the narrator will be more likable.

      I think the 2nd book needed an editor. The book was too confusing and completely unreliable for too long.

      I vaguely understood what was going on (more than Harrow). Harrow was traumatized and misremembering the past events and edited Gideon out and also renaming the new Gideon.

      But I dismissed the “flashback” as hallucinations and skimmed them when it revealed it was more than hallucinations I wondered if I should reread to understand and then decided I didn’t care.

      Also my friend was excited about the reveal Gideon’s parentage – child of a good/king. Whereas I asked her why because both Gideon’s parents were total immoral assholes.

      I’m a sci fi fan and not fantasy or horror so this wan’t the series for me. I think the series could have been better (more enjoyable to me) if it was edited shorter and less confusing. I loved Gideon’s voice in book 1, but the author enjoyed confusing the readers too much and the trilogy has become a tetralogy (and I don’t trust to author to not make it never ending).

      1. Lady_Lessa*

        I read Gideon the Ninth for a book club, and that was one that most of us really didn’t care for. Maggie the librarian/group leader was in the middle of the second one. I was one that did not like it one bit. (But I am looking forward to our discussion on “The Hacienda” week after next.)

        I cheated and looked at the Wikopedia write up.

        Spoiler Alert: It read like the author was using alternate universes to get herself out of trouble with the plotting.

        I like alternate universes in their place, though.

        1. The Person from the Resume*

          The only reason I read Gideon the Ninth was because it was a book club selection. Other than the enthusiast that recommended most thought it was too long, too complicated, and too confusing.

          I like it enough to give Harrow a chance. But I’m done. I suspect I’ll read the plot summaries on Wikipedia just to see how it turns out. That’s a sign that IMO the author had good ideas poorly executed. And when the execution makes for a long and slow, it’s not worth my time.

    7. Ali*

      Haha, I loved Gideon the Ninth, and I also loved Harrow the Ninth b/c I love it when writers take a big swing. Yes, it was confusing, but it sure wasn’t written to a blueprint! The story is just the most original thing I have come across in ages and I find it really refreshing.

  8. Lonely Covidian*

    My husband and I both tested positive for COVID this past weekend. He’s doing well, pretty much recovered. I am on Day 6 of still needing to be in bed 80-90% of the time, had the whole cohort of symptoms, and started paxlovid because of mild shortness of breath. The thing is, aside from people I know who are unvaccinated and my senior-citizen aged dad, everyone else I know who has had covid (which seems like almost everyone) says it was “no big deal” or they were totally asymptomatic. I’m starting to feel like I’m crazy or something for being down and out with this thing and/or for having so many symptoms.

    I’m not looking for medical advice and I know that I am somewhat improving (even if incrementally) but someone please tell me I’m not the only one who got knocked sideways even after triple vax?

    1. NLR*

      It’s a deadly disease that has killed millions, I don’t think there’s anything surprising about it knocking you on your ass!

      1. Atomic Tangerine*

        Oooh I’ve known several people who were laid low despite 3-4 doses of vaccine, and others who breezed through it (or claimed to) despite being unvaccinated, so luck of the draw I guess but you’re not bananas. Feel better soon!

        1. UKDancer*

          Definitely luck of the draw. Most of my (fully vaccinated) team has had it and the severity has varied from “asymptomatic” through “cold symptoms” to “seriously unwell for a fortnight.” The severity seemed to bear no relation to peoples’ general state of health and seems down to chance.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m sorry, this sounds miserable. My husband and I both got it this summer despite being triple vaxxed and it wasn’t nearly as bad as what you’re describing but it was NOT “just like a cold/the flu” even as a mild case. I would think I felt pretty okay and then get completely exhausted trying to do simple tasks, like needing to sit down halfway through loading the dishwasher or something. I feel really lucky that it wasn’t worse, but it was NOT fun.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        It’s worth noting that “mild COVID” generally refers to not needing oxygen or hospitalization, so it can still be pretty nasty.

    3. Jean (just Jean)*

      +1 to NLR’s reply!

      My own response: Oh, no, you’re not the only one. My covid infection included a respiratory congestion, a raspy voice, and epic fatigue. I remember lying in bed, shutting my eyes, and re-opening them several hours later. Thankfully I did not need hospital admission, a ventilator, or even the asthma inhaler that the urgent-care physician insisted on prescribing for me. I was over the worst symptoms after about 8 days but the fatigue hung on for several more weeks. This could have been because there were other stressful things going on in my life at the same time.

      FYI I’m in the U.S. and was vaxxed (twice). I don’t recall whether I was boosted when I got sick due to the above-mentioned stressors.

    4. thatwordylady*

      While my round of COVID was super easy (I had a worse reaction to the third vax!), my brother and a few colleagues were completely knocked flat by it. I got it pretty early on in our region’s wave, so I don’t know if that’s anything to do with it. My colleague’s entire family got wiped out for over two weeks with it, actually!

      Hope you’re feeling much better soon — it sounds awful!

    5. Indigo Five Alpha*

      I have had covid twice at this point. The first time I only had a sore throat. The second, even though by that point I was double jabbed, I was much worse – not as bad as you, but I felt utterly miserable and stayed in bed a good few days.

      It’s a bloody weird illness.

      I hope you’re feeling much better soon.

    6. PollyQ*

      Pretty much my whole family got it back in April, and although my case wasn’t that bad (mild-to-moderate cold level), a couple of my relatives had nastier cases with high fevers and whatnot. And 2 of my older relatives had it earlier in the year, and were laid VERY low. You are not at all crazy, this is really happening, it’s just bad luck that it’s happening to you. I hope you continue to improve and feel much better soon!

    7. Pants*

      You’re not alone. I volunteered with the health department when the pandemic hit. I was meticulous about exposure until well after the vaccine became available. I received the vax two days after it first became available. And yet, one week after my second booster (fourth shot), the danged bug got me. It wiped me out for three weeks. Hang in there; you will get better

    8. covid really sucks*

      One of my friends caught COVID in April less than a month after getting the booster. He’s in his early 30s, and pretty healthy, and it *really* knocked him sideways for a whole week, and then it took a couple of months for the tiredness to go away.

      I got it two weeks ago, and I was uncomfortable and miserable, but I’ve had worse colds before. I’m underweight, far less healthy than my friend, and had only 2 doses of the vaccine (last one in October).

    9. Lilo*

      I was vaxxed and boosted and got absolutely whammied by the exhaustion and shakiness. I had very few cold symptoms but just extreme exhaustion. I also had some problems with tachycardia for weeks after COVID. From what I have read, none of that is unusual. I’m an active person in my mid 30s.

    10. Bobina*

      Had it earlier this year even after being boosted and it definitely wasnt an easy ride! I made the mistake of going back to work way too early and should definitely have taken 2 full weeks off (rather than the 1). And while I didnt exactly have long covid, after the initial symptoms died down, I struggled with fatigue and really bad headaches for a solid 4-6 weeks after, and then it probably took another 3 months before my energy levels and (cardio) fitness were back to anything like normal.

      So basically, its still out there hitting people hard!

    11. Covid got me good*

      I am on Day 8 of Covid, and it’s been rough for me, too. I’m fully vaccinated and boosted, so I never expected to be taken down so hard by the disease. I was hoping to be fully recovered by now, but I’m not. I still have cold symptoms (stuffed up nose and cough) and a headache since last night. I believe the antiviral medication is triggering the headaches, and don’t even get me started about the metallic taste in my mouth from the pills that makes me nauseous. The side effects from the medication are worse than the Covid symptoms at this late point in the game. I didn’t start the medication when my symptoms were at their worst (fever, chills, shortness of breath), which likely would have been more helpful. I’m also tired and just feel unwell overall. I lost five pounds since the symptoms began due to a lack of appetite. All of this to say, you are not alone! I go back to work on Monday. I hope by then, I’ll be better! I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Asenath*

        I didn’t try to get the anti-viral – by the time I had the energy to think about it, I was clearly recovering. I had the headaches anyway. And that damn persistent cough was the last symptom to disappear. It went on and on.

      2. Lonely Covidian*

        The metallic taste is so terrible! Nothing makes it go away and it makes sleeping even more challenging. I’m grateful for the medication but agree the side effect is a real challenge.

        1. EJ*

          To help the metallic taste, don’t put metal in your mouth. I know it sounds obvious but using plastic forks, spoons etc instead of metal may help your taste.

      3. bratschegirl*

        Not just you by any means. My 90+ dad had 4 shots and got it anyhow, did get on Paxlovid right away and had a very mild case; much younger friends were miserably sick for 2 weeks-ish. It’s a total crapshoot, how it manifests for any individual. I hope you feel much better soon.

    12. Asenath*

      You aren’t alone. Although my case seems to have been easier than yours, it wasn’t fun – and I picked it up just at the point it was recommended that I was eligible for my fourth shot, but hadn’t had it, so it wasn’t as though I hadn’t had my shots, or taken the precautions recommended by the local Public Health. It was just bad luck. I knew the instant I woke up that first morning that I probably had COVID and most certainly did not have a common cold, based on the symptoms and how badly I felt. I confirmed it with a rapid test since I felt too miserable to go out and get a PCR test, and also didn’t have a car to get to the drive-through clinic. Over the first week, I did notice regular improvement, especially after day 2, but I lost nearly 9 pounds that week (unfortunately quickly regained) since my appetite went – I think I could taste food, I just didn’t want to eat it. The second week I felt pretty normal unless I tried to do something like exercise, so I was still pretty worn out – it “took all the good out of me” as we say here – and I’m now totally recovered, about two months later.

      Anecdotal evidence from my corner of the world is all over the map. Among friends and acquaintances who had it (all, as far as I know, after vaccination), it hasn’t been unusual to hear that, say, one of a couple got pretty sick, and the other, testing as a precaution because of the exposure, tested positive but didn’t actually feel sick at all. No one I know personally had to be hospitalize, but some of them were pretty sick at home, and some wouldn’t have noticed they had it if they hadn’t happened to get tested.

      So, as I said, you aren’t alone.

    13. The Other Dawn*

      It’s been different for pretty much everyone I know. I got it from my trainer. Mine was similar to a moderate cold and I didn’t have any of the tiredness or fever. I had a dry cough at the end, but it seemed to go away much faster than a typical cough after a cold. Trainer had no cold symptoms at all, and instead had exhaustion, vertigo, and no sense of taste. My sister had a very bad sore throat (she thought it was strep) and cold symptoms, and was tired for weeks. My friend had mild cold symptoms and was tired for a couple weeks. A couple of my husband’s coworkers were asymptomatic.

    14. Irish Teacher*

      Like everybody else, I know people who’ve had…I was going to say the full spectrum of experiences, but thankfully, I don’t know anybody who needed ICU treatment or who died of it, but the full spectrum of mild-to-moderate. I know some people who were completely asymptomatic and only knew they had it because they tested after being a close contact, some who were mildly ill for a few days and quite a number of people who said it was like a really bad flu, they were very sick for 1-2 weeks and then not really right for another 2-4 weeks.

      And as others have said, there’s no pattern. I’ve known older people who had only mild symptoms and young, otherwise healthy people who said it was the sickest they’ve ever been.

      And this isn’t only true of covid. It’s not unusual for people to have very different experiences of illness or injury for all kinds of reasons.

    15. ecnaseener*

      Yep, my BIL was sick with it for 2 weeks in the spring. Young, otherwise healthy, vaxxed and boosted. He’s fine now!

    16. Melanie Cavill*

      When I got it, I’d had three jabs. I was so weak, I could barely get out of bed for four days. It definitely isn’t just you.

    17. Falling Diphthong*

      I think this reflects that for the fully vaxxed, it’s like a bad flu strain. For most people, not that big a deal. Some get flattened. And some wind up hospitalized, or die.

      In the summer of 2020 I caught an enterovirus. From my spouse, and for him it was being tired and wanting to nap for 5 days, followed by a slight dry cough. I had those same symptoms a week later. (Yay, we thought, this means spouse didn’t have an odd-presenting covid but just some sort of tired-cough flu!) And then I woke up with blisters lining my mouth, my hands and feet were swollen, and it was the launch of weeks of misery. Most adults are immune, followed by those who are asymptomatic, followed by those for whom symptoms are very slight–but some of us are special. (I was recovering from cancer treatment, which I’m sure didn’t help.)

      1. Lasslisa*

        What a great framing. It’s easy (for me at least) to forget that “like the flu” includes a whole lot of hospitalizations, because people use it colloquially to mean any old virus beyond a cold.

        1. Asenath*

          The family doctor we went to when I was a child used to get annoyed at people who turned up saying they had the flu, which we tended, and tend, to use for any respiratory illness including the common cold. “No”, he’d say, “You don’t have the flu. You have a cold. The flu, influenza, is something else.”.

          I used to be very susceptible to chest infections even with the common cold – that same doctor put me in hospital once because I had pneumonia. But I always remembered that no matter how bad my colds were, they weren’t influenza. That helped in understanding what COVID was and wasn’t – particularly when one of the representative of Public Health pointed out that a “mild” case was one that didn’t put you in hospital or the ICU. I knew I could be pretty sick with a respiratory infection without having to be hospitalized.

        2. Sundae funday*

          I had the real flu 20 years ago- I was young, healthy, etc- and it took 3 months before I felt 100%. I was very sick for a week, sorta sick for another, and then it was weeks and weeks of exhaustion. It was the one year I’d skipped the flu shot and I never did again. I always roll my eyes when people say, “I’m not sure if it’s a cold or the flu” because there’s just no comparison.

          1. JSPA*

            There are a multitude of cold viruses, and another multitude of influenza viruses, and the ends of the spectra overlap (especially if you’ve been vaccinated for the flu or had a related strain previously).

            Remember: we slot several (non-covid 19) coronaviruses in under “cold viruses,” that they have also (upon introduction to previously-unexposed populations) been serious pandemics in their own right, and that some people still remain dangerously susceptible to them.

            And therein lies the response to this post: genetics, our own past exposure, and for some diseases, even maternal exposure as well as specific health conditions means we are differentially susceptible to all communicable diseases.

            But also: if you get it from a loved one with whom you share air for hours on end, unmasked, your exposure may well be more extreme than their (probably shorter term, perhaps masked, presumably more distanced) exposure.

            As the higher risk person, I do the in-person stuff where possible…as I’m probably safer as the index, rather than as the secondary case in the houshold. (Plus I have years of masking experience, a highly mask compatible face, and am impervious to suggestions that I de-mask because it’s “safe enough” by someone else’s standards.)

        3. Irish Teacher*

          Yeah, I am bemused by people that say “it’s JUST a bad flu,” because a “bad flu” can kill people. A bad flu would make me think the Spanish Flu, which killed more people than World War I. But people seem to think the flu is just a bad cold.

    18. Chilipepper Attitude*

      Though I tested negatively be each time by multiple PCR tests, my husband has had COVID twice, and my doc says my antibodies show I had it (but not when).

      The first time he had it, pre vaccine, he wound up in the hospital and he was so out of it before that that I had trouble getting him to eat, he lost weight he did not need to lose and had to build back up after. Second time he had it is was more like a slightly bad flu or cold and he stayed in bed a day or two.

      I was asymptomatic. I have more risk factors for getting it and for being made sicker by it.

      So it really varies by person and even each time the same person has it.

    19. the cat's ass*

      It’s not you, It’s COVID! I’m quadruple vaxxed and got it in may. I was really sick for a week, but because i was negative 6 days out, had to RTW. It took me another month to be able to get up a flight of stairs without shortness of breath. And i was SO tired, for about 3 weeks i slept as much as i could.

    20. Nack*

      Oh no, it’s not just you. My husband and I had it last month. We are both 30, pretty healthy, vaccinated, and we were miserable! And I understand the unhelpful comments like “it’s just a cold.” No, sorry, it’s not. I barely had the energy to walk into the next room for more than a week. Those comments were frustrating because they ignored what I was actually experiencing for what people would like to believe about Covid.

      1. Lonely Covidian*

        Thank you for this – you exactly captured what I’ve been feeling about the “just a cold” comments!

    21. Stephanie*

      I’ve had Covid twice, despite being vaccinated and getting one booster. The first time, it was awful. I was extremely congested and got exhausted just going to the bathroom. My doctor put me on Paxlovid, and it made a bit of a difference with the congestion, but I remember telling her that it was the sickest I had been since I had pneumonia 15 years ago. It took me over a week to feel back to myself. The second time, it was more like mild cold symptoms, and I felt better in just a few days.
      You’re not crazy. It’s an often deadly virus, and some of us get hit really hard with symptoms, and some get lucky and only have mild symptoms. Hang in there, and feel better soon!

    22. PhyllisB*

      You are not alone. I’ve had it twice and neither time was bad. I lost my sense of taste and smell for a while the first time, the second time, no symptoms at all.
      However, two people from my church nearly died with it. One was on a ventilator for weeks. Luckily both made a full recovery. I’m just saying that if people are trying to minimize your distress, don’t pay any attention. Just take care of yourself.

    23. Megan M.*

      Not just you. My family caught it this past weekend. We’re vaxxed. I had body aches, chills, sore throat, couldn’t get out of bed for a full day. My fiancé has had it worse – multiple days of being bedridden and miserable. The kids breezed through it except my 12 year old, she also had chills and body aches and felt generally sick to her stomach for days.

    24. Elizabeth West*

      You’re not. I know people who got it and felt fine, and others who felt like crap for a week or more. I hope you’re better soon!

    25. GingerNP*

      Omicron is really good at escaping immunity (both from previous illness and from the vaccines that have been available until this point). We are seeing far fewer people needing to be hospitalized and requiring oxygen etc, but it is still making lots of people feel like garbage for a long time. Somebody else said “it’s a weird disease” and it totally is. I hope you feel better soon!

    26. BellyButton*

      I had no symptoms other than a really bad headache and fever the first few days and total exhaustion that lasted weeks after I tested negative. I would be fine, I would get on a zoom meeting and then by the end of the hour I felt like I would fall over.

      I hope you feel better soon!

    27. cubone*

      I was only double vaxxed at the time but I got it around Christmas last year and it was 10 days of horror. Both my partner and I were completely immobile for a full week. It was horrendous and it really annoys me when all we hear is the “it’s just a bad little cold” narrative.

    28. Elle Woods*

      Family friends had it a few weeks back. They were both vaxxed and double boosted. The husband had it so bad he wound up hospitalized for a couple of days. They’re both doing better now, thank goodness. Hopefully your recovery will swift.

    29. Qwerty*

      Non-covid commiseration: A few years ago (pre-pandemic), a mild cold went through my family. Except for me, who developed pnumonia, was passing out regularly and probably should have been hospitalized, then pulled a muscle from coughing so hard resulting in inflammation acted like a python squeezing the air out of my lungs. Was off of work for a week, worked from home another 1-2 weeks, and it took months for my cough to stop sounding scary to coworkers.

      Everyone else in my family? Just some sniffles for a couple days, maybe a bit tired.

      My point is that normal respiratory diseases affect us differently, there’s a ton of factors and sometimes we just get really unlucky.

      Also, a lot of people I know who said their covid was “not that bad” mean “I expected it to be worse”. Hopefully the silver lining here is that your husband sounds recovered enough to be taking care of you!

    30. Ann Ominous*

      My husband and I got it recently and it knocked us on our asses even though we are vaxxed, boosted, active, and healthy. We slept most of the time for the first 5 or so days, and we’re more tired than usual for about 3 weeks afterward.

      The best advice we received was to not push through anything. If you aren’t sure, err on the side of more rest. Nothing good will come out of pushing too hard. Nothing bad will come out of resting too much.

      And consider taking this opportunity to be very kind to the sick you that needs extra gentleness and care right now. You’re allowed to be sick.

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

      I know many vaxxed and boosted people who got quite sick with it anyway. Part of the annoying/dastardly part of this disease is how some people feel pretty fine while others are laid low. Please don’t beat yourself up for being sick. I’m glad that you got the anti-viral, and I hope it helps! Rest up, and don’t feel guilty. I prescribe trashy TV, whatever feels comforting to you to eat, and lots of naps. And if things keep getting worse, don’t hesitate to get emergency assistance.

      I wasn’t terribly sick, but my lungs felt yucky enough that I took a course of low-dose steroids (Paxlovid was in short supply then), and I did all my “stuff that we don’t discuss on the weekend” online for several weeks. I didn’t feel normal physically for about six weeks, and even now, I still struggle with brain fog months later. What’s “normal” in this disease is quite a spectrum.

    32. Veronica Marx*

      Just chiming in to say you’re not the only one! I was triple vaxxed and it was hard. I was sicker than I’ve been in a long time and I was so, so exhausted. One of my coworkers had just gotten her 2nd booster when she got it and was even sicker than I was.

      So while most of the people I know were like your group–very mild cases–certainly not for everyone. Sorry you’re so sick; hope you’re 100% soon! For me I turned the corner on Day 7 and finally felt a lot better (not 100%, but much much better), so I’ll hope for a similar trajectory for you!

    33. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      You’re not the only one.

      I had two doses of the vaccine, in February and March 2021, and then what was almost certainly covid in June of that year. It felt like the worst cold I’d ever had in my life, and was “mild” in the sense that I wasn’t hospitalized, and recovered after a few weeks. (At the time, my doctor said they didn’t think it was worth testing, given my then-recent vaccination, so we didn’t.)

      Take it easy, and take as much time as you need. As other people have noted, “mild” in this context means that you weren’t hospitalized, and also the paxlovid is likely to be helping.

    34. Lonely Covidian*

      I can’t thank you all enough for these stories and sharing your experiences. I am currently sitting outside, enjoying the breeze and the tiny hint of fall in the air, and letting it be okay that I just need lots of rest right now. My husband is definitely doing a great job of taking care of me as well.

      I don’t think our society (at least here in the US) makes it easy for people to admit they’re quite ill or take the time they need to recover, so there’s so much pressure to minimize how we feel and rush back to the place-we-don’t-mention or get back to being “productive”.

    35. The Person from the Resume*

      I caught it a month and half ago. I probably wasn’t as sick as you because I didn’t stay in bed although part of that was laying down made my congestion and throat worse so I sat up and tried to sleep sitting up too.

      But I was sick for 11 days. Really sick for 5 days, and missed 5 days of work.

      COVID is no joke. The person I likely caught it from was well enough (only a bit unwell) that they didn’t test until I told them I tested positive. Another person I was with at the same time said she just had a head cold; I told her that she very likely had COVID.

      Lots of people fully vaxxed and boosted such as myself got similarly sick. My friend said she laid on her couch for about a week and missed work.

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        Also I had fever of 101 one day; I don’t remember when is the last time I had a fever.

        I had the worst sore throat I’ve ever had, thankfully it was that terrible just one day.

        I also had a full body, doubling/over cough for several days. Also probably the worst cough I’ve ever had. Even when I feeling better in every other way, the cough would just double me over and prevent a good night’s sleep.

    36. MEH Squared*

      I know three people who got COVID after being vaxxed. My brother, double-vaxxed, got it last summer. He was laid out for three or so days, along with losing his sense of smell/taste. He was back to normal after three or four days, except his sense of smell/taste. That was gone for two weeks. One of my best friends got it at a conference in Finland. He said it was like a really bad cold for a few days and that was it. He was quadruple-vaxxed, I believe. At least triple.)

      My other best friend, her husband, and their teenage child got it while flying to Hawaii for a vacation. Their child recovered in a few days, but she and her husband were LAID OUT for at least two weeks. Even when they were finally able to fly back to Philly, she was exhausted and miserable. I think it took a month for it to clear up. They were triple-vaxxed. So, yeah. You’re not alone in this!

    37. Daisy*

      I was triple vaxxed and caught covid two weeks ago. The first two days I was sicker than I ever remember being as an adult – barely could get out of bed, with fever, sweats, and chills. Slowly been getting better, now it is mostly stuffy sinuses and slightly tired.

    38. Yaz*

      I think it just depends. I was bed ridden and hacking up my lungs for two weeks, but somehow missed the brain fog. My partner was sniffly and short of breath for a week with pretty intense brain fog.

      Hope you feel better soon!

    39. Sundae funday*

      I was fully vaccinated and boosted, and omicron steam rolled me. I just kept thinking how much worse it would’ve been if I hadn’t had the shots!

      I do know some relatives of friends who refused vaccination and ended up in the hospital. Some recovered, some didn’t.

    40. CB29*

      You’re not the only one. I’m young and otherwise healthy, with no pre-existing risk factors. I had “mild” COVID in January 2021, before vaccines were available to me. (I later got fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as I could.) Since my “mild” COVID, I’ve had intermittent heart/chest pain every few days, and some instances of irregular heartbeat.

      (Nothing else about my lifestyle has changed in a way that would cause this. If anything, I eat healthier food and get more sleep than before the pandemic.)

    41. All Hail Queen Sally*

      I got Covid four weeks ago despite being double vaccinated and double boosted. It was like a horrible case of bronchitis on top of a horrible case of the flu. All I wanted to do the first two weeks was sleep. Now I am back to work but I still get super exhausted after the least bit of physical exertion, and I still have a very deep cough. I wasn’t hospitalized or on oxygen, but I am 65 and a diabetic so I am sure those were contributing factors. I was prescribed Paxlovid the first day I showed symptoms and the side effects were awful.

    42. AnonInCanada*

      You’re not the only one, trust me. I’m triple vaxxed and I’m still feeling mild symptoms from it even though it’s been more than a month since my last negative test. I still feel rundown at times and have a mild shortness of breath. I hope this will go away soon.

    43. Gatomon*

      I had it once pre-vaccines and once before all could get boosters (so about six months out from being fully vaccinated). Both times laid me out. The first time I had more coughing/chest pain/fever/loss of smell and taste and was classically ill. The second time I mostly had shortness of breath and some fatigue, but it just did not let up. A simple trip up and down the stairs was difficult for months.

      I’m feeling more myself now, but it’s been almost a full year. I’m in my early 30s and otherwise have always been super resistant to colds and flus. I get one maybe every other year normally and a bad one every decade. I don’t know what it is about covid, but it’s got my number for sure.

    44. Rage*

      I had it in July and it was certainly not “nothing”. Vaccinated + 1 booster. It hit me pretty hard and fast (exposed on Wednesday, symptoms by Friday, positive test Saturday morning). I went and got the Paxlovid too and boy did that make a difference! I think I would have been down a lot longer without it. As it was, I only worked a few hours a day (from home) until the next Friday, so about a week for me.

      I’m mostly recovered now, but the lingering brain fog is VERY annoying and is not improving, so I’m reluctantly accepting that I may have “long-COVID”. I’m having difficulty mostly with language, but also concentration. Finding it hard to “word”. Also, I have some recent shortness of breath – fortunately, I still have an Albuterol inhaler from when I had bronchitis in February, so I’ve been using that, and it helps a bit. But [TMI WARNING] I read on the CDC’s site that another symptom is interruption with menstrual cycles and, yeah, I’m definitely off schedule. 2 weeks late as of yesterday (and, no, I’m not pregnant; I have a restraining order against the Angel Gabriel).

      I’ve known people with virtually no symptoms at all and others with very severe symptoms. I’d say mine was low-middle, about as bad as the bronchitis I had. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t look like I’ll have the complete recovery like I did with the bronchitis.

      Best thing to do is to NOT push yourself. Give your body the rest and time it needs to recover.

      1. Covid got me good*

        Covid caused me to have spotting, on two different days, and my period was not due for over a week. My periods have always been like clockwork. I have no doubt it was Covid that caused the spotting.

  9. Bluebell*

    Slate had a fun article where their writers commented on their regrets for this summer. Anyone want to comment about summer regrets? I know there’s one more week of summer, so maybe people will be inspired to check off one last thing. I regret that I didn’t make it to a municipal swimming pool, though I did spend a good amount of time at my town beach.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I wanted to hike a lot and barely went at all. I did the trail by my house regularly, but it got very boring and is more of a “stroll a mile in the woods” thing that I did just to feel like I was exercising – no cool destinations, new trails, or interesting challenges like I’d planned. On the bright side, this was mainly because I had a really busy summer full of other things like moving, getting a job, and going on fun family outings! Plus I live in an area that will probably have nice weather for another month or two if I can find time to get out soon.

    2. Yeah summer!*

      I missed the fair. My husband had covid during county fair. And state fair is too far away. And furthermore my ultimate goal of entering the sweep the competition event at the fair. There are 20 separate competitions for things like that or flowers, baking, preserves, art etc. I want to spend a year getting all my entries together (ideally getting my kids to do it too). I don’t really care about winning but I do want to enter.

      1. Cendol*

        I also wish we had been able to attend more fairs/rodeos! We missed The Gay Rodeo when it was in town. Maybe next year…

      2. Bluebell*

        We didn’t make it to the town that is 1.5 hours away for their fair that happened during our vacation. But there’s a nice fair over Labor Day we might go to.

    3. The Prettiest Curse*

      I didn’t go to the pub enough! I’m within walking distance of several that have nice beer gardens, but with the heat we’ve been having over the last few weeks, I just decided to lie on the couch and read instead.

      1. Bluebell*

        I spent more time indoors than I wanted this summer, but the weather cooled off when I was on vacation, so DH and I made it to 3 breweries with beer gardens!

    4. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m having the best summer I can remember in years (perfect holidays, lots of time with loved ones, and a newly spruced up garden to enjoy the sun in).

      I’m also having concerns about weird and uncomfortable health symptoms that popped out of nowhere, that doctors want to investigate. It’s taking months to just scratch the surface, and even though it’s likely to be nothing sinister, it scares me that nothing I’ve tried so far has been enough to make it go away.

      I wish I could shut it all out and focus on making this great summer even better, like (so say the more rational people in my family) a functional adult should be able to do. The rare feeling of total relax I had on holiday, before any symptoms appeared, is something I was hoping to be able to hang on to. But my anxious little brain is just not having it.

    5. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m having the best summer I can remember in years (perfect holidays, lots of time with loved ones, and a newly spruced up garden to enjoy the sun in).

      I’m also having concerns about weird and uncomfortable health symptoms that popped out of nowhere, that doctors want to investigate. It’s taking months to just scratch the surface, and even though it’s likely to be nothing sinister, it scares me that nothing I’ve tried so far has been enough to make it go away.

      I wish I could shut it all out and focus on making this great summer even better, like (so say the more rational people in my family) a functional adult should be able to do. The rare feeling of total relax I had on holiday, before any symptoms appeared, is something I was hoping to be able to hang on to. But my anxious little brain is just not having it.

    6. Square Root of Minus One*

      Honestly I’m just writing this one off.
      I took my longest PTO in years but we ‘ve been moving, deep-cleaning, repairing, settling in a new place. I have a whole four days left, we’re not done, I’m just drained. Things’ll get better later, but it barely felt like time off at all.

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        I switched jobs and moved house this summer, also. What little breaks I managed to give myself don’t feel like they were quite enough.

    7. Too identifiable for my usual name*

      I’m sleeping terribly, I’ve gone from regular periods every 25 days to no period in well over 100 days which is low-key freaking me out (I’ve been to the doctors and they kind of shrugged and said perimenopause), the heat has cancelled a good few of my plans so we’ve ended up sitting inside instead of going out, one of my siblings got covid so missed our family meetup, the cost of living is skyrocketing, work is stressful, and I’m just sick of being single.

      And yet, there’s only 2 things are really bugging me – one, we haven’t been to a local science museum my kid loves, and two, there’s a free outdoor cinema over the summer and we’ve only been once.

      Hey ho. I’ve had lots of time with my kid and he’s really enjoyed the summer, so could be much worse.

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

        I don’t know if this will help, but I found that perimenopause made me a worse sleeper also. I’ve started aggressively using the air conditioner so that my room is cooler and also wearing ear plugs to drown out the extra noise of the air conditioner, and I’m noticing that my sleep is getting better!

      2. The Person from the Resume*

        Solidarity. I assuming that perimenopause is the cause of my terrible sleep that started a year or two ago. Waking up many times a night and having trouble falling back to sleep especially after 4 or 5 am

      3. Wombats and Tequila*

        Another menopausal citizen chiming in. Yeah my insomnia turned into a superpower. Besides the usual sleep hygiene advice, the single most helpful thing is using a sleep mask. I am much more likely not to wake up after 2 hours and lie there for the rest of the night like a crackhead cosplaying like a mummy. The second most useful thing I do is change to sleepwear and brush my teeth at least an hour before I’m likely to be sleepy, so that when the magic moment arrives, I can go straight to bed instead of doing a bunch of activities involving clothes and sharp minty flavors that will wake me up again.

      4. JSPA*

        I now use waffle-weave toweling yardage in place of a top sheet / cover. Used to use another as a bottom sheet cover, when the night sweats were at their peak. Sleeping in a mest hammock might also work? Only thought of that now.

        Getting enough niacin, and/or 6 hour low-dose melatonin (plus, oddly, long-acting tylenol) also helped.

      5. Camelid coordinator*

        I am with you!! Every month I wonder if this is time I won’t have a 28 day cycle but now that the time is here (day 80 and counting) I am a bit weirded out. But the sleep thing is terrible. I have traditionally been a champion sleeper and need a lot of sleep. Nowadays I am in bed around 10 hours just to cobble together enough sleep after all the interruptions.

      6. Rage*

        Too identifiable: did you have COVID recently? Or were exposed but had no symptoms? The CDC says that one of the symptoms of “long-COVID” is interruptions to your regular cycle. Mine were coming every 2 weeks on the nose (annoying but not surprising) and I haven’t had one since COVID over a month ago.

    8. Bobina*

      Ugggh. One of my favourite food places did a summer pop-up where the menu was all BBQ things. All summer I kept telling myself I’d go, and I kept putting it off. Finally decided I’d do it tomorrow but turns out there’s an event happening so I’d have to pay just to get in and there’d be loud music which….is not what I wanted from the experience. So now I probably wont make it and will miss out on the delicious food. Regret.

    9. StellaBella*

      I wanted to camp more. did it 3 x. Was ill a bunch, then travel for that place in the week, then cracked my wrist with hairline fracture so yeah… not much camping. maybe in autumn

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      My mom passed away last fall. This May, we went to visit the place my mom lived before the pandemic, where I have a lot of positive memories of her, and I did a lot of walking. My ankles hurt, but I figured I was pushing myself in a way that would mean 1-3 days taking it really easy when we got home.

      Right ankle did that. Left ankle lingered, and lingered, and lingered. Saw my PT for a long-planned check-up and she noticed the ankle brace and checked me out, and said I’d hurt a ligament in the arch. Which would slowly heal on its own, but slooooowly. This month I’m at the point where it doesn’t hurt in the morning, and I’m walking the dogs again short distances, but it’s not gone. And I’m realizing a) that quietly staying home and not stressing my foot has been my summer b) that not walking much for months means going up hills on a medium walk really wallops me.

      (We do have a Christmas trip planned, so I don’t feel cheated out of any planned trips. But man, I did not think I was setting myself up for months of limited mobility.)

      1. Tundra dog*

        Lots of sympathy for foot issues here! That can really ruin a summer. I developed plantar fasciitis in one foot in the late winter/early spring. For those unfamiliar, it causes excruciating pain in the heel of the foot, especially when initially getting up after sitting or laying down. I also had a weird, unrelated injury on my OTHER foot. For the first half of summer, I was just hobbling around all the time.

        I finally started PT in early summer, and it is getting better, but I feel like I missed out on a LOT of hiking early on before things got too hot. Now that I can hike mostly comfortably again, it is 90-100 degrees and way too hot to hike, especially with the dog. We did finally get out a bit earlier this month and yeah…going up hills after a whole summer of not much activity was tough!

        I’m accepting that there isn’t much summer left and I’m going to try to enjoy fall outdoor activities as much as I can, and maybe next spring/summer will be better.

        1. JSPA*

          I’m well into my second 6 months of PF. Still flares with any uphill walking. But biking turns out mostly OK (not standing on the pedals or grinding, though!). So too, swimming. Doing more of those. I miss the long walks, but the nature swimming and biking has made up for the need to get out in nature (mostly). And I’ve got all the flat routes figured out. Stairs also turn out to be OK, taken with care.

    11. WellRed*

      I didn’t get into the ocean yet and probably won’t know. I also don’t know why I don’t start my day out on the porch with coffee while the weather allows. At the same time, I am OVER the humidity and lack of rain.

      1. Bluebell*

        Yes, I won’t miss the weather! It finally rained this week but now it’s annoyingly humid. Maybe you can get to the ocean in Sept while the water is still warm?

    12. Excuse Me, Is This Username Taken?*

      Summer reading challenge at the library. My toddler and I completed the “challenge,” I just never got us back over to the library to pick up any of the prizes (mostly due to some health stuff of my own) before it ended. Of course spending time reading together is the main point, and we did that, but I wish we had completed it all the way.

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

        Maybe you could give yourselves your own prizes for completing the challenge when you’re feeling up to it? Like you and toddler go to a bookstore and each pick out a prize book for yourselves?

    13. fposte*

      I only found out the last week it existed that my local pool lets people in to walk with or against the lazy river, and it’s really fun. So I was able to do it all of once. Marked down for next year.

    14. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I have not spent much time on my patio/cooking on my grill! But, the weather is nice this weekend so I’m going to get out there.

      1. Bluebell*

        We finally bought a gas grill this July. Before that we only had a charcoal grill and hardly ever used it. Even though we don’t eat chicken or beef, we’ve used it for fish, paneer, lots of corn, and other veggies too.

    15. Pieismyreligion*

      I’ve not gotten out in the kayak since late spring when I thought I’d be going out weekly or bi-weekly. I joined a meet-up group but never made the outings due to work or family schedule, and sometimes just some plain couldn’t-get-myself-to-go reason.

    16. Filosofickle*

      I was hoping to start dating this summer, while it’s still easy to do lots of outdoor dining and activities. (I’m not sure how else to balance socializing + covid precautions.) But I moved and in the process experienced a re-injury and emotional setbacks. So while it’s been an important summer of self care and setting up a house, it’s also felt like a real loss socially. I also really haven’t explored my new area hardly at all, and that’s a bummer.

    17. Seeking Second Childhood*

      I have not replaced my roof. Drought would have been a perfect time, but I honestly had sticker shock at cost increases. And now I’m feeling sheepish about calling the contractor back to find out if he can even fit me in this season, let alone what the price increase will be after a couple more months of inflation.
      I also have not been to the beach once.

    18. Rara Avis*

      My summer was effectively over two weeks ago because schools start early in August here. I regret getting Covid and missing half my vacation.

    19. Overeducated*

      We bailed out on our first family camping trip because we decided to be cheap and go reserve the tent site instead of the yurt, but it was thunderstorming and we reaaaaally didn’t want to set up and sleep in a tent with small kids for the first time in that weather. I regret not reserving the yurt. (We have another tent site reserved at a park closer to home next weekend so we can still squeeze it in, as well as visit the little sandy lake beach nearby, on the very last weekend of summer. Fingers crossed for clear weather!)

    20. Macaroni Penguin*

      I regret that I didn’t take my family to a college level baseball game. Well, technically we did on Father’s Day but it was standing room only. We had tickets to the family berm (bad plan) but couldn’t find any place to sit. We just went home. Then for the second game later in the season, Husband was stricken with COVID. The baby was sick too, presumably with the same ailment. Obviously we didn’t attend that game. We tried but….. regret!

    21. Lore*

      This thread inspired me to go out to the Rockaways yesterday and jump in the ocean. (I did go once earlier in the summer but it was a little chilly and I didn’t really swim). Every time I go, I think it’s ridiculous I don’t go more often—under an hour door to door when the subway is behaving. I left home around 2:30, had a swim, a nice walk on the beach, read my book in the sun, then changed into dry clothes and headed home. Even with waiting 15 minutes for a return train, I was home by 6. And I’m heading to my other regular summer destination next weekend—my partner’s family cabin on a lake. Better late than never. (He’s been without me a few times this summer.)

      1. Camelid coordinator*

        I had been regretting not going to any minor league baseball this summer, and this thread made me say that out loud. So now I am going next week! I am glad you got to go to the rockaways.

  10. Dark Macadamia*

    What can I do to make my hair look nicer in the morning when I shower at night? I’m lazy so a complicated routine or more involved hairstyle isn’t going to work, lol.

    I have fine, thinning hair that frizzes badly in humidity and tends to look greasy very quickly. I used to shower in the morning but that won’t work with my schedule anymore so now I wash at night and let it air dry before bed. I feel like the next morning it already looks unwashed but I don’t want to just wear a ponytail forever! I’ve tried a couple types of dry shampoo (powder and aerosol) and it does nothing for the appearance but adds a gross texture :( Please tell me there’s some inexpensive miracle product that will help me look less disheveled with minimal effort!

    1. Yeah summer!*

      Head and shoulders has an oil reducing shampoo. My hair is similar to your description and I can get 48 hours between washes.

    2. Not A Manager*

      Get a lightweight leave-in conditioner, finishing oil, etc. In the morning, dampen your hair by wetting your hands and spreading some water on your hair (be sure to get the underside too), or use a spray bottle. You want it damp, not dripping wet.

      Work a small amount of your product into your hair, trying not maintain your styling from the night before and not separate your curls into frizzes. Gently squeeze and shape the curls into the style you like. Let that air dry, hopefully without mussing it up too much while dressing or walking outside in the wind. My hair is longish so I loosely tie several hair ties around it to keep it from poofing. When you get to your destination, remove the hair ties and gently reshape your hair.

      I also don’t shampoo every day. My frizzy hair likes to get wet and conditioned, but not shampooed.

    3. Expiring Cat Memes*

      Your hair type sounds very similar to mine. What has worked for me is my hairdresser’s recommendation to wash less (every 2-3 days instead of daily). That stops it drying out and lets my scalp maintain a normal, healthy oil level.

      The other thing was switching to high end nourishing Kerastase shampoo and conditioner. It is expensive (sorry!) but after a few weeks my hair started sitting well enough natural and air dried that I didn’t need to use product or style it anymore. When I add up the cost of all the additional products plus daily washing, it’s actually not that expensive on balance to get the good shampoo/conditioner and use it less. And when I do decide to style my hair these days it holds the style much longer even without hairspray.

    4. Princess Deviant*

      The only thing that’s worked for me is shampoo soap bars! I first tried them a year ago. I was desperate due to menopause making my hair and skin really terrible and greasy. It took about 1 week of using them for my hair to stop looking greasy (my hair sounds a lot like yours – needed washing daily, fine), and now I wash my hair with the bar every 3 days or so. And it’s in good condition if I wash it the night before and leave it to dry, rather than in the morning. Honestly, for me shampoo bars were the miracle product I’d been looking for. Can’t believe I didn’t try them before now!

      1. I take tea*

        I have had really good experience with shampoo bars as well. As Princess says, It might take a while for the hair to get used to it, but well worth it. I wash my hair less often, because it just doesn’t get greasy in a hot minute. Less waste as well, which is a plus.

        Another thing that helps is henna, but it’s not for eveybody.

    5. Atomic Tangerine*

      I’m not really qualified to answer because I literally wear my hair in a bun 99% of the time but this is the internet so I’m weighing in anyway. I dab on some regular conditioner to control the frizzies, and use lots of bobby pins. Add more bobby pins as day goes on, esp if it’s rainy/humid/windy/had to wear an N95 (if all four conditions are met I can probably set off sn airport metal detector by 6pm).

    6. Lasslisa*

      If your complaint is the greasy look (as opposed to the frizz), I might suggest a volumizing shampoo and either a matched conditioner or skip the conditioner altogether (save it for some product/mousse the morning of).

      Volumizing shampoo I’ve liked: Nexxus Diametress really worked to add volume in a way I had not seen in lots of trying, even with the conditioner.
      Now I mostly use Lush shampoo bars (seanik or the lemon rosemary ones).

    7. DistantAudacity*

      I find it helps a lot to put in dry shampoo in the evening!

      I picked up the trick from a Sali Hughes column in the Guardian :) It helps stop the greasiness set in, and also if the powder is the wrong colour all that is sorted by morning.

      Find a kind that suits your hair in terms of weight/volume – they are different! I like lightweight ones for my hair the Kloriane ones, and Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo (whew!) is top notch for “clean” and not leaving residue.

      1. Pippa K*

        To add another dry shampoo recommendation, I like Aveda’s. Like Dark Macadamia, I’ve found them all to add unpleasant texture, especially the spray ones, but Aveda’s powder formula, which just puffs out when you squeeze it so has no propellant, works better than any others for me.

      2. ronda*

        the 1 time a hair dresser used dry shampoo on me she said you use it right after you dry your hair after washing, not the next day. It looked nice the next day, but I never tried it myself…. so the blow-dry may have been part of it.

      3. Filosofickle*

        The non-aerosol klorane powder is the one that works with my oily/fine hair and doesn’t feel product-y — but YES put it on the roots before going to bed. It stops the oil from even spreading. If you wait until the oil is there, it takes more product and hair is more lank. I do prefer how my scalp feels without any dry shampoos but they are the only thing that keep me from having to wash every day and my hair is happier now that I don’t.

        A reason stylists put it on immediately after styling is to create volume — that extra “grit” keeps the hairs apart and adds fullness.

      4. Dark Macadamia*

        I tried doing dry shampoo last night instead of in the morning and it made a noticeable difference! Yay!

    8. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I have similar hair. Putting gel on it after it dries, then shaping it with my fingers, and letting the gel dry thoroughly, works for me. Even after sleeping on it, it doesn’t get that greasy matted bed hair look. At most, just re-tweak in the morning with damp fingers. If you don’t want a heavy gel, aloe vera Fruit of the Earth works almost as well, and is a non-greasy conditioner. I’m also careful to not have my face moisturizer too close to the hairline – blot any excess off in those areas. That can really grease up your hair.

    9. Not So NewReader*

      If I don’t make sure to rinse with cool/cold water my hair punishes me for that, especially in heat or excessively cold weather.

      I have a hair brush that I keep in the bathroom. (I don’t use it anywhere else.) I spray it with frizz control, brush, and that usually solves things.

      My hair is fine and thinning. When I stopped using shampoo, I stopped dealing with so much moody hair. I now use an organic body wash that I have on my hair also.

      Not a real popular answer but what we eat and drink shows in our hair and nails. This time of year and in the dead of winter lack of water will show in the hair. Unfairly, we have to get in minerals from somewhere. If you add raw veggies to your meals you might see changes that way also. You can also try drinks with electrolytes if you can find something with no sugar.

      I refuse to buy a ton of useless products and I refuse to spend hours doing my hair. This kind of left me with this option of looking at what I was eating and drinking during the day.

    10. A313*

      If you haven’t tried a silk or satin pillowcase, it might help your hair be less frizzy and need less managing the next day. I was surprised this actually works for me.

      1. Ey-not-Cy*

        Yes, to this, I’ve been amazed at how much of a difference a silk pillowcase can make on second day hair.

    11. WellRed*

      “It’s a miracle” leave in spray. You can spray it on your hair after shower and comb through but I also sometimes spray it on hands and run through dry hair if it’s looking frizzy. I don’t think letting your hair dry naturally is helping but you would know what works best for you.

    12. fposte*

      I”m a shower-at-night/air-dry person and sometimes have some similar problems, though the nature of it will vary from season to season. This summer I’m having good luck with using a fairly light conditioner (a Finesse, I forget which one) in the shower and then a leave-in conditioner (Aveda Smooth Infusion) afterwards. I don’t know how your air-drying goes, but I get better results if I brush my wet hair in a more extreme version of my normal style (so more flopping to one side), then do it back the other way, and go back and forth a few times over the next 30 minutes or so while I read or whatever.

    13. BellyButton*

      Have you tried a silk pillow case? it has cut down on my frizz so much. In the mornings I use a de-friss serum on the ends and work up, not getting it into the roots.

      1. JSPA*

        Or loose silk or satin night cap / bonnet, come winter, when “cold room plus warm headcovering” is welcome.

    14. Overeducated*

      You probably are not interested in this method, but my hair is similar and I just keep returning to the pixie cut. It’s the only way my hair looks neat and intentional in the morning without extensive styling.

    15. Girasol*

      I shower and condition at night, air dry, and then after brushing my teeth in the morning, stuff my bed head under the sink faucet just enough to get it wet, towel it off, brush, and let it air dry. That takes some time but not much.

    16. The teapots are on fire*

      I put it in a loose pony-tail bun on top of my head with a scrunchy while still wet and then just run my fingers through it in the morning. And I pretend that means I styled it.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah, if your hair lies too flat and you don’t want to raise the roots with blowdrying, then a good old pineapple bun is your friend. I always tip my head upside down to get the most root lift.

    17. Salymander*

      I have rather thick wavy hair that tends to frizz, so I don’t know if my trick will work.

      I wash my hair, brush it carefully so I don’t do too much damage, and twist it into a bun, which is how I wear it to bed. In the morning, I take it down after I am dressed and otherwise ready to go. It will be smooth, not frizzy, and will have just a bit of wave and lots of body. If I put a little product on my fingers and comb them through my hair, it works well. Even better, I work the product in and put it back up until I leave and it stays smooth and nice. I never use a dryer or other styling tools.

      1. acmx*

        I fine, slightly curly hair. I put my hair in a “pineapple” ponytail (on top of my hard, band looped once) and then I wear a gaiter (Buff type) over my hair. You could also wrap it in a silky scarf. I tried a satin pillowcase years ago and I didn’t like how my head slipped in my sleep (or something).

      2. VegetarianRaccoon*

        I think there’s a lot of good suggestions here, but if nothing else pans out for you, here’s one more: try braiding your hair at night after it air dries most of the way, and sleep with braids in. then take them out and do a very brief brush in the morning. should help cut down on greasiness and it’s supposed to be one of the most protective ways to put your hair for sleep, better than leaving it down and much better than a ponytail, in terms of breakage and tangling.

  11. Laura H.*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    My plot bunnies live!!

    Added about two pages to this fic bit that I haven’t touched in ages. (Depression is a meanie face.) And it’s just fan girl me having fun in the sandbox. Omg so freeing.

    Please share your joys big or small.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Last night I cleaned up the kitchen and got enough sleep. Today I paid several bills, vacuumed the kitchen and bathroom floors, exchanged several email messages with friends, had a walk and talk with other friends, and remembered that life can be more than a long slog through gloom. Now it’s time to get enough sleep for a second consecutive night.
      (Depression is not just a meanie face, it’s a devil-on-the-shoulder liar that tells me there’s no need to do housework or chores.)

    2. WoodswomanWrites*

      The people that came on the Meetup hike I led were really nice and good company. I was touched that I received many kind comments afterward, both in person and posted on our Meetup page.

    3. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’ve wanted to watch a Premier League football match live for ages, and today I finally get to go. Buying tickets in the UK is ridiculously and unnecessarily complicated, and it took over 10 years of living here to bite the bullet and jump all the hoops. But now we live within a short bus ride of a stadium, my partner and I figured, why the hell not. This should be fun, can’t wait!

        1. Cookies For Breakfast*

          It’s Brentford vs. Everton today. Hopefully the first of many, I hope to get to see one of the big teams at some point this year (though I know it won’t be easy).

          1. UKDancer*

            Yay go Brentford!! (hope you’re not an Everton supporter). I’m not interested in football much but my love of seeing the underdog triumph meant I took great joy in seeing them thrash United the other week.

            1. Cookies For Breakfast*

              Yes! Now that’s a game I wish I’d seen. I’m holding some hope we may be able to get tickets for the Chelsea or Liverpool games later this year, and even if they’re not the most obvious opportunities for a win, the atmosphere at the stadium is so different from our own country and worth being there for.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My puppy turned six months old and both dogs got celebratory puppy peanut butter ice cream, with green beans on top for my veggie-loving older dog and mixed berries for the fruit-loving baby. They were both so excited, it was adorable.

    5. allathian*

      Our son’s enjoying his new school, and I’m so glad for his sake.

      This morning, our son grabbed the vacuum and cleaned his room without being asked or told to do so. He’s 13, so I’m really glad that he has some standards. To be completely fair to him, his room is much tidier than, say, my home office…

      I had the pap smear screening they offer every 5 years, and it came back clear, yay!

    6. The Other Dawn*

      This morning I happened to look out the side door and saw deer. Mom and her two fawns stopped by for a drink from the stream. I was able to get a few pictures before they took off.

    7. Hotdog not dog*

      Best Good Dog has had good energy lately and has been making lots of new canine and small human friends on our daily walks. He even got invited to a play date at our neighbor’s fenced yard and had a fabulous time running with “the pack”. (He’s a husky, so that’s totally his jam) It was nice to see him having so much fun! It’s been a while since he’s had this much energy, so I’m happy he’s feeling well.

    8. fposte*

      I went out of town, saw a friend, and saw an actual band (in a stand-in-a-bar way I’ve never really done in my life, so I felt belatedly with it). One great thing about retirement is that I’ve been able to keep in better touch with farther-away friends, and she’s a peach.

    9. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I turned the big 50! Had a very nice dinner at a French bistro, and got a complimentary cocktail and dessert (with candle). They were so nice! I took the whole week off and had a spa day. Also, my second mammogram and ultrasound looked okay (apparently I have some asymmetry), which was a relief (although I have to go back in 6 months for additional imaging).

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I actually read an entire book in one sitting last week. Haven’t done that in a long time. :)

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The hummingbirds have been visiting me when I sit on the front porch. I’ve never seen them so close for so long as I have over the last two weeks. I just bought a hummingbird feeder even though it’s late in the summer –finally found one designed to go through the dishwasher!
      After a salamander experience we are looking at getting a small reptile or amphibian to live in our former fish tank.

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

      Got whimsical — I stopped off at Roosevelt Island and then took a spur-of-the-moment ride on the East River Ferry as a leg of my Manhattan-to-Queens trip home from the doctor instead of doing the whole thing on the subway. I gotta do that more often — it was great!

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Fun! I didn’t get to walk there often enough when I was in NYC every weekday.

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

          I know, right? I’ve been meaning to get off the subway and enjoy Roosevelt Island for ages, but it took all summer for me to make myself do it.

    13. Rara Avis*

      Glass blowing class today! We’re all (me, spouse, kid) are going to make pumpkins. It has been on my list for about 5 years and I’m so excited to finally do it!

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        This is on my list too! (glass blowing in general but specifically a pumpkin class haha) I hope it’s great

        1. Rara Avis*

          It was great. Can’t wait to see (and touch) the finished product! (Currently cooling down in the annealing oven for pick-up next week.)

    14. Irish Teacher*

      My nephew seems happy with his first days of school. Not that I was worried; he’s a pretty sociable and confident kid. He’s being educated through Irish, so he’s getting immersed in a second language.

    15. WellRed*

      Randomly stopped into my library branch today and scored the new Elizabeth George and the new Grisham.

    16. OyHiOh*

      I saw my art piece at the state fair today! Didn’t win any ribbons but it was awesome to see with all the other work.

      And also, on my way out the door to go to the fair, I got notification that one of my poems won the adult/open class! Small cash prize, and I read at an event next week.

    17. StellaBella*

      I started a fund raiser for a disabled friend and 15 friends so far have donated for her. And I picked another handful of berries off my raspberry plant.

    18. GoryDetails*

      Saw a spectacular sunset last night – lots of clouds in the sky, the heavy rain-soaked kind, though it wasn’t actually raining, and with gaps between where the sky showed through. Mostly dark-grey/cobalt clouds, but on the western horizon the sun was turning them to bright coppery gold, one of the more intense displays I’ve seen in some time.

  12. Chaordic One*

    I’m a big fan of the many British (and a few Australian) TV series that are shown on PBS, but I’ve never come across any Irish series and that has made me curious. Surely there must be some. Are there any that you are aware of that you might recommend? Maybe something that would be available on Netflix or Peacock or something like that?

        1. UKDancer*

          Definitely Father Ted. It’s the funniest thing to have come out of Ireland in my opinion.

          My family still quotes some of the best bits and we love Mrs Doyle, she’s brilliant.

      1. Emma2*

        Derry Girls is so good – I have not finished watching the last season, but re-watched some of the first season and even on a second watching it made me laugh out loud.

    1. Weegie*

      If you like crime, Dublin Murders was really good. Not on Netflix, I don’t think, but viewable various places.

    2. Irish Teacher*

      There are a lot of Irish TV series, but…our TV companies have nothing like the budgets of British and Australian companies so something often has to be picked up by somebody like the BBC before it goes international.

      Some of our TV series include Fair City, which is a soap opera, Normal People, Smother…seriously, find Smother if you can. The first series. It’s a murder mystery across a series. Love/Hate and The Young Offenders are both really popular. Mrs. Brown’s Boys is also popular.

      I haven’t watched most of them ’cause I don’t watch much TV, but those are popular ones.

    3. BellyButton*

      There is a great Australian series on Netflix called Offspring. I loved every second of it and all the characters.

    4. GoryDetails*

      I loved “The Irish R.M.”, which aired in the early ’80s; looks like it’s available on Prime and on Acorn TV (I’m not familiar with that one). The books that the series was based on are also fun.

    5. Lady Alys*

      “Striking Out” was pretty interesting (legal drama) but the first season ended with a cliffhanger and there is no sign that it’ll ever be renewed so don’t start watching if you can’t stand not knowing what happens…

    6. Beverly Crusher*

      Father Ted and Derry Girls. Also Bad Sisters on Apple TV+ is supposed to be funny but it’s brand new and I haven’t seen it yet. But it’s got a great cast and premise.

    7. Isobel*

      In addition to Derry Girls and Father Ted, some fairly recent Irish/ Northern Irish series shown on British TV were Red Rock, Smother, Single-handed, Dublin Murders, Bloodlines and Hope Street. All in the crime/thriller genre for some reason – I guess it’s popular and doesn’t need the huge budgets of period drama for example. Although there was also Quirke – still murders, just set in the 1950s.
      Not sure how many of those are available for streaming but I expect a few would be.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        I suspect the budget is at least part of the reason. RTÉ does not have the budget of companies like the BBC. But it doesn’t fully explain why so many of our most successful series are gangland/thriller stuff.

        Smother is excellent, well, the first series is. The second is kinda milking it a bit and has no murder to solve, just various odd things happening.

  13. Anonymous elder crush*

    Hello commentariat. Much to my great surprise, having been single and happy about that for many years, I’ve recently developed a crush on someone I’ve known as a friend for about a year. We’ve been getting together more frequently and we enjoy each other’s company. We give each other big hugs when we meet and when we say goodbye. While I don’t know for sure, I think there’s a good chance he is starting to feel the same way.

    The tricky part for me is our age difference. Our ages came up in conversation when we last got together. I knew he was older than me, but I thought it was a few years. I’m in my mid-sixties and he’s in his late seventies. While he’s healthy and independent, I can’t help thinking that should we move forward as a couple in our later years, there’s a possibility of becoming a caregiver or generally providing more support for someone in their eighties when I’m still in my sixties.

    I recognize that being younger doesn’t guarantee anything about one’s health and independence, but there is certainly a higher probability of issues arising when one is in their eighties. That’s not something I’m ready for and contemplating it is giving me pause. I’m sure I’d be viewing it differently than I would if we’d gotten together 20 years ago and this was a long-term committed relationship.

    This is just a crush, not head over heels in love, and I know I’ve got a good friend no matter how we proceed from here. I’m not even sure how he feels about all this himself, since my crush is a new development and I haven’t brought it up because I’m not sure myself where I want to go with this.

    I’ve never had age be a factor in considering pursuing a relationship with someone, so this is new for me. Maybe this is a common life stage thing that comes with life unfolding as an older single person. It’s all new emotional territory and puzzling.

    1. Janet Pinkerton*

      Perhaps you could develop a more casual but romantic relationship? Mid-sixties is young for this, but to me this seems like an ideal time for a gentleman caller/lady friend situation. By this I mean that no one is looking for a life partner, but you date and spend time together. Separate homes, separate responsibilities, but still dating. (My grandpa had a lady friend after he was widowed. It seemed very nice.) If he has other family who can assist in his elder care, this has a greater probability of success as a relationship model.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          After my gran outlived three husbands, she stopped marrying her beaux and just went for FWBs :)

          1. Hotdog not dog*

            Mine too, although it was only the one husband. My father was scandalized that his mother had “just for fun” (her term) boyfriends, but she didn’t want any complications with caretaking or adult children’s interference. She was happy, her gentleman friends were happy, and since she was active and very sharp all the way up to age 99, we were happy to see her enjoying life!

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              After one dude answered Gran’s phone when I called her and said she was out with other dude and could he take a message, I called my mom (Gran was my dad’s mother) and was like “Definitely not judging, just asking – Does Gran have a harem now or something?” Mom goes “She’s almost 80, let her enjoy it!” I said “Oh, for sure, I’m just entertained she’s got more social life than I do!”

      1. Asenath*

        One of my relatives had a “lady friend” for a very long time! I was quite young when she was first mentioned and asked what the difference was between a friend and a lady friend, besides the fact she was a lady, and my mother, a bit flustered, said something like “well, she’s a very special friend who just happens to be a lady; she and Uncle have known each other a long time.”

      2. Anonymous elder crush*

        Your comment about family for potential future care is a good point. He has two adult children nearby that he’s close with.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      If you can see yourself committing to taking care of him, then go for it?

      Personally, I wouldn’t get intimately involved. *For Me*, notice I am saying for me, I don’t want the additionally complexity. Keep it simple, keep it enjoyable.

      One poster commented on a relative who buried three husbands. This would be my nightmare. I just don’t have it in me to keep going through that.

      I do have a male friend who is very close to my age. After 12 years of friendship, we are starting to have discussions about how in some ways friendship is better than a relationship between SOs. To my amazement he even advised his own friend to keep a good friend as a friend only, not to get intimate. He said, “You end up with so much more if you keep it on the friendship level.”

      And there is a risk of losing a friendship, too, if the SO relationship tanks. Maybe one way of thinking about this is to ask yourself- “if I lost this friendship entirely how big a deal would that be to me?”

      1. OyHiOh*

        I buried my husband in my early forties. There’s a good chance I’ll bury my life partner in my fifties or sixties, if I’m lucky. After that, only the universe knows (he’s significantly older than I am).

        When my husband died, I was intensely afraid of going through those emotions a second time. I signed up for a dating app, limited age range to mine +/- five years, went on a bunch of first dates and found myself constantly comparing them all to my friend. We decided to go on a real date, and the rest is history. Love – the storybook, fairy tale love that caught us both by surprise – makes the knowledge that I am far more likely to bury him than the other way around, ok.

        I know how grief feels, I’ve worked my way through it once, there are many fewer unknowns in this process than there were the first time. And I am younger now than I once was – less afraid, more confident, stronger in myself.

        Not to convince you that you should do three husbands or something, far from it! We only know what we know about ourselves in this moment. Just that what you know can change, and sometimes catch you unawares.

        1. Ann Ominous*

          The pain of losing my husband is pretty much my biggest fear. He’s also order than me, (I’m early 40s and he is mid 50s). My husband lost a wife to cancer before marrying me, and has explained what the grieving process was like for him. It is just devastating and makes me want to hold on and love him all the more. If I was much older, I don’t know what I’d do.

      2. Anonymous elder crush*

        You’ve captured much of what I’ve been thinking about and it’s helpful to hear your perspective.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Here’s an interesting article about this. Google “new york times older couples living apart” and you should find an article from their “well” section from July 16 2021. I’ll post the link in a reply.

    4. fposte*

      We always bring our own baggage to questions, so here’s mine.

      I’m a long-term single close to your age and I really like living alone, so I can’t imagine anything but a FWB arrangement–all the fun and comradeship and none of the imposition. I’ve also been reading Alzheimer’s forums of late (friend in late stage of early onset), and I’ve seen several people agree that in an age-gap relationship they accepted they were signing on to be an early widow, but not to be an early long-term caretaker.

      I’m a little surprised that this is such a big factor for a romantic relationship that doesn’t even exist yet, since there really is so much middle ground between “not dating” and “tied for life and all obligations.” Maybe it would be useful for you to consider that middle ground and ways to be comfortable with it, if it’s not historically been your style; you definitely need to consider that that middle ground may be his style even if it’s not yours, for one thing. But you always have the right to break up with somebody, whether it’s after a week or a year or a decade, or pull back on where a relationship’s going. You can say “Hey, I’m finding that I think about you romantically sometimes. Would you be interested in exploring that?” without promising in sickness and in health until he’s 100 and you’re 90

      1. Anonymous elder crush*

        I appreciate your comment about middle ground. The reason this is coming up for me now, before a romantic involvement is an actual thing, is that I’ve always been open-ended in engaging in relationships with a perspective of “let’s see where this goes and how it evolves.” That’s consistently been my approach rather than deciding a relationship has to evolve in a particular direction.

        What’s new and surprising for me is to have a caveat from the beginning of already knowing there’s a future outcome that I don’t want. I have this lens about aging that never came up before.

        I love your phrasing for bringing it up with him should I decide to do that. I was feeling tongue-tied and your wording is great. Thanks!

    5. RC Rascal*

      Friend of my moms married a long time acquaintance at age 75. He was widowed she had divorced an abusive husband many years earlier. They were married about 8 years until his death but it was a marvelous marriage.

    6. No Nurse with a Purse*

      My friend divorced, successful, mid 50s has thought about this carefully & said she doesn’t want to be “a nurse with a purse.” No relationships with men sho are 10-15 years older. She’s active & vital & knows when she’s 65, a 75 to 80 year old partner won’t be able to participate in golden years activities that she enjoys.

    7. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      I think it’s worth putting things into perspective that even if you stick to dating folks also in their 60s, illness and disability can occur to anyone at any time. I think focusing more on enjoying yourself now with whomever most tickles your fancy is at least going to give you some happiness to compensate for the (let’s face it, inevitable) fact that every relationship ends eventually, one way or another. I think it’s possible and ethical to go into this relationship with everyone being on the same page about not ever being expected to take on physical caretaking duties of the other. It’s not wrong to take some time to figure out what you do and don’t want out of this relationship and present that clearly and honestly to your prospective partner. If they don’t like the terms you propose, they can make an informed decision to seek romance elsewhere.

      1. EJ*

        I always think a crush is so much fun. The racing heart, the little side looks etc etc. Take a moment to enjoy it!

  14. Expiring Cat Memes*

    Creative cooking challenge: looking for tasty dinner recipe suggestions that can also be made visually appealing when puréed?

    Currently on leave caring for a family member in their terminal phase and they are on no solids. The whole family is a foodie bunch and shared dinners at the table have always been an important part of family time. Although they are super sweet, grateful and never, ever complain I can’t help but sense their disappointment at what must feel like having a separate mash dinner at kiddie o’clock while the “adults” have a “real” dinner later.

    I try to make a point of stopping what I’m doing to sit down at the table for a glass of wine with them while they eat their dinner early, or at least make a smooth dessert for them to look forward to that we can all share together later (eg chocolate mousse or custard). But ideally at this point in their illness I/we would like to make more single dinners that we can all eat together early, with part/s that can be puréed and attractively arranged so that they can see they’re still having the same thing, just in a different format (as opposed to a defrosted, externally-prepared, something-else mush-bowl).

    Problem is I’m rapidly running out of ideas… there’s only so many meals that purée well and only so many ways you can dress up those plates without sprinkling pretty choke hazards all over them. My biggest hit so far seems to be a deconstructed taco-esque plate, with refried beans layered with melted cheese, meat/tomato salsa purée, guacamole and a touch of decorative sour cream. And the rest of us can have the regular tacos at the same time so it feels inclusive and festive.

    It’s not feasible to do it every single night, but their nights left are limited so I’d appreciate any ideas for including them in more whole family meals and introducing more variety.

    1. AcademiaNut*

      What about polenta (freshly cooked and still soft), topped with a cream based sauce (maybe mushroom and chicken with a bit of brandy). The sauce could be pureed.

      1. AcademiaNut*

        Or a deconstructed lasagna – a semolina porridge, topped with pureed tomato/meat sauce, drizzled with a creamy sauce with parmesan and egg yolk in it, and topped with melted cheese. Serve with a pureed zucchini soup flavoured with herbs.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        You know I hadn’t even considered polenta as I always let it set and then fry it up. But loaded with parmesan, soft polenta would make a delicious base for a variety of toppings – thanks!

    2. Laika*

      Hmm. I’ve bought food-grade silicone molds for chocolate-making from Amazon before; it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s molds in the shape of carrots or fish or what have you–I imagine a puree would hold its shape if it was reasonably thick and it might plate up nicely? Not sure if that’s exactly the type of thing you’re looking for precisely, but I hope you get some other thoughtful suggestions from folks and you enjoy some lovely family meals together :)

    3. Atomic Tangerine*

      I couldn’t eat solid food for a month once, and …yeah this is challenging. Also I think you are kind of awesome.

      Twice baked potatoes?

    4. Bobina*

      Ooh, this is a challenge. How soft/non-solid does it have to be? I notice you’ve said puree, but would things like very soft mashed potatoes/root vegetables be okay? Is well cooked rice okay or too much?

      Personally I’d be thinking about cuisines or dishes that are stew heavy? So like, Indian curries (especially the lentil based ones – can cook them down long enough so the dal gets very very soft, or blend it if needed), French stews, hearty soups, Chilli etc. Then perhaps they just get a different accompaniment eg mashed potatoes rather than naan or bread. Could you do something like risotto where you just set aside a portion for them that gets cooked down longer so the rice becomes very very soft? In a similar vein – congee (rice porridge – can be made sweet or savoury).

      Other options: I want to say fishcakes (but crunch toppings/breading might be an issue when cooking?) maybe some kind of savoury souffle? Savoury mousses (all of these are fish based in my head), paté type things? For desserts, a bread and butter pudding can end up quite soft if you add lots of liquid to the mixture but would still be tasty I think?

      1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

        People use words in different ways so I may have understood wrong. But the way I have learned these things, if someone isn’t able to eat even mashed potatoes, you should call it a liquid diet, not pureed. I think mashed potatoes is a good idea for this, because everybody can then have one component of the main course that is the same thing.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        It’s not so much getting the food super soft (they can still chew), it’s more that there can’t be any lumps in it that might get caught in their throat, as they have trouble swallowing and don’t have enough strength to cough if they start to choke. So mash is fine, but whole veg pieces or risotto/porridge would probably still be too chunky/granular.

        I hadn’t been thinking beyond potato/sweet potato for the mash, but your root veg suggestion has made me think now about beetroot, carrot and mushy peas, that could add some pretty colour contrast to the dish!

        1. Pennyworth*

          Pureed food can be piped into swirls and patterns which would give some eye appeal. Some dishes like souflees and pannacotta are naturally smooth. Soups can be garnished with a swirl of cream.

          1. Pennyworth*

            I just did an internet search – you can buy puree food molds in the shape of different food.

        2. RC+Rascal*

          I had my bite reset and had upper and lower palate expanders; my molars didn’t meet at all so I couldn’t chew for months and was on a liquid/soft/semi soft diet for a long time. Here are some things that worked for me that might work for you:

          Whipped peanut butter is less sticky and doesn’t get stuck in your throat.

          Smoothies. Ideas:
          Spinach, pineapple and banana with 8 z orange or pineapple juice & 8 z water
          Carrot, ginger, banana smoothie with 8z orange or pineapple juice & 8z water
          Blueberry banana spinach smoothie with 8z milk. (Can also use raspberry or mixed berry, DO NOT use strawberries only)

          Tater tot, fried egg, and frozen green bean skillet. Fry the tots in oil in a non stick skillet; add the green beans, then fry the egg and place on top of tots & beans. Sprinkle salt, pepper, paprika and a light sprinkle of parmesan. Can also substitute ripe avocado for the green beans.
          (This was the only “meal” I could eat for a long time. Frying the tots in oil keeps them soft and the runny yolk of the eggs keep things soft).

          The chicken fingers from Chick Fil A are soft.

          Good luck.

    5. Not So NewReader*

      I’d definitely look into soups, running the veggies through a blender to puree them. Most people enjoy a good soup. This time of year you can think about cold soups. I used to make a cucumber and mint soup that was so good. (hmm… gotta find that recipe)

      You could inquire about a protein drink for them also. If you can mix protein powder into something that might give you some relief from the brain strain of thinking of things. And there’s also drinks with electrolytes. Check with a doc before venturing into these things, of course.

    6. Not A Manager*

      A lot of (hot or cold) soups can be pureed. A chunky gazpacho becomes a creamy gazpacho, leek and potato soup becomes vichyssoise, lentils and beans can be served whole or pureed. Even fruit soups, which are an interesting start to a summer meal, can be pureed and served with a spoonful of sour cream or yogurt. I’d probably stay away from soups that have meat in them, unless it’s important that your relative get as much protein as possible, because that can interfere with the nice texture of pureed vegetables.

      Since your relative likes the deconstructed tacos, I’d think about deconstructing almost any casserole. Personally I’m not a big fan of pureed pasta, although I’m sure it tastes good, but any casserole that has layers or starch/meat/sauce/cheese could presumably be individually pureed and assembled in layers. Something like a shepherds pie would be ideal for that, since it’s already based on mashed potatoes. And for some reason, polenta or pureed rice sounds more appealing to me than pureed pasta.

      I send my good thoughts and best wishes to you and your family member.

      1. Jane of all Trades*

        I second the suggestion for soups – gazpacho is an excellent summer dish, and has a beautiful color. You could also make beet soups (like a borscht) or as a chilled soup. Again, visually very appealing, and you can add a little sour cream, or even edible flowers, and it will look beautiful. I will look for some pictures and recipes to link to separately. I personally also love pumpkin soup with coconut milk. Again, it has a lovely color, and you could throw on some micro greens to make it look nicer. All of these are meals that everybody could eat together.
        Warm wishes to you and your family member.

    7. Generic Name*

      I make a butternut squash soup in the fall that is puréed and tastes really yummy. Something everyone can eat. I normally make it with a side of toast points with cheese. What about dishes with hummus? Those who can eat solids can eat the normal dippers to go with it.

      1. Pennyworth*

        I make a sweet potato and red lentil soup – the lentils give it a protein boost and puree smooth – as well as a Silver Palate green pea, mint and spinach soup with added chickpeas, also for protein boost.

    8. fposte*

      For me a big issue would be lack of color contrast–I love soup and am reasonably swallowing-competent, but a big bowl of brown is still depressing to me. One possibility to help there is to keep on hand some sauces to drizzle. You’d key it to their tolerance, of course, so you know whether or not BBQ sauce or sriracha would be workable, but there are plenty of red possibilities like marinara, too, and going for pesto or even liquidized compound butter could give a nice green touch.

      1. Souped Up*

        You could puree different components of the soup and ladle them into the bowl in stripes, like a flag. That would help mitigate the whole everything-turns-brown problem.

        1. fposte*

          Oh, that’s a good point for the OP. Since I’m not a choke risk I just put cilantro on everything.

      2. Random Bystander*

        Yes–at least put things of different colors in separately. I am on a diet that usually involves protein shakes for breakfast (almond milk + coconut milk + protein powder + mix ins). One of them is cherry amaretto (frozen cherries, almonds, almond extract as mix ins) that the recipe says “add a half cup of spinach, you won’t taste it but the nutritional benefits are great” …. except that adding that spinach changes what is otherwise an attractive dusky pink shake into something of a rather unappetizing color.

    9. Pippa K*

      This isn’t a specific suggestion, but your post reminded me of a good depiction I saw of how food can be made both swallowable and visually appealing for people with various degrees of dysphagia. It’s not something I’d ever thought about before seeing it, but apparently nursing homes, hospitals, etc. are giving more attention not just to the nutrients, but to making it look like food. I’ll link to the tweet in reply.

        1. Expiring Cat Memes*

          This visual is excellent, thanks! I’m going to get a piping bag and try doing something similar (though I’m sure it’s going to take a bit of practise to get it looking that good!)

    10. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Foods meant to be pureed for all of you?
      Vichyssoise, lobster bisque, patés, lentil stew.
      Or partially–mashed potatoes & gravy, cranbery jelly (strained not preserves with seeds) then only the turkey is different.
      Indian cuisine has a lot of soft stews that might be easily adapted.
      And look at jook (aka congee) which is at heart a rich rice porridge.
      You’re sweet for doing this!

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

      This might not work for dinner, but maybe for breakfast, everyone could have smoothies? There’s one from a Dr. Fuhrman cookbook that’s a puree of greens, banana, cocoa powder, vanilla, peanut butter, and plant milk that tastes pretty yummy.

    12. RC Rascal*

      Eggs Portuguese? The tomatoes & pepper sauce could purée. Can they eat poached or baked eggs that are soft ?

    13. Maverick Jo*

      Gazpacho can appear complex, while it’s quite simple to prepare. Also Risotto is easy, yet incredibly satisfying.

      1. Maverick Jo*

        Also, my daughter had jaw reconstruction surgery last year. Only thin purées that could be “syringed” between a tiny gap.

        I cooked down an entire head of cauliflower, puréed with a little butter, cream, sea salt. It tasted like a bisque.

    14. Girasol*

      A smoothie made with a cup of whole milk and half a cup of whole cottage cheese, and flavored with soft fruit or orange juice, peanut butter, chocolate, and/or vanilla, or some such, and sweetened a little. We’re doing nectarine/vanilla ones this week which look and taste like melted peach ice cream. I love a chocolate peanut butter smoothie. Those have a lot of calories and are pretty high in protein too so they work as a nice drinkable meal in summer.

    15. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      -Curried carrot soup is hearty, velvety-smooth, and a beautiful color.

      -Mediterrenean mezze platter with hummus, baba ganoush, maybe some olive tapenade, labneh, foul, mujadara– tons of excellent, flavorful dips and spreads, just have the pita be optional.

      -same with Ethiopian food, many of my favorites are basically schmear-consistency already and could be made smooth with a quick blitz in the food processor, then just have the injera be optional (yellow split peas/kik alicha is probably the best option if spiciness is a concern)

      -I haven’t ever made it, but there is a Japanese dish that is basically a fish… custard? It tastes better than that sounds, I promise. It uses a savory fish stock as the basis for a delicate egg custard that definitely goes down easy if you like seafood. Chawanmushi is the recipe to search for if you’re curious. It’s the sort of thing that would probably usually be garnished by chopped scallions, but you can make a scallion oil or concentrated scallion puree to drizzle over it instead.

      -in general there are just tons of fancy drizzle-based garnishes that you could investigate to fancy things up. Glazes from meat juices, pureed fresh herbs, fruits or veggies cooked down to concentrate the flavor, flavored oils, probably an entire French encyclopedia’s worth of cream-based sauces…

      Best of luck!

    16. Esmeralda*

      Soups. Butternut squash and apple. Carrot ginger. Roasted red pepper. Cream of tomato. Any bean or lentil soup can be puréed very smooth.

      A nice garnish for any puréed soup is a swirl of crème fraiche or sour cream, or olive oil puréed with a complementary herb (dill or parsley or mint or basil)

      Cold soup is nice too— watermelon-tomato gazpacho, cold minty zucchini or cucumber (make with buttermilk or yogurt or labneh and lemon)

      Make two puréed soups in contrasting colors. Pour them carefully into the bowl at the same time, then make a swirl from each into the other (like a yin yang emblem).

      The rest of the family can have garnishes, sides.

    17. Grey Squirrel*

      Check out Ethiopian wats! Lentils, cabbage/carrots/potatoes, or meat stewed for a long time until it is basically pureed. You can eat them with a fork and spoon or a squishy bread called injera which is also good for people without teeth.

  15. Firebird*

    There must be something I’m doing wrong with my rice cooker. I’m following the directions but whenever I use it, the rice always gets brown on the bottom. How can I fix this?

    From what I have read, the cooker is supposed to stop when the water has been absorbed. But if I use extra water, won’t it keep cooking until it gets brown anyway? Could there be a problem with a sensor?

    Should I just stop the rice cooker instead of letting it finish its cycle? How long should I wait?

    1. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m not sure whether this can help, because my rice cooker goes in the microwave rather than being an appliance of its own. But reviewing how much water you use may be useful, at least so you can rule it out with confidence. With my cooker, when the rice starts becoming stiff and brown at the bottom, it’s always because of not enough water (i.e. the water I added absorbed completely before the microwave timer went off).

    2. matcha123*

      It’s normal for the rice to get a little brown at the bottom.
      As long as you are doing other steps correctly for the type of rice you’re cooking and it tastes and has the texture you’re looking for, no reason to change anything.

      Is your rice cooker the type with a glass lid and one on/off button? If so, it’s very common for that type to be brown on the bottom.
      If it’s a “better” type, like Zoujirushi with all the bells and whistles, hmm…but not impossible.

      Since I don’t have space for an electric rice cooker, I use a pot (a kind of dutch oven one). For my kind of cooker, rise the rice about three times and then pour in the correct amount of water. Let it sit, not cook, for about 20 minutes (a little longer in the winter). Then turn the stovetop flame to high and cook until you hear a boiling sound. When you hear boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it cook another 15 – 20 minutes or until the water is gone and the rice is fluffy. You aren’t supposed to continuously lift the lid to check, but you might want to the first few times to try. Then turn off the heat and let it sit and steam for another 10 minutes or so. Finally, use a ladle to mix the rice and let it sit a little before serving.

      You’ll get some brown on the bottom, but it’s not wrong or bad.

    3. MassChick*

      I’m assuming you mean an electric rice cooker? I’ve used one now for umpteen years (mostly Panasonic brand) and have almost always had perfect rice. I rinse the rice a couple of times, drain and put it in the inner pan, add water up to the marking – I use the plastic measuring cup that comes with the cooker. I turn it on and forget about it for about an hour. Then, if it has moved to “Warm” mode I switch if off. I try not to leave it on “Warm” for too long.
      If there is browning, I would guess you need more water? The measures for the rice cooker may be different than the directions for the specific rice you are using?
      Also, are you leaving it on warm for long periods after cooking is complete? That may dry it out cause the browning.
      But it is possible you have a faulty piece!

      1. Clisby*

        Yes, my daughter has an electric rice cooker and says she never has a problem cooking rice. I have no experience with electric cookers – I use an old-fashioned stovetop rice steamer. (Both of my children could cook perfect rice in it before they were 10.) I’ve never had a problem with rice getting brown at the bottom, but I guess if I neglected it long enough, it might.

    4. Angstrom*

      With our electric rice cooker, the measuring “cup” that came with it for the dried rice was 3/4 of a cup. It’s easy to get the ratio wrong if you forget and use a standard cup as a serving.
      I think a bit of brown is normal — just mix it in.
      In some places toasted crunchy brown rice at the bottom of the pot is a feature, not a bug. :-)

      1. Clisby*

        But shouldn’t the ratio work out the same no matter what you’re using as a measure? For example, in my stovetop rice steamer, the proportion is 1:1 rice and water. It doesn’t matter whether it’s 3/4 of a cup, a cup, a teacup, some random glass – as long as you put in equal amounts of rice and water, it’s fine. This is for white rice – long grain, basmati, jasmine. If I’m cooking brown rice I add a little extra water.

        1. AcademiaNut*

          A lot of rice cookers have lines on the inside of the cooking container to judge the level of water (useful when you’re rinsing the rice first, and it goes in already wet). However, a Japanese cup is 200 ml, while a North American cup is 250 ml, so if mix up the two, you won’t have enough water.

    5. Lasslisa*

      It probably means your rice cooker is overdoing it a bit. I had one that would do this, it didn’t have a keep warm cycle but it seemed like the heating element didn’t cool down very well when the cooking was done. It seemed to help to remove the pot from the cooker as soon as time was up.

    6. Charlotte Lucas*

      Actually, that’s normal & considered the tastiest part in some cultures! I remember reading that when rice cookers with fuzzy logic came out, people in some countries complained that there was no browsing at the bottom. I think it might now be available as a setting on some models.

      It really just depends on the type of cooker you use.

  16. Anonymous seeker*

    Please give me positive stories about attending couples counselling/working on your relationship. My husband and I have been married 3 years, have 2 kids and are having frequent fights. I love him but I don’t feel listened to, he is resistant to counselling and the last time I tried to get him to come the counsellor basically said “you guys don’t have much of a reason for counselling.” I am increasingly unhappy I our relationship but I want to make it work. Please give me hope

    1. Indigo Five Alpha*

      Well, that counsellor seems pretty terrible for a start, I’m so sorry that that was the reaction you got after persuading your husband to go :( it’s such a bizarre reaction to say you don’t have a reason! Frequent fights and you being unhappy are two very good reasons.

      I would strongly suggest going to counselling on your own at this stage. At the end of the day you can’t force him to change, but you can act differently, and I think it might really help for you to have someone in your corner.

      1. Observer*

        This was pretty much my first thought, too.

        It’s still worth trying to find a GOOD couples counselor, but in the meantime / concurrently, separate counseling for yourself can be really helpful.

      2. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

        Oh, I interpreted it to mean that the counselor thought that the situation had deteriorated to the point that counseling wouldn’t help, not that there were no problems at all. OP, can you clarify?

    2. allathian*

      Go to counseling on your own, if he’s resistant.

      How old are your kids? If they’re young enough to be born while you’ve been married, it’s no wonder that your relationship is in some trouble. The biggest risk for a relationship to end is when the kids are small (toddlers or preschoolers).

      But it has to be said, that you can’t maintain this relationship on your own, and it’s futile to try if your husband has completely checked out of it. How do you think you’ll feel if nothing changes during the next 5 years?

      1. Been and done*

        Leave early/when your kids are young. I am a strong proponent of not letting your kids be collateral damage when trying to save your marriage.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      “You guys don’t have much of a reason for counselling.”

      Because you don’t really have deep problems? Or because you aren’t willing to work to fix them?

      I will third going to counseling on your own to help sort through what you want to do and what you can do.

      1. Anonymous seeker*

        In her opinion, because we didn’t have big enough problems. She did suggest individual counselling for my husband (which he didn’t do). I think we presented too happy and minimised our issues, and that she has certain types of couples counselling that she liked to do and we didn’t fit that mould. I also think she was pretty terrible for undermining us/me and could have said that we weren’t the right fit FOR HER and still encouraged us to see someone else.
        I am planning to be much more clear on our issues with this next counsellor so he doesn’t do the same.

        1. Observer*

          Good heavens!

          That’s malpractice, in my opinion. “Not a good fit” is reasonable. “Not my style so you shouldn’t do counseling” is beyond absurd.

    4. Yeah summer!*

      I agree with seeking your own counseling.
      Also I recommend looking for a Gottman trained counselor. There is a list on the website. Also the Gottman “7 principles for making marriage work” is good basic work you can do together to prepare for counseling.

      1. fposte*

        Gottman has some good books, too, if you want to read up. I’ve found them illuminating for all kinds of relationships.

      2. cubone*

        I follow Gottman Institute on Instagram and I’m amazed at how much I’ve picked up just from their posts. Their approach is really great for a lot of people.

    5. Spearmint*

      I think you need to have a difficult conversation with your husband and express that you are really unhappy, there are no signs of things getting better, and that these issues threaten the survival of the relationship. Some people tend to see relationship problems as “not a big deal” unless it’s made clear that these problems could lead to divorce if not addressed. That’s what it takes for some to take them seriously. I know it’s scary to say something like that to your partner, but it sounds like things are so bad as it is that it would be worth it.

      I’m curious if other commenters agree or disagree with me here.

      1. fposte*

        In one of the Gottman books he recounts a conversation with a husband who says “My wife says she’s going to leave me. Should I take that seriously?” And he’s genuinely startled when Gottman says yes, of course, you’ve probably missed lots of indications that she’s unhappy already.

        1. Observer*

          If this weren’t coming from someone like Gottman, who I am sure would never make up stuff, I would really have a hard time believing this. Because how clueless can a functioning adult be?!

          1. fhqwhgads*

            However clueless you expect a functioning adult could be, double it and that’s the real threshold.

      2. I’m just here*

        I think this is spot on. My marriage was mildly verbally abusive with a checked-out spouse who wouldn’t work through his own issues. Making plans to leave and telling him – but also offering to do counseling – put me in a spot where I would have two paths forward that worked for me. 1) a peaceful life on my own or 2) a healthy marriage with him. His effort – and engagement in counseling with me – were what would determine which way I’d move forward. I told this to him. It was motivating. I also insisted on him doing his own counseling – he was consistently irritable, critical, etc. I wrote about this on Captain Awkward – look for #1218.

        1. Bart*

          I’m Just Here: your letter was one I pointed to when people questioned why I glad from my emotionally and sexually abusive husband! The Captain’s response: “What if nothing is wrong with you and the problem is you’re married to an asshole? ” was so helpful. I hope you are happy and thriving, whatever you ultimately did!

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        It’s one reason I support rare ultimatums*. Because I’ve often heard of people hmming “Yeah, I hear you saying that this thing still annoys y–wait, you’re saying you’re leaving and moving in with your parents?!!!”

        *If the problem is ongoing, this is not the first time you’re raising it, and you really do have one foot on the threshold ready to leave.

    6. BadCultureFit*

      I went through a tough patch with my husband a few years ago and we did couples counseling for about 6 months. It was incredibly helpful but I do think both parties need to be willing participants.

      If he’s really resistant, I second the notion of you doing solo counseling. At a minimum, it’ll make you more confident in your own feelings and needs and better able to articulate them.

      Also remember: you’re right in he thick of it, with two (presumably young)kids in a pandemic. This stuff can be hard! You’ll be ok no matter what.

    7. anniehallfishfernfox*

      I’m sorry your going through this and you don’t feel heard in your relationship. I experienced a similar situation with my last long term partner and, while we didn’t have children together, we co-parented my son. We had so much love for each other, but we argued often. We both saw individual counsellors regularly before we met, and he was an enthusiastic participant in couples counselling. We went together for about a year. Eventually, I realized he didn’t have the capacity to show up in our relationship in the way I needed him to. At that point, we ended it. It was really hard, but I had absolute clarity that I would never feel heard or valued in that relationship, and that clarity is what I needed to move on. I realize this might not inspire the kind of hope you you need right now, but it this was the best possible outcome for me.

    8. Flowers*

      How appropriate this came up today. I brought up counseling to my husband and he refuses. “Fix yourself and everything will be fine.” I feel like I have no choice but to seek legal help now to protect myself

      I wish you all the luck in the world and hope this works out for you.

    9. MoMac*

      Try looking for a therapist who specializes in the Gottman method. The focus is on communication and managing arguments. But there are also expectations of practicing skills outside of sessions. I’m not sure where you are located but you can find someone certified in Gottman at their site. They have a site gottman dot com with a find a therapist page. Good luck!

    10. Couples counseling worked for us*

      My husband and I did couples counseling at about the three-year mark into our marriage. We fought often – like loud, screaming matches – which if you knew us you would probably find quite surprising. Our friends used to joke that they couldn’t imagine us fighting or raising our voices to each other – boy they would have been shocked if they saw our fights. I can quite honestly say that I feel the counseling saved our marriage. The counselor identified that I was mildly depressed and was able to recommend antidepressants. He was able to help each of us see the other’s perspectives and why our actions might be upsetting. We have now been married for 20 years, rarely fight, and are still quite happy.

      I will say that this was the second counselor we saw. We had one appointment with a different counselor, and literally got into a roaring fight less than 5 minutes after our appointment. After we calmed down, we agreed that particular counselor was not the right fit for us and sought a different one. The next counselor was the right fit. So if you do manage to get your husband to go to counseling with you, please push to make sure he understands that it might take an appointment or two with different counselors to ensure it’s the right fit.

    11. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

      You need to find a better counsellor.
      When it comes to psychology there its a continuum of skill and abilities amongst practitioners.

      Some counsellors are terrible, some are ok, some are good and some are great.

      Any counsellor with any sense would never say something like you don’t have a reason for counselling, its incredibly condescending and anyone with training knows that just getting to a counsellor is a huge leap for patients, most suffer in silence. And they are supposed to know that getting to the heart of an issue usually takes time and that people don’t present the root of the problem right away, if they did then counselling would be a very short term advice giving session instead of counselling.

      1. Katefish*

        Thank you for saying this! Totally different context, but I once had a counselor say I didn’t need therapy and have been skittish about going back ever since.

        1. Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii*

          You are most welcome.
          It can take a few tries before you find the right counsellor, don’t give up.

    12. Emma*

      What an awful counselor! I recommend looking on the psychology today website. They have a counselor database. We looked for someone who specialized in relationships.
      My husband and I did about 9 months of counseling recently. It was all virtual. It started out weekly, and went down to every other week, and then monthly, and now none (though we’ll go back as needed), just because we needed it less.

      Talk to your counselor about both your struggles in the relationship and your goals for the relationship. It’s so great that you want to seek help.

      We also have a young child, and there was also infidelity, and this both was instrumental to our recovery from that, but also in teaching us communication strategies, and strategies on how to share the workload at home.
      Thinking of you. Hugs.

    13. Anonymous seeker*

      Thank you everyone, I feel much more positive about things reading your advice and experiences. I have booked an appointment for 9/14 and hubby seems willing if not enthusiastic. I can’t thank you all enough.
      Side note – I plan to feed back on the last counsellor who said we didn’t need therapy

  17. Shoes please*

    Looking for recommendations for commuter shoes (mainly sneakers). I need to wear them to and fro the place we don’t talk about on weekends :) I can change into work-appropriate shoes once I get there, but wearing those while commuting is proving to be really bad for my feet.

    I’m hoping for something that’s comfortable and supportive, but also doesn’t look totally out of place with dressier outfits. Would be nice if it were rain-proof and easy to keep clean, but not a necessity.

    Thank you and happy weekend! P.S. if this is more appropriate for the Friday thread, happy to post it there instead

    1. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I swear by Adidas Stan Smiths and won’t ever buy anything else if I can get away with it. They are the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn and there’s so much choice of colour combinations. If you’re stingy like me, the Adidas website has an outlet section that will most definitely have a few models on sale. I’ve seen them worn with skirts and dresses at smart casual workplaces. Also, they’re easy to clean by wiping with a cloth, which helps given a lot of models are mainly white or off-white.

    2. Janet Pinkerton*

      Allbirds Tree Runners tend to be commute shoes or work shoes in my circle. I expect most casual/stylish sneakers (in contrast to athletic shoes) would meet your needs.

      1. California Dreamin’*

        Yes. I have several pairs of Tree Runners and also Wool Runners, and they’re my most comfortable shoes for walking. And very stylish.

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      I love Skechers for that purpose. They are also fully machine washable if they get dirty on your commute.

      1. Inkhorn*

        +1. You can get ones that resemble ballet flats with beefed-up soles, and they are so cushiony. One weekend walk in those things and I couldn’t imagine how I’d lived without them.

    4. Jay*

      Depends on how much arch support and cushioning you need. Vionic makes several styles of sneakers or slip-ons that have good support and cushioning – I wore their flats all over Europe this summer without a problem. Arcopedico shoes are also very comfy and good for walking and mostly look like shoes, not sneakers.

      My go-to sneakers for skirts are still Keds, which I don’t wear if I have to walk more than about a mile. I have a pair of cute flowered ones and a pair of black ones. I also have Rothys sneakers which I like a lot – they are much more expensive than the Keds, of course.

      Why no, I don’t have a shoe problem. Why do you ask?

    5. Shoe*

      I like the Cariuma brand, they look like Chucks but are eco friendly. They have some dressier styles. They have cork insoles so they mold really well to your feet once you break them in.

    6. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I really like my knit slip on sneakers from Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL). They are the Techloom Bliss style. They come in a bunch of different colors, but my favorite for work are the black knit ones with black soles. Very comfortable and light. Unfortunately they are pricey, but well made.

    7. RosyGlasses*

      I love my Vejas! They are sleek and comfortable and often are worn with business casual wear when I see folks out and about. Even today I plan to wear a light summer dress with jean jacket and my vejas.

    8. Sparkles McFadden*

      I like my Under Armour sneakers. Sketchers are also good. If you need more arch support, Vionics are good (if a little pricy) but I like the Under Armour because they are roomy.

    9. Don’t put metal in the science oven*

      If they don’t have to be sneakers I like Merrell Mocs slip on shoes. Super comfortable, good for walking & some are very water resistant

      1. Squidhead*

        Me too! I’ve gone through 2 or 3 pairs of the same shoe (over the last 10-ish years). I like that they are dark colored; light colored shoes always stand out to me and dark colors become invisible. The “men’s” and “women’s” style mocs are similar with some different finish options. I do wish they had a black-on-black option in the women’s smooth-textured moc, but the only non-black part of the ones I have is a the teal stripe/loop on the back. Don’t let “moc” fool you, they have full coverage over the heel and I walk in them like I would in sneakers.

    10. Ann Ominous*

      See if there is a Fleet Feet near you. They don’t work on commission (I think), and are exceptionally well-trained. You’ll try on half a dozen pairs of shoe/insole combos and they’ll even encourage you to take them outside for a walk/run to see what they feel like. I found I was wearing a half size too small and needed way more stability than the shoes I was wearing. I can even feel it in my back and neck!

      1. Don’t put metal in the science oven*

        Ooooh. Good idea! Our daughter’s doctor actually recommended Fleet Feet $50 insoles over the $1000 Good Feet Store custom insoles.

  18. Learning More*

    The Place We Don’t Mention has given it’s people a day off on Sept. 30 specifically to honor the Day of Truth and Reconciliation (we’re in Canada). I would love reccs of media (podcasts, shows, films, books, artists, etc) to explore and learn from. It’s not meant to be a holiday, it’s for reflection, and I want to respect that and build a list of stuff to check out (not just that day, but in the future). I have some knowledge from an online history/current events university course I took last year, so now I’m interested in more specific stuff.

    1. Emma2*

      Alanis Obomsawin, the amazing Abenaki Canadian American documentary film maker, has quite a number of films you might find interesting. I would recommend Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (about the Oka crisis). Pair it with Beans, a recent indie (fictional) film set during the same time period from Mohawk Canadian filmmaker Tracey Deer – it is an excellent film, a coming of age story, but also a very clear depiction of the experience of the Mohawk people during the crisis.

    2. PX*

      Angry Inuk (and other work from the director might be quite relevant).

      And even though its not exactly Canadian, the film (and there is also a book) Rabbit Proof Fence came to mind as being something that might be related. Its based on Australian Aboriginal children trying to escape the forced settlement they were put in.

    3. Angstrom*

      “The Inconvenient Indian” by Thomas King is a good overview of Native -colonist relations in North America.

      1. Ontariariario*

        Loved this book. It has so much history and cultural insight all while being a page-turner. Next on my list is the Canada Reads winner Five Little Indians.

    4. Bizhiki*

      The Secret Life of Canada podcast on CBC has some great Indigenous episodes. I’m part way through the two-part Kanesatake episodes, and learning tonnes.

      I’m assuming the university course you took was University of Alberta’s Indigenous Canada MOOC, but if it wasn’t, I’d highly recommend that.

      Book recommendations: A Really Good Brown Girl by Marilyn Dumont (poetry), Nedi Nezu by Tenille K. Campbell (poetry), As Long as the River Flows by James Bartleman (a novel, about the intergenerational fallout of the IRSS), Where Courage is Like a Wild Horse by Sharon Skolnick (American memoir of time spent in an Indian Orphanage), Moccasin Square Gardens by Richard Van Camp (short stories), Island of Decolonial Love by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (an amazing blend of short stories, and songs that you can stream online, and just… all around gorgeous writing), The Gift is in the Making also by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson (short stories), basically anything of hers that you read will be time well spent. Love After the End edited by Joshua Whitehead (anthology of short stories with the added benefit of being queer af). And Embers by Richard Wagamese, which I found most delightful as a section-a-day for reflection type of book. Public libraries should have most of these, but if you’re buying, consider Good Minds dot com, an Indigenous book seller. They also have a lot of curated reading lists for all ages, especially for Truth and Reconciliation Day.

      For MMIW focused art, and tribute to the most beautiful collective organizing process I’ve ever witnessed, check out the archived vamps (moccasin tops) on the Walking With Our Sisters dot ca website, under the “art” tab, and read the “about” sections for background. Their archive is still growing as they process the photos from the wrap up ceremony in 2019.

      If you want more recommendations I can keep going. It depends on whether you’re looking for enough material for one day a year, or the whole year round.

      1. Water Everywhere*

        Seconding The Secret Life of Canada and adding two more CBC podcasts: Unreserved and Telling Our Twisted Histories.

    5. Kate*

      Do you have the Overdrive app and access to your local library?

      The Ottawa Public Library (and I imagine many others) features a huge selection of Truth and Reconciliation-related books every September in preparation for the day. Their selections have been stellar so far.

    6. fposte*

      The Witness Blanket about residential school experiences is an amazing art project; there’s great online information about it at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, which has some virtual stories and a documentary about it on their website (it looks like there’s a 90 minute version on Vimeo and an hour-long version on YouTube). There’s also a really good book by Carey Newman, the artist.

    7. cubone*

      Non fiction: Seven Fallen Feathers by Tanya Talaga
      Fiction: Kiss of the Fur Queen by Tomson Highway

      Both are easily two of the best books I’ve ever read, especially Kiss of the Fur Queen (really, anything Tomson Highway).

      I also recently watched both of Jeff Barnaby’s (a Mi’kmaq filmmaker) movies called Rhymes for Young Ghouls and Blood Quantum and they are fantastic horror movies I would also highly recommend if you’re into that.

    8. Firefly*

      I just finished Unreconciled by the former CBC radio personality Jesse Wente. Really great read

      Also music? Tribe Called Red/Halluci Nation/DJ Shub, Jeremy Dutcher, Digging Roots

      1. Also cute and fluffy!*

        More music:

        Derek Miller (not the guy in Sleigh Bells, the one from Six Nations), George Leach, Logan Staats, Leela Gilday, Art Napoleon, Mark LaForme, Inez.

        Inez, who also is a public health nurse, and I think she’s mostly retired from her music career now, has a great video called Dancin on the Run, about the Potlatch Ban and a relevant video about the cops being involved with the filming of the video.



    9. Learning More*

      Oh wow this is a fantastic list! Thank you everyone, I will make some notes and get started. This should keep me busy for a great while to come. Very much appreciated.

    10. GoryDetails*

      Last year I read a book called “Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Experiences, 1879-2000”, a history of the practice of taking indigenous kids away from their families and sending them off to be educated – usually with emphasis on English-language, Christian studies, with them being deprived of their native languages and cultures.

    11. NotARacoonKeeper*

      Media Indigena and 2Crees in a Pod are my fave lFirst Nations podcasts.

      In addition to leaning about Indigenous communities, histories, etc , I’ve also been trying to read more fiction by Indigenous authors. Thomas King is a classic – Green Grass, running Water was my entre to his work, but I also recently enjoyed Sufferance. I *loved* Eden Robinson’s Trickster trilogy (and the first book has been made into a series in CBC Gem too).

      If you haven’t browsed the TRC report, I recommend that too, or at least the recommendations. If you’re in BC or in health care, the In Plain Sight report is really well put together look at racism in our health system. It definitely applies to other provinces too! There’s an exec summary.

      I also get that day off as a paid vacation day. Inspired by the One Days Pay campaign, I donate my entire take home pay from that day to a local FN charity; the Indian Residential School Society is also a great place to give. If you can, I encourage you to do the same.

    12. Also cute and fluffy!*

      I love the podcast Metis in Space, which reviews movies from an Indigenous lens.

        1. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

          Omg, I’m loving imagining the real Dr Crusher as being a hardcore Metis in Space fan.
          Also, if you haven’t heard it yet, Danny Lavery had Gates McFadden as a guest co-host on his podcast Big Mood, Little Mood last year (2 episodes in June, 1 of them only available to slate plus, I think), and it was EXCELLENT.

    13. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      I cannot recommend enough these 2 podcasts:

      First, the Thunder Bay miniseries from Canadaland. Investigative journalism at its finest, but also just a gripping story.

      After you’re done with that, take a breather with the completely delightful Andi Murphy, whose podcast Toasted Sister is one of my top 3 favorite podcasts of all time, in any genre. She goes out and interviews folks about Indigenous food traditions, and the whole vibe is just so sweet and homey and nerdy all at the same time.

    14. Beverly Crusher*

      If you are into nerd stuff or film, the Metis in Space podcast is excellent and very fun. The hosts are two Metis women who are hilarious and love to talk about science fiction, and they generally discuss one sci-fi episode or film from a decolonialist perspective per episode. For example, a single episode of the original Star Trek or Futurama or Supernatural, or the films Avatar or Lilo and Stitch. (Or in one notable episode, the 1970s film adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ, Superstar, which is not strictly sci-fi but is one of the hosts’ favourite movie.)

    15. Mac (I Wish All The Floors Were Lava)*

      I already commented on this post, but I only mentioned some podcasts and forgot entirely about 2 documentaries I love.

      Dawnland: about Indigenous adoptees in Maine is excellent in that it has a tight focus, but also speaks to the broader context of intentional cultural genocide all over North America (Sixties Scoop, etc). Even more broadly, as a transracial adoptee, I think it is one of the best film depictions of that experience that I have ever seen.

      Rumble, The Indians Who Rocked The World: this is just pure fun and awesomeness, and will not feel pike homework, even though you’ll learn a ton. Honestly, everyone should watch this movie just for the pure joy of it.

      1. Also cute and fluffy!*

        Another vote for Rumble!

        Derek Miller, who I mentioned above, plays Mountain Chief, the fellow that was being recorded by ethnographer Frances Densmore, and Link Wray at the end of the movie where they depict Link Wray inventing the power chord in a chicken coop.

        He also had a variety show called the Guilt Free Zone, and was on tv shows Cashing In and Hard Rock Medical.

  19. Arya Parya*

    Next Friday and Saturday I’ll be going to Disneyland Paris. I’ve been once before, but that was over 25 years ago. So does anyone have advice about which rides to go on, where to eat, how to avoid queues (although I don’t mind queuing if the ride is worth it), what parades to catch or skip, etc.?

    Some extra info: we’ll be staying at one of the Disney hotels. I love thrill rides, the faster the better. I hate haunted houses. So I have some concerns about the Indiana Jones ride. The ride itself looks fun, the theming not so much. We’ll be all adults, so we’ll skip stuff that’s just for kids. But rides for all ages that are good, we’d love to go on.

    1. allathian*

      I don’t like haunted houses much, either, but I loved the Indiana Jones ride so much that I went twice, when I went to Disneyland Paris, also over 25 years ago. I went on Easter break during my 6 months as an exchange student, when some friends came over to visit and we explored Paris together. The queues were pretty non-existent, and my friends and I had the time to see everything we wanted and do every ride we wanted during one day.

      August is summer vacation month in much of Europe, including France, so you can expect long queues for every ride. Even if Parisians leave the city in droves, that’s mostly to escape the heat and all the foreign tourists…

        1. allathian*

          Ooops, so it is… D’oh. Hopefully it’ll be a bit less crowded, but in France, school generally starts on the first weekday of September, so I guess the worst crowds will be over.

          In France, parents can also be fined for taking their kids out of school for what is seen as spurious reasons, like traveling for vacation. Authorized absences include illness (including a family member’s for infectious diseases like Covid), major family events like weddings and funerals, and being prevented from getting to school because of an accident en route.

          Unauthorized absences carry a fine of about 150 euros per day. Repeated absenteeism can carry a fine of up to 30,000 euros, with the parents risking up to two years in prison (sic!).

    2. Aspiring Francophone*

      My husband and I just went for our first visit this past Wednesday! (We live here but had never been – though growing up on the West Coast I’d been to Disneyland in CA several times.)

      If you haven’t yet, download the “MagiPark pour Disneyland Paris” app. It was helpful in easily seeing wait times, and you also can look at previous days trends.

      Are you doing both parks? In the Disney Studios we really liked the Ratatouille ride (unique to Disney Paris) – that one has a single riders option so if you’re ok breaking off from each other you can make it in quicker (for example we had a wait time of 20 min going solo vs 45 min if we wanted to stay together). That area around the Ratatouille ride also has a bunch of French & European food stands themed by region. The prices there were decent for food and alcohol (wine/beer) – 6 euros for a sandwich type prices. They’re lax here about bringing in outside food and drink so we did that.

      The parade at 5:30pm was fun to see though we chanced upon it. And while we didn’t have the energy to catch the 11pm fireworks show, since you’ll be staying at a nearby hotel I think it would be worth it since it’s unique to the 30 year anniversary.

      Have fun!

  20. Princess Deviant*

    Any favourite wildlife you’ve seen lately?
    I saw a fox and a bat while I was out late a few nights ago (foxes’ mating calls are… haunting, to say the least).
    And the other week in the heatwave I put some water out for the birds and the hugest gull I’ve ever seen landed in my back yard, had a drink, then took off!

        1. fposte*

          A few years ago I called the police about cries of distress that I’m pretty sure now was just a fox out for a good time.

        2. London Calling*

          Ditto hedgehogs. Like someone being throttled very slowly and LOUDLY. It woke up three households, all of whom were hanging out of their bedroom windows trying to locate the source of the racket.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        When we first moved this house my child came into the room terrified by what was happening outside her side of the house. It was foxes.
        Their comment the next morning? “Now I know what the fox says: It’s screaming bloody murder!”

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      We have a beautiful Coopers hawk who has been hanging around the yard. I hope he’s after the damn chipmunks who are eating all my tomatoes the day before they’re ripe! Whatever his reasons, he’s a stunning bird and I enjoy watching him.

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Oh stunning! I don’t think I’d like to see it kill a chipmunk but still… it’s nature!

        1. Hotdog not dog*

          Well, I don’t want to see it happen, but there are way too many chipmunks. They’re into everything this year- even had one get in the house!

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

      A fellow fishing enthusiast suggested another location close to where we were fishing. We got lost trying to get there and hit a dead end on a farming road. Across the field we saw a large grey wolf running from one strand of trees to another. I wish I had the forethought to use my phone to record it, but was star struck watching it.

    3. OyHiOh*

      Saw a male mule deer and a male pronghorn hanging out together. They appeared to be companions, waiting for each other, and so on.

      1. OyHiOh*


        They have somewhat different habitat preferences, and should both be getting ready for rut (deer had his antlers). Maybe they enjoy hanging out at the “local watering hole” together until it’s time to go hollar at the ladies!

    4. Tundra dog*

      We went camping the week before last. While on a hike, we looked down at the creek below and saw a cow moose with two calves. They ambled through the creek and into an area with tall brush. The creek must have been fairly deep there, as it looked like the water came up pretty high on the calf’s body.

      The trail was up away from the creek, up a steep hill at this point, and we were glad for the distance — moose can be really dangerous, especially a mama moose with her babies!

      1. allathian*

        Oh yes. When I was a kid, I saw a bull moose up close. I was riding my bike to school, and he crossed the country road in front of me, so close that I could smell him, maybe 30 ft away at most. He was huge, but luckily he just ran into the forest.

        Next to our lot there’s a small, wild wood. Rabbits and squirrels are a fairly common sight in our yard. One of our neighbors has an outdoor cat, and I suspect it of killing the dead voles we sometimes get on our drive. Cats will kill them but won’t eat them, apparently they taste horrible.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      The most interesting thing I’ve seen lately is a cardinal. Mama deer did not come back this year. The ravine behind the house snakes around through the development and into a nearby state park, so I assume she found a nursery up there for this year’s fawn/fawns.

      1. Cj*

        We usually have five deer at our place. Mom and dad, the twins from the prior year, and new twins. This year we had five older ones right from the start, and I never saw any youngsters at all.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      I went camping near a lake a few weeks ago and it was fun watching bats swoop down to catch bugs in the evening! I also saw two deer and a coyote at the trail near my house, which was a bit of a surprise because the woods are surrounded on all sides by residences and roads so it doesn’t feel very “wild” usually.

    7. Katie*

      There is a bunch of turkeys that hang out across the street. They are gobbling quite a bit in the morning and my daughter gobbles back at them.

    8. Texan In Exile*

      I heard an owl last night and my husband, who is hiking up north, sent me a recording of the loon he heard last night. And the little sparrows were making a feast of the grass seed we have been tossing on the bare spots of the lawn. They are very cute and very hungry.

      (And butterflies and bees! All over my garden!)

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Yes! Owls are common round here too. And I’ve been leaving the overgrowth in my (very small) yard so it can encourage wildlife, and I’ve seen more bees, birds, and butterflies lately. Still no hedgehogs though!

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

      There are some cute local birds I’ve been seeing, but I haven’t figured out what they are. I tried looking up birds of Queens, but no luck so far. They are black, small/medium sized, with gold flecks (and probably some other markings that I should go look at again).

      1. All Hail Queen Sally*

        If you can get a good photo of one, you can post it on iNaturalist to be identified.

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

        Thank you both for the tips! I will try that! It’d be cool if they turned out to be starlings — I’ve always wondered what starlings looked like since reading Mary Poppins.

    10. Bluebell*

      So I saw a turtle sunning itself at a nearby pond, along w some ducks. I texted my 20something nephew and shared a photo but forgot to proof my spelling. I was mortified and apologized for sending him a text about dicks!

    11. Jane of all Trades*

      I saw a bobcat recently, which was pretty neat. Also a bunch of turkeys and rabbits. I love seeing wildlife.

    12. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Hummingbirds and a yellow spotted salamander were the highlight of this week. A big flock of turkeys in someone’s front yard was also fun. They are such modern day dinosaurs!

      1. Princess Deviant*

        Wow that is very cool.
        So interesting hearing other people say that they saw turkeys! The wildlife of other countries is fascinating.

    13. Reba*

      I passed by a state park in South Carolina, Woods Bay State Park, that is a true hidden gem and I saw a GATOR!

      1. Can't think of a funny name*

        Meanwhile in FL…mowing my grass yesterday and there was a gator in the way…guess that section of the yard will wait until next week!

    14. KoiFeeder*

      God’s Angriest Tube Sock never returned this year (she may have passed away during hibernation, or been eaten due to being oddly colored, or just died of old age- she could’ve been older than ten years last year!) and a new copperhead has taken her territory. It’s another mature female, and she is just the prettiest thing you ever did see. Looks like she’s made of freshly-minted pennies. She’s not half as cautious as Tube Sock, though, so we’ve gotta be careful because she will sun in the middle of the driveway and she won’t give a damn about us humans. It’s odd, but I am proud of the fact that our house has been host to two mature females in a row. Makes me feel like we’re prime territory.

      We’ve also got a new black rat snake in the gutters! He’s about four foot so far, I think he’s a teenage male. I’m delighted to see him, because he’s right up at the house so he’ll eat the northern water snakes when they try to sneak into the koi pond. It’s been a few years since we had a gutter rat snake, and the northern water snakes have been relentless. I mean, I know they live here too, but I’d like them to eat all the other food in the area that isn’t our koi, you know?

        1. KoiFeeder*

          The only year we ever had a mouse problem was the first year after the original gutter snake vanished. And even then it was (thankfully!) a “single mouse in the house” mouse problem.

          To contextualize further, we do not use traps or poison (except that one year, where we did end up using traps). We just don’t have mice. Instead we have fat, happy snakes. I’m perfectly happy with this trade-off!

          On the other hand, when it comes to black rat snakes specifically, you can’t really put up birdhouses. In rat snake language, those are called “bed and breakfast”s. This hasn’t been a problem for us (plenty of other bird habitat around given that we’re in the middle of the woods, plus the neighborhood roaming cats mean it’s not really wise to have birdhouses), but I understand it’s a dealbreaker for other folks.

    15. GoryDetails*

      A family of turkeys – I see turkeys often (southern NH), sometimes along the woodland roads and sometimes in people’s yards. This batch had fairly young poults, which seems a bit late in the season – I’d seen earlier broods a month or two ago that were better developed than this batch, but it’s been so warm maybe they’ll have time to mature before winter.

      Re noisy/haunting wildlife noises – yeah, foxes can be extreme! And then there are the raccoons – I get a lot of raccoons in my area and when they start to squabble it sounds like a cat-fight turned up to 11.

        1. GoryDetails*

          Yeah, that could explain it – normally they’d only have one clutch in a season, but if something got to the first set of eggs they might lay again.

    16. The Other Dawn*

      I mentioned it elsewhere, but this morning I happened to look out the side door and saw deer. Mom and her two fawns stopped by for a drink from the stream. I was able to get a few pictures before they took off for the back yard. They likely grabbed a few apples from my trees out back before they went elsewhere.

    17. The OG Sleepless*

      I watched an orb weaver spider wrapping up a yellow jacket in her web. I had to sort of think calm thought at myself so I could watch this big spider waving its legs around this stinging insect, but it was fascinating.

    18. Buona Forchetta*

      I don’t know about favorite – but memorable: I just got back from a trip to Tucson and saw a family of havalinas while I was there. Anyone know if they’re native to the American Southwest?

  21. Atomic Tangerine*

    The Pacific Golden Plovers are returning to Hawaii, to my delight. Saw the first of the season outside of You-Know-Where last week.

    Maybe my all time favorite was the time I saw a Night Heron (seriously cool birdie) sitting on top of his own interpretive sign.

  22. GingerSheep*

    Hi resourceful ones! I am looking for podcast recommendations, but have an unusual stipulation : I have a mild auditory processing disorder, and can only enjoy podcasts when the sound is crisp and when there is no overlaying of music or sound effects. Any accents are fine, but no calling guests on the phone or people talking over each other/all at once. My tastes are eclectic, as I enjoy history, science, nature, true crime, and « weird facts » podcasts, but am looking to adding more to my rotation ! Thanks in advance! :)

    1. RosyGlasses*

      Have you tried Schmanners? It’s produced by the prolific McElroys ( one of the Brothers and his wife). Quite delightful and I think will match what you need.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      My favorites are Terrible Lizards, about dinosaurs and their cousins, and You’re Dead to Me, about history.

    3. just another queer reader*

      I enjoy listening to NPR, both on the radio and via podcast.

      My favorite show is Marketplace (it’s about the economy, but actually interesting – they do a lot of people-centered stories). High production value; the only audio overlay is the very occasional foreign language interview.

      Other NPR shows I like are It’s Been A Minute (culture, particularly Black and queer pop culture) and The Moth (recorded live storytelling events – I think the production value is very good though; minimal audience noise.)

    4. Defective Jedi*

      Maybe try Hardcore History, too. It’s one guy (who used to be in radio) talking and they’re really in-depth (aka long) on specific topics, often with multiple episodes for one topic.

    5. Atomic Tangerine*

      Anything in the freakonomics radio network, and especially most People I Mostly Admire.

      Make me Smart (sibling podcast to Marketplace mentioned above), Don’t Ask Tig (comedian answers advice questions from listeners). Business Made Simple if you’re a small biz owner or considering becoming one. Now and Then (US history in the context of current events), Work Life by Adam Grant (sorry Alison it’s in the name!), Hidden Brain, Queersplaining.

      I drive a lot!

    6. Dino*

      The History of English podcast! There’s music in the intro but that’s it. Since it’s about language and how different sounds developed and we’re borrowed, the audio is super clear to help hear the differences.

    7. Juneybug*

      Mayim Bialik (actor from Big Bang Theory) has a wonderful podcast called Bialik Breakdown that might fit your needs.

  23. Helvetica*

    What’s a TV show/movie that’s sort of a cultural phenomenon, in the sense that everyone saw it and really enjoyed, and discussed extensively but you did not manage to get into?
    I recently decided to try and watch Bridgerton and I…do not get the hype at all. To me, the chemistry is flat, tension is lacking, the general ambience is weak, and I did not manage to get invested in the stories at all. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed plenty of shows with weaker storylines but amazing lead chemistry (looking at you, A Discovery of Witches) and this just does not seem to do it for me. Maybe it is also because to me, it lacked the kind of Jane Austenish regency wit and sparkle, which is why I do enjoy Pride&Prejudice and Sense&Sensibility, etc.
    And on the positive – what is something where you realised the people were right about how good it is? I watched the original Ghostbusters and was really charmed by the humour and the fun, and how thoroughly enjoyable it was.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Stranger Things. The first season was okay, and I should have loved it because I am a Stephen-King-loving D&D-playing child of the 80s. I didn’t find it interesting enough to get me to watch any more, but I am very clearly a minority in the world.

      1. Rara Avis*

        My kid begged and begged for Netflix, watched 2 1/2 episodes of Stranger Things, and says it’s boring and repetitive.

    2. PX*

      Lol. Literally most things. Game of Thrones. Bridgerton (although I had read the books before so felt like I didnt need the added visuals). Stranger Things. Most of Marvel (although I lived vicariously through fanfiction for most of that). I spend a lot of time on the internet and feel like I enjoy the cultural zeitgeist around many things but have 0 desire or need to ever watch the source material most of the time!

    3. Cookies For Breakfast*

      If it’s sci-fi, fantasy, horror or a costume drama, it’s unlikely I’ll get into it, no matter how big a phenomenon it is and how long I try to give it a chance for (cue everything PX already mentioned, and many more).

      Line of Duty got a lot of hype in the UK but I found season 1 boring, and couldn’t continue.

      To the risk of sounding unoriginal, my main “people are right about how good this is” TV series is The Wire. I can’t remember why I initially wasn’t interested, but I’m glad I stuck with it, and even more glad it eventually led me to reading Homicide by David Simon, which is probably the best nonfiction book I ever read.

    4. allathian*

      It’s been a while, but I could never get into shows like Friends, Sex and the City, or Ally McBeal. When they were on, I was pretty much the only person in my all-female friend group who didn’t watch them, and my sister was also a fan.

      One cultural phenomenon that really baffles me is reality TV. I do watch some stuff, but not the relationship things like Bachelor/ette or Love Island. My favorite reality TV shows are Love Your Garden, where Alan Titchmarsh and crew fix up the gardens of people, usually either those who’ve dedicated much of their lives to charity work, or people who are living with disabilities of some kind, and Car SOS, where they fix usually classic cars that have been left to rot in a barn for years when their owners are unable to fix them. Those are feel good shows, but I can’t get into the shows that are based on vicarious voyeurism and public humiliation. I just don’t understand the mentality that craves celebrity at any price.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        I watched Bridgerton, and thought it would have been better if it had stuck more closely to the books. The second series really dragged with a plot which isn’t in the book. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic looking series.

      2. The OG Sleepless*

        I didn’t like Friends or Sex and the City. Ally McBeal was ok in small doses. Those were all on when I was in my late 20s so you would have thought they were just my speed, but nope.

      3. Falling Diphthong*

        I quite liked The Repair Shop, in which Jay Blades leads a team of restorers. It’s a celebration of craft, which I found equal parts intriguing and soothing.

        1. Liminality*

          I really enjoyed the repair shop too! I can’t find it anymore though. :( It had moved to Discovery+, but it’s gone from that platform now. Any ideas where it might be now?

      4. Elizabeth West*

        I don’t get those either. The only one I ever got into was Bridezillas, but that one was so obviously fake and over-the-top it was easy to think of it as just antics.

        I do like those shows where they clean and fix up people’s houses, particularly if they’re super run-down or hoarded.

      5. Despachito*

        Seconded – I am physically unable to watch “reality shows” where people are humiliated – I cringe out of secondhand embarassment and cannot understand WHY on earth some people can find it appealing.

        I never watched Friends or Sex in the city, I never even tried, I guess I am prejudiced somehow. I am a huge fan of BBT though.

      6. allathian*

        Another one that I really didn’t get into was Lost. The first season was great, the second was okay, but I completely lost interest (pun intended) early on in the third season when they just kept piling on more mysteries instead of giving satisfactory solutions to the old ones.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I never even started Lost! I got burned by Twin Peaks & didn’t want to repeat the cycle.

    5. UKDancer*

      Game of Thrones. I tried, I really tried and I liked a couple of the characters but I just hated the way they used female nudity as a backdrop for action with seemingly no thought and I just came away feeling thoroughly depressed.

      The other one was Downton Abbey which was really popular with people at work when it was first on. As someone descended from a long line of working class socialists (some of whom were in service during the 1920s) I found it intensely irritating as it seemed to be way too deferential to the upper classes and preoccupied with their doings. I tried twice and had to spend the rest of the evening playing trade union anthems loudly.

      Line of Duty I did enjoy but then I love anything by Jed Mercurio. Trigger Point is also really good in my view.

      1. Atomic Tangerine*

        My husband got an episode or two ahead of me early in season one of GoT; I was totally lost and just lost interest. After hearing everyone crab about the ending I’m pretty glad!

      2. London Calling*

        I spent most of what I watched of Downton picking holes in the historical howlers (and there were plenty, despite what the PR said). Basically they were Lib Dem bank managers in Guildford transplanted to the early 20c.

        1. UKDancer*

          Downton just annoyed me. The 1920s and 1930s were pretty crap for most people and it annoyed me that people would come away with this image of people living in big houses and having close relationships with their staff when most of my family were working in factories and struggling for every penny and while women (for all the pretty frocks) had far fewer rights.

          I’ve got the wrong politics for Downton and too much of a chip on my shoulder.

          1. Irish Teacher*

            As a History teacher in Ireland, I was utterly BAFFLED a few years ago when people were like “I always wanted to live in the ’20s. Hope these will be as awesome,” because…my view of the 20s is massive poverty, slums, a civil war…etc. I get the impression other countries might have more of a focus on the history of the rich or maybe it’s just too much Downton and similar media. But even then, most of us would have been the servants, not the wealthy family.

            I don’t object to films and books about the wealthy back then, but I am well aware that here, a) people were state building and trying to bring a country together after a civil war (and that was from 23/24 on; the first 3 years were straight up war) and b) most people were living in conditions of extreme poverty and independence barely scrapped the surface when it came to dealing with that.

            OK, the first Free State government DID spend like a quarter of the entire country’s budget on a hydroelectric power station, which supplied something like 70% of the country’s power, which is kinda cool when you think that only a tiny percentage of that is supplied by hydroelectricity in Ireland today, nearly 100 years later. But…the cool part is sort of overshadowed by the long list of people shot dead in a brutal civil war.

          2. London Calling*

            A friend and I have a blog that covers that period, and we used to take bets on what Fellowes would glide over as if it didn’t exist – giving women the vote and the General Strike 1926 being two examples. As for the ‘oooh I’d loved to have lived then’ brigade – no, I don’t think you would, especially if you were a woman. Basically it was several years of Fellowes being given free rein to ride his favourite social and political hobby horses.

            Good costumes, though.

        2. Felis alwayshungryis*

          One of my favourites (albeit minor) was the dad asking Mary “so how’s it all going?”. Contemporary phrasing always sticks out for me. Costumes A+, writing C-.

          1. London Calling*

            It got to the point that before a series started we’d have a list of what would happen.

            Carson would be faced with some new-fangled gadget and moan
            Robert would ABSOLUTELY refuse to do something and then do it two episodes later
            Some contemporary reference would be thrown in (AKA ‘JF’s been on wiki again’)
            Someone would manage to say ‘well, we are in x year, after all.’
            Daisy would moan full stop.

            The Guardian had a great column by Viv Groskop. Miles better than the series, esp in the comments.

      3. allathian*

        I enjoyed Dowton Abbey, but I always watched it as a glorified version of the past, not as it really was. I always enjoyed the stories about the servants more than those about the upper class.

        When you’re feeling too annoyed by DA, watch some Upstairs, Downstairs instead. It was made in the early 70s, and it’s been 20 years since I saw it last, but I think that it’s a more honest look at the period 1903-1930. The show may be regarded as a document of the social and technological changes that occurred during those 27 years, including the Edwardian period, women’s suffrage, the Great War, the roaring twenties, and the Wall Street crash. One story that really stuck in my mind was the family chauffeur who became a Socialist and a champion for workers’ rights.

        1. London Calling*

          Downton annoyed me because of the complete waste of dramatic potential. It was covering a period that really hasn’t been dramatised and took place at a pivotal moment socially, politically and culturally; most of which was skated over in favour of ‘wouldn’t Britain be much better if it was still governed by the likes of me, Julian Fellowes, and all my friends who are earls.’

    6. CTT*

      Since the sequel is about to come out – Avatar. I wasn’t super-interested in it when it came out, and then that awards season basically turned into a James Cameron vs Kathryn Bigelow fight for people who get really invested in that sort of thing (which I definitely do), and I was like “well, I’ve picked my side and it’s the one with a female director and small budget.” And so I never ended up seeing it and felt smug about it (context: 21 y.o. and pretentious).

      1. The Person from the Resume*

        That’s mine too. Even as a life-long sci fi fan (albeit literary and thoughtful than action adventure films) , I remember watching the first film in 3D and checking my watch at 45 minutes because I was bored and being dismayed there was more than 2 hours left.

        I thought it was a pretty film but the plot wasn’t that great. Every time there’s a news update about the sequels, I’m reminded that I won’t bother watching those films.

        1. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

          Avatar is essentially “Dances With Wolves” on another planet.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            And they’re both essentially retreads of the White Man Goes Into the Jungle to Save the Natives of the 30s. (And Avatar is weirdly more of that than Dances.)

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          Great visuals; boring plot.

          I remember thinking “so the locals are going to use their knowledge of the planet, and the new guy will use his knowledge of the invaders’ tactics…” and it was “Hey, what if we went and asked our fellow invadees if they might want to fight back with us?” No one is showing this film in a history class because it’s such a good illustration of military tactics in specific contexts.

      2. allathian*

        I’ve never even seen it, and I’m not particularly interested either. In general, I don’t enjoy 3D films, it takes a long time for my eyes to adapt, so even with 3D trailers I risk missing much of the first hour, and I usually have a headache afterwards. Not worth it. If Covid killed 3D movies requiring goggles, I won’t mourn them.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      Game of Thrones. I had tried the books and was put off by the slow pace and what felt like sadism toward the characters. TV show fixed the first but not the second.
      Borat. I expected to find it hilarious and didn’t crack a smile once. Seemed like a bunch of hapless bystanders nodding along and hoping the very large, very angry man would go away soon.

      Only Murders in the Building. What a delight! And I am not the slightest bit interested in true crime. It’s just so well executed.
      Ted Lasso. A show that’s like wrapping yourself in a warm blanket. I especially will note the Keeley-Rebecca bond which I never saw coming, and love to pieces. Also Roy Kent interacting very intensely with tiny girls, who giggle at him.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        Only Murders in the Building is one of the best shows overall that I’ve seen in a very long time.

      2. RosyGlasses*

        Strongly agree with both your positives – those shows are truly delightful and very well made. I would add The Bear is also so very good.

      3. Filosofickle*

        Often the more I’m told I have to watch something, the more I resist it. I waited out OMiTB and Ted Lesso for a long time — and joke’s on me, they were great. I fully resisted Bridgerton, Lost, and GoT.

        My didn’t-get-its are The Sopranos and Downtown Abbey.

    8. Golden*

      The Wire seems to be on every “if you love Breaking Bad, you need to watch this next” list and I just could not get into it. The Witcher (show) was fine, but I didn’t think it was anything groundbreaking. Marvel and Star Wars don’t do it for me either.

      For the positive, it took me a couple tries to get into Stranger Things but I did get there! I really enjoyed the most recent season.

      1. Sparkles McFadden*

        Each season of The Wire has a different focus so you might want to give a different season a chance. One season focuses on the dock workers, another season involves politicians, the next highlights the school system, the final season is the media. It’s the same themes in different venues with varied points of view.

        But…it is kind of draining and not something I’d rewatch unless I was introducing it to someone else.

        1. Clisby*

          I loved The Wire until the last season, which derailed into the whole side-plot of a cop inventing this serial killer idea. It was just too ridiculous.

      2. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

        I was annoyed with the inconsistencies of The Wire. For instance, end of season 1 one character was in the hospital with a tracheotomy after multiple bullets to the chest. Next season first episode, same character was hale and hearty with no scars.

    9. Generic Name*

      Basically every popular tv show? I thought game of thrones was rape-y, Stranger Things is hard to watch because my son is the kids age, Sex and the City- they’re all terrible people….

    10. Constance Lloyd*

      I could not get into Mad Men or House of Cards. Unlikeable protagonists aren’t a problem for me, but I just couldn’t get invested in the characters or their storylines.

    11. Russian in Texas*

      This Is Us. Modern Family. Mrs. Maisel.
      I am not at all interested in the family and relationship – based dramas, sitcoms, books, etc. Unless it’s costumed, lol. I always feel like there is just no plot! For Mrs. Maisel the premise just does not interest me at all.
      Sopranos, The Wire – I did not have HBO when both came out, tried to watch later, and just could not get in to either.
      I gave up on The Walking Dead after the season 3 or so.

        1. Russian in Texas*

          The Walking Dead: catastrophe happens, lots of wandering around, find safe place, safe place isn’t safe.
          Lather, rinse, repeat.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        I’m so curious what you do enjoy watching because these are such widely varied examples!

        1. Russian in Texas*

          I am more of an action, sci-fi, and murder shows person! I feel, for me, the TV needs to be plot and not character driven. Examination of human characters make me uncomfortable. I don’t really want to know any characters intimately.
          I don’t like books that do that either.

      2. Clisby*

        I tried to watch the first episode of Mrs. Maisel 3 times, and gave up each time. Boring. Not even knowing Tony Shalhoub would play one of the characters could lure me back.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          There’s an alternate version of Mrs. Maisel in which Shalhoub and Hinkle (who play her parents) follow through on their season 2 idea to stay in Paris. You lose 2 wonderful actors to occasional cameos, but the characters get to burst out of their rut in a way that would be fun to watch and perfectly on theme with their daughter’s journey.

          Instead they return and are shoved into increasingly bizarre side-plots, including each of them in different seasons being completely unconnected to how continuing your current income is desirable, and there are actions that can undermine that, and you’re in your 50s/60s and so this should be a thing that is not a high-velocity cabbage to the face when cause-effect happens.

    12. the cat's ass*

      I’m not a big TV person, so i tend to come to these shows late, if at all. Stranger things left me cold. Bridgerton, great concept and very pretty, but meh.

      Ted Lasso, and Extraordinary Attorney Woo, on the other hand, wonderful!

    13. Dark Macadamia*

      Hamilton. I don’t enjoy the music (and I like rap – I just don’t think Hamilton is good rap), I think the way it’s staged is really boring and unimmersive, and while I love the diverse cast it doesn’t change the fact that they’re just telling the story of a bunch of white dudes whose stories were already extremely well-known and glorified.