Thanksgiving free-for-all – November 24, 2022

This comment section is open for any discussion you’d like to have with other readers (work or non-work or possibly even entirely dessert-focused if that’s your bag).

Happy Thanksgiving!

{ 511 comments… read them below }

  1. Anonymous adopter*

    I’ve started the adoption process to adopt a child in care (in the UK).
    I’m in my late 40s and have never had children or married. I’m single.
    Family dynamics are difficult and I’ve done loads of work in ther.apy over the years so I feel I’m ready but I’m apprehensive about the family interview stage.
    Had anyone had a similar experience with adoption or fostering, who wants to share their experiences?
    Thank you.

    1. Bagpuss*

      Congratulations – no direct personal experience but for the interview, I think they are mostly checking for any problematic ttitudes (racism, ablism etc) but also considering how open to change you are.

      As I am sure you know, children in Care have often been through a lot so may have lots of issues around trust and challenging behaviours, so I think the other huge thing at the interview stage is making sure that you understand that and are not looking at it all through rose tinted glasses

      1. Anonymous Adopter*

        Thank you! Yes, that’s a good point. I’m aware of what’s involved because I have researched it and had some experience through my career, but it will be a good idea to make sure my parent especially knows that.

        1. Hopeish*

          I’m adopted, and plan to adopt- thank you so much for doing this! Any child just wants a loving parent and you are absolutely capable.

          If I learned anything from mine is that parenthood without the biological ‘prep’/mental time, can be enormously difficult, scary, and frustrating- but you have already done so much as far as being self-critical in a healthy way, and able to grow and change if you have had a lot of therapy- and that quality will make the hard parts temporary.

          Good luck, I’m happy and proud of you for making that choice, even as a total stranger :)

          1. Anonymous Adopter*

            Hopeish, thank you so much, what a lovely comment <3 Your warm wishes are very much appreciated

            1. Caroline+Bowman*

              Being self-aware is probably one of the most important things to be, when considering a huge, life-altering decision such as deciding to become a parent, so you’re already ahead of the game. I have no personal experience of adoption, but really believe that anyone who A/ sincerely wants to be a parent and B/ is in a practical / financial position to fulfil the logistical and practical aspects, can 100% be an excellent, loving parent. You fit the bill admirably!

    2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Congratulations! Several children on my caseload have been adopted but I have not adopted children myself. I think the most important thing is to be accepting. The youth have come from hard places so understanding that is important. In the US we have a full disclosure meeting to talk about the entire history and stuff but I don’t know about the UK

      1. Anonymous Adopter*

        Thank you for your comment. I think it must be pretty similar here in the UK. I think different councils have slightly different procedures but essentially you need to attend an initial call and webinar as an expression of interest, then you have a home visit with a social worker, then you apply with a full life history and several references, then they move on to the interviewing stage.

    3. the cat's ass*

      Congratulations! DH & I have adopted twice. Everyone sweats the family interview, but it’s not terrible, honest. The SW wants to check out where you live for safety (do you need to childproof-we had stairs that needed to be gated off and we knew that); do you have smoke detectors (required in the US) and what kind of sleeping set up do you have for the child. Also what kind of support do you have from friends and family. DH’s fam is incredibly toxic but we just said they live far away so we don’t see them much and REALLY focused on the people who were close and supportive. Parenting classes were also required and i really appreciated that. Wishing you the best with this!

      1. a tester, not a developer*

        I really wish that parenting classes were more readily available and were considered an activity that you just do as part of having a kid – like taking a baby to playgroup or doing mommy and me swim lessons.

        I looked for some almost 20 years ago and was told they’re for people who ‘have to’ take them. Either because they’re fostering or adopting, or because it was part of an interaction with protective services. Maybe that’s changed though?

        1. RagingADHD*

          IDK where you live, but there are all kinds of parenting workshops for different ages and stages of kids put on around here. It’s also a big part of the virtual-selfhelp online world.

          Maybe you don’t get ads because if your kids are grown you aren’t in the target group?

          1. Anonymous Adopter*

            Yes I think that’s the same pretty much nowadays here as well but it never used to be in the past. In the past you only got them because you “had to”. I agree with a tester, not a developer that this should be made readily available for new parents if they want them. I do think though that the kind of people who might need those sessions might also be the kind of people who wouldn’t attend them.

            1. Green great dragon*

              Our council (UK) did a 3 day mandatory course for prospective foster parents – part general parenting, but mostly specifically re parenting children from the care system. There might be something like that?

            2. MeTwoToo*

              My husband and I had a single mandatory parenting class in order for our divorce to be approved because our son was 4 years old. It was such an eye-opening experience we decided to re-think the divorce. It’s been 22 years since, lol.

                1. MeTwoToo*

                  The class began with discussions and videos on problems divorcing parents have: arguments about kids, money, etc and how this type of thing damages kids. The rest was on how to co-parent without exposing your kids to your drama. They had videos and case study examples. Lots of parents in the class were giving examples, arguments sprang up during the discussions; just a mess because these people really hated each other. Meanwhile, the two of us drove in together, were still sharing an apartment, no fighting really. We were just generally not content and thinking after 4 years it should have been better, so it’s just not working out.

                  At one point we kind of turned to each other and said ‘this is not us. This is not our kid. let’s talk about this some more.’ After three months of trying to get to the heart of things I agreed to stop listening to my mothers voice telling me I had to be wife/mother/everything all the time on my own and he agreed to step up and do more. Except dishes. I agreed to his hardline on dishes as long as he made sure we always had a dishwasher wherever we lived. Two years ago our dishwasher broke and he drove to home depot to get another one within 24 hours, lol.

      2. Anonymous Adopter*

        Thank you so much! That’s really helpful. And that’s interesting what you say about your DH’s family. I do have some involvement with my toxic family members but I can really focus on the people who are close and supportive instead in the interview. The parenting classes look interesting, they focus on trauma-based parenting and play.

      3. Anonymous Adopter*

        Can I ask you how old your children are now? Did they have any contact with their biological relative/s? Did you wait a long time after the first adoption to adopt a second child/ren?

        1. the cat's ass*

          Hi there! Sure, my kids are 23 and 17. They do not have contact with bio relatives, unfortunately, because they were adopted internationally, tho the younger one has done DNA testing and entered a world-wide database and hopes there will be a match. DH and I totally support that. There was a 4 year gap between the kids.

          One of the things i really appreciated about the parenting classes we took was the focus on going from a biracial family to a transracial one and how to keep your kids connected to their birth culture. Fortunately, we live in a diverse part of CA which has been really helpful.

          1. Anonymous Adopter*

            That’s so interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience. Sounds like it was a truly worthwhile one :-)

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

      No experience of my own, but I’m thrilled for you! The one person who I know who did this is a very, very happy single adoptive parent. Best of luck with the interview — just be your own kind, caring self, and knock wood, all will be well!

    5. marvin*

      I don’t have anything valuable to contribute, but as someone who has long had the dream of fostering, I always find it inspiring to see examples of people who are making it work, particularly other single people. If only I could afford to rent a two bedroom apartment in my city.

      1. Green great dragon*

        It can definitely work! Think about your support network, especially your local one, but yep, single people are very welcome.

    6. Sparkle llama*

      I was part of what I think was effectively a family interview. The person adopting did not have contact with any relatives and did an interview/meeting with the social worker as a community of care (friends that will provide support). I remember talking about various situations and how we could assist.

    7. MissouriGirl in LA*

      Congratulations! As an adopted person and adoptive mom, I wish more people would consider it. My (adoptive) mom and dad told me from early on that I was adopted. It didn’t matter to them-I was their daughter. In fact, my mom encouraged me to find my “natural mother” (her words). I actually have connected with my birth father and feel very lucky. He had some guilt and regret about the circumstances, but I don’t judge anybody. It’s not my place. In fact, the best I can figure out about my birth mother, he kinda saved me from the crazy train. I know my mom and dad would be happy that I found him.

      Just a couple of things to think about. Clearly, it will be apparent your child is adopted. It doesn’t’re going to be the parent. Nothing matters. And do not let some of the literature that now says babies who were adopted were separated from their birth parent(s) and will always have issues. Nonsense! I told my daughter (and she knew from an early age, too) that you cannot use the excuse you’re adopted as a reason to blame everything bad that happens in your life. It does not define who you are. You define who you are.

      You might want to make sure (and I’m not sure how it is in the UK-I’m in the US) to get medical background. It’s always good to have that.

      When we adopted our daughter (and her father and I have been divorced for over 15 years now), they made us go to a psychiatrist. He gave me a list of books to read and me, being a huge bookworm, picked up several. One of the books was awful. Be careful when people start recommending books and blogs. Just because somebody writes about adoption, doesn’t mean their point of view is correct. You’re smart enough to figure out the nonsense from the good advice.

      You define your family. Nobody else does. Love does overcome and raising that child correctly means that they will have enough room in their heart for everybody. Biology does create families but so do judges.

      Good luck with the process. I am sending you lots of good vibes and whatever else I can send from the US that you are successful.

      1. Anonymous Adopter*

        Oh wow MissouriGirl in LA, thank you so much for your kind words, they mean a lot :-) I shall bookmark this and come back to it.

    8. Anonymous Adopter*

      I am blown away by the lovely support and well wishes of internet strangers!
      This is definitely something to come back to whenever I am feeling scared by the process or doubtful.
      Thank you so much.

    9. Your Computer Guy*

      My wife and I adopted both of our children through the state in the US. They’re still quite young and we got both of them as infants.
      We’re open about them being adopted because it’s obvious (we’re both women, and they are a different race from us) and because we don’t want it to be a big deal as they get older. My son is just old enough to start asking questions, and I answer everything as honestly as I can, while maintaining a committed air of understanding and fairness towards his biological parents. A lot of people are very quick to vilify them, but I think it’s really important to not denigrate where and who my children came from.

      My kids are from separate cases/origin families but were 100% siblings to each other from the day they met. I can see their mannerisms in each other just as much as I can see mine and my wife’s. Biology is not needed to make those kinds of bonds. Some people will ask you or say awkward things about bonding or how they could never truly love a kid that wasn’t their own. I usually just ignore it, apparently my wife and I are built different and our kids are our kids. We also get comments about “bless you for doing this” or “they’re so lucky” which just feels gross – I prefer to think in terms of the need for stability and better opportunities for intervention for their issues (because a lot of kids coming into care have something going on) and anything they’ve accomplished is by their own incredible determination.

      I wouldn’t stress the process too much, there’s a pretty clear minimum of stability and safety they’re looking for and that about it. What you should brace yourself for is participating in a process that is profoundly and radically not about you. You become a resource to help whichever children wind up in your care. You become the most consistent presence at their appointments. You become the conduit and advocate for their needs. And you can become the platform from which they can launch themselves into a different kind of life. Whatever your reason for starting the process, it very quickly becomes about meeting the needs of another in the deepest, most persistent sense.

      It can be extremely stressful, but I have zero regrets (and will probably do it again in the future). Good luck, and also buy one of those expanding plastic file folders so you can just bring every piece of paper with you to every appointment ever.

      1. Anonymous Adopter*

        Thank you for sharing your experience, that is so very helpful.
        I love the bit about the expanding file XD

  2. Elle*

    Anyone watched The Split? It’s a British show about a family of lawyers in London. I’m obsessed! It’s on Hulu in the US. Three seasons.

    1. MugShot Coffee*

      Yes, it’s brilliant! I binged watched all the seasons. I love Nicola Walker. She’s my hero!
      Are you team Christie or team Nathan?

      1. Elle*

        Yay! I’ve been dying to talk to someone about this. Im obsessed with Christie. I understand he’s kind of a child but he’s also pretty great. And handsome. It’s the kind of show where nobody’s perfect.

      2. Firefighter (Metaphorical)nd*

        Oh my God I hadn’t heard about this but I am in love with Nicola Walker, and I also loved This Life (London-based lawyer show, very Gen X) back in the day. Will check it out, thanks!

      3. Anonymous Adopter*

        I’m only on series 1, but team Nathan! I mean… they’re married. They’re both imperfect but she needs to commit emotionally to Nathan.
        LOL. I get involved in dramas.

          1. Anonymous Adopter*

            Elle – I am VERY involved in it already haha. I only started watching it yesterday on your recommendation here. I am hooked :D

    2. germank106*

      This is great. I just signed up for Hulu’s black Friday deal (12 months for $1.99) so now I’m looking for things to watch. I’ll definitely give this a try.

      1. Elle*

        It’s a family drama about family lawyers in London. Well acted, interesting characters. I was sad when it was over.

      2. Temperance*

        I love Hulu! They have some really fun original shows. If you like comedy, Letterkenny is a favorite in our house.

    3. Elle*

      I don’t know if it’s related to finishing The Split which is about divorce, but I can’t get into the Crown this season. Maybe I need a break fromBritish divorce shows?

      1. The Real Fran Fine*

        For me, it was the bad casting (I’m sorry, Dominic West as Prince Charles is totally unbelievable in every way) and the fact that I was a kid watching this divorce happen in real time and remember all the salacious gossip around it at the time, and The Crown just didn’t lean into that this season. It was basically a dull, plodding, whitewashed version of what actually happened and we also didn’t see enough of the Queen and her reaction to the madness going on around her to really care (and I also didn’t like her casting this season, either).

        1. Elle*

          West cast as Charles is driving me crazy. I’m wondering if it’s also because I know what happens. In past seasons I wasn’t familiar with the history. This time around I know exactly what happens and it’s not as exciting.

          1. The Real Fran Fine*

            Yup. That was part of it for me. The intrigue is gone because we watched this play out in real time. RIP to Diana forever, though.

    4. Storm in a teacup*

      I’ve loved Steven Mangan ever since Green Wing (non Brits it’s a crazier, weirder version of Scrubs and brilliant) but I couldn’t get into this. May try watching again

    5. eisa*

      Aww, too bad. The show sounds great and like many other here I love Nicola Walker.
      Some (not all) Hulu shows wind up on Disney+ in Europe, but not that one :(

    6. Hiring Mgr*

      I just watched that a few weeks ago and really liked it… Personally I was more into the middle sister’s story (won’t give any spoilers).

  3. Doctor is In*

    Happy Thanksgiving! Happy to be spending it in Florida where we have close relatives. We had a nice walk along the harbor and saw lots of interesting birds and met a lot of friendly dog walkers. Best wishes to all the AAM fans.

  4. I edit everything*

    Mr. Edits is sick today. He’s the main houshold cook, so we’re thinking about postponing the feast. It’s either covid or flu. He tested negative for covid yesterday, but I’m about to retest. I don’t know if the grocery store is open today, but I’ll accept any suggestions for easy, semi-festive dinner ideas. Fortunately, we’re not supposed to be going anywhere, and no one is coming.

    1. Cookie*

      Oh, what rotten luck. I hope he feels better soon!

      Most grocery stores around here are open until noon, and some have Thanksgiving packages – you could call and ask, and do curbside pickup. If Mr. Edits isn’t feeling good, maybe get Chinese takeout – soup for him and whatever appeals for you?

    2. Just here for the scripts*

      Here in NYC many restaurants are offering tday per-person takeout in addition to their dine-in option. Maybe your local places are doing so too? All come plated in foil tins that can be popped in the oven (200 degrees) to warm up/keep warm—though you may have to replace the plastic covers with foil. Of course, we’re doing Chinese food from our favorite out-of-neighborhood restaurant and watching a yet-to-be-chosen movie on the TV.

      Hope Mr edits feels better soon!

      1. I edit everything*

        We live in small-town Ohio, so not sure anything is open. Usually I’m the one who gets sick on holidays.

        1. Really?*

          Do you have a Bob Evans nearby? They are open thanksgiving, and would be great for a traditional take out….

        1. Homebody*


          I’m having GF mac and cheese while the family eats a regular Thanksgiving meal. This time of year is the only time I miss eating gluten!

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      If you have some ground meat on hand: Smitten Kitchen’s Skillet Turkey Chili is a great example of a tasty meal with stuff you likely have in the pantry.

    4. Squidhead*

      Shrimp or fish cook fast and we usually have them in our freezer. Sautee with onions and spices, broil fish, bake shrimp in something creamy? Pair with a vegetable or salad and a starch (maybe you have more potatoes than you need for the holiday feast? Roasted potatoes and other roots always feel fancy but cozy to me?).

    5. Baby Yoda*

      Sorry about Mr. Edits, Mr. Yoda is sick today too. So I’m having pumpkin pie for breakfast and we will see how the day goes. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

      1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

        Sympathies on Mr. Yoda’s illness and best wishes for his speedy recovery, but I also wanted to say that pumpkin pie for breakfast is. My. JAM.

    6. Eye roll*

      If you have pasta, canned sauce, and cheese, you can throw together a nice pan of baked ziti (with whatever pasta and hopefully plenty of garlic). Possibly with some garlic bread. Not a traditional feast, but at least semi-festive.

    7. Anono-me*

      Chicken with 1000 island dressing.
      A friend made it when we did a small group TDay and it is good and somehow hits some of the same flavor feels a turkey and cranberry sauce.

      1-1 1/2 #Chicken pieces (dark is better)
      1 small bottle of 1000 island dressing
      1 package dry onion soup mix
      1 small jar apricot jam/jell

      Wipe olive oil on a large glass baking dish
      Lay one layer of chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
      Mix the other 3 ingredients and pour over chicken.
      Bake in oven until chicken is fully cooked.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        If you use Russian or Catalina dressing instead of the thousand island, it actually makes a pretty good sweet and sour sauce for chicken, pork or meatballs, and does well in a crockpot.

    8. Girasol*

      How about chicken soup with noodles or dumpings and cocoa, popcorn, and a good movie after? Cocoa movies always feel festive to me.

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

      Sorry Mr. Edits is sick — hoping he feels better soon and that you stay well.

      If you have any chicken parts and BBQ sauce in the house, throw chicken parts in the oven and pour BBQ sauce on top — bake at 350ish for an hour-ish. If you have any Jiffy corn bread mix in the house, that’s easy, and you can substitute water for milk if you’re out of milk and applesauce for eggs if you’re out of eggs, and it still comes out pretty tasty.

    10. Almost Academic*

      I’m sick as well today – just a cold thankfully and not COVID, but still no fun. There’s a lot of nasty bugs going around! We’re doing the Chinese takeout plan and postponing our thanksgiving feast until tomorrow at the earliest, once I’m feeling up to cooking a bit more. Was only going to be me and my partner, so there’s lots of flexibility at least.

      Wishing Mr. Edits a speedy recovery!!!

    11. I edit everything*

      Welp, a trip to the ER later, and anything that was open is now closed. It might be pancakes for dinner.

      1. Long Time Lurker, First Time Poster*

        Oh No! ER for the illness? Please don’t let it be from the pinch-hit meal prep!! Sending good juju to the Edit Fam.

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

        Wow, I hope the trip to the ER helped Mr. Edits to be on the road to recovery — I’m glad you all went when you did if he had to go instead of waiting. Hey, if dinner was pancakes, it was pancakes. Health and safety first, always. Knowing your partner is safe is the best Thanksgiving.

  5. Cormorannt*

    Small triumph: My senior dog is a short-haired breed who has started to feel the cold more with age, but she dislikes being under a blanket. She’ll get up and shake it off if we try to cover her. I got her some cozy dog beds and some fleece dog pajamas. I figured the pajamas would bother her like blankets do and didn’t hold out much hope that she’d actually wear them. She loves them! She was cozily snoozing last night in her Grogu/Mandalorian patterned jammies. Success!

      1. Cormorannt*

        I posted a link in response to Tired, but it might take a while to get out of moderation since it’s a holiday.

    1. Fluff*

      I suspect she wears them because of your impeccable taste: Grogu Mando themed PJs on a pooch is fabulous.

  6. Ranon*

    We cook our meal on Saturday but still have not selected a sweet potato recipe for this year- any favs? This is unlike us, usually we are whittling down a selection from several we’ve come across in the lead up but it seems like food media wasn’t particularly into the notion of sweet potatoes this year.

    1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Pie? The sort of casserole with the nuts in top..we do not do the weird one with marshmallows. Candied yams?

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      If you like spicy, my husband swears by Alton Brown’s chipotle smashed sweet potatoes, easily googled by name.

      1. Quinalla*

        Ooo, I’ll have to try this!

        I like them roasted with other root vegetables – turnips, beets, other potatos, carrots, etc. Olive oil on them, a little pepper & salt and maybe rosemary if you have it, roast at 350, don’t know timing depends how big your chunks are and how soft you like your veggies :)

    3. Llellayena*

      Roasted with ginger and cinnamon. Peel, cut into chunks, oil and add spices. 400deg F until soft inside and browning at the edges. I like to boil them for a couple min before throwing them in the oven because it helps with the texture and cooking time.

    4. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Sweet potato casserole, but instead of the standard marshmallow topping, it’s got a pecan and brown sugar crumble.

      Or the simply roast them-slice into maybe 1/2″ slices, toss with generous olive oil and some kosher salt, and roast in a single layer (with room between them for the heat!) at 425 till really roasty and brown. Like, until you go “whoops, left those in too long”. Best sweet potatoes I’ve ever made, despite their simplicity.

      1. Mephyle*

        Seconding this (the simple roast option). Sweet potatoes are so tasty in and of themselves that they don’t need a recipe.

      2. California Dreamin’*

        I make this one, the sweet potatoes whipped with eggs and spices in a casserole but brown sugar and pecan topping, not the marshmallows. It’s my husband’s favorite element of our Thanksgiving dinner.

    5. jotab*

      Brown Butter Sweet Potatoes. First select long slim sweet potatoes so they roast more quickly. Rub the skins with butter or oil, pierce with a knife and roast until the juice runs out and starts to carmelize. You can do this ahead. Remove the skins and mash them. Add browned butter. You can refrigerate and reheat a day or two later and it is still wonderful.
      If you have never made brown butter before, this recipe is a great place to start. Browning the butter a bit before using creates a deep, rich, caramel like flavor.
      First, add the diced butter to a small skillet. Next, heat the skillet over medium heat. The butter will start to melt as the skillet heats up. Then, allow the butter to bubble and “cook” until it begins to change from a bright yellow color to a golden brown color. At this point, you should see some brown bits beginning to form in the bottom of the skillet. Lastly, remove the butter from the heat and pour it directly into the mashed sweet potatoes. Absolutely delicious and very easy.

    6. Sooda Nym*

      Might be too much as part of Thanksgiving dinner, but Smitten Kitchen Sweet Potatoes with Pecans and Goat Cheese is amazing.

    7. KatEnigma*

      My favorite is cubed, then drizzled with honey, sprinkle with cinnamon, and roast in the oven for the usual 20ish minutes at 425. It’s simple and tastes really good

    8. rr*

      I have never actually made this, but it is in my file of to-be tried. Name: “Sweet Potato Crack”

      Sweet Potato Crack
      Slice sweet potatoes into 1-inch tall rounds.

      Mix in a bowl with
      –freshly minced garlic (the more the better frankly),
      –olive oil,
      –kosher salt (to taste)
      –and thyme.

      Put into baking pan (I think that ceramic white works best but this might be because my oven is, it seems, nuclear powered) and bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until tender.

      1. Ali + Nino*

        I know a similar recipe: Slice sweet potatoes lengthwise. Drizzle olive oil, salt, and dried thyme on a baking tray covered with parchment paper. Place sweet potatoes face down and bake for 45 mins. (not sure the oven temp). Super easy and delicious, this is one of my go-to recipes! Highly recommend.

      2. I take tea*

        I keep reading “kosher salt”, and thinking “I thought kosher was about not mixing some things and not eating other things” (sorry, just what I picked up via media, not a big community here) and how can that apply to salt? Today I checked it out and found it’s a type of salt, and it’s not necessarily kosher. Fascinating. Always nice to learn something new.

    9. The teapots are on fire*

      McCormick Spices has a recipe for roasted sweet potato casserole with pecan crust that is to die for. Highly recommend.

    10. Russian in Texas*

      Bobby Flay’s smoked Chile scalloped sweet potatoes!
      I don’t like sweet potatoes with sweet stuff except for the pie, and this combo of sweet potatoes, adobo chili, and cream work for me.

    11. Daune JaimesDiaz*

      I found a great sweet potato recipes that uses diced fuji or gala apples and sliced sweet potatoes with all the usual spices. It’s delicious. Google sweet potato with apples

    12. Susan*

      I may be too late for this year, but I like having some “cheat” side dishes just to simplify things. One of those for me is two big cans (maybe 28 oz each?) of sweet potatoes, drained, tossed with one can of apple pie filling, and baked in a casserole. People ask for the recipe!
      If I’m feeling ambitious, I add pecans and put buttered Ritz cracker crumbs on top.

    13. ronda*

      mom used to make a brown sugar glaze in a cast iron pan and put the sweet potatoes cut in coin shapes (much bigger than a real coin). it was yummy.
      Unfortunately I dont have the details and she is gone.

      now my sister does it and she does a casserole, mashed sweet potatoes with pecans and brown sugar baked on top. also good.

      1. AA*

        This sounds similar to Danish ‘brown potatoes’ for Christmas dinner except Danes use new potatoes rather than sweet. The recipe for that is basically to put a good amount of white sugar in a pan, let it form a caramel, add a lump of butter and then toss the cooked potatoes in it.

    14. Nea*

      My two go-tos for sweet potatoes (which can be “roasted” in the microwave in 5 minutes if there’s a lack of oven space):

      1) Whip with orange juice and just a pinch of brown sugar. Add a splash of bourbon if you’ve got it.

      2) Whip with a little butter and garam masala. It’s like pumpkin spice’s kickier cousin but not too hot for someone who can’t handle spicy-spicy to eat

    15. Artemesia*

      We are doing a Thanksgiving today, Friday because the kids are doing the inlaws this year and we didn’t get organized early enough to do it with friends — so having a dinner party with smoked turkey tonight.

      Our yam recipe is mashed yams with honey and lime. Everyone loves it; we have outgrown marshmallows. You bake sweet potatoes or yams, skin and mash them with butter, honey and lime juice. Put in baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes at 350, top with a little dab of sour cream or creme fraiche and a little grated lime. Very yummy and good left over.

    16. Kathenus*

      Probably too late for you to see this, but my favorite is a Good Housekeeping recipe (although there are other versions online too) for Maple Cranberry Sweet Potatoes – just made them yesterday for a get together – always a big hit!

  7. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    Happy Thanksgiving! I’m having a hard time relaxing because I poured water over my laptop and won’t be able to work for four days. ( Usually I work maybe an hour or two over the weekend). I wish everyone who is anxious about time management ( I’m also anxious that I won’t relax right, that I need to job search etc) a merry Thanksgiving

    1. Ann Ominous*

      Happy merry day to you also! Can you proactively do something else? I know when I’m in your shoes I can go into ‘waiting mode’ where I just wait till the thing I’m anxious about (not being able to access a working laptop) is over. Helps me to have a plan of what I’m going to do instead (walk, hike, museum, watch a new show, etc), instead of what I’m going to not do (work). Then not beating myself up for whatever I do or don’t do, whether I am successful in not worrying, because I have a source of infinite compassion for myself (that I am always trying to tap in to with varying degrees of success).

      Wishing you the absolute best time this next four days.

        1. Ann Ominous*

          That’s affirming to know, thank you! Hope your next 96 hours fills you with peace.

          (Also don’t pressure yourself to be Perfectly Zen … my goal is to have a net positive so on Monday I am a bit better off than I was when I finished work yesterday. And if that doesn’t happen, I give the reactive ‘OMG I Wasted All This Time’ part of me a hug too. It’s all okay. It really is)

    2. Happy Thanksgiving*

      I agree with Ann Anonymous about the value of planning. Also, if you don’t want to completely unplug from work over the next 4 days, you may be able to do some small part of your work on your phone. I provide some as-needed support for a small company and was able to complete a requested spreadsheet update from my phone. I told my boss that I just needed to hike to the top of the next hill to have enough signal. LOL

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

      Maybe this is the universe’s way of saying you get to take good care of yourself — whatever that looks like for you — until Monday? Happy Thanksgiving, whatever you do!

  8. Cookie*

    This is my fourth weird Thanksgiving in a row now. In 2019, my daughter had died a few weeks before, and I flew to my family’s state for the holiday weekend and just could not enjoy myself at all. She was a very troubled young person and things were complicated, but I would rather have her alive and causing chaos than not with us anymore. I now spend holidays mostly by myself until evening, when my casual unserious partner comes over for a low-key dinner. This isn’t a rant or a pity party – I just wanted to say “hi” to anyone else in a weird life stage for whom a big family dinner isn’t appealing right now.

    1. debbietrash*

      I wanted to reach out across the void that is the internet to let you know that you’re not alone (I’m sure you logically know that, but it can still be comforting to hear/read). I’ve had my fair share of weird holidays, from post-dad’s death everything (he died in November and that Christmas was my most somber to date) to estrangement from family members; it’s tough, but it sounds like you have built your own traditions that suit you and your needs. Hope your weekend goes well.

    2. Queer Earthling*

      Hey. I’m sorry for your loss, and I hope you have a pleasant enough day regardless.

      We’re basically not acknowledging thanksgiving in my house. We’ve (my immediate household, all either estranged or long-distance from family) tried to do various fun things but unfortunately, my brain still associates Thanksgiving with childhood abuse stuff, and no matter how much I like turkey and mashed potatoes, I can’t really divorce the two and end up stressed. So we’re just hanging out in pajamas, having steak for dinner tonight, and I’m attempting to convince my spouse and metamour to watch Fiddler on the Roof later. (Neither of them used to like musicals although in the past 10 years I’ve got them into several haha.)

    3. Texan In Exile*

      Hi back. Things happening at our house so it’s going to be low key as well. I’m wishing all of y’all well today. I hope you all have good food and maybe enjoy a nice walk, a good book, and a movie with a happy ending.

    4. DK*

      Hi. I completely understand. My 22 year old son died 8 years ago. He was so smart, but was troubled. Holidays aren’t the same for me anymore and I tend to prefer to be alone except for a meal with a friend later in the day. I get it.

    5. ThatGirl*

      This is our third thanksgiving just the two of us, and now it really is just the two of us because our dog died last December. Alone is by choice, and I am not saying losing a dog is like losing a child, but it’s definitely a change.

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

      Shout out and virtual hugs (if you want them) to all in this thread! I had a couple of awful Thanksgivings where my late parents were very, very ill, and what I need is just anything different from those.

      1. Cookie*

        I hear you. My mom is no longer herself after a year spent mostly being ill.

        When I imagined my adult life, these stories weren’t part of that dream.

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

          I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with that, Cookie — it’s really rough. Hang in there!

    7. Can't Sit Still*

      Thanksgiving was always, at the very least, dramatic, for me until young adulthood. I floundered around until I settled on “long weekend to do whatever I want” as the appropriate celebration. My brother disappeared this summer and hasn’t been heard from or found or anything, so I don’t even know if he’s alive or not. My mother still belongs to her cult and seems to be happy, so that’s good, I guess? Most of my extended family is gone now and the whole Friendsgiving thing has never worked for me, so it’s me and the cats today.

      It is my first Thanksgiving as a homeowner, so I’m planning on doing some nice meals throughout the whole weekend.

    8. Jean (just Jean)*

      Thank you for posting this! I’m more or less okay (will be joining extended family) but still feel at loose ends due to recent deaths in the family plus other still-evolving changes.

      I wish everyone on this thread a peaceful day without distress. Sometimes we just have to go slowly and be kind to ourselves.

    9. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      Wishing all the best to everyone and anyone whose family isn’t Hallmark standard for whatever reason. It can be extra hard to have complicated family or home life when everyone else seems to be gushing about being surrounded by loved ones.

    10. Four of ten*

      My husband of 38 years died on Monday November 21. I’ve had dinner with family, but I’m mostly numb. I lost my 21 year old daughter in 1995. Her birthday is Nov. 28, so around this time of year can be difficult. Never quite know when it’s going to hit you.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I’m so sorry for your losses. I can only imagine that you must still be devastated. I’m glad that family fed you but I’m not surprised you aren’t feeling much.

        I wish you strength and peace for the days ahead.

    11. Artemesia*

      This is our first Thanksgiving without our son. No matter how it happens, it makes such a giant hole in your life. None of us plans to ever stand at the grave of a child. Sending you peace; looking for it myself.

    12. Will's Mom*

      I feel you. My 26 y.o. son decided life wasn’t worth living and decided to do something about it back in 2015. Thanksgiving was our biggest holiday for everyone to get together and ours was where it all took place. I totally lost all heart for it, but I still have 3 living adult “kids” who are very much loved and who I truly am grateful to have in my life. My older son took over the hosting duties for a year with plans to take over. Then he got married, so we shared Thanksgiving with his crazy wonderful in laws for a couple of years. Circumstances changed in my life to the point that I finally was able to start hosting again last year. My “kids” all got married within a 4 year time span so there are in laws to consider, so we decided to host Thanksgiving on the following Saturday. For some reason the change helps. The first time was very bitter sweet, but it also felt so right. I am grateful that you have someone to share it with, and my heart goes out to you. I hope that in the coming years things will get better for you so that you will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving again.

  9. HK*

    I had a very frustrating start to the Holiday weekend. An applicant (let’s call her Alice) listed my team’s group email address as an employee referral. I’m trying my best to give her the benefit of the doubt and maybe this was a misunderstanding, but it’s hard to not see that she was trying to bolster her application. I have a lot of emotions right now: anger, frustration, confusion, disappointment.

    Please see thread.

    1. HK*

      For context, I am a Web Developer. At my workplace (in the US), I don’t believe we receive bonuses for employee referrals (no one has mentioned this to me, at least). On our online job application, there is a “How did you hear about this job?” question. The applicant has to choose Employee Referral from a drop down. For the Employee Referral, an employee name and email address are required. A notification about the referral is sent to the employee email that is listed.

      On Tuesday, my team’s email received an automated notification about an employee referral. Our team email is a Google group, so everyone in the group received this email. Our team is very small and I’m certain no one would tell an applicant to use our team email for a referral.

      I have a suspicion about how this happened. I recently joined a Slack workspace for people in tech for our city. I posted links to my employer’s open position on this Slack’s job board. A member (let’s call him Bob), commented on how he loves my employer’s public API and is using it for a personal project. I reply back and I tell Bob that we’d love to see what he builds and I post our team email address. Our team email address is publicly listed, so posting it like this is ok.

      I think another member named Alice saw this conversation on Slack and decided to put down own team email for the Employee Referral section on her job application. An occurrence like this has never happened before, so this is why I am narrowing down the source to the Slack workspace. I understand that employee referral can mean different things to different people. But for the context of that Slack interaction, the team email address was not shared for the purpose of an employee referral. After this, I updated my Slack post and I asked folks to please not use the team email address for an employee referral because it was not shared for that purpose and it is not okay.

      On Wednesday (day before the Thanksgiving holiday), I had to check in with my manager about this because he saw the email about the employee referral. I was concerned that the applicant listed my name for the referral. I wasn’t sure because the referral email didn’t list an employee name. My manager advised me to contact HR and give them a heads up. We aren’t exactly sure how HR uses Employee Referrals when they intake a job application.

      I’m feeling all sorts of emotions right now. I feel disappointment because my trust has been violated. I don’t understand why someone took a conversation out of context and misused my team’s email. I understand the job market is hard now. It’s possible this person is new to job searching and perhaps misunderstood or was given bad advice about Employee Referrals. It’s very hard for me to give the benefit of the doubt because Alice made a deliberate choice to type in the team email on her application.

      This situation makes me want to no longer share our job postings. I was trying to do a good thing and share opportunities. It’s all so frustrating.

      1. Bagpuss*

        It does sound frustating but – is it possible that Alice misunderstood – if she learned about the job because you re-posted / linked it in the chat might she have thought that ’employee referral’ included ‘heard about it from an employee’? I appreciate that isn’t what it means, but if you werent familiar with the term I can see it possibly being an innocent mistake.

        1. londonedit*

          This is exactly what I thought – it’s entirely possible Alice might have seen it as more of a ‘How did you hear about this job opening?’ rather than ‘Please list the name of the employee who referred you’. It sounds to me like Alice didn’t realise it was meant to be something more official than ‘I’m applying to this job via something from [team name] on Slack’.

          1. Artemesia*

            This. I would not give this much thought or get in a swivet about it or feel that trust issues are involved. She almost certainly read it as ‘how did you learn about the position’. I would be more concerned if she listed one person as that might appear to be claiming they recommended her, but this seems quite innocuous.

        2. Mostly Managing*

          That’s what I was thinking, too.
          She probably took it as “how did you hear about this job” and put in what she thought was the right information. Especially if this is a lower-level or entry position, I would not hold it against her.

          Early in my career, I confidently told someone I was the company secretary. By which I meant I was the person doing all the admin stuff – answering phones, filing paperwork, etc – and so I was the secretary for the company.
          I was not, you will be not at all shocked to discover, the Company Secretary.
          My boss was highly amused once the misunderstanding was sorted out, and teased me for months :)

          1. londonedit*

            I love this! I can totally see my early-career self doing something similar.

            It’s also possible that the application form made it look like you *had* to put that information in, and Alice might have thought well, this is the only email address I can find, so I guess I’ll have to put that down.

      2. Caroline*

        This seems like a very strong reaction to an extremely minor thing. Are you OK otherwise? Is there more to this than you’ve mentioned, like you getting in trouble for posting the job vacancies or something? Because otherwise, all that’s actually happened is someone put an email address (that isn’t even your personal email) into a field in their application, almost certainly in error. Maybe she copy-pasted the wrong thing. But it’s not a big deal at all and no reasonable HR or manager would be the least bit bothered if you said “don’t know them, no idea why they’ve put that email in, must have been a mistake”. If there’s any issue, they can take it up with the applicant directly. It’s not really about you at all. Can you try to see that and let it go? If not, I’d spend some time trying to work out what’s really bothering you here, because there’s got to be more to this reaction. Figuring that out and dealing with it will be more helpful than fretting over this. I hope you can feel some peace soon.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          I had this exact reaction. OP, your reaction here is very…strong…for something that, in the grand scheme of things, isn’t really that big of a deal. Brush it off as a mistake, tell HR you don’t know this person and can’t vouch for them, then let it go.

      3. Decidedly Me*

        Anger, a feeling of broken trust, and disappointment seem pretty extreme reactions over what is more than likely a misunderstanding. People do dumb things on job applications all the time (I know as I have frequently reviewed them) – they misread questions, don’t understand what you’re asking, put ridiculous things in how they heard about us, etc. It’s really not worth getting that emotionally invested in.

        I get that it’s confusing what happened and can be frustrating to track down; though on the latter, do you even have to try and puzzle this out? What harm has been done or problem caused by them adding this email?

        I wouldn’t stop sharing job postings over this – it can be hard to find applicants for some jobs and the more places people can hear of an opening, the better.

      4. MJ*

        In some companies a “referral” (as opposed to a “recommendation”) gets the referring employee a bonus if the applicant is hired. Alice may have thought she was doing you a favour.
        Just make it clear to HR that you can’t recommend Alice since you don’t know her.

      5. Courageous cat*

        Yeah, I would say your reactions definitely seem a bit outsized here, you’re talking about violated trust but what trust do you even have to begin with… for a person you don’t know? She didn’t violate anything really. It seems like you’re investing a lot of emotion in her when you should probably just breeze past this application and look at the other ones.

      6. I'm A Little Teapot*

        I’m going to agree with others and say that your reaction seems really strong and out of place. This wasn’t personal, and you are taking it very personally. Please take care of yourself – get some good food, some rest, some movement that feels good, spend time with people who care about you.

      7. Ginger Pet Lady*

        Honestly, I think you might be overthinking this. Especially given the fact that you do not know how HR uses them.
        I probably would have put in that email, too, thinking the question was a “how did you hear about this opening?” type referral. No way would I have thought that I was faking a *personal* referral. That would be something that would come from the person making a personal referral.
        I am finding your reaction to this weirdly strong. Your “trust was violated?” Really? What exactly did you trust Alice with that she violated the trust? I really don’t understand your reaction to this.
        I feel for Alice, who is getting the brunt of your reaction, and she probably doesn’t deserve that.

      8. I should really pick a name*

        This really sounds like something that can be put out of your mind.
        1. Find out if anyone on your team referred them. (sounds like you’ve done this)
        2. Assuming not, inform HR that there was no referral from the team (sounds like you’ve done this)
        3. If the person is invited to interview, ask them to clarify what was meant with the referral email address.

        I don’t see that anyone has done anything wrong here. It was likely just a misunderstanding, and even if it wasn’t, they aren’t getting any benefit from it. This is not personal.

      9. Citra*

        It sounds like you don’t even know for sure that it was Alice, or that no one else on your team posted the address or gave it to someone? You said you’re “certain” no one else on the team would tell someone to use it for a referral, but that doesn’t mean no one gave out the address for a different reason or that they didn’t make a copy-paste error or whatever. And you seem certain that it was Alice, but you don’t mention that as verified information; you’re just assuming it, just like you’re assuming it was a deliberate and malicious or sneaky decision to put that email on the application instead of a perfectly reasonable thing to do. It’s “very hard for you to give the benefit of the doubt,” here, but there’s absolutely no reason for you not to do that, or to feel personally violated and insulted. You posted the email on a public Slack, with links to job postings at your company; to many people that does actually constitute referring or recommending the job.

        Also, lots of places DO give bonuses to employees for referrals, so whoever used that email address probably thought they were doing you–if it actually was your name, which you don’t say if your manager confirmed that or not–a favor and maybe getting you some extra cash. You want to repay that kindness by telling HR they’re sneaky and rude, just because they misunderstood the application, the interaction, or your intent?

        I really hope you can take a deep breath and step back from this. When we assume goodwill in others, we find goodwill in ourselves.

      10. NaoNao*

        Gosh, I guess I can clearly see myself doing just what Alice did with no malice aforethought or evil intent!

        The job market is tough and weird right now. If someone shared a job listing + even in another post for another reason a group email, I would absolutely put that 2 and 2 together and assume “well…she’s the employee who posted this job description and ad, so she’s the one who referred me/informed me/recommended the job and this is the email I have for her”.

        I get that it feels…weirdly grimy for someone to sort of…squirrel around in posts, cut and paste an email into an unrelated platform and claim “your department” referred them but the reaction does seem a bit out of proportion. I had to read the post a few times to understand exactly what the crime was here!

        My mom always says “when you don’t know what’s going on, something else is going on” one of those phrases that doesn’t mean much but basically is great when you or someone else is wigging out but you’re not sure why.

        Is this reminding you of something else (i.e. “triggering” you) because on its face it seems pretty benign!

      11. design ghost*

        I agree with everyone above that this isn’t a big deal at all, but just out of curiosity, is there any option on that drop down list that would communicate “I heard about this job from someone who works there” that isn’t “Employee Referral?”

        Because if the drop down list has things like “Google” and “LinkedIn” and then “Employee Referral” I don’t think it’s that unreasonable or silly for someone to think it means “I heard about this job from Mary” and not “Mary personally referred me for this job.”

      12. Gnome*

        I’m going to agree that she probably thinks it was the best/correct option and made a mistake. Given that it was a drop-down menu, it might have been the closest to the Slack Channel option in her mind. Then she gets a “tell us who using their email address” and doesn’t have anything but the one you shared… Easy mistake to make and she might have thought she was doing you a favor.

        I also agree that it’s a strong reaction. Referral basically means “who told you about the position or recommended this as a place to work” in which case…. You did. By sharing the job listing you are endorsing your place of work. That she used the wrong email (or only one she had) is a minor error really.

        I’m left wondering if it’s a toxic workplace. Like, are you expecting a shoe to drop because someone used your publicly available group email incorrectly? If so… Do you want to keep working there?

      13. The Other Dawn*

        This is a big overreaction, and I’m really struggling to figure out why you feel violated. You said Alice used the team email address, not YOUR work (or personal) email address. And she didn’t even use your name, though I’m not sure based on how you phrased it: “I was concerned that the applicant listed my name for the referral. I wasn’t sure because the referral email didn’t list an employee name.”

        I think you need to let this go.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I think you are putting too much weight on this in your mind. Alice probably thought she was answering the question literally, but it wound up making her look a bit silly.

      What harm is done? How is this a “misuse?”

      I really don’t understand how Alice’s minor mistake is a breach of your trust. Do you tend to think that other people’s mistakes reflect on you personally?

      1. WellRed*

        I read the post a few times and honestly don’t see why this is a big deal either. How has this harmed you, OP? Let it go.

        1. londonedit*

          Yeah, I focused above on the (quite logical) reasons why Alice probably did this (i.e. she didn’t realise it’s apparently a big deal and thought it was just a space to fill in a ‘how did you hear about this job’ thing), but I also really don’t see how or why it *is* a big deal, or what harm can come from it.

          HK, is this ‘referral’ business a really big deal in your company? Is it seen more like a personal recommendation, and does that hold an awful lot of weight? If so, I can maybe understand your reaction, but I still don’t think it’s a huge breach of trust or a violation – it’s outside the norm for companies to place huge weight on employee referrals, usually it’s much more of a ‘did anyone who works here tell you about this job opening’ thing, and I really don’t think Alice was doing anything purposely underhand or trying to somehow inveigle her way in using your/your team’s name. I’m pretty sure she just thought she’d fill in the email address because your team Slack thing was how she came to know about the job ad.

      2. Roland*

        I don’t even think it makes her look silly? It’s not like a company is ever just going to go, wow they clicked on “employee referral” so someone here likes them so let’s boost their app without ever talking to the employee. In that form’s context, “employee referral” can only mean the employee is how I heard about the job. You can’t provide your own recommendation.

    3. Double A*

      Almost certainly what happened was she read the “How did you hear about this opening?” question and thought, “I heard about it from an employee.” Then she chose the closest option (Employee referral) and was like, “Huh, weird that they’re asking for an email…I guess that team email would do.”

      Honestly, it sounds like your job application has a UI design problem. I assume “How did you hear about this job” is a throwaway question that helps the company figure out what marketing is working for them. If the “employee referral” option carries a lot of weight, it needs to be its own question and be clear that it’s asking for a specific person.

      The fact that you jumped over the most logical and generous explanation to the worst case scenario where you are being targeted and violated is something to reflect on, as other people have mentioned.

    4. IsbenTakesTea*

      I can see how you might get a sense of violation from the thought process of “someone is using something I posted in a shared space in good faith to manipulate the truth to get ahead and this could reflect badly on me and my team”, but even if the offhand chance Alice was trying to game the system and purposely, it’s unclear right now if or how this is reflected on you, so that thought might help quell that anxiety.

      I also agree with others that it is an incredibly logical choice on Alice’s part to chose “Employee Referral” to answer “How did you hear about this job?” as it could also be interpreted as “this employee referred the job to me“, especially to someone not familiar with internal employee referral programs.

    5. HK*

      To the folks who think I am reacting strongly or jumping to conclusions. That is hurtful. I am truly trying to give the applicant the benefit of the doubt.I feel this way because this has truly not happened before. It was not for a low-level job. It is for a mid-level position, which I reiterated when I shared the link. It’s very hard to share job opportunities because I’ll get DM’s by recruiters asking me if I want to use a recruiting service or from applicants who want to interview with me directly. In that Slack, I was using my real first and last name. I feel if I had used a pseudonym, this would not have happened because the applicant wouldn’t have an employee name to list. This is why I feel violated. I truly want to network in Slack workspaces without a pseudonym so I can make connections. But occurrences like this really hinder me and I feel I’m just part of another reddit rather than a community. Comments like this make me feel AAM is not a safe place.

      1. Double A*

        But why is it so unlikely the that the applicant misunderstood what the question was asking? The question was “How did your hear about this job” and her answer was “From Hk.” How did she even do anything wrong? I truly don’t understand.

        You’re asking about a business transaction that from the way you are describing it… experienced a fairly minor hiccup. I honestly can’t even follow your reasoning to see how what this applicant did that is remotely problematic. Maybe if I squint it could be seen as slightly presumptuous, but that’s only if you completely discount the possibility of a misunderstanding. Which you are but I can’t understand why.

        Honestly trying to shame people about creating an unsafe space when they’re just offering you a different perspective is kind of crummy. No one is being unkind to you, they just don’t understand your reaction and are telling you that it seems out of proportion to what you described. Disagreement and different perspectives aren’t unsafe nor are they incompatible with a community.

        I hope you can nail down exactly what is bothering you so deeply about this incident because it clearly hit a sore spot. And I hope you have a restful weekend where you put it out of your mind and come back more refreshed.

        1. Rooney*

          Honestly trying to shame people about creating an unsafe space when they’re just offering you a different perspective is kind of crummy.

          I’d go a step further and say that it’s downright manipulative. Not cool as all.

      2. kr*

        I don’t think this has ever been advertised as a safe space, particularly. This space’s priority is education and discussion and that means that people who see things differently than you do will tell you that.

        No one said anything uncivil to you, they just pointed that your response to this isn’t warranted by the facts you shared.

        1. The Real Fran Fine*

          This. HK, I say this with kindness, but between your response to this candidate and this comment here, maybe you should take a break from the internet for awhile.

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        I didn’t read the comments as being critical of you, but more as saying that it was probably a mistake on her part and something that is more embarrassing for her than something you need to worry about.

      4. Unrecommended*

        I get it. I know after reading AAM for years that many people give referrals or lend their name freely to the hiring process – and that is very generous of them! Mostly HR and others see this is as not a big deal and if anything it is “this is a real human who is somehow connected to me or this industry” vs. “this is a resume blast to every open job.”

        But, I have a lot of anxiety tied to recommendations and feel they reflect on me personally. So I rarely recommend anyone/anything unless really sure they/it would be a solid fit. Usually my recommendations are given a lot of weight because of that…but that feeds back into the loop of anxiety about recommendations!

        So yes – realistically not a big deal. But I would want to burn that applicant’s resume with fire for using my name like that. Pretty sure in the real world I am the unreasonable one, but the feelings are valid and I see you, HK!

          1. I should really pick a name*

            This is not universally true (as some very length threads on this topic have shown)

      5. Spruce*

        Hi HK,

        You use the word “violated” and I think a few of us are struggling to understand the intensity of this reaction compared to the event. Several people have written that they read your post multiple times and did not see anything very egregious. Are we missing something?

        You also write that you are trying to “give the benefit of the doubt” which for me means assuming best intentions. What intentions do you ascribe to the applicant here?

      6. Nope.*

        Not agreeing with you is not the equivalent of an unsafe space. An echo chamber is not the equivalent of a safe space.

        You are overreacting many times in the story and this thread, and everyone telling you that is doing it so you can take a honest look at the situation and move forward in a healthy way. Good, honest advice is not always going to be what you want to hear, but that doesn’t make it a violation or hurtful.

      7. Citra*

        People are going out of their way to try to make you feel better, reassure you that you might not even be correct about it being Alice or that Alice put down your name, and explain that you shouldn’t see this as a personal violation even if she did, and that makes you feel like this isn’t “a safe place?” You say you’re trying to give the benefit of the doubt, but people offering you lots of reasons to help you do that is making you feel like this isn’t “a safe place?”

        I understand that you probably felt like you were taking a risk by using your real first and last name, and now you feel that the first time you did so, someone you dislike used the email you gave to apply for the job posting you shared, and that feels weird and upsets you. But people aren’t pointing out that you are seemingly making a lot of assumptions here or that this isn’t a big deal to try to make you feel bad. We’re doing it to try to make you feel better. And people aren’t asking if there’s something else going on in your life to make you feel bad, either. We’re doing it because your response to this is genuinely extreme and we’re genuinely concerned about you, and again, we’re trying to help you and make you feel better. You have a bunch of responses here from people who took time out of their days to reassure you and try to help you, and you’re acting like everyone is calling you names, when in fact not one person did. People have asked a lot of questions, too, like /has it actually been confirmed that Alice was the applicant and that she put your name as a referral/, because from what you wrote it seems you are just assuming that, and /does that actually impact you negatively at your company/, because if it does that might change how people are looking at it. But instead of answering those questions (which were asked to try to help you and get more information), you’re instead telling everyone that we’re wrong to try to help and now you feel “unsafe.”

        Would it make you feel “safer” if everyone told you that this Alice person is definitely a stalker who is trying to get a job where you work so she can take over your life and stuff your body in a closet? Seriously. What are you looking for, if it’s not reassurance and concern?

      8. Coconutty*

        If people saying that feelings of broken trust seem like an outsized reaction for someone using the incorrect email address makes you feel like this comments section isn’t a safe place, then maybe that is the case for you and there are places to get advice that would be a better fit. This also seems like a massive overreaction.

      9. Willis*

        You probably should stop sharing job ads, if you don’t want anyone to put your name in response to the question “how did you hear about this job?”

  10. LadyWhistledown*

    Gratitude thread!

    What are you most grateful for this year?

    Me: I’m grateful for great childcare, hot apple cider, and the feeling of an extra cozy blanket (New England can be quite chilly!).

    1. ecnaseener*

      I’m grateful for the pooch currently asleep in my lap, shes getting old and sick but still a happy dog!

    2. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      My parents are kind to me, my bf is supportive, many people irl are also pleasant and cheerful, there are many video games now, I have clothes… Yes my lists end up sounding weird

    3. KateElla (UK)*

      My partner, who has helped me just put one foot in front of the other while dealing with Major Life Stuff that is keeping us long distance even longer than we’d ever thought.

      The medical professionals who looked at my situation and went “Hold on, you’ve been doing this on your own for *how long*?!” and made referrals that actually worked.

      And my new mental health nurse who showed me in one sentence that she *got me*.

      Things are maybe, possibly, looking up. And I’m so grateful.

      1. Pippa K*

        Ah, that feeling when someone, esp. a health care provider, (1) understands, (2) cares, and (3) offers effective help. Definitely something to be grateful for! I’m happy you’ve found this!

    4. Elle*

      I’m grateful for learning to be grateful. I’m a very cynical person which is impacting my anxiety, insomnia, etc. I’m trying to be grateful for all good things big and small. It really does make me feel better.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      Buying a house (we looked for over a year), having a job I love, my kids going to school in person

      1. Filosofickle*

        Me too on the house :)

        I’m sad about many things these days, but I love my new place and after a long and discouraging search I’m grateful to have found it. I enjoy being in this space.

    6. old curmudgeon*

      I am grateful that my kids and grands live nearby, AND that we all get along well together. That was not the case for either my spouse nor me when we were growing up, and it is a huge relief to know that we were able to break that pattern with our own offspring.

      I am grateful for our pair of mischievous, inventive, infuriating and totally lovable cats, who are happiest when they are both piled into my lap purring thunderously (whenever they aren’t figuring out new ways to break into our kitchen cabinets to steal food, that is).

      I am grateful that the elections in my state went the way they did so that I don’t have to retire before I want to. I work in state government, and had a certain election produced a different outcome, I would have turned in my retirement paperwork on November 9, even though I’d like to keep working for a few more years.

      I am grateful for vaccines – flu, Covid, Hep-B, shingles, pneumonia, tetanus, etc. – and for the researchers and medical professionals who make it possible for my family and me to stay healthy.

      And I’m grateful to have a community like this one, and for our hostess who is compassionate, knowledgeable and very, very funny. Happy day of thanks to Alison and to all who stop by here!

    7. Divergent*

      I’m grateful for finally making local friends after several years of being without – I was invited to a birthday gathering this weekend and I’m quite looking forward to these people.

      I’m grateful for very full freezers, it’s nice to have abundance at this time of year.

      I’m grateful to be able to sew, so I can make fancy comfy fabric into clothes I couldn’t otherwise afford.

    8. The Real Fran Fine*

      I’m grateful to work where I do and with the people I do (on my immediate team). My manager, for the most part, is great; my direct reports are very eager to learn and have great ideas that help us to improve our operations; my direct peers are a hoot to talk to; and we just have a lot of fun together when we’re not working. I also generally enjoy my job a lot and I get paid well to do it – I hit six figures this year, which has been life changing for me in many ways, and I’m so thankful to not be struggling or constantly having to worry about money (especially with how inflation’s going right now). I also have great benefits and a good amount of time off to rest and recuperate (which I take full advantage of), so it would take a lot for me to move on from this place.

      I’m grateful for my family, particularly my two adorable little nieces. Those girls always make me laugh, and though I don’t see them in person often due to COVID and the fact that they’re always popping up with some gross virus or other and I’m immunocompromised, I get immense joy from the hours long FaceTime calls I do have with them every other weekend or so. I’m hoping I can see them in person this Christmas to bring them their presents and watch them open them, but if not, I’ll still really enjoy watching them do the unwrapping via FaceTime.

      I’m grateful for the Qulipta care team for giving me this medicine free of charge this year since my insurance doesn’t yet cover it. This has been a game-changer for me and my chronic/episodic migraines. I went from having these things virtually 15-16 days straight a month to now only having, on average, 6 migraine days a month and the pain when they do happen is much less severe thanks to this pill. I hope to get to a point where I don’t have to take it every day (as does my neurologist), but in the meantime, I’ll take it and be thankful that it’s given me my life back.

      1. Katy*

        Thank you for mentioning this medication, which I had not heard of. I will bring it up with my neurologist.

    9. Girasol*

      After reading of all the privation in Ukraine and all over Europe and southeast Asia, I’m more grateful than I’ve ever been for a warm house and plenty to eat. I’m grateful for my volunteer friends and all the good days outside harvesting seeds so the native plant nursery can grow plants for us to plant next spring. I am grateful that when it snows next week I can look out our front window and watch it fall knowing that I have nowhere to go. And I find myself more grateful every year for the quiet season of winter.

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

      The roof over my head, food to eat, indoor plumbing, access to medical care, hot baths to relax in, good books to read, and the not-entirely-awful election results.

    11. California Dreamin’*

      My teenaged daughter just spent seven weeks in a residential mental health treatment center. She was discharged on Tuesday. I’m so happy she’s back home with us and feeling very hopeful that the new treatment modality she’s working on will be the thing that finally helps her!
      And as always, I’m extremely grateful for our loving family and financial security, things that as I get older, I realize more and more deeply that not everyone experiences.

    12. marvin*

      Very, very grateful that I was finally able to get top surgery, and for all of the other hard things I was able to do for myself this year.

    13. Stay-at-Homesteader*

      Grateful to be having a quiet but happy Thanksgiving, and extremely grateful that I’m getting a chance to put my feet up while everyone else entertains my kids. The baby has something going on that’s messing up his sleep (not just a regression, possibly allergies or some other illness) and he will only accept mommy at night. I am exhausted and therefore exceedingly grateful for the rest and the meal.

    14. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      I’m thankful for the fact that for the first time in several years, I don’t have to be thankful that Thanksgiving is over.

      [Yeah, I know it reads funny, but for the past several years there was a LOT of drama which led to stress for me]

    15. Nea*

      So many little things.
      – Hot cocoa on a cold day
      – Good books and fanfic
      – new custom fabric cutting dies for my quilting

  11. Morning reader*

    So happy that we have an open thread before the weekend! Calling all cat lovers…

    Kitten help needed.

    I brought home two sibling kittens about 2 weeks ago. The little girl kitten has not mastered consistently using the litter box. They are 13 weeks old now. I keep finding little puddles and splotches of poo, often under furniture.

    Help! This is not sustainable. So far I am cleaning and then wiping the area with vinegar water then laying down tin foil. I’ve blocked off some problem areas so she can’t get to them. She’s so small, she seems to like to go under things, maybe to get away from her sibling while she poops. I’m thinking of getting her a covered litter box, could that help?

    I want to catch her at it and scoop her up into the litter box but so far I keep missing when it happens. I’m keeping them in the guest bedroom at night and now I’m keeping them in there for a half hour after they’ve eaten, to keep the problem localized at least. She’s a little bit smaller than her brother, so maybe she’s just immature? She’s a beautiful and sweet little cat but I can’t live with discovering poop patties everywhere for the next 20 years.

    I’ve had cats for years but never kittens this young. Advice, please?

    1. Sunny days are better*

      It’s been a very long time since I had tiny wee kitties afoot, but they do indeed like to hide in the tiniest of places.

      As for the pooping everywhere, I never recall that being an issue. I would put the kitties into the litter box many times a day – especially after eating, and they really figured it out on their own. I can’t help but wonder if maybe she has a urinary tract infection of something? I don’t think that it would be amiss to perhaps call/visit a vet – though if you are in the US, I realize that might be a challenge for the next few days.

    2. Bagpuss*

      Do they only have one box? I know for adult cats it usually recommended to have multiple boxes, typically one more box than there are cats, so they don’t have to hare if they don’t wnat ot , and still get a choice. Does she use the tray at all? Ifnot, then trying different type of litter may be worth while.

      A covered box may help, and if there is a size difference between the kittens then maybe make the door to the box smaller to make it easier for her to get in and out and harder for her brother to do so. Cats like to feel safe when they are peeing or pooping so she may not feel as safe in the bix, for whatever reason.

      Would it be possible to put a box in one of the places where she has had an accident?

      Pick up the poop when you find it and try putting that into the new, clean litter tray to encourage her.

      Putting down food in the places you want her to avoid can also help (so moving hre food further from the tray may also be helpful.

    3. Chevron*

      Have you tried adding extra litter trays, and also making sure that they’re kitten trays she can easily get in and out of? Some cats are happy to share a tray, some aren’t, but as she keeps on hiding away I’m wondering if her current tray is in a place that doesn’t feel safe.

      I also just noticed you said puddles of poo – it’s a couple of years since I had a kitten that small but that doesn’t sound right to me, I’d be running that by your vet. Diarrhoea in tiny kittens can get serious fast because they’re so small so I’d want a vets opinion on that.

    4. Let me librarian that for you*

      Seconding others’ advice:
      – first stop, vet check
      – multiple boxes
      – thoroughly clean the spots kitten has gone. I can’t remember what it is called, but there’s a special enzyme cleaner that’s supposed to fry the pheromones out more than regular cleaners so they don’t smell where they have gone before and repeat it

      Good luck!

      1. old curmudgeon*

        Seconding the enzyme cleaner – the one we use is Nature’s Miracle, and there are various formulas for different types of pet issues. I buy it at my local pet supply store.

        Also, from your descriptions, it sounds like Miss Tiny Kitty just doesn’t feel safe and is trying to find places where she can eliminate without being harassed by her sibling or the adult cat. Creating a place where she has a covered litter box and can be alone for a while without being pounced on might be a big help.

        If you got her through a rescue org or humane society, you might also want to reach out to them for ideas. The rescue orgs in our area are really good about supporting adoptive pet parents with advice for issues like that.

        Good luck – and thank you for taking in a pair of kitties!

      2. Cookie*

        That would be Nature’s Miracle. OP, just because you can’t smell cat pee doesn’t mean your kitten can’t, so definitely use an enzymatic cleaner even where you’ve already used vinegar.

        I second what everyone says about multiple litter boxes in different places. Jackson Galaxy would have you put a box wherever the cat thinks she wants to pee. That’s probably not practical, but if you can at least put a covered box in a spot where she’s anointed more than once, you’re saving yourself a lot of heartburn. Also, if you’re using scented litter, stop…a lot of cats hate it. When you change litter/add a new box, add some of the old used litter back into the fresh stuff, so it smells like The Cat Bathroom (to her, it doesn’t have to be vile-smelling for you).

        1. Capybarely*

          Specifically use the enzyme cleaner instead of anything else (especially bleach!)

          Some cleaners can break things down enough that the enzyme cleaners aren’t effective, but the smell or stain is still there!

          I have friends who swear by Thornell KOE Kennel Odor Eliminator as an alternative to Nature’s Miracle.

    5. Morning reader*


      there are two boxes but they are both open. She does go sometimes in the box but she doesn’t cover her poo, and I’m trying to teach her that. Her stool is loose but getting better and I’ve been told it can be like that with transition to a new home. They’ve been to the vet and I took in a fecal sample, in their first week with me. I can take a sample in again on Monday but it’s probably a couple weeks before I could get her an appointment. (Vets understaffed and overbooked here.)

      I’ll get a new, smaller, covered litter box for her and put it in the bathroom where she most frequently has the accidents. At least this time it was on the tin foil! Her high energy brother tends to pounce on her when she’s sitting still and that may be contributing to her hiding strategy.

      Thanks for the ideas! (I did the hole-cut-in-box recommended last week to keep Big Cat from getting to their kitten chow; it’s working well except Big Cat figured out how to head butt to get the bowl closer and reach in to grab kibble. So I keep an eye on that to keep him from maneuvering the bowl closer to the hole.)

      1. Cookie*

        I meant to add, many years ago I brought home a runt barn kitten and though she took to indoor life immediately, she also had loose stools in inconvenient places for a few weeks, including under the bed (thank goodness it was a hard floor). And also, P*rina is not the healthiest food for kittens, so if you’re feeding that, try switching…I like Royal Canin Mother & Babycat.

      2. Lily of the Valley*

        I wouldn’t put too much energy into teaching her to cover her poo. Some cats don’t. I’ve heard that this is the sign of a dominant cat, but who knows.

        How big are the litter boxes? Can she easily climb into it? I fostered a litter of 6-week old kittens, and I had to search for something low enough for them to get into. I ended up buy a proofing tray for pizza dough, but you could cut down a side of a regular litter box. Also make sure she has good traction and balance in the litter.

      3. TechWorker*

        Glad the hole in the box is working! If you do end up with cats with different appetites (ours are siblings, but one likes to graze and the other will eat anything she’s allowed access to, as quickly as possible – and she can be a bit of a bully), you can get microchip feeders. Works for us as we can easily control who gets what, tho obv more expensive that just a bowl!

    6. Pool Lounger*

      When this happened to me with a new kitten, I’d put the found poo in the litter box, cover it, then gently put kitten in the box to show her/let her smell. Never had a problem after that.

    7. Cat and dog fosterer*

      Houses are big for young kittens, and they can lose track of where the box is and can find it easier to just go where they are.

      I have fostered loads of kittens and this happens fairly regularly. For the first week we often suggest having them in a smaller room such as a washroom when they aren’t being supervised until they are comfortable in the home and consistent with the litter box. If she’s consistently going outside the box then I would definitely put her in a smaller space for at least a few days with limited supervised time out in the home. They seem to need the small space to force them to use the box and reset their habits.

      1. Cat and dog fosterer*

        And to reinforce what others have said:
        The vinegar is making things worse. There are piles of companies who make different enzymatic cleaners so you can choose any of them, but you specifically need an enzymatic cleaner to get rid of the pee and poop smell. Using vinegar just makes it smell like another creature is peeing over your kitten’s pee smell, so they want to go in the same spot to try and drive away the other animal. They weren’t initially peeing outside the box for territorial reasons, but it will start to develop into that reason if you clean with vinegar, bleach, or anything related to ammonia.

      2. Cathie from Canada*

        It happens even with adult cats!
        We were away for a long weekend and our neighbour was feeding our cat – when I went into our bathroom after we returned, I realized she had been using the tub as her litter box the whole time we were away.
        So I cleaned it up and vowed never to leave her alone so long again — I think she was pretty upset we had been gone.
        I just assumed now that we were home she would start using her litter box again. But then I noticed her hopping into the tub.
        So I picked her up before she did anything new, closed the shower doors, and carried her to her litter box downstairs.
        Later that day I saw her walk into the bathroom again, realize the doors were closed, turn around and go to her litter box. So she started using it again and we never had another problem.

      3. Sc@rlettNZ*

        Yup, I agree with this. With small kittens it’s really not a good idea to let them have the run of the house unsupervised as they tend to pee and poo wherever they are when the urge strikes. Keep her contained to a smaller area until she is older and consistently using the litter box.

      4. RLC*

        Second to all of this, and to add that sometimes a single fecal test can miss an organism (such as Giardia oocyst) if the concentration/infection level is low. One of our cats cycled in and out of symptoms and positive and negative fecal tests for over a year before we did enough rounds of testing and treatment to finally get the poo issues remedied. Good luck!

    8. TechWorker*

      I agree with all the other advice but also (unless she ends up having medical problems) it does get better! For the first few months of having our kittens they were tracking poopy litter everywhere, missing the tray, leaving poop on surfaces and on one memorable occasion, somehow getting poop unreasonably high up the wall. I did a lot of scrubbing and mopping and was worried too – but now they’re a bit older they are totally fine.

      A top entry litter tray helped a lot (though they’re probably still a bit young for that), and if you have issues with litter tracking try the clumping pellets, cats love the really sandy stuff but it sticks to their feet more. Enjoy them whilst they’re tiny!

      1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

        They might be a bit young for clumping litter yet, but I agree it is fabulous for adult cats! Apparently kittens will sometimes eat kitty litter, and then that goes badly for them as it clumps up (I remember reading about this from a cat blog).

    9. Don'tbeadork*

      Smaller, lower litter box with a screen in front of it so she feels hidden. Is her brother attacking her while she’s in the box? A covered box might help, but then she won’t be able to see him lying in ambush.

      But seriously, two cats means two boxes, even when they are this young.

    10. Warrior Princess Xena*

      We had a kitten like this! We kept them in a room for about 3 weeks and one of them started using the bathtub instead of the litterbox. So we put the litterbox into the bathtub and didn’t let her roam around unsupervised. After a few times of plopping her into the litterbox every time she started to get into the bathtub she seemed to figure it out.

    11. Pam Adams*

      I would limit the available space- maybe keep them in a small area if they aren’t being watched. Maybe block the underneath spaces as well to prevent going under sofas, etc.

    12. Llama Wrangler*

      I’m not so sure about kittens, but eliminating out of the box is frequently a sign of anxiety in cats. I’ve never thought about if these issues can happen with kittens instead of older cats , but I’ll share what I’ve been told about older cats.

      You mention the younger one may want to get away from her sibling, so you may have a harassment issue on your hands. If one cat wants to harass another cat another cat, it will deny it access to the litterbox. This may look like nothing to us – the harassing cat is just lying in the hallway doing nothing. It’s perfectly innocent. But the harassed cat knows it has to get by the other cat to get to the litterbox. Sometimes, instead of risking that confrontation, the harassed cat will find another place to go.

      Look at your living area from the viewpoint of a harassed cat. Then place litterboxes strategically around the living space, so that anywhere a harassing cat could possibly position itself, the other cat can always get to a litter box without having to get by that cat.

      You mention keeping them both in the same room at night and after eating. Consider separating them and seeing if the problem goes away when you do that.

      I will note, if one of the cats dislikes the other, this will probably get worse. Somewhere between age 2.5 and 4, some cats will just decide they have “outgrown” any other cats they live with and want their own space, and problems will develop with cats that have previously gotten along. If this is not resolved soon, I think it would be best to reach out to where you adopted the cats and be prepared to return one or both and try again. Let them know about the issues so they can make a better placement next time.

      You can also try clicker training for both cats, especially the more timid one. It can increase confidence in cats. The bigger cat may feel less inclined to harass, and the timid one may become willing to stand up to the other one (I’ve seen that happen).

      The shelter where I volunteered for years recommended that any cat who had demonstrated litterbox issues (there may have been an exception for medical issues) be the only cat, and sometimes the only pet, in the home.

      Good luck.

    13. Llama Wrangler*

      I’m going to share the advice I’d give for older cats; maybe it will apply to kittens.

      It sounds like you have a harassment situation on your hands. When one cat wants to harass another one, it will often deny access to the litter box. This may looking perfectly innocent – the harassing cat is just lying in the hallway, doing nothing. But the harassed cat is stressed by the thought of getting by the harassing cat, and will often choose to eliminate elsewhere.

      I fear this is not going get better. Between ages 2.5 and 4, some cats that have previously gotten along decide they have “outgrown” any other cats they live with, they want their own space, and problems can quickly escalate. I don’t think it bodes well that you are seeing these issues in kittens. If you are not able to resolve this soon, I think you should seriously consider returning one or both cats to the place you adopted them from. The shelter I volunteered in recommended that cats with known litterboxes only be placed as single-cat homes, because so many litterbox issues are related to other cats they live with.

      If you want to try and work this out, look at the layout of your living area from the viewpoints of a harassed cat. Set up litterboxes throughout the space so there’s no one place that the harassing cat can position itself to deny litterbox access to the other cat.

      Since you mention putting them in one room at night and while eating – consider separating them instead. If this solves the problem, it probably is a harassment issue.

      The final thing to try is clicker training. It can increase confidence in both cats. The harasser may stop harassing; the harassed cat may stand up to the other one which can also transform the situation.

      Good luck!

    14. Purlesque*

      I used to foster kittens. Try Dr Elsey’s cat attract. You can get it as a litter, but as a fosterer I used the powder. Just sprinkle it in the litter. It works quite well. That might help.

      Her brother pouncing on her when she uses the litter box is likely the problem. Cats want a safe place to do their business. A hood might help, but she may still have to contend with him lying in wait outside the box. has a helpful article on litterbox issues. Just in general, the cats need one litterbox each, plus one extra. Not in the same room. They should be in different rooms if at all possible and placed so that her brother can’t corner her while or after she uses it. He sounds bored too. Playing more with him to tire him out will help too. You might try putting her back in the guest room without her brother for times away from him and to use the box. Good luck!

    15. Morning reader*

      The day after update: I went out to get Nature’s Miracle and have cleaned up all the hidden spots I’ve found. (My nose says I got them all but we’ll see.) I installed a new litter box in a small nook between the tub and the vanity in the bathroom. I put her in it right after her breakfast and she did her business there, even tried to cover it! (She missed but good effort.) about a half hour later I noticed another deposit there, so, she gets it!
      I’m going to monitor more closely when they are out to play, and put her back in the room by herself sometimes while her brother plays himself out.
      I don’t think her brother is harassing her, exactly, he just wants to play more constantly. I distract him with another toy when he’s too relentless.
      So far, so good! Thanks for the help.

  12. rr*

    Can somebody with some knowledge please talk to me about student loan forgiveness? I completely understand that it may/may not happen, but I’m trying to get some questions answered, and when I called the Department of Education yesterday, I had no luck.

    I didn’t think my loans were necessarily eligible, but I wasn’t sure, so I went ahead and applied anyway. I got an email the other day saying that my application had been approved, if the court case had won. So I would think that would mean my loans were eligible, right? Except that the email also said my application would have to be reviewed to see if I was eligible. So I’m sort of at a loss. I have the loans that are the FFELP kind, which I think I’ve read aren’t eligible.

    If I am eligible (and, of course the court case is won), I read on the original loan application, that a refund would happen automatically for certain payments that you’ve already made. But I’ve also read that you have to ask your servicer. This is also what I think the person at the Department of Education said yesterday (I couldn’t really understand or hear them). So I’m not clear about which is which. Also, if I have to ask the servicer, I don’t want to do it before the case is won, in case it isn’t, but I’m worried that if I don’t ask the servicer, those payments won’t be refunded either. Does it have to be done before your loans are forgiven? Plus, I don’t know whether or not I should keep making payments or not. I think I am still accruing interest, based on the website. So it would make sense for me to keep making payments, except if the court case are won and my loans are eligible for forgiveness.

    This makes me feel really dumb, but I can’t figure it out. I would really appreciate anybody who understands what the deal is helping me make sense of it, please. I guess otherwise I’ll try calling again on Friday.

    1. YNWA*

      1A. If you received the acceptance letter, then they’ve received your application. A second letter should follow telling you about the lawsuit and it says nothing about contacting your loan servicer. My first letter came within days of applying, the second arrived yesterday. In between I received a letter about the lawsuits and another letter about the pause extension.

      1. FFELP loans received through the government are eligible for the $10,000 forgiveness. FFELP loans privately financed are not. When you log into your account on your loan servicer website, it should tell you which loans you hold.

      2. No court case has been won yet so everything is on hold. That’s why the payment pause was extended to June 2023.

      3. This is coming from the government so yes, if eligible it will be applied immediately. It was supposed to start sometime in November but is currently blocked by two lawsuits. That’s why the administration has taken it to the Supreme Court. The loan servicers cannot block it or deem you ineligible.

      4. It’s possible the person you spoke to though you were asking PSLF relief, which is a separate forgiveness program and you do have to go through your loan servicer with an application. (And this one sucks, let me tell you. My loan servicer refuses to acknowledge my employer is a non-profit even though it’s categorized as a 503(c). So the IRS says it’s a non-profit but this janky Missouri loan servicer says it’s not).

      1. tiredlibrarian*

        to your point #1, there were some emails that went out last Saturday/Sunday, and those did indicate that your application had been approved and your loan servicer contacted. I assume OP is referring to those:

        “From Secretary Cardona: Lawsuits are preventing the U.S. Department of Education from implementing its one-time student loan debt relief program; we are holding your approved application

        [My name],

        This email provides you with an update on the one-time Student Loan Debt Relief plan that President Biden and I announced on August 24th.

        We reviewed your application and determined that you are eligible for loan relief under the Plan. We have sent this approval on to your loan servicer. You do not need to take any further action.

        Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present.”

    2. Meh*

      I cannot answer those questions except continue making payments. You don’t want or need your credit score to be impacted. Worst case scenario you don’t receive any federal repayment and you are stuck with additional interest, penalties, and bad credit.

      1. YNWA*

        Interest isn’t accruing on loans received through the federal government, though. And those are the loans eligible for the forgiveness. Private loans, yes, keep paying. They’re not on pause.

    3. SchuylerP*

      FFELP Loans aren’t eligible; the administration made that clarification a few months ago. I think it was a concession to try and stave off some of the lawsuits, which obviously didn’t happen. Do you have any that are Direct Loans? If not, you may have one of the rare FFELP loans that are eligible—ED-held FFELP.

      I work in financial aid aid this has been confusing with all the back and forth… but this confuses me further because I’d expect that you would have had to consolidate in order to be eligible for it, unless you have one of those Ed-held ones.

    4. E*

      You’re not dumb! It’s so confusing. Please contact TISLA – the institute of student loan advisors. They are a nonprofit that gives expert free advice. I work in HR and we’ve hired them to give tailored advice to our staff, but they provide free and trustworthy services to the general public. They’ll be able to give you specific advice. Best of luck!

    5. Red Sunglasses*

      Dig around your servicer’s website and see if there is any information about your loans buried on there.

      Do you have loans serviced by different providers? I have loans serviced by Aidvantage and AES. I have been getting pretty frequent communication from Aidvantage throughout the pause about the current status but none from AES. The AES website has almost no info about the pause/forgiveness. Well I just found out my Federal loans through AES were not eligible for the pause. I have over 10k in loans so I had been making some large payments infrequently and thus didn’t have regular monthly payments due and weren’t getting any emails. I’m so mad at myself for not realizing that my loans were accruing interest. I also got some details after looking around student loans on Reddit – it turns out more than a few people were in the same situation as me. All of my loans were federal so I still am not totally sure why those loans aren’t covered but it seems it has something to do with the time/year the loans were taken out.

      When I called AES originally, I couldn’t even get through to a real human so calling your servicer may not even be an option unfortunately.

  13. Not my usual name*

    I will be in Budapest for 3 nights next weekend, staying on the Pest side – Buda will have to wait until my walking is better.

    Recommendations for cafés (good cakes and/or vegi options), interesting and quirky things to see and general top tips?

    I don’t speak Hungarian, some of the time I will be with my partner, some of the time alone.


    1. MaxKitty*

      If you like hot chocolate, the New York Cafe has the best ever. For getting around, we found the tram system easy to use, even without speaking Hungarian.

    2. Auntie Matter*

      Oh gosh, so many recommendations! I’m a vegetarian who loves cake, and I run a travel company and am leading a group tour to Budapest next summer that’s literally called Cakes and Coffeehouses, so please allow me to answer your question in wayyyy too much detail. :-)

      I love Cafe Gerbeaud or Europa Cafe for tasty cake in a fancy setting. For the actual best cake I had in Budapest, get the dobos torta at Hamdi Cukrászda. It’s a tiny little place where they don’t speak much–if any–English, and the cakes are DELICIOUS.

      Also, 1000TEA is a beautiful teahouse off of Vaci Utca. Tons of really good loose leaf tea and lots of tasty snacks (plenty of vegetarian food!).

      It’s in Buda, not Pest, but if you wanted to take a taxi to minimize walking, the Hospital in the Rock museum is like nothing else I’ve ever seen. During WWII a hospital was built into the cave system in the Buda hills. After the war, it was turned into a secret nuclear bunker. Now you can get tours, and it is just so strange and interesting.

      On the Pest side, a delightful little place to visit is the Underground Railway Museum. Budapest has continental Europe’s oldest subway system, and the museum about it is really cute (and also very close to lots of other stuff, easy to get to–it’s literally inside a subway stop).

      Speaking of subways, take the M1 at some point if you can. It’s the first subway line, and you can tell it’s really different than what we typically picture for subways! :-)

      Oh, and you have to have kürtőskalács! The first time I had them, they were described as Transylvanian Funnel Cakes. They’re DELICIOUS. We go to Molnar’s, typically, but there are also plenty of places that sell them in street-side stands that are very good.

      A beautiful street to visit is Andrassy Utca. It’s where you can really tell why Budapest has the nickname Paris of the East. It’s that typical Parisian wide boulevard sort of look, with a lot of fancy shops.

      The Hungarian agriculture museum is actually really cool (as someone not interested in agriculture, this surprised me). It’s located in a “castle” that was built about 100 years ago, if I recall correctly, that is meant to be an exact model of an actual very old castle in the countryside. There’s a beautiful park around the museum, too.

      Oh, we love the Italian food at Pomo D’oro. It’s a fancy restaurant but very affordable. They had very good ravioli–I think it was pumpkin-filled, or some sort of squash? Good vegetarian pasta, regardless.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

      1. Auntie Matter*

        Also don’t worry about not speaking Hungarian. I learned to say “beszélsz angolul?” (do you speak English?) to be polite, and the answer (besides at that one cake shop I mentioned above) was invariably yes. I had no issues getting around speaking English.

        1. Really?*

          I, too am headed to Budapest next week. (Haven’t had a lot of time to plan – major assignment to finish before I go).
          Wanted to thank Not My Usual Name for the question and Auntie Matter and the other commenters for all the suggestions… never would have thought about asking this group!
          Just printed them out …
          Glad I stopped to read this today!

      2. I take tea*

        Now *I* really want to go to Budapest! What a lovely description, your group will definitely be in for a (or several) treat(s)!

        Is it easy to find food as a vegetarian? How about vegan? Some of these Eastern European countries do love meat in everything, I’ve heard from some travellers.

        1. Auntie Matter*

          As a vegetarian, I have no trouble at all. I think it would be trickier for a vegan but by no means impossible. It would just take a bit more advanced research. But there are several fully vegan restaurants, and plenty of casual lunch-type places that have vegan options (for example, multiple burger places with vegan burgers, multiple fast Asian places that have vegan options, etc.)

        2. Auntie Matter*

          Also, my experience in general in Eastern Europe is that as long as you are in a bigger city, being vegetarian is very easy. And even in smaller towns, well, as long as they have an Italian restaurant, I’m set. It does mean I can’t always eat meals that are authentic to the particular region, but I can live with that. (And in larger cities, again, I can typically find a vegan restaurant with vegan versions of local food. I had some vegan goulash in Budapest at a vegan restaurant, for example.)

          Also thank you! I’m very excited about leading this trip! :-)

    3. Fi*

      I went to Budapest quite a few years ago but the thermal baths were great. We visited the Széchenyi Thermal baths which were the biggest but also visited the Gellért Thermal baths which were a bit smaller but also great. I remember the trams being good for getting around.

    4. Ann Ominous*

      Google translate (the online version – the app is terrible) has the option of reading text on photos and speaking your results.

    5. Lisa*

      Hi, Just got back from there. On the Pest side, go to the Muvesz Kavehaz- Artists coffeehouse on Andrassy blvd (Ave?). It’s near the opera house. On the Budapest side, DO NOT miss the Ruszwurm Alapitva, very near the Matthias church. Green facade. Have the Cream cake. Wonderful.

    6. SemiAnon*

      My top recommendation for museums is the somewhat oddly named House of Terror. It’s in a building that was originally the offices for the secret police of the Hungarian Nazi party, and later the Soviet secret police; they’ve turned it into a combination museum and memorial. It’s very well done, and extremely moving.

    7. Helvetica*

      The thermal baths are amazing, definitely do those. And Szimpla Kert is an experience of a bar – just be there early in the evening, otherwise the queue gets wildly long.

  14. Sunny days are better*

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US!

    For us Canadians, today is just Thursday, so we’re all working, but I will enjoy reading this laid back thread today :)

    1. londonedit*

      Same in the UK – we don’t do Thanksgiving at all. We’re just on the run-up to Christmas here. I’m working with the football coverage on the radio in the background (I have mixed feelings about the World Cup but enjoy being able to listen to/watch hours and hours of football every day during the group stages!)

      Hope everyone has/is having a good day.

      1. Sunny days are better*

        We have Thanksgiving, but it’s the 2nd Monday of October. Most families get together for turkey or maybe ham at some point on the weekend, but it definitely doesn’t have anywhere near the same weight and importance as it does in the US.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          I have noticed a trend in UK magazines to suggest a Thanksgiving menu at this time of year, but it’s more of a novelty, trying something different thing.

          1. londonedit*

            I’ve seen the same – Nigella actually has sweet potato casserole and marshmallows as her featured recipe today, and I’ve seen a few social media posts from places like BBC Good Food magazine saying ‘Fancy trying a Thanksgiving dinner? We’ve got some ideas for you’, but it’s definitely more of a novelty thing. And I guess because we don’t have the day off people would give it a go at the weekend, if at all.

            1. Tau*

              The one that gets me is Black Friday. All the ads are hyping Black Friday no end here in Germany. My friends, it is a NORMAL WEEKDAY in a normal week! There are no holidays wide and far! Please stop trying to make this a thing!

              Most years I try to buy nothing at all that day out of protest.

              1. NoMoreFirstTimeCommenter*

                In Finland it has become BLACK WEEK! Shops decorate with black balloons and stuff like that, it’s special offers all week and the theme colour is black. It’s completely ridiculous because it’s so far away from the original idea. And the name is in English because apparently it’s cooler that way. If it was translated to Finnish we would think about the meaning of the words and it would sound gloomy and dark (November is usually very dark in Finland anyways because the sun is up for such a short time but in the southern parts of the country we typically don’t have any or much snow yet) but English is trendy and international and makes people want to buy unnecessary stuff. Or something like that. We don’t have Thanksgiving, the next coming holidays are Independence day (December 6) and Christmas.

                1. Chocolate Teapot*

                  I suppose the thinking behind European Black Friday is that people have been paid around this time, so why not have a pre-Christmas sale?

                2. londonedit*

                  Yeah I’ve been getting ‘Black Friday’ emails for the last month! ‘Black Friday early access’, ‘Black Week’, ‘Black Month’ etc! I guess it’s just an excuse for retailers to try to shift more stock before Christmas, but this year especially it seems like no one is actually offering anything more than the regular 20% off ‘special offer’ things they usually have going.

                3. Irish Teacher*

                  I suspect it’s also related to the whole ease of buying things online and American multinationals and online stores offering deals online which people in Europe and elsewhere can access so our own shops need to compete.

                  Traditionally, the 8th of December was the big shopping day in Ireland, but…my students haven’t even heard of that! I guess it may be more of a rural thing (I teach in a city) but it’s also that the 8th of December is a Catholic Holy day and when I was at school and before that, kids used to get those days off (in Catholic schools, which most schools in Ireland are), so it became traditional to do the Christmas shopping that day. It was a thing up to when I started teaching because I remember having an interview in Dublin on the 8th of December and not having known there was a shopping centre near the school and the traffic was…barely moving. But schools no longer get those days off, so I guess it has died out.

                  Our next holiday is Christmas.

                4. londonedit*

                  That’s interesting re: 8th December! It is interesting how online shopping has totally changed things – in the ’90s I remember it being absolute carnage in town at weekends in the run-up to Christmas. There would be special extra car parking laid on (for example the cricket club would open their car park to shoppers and charge a fee) and you’d have to get there ridiculously early to snag a parking space and do your Christmas shopping before the shops became absolutely rammed with people. It was oddly festive, though, with all the Christmas lights and everyone buying presents. Now, of course, half the shops on any given high street have closed and everyone buys everything online, so there’s no big rush to get to the shops at all. My dad always still wants to go in and do a bit of in-person shopping, and it’s quite sad really because it isn’t at all like it used to be and you can see the shops are really struggling.

      2. Temperance*

        American but in the same boat re: the World Cup. We’ve been watching nonstop – one of our favorite players is going to be playing for the US – but I hate that the games are in Qatar and that the corruption is still alive and well in FIFA.

        1. AGD*

          Happy Thursday, Canada folks!

          I had a remarkably quiet day at work – it was almost like a vacation. I’ll take it!

  15. Amber Rose*

    We’re doing games for charity, and I’m looking for more game ideas.

    So far, a bunch of us are contributing consoles for a sort of arcade set up, we’ve got volunteers to have pies thrown at them, we’ve got 50/50 tickets on sale, there’s going to be a potluck, and I’m thinking I’m going to try and set up a golf putt challenge somewhere.

    What else could we do?

    1. WinterWillows*

      Jenga, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Kerplunk – those type of games set up on tables? A jigsaw table for collaborative play for the less competitive? Swingball? Table basketball?

      1. A Becky*

        Chess Clock Jenga – you have, say, 5 minutes each and you lose if the tower falls or the clock hits zero. Adds a bit of spice and keeps the table moving ;)

    2. Capybarely*

      I’m a big fan of “Goodminton” it’s like a very low stakes badminton- active but not nearly as difficult!

    3. Rara Avis*

      Popular at events I take my teenage students to: inflatables (bounce houses, obstacle races), bubble soccer, trivia games (via Kahoot! Or similar apps), escape rooms.

    4. Don'tbeadork*

      Ring toss? If little kids will be there, one of those “ponds” where you either fish or snag rubber ducks for little prizes?

  16. Banana*

    Getting really frustrated with my spouse for impulsive commitments to other people that affect me, that he knows I won’t be happy with.

    He took this week off work without telling me, so I didn’t take it off to spend time with him. If he wanted it off alone he absolutely could have said that, I think he knows I wouldn’t react poorly to that, but he just didn’t tell me. (He said it was an impulse, he didn’t realize how close it was to Thanksgiving when he asked, then there were several days of uncertainty about whether he could be off so he wasn’t sure he was taking it.)

    He also invited people over without talking to me first (I was going to be working most of the time, since I didn’t take the week off, but would arrive home from work to 4-5 guests in my home for an hour or so, which he knows I’d be unhappy about….I just worked late to avoid them.) If he didn’t “forget” to tell me about taking the week off deliberately so he could also have friends over without me, he definitely wasn’t sorry it worked out that way. My social batteries die a lot faster than his do, so socializing separately is normal for us, but not at our home normally.

    He also accepted a dinner invite from a high school friend who I loathe (I was friends with the man’s now-ex wife and carry a grudge on her behalf around their divorce circumstances and also about his subsequent marriage to a woman 30 years younger…)

    And he signed us up to bring a ham to his family’s Thanksgiving this year without talking to me. I had other menu items planned and ingredients bought, but the hostess was talking about trying to track down a ham, and we had one in the freezer, and he just opened his mouth and volunteered. I do not like ham, don’t want to cook it, don’t want to bring it.

    All of these events individually are not big deals, but all of them piling up together this week has made me pretty resentful and we need to talk. I think here, I’m looking to vent more than anything. I know I need to talk to him, and I know I’ve been neglecting our relationship a fair amount too and need to work on it.

    1. WellRed*

      Reading this I am annoyed on your behalf. However, your last sentence made me think you buried the lede a bit. Also, don’t bring the ham. I have zero patience for people who volunteer other’s time and labor.

      1. Lily of the Valley*

        Yeah, eff that ham. Hubs volunteered it, Hubs gets to figure it out.

        Also eff the rest of the cooking. Hubs is handling it with the ham! Time to kick back with the comforting beverage of choice.

        1. Jessi*

          This! I wouldn’t lift a finger to do anything for it. “Babes what’s your plan for providing the ham for thanksgiving? You know it’s raw and needs to be cooked right? I had planned other stuff so I’m happy to leave you to sort it”

          Then don’t give it another thought. Bring some of the other things you had planned if you like and leave him too it.

          It does sound like he is being very thoughtless so yes you may need to have the chat

        2. tangerineRose*

          Yep. He volunteered the ham, so he gets to deal with it.

          How often does he do something impulsive that you end up being responsible for?

    2. RagingADHD*

      I mean, once you talk to him, the follow through is to just…not.

      Let him cook the ham if he wants to bring ham. You go ahead and cook what you want, and he can try to coordinate oven time around you. Or you could speak up and tell the hostess, “Sorry, no – I had other things planned, and Husband got mixed up.”

      If he accepts invitations without talking to you, don’t go.

      Right now, he is acting out a sense of disconnection, and you are working overtime to cover over it and compensate for it. He is pulling jerk moves, and he is not experiencing any of the natural, minor friction of acting jerkish because you are absorbing the impact. The friction builds up. Naturally that leads to resentment and further breakdown.

      Better to let the disconnect become obvious immediately so that you both have to address it in the moment. It’s easier and healthier to course correct as you go, rather than letting things build up until it’s so tense.

      1. Frankie Bergstein*

        I really like this comment — for a lot of these plans, looking at them as invitations or requests, then saying yes or no, could be a way to feel less overwhelmed. I’m sorry.

      2. ShankHillpropane*

        Yeah I agree with this comment. If your husband is making plans that put you out in some way (discomfort, cooking, time commitment). – that should be His discomfort (you don’t participate, don’t cook, etc). This is not to punish him – it is to make him own his choices and make him keep the discomfort (which is where it belongs).

    3. Texan In Exile*


      (Also – the whole ham thing is the beginning of a beautiful Dr Seuss riff.)

    4. Sunny days are better*

      Sorry, that you’re struggling :(

      It really does sound like you need to sit down and talk and really actually talk. I get the impression that both of you avoid saying certain things to each other because you’re worried about the reaction, so you just kind of let things slide, and then it blows up. Hubby and I used to be guilty of this.

      Find a quiet time when you’re not stressed about trying to get something done and just talk – without judgement. Figure out how you both compromise on things and how to have the hard conversations where you are likely to clash.

      Hugs :)

    5. Turtle Dove*

      I’d be really frustrated too. If my husband accepted a social invitation on my behalf without checking with me first, and if I didn’t want to go, he’d be going alone. No arguing, just a calm “no, thanks” from me with a reminder to check first if he wants me to go. And I’d let my husband cook and transport the ham himself if he offered it without checking with me first. Mostly that’s me learning to tame my people-pleaser side and say no to things I don’t want to do.

      It does sound like it’s time for a big-picture discussion of how things work in your marriage. What’s okay to do and decide solo, and what does your union look and feel like in practical ways so you’re both satisfied?

    6. Jenna Webster*

      If he offered the ham, he should cook and bring the ham. His commitments should belong to him. I’m always surprised at how often women accept responsibility for someone else’s commitments.

      1. Cookie*

        I’m 100% on board with him preparing that ham. Maybe he’ll discover a hidden talent, which could either be Expert Ham Cookery or Not Committing To Things Without Checking With Spouse.

      2. Bagpuss*

        Yes , I think the rest probably needs you to sitdown together (possibly with a counsellor or mediator ) to try to communicate effectively around these kinds of issue and perhaps discuss boundaries a little, but for the ham, I would tell him that you are not gong to cook it, so either he will need to take responsbility for prepping and bringing it himself, or if not, then he can apologise to the host for the lack of ham.

        1. Anon for this*

          Yes, lots of this sounds annoying but I admit that as someone on the other side of ‘on average wanting to socialise a lot more than my partner’, the fact he had friends over doesn’t feel that bad. If they were there all evening, being loud and preventing you from relaxing, that would be one thing. But an hour overlap with your schedule? That doesn’t feel too unreasonable a compromise.

          The other point of view here is ‘I love having friends over, my partner hates it. I organised to do so when she was mostly out at work so it wouldn’t affect her and it still made her upset that I didn’t get permission first’. Feeling like you can’t choose to do things you want to can also be difficult – it’s his home too. What would you have said if he’d asked in advance?

          None of this excuses the other bits but in addition to everyone else’s comments about talking things through and not assuming you have to do things he has committed to; do try to think about his side of it too, because if you come into the conversation from the perspective of ‘he’s doing these things because he’s inconsiderate and trying to upset me’ that’s not a great starting point.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m sorry, this sounds miserable. As far as the food though, he volunteered to bring the ham so you should either make what you were planning as a bonus, or just relax and cook nothing!

        1. Dark Macadamia*

          I only suggest making it anyway because it sounds like it’s already purchased and maybe is something OP wanted to make? But yeah, if you were only making it out of obligation and/or it’s stuff that can be frozen or repurposed, go for a walk or watch some TV or something and enjoy being the one who didn’t offer to bring a ham!

    8. Sadie*

      Oh wow, looks like you don’t have to cook at all, since you’ll be bringing the ham he’s cooking!

      And I guess the dinner invite means you’ll have an evening to yourself while he’s out.

      But seriously, even one would be irksome, but all those things together are seriously annoying. Has he always been this inconsiderate or is this a new thing?

    9. Might Be Spam*

      When he makes a commitment, he is the one responsible for carrying it out. You are totally off the hook here. He can look up ham recipes online. You don’t need to keep his commitment just so he looks good to others.
      When he invites company over, it’s his job to entertain them. You don’t need to hang out with his guests unless you want to.

      1. Old and Don’t Care*

        Today I learned people cook ham. I don’t think I’ve ever had a non spiral sliced one.

    10. I should really pick a name*

      What would happen if you made the ham his problem?
      As in, if he doesn’t do it, it doesn’t happen.

      1. Really?*

        …And since you don’t like ham, reframe this in your mind as husband is getting rid of an item in your freezer you’re never going to want to serve. And since ham is not the most difficult thing in the world to prepare, I suggest looking up an easy recipe … I suggest “America’s Test Kitchen,” and handing it to hubs, as other have suggested.
        And “Not a Manager’s” advice is sterling…

          1. Citra*

            If he’s not a usual or regular cook, he might not really know the difference between an easy recipe and a hard one. I assume OP doesn’t want him spending hours in the kitchen making a mess or going out to buy tons of exotic (expensive) extra ingredients and taking up tons of fridge and pantry space because the first recipe he found was really complicated and fancy, so it’s just a kindness to find an easy one for him.

            And since OP feels like neither of them is making an effort lately, this is a way for her/him to start bridging the gap again. Many people enjoy doing nice and helpful things for our spouses instead of turning it into a competition or a more-than-necessary “You made your bed, now you lie in it,” situation. If OP’s husband is feeling neglected, that would explain some of the insensitivity and having people over, too–not excuse it, just explain it, and give OP a jumping-off point for that talk. I’m not blaming OP at all, just saying that it always helps to look at a disagreement from the other person’s point of view.)

            (Also, OP, can you not just offer the frozen ham to the family member, to cook themselves? It read to me like the issue was not being able to find one in a store, not that they specifically needed someone to bring one ready to eat. I could be wrong there, of course, I’m just saying it might be worth asking, at least.)

    11. Not A Manager*

      “If he didn’t “forget” to tell me about taking the week off deliberately so he could also have friends over without me, he definitely wasn’t sorry it worked out that way.”

      If he’s not sorry it worked out that way, why should you be sorry it worked out that way? I’m taking you at your word that you don’t in general mind if your spouse would take a week off so he could have some private time. If that’s so – his impulsive planning doesn’t deprive you of limited shared time off that you value – then why not just say, “Oh, too bad I can’t take the week off with you. Next time let me know sooner. Enjoy your free time!” Similarly with the social event. You “worked late to avoid them,” but why not be straightforward instead? “Crowds of people in my home exhaust me, especially right after work. You go ahead and hang out; I’m going to [do a fun private thing that is not working late]. See you at about 8:30!”

      He’s made dinner plans with someone you don’t like? “Sorry I won’t be able to join you! Let me know when you’re planning to be home.” He volunteered a ham? “I had something else planned. Do you want to ask Hostess if she can source the ham elsewhere and I’ll make my thing, or do you want to manage the ham yourself?”

      My spouse sometimes commits himself and/or me to stuff and he honestly didn’t think through whether it’s his private commitment or if he is really signing us both up. I avoid a lot of resentment by assuming that my participation is truly voluntary, and not volunteering if I don’t want to. Does this sometimes lead to trouble because he DID think it was a shared project and he feels unsupported? Sure, and then we discuss it and negotiate it if necessary. But most of the time he didn’t have any assumptions about my participation or he doesn’t much care, so I save myself a lot of trouble by not assuming that EVERY commitment he makes is somehow my responsibility.

      1. Analyst Editor*

        This is a good comment and a good counterpoint to the others.

        I sympathize a lot with OP, not because I am similar in personality but because a series of small inconsiderate actions add up and make me really resentful of my spouse, sometimes where I get negative about him even though it works out, just a little late Rd/not exactly how I expected, and he does a good job/does something nice.

        I would be really annoyed if he took precious vacation time without telling me, especially if I could have used a break too and I’m not getting that break even if I took time off (e.g. because I’d still have childcare responsibility he didn’t take on during his time off).

        With having people over….has your preference to not have people over been stated and demonstrated often, or is it a new discovered preference because he’s never had people over before on his own? Do you work late a lot at unpredictable times? Under those circumstances, him having friends over is not unreasonanble and you should voice your concerns in a nonjudgmental but clear way, and be willing to compromise.

        With the dinner with an acquaintance… Divorcing friends is very messy. I don’t know if it’s fair to require him to boycott that guy just because you do; if you guys are already fine socializing separately, then he gets to have friends you don’t care for, as do you. Would you be as upset if he’d accepted an invite from a less odious friend?

        Things to think about in your indignation. Happy Thanksgiving!

        1. Observer*

          I don’t know if it’s fair to require him to boycott that guy just because you do; if you guys are already fine socializing separately, then he gets to have friends you don’t care for, as do you.

          That’s true. But that assumes that the dinner invitation was just for him. In which case Banana can just cheerfully say “Have a good time.”

    12. Clisby*

      I don’t know, some of this just doesn’t sound like your problem.

      He accepted a dinner invite from a high school friend you loathe? He can go socialize with whoever he likes. Unless you mean he accepted on your behalf? You’re not bound by that – don’t go if you don’t want to. He volunteered a ham? Fine – he can cook it. Not. Your. Problem.

    13. Observer*

      I know I need to talk to him, and I know I’ve been neglecting our relationship a fair amount too and need to work on it.

      Do that. But also, stop carrying out his commitments. Sure, tell him in a general sense – and do this asap, even before the bigger conversations – that “Hey, if you make a commitment, you’re going to be the one who is going to have to make it happen. I’m not going to do the work, and I’m not going places I don’t want to just because you said so.” And then stick to your guns.

      Your husband has a job, which means that he CAN rein it in. He just needs to realize that he NEEDS to do it.

    14. E*

      So much good advice and commiseration here. I feel like a lot of it focused on you not picking up work for him, which I agree with. But is part of it that his decisions feel too separate from you? This just doesn’t look like the kind of partnership I’d expect. Every couple is different so no judgment at all for those who want more of an “you do you” approach, but OP, am I reading right that some of your feeling upset is being left out of his unilateral decisions? Are you also looping him into yours, like did he know that you were already planning to bring and had bought XYZ when he committed to ham? Working on your boundaries is always worthy, but I wonder if he / you both also need to work on joint decision-making and communication? Might be a good topic for couples therapy

    15. Different name*

      Yeh, my ex went through a phase like that. It was *infuriating*. I mean, what if you’d done the same thing and suddenly you had two lots of houseguests and only one lot of space? It’s very self-centred. I say went through a phase – he didn’t improve, he just became my ex.

      No advice, different situations of course, just empathy from over here.

  17. Mbarr*

    For 9+ months I’ve been struggling to make progress on a project. (I’m not really the lead on it – I submitted an IT request and they were supposed to handle it, but it’s been 9 months and no progress was made.)

    Yesterday, a different IT person joined the meeting and floated what I thought was a very rational solution. I was excited and immediately called my manager to announce the progress. Turns out she had rejected the idea years ago, and now she’s mad and frustrated at IT. So mad, that she actually got permission to officially kaibosh the project.

    How do I tell IT, “Uh, thanks for the 9 months of useless work you’ve put on this project, but we’re withdrawing our request because y’all can’t get your act together.” My manager has literally told me to cancel further meetings and ghost them. Our company is massive, and I will likely never talk to these IT folk again, but I don’t want to damage my reputation.

      1. Ann Ominous*

        Yep. And if they have questions, you can say “I don’t have all the details but you’re welcome to raise it to Jane. Have a great day!”

  18. Luna*

    Just saying a happy thanksgiving to our US readers and those that celebrate it.

    I overall don’t celebrate it, nor do I usually think of things to be thankful of, but I suppose this year I can say I am thankful today because yesterday I completed my probationary period at my job. (Now it’ll be more difficult to get rid of me! Hahaha!)

    1. Irish Teacher*

      Congrats on completing your probationary period.

      And to add to the whole Happy Thanksgiving to all in the US.

  19. Raynaud's*

    I have Raynaud’s Syndrome. I recently switched jobs to from a slightly active job to one with little movement. My previous job I had a dress code that was easy to layer under and the room I worked in I could control the temperature.

    My current position requires business causal dress and I’m in cubicles with no control over the temperature. The temperature sits at 68 degrees. I’m not comfortable unless it’s 74-I know that’s not feasible. With layers, I do alright around 71-72. I’ve mentioned changing the temperature and it’s a no go.

    I also cannot get up and walk around due to my job duties, think receptionist. We are not allowed to have space heaters due to safety hazards.

    What options do I have to help stay warm?

    1. Turtle Dove*

      I use two heating pads: one to sit on and another to rest my hands on — and sometimes fingerless gloves too — to stay warm at my desk (aka the dining-room table). I may also double up on socks and wrap cozy fabrics around my neck. We keep the house at 68 degrees too. I don’t have Reynaud’s Syndrome that I know of, but I’m much more easily chilled since I lost a bunch of weight.

    2. Lunch Eating Mid Manager*

      Congratulations on your new job! I think you need an accommodation for your diagnosed medical condition – it could be an exception to the rules for a space heater, or ability to get up and walk around every hour, positioning your workspace under a heater vent, etc. In the meantime, have you tried a lap blanket and fingerless gloves? I work from home in a chilly back room that doesn’t warm up until around 1, and some mornings I use both of those.

    3. EdgarAllanCat*

      Thermoses full of hot water. Yes, you’ll have to go to the bathroom often, but the hot water should help.

    4. The teapots are on fire*

      Been there!

      Fingerless gloves. Rechargeable portable hand and foot warmers. Wool blazer. Wool scarf. Constant cups of hot tea. Some kind of electric chair warmer for which you can request an ADA accommodation if Facilities wants to be jerky about it. If your core is warm enough your hands can probably handle the 68F. Also ask about ADA accommodation in terms of an oil filled space heater. They look like little radiators. When our office couldn’t maintain temps up to 68, Facilities found a space heater that was acceptable to them in terms of safety.

      People don’t understand that Raynauds hurts a LOT (I tell people it’s like a giant migraine in your hands) so you have to help them learn to take it seriously.

    5. eh*

      I have it too (though its relatively mild for me) – get a heat pad (I have a clay one you microwave for a minute and stays warm for hours), get a fashionable wrap or cardigan you can leave at work, get a microwavable hand warmer. I also use cups of tea to warm up when it’s really bad

      You basically just have to get things you can add/remove as needed and leave in the office. it’s not perfect but it’ll help

    6. londonedit*

      Thermal layers should help – they don’t have to be thick, there are some really nice thin layering pieces available from places like Uniqlo (the Heattech range) that look like any normal top/t-shirt/vest but provide extra warmth. Uniqlo also do thermal trousers, and thin base-layer leggings that you could wear under trousers. I’m not sure what your usual style of dress is, but if you wear dresses/skirts then thermal tights are great, and if you wore boots with a dress/skirt then you could add a thin pair of thermal socks to keep your feet warm. There are plenty of options to layer without ending up looking like the Michelin Man, and which would still fit well within business casual. You could also try wearing a smart woollen blanket scarf, or keeping one at your desk in case you need to wrap something around you like a shawl. Throw an end over one shoulder and it looks pretty stylish. And there are also fine cashmere/wool fingerless gloves, handwarmers and wristwarmers available – I can’t imagine those falling foul of a business casual dress code, but you might have to judge your own office on that.

    7. EdgarAllanCat*

      I, too, have Reynaud’s. Please consider a shawl and baselayers – the official hiking/expedition kind made from wool, silk, etc. Things that insulate.

      Heard this pithy saying from a leader on a backpacking trip. “The best way to stay warm is to not get cold.” Kinda glass-holey but true anyway. Do whatever you can to keep warm; it takes more effort to get warm than it does to stay warm.

    8. MJ*

      I’ve been using a U-shaped neck pillow that I heat up in the microwave for lower back pain. I ended up sitting on it one day and found it surprisingly toasty.

      I haven’t used them, but have seen the following recommended:
      – electric desk blankets – with USB plug
      – floor heating pad – less risky than space heaters
      – wrist warmers – warms the blood flowing into the hand so fingers don’t get as cold
      – fingerless gloves with a pocket for (reusable) hand warmers

      1. SarahKay*

        Seconding the floor heating pad. It’s about the size of a doormat, uses 60-ish watts of electricity and so long as you don’t cover it up (say with another throw) then it should be safe even if you forget it and leave it on overnight. You can also get them with timers.
        I don’t have Reynauds, but do have almost-permanently cold feet, and getting the heated mat has been an absolute game-changer for me; I now have warm feet most of the time.
        I got my first in the early days of lock-down, and loved it so much that I bought a second so I could have one each for the sofa and my desk. Now I’m back on site full-time my desk one has come into work – and was approved by our Health & Safety manager.
        I also have a heated mouse, so between that and a coffee mug my fingers mostly stay warm too.

        1. Pennyworth*

          If animal products aren’t a problem, New Zealand Possum Fur Insoles were a game changer for me – my feet are sometimes too hot. Possums are an introduced pest animal in New Zealand and they have commercialized their use in many ways. Knitwear made with possum fur spun with wool or silk is a huge success.

      2. NeonFireworks*

        I also have Raynaud’s (my hands and lower legs are basically always cold) and LOVE my floor heating pad! I got it from The only tricky thing is that it may block office chair wheels – they also offer warm (but low-wattage) panel heaters that are mounted vertically under a desk.

    9. A Becky*

      Thermal base layer, hiking socks, small hot water bottle (you can slip it between your back and your chair – I used to use one for cramps).

      Also maybe a set of those pocket Warner’s, that you can hold on to to keep your hands warmer!

    10. Might Be Spam*

      I have a microwavable seat cushion/warmer that I use in my car. It’s nice and big and can be reheated as many times as I need. It has a gel insert that you can put in the microwave.

      Can you get around the heater ban by using a heating pad or a heated massager? They often have auto shutoff for safety issues.

      Can you wear thick fuzzy slipper/boots when you are seated at your desk? You can slip on regular shoes to walk around.

      I don’t have Raynaud’s, but my legs won’t work if they get too cold. I found that overheating my legs first thing in the morning keeps me flexible for hours.

    11. Bagpuss*

      – thermal base layers
      – those hand warmers that you heat up and then bend to trigger the heat? Shouldn’t be seen as a safety hazard andif you get a few you can trigger them through the day and reheat them in the evenings at home

      – what are the specifc safety concerns? A plug in oil filled heater would be safer, I would think, than the fan style ones and if you request that it is provided as an ADA accommodation rather than bringing your own they can do any necessary safety checks (I am not familiar with the US rules, here, businesses have to get annual safety checks done on all electrical items so many businesses have rules tht you ca n’t bring in your own, I don’t know whether there is anything simialr where you are)
      If they are concerned about cables being tripping hazards, rather than about fire safety, then a small underdesk heater might work and / or a mini electric blanket or seat pad.

      But I would definitely check the requirements and your employers policies about accommodations for health reasons and make the request on that basis

    12. Can't Sit Still*

      If you’re crafty, knit or crochet yourself a cashmere or yak infinity scarf in a neutral color. I knit myself a small lace infinity scarf in 100% yak and it can keep me warm all by itself in a chilly office. Yak is an extremely warm fiber, so if you can afford to splurge on it, do so! Alpaca and mohair are also supposed to be very warm but I’m allergic to both. Also, any of these fibers mixed with merino, cashmere and/or silk will be warm as well as less expensive.

      Note: Ethical, high quality cashmere is difficult to source and is a frequent source of weight & measure violations in the US. That is, it says it’s cashmere when there is little or no actual cashmere in the fiber. It’s hard for the casual consumer to tell the difference, so lots of companies get away with it. Look for recycled cashmere instead.
      Ethical yak is easier to source because it’s so labor-intensive, since it has to be plucked or picked from bushes that the yaks have brushed against.

    13. Alex*

      I have it too–for me it is mostly in my feet/toes. Shoe warmers help a lot. Also, back in in-office days, I kept a pair of warm fuzzy slippers at work. If your office isn’t casual enough for you to wear them, you can at least slip them on when you are sitting at your desk.

    14. Chaordic One*

      There are heated keyboards and mice, as well as little heaters that sit on your desktop right in front of your keyboard. Google them or look on Amazon. Something like this might well be considered a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    15. Nicole76*

      I was in the same predicament in a former job, so I bought a heated foot mat as it isn’t a fire hazard, and doesn’t use as much energy as a space heater. Target has it listed as Cozy Toes Carpeted Foot Warmer Floor Mats.

    16. Lirael*

      Someone on Reddit mentioned recently that heated clothes exist and my mind was blown but apparently it’s true. Apparently they can be expensive, but in my opinion it should be a reasonable accommodation seeing as you can’t do the things you were doing previously to stay warm.

    17. Warrior Princess Xena*

      There are electric gloves and socks on the market! The gloves may be a little bulky for typing but the socks should be fine as long as your shoes aren’t too tight. My brother loves the gloves and swears by them (he has a very similar issue with his hands)

      1. MenolyYoga*

        I gifted my brother and sister-in-law two pairs of electric/battery heated socks last year for Christmas.
        Thank you for reminding me of them. My new roommate is now working third shift and gets really cold. I think there will be a pair under our Xmas tree for her.

    18. Gnome*

      If your office has a hot water dispenser (from a water cooler or coffee machine) you can get a hot water bottle (with a little sweater) or two and use as needed (lap, under your feet, etc.).

      I’ll also join the chorus for fingerless gloves and lap blankets. And also for requesting accomodations.

    19. Temperance*

      This is an ADA access issue. My husband has Raynaud’s, too, and was able to get a desk assignment near their heat vent. He also kept an electric blanket and has those USB heated fingerless gloves.

    20. IT Squirrel*

      No Raynauds, I just get really cold, but the best thing I have found is a small electric pad which I put on the floor under my feet. It keeps my whole lower legs warm where otherwise they go ice cold.
      I think it’s actually sold as a heat pad for muscular injuries but it’s just the right size for feet. That could be something to request as part of accommodations (or just to ask for, they might look favourably on a low power electric pad even though they won’t approve a space heater which do indeed cause quite a lot of fires!)

  20. River Song*

    Happy Day! I’m working today (crisis mental health) so I, um, organized a little potluck in which coworkers all brought whatever we felt like to munch while working. There were no enforced lists or sign offs involved. I made vegan chili with various topping options. So far no AAM worthy drama but the day is young- the posts this week gave me pause but I believe we can get through this. Does anyone have recommendations on fun mocktail type drinks I could bring tomorrow?

    1. A Becky*

      Hot mulled fruit juice! Grape or apple are great bets for a warming winter drink. (Put ginger in the apple juice, it’s so good…)

      One of the nice things about Germany is you can get pre-mulled grape juice this time of year as kiddie mulled wine.

    2. HannahS*

      YES to the mocktails.
      1. Apple cider, lemonade, or any of the “fruit nectars” (the ones that are slightly thick; more strongly flavoured than juice) mixed half/half with ginger ale–ideally a strongly flavoured one
      2. Fruit punch mixed 2:1 with sparkling water, toss in some frozen cranberries to be *festive*
      3. If you feel fancy and have access to grenadine, grenadine + orange juice + Sprite makes a Shirley Temple.

      1. Bagpuss*

        Elderflower presse with a dash of cranberry juice, for a mock kir royale

        Good quality tonic water withfresh lime juice and a wedge of lime, (or perhaps a little fresh mint) for gin free G’n’Ts

      2. I take tea*

        This was a popular drink at a party lately. Lingonberry juice with a not too sweet fruity soda, chill with frozen lingonberries. I don’t know your sodas, but maybe something with apple or perry? Not citrus, anyway.

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

      My grandma’s punch — 7 up or Sprite, Ginger Ale, frozen orange juice, frozen strawberries.

    4. SemiAnon*

      Taiwanese style ginger tea – it’s a mix of ginger and very dark brown sugar, served hot. If you’ve got an Asian store nearby, it’s normally sold in bags of individual serving instant packets.

      For cold drinks, cranberry cocktail mixed with ginger-ale and a squeeze of lime.

  21. Bryce*

    I finally saw Knives Out. What a lovely little movie.

    Now I get to return the DVD to Redbox today. Inside the supermarket. On Thanksgiving. Planning!

      1. Bryce*

        Visiting family and they’ve added three roundabouts since I last went that way, the first road I went down has been closed for a year (new school means they need safety additions and it crosses a railroad so all sorts of folks have to sigh off on everything), but traffic was fine. The store’s CC machines are out and they’re cash-only, I don’t envy them that headache.

        Yeah the movie was a lot of fun. I was impressed with how dense it was, every little detail was doing double or triple duty. I could spot clues, figure out side plots, fall for red herrings and still be surprised by things I’d forgotten about.

    1. Lily of the Valley*

      I am seeing Glass Onion, which is a new mystery with the same detective, today! It has a limited release in theaters, and I thought it would be a good way to spend a solo Thanksgiving.

      1. Cookie*

        Lily OTV – is it good? I’m looking forward to some cold-weather watching when it gets to a streaming service.

      1. Bryce*

        That’s why Mom wanted to rent it. We enjoyed watching it together so much we may do something over Skype when the sequel hits Netflix.

    2. Clisby*

      We’re planning to see the sequel – Glass Onion – tomorrow or Saturday. Maybe “sequel” isn’t the right word – I don’t know that the plot is in any way related to that of Knives Out – but it does feature Daniel Craig as Benoit Blanc.

  22. Courageous cat*

    I bought a dark caramel pumpkin pie from a local bakery and am told I will never be able to eat a normal pumpkin pie again. I hope they’re right. I’d love to try a butternut squash pie next year though, anyone ever done one?

    1. BlueWolf*

      We’re doing low carb Thanksgiving this year due to health issues. I found a recipe for a keto brown butter bourbon butternut squash pie that I made last night. I used winter squash from my garden (not technically butternut, but very similar). We’re saving it for after dinner today, so I haven’t tasted it yet, but it did smell lovely when it was baking.

      1. BlueWolf*

        Update: the pie was pretty tasty, although I used a too big pie pan/too little squash so the filling was a bit thin. It’s a bit trickier trying to measure cubed squash vs. using canned. The flavor was definitely good though.

    2. Girasol*

      I like butternut squash for pie mostly because they’re super easy to peel or scoop out. But you’ve probably had lots of squash pie. Canned “pumpkin” in the US is really hubbard squash.

        1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*


          removes glasses, wipes lenses down, dons glasses again

          Great day in the mornin’, an interrobang! In the wild!

    3. CoffeeIsMyFriend*

      We used a kabocha squash for ours. They have a nice rich flavor. Also made some of into soup

    4. RagingADHD*

      If you have ever had pie made from canned “pumpkin”, it was actually a type of butternut squash.

  23. WoodswomanWrites*

    Today I’m thankful for Alison and all in the AAM community. I’m off soon for my annual solo Thanksgiving trip to see some of the two million geese, ducks, sandhill cranes, raptors and more that winter in California’s Central Valley. I’ll be there for the evening show when they’re all in the air at dusk and at sunrise when they return. Maybe I’ll get some good photos, but just sitting among the chorus of thousands of quacks and honks is amazing. Wishing you all well!

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      That’s incredible! I’m hoping you’ll post the photos to your website please?

      The immersion in that sound must be magnificent.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      A decade ago I spent Thanksgiving at Point Reyes with my youngest. We spent the day hiking, watched seals surfing, found elk. It was fabulous.

    3. Generic Name*

      Ohhhh, I love the sound thousands of migrating waterfowl make. As a girl I grew up visiting Desoto Wildlife Refuge, and we typically drove across Iowa and Missouri at thanksgiving, and I loved seeing the migration. Now I usually settle for the Canada Geese that overwinter in Denver. :)

    4. Annie Edison*

      Ohhh how have I never heard of this!? I grew up in CA and still have lots of family there and this sounds like something I’d love to go see next time I go down for thanksgiving. Would you mind sharing where in the Central Valley would be good? Totally understand if you’d rather keep the location more vague though

      1. WoodswomamWrites*

        Sure. I had a wonderful day at two wildlife refuges, Sacramento and Colusa. I’m spending the night in Chico and driving the rural backroads tomorrow to see many foraging birds including sandhill cranes and tundra swans. And hoping for a bald eagle sighting.

    5. Pam Adams*

      We sat on the porch for our Friendsgiving. Several hummingbirds were hanging out in the sage bush.

      Enjoy your flocks!

  24. Lori*

    Yesterday around 3:30PM, a recruiter emailed me to set up some time to chat next week; I had applied to a position at her company a month ago. I replied to the email with some available times.

    Then I go to look at my phone later that evening (busy day yesterday lol). She TEXTED me at the same time she emailed me (3:30), texting that she sent me an email and if I had about 20 minutes to talk by phone.

    Isn’t that super weird? I’ve never had a recruiter text me. Up to a few years ago recruiters would usually call and leave a voicemail, but to text on top of an email, I’m a bit like wtf. Is that an overreaction?

    1. Filosofickle*

      Norms are changing, and recruiters (just like everyone else including retailers) are using text more. Loads of people are more responsive to texts than emails/voicemails and they are following that.

      It’s annoying for sure, and definitely not what I want, but also not something that would drive me away if the opportunity was interesting. I would personally ignore the text (since you already handled by email) or ask them to stick to email. I’m not predisposed to think kindly of recruiters, but in this case if you’re US, they were probably feeling extra pressure to schedule appointments before the holiday. That could account for the extra aggressiveness.

    2. KatEnigma*

      Yes it’s not unusual.

      Recruiters do this all the time now. So many of them are, honestly, obnoxious. Frankly, though, the text is less obnoxious than a call. And you had applied there! If I had a dime for every cold call even though don’t contact is marked on LinkedIn…

    3. Gnome*

      I’ve never had it happen for me… But somebody with my maiden name in an entirely different field and different part of the country has been texted by a number of recruiters on my phone number.

      I’m thinking it’s hitting different industries at different times, but it’s happening.

  25. Caregiver*

    I’m looking at starting a memory cafe in my community. I’ve done all the research and am prepared to move forward with it with support from other caregivers in the community, but wanted to know if anyone has experience with memory cafes, whether by attending or facilitating. If so, would you be willing to share your experience(s)? What worked for you or your loved one? What didn’t work? Things like that. If you live in a dementia friendly community, I’d love to hear about that, too! Thanks!

    1. Rosie*

      I haven’t done memory cafes specifically but have facilitated choirs for people with dementia and been involved in Cognitive Stimulation Therapy groups. The main thing I have found important is to be clear on what support people can expect from the group and what abilities they need to participate, for example do they need a support person with them or to be able to use the bathroom unaided. Also to have a plan for how long people can stay in the group as their abilities decline, and what support you will put in place or how you will transition people to a more suitable group. Good on you for starting it, I’m sure lots of people will benefit!

    2. sagewhiz*

      Contact Linda Burhans (easily found via the google machine). She’s a leading nat’l expert in caregiving support.

  26. Tara*

    I’m wondering if anyone has any experience coming out to their parents as non-religious, which I plan to do over the Christmas holidays. I was raised in a hardcore evangelical household (no Harry Potter, everyone who doesn’t believe in Jesus the right was is going to hell, no being a witch for Halloween, etc.) and as an adult have grown more and more resentful of the long-winded mini rants my parents go on about sin, the state of the world, the Gay Agenda, and other things.

    I would like to essentially tell them that I know what their beliefs are and mine are different, so I’m not going to sit and listen to them as an adult if this is all that they want to talk about. I’m setting a boundary with them (informing them that I will do X if they want to do Y) rather than telling them what to do, but I’m still nervous as they were quite overbearing when I was a kid and continue to be in some respects. The funny thing is though, the rest of my family isn’t religious like they are, they just have been the loudest voices in the room for my whole life, and I know the rest of my family won’t have a problem with it.

    1. I should really pick a name*

      Does explicitly telling them it feel like something you want to do, or would you prefer to do it more implicitly (by setting your boundaries)?

    2. Not A Manager*

      I’m wondering something similar to I should really pick a name. You can tell them that you don’t want to hear about their social and political agenda (especially if it’s all they want to talk about), without announcing that you have different beliefs. Even people with the same beliefs don’t always want to hear about them all the time. I personally would be tempted to suggest putting the “silent” back into Silent Night, but I suppose that’s a bit much.

      “It’s a drag hearing nothing but negative social commentary at holidays. Can we agree to keep Christmas merry this year?” … “No, I really meant that. I’m going to leave if you keep this up.” Or whatever your “or else” is – I can’t tell from your post. Are you asking them to tone it down, or are you really saying that you’ll leave if they don’t? Either is fine, just be clear in your own mind. If you do need to leave, I’d try not to storm out. I’d say something like, “Hey, this conversation is really getting to me. I’m gonna call it a night, but I’ll see you at [next event].”

      None of this requires “coming out” as having different religious beliefs. I personally think that’s a whole big can of worms if what you really want is for them to shut up, but I sense that it might be important to you. In that case, I think you’ll need to have an actual conversation with them. Tell them that you love them and respect them, but that you no longer share their interpretation of Scripture. Ask them to respect you by not drawing you into social/political conversations based on their religious interpretation. As you said, it might not go well, but all you can do is be clear and kind.

      1. londonedit*

        Yup…in 2016 things were so dreadful politically that for Christmas my family decided that there would be no mention whatsoever of politics. We’re all on the same page politically, but even so, having spent six months hearing and talking about nothing but the bloody referendum and the outcome of the US election, we all just really wanted some time spent on lighthearted and happy conversation topics! So we banned any mention of any of the political things that had gone on that year, and we found other things to talk about.

        I agree that I’m not sure Christmas is quite the best time to ‘come out’ and tell your parents that you don’t share their beliefs, but I definitely think NSNR’s advice about maybe saying ‘I’m tired of hearing negative commentary; can we keep things lighthearted this year?’ and getting everyone to agree to try to avoid negative/contentious topics could be a good way to go. Then if you feel you need to you can have a deeper conversation about beliefs at another point of the year that isn’t quite so fraught with family expectation.

    3. The teapots are on fire*

      I think you might have slightly less contentious holidays if you tell them BEFORE the holidays so they can have some of their BIG FEELINGS about it out of your sight.

      1. Roland*

        Cosigned. “The holidays” can be such a fraught period with big emotions and stress on all sides and people not always at their best. Much better to have a conversation before that in my opinion and set some expectations.

    4. Don'tbeadork*

      Given they are Christians, clearly Christmas is not the time to do this unless you’re really wanting to drop the nuclear bomb on your relationship.

      Do yourself a favor and tell them now. That gives them time to process what you are telling them and you aren’t stirring up unnecessary holiday drama. It also gives you time to make other plans for Christmas if their reaction is bigger than you hope it will be.

    5. Bubo Bubo*

      I agree with the comments saying that this doesn’t necessarily require being spelled out. Even if you do have the big-picture conversation, you’re likely to still have to do some boundary-setting in the moment anyway (because people forget, or act like jerks, or just don’t realize what the boundary means in practice).

      That being said, I would also totally get it if it’s not just about the rants but also about wanting to be authentic with your parents. It’s normal to want the people who raised you to know you, I think.

      If you do decide to go the route of the proper sit-down conversation, I’d suggest picking a time when no one’s visibly stressed (might have to be before the holidays proper like the above comments say) and start with something they might have noticed in your behavior as a gentle starting point. Like “have you noticed I haven’t joined the family in church for some time?” or “remember when I got upset the other day when you said Aunt Marge was going to hell?”.

      I think this kind of approach tends to work because people do notice that stuff, and so connecting a potentially upsetting revelation with a little clue they might have observed makes it less out of the blue for them. More like you’re helping them connect some dots, if that makes sense?

      Also, if you’re able to approach the discussion like you’re expecting them to react well, that might nudge them into not taking it in an adversarial manner. Good luck!

    6. WorkingRachel*

      I came out to my parents as nonreligious earlier this year. They are on the opposite side politically from your parents so YMMV. My parents are both ministers and take their faith very seriously. They have other nonreligious relatives, but I knew that my mother in particular has had a lot of grief around the idea of her nonbelieving relatives going to hell and probably tried to convert them in the past. I also knew that she probably didn’t believe in hell anymore but that she might still feel a lot of grief about one of her children not believing in God and possibly be scared about me going to hell, even if she’s mostly given up the idea in general.

      It would have been easy to keep going with them sort of assuming I believe in God, but I wanted to be truthful with my mother at least and give her the chance to accept me as a nontheist. It felt important to me. A few months ago my mom asked me a question the truthful answer to which was “I don’t believe in God,” and so I just told her the truth. She took it really well! After a little bit of a pause she turned to me and said she loved me exactly how I am, which was…amazing, actually.

      Your parents sound very different from mine. However, if they aren’t total asses, you also might be pleasantly surprised. I agree with others that setting a boundary might be the right choice, but I also get that “coming out” might feel important, and if the risk is fairly low (uncomfortable holidays vs., I don’t know, total excommunication), maybe go for it!

  27. Meh*

    My sister just brought a 4 pack of Hawaiian rolls to Thanksgiving dinner. I didn’t even know they came that small <>

  28. Christmas Carol*

    I’ve always done a variation of this using French Dressing and a can of cranberry sauce. Very Thanksgiving-y, and it works well on turkey breast too, or even pork.

  29. Ali + Nino*

    I’m chilly and cranky! We had a gas leak in our house Tuesday, and the gas was shut off Tuesday night. Our home has been without heat, hot water, or use of the stove, oven and dryer since then. We’ve been dealing with layers and lots of blankets. The gas company will not fix the issue, they will only send a technician to turn the gas back on. Our landlord was not able to find a repair person to come yesterday (???) and has basically given up on today because of the holiday. My husband has contacted a few repair people but we’re now stuck in a catch-22: The contractors say they need the gas turned on before they can start their work. The gas company says they won’t send someone to turn the heat back on until the repair is finished. HELP!!!

    I want to ask our landlord to provide some kid-safe space heaters and I would like some of our rent knocked off next month. Is this appropriate/reasonable? How much?

    1. Sabine the Very Mean*

      Rent abatement is generally laid out in your state or local regulations. Google your state and rent abatement to find yours. It usually begins with a very formal notification to your landlord and informal communications are generally unacceptable.

      1. WellRed*

        And yes I believe he couldn’t find a repair person that quickly. We had no hot water for five days over 4th of July. However since this is heat he’s legally obligated to get this fixed asap even if he has to pay for emergency service.

    2. Llellayena*

      Before the gas was shut off did they find the location of the leak and mark it? Because they can’t fix what they can’t find so they’d need the gas on to find it. But yes, your landlord is legally required to get the heat repaired as soon as possible.

    3. kina lillet*

      It’s very likely that in your state, your landlord is required to provide heat to some minimum temperature. You can definitely request space heaters and he should provide them until your gas is fixed.

    4. Educator*

      This happened to me once, and my landlord was at my door with space heaters within the hour, both because he was legally obligated to keep the unit habitable, and because he was worried about his pipes. But I live in a place where the heat being out in the winter is an emergency, not an inconvenience. So I think your mileage may vary depending on how cold it actually is.

      My renters insurance kicks in if the unit is dangerous to inhabit and I need to stay somewhere else, so that might be worth looking into. Look at the terms of your lease for clauses about habitability, and track expenses like takeout food and trips to the laundromat, then make your case to the landlord.

    5. anxiousGrad*

      Very appropriate and reasonable to ask, but who knows if you’ll get it. I think you don’t legally qualify for rent abatement until the heat has been out for a certain number of days (I’m sure this varies by state, but I remember in Texas it was 7 days). When I was in a similar situation I asked my landlord for space heaters and he first said that he couldn’t do it because he had a funeral for a friend later that day (of course this was the day after the heat went out, he hadn’t even called a repair person yet, and when he did call he got one who didn’t work on the weekends even though the heater broke on a Friday night – so he could have gotten us space heaters somewhere during that time). Then in a second call where we asked about it again he accused us of harassing him. I hope you have a better landlord and get warm soon.

  30. marvin*

    Is there anyone here who likes to crochet clothes? I’ve been crocheting for a few years now but never considered all the weird shirts I could be making for myself until I saw a few videos of people making actually really neat things. I’m excited to give this a try!

    1. My dog owns me!*

      I’ve been crocheting a lot lately! Fun pom-pom hats with a splash of neon. [Black, gray, neon],[ blue, green, neon], [moss green, light blue, neon]
      I love them all.
      I think I’m enjoying the egregious colour combinations most of all.
      Have lots of fun!

    2. Newbie*

      Waves. Yep, I sure do! Lace/thread crochet is my favorite to do, but I work in all sorts of fibers. I don’t particularly enjoy color work, but have been forcing myself out of my comfort zone a bit.
      The challenge for me with larger pieces is finding a cheap yarn in the right weight and feel to swatch/test with before committing to more expensive yarns. The other challenge is affording garment-size amounts of really nice yarn.

  31. Aggretsuko*

    My mother fell and broke her shoulder yesterday, so she’s no longer doing Thanksgiving. We are very much Not Close with relatives, which we were supposed to be seeing for the first time in years. I had to check and see if I was still invited, that’s how not close we are. I still am, apparently, so we’ll see how it goes with me being there all alone.

    I’m grateful that her boyfriend is taking care of her, albeit she is a total pain when not feeling well and even he said as such, as well as “You owe me.” Certainly true :P

  32. Lcsa99*

    So I am the default bartender at the gathering with my inlaws and I very obviously gave my father in law too much. Oops. When he told me he couldn’t see straight I tried to descretly dump most of the rest of his drink into my glass but now he’s not happy. I know it was the right thing to do but now I feel guilty because he definitely wanted more.

    1. Roland*

      Unless you told him something was beer and it was secretly liquor, he’s an adult and can make his own choices about how much he has to drink. It’s not your fault in any way if he drinks too much. It’s probably also not really your responsibility to try to prevent it unless he’s a disruptive drunk or planning on driving etc.

      1. Not A Manager*

        Meh. Family rules are different. If he’s such an adult then he can mix himself another drink if he really wants one.

  33. Melanie Cavill*

    Has anyone ever hired someone to build your furniture? I live alone, haven’t made any friends in the area yet, and am honestly too small to maneuver bed frame or TV stand pieces by myself without some hazard. I got a reasonable quote from a well-regarded local company that offers exactly this service, but I can’t get over the mental hurdle that this is just me being lazy and wasting money (thanks, Mom, for your voice in my head).

    1. Defective Jedi*

      Not to help build furniture, but I did hire someone from TaskRabbit to help me pack for my last move. Best decision ever! She worked hard and fast and helped me have a better attitude towards the whole project.

      IMO, it’s not lazy because you worked hard to earn the money, and it’s not a waste because it adds value to your life.

      1. Melanie Cavill*

        I had no idea TaskRabbit was a thing but now I am very intrigued. And that’s a good point about the alchemy of hard work into money, I’ll keep that in mind.

    2. WellRed*

      Do you mean assemble it? If you buy day, a bed, set up is typically part of the delivery service. But even if you ordered flat pack furniture and need help, that’s totally fine! If nothing else, you want it done correctly. Otherwise it will slowly fall apart or get damaged. Ask me how I know.

      1. Melanie Cavill*

        I moved cross-country last month. My bed was part of the items I sent via moving truck. At origin, the movers disassembled the thing. Because they lost a piece in transit, they refused to reassemble it upon delivery, so I’ve been sleeping on a floor mattress ever since. The moving company did reimburse me for the bed but considering my claim was a tenth of my moving fee, it was a comparatively negligible amount and I definitely did not use it to buy a new bed.

    3. I take tea*

      I usually frame things like this as “I really want to support local labour”. Supporting local labour is good and ecological. So by buying this kind of service you help support the economy and also support that the service exist for others who need it.

      1. I take tea*

        As an example: I bought a second hand dress for a fancy event. It needed some fixing to work for me. I took it to a place that suggested some more fixing, which ended up costing double the (very cheap) dress. I love how it turned out. I might theoretically have been able to do the small fix myself, but it wouldn’t have been especially good, as I don’t really like sewing, and I would probably never have worn it again. This way, I have a lovely dress and I supported a local business. Win-win.

    4. Not Australian*

      You have other skills, and you can’t expect to be good at everything. You wouldn’t do your own electrical work or major car repairs, would you? Do you fix your own roof? If the answer to these is ‘no’, give yourself a pass on the furniture thing; we all have different skills, and there is no doubt something – whether it’s singing or tax preparation – you can do that the furniture guys can’t. That’s just the way the world works.

    5. Aelswitha*

      Do you have Nextdoor? I’ve seen a couple of people in my area ask for help with putting together or moving furniture, as well as the usual borrow-a-ladder type stuff.

    6. PollyQ*

      Yes, when I bought a set of bookshelves, I went ahead and paid to have them assembled as well as delivered. Well worth the $$! I’ve also put together some of my own IKEA furniture, and while I’m not sorry I did it, it was kind of a PITA for one person. Honestly, you said it yourself — you’re not quite able to do it alone, therefore it’s not “lazy” or “wasteful” to hire someone, it’s a necessity.

      1. SemiAnon*

        I’ve paid for IKEA assembly for complicated stuff (a bed frame which had six drawers in it). It was definitely worth it, and not as expensive as I expected (note that I’m not in the US). Interestingly, they had one guy deliver the furniture, followed about an hour later by the assembly guy who showed up with a bag of tools.

    7. Tired*

      I have – excellent use of money in my opinion (also live alone, clumsy and not very physically strong). I had them do a bed and two chairs – they had everything done in an hour and all the packaging put away. I’d previously done one of the chairs and that alone took me two hours, some tears, and a weekend of hobbling because I bruised my knee – it was worth every penny to be confident everything was done properly and be able to calmly enjoy my new furniture!

      I thought I’d feel guilty about it but actually I felt like I’d been a proper adult and was proud of myself for assessing the situation and deciding to pay someone who was clearly good at the work and had all the right tools!

    8. Citra*

      I don’t know if you’ve ever read the “No. 1 Ladies detective Agency” books, but they’re set in Botswana, and apparently the custom or rule there is that if you can afford to hire help, like a housekeeper or cook, you have a duty to do so, in order to provide paying work for another person. Perhaps you could look at it that way: you have the money to pay someone to do this work, so you’re doing “the right thing” and providing a little extra money for someone who needs it.

    9. Cedrus Libani*

      I did this for the first time recently – some big outdoor furniture that my husband and I weren’t quite up to wrangling by ourselves – and would do it again. The furniture had been sitting in the garage for months, taunting us. Now we can use it.

      As someone who spent a lot of years as a broke student, I had to wrap my head around the idea of spending money when it wasn’t 100% unavoidable. But…that’s what money is for. It makes problems go away, but only if you actually spend it.

  34. Fruitbread fan*

    Sharing a recipe for our amazing fruitbread. We used to call it “fruitcake,” but one year in high school I gave one to one of my teachers and when she saw it was a fruitcake, she said “I didn’t know you hated me!” :( Anyway, this regularly is much appreciated by many who eat it, including me! :)


    2 eggs
    2 cups water
    2 boxes date or nut bread mix
    2 cups apricots (halved)
    2 cups candied cherries (1 cup each of red and green)
    2 cups pecan halves
    2 cups pitted bite-size prunes
    2 cups pitted dates (halved)

    Grease and flour 3 or 4 8″ x 4″ loaf pans.

    In large bowl, combine eggs and water. Add remaining ingredients; by hand, stir until combined. Pour into loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 70-80 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

    Cool 30 minutes; loosen edges and remove from pan. Cool completely.

    To store, wrap tightly in foil or plastic wrap; store in refrigerator or freezer.

  35. Not Australian*

    I just wanted to update folks about the special needs cat we adopted back in the summer. He came with a whole slew of medical and behavioural issues and we thought he was going to be quite a challenge to our somewhat elderly household as he’s only two years old and is already in his fourth home.

    Well, he’s settling in nicely. He’s still a work in progress, but we manage to build up his strength to the point where the vet was willing to neuter him – which turned out to be a complex business as his testes were originally believed to be internal. Long story short, he didn’t have any – so he’s now in a cone and he’s got to have his stitches out next week, but it turns out it was all totally unnecessary. Sigh. On the bright side, though, his skin complaint has cleared up and he’s eating well and gradually learning typical cat behaviour which he hadn’t had the opportunity to do in the past – nor, I suspect, suitable feline role models! His eyesight will always be compromised as one eye has completely failed to develop and I suspect he will have to lose it eventually, but although he has to turn his head a lot more than our other cats he doesn’t seem to have any problems with depth perception, judging distances etc. He is also becoming very affectionate, in his own individual way; like all our cats he loves DH most, but that’s because he does all the feeding and cleans the litter trays.

    Most of all, he’s developing a delightful little personality and making some very good human friends who are all potty about him. We had expected not to have any more young cats in our family, having been something of a ‘cat hospice’ over the years and taken in a lot of unwanted cats at a later stage in their lives, but we could see a yawning gap in our future as our other cats are firmly in the senior bracket now. George, I hope, will keep us all just a bit younger for just a bit longer!

    1. Siege*

      As, what a neat update.

      I have a cat with increasing special needs that I wouldn’t have adopted if I’d known about them, but I didn’t so I did and he’s turned into a fantastic cat. I’m convinced he’s a purebred Bombay who was neglected by a backyard breeder because when I first got him he couldn’t deal with anything. Constant hissing and striking; that cat has drawn a LOT of my blood. He’s turned out to have bad ears, thyroid cancer, and very expensive nausea ($35 for an 8-day supply of pills expensive), and he doesn’t have the greatest vision, but he’s also turned into an affection hog and is draped across my side and hip right now. He has a fantastic purr so it makes up for some of it.

      Good luck with your kitty!

  36. anonagain*

    Cat fostering while working full time in an office. Anyone done it? Any advice?

    Mostly worried about coordinating vet care when I have to work. (I’ve never had a pet and a 9-5 job at the same time.)

    1. Doctor is In*

      Many vets have Saturday hours or some evening hours, or you can drop them off early on your way to work and pick them up after.

      1. cat socks*

        Yep, my vet is open until 7 PM a couple of days a week. They also do drop-off appointments. If you are on IG @kittenxlady and @myfosterkittens have lots of tips/info about fostering.

    2. Nancy*

      Vets have Saturday and evening hours for this reason. Search for ones in your area or ask for recs from people you know with pets.

    3. The Other Dawn*

      I have multiple cats and work the typical office hours, and I’m able to do it without much of an issue. Occasionally I’ll have to rearrange something to make it work, but that’s not often.

      Check with your vet and see if they allow drop-offs for the day. My vet, which takes only cats, has what they call “cat parking” days each week. It’s two set days each week where people can drop off their cat (or cats) in the morning between 7:30 am and 9:00 am and leave them for the day. The cat is seen for whatever they need, which could be anything from grooming, to an annual check-up, to x-rays, to outpatient surgery. The cat can then be picked up in the afternoon, usually after 3 pm, until closing time. They also have Saturday hours; however, those fill up very quickly. I tend to stick with cat parking, although sometimes it’s faster to just go in for a set appointment and either come into work late or leave early.

      If you really can’t make it work, though, check with the rescue you’re fostering for and see if they have someone who can run the cat to the vet. Many rescues, including the one I volunteer with, have volunteers who do exactly this kind of thing because they’re retired or maybe they work at night and are free during the day.

  37. MsMaryMary*

    Passing on what I think is a great idea: The sales folks on my team gave the service folks Thanksgiving presents this year. Because they’re grateful for us and all we do. :-) Very thoughtful and a nice way to separate the gift from Christmas for anyone who doesn’t celebrate. I also really appreciate getting gift cards before this week’s sales (hello, new robot vacuum)!

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

    As I mentioned yesterday, we were out the door at 4:15 this morning and had a lovely day (not said sarcastically) and interacted with many regular customers and chatted with many acquaintances.

    We were busier than I expected, but not as busy as I hoped. It was a beautiful day, but I froze my tucas off until the sun came up.

    We got home at 4 pm and I had prepped the turkey wings last night, threw them in the oven and unpacked the truck. I also had a “bake at home” apple pie and along with the Walmart biscuits and Bob Evans mashed potatoes we had a wonderful feast.

    It’s almost 10 pm and I’m ready for a super long, super hot shower and maybe my old body will allow me to sleep for 8 hours.

    I hope everybody else had as enjoyable day as we did, even though so much of it involved working.

  39. Anono-me*

    I just watched a video of someone making and drinking pea flower tea. So now like any self respecting toddler, I want some. I will need to order it and none of the brands/companies that I am familiar with carry it. Does anyone have any brand or companies that they recommend?

    In case I am not the last person to discover pea flower tea; it is a floral herbal tea that when steeped is a lovely blue color. Then if you add an acid, such as lemon juice, it turns a pretty purple pink shade.

    1. E*

      Oh yes I got pea flowers for a fun project for my niblings during lockdown. Have you seen the kind of ombré lemonade you can make if you don’t mix it all the way? It was so fun . I got mine from the SpiceStory store on Etsy. They also have great makrut lime leaves for making Thai curries :)

      1. Anono-me*

        Thanks, where do you order the seads from? Around here all that I have evere seen are sweet pea and garden pea seeds.

    2. Courageous cat*

      I don’t, but I’ll throw in my +1 on this tea. A coffee shop near me sells it and I get it iced with lavender honey and oat milk, and it is insanely good.

    3. tea_commment_name*

      Harney and sons has them as an herbal mix called indigo punch (and as the flowers alone but they don’t taste like much and it’s more expensive

  40. Spruce*

    My workplace is a mission-based charitable foundation that exists to support a specific group of people. We’re organizing a 2-day conference next spring. It’s free to attend and targeted at a professional group that supports our target group. We are paying for the location, food, and all organizing expenses. Except… we are not paying the speakers. We reimburse their flight, hotel, taxis, cover the food, but they will not receive a stipend of any kind for their participation.

    I’m very uncomfortable with that, but seem to be in the minority in my team on this. My team members say that as this is not a for-profit conference, and we take a major hit, it’s ok to ask others who share our mission to stretch a bit. My view is that while this may work for people whose employer considers that part of their job, for independents or freelancers, this is essentially two days of work that they can’t do. I shudder to think that we consider we may be paying them in “exposure” or “networking” (barf), and they’re really not getting anything else out of that.

    So, follow readers, am I overly worried? is it ok that we are covering all expenses and nothing else? Or if you agree with me, can you help me form a good argument for the next conference (this one is a loss, I’m afraid, budgets are closed).

    1. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Not really an in depth response but I work for the feds and we don’t pay speakers either. I feel a lot better about it now that they’re all Zoom – an hour of time virtually fe

    2. nnn*

      If your speakers don’t think they’re getting enough out of it, they will say no to speaking. These are professionals who will do a cost/benefit analysis and decide if it’s worth it to them.

      1. tangerineRose*

        That’s what I was thinking, too. You’ll probably miss out on some good speakers because of this, but that’s it goes.

    3. WellRed*

      We host a small high end conference and don’t pay speakers or travel. I don’t love but as nnn says, speakers will weigh if it’s worth it.

    4. Somebody Else*

      I don’t work in nonprofit or government. I was once asked if I would speak at a conference (not nonprofit or gov’t or education). The conference organizers offered me registration and food at the event, but they wouldn’t cover travel or hotel expenses. I had conflicts with the dates so I ultimately declined the invitation, but I would have been willing to accept it without receiving a stipend. (I should add that I was reasonably confident that my company would have reimbursed for travel and hotel; I don’t know that I would have attended had I needed to cover that out of pocked)

    5. Awake Now*

      If your group of speakers is all people who can afford to speak unpaid, are you missing out on people who would be good for your conference but are in different financial situations? Particularly if your mission is to help an underrepresented or disadvantaged group, and members of that group are not speaking (but would if you could pay them) – that’s not a great look and that could be an argument to management.

    6. fhqwhgads*

      FWIW I’ve spoken at many conferences over the past 10 years and never been paid to do so, so what you’re describing sounds totally normal to me. But this may vary by industry/what type of speaking gig it is, so I don’t have enough context to know whether the practice you’re describing is bad/out of place vs totally normal and expect (or something in between).

    7. Px*

      Was going to come at it from the angle of employees who wouldn’t be allowed to get paid anyway but I think you’ve already covered that.

      Personally I think given you do pay for all expenses, it’s not the same as just “exposure points”. If there is a clear and tangible benefit to being there (ie if networking could legitimately lead to work for them down the line) I would say this is more okay than not. If nothing else, maybe do some data gathering with this event and see if not having a stipend actually restricts people from choosing to come speak.

  41. Not My Money*

    Anyone here good with pdfs? I need to split and rename large pdf files based on info on the individual pages but I can’t use a product like Evermap – it needs to be something self- contained for security reasons. Suggestions for where to look for help writing some kind of coding for a n00b?

    1. kina lillet*

      PDFs are really not noob-coding friendly unfortunately. Pdf (dot) js is probably your best bet for a library to use; it’s relatively friendly and pretty mature.

    2. 2QS*

      There’s PDFSAM (PDF Split-and-Merge), which works offline and takes donations, if it’s secure enough.

    3. Awake Now*

      We use A-PDF Split for exactly this! There’s a companion product whose name I can’t remember that can scan text and look for the info on each page, that you can use to generate a page-number index that you then feed into the split program. It’s a bit convoluted but doesn’t involve anything I’d call “coding” – just figuring out the multistep process. IIRC the cost was very reasonable.

  42. Heather*

    Your tips on dealing with pushy coworkers helped me in dealing with pushy family members! My mom finally agreed to get off my back about a life choice that has nothing to do with her and affects her in no way shape or form. THANK YOU.

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