weekend open thread – March 25-26, 2023

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

Here are the rules for the weekend posts.

Book recommendation of the week: The Sweet Spot, by Amy Poeppel. A young family moves into a borrowed brownstone with a bar in the basement and a variety of interpersonal messes ensue. It’s about family, break-ups, enemies, work, ambition, and the best kind of chaos …most of all, it’s about finding family in unexpected places. It’s funny, charming, and I loved it.

* I make a commission if you use that Amazon link.

{ 924 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A reminder that the weekend posts are for relatively light discussion — think dinner party or office break room — and comments should ask questions and/or seek to discuss ideas. Recommendations or one to two updates on things you received advice about in the past are fine, but “here’s an update on my life” personal-blog-style posts are not. The full rules are here.

  2. Beginner Sewer*

    I’m a beginner looking to buy a sewing machine. I don’t want beginner sewing machines that I will outgrow in a year, but am a bit overwhelmed on how to choose.

    I currently learning to make my own dresses, but will also be looking into altering jeans, and hopefully will move on to make myself a spring/autumn coat (eyeing Vogue pattern 8346). What features should I look out for when purchasing a sewing machine?

    Bonus questions: What sneaky features of your sewing machine have made life unexpectedly much easier? Any minor features that you find yourself wishing for?

    1. Anonyme*

      I live somewhere rural a d the only sewing machine repair shop within 3 hours does not repair the brand I have. Find out what brands you can get replacement parts and repairs for nearby by calling stores.

    2. Intermediate Sewist*

      The advice I got was buy the best machine you can afford. Honestly what worked really well for me was to buy an old 80s Kenmore second hand (it was less than $100), get it tuned up and just start making things. After a few years I got a serger, then a couple of years later I upgraded to a Pfaff Ambition (about $1k a few years ago). Some ladies in my sewing guild do amazing work with old berninas, and some spend thousands on top of the line embroidery machines – both are awesome ways to enjoy sewing.

      I felt much more confident spending money on a good machine once I was confident the hobby wasn’t going away, and by then I knew exactly what I wanted.

    3. Sew what*

      I have a singer heavy duty and I’m happy with it. I’ve made quits and clothing on it and altered jeans

    4. sewsandreads*

      I’ve had a brother machine since I was 15 (the same one), so it’s been with me for 16 years now! It works beautifully. I’m considering upgrading, but that’s only because I’ve moved into quilting and need some features that this one doesn’t have. But it’s a beauty. I think when my mum bought me mine it was about $800, but I can’t see a current version of this online. I’m now looking into Janome for my upgrade.

      Definitely look into what your local machine shops service/provide parts for as another commenter said. It’ll mean your machine lasts all the longer!

      1. sewsandreads*

        In terms of features: I’m not much of a clothing sewist these days, but I feel like a decent throat space is a must have. (And a nice-to-have: pretty decorative stitches! I like adding them to things when I do make clothes.)

    5. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I bought an old Singer off craigslist. It’s from the 60s or 70s and while it struggles with some of the very slinky fabrics it is a workhorse on heavier cloth. When I got it, I made sure it ran, cleaned it, then I took it into a repair place for a full going over.

      1. Rara Avis*

        My mother-in-law’s old Singer with metal parts has outlasted the new Singer (plastic parts) that I got in 1996.

        1. Janne*

          I also have an 80s all-metal sewing machine – a Vendomatic (local brand here). It’s indestructible: I used it to sew a weighted blanket with very heavy fabric and plastic beads that sometimes got under the needle, and I didn’t break a needle because the machine would just push the beads away and go on normally. It’s also great for hemming jeans, it can handle 4+ layers of heavy denim (while my mom’s modern Pfaff machine falters at that).

          For very precise sewing on thin fabric I’d need a newer machine. And it doesn’t really have decorative stitches.

          Also, it’s possible to remove some parts around the bottom of the machine so that you can hem sleeves and other round things, but you can’t remove a lot there so tight sleeves don’t fit and you have to contort them to fit them under the foot of the machine. For a new machine I would look for one that is smaller around there.

          One needs to be a wizard or something to be able to put the thread through my mom’s Pfaff machine, it’s like 10 steps with all kinds of hooks and notches. I’d look for a machine that’s more simple in that, because it’s just frustrating otherwise.

          Also it’s nice to have one with under-thread bobbins that you can get a thousand of, so that you can have all colors of thread on them and don’t have to remove thread off one and wind other thread on it every time you’re using another color of thread. My mom’s machine only came with like 3 bobbins… frustrating too.

          And a long enough cable for the foot pedal so that you don’t have to sit weirdly to put your foot on it.

        2. I'm A Little Teapot*

          That’s why I got it. The one I have has some plastic, but it’s only on the case. The working parts are metal.

    6. RLC*

      I sew a wide spectrum of hobby projects from clothing to quilts to soft sculpture to automotive carpet and have found vintage machines of the 1940-1960 era to be the most versatile and practical. After wearing out a 1970s White and a 1990s Janome I inherited a Singer 201 (1951), virtually a commercial machine for the home sewist. The 201 will sew just about anything and with the buttonhole attachment from the period makes lovely buttonholes on even the heaviest fabric. As the original owners of these machines downsize their homes, a LOT of great old machines are coming on the market, wide range of condition and prices.
      A free arm feature makes a big difference to me, so much easier to work on cuffs and jeans/trouser hems. My big pandemic purchase was a Singer 222K, aka the Featherweight Convertible, which has the smallest diameter free arm possible, suitable for the tiniest cuffs (think children’s clothes). Some modern free arms are too big for some adult garment cuffs.

      1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

        I’m with you! I’m nominating my 1954 reconditioned Singer 15-91 as well. Also Singer has posted the repair and user manuals for download on their website for their vintage machines.

    7. Mack*

      My grandma gifted me a Singer M3220 last year after I complained about my prior machine. I’m absolutely enjoying it so much. My previous machine didn’t even have a foot pedal, it was a push button operated travel-optimized model. She owns and frequently uses a Husqvarna from the ’70’s that she’s had ‘repaired’ once. All it needed was lint removal from some of the more difficult to reach internals. Nothing wrong with getting a new machine but don’t hesitate to grab an older one if you see a good deal and get to try it to verify it works before you buy.

      I’ve never tried heavy fabrics like you’re describing but I know they can be troublesome on some machines. I’d recommend finding reviews that mention how each machine you’re considering handles them in particular.

    8. HBJ*

      I desperately wish I had adjustable presser foot pressure. And a walking/even feed foot is a game changer.

      1. eeeek*

        I never knew I needed adjustable presser foot pressure until I used it and it solved a problem I was having. It was eye opening – now I incorporate “is the food pressure right?” into my test stitch and setup routine.

    9. Madame Arcati*

      I am still using the reasonably basic Janome I bought when I started sewing ten years ago; it cost about £120 iirc. If you can spend a bit more then do but only go over say £300-400 if you really need to; I have sewn lots of clothes including a winter coat, quilts large and small (although I don’t fully machine-quilt the big ones) and other items. I will upgrade one day but not by too much as I don’t need a professional/industrial/embroidery machine. Id like a separate overlocker (US = serger) to sew stretch though (I know you can in theory sew jersey etc on a normal machine but I’ve found it irritatingly difficult and not very successful).
      My machine has what I think of as mid range features; so for example it has a four step buttonhole. Fancier machines have one-step ones and maybe more than one variety; I don’t need that but you might.
      Things my machine does not have: an auto-needle threader, a thingy that makes the needle always stop in the down or up position, a knee lift, embroidery functions/decorative stitches, adjustable speed/foot pressure. Tbh a lots of these I think are more about saving time or doing much fancier things than I do; I’m a hobby sewist so I’m not on a deadline and I don’t do commissions (except small things for people I really love) or sew things like dance costumes and wedding dresses (although I can run myself up a silk evening gown!).
      Favoured brands on this side of the pond are Janome, Husqvarna, Bernina, Pfaff, maybe Brother. Toyota doesn’t seem so well regarded and although Singer is fine there seems to be a consensus that it ain’t what it used to be as a brand.
      Do you have a sewing machine shop accessible where you can go and try a few out? That’s what I will do when I upgrade.

    10. Sopranohannah*

      I upgraded about a year ago. One function I really like that I didn’t really think about before purchasing is an automatic thread cutter. Just a minor convenience thing that is really nice to have.

      I’ve honestly never had a machine that sewed better than the Bernini from the 70’s that I used to use when I did work study in the costume shop at my university. But so far I’ve had no takers on the offer of my soul to get my own.

    11. Idyllic Gulag*

      I can’t offer much advice, since I’m a beginner myself, but I’m currently working with an inherited 1950’s era Singer 15 clone (straight stitch only) and own a Janome serger I bought for $18 that’s gathering dust while my skill level builds up to using it. The Singer clone feels like it could sew through plywood, which is perfect since my projects so far are mostly canvas, wool, and leather.

      In a way the limitations imposed by having a straight stitch-only machine are helpful, since it’s forcing me to learn the basics and learn them well. I do find myself wishing for a zigzag stitch and a reverse setting though.

      1. RLC*

        If you want to stay with vintage machines and expand your stitch choices, consider a Singer 403A. I have a 1958 model, it does a nice zigzag, reverses, and a buttonhole attachment is available for it. All metal, powerful motor, and somewhat overlooked by collectors. Don’t be put off by the “slant needle” design, its just a bit harder to find attachments for it vs. the very common “low shank” design.

    12. Llellayena*

      Find the nearest sewing machine repair store (often called a “Sew and Vac”) and look at the refurbished machines they have. The staff there will be knowledgeable about what machines will be good for the fabrics you’re using. If you’re sewing mostly clothing look for the following features: needle down, large throat (space between needle and the arm support), small arm where the bobbin goes (nothing like trying to sew an armhole when the arm doesn’t fit over the bobbin case…), buttonhole attachment, a range of stitches for woven and knit fabrics (my machine has 18 stitch options, but I mostly quilt. You might want more), and and extender table to support larger areas of fabric. Oh, you’ll also want a range of needles that can handle different fabric weights. Denim should use a different needle than satin…

    13. Nervous Nellie*

      Hurray! It is the best hobby in the world. There is nothing I love more than sewing. A thought – as we go here for work advice, and we go to (for example) Captain Awkward for interpersonal advice, you can go to Patternreview for advice on all sewing matters. There are sewing machine reviews, pattern reviews, sewing book reviews, and a discussion forum with thousands of members of all skill levels where you can ask this question and get great advice and direction to previous similar discussions. I have been a member there for about a decade and have been sewing for 40 years, and have never seen a better organized online sewing community.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        And forgot to add – you can get ongoing help from Patternreview members as you are working on projects, posting questions in the forum as they come up, like, “I’m about to set in a sleeve for the first time and the fabric is a slippery silk – advice?” There is no charge for a sign-in membership with forum & reviews access, and there is a moderate charge for a full membership (about $30 a year). There are online courses, classifieds, and a bazillion other features. Have a look! Come join us! :)

    14. My Brain is Exploding*

      Agree it’s nice to know that there is an authorized repair shop for your machine reasonably close. When I bought my machine in the 90s I bought a Huskvarna Viking to replace my old Montgomery Ward machine. I opted out of their two cheapest ones (at the time those were made in China and the others weren’t) and got a good middle of the road machine that had a quarter inch foot for piecing quilts. I inherited a machine of my mom’s and it’s computerized model (you can do simple embroidery on it) and it’s my back up. I’ve heard from other people that the computerized models are not as robust as non-computerized types.

    15. Nihil Scio*

      I grew up using a Kenmore from the 60s. The button-hole foot and guide and the sheer weight of that machine made it ideal for sewing anything from quilts, to denim, to leather. 20 years ago, I got my Janice 6600 and it does all the above with embroidery as well, although I mostly use the lettering option. It also has thread holders for those giant spools of thread.

      So strength, weight, spool-holders, and an adjustable pressure foot are my favourite features. Also both were easy to clean and oil.

    16. Maryn*

      I second some previous replies: You can do extremely well with a used machine you pay to have tuned up and reconditioned at a “sew and vac” place, or purchased from them.

      While there are excellent new machines out there, the more affordable ones have plastic parts that will wear out. Older machines not only cost less but have nearly all metal parts and just keep going for decades. (My Kenmore turns 46 this year. Never been serviced, just oiled at home and the lint cleared out.)

      My understanding is that machines with electronic controls malfunction as machines age, so given the option, I’d get one that’s all mechanical, no electronic screens.

      The one feature I wish I had (well, I do have it, but the quality and selection are poor) is a buttonholer.

      P.S. I’ve made that Vogue coat. Nice choice!

      1. Juliane*

        I second that, I‘ve sewn with old and new machines and definitely prefer a mid-prized old machine over a cheap one.

        1. Juliane*

          Sorry, that should have said „I definitely prefer a mid-prized old machine over a cheap new one“ :)

    17. Elizabeth West*

      I dislike sewing but found it necessary when skating because I couldn’t afford dresses. Looking for stretch fabric on sale and making my own was much cheaper. My old White machine got donated when I moved but I bought a Baby Lock for $100 on sale. It’s perfect for the light sewing I do (I bought it initially to make masks at the beginning of the pandemic).

      If you’re going to be working on heavier fabric like jeans, make sure the machine can handle it. I think the recommendations to look for older reconditioned machines are excellent, plus if you can get it from a sales/repair place, you can ask them questions and know where to take it if it needs attention.

    18. Rosewolf*

      you really can’t go wrong, whatever you choose, but i would go uses, old and cheap!. I was given a Singer Fashion mate for my 16th birthday and it was one of the best presents I ever got. I still use it 49 years later, and rarely – if ever – covet the features that have been introduced since then. the duration thing is made of iron! it’s a portable, but almost impossible to lift. a good shop can still clean, adjust and repair it. my mother bought a used Singer portable in the 60s, it doesn’t zig-zag, but it does work. I’ve taken it to sewing circles. And my grandmothers machine? Well, she was born in 1906 and she told me her cloths were made on it when she was a child “and it was old then!” It would probably still work. It’s a treadle machine, no electricity needed. Can’t go greener than that. the point is: go simple. You WON’T “outgrow” it (and if you did, you could pass it along to someone else.) The new fancy machines cost, like, a car!

    19. wkfauna*

      I picked up sewing in 2020 and sew pretty regularly now. I would actually go against most of the advice so far and suggest getting a modern middle of the line machine to start. I did not realize how much of my sewing was unnecessary fights with my machine until I upgraded. Jeans, in particular, will be a huge pain on intro-level machines. Having to depend on Sew-Vacs to get parts is a pain. Those places are often unnecessarily expensive, only carry certain brands, and can have abysmal customer service.

      So I recommended a Singer Stylist. It can handle multiple layers of denim with ease, uses standard parts you can get on Amazon (and elsewhere) for cheap, and is about $230 new. It comes with a lot of accessories that will make your life seriously easier.

      If you find yourself sewing with knits a lot I highly, highly, highly recommend getting a serger. It is life changing. After reading a lot of online reviews I got a used but like-new previous generation Baby Lock machine. It was still $1000, so definitely not cheap, but it makes so much more stuff possible and the threading of it is very easy.

    20. Felis alwayshungryis*

      Get the best you can afford (secondhand is fine), but in my opinion you can’t go wrong with a vintage Elna. I have a 1970s SU and it’s an amazing workhorse – the only thing is that (obviously) it doesn’t do automatic buttonholes, but it does do them. The stitch quality is better than my husband’s modern Bernina (though that’s a great machine too). Those are two excellent brands and ones I’d focus on.

      Think about the kind of sewing you want to do – if it’s quilting you’ll want something more specific to it.

      Stay well away from plastic fantastics. They can cause frustrations that lead new sewers to blame themselves and give up. Your sewing machine is your #1 tool!

    21. Wombats and Tequila*

      I guess make sure you have a space for it first. My friend got a nice one and we are all looking forward to learning about it, but she doesn’t have a good place to put a table and supply cabinet. Also consider that you will want a table with plenty of space to lay your patterns and fabric on.

    22. Juliane*

      I would prioritize reliability and repairability above having lots of additional features. I have used my mother‘s 30-year-old Pfaff for all kinds of heavy duty projects and in my experience one of the most important things is that almost everything can be repaired relatively easily. Also, the more money you spend, the stronger and smoother the motor will be, which makes it easier and more fun to sew.

    23. A Becky*

      I’ve done a lot with 1. a cheap beginner machine 2. a very old (1920s?) Singer and 3. a fancy modern job.

      The cheap beginner machine was annoying as heck. Totally worth buying as a $30 gift for a teenager, but it didn’t sew all that well and was very finicky about tension.

      The antique was a WORKHORSE, a pleasure to sew on. Less finicky about tension, and easy to adjust. Downsides: no quick adjust (to swap from basting to seaming you had to turn the relevant knob alllll the way), no reverse, straight stitch ONLY, so it couldn’t handle stretch. Good for teaching the fundamentals, though.

      The fancy modern job has a lot of little conveniences, but they mostly come up for quilting rather than garment sewing. It’s more computerised than I really like (there’s steps rather than a gradient for stitch length, for instance) but reverse, lock stitch, buttonhole and zigzag is worth it.

      I would suggest buying used and testing it – even as a beginner you’ll get a feel for “yuck” ;)

    24. eeeek*

      I’m a fan of old workhorses. My mom gave me her Pfaff when she bought her Husquevarna, which I later inherited; another friend gave me a Bernette she inherited from her mother. (I’ve also been gifted a 1905 Minnesota Model D treadle machine, which I almost have working…) But I’ve never purchased a machine…and I do ruminate over what I’d want, but honestly, my needs are met well by my current machines, none of which were made in this century.
      My machines don’t have any fancy electronics. They have the usual 24-28 cam-driven “fancy” stitches, most of which I don’t use. I use the straight, zig-zag and various stretch stitches (the 3-step and lightning bolt stretch stitches are great, particularly if you’re sewing underwear or swimsuits). Buttonhole stitch/automatic buttonhole system. I like some applique stitches, like the blanket stitch – but I don’t use a lot of decorative stitches. I am able to make scallops and squares and things…but I don’t. I wouldn’t drop a lot of cash on having lots of extra decorative stitches, and I honestly don’t trust the computerized machines. (Too many bad experiences with machines becoming bricks when they decided to stop supporting upgrades…)

      When I do use “fancy” stitches, it helps to have the right presser feet to go with them. The overcast stitch + the overcast foot means I don’t have use the serger to finish seams; the satin stitch + open toe foot helps me mend, as does the darning foot. I don’t buy branded attachments (like feet) to match my machines – those can get pricey. Someone else here mentioned the walking foot, and OMG YES, that thing is amazing for sewing thick or slippery fabrics. I made a thinsulate-lined wool coat last year, and the walking foot was a lifesaver! I also have a teflon and roller foot for pleather/leather.

      One of my machines has a button to push that raises/lowers the needle. I use that all the time – it helps with precision. I know some machines have a needle down stop feature – I’m not sure I’d like that as much.

      The Bernette has a variable -speed clutch on the machine, which I use in addition to a variable speed foot pedal. Both save me from sewing too fast for conditions (that machine really zooms, so forcing myself to slow down is often wise.) This is my favorite feature, and I never knew that I needed it until that machine was in the shop and I was making a jacket on the Husky, and quickly sewed one of the sleeves to the middle of the back of the coat in a very sweary and dramatic fashion. (Yep. This is how I know how to use the satin stitch to repair small holes…)

      My modern machines all have the “free arm” feature which is very handy for hemming sleeves/cuffs and pants hems. I don’t imagine I’d buy a modern machine without that feature.

      I have lots of other gadgets – like a strip of LED lights sticky-taped to my machine so I can see the sewing deck well, and neodymium magnets glued to my sewing mat to catch pins dropped while I sew. I have some extra small vacuum cleaner attachments and dedicated long handled paintbrushes used for regular cleaning/delinting between every project.
      If you haven’t found the website sewingpatternreviewcom, you might want to take a look – they have a dedicated area with machine reviews, and I find that community to be very generous about sharing knowledge.

      Have fun!

    25. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      For me, the most important feature that’ll make me purchase a more expensive machine over a cheaper one without it is a fast-slow switch to change the speed range for the foot pedal. I can put it on “slow” and not have to hover so lightly over the foot pedal when doing something fiddly, then switch it back to “fast” when I’m doing something involving a lot of straight seams.

      The second most important thing is how intuitive it is to thread the machine, including changing the bobbin. Ideally, the correct threading path should be obvious, and if you’re buying a newer machine look for one with arrows and hints printed right on the machine. This is particularly important if sewing ends up being a “power through the mending/project pile a few times a year because you need the resulting stuff” task rather than an every weekend hobby for the joy of the actual task. I can generally re-thread mine without having to look at the manual, and that’s saved me a lot of annoyance over the years when I’m dragging the machine out of storage because I need to complete some small repairs *right now* for whatever reason.

      Having a few decorative stitches is a nice bonus. I mostly use mine to decorate the handles of my reusable shopping bags so I can easily tell which bags are mine, and other such simple personalizations.

  3. New Mom*

    Any funny running into an ex stories? An old student of mine played drums in a band for his church and they would get booked for weddings but he had no part in the bookings process. He would just show up where they got booked, play and get paid. And… he ended up playing at a ex girlfriends wedding and was pretty horrified.
    One of his band mates confessed that he had known ahead of time but was worried my student wouldn’t show up if he knew so withheld the information. My student said he just intently played the drums and didn’t make eye contact with anyone. But it reminded me of a romcom.

    I once had a disaster of a date with a guy Robbie in high school where he was pretty mean and then left me stranded without a ride home. Years later when I was in college, my roommate was dating a guy Adam. Adam was at our place and we all planned to go to a party later that night, and Adam invited his friend Robbie to come. That’s a common enough name that I didn’t even think of the rude date from years before until we got in the car and it was Robbie!
    He drove us to the party but then made an excuse for why he had to leave immediately, but to his credit, the next time he saw Adam he told him that him entire story and admitted he had been a big jerk without trying to push blame.

    1. Lore*

      I briefly dated a guy who ghosted me. Not that big a deal except he worked at a local restaurant that I liked and had to walk past frequently. When one of my best friends got married, her brother was living overseas and I offered him my couch for the week of the wedding. He took me out to dinner his last night in town as a thank-you. That was the only time I wound up running into ghosting guy. He pretended not to see me but I was delighted to be in the company of a tall, good-looking guy at the time even if it was my friend’s baby brother.

    2. MeetMoot*

      I once went out with a guy who accelerated the relationship really quickly, then started seeming unsure. I offered a few times to just be friends if he wasn’t into it, but he kept saying he just needed time but did want the relationship. And when I finally trusted him and went “Okay we’re good, we’re just gonna take it slower” he broke up with me (my impression was he just wanted to control the situation and didn’t want me to be the one to end things). It wasn’t messy but he was quite unkind about it/me.

      Fast forward a year or so and we ran into each other while I was with a friend on a night out. I introduced him as Tim and told the friend we’d dated for two weeks a few years back. He corrected me to say his name was Tom and it had actually been two months.
      It wasn’t deliberate; I had genuinely forgotten his name and how long we’d dated. I just remembered him being awful and, while accidental, did enjoy putting him in his place.

      1. Sopranohannah*

        The best part is that you weren’t even intending to be insulting. He just wasn’t that interesting to you, and he felt the pathetic need to correct how long you dated.

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      It’s good to hear that Robbie grew up and was mortified. For your story about the band, that was a crummy thing the band mate did to your student. Not only did he put your student in an awkward position on purpose, but that was not a nice thing to do to the bride on her wedding day.

    4. Madame Arcati*

      Variation on the theme: I dated a guy at university, it ended, no acrimony. Years later we added each other on Facebook; all very light touch, minor/infrequent friendly interactions on each other’s public posts, didn’t meet up or discuss doing so, really very normal. He was a nice bloke and as I say we didn’t have a nasty breakup.
      A few months later I realised he had unfriended me and he told me in a pm, apologetically, that his wife had insecurities about him being in touch with any exes. I replied, truthfully, well your wife is of course the most important thing for you so never mind.
      But to put this in perspective – I had dated this guy for eighteen months. TWENTY YEARS previously. They’d been together nearly all that time (still are a few years down the line for all I know) and married for most of it, with teenage kids! I’d been in couple of serious relationships and was about six years into my current one. And although he was a lovely chap he wasn’t that special that I’d be moping after him all that time later. She must have thought he was god’s gift to women. It’s a bit insulting to all concerned frankly; according to her I’m either pathetic and powerless to resist an ex from half a life ago or some sort of conniving predatory tart; he’s got no loyalty or faithfulness to his wife of many years, and she has no trust in her husband and the father of her children after all these years. It’s kind of sad really.

      1. carcinization*

        That’s definitely weird. My husband and I have been together for over 20 years and are both friends with exes on facebook from before that time period… both of us have exes we would NOT want to be friends with that we’ve lost touch with of course, but neither of us is insecure about the other’s friend-list containing someone they dated in high school or college decades ago.

        1. Rainy*

          One of my husband’s closest friends is his HS-int0-early-adulthood girlfriend. They were together for almost a decade, and basically just grew up into different, incompatible people. She’s pretty rad, I enjoy spending time with her and her husband. Everyone is different and I try not to judge, but I also find it a little odd when people are convinced their partner will cheat if they get even half a chance. I wouldn’t stay with someone if I thought they were so faithless.

        2. Texan In Exile*

          Oh for crying out loud. Mr T has had dinner with his Big Love From College (in all fairness, it wasn’t requited) when he’s been in her town. And the two of us got together with BLFC and her husband in January. People move on. The past is past, but in most cases, it’s now a happy memory and thank goodness we’re all alive and we can share those memories.

      2. Other Side of the Story*

        Well, might be something there. My ex-spouse, 30 years into our marriage, contacted a friend from high school who had inside information on student housing for our child who was going to attend university there. Together they developed a torrid online relationship, which came to light when he left his emails open on the computer.

        We tried to come back from that, but I never trusted him again. After I found out he still continued to communicate with the friend, I ended our relationship.

        1. carcinization*

          Yes, I’m aware that people sometimes “stray” online, including hooking up with old flames, and that such folks may need to alter their online activity/have their online activity under increased scrutiny. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s automatically bad when anyone is connected on social media with someone they passed a note to in Math class 30 years ago that said, “Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

      3. marvin*

        I don’t know if it helps, but I strongly suspect she wasn’t thinking about it from your side (or even her husband’s side) at all. She was just letting her insecurities do the driving.

        In my view, most attempts to stop a partner from cheating don’t make much logical sense. If they really want to cheat, they will, regardless of who their Facebook friends are.

      4. Squidhead*

        I emailed my whole address book (via bcc) when I was migrating to Gmail. I was also leaving a job to go back to school so I probably put something in about that, too, and maybe a reminder of my cell phone number. Pretty benign, sent it to everyone since my old email address was going to be disabled. It had no personal salutations or anything; despite being bcc I think the intent was pretty obvious. Got an irate and suspicious email from a college classmate’s wife informing me she was HIS WIFE and who was I and how come he’d never mentioned me? Dude and I had never even dated! I sent a very mild reply (but was passive aggressive enough to end it with “I will keep you in my prayers.”). I do know that he is married to someone else now.

      5. Our Lady of the Cats*

        Oh, but you’ve forgotten an obvious possibility: that he’s the one who’s been slightly pining after YOU, blushes slightly when your name comes up, always thinks of you as “the one that got away,” and his wife is terribly jealous of how much you mean to him!!

    5. The OG Sleepless*

      Not me, but a coworker: he used to date a woman with an identical twin sister. Awhile after they had broken up, he was going through a glass revolving door at a restaurant, and either the woman or her twin sister was simultaneously coming out, and for a moment he was trapped on the other side of a glass door with this person. Whoever she was, she just gave him a blank look and kept on going. So he either ran into his ex or he didn’t.

    6. Old Plant Woman*

      Many many years ago I went out with a guy twice, and he decided we had to have sex, right now. Totally not interested. Wasn’t anything especially wrong with him, but no. Used several soft nos and he tried several lame arguments. Tried to convince me he had a vasectomy. Well that was the end of that. Ran into him three or so years later, did the hi what’s up conversation. Said he was married, had to get married if I knew what he meant. Yeah I did. So I was trying to decide whether or not to tease him about the vasectomy. Asked him if he was happy. No, not really. Just made me feel kinda sad, for his wife and kid especially
      So I just said have a nice life.

    7. Onomatopoetic*

      A friend of mine kept contact with my ex. Many, many years and some relationships and kids later they ended up dating. My friend was really embarrassed to admit it, and I think she was quite relieved when I just burst into laughter when she told me. I just thought it was a bit absurd, especially as her sister and I had some history of sharing partners (not at the same time).

      We all met up for a pretty stilted lunch and made small talk. They didn’t last very long, so I never had to deal with it turning serious, but I think it would have been fine, as it really was a long time ago.

    8. Tiny clay insects*

      When I was 18, I went on a few dates with a guy, Nathan. He was a couple years older than me. The dates were fine but we didn’t click and it didn’t last long. Two years later I was doing modeling for a life drawing class at the local college (so, I was nude) and both Nathan and his fiancee were in the class and had to draw me. Very, very awkward.

      1. California Dreamin’*

        Oh, this reminds me of a funny bit of family lore… my grandmother started college at a small liberal
        arts college in Missouri and then went to the Chicago Art Institute. (This is in the 1920s for context.). She’s in a life drawing class at the Art Institute and in walks the model, and it was the same guy who’d modeled for her life drawing class at college in Missouri. He recognized her as well and was, like, hey Margaret, great to see you here!

    9. Bon Voyage*

      Once when I was visiting my hometown, I ran into a high school ex of sorts while doing some late-night holiday shopping with my family. I was not particularly excited to see this person but was glad when his mom rounded the aisle, too. She had always been so lovely to me as a teen and I had a nice moment catching up with her instead!

      1. New Mom*

        I dated a guy for a few months in college who was one of three boys and his mom was soooo kind, nice, friendly and mentioned how she had always wanted a daughter. I had some really nice talks with her and genuinely liked her as a person. When I decided to break up with him I was most sad that it meant Beverly wouldn’t be my future MIL because she was such a gem.

    10. Donkey Hotey*

      ok, late to the party but worth sharing.
      Several years ago, I was invited to a wedding where I knew exactly three people: the bride, the groom, and the DJ. I went and who arrived? Not one, not three, but FIVE women I had previously dated. (I had a LOT of short term relationships in my 30s.) I wanted to bolt for the door but I stayed. Later in the evening, I struck up a conversation with a woman. Ten days later, we went to coffee. In August, we will have been together for 14 years, married for 11.

  4. ThursdaysGeek*

    Removed because we’d need a trigger warning for people to read this — it’s definitely cruel of your relatives!

  5. Pronoun Etiquette*

    I am trying to learn a bit more, and sometimes I don’t know who to ask. I’m hoping my questions here are not offensive and can be used by anyone as a learning opportunity.

    When it comes to pronouns, who has the responsibility of conveying a person’s pronouns?

    Let me explain: I know someone who is female presenting. This person (“Laura”) has a typical female name, uses the female bathroom, and wears feminie clothing. One day, I overheard others referring to Laura saying “they.” I didn’t ask as I was not a part of the conversation. Meanwhile, my boyfriend heard that this person has mentioned to a small few that their preferred pronouns are they/them. There are times when our paths cross Laura’s, and there have been plenty of times where Laura could have said something. One of our mutual friends has decided to make it her business to correct anyone who misgenders Laura – or anyone else for that matter. Another friend, who follows LGBTQ matters, says that it is Laura’s responsibility and not the other person’s to tell their preferred pronouns.

    Who is responsible? Who is right? How do I navigate this? I have never heard Laura say their preferred pronouns. Should I take other people’s word for it or wait until Laura tells me when our paths cross again?

    And one more question –

    If someone says, “My pronouns are she/they,” does it matter then if you say “She works at the hospital” vs. “They work at the hospital?”

    1. marvin*

      I don’t think there are any hard and fast rules for this kind of thing. Some people are more open about their pronoun use (and/or gender identity) than others. Some explicitly ask a friend to tell others. Some prefer to tell you themselves. Some have friends who interject themselves into this more than is necessary.

      I think pronouns make cis people nervous more than is warranted. As long as you respect the pronouns that you know someone uses, you’re doing fine. If you want to really show trans people you care, make an effort to avoid assuming people’s gender and pronouns as much as you can. I realize this can be tricky but it’s what I try to do (as a trans person myself).

      Most often if someone uses she/they pronouns, they’re open to being called either she/her or they/them. Some people like to have them used interchangeably within a conversation but they will probably let you know if that’s the case.

      1. marvin*

        Sorry, I think I misread your she/they question. If someone uses multiple sets of pronouns, you should be fine to use any of them unless they tell you otherwise. I often will call people “they” if they go by she/they or he/they because as a fellow they I know that most people don’t like to use it.

        1. Anonymoose*

          Yes when multiple options are listed they can all be used. I say she / they at work and am clear in my signature that I don’t mind either conversationally but in official documents and paperwork I only want gender neutral. I work in a very male-dominated workplace and don’t want people to think of my gender when reading my report whereas I don’t care in daily conversations.

      2. Another_scientist*

        to your first paragraph, some people are more comfortable/confident correcting others when they are misgendering and it hugely depends also on how tolerant and open minded the group environment is.

        An imperfect analogy is the question of hard to pronounce names. I have a name that is not obvious for Americans to pronounce. If I introduce myself, I say it correctly. Sometimes people ask, and I tell them, and they try but rarely nail it. Often they do it completely wrong, either because they forgot, or they just make it up from the way it’s written. In those cases, I could correct them, or just answer to the wrong pronunciation, and it’s a judgement call each time. If I’m never going to speak to this person again, they can call me whatever. I consider whether they are likely to take it well to be corrected, and whether I am willing to derail whatever conversation we are having, and sometimes I prefer to let it go, to spare them the mortification. I also have two very sweet colleagues who try to correct people when mispronouncing me.
        This analogy is completely missing the aspect of politicization that we have with pronouns, but it does reflect that there is no obvious answer to ‘who is responsible to get it right?’.

        1. marvin*

          As someone who gets misgendered often, I think the judgment call you’re describing is pretty similar to what I’ve experienced as well. Obviously the risks are higher in some situations than others, but sometimes correcting people all the time is just annoying. (I also have a difficult to pronounce name, so I get it from both sides.)

        2. it's pronounced ThroatWobblerMangrove*

          So much this, people want you to do the emotional labor of teaching them how to pronounce your name, and I don’t have time/energy for that. I end up with “Firstname Lastinitial is fine.”

          1. Philosophias*

            Pardon me? From whom else should they learn how to pronounce your name in the way you want it pronounced but from you?

            1. JSPA*

              This frustration is rarely related to a first time meeting and introduction, unless the person immediately insists on a “practice session” that goes on and on. (Can’t roll your Rs? Can’t pronounce a welsh “Ll”? Can’t make an “X” click? Being introduced to someone is not the place to practice it until you’ve got it down.)

              If your name is truly unique, and it can’t easily be annotated, you and your friends / workmates / family can at least share the job of mentioning your name, as opposed to everyone gaping like codfish while you again re-re-re introduce yourself to the person who can’t remember from yesterday, last tuesday, and twice on the prior Thursday.

              If it’s merely from a language / culture they’re not familiar with there are also plenty of tutorials available online.

              If a person knows themselves to be bad at remembering how to say names, they can step aside after meeting you and record themselves a little note on the spot, and practice on their own time, remembering and saying it.

              Making drama about getting the sounds perfect, and emphasizing how it’s so hard for you because the sounds are so odd, is dang unpleasant for the other person. So’s deciding that for (say) Saorise, “Sha-something,” “wait, it’s Shi-shi, did I get it this time?” or “I know it’s not Zori, give me a hint” all count as making an effort.

              1. it's pronounced ThroatWobblerMangrove*

                Thank you, this is what I meant. If I say my last name is pronounced “ThroatWobblerMangrove”, and then you say “LuxuryYacht”, and then I say no, it’s “it’s pronounced ThroatWobblerMangrove”, I might get lucky and then you say “TroutWobblahMangrove” which is at least sort of close. Then I say, no, it’s “ThroatWobblerMangrove” and you say “TroutWobblahMangrove” again and want me to reward you for trying so hard and “getting it right”. I don’t have the time to stay and teach you my name, especially when it’s clear you’re not listening….
                My other time saving options are to pretend you got it right, which is humiliating, or just say “Firstname Lastinitial is fine…”
                It’s really frustrating!

                1. JSPA*

                  To be fair in the other direction, “listening” is not necessarily the problem.

                  The ability to even perceive certain sound combinations is much wider in childhood than adulthood. Perception limitations can be overcome–there’s a reason that sound labs exist, in language departments–but it does take time, and breaking the sounds down. Then connecting those perceptions to the right muscles for vocalization is a whole other thing…and plain old deafness isn’t all-or-none, either. Then there’s people who have overcome stuttering, have a tongue tie that wasn’t severe enough for surgery, or who otherwise invisibly work around certain combinations of sounds in their everyday speech, without anyone being the wiser.

                  Same’s true for colors; try one of the color matching task games online, and you’ll find that some people are on the nose, others know they’re colorblind, and can’t get anywhere near, but there are also a lot of people who are not classically colorblind, but they’re nevertheless really bad at the task, for whatever reason–whether photoreceptor variants or cataracts or judgement of what constitutes a match.

                  Or yes, they DGAF, are not really trying, or would rather be “comically” wrong by choice than be mistaken while obviously trying hard (and still failing). Ego + stage fright + suddenly thinking everyone’s looking at your and judging…if someone’s lucky, they get over that in childhood or middle school, but if you’re a high enough performer, it may still bedevil you in adulthood.

                  Rather than decide for them that they must be in the “not trying” category, sometimes all you can do is say, “close enough for now, but if you want to get it down pat, it’s Estonian / it’s Basque / It was common in the Cotswolds in the 1700’s, and you can find a guide on youtube to saying it right.”

        3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          On this note, I have a hard-to-pronounce/spell name (with bonus everyone immediately assuming it is from [specific ethnicity a] even though my name and I both come from [specific ethnicity B from a whole-ass different continent and language family]) and am willing to go the pronouns that people generally guess will apply to me. I’m in a social group that includes several people with easy to pronounce and spell (for Americans) names but with they/them pronouns.

          A delightful thing that has emerged is that we can correct people for each other! Someone else can have the conversation that I’ve had a thousand times about how to pronounce/spell my name, and I can be the one to take on the “so-and-so uses they/them pronouns” piece that they are tired of having to explain over and over. It gives everyone a break from their own constant corrections without just giving up on having people get it right.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      Generally I would just follow the person’s lead – use the pronouns they tell you to use, and match their level of correcting people when you can. I tend to either correct people when I know they’re using wrong pronouns or make a point of using the correct ones myself, depending on the situation.

    3. Sleepy head*

      I actually don’t think it’s anybody’s specific responsibility to make sure you know what someone else’s pronouns are, and it’s also not a big deal to ask. I think you can assume that if Laura’s friends are using they/them when referring to Laura, then that’s probably right.

      In most social situations I think I often just pickup on clues about how people like to be referred to/what their gender identity is – I notice how they refer to themselves and how other people refer to them, and if in doubt I ask. And this applies for things aside from pronouns too like “do you go by Drew or Andrew?” Sometimes I’ll ask a mutual friend to verify someone else’s pronouns so that I personally feel more confident in a social situation (eg I was recently invited to hang out with an old friend and their friend who I didn’t know. New Friend had a gender neutral name so I asked my old friend what New Friend’s pronouns were before we met up), but asking the person directly is totally fine too.

      Also, if you’re not sure if anyone’s pronouns, using “they/them” or just their name is usually a pretty safe way to refer to someone until you get clarity.

      And when someone says their pronouns are she/they that means you can in fact use either one.

      1. Observer*

        Also, if you’re not sure if anyone’s pronouns, using “they/them” or just their name is usually a pretty safe way to refer to someone until you get clarity.

        Not really the case. I mean if you really have no way to know, as in you just know that the person’s name is T. Rex and haven’t seen their pronouns, they yes, definitely go with they / them. But in other types of situations, such as when you know that a name is highly feminine / masculine and their presentation matches that, many people will feel mis-gendered.

        I think that the best think one can do is to follow someone’s lead. If you have a reasonably good relationship and have a reason to think that you might be getting it wrong, then asking is not a bad idea.

    4. frystavirki*

      Some comments on how I personally use pronouns:
      I absolutely hate being asked to provide my pronouns in an unknown setting. I didn’t realize this was the case until I ran into people who wanted to ask me what mine were and my brain just went “NO I DON’T WANNA” and it felt very awkward and bad. I think it may be because I look exactly like a cis woman and act like one unless I’m in certain settings, so when people ask me my pronouns outside of those certain settings I have to either lie or tell people I’m actually a man, more or less, when I’m not prepared for that. I don’t like lying unless it’s a safety issue, so I normally just have to say “yeah it’s he/him” and then my brain’s all funny.
      I know a lot of multiple pronoun users who want both used by all people, but I’m somewhat atypical, I think, in that me listing he and they as pronouns I use on social media indicates that, basically, those are legal pronouns I won’t be offended by? If someone used both interchangeably for me in a noticeable way I wouldn’t like that.
      In general, I feel like people will tell you if they’re committed to being referred to in a certain way, such as what pronouns and names they use and whether, if they have multiple pronouns, they want them used interchangeably, and if you pick up stuff from context like other people calling Laura “they” you should follow their lead and go with it.
      Re: safety issue, sometimes you have to intentionally misgender people for their own safety. If Laura lived with their parents who were transphobic and you had a conversation with those parents, you might have to use the incorrect pronouns for Laura in order to avoid conflict in their living situation. However, that kind of thing will usually be communicated to you beforehand.
      Hopefully some of this 4am rambling on how I speak about myself was interesting to others and maybe helpful to some?

      1. Enby's mom*

        Hi frystavirki, just one mom’s perspective. If I ask your pronouns I’m not asking what letter was on your pediatric medical chart. I’m just trying to be human(e) and use appropriate grammar. I hope that helps a little.

        Mom hugs from an internet stranger if you want them.

        1. Saddy Hour*

          I’m cis so I can’t speak to this with much authority, but I do have a lot of NB and trans loved ones and I’ve picked up some of the important points from listening to them. I want to believe that most people who ask for pronouns do so from a place of genuine openness and caring, which is clearly where you’re coming from. But not everyone is safe to confide that information in. If other people are around when someone asks (with genuine good intentions), the asker is probably safe but onlookers might be hostile or even dangerous — it’s impossible to know if you aren’t familiar with those folks. Even if you ask the person one-on-one, if you then regularly refer to someone who presents femme with their true masc pronouns, or vice versa, it’s likely that other unfamiliar people will pick up on that and could become hostile too. Even if it’s not outright threatening hostility, there can be tiny ripples of repercussions for your career, your education, your family, your general stability…

          I can’t speak to the right course of action, I just want to reaffirm the point I believe frystavirki is making. Sharing your pronouns can be dangerous, and there’s a subtle but (from what I hear) painful difference between kinda default presenting as a different gender and letting people assume that’s who you are, vs. having to say out loud that you are a different person than you are because you’re afraid people might hurt you if you’re honest. The former preserves some of your agency, while the latter forces you to either lie or confide in people long before you really trust them.

          All that said, though, I do think we need more vocal support of trans and NB folks and I really appreciate the kindness from this comment. My experience is that people have very different levels of comfort and our role as allies is to speak up on behalf of queer* rights in general, while allowing our loved ones to dictate their personal stance with their identities and how they share those. I think we not only can do both, but must do both to really honor the reality of queer struggles right now. But (I hope) it’s always acceptable to say we accept, love, and welcome all folks — especially to those who disagree and could hurt the people we care so much about.

          *I use queer as a catch-all term based on how my friends use it, and though I’m cis I’m not het so it feels ok for me to use it in that context at least. But I know this can be divisive and has some generational/historical usage that I wasn’t around for. I apologize if I’m using it out of turn here.

          1. Enby's mom*

            Sadly that makes more sense than I want to remember. You’re right, there’s valid fear for external reactions.

        2. Hrodvitnir*

          As someone in a *very* similar space, even well-meaning people effectively probing my gender makes me want to curl up in a ball.

          I look like a not particularly GNC woman. I do not in any way want to explain that I identify as male-ish (I’ve lived as a woman a long time, y’know), not gender queer, but am very much not sure about full on transitioning (especially since my partner is straight) and I am working up the courage to ask my Dr about starting T at a lower level, because presenting as ??? would make me happy and my partner is down with that… “he” would be great but would invoke even more questions and more attention than “they” and I just want to be invisible but also I *hate* implying I am A Woman by affirming “she” even though honestly I don’t find it dysphoric (titles, however, get me).

          Which is to say, I 100% genuinely appreciate people who are trying to be good people like you! But I recommend maybe just offering your own pronouns and being chill if you don’t get them back. It’s fraught, man.

          1. anonymous not quite enby*

            Yes this also I don’t want to reaffirm the gender binary… if I don’t share pronouns I look like an ahole… ugh.

          2. MEH Squared*

            I agree. It’s Schrodinger’s asker–you (general you) can’t know the intention of the person asking until after they ask the question. So while someone in this forum can profess good intentions (and mean it!), it’s difficult to tell about a person asking out in the wild. Hopefully, I (agender) would be able to read the person and give an appropriate answer (I don’t use pronouns), but…well, I’m old and tired. Chances are I’m just going to say she is fine (AFAB, reads as a woman), even though it’s “*sigh* fine” (what I tell people) rather than actually fine.

        3. JSPA*

          this misses the point, as I read the comment.

          Its more, “at work for the moment I feel safer or more comfortable presenting female, while among certain friends and at the club I’ve socially transitioned to he/him.

          Until very recently, those safe spaces have been the only places that I would normally be asked for my pronouns.

          Being asked to do that outside of my “gender safe space” does not make me feel safer; it makes me feel cognitively dissonant. In practical terms, it also forces me to

          a) choose my preferred work-life pronouns, which conflict with my deeper sense of self, or

          b) to come out spontaneously, due to the grammatical inquiry of a random person, as male, while wearing a skirt, nylons, heels and makeup.

          More generally, it implies that someone has only one set of pronouns for all aspects of their life, which makes me feel both more invisible and more exposed, rather than simply seen.”

          I may be projecting a little here. But if you would not “out” someone, or challenge them to state their sexual and romantic preferences, it’s worth being aware that requesting pronouns can do much the same thing, in terms of gender identity.

          Once someone has bumped into this they tend to develop a (for them) workable response: “people generally use she / her for me” or “I’m accustomed to she / her” or “you can use she/her.” But the first time one is explicitly asked to claim a gender-of- convenience as “one’s gender” is really disorienting, in unexpected ways.

    5. Zephy*

      If your boyfriend is sure that Laura was the person in question when he overheard about their pronouns, switch to “they.” If you’re wrong, it sounds like Laura has a self-appointed guard who will set you straight, and if/when that happens, “Got it, thank you, they work at the hospital,” and just move on. More than anything, the most fraught part of an interaction like this is the response from the person being corrected, so the best thing you can do as the person in that role is to just take the new information in stride and keep the conversational ball rolling. It’s not necessary to bring everything to a halt to beg forgiveness or make a big show of apologizing/revising whatever remark prompted the correction.

      Regarding she/they and similar sets of pronouns, the she/theys and he/theys that I know are OK with pronouns being used interchangeably, sometimes within the same sentence. “I went to see her yesterday, they’re doing well.” “They told me that she and their boyfriend are going to Spain next year.” YMMV though.

    6. MEH Squared*

      Hello! Gender identiity is vastly different for different people, and it’s hard to have a hard-and-fast rule for this stuff. For example. I’m currently agender, but AFAB and read as a woman. At least physically. I get called ‘she’ and I’m unenthusiastically fine with it. It’s the pronound I grew up with and have used for the first fifty years of my life, but it’s like an ill-fitting coat. It covers my body, but does not feel comfortable.

      Personally, I would prefer to not use pronouns at all, but I know that it’s unwieldy and clumsy to always say a person’s name instead. I’ll answer to she and I’ll answer to they, but again, I don’t care for either.

      In the case of someone you don’t know well, I would use the pronouns they offer to me until they tell me differently. Or someone you know is a good friend of theirs directly tells you differently. Gender identity is complicated and people are out about it to different degrees with different people. I don’t think of it as a responsibility per se, but more that someone should be allowed to choose when they feel safe enough to come out about their gender identity and to whom.

      1. GlowCloud*

        “I get called ‘she’ and I’m unenthusiastically fine with it. It’s the pronoun I grew up with and have used for the first ___ years of my life, but it’s like an ill-fitting coat. It covers my body, but does not feel comfortable.”

        You’re the first person to have described gender using exactly the same metaphor I would have used to express my own feelings about it.

        My org has started requiring us all to include our pronouns in our email signatures, and it makes me cringe, because, like you and perhaps a couple of other people who have commented here, I’d rather just be invisible – like, I don’t want my gender to be the first thing anyone thinks about me, and I don’t want to have to define myself in this clunky, imprecise, and kind of binary-emphasising way. Especially because I’m not really sure if I’d rather use she/they or they/them, and especially at work. I’d rather be nothing at all.

        I hate how inclusive language is being used in a way that feels so prescriptive. I don’t know the extent of my own queerness yet, just leave it with me for a bit and I’ll get back to you!

        1. MEH Squared*

          I am heartened that every time I mention this in a gender thread on this website, I always see at least one or two other people who feel the same. I fully suport people being able to express their true genders and I think [I]optional[/I] pronouns in the email sig is great. Making it mandatory is where I draw the line; let people who don’t have a gender/aren’t comfortable expressing gender/don’t care about gender exist in peace.

    7. M*

      So there’s no hard and fast rule though it sounds like the correcting person thinks there is. If Laura uses she/they then either of those is fine. (I use he/they, both are fine, if you ask me I’ll say I prefer they.) if you know Laura uses they and everyone says she because of cisheteronormative assumptions, you can matter of factly say, oh Laura goes by they/them. It can be a kindness to do that so Laura doesn’t have to constantly do it. But match Laura’s energy on it (don’t Be An Ally on Laura’s behalf if they’re lowkey about pronouns and you haven’t talked to them about whether they want you to speak up). Just like if you hear someone calling Laura Lily you’d say, “oh, the teapot manager on the 3rd floor? Her name is Laura, not Lily,” or if someone pronounced Joaquin as Jo-a-kin you’d take them aside and make sure they know how it’s actually pronounced. Sure Joaquin can do that himself but this way he doesn’t have to and the mispronouncer isn’t embarrassed either.

      As far as asking other peoples pronouns, I tend to prefer it when cis people state theirs but don’t make it mandatory. So no “let’s introduce ourselves with our name and pronouns,” yes to “my name is Mary and I use she/her” which creates room for me to say mine if I want, but doesn’t make me have to misgender myself if I don’t feel safe or just don’t want the hassle of having to come out in every random meeting.

    1. Aphrodite*

      It’s a great photo, and it has made me wonder, Alison, if the cats bother the record player when it is on. I mean it does go round and round and that can be mesmerizing to humans let alone cats.

  6. KatEnigma*

    My mom specifically keeps my grandmother’s 50’s era sewing machine because it handles denim and other heavy fabrics better than most modern machines.

  7. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

    Hi! How walkable is Seattle? I am THIS CLOSE to buying place tickets for the fall (thanks to binging greys anatomy….). I’ve always been curious about that city and I legit love the rain.

    I don’t drive and would like to go somewhere where I can easily get around (I don’t mind paying for Ubers but I don’t want to rely on them). I live in Chicago so I don’t need that as a suggestion. :)

    Or, does anyone have any recommendations on places to go? I have a lot of pto to use and would be looking for going somewhere for a week at most. I’m looking to go in the fall at the latest, because winter is our busy season and couldn’t get time off for anything other than doctor appointments or hospital stays or dying at home….

    1. Filosofickle*

      I’ve spent a couple weeklong trips in Seattle without a car — it was no problem at all!

      1. Filosofickle*

        I suppose I skipped over the actual walkability question: It is very walkable. I used bus/rail to get between some neighborhoods but within them everything was compact and easy to stroll. I enjoyed the quirkiness of Fremont and the art of Belltown :)

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      It’s walkable but hilly! Expect to climb any time you’re walking away from the shoreline, lol.

      1. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        * flashes back to nearly dying the first time I went hiking in Colorado * I appreciate knowing this, though!!!! I’ll pack comfy shoes…. And muscle balm….. and pain meds….

        1. Rainy*

          I mean, speaking as a Coloradan, a lot of that was almost certainly the altitude and low humidity; Seattle suffers from neither issue so it might not be quite as bad as you think.

            1. Rainy*

              I moved up into the mountains from living about 9 feet above sea level and I was sicker than a dog for a couple of months–pretty much at about the time they say “if it doesn’t get better you need to move” it cleared up. And for another year or so, if I went farther up the mountain, I’d get sick again.

              When people visit us, they really underestimate the amount of water you have to *pound* just to sort of keep up.

      2. Person from the Resume*

        That’s a good warning. I live in completely flat geographies and I visited, walked and hiked Salt Lake City. It absolutely killed my calves. I tried everything (medication, creams, KT tape) and nothing work by the end of week long trip.

    3. Jackalope*

      Seattle is super accessible without a car. It’s walkable (at least through most of the main bits that you’d want to visit), and the bus system is also straightforward if you’re comfortable with public transit. It is in fact one of those places that’s much more pleasant to experience without a car.

      Also, if you go in the fall you should be good on weather. Depending on the year it tends to be either pleasant and sunny or drizzly, or if you’re coming for a week most likely a little bit of both. Fall tends to be temps in the 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit range – warmer in September and then cooling off as you get to November. So since you said you love the rain, it would be a perfect time for you to go.

      1. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        I love public transportation so I’m glad it’s straightforward! I also really hope it rains when I’m there…. :)

        1. ShinyPenny*

          Lately it’s been really hot and dry in September, so if you *want* rain, later in October is a better bet.

    4. Bluebell*

      I’ve been to Seattle sans car and went lots of places mostly by public transit plus a few Uber fillins. I really enjoyed it.

    5. talos*

      I live in a Seattle suburb and refuse to drive in Seattle proper, lol.

      Generally it’s pretty walkable, although not all tourist attractions are in walking distance of each other so be prepared to use public transit (you can buy an ORCA tap card at light rail stations or grocery stores) or Uber to get between different parts of the city. I generally don’t have any reliability issues with public transit in the area.

      Fall can be a little windy and cold, but Chicago has a reputation for being worse so you’ll be fine :). I don’t think I would expect rain _every_ day, but certainly expect rain at some point.

      Second what Dark Macadamia said about hills – Seattle is very hilly, especially downtown.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Seconded — I lived in Seattle and environs for eleven years and swore by the bus for the majority of it, even after I had a car.

      2. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        I’m so happy to know the public transit is pretty solid (side-eyes Chicago’s overall good but sometimes unreliable busses and ghost trains)! In going to Seattle, the rain won’t be a ruined trip, at least not for me. I won’t expect it every day. But sometime would be nice…. I am also used to the chill and wind!

        1. Zephy*

          My husband and I visited Seattle in October 2019. Gorgeous weather for the whole week except the day we decided to do the touristy thing and go up in the Space Needle, LMAO.

        2. Philosophias*

          OH yeah. I got caught during a Chicago visit last autumn in the complete collapse of what should have been a perfectly reliable bus route back from Hyde Park to downtown. Luckily for me, I had friends who came to the rescue. From the comments I saw on line while I was trying to get through to the CTA, this was a growing problem.

    6. Not good at names*

      Kansas City would make a good long weekend visit. The streetcar connects Crown Center area (WWI museum), Crossroads (lots of art), River Market. 18th & Vine (lots of jazz and the excellent Negro Leagues museum) would probably be better as an Uber, but could be walked from streetcar stops. The Plaza and Nelson Atkins museum are also close, but probably not walking from existing streetcar)

      Train station is right at crown center if you want to do that. Or shuttle from the airport. (Obligatory, but sincere, comment about how great the brand new airport is!). Just don’t come the weekend of the NFL draft

      1. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        Awesome, thank you so much! I have a decent amount of vacation days so I’ll add this to my list of possible options. :)

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      Seattleite here!

      First thing to know: HILLS. Seattle is very, very hilly, in a very tricky way. You’ll be walking along, everything’s fine, and suddenly the street goes at a ninety degree angle for a block or three. So wear very comfy shoes and if you’re like me and need them, pack extra inhalers. There are tons of ebikes and scooters scattered about that you can rent with a card, but keep in mind that there are tons of nutty drivers and pedestrians alike out here, so if you aren’t good on those, think twice.

      I would look to stay somewhere in the downtown*/Capitol Hill/Queen Anne neighborhoods if you want to stick to central Seattle–from my apartment on the Hill I can walk downtown in ten minutes, and there’s tons of buses and light rail all over, and streetcars. Air BnB might be an option if you want to stay at least a week and cook rather than spend a ton on restaurants, but there’s lots of inexpensive food options in all three locations. The International District and Pioneer Square are historic and lots of fun.

      If you want to branch out into Ballard Locks, Woodland Park Zoo, or the Fremont neighborhoods, or further, you can ride the buses, but Uber might be more practical.

      There are SO many museums: Seattle Art Museum, Frye Gallery, MOPOP and the Wing Luke Museum and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) are all in Seattle proper, albeit in different neighborhoods. You’ll want to plan for lots of walking. MOPOP is in the Seattle Center, where the Dale Chilhuly glass museum and the Intiman theaters are.

      Weather in the fall can be iffy–sometimes gorgeous and warm, sometimes TIME TO PISS RAIN out of nowhere. Hoodies are your friend here.

      Once you’re here, give a ring to Pagliacci Pizza (206-726-1717) and I’ll set you up with a lovely pie and gelato!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Oh and: *Downtown. No getting around it, there’s a lot of very sketchy elements in downtown Seattle, especially Third Avenue. During the day it’s gross and can be risky, at night I wouldn’t recommend hanging around there.

        1. o_gal*

          I can confirm this. We were there in August of 2019. We split the trip where we spent a few days in Seattle, then went to Whistler, then back to Seattle. We first stayed at the Homewood Suites on Pike St next to the convention center. I always felt safe around there and it was a great location. On the second part we stayed at a Holiday Inn just down the street from The Pink Elephant. I chose to walk down to the Market from there on a Saturday morning. It was pouring down rain and my husband and son elected to stay in bed. At 7:30am, once I got near 6th/7th, I had very sketchy people following me. I walk fast, so I just kept going as fast as I could, without acknowledging them. Luckily it was later when I walked back and there were more non-sketchy people around. Just be aware of your surroundings and you should be fine.

      2. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        This comment is fantastic, thank you!!! I won’t be planning on stuff to do until the trip gets closer, but I am so glad to know I have a lot of options in different neighborhoods. Food-wise, I’m excited as I love to eat, but I’m also going to add a couple museums to my list of stuff to see – I like historical ones!

        I’m now imagining the princess diaries hills’ even though that was San Francisco…. Maybe I’ll work on my lung capacity over the summer so I can prep for these hills!

        1. AGD*

          It’s bit like San Francisco, but more of a multi-level ridge running north-south along the shoreline. Flatter on top once you get past the initial big climb.

          Seattle is wonderful, incidentally. Enjoy!

          1. In hiding today*

            Not 90 degrees surely? That would be a sheer cliff, a rock-climbing wall. 45, perhaps? (Sorry, I tend to be a literalist.)

      3. waffles*

        In Seattle we don’t change our plans when it rains, we change our clothes. Pack a waterproof jacket, at least one pair of non-cotton pants, and wool socks. Late October and early November are awesome times to visit!

    8. ThatGirl*

      Definitely not trying to dissuade you from Seattle, but Philly is very walkable, esp in Center City and Old City, which is where most visitors want to be anyway. There is also transit that’s pretty reliable.

      1. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

        I’ll add it to my list, thank you!!! I have a bit of vacation days and nothing else planned except for Seattle so I should get traveling….

      2. Who Plays Backgammon?*

        Tell me more. Been thinking about visiting Philly to see all the famous sights and be a total tourist. During covid i signed up for all kinds of travel information to spend my stimulus checks on. I’m thinking a fall or spring trip and believe vacations are for sleeping late and strolling, not rushing like mad to see everything in four days.

        1. ThatGirl*

          If you stay in Center City there are plenty of hotels and it’s very walkable to Old City, which is where the most famous historic sites are – Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, etc. a lot of them are free but you’ll need timed tickets which you can get at the visitors center.

          My favorites are Independence Hall, Christ Church and the graveyard, and the Betsy Ross house.

          Market St has tons of shops, restaurants, bars, etc. go to Franklin Fountain for ice cream. South Street has a lot of the nightlife and funkier finds. The art museum, Franklin Institute, Mutter Museum and more are nearby. So is Chinatown with great restaurants. Rittenhouse Square is also a favorite of mine. There’s plenty to see :)

    9. hypoglycemic rage (hopeful ex librarian)*

      This thread inspired me to go for it and I’ll be going to Seattle in the fall!!!!

      1. Jackalope*

        I mean, I don’t know you IRL and will almost certainly not run into you on your Seattle visit, but this still makes me very happy that you’ll get to visit. Drop a line when you’re getting closer and I’m sure you’ll get some great suggestions for things to do.

    10. Dodubln*

      I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago (44 years now), and have been to Seattle twice, and it is hands down my favorite place in the US (and I have been everywhere you can think of), and I hope to retire there some day. This was way before “GA” made it trendy. While I do drive, and have driven in Seattle (total difference from Chicago driving, they are so polite/slow in Seattle.) you don’t need to know how to drive. Just go! You will fall in love! The only place I have been that many times that is similar is Minneapolis, but it really isn’t close. I want the water in front of me and mountains behind me, and that is Seattle.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      If you’re an airplane buff like I am, make time for the Museum of Flight. (The website mentions a bus but not how long it takes to get there so youll probably want to check.)

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      Very walkable. I recommend the Arboretum and any of the Seattle Underground tours.

      Note as a New Englander: If people are waiting to cross the street and no traffic is coming, they wait for the crosswalk sign anyhow.

      Also Chihuly Glass (pricy but worth it if you enjoy glass art) and Pike Place Market (great for trying local food products).

    13. Smeleanor*

      I visited Seattle last summer and loved it. +1 to everyone who said the bus system is awesome. Punctual, clean, covers the whole city. ALSO! If you like hiking and want to spend a day out of the city, there’s a cheap bus (554 looks like what I took?) out to Issaquah; from there it’s a flat 1-2 mile walk to a Tiger Mountain trailhead where there are miles of beautiful trails.

    14. Laura Petrie*

      We visited Seattle a few years ago as part of a trip to the PNW. We absolutely loved it.

      We bought a card for public transport and found it really easy to use. We’d be having a coffee, look up our next destination on Google maps and see a 20 min walk, for example. “Great” we’d think, set off and turn a corner only to find a giant hill ahead of us. Bus it was then!

      1. TX Lizard*

        I’m eloping in Seattle this July and would also love reccomendations, especially for gluten free food, romantic spots near South Lake Union, or a good place to get a blowout!

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Gluten free can include Capitol Cider, that has an entire gluten free menu! Lots of places have gluten free options, too.

    15. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      Hi! I’m from Seattle and it is quite walkable if you are okay with the hills, as others have said. In my years I have seen many people going up and down steep hills with one or two trekking poles, so feel free to bring those if it would help you. Seattleites never side-eye anyone for doing something that looks Outdoorsy and Hardy. :-D I tend to stay on Queen Anne hill or in Fremont when I visit because there are easy buses everywhere I need to go from there and many delicious foods nearby.
      DO eat at Pagliacci Pizza and visit the Asian Art Museum! Also, if you like a bit of fried seafood Ivar’s is delicious and my absolute guilty pleasure when I go home. They have non-fried options, but I’m still not entirely sure why anyone would go to Ivar’s acres of clams and NOT get fried clams. Life is a rich, rich tapestry.
      The main branch of the Seattle public library is a very cool building and a very cool library, so you should take a look at that if you’re interested.

      1. Owler*

        Oh dear. Please don’t tell a Chicagoan to eat Pagliacci! Pagliacci is (I’m sorry to say) on par with national chains. Same with Zeeks. They are fine for a crowd or for teens, but not worth a recommendation to visitors from out of state.

        Send them to Beechers in the market, or un Bien near Golden Gardens, or Ivar’s on Lake Union! Tacos from Pablo y Pablo for a picnic at Gasworks Park. Ginger beer from Rachel’s Ginger Beer! Korean corn dogs from Chun Chun in the ID! And now I’m hungry…

    16. TX Lizard*

      I’m eloping in Seattle this July and would also love reccomendations, especially for gluten free food, romantic spots near South Lake Union, or a good place to get a blowout!

      1. juneybug*

        I am celiac and have had no problems eating at –
        Ghostfish Brewing Company
        Flying Apron – West Seattle
        Any Cafe Yumm in Portland area (haven’t tried the Seattle location yet).

        Congs on upcoming elopement/marriage!!

    17. tangerineRose*

      It’s a while since I’ve been, but when I was there, the Woodland Zoo was impressive. I even saw a keeper feeding a tiger (there was a fence between the keeper and the tiger, and the keeper used tongs to hold a piece of meat to give the tiger). It’s nice when the keepers and animals really seem to appreciate each other’s company.

    18. Maple Bar*

      I lived in Seattle for years without a car. The transit is pretty good, asterisk, rush hour in Seattle is one of the worst in the country and when I worked on major bus lines I sometimes had to wait for several buses in a row to pass because they were literally too packed for anyone else to get on. And calling an Uber will not help because the traffic is so deadlocked that you won’t be able to move anyway. So plan around that for sure.

    19. Donkey Hotey*

      Welcome to the Emerald City. When i was working downtown, I loved wandering around and pointing the tourists places.

      most all the other locals have filled in your dance card, but two recommendations I didn’t see:
      1- International District. It’s one of the last living breathing Chinatowns left and a fun place to eat/shop.
      2- Take a ferry ride. The Bremerton and Bainbridge Island ferries leave from downtown, give you a gorgeous view of the area, and have fun smaller places on the other end.

      I’ll also be the bearer of bad news in that we don’t get as much rain as people think we do.

      And finally, to amplify what others have mentioned: Seattle is a great city AND you must bring a healthy dose of situational awareness with you. Keep your head up, keep one ear open, and don’t stop unless it’s your intention to stop.

  8. sewsandreads*

    The sad brain fatigue has hit hard today and I’m finding myself pretty useless. I’m trying to remind myself that getting up and eating toast before falling back into bed was an achievement, but for someone who always feels the need to “do”, I struggle with this part of depression big time.
    So, for those in the same boat… what do you do for little victories?

    1. Still sleepy*

      I don’t usually recommend social media, but there are some days where it’s comforting to scroll through my heavily anti-work/ anti-capitalist instagram feed to reminded that my value as a human is not in my productivity! Being a contributing member of society is so much bigger than what I can “achieve” every day , and it starts with taking care of myself! We all deserve a society based on care! Sometimes toast and bed is just what you need. In fact, why not toast in bed?
      I highly recommend following Upstream podcast on Instagram for some good memes. FuckyouIquit is also good in a different way.

    2. Cats and Hiking*

      When I feel like this, I play a “game” called 5 things. I have to go do 5 things. They can be anything. For example, my 5 things might just be: change my clothes, brush my teeth, drink a glass of water, pet my cat, take a nap. And somehow, I feel better by naming my tasks and feeling like I completed 5 different things. I’m not sure why but it helps with me feeling guilty or bad about it days like that.

    3. Tib*

      What if you consider your bed time as healing time. If you had the flu it would be expected that you would rest as much as possible. So think of this time as having brain flu and you are recuperating. And when I’m that sick I always consider wanting to do something as a sign of recovering even if I don’t have the energy to actually do it. I also can’t spend too much time in bed ever because if affects my sleep. When I’m sick I hang out on the couch during the day. Is there a different spot you could spend your day and still comfortably do what you’d do in bed?

      When I’m having trouble doing what I want to do I rewrite my list to include what I’m actually doing. so when I had a newborn my list started to include taking a shower because that was no longer a given. And when I got to take one I celebrated it as an accomplishment.

    4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      i forgot to use my jar. it’s a regular jar but you put papers where nice things that happen are written on them. when you fill the jar you read all the nice things

    5. RLS*

      I know how this is. My first go-to is a big clean and a long shower, but finding the motivation for the clean can be damn near impossible – it just makes me feel so much better when I do do it. Whether that happens or not shower is relaxing and makes you feel like you are taking care of what you can. If you’re in therapy and have any strategies written down or anything it can be good to review those. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

    6. Jay*

      I have a couple of things that just make my depression, well, a little bit less bad.
      -Small cleaning tasks, like dishes or a little sweeping. It’s SO very hard to get myself started, but, when I do manage it, just seeing my environment is that (little bit) much better than it was lifts my mood, as does the feeling of accomplishment.
      -Make myself start an old favorite book, preferably something very funny. Terry Pratchett is ideal for this. I might not get far, but, again, it’s a very, very small victory, and one I don’t have to physically do much to accomplish on a day when walking to the laundry room is an insurmountable challenge.
      -This is one that surprised me when I discovered it just a couple of months ago. Watching reaction videos on YouTube. Seeing someone watching, say, Monty Python And The Holy Grail or Blazing Saddles and just loosing their minds because they’ve never even heard about anything like it before can pull my mind clean out of a really nasty funk. It reminds me of all the times I’ve enjoyed those movies with family and friends, of my own first viewings, and the times I’ve introduced people to them. A few favorites are Nice Dude Movie Night, CineBinge React, Dos Covazos, Rob Squad, or Whimsory.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I love reaction videos to old songs– I’ll be looking these up. thanks!

      2. Forrest Rhodes*

        I watch youtubes of twin teenage brothers getting their first listen to rock they’re not familiar with—like The Police, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, etc.
        The boys’ astonished pleasure at this “old” music makes me smile for hours.
        (Sorry, at the moment I can’t recall their names—but googling “twin brothers first hear The Police” should find it.)

        1. Yoyoyo*

          I love the one of them listening to Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight.” The reaction when the drum solo/beat drops is fantastic.

    7. anon for this*

      Getting up and eating food is a big one for me as well, second level eating food that has a protein or a vegetable in it. Other thoughts: pick up one item and put it where it goes (just one! doesn’t have to be the whole room!), move from bed to couch, take book or phone outdoors (if the weather is nice) instead of cocooning on bed or couch.

    8. marvin*

      I know this feeling. Do you have any hobbies that you can do an extremely low energy version of? I usually find that I feel better if I make something, even if it’s the most basic crocheted square or a mug cake, and sometimes I can get on a roll and take on a more interesting project after. Sometimes I save up the last, easiest part of a project for moments like this.

    9. Old Plant Woman*

      Do you ever just give yourself a day off? I’m sure you are normally very productive, a “doer”. Maybe it would help to give yourself a rest day. Bed and toast are good enough. Then if you’re up for a good book or funny videos, that’s all gravy.

    10. tangerineRose*

      Sometimes I figure I need at least 1 day on the weekend to really chill so that I can be more efficient during the rest of the week.

      1. Sad panda*

        I will write a list of what I accomplished, even if it’s one small thing. Writing it down makes it more valid in my brain somehow.

  9. L. Ron Jeremy*

    Anyone catch the New series “Lucky Hank” on AMC? I found it entertaining. Do you like it?

  10. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Everyone share what you’ve been reading this week! As always, any type of reading is welcome.

    I’m just about to start Sharon Shinn’s latest book, The Shuddering City. I got it right after it came out and have been waiting for a weekend when I’d have a chunk of reading time and could just sit and read.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I just re-listened to Chemistry by Weike Wang and really enjoyed it. I didn’t remember it very well from the first time around (sometimes I forget to keep paying attention to audiobooks, lol) but gave it 4 stars on Goodreads back then so I wanted to read it again. It’s mostly sweet and quirky with some serious moments and overall I just found it very relatable and engaging. I tried her book Joan is Okay last year and found it disappointing, so I’m glad Chemistry lived up to my (completely forgotten) original impression.

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      Still reading Either/Or by Elif Batuman, but I’m just lazy and that’s why it’s taking so long. I’m really loving it.

      Also halfway through Why We Sleep, which is fascinating but leaves you guilt-stricken at all the sleep you haven’t gotten.

      1. Decidedly Me*

        How does it compare to the first book? I read The Idiot, but it never really caught me, so I decided to pass on Either/Or.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          It’s a direct continuation, so it might not be for you. If you like her writing, try her nonfiction memoir The Possessed, about her studying ancient Middle Eastern poetry and Russian literature.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Thank you all for the recommendations last weekend — so far since Wednesday, I’ve read Song of the Cell (decent, but not as good as Emperor of all Maladies), both Candice Millard recs (Garfield and Roosevelt), American Murderer, and currently working on Paul Farmer. They’ve all been excellent, much appreciated!!

      1. word nerd*

        Yeah, I agree with you about Song of the Cell! Re: Paul Farmer, I went to Harvard Medical School, and there was a huge outpouring of love/articles/new scholarships in his name after he died last year. I went to several of his talks while I was in school, where he seemed pretty unassuming in person, and it’s amazing all that he was able to accomplish.

    4. Bluebell*

      Last week I read Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah, a very pleasant nonfiction that details her travels trying classics such as cassoulet and raclette. Yummy! Tried to read Kunstlers in Paradise but it felt sloggy, so I’ve moved on to Parini Shroff’s The Bandit Queens, and I’m enjoying it so far. Main character is an Indian woman in her 30s whose husband left her, but the village thinks she offed him.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Bandit Queens: isn’t this the book where not only does the village think she killed him and other women come to her wanting help killing their husbands? I’ve been wanting to read that: sounds just quirky enough to appeal to me.

    5. Broken scones*

      I recently finished Half of a Soul by Olivia Atwater and it was delightful. Now I’m on The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews and so far, so good!

    6. germank106*

      Working on “The Borgias” by Jean Plaidy. It’s a two novel set and I’m about two thirds done with the first one and getting a bit bored. Not sure if I will finish this one. I do have Ivan Doig’s “The whistling season” waiting in the wings in case I don’t.

      1. Atheist Nun*

        I am halfway through Paul Strathern’s recent nonfiction book, The Borgias: Power and Fortune, and I like that he writes in short, action packed chapters that always include a salacious tidbit or two (there are so many to choose from with these folks). The book reads almost like fiction–gawd, if only!–because the author omits pesky nonfiction traditions like “citing sources” (I guess the notes section will be extensive?). I am not bored yet, although the constant scrimmages for control of Italy sometimes confuse me.

    7. Jackalope*

      Okay, it’s now ridiculously late and I will regret this tomorrow, but I’ve finished The Shuddering City, and loved it. It had fun characters, an interesting plot line, a good Saving the World story (which doesn’t happen in ALL fantasy these days, but is still a common theme), and I just like her writing. Plus there was a plot twist that was hidden in plain sight that I didn’t figure out until close to the end, and I enjoy being surprised like that.

    8. Teapot Translator*

      I read Station Eternity by Mur Lafferty. It was so much fun! I devoured it in two days.

    9. The OG Sleepless*

      Finally getting to Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel, and it’s quite good.

      1. carcinization*

        I’ve been meaning to read that too! I should see if they have it at the library, thanks for the reminder!

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ve been reading Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (The Martian) and really enjoying it. Dude wakes up on a spaceship with spotty memory and has to figure out what’s going on. Halfway through, so can’t comment on whether he sticks the landing.

      1. No Name Yet*

        I enjoyed the Martian, but I think I liked Project Hail Mary even better – how he doesn’t know what he doesn’t know is really interesting to watch unfold!

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        The landing was stuck! Highly recommend for anyone who enjoyed The Martian–lots of scientist/engineer tries to solve problem.

    11. PhyllisB*

      I just finished The Twelve Topsy-Turvy Very Messy Days of Christmas by James Patterson and Tad Safran. It was SO FUNNY!! Don’t want to give anything away, but if you read and liked John Grisham’s book Skipping Christmas, you will love this one.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I have a big pile of Christmas reading every year and am always looking to add to it–just put both of these in my Amazon list!

    12. Bunny Girl*

      I’m re-reading an old favorite – Duma Key by Stephen King. I also just received the book Pearls of Wisdom by the Opossum Lady. I am excited to dive into that one. Especially because I thumbed through it and caught a chapter entitled “Pros and Cons of Possums as Service Animals.”

    13. Weaver, reader of almost everything*

      Just finished A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna. Really good, but I liked her The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches even more.

    14. Oysters and Gender Freedom*

      I’m reading (listening to) Our Mutual Friend. I mean, it’s Dickens. He’s in love with his rhetorical flourishes, he has a strange and idealized picture of women, so much so that for a little while, not paying attention, I got mixed up and thought it was a different man obsessing about a different woman rather than the one we were currently engaged with, and he thinks it’s a great idea for one character to manipulate another for their own good. But what really strikes me, having recently read some darker Trollope, is how Dickens also portrays the marriage market as incredibly grim for women. Not just that marriage can be difficult but also that getting there can be so brutal and deceptive.

      It’s interesting that it’s simultaneously so idealized and so exposed.

    15. Indolent Libertine*

      I’m reading the Slow Horses series by Mick Herron, which inspired the current Apple TV series of the same name. The premise is that there’s a dusty corner of MI5 where they shove the people who have screwed up or angered TPTB but for some reason can’t just be fired. It’s a spy thriller, but it’s much more character driven than the usual, and the writing is wonderfully wry and elegant and altogether delightful!

    16. Girasol*

      A friend gave me the graphic novel Digger, about a wombat on an adventure, and I am thoroughly delighted by it.

    17. carcinization*

      I’m still in the middle of Muir’s Nona the Ninth and Walschot’s Hench. Both are great but I’ve been reaching for Hench more lately.

    18. J.B.*

      I always love recommendations from this thread. I just finished The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, and am about to start Spellmaker by Charlie Holmberg. I liked the world building in Spellbreaker (first in that series) about a near Victorian London with magic. I have a book from the Chronicles of St Mary’s on hold about time traveling historians.

    19. NeutralJanet*

      On Tuesday, I finished Didn’t Nobody Give A Shit What Happened To Carlotta, which is about a trans woman on parole after serving 20 years in a men’s prison. I enjoyed it while I was reading it, but didn’t love it, BUT haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.

      I’m currently making my way through Ghost Town, which is about a family from a small, traditional Taiwanese village over the course of the Ghost Festival. The primary character is the son who moved to Berlin to live more freely as a gay man and has now returned home after getting out of prison for murdering his German boyfriend, but we also hear from his parents and sisters, who are all various levels of sad, mentally ill, or deceased. I’m reading it slowly because it’s too lovely to rush through.

    20. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

      I’m currently reading Index, A History of the, and also Nettle and Bone, both of which were written for exactly me. The index book is quite funny (at least to those of us who enjoy academic spite) and well written, though I did get salty when he spoiled an Agatha Christie mystery as an aside. Yes it was written a century ago but I haven’t read all her books yet!

      1. word nerd*

        I loved Index, a History of the! Now I feel like maybe I should read Nettle and Bone since the blurb looks good and I assume you are a fan of Murderbot too judging by your username.

    21. Paused, eyes mid ink-draught*

      Bea Wolf, by Zach Weinersmith (author) and Boulet (illustrator). It’s a graphic novel retelling of Beowulf, aimed at the 10- to 14-year-old demographic.
      I’m definitely not the target audience, but from the perspective of someone who derives pleasure from looking at art to divine “what was the artist’s purpose behind this work, and was it achieved”, this book is glorious.
      Also reading Beowulf (Seamus Heaney’s translation, bilingual edition), because of course I am. A source of a different type of joy, because I live in a world where I can hold in my hand a copy of a text written 11 centuries ago.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Re Bea Wolf – I want to read that one! I love Weinersmith’s work – have followed his deliciously irreverent web-comic series “Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal” for years – and when I first heard of his retelling of Beowulf with elementary-school bullies as the monsters, I knew I’d have to read it!

    22. GoryDetails*

      A quirky assortment, as usual, including:

      Wonderful Life with the Elements by Bunpei Yorifuji, who illustrates the elements from the periodic table – in the form of human figures, with their ages, weights, hairstyles, and clothing varying according to the elements’ atomic weight, date of discovery, group, and most common uses. It’s rather fun in a sometimes goofy way.

      How Iceland Changed the World by Egill Bjarnason is a look at the history and culture of Iceland – plus its sometimes-unexpected influence on world culture and events. (And, of course, the volcanos, about which someone quips that Iceland could be a global power if it could learn how to aim the volcanos!)

      On audiobook: The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway (aka Aidan Truhen), which opens with the protagonists setting out to battle a potentially disastrous fire that threatens the fragile survival of this apparently-post-apocalyptic world. The narrative then flashes back to provide a complete biography of our narrator/main character, through his childhood friendships and on to the gradual revelation as to how the apocalypse came to pass. It’s often surprisingly funny, but also often very, very grim. I am enjoying it quite a lot.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Also: Moominpappa at Sea by Tove Jansson, another of her wildly moody ostensibly-for-children fables; in this one the restless Moominpappa gets his family to join him on a voyage to “his” lighthouse on a remote island – while the icy-death-causing Groke forms an ice floe on which to follow the lamp that the Moomins have placed high on their boat’s mast… [I’m kinda glad I didn’t read these when I was a kid, as they’re often really unnerving!]

        1. Tiny clay insects*

          The Goneaway World! oh man, I love that book!! I actually jumped out of my seat and shouted “yes!” at a particular reveal towards the end. (not the big one, the other one. not sure how to convey it. :-) )

        2. allathian*

          Yes, Moominpappa at Sea was the Moomin book I found most unnerving out of them all when I was a kid. My dad used to read a chapter a night as a bedtime story (in the original Swedish) when I was 10 and my sister was 8. These books are so layered that I’ve read them about once a decade since then and every time I discover something new. Last time I read them was 4 years ago when I read them to our son who was 9 at the time.

          On my bucket list is a trip to Klovharun, the small island in the Gulf of Finland where Tove Jansson used to spend the summer with her life partner Tuulikki “Too-ticki” Pietilä. The character Too-ticki is modeled after her namesake.

    23. Tiny clay insects*

      I just finished “The Riddle of the Labyrinth” by Margalit Fox (about Linear B) and “Conviction” by Denise Mina (thriller involving a podcast) based on recommendations people have made in this thread in recent weeks, and both were great! Thanks to the people who recommended them!!

    24. Children's Librarian*

      Just finished My Cousin Rachel by Daphne du Maurier–not as good as Rebecca, in my mind (a bit of a pacing problem in the middle), but still quite good, suspenseful, and interesting to think about how reading it through a modern lens might change your views of both Rachel and Philip, the main characters, versus reading it when it was written.

      I’m listening to The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman, the third book in the Thursday Murder Club series, and I just adore this series. It’s delightful. The third audiobook is narrated by a new narrator and while she is good, it took a while for her to grow on me.

      I’m also reading You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin. I’m re-reading it for a work book club–I had listened to it previously but it’s good to read in print, too, as there are pictures. Definitely recommend it. It is funny/horrifying, in that the way Amber and Lacey tell these stories is funny, but the fact that they happen at all is appalling and obviously should not happen.

      1. the cat's ass*

        One of my patients gave me “Dark Angel” by Sally Beaumann, which is a really sexy and unsettling tale. The same author wrote “Rebecca’s Tale” which is an authorized sequel to “Rebecca which was very interesting.

    25. GoryDetails*

      And my latest read: A Brook Of Our Own by Marjory Gane Harkness, a woman who became a real estate agent in New Hampshire’s White Mountains region in the 1930s. Her book features many hilarious accounts of her clients (some finding the perfect property, others… not so much), with copious details of how the business worked at that time and place – including many sendings of letters back and forth to determine interest, schedule viewings, negotiate with suddenly-reluctant sellers, trying to convince people of the lovely views when the weather has closed down – not to mention driving up increasingly-rutted, snowbound, and/or muddy roads. Oh, and sometimes having to break in to the houses to be viewed, if a lock is too rusty to open or a seller has neglected to provide a key! She writes charmingly about all of this, and I enjoyed the book very much indeed – though of course comparing the prices from 90 years ago to what that region commands today is sometimes shocking.

    26. Donkey Hotey*

      Just finished No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull and oh my. I’m normally not a horror fan but it was light enough that I devoured it. The premise is strange: he uses monsters as a metaphor for injustice and shows what we collectively have done since 2016. Some fight against monsters, some fight for them, and an uncomfortably large chunk in the middle so nothing. Riveting, compelling, human. and best of all: he stuck the landing for a stand alone book.

  11. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Please share what games you’ve been playing this weekend. As always, all types of games are welcome, not just video games.

    Last night we played Forbidden Island. My husband loves that game but for one reason or another we hadn’t played in awhile. We successfully managed to save the day, although at one point we were a whisker away from losing.

    1. Loredena*

      My gaming group is nearing the end of junior year at East Texas University and our GM said we mostly have loose end quests left as we’ve figured out some key things early. ( paranoia and meta gaming for the win?)

      Next up is Fifty Fathoms Same game mechanics but different world. We are overall liking the game mechanics after years of d&d.

    2. Loredena*

      My personal gaming right now is a recent restart of Skyrim. I hadn’t played in two years so even using the new nexus collection concept that means I’m very much in the modding phase. I already restarted once.

    3. RagingADHD*

      I have been exploring the mobile game options through Netflix. I found one this week called Scriptic Crime Stories that’s pretty interesting. It’s an interactive drama that’s a somewhat hardboiled procedural set in present-day London, with you playing a Metropolitan Police officer (though there are a few odd details, like the player character is a Detective Constable who winds up bossing around an NPC Detective Chief Inspector, which seems wrong).

      It’s not quite as fully interactive as I usually prefer, more like it waits for you to prompt the next section to begin. But the plot and characterizations are very engrossing.

        1. RagingADHD*

          If you get the “good” ending to Redman, I’d be interested to hear your reaction. There was something about the way the reward/validation of the player character was written that came off a little oddly to me in context of what the story was about.

          1. Pippa K*

            I got the grim ending first, then the ‘good’ one as an alternate final chapter. The game has some big ol’ inaccuracies and implausibilities throughout, but the better ending didn’t seem more odd to me, I guess. Apart from the big issue throughout of the player character’s …um…communications? (don’t want to spoil for others), the biggest implausibilities in both endings seemed like the actions of external characters like the Home Secretary and the judge.

            Would love to hear what you thought about the endings though!

            1. RagingADHD*

              The inaccuracies didn’t bother me much because it wasn’t any worse than your average TV mystery in that respect. The thing that struck me odd was how the real payoff of winning the game was less about bringing the killer to justice and more about the outpouring of acceptance & validation from the victim’s friends.

              Which, given the social & historical context it was drawing on, and the community tensions in the plot, seemed…a little “lets all hold hands and sing kum-ba-yah”, which was a stark contrast to the more realistic issues set forth earlier. But it’s minor, really. It really drew me in.

              I think Redman is much better written overall than the second story about the influencer. I still liked the gameplay mechanism and the characters, but the plot was more predictable.

    4. SparklingBlue*

      Finally reached the true final boss of Kirby’s Dream Land 2 after many years of trying! All I have to do is figure out how to beat him.

    5. Porch Screens*

      I’ve been playing Paper Mario via my Switch and I’m really enjoying it. I never got to play it back in the N64 days and I’ve always heard good things about it (I also enjoyed Super Mario RPG back in the day), so I thought I’d give it a go. I’ve also been playing some Fire Emblem Heroes casually on the side and it’s got me itching for a *real* FE game…but I am determined to finish Paper Mario before I fire up FE: Three Houses!

      1. Sopranohannah*

        Super Mario RPG was one of my favorites when I was a kid! I’ve really enjoyed the Paper Mario series.

        Three Houses has probably been my favorite game this generation of consoles. I briefly played the newest one in the series, and it’s kind of been stuck in my to be played pile. It just hasn’t clicked with me yet. I’ve been slowly working through the Persona 3/4 port on the switch recently. Great turn-based RPGs

        1. Jackalope*

          Three Houses is also my favorite. I will say that I didn’t click with Engage for awhile but it’s grown on me now. Not as good as Three Houses but still fun and more enjoyable than the majority of games.

          1. Sopranohannah*

            Good to know! I’m sure I’ll get back to it. If there weren’t such an abundance of great RPGs on the switch, I’d have probably played it already.

    6. Nona Selah*

      we just finished our first round of Everdell, which was really sweet. Of course, my teenaged daughter built the best forest city!

    7. MEH Squared*

      I’m back in Elden Ring (FromSoft). Just a FYI for anyone playing on PC. Two of my three files would not load after the latest patch. The third would load, but then freeze roughly ten seconds later. After lots of fiddling about and Googling, I found out it was the Ray Tracing installed with the latest patch. Apparently, it’s automatically on and on high (!) upon installation. I have a rather beefy machine and would never have thought of that on my own. I disabled Ray Tracing and now it runs fun.

      I still love this game. My third character is now an almost pure Pyro build, which is how I prefer to play FromSoft games (strengthcaster). Funnily, I have not done a Pyro build until now because the rest of the magicks (sorceries and incantations) have been so much fun. I cannot wait for the DLC.

      1. MEH Squared*

        In the second-to-last paragraph, “…and now it runs fun” should be “…and now it runs fine”, of course. But it runs funs works in a weird way, too!

    8. Still*

      So looking at the rules of Forbidden Island, it seems very similar to Pandemic. For those of you who have played both: is the experience similar? Are they different enough that it’s worth having both? Do you have a favourite between the two? I love Pandemic and I don’t know if that’s a reason to get Forbidden Island, or to stay away.

      1. Jackalope*

        In my mind, the two are reskinnings of each other. Just like the game Apples to Apples came out and now there are a ton of games where everyone has to pick a card/do an impression/etc. and one player votes on their favorite, Forbidden Island and Pandemic are both cooperative race against the clock type games where you’re playing against the game and the mechanics. I own both and I like playing both of them so would say it’s worth having both if you’re interested. My slightly problematic experience with them is that I got my own copy of Pandemic in 2019, and then 2020 hit, and my entire group of friends has flat-out refused to play a game about a pandemic. So I’ve played Forbidden Island a LOT more. But if I had other people willing to play it with me I’d gladly play both.

        1. Still*

          Thanks! I might give it a go, to mix things up a little.

          I played Pandemic a ton during the height of covid but I hatehatehate it when covid features in casual entertainment, like books, movies, and tv series, so I get that it would put off some people!

  12. Stripes*

    Anyone have advice for TMJ / success stories? Usually my jaw clicks and that’s the extent of it, but lately it’s been hurting more during the day.

    1. KR*

      So the thing that took care of the clicking for me was getting my wisdom teeth out. It did not get rid of the general muscle pain. Flexural is the only thing that helps me with that since my TMJ is linked to muscle tension. RIP to your jaw if that’s the source of your muscle tension. A lot of people find relief by getting braces and/or Invisalign to retrain their jaw to close without pain, others find relief with mouthguards to help with the tooth grinding. A dentist told me that there are some physical therapists that can do stuff with TMJ too, but I haven’t tried it. Good luck to you.

    2. Enough*

      I had treatment back in 1984. A bit different then most people as I never clicked. One side of my jaw would just pop out of place. Eventually it got stuck and had to be put back and haven’t had any real problems since. But I also have been using a night guard ever since. Talk to your dentist about your issues. They should have some suggestions or recommend someone else to see.

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      A chiropractor years ago showed me a technique you can do yourself to get the tendons/ligaments/whatever they are in your jaw to relax by pressing with a finger on the sore spot, and it really works. I just looked online and it turns out that there are lots of references to it. There’s a physical therapist demonstrating the technique in a YouTube video that’s less than a minute long. The link is in my next post.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I may not be able to post the link itself. To find the video, go to YouTube and use these keywords: tmj day 19 PT month freedom physical therapy. The presenter suggests massaging for 5 minutes but you might find release in less time. If that video doesn’t work for you, there are lots of other sources of the same info.

    4. Teapot Translator*

      I use a nightguard and when I’m in a lot of pain, I go see a physical therapist specialized in TMJ. I also avoid foods that require a lot of chewing or that are hard.

    5. Vistaloopy*

      I had TMJ as a kid, and got treatment for it in 6th grade (early 90s). This was after 4 years of braces (not sure if that caused it or what). I remember that I had to get biofeedback and they made me stop playing the flute. I have no idea if those things helped but it eventually went away and hasn’t come back.

    6. Holly the spa pro*

      I have the worst TMJ. clicking and pain, mostly from muscle clenching but not necessarily grinding so night guards did not work for me. if you are a grinder, a night guard is an inexpensive first step. as another commenter said, there are massage techniques online. if you have an over developed masseter with trigger points, it can be painful to massage, fair warning. another search term in youtube is “tmj techniques for massage therapists” but as someone who has tried basically every option (night guard, massage, PT, dry needling etc) the ONLY thing that has kept the pain away consistently is botox.

      I get it every 12 weeks from my dentist. it’s expensive but the relief is so. so. so. worth it. so if your clicking becomes painful instead of annoying or you get frequent headaches from temporally tension, I highly recommend it.

      1. Lifelong student*

        I wore a night guard for years but don’t seem to need it anymore. I discovered that buying tooth guards for athletes worked just as well as the ones from the dentist at a fraction of the price.

    7. fposte*

      I don’t have it, but I know my massage therapist treats people with TMJ, so massage with an experienced person could be a good next step.

    8. RussianInTexas*

      Never had clicks, but jaw pain.
      Nightguard, avoiding hard foods (kale hurts my jaw!), massaging the areas, and occasional ibuprofen.
      I believe there is Botox treatment available now.

    9. ShinyPenny*

      My TMJ was initially triggered by a really awful dentist a few years ago, but it was not going away and every mouthguard I tried made things worse.
      Finally I realized it was related to how I was holding my face.
      I’d initially started holding my upper and lower jaw apart to avoid accidentally pressing painful teeth together– pain quickly established this new habit. Then, certain masks fit better if I held my chin down and out. That all combined in such a way that, over time, the face position needed for whistling became a major contributor to TMJ problems. Once I figured that all out, I had to give up whistling (sad, because it’s a pain control thing for me– only when I’m alone, I promise!), find a different style mask– and smile really widely whenever my muscles get tight! I guess a big smile is the opposite of whistling, face-position-wise? For my face, at least?
      It’s the latest example of how I can sometimes (after a lot of time, and obsessive observation) figure out what totally normal innocuous thing needs to be eliminated because my body no longer likes it. At least a solution like “more smiling, less whistling” is free! (Although for knee/hip/back pain the solution usually involves buying new walking shoes, or a new office chair.)

    10. Not A Raccoon Keeper*

      I really loved seeing a TMJ physio a couple of months ago! The self massage is great, but nothing like having someone stick their hands in your mouth to release cramped muscles. She also taught me the self massage, and helped me figure out some of the physical triggers that were causing me to clench (related to hypermobility and how I hold my neck, jaw, etc, in my case). Highly recommend!
      (and as someone who also sees a chiro for some other issues, I’d recommend physio over a chiro in this case, since TMJ tends to have more muscular roots than skeletal, and because you need to be careful with chiros around the neck area)

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Totally agree with this. Physical therapists with their extensive training are definitely my go-to as well.

  13. marvin*

    Tell me how to have fun! I have realized that my default is to always prioritize work and chores and other boring life stuff over relaxing or having fun. Obviously some stuff needs to get done but I usually end up running out of time for anything else. Does anyone have experience intentionally setting aside time for fun?

    1. Dry blanket*

      I have learned from my husband that there are times for fun/leisure and times for work/chores. When I get up to do the dishes after dinner he’s always like “it’s time to relax, not do dishes!” This used to annoy me because I like to have the dishes done, but really he’s right. You can have anything but not everything. At a certain point I just needed to accept that I’ll never get all the work/chores done if I want to live a life worth living. Some nights I do need to prioritize the dishes but I try to do it while listening to good music or an audio book or something so it’s still kind of enjoyable.

      1. PhyllisB*

        This reminds me of a story one of my neighbors told me years ago. She and her husband had finished breakfast and she was getting ready to wash the dishes.
        He told her the dishes could wait, he wanted her to come sit in the living room with him. After some back and forth she finally agreed. They had been there about five minutes when a tree crashed through the roof…right where she would have been standing to do the dishes.

        1. allathian*

          Wow, that’s amazing!

          Our dishes just pile up in the sink until it’s time to fill the dishwasher…

      2. Little Beans*

        My husband and I are like this! It makes us more compatible. I’m always like, let’s get stuff done around the house, and he’s always like, let’s go out and do something fun.

    2. Squidhead*

      Make a plan with someone else for a fun activity? If you commit to a hike on Tuesday with a friend, or a movie marathon & snacks on the couch with an SO, it could help you keep the time reserved. Additionally, I do more fun things when I am not at home simply because I can’t revert to doing household tasks. Not saying you have to travel per se, but even “checking out a new shop in the next town over” could help you break some routines.

    3. AGD*

      This is me – I spend almost all my time thinking about my job or my housework. I’ve been trying my best to take at least one day off a week. I actually have a Word document where I save up plans for capital-a Adventures when they occur to me. When there’s a Saturday coming up, I dig through the Word document and pick something interesting/memorable that I’m in the mood for.

    4. Ellis Bell*

      I would probably decide what times work best for you. For me, weekend mornings are about being lazy, reading and doing nothing before wandering out to have brunch or window shopping; I like to get stuff done on weeknights so this clears the weekend, but I do it even if I haven’t gotten everything done! I also think it’s common sense to relax in the evening before bed, so I definitely corral non fun stuff into short time frames. I’m a big believer in Parkinson’s Law: “work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion”. Another thing to do is make plans with people! Even if you can’t get together with a friend for a few weeks, make the plan and get into the habit; you’ll soon have fun stuff scattered over your calendar.

    5. Ally*

      A funny podcast is good! Because it has a set time. I like Conan O’Brien needs a Friend. And you can go for a walk or just sit down.

    6. Lozzapalooza*

      Lucky dip activity pot! I wrote ideas on different colour lollipop sticks and pull one out for inspiration. Because they are different colours, you can choose one that fits your time/energy levels.
      I started by making a big list of ideas and themes to do at home, locally and further afield. Home stuff could be as simple as put on a good tune and sing or dance for 10mins, watch a video online for a new skill (origami, nail art, juggling), or give myself a foot rub. Local /outside – go for a walk, go to the library, go to an independent shop, try a new cafe, go to the park and look for 5 different flowers. Further afield – need to be more organised/ plan ahead but I use this as a prompt to look for and book a gig or comedy night or theatre.

    7. Sloanicota*

      I have something of the opposite (too much fun) so I do think some of this is anchored in personality traits, AKA if you’re high on the conscientiousness score, you’re not going to enjoy my way of having fun, but you’d probably like, erm, a fiddly hobby that takes a lot of practice and feels productive but is also creative (knitting? cooking?). Or board games, which I consider Recreational Rule Following? Maybe something like a structured class, even a paint and sip with your friends? For me to let lose, I love to get to a place where there’s no external judgement or rules at all, just sheer creative play, maybe making a big mess, using your body, and no self consciousness.

      1. marvin*

        Oh no, I feel very seen, haha. But I do think I would like some less structured ways of having fun now that my anxiety is more under control. Maybe that’s part of what I’m looking for, since I tend to be better about signing up for classes and things like that. Thanks!

        1. Jackalope*

          I feel like even if you’re wanting unstructured fun time, it will still be useful for you to schedule it. For example I love to read, and have sometimes scheduled time in busy weeks specifically to read a book. I can pick up any book I want (unless I have a library book that’s almost due back, in which case it will be that one that I read), but I put my phone away and stop the other stuff I’m doing and just read. Having a specific time to relax, including maybe an alarm or timer or something telling you to stop working, can help even if you’re just doing generic “relaxing”.

    8. Jay (no, the other one)*

      When I was working full-time, I realized I needed to plan some kind of activity for the weekend so I really felt like it was a break. It didn’t need to be anything big. Could be a hike, a drive to someplace new, a movie on Saturday night, brunch on Sunday, tasting at a local brewery, dinner at a friend’s. The essentials for me were being with someone I enjoyed and getting out of the house. I am one of those people who really love the planning so I really enjoyed thinking of The Activity during the week and making arrangements. The essentials at home still got done – we had groceries and clean laundry and the dishes got washed. I’m much more efficient with chores when I’m getting them out of the way before something fun!

    9. Another_scientist*

      I had to start adding fun stuff to my to do list. If you are a bit of a planner, this may work for you.
      This weekend, my to do list includes some cooking and cleaning, doing a workout, but also reading 50 pages in my library book and puttering in the garden. Seeing a certain friend group is something I try to schedule once a month. For a while I tried to do one novel thing each weekend, whether it would be an elaborate recipe, a nearby hike, meeting up with friends or watching an old movie for the first time. That helped a lot with feeling like I am carping the diem.
      Another thing that helps is commitments, like the deadline to return the library book, booking a hobby class that you need to attend, or signing up for a sports team or race that you then train for.

    10. All Monkeys are French*

      I, too, tend to prioritize other things over having fun, and have to schedule it in. Connecting to others who share my hobbies helps. I knit and my local yarn store puts together fun classes and events.
      We also have a thing in my community called Adventure Club that does monthly events. The organizer plans something and announces the date, time, and vague parameters, like whether it’s indoors or out, physical or not, or if there’s a cost. Otherwise we know nothing until we arrive at the designated meetup spot. It might be a class, workshop, lecture, hike, or trip to a museum or local business. We’ve even played laser tag. Most of it is stuff I wouldn’t sign up for on my own, but it’s fun doing it with a group when we’re all in the same boat.
      I don’t know if things like that exist in other communities, but they might. You could probably even improvise a version with some friends by throwing darts at a local events calendar, committing to attend whatever you hit.

    11. Person from the Resume*

      I schedule things I enjoy often with people so I’m committed.

      A bike ride with friends versus vague plans to maybe go on ride. For me though, if I have a plan/commitment to go on a ride even by myself I’m likely to do it. But if I think I might do a fun thing if I find the time, I’ll usually won’t because I rarely find the time.

      Does your town have social sports league? Plans with friends (dinner, trivia night, comedy shows, or story telling shows like The Moth.). Hike or walk in the park? Visit to a museum?

      Whatever your thing is but schedule it in instead of hoping to find the time.

    12. FlowersInHerHair*

      I like to go on rides looking at houses, kayaking, target shooting with different caliber firearms, reading, playing games, swimming, going to concerts, window shopping, watching our chickens roam their yard, and sitting still and making myself unclench from the work week. If you’ve ever got the inclination, sit in a sunny room and watch the sunlight move; it happens faster than we realize!

    13. GlowCloud*

      I’ve started explicitly blocking out weekends on my calendar which are prioritised for fun. Like, I might still do dishes and laundry next Sunday, but my main task is to spend 4 hours playing a videogame. Treating fun as a chore in its own right has been the only way to condition myself into giving it enough weight and equal priority amongst my other To-Do-List items. It also stops me from feeling the ‘pull’ of other chores when I’m sat down and trying to relax if I treat leisure as “exactly the thing that I need to be doing right now”.

    14. Donkey Hotey*

      i have had good success with essentially gameify-ing my time off. I write a list of everything I want to do (fun stuff and chores) and roll a die. Whatever comes up is what i do next. (For big projects, I’ll set a timer for an hour before i re-roll.) Once, I had watch a movie on the list and it came up first, so i watched a movie at 9am then kept going.

      have fun!

  14. SingaporeSling*

    Any suggestions for things to do in Singapore? I am so excited to be going. Family holiday with 17 and 14 year old boys – but we can separate at any point – so any and all thoughts would be appreciated!

    1. Cheezmouser*

      We went for 3 days, so I only know the main tourist things. There’s a daily laser light show in the bay in front of the marina towers at sundown that’s fun to watch. Go to the food halls and walk around, see what’s popular. Try the Singaporean crab dish that comes with these amazing little buns. There’s a bunch of shops and restaurants and bars along the quays; fun to walk around for the nightlife.

    2. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Something I’ve done other places is to look for locations used to film movies I enjoyed, or where books are set. It’s so much easier with the web, too. So if you watched Crazy Rich Asians… https://www.travelagewest.com/Travel/Asia-Pacific/crazy-rich-asians-filming-locations-singapore-malaysia#:~:text=Singapore%20is%20taking%20a%20turn,of%20%E2%80%9CCrazy%20Rich%20Asians.%E2%80%9D
      I’m told Singapore is important in Independence Day Resurgence too, but I avoid disaster movies so i haven’t seen it.

    3. Tea and Sympathy*

      Singapore has so much to do, that it doesn’t really matter what you pick – it will be fun and interesting. There isn’t really any must sees that are better than all the rest. I really like just walking around and taking everything in. A good walk is starting at Orchard Road and then walking to the (original) Raffles hotel.

      Having said that, the zoo is good. I hate zoos in general, but I like the Singapore zoo. I also enjoyed the bird park. The Botanical Garden is pretty typical, but it’s a nice place to go if you want some peace and quiet for awhile.

      Also, the airport is regularly ranked best in the world, because it’s so nice and there is so much to do there. For example, if I remember right, they’ve put in a slide – so beyond your typical airport stuff. I’ve heard that the government won’t allow the shops to charge any more than equivalent stores downtown, so it’s also a good place to do some last minute shopping. It’s not worth making it a destination or anything, but don’t hang around the hotel waiting until it’s time to go to the airport. It’s worth looking online for things to do at the airport.

    4. Decidedly Me*

      I spent a few weeks in Singapore last year!

      Here are some things we enjoyed:

      * Night Safari – one of our favorite things! An opportunity to see animals when they’re more active
      * MacRitchie (sp?) treetop walk – there is a shorter and longer route, but it’s a bit of hike either way, but well worth it
      * Gardens by the Bay + Supertree Grove – probably already on your list
      * Sentosa Island – there is a lot going on there; I went to the aquarium and walked around the beaches
      * Haw Par Villa + Hell Museum – really quirky and fun place
      * Marina Bay Sands – if you can swing it, stay a night here and enjoy the rooftop infinity pool; this was a bucket list item for me
      * Art/Science Museum – neat building and exhibits when I went
      * walk around the different neighborhoods – Haji Lane has cool street art, Tiong Bahru has neat architecture, etc. If you google My Community Singapore and go to that site’s Guided Tours section, you can follow them all as self guided tours (complete with info on each stop!)
      * take the ferry to outer islands (Lazarus Island, Sister Island, Kusu Island) – this I didn’t get to do, but had it recommended to me
      * go to the different hawker centers!! So much good food and many have their own focus

      Foods to try:
      * chili crab
      * chicken rice
      * char kuay teow
      * kopi
      * oyster omelet
      * bak kut teh
      * kaya toast (not my fav, but worth trying)
      * chwee kueh

      Have a fantastic trip! I really loved it there :)

      1. Decidedly Me*

        Oh and I agree with spending extra time at the airport. We did this on our way out and it was well worth it :)

  15. I'm A Little Teapot*

    Question for our UK friends (yes, another question from me who is trying to plan the family trip to the UK!). Covid stuff. Should we bring our vaccination cards? What’s the masking requirements/norms? Other covid related things we should know about?

    We’ll be in London, Bath, Buckinghamshire, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh if it matters. Thank you!

    1. Zebydeb*

      We are in collective denial. I don’t know if there are any entry requirements, but once you are here, nobody will ask about vaccination status outside a medical context. Masks are accepted but rarely worn. I wear a mask on public transport and will see maybe two other people doing the same per journey. Similar ratios in other crowded places.

      1. I'm A Little Teapot*

        Well, if it makes you feel any better, the US is pretty much the same, at least where I am. Collective denial is a good term for it.

    2. vegan velociraptor*

      No comment on whether this should be the case, but I see very very few people masking in the UK now – it’s super uncommon.

    3. Not my usual name*

      Masking is voluntary now and rarely seen, but is often requested in healthcare settings and certainly locally, a couple of small shops ask for masking still (sole traders, potentially vulnerable) so have a covering in your bag/pocket.

      However, if you would prefer to wear a mask, people won’t stare/comment.

      I’m not sure on the vaccination card situation at immigration but you won’t need them anywhere else.

    4. InTheUK*

      Nope, no checks whatsoever anywhere, not even coming into the country. (Here they did not allow under 50s to be vaccinated this winter, with exceptions, so, yeah, they don’t care).

    5. Cordelia*

      In London, as Zebydeb says, we are in collective denial. You might be asked to put on a mask if you go into a healthcare setting, but they’ll provide a surgical one if they want you to wear it. I’ve not been anywhere else thats asked me to wear a mask for probably a year now. You can wear one, and no-one will comment on it, but I’d estimate one person in each train carriage to be wearing a mask, for example. Vaccination status is not asked for anywhere (except maybe healthcare). I don’t know about immigration requirements but have travelled from UK to France and back in the past month with no mention of Covid at all. We seem to have decided that it has gone away.

      1. londonedit*

        Yeah I’ve travelled to France and Portugal in the last few months and neither country made any mention of Covid or had any Covid restrictions in terms of leaving/entering the country.

    6. londonedit*

      Yeah we’ve moved into ‘COVID’s doing the rounds but the vast majority of people will have a mild case so just try to stay at home if you’re ill’ territory. Wearing a mask is fine, no one will question it, but the vast majority of people don’t and it’s pretty much life as normal here.

    7. The Prettiest Curse*

      People rarely wear masks (I do wear one anywhere indoors and crowded), but people shouldn’t give you a hard time for wearing one. Also, if you’re on a bus or train and the windows can be opened, nobody will mind if you open them (unless it’s freezing or very rainy), so feel free to do that.

    8. Anon for this*

      As far as the UK is concerned covid is no longer a thing so nobody will expect you to take any mitigation measures whatsoever. I still mask in most indoor settings and I am virtually always the only person doing so. Saying that, nobody has challenged me either (and I don’t care about being stared at). The concept of ventilation as a way of mitigating Covid is also largely unknown in the UK. So, it’s really a question of your personal boundaries and whether someone will open a window for you. Hope you’re not immunocompromised, disabled, older or clinically vulnerable – my fellow citizens would rather you stayed in your house for ever rather than asking them to wear a small textile over their faces for five minutes.

      apparently I’m still angry and bitter about this, who knew

  16. tangerineRose*

    I’m looking for something like a thermos or a mildly insulated container with a lid that’s easy to drink from. I don’t like the big straws that some of these come with – they look too hard to clean properly. I don’t want something with metal inside. I’m looking for something that’s plastic with no BPA. Any ideas? Thanks!

    1. Ochre*

      I’m curious about why you don’t want metal inside? Every plastic vessel I’ve had winds up tasting like old coffee/tea. I think everyone (I exaggerate, but not a lot!) I know is using a big Stanley cup or a Yeti or a Hydroflask these days…but they all have metal. Straws aren’t required with them, but if you use a straw I’d definitely get one of those long straw-cleaning brushes…I think it’s the only way to clean the inside! I’ve seen them in silicone and nylon and in varying diameters.

      For all-plastic, older style lidded travel mugs (lots of options at Target) are probably most common. Does the lid need to fully seal it or just cover the drink?

      1. Ginger Cat Lady*

        Can’t speak for the OP, but I can taste the metal when I drink out of metal cups like that. Yes, even the Stanley mug. And the Yeti. And Hydroflask. Especially when the water has been in there more than 10 minutes. It’s way worse if it’s something like tea or gatorade!
        I prefer a glass container over metal or plastic.

      2. Bethlam*

        Also, you can’t put a cup with metal on it in the microwave to reheat the contents, which my husband does A LOT.

      3. carcinization*

        Yep, that’s mostly it for me, can’t microwave metal! Sometimes the morning is busy enough that the morning coffee is finished at lunchtime! Other than that and the metallic taste weirdness, metal tumblers also are usually bulkier and such than plastic. Sad to report though that Target has been a bust for me for getting a new plastic travel-cup that closes… I’m going to have to look further afield!

      4. tangerineRose*

        I don’t like the way metal tastes. Most of the time, I put cold water in this type of thing so there’s nothing to distract from the metallic taste.

        1. the cat's ass*

          I had a double-insulated borosilicate tea mug (with a plastic lid) and i loved it until i knocked it over in just the right way and it shattered.

      5. FlowersInHerHair*

        Check out Bubba Mug. Ive used these for years and they are great holding hot or cold liquids, come in a variety of sizes and colors. I have 2 of the 52oz kind…i drink a lot of water! FYI, that size will accommodate a bottle of wine…beach sippin. ;)

    2. Llama Llama*

      If you have one, I have found that TJ MAXX has a large selection of drinking containers.

      If not, Tervis falls into your needs too.

    3. 00ff00Claire*

      Check out the Tervis Tumbler Water Bottle, specifically the 24 oz Classic Water Bottle. That style is different from other Tervis Tumblers and it is designed to drink straight from the cap instead of a stray. No BPA and pretty durable. We have some and they do a pretty good job of keeping drinks hot/cold. The cap flips up to open, and when it is closed, we have never had a problem with leaks. Very easy to clean in the dishwasher if that matters!

    4. gsa*

      Yes, Tervis Tumbler.

      And you can get them custom-made.

      The lids have a spot for a straw in case you change your mind about that.

    5. SB*

      The glass keep cup is your friend. I have the one with the cork “handle” which is lovely to hold. It definitely does not keep drinks hot for as long as my yeti & is not as hard wearing, but it does feel nicer to drink out of.

  17. printerQuest*

    I’m looking for a printer that prints reasonably well, is reliable, not all that expensive to buy or to buy ink cartridges from.

    1. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

      I really like my Epson Ecotank printer/scanner. Instead of cartridges it has ink tanks that last a long time. I just refilled mine for the first time after 3 years. The ink was about $60.

    2. Tib*

      If you don’t need to print in color, get a Brother laser printer. There’s always an inexpensive workhorse model. Mine is a HL-22700w and is at least 5 years old.

      1. printerQuest*

        Thanks. Occasionally I need to print in color. For example, last time I had to print a ticket, it was in color. I know, I can put most tickets on my phone, and I do, but I like to have a printout for backup. I do recycle though.

        1. Observer*

          Even when I print tickets, no one cares if it’s black and white, as long as the QR code works.

          It’s worth thinking about whether you actually need to *print* your color documents in color.

    3. Lady Alys*

      Best printer review I’ve read in a while (from The Verge) – opening lines: “Best printer 2023: just buy this Brother laser printer everyone has, it’s fine. The Brother whatever-it-is will print return labels for online shopping, never run out of toner, and generally be a printer instead of the physical instantiation of a business model.”

    4. Observer*

      If you don’t need color, get a lower end laser. H&P and Brother make some nice printers that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

  18. April*

    Any easy April Fools tricks to play on a kid? My 7-year-old is looking forward to it, but I have to work. I also don’t have much of a poker face.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      Funny colored food, hide/arrange stuffed animals in an unusual way, balloons in an unexpected place (like positioned so they come falling out of a closet)

      1. Pennyworth*

        If you put a drop of food coloring in the bottom of a drinking glass it will magically change the color of clear soda when it is poured in. Kids never notice the drop of color in the glass and are amazed. Feign amazement yourself.

        As April Fool’s Day is a Saturday, your could prank your kid by telling him the Governor has decided that Saturdays will now be a school day, to catch up with Covid lockdowns , starting today. Wait until kid is ready to rush out the door before ‘April Fooling’.

    2. Jackalope*

      A prank that I had a lot of success with: if there’s a kind of animal he likes, but some plastic figurines (small ones, an inch/2 cm or so) and then hide them around his room. Try to find random places that he won’t look for awhile so he can keep finding them after April Fools Day. This is an easy option for a 7 year old but you can also use something like cutting out favorite comic strips, writing/printing up silly jokes, whatever would make sense that he would like, and then have at it!

      1. Bittersweet-silver*

        I was pranked in college via printed comic strips from my favorite web comics! We didn’t find them all I think for 4-5 months.

    3. SparklingBlue*

      Turn the contrast on the PC/phone/tablet all the way up, so it resembles a blank screen.

      1. Agnes*

        Not a prank, but we declare April Fool’s backwards day, and start the day with a story, then brushing teeth, then dessert, then supper… and finish up the day with breakfast.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      Can you serve dinner for breakfast? Something easy like chicken tenders.

      This actually turned out to be part of my mom’s nursing school curriculum, not a joke, but 40 years later I’m still thrown by the memory.

    5. Tib*

      Donut seeds. I found a seed packet printable online and filled it with Cheerios. I always like the pranks that are harmless and this one was good for many years.

      1. SarahKay*

        This is awesome! Alas, I don’t know any children that are the right age to try it on, but will definitely remember it for future.

        1. Tib*

          Grown-ups love it too. If I worked in an office, I’d definitely make up a bunch and bring them in. The website where I found the seed packet printable also had some fun “camp” brochures including I think a kids camp for adults.

    6. The OG Sleepless*

      If your child makes their bed daily, short-sheet it. My brother and I did it to our parents once in high school. It was MUCH funnier than we expected, because they were absolutely astonished. I don’t think they had ever seen it done.

    7. Professor Plum*

      If you have multiple boxes of cereal, swap the inner bags around. April fools can continue for a few weeks if you leave them that way.

    8. marvin*

      If you can think of a photo or meme or something that your kid would find funny, you can print a few copies and stick them in surprising places, like inside cupboard doors. I also enjoy putting eyes on things.

      Less kind but easy, if you have a sink with a separate spray feature, tape the handle shut so that when someone turns on the sink, they get sprayed. YMMV on whether the people in your house will find that funny or upsetting.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        We have a couple of Pokemon that we got out of Pop Tarts boxes over 20 years ago that are a long standing joke at our house. Its real name is Polliwrath, but we call it Blotto Fist. We set one in random places where the others will see it, and the rule is you don’t say anything about it, you just put it somewhere for the next person: on top of the coffee maker or the milk, sitting on a TV remote, whatever. In elementary school we printed images of Blotto Fist and put them in the kids’ notebooks to find. Now these days we will text them to each other. My daughter went off to college last year and her brother stuck a Blotto Fist on top of her steering wheel, and it’s still there.

    9. Stunt Apple Breeder*

      Make gelatina de leche, pour it into a glass to set, and serve it at supper as if it’s a beverage. Leave a little ‘room’ at the top so it takes a moment for them to realize that the milk is solid!

      Then top it with a little fruit and eat it as dessert. :)

      1. GlowCloud*

        I love this idea!!

        On a similar vein of “Food that looks like other food” – could you paint a Banana to look like a cucumber, or an egg to look like a lemon? I bet you could have some fun with that.

        My dad once gave my young cousin a potato as a Christmas present – his face was priceless, as he tore off all the layers of wrapping paper and was first surprised, confused, upset, and then realised that all he could say was “Thank you, uncle Nick” and try to look grateful. He got a real present straight after, but now it’s been a running joke in our family that he gets a potato every year in some form or another.
        The following year, it was marzipan painted with brown food colouring to look like a potato. The year after that, it was a Spud Gun.

    10. Samwise*

      My son taped down the kitchen sink spray nozzle so it would spray when someone (me as it turned out) turned on the faucet. Gotta be ok with getting wet for that one. I thought it was funny!

      One day when my husband was playing tennis, my son and I drove over to the courts, gathered up the old balls in the shrubs around the court and filled the front of my husbands car with them. Then we drove home. Heheheheheh.

    11. Bon Voyage*

      Say you made Brown ‘E’s/brownies! (Only fun if the container of brown letter ‘e’ cutouts is followed by, not in lieu of, the dessert!)

    12. GlowCloud*

      My primary school once sent us all out to the ‘Wild’ corner of the playground to look for a ground-nesting bird called the “Lesser Spotted Haggis”. After about twenty minutes of fruitless searching we filed back into the assembly hall, where the Head claimed to have a previously-caught live specimen in a carboard box with ventilation holes and packed with lots of straw. He gently reached into the box, as if trying to scoop up a small creature, and revealed a small banner printed with the words “APRIL FOOLS”. Of course a Haggis is not a bird – the whole thing had been fictional.

      Pretty good as harmless pranks go. I was probably about 7 at the time.

    13. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      I used to know someone who would do food things like make meatloaf in muffin tins and then pipe mashed potatoes on top so it’d look like a frosted cupcake, then serve it with a slice of toasted poundcake with yellow frosting in the middle done up to look like half of a grilled cheese sandwich. Lots of “trick” food options out there if it’s the kind of thing your kid would enjoy, and making meatloaf and baking it in muffin tins with cupcake liners is about the same amount of work as making it the regular way so not too big of an extra effort if that’s a meal that’s already something in the dinner rotation that your kid will actually eat.

  19. Fish*

    Our cats are pretty strange, but they’ve been acting extra strange for the last couple of weeks. A couple of nights ago, Cat 1 had to be removed from our bedroom after she started licking the Icy Hot patch on my husband’s back, removed from the bathroom when she tried to take the patch out of the garbage after I threw it out, and then removed from the bedroom again after she started licking the spot on his back where the patch had been. (He’s worn Icy Hot patches before and she’s never been interested.)

    A day or two before that, we woke up to really loud meowing coming from the hallway- Cat 3 had somehow shut herself in the bathroom. I checked the camera we have in our living room (it can also see the bathroom door) and it caught Cat 1 sniffing the already closed door about two hours before we woke up, so Cat 3 was in there for a while. She learned nothing from this experience and she did it again the next day (fortunately we were awake this time). I didn’t even know she knew how doors worked.

    Last night, I heard the sounds of a scuffle coming from the kitchen. I walked in to find Cat 1 and Cat 3 sitting on top of the fridge slapping each other. Cat 2 was laying on top of the kitchen cabinets, totally ignoring them. She’s mostly been chill recently, but she does like to watch TV. She’s developed a weird fascination with planes crashing, so she likes to sit on the TV stand when I watch Air Disasters.

    What totally inexplicable stuff have your pets been up to lately?

    1. anon24*

      My cat has developed a need to fall asleep to the TV. A few months ago my husband started putting ambience videos on YouTube on our TV later at night as a way to wind down, and one night when I was out late he went to bed and left the TV on. I came home around 2am and found my cat happily chilling on the couch watching the underwater ambience. Now, a few months later, he will come get us after dinner and ask us to turn the TV on so he can curl up on the couch and watch or sleep. If I’m still awake when it automatically turns itself off he will come get me and ask me to turn it back on.

      If anyone is wondering, his favorite things to have on are commentary free Skyrim and ES Oblivion walkthroughs as well as ambience videos from the Witcher and Skyrim. He really loved the Oblivion main quest playthrough, he was glued to the screen and didn’t want to leave his couch lol. I’m dying to know how much he understands.

      1. Fish*

        Awww, that’s so sweet! Our cat loves those Cat TV type videos of birds, mice, etc on YouTube, but she gets violent with them so we can’t leave them on for her unsupervised. We’ve all been enjoying the live shark cam that Monterey Bay Aquarium has- it sounds like your cat might enjoy it too.

        1. anon24*

          We’ve put the BBC Planet Earth documentaries on for him, but they don’t hold his attention as much as the video game walkthroughs. He is our cat lol.

      2. Cookies For Breakfast*

        There are only four things in our big living room that we don’t want the cats messing with. The younger one has clocked them all, and rotates through them with no reason or rhyme. When he just arrived, it was a few weeks of wanting to chew on our (cat-safe) decorative plant. Then it was trying to sneak behind our frames, and knocking them down in the process. Then, rummaging through the cables behind the TV (they’re mostly hidden behind furniture, and the hole they come out of seems to be mesmerising). This week, it’s mostly back to the plant after weeks of ignoring it, and yesterday it was all four together. We can never predict what to watch out for.

        The other cat has a weird fascination with the bathroom. No matter where he is in the house, he’ll rush to the door the moment he hears the sound of water running. If I leave the door ajar while I wash my hands or brush my teeth, he’ll be sat on the toilet cover, watching, in no time.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I have 2 kittens, about 6 and 7 months old. Both have recently been FASCINATED with the closets. One is going after clothes, the other is just going after the pull chain for the light but clothes will be collateral damage, so they are kept out of the closet. Sorry, but I don’t need them destroying my work clothes.

      Well tonight, I didn’t see the little one for a couple hours. Went upstairs, heard squeaking from the closet. Guess she ran in there earlier when I put stuff away and then got closed in there. She’s fine, and I’m not looking at the clothes right now.

    3. Damn it, Hardison!*

      There is some remodeling going on at my house, so my cats and I are working from my husband’s office in the basement. Both of them are very shy pandemic adoptees and hide from everyone but us. The slightly braver cat has started insisting she wants to see the new people in the house. She will sit at the door when she hears them come downstairs and meow to get out. However, the one time I picked her up and stepped out to talk to one of them, she bolted under the couch as soon as she saw him. Did the same when she escaped from the room one day. She is the bravest little coward!

    4. The Cosmic Avenger*

      Yesterday we found one of our kittens (we’ll probably always call them that, although they’ll be a year old in a month) playing with a small plastic bead, like the kind for arts and crafts for kids…except we have no kids, and have not been able to figure out the source of the beads! We took at least 2-3 away. She also was obsessed with some decorative pine cones we kept in a bowl on a high shelf.

      Our other kitten LOVES chasing the water in the shower! She’ll pester us to let her do it, then play until she’s soaked to the skin if we let her, then after she licks herself she’ll come try to “show” us how to do it again! And yet, inexplicably, she STILL can be deterred from doing things with a squirt from a water gun.

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

      I posted a few weeks back about one of my wife’s chickens doing Mission Impossible escapes.

      We eliminated all jumping off points and raised the fences and cut some flying feathers; all seems quiet with this demon.

      Now we have another one who rushes whatever door we open to go into the next section. I didn’t notice that she followed me out the door and followed me out to the street when I got the mail from t he mailbox. Now, I have 11 chickens in a pen and one who shadows me wherever I go and whatever I do.

    6. The Prettiest Curse*

      We have a couple of new doorstops that have handles on the top. They aren’t huge or very heavy – so naturally my dog has decided that they’re new dog toys and will let himself into the spare room so he can grab them and run around carrying them till I manage to take them away from him.

    7. NeutralJanet*

      My cat is 8 years old and I’ve had her for almost 4 years, and in that time, she has never been a cuddler. She’ll sit right next to me, but rarely touching, and almost never on my lap–I think that she’s sat on my lap a total of two times. In the last month, she still hasn’t been a lap fan, but she now lies on top of my chest for hours every day. Sometimes I’ll be sitting up straight on the couch, and she’ll actually push me down so she can get on my chest.

      1. CheddarBetter*

        Lol my longterm foster did this, too! He’s been with me for almost 2 years, and he always cuddled beside me, but never on me…until now! And I love it:-)

    8. SBT*

      My dog (2 years old) started waiting for me to “tuck her in” before going to bed. She’ll come upstairs, lay right by her bed, but not get in. If I get in bed, she sits up and whines until I get back out, pick her up, plop her into her bed, pet her and say “goodnight, I love you!”.

    9. carcinization*

      We have to keep the hall bathroom door closed because otherwise my cat will go in and steal disposable razors out of the trash and chew on them.

    10. Saddy Hour*

      I think this is actually explicable but it still makes me laugh. We dog-sat for a friend for about 5 days, a few weeks back. My cats have never met dogs and have less than zero interest in doing so in the future. I kept them trapped in our (huge) master bedroom (where literally all of their stuff is, where they choose to hang out during the day even when the door is open) to avoid any kind of scuffle or undue stress. I took frequent breaks to check on and entertain them and they seemed to adjust to the short change pretty well.

      As soon as the dog went home, my tortoiseshell started standing on me. She’s affectionate and clingy but likes to keep some distance from everyone. I rescued her as a young cat EIGHT YEARS AGO and she has just never warmed up to being a lap cat, which is totally fine. But all of a sudden she would perch on my back when I bent over, and curl up on my hip when I slept on my side. It was so sweet. Honestly I desperately loved it, I’d always hoped she’d become like that. And a few weeks later, just as suddenly as she started, she completely stopped. She’ll still walk all over me in bed (thanks) but no more settling down on my body to be as close to me as possible.

      On the one hand, I’m terribly sad that it was such a fleeting behavior. On the other hand, I’m relieved that she feels secure enough to go back to normal. It was very cute and funny while it lasted.

    11. Figgie*

      One of our cats sleeps on the pillow above my head. And I am used to him taking 90% of the space for himself. What I’m not used to is that he whacks me, hard anytime I cough during the night. No idea why he is doing that, as he never used to. I’ve been reduced to getting up and leaving the bedroom to cough and then coming back to bed, as he is a big guy and hits pretty hard.

    12. Goose*

      We like to go from the top of the fridge to atop the kitchen cabinets. When we jump down from the fridge, we knock open the freezer and mom wakes up to unfrozen food.

      Thankfully my freezer is rather nonstocked these days (and no meat) but still–annoying as heck!!

      1. WorkingRachel*

        Oh, God, mine do that too.

        One of my two cats has started meowing when I’m in the shower, in a tone that has historically meant “I can’t find my sister and/or my human.” Sort of a plaintive yowl. The last couple of times, I’ve nickered until she comes into the bathroom. Once she sees me, she stops. Talking at her won’t do it, only seeing me. It is not a large house and surely she knows where the bathroom is and that it sometimes makes noises when I’m in it!

    13. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Our cats developed a habit of staring at our minisplit air pump (wallmounted). Turns out there’s a mouse nest in there…

  20. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

    Tell me about your favorite sandwich? (Either one you really like in general, or if you’ve had one particular sandwich that was just amazing and all other attempts are pale imitations :) )

    I love sandwiches, but I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut and need to branch out.

    1. CatCat*

      Tuna sandwich: tuna, mayo, curry powder, green onion, dried cranberries, and slivered almonds.

    2. RagingADHD*

      The best sandwich ever was from a little artsy-fartsy coffee and sandwich shop in a beach town in North Carolina, and I am still pining for it over 25 years later:

      Artisan tomato-herb bread
      Hummus on one side, spicy brown mustard on the other.
      Cucumber
      Shredded carrot
      Alfalfa sprouts
      Either lettuce or spinach?
      Tomato
      Muenster cheese.

      I have never been able to replicate this sandwich perfectly, because the bread was baked in-house and nobody else has it. I may also be forgetting an ingredient, but this sandwich was so good I used to get it every day for months on end.

      Second best sandwich is a grilled swiss and tomato on rye (with or without sauerkraut and Russian dressing).

      1. Pennyworth*

        Thick cut, soft, mixed grain bread with a crunchy crust, avocado on the base, then shredded carrot, shredded raw beetroot, alfalfa sprouts and some tahini poured over, then the top on.

      2. Gyne*

        My favorite is very similar! From the cafeteria at the company I worked at in my 20s.
        wheat bread
        hummus
        roasted veggies (red peppers, zucchini, maybe onions?)
        feta cheese
        more hummus

      3. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        On a crusty roll, layer red pesto, tuna (the lemon pepper packet one is perfect), sliced or halved black olives, red or orange pepper strips, thinly sliced shallots or red onion (optional), provolone cheese, a drizzle of Italian or garlic salad dressing, then squish the top part of the roll on. It’s good heated enough to melt the cheese, but also good at room temperature.

        Hawaiian Reuben: Hawaiian or potato bread, honey mustard, sliced spam, lightly browned (or ham), pineapple slice or crushed pineapple (patted dry), green pepper strips, and sliced cheddar. Top with second slice of bread and brown in butter.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Baguette, mayo, anchovy paste, ham, Swiss, tomato.

      Flour tortilla, grainy mustard, smoked turkey, roasted red peppers, cornichons, rolled up.

      Tuna salad made with a lot of lemon juice and chopped sweet gherkins (plus the other tuna salad fixings), on toasted English muffin.

      1. Another_scientist*

        can you say how the flour tortilla is rolled up? Like a crepe? Like a burrito? This sounds delicious and I have everything at home to try.

        1. Not A Manager*

          Depends on how thick the stuff is inside. This is a good homemade to-go sandwich, so if I want to fit it into my purse or fanny pack I like to roll it as tight as possible. For that, I lay the sliced sandwich meat flat on the tortilla, and place the other stuff in strips laid sort of off-center. Sometimes I put some cheese on, too, and then it’s also like little rectangles or logs of cheese, not flat slices. Then I roll it as tight as I can around the filling. If I can, I fold the bottom up as I’m rolling it so the filling doesn’t fall out when I eat it.

          For eating at home, it doesn’t matter so much.

        2. Not A Manager*

          Ooh, speaking of tortillas, lately my first-choice breakfast is scrambled eggs, grated cheddar, and sliced ham rolled up in a lightly toasted tortilla and served with salsa. Super easy and pretty healthy. Sometimes I put in some avocado, but they are super expensive these days and also sometimes too filling.

          That one does get folded up burrito style.

      2. Aphrodite*

        “Baguette, mayo, anchovy paste, ham, Swiss, tomato.”

        O my! I would substitute Cheddar for Swiss but wow, that sounds great!

    4. sewsandreads*

      Tuna sandwich.

      Ciabatta or sourdough. Tuna and mayo mixed together with green onions. Tomato. Goat’s cheese or a bitey cheddar depending on mood. Salad greens. Beetroot relish. Could eat this daily!

    5. Cheesesteak in Paradise*

      Unusual sandwich: sliced turkey, Brie, pepper jelly. Even better grilled until Brie melts but also good room temperature.

    6. Princess Deviant*

      Shiitake bahn mi (Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe). It’s my favourite.
      Almond pâté, shiitake mushrooms for the ‘meat’, radish and cucumber pickles, and coriander and mint herbs. All in a crusty fresh baguette.
      I’m going to have to make this now!

      Another one I like is vegan kebab meat, with homemade vegan coleslaw and sweet chili sauce stuffed into a toasted wholewheat pita.

    7. Clara Bowe*

      Japanese Shokupan, lightly toasted. Thin layer of chive cream cheese (chives, cream cheese a squirt of Kewpie mayo, and dill), thinly sliced cucumber, and a sprinkle of fried shallots right before consumption.

    8. SparklingBlue*

      My go to is roast beef on honey wheat with yellow mustard and Cheddar cheese. Lettuce and pickles make good choices for veggies.

    9. Oranges and Lemons*

      My favourite sandwich of all time was the steak sandwich in the bar at the Hilton Metropole hotel in Birmingham, which I used to eat multiple times over a long weekend when I was there for conventions years ago. I still have daydreams about that steak sandwich.

    10. Emma*

      I had an amazing sandwich in Napa Valley a long time ago, like 15 years. I think it was from the Bouchon bakery?

      I remember it being on a baguette, with roast beef, blue cheese, arugula, and I think pickled onions. so good!

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      1) Wegmans fried chicken sandwich. Really simple–bun, fried chicken, mayo, lettuce–and small.
      2) Local bakery in the morning roasts a turkey breast and bakes bread, and in the afternoon sells turkey sandwiches made from these components. Like a Thanksgiving leftover sandwich, but you don’t need to deal with an entire turkey.

    12. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I love a French dip and there’s a restaurant in Coronado that does a version with turkey and Jarlsberg cheese and it just heaven on a roll.

    13. fposte*

      There’s a cafe in Portland that made these delicious little warm baguettes with prosciutto, Brie, pear, and glazed walnuts. Couldn’t quite replicate at home, probably because our local baguettes are just jumped-up hot dog buns.

    14. Bunny Girl*

      My favorite sandwich is the TTLA from Whole Foods. I have tried to go by mine several times and they haven’t had the stuff for it and I’ve been pretty bummed! Second to that, I have old lady tastes and I love a cucumber sandwich, which cream cheese and fresh herbs on soft white bread.

    15. kina lillet*

      Favorite bought sandwich: Bacon greens sandwich—garlicky sautéed sturdy greens with crispy bacon and mayo. This was on a ciabatta, I think, so there was plenty of room for the garlicky saucy mayo to go.

      Favorite upgrade to a regular sandwich: The extra creamy grilled cheese, which involves squishing some cream cheese with onion powder, garlic powder, and dill (ranch powder would also prob be good). Then slamming that into an otherwise normal grilled cheese and proceeding to get as normal.

      Favorite lazy-gross sandwich: What I call the pipero—it’s a thick smear of cream cheese (there is a theme to what I have in my fridge!) and chopped pepperoncini on toasted martin’s potato bread.

    16. The Cosmic Avenger*

      One of the best things I’ve ever stuffed in my pie hole was a toasted bagel with cream cheese, tomato, and bacon. The combination was just amazing, but I had never thought to ask for it in my first 20 years of eating bagels in NYC.

      One bagelry did an incredible great turkey, brie, and honey mustard bagel sandwich, and I don’t think it would have been quite as good on any other bread.

      And there’s a place called Full On Craft Eats & Drinks that does mostly sandwiches, and their Ham & Egger has egg salad, ham, smoked maple bacon, and cheddar cheese, and I have been unable to bring myself to try anything else since I’ve had it, it’s so good! Google them and check out their menu! (I don’t want to get stuck in moderation.)

      1. The Cosmic Avenger*

        Oh, and I used to go to this little family-run hole-in-the-wall (non-NY) deli right next to my old office and order a grilled cheese with grilled onions, tomato, and ham to have for breakfast at work, another great combo. I guess I have sandwiches a lot more often for breakfast and dinner (Full On, above) than I do lunch!

      2. Fear Biter*

        Yes! This is my absolute favorite bagel application. Bonus if it is on an everything or onion bagel, and the bacon needs to be extra crispy. Now I’m a little sad that I’ve already eaten breakfast ].

    17. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      That reminded me that I get a newsletter called Notable Sandwiches sent to my email. it explains the history of sandwiches from all over the world.

    18. Red Sky*

      A Crockett, CA Valona Deli (no longer exists) had a veg sandwich that I still dream about-

      Crusty sourdough roll
      Cream cheese
      Alfalfa sprouts
      Avocado
      Shaved red onion
      Some sort of italian spicy/sweet pepper
      Mayo & brown mustard

    19. RussianInTexas*

      Favorites I don’t make:
      Reuben, banh mi, shrimp or oyster po’boy.
      Favorites I do make, although not that often:
      good bread + good tomatoes+ Duke’s mayo
      Russian rye bread+ good cheese+ salami, open faced.
      Russian rye bread+ butter+ pickled herring+ sliced onion, open faced.
      the reason why open faced, is that Russian rye bread, especially the Borodinsky, is very hardy, and you can’t easily slice it thinly.

    20. o_gal*

      Grew up in the Pittsburgh area, specifically Monroeville. We had Rudy’s Submarines, a Pgh institution. I think the Monroeville location is the only one left now. I fell in love with their Italian sandwich when I was in high school. I can’t remember right now which Italian cold cuts are on it, and that info doesn’t seem to be on their website. But you could get it cold or hot, which meant they grilled it before adding toppings like lettuce, tomato, etc. For me, it’s just the perfect flavor. Every time I get back to the area I try to stop by and get one.

    21. anon7557*

      I like the sweet Hawaiian buns with rotisserie chicken pieces. then to combat the sweetness a bit I add mildly spicy bbq potato chips, usually the Korean bbq flavor. yummy!

    22. My Brain is Exploding*

      Toast, butter, mayo, lettuce, turkey, cranberry sauce. Grilled cheese with smoked gouda and sliced apple. Almost anything with avocado! I make something similar to egg salad but it has hard boiled eggs and imitation crab meat. And now I’m hungry!

    23. Buni*

      Smoked ham and smoked cheese + mayo on a sweet brioche roll. Don’t know why it works but it does, for years these were our queuing-for-the-Proms sandwiches.

    24. Pippa K*

      My fav bakery makes wee sandwiches on their Parker House rolls, usually curried chicken salad, Brie and apple, maybe roast beef occasionally. They also make what could be the world’s best cupcakes, so a sandwich-and-cupcake lunch is a delightful treat.

      For sandwiches I make myself, I like halloumi/harissa/honey on anyngood bread.

    25. The Dude Abides*

      The Gondolas from Avanti’s (Bloomington-Normal) – ham, salami, cheese, lettuce.

      They make their own sweet Italian bread in-house, and as most of their crowd is college students and their families (the metro has two universities and a CC), the prices are fairly budget-friendly.

    26. Loredena*

      It’s been several years since a local cafe closed but I still remember their signature sandwich. Goat cheese, fig jam, pear, bacon. It was amazing and pear is not a go to fruit for me. I’m pretty sure it was grilled. I know the bacon was very crisp. Served with equally good homemade chips.

    27. Elizabeth West*

      From the cafe where I worked in California:

      Sliced roast beef on an onion roll, with those little green canned chili peppers and jack cheese (I like to use pepper jack–I think they do now too). Nuke it for 45 seconds or you could pop it into the toaster oven until the cheese starts to melt. It was called a Raging Bull and I ate hundreds of them when I worked there. I still remember how to make a few of the sandwiches and that one is a favorite.

      Another one was jack and cheddar stuffed into a wheat pita with avocado, sunflower seeds, mushrooms, and veggies. I make that one a lot too but without the mushrooms bc bleah.

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

      Philly Cheesesteak cooked with diced up pepperoni, bacon and lots of onions and slathered with cheese whiz or mozzarella cheese.

    29. Sparking Stardust*

      Love tuna sandwich, chicken salad sandwich, egg salad sandwich, turkey sandwich, etc.

      My favorite is a sliced turkey sandwich with mayo, sliced Colby jack or other cheese, spinach, and add raspberry or grape jelly!

    30. carcinization*

      I don’t know if this is my “favorite” sandwich per se, as I’ve only had it once, but last week I made myself a really good grilled cheese at home with Chaumes cheese, a tiny bit of good sharp white cheddar, and membrillo (quince paste). I used one piece of bread buttered on both sides and one buttered on only one side as usual (the piece of bread buttered on both sides touches the non-cheese on the inside).

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Membrillo is amazing in a grilled cheese, especially with bacon…
        Pear jam or crabapple jelly is great too!

    31. Sopranistin*

      Our local vegetarian cafe makes a great sweet potato sandwich. We make our own version at home sometimes, too. My husband (meat-eater) and I (vegan) both LOVE it!
      It can be served warm on toasted bread or cold.
      Cooked, sliced sweet potato
      avocado
      caramelized onions
      fresh spinach
      cheddar cheese / vegan cashew cheese sauce

    32. ECHM*

      As a child for lunch every day I had peanut butter and cream cheese sandwiches and really enjoyed them.

    33. David*

      My favorite sandwiches are the hot subs from Hoagie Haven, a little sandwich shop in Princeton, NJ… which unfortunately may not be much help unless you can go there because I’ve never found a way to reproduce them properly. They’re basically cheesesteaks with extra toppings like fries, mozzarella sticks, hamburger patties, fried eggs, or so on, and they come with names like “Phat Lady” and “Heart Stop” and “Body Bag” so you can be very clear about what you’re getting into as far as nutritional value! Definitely not something you’d want to eat regularly. But the flavors go together so well, it’s practically a magical experience.

      Jersey Mike’s (the national chain) sells cheesesteaks of a somewhat similar style, which are decent but do not have the same magical flavor blending. If you’re in a different area of the US that might be the closest you can get though.

    34. Anono-me*

      My child favorite was grilled pb&j with homemade white bread, crunchy Skippy peanut butter and chokecherry jelly.

      My go to sandwich now is a tomato and fried egg on rye toast.

      The sandwich that I am craving is a radish sandwich made with tender spring radishes
      (Slice radishs, layer on a generously buttered piece of white bread, sprinkle with salt.)

    35. Not A Manager*

      I just had another of my favorites, but this is seasonal. The farmers market is open where I am, and you can get good fresh tomatoes.

      Sliced ripe tomato, good quality home-made style bread (I like sourdough, but country white is good too), liberal mayo, and salt.

    36. ghost_cat*

      I think simple is best – my favourites are egg mayo (plain or curried), and corned beef with relish. Another tip I’ve learned is that my husband will forever be impressed if I make sandwiches with roasted capsicum on them – I often pick up a bag of capsicums, roast them and keep them in the fridge for a few days. My Balkan colleague swears by a jar of ajvar for uplifting any sandwich. For inspiration – try either this: https://twoplaidaprons.com/tamago-sando/ or this: https://www.recipetineats.com/chicken-sandwiches/

      Yeah, I like mayo. I joke that I have a fatty/salt tooth rather than a sweet tooth.

    37. Unkempt Flatware*

      The Bella Hadid sandwich that went viral a few months ago is one of the greatest things I’ve ever made for lunch.

    38. goddessoftransitory*

      Curried chicken salad with chutney! I’ll have to dig up the recipe but when I asked my husband the sandwich question he instantly requested for one of next week’s dinners.

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

      My favorite sandwich is smoked salmon, potato salad, hard boiled egg, and quick-pickled carrots-and-daikon (like the kind that go on bahn mi sandwiches– they’re pretty simple to make at home, but I’m lazy and lucky that I live a few blocks from a Vietnamese deli where they’ll sell me a quart container of the pickled veggies for a few bucks). I usually wrap everything in a flour tortilla because it’s what I have on hand and is quick and easy to eat one-handed, but it also tastes good if you want to make it into a Danish-style open-faced sandwich on a dense, dark, sprouted rye (like the Mestemacher bread often available at Whole Foods-like establishments).

    40. A Becky*

      I love a high-effort cheese salad – bread, lettuce, onion (soaked or sliced *very* thin), dried tomato, fresh basil leaf or some arugula, very sharp cheddar. Using a lettuce “bracket” on the bread helps keep things nice until lunchtime.

    41. FACS*

      mufaletta! ideally from Central Grocery in New Orleans. great roll, meats, olive relish. So good, so good.;

    42. Manders*

      I had the best vegetarian sandwich at a restaurant lately and I’d like to attempt to make it at home: Grilled eggplant, piquillo peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, provolone cheese and roasted pepper cream cheese. Served on a hot pressed Cuban bread.

    43. the cat's ass*

      A little grocery store in Santa Rosa has a great deli and my fave sammy from them is: creamcheese on a sourdough baguette, with thin sliced rare roast beef, pepperocini and shallots. I can taste it in my dreams, and sort of reproduce it at home.

    44. Seeking Second Childhood*

      The special treat of my childhood was to go to Jahn’s Ice Cream Parlor for their deep-fried Monte Cristo. Challah bread, turkey, ham, and Swiss cheese, all dipped in pancake batter and deep-fried. served with maple syrup or a deli pickle…and yes they let sweet+savory mixing me get BOTH.

      (There’s one Jahn’s left in Queens, but I haven’t been back to the state in many years and I don’t know if you can still get the deep fry version.)

    45. GlowCloud*

      My school cafeteria used to get sandwiches delivered from a particular bakery every day, and I would always get a Tuna & Cucumber baguette, because there was something incredible about the bread – perfectly crusty, but soft and chewy inside, and the way the pumpkin seeds complemented the crunchy texture of the cucumber, and the balance of tuna mayo meant that it was never dry… I still think about those sandwiches all the time. I have literally never had a better version since.

      The next time I rapturously enjoyed a sandwich, it was prepared by my significant other – I think it was just a soft bap with sliced turkey, salad, mustard, mayo and pickled Banana Peppers, wrapped in foil to be taken out on one of our early dates. It was probably part of falling in love with him, if I’m honest.

      The only other life-changing sandwich was the first time a Subway opened up in our town, and I ordered a 6″ Italian BMT on Hearty Italian, with salad, olives, jalapenos and sweet onion sauce. Sounds lame, but we were still in the Dark Ages with triangle-cut pre-packaged sandwiches, or pre-prepared Chicken Tikka baps at the glass-fronted bakery counter. It really did seem like a revolution at the time.

      The secret to a really good sandwich is, I think: bread that you could stand to eat on its own, something spreadable to glue the bread onto the filling (butter, mayo, mustard), a protein, a crunchy salad, a lubricant (like salad dressing, or raita), and something tangy (pickle or relish). Plus salt and pepper to taste.
      The perfect sandwich is a balanced meal in itself, and should have an ample filling-to-bread ratio that makes it easy to chew and swallow without the need for a drink, IMO.

      1. GlowCloud*

        Ooh, wait! I forgot about the time I was gifted a fancy jar of Anchovy & Olive Tapenade, and I spread it onto rye bread, with salami, and possibly spiced pickled cornichons. A very simple distillation of crunchy, vinegary, salty, meaty, filling – that got me through an otherwise depressing January.

        All of my favourite sandwiches have been about me discovering an ingredient I wouldn’t usually have been able to afford for myself / have thought to splash out on for the sake of a sandwich.

        There’s been a lot of class-based consciousness and explorations of my own self-esteem wrapped up in my lunch options over the years.

    46. Random Bystander*

      I love a Rueben sandwich. Currently I am most fond of the one from McAlister’s Deli (I confess to being equally crazy about their potato soup, so I’m always going with the Choose-2).

      I’m usually too lazy to make them myself, though I will. I prefer Russian to Thousand Island for the dressing.

    47. Me... Just Me (as always)*

      pastrami on rye with horseradish sauce. add tomato. Side with dill pickle spear

  21. Aphrodite*

    For buying I adore (beyond measure) Ike’s Sandwiches. It has a number of locations around southern California. My favorite is #7. I always get it on their Dutch bread which is fantastic! Don’t accept any other bread.

    For homemade, this BLT has become my absolute favorite: https://www.seriouseats.com/ultimate-blt-sandwich-bacon-lettuce-tomato-recipe

    And finally, my homemade grilled cheese. I mostly make the basic with a fine Cheddar but I have a small specialized grilled cheese cookbook. Every recipe I have tried in it has been so good! This is the book I have: Great Grilled Cheese: 50 Innovative Recipes for Stove Top, Grill, and Sandwich Maker

    1. Pocket Mouse*

      OMG I haven’t had Ike’s in about a decade but was just thinking of it the other day! Unbelievably delicious.

  22. Woman in the Booth Behind You*

    I’m in the very, very beginning stages of looking for a new place to live. Looking for somewhere in the southeastern-ish United States that’s large enough for a university so that I can go back to school, and then also large enough that there are things happening or things to do (zoo? museum? cultural events?), but not wildly large (I’m from a Midwestern town of about 20,000, which is way too small and stifling for me, but anything above 300,000 might be overwhelming). Also with current events being what they are, I consider myself fairly liberal and wouldn’t be able to hold my tongue in a state that’s passing the anti-everything-besides-straight-white-male laws.

    Any ideas what towns I could start researching/thinking about going to?

    1. Cat's Paw for Cats*

      I’m going to suggest my hometown of Columbus, Georgia. It’s politically moderate and tends to vote democratic for major elections, and I never had problems finding liberals to hang with. It has a very nice university and museums and botanical garden. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes from Atlanta for major events and I personally think the people are friendly. The metropolitan area is crowding your 300,000 limit, but it still has retained some of it’s small town charm.

    2. The OG Sleepless*

      Athens, GA! I’m from the general area and went to graduate school there. Home of UGA, large town/definitely not a city, large music and arts scene. Close to lots of outdoors activities and an easy drive to Atlanta if you need big-city stuff. GA is politically purple and Athens/Clarke County generally skews blue.

    3. tab*

      You might like Asheville, NC. It’s a lovely town with lots to do, good restaurants, surrounded by mountains for great hikes.

      1. Corgisandcats*

        Seconding Asheville, I moved here 8 years ago and love it. The food scene is amazing and there are always fun and eclectic things going on around town. It does have universities but they aren’t huge, UNCA is focused on undergrad programs, if you’re thinking graduate school WCU is nearby. Asheville itself is extremely liberal but NC is a purple state with a thankfully sane governor currently but there is always the risk that changes.

      1. RagingADHD*

        Alabama’s state policies are slightly less red than Florida and Mississippi, but only just. Birmingham metro area has plenty of blue areas and you wouldn’t need to literally watch your back. But socially and in a job hunt, you would want to be circumspect about your politics until you know who you’re dealing with.

      2. Bluebell*

        I have a good friend who lived there for many years, but she definitely thought she was a lone blue dot. I visited her, but greatly preferred Asheville. Richmond VA is about 225K and I thought that seemed like a fun artsy town.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      I’ll recommend the research triangle in North Carolina. Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill.

      1. AGD*

        This. There are so many people from so many places that it doesn’t feel stereotypically southern at all.

    5. Dear liza dear liza*

      Check out Richmond, VA. Virginia’s legislature is keeping the governor in check, and VA’s rule forbidding governors to serve back-to-back terms means we won’t have Youngkin again. It has a good range of arts, museums, and parks, and a decent airport. VCU is a very good school for non traditional students. And it’s not wildly big!

    6. Woman in the Booth Behind You*

      Thanks to everyone for your ideas! I will be looking all of them up.

    7. Gyne*

      Would you consider the Southwest? Tucson is a fun small city with all the amenities. AZ has historically been fairly red but Tucson is not and the state as a whole is more purple now.

      1. Woman in the Booth Behind You*

        Tucson does sound fun! However, I have family in that direction, and to put it mildly, they are not awesome people, so I prefer to keep my distance from them.

        I wouldn’t mind the northeast, but the cost of living seems to skyrocket (and the populations of cities like Boston and stuff is also huge), but you get too much further north than that, and I’m back into the world of brrrrr cold winters.

    8. Smeep248*

      I’ve been in greensboro NC for 7 years now and I adore it. Close to Raleigh and Charlotte, the mountains and the beach (1.5 hours and 3 hours respectively), tons to do, big enough to feel like a city (with a ton of school) but small enough to have a community and the prices haven’t gone through the roof just yet. Also, hardly any traffic. I plan to never leave (also I bought a house with a USDA rural housing loan -3.5%, $0 down- and am less than 15 minutes from downtown). Downside is you need a car here unless you are living and working downtown.

    9. Aren’t you sweet?*

      Raleigh NC. Or Durham NC. (Sorry chapel hill, too freakin expensive)

      It’s a purple state. The Research Triangle area is pretty liberal though.

      Housing is pricey although not as bad as some places. Couple hours drive to the beach, about three four hours to the mountains. Plenty of colleges and universities. Good weather (except August OMG). Healthy economy.

    10. DWIGHT SCHRUTE*

      I’d suggest Athens Ga or Atlanta Ga! Those areas are pretty liberal but the state itself is very red. However I’ve found a nice pocket of liberal friends here and there are more of us than I expected outside of ATL.

    11. Manders*

      I don’t know if it’s too far north for you, but I love living in Louisville, KY. It’s a blue city in a red state but we have a great Democratic governor. Lots to do but not a huge city.

  23. WoodswomanWrites*

    I’ve participated in threads here about hiking, which I love. Discussions have referenced hikes just for the day. I’m embarking on an adventure in a couple weeks, my first backpacking trip in almost two decades, and I’d love to hear success stories from people who got back into physical activity they’d done when they were younger and resumed many years later.

    Over many years, I’ve backpacked in the US, Canada, and New Zealand, including multiple trips by myself. A knee replacement and a creaky back later, as well as being in my 60s almost 20 years after my last trip, I’m approaching it cautiously.

    I’ve replaced my ancient heavy gear with lighter stuff. The three-day trip, designed for beginners, is an out and back with a professional guide and a small group. The location is less than an hour and a half from where I live and I’ve arranged to drive there on my own rather than taking their shuttle in case I find it’s too hard and need to turn around.

    I’m a little nervous. Wanna share your stories of returning to a physical activity in an older body?

    1. tab*

      I haven’t backpacked since my 20’s, but I’m rooting for you. Post a report when you get back.

    2. Angstrom*

      60ish, biking & hiking & enjoying it. Changes I’ve noticed with age:
      -It takes longer to get warmed up and into a rhythm.
      -Not as quick as I was, but can chug along at a steady pace for a long time.
      -Twinges come and go. Need to be more attentive to what’s minor and what needs attention before it gets worse.
      -I appreciate it more. I don’t take for granted that I have the ability and opportunity to do this stuff.
      -For hiking: Poles are a must for me. Learning to use the straps properly(like XC ski poles) greatly increased the range of motion.
      -Fuel the work. Make sure to eat and drink before, during, and immediately after activity.
      -It takes time to relearn how to dress for conditions. It’s worth taking the couple of minutes to stop and adjust layers as needed.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Poles are great; I was put onto them by my daughter. They transfer some of the weight from your feet to your arms/chest, making it possible to go longer, and help with balance. Daughter and I both found that they were awkward the first hour you try them, and then you get into a rhythm and aren’t thinking about them and it’s a very natural motion.

        For my daughter, this meant on a 20 mile hike they could tack on a 5 mile detour, and she wasn’t worried about doing in her ACL again going down a rocky stretch. For me, it meant I could do a longer hike with my family, and it was like carrying my own built-in safety rail for any tricky spots.

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          I agree about trekking poles. I’ve been using them for years and they make a huge difference.

      2. Angstrom*

        Sometimes I come in from a day out and my face hurts because I’ve been smiling so much.

        The biggest adjustment may be learning to be kind to yourself and accepting that you are what you are, not what you were. That’s ok. Find a pace that works for you and take joy in being out and moving.

    3. Girasol*

      When packing at a higher altitude than home I always found that time at altitude before setting out really helped, even if it was only driving up the night before and sleeping at trailhead.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I’m sensitive to altitude also. I’m attending a week-long event at nearly 9,000 feet in New Mexico this summer. I would feel awful coming directly from where I live at sea level. I’m going to arrive three days early for a couple nights in Albuquerque at about 5,000 feet followed by a night in Santa Fe at 7,100.

    4. The OG Sleepless*

      I’ve been a casual runner for many years, and recently I’ve done some HIIT and hills runs on the Peloton channel, and I felt fine while I was doing them but it was clear later on that I had overdone it…I was so fatigued for 2-3 days. My athletic boss who is my age (55) pointed out that I really need to monitor my heart rate. I keep forgetting that I learned about maximum and aerobic heart rates when I was in college, and 220 minus your age is a much lower number than it was back then, ha.

      I’ve also learned that I have to do a real warmup (something I’ve always been sloppy about) and really take my time stretching.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Good idea about the warm-up and stretching which I haven’t done. I do aerobic exercise and fortunately I remember to track my heart rate based on being older.

  24. RagingADHD*

    That’s a tall order, because the Southeast in general is pretty red, and even when they get purpley turnout for national elections, state-level policies and power structures are pretty entrenched. There are a lot of blue pockets (particularly around universities), but their influence is often diluted by gerrymandering or lack of county level home rule.

    North Carolina has some great universities and was purple for a long time. Trending redder lately, but I don’t think it will ever go solid red with Research Triangle there, the film industry on the coast, and the artist communities in the mountains. There are certainty plenty of places in NC where you wouldn’t need to hold your tongue to get by.

    Georgia went for Biden and put 2 D’s in the Senate in the midterms, though they are significantly redder in state policy. Your major universities (and centers of blueness) are going to be radiating from Atlanta. And Atlanta is big, so that may or may not suit you.

  25. StatsCat*

    I got two new cats a couple of weeks ago – they are 9 months old, sisters, and adorable. When I had to travel for work with the cat that I had before them, I would have a pet sitter come to feed the wet food in the morning and then I would use an automatic feeder for the dry food in the evening. This worked well!

    When I tried to do the same thing for these two, it was a disaster. The shyer cat hid the whole time while the bolder cat ate all the wet food that the sitter put out. They also knocked over the automatic feeder, it became unplugged, and deprogrammed so I had to have the sitter come twice a day to feed both wet and dry food. Since I am new to having two cats at the same time – does anyone have any recommendations to ensure that the shyer cat actually gets fed when I am away? And is there an automatic feeder that works well for two cats? I need to go away again at the end of next month and I am hoping to not have a repeat of this first time.

    1. fposte*

      If possible, I would just lean in to having the sitter come twice a day–it’s not a bad idea to get them checked up on anyway–and to separate them for feeding and then let them come back together afterwards.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      When we first left our pandemic babies (also littermates) alone overnight, we bought a timed wet food feeder that has cold packs, and I set it up and started using it to feed them for a week or so before we left them. They HATED the noise of it rotating open at first, but then I’d get them to see there was food there, and they both ate and kind of got used to it.

      As for making sure they both eat, that’s tough. One of our often waits while the other eats, but even then there’s always enough for the shyer one. It seems like a waste, but one solution might be to start feeding them in separate rooms, then you can buy another timed feeder and put one in each of their feeding spots. We still put down two bowls next to each other, even if we have to split one tiny Fancy Feast can between them, so that they can both eat at once if they want, so they often eat at the same time now, and they’ve kind of picked which spot they want, so maybe start with that?

      1. fposte*

        You can also get the chip feeders that will open only for that cat’s chip. But if there’s one greedy cat the bowls can’t be next to each other or else greedy cat will just stick their face in alongside the feeder’s correct cat.

        1. StatsCat*

          Thanks for the suggestions! I did a deep dive and apparently there are clear boxes that you can get to put their food bowls in that only open for each cat’s microchip. So they go in the clear box to eat! Unfortunately, it’s expensive so I am not sure if I am there yet but seems like shy cat would eventually get to eat given that she hasn’t come out for the pet sitter yet.

          1. Redactle*

            There’s also an intruder mode you can activate, so if it senses two microchips instead of one the dish will close. I didn’t get them for my last 2 cats because they’re so expensive and I also wasn’t sure if my timid cats would be ok with the noise of the lid opening.

            I eventually got them with my current two cats when one went on special food and I couldn’t face feeding them in separate for years on end. They’ve been great – the cat that was bolting his food has slowed down a lot now he knows it will still be there to come back to and no longer overeats. Assuming we’re talking about the surefeed ones, there’s a training mode to get them used to the noise of the lid opening which worked really well. I wouldn’t be without them now, but there’s no denying they were a huge investment and if I didn’t have to keep food seperate I’m not sure I’d buy them again – paying cat sitter for 2x a day is bound to be cheaper

    3. Happily Retired*

      When I watch my daughter’s cats (all three on different diets, and each convinced that starvation is imminent), I just wait it out, maybe ten minutes. The complete glutton is fed in the bathroom with the door closed until the others are done. It would never work to set it out and go, because he would eat all three bowls of food and puke most back up. (And then eat it again.)

      This works for gobblers. If cats are nibblers through the day, not so much.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I see you’ve met my cats! I have two gobblers. I feed them in separate rooms.

    4. Random Bystander*

      Is it too much to have an option of separating them for feeding times? Maybe, with a sitter, a return after thirty minutes to give them free range of the place again. As long as a litterbox is available in alternate feeding room, it should be all right.

      I have a few cats who need to eat separately from others–my 15yo has an arthritis med in her food, not that it would hurt anyone else to consume it, but she needs to get it; my GI-lymphoma positive boy is getting some really high-grade food (it has a much higher calorie content than other food–that way he can get away with less volume without losing more weight, which is our current holding pattern–the cats in normal health do not need those extra calories).

  26. c-*

    Does music help? I have a songlist I use to cheer myself up on depressive days (only happy songs), but sometimes I don’t have the energy for more than one or two songs, and that’s fine as well. You can pick a song you like, listen to it or sing it, and use it as inertia to get off the bed. Podcasts as background noise can also help.

  27. Teapot Translator*

    Any recommendations for photographers accounts on Twitter and/or Instagram? I love nature photography (nature landscapes and animals), but with the whole AI thing, I’m getting suspicious of some of the stuff I see on Twitter. So I’d love to follow some people who post their own pictures. Thank you.

    1. Maryn*

      I cleanse my Twitter timeline with a generous handful of photographers.
      @JamesMontanus
      @dariusaniunas
      @offbeatimages
      @Colossal
      @museumbums (a silly one)
      @outdoorfreak247
      @ObsidianUrbex
      @TIDPhotography
      @abandonedameric

    2. Elle Woods*

      I’m from Minnesota and follow a few MN-based photographers on Instagram: George Ilstrup (@georgeduluth), Nathan Klok (@nklokphoto), John Keefover (@keefography), Josh Hild (@joshhild), and Mike Lentz (@mike_lentz_nature_photography). Some do mostly nature shots, some do mostly wildlife shots, some do a mix of both, some do a mix of nature and cityscapes. The pictures that some of them have from Thursday night’s aurora borealis display are absolutely breathtaking.

    3. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      @xavibou on instagram. Dunno if he’s also on Twitter. It’s a very unique way of seeing bird flight.

    4. Chauncy Gardener*

      Our own WoodsWomanWrites has her own nature/wildlife photo site. She takes amazing photos!

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        Aww, thanks for the shoutout, Chauncy! My blog has been neglected for a while. I have a lot of photos to add. You’re motivating me to get back to it.

      2. Tea and Sympathy*

        I’m looking forward to reading this. I always enjoyed Woodswoman’s posts under the old weekend format.

    5. The OG Sleepless*

      Oh, and I know you didn’t ask about Facebook, but there is a FB group called Friends of Jekyll Island Georgia. It’s just a group for information about this little Georgia barrier island, but it has some of the best amateur nature photography I’ve ever seen.

    6. Merry*

      I follow Vyacheslav Mishchenko, a Ukranian photographer who specialized in closeups of snails, ants, mushrooms, etc. Absolutely mesmerizing.

    7. Tinamedte*

      Hi! I would recommend Mattias Klum, a Swedish nature photographer who has worked with National Geographic, among other things. His insta is at
      @mattiasklumofficial.

      Hope you find lots of new favorites through everyone’s suggestions!

  28. The Prettiest Curse*

    Which piece (or pieces) of pop culture has over-exposure ruined for you? I watched The Godfather again this week for the first time in years and although most of it holds up pretty well, it was hard not to laugh at all those lines of dialogue which have been quoted endlessly by tedious film fans. (I count myself as a tedious film fan, just not one who quotes dialogue excessively.) And since I was a teenage girl back when the Spice Girls were first big, I never need to hear Wannabe ever again.
    What’s your equivalent piece of pop culture?

    1. CTT*

      I’m history’s greatest monster (or at least the late-2010s) and could never get into Hamilton; I had friends who were very into Lin-Manuel Miranda’s earlier work, so they saw it immediately and couldn’t stop raving about it. Then the friends who are generally into Broadway saw it and then they couldn’t stop raving about it. And then the cast recording came out and everyone else couldn’t stop raving about it, while that first group started complaining that all the people just listening to the album Couldn’t Really Appreciate It And Were Not Real Fans. And at that point I removed myself from the narrative and eye-roll whenever it comes up. (I still got to love and cherish Renee Elise Goldsberry via Girls5Eva, so I feel like I am not missing much!)

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I am also a monster, because the same thing happened with me and The Princess Bride. By the time I saw it, I’d spent a couple of decades listening to people quoting the dialogue and going on about how it was the greatest thing ever, and when I saw it I was like … is that it? If I’d seen it with zero expectations, I’d probably have enjoyed it more. Ditto with Midnight Run, which has to be one of the most over-rated comedies in movie history.

        And gatekeeping fans are the worst. People are allowed to like the same thing that you like in a different way or for a different reason than you like it!

        1. RagingADHD*

          I will say, showing The Princess Bride to kids who are 9-11 years old (same age as Fred Savages’s character) is a trip. It’s more fun watching them than watching the movie, because they track his emotional arc *perfectly.* Whenever he interrupts, they were just saying the same things.

          1. The OG Sleepless*

            Totally agree. Also, The Princess Bride came out when I was in college, and college age kids loved it because it was so offbeat. If I saw it for the first time now, especially with so many lines being such tropes, I’m not sure it would grab me.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yeah I didn’t see it until it was on Disney Plus and was basically like “well, glad I didn’t waste time/money trying to get tickets for this.” SO overhyped.

      3. Grits McGee*

        Oh thank god, there’s more than one of us. To me, the music of Hamilton is unlistenable, in ways that I can’t really articulate. I had a work* friend who would play the cast recording as background music as “motivation” when we were doing big, physical projects, until I had to insist that we turn it off or I was going to have to box papers in another room.

        *We work in a historical institution with ties to early American history, which made me even more of a grinch in my coworkers’ eyes…

    2. Monkey's Paw Manicure*

      Monty Python and Weird Al. I enjoyed them when they were new to me. I’ve since had 40 years of people doing the same bits to death.

    3. Invisible fish*

      The Airplane movies. Gags are okay, I guess, but I don’t think they hold up for multiple viewings, and I just seem to have met people who think it’s the pinnacle of humor.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I’ve seen clips of (presumably) the best jokes from those films so many times now that I feel it would almost be pointless to actually watch them all the way through.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I didn’t watch Schitts Creek for YEARS because the parts I see get quoted all the time aren’t funny and I was like wow, if this is the funniest thing on the show it must really suck. I eventually watched it and loved it, but I still think “fold in the cheese” is one of the least funny bits.

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      Oh, it’s not really ruined but I was also going to add that when I saw As You Like It live, everyone laughed out loud at the “all the world’s a stage” line. It must be so hard as an actor to deliver that one knowing everyone’s heard it a thousand times out of context! It ends up feeling like they’re making a pop culture reference instead of performing the original script.

    6. Helvetica*

      I can hardly watch anything that becomes super well-known and over exposed because my brain loves being contradictory and I am extremely resistant to peer pressure, so the more people tell me to watch something, I will not.
      I did not watch Friends until 2020 when it was on Netflix and I had nothing to do. And I thought it was fine but like you say, I knew soooo much about it that I just felt it difficult to actually take it seriously.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I can relate so much. My extreme example is that I’ve never watched Titanic, because it was released when I was around 10, and I got fed up with all the girls at school swooning over young Leonardo DiCaprio. And now, over 20 years later…I still haven’t seen it, or felt the need to give it a go.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I agree with Penn Jillette: “You know going in that the boat sinks, and the rest of the movie’s even more predictable then that.”

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          Yeah, you’re not really missing anything with Titanic. It’s so overblown and over-long that I spent at least half of the running time rooting for the ship to finally freaking sink.

          1. MEH Squared*

            Same. I went into it knowing I would not like it, but was pushed into seeing it by the same guy who dumped me for not likeing Pulp Fiction–which I had told him I would not like beforehand as well.

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I felt that way about M*A*S*H for a while. Although it’s my favorite TV show of all time, it was repeated ad infinitum in syndication for years, and I’d seen them all when they were new as well. I had to take a break.

      Recently I started rewatching it on Hulu and it’s been long enough that my favorite bits are still funny, and I’m noticing things I didn’t see the first few hundred times. I thought I’d remember it as sexist or not PC even though it’s set in the 1950s and started in the 1970s, but the women have more agency than I remembered and racism is mostly attributable to despicable characters or to the time period. The dramatic moments have held up well.

    8. Chaordic One*

      I’m old enough to remember when, as a child, Star Trek (the original TV show) was on prime time. I loved it as a child. I loved TNG and the other TV show sequels and the movies. I loved Star Wars. I loved Dr. Who. I don’t hate them. I still like them. But now I’m kind of burnt out on them all. Beam me up, Scotty.

    9. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m completely Star Wars-ed out.

      I watched the original trilogy + prequels as a child, and as with most films, didn’t feel the need to see them again. The recent wave of new movies and TV spin-offs, and endless conversations on social media, made it all too much for me. I watched the newest cinema releases, but didn’t feel any desire to engage any further beyond those, so skipped everything that came out on TV. I’d say I can keep my interest up for short periods, but these days it feels like Star Wars demands that people are enthusiasts all the time.

      Also, the irony: my long-term partner is a die-hard, all-watching, all-playing, endless-source-of-trivia type fan.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I saw the original Star Wars in the theater when I was 10 and I liked it fine. Didn’t love it, didn’t see the rest of them until they had been out for years, liked them ok too. The first one is still, to me, the standard hero’s-journey story with some odd costumes.

      2. RagingADHD*

        I never saw any of the prequels until recently, and found Phantom Menace pretty much unwatchable. I do like the way Mandalorian and Andor took the world and developed it in completely different directions that aren’t just about the Jedi and the Skywalkers.

      3. The Prettiest Curse*

        My husband was 14 when the original Star Wars came out and he saw it on the big screen at least 10 times. He has never seen any of the sequels more than once and as an adult is a die-hard Trek fan, so apparently he just Star Wars’d himself out with the original!

      4. allathian*

        I’ve been a huge SW fan since the early 80s. I borrowed a friend’s comics when I was a kid. I first saw the original movies on VHS a few years later as a teenager. My parents never were moviegoers, so I missed out on seeing them as a kid. The prequels were meh, although I can enjoy them now for what they are. The sequels feel like the same story re-told, although I can enjoy those as well. The Mandalorian is my favorite of the live-action shows, although I’ve seen all of those and some of the animated ones. I must admit, though, that I’m a bit sick of angsty Anakin and emo Darth. Their story has been told often enough that I’m done. I’ll probably watch Ahsoka when it comes out because I love her as a character and Rosario Dawson’s portrayal of her as well, but I’m not anticipating it the way I felt about The Mandalorian. I just hope that they’ll have the sense to leave the Skywalkers alone after Ahsoka, but… Andor is also great, partly at least because Diego Luna portrays the most charming character in the franchise since Harrison Ford’s Han Solo, YMMV.

        Admittedly I feel this way about Marvel. Some of it is good, but I’ve given up on keeping track of all of it. I really enjoyed Ms. Marvel last year, though.

    10. Veronica Mars*

      I remember watching The Shining in high school and I had seen so many parodies of it (notably “the shinning” in the Simpsons) that it just wasn’t scary to me. I found it hilarious, not a horror movie. The same with Psycho.

    11. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Monty Python TV skits. My high school friends were constantly quoting it but I hadn’t seen any. When they insisted I watch it with them, no jokes were new.

      Later in college I was surprised by Life of Brian and Holy Grail and laughed. And years later my husband got the boxed set and I walked in at the start of Nyall’s Saga and cracked up. Overexposure can be a death knell for humor.

    12. allathian*

      Titanic. I avoided seeing it at the time because I absolutely detested the theme song. At the time I listened to the radio a lot, and found myself switching to another station whenever My Heart Will Go On would come on. Before Titanic I quite enjoyed Céline Dion’s music, but my strong dislike for the theme song carried over to all of her work.

      I finally saw Titanic on a tiny 14 inch portable TV and VHS (!) when I started dating my husband in 2005, and I really couldn’t understand what the hype was all about. I suspect that it would be better if I watched it again on our 70 in TV, but I’m not all that interested in it, TBH. My then-bf and now husband was surprised to learn that I’d never seen Titanic because James Cameron was one of my favorite directors at the time. Admittedly I’m no longer the fan as I was because I don’t think 3D movies are worth the hype and he’s obsessed with them. I’ve been waiting for the blu-ray/4K remaster of the director’s cut of one of my all-time favorite movies, The Abyss, for years, and it’s not on JCs agenda at least until he gets the Avatar movies made, which I haven’t seen and am not interested in seeing…

  29. Seeking Second Childhood*

    Does anyone have (or know of) a not-smart phone that does talk&text with a decent camera? Yes without smart features; the whole point of this would be phone service with minimal distraction.

    1. Bunny Girl*

      I am, heart breakingly, decided to move from my flip phone to a smart phone because my flip phones just don’t last very long anymore. I have AT&T for reference. But I currently have an alcatel model 4052R that I liked a lot. I had the Cingular Flip 1 and 2 and really didn’t care for them. I felt like I had to constantly replace them.

    2. Corgisandcats*

      I have heard great things about the Boringphone, it has the camera and text/call features and little else, but it is currently out of stock. If you’re willing to give up the camera I also have a few friends who love their Light phone. I am similarly considering giving up my smart phone but I am not quite ready to make the leap!

    3. Fit Farmer*

      The smartphone cameras are top notch, not the least because of the computer processing that’s done to the raw image data. A decent camera, for a flipphone may never measure up to what you’re hoping for! I’ve never had a smartphone for my phone though, and when 3G was discontinued I went with the indestructible DuraXV. It’s lasted all right for farm use, though the camera lens is cloudy now from spending most of its life rubbing around in a pocket full of grit.

    4. Observer*

      Almost by definition, a non-smart phone is going to have a limited camera, because the primary reason the good cameras are good is all the computation going on. The second issue is that other thing that makes for a good camera – good hardware including optics, lens and sensor, tend to add to the cost of the phone, and most people who are looking for a non-smart phone don’t want to pay that price.

      Another way to go is to get a phone with a decent camera and then lock it down. Strip most of the apps off there and put a parental control app on there that won’t let you install anything without a bunch of hoops. That will keep your phone from being too distracting. (One person I know who did this, did it because they need to do a lot of texting and the keyboard on flip phone was making them NUTS.)

  30. Loopy*

    I know we cant ask for medical advice here but I’m hoping asking for others experience in a low stakes question is okay!

    I’ve been hugely fortunate to avoid the worst of side effects on medications this far but it seems my luck has run out! I just started one and while the side effects aren’t in the stop and call your doctor category, they are disruptive and I’m not enjoying the experience.

    My question is if people have had side effects abate or disappear after the 2+ week mark. I know this will vary person to person and between medications, but I’m hoping there’s At least a chance these won’t be this annoying for the rest of my time on this! If they persist, I will talk to my doctor, just looking for some hope to get me through the initial two weeks until that makes sense! Has anyone had that experience where initial side effects went away??

    1. Tib*

      I’ve taken and heard of many meds where the initial side effects are short term. I remember researching one med I was taking that had unpleasant side effects and all the messages boiled down to “hang in there, it gets better.” I also took one med where starting at the lowest dose was difficult but increasing the dosage was much easier.

      1. Loopy*

        Thank you for weighing in! This is a case where they are starting me low and going higher to help with side effects so I kind of knew it was more likely when they explained that. Hoping the higher dose is much easier after this!

    2. No Name Yet*

      100% I have both had this happen for myself, and seen that happen in others. It really is so dependent on both the individual person and on the specific medication. (And probably the exact side effect, as well.)

      Also, it super sucks. :( Your plan of trying to wait it out for now, and calling your physician if it persists seems like a smart/reasonable one, since it’s rough but not dangerous. Fingers crossed that posting the question here makes it magically disappear!

    3. mreasy*

      100% have had this with multiple meds, where it will take 4+ weeks for side effects to lessen. I hope it happens for you! And if not, that your doc can find an alternative.

      1. Loopy*

        Man, I hope it doesn’t take four weeks! I didn’t want to get too explicit but some are definitely disruptive. But thank you for sharing your experience so I don’t completely despair if they aren’t gone at the two week mark!

    4. RagingADHD*

      Yes, I have had various meds start off with annoying side effects that eventually went away. Most within a week to 10 days, some took a little over 2 weeks – but usually those would fade or I would learn to ignore it, so that I couldn’t tell you exactly when they stopped. I just realized later that I hadn’t had the side effect in a while.

    5. Anono-me*

      You may want to check the study data for your medication/s to see if there is more specific information about the side effects you are experiencing.

      Your pharmacist or support groups for your condition may have some suggestions on how to minimize the side effects. (I was taking a medication 3x a day at 500 units and sick as a dog after every dose. Found out that I could do 300 units 5x a day for the same medical result and just a little bit queeze stomach. )

      1. Texan In Exile*

        Also check to see if the results are broken out by sex. :( Drugs affect men and women differently. Who knew?

    6. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      I had that happen with one medication, but that was unusual: the doctor told me ahead of time that we would be starting on a half dose, X side effect was common, but would probably go away when we increased the dose. Yes, increased, and nobody seems to know why it does that.

    7. MissCoco*

      It is probably worth talking to your doctor about possible side effect management (depending on the specifics, just to make it through this period). I’ve been on several medications where side effects got better over time, but never as quickly as the first two weeks, usually over the course of months to years.

    8. HannahS*

      Since you’ve omitted the specifics, I feel like it’s ok to weigh in as a doc and offer that it just depends. Some meds have initial side effects that are highly likely to go away within 2 weeks. But also those same meds have other side effects that are known not to get better with time. It’s all a bit of a ballet between that specific drug and your specific body.

    9. the cat's ass*

      I feel ya, both as a prescriber and a mom whose kid just started on a new med with side effects. Most side effects SHOULD be short term. Kid was told a couple days of nausea every time she bumped up her meds, and, aside from barfing (on the cat, of course) once, the side effects have, indeed, gone away. I think 2 weeks in reasonable and I’d totally want patients to check in with me if they were intolerable side effects or weren’t going away. Good luck!

    10. SofiaDeo*

      Go to the health social media website HealthUnlocked.com, and search for your diagnosis, the drug, or both. Join the appropriate group(s), and ask this question there. If this is a common diagnosis/treatment, there may be an entire library in that group,of peoples’ experiences.

  31. Dog Pee on Lawn?*

    Help, is there an unwritten rule that it’s rude to let your dog pee on someone’s lawn? I totally understand that you have to pick up poop, but my dog is big enough that a “full pee” could cause grass to brown, and arguably kill or hurt a small enough decorative planting near the curb. So, I don’t let him pee on anyone’s grass, which is hard in a neighborhood with no sidewalk. BUT, he loves to “mark” and my mom has told me never to let him do that on a lawn or a tree or plants belonging to anyone, because it attracts other dogs and is “gross.” Is this universal? Would you be annoyed to see a dog marking a telephone pole in your yard? A road sign? A tree?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t let my dogs pee on plants that look like they were intentionally planted, but I give zero hangs about plain old grass, and if someone yelled at me for letting my dog pee on the edge of their grass along the walkway, I would give them a confused look and just keep walking without response. (In ten years of dog walking this has never happened.)

      As far as my lawn goes, as long as the walker is staying on the sidewalk and picking up the solid waste, and the leash is a reasonable length, I don’t care. Please don’t have your dog out on a 15 foot extendable and let him run all the way up to my front porch and pee on or eat my flowers. I keep the toxic plants like lilies and such away from the public walkway on purpose.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also, grass doesn’t go brown in one pee unless there’s something else going on — I have a 115 pound Great Dane (she’s still growing) and a 50 pound boxer mix, and except when I had to take the Dane out on a leash post-surgery peeing in roughly the same spot for two weeks straight, I have had no brown grass in my dogs’ backyard for the last eight years. And that cleared up within a couple weeks with no efforts on my part. So letting your dog, even a big ‘un, pee on someone’s grass is not likely to cause trouble :)

        1. fposte*

          It might depend on what grass is being grown and what the dog is fed. I know we definitely had brown spots (it’s nitrogen burn) from my old dog, and with males there’s less of a dose but more of a repeat effect.

      2. Sloanicota*

        I’ve definitely been screamed at by my neighbors for letting my dog just sniff at their yard (not even pee!) so it can happen, but I don’t think it’s a sign you’re doing anything wrong. Some people really hate big dogs. I’m also a small woman so I think people find it fun to yell at me knowing it’s consequence-free.

    2. I heart Paul Buchman*

      No, I wouldn’t be annoyed. I’m annoyed if someone doesn’t pick up after their dog but wee is wee. I assume you aren’t entering private property.

    3. L. Ron Jeremy*

      You might have a bad word thrown your way, but what is anyone realistically going to do if your dog pees on their grass? If it hasn’t been on judge Judy I don’t think it’s a problem.

    4. fposte*

      I’d be okay with built stuff like signs and telephone poles and big old trees. Smaller shrubs are risky, but if you’re walking on the street edge you may not be near enough to those anyway.

      Some people probably won’t like any of it. I’m not with them, but I get the point, so if you get any pushback I’d apologize and redirect Rover away from their yard in future. OTOH, my adorable neighbor (with a big dog) has a planted strip with a sign explicitly inviting dogs to smell and pee.

    5. Ashloo*

      I’m only irked when I find dog poop in my flower beds or someone with a flexi let their dog go 15ft into my yard and didn’t pick it up. I also live in a neighborhood without sidewalks and the first few feet are the township’s for drainage and utilities anyway.

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        i grew up in a house with zoischa grass …no idea how to spell it butvi can say it would get dead spots in hot dry weather for every pee of my female dog. if it hadn’t rained mom had me chase after her with the hose or a watering can.

        I totally intend to teach my next dog to go in one part of the yard, even if it takes weeks!

    6. Bunny Girl*

      Eh. I get annoyed when people don’t clean up after their dog but I’ve never cared if dogs peed in my lawn. Like what are you going to do? I also have a big dog and he marks but I make sure he has a full pee in my yard before we set off so he is basically peeing on empty by about halfway through. I do lead him away from people who have “Keep pets off” signs or have a very maintained yard.

      1. Dog Pee on Lawn?*

        This is exactly what I do (do the “big pee” in my own yard, where yes he does brown the grass in the places he prefers) but then try not to obsess too much about his marking when we’re walking, or else the entire walk will be a battle. I try to steer him to a pole or sign whenever possible. But, I do worry my neighbors are watching from their windows grumbling / feeling disrespected the whole time and it causes me stress. My parents are unusually protective of their lawn, I think, so my norms are a bit off.

        1. Bunny Girl*

          Mine might be as well because we had 6 hundred pound dogs growing up and never even attempted to keep our lawn looking picture perfect.

          1. Seeking Second Childhood*

            I totally pictured Clifford the 6hundred pound dog before my eyes passed it to 6 dogs. Lol!

    7. RagingADHD*

      We do have neighbors who let their dogs mark our mailbox, and now it is a community bulletin board, and I have had several plants killed by wee and/or trampled. So yes, that is annoying and very inconsiderate.

      I would feel the same about a tree because we have landscape beds under our trees and they are nowhere near the road.

      Utility pole or street sign, I would not care. That’s public property and I haven’t planted any perennials under them.

    8. Just a Name*

      We had a tiny lawn that always had big brown spots from pee. We had to re-sod it to sell the place. There’s a dead strip between the sidewalk and curb, can you please use that. Neighbors installed fences to keep the dogs out, it got so bad.

    9. AvonLady Barksdale*

      When I lived in a more suburban area, I avoided people’s lawns except maybe the very edge by the curb if there was no sidewalk. I let him pee on roadside plants. Where there was a sidewalk, I got the dog to pee on the strip of grass between the curb and the sidewalk. I just feel weird about letting him pee in people’s yards.

      I live in the city now and peeing on someone’s yard is pretty unavoidable because so many yards come right up to the sidewalk, but I try to keep it to the edge. It irks me when people let their dogs jump into elevated front yards (think rowhouses) and pee on plants– mine wants to but I don’t let him.

      I admit I am much more lax about this when it’s raining or threatening to rain. I figure the rain will wash away most of the pee.

      Oddly, I do sometimes let him poop in yards because a) he will only poop on dirt, he is a Good Boy, and b) I always clean it up. But even then, he’s allowed to go maybe six inches into someone’s yard if that happens.

    10. Hotdog not dog*

      Best Good Dog is not allowed to pee on anything that likely needs to be touched. So no mailboxes, landscaping, etc. Edges of grass are fine. (we also live in an area with no sidewalks.) He takes care of his main business in our yard before we head out, so it’s just a matter of him corresponding via “pee mail” along the way.

    11. GlowCloud*

      I think that it’s totally unacceptable to let your dog onto anyone else’s lawn unless invited. Peeing is a huge NO, for me. Mainly because it causes brown patches that are a pain to repair and take time to grow back. I’d also be disgusted if someone let their dog poop on my lawn, even if they immediately picked it up.

      People let their dogs pee on my gatepost a lot, which isn’t really “on my property” per se, but is still antisocial and annoying, because then all the other dogs want to stop and pee there, and I’ll occasionally have to step over little streams of fresh urine to access my driveway.

      Street furniture is fair game, but people’s household property shouldn’t be used as a toilet, by people or their dogs.

    12. Random Bystander*

      I do not like dogs using my yard (but then I am very much a cat person). It may be inconsistent that the cats don’t bother me as much. I know the cats do (I manage a small feral colony based between my house and next-door neighbor’s), but they also bury their mess. It does annoy me that a neighbor somewhere is just letting the small dogs free-roam (clearly owned dogs, they’re wearing *coats*!–I think they’re some kind of terrier?) and therefore my yard ends up getting used with no clean-up provided.

      For a monitored dog (one being walked on a leash) the telephone poles and road signs are in the space that is city-upkeep, so while I’d be annoyed, those bother me less than living things (trees, grass, decorative plantings of other sorts).

      1. Seeking Second Childhood*

        I love cats but boy do I hate when they “bury their mess” in my seedlings. or worse in my lettuces.

    13. SofiaDeo*

      It’s more “can they easily reach it on leash” areas that are OK, and not “dog is off leash running up near the house” IMO. And plants that look specifically planted. So e of y neighbors put up little signs, others put up little fences. If you have on of those neighborhoods where there is a strip of grass between the sidewalk and street, in many municipalities that is technically owned by the city, with the lot owner responsible for maintenance/weeding.
      But I think this is a local thing. I know legally the parking in my subdivision can’t be claimed as personal, but there is an “unwritten rule” that you and your guests use the spots in front of you place, before parking in front of another’s house.

    14. EventingForChickens*

      If you live somewhere that has that boulevard grass area (between the street and the sidewalk), my opinion is that the “house” side of the grass is off limits but the boulevard area is fair game.

      In my old place I also had a designated area for business before we left for the walk to limit elimination instances off-property, but we’re in a brand new neighbourhood now so will take a few more months/years before that is established again. In the meantime, I’m having her go strategically on the sod of people who made zero effort to care for it when it went in, and avoiding the sod of people who worked on their grass.

    15. Samwise*

      Your dog can pee on the street. It’s not going to hurt him/her.

      Whereas your dogs pee kills my grass. And for people who walk barefoot on their lawn, or whose children play on it — gross.

      This is why we put a picket fence around our front yard.

      Frankly why is your dog even on someone else’s lawn? Keep it on the sidewalk or on the street. It’s not that hard to do. I’ve had dogs and I have cared for other people’s dogs. Train your dog properly.

  32. Venus*

    Little Joys Thread

    What brought you joy this week?

    My seedlings are starting to grow. Tomatoes and a few peppers with some swollen asparagus seeds thinking about an appearance. The snow is starting to melt and there is a vague hint of spring. I like winter but by the end I’m ready to move on to a life without a thick winter coat and heavy boots.

    Please share your joys big and small.

    1. AGD*

      I was out walking and accidentally witnessed, just in front of me, a pair of approximately 20-year-old friends reunite on the sidewalk just ahead (or maybe they were a couple, but I got a strong “platonic but intimate” vibe). A huge hug that clearly indicated a reciprocal “you mean so much to me!” and my heart melted.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      Hush puppies and fried green tomatoes with sweet tea. I’m visiting relatives in the South.

    3. PhyllisB*

      My birthday was Thursday (72!! Where did the years go!!) But my family is planning a celebration for me this evening. I can’t wait!! Mentally I’m still five years old when it comes to birthdays!! :-)

    4. Bunny Girl*

      I finally finished my degree! I went back to school in my mid-twenties and I’m 31 now and just finished. Going to school 3/4 to full time was rough because I worked full time and sometimes over full time but it put me in a better spot financially. But I took my final exams on Wednesday and I feel so relieved.

    5. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      some ducks were in a puddle and did you know that noodle stopper figures are pretty well made? I got an Anya and it was so cool

    6. Girasol*

      Cleaning the house and opening all the windows on a warm-ish afternoon to let the air blow through. After having it closed up all winter the fresh air is wonderful.

    7. Hotdog not dog*

      College acceptances are arriving, and thankfully included the one my kid was most hoping for! I could literally see his stress level go down as he read the email. It was a tricky one, since it involved an audition as well as the regular application. We’re very proud of him, especially since neither his father or I went to college.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        Oh, I remember that moment so well!! I hope you all can relax and really enjoy the next few months. Congrats!

    8. WorkNowPaintLater*

      Walking out the front door this morning to sunshine and the sound of bees in our tree.

      And the peonies are coming up.

    9. carcinization*

      We actually got money back from taxes, unexpectedly. We have practical plans for spending most of it, but I did manage to order a pair of jellies (sandals) with lilac glitter from a favorite brand (Melissa), so I’m looking forward to receiving those.

    10. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I was in Rome at the start of the week. It was a lovely long-awaited trip, and the flight back was unbelievably smooth.

      Returning and going back to work…not so much of a joy. But I’ve been able to maintain a calm, relaxed attitude for a couple of days (the positive effects of a holiday usually last less than half a day) and I’m proud of that.

    11. RLC*

      The domestic canary visiting my garden is still here four months on! It vanished for a few weeks but reappeared at a feeder a few days ago. Its fortitude is all the more impressive given that we’ve had the snowiest winter in the Sierra Nevada since 1952, including nights below 0° F.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        It’s amazing that canary survived over the intense snowy winter in the Sierras. I salute that bird from afar.

    12. Chaordic One*

      It’s Girl Scout Cookie Season! The Scouts are outside of the larger grocery stores in my town and I came home with boxes of Thin Mints, Do-Si-Dos and Tagalongs.

    13. WoodswomanWrites*

      I had a video call with my siblings a few days ago to discuss our collective plan to financially support our elderly mother for the upcoming year, and we all care about each other’s well-being as well as our mom’s. Today I visited our mom and helped her with a couple tasks that are critical to keeping her in her own apartment in her retirement community. She is upbeat and appreciative. Today I’m feeling moved that I lucked into such a fantastic family.

    14. Seeking Second Childhood*

      As if I needed any more proof that we had a weird winter–our daffodils are starting to bud on two inch stems–about a thumb tall. for some reason this is making me laugh. maybe because it’s the length my kid used to pick flowers for me when little.

      and the bluebirds are back, not in the birdhouse bu5 they’re back.

    15. GoryDetails*

      Had a lovely one today: the view from my computer-room window includes a brook behind my house, and as the branches are still bare I can see it clearly – including a great blue heron gliding down the brook, looking huge next to the much smaller ducks on the water! I always love a good heron-sighting!

    16. Chauncy Gardener*

      Went for my first, very short, walk in the woods since my knee replacement! It was wonderful to be outside in nature after several months.

  33. Traveler*

    Had a question about the protests going on in Paris (not about the politics, just the logistics). My mother and I are doing a vacation next week and Paris will be our first stop. We are arriving on April 1 and had planned to be there 4 days. Everywhere I’m hearing about the protests has made me nervous. Our travel agent and others have said it shouldn’t be anything to worry about because protests always happen in France, and they are much calmer and more organized than what I think of with American protests. But I’ve been hearing about things getting out of hand with violence and vandalism. Does anyone live in Paris or you can ask someone who lives in Paris how things have been? Should we skip this stop on our trip? Should we still go but avoid the big tourist locations like the Eiffel Tower in the Louvre (I heard those are getting blocked off by protesters so people couldn’t get in). We can’t change your flights, so we are flying into Paris no matter what. But our hotel and Oliver activities are still refundable at this point. So we could just fly into Paris, and then immediately head to our next stop, taking the train into London. Or we could stay, and see how things go.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Hmm, I wonder if it’d be better to fly into Paris and then take a train out somewhere a little quieter. I do think there’s quite a lot going on there right now that might be more than you’re looking for on this trip.

    2. StellaBella*

      Bordeaux Town Hall was nearly destroyed by fire because of protesters too it is not just Paris. I was in Paris last week for work and the trash and rats and protests where we were were smelly and difficult but I felt no less safe than usual but it is a mess. I think that after Easter on your way back it may be a bit better but no guarantees. Safety tipnif you go indeed avoid Eiffel and tourist areas and wear sturdy shoes not sandals to avoid accidents that may impair ability to walk away from crowds, protests, rats and garbage. Also check if metros are on strike and beware of price gouging of Ubers if you use those.

      1. Traveler*

        We can’t change our flights so we can’t try and do the back end of our trip in Paris; after London, we’re flying to Ireland for the week and then back home to the USA. So it’s either so Paris at the start of the trip or not at all. I don’t mind missing it with everything going on, we’re just trying to come up with the best options and know what we might be getting into. We’ll stay one night in Paris most likely to recover from all the hours of travel, it’s just if we want to stay the full few days we had planned. Thanks for your thoughts!

      2. Seeking Second Childhood*

        Bordeaux Town Hall was flamboyant and disturbing but that seems to have been a courtyard door. one of those doors sized for horse’mounted flag bearers.

    3. StellaBella*

      Also there are rail train strikes all over France happening too so maybe check the train websites for info on cancelled trains

    4. Unicornucopia*

      I was just in Paris last week and I would not say they were more calm than American protests but I didn’t really have issues. Our main thing was trains and metros would be on reduced schedules but as someone without regular public transportation use, it just felt like that was the schedule. Google and Apple Maps were not great at adapting to the new ones but Transilien was very up to date. Most everything was accessible that we wanted to do (did not see anything blocked off at the Louvre or Eiffel Tower while we were there) but certain streets and bridges were blocked off at times. Some streets were very filled with trash (due to strikes) to the point that we frequently were crossing to avoid it so if you have major mobility difficulties that could be a factor. My trip really wasn’t that altered compared to my previous experience and I didn’t miss anything I wanted to do, and I did not feel unsafe or that I would be in a violent encounter or anything like that, but obviously I can’t speak to all of Paris or how the protests have developed since then.

    5. Bluebell*

      The Paris Tips FB group is buzzing w strike questions, but most trip reports are saying that their trips needed a bit of modification but they still had a great time. And no one has mentioned feeling in danger. I’m going in May, and have a few alternate plans if I need to change things up.

    6. Reba*

      Yeah, I would say there is so much to do in Paris aside from the major tourist destinations, I would recommend that you still go but focus on having more of a neighborhood experience than a greatest hits experience (I always tell people to skip the Eiffel tower anyway lol). I wouldn’t skip it!

      You could visit a smaller museum or two, have a little picnic in a park, enjoy cafes and brasseries, Buttes-chaumont, La villette, canal boat ride, puces, the less-famous historic churches… so many ways to spend a visit while totally avoiding the places like Republique and Bastille, Concorde etc. where protestors are gathering.

      Do check on train cancellations though. I would contact your hotel if you are staying in one for the latest on how trains and metro are running.

      1. StellaBella*

        agree with this too and to be honest it will be fun and an adventure but just be vigilant

    7. Maggie*

      The biggest issue is that all the transportation workers are striking so taking a bus or a train will be difficult to impossible

  34. Ellis Bell*

    Low stakes issue for fellow UK people: is the strict queueing culture disappearing? I don’t get the bus very often these days, but when I used to, it was super regimented. The last couple of times I got the bus nobody was doing the thing where you form a queue and nobody was paying any attention at all to who got there first. I got the bus to go shopping this morning and the person who had gotten there before me was just standing off to the side, instead of leading the way. I said “after you” and she just said “Nah, it’s okay” – perfectly reasonable but unexpected/odd to someone who was taught to move quickly and in order. I don’t travel by bus when it’s super busy, so maybe that’s it? A bit like one queue for two cash machines; people only bother doing that when it’s busy. I just find it pretty interesting!

    1. londonedit*

      I think it definitely depends on how busy it is. Most of the time where I live people do still queue for the bus if it’s busy, but if there are fewer people then they do just get on in whatever order and/or occasionally do the ‘after you’ thing. I do actually think queuing has become less regimented but living in London I’d put that down to the fact that it’s a very multicultural area and many people don’t have the British queuing etiquette ingrained in their psyche!

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah I think we’re catching up on the more multicultural thing which is only good, really.

    2. Nancy in Scotland*

      I lived in London for almost 20 years, and over that time felt that queuing was dying out there (except on Fleet St, for some reason – I used to see queues there; no idea why), but on moving to Edinburgh I found that the bus queue is alive and well here! It’s quite a relief, in a low stakes way!

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah it not that I find not queuing rude or anything, I just like to know what’s expected of me! If it’s ingrained you feel rude going ahead when you weren’t there first.

    3. Laura Petrie*

      Hmmm I was queuing to get into a gig last week and someone tried walking past me to push in. I was somewhat taken aback and uncharacteristically for me, actually said something. Didn’t make any difference but I felt better.

      Generally I find people still queue but I’ve found it has changed a bit since Covid.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Oh my goodness, I was about to say I hadn’t seen any pushing in, (that’s beyond the pale), but you’ve just reminded me that I went to a ticketed gig last month, and even though there was a lot more ladies stalls than usual, the queue for the toilets got bananas at one point. Add in that they’d decided to sell tat to people from within the toilet room and people were just pushing past others in the corridor saying “I’m just going to buy a fan!” and then using the toilet while they were there. It got to the point people were asking security to police the queue, which I had just never encountered a need for before.

  35. Elle*

    What are you cooking this weekend? I’m going to try Eating Bird Foods new recipe for an oatmeal carrot cake. I won’t do the frosting so it can work as a healthy option for breakfast.

    1. Choggy*

      Wow, that sounds good! I have a few overripe bananas, perfect for banana bread! I will be using Almond flour and adding walnuts as well. Will be a great breakfast option too.

      1. Elle*

        The carrot oatmeal cake is fine. It needs more flavor and is very unappetizing to look at. The icing would make it look pretty. I think it’ll be ok this week with yogurt and honey.

    2. L. Ron Jeremy*

      While they cook an old style lasagna with extra mozzarella and ricotta cheese really love the cheese.

      I don’t think you can call it carrot cake without the cream cheese frosting. maybe just call it carrot bread.

        1. Zephy*

          Carrot cake baked oatmeal is delicious, I’ve made a few batches. It benefits from a tablespoon or so of gently-warmed maple syrup or honey poured over top of it after reheating.

    3. Bunny Girl*

      I don’t eat meat but I have been finding myself thinking of salmon lately. I found a recipe for vegan salmon and think I’m going to give it a shot after I’m off work.

        1. Bunny Girl*

          Yes! It’s tofu with a marinade and then you use seaweed sheets to make the “skin.” It looked good and got good reviews so we will see.

    4. Damn it, Hardison!*

      I made a coconut banana bread this morning. That might be it for the cooking – I am trying to clear out the dinners I previously made and froze.

    5. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’m about to get cooking dinner. It’ll be baked salmon with yogurt and spices (a recipe by Sabrina Ghayour that’s also available online), served with sweet potato oven chips (an Ottolenghi recipe).

      Tomorrow, I’m getting out my trusted Dutch oven to bake some chicken with rice. The lemon chicken from the RecipeTin Eats blog is one of my favourites.

      I’ll probably make some black lentil daal to serve with my partner’s homemade pitta, too.

      Really though, all I crave this week is dessert, and I don’t have solid plans for that!

    6. carcinization*

      For today’s lunch I made quesadillas in my panini maker, with pork shoulder left over from last week’s Tijuana Street Fries (Half-Baked Harvest recipe) adventure. They could actually be eaten without utensils for once so that’s a win. Tomorrow I’m making burekas for the first time, I had never even heard of them before, but I picked up a Meatless Sheet Pan Suppers cookbook as our local bookstore was having a going out of business sale, and so far I’m really enjoying the recipes.

    7. germank106*

      The Geezer has become quite the culinary monster over the past few months. He still needs help with handling the knives, but he managed a mozzarella/tomato/black olive pizza today all on his own. He’s also back to baking is own biscuits, since he still thinks mine taste to much like “up north”.

    8. Not A Manager*

      Baking baguettes today. Yesterday I made brownies. This is a bit of a rough transition time, and I want some treats.

  36. Choggy*

    Looking for dry shampoo recommendations! I have such a hard time finding a good dry shampoo that doesn’t have an awful scent, or that just does not work. I like to go at least a day or so between shampoos and I’ve tried different dry shampoos but haven’t really been wowed by any of them. Are there any you like, which hopefully come in a travel size so I don’t invest too much in case I don’t like it? My hair type is normal I guess, it’s not thick, has a wave, and I keep it on the short side, also post-menopausal. Thanks!

    1. DistantAudacity*

      This one’s pretty good – very light-weight:
      LIVING PROOF
      Perfect Hair Day Advanced Clean Dry Shampoo 198ml

      My favourite overall are the Batista ones, though. They have various scent options.

      Also, a key trick is to use it in the evening, before bed, at key points where the greasiness usually happens. The grease does not build up, or at least much less (with just a small touch-up in the morning), and also all scent-issues are avoided.

      1. Bunny Girl*

        I do like Batista ones myself. They have a variety of different scents (or lack of scent if you want a natural line) and they have options for dark or light hair. Plus they are fairly easy to find at a variety of different stores so you can almost always pick some up.

    2. Invisible fish*

      Bumble and Bumble pret-a-powder. Lasts much longer than sprays do, and it enables me to make it through a full week with only 2-3 shampoos.

      1. mreasy*

        Came here to say this. I have used basically everything on the market and the B&B powder owns.

    3. Courageous cat*

      Batista in bare. It can come out pretty strong for the first few weeks (not in terms of scent), so spray sparingly and from an arm’s length until you get accustomed to it. That’s part of what I like about it though.

    4. Slightly Less Evil Bunny*

      R+Co (pronounced R and Co) has one called Death Valley that works well and comes in a travel size. Might be a bit pricey though. We’ve also tried the Living Proof one and liked it.

    5. Helvetica*

      Klorane is great – they have a version for dark hair so it doesn’t leave that awful grey layer that so many seem to, which is a concern for me otherwise. It also has oat milk and I feel it’s not too drying and makes the hair look and feel good. I hate how most dry shampoos feel, even if they look nice from afar but Klorane I can tolerate for that extra day.

      1. Pippa K*

        I hate the feel of most dry shampoos too, and my stylist said it’s because the spray ones have whatever’s in the propellant in addition to the powder. When I tried Aveda’s, which is just a powder you puff on from the little bottle, I liked it much better. The Bumble and Bumble described above sounds similar.

      2. Filosofickle*

        Huge fan of the Klorane non aerosol, works great. leaves some grit on scalp but not that gross coating that sprays do.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      Oh god this is my speciality area; I have a scent sensitive partner, so I can’t do that thing of putting it in fresh the night before to make it more wearable, if I expect to share a bed with him. I also have super thick hair which takes a few days to dry so I do need a little boost between washes unless I want to be permanently soggy. He vetoed Batista on the basis of scent pretty much straight off the blocks, and we got by with me using Living Proof (which has a pretty discreet scent compared to Batista), it works pretty well and goes on quite invisibly so you can apply it in the morning. After a while though, we got into hay fever season which makes him even more sensitive and even the slight scent of Living Proof kicked him off on occasion. I switched to Klorane and I’ve been using it for ages. It has absolutely no scent (he’s basically a wolf and he can’t smell it all) has a really simple ingredient list (if you’re into that). It does go on quite white but brushes in really easily and gives loads of ooomph. It’s significantly cheaper than Living Proof, but Living Proof has a very nice handy travel size, which I don’t think Klorane does.

    7. carcinization*

      I’m middle-aged, with fairly straight, chin-length, brown hair. My favorite dry shampoo is Not Your Mother’s; I’m fairly smell-conscious and don’t notice it having a smell. I don’t know if it comes in a tiny size though. But when I don’t have dry shampoo I just use cornstarch or baby powder… cornstarch definitely works much better out of the two of them though.

    8. Tuesday*

      Swooping in very late, but I SWEAR by the Prose dry shampoo. It’s non-aerosol but “puffs” out so you can still cover more ground than you can with the kind you shake. I have the greasiest hair – I was using Batiste every single day – but with this I only need to use it every other day. I wash my hair once a week and it doesn’t look greasy. It’s a miracle product.

  37. Not what I need at 9 mo pregnant*

    I got into a very stupid one-car accident this week. (I hit a pole while trying to avoid a neighbor’s brand-new car in a tight apartment setting.) My husband and I already pay a ton for insurance because we have a hybrid and are on the younger side. We got a quote to fix it and I want to pay out of pocket with my own money. He wants to get insurance involved. Is there any way to see how much it WOULD raise our rate if we claimed it? My concern is reporting it to insurance and then there’s no, uh, “take backsies” if our rates skyrocket. We have Geico in the US but I’m sure it’s the same for anywhere in the US.

    1. L. Ron Jeremy*

      If it’s not at least five grand, I would pay for it myself because your insurance rates will go up and eventually they will get their money back from you. And once a claim is on your record, it will follow you for life.

    2. Idyllic Gulag*

      Depending on state and company, insurance can be “no takebacksies” if you even ask the question. The inquiry is documented and may be treated the same as a report. If it’s a relatively small cost, a few thousand or less, I’ve always dealt with it out of pocket.

    3. Bunny Girl*

      I just had a one car accident while carrying Geico myself and my advice is fix it yourself. My accident was caused by someone else (I was run off the road by a semi-truck and there were witnesses who gave me their number and I reported it) and they still said I was at fault. I ended up canceling the claim and fixing it myself but I wish I never called them. Mostly because I was pissed that I was considered at-fault for someone else driving recklessly.

    4. KatEnigma*

      yeah no. We made that mistake once on our homeowners – just asked a question, they entered it as a claim, even though there wasn’t a payout, and if you have X “claims” in Y amount of time, not only will they drop you, no one else will insure you.

      If you can pay for it without insurance, do.

    5. Sloanicota*

      I just had this debate with someone. I scratched the side of their car with my side mirror trying to swerve away from someone who swerved into my lane. It was just a good scratch, no real damage. I told them I would pay to repair it. But they reported it through their insurance, who called my insurance, and it became a Whole Big Thing. Urgh.

      1. Ginger Cat Lady*

        I’m one who would do that, because of bad experiences with people who hit my parked car and CLAIMED they would pay for the damage, strung me along and then ghosted. My sister also had someone give her a fake name & number and then take off.
        If you hit me, I’m going through official channels. I’m not getting stuck with it again, and I don’t care if that makes it harder for you.
        I’m not surprised a stranger didn’t trust a stranger to follow up with a promise like that.

        1. Unkempt Flatware*

          Me too and I can’t care how it impacts the other driver. I’ve really been done dirty by people

    6. Maggie*

      Don’t go through insurance!! My rates went up $1,000 per year for putting a claim that wasn’t even my fault (hit by uninsured motorist) through insurance. Unfortunately insurance is basically a scam and only benefits you for catastrophic damage.

    7. Happily Retired*

      Pay out of pocket, and ALSO (if you haven’t already), raise your deductible to the highest amount you can tolerate. If you’re willing to (through gritted teeth) pay $5k out of pocket, you shouldn’t have a $500 deductible.

    8. Gatomon*

      Nope, there’s no good way to know that I’m aware of. I hit a concrete column in a parking garage and went through insurance, it was Geico at the time. It raised my rate ~$10/month and the cost to repair was about $1500. This was 7 years ago though, and that car had zero features so it was just fixing the dents, replace the sideview mirror, repaint and realign the tires. I think car repairs are a lot more expensive now though, so the insurance hike might be much higher than that. I recently dropped Geico because they decided I was lying about how many miles I drove out of the blue and jacked my rate up.

      The real benefit was using my rental car coverage because my car was in the shop for about a week. I didn’t get a discount on the repair for going through insurance, but I believe the rental car was much cheaper for the insurance company than it would’ve been for me, and I needed it to get to work at the time because Uber didn’t exist in my city and there was no viable transit option from my apartment.

      Based on your username, it may be worth considering if you can be without a car in the near future? Both times I had body work done on my car, it took a couple weeks to get it in the shop and a week or two for the repairs. I could see that either being a nightmare or working kinda well, if you’re already expecting to be at home, depending on when you’re due.

    9. Flowers*

      I’m surprised at all these comments. My husband and I have Geico as well, and we have had multiple claims over the years – trucks smashed into our parked cars and were essentially left unusable without major repairs, a major dent in one car’s bumper. Our rates didn’t go up more than $20ish every renewal, which I’m told is pretty normal.

      However, I had 2 tickets in 2022 (well paid one in 2022, and got the second one then) and now my rate went up by $80 :(which is understandable tbh but I’m confused as to how anyone is considered “at fault” for something that literally wasn’t their fault.

  38. Idyllic Gulag*

    What are some of the house/apartment maintenance, repair, and basic troubleshooting tasks you’ve wanted or needed to learn?

    I’ve worked in construction, reconstruction, and maintenance longer than I’d like to admit. Over the years it’s gotten through my thick skull that what’s common knowledge to me is common only because I’ve spent my life dealing with weird building situations and most people could use some pointers. For a while now, I’ve kicked around the idea of writing a basic guide for real-life home maintenance, so I’m looking for ideas on what people actually need to or want to know. For example, living in a fifth-floor apartment you probably don’t need to know how to re-wire a breaker panel, but you may need to figure out how to replace the door trim your dog chewed up.

    I’m interested in the experiences you’ve had that made you go, “oh $#!7 I need to get my security deposit back”, “why is this broken and how do I fix it?”, “I need to get this screw off and don’t know how”, or “there’s water under my sink and it’s 2 AM, what do I do?”

    While I hope you’re not currently having any of those experiences, I’m interested in hearing about them if you are!

    1. WellRed*

      How to fix the toilet when it’s “running.” It’s simple and basic but you don’t know that until you do it.

      1. Anima*

        Seconding. Me and husband fixed our toilet ourselves, including changing the water box thingy itself in the end, because we are pretty handy – but a friend of ours needed a handyman. A guide would be great for that!

    2. Courageous cat*

      How to weatherstrip/insulate doors and windows, how to deal with cold/weak water in shower, how to fix window that isn’t staying up, how to fix window that won’t go down, how to hang stuff in crumbling drywall or brick, how to lubricate ceiling fans so they don’t make noise…

      Just a few thoughts from my 1800s apartment, ha.

    3. RagingADHD*

      This is homeowner stuff that an apartment dweller wouldn’t do, but:

      Recaulk a tub when the old caulk is grody.

      Interior doors that don’t latch properly, or cabinet doors that don’t stay shut.

      Change a standard lightswitch for a dimmer switch.

      Install a programmable thermostat.

      Install a new doorbell.

      Change exterior door locks.

      Replace screen door.

      Repair a tear in windowscreen.

      Clean out the drain filter on a washing machine or dishwasher.

      1. Just here for the scripts*

        For the record, those of us who own apartments needed to know how to do these things too.
        Signed,
        Learned the Hard Way
        #WhatDoYouMeanYouCan’tJustWipeOffExtraNewGroutTwoWeeksLater? #notallapartmemtdwwlleesarerenters

      2. A Becky*

        When is this minor electrical issue “annoying” and when is it “a serious fire hazard”. (Turns out that the “dodgy” dimmer switch wasn’t loose, it was shorting internally :S )

      3. WFH FTW*

        Replacing a ceiling fan – DIY or hire someone?
        Securing the dryer exhaust metal hose – no matter how many times I tighten, still comes detached.
        Regrouting tile (bathroom and/or kitchen) – DIY?
        Wall-mounting on drywall – molly bolts are awful!

    4. Sloanicota*

      The most basic ones are how to find/fix the circuit box when you blow a fuse – particularly in a tricky apartment building where it’s not obvious (mine used to be out back behind the building, which I do not think could possibly be up to code) and how to relight a pilot light in the furnace and stove. The furnace will vary by model though. What I wish I knew how to do was wire a lamp, and fix an outlet that’s wired wrong (I know how to test it with a tester, and yep it’s wired wrong).

    5. Another_scientist*

      Honestly, I turn to Google for these questions, which usually leads me to YouTube, not books. I’d explore what format is the best in terms of you being able to produce it, reaching an audience, and monetization assuming that matters to you.

      1. RagingADHD*

        A book needs marketing, which usually involves social media. So a YouTube channel (maybe crossposting short reels to IG & FB) would be good on several levels.

        And how-to channels don’t require a big influencer-ish persona, either. If the info is sound and clearly explained, that’s all.

        There are even some very popular YT channels where you never see the person’s face. You just watch their hands and hear a voiceover, which is much easier to record.

    6. Indolent Libertine*

      I turned to YouTube when I needed to replace a brake light bulb in a former car, and also for setting rat traps. I enjoy being able to do small to medium things myself. When the garbage disposal crapped out and filled the lower cabinet with water, I called the plumber since I don’t have the tools for that kind of task (or the flexibility to wedge myself into the cabinet to do the work).

    7. Squidhead*

      Maybe include a section on “what NOT to fix by yourself” and “basic safety hazards”?
      -“Why does it smell like gas in here?”
      -“Why is this extension cord so hot?”
      -“That smoke alarm keeps beeping every 3 minutes”
      -“My landlord says I don’t need to be able to open any of the windows in my basement apartment”
      -“No, you should not use a grill inside, no matter how cold it is outside.”

      (There could be some crossover into tenants’ rights here, although of course laws differ by jurisdiction.)

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        This is a great suggestion. Many people don’t know when something is a safety issue. For example, it seems like every winter there’s a news story about people trying to stay warm indoors and getting carbon monoxide poisoning from an inappropriate heat source.

        I also second the idea of a YouTube channel. Production doesn’t need to be high-end, a cell phone works fine. You’re more likely to launch a book from a popular YouTube channel than you would be trying to get it out there yourself.

    8. Girasol*

      I’ll second the running potty and add leaky faucet. Neither is hard to do but I’ve had a plumbing phobia since I was a little kid. I used to be afraid to take off the toilet tank cover because I might drop it and break it in sheer panic when I saw the potty abyss beneath. But I can do both those repairs now.

    9. Janne*

      I rent an apartment, just moved in, some of the jobs I had to learn were:
      – How to lay click laminate flooring
      – How to prep walls for painting
      – How to drill holes in concrete (for hanging stuff on the wall)
      – How to hang lamps, especially the bathroom watertight ones and the ones that you screw to the ceiling
      I mostly had trouble with finding out which materials and equipment to use, and finding out where I could do the cheap option and where it was important to get the higher quality one.

      Things about living in this apartment that I had to learn:
      – How to use underfloor heating (it’s slow! but comfortable)
      – What do the numbers on the electric meter mean
      – How to use an induction stove (it has a speed-boil function, amazing)

      Things I learned in my previous apartment:
      – How to change the shower faucet
      – How to change the light in the rangehood
      – How to paint wooden furniture (though I would do that totally differently if I had to redo it – didn’t sand it enough at all)

    10. Fit Farmer*

      I would love to buy this book! The “readers digest” type books from the 70/80s are a little TOO thorough…

      In my farm life, I also started from scratch, and it’s become clear that the foundational baseline for feeling confident getting into ANYTHING is knowing what the parts are called and how it works. I think a book with sketches and descriptions like “here’s the parts of a toilet and what they do, what they’re called, and which ones are replaceable” would be very useful. For many things, the “how to actually replace it” instructions will be on the box (like for a toilet fill valve or whatever that’s called, for example) — but those instructions only help if somebody knows how to look for the proper box with the proper part in it!

      Many things are simple to repair, but daunting because the uninitiated doesn’t know what’s behind the thing they’re about to take off, or break off, etc — they’re scared of making it worse. My first step to repair anything is, “Well, I’ll just look at it, and see if anything’s obvious…” but I’m nervous to do that until I can understand what might happen if I take that one outer piece apart! For example, a door frame: how does that all go together? What pieces of wood are behind all the other pieces of wood, and–oh! Turns out the trim is entirely cosmetic, to cover the space between the visible door wood and the actual framing inside the wall, I’m not going to make the house fall down!

      All of this stuff is available on the internet, obviously, but having simple information all in one place describing how common assemblies are made would be very helpful. Like, kitchen sink drain connections — what on earth! So many similar-diameter parts! And that washer, crap I took it off the tailpiece, which way was it on there, pointy side up or pointy side down? A simple repair, but not without a schematic and general order of operations.

      Good luck!

      1. Liassjous*

        Seconding the foundations of diagram with all the fundamental parts and what they’re called. I’d include typical variations too.

        Youtube is great, but you need to know the words. My kitchen sink cold tap is broken – plastic sprocket underneath has cracked. I have all the bits to fix it, but I still haven’t because I haven’t found a youtube video for whatever tap mount they’ve used, so I haven’t figured out how to pull the old one off yet. And of course I can’t see what’s going on because the tap handle is covering everything!

        So I would include typical tap mounts and how to dismantle them (and reassemble!), and similar for other things. Doorknobs I suppose?

        Also some of the seemingly very basic stuff. Like if an inside door is lockable from one side (bathroom), and the other looks like it has a keyhole slot but there’s no key, it’s intended to be able to use a flathead screwdriver or a butter knife as the “key” to open it if you need to for whatever reason. Kid’s locked themselves inside, etc.
        (Sharehouse with four people and none of us knew this: found out when the door swung closed and locked itself on Boxing Day, so we learned by paying locksmith public holiday rates!)

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

      If you live by yourself in a 3-storey house with old radiators that need bleeding, is there a way to do it alone that doesn’t involve accidentally flooding your basement floor? Asking for a friend.

      1. Angstrom*

        In our old place the radiators each had a bleed fitting. Every fall it was: Wait until they’re hot(at least the lower ones), loosen the screw, hear the air hiss out, and when you get a few drops of water tighten the screw. Repeat for each radiator.

    12. SofiaDeo*

      I love the book idea. When the power is out, the Internet is down, etc. or there is water involved, even *if* I liked videos I would rather have an open book that I did not have to worry about dropping something on, or splashes.
      I recently had problems snaking out the kitchen drain, the drain went sideways a bit instead of down. I think people who choose to use a snake that has a drill attachment need to be reminded to use the slower settings so they don’t potentially snap the snake inside the drain! And remind people to slowly, gently use a toilet snake, especially in winter. I haven’t cracked a toilet, but have heard stories of those who had.

  39. Emily Elizabeth*

    I am extremely fortunate to be receiving a family inheritance in a couple months, but have been (extremely reasonably) asked to have my “estate paperwork” in place before receiving it – will, power of attorney, health care proxy, etc. I have no idea where to start with this and would love to hear any tips or steps I need to remember! I am in my 20’s, unmarried but with a long term live in partner, and have never had any assets or wealth before to manage so all of these logistics are new to me.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      In the US you can get legal forms on the internet, usually for a reasonable fee like $10-$20 per form. (And it’s in the right format for your state, with whatever the phrasing is for standard disclaimers.) In olden times you could purchase the forms in a local stationers, but such shops are rare now. If you want a very simple “I leave everything to X; if they predecease me I leave everything to Y” this is how I would go. You can also just type that up so long as you look up how many witnesses are needed to your signature. Neighbors are a common choice–it can’t be anyone who inherits.

      For specifics:
      The will: It’s a good idea to have a will. It doesn’t have to be made using that form, it’s just that the closer you hew to formal legalese the easier it will be if anyone would challenge the will. “Surely my annoying relative would not be so forward as to think I left them something after 15 years of no contact, nor intrude on my partner’s grief!” is not the reasoning to follow here. If you have any potentially annoying wannabe heirs I’d recommend looking for a local attorney, who will probably charge a few hundred to pull up a straightforward will.

      Health care proxy: If you trust your partner (or some other person) to make health care decisions if you can’t speak for yourself, this is a good idea. I will note that my impression is that in practice being married to someone is the best way to get them acknowledged as the health care proxy, trumping any form you claim is in the safe deposit box.

      Power of attorney: The only reason to sign one of these is if you want a specific person to act legally for you. It’s normal to sign one designating a close relative if being unable to act for yourself is likely, such as entering assisted living or otherwise getting on in years and not quite trusting your judgment to read the fine print. It’s not evident to me why one would be needed for an inheritance, since the executor would have a sort of de facto power of attorney for the deceased to close out or transfer accounts to the heirs.

      1. AnonRN*

        Please give a copy of your HCP to your doctor’s office(s). While they won’t be the ones treating you when you’re unconscious after a car accident or delirious with sepsis, the hospital should be able to reach out to your providers to find this paperwork. Also give a copy to the person(s) named as your proxy. Securing one single copy in a safety deposit box doesn’t help you in your time of need!

        Most states *do* have a default process for determining a proxy when one isn’t named, and a domestic partner might qualify, but not in every case. The best way to make sure it’s the person you’d choose is to do the HCP paperwork. Marriage should *not* overrule this form, but the providers treating you need to have the form to know who you’ve chosen. Also, please talk about your wishes with that person. Of course you can’t predict every medical thing that might happen to you, but if you have strong feelings about “no blood products” or “no CPR/ventilator” or “no chemo” or “no extraordinary treatments if my overall condition is not expected to improve” or “do every possible treatment to preserve my life,” talking these out with your HCP in advance will make their job easier in the unlikely event that you cannot make your own wishes known.

    2. fposte*

      I think it’s a reasonable thing to do, but it seems weird and possibly unenforceable to have it as a condition of inheritance, and you’re going to have to change the will again when you get the inheritance, so be ready for that.

      That being said, it sounds like a pretty simple estate job; I’d just call around to estate attorneys that people recommend–ask friends, ask at work, etc.–and see what their price is. A lot of them will do a simple estate like this for a flat fee.

      1. RagingADHD*

        There is no reason you would have to change it upon getting the inheritance as long as everything is drawn up properly and the attorney understands the inheritance is expected so they can advise OP accordingly.

      2. Not A Manager*

        I don’t actually think she will have to change her estate plan once she receives the inheritance. Any lawyer will be able to draft an estate plan that takes into account whatever she’s going to receive in the next few months.

        Most estate plans should be able to handle even a large shift in one’s personal fortunes without needed to be urgently re-drafted. “Divide all my stuff between Wakeen and the llama charity” is completely enforceable whether you have a hundred dollars or a million dollars. If you suddenly come into a million dollars you might *want* to revisit your estate plan, but in this case she knows how much she’s getting.

        1. fposte*

          I don’t think it’s a difficult update, but for my estate I needed to include the custodian and the account number for my taxable assets, and had to make sure the beneficiaries with the custodian matched the percentages named in the will. I don’t think Emily Elizabeth would have that information currently, and frankly I’d wait to do the update until I moved the inheritance to where I wanted it.

            1. fposte*

              Could be a state by state thing, could be when you get older lawyers like to pin you down more because things are more likely to be impending.

              1. fposte*

                Adding: the lawyer should certainly be able to guide either way. But what you really want to avoid is a will that says “I leave half to fposte and half to Not a Manager” and then have fposte, Not a Manager, and Ask a Manager as beneficiaries on the account. Either no beneficiaries or beneficiaries that match the will distribution, because a beneficiary designation overrides a will.

                1. AvonLady Barksdale*

                  I had a whole post here about my general process that is apparently stuck in limbo, but when I created my will I also created a trust. The trust is now the beneficiary on all my accounts, so I didn’t have to do what you did. It definitely varies by state– I’m pretty sure Pennsylvania doesn’t allow trusts to be beneficiaries (or something about trusts), and that made things very difficult for our family.

                  One funny thing: when I updated my accounts with the trust as beneficiary, I had to put a birthdate in. I put in my own and it got flagged. I was told I have to put in the date the TRUST was “born”, which is kind of hilarious to me.

                2. Not A Manager*

                  Ah, yes. Like AvonLady Barksdale, I have a trust structure, and my will just sends everything to my trust.

    3. AvonLady Barksdale*

      I got my affairs in order about a year before receiving an inheritance. I’m in my 40s but also unmarried, long-term partner, no major assets (always rented, for example). I used my social networks to find an attorney who could help and I called a couple of people recommended by friends. Consultations are usually free. I went with a small, woman-owned firm; I spoke to an attorney there and she was very straightforward and thorough, and their fee structure was easy to understand. They asked a few questions via forms, put together my documents, I reviewed and revised, then I went to their office to sign with witnesses. It was a pretty easy process, to be honest. My attorney did all of my documents at once– will, trust, power of attorney, health care directive.

      When you initially speak to the attorney, ask about fees. I paid a flat fee for a clearly outlined process, with the understanding that subsequent changes would be charged at an hourly rate. They will ask you about any money you have– retirement accounts, savings, mutual funds, etc. And it’s ok if you don’t have any! But they’ll be able to guide you through what you need.

      Think about who you want to get your money and try to get their middle names and addresses. Also think about any circumstances where a specific person absolutely should NOT get your money– in my case, I am estranged from my father, and I specified in my will that he was excluded from everything.

      Also, remember that you can make adjustments if necessary after the initial documents are done. Good luck!

    4. Ranon*

      If you have an EAP at work that can often be a starting point- ultimately you just need an estate lawyer to do you a quick package, should be fairly basic. Referrals from friends is another avenue.

    5. RagingADHD*

      Ask around for referrals. Someone you know or their parents has used a lawyer, or a CPA or realtor who can recommend a good lawyer. If your job has an EAP, it may include legal services.

      If either of you are enrolled or connected with a university, they may offer a special rate on legal services through the law school.

      Just tell the attorney your situation. They will walk you through it.

    6. Sloanicota*

      I just did this myself. Not quite 40 and in good health, unmarried and no kids so it was maybe a little unnecessary (I’m pretty sure the conditions in my will are exactly where everything would end up after probate if I died without a will) but, I dunno, it makes me feel better, I guess, and I own a house so it would be a little more effort for whoever had to deal with it otherwise. I just googled estate plan + my county + my state and looked for a lawyer who had good reviews and a decent website. It was pretty effortless and cost about $700 with power of attorney and living will.

    7. LG*

      I was referred to an estate lawyer through my bank. They will walk you through the whole process, and they know everything that needs to be covered so you don’t have to. I was charged a (quite reasonable) flat fee for this.

      1. Girasol*

        Me too. You can do this task by yourself by downloading free templates but I found it reassuring to have a lawyer remind me of considerations I might not have thought of.

    8. Not A Manager*

      Completely agree that this is unlikely to be an enforceable condition of your receiving the money, but it’s also not that hard. Get a recommendation to a decent estates and trusts attorney and they will handle all of this in one transaction.

      The only “steps” you should need are to think in advance about where you want your money and stuff to go if something happens to you, and who you want to manage your affairs if you’re disabled in some way. The lawyer will walk you through the logistics and details, so at this point you’re just thinking generally about people’s actual characters and skill sets. For example, the person you love most might not actually be the best medical decision-maker for you. The person you want to give all your money to might not be fully equipped to manage it prudently. Thinking about these things in advance will allow the lawyer to better advise you. And if you don’t think about it in advance, the lawyer will walk you through the issues and ask you to consider them.

      If your situation is quite straight-forward you might not need an estates and trusts lawyer and and could use someone with a general practice, but unless there’s a huge disparity in rates I always prefer the person with more of a practice specialty.

    9. Indolent Libertine*

      Who is it who’s asking you to do this? Not that it’s a bad idea, when you suddenly actually have a windfall you really should have a written plan for what happens to it if you get hit by a bus tomorrow. Is it the lawyer for the estate (who might be trying to pick you up as a client?) or another family member (who might have opinions on where your inheritance should go after you die, given that you and partner aren’t married?), or your partner, or…?

      Given that you and partner aren’t married, they have no legal claim on any of your assets unless you’ve named them as the beneficiary on the account where the money will live or unless you name them as your heir in your will or living trust. Depending on where you live, they also may not have the right to be regarded as your default next of kin and medical decision maker in the absence of a document declaring that this is your intention.

      As for the mechanics of how to do this, you can ask folks at work, or neighbors who seem to have their stuff together, or someone you know who owns their own small business, who did their wills. Or you can get a referral from your local bar association. Maybe your college alumni association has a directory and you could find someone local through that.

      1. AvonLady Barksdale*

        I don’t know about Emily Elizabeth, but in my case, my grandfather was quite elderly and my mother suggested I get everything straightened out and I agreed. I had never really considered it until I realized I was going to have some more money and I wanted to make sure it went to the right people.

        1. Emily Elizabeth*

          This is more how I should have said it – the money is from my grandparent (thankfully still alive and well!) when I reach a certain birthday, and my parent is the one who is requesting/suggesting I have all this in place before I get a bunch more money, since I’ve clearly never thought about it before now.

      2. Glomarization, Esq.*

        Given that you and partner aren’t married, they have no legal claim on any of your assets unless …

        … or unless you’re in a state that recognizes palimony or other rights that individuals might have in a common-law relationship.

        Family law and estate planning law is complex and OP should get a lawyer no matter how simple they believe their circumstances might be. LW, use search terms statename bar association lawyer referral for a free or low-cost initial consultation.

        1. AvonLady Barksdale*

          Even then, a lawyer is in order. I live in a place where common-law marriage is recognized and I still wanted everything spelled out as explicitly as possible. I completely agree here– don’t leave it to chance or a lengthy court process, talk to a lawyer.

    10. not enough ice cream*

      An estate lawyer would be the person to ask. They can do all of that. They usually have a relatively low-cost boiler-plate ‘simple’ version. When I did this, there was a first, second and third option. Eg: leave everything to my partner, if he’s dead leave everything to the child, if they are both dead leave everything to X. Apart from my child reaching adulthood, there’s no reason to change my will ever (barring breaking up with partner).
      Just a note that once that is in place, if you leave things to your current partner, you’ll want to change *immediately* upon breaking up. The thing that was the most hard was picking an executor.

    11. Texan In Exile*

      And echoing my pitch for estate planning. When Mr T’s parents died, they did have a will but everything else was a mess. He didn’t know what bank accounts they had or if they had a safe deposit box or where the car title was and he found their naked photos and – stuff.

      Today, it’s because my beloved sister in law (the only in-law I liked) died last November and she did not have a will.

      Her live-in boyfriend of nine years thought he should have part of her estate (“I could hire a forensic accountant to prove that I wrote the checks to pay the mortgage!”) and it has been a hassle for my 29 year old niece, who has been named executor, to get him out of the house. He left the house a filthy mess and slashed some of the furniture with a knife.

      My (unemployed, does not have enough money to buy out his sisters) nephew does not want to sell the house; my two nieces do. Nieces have been trying to clean house out, nephew has been moving stuff from his apartment into the house.

      A will might not have prevented these problems but making your wishes clear sure doesn’t hurt. (And having a will reduces some of the legal hassle for your children for sure.)

    12. Emily Elizabeth*

      This is all really helpful, thanks – had no idea a lawyer would be involved or how to go about getting one so will read closely through all the suggestions and work on seeking one out.

      1. planner*

        As many people have suggested, I would definitely consult an estate planning expense. A good one should be able to create a custom package for you for a flat fee- trust (very important, in my opinion), will (to ‘pour’ assets into the trust, not to pass to others- the trust will do that), power of attorney, and health care proxy. They can also guide you on what assets to specifically identify in the trust and draft letters for notifying various companies about the existence of the trust, among other things. In my experience, doing this with an estate planning attorney was well worth the expense, and our trust can be amended as life circumstances change.

  40. Stuckinacrazyjob*

    my stress levels are at a thousand. After work ruined my gaming I’m thirsty for more ways to get my stress and blood pressure down. I have tried yoga (….I now am more flexible) , meditation ( oh I forgot I was meditating) , therapy ( have you tried having a positive attitude?) and park walks ( best during spring and fall).

    Uh I forgot my question. please tell me your blissful anti stress stuff here.

    1. coffee?*

      Pick an exercise that you either must go full bore at or that consumes your attention 100%. The first would be something like running HARD or swimming HARD, not just leisurely jogging or laps. I’d suggest something where you are not left to your own devices to decide if you’re going hard enough – your attention seems to wander. Maybe competitive rowing? If you’re in a boat with others you can’t slack off. The second would be rock-climbing (a gym is fine) or technical mountain biking.

      1. Not what I need at 9 mo pregnant*

        Lifting weights is amazing exercise, and even if you don’t bulk up just feeling stronger is great. You can get a powerblock 24 set for under $200 and if you don’t like it the resale value is high.

        1. carcinization*

          Most forms of yoga also count as weight lifting as one is lifting significant portions of one’s body weight! I weigh quite a bit so I appreciate this component of yoga!

      2. The Dude Abides*

        Seconding running sprints.

        Right now I do 10 laps of half-lap sprint, half-lap walk (the track I use is only 100m, so I had to adjust) 3x/week on my lunch as part of my fitness routine.

        Not only does it mesh with my fitness goals, it is also a great stress reliever when work is beating me over the head.

      3. ThatGirl*

        Spin class did this for me for awhile – hard work, loud music, had to focus on what I was doing and couldn’t think of anything else.

      4. Epsilon Delta*

        HIIT-style classes at a gym are my go-to for this. It is nearly impossible for me to let my attention wander and you work hard enough that you get the endorphine boost at the end. Personally I have trouble motivating myself to stay at a high intensity level without the class.

    2. RagingADHD*

      Blood pressure and the physical effects of stress can be hacked physically, regardless of how you feel emotionally.

      Best thing I’ve found is circuit training routine of cardio intervals + resistance or weights. Either at home or doing a program in the gym. It’s key that you don’t have to think about what comes next, you’re just following the steps that are already laid out on an app, video, or a written card.

      No thought. Just do. And if your mind wanders, you have the instructions to follow.

      You won’t notice a difference immediately, you have to keep at it 3x a week for a few weeks, and then you’ll realize that it’s working.

      For a quick fix, try a video that makes you snort laugh. Screaming goats work for me.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        The snort laughing might work. I forgot that I need a speciality group to ask. sorry guys

    3. Not A Manager*

      Simple stretching, hot baths, nature walks including indoor environments during the winter – there’s a plant conservatory near me, and also a zoo that has some nice naturalistic enclosures with birds in one and butterflies in another.

    4. Hotdog not dog*

      Crocheting. I imagine that the stress is traveling through my body, down my arms, and transferring to the yarn with each stitch. It’s very meditative, especially if I’m just making rows of the same stitch and not trying to follow a pattern. I end up with a lot of scarves and afghans that way!

      1. HoundMom*

        Jumping on the trampoline listening to music, ice skating or in-line skating, knitting and walking my dog all help.

    5. Sparking Stardust*

      Les Mills Body Balance (Body Flow) classes on person or online videos. This class is a mix of Tai chi, Yoga and pilates. I feel so relaxed afterwards.

      Drink a lot of water.

      Along with exercise, I have a few favorite supplements:
      Calm (magnesium) powder stirred in with water
      Zenium Tranquility (sometimes they are sold out on Amazon)
      Stress Remedy by Pure Synergy
      Hyland’s Calms Forte Sleep Aid tablets (can take also for stress)
      Olly Stress Gummies

      1. allathian*

        Tai Chi’s the only type of meditation that works for me. I have to focus 100% on it to do it even approximately right. Having very poor coordination doesn’t help, but I find Tai Chi to be very grounding, in that I feel much more at home in my own body when I do it.

    6. lizabeth*

      Riding a horse makes you forget everything else. It’s just you and the horse, everything else doesn’t matter.

    7. planner*

      I want to second exercise, especially weight lifting. I would be careful about too much cardio, at least initially, because that can contribute to stress. The thing with stress is that it’s good up to a certain point, you want to make sure that too much exercise doesn’t make you cross over into the “too much” category. I also have a super crazy job and some really tough personal stuff going on. I am lifting heavy weights, but for short sessions and only once or twice a week, and walking and that’s about all I can do right now. When I do too much, my body rebels and I’m back in bed again. So I am taking it slow and hope to start adding very short HIIT sessions in a few weeks .. will see how it goes.

    8. I'm A Little Teapot*

      What’s causing the stress? Try to reduce those things. It’s not always possible, but for example if you’re stressed trying to keep the house clean, what can you put into place that will help keep the house clean/make it easier to clean? If you’re stressed for reasons that can’t be fixed, then you need to take something else off your plate. Stress means something is too much, so you need to reduce.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        It’s work? like people call me all day with complex problems that I can’t actually solve and then are angry at me? And then my work with deadlines is late…

        I try to fit in some light exercise but if I get home late I never want to do it.

        1. I'm A Little Teapot*

          Ok, how do you head off people calling you with complex problems that you can’t solve? Not so easy of course, but think about it.

          Maybe you just don’t answer the phone. Maybe you politely cut them off and ask that they email you. Maybe you politely cut them off and tell them that you’re sorry, you’re not able to assist with x, but maybe they can try a or b.

          The point is, there often is at least a partial solution, or a mitigation. You just have to take a step back to see where the issue is and then think of something to try. It’s not easy because you’re stressed, so hopefully you’ll see this comment and it’ll help.

    9. WoodswomanWrites*

      Music on YouTube has been great for me when I’m stressed. It’s a great to watch recordings of live performances that I love. The key is live music, not professionally produced videos. Concerts have that wonderful energy you can feel as if you’re there. And if needed, you can always get up and leave the music on while you’re doing tasks around the house, etc.

    10. UKDancer*

      Dancing works for me. I either do a class (in person or on zoom) or put some music on and just dance to it. I always feel better afterwards. Ballet is my go-to for when I want to clear my mind because I can’t think about anything else while doing it and something like Bollywood or a street dance class if I want to cut loose and just go with it.

      I would also recommend a massage if that’s a thing you enjoy. I know not everyone likes them but if you do then they’re fantastic. They can ease the physical results of stress (tight muscles) but it’s also relaxing just resting while someone else works on you and the oils can lift the mood if you use the scented ones. I had an aromatherapy massage last week and slept so much better for it.

    11. Ellen Ripley*

      Playing with my dog and cat is a good distraction/stress escape. Same with watching an interesting show/movie while doing something with my hands (knitting, doodling, playing with a pen), doing an impromptu solo dance party, or cooking and eating a tasty meal.

      Also just recognizing that stressful things are going to happen for the rest of my life. This helps me put it in perspective (it seems like a big deal now but probably won’t be in a few weeks), also makes it easier to forgive myself when I’m not dealing with it well (instead of also feeling mad at myself for reacting like this). Anyway hope you get through this alright, I know it’s really hard to have stress from work!

  41. Bathroom etiquette question*

    YMMV gross question: In your private home, do you flush the toilet before or after washing your hands? Is that button considered inherently unhygienic or not?

    1. Roland*

      I flush before washing my hands, but I try to do it more with my wrist than my hand proper so in my mind it isn’t super gross.

      1. Not A Manager*

        I use my actual hand to push the flush lever, and I wash my hands after. Lots of things are mildly unhygienic, that’s why we wash with soap.

        1. fposte*

          Seconded. And the reason I flush first is mostly proximity; I’m closer to the flush lever than the sink, so it doesn’t make sense to double back.

        2. Roland*

          Oh, are we doing condescending lectures? Some people don’t want things that they touch to get very dirty, that’s why we try to avoid avoidable messes.

    2. ThatGirl*

      Flush first – I’m washing my hands anyway, it would never occur to me to do that backwards.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yes. I flush first then walk across to the sink and wash my hands, dry them and apply lotion. It seems the logical order for doing things to me.

    3. RagingADHD*

      Before so as not to forget. I consider the toilet in general to be relatively unhygenic and always wash my hands after touching it for any reason (as well as cleaning it regularly, obvs.)

    4. Be the Change*

      Heh. I use the Indian method of washing the bottom rather than using TP, so I necessarily must wait to flush until after washing my hands.

      1. Just here for the scripts*

        It’s a practice—-and a doe-guests rule in my bathroom—but not in hubby’s. He does keep his toothbrush elsewhere though.

    5. fhqwhgads*

      Before. The button is inherently unhygienic. Frankly, so are the knobs on the sink but there are methods that lesson that a bit.

    6. tangerineRose*

      Before. And when I turn on the faucet to wash my hands, I use my arm instead of my hand to turn it on so I won’t get that dirty.

    7. SofiaDeo*

      When you close the lid on the toilet before you flush, there will be fewer germs sprayed out into the air around the toilet to land on the handle. So you wash your hands after you close lid, then flush. This is basic infection control, and hopefully one does it at home. Commercial toilets in the US don’t have lids, one should flush first before moving to the sink to wash. Soap and water, not water only or hand sanitizer only.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Why would I try so hard to keep my toilet handle clean when I can just wash my hands well after flushing?

  42. RMNPgirl*

    Has anyone successfully cut out sugar? I am pretty sure I have a full on addiction to it and can’t have it in moderation. I can make it 5 or 6 days but then give in and have it. Just looking for any tips or tricks on no longer having it and making that a permanent change.
    (I’d also like to give up artificial sweeteners too, but that might be after the regular sugar, unless it would help to give up those too).

    1. Bunny Girl*

      I’m normally not a huge lover of Buzzfeed, but if you search Whole30 Buzzfeed, there are a few articles in there about doing the Whole30 diet, which is effectively cutting out sugar. It has some great recipes and tricks in there even if you don’t want to do the full Whole30.

      I did Whole30 once and actually really enjoyed it. It was challenging but overall it really overhauled how I ate and how I responded to sugar.

    2. Girasol*

      I’m the same way: once I eat a little sugar I need more. I found a lot of help in the website Mark’s Daily Apple. His Primal diet works for me because it’s way less strict than keto or atkins or paleo. It’s easy to adapt into a comfortable permanent lifestyle change whether you are or aren’t concerned about weight loss. I eat fruit, potatoes, and milk, which all contain sugars, but skip anything with grains or refined sugar, and don’t have the old problems with “more sugar, more sugar NOW!” cravings. YMMV, of course. Every body is different, but it might work for you too.

    3. Filosofickle*

      I have never cut out sugar but I have successfully cut back gradually over time. Unfortunately I did have to eliminate the fake sugars first — they crank up my sweet tooth badly and without the actual sugar payoff my body craves it even more

    4. WellRed*

      Just a tiny trick: Brush your teeth frequently and when the urge hits. I also might eat a pickle to counteract the sweet craving.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      Have you gone complete cold turkey with all sugars or are you just focusing on refined sugar? I think it’s better for me personally to manage cravings to have something than go completely without; I like medjool dates, fruit and some honey on Greek yoghurt etc.

      1. RMNPgirl*

        I’m focusing on anything with refined or added sugars, so naturally occurring sugars in fruit is fine but honey is not because the bees refined it.

        1. Pippa K*

          You should of course eat whatever you feel is best, but if I could could just speak for the bees for a second :) the sugars in honey are fructose and glucose, just like in fruit. And it has a slightly lower glycemic index than table sugar, I think because it’s unrefined – it still has water and trace minerals etc, and its sugars don’t combine to form sucrose, like in refined table sugar. (I could be wrong about the chemistry there, so a chemist should correct me if so!)

          Which is not to say you shouldn’t avoid honey if you want, of course. It’s still sugar, but different from refined sugar if that matters.

    6. tab*

      I haven’t cut it out completely, but scaled way back. Two things made it easier for me. 1. Diabetes runs in my family, and my sugar numbers were going up. I’ve seen what diabetes can do, and I refuse to get a disease I can avoid by changing my diet. 2. I decided that I could never cut out sugar completely, so I allow myself 3 dark chocolate almonds after dinner every night, and when I have dinner out with my husband once a week, I share a dessert with him. That way when I’m offered a sweet, I think, “Nope, I can wait until after dinner tonight.” I’ve mostly stopped baking, which was sad, but I make a few things and just cut the sugar in half. It’s amazing how little sugar I need now to enjoy something…

    7. Glomarization, Esq.*

      Sugar is absolutely something that my body tends to respond to addictively. So for me, I went almost completely cold turkey. I quit all desserts and sweet snacks. I quit all candy, sweets, chocolates, etc. I quit sweet cocktails. I quit all beverages with real or fake sugar, and switched to black coffee, unsweetened tea, and plain water.

      Nowadays I’ll have a Coke once a month or so. We’ll share a cake or pie in our two-person household maybe every other month. When someone brings treats at the office, I almost never take one. I drink a lot of water and tell myself things like, “don’t want that on my teeth,” “sure am happy to save a few dollars by not putting that in my cart,” or “looks tasty but that’s not for me.”

    8. Another_scientist*

      It depends on what happens after you ‘give in and have it’! Do you fall back into eating sugar all the time or will that sugary treat once a week be the best reward to boost your willpower the other 6 days? I’m more a moderation than all-or-nothing personality, so this may not apply to you.
      I am trying to cut back and give myself a checkmark in a daily tracker for not having had sweets at the end of the day. Sometimes there are free donuts at work and I will have one, and I don’t get a checkmark that day, and that is ok. I get one most days though.
      One practical thing I am doing is to expand more into breakfast options that are not sweet, including yogurt with fruit or oatmeal with fruit. I find it harder to not reach for sweets if my palate gets a sweet signal first meal of the day.

      1. RMNPgirl*

        When I have it, I fall way off the wagon and then end up having it multiple times a day every day. I can’t just have one cookie, I’ll have two or three and same with other things.
        I am thinking of trying one of those habit trackers where I can get checkmarks when I do things I want to accomplish.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I do well with “not in the house” for some things – I decided back in January that I wasn’t going to buy soda to drink at home anymore, and as a result it’s a rare treat (I don’t leave the house often :P ) but I’ve been doing well at holding to it. (Now I just need to do that with cookies. And chips. And cheese crackers. … )

    9. I'm A Little Teapot*

      I have quite successfully reduced it, but didn’t even try to eliminate. Previously I drank juice with breakfast and was finding it just too much sugar, so have switched to tea. I’m happy.

      You won’t get rid of sugar entirely, and it’s not healthy to do so – our bodies need some glucose. Focus on reducing sugar, especially the high fructose corn syrup, and you might find that it’s less of a problem than you think.

      1. MassChick*

        We don’t need sugar, but we do need carbs. Our bodies covert carbs into glucose. It may be difficult to eliminate (added) sugar from our diets but it isn’t unhealthy to do so as long as we get carbs (preferably from veg, whole grains, fruits).

    10. coffee?*

      I think there is some solid research that artificial sweeteners make you crave sweet things more, so I’d start there. For bitter foods (coffee/tea) your tastebuds want to ease the bitter, so this can be done with fat (adding milk/cream to coffee instead of sweeteners).

      Maybe try a detailed food diary of when you eat foods and what you crave, and you can see how your own body reacts to foods. Can you fend off sweet cravings more if you increase fiber? protein?

    11. Cambridge Comma*

      Ultraprocesed food is an interesting thing to read about in this context. You may be able to do moderation with homemade food (made from scratch).
      Artificial sweeteners may increase rather than decrease the craving.

    12. WoodswomanWrites*

      In a blood test a few months ago, my glucose was elevated and my doctor indicated I was pre-diabetic. I’m taking that seriously so I can reverse it. What’s been helpful for me to reduce my sugar intake is making sure I have other things in the house that are sweet–berries, oranges, and apples when they’re in season, apple sauce year-round, bananas sometimes. Instead of sugar with oatmeal or cold cereal, I user stevia powder (it took a while to find a brand a like and settled on Better Stevia Extract Powder made by NOW Foods.) When I have alternatives readily available, I’m less likely to crave sugar.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        I was a bit cranky two years ago when my doc told me I had to reduce my cholesterol. (Which had gone up even though my eating habits hadn’t really changed – thank you menopause!)

        He told my husband he had to reduce his cholesterol as well. (Mr T eats a lot of junk. I don’t.)

        Anyhow. We both made huge changes to our eating habits:

        * I haven’t used bacon grease since then and have switched to olive oil. I still have a lonely jar of bacon grease in the freezer that I guess I should give away on Buy Nothing.
        * We used to fill the chest freezer once a year with an order of steak, pork cheeks, oxtail, and other red meat. We have not put in a new order since that year and still have half a freezer full of meat.
        * We eat a lot less cheese and butter.
        * He is supposed to be eating less junk food. I never did eat junk food, not because I am morally superior but because I am cheap and because I have always struggled with my weight.
        * We tried to switch to oat milk but I decided I would rather die early.

        And it worked. :(

        Our levels dropped dramatically. So now we just keep eating this way.

        PS Have you tried savory oatmeal? I think I learned about that in “Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir” by Thomas Pecore Weso.

          1. WoodswomanWrites*

            I unfortunately find savory email unappetizing. I use a banana to help sweeten it in addition to the stevia.

            I got the high cholesterol diagnosis at the same time as the pre-diabetic one. I’m working on both, and I appreciate your excellent tips.

    13. Professor Plum*

      Yes. Never would have believed it in my earlier years, but I changed how I eat in 2018 by reducing my carbs and concentrating on whole foods, rather than processed foods. I lost over 50 pounds then and kept it off. From the beginning i didn’t think of what I was doing as going ON a temporary diet, but as CHANGING my diet.

      Last fall I stumbled onto the website optimisingnutrition (dot) com where the emphasis is on prioritizing protein and nutrients. You can adapt the principles into any eating style—paleo, vegan, keto, carnivore, etc. There are a lot of free resources available and reasonably priced paid programs. By dialing in my protein I’ve now lost an additional 20 pounds and reduced my body fat to much more healthy levels. I’m still a work in progress, but this is a data-driven process that is absolutely working for me.

      One of the many things I appreciate in their systems is the emphasis on incremental change—the programs all start by baselining your current eating and then dialing change in a little bit at a time. That makes it sustainable for long term change.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Can you do this plan without eating liver? I took a quick look at the free resources and it’s pretty liver heavy, which is possibly the only food I don’t like; love the fish dishes though. Or is it good recipes for trying more liver? I don’t dislike liver pate even though I find it a bit meh.

        1. Professor Plum*

          The liver is pretty hard core—I haven’t gone down that road yet myself. Lots to learn even without eating organ meats.

    14. marushka*

      Yes, I have trouble with refined sugar and gave it up cold turkey in 1985 and stayed off it 25 years without a slip (and no artificial sweeteners for about the first 9 years). After some concurrent life difficulties 12 years ago, I started having “tiny bites” of things I would have never eaten before, till the predictable happened, and here I am dealing with the problem again. I absolutely cannot practice moderation any more than an alcoholic can have liquor in moderation.

      I have found that it takes about 10 days to get it out of my system and make me not want it anymore. This year I decided to give it up for Lent (no sugar substitutes except soda pop for now — may give that up too at some point). I feel so much better emotionally and physically – it is so inflammatory for me.

      Some tips – I keep phrases top of mind which I learned years ago in Overeaters Anonymous : “Poison in pretty packages” – “One bite is too many and a thousand isn’t enough” — SALT – when I want sugar, is it because of another reason – Sad, Angry, Lonely, Tired? And of course “One Day at a Time.” Just don’t eat it today, and if I still want it tomorrow, then OK (repeat daily).

      I also pretend that it is something nonedible (I wouldn’t walk past a desk and take a handful of paperclips and pop them in my mouth – so the same for M&Ms). Another trick is that I have eaten so much sugar in the past that I know exactly what any cookie, cake, etc. tastes like just by looking at it. So I eat it in my imagination, which is probably better-tasting than the real thing would be. And I remember that in 10-15 minutes, everyone at the table’s dessert will be gone, so just hang on that long.

      Sorry to go on so long, but typing out these tips reinforces them for me, as I hope they may be a bit of help to you. Good luck to you, friend!

  43. Blythe*

    I live in the greater Seattle area and need to get my roof replaced. I am a single public school teacher and am not rolling in money, though I am meeting my monthly expenses fine. This expense ($25,000) is HUGE for me!

    I am hoping to find a good home equity loan, though I am open to a personal loan or maybe even a home equity line of credit. I have been googling and googling and getting nowhere.

    Which company do YOU recommmend?

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

      Do you have a teacher’s credit union, or any credit union you can do business with. In the past they have had great rates and will work with you, unlike the “big banks”.

    2. Fit Farmer*

      I don’t think it would hurt to ask the bank who has your mortgage what they could offer in this situation. They’d be happy to write you another loan, and to tell you what they could do! You don’t have to go in knowing what you want, or committing to say yes, it can be like “shopping.”

    3. Ali G*

      We did a home equity loan with Discover Home Loans. Our rate is 4.5%. It was pretty painless. We needed a loan to purchase bare land, which is harder to find so this was pretty much our only option. You might be able to get a better rate since it’s for home improvement.

    4. WFH FTW*

      Also in puget sound. The roofing company we used for our metal roof had financing option with low/ modest interest rate. They had up to 10 year payment plans, which was great for us as house-poor new homeowners.

  44. Ask a Manager* Post author

    My mom and I are on a nostalgia trip to San Diego (we used to live here when I was a kid). Any restaurant recommendations that should not be missed (would need to have outdoor dining or delivery since she’s immunocompromised from chemo)? We’re staying in the Lemon Grove area but have a rental car.

    We’ve already hit up DZ Akins (my childhood favorite) and will be returning multiple times but figured we should eat something else too.

    1. Lady Alys*

      I’ve been watching Sam the Cooking Guy on YouTube all during the pandemic – he has several restaurants in SD’s Little Italy – Not Not Tacos, Graze, and Samburgers – that look like they are in an scenic open-air mall area. I have no idea at all how the food tastes, but his videos are so entertaining that I will def go check them out the next time we are in SD.

    2. Violet Crumble*

      DZ Akins is great… love their bakery too.. If you like Mexican food – Casa de Pico (was an Old Town staple for years) moved to La Mesa Grossmont Center and has outdoor seating.. love Shakespeares in Mission Hills mostly for their fish & chips..

    3. fhqwhgads*

      Surfrider Pizza in La Mesa is really good and has a lot of patio seating. Also, for brunch, Parkhouse Eatery in University Heights is great and also has a patio.

    4. kina lillet*

      When I visited recently I didn’t have a ton of striking restaurant meals BUT the farmers market was awesome. Patching together a farmers market picnic is one of my favorite things, if you’re going in a good season for it.

  45. Epsilon Delta*

    Has anyone figured out how to comfortably use an Apple “magic mouse”? I’ve been using one for about 3 months now, and I just can’t find a comfortable way to scroll. I watched a video saying you have to hold it on the sides, rest your wrist on the desk, and *hover your index and middle fingers* over it. I kind of figured out the holding it on the sides part myself, but it is so uncomfortable to hover my fingers over it. And I have to raise my entire hand off the mouse to efficiently scroll more than 1-2 screens. Anyone else experience this? Any other tips? My hands are tiny so that probably doesn’t help.

    1. No Tribble At All*

      Ugh, sorry, I hate the Magic Mouse. It’s not ergonomic at all, I sometimes randomly swipe backwards or do other shortcuts, it doesn’t have a mouse wheel (sometimes needed for other software). I got a plain old mouse and plugged it in to our iMac. No advice, just commiseration.

      Weirdly my husband says he has no problems with it, but he also grew up with apple.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Tip from a diehard Apple fan: get a new mouse. :-P (I swear by Logitech trackballs personally.)

    3. Roland*

      Do you have to use it? I also didn’t like it, but the magic trackpad on the other hand is a game changer. The price is horrendous but it’s so nice to use when I am at my computer 8 hours a day.

  46. Filosofickle*

    Have you bought home decor items from Spoonflower?

    Previously I bought a duvet cover that is really lovely and is holding up well, so I wanted to try curtains. But the ones I received have all WHITE stitching on a dark field, just lines of white running across dark purple. The stitching is also messy. It looks absolutely ridiculous. I assume it’s a mistake, but is there any chance this is just how the product is supposed to be?

    Of course I’ll contact them, but gathering any info first because I have already used up some customer service goodwill because this is already a replacement set. After receiving my initial shipment, the color was way off — I had ordered samples, but didn’t realize how much switching fabrics would change the final color — and they re-ran them free. I never even unfolded the originals so I didn’t see if those had bad stitching also. So before I go back I am trying to make sure I have a leg to stand on! Thanks!

    1. Filosofickle*

      Follow up question, for sewers:
      How hard would you expect it to be to pick out the existing stitching and re-stitch with a more appropriate thread color? All straight lines, fabric is a cotton canvas, and pattern is printed. I adore this fabric pattern and have not found anything else I like half as well, so if they are unusable I’m wondering if reworking these panels is an option.

      1. Single Noun*

        Very easy but finicky and tedious – straight lines on curtains should be about the easiest sewing project there is, and picking a seam out is relatively straightforward, it just scales with the amount of seam there is. I recommend buying a seam ripper with an ergonomic handle if you don’t have one already and unpicking while you watch TV or listen to a podcast. :)

        1. Single Noun*

          Also, I don’t know how much experience you have with sewing, or whether you’re planning to do this by hand or by machine, or hire someone else with a machine, but a couple of thoughts you may or may not need:

          -definitely do it by machine, that’s a *lot* of sewing to do by hand
          -before you start unpicking, take notes on how the curtains are constructed; probably take more notes than you think you need, possibly including photos or little sketches.
          -you mention topstitching in your below comment so I’m assuming you won’t need to take them apart to the extent of undoing a lining, if there is one; I might recommend doing one seam at a time, pinning it as you unpick, and then resewing before starting to unpick the next one. It’ll make the corners a pain to handle but might be easier than unpicking the whole thing and then having to get them to line up again

          1. Filosofickle*

            I would definitely use a machine and hire for that, but do have the patience to take on the tedious picking if that’s realistic (probably not if doing one seam at a time). My mom was an accomplished sewist and I have all of her equipment, but she passed recently and I haven’t used a machine in decades.

            No linings. The only part where it would have be be done strategically is where the tab-backs are attached. Those layers have to be constructed in a specific order. Most side and bottom seams would be really simple.

            My other option is coloring the thread with a marker. I have a lot of art markers lying around and tested a hidden back seam and it actually works pretty well. The messier thread areas will be hard (where they did multiple passes), but where there’s one single line of thread it’s almost invisible.

            1. Single Noun*

              Ah yup, if you’d be hiring someone else with a machine no need to do one seam at a time, that advice was mostly for if you were inexperienced with machine sewing and planning to give it a go yourself. Probably it would be a big help to do the unpicking and just hand over the pieces to be resewn, but I’d ask the person you plan to hire before you start. (On the other hand, coloring in the thread is a very clever idea! I wouldn’t have thought of that, and it’d be much faster.)

              1. Filosofickle*

                I’ve decided to start with thread-coloring as my first option. Go to the craft/art store, find an appropriate marker in a close color match and see how it goes. I have a steady hand and a lot of experience with paint and markers so I am confident I can color the thread without harming the fabric much. Plenty of back-side seams to test on. My biggest concern with resewing, beyond cost/time, is that it’s really stiff, printed canvas. I’m concerned the printing will be easily scuffed by all the handling and since it’s so dark that will show.

                Thanks for all your thoughts, I appreciate it!

            2. Squidhead*

              If you plan to wash the curtains, you probably want a permanent marker. (However, washing large cotton curtains and then getting them to be wrinkle-free is a pain & requires more steam than my iron can produce, which is why I do not wash our curtains!)

              As to seam-picking…if they are truly straight stitches, then one side of the thread is basically lying on top of the fabric and the thread from the other side just loops over it each stitch to hold it down. This means if you can gently cut through the top thread (put the pick of the seamripper under it and slide it until it cuts through, just don’t snag the fabric) and then cut through it again a few inches away, you might be able to pull the freed section out and the rear thread will fall away (since it’s not looped over anything any more). For long straight sections, this could be faster than literally cutting through every loop and then finding all the fuzzies. (For the messy sections, you’ll just have to pick away at it.)

    2. Filosofickle*

      Ok, another update — yes, it’s intentional. In the company’s product shots, the white top-stitch is visible on the zoomed-out pic. But, deceptively, they edited the white stitch out of the detail shot! Which is what I was paying the most attention to. Jerks.

  47. Donate Winter Coats Now or Later?*

    Low stakes question but I can’t decide, so thought I would seek outside opinions. I am washing/switching out my coats this weekend, and it is apparent that I have too many coats. Some I didn’t even realize I still had! For the cold weather coats, should I donate them now or wait until the fall? I have the room, so I don’t mind hanging on to them until then. It kind of makes sense to me to donate them later, when people will presumably be looking for cold weather clothes. What do you all think?

      1. WellRed*

        Sorry. Depending where you plan to donate, they may not accept a winter count in spring etc. they don’t have space to store it etc.

    1. The Dude Abides*

      If you know the org you’ll be donating to, reach out and ask, then set a calendar reminder for when they’ll be ready.

    2. Sparking Stardust*

      I think so whatever is easiest for you… Do you have the space to continue to store them until it’s cold again? If it’s a bigger hassle to wait until it’s a cold season, then I’d just take care of it now.

    3. Not the momma*

      Wait till fall. Donation places don’t store items until they are in season. Depending on where you donate, what is out of season could be shipped to landfill.

    4. I'm A Little Teapot*

      If it’s a coat for the season just ending and you didn’t wear it, then get rid of it. As for when to donate, I do it whenever I get around to it. If it’s out of season, oh well. I want it out of my house and off my todo list.

    5. Anono-me*

      Depending on the coat/s maybe reach out to a local organization that works with people who are unhoused. Lots of places run out of warm winter clothes mid winter and don’t get more donated because spring is coming. However people who are sleeping in tents, subways or cars feel the cold more and longer than people who are sleeping indoors.

      Also just a reminder that if you can, please donate your wrong for you, but nice bras especially non-underwire. (Lots of people don’t donate bras and lot of places don’t accept them as they are considered underwear and thus not able to resell used. But most women need to wear a bra to work and a decent bra is a big expense. )

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

        Every thrift store I’ve ever worked at has a strict policy of throwing out any socks, undies, or bras that didn’t have price tags still on them, so I wouldn’t recommend donating used bras unless it an org that explicitly states they will accept them. Even if someone could technically use them, it just creates more work and expense for the store to sort them out and dispose of them.

        1. carcinization*

          Every thrift store that I have worked at has been overjoyed to sell used-but-in-good-condition bras (as well as socks… “undies” themselves varied from store to store), and I spent many years working in thrift stores. I guess I’m glad I don’t frequent these thrift stores that don’t stoop to selling bras!

  48. Be the Change*

    Here’s a thread on Mercedes Lackey’s books, specifically. They are kind of my guilty pleasure reading, just because they are so satisfyingly simple – and at the same time, I’m in awe of the sheer AMOUNT she has written! I’m pretty sure she does not have a stable of nameless underlings churning out Valdemar stories, either.

    What’s your favorite world she’s built, your favorite culture, etc.? Also how do you think she’s changed over time? Has her writing changed *you* in some way?

    1. Silly Sheep*

      When I was in my pre-teens/early teens I loved her Valdemar series, especially the Queen’s Own stories and Kerowyn’s Tale. The queer couple in Arrow’s Flight were the first lesbian characters I’d ever read about and even though it didn’t quite make sense at the time – I think it was something of a threesome/triad, maybe? – it definitely made me go ‘hmm…’, LOL.

      I was actually singing Talia’s ‘Silly Sheep’ lullaby, to the tune I made up years and years ago, this morning in the shower!