weekend open thread – April 29-30, 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: Romantic Comedy, by Curtis Sittenfeld. A woman working on a show clearly inspired by SNL becomes annoyed at how many of her average male coworkers end up dating beautiful, famous, accomplished women (cough, Pete Davidson) while the reverse never happens … and then is surprised when her own sparks fly with a pop star.

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

{ 1,130 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. I have RBF*

    I’d like to discuss the idea that the cat in the post is gorgeous! It warms my heart to see pretty kitties here.

    1. Pam Adams*

      Laurie does seem to be laying down the law about something- possibly about all cats being allowed on the counter.

  3. jasmine tea*

    Is anyone seeing realtor open houses coming back? I’m still only seeing scheduled appointments in my area, and I’m not liking the commitment. As a non-urgent buyer, I find having to hand over contact info to see a place is really dampening this process.

    1. Elitist Semicolon*

      The house that was for sale next to me had a series of open houses. Perhaps it’s regional?

    2. Alex*

      I’ve been to bunches of open houses in the past few months. But of course, the agents will still collect your contact info…

    3. RedinSC*

      We do seem to have open houses here now. Weekend only. But the market has cooled a little here along CA’s central coast.

    4. Pop*

      PNW, lots of open houses here! But I also don’t understand the negative of sharing contact info as this is something my real estate agent has handled. The ONLY times I talked to another agent that wasn’t mine was when I showed up to an open house without him!

      1. Jackalope*

        I once saw a house for sale at a time when I wasn’t looking, but I knew someone who was. It looked like it might be sort of what they were looking for, and – I’ll be honest here! – it was pretty close to me and I was hopeful that they would find something in my general area so I could see them more often. I called the general phone number on the sign for the automated “Here’s how much this property would cost” (don’t remember if it was pre-Zillow or if it was just before I personally knew about Zillow), and then proceeded to get phone calls for several days after that from the realtors selling it who wanted to sell it to me. I hadn’t realized that calling the automated number would put me on their list, but I did NOT like the calls and resolved that when I WAS in fact looking they would not be the realtors I went with. So now I’m not excited about giving out my info to a random realtor that asks me for it. Just as an example of why someone would not want to give their information out.

    5. Sunny Bird*

      Set up a Google Voice number and use an email address that’s specifically designated for commercial, retail, reward program, etc. purposes. That way you won’t have to worry about being bombarded with solicitations and robocalls to your primary account and cell number.

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      Outside Boston, non-urgent buyer. We’ve been looking since January and there’s been a real dearth of inventory here–I keep expecting that “next week will kick off that spring market” and the houses keep appearing in dribbles. My buyer’s agent said as much when I checked in recently.

      Pretty typical here is “House goes on market midweek, 1-3 open houses, bids are due by the middle of the following week.” And quite a bit of the inventory is able to go under agreement within that 1 week framework.

    7. KatEnigma*

      Definitely open houses too. Our Realtor last winter held ZERO, despite others in the area holding them weekly.

      But others are correct that at open houses, they still collect your info. There are tons of liability reasons to not let strangers just walk through a house without any info on them at all.

      1. PollyQ*

        Not everywhere. I’ve been to plenty of open houses where no personal info was even solicited, let alone demanded.

    8. Golden*

      Maybe this is regional? I’ve been in the home buying process (Boston area) for the past year or so and nearly every house has an open house, even the ones clearly intended for contractors looking for a renovation project.

    9. Marywrites*

      If you wait for an open house you may miss out. In our area homes are still going fast. My mom sold her house in 3 days with 22 showings. Better to get a realtor you trust/like and let them do the legwork. Good luck!

      1. jasmine tea*

        This is explicitly what I want to avoid. I don’t want a realtor. We would rather stay put (until we retire out of state) rather than be pushed into something for the sake of false urgency. A market for casual shoppers just doesn’t seem to exist. Everything is “hurry or you’ll miss out!” No. I refuse.

        1. Velociraptor Attack*

          It’s not false urgency. There’s actual urgency and if that’s not what you’re into, that’s fine but it really is a “hurry or you’ll miss out” market still.

    10. IzzyTheCat*

      I had a realtor and was a non urgent buyer. She got my vibe so it was a good fit. I would see maybe one house each weekend?Eventually I bought something, but it was like 18 months later. If you are honest with your realtor (that you want to see dozens of houses before making an offer) then I don’t see the problem.

    11. That wasn't me. . .*

      Definitely coming back here! And a new development:they are actually getting sold that way! They put it in the Nultple Listing as “coming soon” 3 to 7 days ahead of the target weekend. That gets it advertised on Zillow/RedFin/Realtor.com etc. Goes to “active” status late Friday. Occupants take a mini-vacay over the weekend. Offer deadline Sunday at 5 and owners slide back into town Sunday night just in time for a sit-down with their agent to review any offers. With any luck, under contract by Monday morning! Very neat, minimum disruption for sellers. Much easier for them than the nonstop showing appointments we saw in the feeding-frenzy sellers market of past 2 to 3 years.

    12. PaulaMomOfTwo*

      I also think this is regional. I’m in the market July to Sep, keeping an eye open now. The area I want (tiny city downtown) is still hot, maybe 1% down from a few months ago – still 20-30% higher than a year ago. Houses that are priced reasonably generally have a weekend open house and are pending contract within 2 weeks. Houses that are 20-30% over market don’t have open houses, and are still sitting there (buyer beware sorts of houses “investor’s dream” “foundation needs repair” etc). Right outside my target area the inventory is still moving pretty fast, but not as fast.

      I also am not a fan of giving my contact info out. I disliked it for visiting rentals as well, but do understand there’s an element of risk to the showing agent without that. It should remain confidential.

      I haven’t gotten a realtor yet, I don’t want to waste their time until I’m closer to ready to commit. After all, nothing I look at now will be available when I’m in the market. But it’s nice to get some previews and try to decide what my must haves and can compromises are in the meanwhile.

    13. Miss Mantis*

      My proudest recipe invention! Roasted cauliflower and garlic soup (its very creamy, and accidentally vegan!)
      2 heads of cauliflower
      olive oil
      smoked salt (the darker the better. I like Bonfire.)
      white pepper
      1 head of garlic
      aluminum foil
      2-3 cups veggie broth
      2-3 cups mushroom broth (can use all veggie broth if you don’t have mushroom)
      2tbsp butter
      2tbsp flour
      ⅔ cup dry white wine (can sub a couple tablespoons sherry vinegar)
      ½ medium-sized sweet onion
      1tbsp lemon juice


      large pot
      2 deep-sided oven-safe metal pans
      immersion blender


      Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
      Clean and chop cauliflower; season with olive oil, smoked salt, and white pepper.

      Line 2 deep-sided metal pans with aluminum foil and lay out cauliflower for roasting.

      Cut off the top of the head of garlic enough to expose the cloves.

      Wrap in foil and pour 2tbsp olive oil on top of head.
      Wrap fully to seal it in.

      Place garlic and cauliflower in the oven for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Consider them done when they’re lightly browned and tender.

      Dice onion and sauté in large pot over medium heat with 2tbsp butter or oil until caramelized

      Add flour, stir constantly until thickened (about 1 minute).

      Add wine; cook off alcohol (if needed).

      Add broth and bring to boil (a rolling boil is needed for it to thicken).

      Extract roasted garlic cloves from foil and add to pot.
      Also add in roasted cauliflower.
      Cook the soup for ≈15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      Blend soup with immersion blender until smooth.

      Season with lemon juice to taste (about a tablespoon)

      1. Woodswoman*

        Been there with the nesting fail! But this sounds AMAZING! Trying it this week!

    14. SofiaDeo*

      We have open houses, but some areas are still selling in short timeframes. My new neighbor who closed Dec 20,2022, bought the house from an online post, never made it to the open house. It was on the market about 3 weeks, the listing didn’t post until Dec 2022. He wanted into this neighborhood specifically. It was the only one in our school district on sale at the time.

    15. Lirael*

      UK person here being astonished that you get to see houses ever without giving contact info. it’s just part of the process 100% of the time here

  4. soups soups*

    It’s gloomy here and I am looking for your best soup recipes! Soups of any sort. Bonus points for spiciness but that is not required. Just inspire me to fill my entire body up with soup.

    1. RainyDaysR4Soup*

      Shrimp and corn chowder. You can make it as spicy as you want. And now I want some. Adding corn to my shopping list! Thanks for the inspiration, cause my weather forecast says 10 days of rain.

      1. That wasn't me. . .*

        My favorite fake Gazpacho: regular V-8 in a bowl, with a squeeze of lime juice. For fancy, add a dollop of sour cream in the middle, and some chopped avacado, bell pepper, or celery in a ring around the dollop!

    2. Jay*

      I tried to put up a link to one of my favorite recipies, but it won’t go through, so I’ll just write it here.
      It’s the Traditional French Cassoulet from the website Serious Eats.
      If you do make it, I would recommend trying chunked pork shoulder instead of the pork sausage. It cooks low and slow anyway, and the pork shoulder comes out beautifully soft, tender, and flavorful. Don’t make the chunks too small. You don’t want them to cook through when browning them. They need to cook low and slow as you oven simmer the whole kettle over the course of the day.
      I also like boneless-skinless chicken thighs, but that’s just a personal thing.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      Tortellini soup – sautee onions, celery, carrots, mushroom, garlic, Italian sausage. Add chicken stock, a can of tomatoes, Italian herbs and spinach. Simmer. Near the end, cook a package of fresh tortellini separately, and add to the soup. Serve with freshly grated parmesan.

      1. KTB*

        Seconding this soup! One note, I have made variations of this before and the online recipes *never* have enough seasoning. Now that I know roughly what goes in it, I just measure that garlic with my heart.

    4. Llama Llama*

      I just made my extremely modified Italian wedding soup (so modified I call it Russian divorce soup). Chicken broth, meatballs (or Italian sausage or smoked sausage), carrots, spinach, and pesto. I garnish with Parmesan cheese

    5. Bluebell*

      The blog Homesick Texan has a lovely sweet potato with chipotle soup that is simple yet truly yummy. Great choice for dreary weather.

      1. Pennyworth*

        My go-to winter soup is sweet potato and red lentil. Saute onions and ginger in olive oil, add garlic and turmeric (or whatever spices you enjoy) for another minute. Add cubes of ,sweet potato, washed red lentils and stock. When cooked, puree with/in blender. The lentils add protein, it is very filling and quick to make.

    6. RedinSC*

      I like a good butternut squash soup, and then I put ginger and some red pepper in to spice it up a bit.

      CHop up a butternut squash, cover it with water or stock or whatever. Add a bunch of fresh ground ginger, red pepper flakes, etc. Simmer. Once things are cooked soft, I use an immersion blender and make it smooth, then add some milk, cream or half and half to make it creamier. Salt and pepper to taste. It’s the easiest thing to make.

      1. Tomorrow's child*

        I boil the pumpkin (squash – usually kabocha) first and blend it to nearly soup consistency. Then in a pot: fry up an onion, and some bacon. Add the pumpkin/squash. Serve with cream or coconut cream

      2. Stitch*

        I’m a big fan of the “roast stuff, put it in a pot with onions and celery cover it in vegetable broth, and blend it” category of soups. Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato any kind of squash. I’ve added a green apple for sweetness. Fresh ginger, pepper, nutmeg, whatever works. I’ll often mix in some goat cheese at the end.

        1. Pennyworth*

          Roasting adds great flavor. I always roast vegetable before putting them in a fritata.

        2. That wasn't me. . .*

          Love the idea of apple in it! Best soups often feature a tart note, usually from tomato, or a drop of vinegar, but this is different!

    7. goddessoftransitory*

      Mmmm, I’ve got tons! I just made a creamy tortellini soup, and I have a Perfect Green Soup I make when I want to feel virtuous but still enjoy eating. And it’s spicy!

      Perfect Green Soup:

      You will need a blender for this recipe, regular or immersion.

      2 Tbsp olive oil
      2 yellow onions, chopped
      1 tsp salt
      1/4 cup Arborio rice
      1 lb assorted greens: Kale, chard, mustard, etc. Whatever you prefer.
      12 oz gently packed spinach leaves (I use baby spinach)
      4 cups veggie broth
      1 Tbsp lemon juice
      Cayenne pepper to taste

      Heat oil in large skillet on High heat. Add onions and half the salt, cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Reduce heat to Low.

      Add 2 Tbsp water and cover with lid. Cook 20-25 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions reduce and caramelize.

      Meanwhile, in large pot or Dutch oven, combine 3 cups water, remaining salt, and rice. Bring to boil, reduce to a simmer, cook 15 minutes. Trim stems from greens, chop coarsely. Keep greens and spinach separate.

      When rice has cooked 15 minutes, stir in GREENS (not spinach.) Return to simmer, cover and cook 10 more minutes.

      Once cooked 10 minutes, stir in onions. Add spinach, veggie broth and cayenne pepper. Return to simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes.

      You will now have a large pot of wet leaves. If you have an immersion blender, blend leaves until perfectly smooth. IF YOU ARE USING A REGULAR BLENDER**: Take the pot OFF heat and let sit at least ten minutes. Then blend in batches until smooth, pouring completed batches into a large bowl. Once all is blended, stir in lemon juice.

      Enjoy large spicy bowl of healthy goodness with croutons; drizzle with olive oil if desired. This is fantastic with Hawaiian Cheap Ass rolls!

      **It is VERY important, if using a regular blender, to let the soup sit and cool at least ten minutes. If you try to blend it steaming hot, the steam will force the lid off the blender and spray your entire kitchen with vibrant green splashes. Even after waiting, I put a pot holder over the lid and hold it gently to make sure.

      1. Pennyworth*

        My Silver Palate cookbook has a nice green soup with peas and mint included with the greens.

    8. Poly Anna*

      I make a leek and potato-ish soup with bacon bits, leek or spring onions and mash powder. Fry bacon (or faux bacon), add chopped leek, add about double the amount of liquid the mash asks for, add seasoning or stock cube to taste if necessary. The original will have you make stock from scratch and peel/chop potatoes, but this is an easy, warm and filling alternative that’s affordable.

    9. Aquamarine*

      So that Alison doesn’t have to deal with the link, Google “Best Lentil Soup by Cookie and Kate.” It’s a hearty lentil soup, and the curry powder makes it a bit spicy. I add more lentils and fewer greens (and I use spinach).

      1. Trixie*

        America’s Test Kitchen also has a Hearty Lentil Soup with fragrant spices which is fantastic. Cinnamon, cumin, cayenne, and coriander.

    10. Cookies For Breakfast*

      My favourites (with enough keywords to look up online):

      1) The Ottolenghi recipe for red lentil soup with curry powder, chopped tomatoes, coriander and coconut milk. The recipe says to use coriander stalks only, but I can’t be bothered to separate them from the leaves so I just use the whole thing. The point of the recipe, after all, is that stalks taste the same as leaves and shouldn’t be discarded.

      2) The River Cottage recipe for cannellini beans and leek soup with chilli oil and herbs.


    11. Atheist Nun*

      If you like Indian-ish flavors, I highly recommend Joy the Baker’s curried sweet potato soup (from the Essential NY Times Cookbook). It tastes fantastic, is vegan, and can be spiced any way you want. I tweak the recipe with a little cayenne and lots of freshly ground cardamom.

    12. WishIWasATimeTraveller*

      One of my favourites is broccoli and cheese soup. Boil 2 heads of broccoli, 1 onion, 1-2 potatoes, 1 litre stock until soft then blend. Add cheese (I think it’s 1 cup or 150g but it’s flexible) and return to the heat to melt cheese (I use cheddar).

    13. Elle*

      Simply Scratch has a lovely Irish Vegetable soup that reheats well. I did need to add seasoning since the original recipe seemed bland but the base recipe is great.

    14. carcinization*

      Epicurious has a divine Hominy, Tomato, and Chile Soup (they spell the second to last word as “Chili” though but it’s definitely soup with chiles, not the dish usually called “chili”) that I make on a regular basis. I just found it online to make sure it’s accessible that way since I’ve been using a printed-out recipe for years.

      I also love Post-Punk Kitchen’s Smoky Tomato Lentil Soup with Spinach & Olives, but haven’t made it in a long time, and a couple of carrot soup variations from Smitten Kitchen (one with miso and sesame, and one with tahini and crisped chickpeas).

      Finally, if something that’s more meat than soup and is a bit of a project sounds appealing, I once made Half-Baked Harvest’s Crockpot Crispy Carmelized Pork Ramen, which was delicious and worth the effort for sure.

    15. Celestine*

      The Woks of Life Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup. It’s made in a pressure cooker, so the actual prep and cooking is not too bad. I think the most time intensive part is getting all the spices but once you have them you can make the soup over and over. Delish!

    16. Random Bystander*

      Do you like seafood? If so, here’s the soup (stew) for you!

      Neptune Stew
      1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
      4 stalks/ribs of celery, washed and finely chopped
      2-4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely crushed
      2 tbsp olive oil
      28 oz can of coarsely chopped tomatoes – not puree or ground. lightly squish between your fingers.
      1 c of water poured into tomato can, swish around.
      1 bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1″ squares – can also use two halves of different colored peppers
      ½ lb mushrooms, washed (I prefer oyster–use what you like, slice as necessary)
      ¼ c tomato ketchup
      1 tsp chicken stock concentrate or stock cube
      freshly ground pepper
      freshly ground nutmeg
      2 tbsp sherry – optional
      ½ lb bay scallops – the tiny scallops or sea scallops, quartered
      ½ lb small shrimp cooked or raw, thawed and peeled
      6 oz can of crab, drained
      10 oz canned clams, drained
      6 oz cubed salmon
      15 oz can baby sweet corn sliced
      1 tsp thyme
      fresh finely chopped parsley

      1. In a large non-stick pan, mix onions, celery, garlic and olive oil, cook over gentle heat for about 10 minutes until soft.

      2. Add tomatoes, tomato water, peppers, mushrooms, tomato ketchup, stock concentrate, and pepper, bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook, covered for about 20 minutes until all vegetables are soft.

      3. Add the raw fish, sherry and sweet corn and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Then add already cooked fish. Add freshly grated nutmeg. Stir in, turn off heat and leave to sit for about 10-15 minutes to heat through thoroughly and allow flavors to blend. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with sprinkling of fresh parsley.

      Add liquid to taste if you find it too thick. Makes about 6 servings

    17. Mari*

      From NYTimes cooking, Pressure Cooker Chickpea, Red Pepper and Tomato Stew – can zing it up as much as you’d prefer.

      also, BLACK BEAN & BUTTERNUT SQUASH CHILI from the site simple veganista – we make it with sweet potatoes instead of squash when it’s not in season, tasty either way and so easy to make!

    18. Some Bunny Once Told Me*

      Here’s my favorite corn chowder recipe:

      I started with a recipe from the American Heart Association, which was solid but boring in the extreme. I’ve modified it enough that I feel kind of like it’s MINE now, so I named it.

      Bunny’s Corn Chowder


      Olive Oil
      1 medium onion, minced or diced depending on how big you like onion chunks
      4-5 medium carrots, cleaned/peeled and minced or diced
      3-4 ribs of celery, cleaned and minced or diced
      8 oz pre-cooked ham, cut fairly thick. I get mine from the deli counter and have them slice it on the 5 setting.
      2 15.25 oz cans of cream-style corn, undrained
      1 16 oz bag of frozen corn – thawed is good, frozen is ok. If you have corn on the cob just hanging around, cooking and cutting and adding the fresh corn kernels takes this to a whole new level.
      1 cup water
      1 cup milk
      ¼ to 1/3 cup (approx) of cream or half and half
      oil to cover the bottom of a dutch oven (I use olive oil, but my bestie uses avocado oil. Both work well)
      black pepper, salt, and smoked paprika, to taste.

      NOTE: you can and should adjust all of this at will and use the above as a base for adding other veggies and seasonings. Mine usually includes spinach these days and sometimes throw diced up potatoes into the pot if I’ve got some on hand. My bestie likes to add red bell pepper and says it’s delicious, but I can’t speak to that personally on account of hating bell peppers. :P I’ve definitely cut way back on the paprika and added poblanos, chili powder, and jalapenos before, and if I’m feeling sassy I’ll sometimes top with green onions and bacon. Leeks also work well in there, and the last time I made it I threw in some shredded rotisserie chicken that needed used up. It’s just an incredibly versatile soup.

      Heat a dutch oven or medium stockpot over medium/medium-high heat. Pour in enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the dutch oven and let it heat until it’s shimmering.

      Throw those onions in and get them nice and translucent. Once they’re there, toss the carrots and celery in.

      While the veggies are doing their thing, cut the ham up. The original recipe says “into matchstick-sized strips”, but I just cut it up into lovely little squares the size I’d like to find in soup. Put ¼ of the ham into a blender or food processor; set the rest aside.

      Add the undrained cream-style corn to the processor; process until smooth. Add this mixture to your dutch oven of veggies. Pour in the corn, water, milk, and cream. Stir it up! Chuck the ham in, stir more. Now add in your spices t taste. I usually add about 1 tsp of kosher salt, many grindings of black pepper, and I have no idea how much paprika. A lot, maybe 1/2 to 1 tbsp? Maybe more? I love paprika, it’s a thing.

      Cook over a fairly low heat until the ham and frozen corn are heated through, but not until the corn is smooshy.

      I find this makes about 4-6 servings, depending on how big of servings you like!

      1. Some Bunny Once Told Me*

        Also, this recipe for sweet potato soup from Cook’s Country is freaking *divine* and unbelievably simple. If you want to make it vegan, I have found that using olive oil and veggie stock make fine substitutions for the bacon and chicken broth, but I do recommend adding some paprika to substitute for the flavor you’re missing if you omit the bacon fat.

        6 slices bacon, chopped
        1 onion, chopped fine
        1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
        Salt and pepper
        3 garlic cloves, minced
        2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced thin
        4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
        1 cup water
        2 tablespoons minced fresh chives

        Cook bacon in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp, 6 to 8 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towel–lined plate; set aside. Discard all but 2 tablespoons bacon fat from now-empty pot. Add onion, sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add potatoes, broth, and water and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes.

        Working in batches, process soup in blender until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve soup, sprinkled with bacon and chives.

    19. juneybug*

      Check out Green Chili Recipe with Chicken by The Girl on the Bloor website.
      It’s super easy and so yummy!! If it wasn’t going to be 78 degrees today, I would totally make it. But hey, it’s spring in PNW so I will wait a few days for the weather to become cool again. :)
      PS Thank you for starting this thread!

    20. Past Lurker*

      I like making one with chopped carrots and sliced yellow onions, based on the Warm Carrot and Onion Soup Recipe in Recipes dot net. I like it less “liquidy” so I use only 3 or 4 cups of broth. You’d have to add something to make it spicy, maybe sliced jalapeños or some other hot pepper?

    21. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      I make a potato- cheese soup that anything and everything can go in. It’s not so much a recipe as “throw stuff in pot, measure with your heart”. You can make it with bacon, smoked sausage, hamburger meat, rotisserie chicken, ham, or no meat. You can throw in whatever veg you need to use up.

      Start by cooking up any raw meat or putting a little sear on smoked sausage. Cooked chicken can go in later. Then add some aromatic veg like onion, garlic, celery, and/or carrots, chopped fine-ish. Add a drizzle of oil or a pat of butter if things are drying out. Once the veggies go translucent, deglaze your pot with a little wine or stock. Add diced potatoes, with or without skins, plus whatever other veg you have. Add enough stock to cover everything and let it simmer until the potatoes are tender.

      Add milk, cream, or half and half, let it warm up again and add your cheese of choice. Let it melt in, adjust your seasoning to taste (I like to add a little brown mustard). If it’s too thin, you can thicken it with cornstarch and water, or my personal favorite cheat: instant mashed potato flakes. Serve hot with a nice crusty bread.

    22. Sloanicota*

      I make a good leek-based gumbo with chicken/turkey sausage and those frozen mini-shrimp. It’s not really a gumbo in my opinion because it doesn’t start with roux, but it’s a very adaptable recipe with whatever vegetables I have around. If you google “cooks dot com shrimp and sausage gumbo” I’m pretty sure that was the base recipe I started with.

    23. Miss Mantis*


      2 heads of cauliflower
      olive oil
      smoked salt (the darker the better. I like Bonfire.)
      white pepper
      1 head of garlic
      aluminum foil
      2-3 cups veggie broth
      2-3 cups mushroom broth (can use all veggie broth if you don’t have mushroom)
      2tbsp butter
      2tbsp flour
      ⅔ cup dry white wine (can sub a couple tablespoons sherry vinegar)
      ½ medium-sized sweet onion
      1tbsp lemon juice


      large pot
      2 deep-sided oven-safe metal pans
      immersion blender


      Pre-heat oven to 400°F.
      Clean and chop cauliflower; season with olive oil, smoked salt, and white pepper.

      Line 2 deep-sided metal pans with aluminum foil and lay out cauliflower for roasting.

      Cut off the top of the head of garlic enough to expose the cloves.

      Wrap in foil and pour 2tbsp olive oil on top of head.
      Wrap fully to seal it in.

      Place garlic and cauliflower in the oven for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. Consider them done when they’re lightly browned and tender.

      Dice onion and sauté in large pot over medium heat with 2tbsp butter or oil until caramelized

      Add flour, stir constantly until thickened (about 1 minute).

      Add wine; cook off alcohol (if needed).

      Add broth and bring to boil (a rolling boil is needed for it to thicken).

      Extract roasted garlic cloves from foil and add to pot.
      Also add in roasted cauliflower.
      Cook the soup for ≈15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

      Blend soup with immersion blender until smooth.

      Season with lemon juice to taste (about a tablespoon)

      1. Person*

        Google Garbanzo Beans and Greens (Cooking Light, but the recipe is a lot of places) and the similar Alton Brown’s Christmas Soup. Both recipes based on lots of veggies with a little meat more for flavor, easily adaptable to your preferences (including easily adaptable to be vegetarian). First one is a little more like stew.

  5. Jay*

    So, it’s the weekend, time for something a bit funny and weird:
    I was coming home a bit later than usual from work the other day. I cut through a few back streets, it cuts my already short commute down to about 10 minutes or so.
    Then I hear what I assume must be a motorcycle, probably a Harley.
    It’s late enough it’s really kind of annoying, especially since I’m stuck behind this big a$$ Audi minivan cruising down the street so slowly that my 10 minute commute is quickly turning into a 20 minute commute.
    So, I’m looking around for this Harley. It’s GOT to be close, it sounds like it right on top of me! I’ve got my windows up (on a beautiful night where they SHOULD be open, at that) and I still can’t hear my radio over the roar. I figure it must be in front of the minivan. I just can’t figure out for the life of me what’s holding it up. It should be roaring off into the distance. The only good thing about Thunderpipe people is that they generally don’t care enough about traffic laws to stick around long.
    Then I see it.
    I can’t believe my eyes.
    I have to look away and then look back to make sure I’m not hallucinating.
    There, mounted (very, very badly) dead in the center of the undercarriage of that minivan is a single Thunderpipe.
    They are trying, with a truly disturbing amount of success, to make their Audi sound like a Harley.
    Now, don’t get me wrong. I support freedom of expression in most all of it’s forms. Tattoos, weird cloths, terrible music. Whatever.
    But I draw the line at Thunderpipes on public roadways in general, and on vehicles they have no business being on in particular. If you are going to Mid-Life Crisis at me, at least have the decency to do it driving something awesome.
    They were just NOT doing that poor Audi any favors.
    They were not making it a Cool Statement.
    They gave that minivan Irritable Bowl Disorder.
    I have IBD.
    I assure you that that poor minivan did nothing to deserve this.
    They need to take off the Thunderpipe, fill the gas tank with Metamucil, and apologize to the world at large.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      >fill the gas tank with Metamucil


      I know next to nothing about modifying plain old everyday vehicles so that they look or sound like a Harley, a hot rod, or something else from the nearest racetrack or Mid-Life Crisis.

      But I know a fair amount about Irritable Bowel (aka Psychotic Bowel, aka hair-trigger Bowel, aka I’ve Swallowed a Switched-On Jackhammer Bowel…). Your comment has revived my physical memories of Not-Fun Times.

      Sorry you’re another member of this Not-Fun Club.

      1. Loopy*

        I have never experienced a thunderpipe but I would be extremely annoyed. Certain vehicles come with distinct noises and levels of noise. I accept that.

        Modifying vehicles to make absurd amounts of noise is one of my strongest pet peeves when I have to be subjected to it. Driving one of those vehicles at a crawl would have had my blood pressure up.

        1. PhyllisB*

          Talking about modifying vehicles reminds me of my former pastor. He put a glass packed muffler on his car ( which was highly illegal even in the sixties.) Both of his parents were deaf, so he thought he’d get away with it. He was wrong. One of his neighbors ratted him out. I’m sure the other neighbors were grateful.

    2. Vanessa*

      My old roommates boyfriend did decorative car work (sorry I don’t have a better name) so he took her purple cavalier and added robust flames. They broke up and she had that car for a good couple years. It was a look.

    3. Double A*

      I can’t wait for the electrification of everything simply so idiotically loud motorcycles can be a thing of the past. (Sure saving the planet is nice but the improvement in noise pollution will be lovely). I mean I’m sure people will still find a way to loudly proclaim the existence of their vehicle but a girl can dream.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        On the one hand, I generally agree with you about the noise pollution, but on the other, motorcycles are small and often overlooked in traffic patterns. The really irritating loud noise frequently serves as a safety function to draw attention from other drivers.

        1. Jackalope*

          I’ve heard the “loud pipes save lives” argument but I don’t buy it. The thing is that the pipes send all of the noise backwards towards the cars that can already see the motorcycle, and not forwards towards the vehicles that can’t and are therefore a higher risk for motorcycle riders. And honestly, if I’m in my car on the highway listening to music the sound of a motorcycle doesn’t come through that much more loudly than other cars. So it’s mostly just a noise nuisance. (I read about this somewhere but don’t remember where so can’t give a good reference.)

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Not trying to be argumentative but legitimately confused — how is a car driving in front of a motorcycle a hazard to the motorcycle in any way that isn’t the motorcyclist’s responsibility to avoid?

            1. Hlao-roo*

              I think cars changing lanes on a highway or multi-lane street. I see “look twice, save a life; motorcycles are everywhere” bumper stickers and I always assumed that’s what they were talking about. Someone who does a cursory check before changing lanes could easily miss a motorcycle if they’re looking for something car-sized.

        2. Double A*

          I’ve heard that too but you can be loud enough for the car next to you to hear without being loud enough for the whole valley to hear you. We live on a country highway and can hear motorcycles from literally a mile in each direction.

          I mean I also hate how huge and dangerous our cars our. The inflated size of trucks and SUVs especially presents a danger to everyone around them.

        3. Kara*

          For what it’s worth, studies on the subject at best show no positive benefit from ‘loud pipes’, and at worst people with the noisier cycles are more likely to crash and die (possibly from overconfidence).

      2. Pennyworth*

        I heard that electric vehicles can be given a sound, for safety, and there is some choice. Ever since then I have imagined an EV that has hoofbeats, like a horse walking, trotting, cantering or galloping.

        1. Clumsy Ninja*

          I have a hybrid that makes a screaming noise when it backs up. (Thus I have named it Nazghul.) I didn’t understand the point at first until I was outside the vehicle when my husband was driving it and realized how freaking quiet the thing is.

      3. Sloanicota*

        Ugh I live on a hill that’s a busy street and there are sooo many cars – not even bikes, which are also obviously loud – that have intentionally added a thing to make the engine really noisy when they accelerate. It’s not an accident, they think it’s cool. The funny thing to me is that plenty of the cars I see doing it are kind of regular-looking sedans. You’re cool alright, dude!! (it’s always a dude).

    4. WoodswomanWrites*

      I don’t doubt it was weird and annoying, but your story is really hilarious. Love it!

    5. Llama Llama*

      My husband is an avid car lover and does have a car that is extremely loud (though he does acknowledge it’s loud and wants to lessen it but it also ‘sounds good ‘). I don’t think he would modify our van though.

      I don’t get car stuff and my husband has stopped trying with me. He has convinced my daughter to love car stuff though.

  6. HannahS*

    Very low stakes question: parents of curly haired kids, do you wet your child’s hair in the morning? Or use one of those curl-refresh sprays?

    My toddler has fine hair that makes large bouncy curls–think 3a or 3b on those hair charts. We bathe her at night and in the morning her hair goes in all directions. Brushing it dry doesn’t seem to be the right choice!

    My husband I have curly hair too, but neither of us really knows how to care for it–his is super short and I’m just dipping my toes into the curly-girl method. Neither option is really right for our 1.5 year old. Advice?

    1. Rainy*

      I am a curly-haired adult who was a curly-haired child and the first step is to stop brushing it in the morning. If you have to do anything to it (nothing is better), get a pick or a very wide-tooth comb and use a comb on it.

      (My mother brushed my hair with a bristle brush every morning before school and I looked like a frizzy-haired little ginger mushroom. Combs, only combs, combs forever.)

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        That was me through much of my adult life, frizz and more frizz. A couple decades ago, a hairdresser directed me to wide-tooth combs. That’s all I’ve used ever since.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Can confirm. I am a Merida who’s record is four hairbrushes broken in the course of normal use in a single day.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      Even better, dampen the hair, style it with fingers, and leave it alone.

      Signed, Another member of the club of Curly-Haired People Who, as Children, Were Mistakenly Advised to Use a Hairbrush

      1. Imtheone*

        That’s what I do. My mother brushed my hair when I was small, but fortunately, the curls bounced back.

      2. HBJ*

        How do you get rid of knots? I have curly-haired children, and even with doing their hair (ponytails or braids) every day, they still get knots, or they pull the ties out and then get tangled. I’ve tried just using a comb, and honestly, they cry worse using just a comb to untangle than they do a hairbrush. And if I try to do it without brushing or combing, it either looks horrid and messy (single ponytail) or is physically impossible to do tangled (braids, pig tails, buns).

        1. Sloanicota*

          Do you gently comb with a detangling product when wet? This is the only thing that works for me, and perhaps a leave-in conditioner would prevent the knots. Once the hair is dry, I’ve missed my chance to do much with it. I just finger-comb it back into a ponytail (preferably with damp hands!) until the next window of opportunity. Like most people in straight-hair families, my mother always tried to brush it dry with a regular hairbrush and the result was both pain and frizz.

          1. jtr*

            Yes, wide tooth comb, conditioner or detangler when wet. Start about 2 inches above the ends of the hair, comb through, move 2 inches or so higher, comb through, and continue until you’re combing the whole length of the hair. I’ve read this described as combing starting at the bottom, and that always sounds to me like back-combing – combing up towards the scalp. Once I figure out what they really meant – MUCH easier than trying to pull the comb all the way down the hair at one go.

            I wouldn’t try combing it dry at all – even when I don’t take a shower in the morning, I stick my head under the shower head and get my hair wet.

    3. Lady Danbury*

      +3 to ditching the brush. Also, a satin cap and/or pillowcase will help reduce the overnight wildness.

      1. MeepMeep123*

        +1000 to the satin cap! I just got one a few days ago, and it’s made an amazing difference in what kind of crazy hair I wake up with. I don’t think I’ll ever sleep without one ever again.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Does she go to sleep with wet hair, or does it dry before bedtime? If she’s sleeping on wet or even damp curls, it will be hard to tame them in the morning.

      If her hair is dry at bedtime, try pulling it into a loose ponytail and then putting a few additional elastics on the ponytail, every few inches. In the morning, remove the elastics and lightly spray her hair with water. Smoosh and scrunch the curls back. You can experiment with pulling her hair into one loose braid, or making some spirals and pulling them into an elastic band.

      1. Stitch*

        I highly recommend microfiber towels for post bath drying. They get my son’s hair dry in seconds.

        If you do use a brush, use one of those comb style detangler brushes.

      2. Llama Llama*

        I also was my daughter’s hair the day before and let it dry as much as possible before bed. This is when I brush out any tangles. I sometimes put some curl product in her hair and then scrunch her hair periodically while it dries. I don’t bathe her everyday though.

        In the morning on day 1 I just use my fingers to fix problems. On day 2 and a mixture of product and water, I do use a brush to tame problems.

        Signed a mom who also just puts her hair into a ponytail.

    5. Just a Name*

      As a curly haired adult who was once a curly haired child….my mom had mine chopped off once it became clear that the morning brush out was more than we could handle. Too many tangles, too many tears. I still have that box of ringlets somewhere. I’m 61 now…. Do whatever is kindest for the both of you.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        My mom did this to me when I was eight without actually consulting me first, and I refused to talk to her for three weeks and I still have baggage around it. Be careful with this.

    6. Bubble*

      I’ve had the curls my whole life, except when my hair was long enough that the weight pulled the curl out.
      Since I’m a night shower person, I go for the loose braid after the shower. In the morning I can just shake out the braid, slip on a little product, and go. If I showered early in the evening and my hair is dry, like I imagine hers would be, I spritz on some water and go from there.

    7. UCB*

      As a straight haired couple who have a child with curly hair (how?!) and was totally flummoxed by it, I was saved when a friend recommended Cantu Kids products. The detangling spray was especially great. The answer is never brush it dry, I would spray with the detangler and water before I brushed it, then scrunch and go. Bear in mind there’s a chance her hair will change entirely by the time she’s 5. My daughter’s went from incredibly curly to a bit wavy in that time frame, which is apparently very normal.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I am the first curly-haired one OR redhead in five generations on either side of my family. (My sister is strawberry blonde, but straight-haired.) If I wasn’t routinely recognized as the spitting image of my paternal grandmother I’m sure there would’ve been some side looks :P

      2. Rainy*

        My dad has some wave but his hair was always short, of course, my mum has that stick-straight super strong hair, and my sister’s hair has that kind of limp, fine wave that really only shows up if she works hard at it. “My hair is curly!” she insists, showing me a piece of hair with a bend in it.

        My hair is 3a. No one ever knew what to do with it, and I was a hot mess until my teens when I gave up and just started growing it, figuring at some point the length would tame it (that length is knee, so it turned out not to be that practical).

        We didn’t have a comb in the house until I was 8 or 9, after my mother asked some parents at my school, and even then she got a standard comb, not a wide-tooth, and it wouldn’t make it through my hair. I bought my first wide-tooth comb with allowance money when I was 14. It took me a lot more time to figure out how to manage my curls, but at least I didn’t look like a frizzy mess.

    8. Ellis Bell*

      If she ever gets very tangled when her hair is dry (probably not until she gets older) use some satin gloves to comb them out with your fingers. If it’s not tangled but just dry frizz you can dampen them and make finger curls (just twirl strands around your finger; it’s worth trying this with just damp fingers first actually). Gloves can be as thorough as a brush, very curl friendly and you can use them for scrunching the curls into place when wet too. But in the main it’s about 1) not over washing the hair into dryness, so skip washing it sometimes and avoid sulphates 2) making sure her hair dries in curl formation before hitting the pillow and then 3) keeping the hair from being rubbed into static by using silk or satin pillows. If her hair is long enough a silk scrunchie on top of the head (they make mini ones now) or braiding will keep curls neat but some toddlers hate that so you may need to redo her hair in the morning with some damp gloves, damp hands, or spray and scrunch. Lots of sprays are a bit too heavy for fine hair so I’d start with water though.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Oh! I left out something that my straight haired sister in law found to be a very annoying omission. This is something you may already know, but you don’t rub her hair dry at all and don’t let terry towels near the curls. We use cotton crib sheets and tee shirts to blot and wrap in my family because we are very, very frizzy but lots of people use microfiber. Also, if her curls are okay (as in not bust open, tangled and frizzy) then you can rearrange their direction simply by sliding your hands in the hair and shaking them out at the root.

      2. Rainy*

        The washing thing varies pretty wildly by person–washing infrequently works for a lot of people with curly hair, but not all. My curls and scalp are happiest when I wash every day, and because I’m strawberry blonde the second my hair is even a little greasy it gets dark and stringy.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          Ooh I have been wanting to ask one of you daily curly washers if you feel a need for sulphates? Something I’ve been curious about. I know that washing timing varies wildly, but I think it’s pretty critical to figure out when it absolutely needs doing, to avoid stripping the hair. I think not washing when you need to is about as bad though.

          1. Rainy*

            After many years of work to build a tolerance, I managed to get to the point where I could just about do every other day, but my second-day hair has to be pulled back because it doesn’t look great. Now that I’m aggressively trying to get the blue dye out of my hair to do something different, I’ve gone back to every day and it’s such a relief, especially as we come up on summer. Even after years of EOD or–sometimes if I could tolerate it–every 3 days, I’d end up with a horrible rash on my scalp by the end of the second day, and washing my hair clears the rash right up as long as I wash as soon as it shows up.

            I’m a bit of a weird case, as I am allergic to the common SLS substitute, so I have to use SLS containing shampoos. For a while there it was really hard to find anything that didn’t have the coconut oil based substitute, and shampoos that had previously been safe kept switching, so I’d buy a new bottle of a shampoo I’d used successfully for months or years and then my scalp would start breaking out.

    9. MissCoco*

      I’m an adult, but I have 3a/3b and my mom has curls, she got my hair wet or at least damp with a spray bottle in the mornings, and that’s still how I do it to this day. I grew up with the rule that you don’t touch your hair without water or product on your hands. Wide tooth comb to put a part in and make sure the hair is all facing the same direction, should be fine. And if her hair is tangled in the morning, you might want to add a leave-in conditioner to her nighttime routine
      As an adult with fine hair, I prefer simple water, rather than the “refreshing” sprays, because for me I find they often weigh down my hair, and it’s hard to direct product where I need it most. I do a light scrunch with a styling cream that I dilute slightly after I’ve sprayed my hair.

    10. JSPA*

      for my own, in all but the dampest climate, I wet the comb (or my fingers) as often as needed. Less chilly than being fine-sprayed, and gets the water exactly where it is needed.

    11. Dinwar*

      My wife and I gave up. One boy’s curls are such that nothing we do is going to matter–gel, hair spray, varnish, the hair will still curl. We keep it short–once it gets past about an inch and a half he gets a haircut. The other boy has thicker hair, and he’s growing his hair out long enough that the weight of the hair is mitigating the curls somewhat. Seems to work for him.

      Oddly, my daughter has just the very slightest waviness to her hair. And she complains most about getting her hair brushed.

      1. Dinwar*

        Oh, one thing I forgot to mention! You don’t need to wash your hair every day. Washing it every day strips it of natural oils and increases frizz. I’ve seen folks argue that 2-3 times a week is fine. When you comb it the comb distributes those natural oils, and helps tame the curls.

        1. Clisby*

          Good heavens, I wash my hair once a week. I have stick-straight, probably semi-coarse hair. It would look like straw if I washed it every day. Or even 3 times a week.

          It would be different, of course, if I worked in a coal mine. But I’m retired, and there’s no way my hair can get dirty enough to require washing more than once a week.

      2. allathian*

        Curly hair just gets frizzy if you brush it when it’s dry.

        Mine’s wavy but thick. I only brush it when it’s wet, otherwise I comb it with damp fingers. My hair isn’t fine, though, the individual strands are quite solid, so I also use a leave-in conditioner that really helps with what little frizz there is.

        My hair’s also long and heavy enough that I can go to sleep with damp hair and a microfiber towel on my pillow without looking like I put my fingers in the power outlet in my sleep.

    12. Kw10*

      Another thing to know is that most curly hair is very dry and shouldn’t be shampooed very often. I have very thick, curly hair and my parents had no idea how to deal with it – the default (until I was in college and finally learned better!) was to shampoo it every time I had a bath or shower, comb it out, and then brush in the morning – resulting in a perpetually dry, frizzy ponytail. Seriously, it was so frizzy I NEVER did anything except a ponytail. Now I shampoo and comb once a week and the rest of the time just get it wet, comb with my fingers, apply curling product (LUS brand) and scrunch. Also I only use a T-shirt to dry my hair, never a towel. Good luck!!

    13. RussianInTexas*

      At the ripe old age of 44 I have finally got a very expensive “curly cut” and instructions last weekend after years of straightening my hair, then given that up and trying to figure out the curls by myself. The cut was on dry hair, took over an hour, the stylist went almost strand by strand.
      The main points are: gel, not cream on wet hair (right in the shower), gently squeeze the water with a microfiber towel or an old Tshirt, and then DO NOT touch the hair AT ALL until completely air dry or dried with the diffuser. Once it dry, fluff out the clumps. Brushes are your enemies (I brush before washing). Wide tooth comb if you really need to, but nothing is the best.
      Apparently I touch my hair a lot unconsciously, it’s a bit difficult to follow the instructions for me.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I like the way gel looks in my hair, but I don’t understand the advice to both never shower *and* use gel. It gets so crunchy after about 12 hours! And water alone does not get it out, for me. Dirty gelled hair is the worst! I can usually go 2-3 days without a full shower but if I use gel it’s counting down the minutes until shower time. Granted, I have very fine, thin hair so I just assume it’s different for thicker/fuller heads.

        1. Ellis Bell*

          I have thick hair and use gel in the shower but I would never ever use the kind that gets crunchy. I use a soft jelly or custard (kinky curly custard or Umberto Gianni curlfriends/curl jelly) or homemade flax seed gel. Even then it has to be a teeny tiny two peas amount emulsified with water and slicked over the canopy. The idea is to lock in moisture when your hair is dripping wet. If you don’t have a moisture issue or frizz canopy, then you don’t need to gel imo. Except maybe for scrunching curl formation, but you wouldn’t do that in the shower necessarily.

    14. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Straight-haired adoptive mom of a Curly Girl, and the Curly Girl book saved my sanity and kept my kid from hating me. I learned to skip shampoo most of the time and use only conditioner, and to comb her hair in the bath with the conditioner in it. No hairbrush, ever. In the morning she would dampen her hair and scrunch the curls – I realized last week that the spray bottle I gave her when she was five is still in her bathroom (she’s now 23 and no longer lives here). When she let it grow she combed it damp in the morning. Still no hairbrush. We couldn’t use much product because my husband is allergic to All The Things and we have a fragrance-free home. The No Nothing brand of products wasn’t available then – they have a detangler and moistening spray. Unless she’s literally rolling her head in dirt she doesn’t need a nightly shampoo.

      All this learning was helpful when my straight hair went wavy with menopause and then flat-out curly in my late 50s – regrowth after hair loss from medical trauma. It’s back to wavy now and I miss my curls! Also miss my kid’s curls – she has worn her hair long since she was 10 and it pulls out the curls. Sigh.

    15. fhqwhgads*

      My kid is only slightly younger than yours but has the same hair. We use a spray leave-in conditioner after her bath at night. When she wakes up her hair is curly in all directions, but it somehow doesn’t look slept-on. It looks like it’s supposed to be that way.

    16. Samwise*

      Cut it short. Or let it look wild. She’s a toddler. If you aren’t taking pix for a holiday card, it’s fine as us.

    17. The Shenanigans*

      I have curls that are less springy than your kid’s so keep in kind ymmv and all.

      I don’t wash my hair every day, first of all. if you need to wash your baby every day, try just conditioning her hair most days and shampooing twice a week. I use Loreal Elvive or the Ever series. iirc L’Oreal has kids shampoo.

      I also don’t brush my hair every day. If I do, I use a wide comb in the shower or a flat brush with a lot of space between bristles on dry hair. I do this a few times a week, when it gets too messy looking.

      I use Healthy Sexy Hair detangler and Miss Jessie’s Pillow Soft Curls when I wash my hair. I use Not Your Mother’s dry shampoo when I don’t.

      Most importantly and I CANNOT stress the importance of this enough I have an amazing hairdresser. seriously. Having a pro who can cut your hair to work with the curls and who can teach you how to care for them is WORTH IT. If you have a limited budget, look around for a qualified cosmetology school and see if they care for curly hair well. I spend ~$50 on hair cuts myself.

      But ymmv. Be prepared to try different things and be willing to spend some money on hair care (if you can, of course).

    18. Observer*

      What worked pretty well for my kid:

      Damp SOFT brush to smooth the hair into some sort of piny tail holder / scrunchy / braid. Ling hair actually worked the best for her for as long as she wasn’t willing (or able, when she was young) to put a lot of effort into her hair because long hair made a braid or bun or similar hair styles extremely easy, and they all tend to be neat as long as you don’t hammer the hair, but you can have some fun with it or dress it up when needed. Note that I said a SOFT brush, because it’s not there to detangle anything, just something that’s a touch finer grained than your palm for smoothing the hair back.

      Decent conditioners helped, not necessarily those made for “curly” hair – the main thing was to keep the hair from getting too dried out.

      What did NOT work (for me, former curly head): Blow drying and hard brushing. Combs were a pain in the neck for me, and not very useful. When I finally went short and curly, a pick was my favorite accessory.

  7. Jean (just Jean)*

    P.S. Forgot to add: Enjoy your family curls! And savor the irony that so many of us who have curly hair want straight hair, and vice versa. It’s somehow comforting to know that the universe can display a sense of humor.

  8. ThatGirl*

    This is very low-stakes but I’m curious what people think.

    About 15 years ago, there was a popular DJ on the local alt-rock station that my now-husband and I became kinda friends with. She came to a birthday party of mine with her then-boyfriend, we hung out a couple times, then she claimed my husband made her feel uncomfortable, didn’t provide specifics, but basically I apologized for whatever had happened and we didn’t really talk again.

    Now, my husband has struggled with being socially awkward so my guess is it was a misunderstanding. I was bummed but, things happen. The twist is that she had a very public meltdown a year or so later, a stay in a psych hospital and criminal charges that were later dropped. She got sober, dealt with her mental health, broke up with the guy, and rebuilt her life.

    I’ve occasionally checked in on her public social media over the years, and she’s doing well in another state with a husband and two kids. She still works in media and is a public figure. My question is would it be weird or creepy for me to follow her on social media again? I don’t want to remind her of a bad time in her life or be a creep. I just think about her sometimes and am glad to see she’s well.

    1. Alex*

      I would not in any way that would be visible to her. You never know how she feels about that time it may be a period she wants to forget.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Part of me thinks this way; the other part says I could not possibly be that important to her, and she still has plenty of fans from those days who engage with her. Hence my going back and forth on it.

        1. JSPA*

          It’s nothing to do with you (or your intentions)– that’s precisely the point.

          You’ve asked how someone with no insight into your intentions might take it, based solely on their own mindset and past history.

          You’ve received an answer that you don’t like, despite it validating your own (very reasonable) wariness.

          Look, nobody (or nobody decent) likes to hear that having their name pop up in someone’s media feed could be painful for that person. But if you have enough awareness to know that it could well be so–and there is ZERO paying pressing reason, beyond convenience, to do it–why do it?

          Wish her well inside your head, bookmark her page in your browser, and don’t attempt to connect on social media.

          She is the injured party: the person who felt harassed, for whatever reason(s). Someone who’s still linked to the person she felt harassed by? It’s a darn good guess you’re not someone she wants sliding into her social media.

          You can of course feel comfortable with the situation based on how you have experienced your husband’s awkwardness. But you can’t project that comfort onto her. (I’m hoping / presuming that you’re not also assuming that her having a mental break doesn’t automatically retroactively invalidate her sense of having been somehow creeped on… because, well, that’s not how mental breakdowns work, and that’s not how feeling icky about an interaction works, and it’s not how time and healing work.)

          There is no blank slate date, and no statute of limitations on feeling that gross feeling in the pit of your stomach, and no such thing as one person’s sensation of kindness, support, and good intentions canceling out a bad experience.


          No, don’t.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Im not sure why people enjoy chastising others or lecturing them for asking questions. Yes, I asked, if I were going to re-follow her without any consideration I would have just done it already. It’s not that don’t “like” the answer, it’s that I’m exposing my own thought process.

            For the record, I’m not suggesting her mental illness means nothing happened to make her uncomfortable. To quote a favorite show, the situation’s a lot more nuanced than that.

            1. JSPA*

              My reply was supposed to post after your reply to “RagingADHD,” where you write,

              “Well, I think you’re misinterpreting me, but I appreciate the perspective.”

              If you re-read, you’ll see that the statements by RagingADHD are in the conditional tense (if/then). They (explicitly) do not purport to guess or state your needs or intentions in any way.

              Thus my reply of,

              “It’s nothing to do with you (or your intentions)– that’s precisely the point” (etc)

        2. Observer*

          the other part says I could not possibly be that important to her, and she still has plenty of fans from those days who engage with her.

          Yes, but you were not just a fan. I don’t think it’s creepy, but the fact is that there was a higher level on engagement on the one hand, and something negative going on there for her on the other. That’s not your fault, of course. But it’s still likely to be be uncomfortable, at best. And what’s the real payoff?

    2. RagingADHD*

      Yes, it’s weird and potentially creepy. You have already seen that she’s doing well. If you need reassurance about that from time to time (which I’m not sure why you would, but if you do), you can look her up again. There is no need to follow her.

      Considering the circumstances under which she ended the friendship, she is likely to interpret any contact / monitoring as being motivated by a grudge rather than goodwill.

        1. RagingADHD*

          You were making friends, and then she said your husband supposedly did something (unspecified) to make her uncomfortable. And then, naturally, the friendship ended. Right?

          That’s the kind of messy situation that often leads to grudges, and it would not be unreasonable for someone to assume that sudden interest from an ex-friend after fifteen years might not be entirely friendly.

          I don’t think you *are* carrying a grudge. But it wouldn’t be unreasonable for her to assume so, under the circumstances.

          1. ThatGirl*

            Yes, but I also don’t think our friendship was that strong or important to her, feels like hubris to assume she would even remember me very well. She met a lot of people through her job, I’m nobody.

            I will certainly err on the side of not following her, though.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      What are you hoping to get out of following her that you can’t get from checking her public profile from time to time?

    4. Ellis Bell*

      I think the question is do you want to make steps towards resuming a friendship or connection with her again? I know it’s just a social media connection, but you’d both be reminding each other of a pretty tense situation. I feel like what she said to you about your husband was pretty bridge-burney; it’s the kind of thing you don’t forget saying and it’s hard to come back from ‘your husband makes me uncomfortable’ to a place of ‘Oh that’s Dina who had that terrific birthday party I went to’ or to forgetting you entirely so that you’re just part of the crowd. It is however totally possible that she had so much going on that she doesn’t remember this as well as you, or that she sees it in a different light now. I also don’t think I’d describe it as “creepy” if you followed her. I suppose where I land is simply that you shouldn’t feel surprised if she decides not to engage or welcome any requests.

    5. Stitch*

      This seems like a really bad idea.

      I’m also going to tell you, it’s weird you’re keeping tabs on someone you hang out with ancouple times 15 years ago. I just don’t understand why you’re investing mental energy in this.

      1. fposte*

        To be fair, I’ll Google everybody who’s ever run through my life now and then, so I would quite likely have the knowledge TG does about a past friend.

        1. mreasy*

          Yeah I don’t think it’s kind or accurate to say that it’s weird! There are semi-public figures I have an old connection to and sometimes I like to know what they’re up to, and I’m not a huge social media user at all. That’s kind of what it’s for.

      2. ThatGirl*

        I promise you that I’m not spending much mental energy on it at all. I realize it may seem odd, but I saw something in the news about her former station and it made me think of her. I liked her a lot as a person, I was sad to see her in the news all those years ago and glad to see she got to heal and move on.

        1. Aquamarine*

          Agree with people saying probably don’t follow since she probably wants to leave some stuff in the past.

          But I do want to add that I DON’T think googling her after being reminded of her makes you a weirdo!

    6. fposte*

      I’m going to join the chorus, mostly to say I don’t see the disadvantage in *not* following her. As noted you can still read her posts.

      You know how, when we’re talking about situations that can make it creepy for women, we have discussions about men accepting lost chances in approaching women? This is your version of that. Maybe she’d be happy to see you following her, but I think that’s a chance you just accept as lost, because the alternative is unfairly hard on her. She presumably could find you if she wanted to, and that hasn’t happened.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Thanks for at least not accusing me of being a stalker or something :) I feel like she probably hasn’t thought an iota about me in 15 years, but that’s probably as good a sign as any that a renewed connection is not meant to be.

        1. fposte*

          As I said, I’ve looked up pretty much everybody I’ve ever known (where are you, boy I had a crush on in kindergarten?), so I don’t see that as significant. But I think it’s not wise taking it beyond that.

    7. Expiring Cat Memes*

      From what you’re describing, I agree with the others that you following her out of the blue now is probably going to come across as pretty weird given the circumstances.

      It did really stand out to me though that you say you only hung out with her maybe 3 times, 15 years ago. That’s a pretty long time to be thinking about someone you only met casually a few times that long ago.

      If it’s “low-stakes” bugging you enough to ask about it here, it sounds to me like there’s something about that time, that experience with her or the connection with your (now) husband that you’re having trouble reconciling and moving past. So I would suggest that, rather than lurking around the edges of modern day her for answers – which a) you won’t get, and b) will make things weirder – start by searching yourself to understand where your impulse to keep tabs on her is stemming from and go from there.

      (Btw, I’m not suggesting *you’re* weird or anything for having that impulse, I relate and think this is a super normal part of human-ing. Just pointing out that disproportionate let-go issues can be really illuminating when you dig into them!)

      1. ThatGirl*

        Literally only popped into my head because I saw some news about her former station yesterday.

        I’m human, I think about the past sometimes like anyone else, it’s not that deep. I promise any time spent digging into myself would be better focused on, for instance, my mother :)

    8. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      If she peaced out of whatever friendship you had because your husband made her uncomfortable, and you still have the same husband, leave her alone.

    9. I'm A Little Teapot*

      When you choose a career in the public view, and are a public figure, then you have forfeited control over who can view your public social media. Public figures therefore need to maintain private, locked down social media in addition to the public accounts. She chose this career, she therefore chose to accept the consequences. My answer of course would be different if the situation were different.

      Go ahead and follow her public profile if you want.

      1. Observer*

        No. Just because you CAN do something does not mean that you SHOULD. And just because someone didn’t take EVERY PRECAUTION to keep someone from doing something, for whatever reason, does not mean that you should still do that thing.

        Yes, maybe she took a risk. But part of this risk is that calculation of whether people are going to be decent and honor the dictates of exceptional circumstances or not.

    10. just don’t do it*

      Don’t do it. One possible outcome of catching this person’s attention again is that she decides to air her old grievance against your husband to her social media followers.

      Since she is, as you say, a public figure, this might be very unpleasant for both your husband and you.

      Are the odds of this happening low? Yes. But why risk it when the upside is slim to none.

    11. Past Lurker*

      I don’t think it would be weird or creepy to click on “follow” of a public figure’s social media. But in this case because of the history, I’d limit to follow on only one platform, and I wouldn’t message them. I also wouldn’t hit like on every single post they’ve ever made, etc. Just my opinion!

    12. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      Minority report: yes, I think it would be completely fine to follow her. It sounds like she had a LOT going on in her life at the time she knew you and it is super unlikely that a follow from you would stir anything up (if I’m reading correctly that she had a major breakdown a year after the last time you saw her). She can always mute or block you but honestly in the context of being a public figure & having had – and recovered from! – a serious breakdown including hospitalisation, I can’t see a likely sclcenario where “I’ve been followed on Insta by someone I briefly hung out with fifteen years ago, whose husband made me uncomfortable” is going to be a source of angst. Follow away I say.

  9. Cat annd dog fosterer*

    I’m loathe to share in case it doesn’t work out, but I’m starting to get hopeful that it will be okay and I want to share my hope. I got my youngest bottle baby yet, only about 3 days old, and I’ve managed to keep the kitten alive for the past week. Some days I really thought I should end things because I thought it was suffering but the little beast has a fierce will to live. I’m hoping for eyes to open in the next few days, and more awareness of surroundings within the week. That will give me even more hope of long-term success. If kitten survives to 3 weeks old then that’s the point where I stop worrying. Even if something happens I’m feeling very proud of myself for getting this far. All my constant hovering over and feeding of 4.8 oz will hopefully give this one life, and will also give me confidence to help future ones.

    Any big things you’ve learned this week? Feel free to boast! Or share your pet news.

    1. Rainy*

      That’s amazing. Fingers crossed for the kitty, and thank you for working so hard to save it. :)

      The big thing I learned this week was unfortunately kind of a bummer, but my cats and dog are doing great. The dog punched the screen out of a screen slider when he saw a squirrel on the balcony the other day, so that was fun. Luckily Mr Rainy is good at putting screens back into sliders!

      1. Cat annd dog fosterer*

        Ha, yeah, I was looking after a friend’s dog last week and he slammed into the screen slider. The screen didn’t come out but I don’t think it would stay in place if there were a repeat performance. Thankfully I have experience putting screens back together!

        1. Rainy*

          Another day this week, Satan’s Calico saw the same squirrel on the balcony and ran full tilt into the glass door. I was worried about her neck but she was fine. Thank dog they’re resilient!

    2. Jealous of the Water*

      That’s wonderful! I’m sending good vibes for your kitten to make it. He/she is lucky to have you.

    3. Aphrodite*

      I want to commend you for what you are doing. It is nothing short of amazing and that kitten obviously has the best foster to help her succeed. I hope you’ll update us every weekend. I am sending my best wishes to both of you!

      1. Cat and dog fosterer*

        Thanks – we’re up to 6oz today! Still so tiny, yet headed in the right direction. An ounce is a big gain in a few days when I started at less than 5 :)

    4. Fairwinds*

      I just wanted to share….in 1991, we found a little kitten, eyes closed, and covered in ants, in the plants outside our garage. We took him in and bottle fed him, cleaned him up, and kept him warm. We didn’t think he would make it. But soon he opened his little blue eyes and imprinted on my husband. We had that lovely little kitty for 19 years! He was so loving to us, but always a bit weird. Until the day he died, he would suck on the blankets and make biscuits in our bed like he was nursing. I hope you little kitty brings you as much happiness as ours did.

      1. Cat annd dog fosterer*

        That’s so sweet! I don’t expect to keep him once he’s weaned because I do a lot of fostering, but bottle babies are absolutely lovely the way that they imprint on people and yours was incredibly lucky to have found you. Thank you for sharing your optimism about good endings!

    5. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m allergic and haven’t had my own pets since I was a child, but I so appreciate your big heart and kindness. I’m rooting for the little kitten!

    6. Rara Avis*

      Friends of ours were walking the dog and saw a hawk drop a kitten. They went to pick it up to keep anyone else from having to see it — and the kitten was alive! They nursed her back to health, and Kitty Hawk is now a sassy and elegant beast with a personality to match any of Alison’s cats.

      1. Cat annd dog fosterer*

        Oh wow, love the name!! And kittens are surprisingly resilient to physical injury based on what I have seen them do to themselves. Like run full steam into metal posts and worse. Still incredible that she survived such a huge drop, but obviously plausible, and how lucky that she had someone who found her.

    7. skadhu*

      Anything can happen, so no predictions, but if it’s a fighter there’s a chance. Our boy Rocky was part of a litter delivered prematurely by a stressed cat; he was the only one to survive. I’m told that at birth he weighed an ounce and a half. So he was bottle-fed for weeks; we became part of the feeding teams when he only had to be fed every three hours night and day, and ended up adopting him. Now he is 3 years old and 14 lbs and an entitled little pri—, erm, prince.

      Good luck and hang in there!

      1. Cat and dog fosterer*

        Thank you! I won’t miss the overnight feedings, but feel proud of myself that I’m still having to get up for them.

        Rocky’s a very lucky guy to have you!

  10. Aphrodite*

    I’d like to put together a personally curated toolbox. I know there are ones that come already prepared but I suspect they either have things in which I have no interest and/or are filled with cheap versions of tools that I wouldn’t choose myself. What tools would you recommend I buy for it, including brand names if any? Are there any brands to avoid? Other than a drill, I am not interested in power tools but I could be wrong. Is it good to gather a supply of various nails and screws? Is there a good box itself worth seeking out? I am willing to build it up over time. Thanks for your help!

    1. Rainy*

      Yes, a supply of nails, screws, trim nails, sheetrock anchors, weird little hooks, zip ties, etc are always helpful. One thing I will say: those screwdrivers with the multiple bits, ratchet setting, etc are fine, but get a couple of just plain old regular screwdrivers too: a long Phillips and a long flathead, and a short Phillips and a short flathead.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        A magnetic screwdriver of any kind is magical. I don’t have one (yet) but I want one.

        1. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

          This. So much this. I can’t count the times I’ve dropped the screw on the carpet and lost it.

    2. Eric Christenson*

      The main thing on tools is to know what projects or kind of projects you are going to do with them. I like my large, plastic Dewalt toolboxes (actually from Tractor Supply) better than my small, old, metal one, but I also have a lot of tools…from putting down insulation in an attic, to replacing brake lines in a car, to charging car batteries, to lawnmower maintenance, to replacing faucets, etc. On the drill, you want a variable speed model so you can use it as a screwdriver if you install more than a few screws at one time.

      Every time you do a project, check if you need a particular tool, and get it if you don’t have it.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah, I looove tools but I don’t think I can answer the question without knowing what kind of work you might do with the tools. There are some power tools that are worth their weight in gold if you might do any woodworking or demo, but not if you just want to hang pictures once in a while. Plumbing tools are a whole different category from woodworking. At the most basic, a good sturdy adjustable wrench, a level, a hammer, and boxes of various screws and nails would probably do you, as the ones I need most often.

    3. Jay*

      One of the worst things to happen to tools in recent years was the selling of the brand Craftsman. It USED to be one of the best around, with a lifetime warranty that Sears really stood by. Now it’s the worst crap around. Their new owners have run the brand into the ground and are relying on name recognition alone for their sales. Avoid it like the plague.
      Kobalt and DeWalt aren’t bad. The best thing you can do is to know what you plan to do and research what materials work best for that. For instance, D2 tool steel is heavy, but nearly indestructible. It’s the steel you use to cut other steel. It’s also overkill for most people. Not to mention, it will make your toolbox weigh a good couple of hundred pounds pretty quickly. Titanium is light as a feather, but expensive, difficult to work with, and bends and flexes easily. Good quality stainless lasts for ever, but it’s pricy and comparatively heavy. It also requires regular maintenance to keep looking good.
      It’s also rather difficult to make small repairs to your tools yourself if you use a hard (or worse yet, brittle) steel.
      Head down to your local Big Box store and physically pick up some tools. Get a feel for weight and balance. Learn what you find comfortable. You don’t want to get unnecessary blisters from an uncomfortable handle and a tool you only have the strength/stamina to use for a couple of minutes at a stretch probably won’t be as useful as one you can use all day.

      Hope this helps.

      1. Jay*

        Oh, I’m also a huge fan of cloth tool bags over tool boxes. They are light weight, comfortable to carry, shockingly rugged (if you get a good one, anyway), washable, and, when your collection inevitably outgrow it, readily usable as a general, all purpose, bag for carrying whatever. As a guy, my elderly Craftsman tool bag (from before the sale of the company) is just a great walking around bag that spares me all the “man purse” comments any other kind of decent functioning bag tends to draw, and it’s so much more comfortable to use than cloth/plastic grocery bags and more convenient than a large backpack.

    4. Enough*

      Good hammer, pliers, paint scraper, box cutter in addition to the screw drivers. Drill is good. We started all our children with basics (minus drill) when they went to college. For the last 9 years my youngest has been the only one of her friends to have any kind of tool. She has not gotten a bigger box to hold things. No particular brands.

      1. Girasol*

        For just general around-the-house repairs, that’s what my toolbox looks like. I also use adjustable or box wrenches a lot, and dykes and needlenose pliers.

      2. That wasn't me. . .*

        And must have a level! And a “square” of some kind (carpenter’s square, T-square, ore drafting triangle. And a a good, long, STIFF tape measure!

      3. Nihil Scio*

        I would add one of those small ‘picture hanging’ kits with hooks, nails, wire, and cup hooks & eye hooks as well. They last forever and come in handy when you least expect it.

        One of my favourite attachments in multi-head screwdrivers is an awl. I’ve probably used this as much as my flathead. Another attachment to watch for (seldom used but invaluable for things like dishwashers) is a small 5-sided star head

    5. Squidhead*

      What kind of work do you want to do with it?
      Hanging pictures or small shelves? Variety of screws and the anchors that go with them, nails/brads for smaller things, a level (probably at least 9″ long but 24″ is pretty handy too), at least one tape measure, some decent drill bits for drilling neat holes in wood, some cheaper ones you don’t mind drilling into sheetrock/plaster with, concrete or brick or tile bits if that’s relevant to your location. Screw-driving bits to match the screws. A hammer. A stud-finder if you’re putting up heavy stuff.

      General handiness? (putting together flat-pack furniture, a picnic table, etc?) Variety of screwdrivers in different lengths and tips. The interchangeable tips are handy but generally not thin enough to fit down inside recessed holes. An assortment of nut drivers, a ratchet with SAE sockets (and maybe metric), box wrenches or at least a crescent wrench (to hold the other end of the bolt).

      Furniture touch up? Sanding blocks, sand paper, rasps or files, screwdrivers and drill bits for re-attaching handles etc.

      Light electrical work? A tick tester, screwdrivers (especially one with a flat blade for removing faceplate, handy if you’re painting too). Wire strippers if this is actually stuff you will be doing (can be handy for some crafts, too).

      Generally helpful to have (in addition to the screwdrivers h the like above) : long pointy pliers, diagonal cutting pliers, clamping pliers (Vise Grip is one brand), electrical tape, painters tape, box cutter/utility knife, glass scraper (razor blade holder for scraping paint or caulk off of glass, also great for removing last year’s parking permit from your car window if you don’t have tinting), zip ties, utility scissors, some kind of saw (but this is very dependent on what you will do with it…a hacksaw for trimming small metal bits, a keyhole saw for cutting out holes in drywall, a simple miter-box and saw for cutting molding or picture frame parts), Teflon tape if you ever replace a shower head.

      Buying a kit isn’t the worst choice, because some of these you won’t need often. When you discover you use XYZ all the time, you can buy a better one or a duplicate. But a lot of kits are “240 pieces!!” and 230 of those pieces are brads or anchors, so I personally would get a smaller kit and buy hardware separately. If the kit comes with a tool bag/ box, you can always use the bag separately. As long as the bag isn’t too heavy, it’s nice to have everything nearby, but finding a home for a bag can be challenging. Small parts: I like those locking boxes with a bunch of compartments.

    6. My Brain is Exploding*

      In addition to things already mentioned, a tape measure (at least 10′) and a small cheap pry bar.

        1. JSPA*

          And so many levels are not level, these days (my current tool-related pet peeve, along with batches of thermometers that, sitting together on a shelf, show a 5 degree F temperature range). You don’t need a level surface to check them out, but do flip and turn the level in each direction to make sure that the reading is consistent. A bob and a square will also serve, though.

    7. Aphrodite*

      Thanks to the early responders. I am not a big DIY’er but if someone says “do you happen to have a [item], I’d like to be able to mostly say I do. Also, I think it’s smart to have items on hand just because you never know. Plus, those power drills are just so … useful. Keep the ideas coming as I am taking notes. And thank you

      1. Chickenfeet*

        Don’t underestimate the importance of hoarding useful bits and bobs! Keep a few tackle boxes. As you accumulate random hardware, put each type in a separate space within the tackle box. Bead organization kits can also be good for this.

        Seconding the comment about knowing what you want to do. If you’re unsure, start with the items listed above for general home repair.

        Can be helpful to imagine a situation – when was the last time you or a friend moved? Run through that day in your head and try to list all the little annoyances. Then, list the tools or items that would have solved that, or ask a handy person in your life how they would have solved that.

        Look up videos of how to do x on YouTube. Notice what they use.

        Walk around your local (small) hardware store – familiarize yourself with the tools that are out there. Ask a helpful shop attendant which items are most useful.

        Nobody has mentioned hex wrenches yet – get your own set of hex wrenches, the kind that are L-shaped and come in a holder with slots for each size. Should get a combo imperial and metric set. Now you can assemble every piece of IKEA furniture, and most bicycles.

        Get some safety glasses, work gloves, and earplugs. Use them. You will save yourself so many hangnails, scrapes, and stabs with good gloves.

        It’s ok to buy cheap tools the first time, then buy an expensive version if you break the first one. It’s fine to buy the nice version if you’re annoyed by the cheapness of the cheap version, even if it ain’t broke yet.

        As you gain more tools, you can put together “kits” for types of jobs. My dad had a belt with a few screwdrivers, wire strippers, an assortment of nuts and bolts, an outlet tester, and some electrical tape for doing minor electrical work. He has most of these items in other places, too, but finds it very useful to grab the electrical bag and go.

    8. goddessoftransitory*

      A GOOD hammer. Spend a little more and get a solid one that isn’t going to make you wonder if this is the time the head flies off the handle every time you use it. Same thing for a drill and saw if you get those.

      1. Dinwar*

        Eastwing makes hammers that are one solid piece of metal, with a rubberized grip to reduce the amount of impact your hand feels. They seem to last essentially forever, and can take a tremendous amount of abuse. Their 22 ounce masonry hammer is my main rock hammer, which I’ve used for 20 years and used to break up everything form shale to basalt (and a few times my thumb), to give you a sense of durability. Most big-box hardware stores carry them, too, which is convenient.

    9. Just a Name*

      Half the fun of doing a project is going to the hardware store over and over. I kid, but as many tools as I’ve accumulated over the years….it’s true. No project is ever finished until you’ve had to make a hardware store run. Gets worse when you start working on your car and now need metric versions.

    10. Old-Fashioned*

      If you don’t think you’ll be using the drill often and won’t need larger drill bits, consider a yankee push drill instead of a powered drill. Takes up much less space and much less weight, plus all of the ones I’ve ever seen come with various small bits, which store in the handle.
      It takes a bit of arm/wrist strength to use, but I know I used one for the first time when I was under 10 years old, so not that much strength is needed. It’s a great first drill and it works well in a college or first apartment. It also has the advantage of being silent, not just quiet. It’s not as fast as a power drill, but there’s no battery (that is inevitably dead when you want to use the drill, no matter how recently it was charged), and no (too-short) cord either.

    11. EngineerButAlsoHouseplant*

      It’s a little niche but if you plan to do a lot of yard work or gardening, I’d also add a good trowel, a pair of bypass pruning shears, and a pair of fencing pliers to the toolbox along with what everyone else is suggesting. For unpowered garden tools, I use those three things the most often. Also for general diy purposes, get a pipe wrench (longer handle is better if you can only get one), some thread seal tape, and a mop and bucket if you don’t have that already. Also a caulk gun!

      1. EngineerButAlsoHouseplant*

        After my husband went to the local hardware store three times in one day, he asked the ladies that work there how many times someone has come in in a single day. They said “We stop counting after 6 visits”. So just know that it’s ok to return to the hardware store if you don’t have the right tool. Many times if need be.

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      “Toolbox” made me picture something one carries around, but I realize we also have a cabinet-size one. It really depends on what sort of projects you do. A small toolbox with a few tools like a good hammer is my husband’s go-to graduation present–the graduate can be the person in their freshman dorm with a decent hammer and a roll of duct tape, and thus meet people.

      Generally useful tools: a hammer, screwdrivers in a few sizes, pliers, a wrench, the flat spatula things that you use to smooth out drywall. Those are the ones I most often go looking for in our workshop. (Spouse is the handy person and uses the power tools; he has a power drill, power sander, and a table saw.)

      Also useful, not tools per se: sandpaper, including a sanding block; an array of screws and nails

    13. fposte*

      I personally would recommend against getting a supply of nails and screws, at least to start with. They are fussy keepers (though I do love hardware organizer of clear drawers) and you will likely find you accumulate them and that projects have a way of needing the exact ones you don’t already have and will leave you with leftovers.

      I like to look at the Wirecutter for reviews of things like this–it doesn’t have to be the Best Evar, but between the Wirecutter and Amazon reviews it’s easy to steer clear of real duds. I like my Bosch drill, and I like my screwdriver sets (3 each, magnetic tip) in both flat and Philips head. A wrench is helpful for sure, and I like a monkey wrench as it doesn’t depend so much on grip strength. A utility knife/box cutter is handy.

      I just had a took at toolbox sets, and actually the smaller ones cover some useful ground and they’re not obviously marked up over buying things individually. Wirecutter recommends the Anvil Homeowner’s tool set from Home Depot; I’ll link that in followup.

        1. JSPA*

          My post isn’t posting, so I’ll drop links here.

          a small variety of pliers:




          any painter’s tool (you don’t need it to also be a screwdriver etc)

          a set of plastic mud tools (cheap white plastic mudding/taping knives) that can be used with drywall mud or with putty (the good metal ones rust) and a mudding tray

          a simple hacksaw and blades (get a corded jigsaw and/or a chopsaw and/or a circular saw if you’re serious about cutting wood, once you know what you want)

          A simple ratcheting screwdriver with many sorts of tips, and those in multiples; maybe a fiskars-style hand drill if you want something lightweight and no stress for gentle drilling. (But get a cordless screwgun or drill-driver or impact-drill-driver if you need more and want to save your hands, once you know what you need.)

          Once you have a reasonably beefy screw gun or drill-driver, I’d get a selection of torx, spax or even fastenmaster headlok screws (if you ever deal with fastening large items). I have no patience left with phillips head screws (or straight head, unless you’re doing heritage-restoration handmade). Pozidriv get a pass, but good luck finding those in the US. Square drive isn’t too bad, but not as good as the others mentioned above.

          Finally, a small block of soap in an old sock (for screws and anything else that needs to not bind as it cuts), and a tiny can of WD-40 or an itty bitty can of sewing machine oil, if you’re old school.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I agree that basic tools don’t require an “optimizing” mindset; a solid-looking one for a good price is probably good enough (“satisficing “). When you start getting into power tools, that may be the time to look at reviews and get more serious about it. I’m reminded that every professional chef I know uses the most beat-up, average cookware at the restaurant.

        1. Jim Bob*

          Second this comment. If I bought top of the line tools every time, I’d be broke. There are so many (esp. for sized items) you need once in a blue moon for odd jobs that otherwise collect dust.

          Best to buy a cheap one first time out, and if you use it often enough that it breaks, then is the time to get the forever model.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        Totally agree about the nails and screws! Just get what you need when you know what you need.

        My recs:
        – Heavy duty tape measure. One that’s fairly rigid and has a magnetic tip.
        – Full set of screwdrivers including precision ones for odd jobs.
        – Hammer AND a rubber mallet for when you need to knock something into place but not damage it.
        – Spirit level. I have a small one with a laser and tape measure on it that has been really handy for hanging pictures.
        – Wire cutting pliers and thin long nose pliers for hard to reach spots. Roll of wire always comes in handy too.
        – Some kind of adjustable wrench/shifter thing.
        – Small hacksaw.
        – Clamps and glue.
        – Set of allen keys.
        – Small metal file with a pointy end.
        – Razor blade holder (for scraping crud off tiles/windows, breaking paint/silicone seals etc)

        1. That wasn't me. . .*

          Someone gave me the cutest little tape measure with a level on top and post it notes on the side (you’d probably have to see ine to understand what I mean)! I keep it in my purse. So handy; it was a promotional product.

    14. Firebird*

      I keep a small pliers and a screwdriver that stores different sizes of tips in the handle in my kitchen junk drawer, because I’m lazy and don’t want to hunt for the toolbox. I also like the push drill.

      I also prefer a cloth toolbag or plastic toolbox. Metal toolboxes rust, seem heavier, and the sharp corners always scrape my leg when I carry it.

    15. JSPA*

      not all channel-lock tools are still (fiercely!) made in Meadeville PA, but some of the pliers still are. I’ve had excellent luck with their made-in-Meadeville products, and am happy to pay the (modest) extra for professional quality tools. I’d get the 430 and/or the 442 models, at least. Their needle nose also used to be excellent. I’d also get one or another of the needle-nose pliers. They have several fine 5 piece sets. Links to follow. I’d also get a short pry bar, and a racheting screwdriver with a bunch of extra bits of all sorts, and some sort of pry-bar or come-along bar.

    16. Newbie*

      Multiple 10mm sockets. They really should sell those in multipacks. It’s the most common size and the one that ALWAYS goes missing or gets borrowed right when you need it. Brand not important.

      Needlenose vise grips are my 2nd most used tool. Vise-grip is one of the very few brand names I make a point of purchasing.

      A filter wrench. Mine is more often than not found in my kitchen for opening jars. Brand not important.

    17. Bob Howard*

      I’ve not seen anyone mention protective gear yet:
      Protective overall/bib/jacket or boilersuit
      Hand protection: Disposable gloves/handling gloves.
      Eye protection: Goggles/safety glasses or even prescription safey glasses depending on task.
      Ear protection: Over-ear or ear plugs.
      Most of these do not cost a lot.

      Other items:
      Non-contact voltage detector
      Multimeter (Don’t go cheap, should be at least IEC 61010-1 CAT 2 if you are going to check mains voltages with it).

    18. *daha**

      Hemostats in various lengths. These were initially surgical tools. They look like a pair of scissors, but they end in narrow grippers like a needlenose-plier and they clamp closed. They’re perfect for grabbing dropped parts out of narrow spaces, or lowering parts into restricted spaces, or clamping small items together.
      A magnet-on-a-stick to pick up dropped items.
      Flashlights/worklights. You want some that can hang, some that can stand up, some that have magnets to hold them in place.
      A pair of clip-on suspenders with a yellow tape-measure pattern, because you should always dress the part.
      Kneepads, or a gardener’s kneeling pad.
      A cheap tarp.

      1. Phlox*

        Hemostats are also a great tool for sewing! I also love to keep a busted bike tube around. They are tacky, strong and stretchy so make great bungee cords, shims, etc. And free! Just ask your local bike shop for a trashed tube if you don’t have one from your bike.

    19. Jay*

      Oh! I almost forgot:
      Mason Jars.
      Lots and lots of Mason Jars.
      Especially the little ones.
      After all is said and done, I’ve never found anything else that works as well for storing the collection of random small stuff that tends to just sort of accrue around tool kits. Odd nails, screws, washers, dry wall hooks, etc.

    20. The Other Dawn*

      My favorite tool, which my husband bought for me many years ago (15+), is a Snap-on brand ratcheting screwdriver. It has a cap on the end that unscrews and holds various screwdriver bits (Phillips heads, flat heads, and Torx bit). It also has a magnetic tip so the bit stays in and the screw stays on the bit. He recently got me a second one in my favorite color, purple, and it’s exactly the same as the first one. So now I have one for downstairs that’s okay for him to borrow, and one upstairs he’s not allowed to touch.

      You don’t need Snap-on brand, especially after seeing how much they cost. But I’d go for a good tool brand so the racheting mechanism doesn’t wear out too fast–the tool will likely get a lot of use.

    21. Aphrodite*

      Thank you all so much! I am finally, two years after I purchased my own home, beginning to feel like a REAL homeowner. I’ve had to have some repairmen out, am finding out I like hanging out at nurseries, and am even interested in discovering all the pieces and parts and stuff to buy at places like Ace Hardware. Yes! I AM a real homeowner!

      Thank you again. Now that I am soaking up your knowledge I am looking forward to building the toolbox.

  11. Loopy*

    Thanks to those who commented on both my posts last week. After the first shiny reaction to the shakes passed, I realized I didn’t want them near enough to put less than ideal things in my body or support an MLM. I guess I was just really craving a shake. Thank you to everyone who commented.

    My question this weekend: my doctor put me on a medication that has a side effect of weight gain. I just lost some weight that was making me feel badly through dedicated gym going and healthy eating and am loathe to have it back! The weight gain as far as I can tell is attributed to increased appetite and retaining fluids. Has anyone successfully combatted this side effect without extreme measures? I know it’s early days on this med, but I think I am just anxious about it. I feel really sad at potentially losing very hard won progress. Anyone have positive experiences with mitigating this side effect?

    1. RagingADHD*

      IDK what aspect of the medication causes the fluid retention, but the DASH protocol is generally healthy and minimizes fluid retention due to salt. The guidelines for daily micronutrients include:

      Sodium: under 2,300 mg
      Fiber: 20 grams or more
      Potassium: at least 2500 mg
      Calcium: at least 800 mg
      Magnesium: at least 300 mg

      It might not help, but you kind of have to eat a lot of plants to get all this within a reasonable calorie range. And lots of plants are almost always a good thing.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Watch out with low sodium, though, because combined with exercising you can get wicked cramps.

        1. Chilipepper Attitude*

          My husband and I follow a very very low sodium diet and both exercise. He even plays ice hockey. No cramps for either of us ever.

          1. sequinedhistories*

            This can really depend on your personal physiology, though, so it’s wise to consult a physician and even get tests to determine that your blood sodium levels are okay if you are thinking about reducing your sodium dramatically when the doctor has not specifically advised you to.

            My father was on a low sodium diet for specific medical reasons for over 15 years. I’m sure it was good for him. My mother usually ate the same things as my dad. Her doctor warned her for five consecutive years that the level of sodium in her blood was borderline too low and that she should NOT be on a low-sodium diet. She ignored these warnings and eventually had a major crisis.

      2. Loopy*

        Thanks for the tip, I’ve never watched my sodium but that’s a good place to start for sure!!

        1. RagingADHD*

          Making sure to get enough of the other stuff is possibly more important than reducing sodium. Low sodium by itself is not nearly as effective.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      Since you already know how to eat healthy, watch out for portion creep with increased appetite.
      The other way extra calories can sneak up on you would be snacking, even healthy snacks. If you find yourself craving something in the evening, plan for it by saving dessert from dinner until later. Or if you have the stubbornness, keep telling yourself you’ve had enough food, this is just the drug.
      About the water retention, the more water you drink, the less your body hoards it. (Unless you’re getting too much sodium, but others have commented on that.) If your ankles get really swollen, talk to your doctor about a diuretic that won’t interact badly with your other medications.
      But, you know, not everyone gets every side effect listed in the Rx advisory data. Maybe you won’t have any trouble at all.

  12. Piscera*

    Movies that were ahead of their time, or simply not appreciated when they originally came out?

    Surrogates (2009) stars Bruce Willis as FBI Agent Tom Greer, in a world where people can conduct their lives through robot “surrogates.” The humans stay home, electronically plugged into their robot counterparts who go out into society in their places.

    Greer has been living his life through a surrogate since his son’s accidental death several years ago. He investigates when several people are murdered through their surrogate online connections, which shouldn’t be possible. After his own surrogate is destroyed during a chase, he’s forced to continue the investigation in person, out in the real world with nothing to hide behind.

    This movie takes on a whole new meaning in the Covid era.

    1. The Prettiest Curse*

      Not the film overall, but a performance totally ahead of its time was Greta Garbo in Queen Christina. This film was made in 1933 and is about the life of a 17th-century monarch – but Garbo manages to seem like a totally modern person. You could drop her into 2023 and, once she got her head around the idea of smartphones, she’d fit right in. I don’t know how she did it, but it’s amazing to watch.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Your description kind of makes me think of John Scalzi’s “Lock In” series.

      1. I heart my NC headphones*

        Yes! I thought of Lock In too.

        (I really enjoyed the series, though also I’m not sure Scalzi has written something yet that I haven’t enjoyed.)

        1. Jay (no, the other one)*

          Same here on both counts. Love Scalzi, and that sounds a lot like “Lock In.”

        1. Katiekins*

          I mean, not the murder part. The sending out a robot counterpart to do your business. In Aimee Man’s case, a Laura Linney robot counterpart!

    3. Stitch*

      I can’t name a movie but I will say Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Murderer” was prescient. He predicted constant connection and the problems that go along with it.

    4. fposte*

      Another book: M. T. Anderson’s Feed, from 2002. Futuristic teenagers in a bitingly funny novel about dependence on a media and social feed people get streamed directly into their heads. Opening line: “We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck.”

    5. YesImTheAskewPolice*

      Surrogates sounds interesting, will give it a watch!

      I don’t remember how they were received when they came out, and it’s some time since I’ve seen them, but Minority Report and Falling Down might fit. Minority Report has mass surveillance and predictions about possible/future crime being used, and if one replaces the psychics with an AI algorithm, it doesn’t seem that far fetched anymore. As for Falling Down, to a young me it appeared like a satire, because the reaction of Michael Douglas’ character to events was so way over the top. Given recent events, unfortunately not so much anymore.

    6. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents. She actually has a presidential candidate whose slogan is “Make America Great Again!” These were originally published in the mid- to late 90’s.

    7. Former Themed Employee*

      Jurassic Park – 1993 – Even 30 years later, the effects still stand out for their realism. This was the very beginning of CGI special effects, and a lot of what was (and still is) produced was just bad, or fake looking. I’m not sure who it was, but someone had to have sold their soul to make JP look as good as it did.

  13. Otter lover*

    I’m a social, somewhat extroverted person who has had moderate social anxiety for my entire life, and lately I’ve been wondering what it is like for other social/extroverted people who don’t have social anxiety. Like, are there people out there who just don’t worry about meeting new people? Don’t think through all the possible ways the social interaction might go – what you’ll say, what they will say, what you might wear, where you’ll park, etc? Don’t have physical symptoms of nervousness like sweaty palms, flushed face, compulsively making jokes (yeah that one isn’t really physical, I know)? What DOES go through your head? Does the thought of the interaction going badly even cross your mind, or does it just not bother you? I’m just curious. I recently leaned that some people don’t have an internal monologue or don’t think in pictures, which blew my mind because I basically have a musical playing in my head constantly. So, I’m now wondering if some people also just, like, don’t worry about shit??

    1. ThatGirl*

      I’m an ambivert, but I don’t think you need to be full on extrovert to be comfortable with people. I do not have anxiety. At least, not clinically and not about social situations. I … just talk to people. I inherited some natural warmth from my mom, I have a face and demeanor that dogs, babies and people in general seem to trust. I can read people fairly well, I can see that they’re just people and we’re all doing our best and it’s ok to be a little weird or awkward sometimes. And I know that most people are not thinking about or judging us nearly as much as we believe – we’re all too focused on ourselves!

    2. Mu, the Analogy Fairy*

      I’d say that you’re very close to “not even asking the right question(s)”, because the/a truth is that the concept of “crap to worry about” doesn’t even rise to the level of consciousness. I don’t know if I can even explain it, but if you’ll forgive my assumptions of shared human experience, here are some efforts towards that.

      Think about the temperature of a room. There’s a point (A) above which you’d say it’s warm/toasty/hot/swealtering/a sauna/etc. And there’s another point (B) below which you’d describe it as cool/chilly/freezing/frigid/etc. But between A and B there’s a temperature range that you don’t even notice unless your attention is called to it, because your body says “this is fine” and doesn’t bother you about it.

      Or maybe think about [random inoffensive bodypart]. Barring accident or injury, most people aren’t really aware of, say, their right bicep muscle. Or their left kneecap. Or the inner workings of their ears.

      You’re asking something akin to “how do you handle thinking about all the muscle interactions involved in getting out of your chair and keeping your balance while walking to the kitchen?” To which many – certainly not all, but maybe even most – people would give you a blank stare and say “I don’t; what are you talking about?”

      I’ve no idea if any of that was, or even could be, helpful. We’re a ways apart in our perceptions of the universe, and I’m not sure I have the language to describe what it’s like here.

      1. Squidhead*

        Yeah, if I catch myself thinking about “how do I walk up stairs, anyway??” I immediately forget which foot to move next and think I’m going to lose my balance (I do not have balance or mobility difficulties at baseline). I have to actively put it out of my mind.

        Actively putting it out of my mind requires being aware of “I’m doing it again.” I intermittently have a lot of anxiety about some work stuff that has to do with 1) uncertainty of how the shift will go and 2) fearing I won’t be good enough to deal with it. But it manifests like most anxiety: nausea, irritability, dread and it literally took me months to realize that I only felt these physical symptoms before work. Simply realizing and naming that fact helped a lot!

        To me, anxiety is a non-productive state (a lot of churning and malaise) while worry is a productive state. So: I don’t have *anxiety* over low-stakes social interactions, which means I don’t feel any of the above although I do *worry* about details. If I’m meeting at an unfamiliar location, I *worry* about finding a place to park (and I’ll do things like look at a map and make sure I have money), but I’m not *anxious* that I won’t be *able* to find a place to park due to some internal inability…I don’t know if that distinction helps the OP!

      2. A Girl Named Fred*

        I think this feels like a good description to me, based on conversations I’ve had with my partner along similar lines (I’m the anxious one, he’s never worried about anything.) If I ask him what’s going through his head during Situation X, which has my brain going a thousand miles an hour, he’s like, “Eh? I’m paying attention to A and B because of the safety piece, but I’m not worried about it. It’s just there.” I hope I can someday experience these quiet brain moments you and he describe, lol!

      3. Aad*

        This is an amazing response. I love it because I had undiagnosed ADHD for a quarter-century, and recently I had been wondering what it’s like for people who don’t have it. I tried to find a description online and couldn’t find one. While you didn’t answer this question for ADHD, I feel like it could probably be totally applicable. (To any non-ADHD people reading- feel free to chime in!)

        P.S. If you’re wondering if I think managing ADHD through medication or other means gives me some sense of what it must be like for them.. nope. While the medication and other systems do help me do the things I want to do — and I’m thankful for that — it’s not quite the same.

    3. RagingADHD*

      I don’t have social anxiety and I like meeting new people. I do think about things like what I’m going to wear, where to park, how my hair is, etc. But I’m not distressed about it. It’s either kind of exciting, like “Oooh, I know, I’ll wear that!” or just practical, like, “If I have to park far away, are these shoes going to kill my feet?”

      I do sometimes make awkward jokes or talk too much when revved up (see username) but I don’t worry about it beforehand. I might die inside afterward, but not before.

      I don’t particularly like big crowds or really noisy places because the sensory overload is exhausting. So I do occasionally have a feeling of “ugh, do I really have to go?” immediately before leaving home. But that passes.

      The thing that gets under my skin isn’t new people-It’s knowing I’m going to see people I have awkward history with, like the other mom at school I had to block on Facebook for being a weirdo, or a relative in law who was rude to my husband. I worry about how to handle those type of encounters more than they deserve, because most of the time I wind up barely seeing them on the day.

    4. Uniformed owl*

      In short : I’m one of those people who left behind the anxious inner monologue behind sometime in my twenties (it was gradual).
      It keeps you from truly listening to others on top of everything.
      I genuinely feel like most interactions are low stakes and that I’m an agreeable person who is sufficiently able to read a room to avoid coming across as ridiculous or annoying or whatever. I find it reasonably easy to say no (and am find being told no).
      I’m a woman in a leadership position in a male dominated field so I did some soul searching about how to craft a work persona that makes me feel true to myself, but manly I always had the privilege of being able to leave/avoid environments that made me start to feel like being myself on a decent day is not enough to succeed reasonably well socially. have enough decent/good experiences, it’ll be easier to fear new ones. Also i am busy, my life is full, so my teenage FOMO has died and I just have no time to over worry lol.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        This, definitely. When I was a tween/teen, my hair not being right was cause for a total meltdown because The Invisible Cool Committee would see and judge me (as would all my peers.) Nowadays I’m pretty much “eh” for how the world sees me (although I still wear makeup every day and put my hair up–it’s just not a tragedy if my eyeliner wears off or my hair has apparently been sticking out funny for hours.)

        I just–stopped caring about a lot of it.

    5. Sloanicota*

      Aw, I hope you find peace! I’m definitely an introvert but I don’t get stressed about social interactions, so it can happen. I tend to assume people will find me pleasant and likeable, and reasonably attractive, if they’re reasonable (and of course if they’re not reasonable then I get to go home early and not feel bad about it). Part of the confidence comes from knowing I can generally adapt or match the energy of people I meet; I don’t feel pressure to be the center of attention, I’m fine just hanging out, or I can lead the small talk if that’s what’s needed.

    6. kina lillet*

      I took an SSRI briefly that worked really well and yes I think some people really live like that all the time! Let me bring a message from those strange lands.

      I believe the key is that these non anxious people—they’re among us!!! even right now!!—just don’t feel BAD about those things. Think about a party? Consider where to park? Yes. Ruminate about the party? Get sick stomach when thinking about where to park? Not really.

      I think it’s an absence, not an alternative. And because the thing sucks less, the lead up sucks less. Anxiety makes everything a big ball of bad feelings; cutting off some of that helps with it all.

      1. Sloanicota*

        To be fair, barring general anxiety disorder, there are probably almost always other sore spots for people that *don’t* cause anxiety for OP or others who find socializing stressful.

    7. Sc@rlettNZ*

      I wouldn’t say that I never worry about shit but I’ve never worried in the slightest about meeting new people. Mind you, my friends tell me I could get a conversation out of a paper bag, so there is that.

    8. Double A*

      In terms of social stuff, no, I don’t worry about it. I find that in a social situation if you just listen, be kind, and assume goodwill that is enough social lubricant to get you through most interactions and win you goodwill in return. I like myself and I know myself pretty well so if someone doesn’t like me I don’t take it personally. The moments I look back at and cringe are moments when I was unkind or self-centered in a way that hurt someone else.

      I guess what baffles me about socially anxious people is… do you really think other people are thinking about you that much? I just assume other people rarely think of me and if they do it’s in passing. Do you think about other people constantly in a nitpicky mean way? If not, why do you assume other people are so mean-spirited that they would think of you that way?

      I guess I find externalized social anxiety (like when someone really projects it) pretty aggravating because to me it’s saying “My experience is the most important experience here.” So the only time that I do judge people is when they’re projecting that kind of energy. I know a lot of people hide their anxiety well and don’t project that energy in which case people for the most part probably think well of you if they think of you at all.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this.

        I’m introverted in the sense that I need lots of alone time to recharge and don’t have the energy to maintain a large network of acquaintances or second-tier friends, although I’m truly committed to maintaining the handful of close friendships that I do have, and I value my close familial relationships a lot.

        But I don’t have social anxiety. I do get anxious about some things, like making sure that I have my keys and phone with me, but it’s not people-related. I don’t particularly enjoy being the center of attention for long periods of time, although I do appreciate a public shout out for a job well done. I can speak up when necessary even at our large town hall meetings, and I don’t spend the time until it’s my turn to speak worrying to the point that I don’t hear what anyone else’s saying, either.

        I enjoy people and social events, but there’s only so much socializing I can handle before I’m all peopled out.

        My favorite thing about getting older is that I care far less about what other people think of me and whether they like me or not now that I’m in my 50s than I ever did in my 30s or 20s.

      2. Poly Anna*

        For many people it’s not about being judged all the time but about the possibility of being judged all the time. It’s like the panopticon effect, you could be watched but you don’t know so you act like you are being watched just in case.
        I think maybe it also helps to think of it as a mixture of temperament and past experiences/trauma? There’s naturally/ genetically a wide variety in to what extent people are oriented towards other people and how sensitive they are to input in general (some seems to be epigenetic, caused by experiences of their parents). On top of that, some people have good experiences and gain positive associations with other people. Others are abused/bullied/neglected and build negative associations with social interactions. They’re usually not being anxious at you :) Social interactions are a give and take though and a bit of empathy goes a long way. You sound a little like mental health issues are fine as long as they are invisible? Not everyone can mask that well and energy spent masking can’t go to actually dealing with the issue. You can of course set boundaries around how much you can facilitate but complete invisibility seems a pretty high bar to me.

        1. Sloanicota*

          I do understand why socially-jangly people can be challenging sometimes, but I agree it falls on us who don’t struggle with it as much to be patient and assume good will and good intentions. I don’t really mind if someone starts talking a mile a minute or seems a bit withdrawn / shy, assuming the room is circulating so it’s not as if this is my entire night now. I’ve had neurodivergent people come across as rude or blunt to me, but if I remain gracious and get to know them better, I realized that wasn’t their intention and they have a good heart. And part of successful socializing is also kindly parting ways if two people aren’t a conversational “match” after giving it a good try.

        2. allathian*

          Fair point. For the record, I was bullied by exclusion in junior high. As a teenager I worried a lot about the impression I was making on other people and whether or not they liked me. To some extent this continued in high school, although it was less severe by then. When I found my people, I could afford not to care too much about what the popular girls thought of me. It helped that I grew up in a loving family. Bullying by exclusion loses its power when the victim no longer wants to be a part of the group that’s doing it.

          So I can empathize with the anxious person, it’s like my teenage worries amped up to eleven.

          Being visibly annoyed by an anxious person seemingly making it all about themself isn’t going to help mitigate the anxiety, rather the reverse because it only confirms their internal conviction that other people don’t like them.

        3. Turtle Dove*

          Poly Anna, I appreciate how accurately you described the social anxiety I experienced most of my life. It took several decades after my crummy childhood (hyper-judgmental mom, alcoholic dad, and negligible guidance) to gain enough confidence to shrug off others’ judgments. I like me — a lot! I’ll consider others’ feedback, but liking myself matters most of all.

        4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

          Nod. In social situations you can do it wrong, and not know or do know but not how to fix it. You can be yourself…not like that!

    9. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t think in pictures and couldn’t if I wanted to, but I inner monologue constantly, often with a “narrator” in the voice and style of something I’ve watched recently. (It was hilarious the time I was mainlining 9 seasons of Forensic Files.)

      I don’t fret about meeting new people, but I will 100% lay in bed and either relive unpleasant past interactions with folks that actually happened, or how it might go if [person I used to know and have cut contact with] suddenly showed up in my life somewhere.

    10. Irish Teacher*

      I’m a very introverted person and I would say most of those things do not go through my mind. I definitely don’t have physical symptoms of nervousness or think through all the possible ways the social interaction might go. Now, being introverted, social interactions probably aren’t usually as important to me as they would be to a social, somewhat extroverted person. This is not to say I’m a recluse or anything, but I more worry about what my friends or those I respect and admire think of me than strangers who I’m less interested in.

      What goes through my head? To be honest, I’m more likely to be thinking of different things completely, depending on what the social interaction is. If I am going to a party, I might be thinking of how to get there. I don’t drive so I’d be checking public transport, etc. Or I might be looking forward to seeing the people I am friends with. Before my friend’s wedding, at which I was a bridesmaid, I was mostly thinking about getting as much of the correcting of the State exams as possible done before the wedding, as it meant three or four days out of my schedule. I was also arranging for somebody to drive me into the nearby city after the last party, so I could stay the night in a hotel. And I was thinking about the fact my friend was getting married and happy for her. I really wasn’t thinking about meeting her friends or family members that I didn’t know or her groom’s family members at all. To me, that was not an important part of the day.

      If I’m going to the marking conference, again, I’ll be thinking about things like “do I have everything I need?” “what trains should I get?” wondering who will be my advising examiner, etc. I might have a momentary thought of “it’ll be fun to meet history teachers from other schools and find out what topics they are covering with their classes or if other schools have gone to one-hour classes or whatever,” but it would just be a fleeting thought.

      I know you wanted answers from extroverted and social people and it’s quite likely they focus more on the meeting people part than I do, but for what it’s worth, there definitely are people who don’t usually worry about that stuff.

      I am one of the people who don’t think in pictures, by the way, but I have a constant internal monologue. To me, thinking is just talking silently. I even go back to the start of a thought and rephrase it to make it clearer or because I missed a point along the way, in the way, one might go back over a comment here. I have no idea why I do this, as I am the only one hearing my thoughts and clearly I know what I mean, but I might do through “what do I have to do today?” and then get to say 2 o’clock and realise I forgot to include “supervise the 1st years at breaktime,” so I go back to the start and go through it again.

    11. Otter lover*

      OP here thanks for the replies so far. It’s really inspiring and interesting to hear how other people handle/think about social anxiety/worry/anticipation/preparation in different ways!
      Also I just wanted to note that I didn’t mean to imply that responses from introverts/ambiverts wouldn’t be useful (I appreciate all the comments!), but thought it might be relevant that I need social interaction in a different way/frequency (because it seems like most people need social interaction in some way) than my more introverted loved ones seem to need.
      I’ve done a lot of therapy for the last 15 years, and learned that anxiety is kind of hard-wired into my nervous system from some early life trauma, but it’s gotten a lot better with time and therapy. I don’t feel debilitated, I haven’t had a panic attack in years, and I have a sense of humor about it. I’ve mostly accepted it as just, like, a benign muscle spasm that happens when I do certain things. (Thanks to the commenter who made that unobtrusive body part analogy). But like a muscle spasm, it’s annoying sometimes.

      1. Stuckinacrazyjob*

        nod. This is interesting. also this reminds me that I am anxious ALL THE TIME even when I’m enjoying myself.

      2. Jay (no, the other one)*

        I’m a total extrovert and have dealt with anxiety on and off over the years, usually as a manifestation of depression. When I was a socially awkward tween and young teen I did feel anxious about social situations. That changed when I was 15 – to be honest it changed because I started dating a guy who was two years older and my social status immediately shifted from “weirdo” to “one of two sophomores invited to the senior prom – cool by osmosis”. I had enough positive social experiences that by the time I started college I was confident I would find friends, and I did.

        My extroversion can also be satisfied by being with people without directly interacting – hanging out in a coffee shop, for example, reading my book and surrounded by people but not actually talking to anyone except the barista.

        I also have an interior musical and only recently learned that this is not universal. I don’t think it relates to either the extroversion or the anxiety.

        1. Otter lover*

          Cheers to musicals! I also don’t think it’s related to the social anxiety/extroversion thing, just another example of how wild the variation is in the internal life of humans.

        2. allathian*

          Cheers to the musicals! I’m not quite tone deaf but my ability to produce music is very limited to non-existent, although I do have more or less constant earworms. I just wish there was a way to let other people hear the symphonies I keep composing in my sleep. I rarely remember my dreams, but when I do, they’re almost always weird abstract ones with dancing colors and music.

    12. Ellis Bell*

      I am very low anxiety, to the point I’ve almost had to teach myself how to worry because sometimes I should be worried about something and I’m not at all, and I can get burned by not being aware enough of it. So I have an “on” button habit I’ve developed that makes me aware but not stressed out. That said, even I have stressed out to an unproductive level over silly details on a few occasions in my life when something is super duper important to me. I’ve discovered though that after a while the internal pressure is so annoying that I don’t want to think about it any more and the goal becomes less important to me. As soon as that happens, I can tackle the goal with a more detached focus. I’ve always found it ironic that if you care too much you can sabotage something and you can only get it when you don’t absolutely, desperately need it.

    13. fposte*

      I’m social and have some anxiety with human interactions at times but it’s almost never the first meeting–that’s the easy one, because there are all those things about the other person that you don’t know and can ask about and you can present your best self. It’s the middle phase that I find much harder. You already know they have two sisters and it’s too soon to ask if their relationship with them is a living hellscape, and they told you that they used to live in New Jersey but you’ve since forgotten and then referred to their time in Pennsylvania instead.

    14. RussianInTexas*

      Ambivert here, maybe slightly more towards introversion, without social anxiety.
      Nothing really goes through my head when I meet new people (with some exceptions like an interview, future in-laws, you know the drill). I just…meet them? There is no physical reaction* or anything like that, it’s a non-event. I don’t really care that much if they like me or not, although most seem to, and I don’t really care if I will like them or not, although I don’t dislike most.
      *except couple occasions of lust at first sight. That had happened.
      p.s. I am one of those people who neither has the internal monologue, nor can form pictures in mind’s eye.

    15. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      I used to get pretty stressed over planned-for social situation. I could handle spontaneous ones, because my mind didn’t have time to imagine every stupid thing I might do or say, or tell me no one would talk to me. Time fixed some of that, and working in places where I had to ad-lib conversations with co-workers and the public made me feel like I could fake it in social situations as well. I still mentally overplan, down to what socks I’ll wear, and have some goofy imaginary conversations with imaginary people who make fun of my imaginary clothes. But maybe it’s getting older that’s made me realize, okay, if I go and nobody talks to me, it’s okay, I’ll just sit and watch and enjoy that show everyone else is putting on. And remember, don’t be a Georgina Darcy, where your shyness or insecurities make other people think you’re an unapproachable snob! I’ve got RBF and this has definitely happened to me until I remembered to rearrange my face occasionally.

    16. Slowpoke*

      I thought I would chime in as someone who experienced pretty debilitating social anxiety which has slowly improved with practice. I still get really nervous about new social situations, but I’m MUCH less anxious while talking to new people, and I’ve noticed how the difference feels in my brain:
      When I was at my most anxious, the anxiety was so intense that my mind would go blank with things to say and I couldn’t smile or react normally and would come off very cold, and I’d be so worried that I wasn’t coming off as likeable or funny.
      Then I a) started coming up with silly icebreaker questions for when I convos dragged (sometimes embarrassing but at least most people found this entertaining) and b) learned that if I try to smile a lot, people won’t notice what I’m saying or not saying very much
      Now when I meet someone new, I’m focused on smiling and being reactive to whatever they’re saying, and I’m less anxious so when the conversation drops, I’m able to calmly think through new potential topics without freaking out (I realized conversations are a two way street, and it’s not all my fault if things get awkward)
      I also tend to explain “hey, if I seem anxious, this is why, don’t worry about it” because sometimes people can misinterpret it as me not liking them
      But this is still a lot of attention to pay to an interaction! I’m still self monitoring a lot, it’s just less anxious, which feels good

    1. rr*

      I will chime in here with the recommendation that I received here: Costco Hotel Sheets (cotton, and I believe 800 count). I don’t know if they are the Best Sheets Ever, but they are fairly reasonably priced (even for a non-member with shipping costs), and they seem to be comfortable and stay on pretty well. I didn’t end up getting them for myself, but for my mother but she seems to like them. Her bed is an adjustable bed and has a rail, so the fact that they stay on fairly well is really pretty impressive.
      That said, we’ve had them less than a year and they aren’t staying in as well as they did at first. There also seems to be some variation between the two sets we bought (two different colors) in how they stay on. But from my reading reviews of other sheet brands, that sounds pretty normal, if unfortunate.
      I do really like the labels on the bottom sheet indicating which are the sides and which are the top/bottom ends. I probably would buy again when sheets are needed. Also, I like that they included 4 pillowcases with the king sets we bought. I don’t think most sets include so many.

    2. ThatGirl*

      I really like our Mellanni sheets, we have both flannel and lightweight microfiber. They don’t discolor, they’ve stayed soft for years, the microfiber are cooling for summer. The price is very good for the quality imho.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        I second L.L. Bean’s flannel sheets. They’re the only brand I’ve had for a couple decades and they last forever. I live in a climate where they’re comfortable year-round. Plus if you don’t like them, the company will give you a refund all the way up to a year after purchase even if they’re used.

      2. Stitch*

        I like these, but I consider them my winter sheets. They sleep too hot for the summer for me personally.

    3. Sloanicota*

      This is tough because people have different desires from their sheets. I like them to feel silky and cool, not stiff, so I tend to like bamboo, but others want a crisp cotton.

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        I like jersey sheets, the ones that are like t-shirt fabric. Soft, cozy, not too hot or “slick”. I’ve had issues with microfiber ones sliding off the corners.

    4. sewsandreads*

      Australian, so probably not totally helpful… but I splurged on Sheridan sheets once and they RUINED all other sheets for me! They’re somehow soft but crisp at the same time, and feel so luxe every time I climb into bed. 100% recommend!

      My partner and I rotate between sheet sets and we have two Sheridan sets, plus an admittedly expensive set his mum bought us as a housewarming present. It’s always a bit less snuggly when the Sheridan sheets aren’t on!

    5. mreasy*

      I have both sateen and jersey sets from The Company Store and they have been more durable and comfy than any other brand. These were both gifts as I’m usually a percale fan, but I will definitely buy their percale as our next set.

    6. A Becky*

      Mako satin is pricey but sooooo comfy! It’s a cotton weave, so it’s not weirdly slick but is smooth and very pleasant.

    7. Elle Woods*

      I’m a huge fan of Target’s Threshold cotton performance sheets (400 count). They’re comfortable, wash and wear well, and reasonably priced ($55 for a queen-size sheet set). They’re my go-to whenever I need new sheets.

    8. Pieforbreakfast*

      Bamboo sheets! warm in the winter, cool in the summer. I bought them online from Cariloha, spendy but they have sales if you keep an eye on the site.

    9. No Tribble At All*

      I got the Luxury Bamboo Sheets from Cosy House collection because we have an extra tall pillowtop mattress and needed sheets that would Stay On. I also run very warm and was waking up in a puddle of my own sweat in our microfiber sheets. The cozy house ones are so lightweight and soft, and they have elastic straps on the corners of the bottom sheets so they stay on super well. Plus they come in a variety of vibrant colors :) they’re $60 a set for queen size.

    10. Clisby*

      What type of sheets do you like?

      I don’t like high-thread-count sheets. I like the old-fashioned kind where the sheets feel crisp when they’ve been washed and dried.

      Vermont Country Store sells 250-count sheets – that’s what I buy now.

    11. NaoNao*

      If money is honestly no object, Yves Delorme, Matteo, Coyuchi, Bella Notte, or Sferra are heritage/investment sheets. I used to work at a luxury bedding store and those sheets made Target sheets look like rags.

      Linen sheets (I own a set from Crate + Barrel) are a solid investment too. They get softer with each wash and are cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

      1. PsicopKitty*

        +1 on linen. Highly recommend linen sheets from Parachute Home. Bought a set in 2019 and it spoiled me for life. We rotate between two sets, and every time we get into bed it sparks joy.

        1. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

          Bedthreads. Amazing linen sheets in fabulous mix-and-mismatch colours. We spent a fuckton of money on these in 2020 as it became clear that me & my high-risk partner were not going to travel/ visit our families/ go to design fairs/ eat at restaurants ever again so everything nice had to be in our houses.

      2. Reba*

        Ya, I adore my Coyuchi flannel (no pills!) and I also love the Garnet Hill sateen which are my warm weather set. I was comfy enough on my Target Threshold ones before, but there truly is an appreciable difference in quality for (at least some, reputable) luxury products.

    12. Imtheone*

      I like Brookline. I bought one fitted bottom sheet because I didn’t need another top sheet at the time. Liked it so much I bought a top sheet a little later.

      They are crispy, which I like. The sizing of the K-size ones is generous. I like that because I have a relatively large king-sized bed. (Actually, two extra-long twins.)

    13. Five4Five*

      I love the t-shirt sheet sets from WearPact. Organic cotton, hold up well, deep pocketed, and have labels for which side is which. Downside is that the colors are limited and they’re a bit pricey. I have two sets that I bought on sale and they’re all we use.

  14. Glazed Donut*

    Recommendations for easy vacation spots in August/September?
    I’m looking for a place where I can go, not worry about reservations too much, not be on A Schedule, not need to cook for myself, and ideally not need my own transportation. A while ago I went to Biltmore House and stayed on the grounds. While it was $, I enjoyed being on one “estate” for the whole vacation, being able to walk to a few restaurants, have a drink outside by a fire pit without being rushed in/out, and not worry about picking up and going from here to across town later, finding and paying for parking, fighting crowds, etc.. I’d love something like that.

    1. ThatGirl*

      Depends on the climate you like, and if you can deal with the threat of hurricane season, but Key West is very compact in town, we never needed a reservation, plenty to do.

        1. ThatGirl*

          If you do go I can offer a few restaurant, bar and activity suggestions :) we had fun there.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I wonder if there’s some other all-inclusive resorts that might speak to you. Based on your description I was assuming it had to be a good-sized city, but depending how much novelty you require in the food etc there’s probably good options in any tropical setting that appeals too (and cruises, but I’m not sure if you’re a cruise person). There would only one reservation required, which I agree is something I prefer also, over planning a complicated trip with many reservations.

    3. Bluebell*

      I’m not an all inclusive resort person but found Puerto Rico pretty low key. I had an Airbnb that was walkable to the beach and there were plenty of restaurants nearby.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I’m hoping to go to Puerto Rico soon! Was it pricey compared to other tropical destinations?

        1. Bluebell*

          No but I went alone and tend towards spending less. I did tons of just walking around, plus did a few Airbnb experiences. It was great. I was in Condado in San Juan, so it wasn’t an isolated resort. The beaches were great and I loved the architecture in Old San Juan.

    4. Mary Lynne Schuster*

      Gervasi Vineyard in canton Ohio is like that. Several different cool places to stay, several different really neat unique places to eat, beautiful lake to lounge beside. We only went for the day, but the people in the Casas and villas looked like they were having a great time.

    5. Falling Diphthong*

      I recommend September/October over August because the former is back-to-school time–very few families traveling since that’s when kids are getting adjusted to a new school, so it tends to be quieter.

      If you visit a city I recommend getting Uber/Lyft on your phone and not bothering with a rental car–just use public transit and rideshares. Much nicer to not worry about traffic or parking.

    6. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Coronado, San Diego. Pricey no matter where you stay. Eminently walkable with the best walking beach ever and a lovely little town with lots of place to shop and eat – you can make reservations but you don’t have to. Pro tip: the outdoor bar at the Hotel Del Coronado serves the Serea menu (their upscale fine dining restaurant) and you don’t need reservations. San Diego in general is walkable and fun especially if you stay in Old Town or near Little Italy.

      We went to Puerto Rico last winter. We stayed in Luquillo so we did need to drive to get to places except the beach – if we’d stayed in San Juan, especially Old San Juan, we could have walked wherever we wanted to go. Delightful. Planning to go again this winter. Never stayed in Key West – always wanted to.

      On the other end of the scale, NYC! We just spent a wonderful weekend. We stayed near the UN and walked everywhere – up to Lincoln Center, over to theater district, up Madison Avenue. On our last day we walked around the West Village and agreed that the next time we’ll stay downtown and explore the Village, Soho, and some of Brooklyn. I really want to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. You can eat in lots of places without reservations and you sure don’t need your own car.

    7. Veronica Mars*

      You might also like The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs–it sounds like a similar experience (and expense) to the Biltmore. There’s lots of dining options on site, you can walk around the grounds, it’s beautiful. You could easily Uber to Garden of the Gods for some hiking/wandering around. It was a fun, splurgy place to stay for us and we never left the property for dining which was nice. (And only left to go to Garden of the Gods because that’s also a beautiful place.)

  15. Skates*

    My spouse and I rent a terrible apartment and they have just announced that our rent is going up by 100 bucks for the second year in a row so we are going to buy a house about a year sooner than we initially planned. I feel like I have a good sense of the local market and there’s a surprising number of pretty nice places we can afford. We have our first meeting with a realtor tomorrow. Any advice?? We both keep swinging wildly from Yay! We’ve wanted this for so long and we are in a position to make it happen! To Oh my god how do we do this without accidentally making the biggest most expensive mistake of all time?!?!

    1. Sloanicota*

      Yay! Buying a house, I will say, did strike me as incredibly (and unnecessarily) stressful. It was more money than I’d ever dealt with before, the mortgage people are on tight deadlines and want all kinds of weird documentation ASAP, sometimes you aren’t sure you’re actually going to close until the day itself (or at least I worried that something would go wrong, my first time) and I was tormented by the idea something could go wrong the minute I bought the place. So if you find it more stressful like I did, give yourself some grace! I don’t regret it now, it was the best decision I ever made.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Also you will 100% go through your mortgage experience feeling like their entire goal is to judge you and find you lacking in some way. It’s not you, that’s just the process. :)

          1. KatEnigma*

            Only in a hurry on your end. There is zero urgency on their end to answer you or get back to you or process you in a timely manner. (bought 3 houses now…)

          2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            YES. Hurry up, we need to judge you YESTERDAY. (And then not get back to you until the next day that doesn’t end in a Y.)

      2. fposte*

        Same. I loved looking at houses and open houses and wow, suddenly it was not fun at all.

        I will say that my realtor was very good in assessing what I thought I wanted vs. what I wanted and also asking good questions about why I did and didn’t like a house. I don’t know what the market in your area is like, but when I bought it was a very hot market and my realtor coached me on the fact that I’d have to make an offer after seeing a house only once, and I like a long run up to decisions so that was really hard. So I would make sure every house you tour is a learning experience and update the list of must haves vs. nice to haves/must not haves vs. hope not to haves.

        1. Sloanicota*

          Can you comment more on what you thought you wanted but didn’t actually want? For me, it was the yard. I love gardening so I thought I wanted a lot of space, but actually as a single woman a big yard was a silly thing to go for, and I should have put more thought into the work required to maintain lawn, which is not something I was excited about (other people would hire a lawn service, but I’m on a budget, so every week I have to fire up that big heavy stinky loud mower!).

          1. KatEnigma*

            Have you actually looked into the cost of a lawn service? We’re only paying $35/week. Now, some of our neighbors pay more for more service- They don’t pick up pine cones or trim bushes- it’s mow, edge, leaf blow, remove any large things that have fallen out of trees. But that’s $35 for a half acre lot. But literally there’s one person on our block that does the lawn mowing themselves, and the cost for the extra service seems to top out at $50/week.

            1. fposte*

              Obviously this will vary by area, but mine is $35 per service, which probably works out to roughly the same annually, for a smaller lot, and I love not having to worry about it. What I’d recommend is looking for a smaller established local business–ask any neighbors using a service, for instance. My lawn guy is also my winter snow guy if I need plowing, which is really nice–I like having a plow guy on retainer, as it were.

              1. KatEnigma*

                Ours is per service technically, too. We go to every other week in the winter, and only pay for the weeks they mow.

          2. fposte*

            A wooden Victorian house was the big one there. And I had friends with one so I should have known what a PITA it would be, but it didn’t sink in. My realtor was an eccentric, to put it mildly, and told me bluntly I very clearly didn’t want anything with that level of upkeep. It was tempting, in that my price range was somewhat lower end without being quite rock bottom, so there were several beautiful Victorians that needed some TLC in my range. My mid-century brick was a great compromise, in that it had enough feeling of character for me without falling apart all the time and it could get TLC when I felt like it.

            OTOH, the stress of house hunting started to get to me and I almost put in an offer for a house on a much busier street, which I’m very glad I didn’t. There’s nothing like actually having a house to make you understand what it’s like to live with certain things day to day.

          3. Don'tbeadork*

            Drifting a little off topic here, Sloanicota, but have you considered an electric mower? They’re quiet and ours can handle some pretty tough grass when we let the lawn go too long.

            1. Sloanicota*

              I would be very interested, particularly as I’m trying to put in a solar cell as a charger so it would get a lot of use! I don’t actually mind the physical labor of mowing, since I just count that as my workout for the day. It’s the noise mostly.

            2. KatEnigma*

              IF you have a smaller lot, electric mowers are great. But we had a 600 sq ft lot and it took us 3-4 batteries to get through the entire thing. It’s not even a consideration on anything larger.

          4. Mephyle*

            Obviously there is a technical problem with my replies. Let’s see if it works this time.
            The heat of pasteurization destroys the beneficial bacteria that grew while the sauerkraut fermented. The unpasteurized sauerkraut also retains the vitamin C of raw cabbage, that is destroyed in cooking.
            It’s worth it if you want the benefits of the bacteria and vitamins. Not necessary if your main reason for loving sauerkraut is the taste.

              1. Mephyle*

                OK, here’s another try. There are lower-maintenance ways to fill a yard than lawn. A great variety of them can be found with a search like lower maintenance than lawn.

                It would be some extra work and some cost up front, but it could be done gradually. Personally I dream of a yard with gravel beds containing patches of shrubs, low ornamental grasses, and ground covers, and stone walks winding between them.

    2. Aphrodite*

      I bought my first (and likely last) house late in life and I love it despite the seemingly outflow of money for (yard / appliance maintenance / professionals in various fields / etc.). What was most shocking to me was how much money it was to buy it outside of the mortgage and down. payment. Fees for everything and things you can’t imagine if this is your first time. I remember getting the list of them and nearly passing out. It seemed endless.

      1. Sloanicota*

        The closing costs are definitely eye-opening if you’re not prepared. I was also glad I put less down and saved some cash for repairs in the first year; it’s just an expensive proposition all around, but I had to do some work on the place (and everything for a home is super expensive, to me at least; plumbing and electric stuff are like car repairs in that the supplies aren’t that pricey but the labor is) and if you have to furnish a house from what you had in an apartment, that costs a lot too. So many things I hadn’t anticipated needing, like a lawnmower and all the yard stuff, rugs which are more expensive when you need big ones, etc. And I got very nest-y and wanted to buy the things I wanted and really have it look like my house.

        1. Bee bee 8*

          ^^^ Yes! Those first year moving costs can include really random things: anything from extra rolls of packing tape to shelves to organize your 2nd closet to extra convenience food since you’re too tired to cook to a new couch because the old couch won’t fit in your new living room.

          And when you figuring out how much you can afford for your monthly mortgage payment, make sure that you are also leaving room in your budget for all the repairs, tools, and maintenance costs that your landlord used to take care of. The lawnmower, the new faucet, the electrician to find out why your kitchen suddenly smells like fish (aka overheating wires) – that’ll all be coming out of your pocket now. The standard recommendation is to assume 1-2% of the purchase price per year for those. (Hopefully you won’t actually need to spend all that in the first year, so you can save some towards the infrequent-but-pricey expenses like a new roof, plumbing disaster, replacement furnace, etc.)

    3. EngineerButAlsoHouseplant*

      I cannot recommend tours, open houses, and walk throughs enough. It pretty much is the only way to spot things like a neighbor blocking the installation of new sewer pipes or a home that’s been diy-ed to death. Unless it is truly the perfect home, don’t put an offer on the first three homes you visit. But do discuss what you liked and didn’t like about them with your spouse. Avoid both brand new and “historic” houses if you can. And then try to have fun! Despite the stress, and the nutso housing market (in many places), it can be a lot of fun too!

      1. Sloanicota*

        You definitely learn to interpret the photos in the postings better after a few in-persons. “Hmm, that’s a funny angle to shoot from, are they trying to disguise the size of the room / height of the ceiling / avoid a big hole in the floor?” …

        1. EngineerButAlsoHouseplant*

          Yeah, definitely! What to watch out for also depends on where you’re searching. We live in a very windy area, to the degree that some people move away just because of the wind. So anything built on a hill, or any large unbroken lawn would is a no go, for energy costs, noise levels, and general well being reasons alone.

          1. Sloanicota*

            For me flooding was a big one. I looked at flood maps before I went to look at houses.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      That swing is very normal!

      It’s important to feel comfortable with your buyer’s agent–that they’re helping you in the way you want, rather than pushy or seeming like you need to reassure them. A real selling point for ours was that I initially said “I can’t meet next week due to work; I’ll contact you the following week when things calm down” (sincerely) and she did not send me a bunch of little reminders.

    5. A Girl Named Fred*

      Same thing happened to my partner and I – rent price is now stupid high, and we’d rather look at houses than find another rental. But now you’ve made me wonder, do we need to be starting the whole process now? We literally just signed our renewed lease, so when should we start working on house hunting?

      Sorry, I don’t want to hijack your thread but if anyone has a quick recommendation for timing, I’d appreciate it!

      1. Sloanicota*

        I think it’s actually nice to start slow and warm up, so that when the right deal comes along you’re 100% sure it’s exactly the neighborhood, price, and amenities you want. Saves a lot of stress versus when you’re in a rush and have to choose something ASAP without knowing. I’d say a year out is not a bad time to start looking at postings and doing some open houses, getting a sense of what’s available at what price. You would be planning to make an offer in about 10 months if your lease is a year. Just be careful you don’t fall in love with something or get the bug to buy!

    6. Hatchet*

      If you haven’t done so already, go ahead and get pre-approved for your mortgage (if you’re going that route). That pre-approval allowed me to move quickly when I found a house I wanted.
      Compare banks/credit unions/mortgage lenders and their rates and terms. If you’re a first time buyer, see if there are any benefits to that. (My lender allowed me to put 3% down as a first time buyer – but this was also 20 years ago, so things may have changed.)
      I agree with others that there are a lot of other expenses that pop up – closing costs, inspections, moving costs, all the things you realize you suddenly need from the hardware/yard store – so set some money aside for that. Also, once you find a place you like, check out the neighborhood and nearby roads at various times in the day/week. Are you going to be okay with traffic at a nearby business or school? Is the noise from the stadium or airport going to be okay?
      It’s exciting to find a place to call your own! (I’ve never regretted my decision to buy.) Good luck to both of you!!!

      1. Sloanicota*

        This not apply, but one thing I wish I’d understood is how the “first time homebuyer” program worked in my state. It’s worth checking to see if there is one for you and if you are eligible. I’m in such a high-cost area that my salary qualified me for some assistance, but I didn’t initially understand that I had to use a local bank in order to be in the program (which was fine, I just hadn’t understood that at first). I had to talk to a person at whatever county agency runs the program to understand what it was actually about.

      2. juneybug*

        Great advice Hatchet about checking the neighborhood at different times of the day.

        My ex and I (with newborn child) almost rented an apartment that later on, would have destroyed our health. First glance – area was clean, peaceful, and had a pool (nice to have access to when you live in California). That was on a Monday afternoon.

        Stopped by on Friday night and all of the college kids were awake and partying hard. Everyone was blasting their stereo. Pool was full of loud drunks. Camp chairs and portable BBQs were everywhere, including people’s stoops.

        We drove by Saturday morning out of curiosity and there were folks passed out on the lawn. Trash everywhere, including in the pool. But hey, it was quiet again.

        Of course, we didn’t move in. Told a friend not to move there but they didn’t listen. Ended up hating it and broke their lease to get out of there. Found out that every Monday morning the apartment complex had a cleaning and landscape crew come out to do a full overhaul/repairs to bring the place back in order.

        So yeah, drive by all times of day.

    7. Unkempt Flatware*

      Have you looked into any homebuyers assistance programs in your area? I got $10K for my down payment and it was a grant so I never have to pay it back.

      1. Lasuna*

        To avoid making an expensive mistake, remember that you are not just buying the house, you are buying into the neighborhood. This is especially true if you are buying a condo or in an area where houses are close together.

        My sister’s neighbors made this mistake. The wife is very sensitive to noise and HATES kids and dogs as a result. They didn’t pay attention to the neighborhood and accidentally moved into a suburb that people tend to move to when they want to have kids and dogs. All of the surrounding neighbors own dogs and the wife is freaking out, leaving passive aggressive letters on people’s doors, texting my sister that her dogs are playing too loudly (when they are not barking or growling), etc. They bought the place when the market was inflated and now can’t move without taking a loss.

        Consider what you want in your neighbors/neighborhood, not just what you want in a house. Ask the current owner questions about the neighbors – is the neighborhood pretty quiet or do the next door neighbors host ragers that go all night? Is that barking dog you hear a rare occurrence, or does the dog live outside and bark constantly? Is the neighborhood concerned with uniformity of look, even if it doesn’t have a homeowners association? Will your neighbors care what color you paint your house or what you plant in your front yard? Maybe none of that matters to you, but figure out what does and ask about it.

    8. Cendol*

      Ooh, congrats on taking this big step! Caveat: we bought last year (at the peak of the market, eek) so some of this advice may no longer apply.

      I would recommend working with a local lender or mortgage broker, if the rates are good, as the big banks tend to be less responsive or might be working from different time zones. This is actually how we won our 11th bid—the sellers’ agent knew our broker and trusted his word that we could close in 3 weeks. The same goes for insurance—work with a local insurance broker. Ours was familiar with our neighborhood and the types of problems houses in the area might face.

      It was insanely stressful, like being in a piranha tank. I lost sleep and hair. But we got through it somehow and you will too. I hope your market is calmer, and that you find the house of your dreams. Good luck!!

    9. Kara*

      DO NOT skip the home inspection! This goes double if you’re buying from a flipper or a DIYer, but there’s all kinds of ‘interesting’ things hidden behind insulation and under joists. If you have a friend or family member in the building trades, bring them along. We once moved some batt insulation in the basement and found out that a floor joist was floating on both ends. Plumbing that wasn’t vented. Plumbing with a dip in the pipe partway down (water flows downhill). Electrical that wasn’t grounded properly. A chimney that never had flashing put on it and as a result the roof leaked every time it rained. Check that the ground slopes away from the house or you’ll have water in the basement/foundation. If you’re anywhere near a water feature such as a river or lake, check what your house elevation is in comparison to the water, what kind of freak floods the area has had in the past, oh, 15 years, and compare your house’s elevation relative to the surrounding terrain.

      Ignore “pretty” if you can; what you care about is the house’s ‘bones’. Foundation, joists, state of electrical, state of plumbing, state of HVAC. Ask if you can see utility bills from the previous year. (One house we looked at had an oil furnace and the estimate the owner gave us was half of what the oil contractor said they’d sold him.)

      Good luck!

      1. DataSci*

        Seconding this (our home inspector saved us thousands by identifying a plumbing issue – there was no sanitary trap on the downstairs tub drain, and in our jurisdiction the seller has to fix that or knock the price down) and adding, if you live in a place where houses have basements, check out the basement first. Lots of deal breakers down there, and it does no good to fall in love with the kitchen only to find corroded pipes or water damage down in the utility room.

    10. Prospect Gone Bad*

      Can I ask, where roughly are you looking? Where are you seeing good houses at good prices? I’m passively looking in the NE and there is inventory but it’s laughably overpriced so loads of houses are just sitting and getting relisted. When something does sell, I usually marvel at the price and think that with how much I make and what I can afford, it’s likely that whoever buys at these prices is going to soon realize they can’t actually afford it. It’s actually been bothering me because the old way of doing things was you stretch your budget to buy a house earlier in your career, and then the mortgage seems small ten years later. But now people are stretching it at the absolute peak of their careers. No way this ends well if it continues. I wish housing was prices on supply and demand and not “comps” because realtors really like those comps from 2021 even if actual sales have nosedived here

      I was down south this week and it was so refreshing to see normal but nice homes that weren’t ridiculously overpriced just because someone with money overpaid for a house three years ago once in the town.

      1. Skates*

        I’m in the central Midwest! One of the cheapest markets in the country (which is very lucky because I spent almost a decade in grad school and feel very “behind” in terms of building a financial safety net)

    11. IT Manager*

      Make sure you can comfortably afford both the mortgage/insurance/taxes (which will go up over time) AND all the maintenance on the home which you wouldn’t have had when renting. Usually 1-2% of purchase price per year, but it comes unevenly (Eg a roof repair might cost 10k but it might be year 3 or might be year 10). An older home might be more of course.

      Good luck! It’s not always the best financial option but I personally like the stability of knowing more-or-less what my housing cost will be for years in the future through owning.

    12. Llama Llama*

      I don’t have any advice but good luck. I recently had to move from the house I was renting. My husband and I chose to rent for another year in hopes that the market will crash and we can get a reasonably priced house.
      Even finding a rental was incredibly stressful. We had very specific needs because of disabled kids and there was so little to even ‘choose’ from. The house we eventually got, we didn’t even see the inside of until after we put down a deposit!

    13. SofiaDeo*

      If you are in the US, consider signing a contract with a Buyer’s Agent. Depending, their fee may come out of the sale somewhere and not an additional out-of-pocket expense. A good one knows good appraisers, Mortgage brokers, etc. Remember the house *selling* agent is not working for you, they want to sell the house at the highest possible price. Your buyers agent can remind you of your budget, and help you keep on track with your pre-stated “wish list” and avoid a totally emotional decision. We got a buyers agent buying our house; I found the listing myself as a FSBO on Craigslist. However, the agent making sure we got ” pre-approved” not “pre-qualified” helped us be one of the few she selected from her over 300 responses. He dealt with her initially, and us having an agent IMO made everyone take us very seriously, we weren’t unable to afford/just looking. Plus she was difficult to deal with, he did most of that, it saved me from having to do it!

    14. Quinalla*

      I recommend looking at the low end of your range first, once you start looking at pricier houses, it is near impossible to go back. However, if you aren’t finding anything, move on to mid range quickly, don’t waste too much time.

      Try to make a list of your must haves, nice to haves and your do NOT wants. Make sure your realtor knows the musts and nots at least. If you need 4 bedrooms, don’t waste time looking at cool 3 bedrooms. If you do NOT want a pool, don’t look at houses with one – unless you are willing to spend $$ taking out the pool.

      A few things I think people overlook when house hunting often:
      1. Storage – so many houses when I looked had tiny closets or were lacking in closets all together. Pay attention to the storage in the house.
      2. Ages of HVAC/water heater/roof/etc. – it’s ok to get a house with an old system/roof/etc., but be prepared to replace it in a few years. Make sure you are budgeted for big ticket items.
      3. How open or not open you want areas to be – especially if you have or plan to have kids. Line of sight in some areas and also doors you can close to contain noise, this is all key!
      4. In general, not getting hung up on things that are easy to change – paint color, carpet, etc.

  16. Anonymous cat*

    Alison, is your husband going to make any more music videos for the other cats?

    For some reason I’m seeing Laurie with a James Bond danger soundtrack…

    1. Aphrodite*

      Oh, what a great idea. Maybe the opening song of the Sean Connery ones? Laurie looks like he’d be more than up for that.

  17. Anonymous cat*

    Low stakes question! You know how sites like Goodreads and Reddit have threads where people ask for help in identifying books they can only remember a few details for?

    Are there other places that can help you identify a tv show or a really old song?

    I tried looking on Reddit but my searches mostly found current stuff.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      r/tipofmytongue is a good all-purpose source for this, you can ask about anything and it’s a very big, active community. Their about page also has links to some other subs that focus on different things to search for.

      1. M. from P.*

        Seconding Ask Metafilter. You need to have an account to post but the site is excellent and people often ask similar questions.

    2. AGD*

      TVTropes has a forum for this; it’s only so active, but those watching have a knack for identifying especially obscure things.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I just adore TVTropes. It’s probably the only website I spend comparable time as AAM. I do edit but also just spend hours reading through it! Probably not for everyone haha.

        1. GoryDetails*

          TV Tropes is awesome! (Are awesome?) I fell into its rabbit-hole some years back when searching for information on a new-to-me manga, and wound up getting so many more recommendations from the trope-links that I became a regular browser there. (Haven’t used its forums to identify can’t-quite-recall media yet, but will keep it in mind!)

    3. jasmine tea*


      r/IdentifyThisTrack specifically for EDM

      r/IdentifyThisMovie for stills or clips



      also a ton of subs go by genre, like r/indie or r/horror, so search that way as well.

    4. eisa*

      On stackexchange, they have a lot of these kind of questions. I’ve seen it most often on scifi.stackexchange.com (movies / tv shows / books) but there is also movies.stackexchange.com and literature.stackexchange.com …

    5. I take tea*

      I love when people ask about books or other stuff here. I don’t have the bandwidth to read Reddit, but I like those threads.

    6. Anonymous cat*

      Thank you! I will check these out! I have some things I half remember from childhood and I’d like to know more about them.

  18. Sloanicota*

    I am annoyed that apparently my old but still-running car is apparently “worthless” (I literally was offered one hundred dollars for it by a dealer) even though when I was trying to buy a new-to-me replacement it was impossible to find older dependable models at low prices. I’d be happy with $4-5K for this car, because it admittedly needs work and is old, but I also would have been willing to pay up to $15K for a comparable car that was fixed up and came with some guarantee – so where are the “car flippers” in this market? A mechanic wouldn’t have to pay $10K to fix it up. I’m confused.

    1. Chaordic One*

      I recommend doing some research into used car prices for both your current car and the models that you are considering buying. N.A.D.A (National Auto Dealers Association), Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds, and J.D. Power are some of the most popular websites offering used car pricing information that takes into consideration both the age and condition of used cars. Certainly being offered only $100 for a still-running car seems ridiculously low, but expecting $4-5K for it might well be a bit optimistic. Expecting to pay $15K for a comparable certified used car with a warranty also seems on the high side.

      There are not very many car flippers. It really isn’t very profitable for most businesses. In my area there are a few independent auto repair shops, both mechanical repair shops and body repair shops, that have anywhere from 5 to 10 used cars for sale, but I would be a bit wary about buying from them.

    2. Emma*

      You may have more success in a private party sale, but it is annoying (people will contact you who don’t follow through), and there are risks – google how to do it safely.
      $100 is way low for a running car- I would think at least $1000. But check Kelley Blue Book for estimated pricing. This is what people buying it will do.
      I would run a few estimates – some with saying the car is at whatever condition level you think, and some a level or two lower (like mediocre condition vs bad condition) to see what the absolute lowest is.

      You could also get a quote from a company like CarMax. It will likely be slightly lower than what you might be able to get from a private party sale, but would be both hassle free, and a good starting point for pricing if you do go private.

    3. FashionablyEvil*

      The used car market is still a bit sideways from the pandemic chip shortages. Consumer Reports has had some good info about what to expect on the used market at the moment.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I totally understand the used market is still screwy, but I’m aggrieved that the sale prices are up but somehow the purchase price for my existing used car is not! That’s where I begin to wonder who is profiting from the system.

    4. WellRed*

      $100 is ridiculous but $4 to $5k seems unrealistic. Agree with the advice to check out Kelly and maybe do a little research. I’ll be happy to get someone to offer me $500 for my 13 year old car that needs major mechanical and body work.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yeah to be clear I’m not actually expecting $4K, I’m just confused about the math. Why don’t we invest more in fixing up and re-selling older cars? There is a huge demand from lower-income folks who need reliable cars and can’t afford to pay the kinds of prices I saw on the lot – $17K for a 2009 Corolla? Did the dealer tell the owner of that Corolla that it was worthless, spend $1500 fixing it up, and then try to sell it for that much?

        1. fposte*

          I guess that could be a question to take back to you. Why aren’t you investing more in fixing it up? I suspect the answer is similar for the dealer.

          1. Sloanicota*

            Well, but for me, I have to pay the labor cost on an hourly basis, so it would be quite expensive, and not being in on the little tricks of automotive repair, I assume I’d be taken for a bit of a ride. Whereas I would have thought an in-house place, with mechanics on staff and no incentive to pad the bill, could do all the work much more cheaply and efficiently. But perhaps I don’t understand the economies involved!!

            1. fposte*

              Though for a business, it’s always going to how they spend their finite resources; what profit will they get from rehabbing your old car, which takes X hours to fix and Y square feet of storage footage with a value of Z over time until sale, versus another car that will take A hours to fix and B square feet of storage with a value of C until sale. So that’s their math–to make it more profitable to fix your car than another likely car, they’d need to pay no more than $100.

              That’s why you can usually get more if you sell it yourself since a shadetree mechanic type doesn’t have the same profit pressure. I find selling on my own a PITA but still vaguely regret having used my old car as a trade in last time, since it was classic college beater that somebody could have gotten use out of.

        2. Not Totally Subclinical*

          Thirty years ago cars could be repaired by anyone who had general auto repair knowledge and readily acccessible tools. Today car repair requires an expensive scantool and subscription to the manufacturer’s software, and the actual repair is likely to involve replacing a $1000 computer rather than a $100 part. It’s much more difficult for independent mechanics to make a living or for hobbyists to work on anything built in the 21st century, and when the dealers are the only ones who can easily repair the cars, yeah, they can buy them for dirt cheap and fix up the ones they think are worth it.

      2. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

        Carmax really seems to work for me. I’ve actually had a dealer tell me not to trade in with them, and to go to Carmax instead.

        1. KatEnigma*

          Driveway is associated with Edmunds and we bought and traded in our car with them, all online- they deliver and pick up from your house.

        2. PaulaMomOfTwo*

          Agreeing with this comment. Once sold a car to a neighbor at the CarMax evaluation knowing it was a fair trade in price (and wanting neighbor to have a decent beater for their teen daughter).

          Since I’ve used them for every car sale (maybe 3 or 4 in my family). Not once has a dealer come close to their price, and I’ve asked every time. In December I just got 10K for a tradein that the dealer offered me 4K for (they “upped” it to 5K when they heard the carmax price).

    5. KatEnigma*

      I think your expectations are widely unrealistic. We got $3000 for our minivan that still ran well, didn’t need any mechanical work at all, new tires (because one blew literally days before the trade in) and only some small cosmetic work needed (a mirror ran into a wall once) And this was a brand/model that’s known to retain its value. $4k for a CAR, as in sedan or smaller? We’ve only been offered that kind of money for our pick up truck.

      1. Sorrischian*

        Depends on what we mean by ‘old’, I guess – I got $4k trading in my 2010 small car early last year. But it was also in pretty good condition, I just needed something with AWD to handle snow. If it needs work, that price is likely to go down fast.

    6. Firebird*

      Yeah, $100 is really low for a running car.

      Fifteen years ago we got $200 for a car with a rusted gas tank, when my husband stuck a For Sale sign on it at our rummage sale.

      Six years ago we got $200 in a hotel parking lot when the (second) transmission died on our way home from a vacation. We sold it to one of the hotel groundskeepers.

      In both cases, the cars were high mileage, we didn’t advertise, and the cars sold the same day we decided to get rid of them. From the buyers reactions, I’m absolutely sure we could have gotten more money, but it wasn’t worth the hassle and the guys we sold them to, seemed like they really needed them. We were really surprised to get any money at all for either of them.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I guess this is my point! I hear from everyone, “oh, just donate that old car for nothing, just to get it off your hands, they’re not worth anything” – yet as I said, when I tried to buy a car, there was nothing at all for less than at least $10K, and usually much more. Now granted, I was not in the private market so I understand I wouldn’t be getting the best sale / purchase prices possible, and I was willing to pay something for that security.

        1. Squidhead*

          It’s probably different in different areas, but dealerships that offer trade-ins are not dealerships that sell cars for less than 10K. To buy a $3000 or even $7000 car here you need the guy who has, like, 10 cars for sale at the side of the road, or you need a private sale.

    7. Miko*

      I don’t think $4-5K is unreasonable, but you’d probably have to sell it yourelf. I just googled my car, a 2000 Maxima, and prices I’m seeing of htem for sale are $4-5K. I know someone in my family in the last few years sold a 2003 car for $6K. But he did it himself. A dealer is never going to give you anything. Someone else I know bought a car that DIDN’T run for $275, and he fixed it, so $100 for a running car is ridiculous.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I think you’re right and I’m going to have to at least try the Craigslist / FB route, which I was really trying to avoid because I don’t want to offer any assurances on the quality of the car – I was hoping I could sell it to someone with the ability to fix it up. Plus, the stress of being flaked on, dealing with strangers, and scammed. I guess I’ll put that in the ad and see if I get any nibbles.

        1. Filosofickle*

          You don’t have to offer any assurances. Disclose what you know in the ad, list it As Is, allow them to test drive, and consider providing an inspection report or being willing to take to a shop for an inspection upon request.

          At ~4K, I’d expect some buyers will want an inspection. When it’s cheaper, not so much. It’s a PITA but doable if maximizing the sale price matters.

        2. HBJ*

          We sold a car last year. Clearly listed the cons. It was no big deal. Didn’t have people flake on us either (which was somewhat surprising). I think we put “sold as is” in the ad, but that’s kind of a given? I’ve always thought that was understood. We’ve certainly never expected a guarantee when buying vehicles private party, which we’ve done multiple times, including once where we basically got screwed (low dollar, well under $1k, thankfully).

          1. Sloanicota*

            If I can ask, how did you get the money? I usually do cash only on Craiglist / FB marketplace because of the various scams around venmo, paypal, checks etc – but I’ve never tried to sell anything as expensive as a car.

            1. Squidhead*

              I sold a car for $1500 a few years ago and the buyer gave me a roll of 20s. I counted them and had one of those “counterfeit detection” pens but didn’t actually use it.

              There’s obviously trust involved on both sides: I know the potential buyer is going to show up with a lot of cash (so I could theoretically rob them), and once the buyer gives me the cash then I could be vulnerable! Some people choose to meet at a neutral location, bring a witness, etc. Another option to ensure that you get the money would be to require a cashiers check (but banks usually charge to cut one, and you can’t change the amount on the spot). If I was expecting 4-5000 from someone I think I would want a cashier’s check, but I’m also not very savvy with other higher-tech options like Venmo…tax restrictions, fees, etc might be relevant when a large amount of money is involved.

            2. Filosofickle*

              My last CL auto sale, they gave me 3500 in cash! At the time, the only other solution I would have accepted is a cashier’s check that we took to the bank together to deposit (since counterfeiting cashiers checks is a thing too). Now, I might look into Zelle?

            3. Miko*

              Not sure if you’ll see this since it’s late, but I say take cash and do the transaction inside a bank. That way you can immediately deposit it so as to not be carrying it, and the bank will check for counterfeit. Then you can sign over the deed. That’s what we did when we sold some really crappy rural lots for $1-2k with quit claim deeds.

    8. Voluptuousfire*

      That’s odd. When I got my current car in 2019, I traded in my 2007 Hyundai Sonata that was in the “still runs but needs work” including the front bumper that fell off and had been stored in the backseat and I got $500 for that.

    9. 00ff00Claire*

      Do you have a Carmax nearby? I think they are the closest thing to a “car flipper” like you are describing – maybe it can only be done nowadays at scale. I’ve gotten two reasonable offers from them for two very different cars, in quite different conditions. One offer was during the pandemic, and it was comparable to other sources of information on our car’s value. We bought a new car in 2021 and because of the weird pandemic car market, as the buyers we didn’t have any negotiating leverage. For the model we wanted, there were only 2 actually available in our state when we were looking, so the dealer we bought from had no incentive to negotiate the trade-in value. They offered us less than Carmax did, but if we had walked away because of what they offered, there would have been another buyer in that afternoon or the next day. I’m by no means an expert, but I can see how that might be coming into play with you getting such a low offer from a dealer – they can be a lot choosier than the customer looking to “upgrade” right now.

      It was very different from 10 years ago when I traded in a high-mileage car that needed work. Then I was able to use the quote from Carmax to negotiate a higher trade-in value with the dealer I was buying the new car from. They had tons of inventory and I was willing to walk away from the deal, so they offered me more for the trade-in as a way to bring the price down (they didn’t care how much they went up on the trade-in value because they could still “sell” the new car for the higher price). If Kelly Blue Book and other reputable online sources estimate that your car should be worth more than $100 in its current condition, I think you’re quite justified to be annoyed. If it’s possible, I’d give it a good wash and vacuum, take it to Carmax and let them look it over.

    10. TX_Trucker*

      Most car flippers work in volume. They aren’t interested in buying a used car from an individual. They will buy multiple cars at one time at auction. Most states limit the number of cars an individual can sell in a year without a dealer’s license. Because of that, you aren’t going to find many mechanics who fix up cars in their spare time for resale. My husband is a hobby mechanic and he will typically resell up to four cars a year, which is the max allowed in Texas without a license. But he is only interested in older models without any electronics. It’s not cheap to fix “modern” cars.

    11. Samwise*

      How old? What brand and model? Condition of the car?

      I have a 12 year old Prius, engine and big battery in fabulous condition, low mileage (under 70k), interior in excellent condition, dinged up body. I could likely get $3500 – $4500 for it, especially if I sold it myself.

    12. Observer*

      I can’t speak to your car specifically, but if you were looking to dealer cars, you were paying for the car, and for someone who made sure that the thing actually RUNS. A dealer buying from you is going to have to invest money, not just in the repairs but to check for anything else that might come to bite them. And sure, they can probably do it for less than you can, but it’s still a real cost that they have to recoup along with all of the overhead that comes with running a decent operation. So that’s one of the reasons for the asymmetry of pricing.

      Also, brand, repair-ability, mileage on the car, and gas mileage is going to make a HUGE difference.

    13. Sister George Michael*

      I have kind of the opposite problem. Mint keeps telling me my 20+ year old Hyundai is a $5k asset, and I’m like, nope, no it’s not.

  19. Tiny clay insects*

    Ooo, can I start the books thread? What are you currently reading?

    I’m reading The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey. It’s an enjoyable mystery about a woman lawyer in Bombay in the 1920s.

    Also, I am having Tana French withdrawals, and would love recommendations for authors/books in a similar vein to hers.

    1. sewsandreads*

      I wish I could help with recs — reading withdrawals are the worst!

      I read Emily Henry’s Happy Place, and am now reading Limelight by Amy Poeppel. Alison, I read Small Admissions after you recommended it a few weeks ago, and was hooked! Limelight is just as enjoyable. Thanks for the new-to-me author recommendation!

      1. word nerd*

        I highly recommend The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel! What did you think of Happy Place? It felt similar to People We Meet on Vacation for me, so it’s probably not surprising that both of those were middle-of-the-road for me (too much angst for my taste), whereas I loved Book Lovers.

        1. sewsandreads*

          Book Lovers is my favourite of hers, so I absolutely relate to the “too much angst” sentiment. It was an enjoyable read, don’t get me wrong, but I think I was looking for fluffy escapism where things went well, not bracing myself for a story that seemed a little doomed. The ending was sweet, but my cynical self went, “only a matter of time before it goes sour!”

          I’ll add the Sweet Spot to the TBR list — thanks! I love finding authors with an extensive booklist, it makes my TBR list all the better…

          1. word nerd*

            The Sweet Spot definitely hit the feel-good fluffy escapism plot for me (without being too saccarine) if you’re still in the mood for that! I totally agree with you about the ending of Happy Place. I’m going to try to stay as vague as I can here to try to avoid spoilers, but I basically did the same thing professionally, but in a much more practical way, and it just felt so outrageously unrealistic.

    2. anonymous childfree bookworm*

      I just finished The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson which was cute and fun. I liked The Last Chance Library better, but still mostly enjoyed it.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Did you see the movie? That was wonderful. I’m referring to the one from a couple of years ago, but the 70’s version was really good, too.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, I saw the one with Kenneth Branagh. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t change my mind about David Suchet as the one and only Poirot for me, to the point that I hear his voice in my head when I read a Poirot book.

    3. Lemonwhirl*

      For Tana French withdrawal, I recommend Jane Harper. The books are set in Australia, but they have the same exquisite character development and fantastic writing as Tana French.
      She has a trilogy of books that feature a detective, Aaron Falk. “The Dry” is the first book in that series, and it’s the one that hooked me on her.
      She also has two stand-alone novels. I enjoyed “The Survivors” more than “The Lost Man”, but they’re both excellent.

      I’m currently reading “The Survivalists” by Kashana Cauley. It’s a really interesting book about a Black lawyer in Brooklyn who starts dating a guy who is a coffee entrepreneur who was badly affected by Hurricane Sandy and, as a result, has become a bit of a Doomsday prepper. It’s a hard book to describe, because it’s mostly about the vibes between all the characters and a glimpse into a subculture whose media portrayal typically focuses on middle-aged white dudes who live in camo and stockpile guns. It’s really well-written and has a wry sense of humor and a great voice.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Just finished Light From Uncommon Stars. I don’t think it’s been on Alison’s recommended list, but I think she would enjoy it. It’s fun and clever, although I had trouble fitting the ending in with the structure of the world the author created.

    5. carcinization*

      I’m about to start reading Brust’s Tsalmoth, which I’ve been waiting for for months. But I wish it wasn’t set so far back in the series’ timeline, to be honest.


      I’m back on my ACOTAR train after being sick and moving. Reading A Court of Mist and Fury and loving it.

      1. Emily Elizabeth*

        Just finished that this week and loved it! I had heard from my friends I would like it better than the first and for me it was definitely true.

    7. RussianInTexas*

      I am reading a mystery book I got for free set in Galveston, TX. The writer is a Brit who lives in the UK. The book itself is mediocre, but I continue to read it to find more “he obviously does not live here” things. Not factual errors per se, but but “this is not how it works here”.
      Most egregious:
      1. The main character’s husband (they live in the downtown Galveston) goes to Texas City for 3 weeks to work “on location”. Texas City is 15 minutes away across the causeway, you can see it from Galveston. No one in Houston area will coincider this a “location” to go away to. It’s not even a middling commute.
      2. There is a hurricane in the Gulf*, near Cuba, potentially on the collision course with the Texas Gulf Coast and all the characters are completely blase about it. Just handwave it. This is not how it works. A hurricane in the Gulf is a THING. The one that is potentially coming here? It’s on the news 24/7. There are store runons. Highway signs.
      *also, he keeps writing “the gulf”, and it should be “the Gulf”. The lower case just like wrong.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        I think those kind of errors, the “um, that’s just not how it works” tend to be common when people are writing about a foreign country. I constantly find them in books about Ireland.

        One that stands out is a couple of lines from an Irish character in Agatha Christie’s N or M: “he was a follower of Roger Casement during the last war. He was shot after the battle with all those other Irishmen.”

        I was just thinking:
        a) while 1916 was undoubtedly during World War I, I cannot imagine any Irish person describing it that way. The 1916 Easter Rising is one of the pivotal moments of our History whereas World War I…gets very little attention in general. And while the character is talking to somebody English who might not understand “the Easter Rising” as a term, it’s also called “the 1916 Rising” which is pretty self-explanatory.
        b) Roger Casement wasn’t even one of the main leaders.
        c) I can’t imagine anybody talking about “following” the leaders anyway. Even saying “a follower of Padraig Pearse” or “a follower of James Connolly” would be kinda weird. That…wasn’t what it was about.
        d) there were 15 men shot after the Rising and their names are well-known. You can’t just randomly add another. It would make perfect sense to say “he was killed in the fighting on O’Connell Street,” but shot afterwards? Nope. While many were sentenced to be shot, most were commuted due to public opposition.

        “He was out in 1916 and died in the fighting on O’Connell Street” would make the same point in a way that made sense.

        Just as a “yeah, I know the feeling” sort of thing. I love that book, but those sentences are cringeworthy.

      2. carcinization*

        Hahaha you (RussianInTexas) are completely correct about the ridiculousness of staying in Texas City for 3 weeks in that situation (and it not really being a destination for anything!). My husband commuted there 5 days a week when we lived in Galveston! When we lived there the hurricanes had generally been missing the area, but people, including us, still did some prep for incoming ones (and good thing as well… I lived there during Ike!).

        1. RussianInTexas*

          He also keeps mentioning the “destruction wrought by the hurricanes Rita and Ike”, and nope. Rita completely missed Galveston.

    8. Turtle Dove*

      I’m finishing Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym, which was recommended here. I like it, although it’s rather somber. I’m hoping for a happy ending for Letty.

      Next I’ll read The Last Remains, the new release in the Ruth Galloway series by Elly Griffiths. I like to borrow library books or buy used books rather than new ones, and I realized a month ago that I could ask my library if they’d order this one (after not finding it yet in their catalog). They had me put in a formal request and told me I’d be first in line if they decided to order it. They did, and I am! I shared my delight with the librarian when I picked up the book. I’m thrilled in an outsized way that this worked out.

    9. GoryDetails*

      Re Tana French: yeah, I feel your pain; I keep on the watch for news of her next book (and hold out hope that maybe she’ll get back to the Dublin Murder Squad again someday). I don’t know of anyone who’s quite in the same ballpark, but perhaps Belinda Bauer’s books would be of interest? Her first three – Blacklands, Darkside, and Finders Keepers – are set in the same area and feature some of the same characters, and while they can be read as standalones there’s some interest in following the characters through their respective traumas. She likes to feature alternate-viewpoint chapters, sometimes doing a little fakeout regarding when a particular event took place, and might choose to reveal the criminal to the reader earlier than the investigators figure it out, to heighten the will-they-get-there-in-time tension. (She also has a very dark imagination, and – while not as explicitly grisly as, say, the late Mo Hayder – has put her characters into some terrifying places.)

      Mo Hayder herself might be of interest, though her books get VERY dark indeed, often with brutal child abuse as a plot-point (past and/or present), and some diabolical villains. I liked them but they’re probably the most intense and horrifying of the mystery/thrillers I’d recommend.

    10. GoryDetails*

      My current reading includes (yes, I always have several books going at any one time):

      A House with Good Bones by T. Kingfisher (aka Ursula Vernon), which opens: “”There was a vulture on the mailbox of my grandmother’s house. As omens go, it doesn’t get much more obvious than that.” It has a modern-day tract-house setting and some nicely creepy hauntings/eldritch-horror undertones – and a rescue vulture with one wing and an impressively charming (for a vulture) personality.

      Square Haunting by Francesca Wade, an intriguing biography centered on a particular location – London’s Mecklenburgh Square, which housed many people of interest over the years. This book focuses on five women who lived there at various times between the world wars: modernist poet H. D. (Hilda Doolittle), classical scholar, playwright, and detective novelist Dorothy L. Sayers, classicist Jane Harrison, economic historian Eileen Power, and author and publisher Virginia Woolf. Some lived there for many years, some for only one, but the location seems to have had influences on each, and so far I’m enjoying the book very much indeed. [Sayers is a favorite author of mine so her section was of special interest, but I’m enjoying learning about them all. Another Sayers-centric book on my TBRs is Mo Moulton’s The Mutual Admiration Society.]

      And: Tasting History, historical recipes from Max Miller’s marvelously entertaining and informative YouTube channel. The book includes the historical backgrounds of the recipes (though “recipes” might be too strong a word for many of the older entries, which can be quite vague as to quantities and sometimes even specific ingredients) and Max’s accessible-to-modern-cooks versions.

      Current carrying-around book: 101 Places Not to See Before You Die by Catherine Price, an amusing anti-travel book which opens with the author griping about the proliferation of “x things/places you MUST see/do/visit before you die” lists. She notes up front that she realizes that people’s views on desirable travel spots are subjective, so she’s presenting a mix of places she’s been and hated, places she’s heard about and doesn’t get the appeal – and a few places that are physically impossible to visit (or that don’t exist at all) just to cover all bases.

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

      Just finished *The Widening Stain*, a reprint of an amusing early 1940s academic mystery. It was fun but required some literary knowledge that was beyond me to get the key clue. If you’re well familiar with the works of Anatole France, I guess you might get it, though even then, the clue seemed rather obscure. Still worth reading, though, in my opinion, for a peek into early 1940s life — the concoctions that the campus home ec. department is serving up in the cafeteria do remind me of the “Wartime Cookery” section of *Square Meals*, and the focus on psychology is interesting. It also contains a number of naughty limericks.

      Started another reprint of a Marie Belloc Lowndes psychological mystery about an acquitted woman who’d been accused of murder, *The Chianti flask*, which is okay so far, though I’d prefer more mystery and less psychology in this one.

    12. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      Just finished Allen Steele’s “V-S Day”. An alt-history where the US government calls on Robert Goddard to build a manned rocket as a counter to a Nazi orbital “antipodal bomber” being built to destroy New York.

      Am currently re-reading Eric Flint’s “1812: The Rivers of War”. Another alt-history, where Sam Houston becomes a major figure in the War of 1812.

    13. I take tea*

      I’m reading a marvellous book by Maria Turtschaninoff, who is a Fenno-Swedish writer. It is a kind of family history intertwined with some folk mytholgy. It’s not (yet?) translated into English, but is available in Swedish and Finnish for you who read that (hello Allathian). It’s her first book for adults, but she’s written YA fantasy that has been translated into English. I can recommend them too: Maresi, the Red Abbey Chronicles (and two more books in the series).

  20. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Everyone share what games you’ve been playing this week. As always, all games are welcome, not just video games.

    I’ve continued playing Triangle Strategy. Made it through a tense choice and am excited about what will happen next.

    1. Tiny clay insects*

      I’m close to accomplishing the task I began in 1994 and never finished–beating Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past. :-)

    2. Professor Plum*

      I found two games at the thrift store this week at $4 each: Qwirkle and Hues & Cues. All parts intact. I knew Qwirkle but not Hues & Cues—but it was so colorful and plays up to 10 people so I had to give it a try. Basically it has a game board of 480 tints, tones and hues of colors laid out on a grid. There’s a cue giver who’s trying to get the others to guess the right color without using obvious color names. Played a quick round and looking forward to more time with it in May on a quilting retreat.

    3. fposte*

      NYT has a new online game, Digits; it’s basically the numbers round in Countdown, where you have six numbers and are trying to use them in any combination and any operation to get to a target number. It’s more forgiving than Countdown in that you don’ t need to use all the numbers and you still get some points for getting close (and it’s not timed). I like it because I’m very word focused and I enjoy getting some math play in to keep that part of my brain learning.

    4. Stuckinacrazyjob*

      Cult of the Lamb has had it’s update! I’m excited to try. I also will see Cozy Groves spring festival

    5. Dr. KMnO4*

      My husband and I picked up Monster Hunter Rise on PC (we’ve had it on Switch since launch) and have been playing that a bit. I have just crafted the Bunny Dango Dual Blades. Literally, it’s a Dual Blades set that looks just like 2 large skewers of Bunny Dango. It can proc Sleep, which is nice.

      I was a Dual Blades main in MH:W, and I tried out a different weapon in MHR on the Switch but just couldn’t get the hang of the combat. I don’t even remember which other weapon I tried, though I would guess that it was the Sword and Shield. I just really missed the speed and playstyle of the Dual Blades so I went back to them on PC.

      I’ve also gone back to Monster Hunter Stories 2: Wings of Ruin on the Switch. The turn-based combat is cool, though I wish you could choose the moves your Monstie uses. I like the option to skip combat if you are much higher level than the monsters you’re fighting because it saves time and you get max rewards. I have to have a guide up, though, to remember what style the different Monsters use, and what type of damage they are weak to. I’m also still a novice at the Rite of Channeling. The game doesn’t always explain things very well.

      Probably my biggest complaint about MHS 2 is Navirou. I wish we didn’t have to have him around all the time. I turned off voices specifically because of him. Otherwise, I am enjoying the game and the story so far.

  21. sewsandreads*

    Crafting/making thread! What are we all doing?

    I’m currently in the process of pinning 1300 hexagons to a piece of fabric so I can baste them on and eventually hand quilt them. Next time I suggest I hand sew a queen sized quilt, commenters, remind me of this moment where I am regretting every moment, please! I know I’ll love it when it’s done, but it’s kind of at that awkward mid point where the starting excitement has waned and the finish point isn’t in sight.

    1. Jean (just Jean)*

      Hmmm. I have been entertaining delusions of hand-sewing the top of a quilt after I clear away 1,001 already-prepped-and-waiting sewing projects. Your comment is making me reconsider this plan. On the other hand, even if I don’t hand-sew a quilt, I still have to finish the project backlog because they are all stacked up around the sewing machine. In other words, I understand about that awkward mid point between the excitement of beginning and the encouragement of finishing.

      So I’m currently hand-repairing a torn backpack pocket (sewing on mesh, not on nylon) and hand-sewing binding tape onto pieces of salvaged terry cloth. They were too pretty to toss out when the original garment (a bathrobe) disintegrated.

      1. sewsandreads*

        Honestly, can relate to the piles of projects waiting, too… I started this so I could have a project that didn’t require a machine and told myself I’d totally work on it because it’s just doable anywhere!


        Love the repurposing, though! So good to give things a new life.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I decided to redo the 2 or 3 biggest woven wheel flowers on my current embroidery project because they didn’t look great. I ended up replacing them with 1-2 smaller wheels each and, well, now some of the ones that previously looked fine are looking like they should be redone too. I’m going to end up fixing half of them if not more! This stitch is the hardest one for me.

    3. Still*

      I’ve bought new needles and a ball of yarn and I’m making my second-ever scarf, still hoping for some old muscle memory to kick in! It’s nice to have something to do with my hands.

    4. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      My first crochet shawl, from a skein of pink/white/yellow yarn I found in a charity shop, it’s getting big now!

    5. A Girl Named Fred*

      An author I follow refers to that middle section of the writing process as the “Soggy Middle”, because it sucks and it’s when you start getting distracted by the next Shiny Idea. I’ve always thought it applied to almost any creative endeavor, not just writing!

      I just got a new sewing machine! I’m excited to bust it out and start making things again after a multi-year slump. First project is a new makeup travel bag, then I want to start making clothes and might even try to sew my own bra for the first time (because bra shopping SUCKS and I want to see if making them is any better lol.)

      1. sewsandreads*

        Soggy middle is the best phrase and I’m definitely using it now! Thanks!

        Also, exciting about the sewing machine! Keep us posted on the bra sewing, I’ve pondered making some for the same reason and am always amazed by some of the beautiful pieces people make.

    6. My Brain is Exploding*

      Sounds like a great project (and I can empathize with being at a point where you completely lose interest in your project!), what fabrics are you using (I picture these in 30s repros)? I have a number of completed quilt tops, and I don’t want to spend the money to have them machine quilted, but I can’t get myself to even start to hand quilt them. I’ve done a few SMALL hand-quilting projects and I’m not fond of the process or the result. I know hand quilting improves with practice but …. I just don’t want to. Also your post reminded me of one of the quilt projects I stuck in a drawer because it wasn’t turning out right and I got frustrated with it. I need to pull it out and decide whether I can fix it or if I should figure out something else to do with the pieces. I am currently working on making flannel rag quilts (they have exposed clipped seams that fray and feather when washed) using batting trimmings for the centers and flannel from the bargain bin. I thought it would be a great way to use up those long skinny pieces of batting but I am OVER IT.

      1. sewsandreads*

        I’m using RSS Starry fabrics! Story behind the fabric: my neck of the woods was absolutely smashed by floods about a year ago, to the point where we are only really just getting back to “normal” now. (I guess for those of us living here, we have a different perspective of normal; whenever friends from out of town visit, they’re still horrified at what the town looks like.) I was helping out with flood cleanup for a friend of a friend who owns a fabric shop — she was trying to sell whatever precut packs she could salvage. I bought as much as I could to help her out, and have been using all the flood fabric in quilts I’ll donate. This is the only one I won’t.

        So I saw the Modern Hexies pattern by Modern Handcraft, saw inspiration pics of it done up in RSS Starry, and here we are!

        Does your machine do okay with quilting? Also, love the rag quilt idea! They sound so cosy. Best of luck conquering the To Be Quilted pile — I swear that’s one of the biggest hurdles!!

      2. RLC*

        Would your completed quilt tops work as coverlet tops? We inherited a number of lovely 1930s quilt tops pieced by my husband’s grandmother and I finished them as light coverlets for summer use: no batting, just a backing machine sewn to the top all around (wrong sides together). Bind the perimeter as you would a quilt. Inspiration for this approach came from an inherited 1870s coverlet (the pieced top and back were machine sewn together and the binding was machine sewn-lucky quilter had access to modern technology of the time!)

    7. Gyne*

      It’s LYS Day (Local Yarn Shop Day) so I am going to at least one shop to pick up some new yarn and a shawl pattern for myself and a friend.

      I also ordered a large (4×4 foot) mandala stencil that I am going to try to apply and paint on my home office/workout/crafting room wall when it arrives.

    8. fhqwhgads*

      I thought I had a quick-and-easy project to spruce up some boring kids clothes (so.many.grey. hand-me-downs) with iron-on patches. The patches claimed to be machine wash safe but said not to put them in the dryer. I followed the instructions but found after first washing, patch came clean off. So now I’m debating trying to sew the patches on or bail or do something else. I’m hesitant to sew them only because they’re super awkward shapes and I worry it’ll look like crap. Anybody have any ideas?

      1. sewsandreads*

        Are they the sort of patches that would work well with invisible stitching? Or does your local fabric shop have heavier-duty fusible interfacing/glue that can keep it on?

        1. fhqwhgads*

          I guess that’s sort of what I’m trying to figure out. I’m not sure if invisible stitching will work in this case. I have some heavyish fusible interfacing and it hasn’t worked well for me (although maybe I just need to try a different one). I haven’t ever used fabric glues so I don’t really know what would/should work.

    9. Past Lurker*

      I’m about to start a striped crochet blanket (loosely based on the concept of temperature blankets) but not sure yet if I want to weave in all those ends or make all those tassels. Not a big fan of either! Third option is making a border, but not sure it would look good.

      1. sewsandreads*

        I know nothing about crocheting except that you guys are wizards. Seriously, my brain can’t comprehend how your hands move so fast and make knots that actually WORK. I’m sure this will be stunning and only wish I could offer some advice!

    10. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

      Trying to quickly finish a crochet glasses case, partly because I really actually need a new one, partly so I’m ready to move on to other projects :)

    11. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      Aaaaagh I am so excited this weekend, getting back to cross-stitch for the first time in YEARS with a very AAM-relevant project: I’m making a set of four samplers with quotes about leadership/management/ administration on. I may donate them to my uni when I leave this position in a couple of years.

  22. The Prettiest Curse*

    What are your cultural exceptions to the rule? By this, I mean the one film, book, performance, song, painting etc. by someone whose work you otherwise really don’t like that you ended up liking, or vice versa.

    – In general, Steven Spielberg films don’t do much for me, except for Jaws.
    – I really dislike most paintings by Renoir, except for the ones with people dancing.
    – Most songs by The Strokes leave me cold, except for Hard to Explain.

    And in the other direction:
    – I’m a big fan of Denis Villeneuve, except for Blade Runner 2049.
    – I’ve enjoyed all the films I’ve seen that were directed by Park Chan-Wook, except for Stoker, which I violently hated – though since it’s been a few years, I can’t actually remember why I hated it so much!

    Bonus points if you can explain why you think something is the exception to the rule, which is something I’ve always wondered. Is it that the thing you like or dislike is somehow atypical of that person’s work, or is it just that it’s simply better (or worse) than everything else they’ve done?

    1. allathian*

      Hmmm, interesting question.

      I used to be a huge James Cameron fan, but I’m not in the least interested in the Avatar franchise and I haven’t seen them. The Abyss (director’s cut) is among my favorite movies of any genre, Aliens is the best of the franchise by a country mile, and only the first two Terminator movies are worth watching, IMO.

      1. Just here for the scripts*

        I have the same feelings about him—my exception is 50 First Dates. Never saw Spanglish because I don’t like Sandler—but with your recommendation maybe I will.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Mine is Ben Stiller when he’s trying to be funny. Exception: the Night at the Museum movies. (And I really enjoy his chemistry with Edward Norton and Jenna Elfman in Keeping the Faith, which is a rom-com but not the usual “Ben Stiller trying to be funny” kind.)

    2. Irish Teacher*

      I like Eminem’s “Stan,” although I would usually not be a rap fan nor in any way the kind of demographic that one would expect to like rap – middle-aged female teacher who is generally into Irish ballads.

      As a child, I liked exactly one “chart” song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” I think the reason this was an exception is pretty obvious (to me and probably to anybody who knows me, not to people reading this): it has the same social critique energy as my ballads.

      1. allathian*

        I also like Eminem’s Stan, even though I don’t like most rap, most of the lyrics are so misogynistic that listening to them makes me quite uncomfortable.

        That said, I have a very eclectic taste in music and will usually find a piece I like in almost any genre, although I must admit that I don’t have the patience to listen to free jazz or atonal music.

    3. AGD*

      I have a way of liking everything a ppp-rock band has produced except the one really popular song. Big fan of A Great Big World, except for ‘Say Something’, which struck me plodding and nihilistic and obnoxious. Really like Fastball, except for ‘The Way’, which is fine I guess but doesn’t seem as comparable to their other stuff in terms of interestingness, in my opinion. This seems to happen whether or not I’m aware of what’s been receiving airplay.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I hated the “haw haw funny face” type of humor Jim Carrey was known for in the 90s but one of my all-time favorite movies is The Truman Show. He’s so much better when he’s not just being creepy and over-the-top weird

      1. Mimmy*

        I too couldn’t stand Jim Carrey but loved The Truman Show. I am just not a fan of his comedy, although I do love his Grinch movie.

      2. The Prettiest Curse*

        Yeah, I can’t stand Jim Carrey in general, but he really is great in The Truman Show. And same thing with Adam Sandler, but he’s very good in Punch Drunk Love, even though he’s playing a pretty awful character. (He’s supposed to be great in Uncut Gems too, but I haven’t seen it.)

        1. mreasy*

          Sandler as a dramatic actor has always been a favorite…I know many can’t stand him in that mode but I love it!
          Uncut Gems is a panic attack of a movie, but wow, I thought it was really brilliant.

      3. GoryDetails*

        Same! (The Truman Show was on cable just yesterday and I re-watched with pleasure.)

        I did enjoy The Mask, but not to the re-watch-whenever-it-comes-on level. And The Grinch was… um… horrifying? Yeah. [Then again, I’m an original-cartoon-Grinch purist, so it wasn’t Carrey’s fault that I didn’t like the live-action one!]

      4. Elizabeth West*

        That’s a really great film. The first thing I ever saw him in was a serious TV movie called Doing Time on Maple Drive. He played the alcoholic older brother of the main character. It wasn’t a great movie but he was good enough to be noticeable. He was very funny on In Living Color but also has considerable dramatic talent we don’t get to see enough of — the schtick seems to have taken over.

        Another performance of his I like is The Cable Guy. That’s billed as a comedy but it’s more like a horror movie since his character turns into a full-on stalker!

        1. LB33*

          I remember that movie – a very un-Jim Carrey like role but he was good as the troubled brother..(though that family had alot of s**t going on).

    5. RussianInTexas*

      Cannot stand most of Will Ferrell’s movies (yes, even Elf), except for Anchorman. I think it’s because of the rest of the ensemble.
      Don’t like relationship/family based TV show, books, or movies, but for some reason like Virgin River. Can’t explain that one.

    6. The Prettiest Curse*

      I should also add: I was doing some image searches on Renoir before posting this (just to make sure I still felt the same about his art) and realised that a painting that I thought was the exception to my dislike of his work (A Bar at the Folies-Bergère) was actually by Manet. So now I feel like I have to apologise to Manet for mistaking his work for Renoir. ;)

    7. CTT*

      Emma Stone holds zero appeal to me, to the point that until a few years ago, I had never seen any of her movies, because she was never in anything I had any desire to see and something about seeing her in interviews always bugged me (I think I feel about her the way many people feel about Jennifer Lawrence). But I had to see The Favourite, because I like that director and I love Rachel Weisz and Olivia Coleman, and I was surprised to like her in it. I think she would be suited to doing more weird parts like that, but she’s back to being in things I don’t want to see.

      (Interestingly, I also don’t like Ryan Gosling BUT Blade Runner 2049 was the one thing I liked him in, so we are at odds there The Prettiest Curse. And I know I liked him in that because playing a robot seemed like he finally found his range.)

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I thought Ryan Gosling was pretty good in Blade Runner 2049, it’s just that the film overall was disappointing for me. But the original Blade Runner is one of my all-time favourites, so maybe any sequel was bound to be a let-down!

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I didn’t know that painting, so looked it up – thank you for telling me about it!

    8. Elizabeth West*

      I don’t care for rom-coms in general, but I like Love Actually, as it covers different permutations of love — romantic situations, strictly sexual ones, and best friend/familial love, as well as the heartbreak of relationships coming to a close.

      There’s also Hot Karl’s shirtless underpants scene. We can’t forget that.

    9. Dinwar*

      I usually hate rap, and I don’t like anything else they’ve done, but really enjoyed Hollywood Undead’s song “Undead”. If you take it as a representation of a thing using specific poetic idioms, it’s got a descent message. Somewhat buried under bravado and posturing, but I’ve read enough early Medieval Germanic literature and Scottish insult battles to appreciate it in this case.

      I also don’t typically enjoy Christian rock–as Hank Hill said, it only makes Christian and rock music worse 99% of the time. Skillet is good, though. They’re a hard rock band speaking from a Christian perspective, rather than a Christian band trying to ape hard rock, which is what typically happens.

    10. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

      I’m a fan of DiCaprio, but I refuse to watch Titanic. Probably because of all the hype.

      Actually, I was not his fan, probably spurred on by all the hype from that sinking boat film, and then I saw “Catch Me If You Can”, and started seeing his other stuff. The dude can act.

      1. allathian*

        Given that I was a huge James Cameron fan at the time, I actually didn’t see Titanic until 2005 when I started dating my husband. He couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it. The movie was fine, but I absolutely detested the theme song. When the movie came out, I listened to a lot of radio, but I’d always switch to another station when that song came on. I still can’t listen to Céline Dion’s music.

        I agree on DiCaprio, he’s a very good actor and one who successfully made the switch from handsome leading man to character actor. I really liked him in The Aviator, but Shutter Island won me over, his performance in that reminds me a bit of Jack Nicholson’s in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

        1. Bob-White of the Glen*

          His (very young) performance in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is the one that blew me away.

    11. Jay*

      I love pretty much anything involving Monty Python, except The Meaning Of Life. It just never clicked with me.

      Mel Brooks is an absolute genius. Never really liked The History Of The World.

      Somehow, despite not having seen it since it first came out when I was a child, Ewoks, The Battle For Endor remains the Star Wars movie that had the longest lasting, most positive reaction from me out of ALL of the movies, books, and tv series.

    12. Bibliovore*

      Nicolas Cage. Just find him off-putting.
      Yet I can’t get enough of Family Man.
      Will watch it all the way through no matter when it is on.
      Someone will have to explain it to me.
      In this movie he is so charming, he is delightful with the kids, with Tia Lioni.

  23. Professor Plum*

    Carol Burnett—did anyone else watch her special this week? I found it so filled with memories from watching her show as a kid with my family. Very touching.

    1. Vanessa*

      I didn’t see that. But we are finishing off better call Saul and she is in an episode (or maybe 2). So nice to see her.

      1. Professor Plum*

        “Saul” made a guest appearance and introduced a clip from that show. You can replay from the Peacock app.

    2. Just here for the scripts*

      Glad to hear! We recorded it—and now I’m excited to watch it during this rainy Saturday afternoon!

    3. fposte*

      I will look for that. She was such a huge pioneer and from all accounts led a workplace people enjoyed being part of.

    4. Choggy*

      Hubby taped it and watched it, I don’t think I’ve heard him laugh so much at a television show in years. I was not interested in watching, but glad he enjoyed it. His mother and sister met Carol Burnett years ago so I guess he feels “connected” to her. ;)

    5. Nitpicker*

      One episode of Jeopardy this week-Carol Burnett was the answer (no picture; a description of her program) and all 3 contestants just stood there with blank faces. I was very surprised (as in “How can you not know that “) and rather sad.

      1. Chaordic One*

        I’m not surprised. This really makes me feel old, but her variety show went off the air way back in 1978. That’s like 2 generations of people who will never seen it when it was on prime time. Fortunately, it is still available in syndicated reruns and they mostly hold up pretty well. But, yeah.

      2. Aphrodite*

        I had the same experience with Jeopardy this week when the final question was on television history and the answer was something like “Magnum PI would refer to an old television show and even its title character.” And all three contestants got it wrong! (The answer of course if Hawaii Five-0,” but I just could not believe no one knew it. One contestant chose Mannix, the other two the same wrong answer.)

    6. GoryDetails*

      Yes! That was so marvelous – though a bit sad to see so many clips of her former collaborators who are no longer with us. (I’m old enough to have watched her show when it originally aired, and it was always a must-see at our house.) The “corpsing” scenes – when the performers make each other crack up – always delight me!

        1. Aphrodite*

          And of course the dentist skit. I have that bookmarked so I can watch it online every once in a while; it makes me cringe and laugh-cry at the same time.

  24. Anon for this*

    Potentially on the edge of dinner party so won’t be offended if it gets removed! Just after a gut feel check…

    My partner & I are engaged, we’ve been together ~8 years and lived together for 6 of those. We did have a wobbly patch about a year ago over one specific topic, but went to couples counselling and sorted our shit out and we’re both feeling much happier.

    In doing the wedding guest list, my partner became upset and revealed that one of his female friends who I’ll call Jane had confessed her feelings to him last time she’d stayed with us. He was horrified, he thought he was being friendly and making a close friend, she thought he was flirting/open to a relationship. (I trust him on this completely, fwiw). Jane knew we were together and was staying in our house for the weekend at the time! He hadn’t told me because he was worried it might upset me as it came when we were just starting to turn a corner in counselling and he knew I did feel insecure about some of his female friendships. (Not all of them! But his other best friend is a woman who I suspect has a soft spot for him, we’ve talked about it and he’s confident they’re just platonic).

    Jane lives abroad, they still talk but he has pulled back from the friendship. He’s worrying about whether to invite her to the wedding. I don’t care about most of this, but I’m super disappointed in Jane – who had acted like *we* were friends, and I don’t want her there! (I don’t want to pretend I don’t know and I definitely don’t want to be thinking about this shit on my wedding day). Is it reasonable to put my foot down?

    (I’m aware that my partner might come across as some sort of lothario in this.. this is not the case. He struggles a bit socially (also has anxiety/depression, tho treated and much better) and finds it hard to make and stay in touch with friends. It takes a while to get to know people, so once he does know someone well – which includes some female friends – he’s quite open/talks about ‘deep’ things which I think is probably what resulted in some of the confusion. Jane is also not great at reading people, one time she visited she went around hugging people (who she’d met online but not in person before) & seemed to miss from body language they were uncomfortable with it.

    1. Still not picked a username*

      It sounds like neither of you desperately want Jane to be there from your description of the situation, it’s not yet old news for either of you and you can just have the people you want to celebrate with at your wedding! So, don’t invite her.

      How to navigate not inviting her will depend on the current friend relationships and how you would like the future relationship to be. Soft no, proactively tell her you’ve a limit on numbers and since she would be travelling from overseas it makes no sense to prioritise her over a more local friend or relative. Harder no, just don’t send an invite.

    2. Emma*

      I wouldn’t invite Jane, just like I wouldn’t invite an ex. It will send a message, yes, but that’s probably a good thing! She was trying to have an affair with him, or break you up!

      I would also talk with your partner about how in the future he needs to tell you about this stuff right away vs hide it to protect your feelings. It’s not fair to you to hide it, and it comes across as potentially shady, even if his intentions are good.

      And if he’s not able to agree to that/understand that, back to couples counseling? (which I love, by the way! couples counseling has greatly benefitted my own relationship).

      1. Emma*

        And honestly it sounds like you’re right to feel insecure about some of his female friendships, given this! Not that he’s actively trying to cheat, just that clearly at least 1 was too close. I would definitely want to know immediately if something like this happened again, with her or someone else.
        Him telling you immediately helps show that there’s nothing shady on his part, just on the part of whoever is making the moves.

        1. Lady Danbury*

          100% this, as well as your previous response. His certainty that his bff is platonic is definitely weakened by the fact that he also thought Jane’s feelings were platonic. Given this new (to you) information, I think it would be worthwhile to explore how his friendships may impact your relationship, as well as your boundaries (both individually and as a couple), with a professional.

          1. Anon for this*

            That’s fair. The other best friend in question lives with her long term partner and having discussed it with him I really don’t think it’s on either of their minds/I think in that case some insecurity from me is coming into play. But yes – we should talk about it!

    3. Not A Manager*

      You say he’s worrying about whether to invite her. It sounds like he wants to maintain the friendship and he doesn’t want to be “mean,” but not like he actually wants her there. And you don’t want her there. So don’t invite her.

      Your description of your husband’s difficulty making friends makes me think that once he does make a friend, he’s particularly worried about losing them. But friends aren’t like extra cans of tuna that you can save for later. He’s “lost” the closeness he had with Jane due to her previous behavior. He’s not going to get that back by inviting her to your wedding and having all three of you be upset all day.

      1. Anon for this*

        This really hits the nail on the head, I think he’s like ‘oh no I made a friend I don’t want to lose them’.

    4. RagingADHD*

      I don’t think you’re over reacting, I think you’re under-reacting. To me, there is no question that Jane is automatically not invited.

      She did a really, really shitty thing to both of you. Really shitty. Regardless of whether she thought he was flirting or not, she is a grown woman who can tell the difference between cheating and being invited into an open relationship by both people. You don’t need to read people to know how many people are in the room.

      If Jane is surprised or can’t figure out why she wasn’t invited, then she needs to pay for a professional to help her figure that out. It’s not your job or your fiance’s job to walk her through that extremely basic concept.

      She tried to get with your partner In.Your.Own.House, while she was your guest. Did she ever even apologize? Did she acknowledge that it was shitty-even if she had been correct about his intentions?

      If not, Jane is not a nice person.

      Either way, you are 100 percent entitled to not have Jane, and not have to think about Jane, at your wedding.

      1. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

        In your own home, as a guest! Not that it’d be ok anytime else, but still!

        1. Anon for this*

          I know right!!!! I have not been able to talk to anyone about this yet (it doesn’t feel like big group conversation and it definitely doesn’t feel fair to talk to anyone who knows Jane about it). My partner was really upset when he was telling me about it (felt guilty about not telling me, felt guilty about potentially ‘leading her on’) so I didn’t really feel like going in on the ridiculousness would be productive. I have appreciated all the comments here ;)

    5. allathian*

      Yeah, it’s entirely reasonable to put your foot down. Especially given that your partner doesn’t seem to want her there. To me it looks like he doesn’t want to be the “bad guy” in his friendship with Jane. Would you be comfortable being the bad guy? As in, you agree as a couple not to send an invite to Jane. She finds out eventually anyway, probably on social media if nowhere else, and asks your partner why she didn’t get an invite. He blames you and tells her that you didn’t want her there because she tried to break you up. Obviously it would be better if he could own his discomfort and say that he’s not comfortable having her there to celebrate your wedding after she’d confessed her feelings to him. But if he’s not up for that…

      Most people who have trouble reading people appreciate it when others express their discomfort verbally, at least that’s been my experience with such people.

      1. Not A Manager*

        *She finds out eventually anyway, probably on social media if nowhere else, and asks your partner why she didn’t get an invite. He blames you and tells her that you didn’t want her there because she tried to break you up.*

        I don’t agree with this. I think he needs to tell her that *both* of them decided it was unwise to invite her, because *both* of them value their committed relationship and don’t want distractions on their wedding day.

        And in general, I think it would be a good idea for OP and her fiancé to talk about his emotional boundaries with his friends. Yes, it’s hard for him to make friends, yes he has every right to deep friendships and deep conversations, but when you’re in a committed relationship, some interactions become less appropriate with people outside that relationship. It’s up to the parties to decide what those interactions are, but I think OP and Fiancé should get on the same page about what is reserved only for the two of them.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, I agree with you in the sense that it should work that way. But if the choice is between laying all the blame on OP or inviting the “friend,” doing whatever it takes to get him to accept that not sending an invite is the right thing to do seems like a reasonable compromise to me. YMMV, of course.

          I definitely agree with your last paragraph, OP and her partner (she calls him that, and as they’ve been living together for 6 years already, I think that’s a bigger sign of their commitment than agreeing to get married, but YMMV again) definitely need to talk about emotional boundaries with friends.

          My husband and I are very strict on that, we’ve agreed not to have close friends of the opposite gender. Granted, I didn’t have any close male friends when we met, and he didn’t have any close female friends, so it wasn’t like either of us had to break up a friendship to be together, which I’m not sure would’ve been a reasonable request, anyway… I’m just not comfortable with him being emotionally intimate with any other woman, and as he feels the same way about me and other men, this works for us.

          I had lots of male friends in college, but none of the friendships lasted because either I had an unrequited crush on him or he had one on me, or we became FWB for a while and couldn’t or didn’t want to go back to a platonic friendship after that ended, usually because he became involved with someone else who naturally enough didn’t want him to maintain a friendship with a former FWB. Which I understand completely, I wouldn’t have wanted my boyfriend to remain friends with their former FWB, either.

          I also have lots of friendly, completely platonic relationships with my coworkers, regardless of gender, and so does my husband. I’ve had crushes on coworkers before, but I wouldn’t dream of acting on them.

          1. TechWorker*

            Yea so to be fair I think requiring he has no emotionally close relationships with women would be unreasonable – 1) he is bisexual so *shrug* 2) some of his close male friends – who I also know well – are literally terrible at talking about emotions. I am not surprised it’s ended up being his female friends he confides in. I am comfortable with this in general (some of his close friends I get on with really well, and totally respect our relationship). Possibly the conversation we need to have is precisely what boundaries we have and also if he is sometimes clueless, how he can avoid giving the wrong impression.

      2. RagingADHD*


        “I really wanted to see you but my big old meanie pants wife said no” is not the message you want to send here.

        That is going to sound like he wishes he said yes the first time.

        1. Aad*

          This! They need to present a united front and set a firm boundary together. If anything, he should be prepared to tell his “friend” that he doesn’t want her there.

      3. MassChick*

        If Jane asks (the gall, btw!) a bland or even no response is perfectly ok. Why should either of them be the bad guy?

        “We had a limited guest list”
        “Our guest list was limited to family and close friends” (a sprinkle of snark)

      4. Observer*

        She finds out eventually anyway, probably on social media if nowhere else, and asks your partner why she didn’t get an invite. He blames you and tells her that you didn’t want her there because she tried to break you up

        No. For one thing, while I do believe that sometimes “blaming” someone else is useful, here it’s not a good play. She’s perfectly likely, imo, to read that as a challenge and that maybe he actually IS somewhat open it’s just that his partner “won’t let” him that’s at play. Given her lack of boundaries and ethics, that’s not a good idea.

        Better is to just NOT provide a reason or response. No one is *entitled* to an invitation to a wedding, even if the wedding is BIG (as in hundreds of people.) If she can’t figure out why she’s being excluded from a wedding where she tried to get between the couple, that’s HER problem, and one that neither the OP nor her fiance have any reason to deal with.

    6. Still*

      I’m sorry, this woman knew you guys are in an exclusive relationship and yet she still made a move on your fiancé while staying at your place as a guest, and… you’re still considering inviting her to your wedding?

      1. Anon for this*

        Lol, I swing between ‘she is sort of part of the friendship group that will all be invited’ and ‘what the fuck did you think you were doing Jane’. (She also at one point was considering moving countries, and transferring to my workplace. In the end she stayed where she is and changed jobs – so I no longer have to work with Jane (!) but that adds a whole extra layer of wtf)

        1. Observer*

          Lol, I swing between ‘she is sort of part of the friendship group that will all be invited’ and ‘what the fuck did you think you were doing Jane’.

          And so? That actually makes what she did worse. It’s not like she could pretend that she’d never see you again if she did this. She was going to have an affair with your partner / break you up while you were both in the same social group, leaving you with the MUCH bigger discomfort of being in the group with someone like that or moving.

      2. Expiring Cat Memes*

        Yep. I know weddings can be a weird minefield of manners and etiquette, but not inviting her pales in comparison to her trying to throw a leg over the groom. Disinvite with zero guilt.

      3. Anonosaurus*

        exactly. you are not being rude or violating a friend contract by excluding her. she did that by putting the moves on your partner. tbh I am not sure why this is even up for discussion.

        1. WestsideStory*

          Yes, I agree with this. Don’t spend your wedding thinking whether ANY of your guests is going to undermine you in some way. Don’t invite anyone you are absolutely sure would not be happy for you.

    7. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

      No. Just…no.
      There is no upside to inviting Jane. You don’t want her there for good reason. Absolutely put your foot down.

    8. Ellis Bell*

      I think it’s completely ridiculous to invite someone to a celebration of a relationship that she was hoping wouldn’t succeed! It’s fine if she can still be a supportive friend of your partner (though I personally wouldn’t be okay with that) but she’s definitely not a wedding celebrant. I also always go by the two yesses and one no rule in relationships. The person saying no is usually the person who can spot the problem, but even if they aren’t their comfort and enthusiastic consent matters. Sure, my partner doesn’t need to vote on what I’m having for lunch but if something affects both of us, then we need to come up with something else if one person is unhappy. One of the most important things about this rule is you can’t give a dishonest yes or no just to please or placate your partner. It’s clear to me that you don’t really want her there, and therefore you can’t honestly and wholeheartedly say yes. If that’s what you’re communicating to your partner then you shouldn’t need to “put your foot down” (though I would). Simply knowing you’re uncomfortable with her presence should be enough for him.

    9. fposte*

      This might sound like spin, but I think it’s genuinely kinder not to have her at the wedding anyway. But nothing you describe sounds like either of you think she has a place in this day; it’s more about making your peace with not inviting her.

    10. KatEnigma*

      No, just no. Without any explanation as to why. If she’s ever rude enough to ask, that’s a reason to ghost her harder.

      1. Pippa K*

        And if she did ask, a perfectly fine response would be a breezy, detached “Huh. I’m surprised you would ask that.” Or, slightly more pointed, “I’m surprised you feel comfortable asking me that.” And then indifferent silence or obvious subject change in response to any reply. You can let the indifference in your tone convey that there isn’t going to be any drama here but that the friendship is now at a distance.

    11. Dark Macadamia*

      I know there’s a lot of obligation and politeness and awkwardness around wedding invites, but when you forget all of that and think about the point of a wedding – it’s to celebrate and support your relationship. There shouldn’t be someone there who wants or wanted you broken up!

      Don’t invite her, and if she asks why, your partner (NOT YOU, this is his problem) can explain that HE doesn’t want someone at his wedding who hit on him in his own home that he shares with the person he’s marrying.

    12. mreasy*

      If your fiancé thinks not inviting Jane would be dramatic, maybe you and he can call her together and let her know that you trust her not to be inappropriate, but that you do feel like you’re taking a risk with the invitation. Otherwise, just don’t invite her, she sounds annoying at best. (I say this as a person who is great friends with many exes and had a couple of them at my wedding.)

      1. Aad*

        But she’s not an ex? It’s perfectly fine to be friends with your ex and want to invite them to your wedding. This is someone who hit on her fiance WHILE he was with her. She’s not an ex, and she’s not even a true friend to either of them, because she clearly wasn’t acting in their best interests.

    13. Observer*

      and I don’t want her there! (I don’t want to pretend I don’t know and I definitely don’t want to be thinking about this shit on my wedding day). Is it reasonable to put my foot down?

      I haven’t read all of your responses, but I don’t see any reason you SHOULD invite her. Even if your fiance wanted her there it would be reasonable to push back. But given your description of the conversation and events, it doesn’t sound like he actually wants her there either.

    14. KR*

      I think it would be okay to just not invite her and not say anything! She lives abroad, so if she asks one of you could deflect and say, “Oh we had to tighten the guest list because of the venue.” or “We as

    15. KR*

      You can just not invite her and not say anything about it. Jane knows what she did, she’ll probably put two and two together and get four. If she asks, just blame it on the venue, like “Oh the venue had a restriction on how many people we could have so we can’t have as many people there as we would like. Thank you for asking!”. It doesn’t have the be a big thing, just don’t invite her.

  25. Chocolate Teapot*

    A slightly uncomfortable situation this week in my building. I rent a flat, and the building has a main entrance door which is usually open except at night, when you have to use either your key or the code, a entrance hall with letterboxes and an intercom, and an internal door which unlocks with your key or if you are buzzed inside.

    On arriving home from work, I have discovered a young woman inside the internal door, sitting on the stairs, blocking access. I had never seen her before and thought it might be a one-off, but she has been there several evenings, eating snacks and playing on her phone. I suspect she is waiting until somebody arrives home with a key, then follows them inside. (She might have done this with me once several weeks previously, but I can’t be certain it was the same person. I tried pulling the door to behind me, and she yanked it back open)

    Apparently, she is “waiting for a friend”, but I am suspicious. She even had a suitcase with her one evening! I simply think it is dangerous to have somebody loitering and blocking the stairs. I told her she was causing a fire hazard, and she just smirked.

    Does anyone have any ideas? I have emailed the building management company, but no response. It isn’t the type of building where people know each other.

    1. Not A Manager*

      Call them. Sometimes you have to do a bit of internet sleuthing to find the number, but call whatever number you do have. I’d be a Karen about this one – insist on speaking to a manager, ask exactly when and how they are going to respond, use words like “loiter,” “security,” “serious issue,” and “unsafe.”

      See what they offer to do, but also know what you want them to do. Send someone over in the evening to check on her? Give you a number to call if you see her, so they can respond? Post a sign? Maybe the easiest, and safest, thing would be to keep the external door locked at all times. Many buildings have this “airlock” system exactly so people can’t follow you through the one open door.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I don’t know where you live, but when I lived in cities with double entry security doors like that, letting someone follow you through – or having someone yank the door open- wasn’t an awkward issue. It was a call-the-police issue. That’s breaking into the building.

      If she were supposed to be there, she’d have a key, or she’d call a resident to come down and let her in.

    3. anonforthis*

      I’ve been in this situation in my building, and it’s super awkward, but I NEVER let anyone in even if I recognize them as a guest of a neighbour. My go-to script is something like this: Sorry, building policy means you’ll have wait to be buzzed in. Or, sorry I can’t let you in. It’s a security thing. I try to keep a friendly tone and maybe even smile apologetically, and so far I haven’t had anyone react too badly.

      Content warning – domestic violence.
      This is a big deal to me, because I’ve been stalked by an abusive ex. Someone let them into my building once and chaos ensued. I was not hurt, but it was a near miss.

    4. WestsideStory*

      This happens now and then in our building. If you have a building super, let them know. Let the management company know. And if you are seeing the same person, by all means call the local police non-emergency line to let them know a suspicious person is loitering in your vestibule.

      1. Chocolate Teapot*

        Thanks everyone for your comments. I haven’t seen her over the weekend (it is a public holiday here on Monday), however I think contacting the police would probably be a good idea.

        1. juneybug*

          When you start seeing her again, make sure to take a photo with date and time so you have a log of her activities.

        2. Happy Peacock*

          Loitering refers to hanging around a public area. What she is actually doing is trespassing.

  26. Travel Mouse*

    I’m traveling to the US for the first time in a few weeks. I have my travel insurance and ESTA ready and I’m not bringing in food or plants (except for a few packets of instant oats). I’m getting a bit paranoid that I’m forgetting some rules. Is there anything I didn’t think of?
    I’m there for work but I’ll have a full day in Austin during the trip. Do you have any recommendations what to do?

    1. MassChick*

      I don’t think you’ll have a problem. Carry OTC meds for fever, pain, cold, etc and prescriptions for non OTC meds.

      Ps: after a recent severe (and unexpected) bout of vertigo, I’ve added vertigo and anti emetic meds to our travel kit of meds.

      1. Travel Mouse*

        Thank you! I’ll check if I have everything in my travel pharmacy. I didn’t know vertigo meds existed so I’ll have to look into that as I’m prone to it.

      2. fposte*

        Double check, though; some OTC meds elsewhere wouldn’t be legal without a prescription in the US (and vice versa, of course).

        1. NoIWontFixYourComputer*

          And the DEA is really paranoid about Sudafed (aka pseudoephedrine), because apparently an ingredient in meth. You might want to take condsideration of that when considering which OTCs to bring.

          1. Observer*

            Yeah, I’ve discovered that if you want sudafed, you actually have to sign for it at the pharmacy although not for all meds that have pseudoephedrine in it.)

    2. Emma2*

      I went to the U.S. a few weeks ago and had to show proof of COVID vaccination to board my flight. I know some of the COVID rules have been changing but you might want to check if you will need proof of vaccination.

      1. Ally*

        Still?? Interesting! In most European countries they stopped checking probably a year ago or more.

      2. Glomarization, Esq.*

        The U.S. coronavirus national emergency has been ended, but the requirement for proof of vaccination for non-U.S. travellers is still in place. While it may be going away in the next several weeks, it won’t hurt to have your proof of vaccination on hand when you get to the airport.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          The US coronavirus nation emergency ends May 11. It has not ended yet, although lots of state-specific restrictions are long gone.

    3. Invisible fish*

      Austin = Texas and Texas this time of year = some sweltering days and some rainy days. I’m sure you already prepped for this, but just in case, bring sunscreen AND stuff that’s water proof. You don’t mention where you’re coming from, but if it’s a cooler climate, you might be prepared for the fact that in Texas, the AC will be blasting in every business, so you may need a sweater of some sort to wear indoors. (This may not be what you were asking about, of course – but I’d hate to think of someone shivering to death as they tried to conduct business somewhere in Texas.)

      1. Travel Mouse*

        Oh yes, the AC! I’ve lived in both hot and warm climates so I’m okay with varying outdoors temperaturea. I hate AC so I’m carefully packing layers and a shawl. Thanks for the suggestions.

    4. Austinite*

      What area of town are you staying in and what are your interests (nature and physical activities vs museums, shopping and cafes)? Austin is pretty big and spread out and and there’s a lot to do. You’ll be here at my favorite time of year, before it gets melt-your-face-off hot*, we’ve had Spring rain, and everything has been growing and blooming.

      *caveat, depending on your local climate and what you’re used to, Austin’s late Spring/early Summer heat may indeed feel melt-your-face-off hot

    5. carcinization*

      Not checking to see if someone else has already said this, but if you can go to Barton Springs, you should! It’s basically right in the middle of Austin and it’s quite something, good for swimming, people-watching, etc., and not expensive.

    6. Not Totally Subclinical*

      Austin highs in May can be anywhere from 25C to 40C, with 30-35 being typical; if you’re from a cooler area, be prepared for that.

      Things to do: If you’re looking for live music shows or live theater, check the Austin Chronicle to see what’s playing around town.

      If you like art, the Blanton, the Contemporary Austin, Mexic-Arte, the Elizabet Ney museum, and the Umlauf Sculpture Garden are all possibilities, and there’s a lot of outdoor sculpture on the UT campus (search the UT website for Landmarks.

      The Bullock Texas History museum is decent, and the state capital building is interesting to tour.

      Food: Amy’s Ice Cream is an Austin institution (they have non-dairy ices if you can’t eat dairy). If you have the money for a major splurge meal, Fonda San Miguel is a well-known restaurant with interior Mexican cuisine. For Tex-Mex, I’m partial to Amaya’s Taco Village, and TacoDeli is also good.

      And if the weather cooperates, definitely visit the Congress Avenue bat bridge at sunset. While this isn’t the peak season, it’s still impressive to see the streams of bats flying out.

  27. Mind my own business or say something?*

    My friend C is training to be a therapist. One area she’s interested in is relationship therapy.

    This….sounds like a terrible idea. C had one relationship in her late teens for a few months. It was your typical teenage relationship. What was not typical was C’s response after the break up. She was so devastated she had no interest in dating until her early 30s. When friends introduced her to other men she found faults with them. When she attended singles events she sulked and complained. On the odd occasion she was vaguely interested in someone she threw herself at them in a desperate way that turned them off. She is now in her late 30s and still talks about her ex boyfriend regularly.

    I don’t see how C can coach other people’s relationships when the only life experience she had was a single teen romance followed by almost two decades of dysfunctional grieving. Just yesterday she mentioned this ex boyfriend to me twice in two separate conversations. Or maybe I’m wrong – I guess a hairdresser with bad hair can still give good cuts? I don’t know.

    If this were your friend, would you say something? What could you even say that wouldn’t result in some angry, defensive reply?

    1. WellRed*

      I would simply ask her why she’s considering this particular type of therapy and ignore the history. But I think many therapists have their own issues.

    2. RagingADHD*


      Her training will include extensive self-reflection and therapy, guidance from professors, and a requirement to demonstrate that she can do the work appropriately.

      Obstetricians who have never had a baby can still deliver them. Therapists who have never been abused can help people who have. And therapists who aren’t happily married for life can observe relationship dynamics and help couples work on their issues.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      I think it makes sense that she would be interested in this field, and I don’t think her personal history means she can’t be good at it professionally (plenty of
      medical doctors have unhealthy habits but still give good care/advice, for example). I wouldn’t talk to her about it differently than any other career.

    4. Anonosaurus*

      I think this will be adequately dealt with by the training itself, if it’s any good, and you don’t need to take responsibility for this. I am training to become a therapist and you can’t get through it without some serious reflection on yourself and what you bring to the training. I am fairly sure she will either be redirected or will gain understanding of why she wants to do this which will equip her to do it safely.

    5. Winter*

      If she didn’t ask for your thoughts, it would be best to keep your opinion to yourself. Head nods and non-committal “mmm”s are the way to go.

    6. delaware*

      I would give C the benefit of the doubt when imagining her future therapist skills. As RagingADHD and Anonosaurus as pointed out, she’ll have tons of training and education before she actually works with patients; she’ll either get a healthier technical grasp on this stuff, or not go into therapy. Her personal life may never improve, but hey, there are tons of doctors that smoke, literature professors that write awful books, and people with train-wreck lives that give great advice. Sometimes, living out the train-wreck is the best life education there is.

      So try to imagine her life experiences as assets, not deficits. She’s lived a “what-not-to-do” life, she knows how it feels, and when patients come in with similar levels of chaos, she’ll “get it” in a way that a relationships therapist that found their soulmate at 22 actually won’t. Like, what I talk about in therapy is dysfunctional family, and when I get the sense that my life is an abstract textbook case to a professional, that doesn’t feel great. When a therapist can nod and give me a “been there” or “I get how that feels,” that feels much better. ykwim?

    7. Morning reader*

      I wonder if the length of your relationship influences her topics with you? If you’ve known her since high school, maybe she mentions old boyfriend to you, since you knew him. It might not be something she thinks about the rest of the time. (I’m assuming you know about these high school events directly.) If she’s late 30s, spending time with old high school friends might be reminding her of old high school boyfriend.

    8. LilPinkSock*

      I can’t imagine having this conversation. What would be the point of it? What would be your goal in doing this? No matter how you try to frame it, you’d likely come off as either mocking a bad relationship that’s clearly still affecting C, or be interpreted as squishing her professional goals.

  28. Morning reader*

    Travel question: I’m considering doing one of the Road Scholar trips on my own. Has anyone done those, or similar excursions? They offer sharing a room at a lesser price, and I’m tempted, but I’m generally an introvert used to much time alone. I’m concerned that, on the one hand, I might not sleep well and get needed down time if I had a roommate, on the other hand, I might seem stand-offish and it would diminish the social aspects of traveling with a group, to have a room by myself.

    Other factors: I use a CPAP and I’m a little shy about it. It’s pretty quiet, probably less intrusive than the alternative (snoring), but would I need to warn a roommate? A single room would cost about $1000 more for the trip, is it worth it?

    For those who’ve done this kind of group tour, does it stand out as odd to have a single room? If you’ve been paired with a stranger, or seen others in that situation, what was that experience like?

    TL:dr: should I spring for the single, or save $ and share a room. Nine days and nights of never being alone, could I do it and still have a good time?

    1. Go for comfort*

      My husband organizes trips and has seen a lot of situations – from roommates who became best friends to roommates who had to be separated.

      If you can afford it, spring for the comfort having your own space and quiet time. No one is going to think you’re weird for paying the single supplement. (Some people might have roommate regrets and wish they’d had the foresight or extra cash to buy some privacy and quiet time.)

      Consider it paying for an upgrade of peace of mind and good sleep. And really, good sleep has a huge knock-on effect on your ability to enjoy a vacation.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      I have a question for the CPAP machine. Have you traveled with it before? Last time I traveled, I didn’t bother taking it with me because I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find distilled water for it. Even here, in Canada, I don’t always find the right kind of water and only in enormous bottles (fine at home, but not on a trip!).

      1. MissCoco*

        My mom is a CPAP user, and she’s taken her CPAP with her on multiple trips (only to Europe though), we did have to buy the distilled water from a pharmacy as it wasn’t in grocery stores. I believe in Ireland we even found a handy 1 or 2 liter bottle so we didn’t have to lug around a gallon of water the whole time! In other situations, she just pours whatever reasonable volume is needed into a smaller bottle. She also checked with her sleep med doctor before her first trip post-CPAP about the best alternatives if distilled water wasn’t available.

        1. Teapot Translator*

          Thanks! I’m going to Portugal in the fall. I should bring it with me and hope I’ll find distilled water.

      2. Not Again*

        My dad and my husband both use a CPAP, so they usually share the water if we travel together.
        If you’re stuck buying the bigger bottle, another option is to just drink the leftover. It tastes bland, but it’s not going to hurt you to drink it. Or keep a couple of flavor packets in your travel kit, as those help with the taste of all kinds of water.

      3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Depending on how often this is an issue, my husband (who travels regularly for work) got a small one specifically designed for travel that doesn’t come with the “distilled water only” recommendation (though they still recommend bottled/purified water rather than tap water) — I think rather than having the whole water reservoir, it just has a replaceable sponge thing that you soak before use, and then replace the sponge thing every day or two?

        1. KatEnigma*

          Just be forewarned that you’re going to pay for a travel one out of pocket. We have better than usual insurance, and we’ve had to do that twice now, with different insurance companies in different regions of the US. My husband is going on a business trip this week, and is bringing his old travel one as a better alternative to nothing or lugging along the full sized one.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            Yes, true — I wouldn’t suggest it if you are not a frequent traveler.

      4. Morning reader*

        Thanks for asking! Yes, I’ve traveled with it before. It fits into its handy carrying case, which looks like everyone else’s cpap case, so I have a colored ribbon on the handle so I can spot it coming out of the security scan.

        Airplanes allow it as an extra over the carryon limit because it’s a medical device, so you don’t have to squeeze it into your suitcase.

        As for the water, if I’m going to visit someone for a few days, I ask them to buy a gallon of distilled locally to use. Otherwise, I bought some little 12-oz bottles of distilled online, which are labeled “distilled water for cpap,” and I shove one of those into the carrying case, in the mask compartment.

        You can’t take liquids on a plane, of course, so, in the security line they take the bottle out, open it, test a drop with some solution to make sure it’s only water, then give it all back to you. The few ounces is enough to last several days. It takes longer to clear security, but otherwise isn’t much trouble.

        On trains, I’ve never seen them check. Car travel, I put a gallon in the back seat.

        Also, I don’t know about others’ experience with this, but in very humid places or times, I hardly need the water. (Southern michigan in April, for example.) I could go a night without water in the machine more easily than I could go without the machine completely. So I’d just use it dry if necessary.

        As for the noise… on family vacations, I used to bunk with my brother sometimes, and he used a cpap. (Adult singles, ya know) His old one was very loud, like Darth Vader, but I slept well in the room hearing it because I guess I like white noise. His new one was so quiet I almost missed the old one. Then, when he died suddenly, (not related to cpap use), and I’d been recently diagnosed, I inherited his quiet machine. Friends who have heard me sleeping with it (in the context of traveling in shared spaces) have not been bothered by it. I would definitely mention it upfront before sharing accommodations with anyone, though. Since I opted for a single, I won’t have to do that this time, but I’m pretty sure this program has a way to include that info for roommate matching.

        So… traveling with CPAP a bit of hassle but not a problem.

    3. Teapot Translator*

      I don’t know what a Road Scholar Trip is, but I would spring for the single room. When traveling with family and friends, I found I needed space by the second week if not earlier and this is people I know and wanted to travel with. I think I did one group trip and I sprung for the single room. It was nice.

      1. Don'tbeadork*

        Road Scholar used to be called Elderhostel, if that helps. It’s educational trips you can take as adults, kind of like those trips many high schoolers take.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Single. You won’t seem standoffish, and my guess is that no one will notice or care that you have a single. If you need to address it, mention the the CPAP, or say that you snore. Then you’re just being considerate of other people’s experience.

    5. Cordelia*

      Spring for the single, if you possibly can. I’ve done a few of these trips and always pay for a single now. Most people travelling alone have done so, on the ones I’ve done – I think on the more basic ones I did when I was younger it was the more the norm to share rooms, and I did, but I wouldn’t do it again. In my experience people only go for the shared rooms to save money, not to be extra-social – most people would choose the single if they could afford it. There’s plenty of time to be social.

    6. Knighthope*

      Have taken many trips (not with RS, but friends love it!), staying in many single rooms. Not odd at all! Advantages are that you can rest, watch tv or not, be on your own schedule within the tour schedule, etc. Even fun travel has stressful aspects – togetherness with a random stranger, even a wonderfully considerate, compatible one can be another stressor. Although I have known single travelers to meet on one trip and share a room on subsequent trips.

    7. fposte*

      I’m considering Road Scholar as a future possibility and will be interested to hear how your trip goes! But I never for a moment considered sharing a room. I think there will be plenty of togetherness and I’d need a break from that.

    8. Roland*

      I think with a CPAP, you should spring for a single. For your own comfort yes, but also that of your potential roommate. I hear you that it’s less loud than snoring, but if it’s louder than “neither snoring nor CPAP”, I think it would not be super awesome of you to go into a shared situation for more than a day when you have other options.

      1. Pippa K*

        Seconding this. My mother uses a CPAP and I found when traveling with her that I could not share a room because the sound kept me awake. In a tour group I’d opt for a single anyway, but even a potential roommate who is usually happy to share might find the CPAP sound a problem.

    9. No Tribble At All*

      My parents did one recently and really enjoyed it! They tried a lot of activities they wouldn’t have done on their own (snowmobiling, snowshoeing) and met fun people. Obviously they roomed together. They said now that they’ve been to the location they think they would go back by themselves, without needing a tour.

    10. Pieforbreakfast*

      I’ve done some road scholar trips with my mom, no one will think it strange to be solo. You will be spending a lot of time with other people through the day and some evenings. As an introvert you would probably prefer having the refuge of a single room at the end of the day.

    11. Bluebell*

      Always spring for the single room if you can. Guided tours can be a lot of togetherness and time alone is tough to find if you have a roommate. Also if you do meet someone on the trip and just want to hang out with them in a friendly way, things could easily get awkward if you have a roommate. I travel yearly with a very good friend but we stay at Airbnb’s so we can have some alone time at night.

    12. Morning reader*

      Thanks, all! You’ve given me confidence; I just went and put down a deposit on the trip I wanted. (Railroads!) It might be one of those things where if you have to ask, you’re leaning toward your answer already. I’m glad to know it will not be weird to want my own room. I’ll sleep better and feel better with space to myself.

    13. Samwise*

      Speaking for the person you’d be rooming with: your CPAP is not as quiet as you think it is. For someone who’s not used to sleeping in the same room with a person using a CPAP, it is likely to be very disruptive to their sleep.

      1. Morning reader*

        OK, good point, I think tolerance to extra noise of different types varies. However, I mention its noise level based on hearing it myself when my brother was using it, and 3 different people who’ve heard me use it described it as quiet and had no trouble sleeping near it. That’s 4 of us perceiving it as quiet. Still, I take the point that it would not be nice to surprise an unknown roommate with it. It’s startling to see, too, if you’re not used to it.

  29. Teapot Translator*

    I’m looking for some comedy podcasts! What do you listen to? I listen to No Such Thing as A Fish and Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me regularly. I’ve also enjoyed Cabin Pressure.

    1. mreasy*

      How Did This Get Made is my absolute favorite of all. Comedians dissecting perplexing movies from the past.

    2. fposte*

      Off Menu if you enjoy food talk at all. Cuddle Club veers from the ridiculous to the poignant about intimacy. You’re Dead to Me, about what we do and don’t know about famous figures in history, is really enjoyable. Films to Be Buried With (by Ted Lasso’s Brett Goldstein) can be delightful. All these are probably helped if there’s a comedian on there you’re familiar with, so have a look at the episode list for an entry point. (Off Menu has a lot of American guests as well as British and Irish guests and there’s a lot of talk about food and childhood and memory, with tastes ranging from the very fancy to very plain.)

      There are a couple of winceworthy moments, but the raucous, now-ended, Do the Right Thing made me laugh excessively just about every episode.

    3. TechWorker*

      Parenting Hell – two comedians talking about their experiences raising kids, and interviewing other celebrities about their kids. Partners in Crime – it is true crime but also sometimes laugh out loud! Presenters are really funny :)

    4. Bluebell*

      Pretty much anything Josh Gondelman has guested on is probably worth listening to one episode. He often guests on WWDTM and had a delightful podcast during covid called Make My Day and almost all of the guests were comedians. 30 min episodes and it was v fun. I also really enjoy How did this get made, especially if it is a movie I might have seen. And Films to be Buried With is wonderful too.

    5. HCTZ*

      look up a couple podcast networks: Headgum and Earwolf. they tend to have a lot of comedy podcasts. my two fave are If I were you(which is ending but has a huge 10 year back catalog) and bitch sesh (which is a Housewives recap pod). bitch sesh overlaps a lot with how did this get made (recommended above) because several of the comedians are friends/married to each other.

    6. cat in cardboard box*

      Dear Hank and John. I have so many other podcasts on subscribe, but I hardly ever listen to them because I’m always listening to this one!

    7. Taki*

      Hey Riddle Riddle is my favorite, though sometimes it gets a little raunchy. I loooove Cabin Pressure though so my taste isn’t all suspect.

    8. SBT*

      My Dad Wrote a Porno is my all-time fave. It’s unfortunately off-air now, but there’s still six solid seasons to binge! Shout-out to all the Blinkers out there :)

    9. Anonymous cat*

      Not really comedy but I enjoy Sawbones. It’s about medical history and medical topics, but the hosts are charming. So it’s a good hearted podcast that you can also learn things from!

    10. Sister George Michael*

      Comedian Vanessa Gonzalez. I don’t think she has a podcast, but she has an album and she’s on Instagram and YouTube.

      One night when I was too anxious to sleep, the thought of her mom screaming to her repeatedly across Shein “Vanessa Maria Gonzalez, 1X or 2X?” made me laugh out loud.

    11. Cat Wrangler*

      These are my favorite comedy podcasts! Crowley Time–and Tom Crowley does everything you hear on it–all the voices, sound effects, etc. He’s also in two fabulous British podcasts called Wooden Overcoats (about rivalry funeral directors on the small island of Piffling Vale), and Victoriocity (steampunk mystery).

  30. Complicated feelings conundrum*

    So, I’m an autistic adult, and I have sensory issues around food and also trouble with social cues, conversation, and with speaking when I am upset or overwhelmed.

    There’s a food truck food court place that we go to maybe once a month because it’s a place where everyone in our family can find something they like. A new place opened late last year that does stews. When they first opened, they had signage that talked about choosing a main and then choosing a side. I selected black beans and rosemary fries. I got black beans and rice, which I questioned and the person apologized, said she’d misheard me, and I should try the rice and beans. It was fine, but not what I wanted.

    The next time I went, there was a different person taking orders. I ordered and got black beans and rosemary fries, and I really liked the combo.

    The last time I went, the same person was taking orders as the second time, and she was REALLY chatty and friendly, which struck me as odd, but I chalked it up to maybe their business being slow enough that she recognized a repeat customer. When I went to collect my food, it was black beans and rice pilaf. Honestly, rice pilaf tastes like sadness to me. Before I could even say anything, the person told me “The chef really wants you to have rice. He’s making you fries too. They’ll be ready in a few minutes.” So I said, jokingly “Oh, am I doing it wrong?” And she said “Kind of, yes.” That’s when I realized that all the signs about choosing a main and side were gone. The chef brought me the fries and said that I really had to try it the right way and that it would be much better. At this point, I was overwhelmed , so I took all the food, said thanks, and went back to my family and tried not to be affected by what felt like a weird and infantilizing exchange. And I did not like the rice pilaf – it tasted like sadness – and then I had to feel bad about throwing it out.

    Part of me feels like I never want to go back there, but the black beans are easily the best thing I’ve eaten at this food court. What’s a good way to handle this situation? I am considering getting just beans and then getting fries from another place.

    1. Not A Manager*

      They are doing a thing that some people find cute, and other people find super obnoxious. I wouldn’t let them drive you away from something you like. Try heading this off in advance. “I’d like the black beans with a side of fries. Please don’t add rice or substitute anything; I know the chef really wants everyone to have rice and beans, but I simply can’t eat rice.” This is quite true (“can’t” = “can’t enjoy it and food is meant to be enjoyed”), and will probably solve this problem 90% of the time.

      I’m sure you don’t want to be aggressive or socially awkward, but if they do substitute after this, as the consumer you are absolutely allowed to politely say, “I’m sorry, there’s a mistake with this order. I can’t eat rice.”

      1. Not A Manager*

        Oh, additionally. This sounds like the kind of place where the “friendly” counter staff will say something like, “oh, allergic to rice?” and make a sadface. You can have a non-response prepared like, “it just doesn’t sit well for me.”

        1. Sister George Michael*

          Please please write on a comment card ‘the rice pilaf tastes like sadness.’

    2. GoryDetails*

      That does sound frustrating! I’ve always been confrontation-averse, and might simply (but sadly) walk away from the delicious beans to avoid any more debate with the server or chef – but if you want to push back at all, maybe write it down? Something in the form of a comment/feedback card perhaps, just “I really love the X and Y, but don’t want to be urged to take something I didn’t order, could that be an option?” Might help, might not, but handing over a card (or, if they have a web site, an email) would be a lot less difficult for me than trying to speak to them face to face.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      I wouldn’t have gone back after the first time! The annoyance of not getting what I ordered plus the social awkwardness of them thinking it’s cute and quirky to force the wrong food on me and act like I’m weird for ordering food I want would be too off-putting.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      As a non-autistic person who likes food, I will say this whole thing is: Really weird.

      When she said you were doing it wrong, I think the vibe in her head was “Ha ha, we will have a loose and easy and funny discussion about food, and the chef’s vision, and different starches” and she didn’t realize it was sliding over into laughing at you when she thought she was laughing with you.

      If you like the stew, is your family good at helping you practice tone and affect? Because I think a calm-to-teasing “Black bean stew with rosemary fries. Not rice! I am the rosemary fry afficionado. Do not give me rice. I’m onto you” would land right.

    5. RagingADHD*

      Check the menu, order what you want, and if they give you sides you don’t want, say, “Can I please just have what I ordered? I know what I like.”

      And give the rice back.

      If they are going to be jerks about it, ask for a refund.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      It’s okay to say you don’t like rice, or to ask if you can have the rosemary fries with the black beans. It’s a business and you’re a customer, but even if you weren’t paying, humans are allowed food preferences in every situation where eating happens! I think that on this basis, they were quite pushy and odd; though it’s possible they really think it’s such a great combination that it’s worth a try. Maybe they don’t want to serve them separately because they’ve portioned things to go with each other but you can certainly ask what the flexibility with the mains/sides set up is, when you order. If they say no and the black beans order is going to leave you with unwanted rice then you can make the call from there. I would probably say “Before I order, is it possible to get rosemary fries with the black beans? I don’t like rice.” Make sure they answer your question and don’t mishear.

    7. MEH Squared*

      I would not eat there again, but it’s because I have a bunch of food restrictions and need people to respect what I say when I order food. I mean, that should be the case in general, but in particular for peopl e with food issues. If you really want the beans, then, yeah, I would just order the beans and get the fries elsewhere.

      I agree with others that you could just say something like, “Please give me what I ordered” if you feel up to it, but personally, I would not trust them to get it right after they’ve purposefully gotten it wrong so many times. I’m sorry you have to deal with that, though. You should be able to get what you ordered!

    8. Tea and Sympathy*

      I would just tell them that I know they like the rice with black beans, but that I really love their black beans and I really love their rosemary fries, and that’s what my taste buds want. And rice in addition to that is too much food for you, and you don’t want to waste it. It’s hard to argue with praise.

  31. Falling Diphthong*

    Thanks to everyone who recommended The Expanse as a great hard sci-fi story, and specifically to first watch the 10-minute no-spoiler background video on YouTube. Going in with that background knowledge made a big difference for keeping track of a slew of story-lines. We just started Season 2.

    1. the bean moves on*

      Thats one of my favorite series! I didnt see your original thread, so I dont know how you feel abt reading a nine book series- but if you are done with the show and want more- the last three books (7,8,9) stand pretty much alone.

    2. Stitch*

      Yes, even having read the book, the sequence of why the Canterbury was seen as a threat and how Julie ended up where she did was a bit confusing.

    3. RussianInTexas*

      The show is probably the best sci-fi of the last 15 years.
      The books are great too. I loved the ending of the story. It ended logically, which isn’t already the case with longer series.

    4. KR*

      Im so happy for you! I started watching Expanse part way into it while my husband was watching it and got SO hooked. It’s so good and well done!!

    5. Melody Pond*

      Ha, I’m WAY late to this – but I think I might have contributed to this?? I recommend the Expanse regularly, and I nearly ALWAYS provide a link to a non-spoiler YouTube video to watch first, because I think the first few episodes are difficult to get through, without it.

      If it was me, I’m absolutely delighted! I love the Expanse so, so much, and it just gets better and better! Seasons 5 and 6 are mind-blowingly good.

  32. Falling Diphthong*

    Mrs. Maisel: How are people feeling about the season? For yesterday’s outing:

    I loved Midge’s green dress for the wedding. Absolutely lovely. And I’m glad to hear that Imogen is still being extremely organized.

    Also the Susie Myerson phone montage at the end, once I realized that was for real and not a dream sequence. I am really invested in Susie’s success and want to see that happen, so that part of the episode was a nice surprise. (I felt like the Sophie Lennon fiasco was a life lesson in never taking your attention off Midge, which is not an endearing part of the series.)

    Will the pirate story do the 1961 version of going viral? And thus deliver Midge her break? That feels unsatisfying to me–it’s the second damaging tantrum in two episodes for which Midge will face no consequences. I do get that she put in the work of becoming good at her craft in the early seasons, and now it’s a matter of being out there until she gets noticed by the right person. But her “well f it” tantrums this season are really unappealing, and dramatically unsatisfying as the key to her eventual success.

    I was charmed by Frank and Nicky back in their first outing with Susie, but the extended mob storyline is just perplexing to me. It’s feeling like another “should have consequences for Midge, but will not.” I also wish Rose and Abe could be allowed some dignity.

    1. Dark Macadamia*

      I’m so glad people are discussing the show here!

      I don’t really feel like the pirate thing was a tantrum, actually. I like that she stood up for the waitress – a rare use of Midge’s lack of filter that actually benefits someone, lol – and didn’t feel like it should’ve been that big of a deal. I think the meeting afterwards with basically only George being upset was charming.

      I’m both relieved and annoyed that they didn’t address the mob stuff at all this episode. I don’t enjoy the storyline but it’s weird to raise the stakes so much in the previous episode and then be like “several months later, everything is fine but btw Joel will end up in prison eventually”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I felt like throwing his coat overboard was an escalation that wasn’t needed, since he’d been defeated verbally. And was more about Midge being mad at his coworkers for the housewife in bikini stuff. But then also that for the guy, the incident would have been really embarrassing to make a fuss about, so “they called the Coast Guard and removed the pirate from the boat” was a weird counter escalation. I enjoyed the meeting scene, but the scenes to get there seemed like people weirdly escalating just to set up that scene.

        Did the Diaper people really want a news story along the lines “Mr. James Algonquin, senior vice president, and his companion Miss Georgia Peaches, who is not Mrs Algonquin…”

        1. Ellis Bell*

          If a guy comic had defended a waitress from a handsy guest, it would have been understood and there’s no way he would have ended up being charged with piracy. Also, she lost her grip on the coat accidentally, so she wasn’t throwing it as an escalation at all. Sure, picking it up at all was a little bit too angry, but you’ve got to appreciate that she’d just walked away from a “great idea” for her to tell jokes in a bikini and found that the only other nice human being on the ship was being sexually assaulted. Picking up a coat is not beyond the realms of appropriate behaviour if hassling the waitress is okay. In fact if she hadn’t accidentally tossed the coat and upset the executive then the bikini diaper doll idea would have probably happened.

          1. Falling Diphthong*

            This is interesting because you’re the second person to view the coat-overboard as an accident, when to me it looked very deliberate. (In the sense of what the show wants us to think when we watch the scene; obviously Brosnahan had to drop the coat overboard to follow the script.) Which would certainly affect how I feel about Midge’s actions.

            1. Ellis Bell*

              In my memory she said “uh oh” and said she hoped his keys weren’t in there – but you could be right, I’ll watch it again. As soon as she picked it up I was saying “arghh, don’t do that, you’ll drop it” which might have affected my inferences. Your version also makes more sense in that he called the cops. I found it incredibly babyish to do that over an accident – it’s like calling the police over spilled wine, albeit wine spilled while being confrontational. He should have just made her pay for the loss and moved on with his life.

        2. Ellis Bell*

          Oh! I think you also make a really good point about how the guy *should* have been embarrassed but I think this tells us just how far we’ve come. That guy certainly expected to just be believed that he was “just talking” to the waitress and that Midge is emotional/crazy/unstable. Even if people knew he got a little handsy, he wouldn’t have been embarrassed about that. That shameless type of guy is actually still around if you think about it.

  33. Potatohead*

    So I’m probably quite late to the party on this one, but I just learned yesterday that “Hench” has a confirmed sequel in progress, supposedly planned for a Fall 2023 release. Made me happy and I know it’s been talked about here.

    1. GoryDetails*

      Yes! I’ve been hoping for an update on that one; I’d seen items about it being in progress but nothing definitive. I thoroughly enjoyed Hench (despite/because of some of the dark-and-twisty bits, but also the fun-with-superhero/villain tropes) and will be ordering the new book!

    2. carcinization*

      Oh yay! I actually read Hench for the first time really recently, but had no idea there’d be a sequel, though I was hoping!

  34. Fit Farmer*

    One thing I enjoy about my farm activities is solving physical, technical problems under urgent time pressure using whatever resources happen to be on hand, making decisions and operating equipment in order to effect the most progress towards the larger goal. The time-scale here is minutes/hours, not days/weeks.

    For a while I’ve been interested in volunteering these skills/interests to do something useful in a different context. The subject doesn’t matter as much as the characteristics of the activity. But I have no idea what volunteer activities might exist! What can you think of, that I might appreciate knowing about? (I’m open to doing some training.)

    For example, I’ve been looking into volunteering for the local rescue squad. The “driver” role on a volunteer EMT crew is a surprising cross-section of many, many characteristics I find fulfilling, and would do well at. It would be a way to put this interest and experience to use in a much larger (and more critical) system than my personal-scale farm allows.

    I wouldn’t have ever known this until a friend of mine suggested it! I would have expected it to be primarily medical intervention — not the case. Before pursuing it further, I wanted to ask you all here what else might exist in the world that I might also not know about.

    1. allathian*

      Depends a bit on how flexible your schedule is, but have you considered becoming a volunteer fire fighter? That would obviously require some training.

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      While this isn’t a direct suggestion, hoping it sparks for someone else: Your first paragraph is why farmers tend to do really well on The Amazing Race.

      The one thing that occurs to me is set up/teardown for local events. Like if your area puts on summer concerts or performances in a park.

    3. anon24*

      I know you’re looking for other things, but I want to second the driver/EMT route. I’m an EMT and reading the first half of your comment I thought, “this person would make a fantastic EMT.”

      Training for actually becoming and EMT is not crazy, my school was more intense than most and it was 2 nights a week for 4 months and a few days of clinical.

      Being an EMT uses all the skills you have. We have no idea what we’re walking into until we get there, every call is different, between the actual injury/medical complaint that we have to assess and figure out what we think is wrong and how to treat it, to the technical challenges of just moving the patient. Can they walk? Are they on the 3rd floor of an old town home with tiny hallways and steep, narrow staircases and are so hypotensive it’s not even safe to sit them up? Are they in a barn with a broken leg with animals and hay all around? What about overdosed in a crawl up attic? Or having a medical issue causing them to be a danger to themselves while on a balcony with a ladder access? (all actual calls I’ve run) You get so good and looking at a situation, figuring out what needs to happen, mentally cataloging what you have on you and what resources you could get to your scene quickly if needed, and coming up with creative ways to solve the problem.

    4. Gyne*

      This sounds like what my husband describes as what he enjoys about being in the volunteer Search and Rescue team – he had to get trained as an EMT for that as well, to echo what other commenters suggested.

    5. CreepyKeeper*

      I’ve seen a few EMT responses here so I’ll second the event setup/teardown-my partner did lighting as part of a crew for a company that did events. They did the lighting for several multi-million dollar weddings and corporate events, and it was mostly the kind of challenges you describe enjoying. Mostly evening shifts as well, ranging from as complicated as creating a chandelier out of round rum bottles for a Captain Morgan event to as simple as setting out five hundred chairs for a wedding and then packing them all up again at the end of the night.

      Also look into theater tech! Construction/lighting with similar timing challenges for set/lighting changes and longer term deadlines of when the show as a whole is supposed to run. Plus the bonus of an chronically underfunded organization -trying to achieve the desired result by improvising with whatever you have on hand because you can’t afford anything else!

      1. Sloanicota*

        I agree I really enjoyed the creativity of theater set design / tech work and even costume design because it had to be good and sturdy, but it only had to look good from a distance, which gave us a lot of freedom that I enjoyed.

    6. just another queer reader*

      Someone I know is the volunteer caretaker/ groundskeeper for a small summer camp owned by a church. I wonder if a maintenance/ facilities/ handyperson role would be up your alley. And I imagine a lot of organizations (churches, summer camps, small nonprofits who own their building, etc) would be delighted to have help with this!

      Different idea: being the “displays maker” – lots of orgs do tabling events at festivals, and want to have some sort of interactive exhibit. I’m thinking about Pride, where lots of different nonprofits have a big art display that they made, or a tub of glitter, or a spin-the-wheel, or a ring toss, etc – coming up with and executing this could be cool!

    7. just another queer reader*

      Also, running a science fair/ festival for kids – with lots of hands on demos – would involve a lot of on-the-fly problem solving and improvising.

    8. Jean (just Jean)*

      Your skills and ingenuity might be welcome at any museum with a collection of large, sturdy, mechanical and/or unwieldy items. I’m thinking of:
      – places that offer rides on historical rolling stock such as old trolleys or trains
      – places that display miniature railroad setups, either permanently or built for a special occasion, then dismantled

      Or, would you be happy to restore items that would remain motionless but instructive items in the collection (e.g., old railroad engines and cars, historical automobiles)?

      The following museums might be a good starting point–even if only to spark your own online search for organizations in your own geographic area:
      – National Capital Trolley Museum (in Maryland suburbs near Washington, DC)
      – National Museum of Transportation (in Missouri suburbs near St. Louis, MO)
      – B & O Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD)

      Links to follow in next response!

    9. Jean (just Jean)*

      Well, I had a long reply that disappeared. Here’s the shorter version, with links.
      I thought that your skills might be appreciated by any museum with rolling stock, whether displayed (standing still), or set into motion for passenger rides, or set into motion for particularly interesting displays (a model railroad that the public can watch).

      Below are some places I’ve enjoyed. If you’re not local to Washington, DC or Baltimore, MD, you can look for similar organizations in your own area.

      Good luck! I bet some supervisor in such a museum would be thrilled to have you!

      – National Capital Trolley Museum (in Maryland suburbs near Washington, DC) https://www.dctrolley.org/

      – National Museum of Transportation (in Missouri suburbs near St. Louis, MO) https://tnmot.org/hours-and-admission/

      – B & O Railroad Museum (Baltimore, MD)

  35. Sharkbait*

    My puppy looks extremely sad and pitiful when we leave the house. She isn’t home alone often, but when she is, she looks and acts like she is being abandoned forever. Is there anything we can do to make it less sad for her to be left home on her own? Is this something that dogs grow out of?

    1. Missb*

      Is she crate trained? Our pups go “in the kennel” when we leave for a couple of hours. Or even just an hour.

      It is their safe space, so no sadness involved.

    2. Sloanicota*

      I can’t say they grow out of it, as my dog is eight years old (adopted at five) and still does this, also makes a huge raucous fuss when I “finally” come home, even if it’s been like 20 minutes. A few things; 1. there seems to be some debate about how well dogs tell time, so they may experience things differently than we do (I’ve heard they can go by the half-life of smells, essentially, which is how they know to the dot when a kid is about to come home from school; but I’ve also heard they live in the present so twenty minutes is the same as several hours to them). 2. Dogs don’t experience emotions the exact same way we do, and sometimes how they “look” is more about us projecting, and/or them trying to influence us to get what they want, rather than actual existential suffering. 3. I have special long-chew treats that he only gets when I leave, so this assuages my guilt and gets us over the transition.

      1. Cat annd dog fosterer*

        Long-chew treats like frozen kongs are key for this. Crate training or baby gates can help because dogs will often develop problems like separation anxiety if they are always with people. I keep all fosters including young pups away from me for an hour or two every day even if it is with a baby gate. They learn to be calm without people because you never know what might happen in life. I looked after a neighborhood dog recently and he was really lovely except that he had mild separation anxiety and his owner had a surprise medical issue that meant he couldn’t be with her.

        1. Sloanicota*

          True, with my dog I’m literally working on him like, not needing to jump to his feet if he sees me preparing to leave the room, or maybe feeling okay about lying down inside if I’m doing something out in the yard instead of standing with his nose pressed to the door. Baby steps.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Yes — this morning I stepped outside for literally three minutes to move planters from the garage back to the yard, and when I came back in, my dog was absolutely bouncing off the walls excited, the same way she does when I go to a doctor’s appointment for an hour or a movie for three hours. We joke it as “MAMA YOU WERE GONE FOREVERS” but really I think it’s just, I was gone and then I came back so yay. :)

    3. Lasuna*

      It’s not something dogs tend to grow out of if they are rarely home alone. It is somewhat breed and personality dependent, but most dogs “grow out of it” through desensitization and it doesn’t sound like your dog is left home alone enough for that. As far as making leaving less sad, pair leaving with something that is highly rewarding and engaging. A long chew treat, a puzzle toy with food, a snuffle mat/box, a favorite toy that she only gets when you are gone, or some combination of these things. If she is crate trained, use that as her safe space when you are gone, and provide the treat in her crate.

      If she is exhibiting anxiety when you leave, desensitize her to the process of leaving by getting ready to leave and then not leaving. Get your keys, bag, coat, put your shoes on, and then sit on the couch. Do this a few times a day until she stops associating those things with leaving. This will decrease her anxiety buildup around leaving. Once she is desensitized, get ready to leave, provide her with her rewarding activity(s) and leave for a few minutes. Get the mail, take a quick lap around the block, etc. When you come back, she will likely still be engaged and you leaving won’t be such a sad thing.

      1. Zelda*

        All great advice.

        “As far as making leaving less sad, pair leaving with something that is highly rewarding and engaging.”

        Also, pair coming home with… nothing. The entrance to the house is out of line-of-sight from where the dog hangs out when we’re not home, so when I walk in, I say calmly, “Hi, pup; humans are home,” just so she hears my voice. But then nothing for a minute or five, and never any high-pitched excited greetings.

        If we’ve been gone for multiple hours, of course she will need to go outside relatively soon after we get home. But the idea is to make that a pretty regular going-outside, decoupled as much as possible from humans coming home. So, humans leaving should have positive associations, and humans coming home should be kinda no big deal.

        1. Forgotten username*

          Love both these responses – I have a 7 year old mutt with separation anxiety, and it’s taken us a while but now we have a good routine. He has a special treat ball (Google Orbee Tuff Snoop) that we put cheese bits and other treats in, and he only gets it when we leave. Looking forward to it helps alleviate any initial anxiety he would otherwise have.

          With any treat dispensing toy, be sure to try it out first with the dog while you’re there to supervise! We didn’t leave him alone with it until we knew he would not chew or break pieces of it, and now he never gets it except when we leave the house without him.

    4. Stitch*

      I mean, I bet if you put a nanny cam on her you’d find she stops being sad pretty quickly after you leave.

      1. Sunflower*

        Yea my dog was most attached to my mom and would make his big puppy dog, ‘how are you gonna leave me with these random people who also live here?’ eyes whenever my mom was leaving despite others being home. After she left, he was totally fine and his regular self. I think this is normal and I wouldn’t be too concerned about it.

    5. Dear liza dear liza*

      This is why I throw a handful of treats across the room and then skedaddle while my pup is hoovering them down.

      1. Sloanicota*

        They definitely say not to drag out or prolong the goodbye, or make a big fuss about it. That’s why I hand him the chew treat and go while he’s distracted too.

    6. SBT*

      When I first got my puppy, she had severe separation anxiety. I’d put her in her crate, walk upstairs for three minutes, and she’d yelp, bark, and have stress diarrhea everywhere. It was quite traumatic for both of us. The vet reminded me that she’d been separated from her mother at 4 weeks, and was carrying that with her. He said repetition was key, and it might take 100 reps before she realized I always come back. Some things that I found helpful:
      1) I got a camera where I could talk to her. Usually if I talked to her for about a minute after I left, she’d calm down.
      2) I crated her as a puppy because potty training, but once she was well trained, I started letting her stay downstairs (just an office room and the entryway) when I left. I found that that immediately helped with her anxiety. I think it was because she could see me leave so she knew where I “went”, and was allowed to wait in the room closest to the door so she’d be there when I came home. In hindsight, I wish I’d tried putting the crate downstairs to see if that had solved the problem. Now when I go to leave, she follows me downstairs and immediately goes to her bed – doesn’t even try to come jump on me or say bye.
      3) Frequent repetition. I work from home, so I made a real effort to leave every day to do something – even just for 5 minutes.
      4) When she was old enough, I put her in daycare one day a week. This greatly helped with her getting used to being away from me, but with enough fun distractions that she barely noticed.
      5) Lots of exercise (which is of course what every article will recommend). I’d try to wear it out with a long walk or play session before I left for a couple hours so she was too tired to even feel anxious.
      6) Trazadone. The vet prescribed it to help us “get over the hump”. I only had to use it for a couple weeks on her before she was much better at staying calm when I left.

      She’s now 2 and does just fine when I leave. She still has separation anxiety in that she generally likes to stay on the same floor I’m on (three story townhome), and for sure won’t let me be a floor below her because I could leave without her knowing. But there’s no more yelping, barking, or diarrhea when I leave. It gets easier.


      Pro dog trainer here: look up
      Playing peek a boo; the door is a bore; and other separation anxiety prevention games. If you are already really working with SA then please schedule a consult with a certified SA pro trainer. I’d also separate confinement training and you leaving so you don’t pair them with negative associations and have two battles to fight

  36. What the What*

    Anyone take Buspar for anxiety? What’s your experience been like?

    I’m dealing with a big increase in anxiety without any obvious life stressor to point to as a trigger so we’re thinking it might be menopause related. I’ve had anxiety before but nothing like this where it’s constant and feels like my brain is stuck on a hamster wheel of catastrophizing and fear-stress to the point where it’s ridiculous and I know my life isn’t on fire and my brain is just messing with me and needs to calm down already.

    Not seeking medical advice as I’m working with my doctor to figure out a treatment plan, (we’re going to try increasing my fluoxetine dose first and I already do CBT and have an estrogen patch) just curious to hear anyone’s personal experience with Buspar.

    1. mreasy*

      It didn’t work for me (nor did gabapentin) but it didn’t give me any bad side effects, nor did any negative effects linger. My doc, also, was trying to find a non-benzo solution for my anxiety, but upping my lexapro on top of a course of TMS and the odd klonopin for panic attacks have unlocked it. Sending you and your treatment time positive energy for finding a solution – and to you for coping meanwhile. Anxiety is a monster.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My husband did and it was negligibly useful, he’s being transitioned to something else now I think. (I don’t remember what.) The big thing we noticed with the Buspar was that about an hour after taking it, he was absolutely ravenous, like get up out of bed to go eat an entire second dinner. (After two weeks of this initially, I told him that for the sake of my grocery bill and his waistline, he had to change the timing on his meds to take them BEFORE dinner :P )

    3. Willa Defoe*

      On it now and am fairly stable on it. I am afab, and the things I have noticed are a.) I get a bit sleepy an hour or so after I take it. I take it at night, so I just take it a bit before bed time and b.) I initially experienced a slight kick of libido. It was very odd for me as I am asexual.

    4. Bye Academia*

      I get really bad side effects on SSRIs, so now I’m on Buspar. The only side effect for me is a little bit of brief brain fog after a dose (maybe 1-2 hours?), so I simply time the doses before lunch and before bed when I don’t need to focus on something immediately afterwards.

      I wouldn’t say it’s been a miracle drug, but it does take the edge off enough to allow therapy/CBT/other coping mechanisms to be more effective. For me it’s been worth it.

    5. Anon for this*

      It made me dizzy and caused headaches (not fun) and incredibly detailed, vivid dreams (fun). I know several people who have done quite well on Buspar, but I stopped taking it after a couple months because it wasn’t actually doing anything to help my anxiety. (It turns out I have ADHD, and I was having panic attacks because I was using anxiety to keep myself focused. I’m on Adderall now and am the calmest I have ever been.)

  37. Red Sky*

    I’d like to move and organize some of the thousands of photos off my iphone. What (preferably free) photo storing app or site/service do you use? I’ve tried Google Photos but haven’t found the user interface to be very intuitive and it syncs all my phone’s photos rather than just the ones I want to add. I’ve turned off sync but can’t figure out how to add photos manually without it adding all of them and googling doesn’t help. I’m not a total luddite, but technology is hard sometimes, sigh.

    1. Somewhere in Texas*

      I actually transfer all my photos to my computer s r save them into folders by month/year. It’s not fancy, but it helps me to track down photos if I need them later.

      1. Yet Another Unemployed Librarian*

        I do this also. When you plug in your phone to the computer you should be able to see it like an external hard drive and just go in the folders and copy what you want. It’s a bit time consuming but it gives you a lot more control than the automated services, which I haven’t ever been able to get to act like I want.

    2. 00ff00Claire*

      I purchased a SanDisk flash drive that is compatible with their Memory Zone App. I know that’s not free, but it is a one-time cost unless you use their cloud storage (which I don’t). I can manually choose what I back up to the stick or ask it to back up everything that isn’t on the stick yet. I also back up to Amazon Photos and Google Photos, but I like also having them on a physical stick before I delete them from my phone.

      I have Amazon Photos set to only back up pictures, not video, because there is a limit on the video storage. It also has the option to manually upload and that feature only uploads what I choose, not everything else.

      I use an Android phone, but I’ve helped my mom with her iphone some. I remember Google Photos and iphone having a weird interaction when we set hers up, so you’re not alone there. It’s not intuitive at all.

    3. Bye Academia*

      Lately I’ve been using an app called PhotoSync to get my photos onto my computer. It’s not free, but it’s only $6.50/year, which is way cheaper than iCloud. And instead of automatically syncing the photos, you select individual ones/a desired range. So it would give you the control you’re looking for.

      Once the specific photos are on your computer, they’d be much easier to organize. You could even automatically sync the sorted folder to google photos for an extra backup.

    4. Blythe*

      I doubt my solution is the best, but it works well for me, so I am sharing in case it works for other people too.

      I use Shutterfly. It offers unlimited free photo storage as long as you buy something (anything!) once a year or so. Since I buy their products occasionally anyway, this is a good deal for me. I also like that this doesn’t automatically pull photos from my phone— I choose what to upload.

  38. Jazz and Manhattans*

    There was a question in the work thread yesterday about Harry Potter references/transphobia that caused me to think further – how do people resolve finding things out about celebrities, artists, writers, composers that are antithesis to who you are as a person (e.g., composer being anti-semetic; writer being transphobic) but their works are fabulous. When you find out about the attitude/beliefs do you stop watching, listening, viewing that person or do you separate the two and view the art for the arts sake?

    1. mreasy*

      For the most part I am just naturally turned off from their creative expression. Though this isn’t a one size fits all rule. What I do absolutely not do is financially support them in any way – no tickets, no new LP purchases, no merch, etc. Since streaming is such vanishingly small income per play I worry about it less, but usually I lose my interest in their music. My partner and I both work in music, and are extremely avid listeners, so this comes up quite a bit (sadly).

    2. Falling Diphthong*

      It’s really a gut feel which way I go.

      Pro enjoy the art: Most past authors etc would probably fall down on the morals front if we looked too closely, compared to modern sensibilities–which have shifted so much even in just the last 10 years. I feel like this standard will continuously shut down what art you can experience because each little bit of knowledge would ban more artists. Our experience of art is so individual–I loved Podkayne of Mars when I was young. The ideas about women and work are cringe but Heinlein was obviously super old, so I just tossed that part aside and enjoyed the rest of the story. I really don’t like the idea of banning things (in the ‘look down on people who read it’ sense) when what a reader takes from it can be so far from my interpretation.

      Example: I let my teen read Twilight, even though I had zero interest. And a life example I try to emulate was a professor described as able to find interesting things all around her–she wound up talking to some teens on a flight about why they loved Twilight, and walked off the plane with a plan for a new class. So much better than dismissing the series as something no one should like.

      On the other hand, I have never watched a Roman Polanski movie because the first thing I knew about him was the sexual abuse, and I was just never going to detach that knowledge while viewing a film. I haven’t reread the HP series since the TERF stuff, but I really enjoyed it at the time and think it’s a classic story. We would lose so much by the excise-anything-bad standard, and I suspect it would come down to a lot of people arguing “it’s okay to excise stuff that I find offputting this month, but my childhood favorites all get grandfathered in and how dare you try to take that away.”

    3. Sloanicota*

      To be clear on my stance, I have stopped using any JK Rowling references in conversation because she’s just so unnecessarily extreme and hurtful in her views that I wouldn’t want to invoke her. I did go to Harry Potter land in the past, and loved it, but would not go now or recommend it because I don’t want to put money in her pocket. My young niece and nephew love the books but my sister bought used copies, and I think had a conversation with them about the author. The distinction for me is that the books, in my view, do not contain the views that are objectionable. That said, this is all hard to me because I would expect literally all creators of the past (so all of the canon in art, music, writing) had views I would find either objectionable or abhorrent – part of wrestling with history is trying to comprehend how they felt about women, black people, Jewish people, native peoples, etc. Most of the literature I was assigned in school had some cruddy believe about women that I, as a woman, had to read and quietly accept as the status quo in the era. So what, do we give everyone up to, say, 1900 a “pass” and agree they probably held crap views that may-or-may-not have been a product of their time, but we’re still going to enjoy their products without thinking about it too much? Is it only living authors that we worry about? Would you read something by an author that had vocal crappy views but died in 1960? 1980? I wouldn’t watch “Birth of a Nation” or whatever, where the art is explicitly aimed at views I find offensive, unless it was part of some structured course on understanding racism. Would I watch a romantic movie that included one of the actors? Probably. Would I make a fanpage about how great that actor was? No.

      1. abca*

        This is a great comment, thanks. I really struggle to be in online communities these days because so many people have such extreme opinions, with no room for nuance, and even discussing it is not allowed because that’s seen as whataboutism and everyone assumes bad faith and it’s really exhausting.

    4. fposte*

      It varies. It’s actually easier for me to balance when I knew the information going in than when I find it out later. A recent example was German painter Emil Nolde, who had been an example of Hitler’s “Degenerate Art” because of his modernism. That’s what tended to get played up about him for a while, but recently there’s been a lot more emphasis on the fact that Hitler may not have loved him but he sure loved Hitler and was antisemitic as all get out.

      He’s a beautiful painter, and obviously he’s not making any money off any of this now (ironically, a piece of his has been a recent example of looted art stolen from a Jewish owner), but looking at his paintings now makes me think of the Hasan Minhaj correspondents’ dinner joke about Steve Bannon: I do not see Nolde’s sunset. Not See Nolde’s sunset. Nazi Nolde’s sunset.

    5. A Becky*

      It’s complicated. I don’t consume HP stuff because there is an awful person who uses that consumption to actively further their awfulness – there’s an actual harm done by putting money in JKR’s pocket and she’s publicly said that she treats book sales as an endorsement of her transphobia.

      But is somebody hurt because I, say, listen to Wagner? He was a complete garbage person, sure, but he’s very dead! Dickens had some pretty gross views about Indians (and Jews) but was a highly influential author, and I’d be cutting off my nose to spite my face if I refused to study his work.

      On the other hand, say, Fleming’s Bond is just a really gross person and not fun to read.

      So I guess my standard is “does this hurt real people to watch/listen/etc?” and “how much does the unpleasant view/behaviour seep into the work and spoil it anyway?” (And “do I actually like it”, Dickens’ writing style really isn’t my jam).

    6. Falling Diphthong*

      In the past a question came up here about whether libraries track lendings and used book stores track sales, because these were supposed to work as ways to make sure the author whose book you wanted to read didn’t get any sort of credit for writing a book you wanted to read. The “enjoy but make sure I don’t pay money, or do it in a way that could be tracked” is a really weird splicing that doesn’t make sense to me.

      If I feel strongly enough about the author to want to not support them, I just straight up don’t read their work. Granted that’s easy for me since there’s a visceral reaction, but I have trouble understanding how people can really want to listen to the music, see the film, read the story, while hating the author/writer/singer/etc enough to want to make sure they don’t get the idea that their work might be popular.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          If I have a strong negative feeling, that’s more likely to be someone who was unpleasant in recent time. That has more to do with “JK Rowling did a thing that went viral, while Dickens’s transgressions are less discussed on Twitter.” He was really crap to his wife, I learned on You’re Dead to Me. I don’t think that would heavily weight my viewing a modern production of A Christmas Carol.

          But I think that’s more that the work was able to grow and sort of become its own thing, independent of knowing anything about the author. You can recognize The Ghost of Christmas Past even if you don’t remember who wrote that thing about Scrooge. That might tie into my feeling that people want to grandfather in all their old favorites, which are dear old friends like your old stuffed animals. Or what Raging said about the similarity to your older relatives–we can have loving memories of people who had less than perfect pasts.

          A number of adults have described starting to read Narnia to their kids, and being surprised at the Christian allegory being delivered with a hammer. Because when they were kids, those stories were mysterious wardrobes and going on an adventure and being declared king for your valiant acts. So I really want to leave space for anyone to get great stuff out of a poem, or a story, or a song, or a painting.

      1. Irish Teacher*

        I think it makes sense. You can enjoy a story regardless of who wrote it, but that doesn’t mean you want your money to be used to support causes you disagree with – if the author is contributing money to their cause – or for them to be able to use their sales as a way of saying “clearly people agree with me; look, they are all buying my books/watching my films/whatever.” JK Rowling has been known to do the latter and so have her followers.

        But I don’t see any conflict between enjoying a series about wizard school and not wanting one’s money to be used to support transphobia. I see it as wanting to enjoy a good film/book/music/sport without inadvertantly contributing to harming others.

        This may be related to the fact that under normal circumstances, I have little interest in the people involved. I always find it odd when people are like “oh, I can’t wait to see such a film. Such an actor is in it” or “you liked such a film? Oh, did you know the actor who played the main part is also in *film with a completely different theme*”. There are some authors whose books I look for because they tend to write in a particular genre or style that I really like (Agatha Christie, Toni Morrison) or singers whose songs I look for, but that’s related to what they write/sing. I wouldn’t be interested in a book written by a favourite singer or in reading a book about a writer or singer whose work I enjoy.

      2. Dinwar*

        For my part, there are a few reasons.

        I don’t view enjoyment as a single binary thing. I enjoy some things more than others, and I’m able to pick out aspects of a thing that I enjoy vs aspects I don’t. Sometimes some part of an artwork (movie, song, painting, whatever) is good enough that I’m willing to endure the rest to get to that part. And I’m not the same person I was last time I encountered the artwork (whatever artwork it is), so exploring those changes is interesting.

        Further, enjoyment isn’t the only valid emotion in response to art. ALL emotions are available for artistic expression–joy, sorrow, longing, despair, terror, serenity, all of them. If all you feel is one emotion (either more or less intensely as the situation warrants) you have a pretty boring life. I’m not saying this as criticism, but as a conclusion drawn from rather bitter experience (this conversation is digging up some really intense stuff from my past….). I wouldn’t call my engagement with certain songs enjoyment, because it’s not, but it’s important none the less. I listen because sometimes, that song is the best way to manage or express or experience that emotion.

        And not all enjoyment of an artwork is based on agreement. I’ve enjoyed artwork that I’ve passionately disagreed with because I disagreed with it. The exploration of that disagreement is entertaining and educational. Or maybe it expresses an idea I disagree with but I haven’t fully explored why, and I’m using the art as a tool to better understand the argument (I’ve used a few paintings this way).

        I think the emotional reaction to art is important, indeed the most important, part of the experience of an artwork. But I think that stopping there without trying to understand the reason why is….well, silly. Digging deeper to understand that emotional reaction is how I appreciate art. And that means I often find myself appreciating artworks I don’t enjoy, or that I disagree with in part or in whole.

    7. Qwerty*

      I tend to view art on its own and not seek out more info about the creator. I think part of the issue is how closely we tie everything together nowadays.

      With actors, it is a bit harder because their job is transforming into the character and making you believe in it. I couldn’t pick a composer or most authors out of a line up.

      JK Rowling ticked me off for much more mild reasons when she was halfway through the series. I can’t tell if you the books were lower quality after #4 or if it was my dislike of her shining through. I don’t think I could read the books again after her comments because the dog-whistles in the books are suddenly obvious, like describing evil women as man-ish.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I do think we should start with the baseline that all creators are probably flawed people that we shouldn’t idolize or worship, whether we enjoy their art or not. Unfortunately most of us are horrible in some way, even if some of us have the fortune or sense to keep it private. But I agree sometimes a creator, particularly if they’ve become a “brand,” deliberately positions themselves as the face of something I can’t stand – and JK is one of them – and becomes more akin to hobby lobby, chick-fil-e, or cracker barrel at one time, and I suddenly don’t want to ignore the flaws and focus on the art anymore.

        1. mreasy*

          Absolutely. Most big rockers in the 70s probably had inappropriate dalliances with teens, for example, as was common (though absolutely not acceptable) at the time. Rowling is different to me because she is actively endeavoring to harm the trans community with her public statements. Were she not an activist about her anti-trans beliefs, supporting her output wouldn’t be supporting these beliefs. Similarly, I have no doubt that Michael Jackson harmed children, and it does make some of his music hit differently for me – but he’s dead, and his work has had more time to exist in the world without him or his abuse. Whereas I can’t listen to R Kelly, I won’t rewatch Harry Potter movies or anything by Woody Allen. It’s just neither appealing to me nor feels ethically okay.

    8. Llellayena*

      I’m a separate the art from the artist kind of person. I’m a huge fan of Orson Scott Card’s writing, but his personal views are… less appealing. But he’s very good at writing in a way that does not push those personal views on readers. In some cases he even seems to write against his own beliefs. If you find a connection in someone’s work then don’t fight it just for the creator’s personal views. The exception is if those personal views alter how you interpret the work. I can see rereading something after finding out about the personal views and reinterpreting the work because of that. But then it’s your relation to the work that changed and it’s not speaking to you as much anymore.

    9. kina lillet*

      It depends whether they’re alive and actively contributing to awful causes. Maybe my opinion will change once JKR is dead and her works stand more on their own, with only her shadow behind them, instead of now–where there’s a living breathing person behind them who is advocating the annihilation of my loved ones.

    10. Reader*

      There’s a recent book called “Monsters” by Claire Dederer that is about this exact subject. I’m on a waiting list at my library, so I haven’t read it yet but I’m also fascinated by this question.

    11. RagingADHD*

      I go with my gut and don’t expect my feelings to be perfectly consistent or rationalized, because that’s not how feelings work.

      If the news puts me off, it puts me right off. I might get mad that “this is why we can’t have nice things,” but I don’t really miss or pine for it, because it has been spoiled for me. Most of the bad things I hear about artists are people I never actually heard of before in any other context.

      If I like the art and the news doesn’t put me off, then it doesn’t. If I want to do something to help a community or cause, I’ll actually*do* something, like give money or volunteer. I don’t think avoiding art on principle does much, if any, practical good for anybody.

      I don’t know, perhaps it comes from being raised in a family with lots of bad things in my family tree. My grandmother enabled her alcoholic husbands to abuse her children, and was an emotional abuser herself. (Also deeply racist and antisemitic). And a victim of abuse.

      I’m not throwing out her gorgeous quilts or her pound cake recipe. And I’m not throwing out my own warm childhood memories of how funny and affectionate she was with me and my brother.

      Life is complicated and nobody is pure. I say eat the pound cake.

    12. Alex*

      I think this is a case-by case thing, and to me depends heavily on how much in the past said art was created (meaning, taking the society a person lived in into context) as well as how much the art actually is connected to that person’s views. Personally, never having read Harry Potter or watched any of the movies, I can’t say whether the author’s views shine through–if they do, then I’d probably avoid it. If not, well, I’m not sure.

      Also, I try not to judge others based on them making a different choice–for example, I’m not going to cast off everyone who watches a Harry Potter movie, or for that matter, refuse to be friends with anyone who eats at Chick-Fil-A (a place I choose not to patronize). I realize that lines are different for everyone and I’ll take people as a sum of who they are.

    13. Dinwar*

      Artwork doesn’t need to fit my political views in order for me to appreciate it. Frankly, I find the idea that I must agree with someone’s political views in order to appreciate the aesthetic quality of their artwork juvenile, especially combined with the current with-us-100%-or-against-us-100% attitude that currently dominates our culture. Most of the time you will inevitably have some disagreement with the artist on some point–very, VERY few people are 100% hard-core Leftists or Rightists, after all (and viewing all of politics on one spectrum like that is absurd anyway). If you only appreciate art from people you 100% agree with–or even 75% agree with–you’re left with a very small amount of art to appreciate.

      Further, some of the most important moments in my life have occurred when I was exposed to artwork from people who held polar opposite views from mine. In most cases I was able to come to a better understanding of why I opposed those views. In one very powerful case, one I almost didn’t survive, I realized that I was rather catastrophically wrong and had a fundamental shift in my entire worldview. It’s a good song.

      As for Rowling, there is simply no reason to believe, based on someone enjoying Harry Potter, that they have heard of, much less agree with, Rowling’s views on anything. They could simply treat art as separate from the artist, either intentionally or unintentionally. I can see some justification in not wanting to support Rowling financially if you disagree with her views, but it’s simple enough, just buy the books used. Given the economics of book selling, even buying from Barns and Noble or Books-a-Million wouldn’t help finance Rowling (they buy the books from the publisher, then sell them to the customers, so once they have the book in stock the publisher already has the money).

      Another example is Heinlein. After reading a few of his books I’m not convinced HE agrees with Heinlein. I think he’s the type that liked to play with ideas, meaning that he may not agree with what he was writing, he just thought it was a fun topic to explore. I think he’s wrong in pretty much everything he says in “Starship Troopers”, for example. But he’s not trivially wrong. Understanding his error when discussing authority, for example, really requires you to think about what authority is and how it functions. If you see me reading one of his books, you simply have no way of knowing whether I’m reading it because I agree with everything in it, or because I disagree with everything in it, much less my opinions on the author’s views of groups never discussed in the book. All you really know is that I read a book.

      Even quoting doesn’t tell you much. I quote “Jesus Christ Superstar” fairly regularly, despite holding views opposed to the whole thing. Even when I was Catholic I hated the message of the movie (which emphasizes the humanity of Christ, rather than the nobility humans are capable of achieving). It’s still got some pretty good songs, and some really good lines.

      At least to my mind, the proper way to approach art (including literature) is introspectively. What does this make me feel? Does it create resonance (ie, do I like what it’s saying), dissonance (ie, do I dislike it), or both? More importantly, WHY? Art, even art you disagree with, is a fantastic tool for learning more about yourself. To this end, even art you disagree with–even art you strongly disagree with–can be useful.

      1. Prospect Gone Bad*

        I like this comment because it is balanced. I’ve followed certain topics before they were cool and then seeing random celebrities making tiktok type videos on them or tweets was pure cringe for me, it at first angered me: why are people sounding off on stuff that they clearly don’t know about? It’s obvious to me when someone has been watching hearings and reading articles versus just seeing headlines and other tweets.

        I starting becoming more accepting of it in a way because I’d basically have to stop listening to music if I got mad at everyone everytime they said someone ignorant or factually incorrect. Now I look for patterns rather than isolated events.

        The real issue is that we force everyone to have opinions on so many topics, when few people actually have interest in them enough to learn anything about them. Then their opinions are basically pointless since they aren’t based on anything

    14. Not A Manager*

      Generally, I separate the art from the artist. I really enjoy reading and visual art, and I don’t want to punish myself by avoiding something I enjoy, especially if it won’t make any difference to the objectionable individual.

      Here are times that this is pretty easy to do:
      * The artist is dead. They’re dead, they’re not profiting off of my consumption or enjoying their fame, so I get to enjoy their output.
      * The art reflects attitudes that were accepted or even liberal at the time, but time has passed them by.
      * The artist has objectionable viewpoints but the art doesn’t (or at least not in an obvious way). If the artist is still living, I do try to avoid lining their pockets, but I’ll read a library book or go to a museum exhibit.

      Here’s times when it’s harder to do:
      * Artist is alive and seriously gross.
      * The art is “good” but there is objectionable content that is intrinsic to the art.
      * The objectionable views strike viscerally close to my own experience.

      In those cases, my avoiding the art isn’t a matter of principle, it’s a matter of taste. My ability to enjoy it has been compromised.

      1. fueled by coffee*

        Yeah, I think this pretty much aligns with my thinking. Lots of old literature is seriously problematic, but I can read it with the understanding that “Wow, this is really messed up, but I understand why an author writing in that time period would say that,” without thinking that I’m condoning the problematic aspects by doing so. (Little House on the Prairie falls into this camp for me).

        There are even books with problematic content today that I feel pretty ‘meh’-to-neutral about: I went through a Twilight phase as a teen, and in retrospect there’s a lot of very gross moralizing about premarital sex (and also, like, stalking and domestic violence framed as romantic) that have since kind of soured me on them. But unlike JKR, Stephenie Meyer isn’t using her platform to proclaim that we all need to be abstinent until marriage or our souls will be destroyed or whatever, and tbh if I re-read the books they would probably still feel nostalgic.

        JKR is still profusely spouting transphobia, and while it’s sad that I now have these negative associations with a franchise that was a huge part of my childhood, I think opposing transphobia is more important than being nostalgic about taking sorting hat quizzes or whatever.

      2. Redactle*

        This is pretty much where I stand…. with the exception of Harry Potter, and I’ve been really struggling with my stance on that for a while now. I find JKR’s views abhorrent, and I won’t consume any new media from her that gives her money. With all the fatphobia etc etc in the books the potter series should be in firmly the category where I can no longer enjoy them.

        But… I still re-listen to the audiobooks I own when I’m feeling very ill or in pain and need something soothing that I don’t need to pay much attention to but can still follow along. I have a chronic illness so feel like this fairly often, and there’s a lot of books I’ll listen to when I need something soothing, but when I feel my sickest Harry Potter is the only one that can comfort me. And I’m 40 so it’s not like they’re childhood books for me, I was a young adult when I first read them!

        I’m very conflicted. Arcade Fire were one of my all time favourites and I haven’t been able to even listen to their music since allegations came out…and yet I continue to listen to a series that I know contains problematic material and where the author is vocally harmful to a community close to me. It’s something I wrestle with pretty often, and it’s not something I’ve been able to reconcile to myself.

    15. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      For me, sometimes knowing about an artist/musician/etc.’s views or even activities doesn’t bother me, especially if the person in question is long dead.

      There are also people who I really don’t want to give even a penny of my money, even if I know that those few cents won’t make a difference to them. So, I’ll still listen to my Moxy Fruvous recordings, but if I lose any of those CDs I’m not replacing them, given what we now know about Jian Ghomeshi. That’s a visceral thing.

      Not buying anything of Rowling’s is some combination of wanting to support my trans friends, and knowing that she’ll treat sales as evidence that people either agree with her views, or don’t care.

    16. Tomorrow's child*

      As : female, Jewish and a lover of European classical music, I’d be unable to enjoy any renaissance, baroque or classical music at all if I boycotted composers based on being anti-Semetic and anti-women. So, yes, I am able to separate the art from the creator.

    17. Jay*

      As someone who reads a lot of old books, I’ve had to come up with a personal standard for consumption.
      I am fine reading it if:
      A) Money from my purchase is not going to the individual.
      B) Money from my purchase is not going to causes that support the insupportable.
      C) The author and their immediate circle are all dead.
      D) The work is not being used a propaganda/recruitment/whitewashing tool in an effort to make the unpalatable palatable again.

      So, H.P. Lovecraft, because everyone who would have benefited from his more awful tendencies is safely dead and no one uses him to recruit for anything more dangerous than crappy fan-fic, would be okay.
      Marion Simmer Bradley, because she likely belonged to the same (still most likely extant, unfortunately) network of absolute sub-human monsters as her husband and partner in despicability, would not.

    18. allathian*

      Sometimes I can separate the art from the artist, and sometimes I can’t. With old books written by long-dead authors the problem is less acute for me. Like Heinlein, whose libertarian opinions I, a product of the Scandinavian welfare state, find troublesome to say the least, even if his sexist views on women are pretty much par for the course for men of his generation. That doesn’t stop me enjoying books like The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or Time Enough For Love, for example.

      With some other artists, the problem doesn’t exist because I don’t enjoy their work enough to feel any moral qualms about simply not getting into them. I wouldn’t watch any Woody Allen or Roman Polanski stuff anyway.

      I feel slightly guilty about enjoying Harry Potter. We’d bought the books in English the movies on DVD before JKR came out with her objectionable TERF views. When we watched the movies with our son and he expressed an interest in reading the books, we bought used copies in Swedish for him. Those were the first chapter books he ever read, and now he’s reading LotR for the second time.

      As time passes since Michael Jackson’s death, my guilt about enjoying his music grows less severe.

      I hadn’t watched any Tom Cruise movies for years because I don’t want to support Scientology, but we did see Top Gun: Maverick. I won’t watch anything by Mel Gibson, though, because of his anti-Semitic and sexist views.

      With actors, it’s also complicated. I have zero interest in watching The Expanse, although I suspect that it’d be right up my alley, because of Cas Anvar. Granted, he was fired from the show when the accusations against him came out, but I just don’t want to watch it. But I have no qualms enjoying Gina Carano’s performance in the first season of The Mandalorian in spite of her getting fired from the show for posting horrible stuff on her social media.

    19. Samwise*

      Shrugs. My degrees are all in lit. If I only read work by writers with agreeable views, I’d read almost nothing. And would miss a lot of excellent lit. John Milton: a retrograde asshole. But paradise lost is sublime

    20. Falling Diphthong*

      One thing this thread has clarified for me is that order matters quite a bit. If I learn something extremely bad about the artist, then that weighs heavily in my later experience of their work. If any–I don’t watch Roman Polanski movies because I learned about his actions at the same time I learned he existed at all, and I’ll disparage anyone who collects Hitler’s paintings.

      Creative works, however, can effectively exist as things independent of any knowledge about who created them. Songs, especially, I very rarely have any idea what the song title much less who the singer is, much less any salacious scandals involving them.

      This reminds me of a bit from ancient Greek mythology, where Momus (the god of unfair criticism) mocked Aphrodite for having creaky sandals. This is clearly a deadly insult, but over millennia we’ve lost the parts that gave it context, so now no one really gets all the extra layers that would have the original audience saying “Oh snap.”

    21. Sister George Michael*

      I’m pretty inconsistent. I love several 19th century British novelists, but I think the British Empire was Just Awful. I loved John James Audubon since I read Great Men and Famous Deeds in a childhood anthology, but when I read that he had bought and sold humans I was done with him. I loved this British TV show from the early 2000s, but I recently read that one of the main actors was arrested for domestic violence and in an interview “explained” how wives “cause” DV, so I’m done with that show now.

      1. feline outerwear catalog*

        (OP from the Friday open thread)
        Thanks for adding this discussion, was interesting to see everyone’s responses.

        Personally, I can’t separate the art from the artist, I’m just wired that way. Plus, I have limited time and money. There are tons of other franchises out there with underepresented/underated creators out there for me to check out instead.

    22. marvin*

      JKR is a tough one for me as a trans person. She is an unusual case because she has an unusual amount of wealth and social cachet and she is very active in pushing a frankly genocidal agenda. She also benefits from the fact that she is a wealthy white woman associated with a pleasant series of children’s books, which does a lot to make her seem less threatening than she really is.

      I think that context and nuance is really important to keep in mind. Concepts like separating the art from the artist or cancel culture try to flatten out these distinctions, but I think it is only logical to factor in how harmful someone is and how abhorrent their biases are.

      1. feline outerwear catalog*

        Yeah, I had a chance to finish reading the thread and want to add a distinction between consuming media for fun vs. academic analysis or to learn about something out of curiosity. My original post was about references at the place we don’t talk about on weekends and I was thinking about consuming media more for fun specifically in that context.

        I do occasionally try to consume media I disagree with or am not sure about because I want to understand the original source or if I’m taking a class or something like that. I don’t think of that as lesiure though.

  39. Knighthope*

    It took about 50 years for author Judy Blume to trust anyone to turn her middle grades novel about growing up, mothers and daughters, bras, first period, fitting in, honesty (and so much more) into a movie. Worth the wait – it is excellent! Great cast, especially the children.

    1. Roy G. Biv*

      Oh good! I’m hoping to see it next week with a friend. The trailer alone had me giddy with anticipation!

    2. Rainy*

      If you haven’t seen the Judy Blume forever documentary (on Hulu, I think), it’s really good.

  40. Trixie*

    Fans of the Instant Pot, I’m very close to parting with mine. As I’m cooking for one, I haven’t had much luck making the most of the appliance in a small kitchen. While I can use it for soups, I find it just as easy to cook on the stove and some times same amount of time. Maybe it’s trying more new recipes, and freezing batches so I’m not eating the same meal for a week.

    What are your favorite Instant Pot recipes, or meal preps?

    1. Professor Plum*

      I love making homemade Greek yogurt in my instant pot—it’s cheaper and the tastes amazing. Plus I do hard boiled eggs—5 minutes cooking, 5 minutes release, 5 minutes in ice water—so much easier to peel.

      1. Professor Plum*

        It’s also very helpful for cooking frozen meat when I forget to defrost something.

      2. Professor Plum*

        Also if you want to make a batch of egg salad—crack your eggs into a baking pan that fits inside your instant pot to make an egg loaf. Once it’s cooled, simply chop the eggs up—no peeling at all. Google egg loaf for timing.

    2. Bexx*

      I mostly use mine for homemade stock. The instant pot takes a fraction of the time, and makes prep/clean up exponentially easier because you don’t have to parboil the bones, since it’s cooking under pressure and not boiling.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I was in your boat — I never found it really all that time-saving, because the “it only takes ten minutes to cook” people never include the 25 minutes it takes to come to pressure first and then the 20 minutes it takes to depressurize after. :) I got rid of mine and we replaced it with an Anova sous vide cooker instead, which is also not fast but has many other benefits (like not drying out the pork chops or fish).

    4. RagingADHD*

      I find it really speeds up stuff like dry beans or bone broth, that would otherwise take an extremely long time. It’s also really good for making yogurt or proofing sourdough.

      For recipes that take average cook times, it’s not really faster, but I sometimes find it convenient in the same way a slow cooker is convenient: It doesn’t matter if I miss the timer or get back late. It will cook, stop, and hold at a safe temp until I get there.

      Also it doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much as a pot on the stove.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        OMG you can proof bread in an IP. How did I not think of this??? I make challah regularly and this will be immediately useful.

    5. My Brain is Exploding*

      I had one for a while but gave it to a friend who had 4 kids who each had some serious dietary restrictions, so she was cooking all the food at home from scratch and she loved it. I rarely need to make things in a hurry and much prefer putting things in the crockpot in the morning.

    6. Rainy*

      My in-laws gave us one for Christmas our first year married and I was super dubious, for a couple of reasons. I come from the generation when all our parents got fondue sets and stovetop pressure cookers as wedding gifts, and so I’ve known a couple of people who as kids experienced pressure cookers exploding on the stove while their mums were trying to make spaghetti sauce. I wasn’t sure it was going to be at all useful even if I could overcome my fear of using it. And finally, I hate my in-laws and tend to assume (with some reason) that anything they give me will be useless at best.

      My experience: not good for soups, although it tends to be VERY good for homemade stock if you do that. I don’t tend to cook meat in it that much either, because I have other preferred ways of making roasts etc. *However*. It is a great rice cooker, it’s awesome for doing hard-cooked eggs (AWE. SOME.) and it’s been a really useful tool to have in my arsenal for summer cooking (we don’t have a/c). I cook potatoes in it a lot in the summer. It doesn’t put a lot of heat into the kitchen especially if you do natural pressure release. I also make seitan only in Instant Pot now.

    7. Loreli*

      I have the low-tech version of the Instant Pot. A pressure cooker. But the concept is the same.

      I use it for stews. Cut up chicken or beef, add cut-up carrots, potatoes, celery, turnips, etc, some broth, spices. Everything gets done and the veggies absorb the chicken or beef flavor. If I’m adding frozen baby peas, I do that after the stew is cooked. (Pour out some frozen peas into a coffee cup, add hot tap water, stir, drain, then dump into the finished stew- the heat cooks them enough and they add a festive flash of color!)

    8. GoryDetails*

      I have the smaller sized Instant Pot, and am happy to give it pantry space for two main purposes: cooking dried beans without overnight soaking, and making hard-boiled eggs (I adore deviled eggs, and the pressure-cooked eggs are, in my experience, much easier to peel). I do sometimes use it for other things, and as it does have a slow-cooker mode it could replace my trusty Crock-pot, but my main uses are the beans and the eggs. [I like having dried beans on hand, especially some of the tastier heritage varieties, but can seldom remind myself to soak them overnight; the Instant Pot lets me make them within an hour or so, including the startup and cooldown times.]

      I do have plenty of room, fwiw; if I had to juggle shelf/counter space I might reconsider several of my larger appliances that are invaluable for specific uses but that I don’t use every day/week/month!

    9. Stephanie*

      I love my Instant Pot for cooking dried beans. We use beans regularly in our house, and had always just used canned until I got an Instant Pot. I like that I can control the seasonings and amount of salt when I cook them myself. (When I cook black beans, I add cumin and chili powder because we pretty much exclusively use black beans for Tex-Mex type stuff, for example.)
      It’s also great for hard boiled eggs, and I it’s my go-to for cooking chicken breasts that need shredding (like for soup or for burritos). They always come out reliably tender in the Instant Pot. I also really like the “set it and forget it” convenience. I can throw chicken breasts in hours before I’ll need them and they’ll be perfect whenever I’m ready for them.

    10. Fellow Traveller*

      My favorite use is to make a big batch of boiled eggs. 3 mins low pressure, quick release gice me my favorite yolk texture and they peel beautifully, unlike when I make them on the stove.
      But other than that- I use it for soups, cooking dried beans, and curries. I definitely make a big batch and freeze for later. Oh and brown rice is another favorite use. I work a lot of evenings and the Ip is one of the ways I can have dinner ready for my family when I’m not there.

    11. M*

      I make several day’s worth of steel cut oats in mine almost every week. Idk if it actually saves time but I can wake up and get it going and then by the time I am ready for work, I have our favorite breakfast for the next week ready.

      1. steel cut oats*

        I don’t think it saves time, but it’s completely hands-off once it starts, so that’s a huge time saver for me.

    12. Qwerty*

      It makes perfect risotto!

      I use it for grains mostly – quinoa, risotto, beans, rice. Make a batch and pair it with different proteins during the week. I usually google how long to cook and what ratios to use – the internet has a consensus on the best manual times and they produce better results than the instant pot instructions.

    13. Bibliovore*

      When I cooked I used it for steel cut oats, congee, broth and beans. Oh and dog food.
      The dogs are now on an all kibble prescription diet and anything I made in the instant pot makes too much for me and I have a tiny freezer so no good for that.

    14. Double A*

      I like mine because we have a gas stove and I don’t like to use that for extended periods of time, so I only make soups and rice in the instant pot. Ours got destroyed and I did replace it because of rice making. But if we had an electric stove I would not find it necessary.

    15. Tib*

      I use mine for meal prep. I’ll cook a meat and then use the cooking juices to flavor a corresponding bean. Chicken to white beans, pork to red or black beans. I’ve even done a full prep cook day where I start with chicken and end with black beans without cleaning the pot and then have weeks of prepped proteins.

    16. Camelid coordinator*

      Like many of the other commenters I especially use mine for dried beans and hardboiled eggs. It is also amazing for a small cheesecake. I might make myself an Oreo cheesecake for fun this week.

    17. Missb*

      I have a 6-qt and a 3-qt. I use them both often.

      I make quinoa in the small one to use with meals each week. I use the bigger one for dried beans.

      Depending on what I’m making, I’ll use the larger ones for pot roast, eggs, rice, chicken breasts, soup, etc. I usually have 5 things going on at once so I appreciate the set it and forget it if an instant pot. I love Japanese curry and it’s so much faster and easier in the IP instead of on the stovetop. I love to proof dough in it too.

      For lunch today I made a soup in there (veggie). While it was pressurizing, I started making some cornbread from scratch. By the time the soup was done, so was the cornbread.

  41. AGD*

    This is something I think about a lot, so here are some recent opinions. Intense bigotry comes from fear and/or assumptions and/or contempt, and it would be remarkable if that stayed 100% separate from a writer’s output. A lot of people compared Rowling to Dahl when the first Harry Potter book came out, and the commonality there is a real mean-streak that rings through at least in some places. My parents handled Dahl well when I was a kid; they let me read whatever I wanted but warned me that he had been outspokenly anti-Semitic. This is exactly what I would have wanted – going in aware of the unpleasant context, but not being barred from engaging in the output. Rowling’s work has traces of (e.g.) gender essentialism, fatphobia, and awful stereotypes (anti-Semitic and otherwise). Some of that just reflects the world as she grew up in it, but it’s there. It doesn’t automatically nullify her imagination or her attempts at being compassionate towards other kinds of humans, but it furthers inequality by marginalizing some people and training others to continue to marginalize them (different kinds of readers will feel welcome or not in Rowling’s world to different extents, systemically along these lines of oppression). If someone has been an overt bigot in public, I’d say that’s 100% something everyone else can judge them for (they had the option of keeping it private and recognizing it as a problem with them and their society, not their target). I’m way too fond of the trans people in my life to be comfortable with Rowling anymore. I would much rather support and promote creators who do better and put concerted thought into countering, not furthering, bias. No human is perfect, but prolonged, deep bigotry of the sort that Rowling has gone well out of her way to broadcast to the world isn’t an accident. She wants everyone to be aware that she holds these views. Very well then. I am aware, and extremely disappointed, and my priority naturally shifts to helping defend people I love who happen to be trans women.

  42. Somewhere in Texas*

    The husband and I are about to relocate, and we have some “non-negotiables” for our new house and some “nice to haves.” I’m curious what y’all’s are and why?

    Our non-negotiables:
    3 bed, 2 bath, garage.

    Nice to haves:
    Master bath that has the toilet in it’s own closet
    Space for 2 home offices (can be bedrooms)

    1. RussianInTexas*

      Attached garage
      Home office space
      Laundry in the house, not in the garage (what I have now, and I hate it)
      Master bedroom not right off the living area. No guests can accidentally wander in.
      En-suite master bath.
      Separate master bath, with a proper door, non of the “vanity open to the bedroom”.
      Walk-in closet that is accessible from the bedroom without having to go through the bathroom.
      Proper long driveway for the guests to park.
      Nice to have:
      Fences, preferably really tall, between lots.
      Deep setback from the street, for privacy.
      Tall ceilings, much easier to cool.
      New/updated plumbing, appliances, roof, HVAC, etc (my house been… traumatizing and expensive lately).

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      When I bought my house, we had four adults (two cohabitating couples) with two dogs, three cats and a couple of caged pets between us, but no children. I worked from home but nobody else did. (Now it’s just me and my husband, two dogs, two cats, still no children, and we both work from home, so in theory my house is way bigger than we need but I don’t care :P We still had one of the original housemates with a cat, five snakes, a lizard and a frog until very recently, but he moved out in March. )

      Non-negotiables: at least 3 bedrooms, at least 2 showers, a space separate from bedrooms that I could use as a home office, no unfinished basement, a backyard, a kitchen that wasn’t a galley.
      Nice to have: Gas stove, a fence around the backyard, 4 bedrooms, 3 toilets, a finished basement, a garage.

      I got all of it — 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms with showers and one without, and my house does the mid-80s thing of a formal living room and an informal family room, so the family room is my home office — and gave my then-puppy a fenced in 1/3 acre yard for her first birthday. :) the basement is finished and has both a large common area and also a “den” off to the side (Indiana code says it can’t be an official bedroom if it’s not on or above the ground floor, but it functionally is by all other requirements), so we’ve used that as a “man-cave” for several years, first for housemate, then husband took it over for his home office (both for work and non-work) when housemate moved out.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        (I didn’t quite get all of it – I meant to say I got all of it except the gas stove. No gas line to my house at all, everything is electric.)

        1. Sloanicota*

          I was happy to have a gas stove (old house – this is one of those things that, at one time, was at the intersection of the lowest and highest classes, like wood cabinets) but now I do worry a bit about the air quality, particularly as there’s no vent or hood in my kitchen – so you may have come out ahead on that electric stove!

    3. jasmine tea*

      My non-negotiable is the stovetop on an island. I cannot over-emphasize what a difference it makes for our physical and mental health. We cook more frequently and more elaborately because we can be fully present and interactive in the room, versus facing the wall like a scolded toddler.

      Another absolute must is land. I will gladly live in a shoebox if I can be surrounded by acreage. So, so tired of barking dogs, leaf blowers, and revving engines at all hours.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I would love to have real acreage, and that is an eventual life goal of mine! It would have to be forested though, as I don’t want to get a riding mower and have to deal with tons of lawn.

      2. Chestnut Mare*

        I have acreage and even though all of my neighbors are quite far away, so many of them enjoy frequently shooting their many guns. It has really decreased my love of country living.

    4. Sloanicota*

      When I bought my house, I was looking at the very bottom of the market, so my only goals were character/curb appeal, at least two bedrooms, more than one bathroom (which I essentially did not achieve, as what I have is one bathroom and a rough half bath in the unfinished basement that nobody would ever use) and some land to garden, not too close to neighbors (which I did achieve and love, after years of apartment living listening to sadboys play guitar at 3AM and babies wailing at the crack of dawn). Oh, and the ability to put in a dishwasher if there wasn’t one, and there wasn’t (putting one in took me a few years).

      Next time, I would like a guest bathroom on the ground floor, for my parents. It’s so hard for them to have to trek up the stairs to the one bathroom, and place a bit more turnkey. I wouldn’t want to undertake another kitchen and bathroom remodel, as I have determined this does not bring me joy. Also, I live on a loud, busy road, so maybe … not that.