weekend open thread – February 24-25, 2024

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: Good Material, by Dolly Alderton. Reeling from a breakup with his girlfriend, a struggling stand-up comic tries to figure out why she left and how to move forward. Like everything she writes, it’s funny, relatable, and a good time.

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

{ 1,237 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    A reminder that the weekend posts are for relatively light discussion 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. nnn*

    I was today years old when I learned that ponies aren’t baby horses, they’re a separate breed. I have spent 31 years thinking ponies are just baby horses, like a ewe to a sheep or a duckling to a duck.

    What is a basic piece of knowledge you didn’t learn until you were an adult?

    1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      My sister was in her 40s when she found out bone china is made with bones, she was horrified.

              1. Chocolate Teapot*

                As a child I visited a factory producing bone china, and the bone additive appeared to be finely ground white powder.

      1. olevia*

        I was today years old when I read this post and learned this. And I have dabbled in collecting dishware for decades (not bone china). EESH.

      2. Pizza Rat*

        In a book I read years ago, a ganster had the bones of his enemies made into china. That way if he got angry at memories of them, he could break the china and “kill them again.”

    2. goddessoftransitory*

      That The Good Earth (by Pearl Buck) is the first novel in a trilogy. I had not the slightest inkling of this, despite having read that novel multiple times, until I happened to spot them as a set in a used book store. Blew my mind.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I had to read that novel in high school, and now I’m thinking I may have to look into this. I shall report back, if I can remember to.

      2. Gozer (she/her)*

        That’s such an amazing trilogy! I read it after reading another of her works: Pavilion of Women which is an incredible work.

        1. Reluctant Mezzo*

          I didn’t like the third one as well. The protagonist spent sooo much time whining. Yes, he had many legitimate grievances, and yet he needed a gumption injection.

    3. Baaaa*

      Not to pile on but a ewe is not a baby sheep. A lamb is a baby sheep. A ewe is a female sheep. One can really go down a rabbit hole with animal husbandry terms :)

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        Now remembering Frank Costanza asking the difference between a chicken and a hen in Seinfeld.

      2. Sloanicota*

        At one point in our cultural history, we really needed separate words for one year old male horses/cows/whatever versus two year old female whatevers. Outside of certain niche fields it’s not something most people are talking about anymore, but the language persists!

        1. Fun with animal husbandry*

          In ranching and raising animals these terms aren’t archaic at all the & are still very important. One has to know if the animal is immature or not. Here’s a fun list of common farm animal terms.
          Animal Females
          Hasn’t had babies / Had Babies
          Horse Filly Mare
          Pig Gilt Sow
          Bovine Heifer Cow
          Sheep Ewe lamb Ewe
          Goat Doeling Doe/Nanny

          Animal Males
          Juvenile / intact adult / neutered
          Horse Colt Stallion Gelding
          Pig Shots Boar Barrow
          Bovine Bill calf Bull Steer
          Sheep Ram lamb Buck/ram Wether
          Goat Buckling Buck/Billy Wether

          Animal babies
          Horse Foal
          Pig Piglet
          Bovine Calf
          Sheep Lamb
          Goat Kid

            1. Wired Wolf*

              I’d heard those terms all the time on Dr. Pol and wasn’t entirely sure what the distinction was (obvs gender but I knew there was something else). Thanks for my daily trivia!

          1. Sled dog mama*

            Not to get overly pedantic but, at least for female horses, the terms are more about age/physical maturity than if the animal has produced babies or not. A lot of animals go their entire lives without producing offspring. My 16 year old female horse would still be considered a mare because she is physically mature. She’s never been bred, and I don’t have any intention to ever breed her. She’s an awesome horse but there are much better ones out there and breeding her isn’t going to make the breed any better.

            1. bamcheeks*

              Thank you for that, thats what I learned filly/mare to mean too! I can see why the bred/not bred distinction is relevant for dairy and possibly meat (taste?) but I’ve never heard being relevant for animals you ride rather than eat.

              One thing I was DELIGHTED to discover a few years ago is that an ox isn’t a breed, it’s a job description. An ox is a draught bovine.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          When my oldest was a toddler I realized that a lot of our books and games (like the Speak n Say) were focused on drilling small children in the sounds made by common barnyard animals.

          Which…. was not particularly relevant to our life in the city.

          1. Higher Ed Cube Farmer*

            It’s good for language and auditory processing development, though, for young kids to practice hearing, telling the difference between, and reproducing lots of different sounds, and identifying them with non-abstract other ideas. Animal sounds work great because most people can reproduce at least some version of animal sounds, where most people can’t distinguish the noises of different kinds of, other stuff that might be more present in their life –say, suburban songbirds, automobiles, or electronic appliances.

        1. Sparkle llama*

          It depends on the oven how much it does that – my last oven melted handles on pans. Current one the are slightly warm but fine to touch with bare hands.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I grew up with a stove where it definitely was meant for storage. But there was a panel between the burners that lifted up to reveal a griddle.

            1. Dancing Otter*

              Yes, I kind of miss that same design of stove. If you lifted off the griddle, there was a burner under it that was perfect for the big pressure cooker/canning pot.
              Absolutely could not find that feature when I needed to replace the stove in the 90’s.

          2. Wendy Darling*

            I’m currently shopping for stoves and some of the ones I’m looking at have separate models for storage vs warming drawer in that spot!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I was gonna say, I was hella surprised when in my mid-20s I encountered my first gas stove and the pots and pans drawer was definitely not a pots and pans drawer.

          1. Clisby*

            We had a gas stove when I was growing up, and I was surprised, in my 20s, to find out the bottom part was not always a broiler. I was visiting someone who kept pans there, and I asked what she did if she wanted to broil something.

            1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              Yep, it was kind of the opposite of that — my then bf, who had always had a gas stove, turned on the broiler without looking in it first and ruined all my cookie sheets and muffin tins.

              Him: “Why the hell are these in here???”
              Me: “Why the hell are you preheating the pots-and-pans drawer?! And HOW?!”

            1. londonedit*

              I’m wondering if it’s a particularly American thing, because I’ve never seen an oven with any sort of drawer in it (apart from those very posh ones on Bake Off that have proving drawers!) Our ovens are just one space. Usually the grill (what in the US would be called a broiler) is an element at the top of the oven which you can turn on separately.

              1. Bagpuss*

                No, it’s pretty common here (UK) too, especiallywithnewer ovens – I agree you don’t normally get a grill/broiler at the bottom of the oven, but a warming/proving drawer is pretty common.

            2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              At least for all examples in my personal experience, other folks’ may vary:
              An electric range (stovetop/oven combo) has a drawer underneath it. I and people I know have always used this drawer for storing cookie sheets, muffin tins, basically large mostly-flat bakeware. (The broiler/grill is the top burner in the regular oven.)
              A gas range looks like it has a drawer under it, but the drawer is actually a pull-out rack for a broiler/grill, which is separate from the main oven part. The ones I’ve had come with a special broiler pan that slots into the rack, but can also be used in the main oven, so you could cook a piece of meat in the oven on the pan and then pop it into the broiler drawer to get a last minute sear on it or something.

              1. ThatGirl*

                All my gas stoves have had storage drawers. But the one my parents had when I was a teen had a broiler at the bottom.

              2. Clisby*

                The gas stove we had when I was growing up is like what you describe – the broiler element was in the bottom of the oven, right over the drawer.

                I still have a gas stove, but now the broiler is in the main oven – so the drawer part isn’t for cooking or warming at all.

              3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

                I’ve had gas stoves where it’s a drawer, and grew up with an electric stove where it was a broiler. I think your personal experience involved some amount of coincidence.

              4. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

                Our range (induction stovetop/both normal and convection functions on the oven oven) has a warming drawer at the bottom that has its own temperature controls – low/med/high. We use it for storage most of the time, but try to keep what’s stored in there pretty minimal and pull it out when we host holiday dinners and actually need to use the warming function. It’s fantastic!

        2. *daha**

          I once lived with an older electric range (1950s-60s?) that had a vertical broiler. It was like a toaster for meat. There were two broiler elements that were upright, with a space between them for the food. There was a rack with two grids, and you would put your steak or burger patties or hot dogs or whatever between them and they would latch together, and there was a way to slide the top of the rack into the top of the opening so the food would broil on both sides at once and the fat would drip down to the bottom. There were also removable drip and spatter pans – one at the bottom and one behind each burner – that you would want to clean after broiling, along with the rack.

      1. Chaordic One*

        OTOH, there must be people like me. I never encountered a broiler under the oven of a stove until I rented an apartment when I was in college. It had a gas stove and I was surprised there was no storage drawer under the oven. At first I thought that the broiler was part of the oven, maybe something that helped to heat it.

    4. Dannie*

      My jerkoff cousin told me that sitcom stood for “sit-down comedy” because it’s filmed on a set with furniture, and thus is the opposite of “stand-up comedy.” I was in my twenties before a colleague laughed in my face and set me straight that it’s actually “situation comedy.”

      1. John E. Rotten*

        i believe the play lincoln was attending when he was shot was “our jerkoff cousin.” seriously, your cousin sounds like my kind of people.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Wilkes Booth timed his assassination for a notorious laugh line, to cover the sound of the gunshot.

          This knee-slapper was “You sockdologizing old man trap.”

          1. Jean (just Jean)*

            So Wilkes Booth was not just a rotter, but a rotter with at least a minimal level of ingenuity. What a louse.

    5. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      On the sides of boxes for rolls of things like foil, cling wrap, and parchment paper, there are perforated tabs you push in and they hold the roll in place.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        YES!!! These almost never work, but when they do — it’s amazing!

        On a side note, I have some short dowel rods I bought in the crafting section of my local store that I shove through there and then I clip the ends with spring-type wooden clothes hangers. It really does make the difference!

      2. Jean (just Jean)*

        OMG. I’ve been grimly gripping the box for years. And wondering why it’s so hard to tear the parchment paper. I guess that’s one more credit towards earning my PhD in Stupidity. At least it’s a change from my recent run of leaving the lights on when I park the car, although that at least taught me, at age 60++, how to jump a car battery.

        1. Paralegal_with_Cats*

          “ one more credit towards earning my PhD in Stupidity”. What a great phrase! I hope you don’t mind if I appropriate it (with credit, of course)

          1. Jean (just Jean)*

            I don’t mind at all! Thanks for the compliment and your plans to give credit. :-)

            I have to give back my latest Stupidity credit, however. My current brand of parchment paper does not have the tabs on the ends of the boxes. I would try the dowel-and-clothes-clips approach, but there’s no good place to store that setup in my tiny, arranged-like-a-Rubik’s-cube-out-of-necessity kitchen.

    6. Peanut Hamper*

      So many people told me that the shiny side of foil had to go either face down or face up. But it really makes no difference. It’s just a manufacturing artifact.

      1. WS*

        I learned this as teenager only because my school was across the road from factories where we would be sent for cheap school excursions. Two sheets go through the final rollers at once, the outsides get extra polished, the sides that are touching do not.

    7. Dark Macadamia*

      I had a really shocking revelation when I told my husband how weird it is that Jessica Rabbit doesn’t have bunny ears and he informed me that she’s a human who took Roger’s last name when they got married. I thought she was also a rabbit and just, well, drawn that way.

      1. Double A*

        Well and I just put together that “Rabbit” is his last name? Is “Bunny” Bugs’s last name? “Mouse” for Mickey?? There’s a lot to think about here.

        1. Zephy*

          In fairness, many human cultures developed descriptive surnames like that, too. Eventually, when you have enough people in one place, you’re going to run out of given names and you’ll need to add something to them to make it clear whether you’re talking about the John who is the town baker (John Baker) or the John with the black hair (John Black) or the John who lives by the woods (John Wood). Roger Rabbit is a little bit like a man calling himself John Human, but there are plenty of people walking around with the surname Mann, so.

      2. Viette*

        This is really delightful to me because Roger is so very much a rabbit and Jessica is so very much not, but then again it’s not like anything else is particularly required to make a lot of sense. I do love that your mind thought the only thing missing was the ears.

      3. AGD*

        If I remember correctly, the books suggest that her last name before marriage was Krupnick. The books are only loosely associated with the film, or with each other, though!

          1. AGD*

            Yes! The original material was an offbeat novel by Gary K. Wolf called Who Censored Roger Rabbit?, which has characters similar to those of the film but the Toons are all from newspaper comic strips. The filmmakers adapted it, but it turned into something pretty different along the way. The second book is a lighthearted sequel to the film, so it doesn’t really share any continuity with the first book; I read it decades ago and it’s really zany and off-the-wall. The third I know nothing about but then it’s much newer.

      4. Enoby*

        Bugs definitely has things labeled “B. Bunny” in various cartoons, and his “junior” versions in Tiny Toon Adventures announced themselves as “Babs and Buster Bunny, no relation”. So Bunny is definitely his last name!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I absolutely love Bugs Bunny. MeTV Boston plays Bugs Bunny and Friends for an hour on Saturdays, with the old “Overture, curtains, lights” intro from The Bugs Bunny Road Runner Show. And I’m parked in front of the TV every week, lol.

    8. Double A*

      As with many millennials, I was well into my 30s before I learned it is not illegal to drive with the dome light on. Why on earth did ALL our parents tell us this???

      My 5 year old wants to dome light on sometimes and it makes me anxious not because it’s annoying but because I still kinda think I’ll go to jail if a cop sees it!

      1. GPorcupina*

        For what it’s worth, it is sometimes not SAFE to drive with the dome light on! It affects visibility at night, making it harder to see the road.

        1. HBJ*

          Yup. In fact, boats and planes and possibly other transportation machines where you can’t just pull over and stop to look at a map have red bulbs in their cabin lights so you can get a bit of light without ruining your night vision.

      2. Beveled Edge*

        Your parents probably didn’t tell you because it’s so obviously dangerous that people don’t do it because they want to live.

      3. Vanessa*

        Can I suggest a book light in their seat area? We are driving to school (and sometimes home too) in the dark (yeah winter). When they started reading book lights helped in the car.
        Also I was not told this as a child. But I was told if you put your arm out the window, a bird will fly by and bite it off. One origin of my anxious thoughts.

        1. Oh yeah, Me again*

          They used to have those, called “map lights.” I recall them being t mounted under the edge of the dashboard, and only on the passenger side.

    9. Snell*

      …I am slightly regretful to inform you that a ewe is a (grown-up) female sheep, not a baby sheep. But you’re today years old and haven’t stopped learning!

    10. Madame Arcati*

      Just to add to the ewe/lamb/sheep discussion: my local pub is called the Shepherd and Flock and the loos, instead of being signed as ladies/gents are signed Ewes/Rams. This confuses more people that I would have expected (but I politely point out which is which).

      1. Thunder Kitten*

        my kids’ school mascot is the rams. I tease the girl by telling her that she is actually an eww. she doesn’t appreciate that for some reason. gendered mascots seem like a bad idea.

    11. Madame Arcati*

      Beware of listicles with this sort of thing in. Many may be true but sometimes people think they’ve discovered something and it’s bollocks.
      Of the ovens that do have drawers at the bottom, some are for warming, some are for storage.
      The numbers on a pop up toaster do not necessarily represent minutes.
      The petrol pump symbol on your car dashboard does not by orientation indicate which side the petrol cap is on. If there’s an arrow, sure, but otherwise it can point either way/be on either side and they may not match.
      A special “bless your heart” to the person who I read saying they had “realised” that News stood for notable events, weather and sport. Although that one could have been from a listicle about being very wrong!

        1. Madame Arcati*

          I said some are bollocks which they are!
          And the news one…Noooooo you haven’t learned anything news doesn’t stand for that or anything else!!!!

      1. Girasol*

        Drat. And I’d only just learned that the numbers on toasters stand for minutes. Okay, unlearn that. But according to Snopes, news isn’t north east west south or notable events weather and sports. It just refers to what’s new.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          The Occam’s Razor of etymology. Acronyms weren’t commonly used as words until the 20th century. So, while “for unlawful carnal knowledge” is made up, “snafu” was originally an acronym with some salty language.

          Oh, and “rule of thumb” has nothing to do with spousal abuse. It’s actually from the fact that in a pinch, you can use your thumb joint to guesstimate an inch measurement. Which makes way more sense for how the expression is used. (I learned this in 6th grade.)

          1. Emily Byrd Starr*

            Snafu is situation normal all fouled up, and the more adult version has a different word that begins with F instead of “fouled.” It rhymes with “ducked.”

      2. Oh yeah, Me again*

        I think the word “news” was used long before anyone thought to issue formal reports on things like weather and spots. It’s called “news” because it’s *new*!

    12. Deuce of Gears*

      …while we’re at it, there are multiple pony breeds (Connemara, Shetland, Dartmoor, etc.).

      My husband didn’t know what a steer was until I told him, and then he turned green. I assumed everyone knew this but also I’m from Texas!

      My story is much more embarrassing. When I was a small child, because tuna came in small tins, I assumed they were small fish.

      Fast forward to my thirties and my family goes to a museum of natural science in Boston (?) and there’s a GINORMOUS correctly sized model of a tuna hanging from the ceiling of one of the exhibit halls.

      Husband: “If they were TINY fish, they would be WHOLE fish in the tins like sardines or anchovies, not chunks!”

      Me: “I WAS FOUR OKAY?!?!?!”

      Also! I ordered sugarplums for the first time when I was in my forties, after reading some children’s illustrated book about “visions of sugarplums dancing in their head” (Christmas??) when I was a small child.

      (a) Sugarplums are…fancy prunes. So disappointing!

      (b) In the illustration, the sugarplums were GLOWING. For some reason, because four-year-old me internalized the GLOW, as an adult I was confused and taken aback that real-life sugarplums DID NOT GLOW. :p

      Husband: “Were you expecting radioactive sugarplums?!”
      Me: “I WAS FOUR OKAY?!?!?!?!”

      1. Anono-me*

        I’ve gotten sugar covered purple jellie candies called ‘sugar plums’ at a fancy candy store every Christmas. That’s what I always thought they were. So either you weren’t entirely wrong or someone at the fancy store decided prunes as the reality of sugar plums was too disappointing to let endure.

        1. Clisby*

          Yeah, those sugar-coated jelly things are what I’ve always thought of as sugar plums. You are not alone.

        2. Girasol*

          We who live in an age when there are fruits in the grocery store year around forget how wonderful it was to have fruit of any sort in winter time long ago.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Shetland ponies are right little bastards, too.

        I remember the first time I tasted Turkish Delight and could not understand those nuts in Narnia who went mad for it. I read much later that the books specifically referenced the mindset of people who had grown up during and post WWII and rationing and any kind of sweet thing was a kiss from an angel.

        1. Deuce of Gears*

          I had the same Turkish Delight disappointment!

          So we read the first Narnia book in 3rd grade, and also it was not a surprise that Aslan the Lion was Jesus. We were told that BEFORE we started reading the book, I’m guessing now because the teacher didn’t want to deal with small children being sad about the dead animal. (This was at a Christian private school.) After we had finished the book, the teacher brought in Turkish Delight! All the other students had some. I was the only gullible kid who REFUSED the Turkish Delight because it was EVIL. (I was also the gullible kid who spent years looking in closets for Narnia. My late grandma was so confused about my closet obsession, especially since she was Korean and didn’t speak a lick of English and was unlikely to have had any clue about Narnia anything!)

          …fast forward ten years and a school trip to Athens, where I finally bought myself some Turkish Delight. So disappointing!

          I should add that it wasn’t until a couple years ago that someone explained the rationing to me and why sugary treats would be so delightful in that context. I hadn’t reread the books since elementary, when no one mentioned that.

          1. tiddlywink*

            this is so Great!! now i am Wishing i had had a closet obsession!
            i found out what turkish delight was before it was ever offered it to me, and it sounds gross, so i am sorry u had to experience it. lol.
            still love the books!

          2. IT Manager*

            After wishing and checking my whole life for a closet door to Narnia, my parents just bought a house with a separate “in law suite” with a separate outside entrance AND ALSO AN ENTRANCE THROUGH THE BACK OF THE PRIMARY BEDROOM CLOSET.

            It goes through to an unfinished attic that they keep calling the “office” but I keep correcting everyone that it’s The Nárnia Room and to my delight that seems to be catching on.

          3. Sopranoh*

            Every time I see a wardrobe, I still make sure it’s not a portal to another world. Sure, the chances are slim that it is, but you never know.

            1. Clisby*

              Once when I lived in Ohio, I was browsing at an antique shop and saw a wardrobe with a hidden door in the back. According to the label, it came from a house on the Underground Railroad – the wardrobe covered up the entrance to a back stairs and people could come and go that way. Ohio was big on the UG, so this seems completely believable, but I suppose it could have just been a great story.

          4. Clisby*

            Once a Turkish co-worker of my husband brought our daughter some Turkish delight from his vacation trip home. I thought it looked disgusting, but she liked it.

        2. Banana Pyjamas*

          Store bought Turkish Delight is gross. I have made it from scratch, and that is delicious. The texture is like a more solid version of the lemon part of lemon bars. It’s really intensive, it starts in two separate pots then gets combined and stirred constantly for two hours. It has a 24 hour setting period.

        3. My Brain is Exploding*

          OH, me, too! The family had read all the Chronicles of Narnia series and they sounded so delicious. We lived in England at the time, and went to the food court at Harrods and bought some, and YUK. Yuk.

        4. Vio*

          I had the opposite, I tried turkish delight and loved it. I did wonder why it looked different in the BBC TV show though and discovered that the most common kind of turkish delight in the UK (at the time) was rose flavoured and covered in chocolate but that it’s traditionally without chocolate and comes in several flavours. All of which are very nice, but of course there’s nothing that’s liked by everybody. Good thing too, or we’d run out of whatever it was!

      3. Emily Byrd Starr*

        Whoever sold you the sugary prunes must have been confused, because my mother has a recipe for sugarplums, and there aren’t any plums or even any prunes in them. Either that, or whoever made the recipe that my mother used was confused!
        By the way, the children’s poem with the line about “visions of sugarplums danced in their heads” is “A Visit From Saint Nicholas” by Charles Clement Moore. It’s the one that begins, “Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.”

      4. Imtheone*

        I believe sugar plums are candied plums, or perhaps other fruits. The fruit is placed in series of sugar syrups, each of which has a higher concentration than the previous one. The fruit’s natural juices are replaced by the sugar syrup. When done, they are dried and possibly rolled in granulated sugar. They can be quite sticky.

        This is a sweet from the pre-chocolate days.

      5. Jean (just Jean)*

        I laughed at your husband’s query about radioactive sugarplums, but I withdraw my reaction, and apologize, if he hurt your feelings.

      6. Oh yeah, Me again*

        Sugarplums ARE candies, of thi I am certain -a generic word for sweets, I believe. Some enterprising fruit seller co-opted the term to sell prunes, I’m guess!

    13. Gozer (She/Her)*

      That foxes aren’t cats. No seriously, I always thought they were big cats because they act like cats.

          1. Gozer (she/her)*

            I was guilty of telling someone in the US that we *did* in fact have large cats here in the UK – they’re called foxes! I got a real education that day :)

      1. londonedit*

        One of my sister’s university friends grew up in London, and until she went with my sister to stay with my parents one weekend she didn’t believe badgers were actually real. She thought they were mythical creatures.

          1. carcinization*

            I think the badgers across the pond are a little nicer than ours (just like our magpies are less terrifying than Australia’s).

            1. londonedit*

              Yes – badgers here do have strong jaws but they’re very unlikely to attack anyone unless you’re provoking them. It’s very rare to see a live badger in the countryside (unfortunately you usually just see them on the side of country roads when they’ve been hit by a car) because they’re nocturnal and tend to keep themselves to themselves.

    14. MissCoco*

      I was in my mid twenties when I was complaining to a friend about bathroom taps without any indications of which side is hot vs cold when she pointed out that the hot water is always on the left side. It truly astounded me.

      1. Squidhead*

        This is “standard” in the US but my MIL’s bathroom in her old New England house is backwards. Both the tub and sink are reversed, and since they are on separate walls it’s unlikely that one set of supply pipes just happens to be reversed. Her faucets don’t happen to have labels but faucets from like the 40s-80s often had pop-in “H” and “C” indicators, implying that you might need to put the label on either side to match the plumbing. So, in your defense, you may well have encountered places where “hot on the left” wasn’t true!

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I’ve seen this in older houses. I think it all got standardized with the post WWII suburban housing boom.

      2. Girasol*

        This explains why, when I ran into a shower with “H” on the right side handle, I waited and waited for the water to get warm and ended up giving up and taking a cold shower.

    15. Come On Eileen*

      I was well into adulthood before I learned that the top cord hook on a vacuum cleaner swivels, so you can unload the entire cord in one move by just turning the hook downward.

      1. Wordnerd*

        I am 37 and just figured this out in the last few months. The WORST part is that I’m having trouble undoing all those years of habit and still keep unwinding the whole thing and then remembering I don’t have to do it anymore.

    16. Clisby*

      Not me, but an old boyfriend was in college when I informed him that no, human babies’ eyes are not closed for 2-3 weeks like kittens. I have no idea how he got that far in life without knowing – he was the oldest of 4 kids.

      1. Gozer (she/her)*

        There was a guy at university with us (I did a biology degree!) who was shocked to find out that babies are born with limbs. He thought they were ‘nubs’ and grew within the first weeks.

        I mean, this was the pre-internet times..

        1. tree frog*

          Did he think that the parents had to lick them into shape like the medieval theory of bears? Maybe he was a time traveller.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          So, like, he’d never seen a baby? Or I guess assumed they didn’t come home with their parents until their limbs grew out?

          1. Irish Teacher.*

            He might not have seen them in their first few weeks or might not have seen any he knew were less than a few weeks old.

            1. Clisby*

              That’s an interesting idea – but if he saw swaddled babies, surely he’d think they were only lacking in arms. I mean, if they had no arms or legs, the swaddling bundle would be a lot shorter.

      2. SBT*

        My dad thought this too! One of the favorite stories in our family is when I was born, he asked the nurse how many weeks before I’d open my eyes. She politely took me back from him and handed me to my mom while explaining that I was just sleeping and my eyes were already opened.

        1. Clisby*


          I was the eldest of 6, so while I don’t remember #2 and #3 as babies, I clearly remember the last 3 (I was 7 when #4 was born) and all of them opened their eyes right away.

          When my boyfriend said something about babies’ eyes being closed for awhile, I’m sure I was looking at him like he was insane.

      3. *daha**

        Not into adulthood, but as a kid I got that idea from reading an early Peanuts collection. There was a new baby in someone’s family. Did Snoopy want to go see it? No, not until later when its eyes opened. I just accepted this as a statement of fact, and didn’t know where the funny part was supposed to be.

    17. A313*

      Well into my 30s, I thought that, during cold months, weatherperson was saying “windshield” factor, and I wondered aloud what the term would have been before cars and windshields. Wind chill factor makes so much more sense, but it still makes me smile to myself whenever I hear it in the forecast.

    18. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I had a friend who thought “old wives’ tales” were “old WISE tales” and that they were truth because they came from old, wise women.

    19. Liminality*

      It’s 2 weeks.
      I was an army brat and I rationalized it as the length of a typical soldier’s posting at a fort.

      And then I started reading Jane Austen books and encountered the word ‘ sennight.’ It was like the sunrise.

      A week, seven nights, sennight
      Two weeks, fourteen nights, fortnight.

          1. Wormentude*

            I assume because it is a measure of seven nights, which requires a (part) day at each end, making eight days.

      1. carcinization*

        When I was a kid I definitely thought it was forty nights. I’m not sure how I was finally disabused of that notion.

    20. Middle Aged Lady*

      I didn’t know about the tabs you can push in to keep a roll of plastic wrap in place in its box until I was in my 50s.

      Or that Chinese take-out containers fold out to make a plate.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I didn’t know that! But I do remember being able to make a useable bowl out of single-serving cereal boxes as a kid. (Can you still do that?)

            1. Clisby*

              I don’t know! But I do remember when that was true. That was back when it was a real treat for my mother to buy us one of those big variety packs of single-serve cereal.

      1. londonedit*

        We don’t have those takeaway boxes here in the UK – it always looked terribly exotic on TV programmes like Friends when they’d all be sitting there with their little cardboard boxes of noodles. Our Chinese takeaways come in foil containers or plastic boxes.

        1. Buni*

          In fairness they’re more handy though – 90% of my ‘tupperware’ is late of the Chinese takeaway…

    21. Texan In Exile*

      That the battle for Texas independence was not because the Mexicans were so so mean but because Mexico had outlawed slavery and the Texans wanted to keep their slaves. The Alamo was about protecting human traffickers.

      1. Texan In Exile*

        (This is definitely not what I was taught in my 7th grade Texas history class in Lubbock, Texas.)

      2. Clisby*

        Oh, yeah. I’m not from Texas, but I was in college before I learned this. (Not that SC schools taught that Mexicans were mean – we just didn’t learn anything about Texas history. Teaching all the myths of Southern history took up too much time.)

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Now you have me curious to read more about the miseducation of high school history students in the American South. I recently learned about a Mississippi-focused anti-revisonist history textbook: “Mississippi: Conflict & Change;” published 1974; written and edited by Charles Sallis and James W. Loewen. The obituary is titled “Charles Sallis, 89, Dies; Upended the Teaching of Mississippi History: He collaborated on a textbook so unsparing in its review of the state’s grim past that it was barred from schools almost as soon as it appeared.” Link to appear in reply.

    22. tree frog*

      Not to add to your pain, but I don’t think ponies are always separate breeds from full-size horses. Sometimes they’re just classified as ponies based on height. I used to ride a pony as a teenager who definitely looked like a horse to me.

      1. allathian*

        When I rode as a kid, I learned that ponies are horses that are less than 58 in/147 centimeters high at the withers.
        It’s not always that simple, though.
        Although Icelandic horses are small enough to fit that definition, they’re generally considered to be horses because they’re hardy enough to be ridden by adults over long distances.

        1. Oh yeah, Me again*

          But they are called “Icelandic ponies.” At least, by the tourists and guides. I don’t speak Icelandic. Maybe in their language the word for “horse” and “pony” are the same, since they are all little – and shaggy!

      2. Deanna Troi*

        tree frog, my mind was blown when I recently learned this!! Unlike nnn, who thought ponies were baby horses, I thought ponies were an entirely different species from horses and that they couldn’t interbreed. Like turkeys and chickens. I actually argued with my husband about this and was quite chagrined when I googled it.

    23. The Prettiest Curse*

      I did wear contact lenses for much of my adult life, but it took me forever to realise/find out that opticians will generally adjust your glasses for free if they’re not fitting well. This tends to work better on high quality frames, but it’s still useful to know!

    24. Emily Byrd Starr*

      1.The carrot plant is just a cultivated version of the wildflower known as Queen Anne’s Lace. (However, don’t eat Queen Anne’s Lace that you find in the wild, because 1) it doesn’t taste as good and 2) there’s some plants that look like wild carrots but are actually poisonous.

      2. Boston was originally a small peninsula. 3/4 of the land in the city is made land. The Boston Tea Party Museum is actually several feet away from where the actual event took place.

      3. Dinosaurs had feathers, and all birds are in the dinosaur family. (To be fair, no one else knew this until I was an adult, either. I grew up in the 1980’s, and I was taught in school that dinosaurs were giant lizards.)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        There are apparently two main branches of dino–“bird hipped” and “lizard hipped.” It’s all about how the hip bones fit in the socket and so on. But there are some descendants of the lizard-hipped dinos. Animals like crocodiles, however, are as old as many dinos but evolved in parallel with them, not from them.

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          “Lizard hipped” sounds like a perfect phrase to drop into complaints about online dating! It’s a great concise physical and moral condemnation. :-D

      2. carcinization*

        re: #3, I also grew up in the 80s, and clearly remember telling my elementary school art class that birds were descended from dinosaurs when the art teacher asked the class a question related to that, and I answered correctly, and they assumed I’d just guessed. That may have been the late 80s though.

      3. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        Not all dinosaurs had feathers – to the best of my knowledge there’s only evidence for feathers in theropods. So T. rex yes, stegosaurus no. (Birds are most definitely dinosaurs, and T. rex is more closely related to a chicken than to stegosaurus.)

    25. RLC*

      Not my knowledge deficit, but another adult’s: I made a comment to someone about having to hand-pollinate my squash plants with a cotton bud as there were no bees in my garden. This person looked at me astonished, and said “BEES POLLINATE, I thought vegetables and fruit just happened!!!” Spent a bit of time in their vegetable garden pointing out the bees working their way from blossom to blossom. This person was about 30 years old, from a farming/ranching family, university degree in chemistry. Have no idea how he missed this key piece of agricultural information.

      1. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

        There are a lot of wind-pollinated or self-pollinating plants, including important agricultural plants like corn and wheat. So it may have been a case of overgeneralizing from non representative knowledge.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I actually heard about how hybrid seed corn is pollinated and developed from an MST3K episode, Starfighters!

    26. *daha**

      Men have one less rib than women do. The creation of Eve is from one of Adam’s ribs is meant to explain that. (I learned better sooner than adulthood, but I don’t remember when.)

      1. Magdalena*

        That’s not actually true. Men and women have the same number of ribs. But some people do have an extra rib (unrelated to their sex) so there’s that.

    27. I'm on Team Rita*

      Also, a ewe is an adult female sheep. A baby sheep is a lamb. You can claim two facts for today and take tomorrow off! ;))

    28. ecnaseener*

      Quite a lot of the “fake pockets” in women’s clothing are actually real pockets with the top temporarily sewn up (to keep them from getting snagged on things or whatever before they’re sold). It was a joyous day when I checked all of the blazers in my closet (some of which were hand-me-downs!) and found so many pockets to open up!

    29. Heffalump*

      You wouldn’t be the only person not to know that ponies aren’t baby horses. A while back a gearhead website I follow had a history of the Edsel. For a while there was a promotion whereby each Edsel dealer had a pony on the premises, and if you took a test drive, you were entered into a raffle to win the pony. This sort of made sense, as Edsel sponsored the TV show Wagon Train at the time. (There was also the option to take $200 in cash.) One commenter posted this:

      “Among other oddities about that whole ordeal was that Ford discovered it’s sort of tough to just instantly buy 1,000 ponies. Word spread quickly in agriculture circles that Ford Motor Company was buying ponies for a big promotion, so many less-than-scrupulous horse traders tried to cash in on Ford’s deep pockets and agricultural naiveté. A fair number of the ponies weren’t terribly healthy, and needed veterinary care (not quite in most car dealers’ area of expertise). Worse, some folks sold Ford juvenile horses instead of ponies, figuring that those fancy businessmen won’t be able to tell the difference. The lucky families who took one of those home were in for a big surprise!”

    30. HannahS*

      I was nearly an adult when I learned, to my shock, that Madison Square Garden is not, you know, a garden.

        1. TX_Trucker*

          Madison Square Garden is named for Madison Square Park (which is a square). The park is named after President Madison. The Gardens has moved several times, but the original location was next to the park.

    31. Heffalump*

      I used to think that if the instructions for prepared food said to bake at, say, 300 degrees F for 45 minutes, then by God, I should bake it at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. I didn’t get the concept of “your mileage may vary.” The expression “your mileage may vary” came into use when the Environmental Protection Agency began publishing fuel mileage figures for various cars, with the “your mileage may vary” disclaimer. Of course the concept was out there, even if the expression wasn’t.

      If food didn’t come out the way I expected, I’d adjust my technique when preparing that particular food in the future. But it didn’t occur to me that cooking instructions in general were approximations.

    32. Oh yeah, Me again*

      A ewe is not a baby sheep. A ewe is a *female* sheep, a male is a ram and the baby is a lamb.

    33. Isabel Archer*

      oh, what a great topic. I was also in my early 30s when I learned that Rhapsody in Blue by Gershwin was not just the British Airways theme song

    34. Shiny Penny*

      I was on the phone chatting with a friend in about 2007, and also taking clean clothes out of the dryer. My dog (always at my elbow “helping”) sneezed, and I was laughing as I mentioned to my friend how the dog always sneezed when I emptied the dryer, from the rotten egg smell of the gas.
      You may imagine my friend’s absolute shock and horror.
      “Oooooohhh NOOOOO!

      Such an amazing moment of “Wait, what???” for each of us.
      In my defense, natural gas appliances were really new to our area. I’d never used one before, and just had no idea.

      In all ended up fine. The gas company technician came out within a couple hours, and a tiny leak was found in the dryer line that just needed to be tightened. But lol I’ve used an electric dryer ever since.

  3. ThatGirl*

    After a bit over two years since our dog passed, my husband is finally ready to look for a new one. We live in DuPage Co, IL (suburban Chicago) and I’m curious if anyone has rescues/shelters they really recommend or that we should avoid.

    For instance we did meet one dog, who turned out not to be the right fit, and the foster mom and rescue totally flaked on following up. Which makes us not so much want to work with them again.

    1. My Brain is Exploding*

      Hi! I grew up in Wheaton and went to college in Naperville! You may want to see if there are any breed-specific rescues, of breeds that interest you, that operate in your area. I would not hold it against a rescue for the actions of one foster, especially if it’s one of timing v actual policy. Many, many rescues are operated ONLY by volunteers – I was a state coordinator for one for a long time. We vetted out the foster families and some of them were GREAT at fostering and terrible at communicating…but it’s incredibly difficult to find good fosters. Read the policies on the rescue’s website; a good rescue will want the dog back if the placement doesn’t work out and doesn’t adopt out animals without some checking of the applicants.

      1. ThatGirl*

        Hi :) did you go to North Central? My husband works there.

        We are good with a mixed breed, no need for a purebred, though we do have other requirements for size, prefer a low or no shed, etc.

        We adopted our first dog through a rescue in Chicago and they were great, so we’re familiar with the process. I just know some are weird and very particular, so was curious.

      2. Clara Bowe*

        +1 I was a Kane county neighbor and second looking for breed-specific rescues. The local shelters are decent, but they tend to move dogs through quickly. That said, check the Pet Supplies Plus sore in North Aurora’s calendar. They regularly run adoption events in coordination w their neighboring vet.

      1. My Brain is Exploding*

        I lived there for many years! Went to HS there. Lived by Northside Park. FYI there is a “You Know You’re From Wheaton IL if” FB page and every Saturday they post up historical photos.

    2. Balanceofthemis*

      I’m from Elk Grove Village, IL and my family adopted some truly fantastic dogs from Chicago Animal Care and Control.

      1. ThatGirl*

        I’ve heard good things! We search sites like Petfinder, but I keep an eye on individual orgs too. We’re just a little picky – we want a young dog but probably not a puppy, small, low or non shedding, ok with other dogs but doesn’t need to have a companion in the house…

        1. LZ*

          PAWS pulls more animals by far from Chicago Animal Care and Control than any other shelter (plus lots of other places including a rescue on Dominica that shut down!), so there are constantly new dogs coming in, I would recommend checking the site often.

      2. Bookgarden*

        Oh my gosh my friend volunteered with PAWS back when I lived in the Chicago area and she brought me to help with an adoption event one day. This was about 15 years ago. So glad to hear they are still around and going strong, they were great!

    3. Tiny Clay Insects*

      I don’t know what breeds you want, but Love Hope Believe Galgo Rescue is in the suburbs, and galgos (Spanish greyhounds) are wonderful dogs. If I didn’t already have a cranky old three-legged greyhound who wants to be an only dog, I’d adopt one of the newly arrived galgos.

      1. Wordnerd*

        I also used to work someone who used to volunteer with Illinois Doberman Rescue Plus – they have other types of dogs but specialize in Dobermans.

    4. Hobbette*

      Check out Border Tails Rescue in Northbrook. Before making the trip, look at their website page of adoptable dogs and see if any interest you. Great staff and LOTS of adorable puppies and older dogs to choose from!

    5. NB*

      We got our most recent kitten from DuPage County Animal Services. I was pleased with my experience with them. Good luck finding your new family member!

  4. Anon57*

    Anyone have suggestions for adult women’s clothing that has flat seams for someone sensitive to tags and seams? I’m in the United States in a cold climate (but we do have some hot days) and work from home most days so it doesn’t have to be very dressy outfits. Affordable brands and/or the best search terms to find stuff online would be appreciated since I’ve only just become very sensitive to seams in my shirts, etc. Thanks in advance!

    1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I just looked at my tshirt to assess the type of seams, only to find I am wearing it inside out. While shopping. So that is one option!

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Nothing like coming home to find out you’ve been having your own personal Opposite Day.

        1. Wired Wolf*

          BTDT. I’m not sure if it’s good or bad that not only was I doing it all day at work, but nobody noticed.

      2. Retired Merchandiser*

        I can go you one better. I worked a full day and then discovered that not only was my shirt on backwards, it was inside out. Now for a t-shirt not very remarkable, but this wa6a collared button up shirt. *cringe.* My only defense is I got dressed in the dark.
        My daughters told me I shouldn’t be allowed out alone anymore.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          … even in the dark, how on earth do you put a button-down on backwards and not realize it?

          1. Potoooooooo*

            I’d guess that the buttons were pre-buttoned for convenience, but one would think that the collar would be a dead giveaway either way.

            1. Retired Merchandiser*

              You got it, I dressed in the dark.My husband had a day off and was sleeping in so didn’t want to disturb him. I usually prebutton my shirts, just leave the top two undone so I can slide it over my head, but I am as confused as you how I didn’t realize the collar was wrong.
              I can’t believe I went through a whole day like this and no one mentioned it.

      3. Hotdog not dog*

        I once made it almost half the day with a pair of slacks on backward. They were stretchy enough that I could pull them on without undoing the button and zipper. Discovered it when I went to the restroom and noticed the tag in front. This is exactly why morning coffee is important!

        1. Retired Merchandiser*

          Seriously!! I also wore a pair of my son’s pants to work. I thought they were a bit roomy but I had recently lost some weight so just thought that was it. I didn’t realize it until I put something in my pocket and the pockets were so deep.

    2. ThatOtherClare*

      If you want to rescue any of your old clothes, don’t forget you can take them to a clothing alterations place and ask them to put in Hong Kong seams for you. It’s not a difficult alteration because they don’t need to change any shapes – it’s just a bit time consuming. Anyone should be able to put in Hong Kong seams, and if you explain why they’ll take care to keep them as flat as possible.

      If you have a sewing machine (and it’s the scratchiness of the seams that gets to you rather than the bulk) then you can very easily unpick all your clothes and put in French seams yourself. Unpick shirt, sew a line along the seam the wrong way out, flip the shirt the other way out and sew a line along the seam the normal way, done! It does make the seam twice as bulky, which is the exact opposite of what you want if you’re trying to eliminate bulk, but it’s definitely the cheapest and greenest method of eliminating scratchiness.

      For French seams I charge family/friends approximately one batch of baked goods per two shirts or one dress. If you ship out your alterations don’t forget to thank your sewists :)

      1. JustEm*

        Thank you! I’m beginner level at sewing, and also have sensory sensitivities with clothing, and now am motivated to learn how to make Hong Kong seams!

    3. NFO Please*

      This is a great question! It took a non-Virgo friend to recommend I turn my underwear inside out and it’s made a huge difference. My prissy, perfectionist self would never have thought of it, but now I no longer get rashes from the seams. I’m a little less sensitive on other parts of my body, but I’m going to look into Hong Kong seams. And if I ever find that feature on (cotton!) bras, maybe I could graduate from the hippie-that-refused-to-die look. I can’t do the constriction, the seams, the elastic, or the synthetic in anything I’ve tried in years.
      No professional dress requirements currently, but I’ve gotten by with a snug(ish) cotton camisole under layer, and a draped scarf or shawl over everything.

      1. Janne*

        I’ve seen some seamless bamboo bras, they might work for you :)
        (I’m fine with some types of synthetic ones, so I haven’t tried the bamboo bras myself.)

    4. WellRed*

      When I was much younger and thinner, I wore a pair of underpants sideways (like, leg hole around waste). Didn’t realize it till getting changed that night. Granted, it was my own secret “shame.”

    5. What the what*

      A lot of athletic gear has flat seams. You might be able to find some base layers with flat seams. Smartwool has some shirts with flat seams at REI right now (on sale). They aren’t inexpensive at full price, but if you can find them on sale they can be a great buy and are good quality. I haven’t found their stuff to be itchy either. Hope this helps.

    6. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      For underwear I have found the boxer briefs from Duluth Trading Company to be blissful. Nice flat seams, soft fabric even after many washes, durable. Their no-yank tanks and camisoles are nice too; you might want to be sure to get the version without the built-in bra because the bottom seam on those is a little bumpy (I don’t find it objectionable but YMMV).

    7. Bibliovore*

      yeah, I am an inside out person. I cut all tags out. Duluth trading sometimes doesn’t have tags. Jockey long underwear.

    8. Fellow Traveller*

      Uniqlo has a line of sweaters called 3D knit that are knit without seams. I find them super comfy and very flattering.

    9. Soft clothes for life*

      Second Uniqlo and wearing shirts inside out. Land’s end makes a stretch cotton blend long sleeve tee that is very soft. I wear them inside out under everything. If you can spend more – vuori and lululemon have flat seams and I’ve found to be worth every penny. The align leggings don’t have a seam around the waist. (Chronic pressure urticaria…)

    10. Cheshire Cat*

      I love Land’s End supima cotton shirts. They come in short, long, or 3/4 sleeves and are often on sale. I wear them by themselves, or under itchier clothing. The label information is stamped onto the shirts, too, so no tags.

    11. PurplePeopleEater*

      Perspective of an avid thrifter who feels most comfortable in natural fibers:
      If good wool is comfortable for you, check out Allbirds. Their merino-nylon blend athleisure is warm, but light and nicely seamed. My husband is sensitive to tags and textures and can’t handle most wool, but finds their t-shirts soft and comfy for the winter. I have a mix of new and thrifted items from them, including leggings, bralettes, and pants.
      My fanciest thrifted silk shirts are from Equipment. I could never pay full price, but they are French seamed and lovely. I bought these during a particularly good sale at thred up. Madewell and J Crew silk button ups have standard seams.
      A quick scan of my thrifted Kate Spade items suggests a lot of French seaming. I have several variations of a cotton day dress that has elastic shirring at the waist made to look like smocking which are beautifully finished. Again, I wouldn’t pay full price, but I’ve found good deals on Mercari and during sales at TheRealReal.

  5. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Share what you’re reading and give or request recs.

    I just finished Consort of Fire by Kit Rocha. It’s what I guess is now being called a romantasy, and has a delightful and fiery romance between three characters; an immortal creature called the Dragon (normally in human shape but he can shift into dragon shape), and two young women – one raised to be a courtesan and the other to assassinate him. I enjoyed it a lot (although for those who have feelings about this, it’s VERY steamy towards the end). And it looks like book 2 is coming out later on this year.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      Just finished Pandora’s Jar and starting Divine Might, both by Natalie Haynes. They’re very enjoyable, with enough snarky asides to spice things up (talking about how a certain Greek orator proclaimed the best thing a woman could be was “not talked of” while living with one of the most notorious women of the time, she dryly remarks “thank goodness such hypocrisy hasn’t carried over into the modern day.”)

    2. Teapot Translator*

      I finished Chaos Terminal by Mur Lafferty, unfortunately did not like. I’ve also been making my way through The Summit of Gods by Jiro Taniguchi. I’m trying to understand what drives people who climb Everest. I still don’t get it, though. They’re just built different from me. I also DNF Fortune Favors the Dead by Stephen Spotwood. I didn’t click with the narrator and some of it seemed anachronistic?

      1. Trout*

        If you ever want to give Lafferty another try, I suggest Six Wakes — the characters, plot, and setting are all less scattered and more satisfying.

    3. HomebodyHouseplant*

      I’m reading Loot by Sharon Waxman. Nonfiction, it’s about the ethics of museums housing antiquities with dubious provenance and repatriation. What I didn’t realize when I got it from the library was that it’s way out of date- published 2007. But I decided to read it anyway, and it’s fascinating looking back on this knowing how much has happened, particularly in the middle east, since it was published. This took place before the Arab Spring, the ousting of President Mubarak, the discovery of the tomb of Wahtye in Saqqara…so many things. The book doesn’t only focus on Egypt but I’m finding it incredible to read with knowledge of so much more political tension and destruction of antiquities in some regions. The questions it poses are still really important.

    4. Valancy Stirling*

      I love Kit Rocha! Their books are wonderful, and Bree and Donna are delightful.

      I’m reading The Gift: 14 Lessons to Save Your Life by Edith Eger (life tips from a psychologist who survived Auschwitz as a teenager), and The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley (a novel about a woman who finds herself time-traveling to 18th century Cornwall). Both are great.

    5. word nerd*

      OtterB, I enjoyed the comfort reads discussion among Martha Wells, T. Kingfisher, KJ Charles, and Malka Older you posted about last weekend, so thanks for mentioning it! Of course I then had to go and enjoy some cozy reads after that. I also did not know that Cecelia & Kate actually grew out of letters the two authors were writing each other without having decided on a plot beforehand.

      I feel like a couple people here have talked up The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. I finally listened to the audiobook this week, and I was completely engrossed by the story! (Halfway through, I had to look up the ending because I knew it would keep me up and worry me otherwise.) I love the heft and pacing of a leisurely Victorian novel sometimes, although it’s too bad that the women in them are often so weak and fainty (maybe because they were all wearing corsets??). I really wish Marion had gotten more of a role in the second half of the book after her very promising start. Ah well, it has reminded me that I would like to sink my teeth into another long George Eliot, one of my favorite authors.

      I’m also finishing up the last chapter of Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, and it’s such a lovely book. <3

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Oh, I LOVED Radical Acceptance. It is kind, calm and centering, and you don’t have to be Buddhist to be inspired and taught by it.

    6. GoryDetails*

      BENTO BOX IN THE HEARTLAND by Linda Furiya, the author’s memoir of growing up in a Japanese-American household in Versailles, Indiana. I’m enjoying both her writing style and the details of her life, from being the only Japanese kid in her school to discovering things about her parents that she’d never known before.

      Newest carrying-around book: THE UNDETECTABLES by Courtney Smyth – “Be gay, solve crime, take naps”. It’s about a detective agency run by “three witches and a ghost in a cat costume (don’t ask)”, set in a very supernatural village that (usually) gets along with the few Apparents (non-magical folk), until a murderer strikes. Quite amusing so far – and with some challenges for the protagonists. Yes, the ghost who really hates having to wear cat-ears and inked-on whiskers for all of eternity has his issues, but protagonist, chief detective, and forensic expert Mallory is struggling with fibromyalgia, for which there is neither medical nor magical cure, and which is a constant drain on her energy. Very sprightly story so far; will see how it goes. (I already like the main characters very much.)

      Audiobook: CLOUDS OF WITNESS by Dorothy L. Sayers, narrated by Mark Meadows – one of my favorites of the “Lord Peter” novels, this one involving his efforts to save his brother from a murder charge. (I’ve read the book several times, and have enjoyed several audiobook versions as well; this one has made me a fan of Mark Meadows’ narration, as he’s very deft with the accents, emphasis, etc.)

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I read Bento Box in the Heartland and really enjoyed it.

        I am making my way through Sayers’ novels. Just finished “The Nine Tailors” (then read a Scientific American blog post to see if the cause of death was possible) and am just starting “Gaudy Night.”

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I ADORE Gaudy Night. It’s my favorite of hers, and one of those books where I have multiple markers in all my favorite spots for rereading passages.

        2. Dancing Otter*

          Don’t miss Jill Paton Walsh’s continuation of the series.
          One has a murderer trying the methods from the earlier books and being VERY upset when they don’t all work as expected.

          1. Ms. Murchison*

            There’s a TV movie version of Gaudy Night starring Edward Petherbridge and Harriet Walters. They capture Peter & Harriet wonderfully, though the script cuts corners as you’d expect with at TV adaptation.

            1. GoryDetails*

              I really loved the Petherbridge/Walters adaptations – Ian Carmichael’s screen-Wimsey was good, but I think Petherbridge was closer to Wimsey-from-the-books.

          2. GoryDetails*

            Well, I love “Nine Tailors” – if I have a least-favorite Lord Peter novel it’s probably Five Red Herrings, but I enjoy that one as well, so… {wry grin}

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              I learned more than I ever wanted to know about train schedules and tickets in 1930s UK for that one.

      2. Ms. Murchison*

        I’ve actually been re-listening to Clouds of Witness too, though I usually listen to the Ian Carmichael audiobooks. His voice just IS Peter to me at this point, but maybe I’ll give the Meadows version a try.

    7. Past Lurker*

      Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers. This one has made me cry more than once.
      I’m probably switching to historical fiction for my next read.

      1. RC*

        Seriously my favorite one of that series. (Second for me was The Galaxy, and the Ground Within which I also thought was beautiful)

      2. GoryDetails*

        I loved Record of a Spaceborn Few! It was my first venture into Chambers’ Wayfarers books, and I’ve enjoyed a couple of the others as well.

    8. Rara Avis*

      After a long wait on the library list, I just finished What Feasts at Night by T. Kingfisher. Enjoyed it but the first one was better — more intense.

    9. Roland*

      I read The Cloud Roads in 2 days earlier this week – always nice when a book is engaging enough to binge. The worldbuilding w.r.t. biology was pretty silly but I liked it anyway and will definitely read the next one in the series.

      Now back on my Asimov kick, just started the last Robot detective novel.

      1. Lady Alys*

        I still have my mom’s copies of many of those – *such* dry humor – how I would love to read what JPT thinks of the tech bros…

      2. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

        I should make that my next reread. I loved that series. Emma Lathen also wrote a series under the name R. B. Dominic about a congressman that I also liked. You can count it as historical fiction as the Democratic protagonist and his Republican colleagues often collaborate.

    10. Dark Macadamia*

      I ended up liking A Power Unbound much more than I expected. Still not a fan of the romance dynamic in this one but I’m a sucker for a heist (with magic!) and a queer found family.

      Came back to my reread of Neverwhere and hoping to finish it this weekend. Not loving it as much as I remembered from my first read a few years back but it’s good.

      Listening to Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi on audiobook and it’s great so far!

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        There was a wonderfully cheap and cheesy, almost videotaped BBC miniseries of Neverwhere developed in the mid-90s by Neil Gaiman and the inimitable Lenny Henry (yes, Chef!). It reignited my fondness of the book after I too felt it lagging. The location shooting in London and cheap, early ‘Doctor Who-ish’ production values are downright charming. Maybe worth a look?

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I remember seeing an interview with him where he said “You spend a million pounds, you get permission to film in Harrod’s, and it still ends up looking like Doctor Who.”

          1. Nervous Nellie*

            OH! I didn’t know that. Well, well. It’s a fun series and only ok book. Maybe that’s why. An aha moment – thanks for that.

            1. Dark Macadamia*

              Yes, the foreword to the illustrated edition talks about the evolution of the story! He wrote the show first and wasn’t thrilled with some of the decisions that ended up being made, and the book actually went through a couple iterations which is why the illustrated one is subtitled something like “author’s preferred edition.” I looked up the show because I knew Peter Capaldi was the angel and yeah, it looks AGGRESSIVELY 90s and low budget lol.

              1. Nervous Nellie*

                Hah! Agreed, although I would say it even looks more 70s-ish. It reminds me of the John Pertwee Doctor Who episodes (“Exterminate!” Teehee).

                I looked it up and found a hilariously dry explanation of the filming style and resulting criticisms in Wikipedia. I’ll seek out the illustrated edition – that should set things right in the Neverwhereverse.

    11. Penguins!*

      Just finished The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi and loved it! A great combination of an awesome main character and a good adventure story.

      About halfway through Birnam Wood, which I’m quite enjoying. It may be helped by the fact that I’m currently on vacation in New Zealand and always love to read a book set where I’m visiting.

    12. Lemonwhirl*

      I read “Come and Get It” by Kiley Reid in a single day last weekend. Now I am reading “The One” by Julia Argy, which is about a young woman trying to find love on a Bachelor-like reality TV show. I am a sucker for any book set in any kind of reality TV, even though I’ve never watched the Bachelor universe.

      1. PastorJen*

        I’m reading Come and Get It right now and am enjoying it so far. I tried to read her first book but couldn’t get into it. I do love campus novels, though, so this is right up my alley.

    13. zaracat*

      Normal Rules Don’t Apply by Kate Atkinson. A collection of semi connected short stories.
      Loved her Case Histories series and the tv adaptation of that.

      I was loaned Jane Austen’s Wardrobe by Hilary Davidson by my aunty to read while holidaying in her city. Fantastic reference book. I hadn’t realised how many layers there were to the clothing, even if each layer was very thin. Makes me laugh at the costume I made back in 1988 from a Folkwear pattern. Theirs was a fairly authentic design, but worn as a single layer over bra and undies – just no.

      1. Middle Aged Lady*

        Kate Atkinson’s Life after Life was one of the best books I have read in a long time. Didn’t know about these short stories. Thanks!

    14. Falling Diphthong*

      A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers. A gentle novella in which a tea monk on a world where the robots all walked away a couple hundred years ago meets a descendant of those robots. I view this as a pleasant palate cleanser–I tend to like more to happen in my stories. There’s a scene in the first chapter where a character wants to do something kind–bring comfort to a stranger–and really muffs it, discovering in the process that this soft skill has a whole lot of elements to it that they hadn’t thought of. So they diligently practice until they are good at it. I really liked this recognition.

      Jade City and Jade War by Fonda Lee, and about to read the third Jade Legacy. (I have a cold, and my very kind husband went to the library and got me the doorstopper trilogy.) Speedy to read despite the length. The Godfather meets magical kung fu. The world-building is really well-done here, capturing how societies are formed from the existing starting material, rather than created from scratch with simple logical rules. I empathize with the characters in the main family we follow, while being aware that they are not actually “the good guys” and the other family are not actually “the bad guys.” Really enjoying a character who reminds me a lot of Dewey Crow from Justified, where it is a wonder he is still alive.

    15. Atheist Nun*

      I read, and loved, Shuggie Bain, partly in anticipation of a vacation to Scotland in May/June. I was worried it was going to be just tragedy porn, but, although it certainly described very hard lives, it was so beautifully written that I can understand why it won the Booker Prize. I will be sure to read the author’s second book, also set in Glasgow, before my trip.

    16. The Other Dawn*

      I just finished The Armour of Light by Ken Follett, the fourth book in his Kingsbridge series. It was a great book and I’m hoping for another book in the series.

      I just started Deep Fathom by James Rollins.

    17. Nervous Nellie*

      Two for me this week – finishing up Mess: One Man’s Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act by Barry Yourgrau (my goodness, what a rewarding read).

      And then I just started ‘$10,000 in Small Unmarked Puzzles’ by Parnell Hall, the 13th book in his Puzzle Lady mystery series, which I had never heard of. The Puzzle Lady is an eccentric elderly crossword puzzle developer whose work is published nationally in newspapers. In each of the 20-odd books, she is drawn a la Miss Marple into a mystery (usually a murder) that comes with crossword puzzle clues. Interspersed throughout the book are crossword puzzles and/or sudoku puzzles for the reader to solve along with the Puzzle Lady to figure out the mystery. Solutions are in the book, so solving them is optional. I picked it up at random from a used bookshop clearance shelf, and am carrying it around with me everywhere. The previous owner kindly used a pencil to write in some of the crossword solutions, so I’ve erased them all to start fresh. I will say it’s a bit of a stretch that there are 20-odd stories in which the criminals/perps left crossword puzzles as clues, and all the characters are A Bit Much. But it’s a giggle, and I love puzzles. I won’t read all of the books, but this is a nice dabble in them.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        I was reading The Puzzle Lady pretty regularly for a number of years. I need to start those up again!

    18. Put the Blame on Edamame*

      Really recommend I Didn’t Do the Thing by Madeleine Dore on fighting productivity guilt. I’m still a to donlist addict but found it incredibly helpful.

    19. DCG*

      I’m reading Lessons in Chemistry. I keep getting sexism fatigue and having to take breaks. Hoping I can finish this weekend, since there are lots of people on the wait list.

    20. carcinization*

      I’m finally almost finished with Park’s Celestis. Went to a couple of stores in the next town over and found Cantero’s Meddling Kids on sale for over $20 less than it is on Amazon (it’s been on my wishlist there for years but I could never justify the cost), and I’ve already read more than 100 pages of it today thanks to a wait for a table at the pub, and a trip to the coffee shop afterward.

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Ooh, Meddling Kids! I loved it! And what a nice touch that the story is based in the fictional town of Blyton Hills, a shout out to Enid Blyton, whose name speaks of innocence and safety, and whose stories were diametrically opposite to this. It’s horror and adventure and an adult kids’ book all in one. Cantero is a genius.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Ugh, can you tell this to my husband? I bought him Meddling Kids and he took a dislike to one of the heroes three pages in and refused to read any further.

    21. Dragonfly7*

      I was watching The Apothecary Diaries on Crunchyroll, finally reached the point that I couldn’t stand not knowing what happened next, and purchased and inhaled the first four light novels this week. Trying not to buy all of them at once!

    22. Shakti*

      Currently reading Edith Wharton by hermione Lee and the reef by Edith Wharton and am enjoying them both! Just finished the secret life of Marilyn Monroe by j Randy Taraborrelli which was fascinating and really informative especially for the first 3/4 it fell apart at the end, but still would recommend with the caveat to read it critically as he has some biases as in he’s pro kennedys, Frank Sinatra, and her psychiatrist which are intriguing choices not backed up by facts he even provides lol

    23. Bluebell*

      Just finished Mother Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon and loved it! Three generations work together to solve a mystery in a rural area in CA. Generational clashes and fun suspects plus the usual run ins w the police for meddling.

    24. M&M Mom*

      I just received Master Slave Husband Wife from the library a few days ago. This was a recent recommendation from Alison. Today I was on the Boston Public Library website, it turns out the author is speaking tomorrow, and I have registered for their virtual book discussion. So now I have to really get reading!

      1. Clisby*

        Oh, that’s about the Crafts’ escaping from slavery? They wrote their own book about it as well – “Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.”

    25. PhyllisB*

      If anyone enjoys Agatha Christie, you might like Sophie Hannah’s series based on Hercule Poirot. I just read the first one, The Monogram Murders and enjoyed it.

      1. PhyllisB*

        Hit send too quickly. Just wanted to comment that Hercule Poirot was more emotional in this book; I don’t think he ever lost his temper in the Agatha Christie novels.

  6. CTT*

    Favorite tofu recipes, please! I’m trying to cook more, especially on weeknights, so quick recipes are especially preferred.

    1. HomebodyHouseplant*

      Maybe not that interesting but I often crumble extra firm tofu and scramble it with eggs. You could add veggies to your scramble, I like spinach, zucchini, peppers, onions, etc. Add a sauce if you like. I typically do 3oz tofu to 2 large eggs, it’s a solid meal because the tofu just kind of mixes with the egg texture and bulks up the recipe with protein without taking away from everything. I mainly eat this for breakfasts but you could absolutely adapt the flavors for dinner. Another thing I like to do is to toss tofu cubes or strips with cornstarch and your choice of spice, and fry it until crispy. Then you can eat it however you like, like on a salad or sandwich or with some noodles etc. Tofu is so fun! My current favorite is the extra firm high protein tofu from Trader Joe’s.

    2. Tacos!*

      Crumble extra firm tofu (first press out some of the liquid) & cook on high-ish heat to drive off the water & take the crumbles from mushy to crumbly & add some taco seasoning. Add the usual taco toppings.

    3. AcademiaNut*

      One of my favourite tofu preparations is to take 100 layer tofu (the stuff that’s been frozen and then thawed to make it spongy, I’m not sure what it’s called in English), slicing it, pan frying in a bit of oil until crispy, and dipping in Thai sweet chili sauce.

      Silken tofu makes a good side dish topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and either grated ginger or Japanese fish flakes.

      Egg drop soup with cubed silken tofu or sliced tofu skin, tomato wedges, bok choy, green onion, and a broth of chicken stock, finely julienned ginger and a splash of soy sauce.

    4. GoryDetails*

      There’s a line of seasoning mixes – Sun-bird is one brand – with flavors like Szechuan or General Tso’s; they’re meant for use with chicken, but I’ve used them with tofu for a quick meal.

    5. turtles in tuxes*

      Kind of a take on bibimbap. Make some rice, then fry veggies (I cook separately) – generally broccoli, and sometimes pumpkin in sesame oil. Fry tofu in sesame oil. Put on top of rice, add sliced carrot and cucumber. Sometimes I fry the carrot, sometimes not. Serve with kimchi. It takes me about 30-40 min from start to finish to make that for 3 people. (would take less time for fewer people). If you want lightly fry an egg and put on top. Make sure the yolk is runny, so you can pierce the yolk and have it run through your food.

    6. Alex*

      I really love the mango peanut tofu wraps/bowls (two different recipes but similar) on the recipe website cookie and kate. Generally a great site for vegetarian recipes in general (and I’m not even vegetarian, but still love her recipes).

    7. HannahS*

      For very quick: miso soup with tofu. I use dashi packets (like a fishy teabag) which are not vegetarian, but I think dashi powder often is/can be vegetarian. I brew dashi like tea in a bowl, stir in some miso paste, and put in some soft tofu. So good, so soothing. If I have rice, I’ll add it, which is likely not authentic but does make a complete protein (I think?)

    8. Lilo*

      I do a tofu stir fry with basically whatever veggies I have around (peppers, onions, peas, baby corn), and peanut sauce (teriyaki peanut butter, and lime). It’s my secret weapon for getting my kid to eat more veggies.

      If you have time, I’ve found tofu holds up better in stir fry if you cut it up and pre bake it (just on parchment in the oven until it take on some color).

    9. Snell*

      If you’re not from a background where eating tofu comes naturally and effortlessly, BBC Good Food’s eggless mayo sandwiches recipe might be the easy, unintimidating recipe for you. For a time my habit was to make a batch for myself, and when I got home from work, just slop on the filling on a slice of bread. I don’t always have cress/similar greens on hand, but I do enjoy it with the greens, so I do that when I can and I recommend it to you. No complaints if it is without the cress, though.

      If tofu is unfamiliar to you but you still feel adventurous, how does Maangchi’s tofu pickles sound? That’s another one that you prepare beforehand (it’s a pickle, so naturally it improves if you give it time to sit). I particularly like this one because it comes with a built-in serving suggestion to serve with rice or noodles (I prefer this with rice) and/or mix a bit of the brine with the rice.

    10. Anon attorney*

      check out sophsplantkitchen on Instagram, she does a lot of tofu dishes. Some are fiddly but some are quick.

      also try marinating firm tofu chunks in gochujang, mirin and olive oil then stir fry

    11. Falling Diphthong*

      This looks long, but it’s just “toss tofu with a couple things, toss broccoli with a couple things, and bake them while you make the sauce in a blender.”

      Tofu and Broccoli with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

      1 block extra-firm tofu
      1 T peanut or other oil
      1 T soy sauce
      1 T cornstarch

      1-2 heads broccoli
      2 T peanut or other oil
      salt and pepper

      1 T sesame seeds
      4 T peanuts
      1 tsp minced ginger
      1 small garlic clove
      2 T soy sauce
      2 T toasted sesame oil
      1 T unseasoned rice vinegar
      pinch of brown sugar or honey

      sliced scallions
      hot sauce

      Drain and press tofu.

      Heat oven to 400°. Cut tofu into 1” cubes, toss with oil, soy, and cornstarch, spread on parchment-lined sheet. Pour 1 T oil onto second baking sheet, cut broccoli into bite-size pieces (including slicing stems if present), place on sheet, drizzle with more oil and salt and pepper.

      Bake 20 minutes. Turn things over and bake another 10 minutes. Possibly bake one longer at this point.

      While it bakes, blitz sauce ingredients in food processor. Toss tofu and broccoli with sauce in bowl, top with scallions, serve with hot sauce.

      Source: Smitten Kitchen Everyday

    12. Tofu is my favorite*

      I love this recipe from From My Bowl for Cashew Tofu. She also has a great Orange Tofu recipe. These bake for a little while but they’re super easy to make and taste amazing:



      These tofu lettuce wraps from Hot For Food are also easy: https://www.hotforfoodblog.com/recipes/easy-recipes/2023/07/26/sweet-soy-tofu-lettuce-cups/

      And Edgy Veg has some good quick tofu recipes too like:

      Easy Marinated Tofu: https://www.theedgyveg.com/2020/02/09/easy-marinated-tofu/

      Tofu Banh Mi: https://www.theedgyveg.com/2023/08/04/tofu-banh-mi/

      Vegan Egg Salad: https://www.theedgyveg.com/2021/10/07/vegan-egg-salad-recipe/

    13. BlueCactus*

      The budget bytes honey sriracha tofu is TO DIE FOR. The spicy honey glaze really takes it to the next level, and it takes like 15 minutes. It’s one of my go-to dinners in the summer, along with their cold peanut noodle salad, which I meal prep on the weekend. Links in reply.

    14. Fellow Traveller*

      The quickest way I eat tofu is just raw, topped with a drizzle of soy sauce and chopped up scallions. Sometimes also add kimchi on top.

    15. AvonLady Barksdale*

      The quickest thing I do is toss tofu cubes in a little oil and salt and then roast at 400 for about 35 minutes. I’ll put broccoli on the sheet pan as well. I serve both over rice or bulgur with a tahini sauce.

      Recently I’ve been making a lot of tofu piccata which is super easy– there are a bunch of recipes out there.

      1. carcinization*

        Yep, I like that one and I haven’t liked eggplant since I was a child (basically I quit liking eggplant when I started to be able to eat things like avocado, raw tomato, cooked onion, and bell pepper!), so that’s saying something!

    16. Rose is a rose is a rose*

      I really like the Budget Bytes coconut crusted tofu – you do need to press the tofu, which takes about 30 minutes – but after that it is very quick.

    17. Girasol*

      I have a recipe for Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken that modifies well for extra firm tofu with veggies. Dust tofu squares with 1T cornmeal, 1/2 tsp each ginger and garlic, and some red pepper flakes. Saute them in oil while you thin slice veggies, like carrot, cabbage, and onion. Drop the veggies into the tofu skillet with any other veggies you like (snow peas are good). Put a lid on and steam until the veggies are just barely cooked. Add 1T each soy sauce, sherry, and sesame oil and stir for a few seconds until the sauce is slightly thickened.

    18. AvocadoQueen*

      Mapo tofu! One of my favorite meals. You can find great recipes from Fuschia Dunlop, Mala Market, and SeriousEats has a vegan one with mushrooms that’s amazing.

    19. I take tea*

      Fit Green Mind on YouTube has a lot of good and quick tofu recepies. One of my favourite is the baked peanut tofu one.

      Make a sauce with peanut butter, lime juice, soy sauce and water. Season with chili, dried ginger and garlic powder. Mix, put on an oven tray and drizzle some maple syrup or agave on top. Add sesame seeds if you like them. Bake until crispy. Even my tofu sceptic mother askes for more when I cook this.

      I recommend her channel generally for really tasty and quick vegan stuff. She does like the maple syrup a lot, but so do I.

    20. violinosaur*

      I second mapo tofu, but also love adding (cubed) silken or crumbed hard tofu into pesto pasta (usually instead of chicken for me). Cook it briefly on a frying pan with herbs/shallots/cherry tomatoes for flavour. If you use silken, don’t stir too much when you mix it with the pasta and then pesto. Or do – you won’t notice the tofu but it will be creamy? Not the most exciting but very quick and easy!

      1. EAS*

        Our simple go-to for tofu (that my 8 year old loves!): I take extra firm tofu, press out the water, cut into 8 slabs, and add to a mix of tamari with some toasted sesame oil, laid flat (8×8 square pan works well). Let soak while preparing other veg (longer is better but even a short soak will work), turning a few times. Then heat vegetable oil in a nonstick pan (maybe 1 tbsp?), coat tofu in cornstarch, then add and fry on both sides until crispy. Delicious!

    21. carcinization*

      I probably won’t be the only one suggesting this, but maybe take a look at the ones on the Budget Bytes site? The recipes there are usually fairly simple/quick and she has some good tofu ones. I’m especially partial to the sweet chili tofu bowls (I cook the bell pepper and green onions for them though) and the sesame tofu with broccoli, but something else might strike your fancy. My husband also voted for Smitten Kitchen’s Black Pepper Tofu & Eggplant recipe, but that one might be a bit more fiddly.

    22. anonagain*

      I have used this marinade on tofu (I’ve also baked it instead of grilling): https://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/maple-grilled-tempeh-recipe.html

      Soy and lime is another nice combination for a tofu marinade.

      Tofu scrambles are one of my favorite ways to prepare tofu and you don’t always have to do the traditional flavors. Here are a couple different options: https://www.vegkitchen.com/8-tofu-scramble-recipes-for-vegan-brunch/
      I haven’t used those recipes specifically because I improvise my scrambles but it’s good inspiration at least.

      Tofu ricotta is another one of my favorite ways to use tofu. This lasagna recipe is written for a slow cooker but the pumpkin tofu ricotta is so good that I have made it on its own too (I do love the lasagna): https://healthyslowcooking.com/slow-cooker-protein-packed-pumpkin-lasagna/
      The recipe as written usually has leftover ricotta that I like to put on toast.

    23. NB*

      It’s not quick (it’s a slow cooker recipe), but one of my favorites is “Meatiest Vegetarian Chili” on Allrecipes. It’s hearty and delicious. But I do cut back on the chili powder. You can figure out your preferred spiciness level.

  7. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Share what you’ve been playing and give or request recs. All games are welcome, not just video games.

    I haven’t played a ton this week since I was out of town for part of it, but earlier in the week I played some more Dr. Mario. I’ve been enjoying it a lot; generally I play more complicated RPG type games, but it’s nice to play something simpler for awhile with no story line at all.

    1. HomebodyHouseplant*

      Discovered this adorable game called “Hidden Through Time” specifically “Hidden Through Time 2”. It’s kind of like I spy/Hidden object. But the levels are so charming and it is quite challenging! But what’s really got me hooked is you can design your own levels and share them online, and subsequently play other people’s levels. It’s really really fun and not overly stressful. I play on Nintendo Switch but I know it’s on PC (not sure about other platforms)

    2. Mad Harry Crewe*

      I went back to Hades after losing my nearly-100% save two years ago. I’ve missed it and I’m glad to be back.

    3. My poor horsey!*

      I’ve been playing chess! After around three decades away from the game, I’m playing (or at least making moves) daily and finally learning some strategy, instigated by a faraway friend who suggested playing together online. Mostly playing at chess dot com, but I picked up a vintage travel set from my parents recently—perfect size to fit in our game storage area—and also played my dad with their (also vintage) ivory set on an onyx board. It’s nice to feel perfectly fine with being pretty bad at something.

      Today I started my first Chess960 game! …And only afterward looked up basic opening strategy, of course.

      1. Deuce of Gears*

        Chess! I’ve got to resume playing! I started (essentially) in 2020 and, uh. It’s a work in progress. I played a bit at lichess.org and am not good, but I too need to resume studying basic opening strategy. Are there any resources you like particularly? I really liked Polgár’s Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations, and Games (have gotten through the mate in one puzzles) and the Bobby Fischer beginner book that I am failing to find.

        1. My poor horsey!*

          I’m only really looking at the chess dot com offerings (video lessons, puzzles, and game review) and occasionally googling specific things, though I typically find myself directed back to the same site. I like game review in particular, as it’ll play out both my move and the best move, and it’s often the case that as I look at the board a second time, I see better moves or better identify threats than I did in the game originally.

          For Chess960, I googled basic and opening strategies, but that’s it. I did not win the game, unsurprisingly.

    4. Gozer (She/Her)*

      Diablo 3 to try and get my seasonal character through all the achievements! I really want to play Baldurs Gate 3 but have to upgrade the PC massively first.

      I really like those kind of loot drop pew pew games that aren’t first person perspective so recommended ones gratefully received.

      1. A Girl Named Fred*

        Not sure if this is the type of game you meant, but have you tried Warframe? My boyfriend LOVES it and keeps telling me I would love the story (and from what he’s told me, I agree with him). But it’s one of those third person shooter games with grinds to get certain weapon upgrades or whatever, and any time I try to watch him play I get slightly motion sick. If you like third person pew pews though it may be a good one for you!

        1. Gozer (She/Her)*

          I tried Borderlands because it’s the same kind of grind and loot but the first person perspective made me sick. I’ve hears of Warframe but I thought it was another Call of Duty thing. Very glad to hear it’s not. Will give it a go.

    5. Forensic13*

      I’ve started playing the Disney-themed Magic the Gathering-style card game, Lorcana. It’s quite fun! It’s not as intense as MTG, which makes it a lot more fun for me.

      1. The Dude Abides*

        I’ve been waiting for the new set to drop this weekend before picking up 2-3 starter decks and playmats. I have a Disney-obsessed daughter with a birthday coming up, so my plan is to get everything for a “Lorcana game night.”

        I’m a long-time Magic player (pushing 25 years), so the grokkable rules made it a draw for me.

    6. YouwantmetodoWHAT?! *

      I’ve started Final Fantasy 14! I’ve only played a few times, but I’ve got my character (Roegadyn Sea Wolf) and am slowly leveling up. I’m having a blast!

      I’ve been watching my Eldest play for years and they finally talked me into playing.

      1. Reluctant Mezzo*

        Welcome to FFXIV! Can I assume you’re in Limsa Limosin? I have a paladin whose grand company is there. I should update her hunting log, though, or she’ll never get a promotion.

    7. Excuse Me, Is This Username Taken?*

      I completed Stardew Valley (by which I mean, I reached perfection and feel satisfied that I don’t need to keep playing the game). I had no idea what I was getting into when I started, but I really ended up enjoying it!

    8. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      I just finished the Dondoko Island sideplot in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. Serious Crime Drama Animal Crossing. yep. Am I glad to get back to the main story? Sure. Am I going to go back and do bananapants shit with my island later? You bet!

  8. Dannie*

    I am shopping for wrist/ankle weights for calisthenics. Any particular models or brands you’d recommend? (Just names/stores is fine so as to not cause a ton of mod work approving URLs.) I have a yearly fitness stipend of $500, so I don’t mind splashing out if it’s worthwhile to do so.

    1. HomebodyHouseplant*

      Bala bangles are pretty much the best IMHO. They fit great, look nice, and are comfortable. You can get them from several places, I’d Google and see who has the best price. I think they don’t go up that high in terms of weight, but I really like them.

      1. Jasmine*

        I bought ankle weights many years ago but have no idea the brand. I must tell you that I found them VERY useful….. they prevented my socks sliding down in my shoe! ; )

  9. goddessoftransitory*

    Low stakes fun opinion question:

    What popular food or entertainment trend do you personally dislike? I’m talking purely matters of personal taste.

    For me, it’s salted caramel or chocolate. I do not wish salty and sweet things to be combined, thank you very much.

          1. RC*

            I’ve never been a huge fan of cashews, but cashew FRUIT JUICE? I actually kind of really enjoyed? It’s astringent and I just really dug it (and I’ve never seen it anywhere outside the north of Brasil). Also, did you know cashews come in fruit?? (I didn’t, until that one time they had juice)

            1. the cat's pajamas*

              It’s so good! I discovered it at the Brazilian bakery by me. The local Brazilian grocery store also carries a concentrate version.

            2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

              Not in fruit so much as on fruit. Google “cashew apple” for a picture – the nut grows from the bottom of a brightly colored fruit. They look a little like an upside down bell pepper where the cashew would be the stem.

        1. JSPA*

          there are a lot of types of avocado; watery, buttery, rich, vegetal… as much of a range as apples, though in a different way. I love avocados, and belive i know how to choose them, but will still often get a bad one / unappealing one.

          1. Observer*

            Yes. And the differences in flavor and taste are astonishing.

            Also, the difference between a ripe avocado and an *over*ripe one, can be amazing.

        1. RC*

          I think we’ve found the people who live very far from avocadoland :)

          (But seriously, I can see how grocery store avocados imported over long distances and times would give them a bad rep but I swear they do have a flavor and I enjoy it, anyway)

          1. vombatus ursinus*

            As an Australian living in northern Europe, I can attest that avocados grown nearby taste wayyy better! :( I would probably also believe I disliked avocados if I had grown up here …

            1. Charlotte Lucas*

              Ehhh… I live where there’s a great variety of different kinds of beer. If you like beer, you can find one to your taste quite easily. But I don’t like beer, so none of them appeal to me. And I have a feeling that I would not like even the World’s Best Avocado.

              1. Reluctant Mezzo*

                My daughter once worked on the avocado marketing board for the state of California, and was going to be in charge of a huge promotion. Alas, a Big Drought hit and there were no or very few avocados that year.

    1. HomebodyHouseplant*

      “charcuterie board” when it’s not even charcuterie…it’s a freaking snack plate. Which is great! But words mean things. I also agree with the avocado person, I’m a vegetarian and every freaking recipe has avocado. I HATE avocado. Ugh.

          1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

            I have a lot of weird food sensitivities (mostly texture/taste, not like medical) and have contemplated that the biggest thing keeping me an omnivore is the fact that I can’t eat eggs, nuts, mushrooms, tofu, or most raw vegetables. (Or avocados, actually, that one is medical, they give me an upset stomach. Which is frustrating because I do like them.)

            1. consider the critters*

              If your reason for not wanting to be an omnivore is an ethical concern for animals, which I assume by the way you phrased things, you can still have a vegan philosophy by the definition of the Vegan Society!

              It’s involves excluding exploitation of and cruelty to other animals from one’s life “as far as is possible and practicable.” I take that to mean doing one’s best to exclude those things, given constraints.

              Imo, someone who eats an ominvorous diet due to mental or physical limits can still be doing what is “practicable and possible” for them. Other people might not agree, and there isn’t a way to determine if someone else is going their best, but if it’s more related to thinking about your own ethical approach, you can figure out if you’re doing your best and feel better about your own ethics.

              In your case, it would mean doing your best to eat non-animal foods as much as possible, such as by doing more research, spending more money/time, or doing more cooking. Since you expressed regret about eating an ominvorous diet, I’m guessing you might already doing that. And, maybe easier for you, it would also mean replacing other things with vegan and cruelty free versions, like makeup, body care, clothing, and household products. Again, you might already be doing that, but it’s something to consider if you aren’t and you have this ethical concern about your effect on other animals.

              1. Every Little Bit Helps*

                I love this comment- thank you for posting it! If more people do what they can instead trying to being perfectly vegan all the time, it makes a huge impact.

              2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

                I do try to be ethical in my consumption, and this is an awesome comment, I appreciate the thoughtfulness!

          2. Charlotte Lucas*

            I love chickpeas and tofu! (But I do believe many people had poor introductions to tofu, because you have to know what you’re doing when cooking it.)

            1. Reluctant Mezzo*

              I have one of those enzyme things where I would have to order Beano by the pallet, so I can’t have too much tofu.

        1. Sled dog mama*

          I used the be a vegetarian and I’m allergic to mushrooms. It’s hard enough eating out when you’re a “I tend to pick meatless dishes” allergic to mushrooms. But why does every single vegetarian dish have to contain mushrooms?

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            Probably because, barring specialty ones, they’re cheap filler and used to bulk out dishes. I dislike them and skip them in recipes, myself.

            1. Clisby*

              Not a vegetarian, but part of it might be that mushrooms have sort of a “meaty” taste and texture. (At least, to me.)

          2. Hastily Blessed Fritos*

            They have a meaty texture and most of them (except maybe super cheap white button mushrooms) have a lot of umami?

      1. Madame Arcati*

        I don’t think that’s caught on as a term here (I think we are still calling it a sharing plate or something) but I have seen it on the interweb and I think every time, it’s not charcuterie! Half of it is cheese for one thing. Charcuterie is cured meat products, mostly pork, and if you are serving some on a board* then maybe some accompaniments like condiments and pickled stuff. But not a load of cheese and bread and prawns and stuff.
        *I’ll add, the trend for serving food on chopping boards, slates etc. Plates are shaped like that to stop the food falling off I refuse to eat like a carpenter or roofer who has been thrown out of home.

        1. WellRed*

          There was a thing online awhile back called “give us plates!” It featured photos of restaurant dishes served in “creative,” ways.

        1. Irina*

          Ooh yes! We used to specifically ask for a plate at our favourite lunch place (under new management now and not a favourite any more) because the food was excellent but it came on/in all kinds of “creative” things, like flowerpots, roof tiles, boards made of wooden slats so little bits fell through…

            1. zaracat*

              at least slate is non absorbent and has a long history of being used in contact with food eg in cold larders

    2. Jackalope*

      In romance novels there’s a current trend (not sure how far it goes back) of the “third act breakup”. The couple breaks up partway through and then gets back together, often through an improbable Grand Gesture. I hate the idea that every couple would break up and then get back together again, and I wish authors would go back to finding a different way to add tension.

      1. Zidy*

        It’s definitely an old trope – I remember it in romance novels I read that were published in the 80s and 90s. And honestly, it’s pretty common in romcom movies too. I agree, it’s tiresome. Like, what’s wrong with a good danger scare for tension instead?

        1. Jackalope*

          Right?? Or (to borrow a few examples from romance novels without this) a fight with the family who doesn’t think the spouse to be is worthy, or a legal entanglement for one of them that must be resolved, a shared goal that must be reached together…. There are so many options that don’t involve a breakup.

    3. Dannie*

      Similar to your reasoning: chocolate with peanut butter is an abomination. Peanut butter should be salty, not sweet.

        1. Irina*

          Me too, and also salted caramel, which I think I invented before it became a hype. (Things like that get invented by many different people all the time, of course.)

      1. Reluctant Mezzo*

        Skippy’s Superchunk has changed their recipe (the jars with the blue lids) to be more oily and less thick. Do Not Like. I know they did it to keep the price down, but I would rather pay more and get *real* peanut butter.

      2. Oh yeah, Me again*

        Me too! And every year more of our nation’s chocolate supply is contaminated with peanut butter! I don’t like chocolate-covered peanuts either. Both are great, but they just doesn’t go together. Might as well serve chocolate-covered shrimp.

    4. EveryDayICheckMyEmailandForWhat*

      I do not want girl dinner. Light dinner, sure, quick bite, absolutely, but please don’t ask me to go get girl dinner.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        As a male with hypoglycemia, I find “girl dinner” disgusting and offensive. I’m right there with you. I need to eat like a cow, not like a snake. This has nothing to do with gender, and everything to do with physiology.

          1. Shiny Penny*

            “Small amounts at a time, really frequently” is what I take from that. Like cows, horses, goats, rabbits…
            As opposed to snakes, who (usually) eat one meal of alarming size, very rarely.

          1. RagingADHD*

            IDK, I think there’s a lot of baggage about the stereotype that it is inherently more feminine to eat tiny “dainty” meals and more masculine to have a big appetite. You can call it silly, but it actually is playing on some really longstanding sexist tropes.

            The fact that you aren’t bothered by sexist tropes doesn’t mean other people are “taking things too seriously” if they are bothered.

            1. MissElizaTudor*

              Agreed! I don’t find it offensive or even all that sexist, if at all, but I can easily see the argument that it is at least one of those things.

              As far as I can tell, this is a man with a medical issue affecting how he has to eat, and he’s saying that he’s bothered by a gendered trope about who eats small/light meals or eats over time instead of in one big meal.

              This isn’t usually the sort of place that tells people pointing out sexism and being bothered by it is just them not being able to take a joke, and it’s annoying to see it happen in this case.

              1. ThatGirl*

                I dunno, I think a man bothered by a silly term that happens to be gendered could be read as sexism on his part. But really, my main thought was this is not a real problem, “girl dinner” isn’t even that widely used, and people will forget it in three months.

                1. Morning Reading*

                  But this thread is about saying trends we dislike, no? So it’s apparently a trend (the phrase “girl dinner”) even if you and I haven’t heard of it. Could it be sexist to dislike a sex-stereotyping phrase? I don’t think so. Also we don’t need to say why we don’t like something. Most of my dislikes are admittedly irrational.

            2. ThatGirl*

              It was invented on TikTok by a woman (girl?). It’s a jokey poke at stereotypes, just like “girl math”. I just don’t have the energy to be angry about it, and the person above seems to be a man offended by the idea that he might have anything in common with women.

          2. Observer*

            It’s silly at worst, not offensive

            To YOU.

            I’m not telling you that you need to be offended, but people have good reason to be offended. For one thing, “girl” is juvenile, and it’s really out of line to assume any meal that’s lightweight is juvenile. It’s also highly gendered. Like eating lightly is a woman’s thing (probably because she’s “obsessed” with her weight.)

        1. Girasol*

          I thought “girl dinner” just meant that the girl was too lazy to make a proper meal and just ate whatever there was handy that looked appealing, like a piece of chocolate, a pickle, the last of the ice cream, and two pieces of toast. As a woman I eat frequent small meals focused on fruits, veggies, and protein, but I never thought of those as “girl dinner.”

          1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

            I thought that was a snack meal, at least that’s what I’ve called it for about half a century.

              1. Clisby*

                We call it “Every man for himself.”

                Our kids used to love it because there was no pressure to eat a balanced meal – just eat those leftovers so we could start over.

    5. ThatOtherClare*

      Incredibly unpopular opinion: short video format, i.e. YouTube Shorts, TikToks, ye olde gifs etc. Short videos make me instantaneously incredibly frustrated. I don’t know why. I’d very much like to like them, since so many other people do and they’re absolutely everywhere. But something snaps in my brain every time and instead they just annoy me to the point of irrational rage.

      1. zaracat*

        I hate YouTube shorts as a format because you can’t block individual creators like you can with a regular YouTube channel, if the content happens not to be to your taste.

        1. JSPA*

          ??? I pull up and use the “don’t show me this channel” menu option on the shorts, and it seems 95% effective, except when people game the system with multiple channels. I suspect the algorithm eventually over rides, if you look at a lot of what it feels to be related material… but the block does work for a while. (Though it seems it won’t affect what’s already in the current chain-of-swipes. But if you back out of that and then re- engage, I think it works?)

      2. fallingleavesofnovember*

        I just don’t like video content in general, I would always prefer to read on the internet (e.g., news). Otherwise I have to have headphones, or everyone else around me will hear/be disturbed by what I am watching.

        1. allathian*

          Some videos include subtitles if you watch them with the sound off. Otherwise I agree with you, I’m a fast reader and find videos a waste of time.

        2. Goldfeesh*

          I’ve been feeling like an old person recently- I don’t want to watch things on the internet. The internet is for reading things, not watching! *yells at clouds* I’m really understanding that I predate Youtube and I don’t like that all the new social media wants to force you into viewing everything.

        3. They Don’t Make Sunday*

          YES. For me it’s switching formats that bugs me. If I am in the mood to watch something, I’ll find something to watch. If a website tries to lure me to watch a video while I’m trying to read, I am annoyed and definitely won’t. I am in charge of what medium I am using, not the outlet. I find it so presumptuous that I would just change what I want to be doing because they put a video player in my way.

      3. RagingADHD*

        I like the ones that actually give you a complete joke, thought, or fun fact. The ones that cut off in the middle are infuriating.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Ha! I have so many friends who love beets, but when I try them, they all taste like dirt.

        On the other had, I absolutely love mushrooms, but I have a friend who hates them (but who likes beets) and when I asked him what mushrooms taste like to him, he said they taste like dirt.

        TL;DR: taste buds are weird and highly indivualized.

      2. Not Totally Subclinical*

        Beets are a food that I keep trying every few years to see if I like them now. After all, it worked with spinach, other leafy greens, and winter squash. Nope. Still can’t stand beets.

        (Beet greens? Sure, I’m happy to eat those. But not the roots.)

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I find with beets that a little goes a long way. But I love Swiss chard, which is very closely related.

        1. JSPA*

          More vinegar and some salt (and not adding sugar) will cut the earthiness a bit. Balsamic also seems to block it a bit.

          (Luckily I like earthiness, beets and mushrooms stop me from wanting to taste fresh-turned earth.)

        1. Girasol*

          Shredded beets are good in a red cabbage cole slaw. Beet sticks – like carrot sticks – make a nice nibble with a good dip. Cooked beets are kinda meh, I think.

      3. vombatus ursinus*

        If you want to give them one more chance, golden beetroot has a less earthy taste than the red!

      4. tree frog*

        There are quite a few things I like eating but at the same time I recognize that they are kind of gross. Beets are one of these–I can taste the dirt in them but it doesn’t bother me. I also kind of like the taste of soap so there’s that.

    6. Not A Manager*

      Well, I wouldn’t call it a “trend.” As far as I can tell no one likes it. But Star$s trying to foist olive oil off on coffee.

      1. mreasy*

        I only ever go to Starbs on road trips and the last time was a few weeks ago – I was truly shocked that they are still trying to make their coffee/olive oil thing happen. Like, maybe there is a region of Italy where this is traditional and it’s worth a try? But I’m not gonna get into it at Starbucks! It’s so weird.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          If they’re so hot on olive oil, maybe they can add some to their baked goods, so they won’t be so dry. ,(Still traumatized by a terrible pumpkin scone I had there years ago. How did they manage to make something with pumpkin in it so, so dry?!)

      2. Panicked*

        If you go on the SB subreddit, it’s almost entirely people bashing Oleato. I feel like they could have capitalized during the whole “bulletproof coffee” trend years ago, but now it’s just sad. No one wants to drink oily over-priced coffee.

    7. Morning Reading*

      OMG this is a dangerous question for a curmudgeon who usually keeps her opinions to herself:
      Restaurants with no human server, customer has to interact with an appliance or app to order anything.
      Pumpkin spice.
      Male performers who grab their crotch.
      Female performers who show too much skin (why are they half dressed when the men are clothed?)
      IPA craft beers.
      Movies with more explosions and chase scenes than plot.
      Snarky children in sitcoms who sass their parents.

      1. RagingADHD*

        The coffee counter in the lobby of my office building has 2 staff members, and neither of them take orders or payment. All orders must be input and paid at a tablet on the front edge of the counter.

        Right in front of their faces.

        It’s never busy, so you they just have to stand there pretending they can’t see you while you input everything. I usually try to make conversation, but it is hella awkward.

      2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I actually prefer when I can just put in my own order, as long as there’s options for customization. Cuts down on the number of people who can get it wrong, and I don’t feel like someone is judging me for not wanting lettuce and tomato on my burgers. :P

        1. Jackalope*

          Soooo… not that long ago I was in another country with my husband. I am fluent in the local language, so I was doing most of the ordering and such. We went to a McDonald’s because he was wanting familiar food; relevantly, he eats there somewhat on the regular but I don’t like their food so I don’t, and I don’t know what most of their special names for dishes are. This McDonald’s had only a computer to order, and it was SO HARD. Some of the dishes were in English, some were in the local language, some of them were the same special names as in the US, some of them were local special names, and the ingredients were a mishmash (imagine something like calling lettuce McLett or something like that, so there was an added layer of language needed because it wasn’t a real word). We finally managed it, but I would 100% have preferred to talk to a real person that I could have asked questions of.

        2. Observer*

          I actually prefer when I can just put in my own order, as long as there’s options for customization. Cuts down on the number of people who can get it wrong

          Agreed. It’s one thing when you go to a place where you want to ask for some advice or recommendations. But for a Pizza with different topping choices? Especially if you are ordering something less common that sounds similar to the “standard” option? Kiosk all the way.

      3. goddessoftransitory*

        I despise the app trend at restaurants, and am apparently not alone; every place we go has paper menus available on request.

        I don’t have a mobile phone but from what I understand, the young’uns don’t wish to clutter theirs with rando apps from coffee shops and the like when they just want a damn sandwich already.

        1. Observer*

          the young’uns don’t wish to clutter theirs with rando apps from coffee shops and the like when they just want a damn sandwich already.

          Agreed. What I like are the kiosks. When done well, I prefer them to the staff at the register for most situations like this.

      4. Busy Middle Manager*

        I feel curmudgeonly so will nest here:-)

        I hate when places and trends try to reinvent something that is not new and doesn’t need reinventing.

        For example all the salad places near my office switched from “meat” to “protein.” “would you like a protein.” Oh ok a meat, and rarely you have tofu. So a meat. Why switch up the verbiage, insinuating the selection changed

        Or the way menus everywhere highlighted “sea salt” five or so years ago as if salt was this revolutionary new ingredient. Every brunch place switched from “fries” to “sea salt fries” as if it wasn’t already ubiquitous that fries were going to be covered in salt. I mean, I’ve spent $10 on a tiny vile of artesian salt just because I wanted to try out a new fancy place with a neat spice rack. But at the end of the day, it’s salt.

        Lastly I hate how to many people tried to become cooking youtubers/instagramers. So many are just so bad. Hundreds of people throwing raw veggies and meat on a baking sheet and pretending that makes them Julia Child.

        1. They Don’t Make Sunday*

          I am with you on menu embellishment. FARM EGG. Come on. Literally every egg served in a restaurant comes from a farm. If not a small farm, a factory farm. So, a farm.

        2. talos*

          I’m a vegetarian, and asking me if I want “meat” when tofu is an option is a great way to confuse me (and possibly cause me to never come to your restaurant if I don’t see tofu under “meat” in the online menu)

        3. Observer*

          For example all the salad places near my office switched from “meat” to “protein.” “would you like a protein.

          Well, yes if all you have is ONE protein, that’s fine. But in many places, there are actually multiple choices and if they are all the same price it’s easier to deal with that way.

      5. Emily Byrd Starr*

        So, if the men wore more revealing clothing, would you be okay with women women doing the same?

    8. Seashell*

      You all may send all your sea salt caramel, avocado, and chocolate + peanut butter to me. Yum.

      I have never read or seen a Harry Potter book/movie, and I think the last superhero movie I saw all the way through starred Michael Keaton.

      1. WellRed*

        So tired of the whole Marvel Universe schtick with its origin stories and stories and sequels aimed at, I guess, dragging out every character ever created to keep the franchise moving. And yeah, take Harry Potter with you!

        1. Jean (just Jean)*

          Your comment makes me imagine a long line of dejected cartoon and superhero characters trudging sadly into the sunset. And all the Harry Potter characters scrambling to join in.

          I’m not a disliker of Harry Potter. I loved the way children fell into deep reading trances whenever a new book was published.

          About the Marvel Universe, I’m “meh.” Haven’t gone to see any of the movies, or read any of the comics, but I don’t care if others enjoy them.

    9. Bazzalikeschasingbirds*

      Bacon. I can take it or leave it. At one time on Instagram every dish had bacon added to it.

      1. Jackalope*

        I enjoy adding bacon to a handful of soups where it melts and adds some nice flavor. It I’ve never been able to understand the obsession with eating it in everything else. And especially plain; strips of bacon are generally either crunchy and dry or soggy and fatty. (I’m not against eating fat; I recognize that that’s part of the draw with adding a bit of bacon to soups. But just chomping on it by itself squicks me out.)

      1. Busy Middle Manager*

        I “get it” it’s just so oversaturated. If you scroll too long in youtube shorts, you see alot of stuff that overlaps with tiktok (I guess the creators post in both places) and there are way too many people trying to be career gurus, cooking gurus, life coaches, financial coaches, etc. Nothing like watching videos of people who are barely 30 who look like they’re in their tiny dirty bedroom, preaching about the 12 steps to financial freedom! As if they have any cred to be discussing the topic

    10. Alex*

      Unpopular opinion: I miss laugh tracks in sitcoms. It just lightened up the whole thing for me. I also like being told when to laugh. It makes things easier for me!

      1. Busy Middle Manager*

        Me too, the funny part is when I see people complain about laugh tracks for shows that actually had live audiences, like Friends. Like they can’t comprehend that some people likes the shows:-).

      2. David*

        Oh interesting, this is the first time I’ve ever seen anyone refer in a positive way to the idea that a laugh track tells you when to laugh.

        I’m sure you know how trendy it is for people online to say that laugh tracks are bad because they (the people) don’t need to be told when to laugh. Personally I hate that trend. I always go on a little rant in my head about how that’s not what laugh tracks (or live audience laughter, same deal) are for, and how many people are perfectly capable of figuring out what they want to laugh at without relying on a laugh track… but if there are people like you who actually do use laugh tracks that way and get enjoyment out of it, that’s pretty cool. TIL

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        It’s like what should be an enjoyable treat instead decide to have a fistfight with itself in my mouth.

    11. HannahS*

      TV shows and movies about unhappy people. My whole workday is mostly unhappy people and I just want escapism and comedy.

      1. Jay*

        I watch a lot of “First Time Reaction” videos on YouTube.
        The great comedy’s of the 70’s and 80’s are my favorites.
        I’ve watched young people in their early 20’s have literal breakdowns during Monty Python And The Holy Grail, completely unable to handle it. People who have had to stop the movie because they were laughing so hard they actually hurt themselves. People who have begun to look at Mel Brooks with something approaching religious awe.
        I think a sea change is coming. More shows/movies that are just joy for the sake of joy. They gave Brooks a new show already because of it and I expect more to follow.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I had a friend who hadn’t seen MST3K; I showed her Attack of The The Eye Creatures and at the line “from a bagelwich??” she literally fell out of her chair laughing!

        2. Clisby*

          Oh, gosh, I remember when I and one of my younger brothers (the 7-years-younger one) saw The Producers on TV. “Springtime for Hitler!” We could not stop laughing.

      2. Maggie*

        Yeah, I do watch some serious shows, but I want my TV watching to be like 90% funny/light. Sorry I just want to have FUN and be joyful!

      3. tangerineRose*

        “I just want escapism and comedy.” Yes! Me too!

        Well, mostly. I like the more gentle mysteries.

    12. SparklingBlue*

      Must every TV show nowadays be all doom and gloom? Life is already bad enough, so why pile it on even more?

    13. Donkey Hotey*

      IPAs. Seriously, I was in a brew pub in New Hampshire that there were 16 taps: 15 IPAs and a cider.

      1. Bluebell*

        Agree so much. I live in an area with lots of breweries but always have to check the menu before going. Is 90% of it IPAs and super hoppy? No thank you!

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Husband HATES the IPA trend. They’re bitter and overly hoppy, in his opinion, and he despises how they’ve pushed all other kinds of beer to the margins, especially in stores.

      3. Dannie*

        Brew bros are to blame for all the IPAs. They’re relatively easy to make, and the strong flavor covers up mistakes. Every Chad and Brad trying to start their own beer brand gravitates towards IPAs for that reason.

        The best beer is the stuff that’s been made in a monastery since the Middle Ages, like Weisse and Lambics. If you can figure it out in a month, it ain’t worth drinking.

        Source: waitressed at several breweries and took a bunch of classes as part of my onboarding

          1. carcinization*

            Yep, I like IPAs and Lambics and wheat beers and plenty of other kinds! But I don’t try to evangelize IPAs, or even beer in general, if I’m talking to someone who doesn’t like these beverages!

          2. allathian*

            True, although I look forward to celebrating 2040 with a Weihenstephaner, brewed at the Weihenstephan Abbey since 1040.

    14. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I’ll have all the salted chocolate you won’t have :) On the other hand, I can’t stand any kind of fruit-flavoured chocolate (orange and raspberry especially come to mind), chilli chocolate, and mint chocolate.

      1. Irina*

        I like caramel, mint, or orange in chocolate, but no other fruits and especially not coffee. I do like coffee! Just not things that taste like coffee and aren’t coffee, like ice cream or chocolate or cake filling.

        I have no opinion about chilli chocolate (I’d like to try it to acquire an opinion).

        1. Gozer (she/her)*

          Chilli chocolate is one of those ‘it’s kinda hard to explain’ flavours. I always say if you like Marmite you’ll like chilli chocolate though.

          1. Charlotte Lucas*

            I am constantly bumping up against chili when I want chocolate with cinnamon in it. I love chilis, but I also want chocolate with no capsaicin, please! (Mole is a delicious exception.)

            I would much rather have cinnamon with my chocolate than coffee.

        2. Cookies For Breakfast*

          I was on the fence whether to include coffee or not! I like coffee and coffee flavoured things a lot, but have a strong memory of a fancy coffee flavoured Easter egg that I hated as a teenager. Then again, I’m also sure I’ve eaten kinds of coffee chocolate that were ok too. It’s just not my go-to flavour (whereas with mint and orange it’s a lifelong aversion).

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          I’m very picky about caramel in my chocolate. I like very thick caramel, and most of the stuff used in chocolates is that thin, runny kind. For me, the ideal caramel is in the Ben and Jerry’s Caramel Sutra; probably because it’s cold and therefore a little more solid, but not “yank your fillings” sticky.

      2. RagingADHD*

        I tried wasabi chocolate once. It was interesting, but certainly not something I’d want on the regular.

      3. londonedit*

        I don’t mind chocolate orange and I love mint chocolate, but it’s a no to any other sort of chocolate/fruit combo for me. I especially dislike actual fruit with chocolate – everyone seems to love chocolate-coated strawberries but I don’t! It’s the combination of chocolate and juice from the fruit that I don’t like.

    15. The Prettiest Curse*

      Family comedies where the husband/father is basically another child. (Of course, the childish adult is never the wife/mum.) The childish dad trope helps to set up incredibly low cultural expectations for men as parents, which is probably why it’s used so much.

      And just for once, I’d like to see a show about a detective or investigator who is a relatively well-balanced person without a traumatic past, addictions etc. I appreciate the job is terrible for work/life balance and attracts obsessives, but surely they can’t all be miserable!

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Ooh that first par is a good one. I also hate the obvious cross over into real life, when you hear real people joking about the uselessness of men.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        You might check out the Fargo tv series for competent, pleasant midwestern cops just trying to do their jobs and get home to help with homework.

        For the first, I think this reflects how in fairy tales–up until very recently–the mom was always dead. Dad can be absentminded and not notice that the children are being carried off by goblins and still be a good dad; moms never get that grace.

      3. Seashell*

        I think the childish dad thing happened in response to shows like Leave It To Beaver and The Brady Bunch, where Dad was perfect and knew everything. Homer Simpson was closer to real life than those dads.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          I think the childish dad trope has been criticised enough recently that it’s becoming less common, but I have heard that the dad in the kid’s show Bluey is unrealistically perfect. So maybe the cultural trend has to be either unrealistically perfect dads or unrealistically terrible dads. Let’s have a few mediocre or good-enough dads in the mix too!

          1. londonedit*

            Really? I don’t think Bandit is unrealistically perfect! He’s a great dad but sometimes he just wants five minutes’ peace to lie on the sofa, and sometimes he causes chaos! Especially with Unicorse :) I do think some of the new series of Bluey has been more moralising than the other series but I’ve always thought the great thing about Bandit and Chilli is that they’re good parents but they get annoyed and they have their own foibles and sometimes they’re just exasperated by the whole parenting thing.

        1. carcinization*

          Was also thinking Columbo! Not sure if he’s well-balanced but he’s doing great compared to some of the more modern portrayals!

      4. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

        And the sitcoms where the dad is overweight and ugly but has a gorgeous or at minimum pretty wife

      5. allathian*

        Yeah, one reason why I enjoy Midsomer Murders so much is that all the detectives are so *ordinary* (in a good way). I’m done with the traumatized detectives who’re basically solving crimes to deal with their trauma, and the addicts as well.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Exactly! Both the leads have normal family lives and interests outside crime solving. I like me some twitchy, neurotic leads too, but too often it turns into a bag of tricks where it either inhibits them or solves the crime for them at dramatically crucial moments.

        2. I take tea*

          I’ve enjoyed reading Donna Leon, because her police is a nice family man. (Haven’t read a lot, he might change in later books, but in the four or five I’ve read he has a good family life.)

          1. allathian*

            I’ve read a dozen or so, and I agree. He remains a devoted father and husband in all the books that I’ve read.

      6. goddessoftransitory*

        The only time I’ve seen a woman be the childish adult is on the Brit comedy Absolutely Fabulous; tellingly, the American version flopped. I never saw it, but I’m willing to bet they didn’t have the nerve/cultural background to go all in on what a giant toddler Edina is at all times (albeit one who hogs out on champers and Lacroix.)

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          It’s interesting that the one show with a childish mum figure is one where there isn’t the traditional nuclear family set-up! And yeah, I hear they cut most of the fun stuff out of the US version, because American TV networks think their entire audience are Puritans, but with less sense of humour.

        2. SoloKid*

          I bet a “childish mum” would largely be seen as a “bad mum”.

          I’ve seen childish/’imperfect’ adult women on TV. April on Parks and Rec, Eleanor Shellstrop on Good Place, most of the Brooklyn 99 women..but these characters did not have kids (for their vast on screen time).

      7. Ms. Murchison*

        Any interest in political shows? I remember hearing Tim Daly in an interview talk about wanting his character in Madam Secretary to show a competent dad, the antithesis of that useless husband trope.

    16. Madame Arcati*

      This may a bit last decade now, but sweet chilli sauce/flavoured things. Or, as I call it (after a Catherine Tate sketch) spicy jam. I do not want my jam to be spicy nor do I want a sugary syrup as a sauce on savoury foods.

    17. Ellis Bell*

      Giant towering burgers that you can’t bite into without an extendable jaw. Extra disapproval points if the layers are made out of whatever was found in a fridge clear out.

        1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

          I detest pretentiously stacked food. I want to yell “How the hell am I supposed to eat this?” in an EXTREMELY loud voice.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        Years ago somebody wrote into AAM about having to “dislocate their jaw, like a snake” in order to bite into some enormous food item. By unfortunate coincidence, the jaw dislocation and enormous mouthful were witnessed by some professional contact whom the OP had hoped to impress more favorably.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Ohhhhh, this. Who decided on the Gulper Eel friendly sandwich design, and can they be fired??

      3. Clisby*

        Amen. A burger should be about 4 oz. of meat (or veggie protein). I’m fine with lettuce, tomato, onion in it – but it should easily fit in your mouth.

      1. WellRed*

        Oh man, I was quite surprised by a mango salsa, expecting regular tomato etc. I do not like mangoes, certainly don’t need em or any other fruit in my chips.

          1. WellRed*

            A friend served it (homemade). She saw me try it and move on after, I guess, a paused with confused face. Haha!

        1. Clisby*

          When I first started dating my now-husband, I was once leafing through a cookbook he had (one of those local cookbooks put out by a church). I kept seeing “mangos” as an ingredient. This cookbook was from a small town in Ohio. Eventually, I asked, “What’s with all the mangoes? Did a mango salesman wander through one day and suddenly popularize them?” He looked at me, confused, and then clarified that at least in some places in the Midwest, a mango is a bell pepper. Ahhhh. Got it.

          1. LimeRoos*

            I’m late to the party, and you may never see this, but where in the Midwest do they call peppers mangoes?! I’ve been here my whole live – IL, MI, MN, with traveling through OH, IN, WI, all the time, and have never heard a pepper called a mango lol. That is bonkers. My mind has been blown.

            1. fhqwhgads*

              It’s an 1800s thing. People could only get mangoes if they were pickled. At some point “mango” got adopted as shorthand for pickled. Green bell peppers were also commonly pickled, and the terms got blurred together, not just when referring to the pickled ones. So it went something like pickled peppers, pickled mangoes, mangoed peppers, mango peppers, mango = peppers.

      2. The Dude Abides*

        Regular salsa, yes.

        My partner’s family has a recipe for a fruit salsa that is meant as a dessert, and the homemade chips are coated in cinnamon sugar. So freaking good

        1. Slartibartfast*

          Now that sounds delicious.

          I think it’s the sweet/savory combo that gets me. I don’t like fruit and meat in the same dish either. I’m also very picky about sweet and sour and barbecue sauce.

          1. goddessoftransitory*

            In Britian there was actually a joke political party called No Fruit in Main Courses for a while.

    18. Angstrom*

      Instructional/educational videos that are mostly talking heads. I’m a fast reader. Give me the text as text and use video to actually show me something.
      Giant desserts. I’d like to taste the Cocoa Mudslide Brownie Sundae that sounds so good in the menu, but I don’t need a pound of it.

      1. londonedit*

        Oh yes, I’m with you on the giant food thing! There seems to be a trend here in London for supposedly trendy food places (basically places that want to be Instagram/TikTok famous) to serve up these absolutely enormous portions of things, dripping with tons of sauce and cheese or chocolate or whatever it is, and I find it quite distasteful. It’s encouraging food waste and to me it just seems OTT and incredibly wasteful just so people can take photos of the things and put them on the internet.

        1. Clisby*

          It’s especially annoying when the dish sounds great but clearly would not reheat well. I don’t mind taking home leftovers, but have learned through experience, that even delicious fried food is going to be unsalvageable after a day in the refrigerator.

          I really appreciate it when a restaurant offers specials as either regular plates or appetizers – then I’m a lot more likely to experiment.

      2. allathian*

        Oh yeah on the videos. One of the worst ones I’ve seen was when GDPR was just about to enter into force and we had to watch a video on personal data security that featured our Chief Information Officer. Fine as far as it went, but the video didn’t even feature any slides, just a talking head. The worst thing was that our CIO has a distracting habit of punctuating every sentence by *rolling their eyes*. It was extremely painful to watch and I have a hard enough time with audio processing as it is without additional distractions.

        Thankfully we also got the script to read. Needless to say, our internal training videos are much better now, but given the choice I’d much rather just read the material.

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          A former employer used videos for some yearly training. This included an active shooter training that had been purchased from elsewhere. (A Texas company – I’m in the upper Midwest.) Not only was some of the advice impracticable, but it was not subtitled. I guess our deaf and hard of hearing staff were TSOL.

          The sheet of instructions telling us what to do for a bomb threat (we were a federal contractor) was far more useful. (And used!)

      3. WellRed*

        Yes to both! Let me read the instructions! IRS quicker. As to desert, I don’t. Red half a pound of brownie that explodes chocolate “lava” with caramel sauced etc drizzled over the whole thing. Can I just get a slice of cake?

    19. Hotdog not dog*

      Sushi. And even if it’s the kind that’s made without fish, I just don’t care for it.
      I also can’t stand any of those “reality” dating shows, but the bachelor/Bachelorette franchise just irritates me beyond words!

    20. PhyllisB*

      I hate thyme. To me it tastes like mildew smells. Irritates my husband greatly, and he always tries to sneak it in thinking I won’t notice.
      One of my daughters hates cilantro. Says it tastes like soap to her.

        1. allathian*

          Yes, and I have it. Can’t stand cilantro. I can’t stand celery in any form either, it just tastes weird to me.

    21. RussianInTexas*

      Calling recipes “Marry-me-Whatever”.
      Charcuterie boards when it’s something like fruit! And in general, putting everything on boards. Butter? Butter board. Breakfast? Breakfast boards. We have plates, people!

      1. Goldfeesh*

        Charcuterie boards in general. I had honestly never heard of the word until the whole Dr. Phil/Dr. Oz (whichever grifter) deal. We always just called them veggie trays. Now they are only called charcuterie boards and it’s ridiculous.

        1. RussianInTexas*

          A real charcuterie board is a real thing, which is meat. Not vegetables or pancakes or butter, or whatever.
          I have FEELINGS.

    22. RussianInTexas*

      Super dark (in the lighting sense) movies and TVs. The joke among my friends is that the best Batman movie will be just black screen.

      1. Gozer (she/her)*

        Oh my word I am so with you! And whatever film stock they use that looks like a perpetual blue/grey filter. Gimme light and colours!

        Well, okay with Batman I’ll let them have some dark :p

      2. Put the Blame on Edamame*

        Too much darkness, or washed out grey (the new Napoleon was terrible for this) or terrible saturated colour – the new Wicked movie trailer looks ghastly, it’s full of colour but it all looks gross.

        Makes me long for technicolor, a la A Matter of Life and Death (great film)

      3. Charlotte Lucas*

        Agreed! And the sound on newer films fluctuates so much. I would think I’m just getting old, but I never have this problem with films from decades ago. (Unless the print is bad or the audio was always low quality.)

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Audio sucks on soooo many new shows. I mean, I’m old and deaf, but not THAT deaf. I just automatically turn on CC most of the time.

    23. Gozer (she/her)*

      I just cannot be interested in anything zombie-related. Shows, video games, films etc. Just…doesn’t interest me. Never has.

      Food-wise I’m extremely unfond of garlic. It’s just so everywhere and it tastes kinda chemical solvent to me.

      1. Jean (just Jean)*

        I’m with you on both of these, although my garlic aversion is due to a highly sensitive digestive tract. Re zombies: Let the dead be dead. People say “Rest in peace” for a reason.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          The only zombie stories I find work are specific:

          Ray Bradbury’s The Emissary, The Monkey’s Paw, and the Buffy episode using the latter as a template. In all of these the zombie isn’t front and center, but infuses the story with dread.

          For a zombie that is a character, Stephen King’s The Return of Timmy Baterman (it was part of the Pet Semetary setting.) It fully illustrates why bringing your loved one back from beyond is a terrible, awful, no good, very bad plan.

      2. former recruiter*

        But you’ve mentioned zombie heels in the past? I remember looking them up when you mentioned the brand and they were fun.

    24. the cat's pajamas*

      I don’t like bacon with other things. For example, bacon on hamburgers, bacon in soup, etc. Except for a BLT, I only like it as a side with breakfast. I also never order it at a restaurant because it’s never crispy enough. That might be why I don’t like it with other things, though, lol.

    25. Spearmint*

      I dislike how most sci-fi/fantasy stories have to be super long trilogies (or more!). Even when I really like a story I don’t have the time or attention span to read a 2000 page trilogy. I much prefer standalone, 200-400 page novels. It’s fine if they have sequels, but the first book should be able to completely stand on its own.

      1. Jackalope*

        My recent revelation is that I want duologies instead of trilogies. I was reading some reviews of the 2nd book in a trilogy and it was described as doing what the 2nd book needs to do, kind of as a place holder but without too much needing to happen because it was meant as a bridge between books 1 and 3. And I thought, “What if we just firmed that up a bit and had only TWO books instead?” The series that I’ve read in duology format are much nicer and don’t waste a bunch of time in the middle.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I blame this on Star Wars, where The Empire Strikes Back is considered the masterpiece of the original trilogy. But it wasn’t a placeholder! Quite the opposite.

          1. Jackalope*

            Hadn’t thought of Star Wars as being involved! I’ve always blamed it on LOTR. Tolkien was an amazing author and I feel like dividing LOTR into a trilogy works, but it’s not The Perfect Format. For decades after LOTR was published we had fantasy novels that were largely Tolkien pastiche, and now that’s gotten better but we still haven’t ditched the trilogy. (But you’re right; there could be other works affecting this too.)

            1. 2e asteroid*

              LOTR is much more a three-volume novel than a trilogy — it was originally published in three books because of postwar paper shortages.

              1. Jackalope*

                Yes, and I think this was good for book sales; it’s long enough that I’m guessing it would have been harder to sell had it come in one big novel instead of three smaller ones. Tolkien was very clear on this. But many publishers and authors got the idea that a trilogy is THE format, and didn’t recognize that it was a special case for LOTR rather than something universally true. Kind of like the fact that much of the power of his books came from the enormous amount of backstory, language building, and writing ability tied into the books, but many people thought you could just take a bunch of people walking, throw in a few elves, and get basically the same thing. I mean, I enjoy books about people on journeys and I enjoy books about elves, but having them in a book doesn’t necessarily make it a good book. I’m so glad that people are getting out of the idea of Tolkien wannabe writing and doing things that are original and different. Including, to bring it back, not sticking to a trilogy format if that’s not the best option.

    26. Chaordic One*

      This dates me and, although the trend is thankfully past, I am so glad that we seem to have finally gotten over “To Die For” chocolate pie. The chocolate was almost always way too rich and they were usually covered with way too much whipped cream.

      What was really annoying was that everyone kept bringing them to the office. They were hard to cut and hard to serve. Either the chocolate cream or the whipped cream fell off the plate or your fork and got all over everything (like your lap, your desk, the floor). Then there was the added complication that they required knives and forks and plates. The pies ARE good and would probably be fine for a formal dinner where you were sitting at a table, but in most situations where they were served they were a mess to have to deal with and instead of looking forward to “To Die For” pie, I kind of dreaded them and often just passed when they were offered to me. “To Die For” chocolate brownies are, thankfully, not nearly as messy to deal with.

      If you’re going to bring a “treat” to the office, KISS. Give me something that I can just stick in my pie hole and not have to clean up afterwards, or worry about having to clean up.

    27. Girasol*

      On the entertainment front, books or movies with an excessive number of parallel plots. I like George RR Martin’s books except for that. Read a chapter on Arya, and then one focusing on each other character one by one. Ten or twelve chapters later the focus comes back to Arya again and…wait, what was she doing when we saw her last? Netflix seems to have a penchant for making exceptionally convoluted series out of books like that.

    28. Charlotte Lucas*

      I love SF/Fantasy TV shows/movies, but there are some tropes/motifs I don’t enjoy:

      – Deadly outbreaks (never liked them before, lockdown made me like them less)
      – Characters trapped in limited space who need to find a way to survive, often while an enemy/threat is stalking them (see above, but I consider any “stranded in space/marooned on an island” storyline in this category).
      – Time travel (I’ve seen it done well, but very, very rarely).

      Mystery Science Theater 3000 is my exception to the second bullet, because puppet bots riffing on bad movies clearly is the highest level of television art.

      1. Ms. Murchison*

        Seconding the aversion to time travel stories. It’s so rarely done well, because few writers are good enough to overcome the inevitable plot holes. If a scifi TV show introduces it as a recurring plot trope, I just give up (I’m looking at you, Voyager).

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          The only person I’ve ever seen do time travel well is Connie Willis in her Oxford historians novels and stories. She’s very clear on the rules: only to the past, not the future, the “net” (the apparatus used for travel) will automatically slide a person past pivot points in history (no shooting Hitler, alas) and you can’t bring anything to or from the past that might cause an anachronism (so no bringing modern money, say, or stealing “lost” da Vincis.)

    29. tree frog*

      I don’t know if it’s a trend, but I hate hard boiled eggs in anything. Egg salad is my personal hell. I also find the word “yummy” very aggravating. It’s baby talk that has managed to seep into mainstream life.

      My most unpopular take is that I don’t like movies all that much. They’re fine? There are some movies that I like, but many of them are kind of boring to me. And there are no movies that I care enough about to want to spend more than 5 minutes talking about them.

      1. carcinization*

        Same on the hard-boiled eggs and almost-same on the movies. I don’t eat hard-boiled eggs (including deviled eggs) and hate the smell, and truly don’t understand the point of owning or re-watching movies, even ones that I liked.

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

      Not a fan of most cheeses unless they are super bland and creamy — cottage cheese, cream cheese, ricotta, mozzarella, triple-creme brie, and the very mildest camembert are all okay with me, but I would be happy never encountering any other cheeses for the rest of eternity.

  10. Cat Fancy*

    How do I clean a nonstick pan? All google results seem to be ai generated or giving me “vinegar + baking soda” (just fancy water.)

    1. Not A Manager*

      Is something stuck to your non-stick pan, or are you just trying to clean it after normal cooking? Unless it’s cast iron, I use soapy water and a smooth sponge. What’s stuck to yours?

      1. JSPA*

        if you do baking soda alone, or vinegar alone, the pH or pH + grittiness, cleans. But if you do both at once, you lose the pH effect (they neutralize each other) and the grittiness. If you work in baking soda (barely damp), wait, and then add vinegar, you may get some extra lift from the foaming, as the vinegar penetrates. But in general, use individually or sequentially, not together.

        1. fposte*

          I usually keep my mouth shut when people talk about using them together, but it makes me think about the popularity of nineteenth century vet remedies that foamed or did other dramatic things but didn’t actually do anything useful.

          1. Venus*

            This is vaguely related and gives me a giggle every time. Sandi’s Danish Lemon Quaffles (clip in reply, it’s from a popular UK show QI)

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      As someone who works in a chemistry lab, I don’t get why so many people are on the “vinegar + baking soda” bandwagon on the internet. I’m guessing that they see carbon dioxide bubbling away and think that it must be doing something, when in reality all it is doing is….bubbling away. Carbon dioxide is a gas, after all. It might carry away some impurities, but it will only carry away the lightest of them.

      Vinegar is a fairly weak organic acid. It adds a bright note to some dishes and can dissolve small amounts of calcium-based deposits. (But if you have serious lime scale, citric acid is your friend.)

      Baking soda is a salt of sodium and carbonate. Mixing it with vinegar pretty much means that you end up with sodium acetate (a salt; i.e., an anion combined with a cation) and water.

      Baking soda is a very soft crystal, which means that it has edges. If you drop some in a dry (or oily) pan and rub it with a dry sponge or paper towel, then it will clear out a lot of stuff. But that’s about all it will do.

      The best way I have ever found to clean a nonstick pan is to use plenty of oil in the first place, and afterward to add water to the pan and keep it on a gentle simmer. The heat plus the water bubbling will loosen most deposits and make them easy to wipe away.

    3. John E. Rotten*

      also, accept the fact that non-stick pans aren’t supposed to last forever. buy a cheap one (there are plenty of good, inexpensive options), keep it as clean as you can (soap and water) for five or six years, then move on.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Agreed. The only pans that really last a long time are either stainless steel or cast iron. Everything else is temporary, at best.

      2. turtles in tuxes*

        Do you have brand recommendations for non-stick? I’m lucky if I can have one last a few months. 5 or 6 years is unfathomable.

        1. Professor Plum*

          Last year I bought a frying pan called “the rock by starfrit” based on a recommendation here in AAM. It’s been 9-10 months maybe and I love this pan—just a little bit of oil with my eggs and the pan just wipes clean. It’s great!

        2. ThatGirl*

          Just a random tip, nonstick pans should ideally be hand washed, the coating comes off faster if you use harsh dishwasher pods. Not saying that’s your issue necessarily.

        3. the cat's pajamas*

          They’re expensive, but I love the all clad ones. I bought a set on black Friday and they’re dishwasher safe!

          I finally replaced my old teflon pans about a year and a half ago.

      3. RC*

        Erm, PSA that non-stick pans are coated with PFAS, the icky forever chemicals that are … everywhere, because they last forever.

        I just found two non-coated, induction-ready pans in pretty good condition at Goodwill (turns out Gen Z *does* love thrifting) and I’m super stoked to start using them. But the PFAS are the main reason I won’t buy new non-stick when these wear out.

        1. Reba*

          I also don’t use nonstick for this reason, and also because we are supposed to just accept that they only last a few years and you simply toss them when they go bad!

      1. amoeba*

        Pretty sure it’s the cast iron ones you’re actually not supposed to use soap for! It’s basically just water for those.

        My non-stick ones get cleaned like everything else, I even put them in the dishwasher. I mean, they probably last a bit longer if you don’t, but none are always fine for several years, and I use the standard IKEA ones, nothing fancy.

          1. JSPA*

            only if they’re not seasoned and oiled. Soap or detergent will get into the oil layers, not rinse off with water, and then leach back out into your cooking. DK if it’ll hurt you, but soap-scented soapy food isn’t great tasting. If you are using your cast iron intentionally unseasoned (like an iron coin or iron frog), maybe it’s fine?

            1. RussianInTexas*

              You absolutely can wash a seasoned cast iron skillet with soap, as long as you don’t soak it, and don’t use large amount. Modern dish soap is not the same as the old dish soap.
              And dry it properly, on the stove, with a bit of oil.
              Pretty much everyone, from Lodge to Bon Appetit, to America’s Test Kitchen ages with it.
              I wash it with soap when needed. There is zero soap taste in my food.

            2. Clisby*

              My cast iron is seasoned and oiled, and there’s no soapy taste in the food.

              I’m deferring to the expertise of Lodge, which makes cast iron, and says it’s fine to use a little soap in washing it. I wouldn’t soak it in soapy water, or scrub it with a steel-wool thing like brillo, but seasoned cast iron can certainly stand up to soap.

          2. Clisby*

            Yes! I have a cast iron dutch oven, griddle, and 3 skillets. I wash all of them with soap and sponge (the kind with a spongy side and a scrubby side). I wouldn’t scrub them with a brillo pad or the like, but I don’t know where the idea that you can’t use soap on cast iron came from. I wouldn’t bother owning cookware I couldn’t wash with soap – ick.

        1. Irina*

          For cast iron, hot water and elbow grease, and a scouring sponge if it’s really bad, though you may have to re-condition it with oil if it gets to that.

          We have a Zwilling stainless steel set that seems to be everything-proof: I burnt stewed pears in one, soaked it overnight in a solution of washing soda and boiled the lot the next day, then I could pry off the black bits and scour the pan with steel wool and it was as good as new.

    4. sometimes I do the dishes*

      In general, dish soap, hot water, and a non-scratch sponge. If something is stuck on there, soak it and try to scrape it off (oftentimes a spatula is helpful for that). If you’re washing multiple things, typically starting a soak on whatever thing first and then washing everything else will give you enough soaking time (even if everything else is like 4 things) to see a difference. If you have something that is not coming off of the pan and decide to risk the coating, try a sponge/dish pad that is scratchy before getting out the steel wool. (Oops. I just want that stuff off.)

      If you had something really greasy or oily in the pan and you’re having trouble getting the sticky, oily, greasy feeling off of the pan:
      – pour dish soap liberally onto the pan with no water
      – rub said dish soap across all surfaces of the pan with your fingers (don’t ask my why this works better than a sponge, it just does)
      – get some water that is SCALDING hot and then use it to was off that soapy film. okay to incorporate scrubbing as you do this if you’re willing to risk burning yourself
      – that should get off the clinging oiliness and you can just do a regular go-over with soapy water. if it doesn’t, repeat.
      (I can’t stand it when you touch a “clean” dish and your finger comes away feeling oily. No. That is not clean.)

    5. Girasol*

      Soap and a soft cloth. If the pan is getting old and starting to stick but it’s still usable, soak it in soap and water and use a soft cloth. If you really must use something more abrasive, the pan has lost its non-stickiness and you need a new pan. Using anything abrasive will only make it stick worse next time.

    6. Indolent Libertine*

      Oh, forgot to add: NEVER use any kind of cooking spray on a nonstick pan; it will ruin the surface very fast. Something about it, maybe whatever’s intended to make it adhere to your cooking surface, gets lacquered onto the coating and it’s pretty much impossible to wash off after that happens, and once it does it’s not non-stick any more.

    7. Observer*

      “vinegar + baking soda” (just fancy water.)

      No, that combination is not just “fancy water”. I don’t know if it will help your non-stick pans, but it might be worth your while to try it.

    8. Thunder Kitten*

      If you mix vinegar + baking soda and wait, all you get is slightly salty water of uncertain pH (depending if there was excess baking soda or excess vinegar).

      However, if you pour baking soda on a plastic surface/container and add vinegar, I have found that the reaction has managed to neutralize embedded odors that neither ingredient handles well solo. I think this is because it isn’t a 1 step reaction and the intermediate steps are still reactive and may react to the residual molecules causing the stink.

  11. ThatOtherClare*

    Makers thread! What do you make? Food, art, clothing, woodwork, code, stories, other? What are you making at the moment?

    Bonus question: what’s the best/weirdest thank you gift you’ve received for making or fixing something? This weekend I’m shortening a bridesmaid dress in exchange for a pair of crayfish.

    1. Not A Manager*

      A pair? As in, two crayfish? Aren’t they very tiny? Is this a breeding pair, or an eating pair?

        1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

          It won’t surprise you, but Australian crayfish can be up to 40cm and weigh up to 6 kg, although the large ones are rare now.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        I really do think more details are needed here.

        Is this going to end up as a recipe, or as a love story? Interested readers need to know.

    2. RagingADHD*

      I’m working on Regency dresses for myself and my daughters for the Jane Austen Society ball at the end of March. I found a gorgeous secondhand sari on Etsy for mine – five delicious meters of real silk, light as gossamer.

      I’m simultaneously thrilled and terrified to cut into it.

      1. Sharpie*

        Make a mock-up first (you know this!) And if possible, fit and wear it over the correct underpinnings – a pair of Regency stays will do incredible amounts to give the right silhouette, in a way that modern bras just don’t.

        And ballet flats are so much more accurate underneath than modern footwear; I used to live in Bath and during the Jane Austen Festival, more than one outfit was completely ruined because the lady was wearing modern footwear.

        1. RagingADHD*

          Don’t worry, this is not my first rodeo.

          The only part of the process that’s new to me is using a commercial pattern instead of drafting my own from body measurements or adapting a diagram of an extant garment. It’s saving a ton of time, but I am sacrificing part of the fun.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I make yarn into things with sticks. Currently I am making yarn into a blanket (the Burridge Lake Aran Afghan) with sticks, and hoping to finish it before about Memorial Day. (I started it ten years ago – the yarn actually got discontinued so I had to tweak my original plans – so I’m worried that if I get into the hot part of the year before it’s done I’ll put it away for the summer and forget about it again.)

      I also recently learned that a local yarn shop does classes for spinning and weaving, like on a wheel and a loom, and I’m interested in both of those. They’re doing a “free drop spindle lesson” day next Saturday as well so I want to check in on that too.

      1. Pippa K*

        I have a rigid heddle loom because I wandered into a local yarn shop with a friend who was looking for yarn for a knitting project. I’ve never been dexterous enough to knit, but while we were in the shop, I saw a weaving project the owner was working on. She showed me how the loom worked, it was really cool, and a couple of weeks later I was back to buy a loom from her! It’s really enjoyable. Now I’m toying with a drop spindle so I can learn to spin yarn from local wool someday.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          The rigid heddle loom class is the one I’m interested in, rather than the big floor loom one. I got a little tiny one (like, a foot wide, maybe? probably intended for little kids) for Christmas a couple years back but haven’t taken it out of the box yet, because even the little one is kind of intimidating :)

      2. turtles in tuxes*

        If you do want to persue wheel spinning, having experience with a drop spindle helps. A lot of the technique is feeding the fleece to the spinning wheel in the right thickness. I did a wheel spinning class (I suck at it, it turns out); one of the reasons I don’t care enough to get good is the best wool for learning is a non-superwash wool. Itchy as hell. But making your own yarn is really addicting. As is dyeing, which I’ve done. And knitting.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I have tried to figure out a drop spindle on my own a couple of times over the years and never gotten the hang of it, but I’m hoping an actual lesson from someone who knows what they’re doing will help :)

    4. My Brain is Exploding*

      I’m piecing quilts. Years ago, I learned to cane chairs and traded caning a chair for 8 weeks of beginner ballet lessons.

    5. zaracat*

      I’m getting back into doll house miniatures, pulling my collection out of storage after 20 years. Working on several separate projects in which the back stories are evolving in hilarously unexpected directions as I add random thrift store finds plus new things I’ve made.

      One is a 1:16 scale 1960-70s (era of my childhood) themed dollhouse with a sunken loungeroom and raked ceilings, currently populated by two swimsuit clad women and an animal handler with two leopards, and a table with a selection of wine and cheese. The bathroom will be a lovely aqua colour (I have a bath and some textured aqua wallpaper), and the dining room needs some green/metallic silver wallpaper and a tulip table and chairs. Does the bedroom need a mirrored ceiling? Cast your vote …

      Another is a 1:16 scale diorama with a Dale figurine (Walking Dead) along with a dog, deck chair, rifle etc next to 1970 Dodge Charger. Needs an esky of beer and a crocodile, and a suitably creepy terrain module for them all to live in. A chance to experiment with resin casting for the swamp water.

      The largest project is kind of a film set to create video stories for the small children in my family, in Sylvanian families size but incorporating other brands which are similar scale (approx 1:12 scale but half height) – currently a lot of Bluey figurines but I plan to make my own people eventually to avoid copyright issues. The best thing I’ve made in this project so far is a tiny electric wheelchair. I’ve made a 2 minute pilot video (filmed as a succession of book page-like stills with voiceover rather then stop motion) which was a big hit with my family.

          1. RLC*

            That is both amazing and adorable! I was a teen of the 1970s and our home had that raked ceiling (and orange shagpile carpet and floor to ceiling faux stone fireplace wall). Yes to the mirrored ceiling and bonus points if it can have gold “marble” veins on it.
            The small children in your family are very fortunate!

      1. Slartibartfast*

        I mean, how could you *not* put a mirrored ceiling in the 70s house? And a tiny little Hi-Fi playing some Barry White.

            1. WellRed*

              I think it’s an actual permit requirement to have waterbeds installed only under a mirror ceiling.

              1. zaracat*

                Thanks for all the replies! Looks like it’s a yes to a mirrored ceiling and a waterbed. I do like the idea of a hot tub, though I’d have to extend the upper level of the house to create a deck for this. The house will eventually be wired for power and lights – I’ve already made a MCM stacked-dish style pendant light for the dining room (have now added a picture of this to same flickr album as the link above), and have plans to make a Murano chandelier for the loungeroom (out of clear plastic ballpoint pen casings) and a tiny stereo cabinet with an actual speaker inside that can be hooked up to an MP3 player.

    6. Dannie*

      Currently trying to build a portfolio website with separate password-protected sections for each industry. It’s somehow both harder and easier than the last site I made, on Geocities.

    7. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      It won’t surprise you, but Australian crayfish can be up to 40cm and weigh up to 6 kg, although the large ones are rare now.

    8. Slartibartfast*

      I have been slowly remodeling my bedroom closet a few hours almost every Sunday since October. It’ll be done either this weekend or next, depending on how cooperative my back is. It’s irritating how long it’s taken me but satisfying nonetheless. I’ll actually be able to see my sweaters and other nice tops that I would love to wear more often but forget they’re crammed in the dresser underneath my everyday clothes.

    9. Hotdog not dog*

      I crochet, and have struggled to learn to knit for a couple of years. Most of what I make is gifted or donated; it’s about the repetitive hand motion and the texture of the yarn, not the finished product.
      I don’t think I ever bartered a crochet piece, but I also garden and once received an amazing vegetable casserole as a thank you from my friend who took some surplus zucchini off my hands.

    10. Gozer (She/Her)*

      I do embroidery and just designed and finished a brand new piece for my dad’s 70th. It’s a circuit diagram from an old HAM radio.

      1. Cat and dog fosterer*

        This is SO NEAT. Do you have something as a basis for the design? I have a friend who loves HAM radios and works with circuits.

    11. Cacofonix*

      I do woodworking as a hobby, the only creative thing I’ve tried for which I have a never ending flow of original design ideas and inspiration. I also hate to waste wood, so I use a lot of quality wood from scrap.

      Currently working on a series of propagation/bud vases that have small glass vials such as test tubes, bud vases by the dozen that brides are trying to get rid of after their weddings, perfume bottles and the like. I’ve mined the wood from my own off cuts and off cuts other woodworkers discard.

    12. Mobie's Mom*

      The one cool thing I make is a squash book – 3 pieces of 12″ x 12″ cardstock that overlap and are folded down to 6″ x 6″, then covered by 7″ x 7″ pieces of foam board that are wrapped in fabric or paper, and tied with a ribbon. I think I’m teaching how to make them at the craft day at my church in April, so that’s fun! They just make fun little albums for photos or other small memorabilia, and are super-customizable!

    13. carcinization*

      Caramelized Onion & Gruyère Biscuits (Smitten Kitchen recipe) are on deck for tomorrow’s brunch… but I caramelized the onions today because I knew I wouldn’t have the patience when hungry tomorrow morning! Not sure about the “weird thank you gift” thing but I’ll reply if I think of one!

  12. No Touchy*

    This is all hypothetical, nothing broke, but I’m curious how you would handle it. I have an older item out in my house as decor. A friend was visiting recently and came close to breaking it while messing around with it which got me thinking about the cost to replace it. The item can generally cost anywhere from $200 on the low end to $400. I lucked out that I got my item from someone who just wanted to be rid of it quickly for only $30, a true steal. If my friend had broken the item and I asked them to pay for it, should I have asked for the $30 I actually paid for the item or for the $200-$400 it would cost me to replace it, since finding it again for $30 is incredibly unlikely? And the item is sturdy enough that that’s why I have it out for decor; I’m fine with people handling it but my friend was being excessively rough with it.

    1. acmx*

      What type of insurance do you have: replacement cost or actual cash value?

      For me, it would depend on circumstances and I’d ask the friend for replacement cost since they were mistreating it.

    2. Esprit de l'escalier*

      If my intention was to replace it, I’d ask for current replacement value, as it would be pointless to ask for the $30. But that’s just my hypothetical answer to your hypothetical question. In reality, most likely I would remind myself that stuff is stuff and sometimes it breaks, and I wouldn’t ask for reimbursement.

    3. Not A Manager*

      Should you be fine with people handling it? Is it something that, if it’s out, invites handling, like, IDK, a recliner? I’d tell people not to mess with it.

      1. No Touchy*

        The item is something that people can sit on for photos, similar to a carousel horse. I’m fine with people sitting on it but my friend started jumping up and down on it, like she was trying to speed up a horse into a gallop. It creaked and groaned under her motions and I told her to stop it and get down, which she did and the item seems to be fine.

        1. Not A Manager*

          I’d replace the friend. Okay, no I wouldn’t, but boy that’s annoying. If that kind of behavior is a one-off, in the future I’d just tell people in advance to sit on it gently, just long enough for a photo. You could also put a small note above it saying “this item is fragile.”

          In answer to your original question, if the friend broke it I would expect her to offer to replace it. I would locate a replacement and then tell her whatever the market price was for it.

          1. Scarlet ribbons in her hair*

            I would replace the friend. If someone came into my house and started jumping up and down on something I owned, I would conclude that my friendship wasn’t that important to her. Really, who goes around saying, “My idea of an ideal friend is someone who jumps up and down on something I own?”

    4. Alex*

      I don’t think I’d ask a friend to replace it at all. Shit happens sometimes. If someone is being too rough with my things I’d probably tell them to knock it off because they were going to break it. If they are my friend I’d hope they would be respectful enough to stop. If they didn’t, well, that’s information I now have about them.

      1. tangerineRose*

        If the friend didn’t stop being rough with it after being asked to, maybe this isn’t really a friend.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Oh, interesting. I was just assuming that of course the breaker would offer to pay for the broken item and OP was just asking for what amount they should give.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      I’m so curious about how someone comes to your house and ends up getting rough with the decor! Anyway. I would ask them to either replace it or give you enough money to replace it. They can either hunt out a bargain or cough up the full amount. But they should replace it. Is it worth getting house insurance in case your friend doesn’t have the means, or isn’t up to the replacement task. It sounds to me like your friends is either an untrained puppy or one of my students.

      1. Shiny Penny*

        Oh, wait. Can we do that? I’d like to ask the untrained puppies to replace all the things! I’d have a lot of nice new underwear (why is it always the underwear?) several new chairs, and a shoe or two. If only one shoe was ruined, I still believe the puppy is obligated to replace the entire

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I have several bits of wall and door trim that have gnaw marks currently patched with masking tape, because my rule is that I’m not replacing any of it until we go three months without having any trim gnawed. (And she didn’t start occasionally gnawing the trim until she was over a year old, so I don’t even know what prompted it.)

          (“gnaw” no longer looks like a real word.)

      2. No Touchy*

        The item is something that people can sit on for photos, similar to a carousel horse. I’m fine with people sitting on it but my friend started jumping up and down on it, like she was trying to speed up a horse into a gallop. It creaked and groaned under her motions and I told her to stop it and get down, which she did and the item seems to be fine.

    6. Kay*

      If someone is behaving in a reasonable manner for the circumstances I would never ask them to replace something broken in the regular course of life. If the behaviour was outside any reasonable, expected norm I would ask for replacement value and potentially retire the friend.

    7. Seconds*

      I can’t imagine asking someone to replace something they broke in my home.

      But I would take note of how they responded to the situation, and judge how to proceed with the friendship based on that.

  13. Podcast Headphones 24/7*

    I enjoy true crime podcast, but I’ve been feeling a little burned out by blood and death recently. Are there any true crime podcasts that focus on lighter crimes? I know that Criminal as a mix of murder, and not so serious offenses, but is there any podcast that just focuses on things that are a little more… Lighthearted feels like the wrong choice of words, but you know, something, not as dark as murder all the time.

      1. Zephy*

        +1 Ridiculous Crime, they focus mainly on “capers, heists, and cons” per the tagline. Selling and transporting drugs, robbing trains and banks, parting fools from their money under false pretenses.

    1. CTT*

      I enjoyed The Wedding Scammer, which is about people being cheated out of their wedding deposits and job benefits, but no one dies and it has a light tone.

    2. Accidental Itinerant Teacher*

      Scam Goddess – it focuses on various scams and generally tries to stay away from anything too dark

    3. Emily Elizabeth*

      Petty Crimes is fun – two co-host friends investigate and come to a verdict each week on a minor, interpersonal “crime” – roommate/family/friend drama, holiday traditions, relationship situations, etc. Funny, light hearted, and doesn’t require intensive paying attention so is good for me for listening while doing chores or other busy work.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        Yep, I was coming here to recommend Scamfluencers.

        Also, for a low stakes but hilarious “crime” podcast, I recommend Who Shat on the Floor at My Wedding

    4. Cookies For Breakfast*

      I got into podcasts thanks to The Missing Cryptoqueen. I also try to stay away from blood and death, so scams and pyramid schemes have turned out to be my rabbit hole.

      For a mystery that sounds stranger than fiction and is closer to espionage than crime, I highly recommend Patrick Radden Keefe’s Wind of Change.

      1. Askew*

        I’ve just binged this entire series after reading your recommendation, thank you! I love Patrick Radden Keene’s books but didn’t realise he was podcasting too

    5. The Prettiest Curse*

      I second the recommendation of The Missing Cryptoqueen.
      I’ve recently been listening to a few limited series podcasts and I’d recommend:
      – Ghost in the Machine (about cyclists who cheat by using hidden motors)
      – The Interruption (investigation into the hijacking of a British TV station to broadcast an – alleged – message from aliens)
      – The Sound: Mystery of Havana Syndrome (will have you believing multiple different theories on this case)

      If you’re into podcasts about scams, I also recommend Believe in Magic and Filthy Ritual, though both of these also get fairly dark at times.

    6. mreasy*

      I am loving Varnamtown, a drug crime/small town story hosted by Kyle MacLachlan (!). Swindled is also a favorite, and while it isn’t crime… I have to mention Normal Gossip.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        Not OP, but Varnamtown sounds right up my street and I was just searching for my next true crime podcast after finishing one yesterday. Bookmarked!

    7. Snax*

      Last Seen is a deep dive into the Isabella Stewart Gardner heist. So a serious crime, but not a violent one.

    8. Future*

      Cautionary Tales. It’s not usually about crime exactly, but it does have that sort of post-mortem of some big decisions that go wrong and is very well written so it has a bit of mystery in it. It hits a lot of the same satisfaction buttons as true crime for me. Sometimes a bit dark, though, because sometimes people do die, but not in that sort of scary true crime way that makes you scared of weird noises at night.

    9. Engineer Gsl*

      Small Town Murder. The crimes are serious but the hosts are stand up comedians so their humor leavens the murders

  14. RLC*

    Has Fig taken All The Toys? She looks as if she’s saying “mine, all mine, hahaha”
    We have a near-lookalike to Fig, except that our Sunny has a tiny inch-long tail. Suspect the attitude/demeanor is also a match judging by the facial expressions. Tricolor cats are the best!

    1. GoryDetails*

      That is an adorable picture! Reminds me of when I clean behind the sofa and bring a heap of lost toys out into the center of the carpet – and then wait to see how few minutes it takes for the cats to discover the hoard.

    2. don'tbeadork*

      I love that white dot at the very tip of her tail. Our calico has the same spot, but smaller than Fig’s.

      Yeah, calicos are awesome. So far the ones we’ve had have been incredibly smart (but mercifully sweet).

  15. Perimenopausal midnight costume changes*

    How do y’all manage the saturation situation of awaking in the night soaked with perspiration? There’s layering the bed with towels before and/or after the deluge, which is ok but tangly, and bulky to sort out while half-awake and irritable. There’s fighting your way out of soaked pajamas in a half-awake haze, replacing with a dry set or perhaps with a bathrobe which is both absorbent and also sometimes easier to don in a daze. There’s wearing wicking athletic shirts and underwear to bed so when you awake soaked and are too exhausted to change, there’s at least a hope you can fall back asleep and be dry by morning. To be clear, being hot is not the issue for me. The internet says “Point a fan at yourself! Use breezy linen sheets! Try a mattress cooling technology!” but I’m perspiring due to hormones and/or brain chemicals, and am in fact quite a cold person, especially after waking up with my down comforter all wet!

    1. acmx*

      Hmm, well for me I’d sleep naked, have a fan directed at me and sleep on possibly quick drying sheets (their eucalyptus and are cooling). When I woke from sweating, I let the fan help cool/dry me.

      I live in a warm climate, though. And when I say I sleep in a cool room it is probably still warmer than if you live somewhere with snow.

      Good luck!

    2. Me for now*

      I have night sweats on occasion (usually when I am very stressed) and wake up drenched.
      For me, the best way to go back to sleep comfortably after waking up is to throw a towel down & change into a different pj set/shirt. I don’t prep for it but I suppose having those things closeby is handy.

    3. WoodswomanWrites*

      Is your down comforter getting wet through a sheet as well as your clothes? If it’s directly on your skin, add a sheet. Wicking sheets instead of cotton should help.

      Good luck–I’ve been there.

      1. Jamie*

        They won’t give you hormone replacements until you’re actually menopausal. Women’s health is not taken seriously on this planet.

        1. Pretty as a Princess*

          My doc will RX hormone therapy before menopause. And also baby steps toward full on hormone therapy – eg going back to a low-dose pill. Doing something that simple changed my life. Perimenopausal symptoms were horrible and this has alleviated pretty much everything.

      2. RW*

        I mean, yeah, talking to a doctor might be helpful? Hormone replacement therapy isn’t for everyone, although it’s been great for most people I’ve tried it with – but there are also other effective medications, and some lifestyle things that make a difference too if you’re not into medications – worth a try? (I am well aware there are some doctors who haven’t caught up to hormone therapy – actually good now, and am lucky I went through med school AFTER the last hormone therapy scare, so sometimes it can be worth getting a second opinion. But also there are actual real reasons not to use it for some people, I’m not your doctor)

    4. Big sigh*

      I am also a cold person and have always had more covers than the rest of my family. You should try lowering the temperature, well below 70F I founnd having the room cooler reduced how often not clashes occurred. Also try having as little covering as possible.

    5. Jay*

      There are body powders that absorb lots of moisture. Gold Bond, things like that. Even corn starch can work.
      I used to use this when I did farm labor in the Southern summers. It helped. A LOT.
      I used it even more when I worked deep in the field, collecting scientific data. Unimaginably hot and humid at times. Fog so thick and all pervasive that it was really just stationary rain. It helped keep functionally dry, at least for a while.

    6. Indolent Libertine*

      The most reliable triggers for hot flashes, for me, were caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and spicy foods. Minimizing intake of those made a dramatic difference. I also got good results from a supplement called Estrotone, a blend of black cohosh and some other herbs.

      In the moment in the wee hours, maybe keep a beach towel by your bed to put down as a dry surface, and a pullover nightgown or shirt for ease of changing? Hang in there, this does stop!

      1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

        Sage tea has a good reputation for reducing hot flushes. Presumably lukewarm, as hot drinks can trigger hot flushes. And did you know, standing near the freezers in the supermarket can trigger cold flushes!

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

        For me, the more carbs and sugar I eat, the hotter I get at night as well.

    7. GPorcupina*

      the linen sheets are actually the best tip I’ve encountered. They are good at regulating temp — I really like them in winter as well as summer — and unlike cotton they don’t get clammy.

      i haven’t yet tried linen clothes to sleep in, but i’m pretty sure i will eventually.

    8. Cat*

      Hormone replacement therapy! New therapies are safe and actually, there’s quite a bit of evidence that they are good for you. Heart health, bone health, brain health.

      1. Random Nerd*

        My own hormone replacement therapy (for POI, since I’m “too young” to be menopausal) has been a lifesaver. Going from hot flashes every 30 minutes to once per day (always in between 2 and 6 am, of course) felt nearly miraculous.

    9. Ellis Bell*

      I often have to slip out of clothes in the middle of the night, but I would never wear pajamas! They aren’t very easy to throw off. I tend to go for silk nightshirts that I can pull off over my head (they are the warmest things to slip in) but if that’s not quite the ticket, how about something like a microfiber beach hoodie? Those are very easy to shrug off, would be warm and also absorbent. Easy to replace with another one too. If you’re cold, is layering a consideration? Like I would put warm blankets on top, or to hand as replacements. On top of the sheet, I would put an extra sheet that’s thick enough to be absorbent. I would fold this over myself, but under the duvet like a sweat-catching taco. That way you can pull off the sheet and you still have bedding below and above. It’s simpler than pulling off a lot of towels. Thick Indian cotton might do it.

    10. alas rainy again*

      Yeah, I’ve been there. Living in cold climate, sleeping in a comforter and keeping the bedroom below 20°C/68°F. I would wake up soaking wet, on a soaked mattrass and comforter. I’d towel dry my hair, change both pajamas and bed (go sleep in guestroom) and wait 20 minutes for cool down before getting under the dry comforter. Bedding would need a full day to dry. Fun times! Hormone replacement was not an option, so I made buy with stopping sources of alcohol ,theine and/or caffeine 8 hours before bedtime, and a selenium complement. Seriously brought down the frequency from daily (nightly?) to less than weekly. I kept my winter comforter with cotton pyjamas and sheets. I wish I knew about linen bedding!

    11. Just Here for the Llama Grooming*

      I found Cool-Jams nightshirts very helpful at wicking moisture away from skin and being easy to change. Beach towels at least are nice and big so perhaps less tangly? Good luck — it does pass, but it’s a beast.

    12. Pieforbreakfast*

      Ugh, night sweats are The Worst. Bamboo sheets and a “Cooling” mattress topper (which basically is a foam topper that separates me from the heat-inducing mattress) helped me, as well as avoiding late-night eating of sugar and fatty foods like ice cream. I’d also suggest a night shirt/dress for easier removal.

    13. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      Thin cashmere sweater? Wool is warm even when wet and takes a lot of moisture to feel damp. I find them in the thrift store – usually have to mend a few holes but that doesn’t matter for PJs.

    14. Chauncy Gardener*

      I feel for you!
      What worked for me: lowering the overall temp of the room to around 60-65 degrees F. Or lower. Many thin layers of blankets on the bed. Light pjs.
      Also raspberry leaf tea worked amazingly for me in terms of hot flashes and mood swings. If it could only help my post menopausal “don’t give a hoot I’m too old for this s–t” thang.

    15. madscientistnz*

      Perhaps washable absorbent pads. You can get ones that tuck in like a sheet, so comfortable to sleep on. Remove in the middle of the night, and there’s a fresh dry sheet underneath.
      Doesn’t sort out your top sheet/duvet issue though.
      Brolly Sheets are the brand I’m familiar with but am in NZ.

  16. Peanut Hamper*

    Pasta salad ideas?

    I’m generally not a huge fan of fresh vegetables in pasta salad because they only last a day or so. I’m looking for something that I can make on a Sunday evening that I can have for lunch for the next three, four, maybe five days.

    The only things I’ve been able to come up with are feta cheese, chunks of cheese in general, olives (of pretty much any sort), pepperoni, marinated artichoke hearts, and chopped red onion. I’m good with those, but variety is nice. I have no food allergies (aside from lactose in milk; I’m good with cheese), I am an omnivore, I have no religious restrictions, so pretty much anything (other than Klingon food) is on the table.

    What do you all put in your pasta salad?

    1. Forrest Rhodes*

      These aren’t necessarily in the same salad, but different combinations:
      Handfuls of frozen peas, straight from the freezer.
      Diced celery.
      Chopped mushrooms.
      Olives, black or green.
      Yellow or orange bell pepper.
      Fresh baby spinach.
      Diced baby bok choi.
      Sometimes a diced tomato, but for some reason I don’t add this often.
      Carrot curls.
      If I’m feeling carnivorous, some diced or shredded leftover roast chicken, or even canned salmon (rarely).

    2. Anon Poster*

      I sometimes make a pasta salad with red bell pepper, grape tomatoes, parsley, canned black olives, and chickpeas. The recipe calls for red onion as well, but I hate onions so I skip them. I toss with a homemade vinaigrette, make Sunday night, and have eaten as late in the week as Thursday. The veggies seem fine to me, but I may just have low standards.

      I love a recipe I saw on tiktok that’s supposed to be a knockoff of a Sam’s Club Mediterranean pasta salad. Kale, pasta, sun dried tomatoes, feta, and a dressing I have to make in the blender. Kale is the only veggie, but man it’s so good.

      Would you consider grain bowls/Buddha bowls? If raw vegetables are a no for you, many of those call for lots of roasted veggies and either raw or sautéed kale.

    3. Roland*

      I like “Sun-Dried Tomato, White Bean, and Goat Cheese Pasta Salad” from Half Baked Harvest. I’ll put a link in a reply but I think the idea is self-explanatory! None of the veggies are raw so it should last for 3 days.

    4. zaracat*

      I like crab meat (or fake crab surimi) with mayonnaise, capers and spring onions. I wouldn’t mix this ahead though if using over multiple days, would add in the crab and mayo on the day of eating.

    5. Not A Manager*

      I make two kinds of pasta salad. One uses fresh cheese tortellini and packaged pesto. Add whatever else you like. I add olives, red peppers, sliced red onion, artichoke hearts, and extra parmesan cheese. This lasts at least 5 days in the fridge and I don’t find that the veggies get mushy.

      The other is an American style macaroni salad made with small macaroni, mayo and seasonings. I got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated and it’s one of my favorites. I don’t add any extras to it other than sometimes a handful of frozen peas. You can fold those into your portion in the morning and they will be fine at lunchtime.

      If you want veggies but they get soggy after a few days, could you make your base salad with hearty vegetables, and then add something like fresh spinach or frozen peas into single servings?

      1. Not A Manager*

        Ooh, another one is spaghetti tossed with soy sauce, hot chili oil, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and sliced scallions. You can add a pinch of ginger, too. I add sautéed shiitake mushrooms and sliced snow peas or sugar snap peas, but you could omit them.

          1. Not A Manager*

            That sort of is the recipe. Make your spaghetti, and ideally while it’s still warm toss it in some soy sauce. Use less than you think you need, you can always add more later. You can dissolve your ground dried ginger into a bit of soy if you want, or just take your chances sprinkling it over. Toss any veggies you like into the mix. I like shiitake and sliced pea pods, but you could do julienned red bell pepper, or thin slices of those hot red peppers, whatever you like. Broccoli florets. Add a few drops of sesame oil, and some chili oil if you want. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds. Serve at cool room temperature.

            You can make this with leftover cold spaghetti, too. Just bring the spaghetti to room temp before you add the sauce, or briefly heat it in the microwave, so it can absorb the flavors.

    6. HannahS*

      Chickpeas, lemon, marinated artichoke, lots of black pepper.

      Pesto, white beans or chickpeas (or chicken, I suppose.)

    7. Pam Adams*

      Perhaps you could chop the fresh vegetables and keep them separate, stirring them into your serving of pasta salad each day. I vote for red, yellow and orange bell peppers.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        This is what I do. Also sometimes I throw a handful of pre-cooked frozen shrimp into mine for the day.

    8. Madame Arcati*

      Tuna, sweetcorn, peppers, olives, spring onions* (all or a selection). A little mayonnaise or olive oil to moisten but if you get tuna in oil the residual is enough.
      *scallions I think

    9. Ellis Bell*

      Diced cucumber, red onion and tomato, mixed with mackerel or tuna (half mackerel and half tuna is nice) mixed with half greek yogurt, half mayonnaise (mix the creamy things and fish first, before adding the diced things). This also works with shredded chicken.

    10. Formerly in HR*

      Cook some zucchinis (2-4 medium, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced in half moons) with corn (1 cup, frozen, no need to thaw) in a pan with a bit of oil, salt, garlic powder or other spices. You’re going for some charred bits. When done, can squeeze some lemon juice (and this combo can be used as side dish for meats).
      Mix the zucchini and corn with cooked short pasta (cassarecce, penne), pine nuts (can be toasted), capers, olives (whole or sliced), chopped sundried tomatoes. Add olive oil. Can add cheese (crumled feta, grated Parm). Lasts for days, as there is nothing that ferments.

    11. Snoozing not schmoozing*

      Bow tie or corkscrew pasta, cooked and drained, thawed California blend veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, can use fresh vegetables lightly steamed), sliced black olives, grape tomatoes sliced lengthways, a little red onion or shallot if you like it, and chopped pepper for crunch – I usually use yellow for color variety. Toss with a sweet Italian vinaigrette, or a not sweet one if you prefer. Can add parmesan, but the grated kind in the cannister works best; shredded parmesan gets weirdly disgusting in it.

  17. Bea*

    I have a rather silly question. Can anyone recommend a foot lotion or cream that doesn’t make my feet slick in the shower? I have tried many different lotions but haven’t liked any of them. I am using O’Keeffe’s Healthy Feet right now, which is better than most. I am tired of constantly hanging on the safety bars.

    1. Jay*

      Have you tried a pair of aqua-shoes in the shower?
      Sort of like a shower cap for your feet. With half-way decent treads on them.

    2. Fish*

      Are you using the lotion to prevent slipping, or are you putting lotion on before you get in the shower and slipping because of it? If it’s the former, I’d try stick on shower treads- a quick Amazon search has lots of different options for those. (Actually, that would probably also be a good solution if it’s the latter.)

      Alternately, Burt’s Bees makes a really thick coconut foot cream that isn’t terribly slippery.

    3. Ellis Bell*

      Clarifying questions: you’re putting the lotion on after the shower, right? But the moisture is lasting until your next shower, the next day?

    4. Helvetica*

      I don’t know what your timeframe between putting it on and getting into the shower is but in general, I like Eucerin’s Urea series for feet and other parts of the body as it absorbs very well and works quickly. I put it on at night and I am not slippery for the morning shower.
      But I think if you take a shower relatively soon after the lotion, there is no such cream that wouldn’t still be slippery.

    5. Gozer (She/Her)*

      If you mean putting the lotion on while you’re in the shower the. I feel you – I’ve yet to find a skin lotion that doesn’t cause loss of traction. Have to put it on later while sat on the bed.

      If you mean lotion that you put on earlier that still causes slippage hours later then I’d recommend wiping your feet with some soap (and wiping it off) before getting into the shower to remove some of the surface oil.

    6. Not A Manager*

      I put all my lotion on post-shower, and I’ve never had it last long enough to make me slip during my next shower. Occasionally for one reason or another I have had a product on my feet pre-shower, and I just take a warm washcloth and wipe most of it off before I get in.

    7. How's It Going?*

      Working Hands lotion has a very tacky feeling to it. Plus it’s great for rougher skin like feet.

    8. Bea*

      I put the lotion on after the shower, but my feet will be slick during the next day’s shower. Perhaps I use too much.

      1. Observer*

        Something else is going on. Even the most tack, slippy, gooey lotion should not be making your feel slick the next day.

        Do your feet sweat a lot? Is it possible that it’s not your feet but the shower floor? There is a reason why so many people put stuff on the bath / shower floor to avoid slipping.

        1. Sitting Pretty*

          I was thinking this too. I use conditioner on my hair and it leaves a slick residue (it’s usually one of the last things I rinse off). And it can be hard to tell it’s there once the tub floor is dry, but it still hangs around and the next time the shower is on, the tub gets slick again.

          I’ve gotten into the habit of wiping down the floor of the tub or shower as soon as I’m out. Usually I do this with a hand towel or even whatever wash cloth I just used and then throwing it right in the laundry. That quick wipe down of the shower floor or tub helps keep it “grippier” when I get in next time

      2. Ellis Bell*

        I’d wear socks to bed to soak up any excess, and then put in a non slip shower mat to avoid slippage.

  18. Mary Quite Contrary*

    I’ve been staying with my Aunt for a couple of weeks while I’m dealing with some things right now. (I’m giving her money for rent and utilities.) My Aunt is in her 70s and is very particular about things. For example, my first day by her I was loading the dishwasher and she reminded me that the cups should be placed at a certain angle otherwise, she claims, they won’t get clean. She seems to be nosy and will ask me what time I’m going out or where I’m going. (It’s during the day- I don’t go out at night.) Even if I don’t answer, she will keep asking me. When I walk in the door, she’ll tell me something isn’t clean or have some kind of criticism.

    I know that it’s her house and I’m trying to be respectful, but I’m not sure if she doesn’t want me staying by her and won’t just say it or this is just how she is. I feel like I’m walking on eggshells.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Jay*

      People who live alone for a long time tend to get particular.
      I know I have.
      You get used to a very specific schedule and way of doing things.
      Any deviation can be like fingernails on a chalk board.
      Even when you are absolutely OVERJOYED to have company.
      If the person is elderly and has had decades upon decades to wear themselves a comfortable rut, it can be even harder to get used to someone else in your space.
      Again, even if they are absolutely desperate for company and having you there is the best thing that has happened in their lives in twenty years.

      1. WellRed*

        Totally agree! I’ve always had roommates and believe I’m a lot more flexible with household nitpicking than I otherwise would be.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Yep. I’m coming up on the end of my first year without roommates (except my husband) in over 20 years, and I (think I) used to be pretty flexible about most things, but I suspect I’ve gotten a lot more set in my ways in the last year.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Yes. It’s the cognitive dissonance between “So happy to have you here!” and “But this is NOT how Things Are Supposed To Be.” It can be very, very stressful.

      3. WestsideStory*

        She is 70. Endure it pleasantly and lean into the same compassion she gave you when bringing you in. It’s only temporary right? When you are on your own again you can go back to doing things that make sense to you.
        These odd rules make sense to her, it’s unlikely rubbing against them will change anything while you are under her roof. I’ve been there; this too shall pass.

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

      Well, your aunt doesn’t sound shy, so I think if she didn’t want you there, she’d say so.

      That said, she sounds like she’s a rather difficult roommate. Since it doesn’t sound very fun for you to be there, maybe you might want to see if there are any other viable options for your housing?

      If you’re stuck there for a bit, try the trick that is sometimes recommended here about pretending like you’re an anthropologist and observing her, trying to blend into her culture: “Hmmm, my experiments show that aunt likes her tea cups at a 30-degree angle precisely.” “Aunt prefers that everyone in the house be in bed by 9:28.” “Aunt responds well to spontaneous bathroom cleaning.”

    3. Ochre*

      Did your aunt live alone prior to your arrival? It sounds like she’s not used to having someone in her space which she’s had exclusive control of for some time. Now she has a kind-of guest/kind-of tenant/kind-of roommate, since you’re family (and in a hard situation) but paying rent and also keeping your own schedule (versus doing everything together like you might if you were visiting on a social visit for a few days). I’m guessing this is hard for her to navigate! Honestly, having someone in our house for more than a couple of days gets tiring. My spouse and I do things in particular ways and it just throws us off if they’re done differently, even if we really like a person and want them to be with us.

      I don’t know how long you think you’ll stay with her, but you probably need to be working on a specific end-date or you should sit down together to have a “how do you think this is going” talk. If you’re in a challenging situation she’s unlikely to come out and tell you that she wants you to leave (where would you go?), but maybe you can get her to say she doesn’t want you to load the dishwasher but you can scrub all the toilets any way you please. It *is* her house and unless you are truly a tenant with your own entrance I don’t think it’s unreasonable for her to want to know when you’re coming and going. Asking *where* you’re going might be nosiness (or maybe she’s hoping you can pick something up at the store), but I’d want to know when to leave the door unlocked, or when to keep the driveway clear, or when I can take a long bubble-bath too.

      I’m not saying you’re doing anything wrong in this situation, but I am younger than your aunt and would find it very stressful to have someone else suddenly living in our small house for any length of time :( I’m probably only going to get *more* set in my ways as time goes on.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I think that liminal zone of “not roommate but not tenant but not guest, kinda” thing you’ve highlighted is a huge part of this. If they were permanently living there, it would be easier to start mentally and physically rearranging things and get a new routine established. If they were a visitor who was definitely leaving on X date it would be easier to have a mental time limit to adhere to.

        But this kind of in between living situation is very hard to get her mind around.

    4. Gigi*

      She asked you a question and you didn’t answer? I am sorry, I don’t have any advice about anything else about the situation but at least give her an non-answer like “I dunno” or “just out for some fresh air” or something like that. It seems you need an general talk about how much you want to tell her or keep private.

      1. Gigi*

        Another thought: it might be that she’s more wanting to know how long you will be out -> how long can I enjoy being alone in my own house! – and planning what to do herself in that time period. But yeah I can see how she sounds exhausting to live with. Best of luck.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          I second that she is asking “How long do I get to anticipate having the house deliciously to myself?”

          I also don’t consider the question at all unreasonable. My spouse and grown children can be on different continents, and they call few days or weeks and we text. I do not worry about them at all. But if we’re in the same space, it’s normal to say “I’m going to see Jack; I’ll be back around 10.” And to drop a text if you actually won’t be back until much later than you thought.

      2. Mary Quite Contrary*

        If I’m going to the store, I’ll ask her if she wants me to pick anything up for her or if she needs anything. But sometimes I’m just taking the trash out or opening the front door because she has mail or a package and she’s all “What’s that? Is that you? Where are you going?”

      3. office hobbit*

        When I lived with family we never just left the house without a word. Then I lived with a friend whose family did tend to leave without a word, and it was very confusing for me! She’d leave and I was left wondering how long I had the place to myself/should I wait for her for lunch/do I have time to do [big messy chore] or will she come back in the middle/etc. I agree just a brief “I’m running some errands, I’ll be back by dinner” sort of detail would go a long way.

        The mail/trash scenario you describe is more annoying, but can you train yourself into a habit of announcing it before you open the door? “Getting the mail!” If she’s used to living alone and she’s at all prone to worry, if she just hears the door open/close with no words she might feel uneasy until she knows it was you.

        1. londonedit*

          Yes – I think if she’s used to living on her own, it’s not surprising that she’s checking who’s there when she hears the door go. If you’re not used to hearing the door open and close at random times, it’s definitely going to be jarring and you might wonder what’s going on! I also think she’s probably asking how long you’ll be out and what you’re doing so that she knows how long she’ll have the house to herself for. I grew up in a family where everyone shared their plans and you wouldn’t just leave the house without saying where you were going and how long you might be, so I can see Aunt’s perspective there, especially as she isn’t used to having someone else coming and going.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      Hm, I’m sorry you feel unwelcome; that’s not okay. I’ll come back to that. Firstly, I think you do need to observe people’s dishwasher preferences, (sorry!) or anything that’s a serious bug or quirk for that person, because that’s information that will help you know how to live peaceably with her. If you can do it easily, I’d do it. As for “what time I’m going out or where I’m going”, I think that’s also reasonable when people are living together rather than living alongside each other as just roommates (I.e. do you eat together, do you use shared common areas to relax, rather than everyone doing their own thing: is this part not entirely decided yet?). It’s important to identify whether the nosiness is a “I will be worried about you” question or a “how long do I have the place to myself” or “I want to comment on your life choices “. It’s okay to say “why do you ask?” but don’t necessarily expect an honest answer in the moment. It’s also okay to give less than honest answers or be vague yourself: Lik “Not sure, I thought I might walk around/shop/see if any of my friends are home”. If she keeps persisting, be persistent that you’re willing to tell her any details she needs as a housemate, but you need to know why she’s asking. I don’t think it’s okay that she’s jumping on you with criticism as soon as you walk in and this might be the breaking point tbh. If people don’t have the skills to make you feel welcome, and to raise complaints collaboratively, they probably aren’t going to be very pleasant to live with and it’s a hard skill to teach from the perspective of a guest. It might just be a teething issue though as you learn each others’ ways. Something I might try is: “I really struggle to remember details of stuff I need to do differently when I’ve just walked in. Do you mind if I make us a cup of tea first, and then we’ll get into the details of house stuff and chores?” Get a notepad for “I’ll write it down after some tea”, Use the tea making process to chat about inconsequential stuff without having to sit down face on, (I would also have a couple of safe topics to divert her away from nosiness), talk about what you want to talk about for five minutes or so, and then when you’ve sat down, or after the tea, ask her what her complaints are. If you’re willing to move out, you might try asking “You don’t seem terribly happy with these living arrangements. I appreciate you trying. Do you think we should just call it a day?” Be prepared for her to be surprised; some people have no idea that they’re cranky or presenting as unhappy.

    6. Gozer (She/Her)*

      My mother is *just* like this! Everything must be in its place and she must know where everyone is at what time. At age 70+ she ain’t gonna change.

      So I don’t think it’s resentment and I think you’re okay. Putting things in a certain way is just one of those things you do to keep a loved one happy (ffs husband the towels don’t go on the floor) but the knowing where you are bit *can* be pushed back on.

      If I’m at mum’s and I say I’m going out for an hour I know she’ll time it. If I say I’ll be there by 1pm she’ll worry if she doesn’t get a ‘I’m at destination’ text at that time. So I’m more woolly with time – ‘popping out for the afternoon/day/a while/a bit’ or ‘be there around 2-3’.

    7. Not A Manager*

      What are your realistic options? If this is the best option for you right now, I’d stop trying to suss out how she “really” feels and accept that she’s opening her home to you and you are staying in it. She’s not going to change, so try to make your interactions with her as pleasant as possible for both of you. This probably means adjusting your own behavior to minimize strife. If it helps, think of her like a boss at work. Put on a professional face even if you think she’s being ridiculous.

      If you have other options, it might be time to consider them even if she’s wild about having you stay with her. “A few weeks” is a short time to have a roommate, but a long time to host a houseguest. How long do you think it will take to sort out whatever you’re dealing with? If it will be on the scale of another month or two, maybe move elsewhere for one month, and back to your aunt for the final month. Give everyone a break.

      1. Sloanicota*

        I agree that the open-ended-ness of the situation may be adding to the stress for both of you. Maybe neither of you is sure if you should work to find a routine you can live with or if it’s almost over so it’s better to let little things go.

    8. Chicago Anon*

      If you want to try to build a relationship (rather than just tough it out), you could try proactively consulting her on everything. “Aunt, what’s the best way to load your dishwasher? Aunt, a package came, should I get it? Aunt, what’s the story behind this photo/knickknack/whatever, is it a family thing? Aunt, what are you doing today — do you have time for a cup of tea and a chat, or should I go out and let you get on with your day?”

      There are some people who will take shameless advantage of this approach, but OTOH if she’s trying to adapt to someone in her space, this could help her mellow out.

    9. Friendly*

      To stop her asking about your comings and goings, I’d start telling her before she has a chance to ask. Where you’re going, how long you’ll be out, more or less. Not ideal, but you’re in control then and it may be less annoying for both of you. I can relate, at the moment I’m staying with my parents for a few months and while they are the opposite of particular about things like dishwashers, they are similarly nosy about where I’m going.

      I try to tell myself that if I were still living with ex-partner, it would be totally natural to let them know approximately where I was going and how long I’d be out, so it’s not that my parents are treating me as a child (which I think is why I was so annoyed by the nosiness at first) but as a fellow adult in a household whose movements have somewhat of an effect on each other and who are somewhat responsible for each other. If you don’t come home, it’s normal for her to worry and want to know where you were supposed to be, even if it’s just that you are running around doing some errands.

    10. Dancing Otter*

      Speaking as a senior citizen who has had an adult offspring staying with me for extended periods…
      Sometimes “where are you off to?” is showing a friendly interest, nothing more. Generally followed by “have fun” or “good luck” or “say hello to Friend from me.” Occasionally, as others mentioned, “Oh, if you’re going to XYZ, could you pick up some ABC for me?” Once in a while, maybe it would be somewhere I’d like to go, too.

      If I asked when she’d be back, it could mean “should I make dinner for one or two?” Or “do I have time to do such-and-such before you come back?” Or even, in bad weather, “when should I start to worry?”

      In neither case was I trying to control or criticize her. If she had said she was going to spend the night with someone, I might have reminded her to take a toothbrush – once a Mom, always a Mom, shrug. (If your aunt is in her 70s, she was a teenager during the 1960s’ sexual revolution. She may not be as easily shocked as you think.)

      Personally, I was grateful if she loaded the dishwasher at all, but ask your aunt if she’d rather you just scraped and rinsed your dishes and let her load them. Or, if you know where things go, suggest she load and you empty. Or even ask what other chores you could help with instead.

      As to repeating a question if you don’t answer, she probably thinks you didn’t hear her, because it would be rude to just ignore her. So say something amiably vague.

      Good luck with whatever circumstances have you living with her.

    11. Samwise*

      It’s perfectly reasonable for a host to ask when a guest is going out.

      Maybe she’s making conversation or expressing interest in you when she asks where you’re going. Kind of rude of you to not answer when she asks you a question.

      I mean, if you want to be able to come and go without anyone asking, and want to just do things your way, you should stay in a hotel or air bnb.

      1. Mary Quite Contrary*

        Sometimes I don’t have an answer for her or she’ll ask personal questions that I don’t feel comfortable answering.

        1. office hobbit*

          Could you just say, in a very friendly tone, “oh that’s too personal auntie! I’ll be back [fill in].” If she’s otherwise reasonable she might just not have realized she’s crossing a line. On the other hand, if she’s an intentional busybody, you could rephrase–but I would still respond with something. “I don’t really have an answer for that! I’ll see you later/subject change.”

        2. Ellis Bell*

          So, if she asks you what time you’re going out and you don’t have an answer for her, I’m assuming you are saying “I don’t know” or some variation? It might be better to just answer in the negative so she’s not guessing what your plans are: “No, I wasn’t planning on going out today.” If something she asks is too personal (I am struggling to think of what she could be asking you though!), I would just say “That’s a little personal!” in a good humoured way. You’re living together, so might as well communicate your boundaries now.

  19. CluelessWordsmith*

    I have never heard/seen the terms “missing stair” or “broken stair” in a context other than physical condition of staircases before (including at AAM), but it showed up as some type of negative employee type 3-4 times in this weekend’s open work thread as if it were commonly used terminology. Can someone fill in the backstory/history and clue me in on exactly what it means?

    1. Donkey Hotey*

      I forget the original coinage, but it refers to a house with multiple people. “everyone” knows about the broken stair and have dealt with the broken stair for so long, that they forget to tell new people about the broken stair.

      1. I need coffee before I can make coffee*

        Actually, it’s not that they don’t tell new people, instead they just matter-of-factly say “Oh, by the way, there is a stair missing on the staircase; we all just jump over it” like it’s totally normal to do that rather than fix the stair.

    2. Indolent Libertine*

      I first encountered it over at Captain Awkward. A “missing stair” is a person who is largely a negative and perhaps even dangerous presence in a relationship or a group, who really should be held to account for their behavior, because otherwise they’re going to cause some damage, but instead everyone tiptoes around them and pretends everything is fine and it’s perfectly normal to be missing a stair in the middle of the flight because “that’s just how they are.”

    3. Donkey Hotey*

      Regarding people, I think of groups where you have a person that has outstanding skills in one arena, but you don’t necessarily want to leave them alone with their “type” of people. It speaks to the person but also to the org that tolerates it.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      It was coined on the site Pervocracy in the context of everyone knowing who the unsafe creep of the group was but never acknowledging it. The idea is that people in an established group are so used to working around a problematic person (avoiding the missing stair) that they just accept the situation instead of trying to fix it. When a newcomer enters the group, they’re either warned about the stair or have to find out about it themselves, and the group is resistant or hostile to the idea that something can/should be done about the problematic person.

      1. Ellis Bell*

        Yeah I think it’s historically very common for women to whisper about which guys aren’t safe to be around, and to avoid, because the man had too much power to be properly tackled or “fixed”.

        1. Sloanicota*

          To be fair I do think the use has now expanded to “person I don’t like, and I note other people may dislike this person too” which isn’t *exactly* how I first understood it.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        A work version would be telling the newcomer in the office “Everyone knows that Bob will never pass on a TPS report, he’ll just add them to his TPS report nest. So you need to give him a copy, and then discreetly pass the original to Becky. Which you can only do when Bob is away from his desk so he doesn’t see.”

        Also known as “Well we can’t reason with Bob: he’s unreasonable. So everyone else just needs to bend around his unreasonableness.”

        Another thing I’ve noticed in this dynamic (which can be an office, a friend group, a family) is that there can Only Be One. If some newcomer tries to seize the crown of “most unreasonable person, whom everyone else must lean over to accommodate” no one cooperates–that’s Bob’s role, by gosh.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      In a workplace context: someone you have to look out for, watch your back around, go around, or pick up the slack for. In a social context: everyone has zero expectations of them, walks on eggshells around them, prevents them from blowing up, and you might hear people say “Oh that’s just what X is like; be the bigger person!” In a rape culture context, it’s considered bad and wrong to accuse someone of being a creep, or of being inappropriate, but it’s (still) considered good victim behaviour to ‘avoid unsafe situations’, so potential victims are warned to avoid the “missing stair” person, while the “missing stair” people themselves are left alone to operate as they please.

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

      Two mourning doves were, um, canoodling on my fire escape the other day (not a lot of mourning that afternoon!). When they were done, they sat there and preened for a bit. It reminded me of an episode of *Rhoda* where Brenda has just been at it with her boyfriend. Brenda doesn’t smoke, but the way she slowly and luxuriantly brushes her hair out tells you exactly what she has been up to.

      Also, it is Cadbury Creme Egg season!

      1. Snell*

        You reminded me of when I was visiting faraway relatives last year and identified the lizards crawling all over their yard by catching a pair in the act. From there, I googled the specific behavior I witnessed + geographical region and came up with an instant answer.

    2. Snell*

      Did that weirdo thing where you bring your own marshmallows when you eat (drink) out. I had a mini bag of mini peppermint marshmallows from Trader Joe’s that I look out for every year, but it was coming up on the end of February and I still hadn’t busted them open. So I snuck a few in my bag in a tiny food cup, and ordered a large black coffee, slipped them in there on my way out the door. New experience for me, I think my favorite part was slurping the 70% melted marshmallows through the sippy hole in the lid.

    3. BellaStella*

      Where I live we had some snow and my eleven year old kitty went on the balcony to explore! Her little paw prints in the snow brought me joy!

      1. anon24*

        Why do kitty paw prints in the snow bring so much happiness??
        My cat loves the snow. When we lived in a northern state we’d let her out on our balcony in the snow and we’d have to drag her inside fighting and howling because she’d be soaked and shivering but she didn’t want to come inside. We’d wrap her in a blanket and she’d sit at the door and stare wistfully out at the snow.

        1. goddessoftransitory*


          Toe beans are a constant source of joy. Peanut is 16 years old and we still nudge each other when he’s having his afternoon nap and whisper “look! The Beans!”

    4. Madame Arcati*

      Might not be small – government worker here who finally got the pay rise we’ve been waiting for for six months! And it is decent by our standards – and there’s back pay. I have savings again after a few necessary domestic expenses so I feel much more secure.

    5. AGD*

      Friend didn’t make it to the bar last night (she’s fine, just accidentally fell asleep), but I ran into a new colleague there and we hung out and had a fantastic chat!

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Today is my woofapotamus’s second birthday. She went to daycare yesterday to party with her buds there and they sent me a ton of pictures, including a couple of Abigail in a Birthday Girl hat eating cookies or chasing bubbles :)

          1. Dicey Tillerman*

            Happy birthday, Abigail! I have been wondering what your woofapotamus looks like–thank you for letting me put a face to the name!

    7. Gozer (She/Her)*

      The sight of my cat sleeping an angles that defy all known laws of physics. I nearly got out my old geometry set.

    8. Hotdog not dog*

      Doofus Mc Floofus got the last of his booster shots and is now ready to hit the dog park! (our dog park is members only, and they’re required to be vaccinated, spayed or neutered, and reasonably behaved). Also, he got his nickname because he is an exceptionally sweet and silly long haired “wooly husky”.

    9. Sharpie*

      I got my car back from the garage! I haven’t been able to drive for a few weeks because the power steering had gone, and it needed a new part. But I have it back and can go places on my own terms again. :D.\o/

    10. Girasol*

      Marshmallow cat came back! Last fall I had a thin white and tan cat, just the color of a toasted marshmallow, harrying the birds at the feeder. She acts feral and very timid. So I left out food and a shelter box. She ate some food and left the birds alone but never used the box. Snow came at Christmas and the cat disappeared. The fat cat from next door was scarfing all the food in addition to his meals at home, so I gave up leaving food out. I figured that marshmallow cat either had an owner keeping her indoors or else she hadn’t survived the winter. But yesterday she came right to my door demanding pets (!) and food, and ate a tin of kitten food.

    11. Sic Transit Vir*

      It’s been a rough week, but a friend of mine and I have been playing an online Scrabble knockoff pretty much non stop, and it’s like a constant IV drip of comfort. I haven’t played for years and it’s been fun to re-memorize all the words that use Q without a U :)

    12. Buni*

      My usual weekly supermarket trawl through the yellow-stickered-veg-I-can-make-into-soup turned up a tub of mini sweet peppers, so I’ve just made some roasted pepper ‘n’ tomato soup with basil and it is SO. GOOD.

    13. goddessoftransitory*

      Husband made veggie burgers on cornbread with comeback sauce! Soooo yummers and haven’t had it in a while since it’s kind of a production.

  20. zaracat*

    My cat Olivia has just been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and the vet is initially trying her with antithyroid gel which has to be rubbed inside her ear twice daily. The instructions say I need to wear gloves so none gets on my skin and although Olivia doesn’t generally mind having her ears handled when she’s relaxed on my lap (so it’s a win compared with trying to give oral medication), she’s not really keen on being picked up in gloves. The morning dose is especially difficult as I have to leave for work 7am or earlier and at that hour all she wants is to be fed and go outside for a while and run around, with no interest in snuggling. As this may be a lifelong treatment (unless treatment is changed to radioactive iodine) I want to get her used to the process and not set up a pattern where she gets hissy and runs away as soon as she sees or feels the gloves. Any suggestions for ways to do this?

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Look up “finger cots” — it’s like a small glove just for the tip of one finger; it’ll let you protect your fingertip from the medicine without requiring you to wear gloves.

      1. zaracat*

        Thanks very much, that will be much easier. It also finally occurred to me to look on YouTube, where I found some more suggestions to get her to tolerate the additional handling including clicker training.

        1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

          My reply shows up below- your technique will speed up over time, but if you are willing to offer a bit of the pasty treat tube stuff following the ear rub I think your cat will be amenable!

    2. mreasy*

      When I had a hyperthyroid cat who wouldn’t take meds orally, I always used finger cots as Allison suggests. I would also try to “get him” when he was already seated so I didn’t have to pick him up every time. I will say, after having had 2 hyperthyroid cats, I wish I had done the radioactive iodine! Not just easier but easier on them.

    3. well well well*

      My cat developed this condition around age 13, and I went with giving her a pill twice per day. I never tried the gel on the ears.

      If you end up trying the pill – I found it helped to always pair the pill with a treat, so after a few months, she came to look forward to getting her pill. They also have pill pockets which can help if you can’t get to a point where she will let you put a pill in her mouth.

      I had to pill her like that until she eventually passed away at the age of 17. Looking back, I wish I had considered the radiation therapy. It’s kind of expensive but I think it cures it and probably would have came out better financially considering all the pills I bought over the years.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Our Peanut’s on half a pill twice a day, which we mix in his wet food. It’s made the drama around finding a new diet for his aging system a lot more than needed. If we have future cats with this, I think we’ll go with iodine as well.

      2. Blomma*

        If you have the option and your vet recommends it…I did the radioactive iodine treatment for my then 12 year old cat in 2019. She’s 16 1/2 now and her thyroid is doing great. While it was expensive upfront, I definitely think it was the better way to go when I think of how many extra trips to the vet and costs for meds and bloodwork I’d have had in the 4 years since, not to mention the stress of it all. (Plus, she had another major medical crisis in 2021 leading to 10+ vet visits in 6 months. She is OVER going to the vet now and has to be drugged for her visits.)

    4. Dannie*

      I had a hyperthyroid cat who would barf up pills, and thus got switched to ear cream. Finger cots cost a fortune, so I bought boxes of latex gloves and snipped the fingers off. Worked just as well for a fraction of the price. (Also found it ironic since I am on hypothyroid meds!)

      As far as training her to it, I stopped giving her treats except when I finished applying the meds. She learned quickly that she had to come when called and tolerate the application, in order to receive her reward right after.

      Long term: keep an eye on her dental health and her heart health. Both are affected by a wonky thyroid. I lost my girl to heart failure/pericardial effusion in the end.

    5. tangerineRose*

      You might want to use 1 glove instead of 2. Treats are good too.

      One of my cats did the radioactive iodine, and it worked really well!

    6. Nacho Mama*

      My cat has been on methimazole gel for his thyroid for going on three years now. I’m thankful he’s rather amiable about things and can medicate him just before his breakfast and dinner. I turn the gel pen and quickly swipe his ear with it, recap the pen and wash my hands.
      I wore gloves the first week or so and it was ridiculous. I throw caution to the wind and have never gotten any of the medication on my skin.

      My friend’s cat has the same condition and uses the pill version because it’s both cheaper and easier for her cat.

      Best of luck! My guy is 17 years old and still doing fairly well – all things considered.

    7. Cat and dog fosterer*

      I did the radioactive treatment as I guessed it would be cheaper over a lifetime (another 5 years in the end) when the vet explained how often he’d need blood tests to check his levels. But that’s just my vet and costs and age when diagnosed.

      I also had to deal with a diabetic cat and paired his needle with feeding. After a week I became faster so that helped, but even then he’d run over to me for his meal and ignored the needle.

      1. Mztery123*

        We had the radioactive iodine treatment for our cat years ago. She lived for several more very happy healthy years after that – was treated at age 16 and lived to be 22! She was pretty docile, so I think if there had been the ear medicine at that time, she would’ve tolerated it, but we loved the fact that it was “one and done.”

        We had a very special vet though specialized in this treatment. Her procedure was to give the cat a tiny bit of radioactive iodine so they could see how big the thyroid was, and whether it was likely to be a tumor or not. She felt that going just by weight was not as healthy for the cat as you might give too much or too little radioactivity. If we had to do it again, we’d likely have to go up to UC Davis or one of the freestanding clinics here that do that kind of procedure so we might be more likely to use the ear medicine.

    8. Double A*

      I give this medication to my cat and I just fold up a piece of toilet paper to about 8 ply and rub it in there. Bonus is it also kind of cleans out the gunk at the same time. I thoroughly wash my hands after just in case.

      I’m sure some people will tell me this is a bad idea but honestly I don’t see why. The medication isn’t on there long enough to soak through the paper.

  21. Mother of One Dragon*

    Looking to hear people’s experiences sending a minor child unaccompanied on an airline, particularly if the experience is recent and involves immigration.

    My 13-year old kid will be going from Europe to the US this summer on an airline that allows unaccompanied minors aged 12-15 on direct flights, but they make a point that no assistance will be provided. My sister-in-law went through the European airport this week and asked around – and it seems like parental accompaniment only goes to the security checkpoint, meaning my kid will have to navigate US preclearance and then to the gate alone.

    He has a US passport and is smart, capable kid, so I’m not worried about it per se. I just want to make sure he’s prepared and knows what to expect. So any personal experience and tips will be very appreciated. (I will of course be calling the airline closer to the time to get the specifics.)

    1. AGD*

      I’m in my thirties so my specific experiences are out of date, especially as this was before 2001, but I did want to say that my parents did the same for me when I was that age. I was a bit frightened but was completely fine, and travelling alone at that age gave me an incredible sense of independence. By the time I was 15, travelling alone via airplane was entirely normal.

    2. California Dreamin’*

      My own experience flying as an unaccompanied minor (all fine) is too long ago to be relevant to you, but I came to say that up until the pandemic, I used to take my elderly dad to the airport regularly where he would travel to visit his girlfriend out of state. I wasn’t confident that he could easily navigate security and boarding alone and I preferred to see him get on the flight. I used to get a special pass at the check-in counter that allowed me through security to the boarding gates but not onto a plane. My understanding was it was allowed for someone to accompany a person that needed assistance. I don’t know if this is available outside the US, but you might ask about a “gate pass.” That’s what they called it here.

    3. MissCoco*

      I did my first flight alone at 14, and flew alone frequently in high school, including sometimes getting my own transport at the other end of a flight, but only domestically.

      YouTube is a great resource so he will know exactly how security and customs will go. Talk a bit with him about what the process will be like. If he’s flying into or out of major airports you may even be able to find an airport-specific customs walkthrough. One thing that used to stress me when I was young is how different all the airport security rules are, so let him know that they may not always ask for the same thing, and to just ask questions at security if he’s unsure. My parents really drilled it into me that I could ask anyone at TSA, airport or airline employee any question, even just “Hi, I see that sign behind you says this flight is leaving from this gate, is that right?” Being able to double check that stuff on my first few flights was a big confidence builder.

      My dad used to pull up airport maps to show me before each flight, which to be honest I never paid any attention to, but now I can understand why he had that impulse. The airline apps are great because they often include airport maps and even directions to gates or customs.
      As an adult, I appreciate that my parents made me feel like I could easily handle traveling solo. I am sure they were pretty nervous for my first few flights, but to me they always projected complete confidence in my ability to navigate any issues that came up.

      1. Kiki Is The Most*

        These are excellent ideas! Pulling up the map of airports online and/or the youtube videos to see how to navigate through the given airports is such a valuable tool. Speaking as a previous flight attendant, I kindly suggest making sure your child knows your phone number (by heart) in case they can’t look up the phone number on their own phone. If for some reason the flight is diverted, would he know how to get ahold of you, and is he comfortable asking adults for assistance? Some airlines/airports offered a paid service to accompany your child and didn’t know if that was an option either?

        1. Observer*

          Some airlines/airports offered a paid service to accompany your child and didn’t know if that was an option either?

          Yeah, if you use one of those services, your kid is going to need instruction of what to do if their service messes up- doesn’t show up, takes them to the wrong place, etc.

    4. Red22*

      Depending on what airport he’s flying into, he may be able to go through one of the new-ish passport gates instead of having to talk to an agent: you literally just put your passport down on the scanner, the camera finds your face, and it approves or rejects you. And on my last several flights into the US there hasn’t been anyone in ‘customs’ after baggage claim at all, so he may well not need to speak to a human from the time he gets off the plane to the time he exits security unless he wants to. They usually have someone at the passport gates in case you have problems, so he can ask them to help if he’s concerned. I’m not sure what the passport gates do for unaccompanied minors, as facial recognition isn’t as good for non-adults it might be set to auto-reject, so make sure he understands that if the gate rejects him it does not mean they think he’s a terrorist or whatever, just that they want human eyes to check him.

    5. Observer*

      Does your kid have a phone, preferably a smart phone? Will it work in a pinch in the US?

      I doubt anything is likely to go wrong, but having a means of communications that doesn’t depend on the kindness and capacity of airport staff is probably a good idea. And a smart phone is better than a flip phone, because worst case Kid can attach to the airport wifi (they all have it) and call / message via WhatsApp, Signal, or whatever non-SMS messaging app you use, should there be an emergency of some sort.

      PS Given some of the high profile experiences with airline staff messing up with their “escort of minors” services, it strikes me a reasonably well prepared, smart and capable kid is going to be at least well off, or may be even better off, as the kid who got stuck with a monitor. (In several cases the kid knew that something was wrong but had to wait around for people who never showed up!)

    6. Kittees*

      Even adults forget this: tell him to be sure not to joke around about bombs, guns, etc at the airport or on the plane. Things that are funny at home or on tv will get you arrested at the airport.

      Tell him it’s unlikely he will be selected to be patted down but that it’s possible. Tell him (1) it doesn’t mean he did anything wrong, and (2) as uncomfortable as it is to be singled out, it makes a good story afterwards. I am a white, middle aged woman and I get searched on nine out of every ten flights I take, no matter where I’m going or coming from. Maybe because I wear long loose dresses you could hide something under? Who knows. I’m used to it now and it’s a running joke in my family because I am the least suspicious character you’ll ever see. Tell your kid about me if he’s nervousso he knows it’s not something he “did.” (3). Maybe see if there’s a YouTube showing what an airport patdown looks like so he won’t feel as anxious.

    7. Tea and Sympathy*

      A friend’s daughter recently traveled alone back to the US from Scotland. The lines at immigration were unusually long, causing her to miss her connecting flight, and she freaked out over it. Her mother had to calm her down over the phone, which was difficult because daughter was already in a panic, and ended up just booking another flight for her.

      So I would say to go over things that can go wrong when you travel, and what to do about it if it happens. If my friend’s daughter had known that this was something that can happen and that the airline was prepared to deal with it, and she needed to just find an agent, I think she would have been fine.

  22. Lemonwhirl*

    Any recommendations for how to handle getting all the windows and doors replaced in your house?
    We’re still a little ways away from the actual work, but we’ve found a good place and picked out the types and colors. I am DREADING the actual work and am also wondering how much painting and cleaning up we’re going to need to do afterwards.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I did 11 windows and a slider door a few years ago, it took two days. We didn’t have to do any real painting – our only cleanup after they left was vacuuming and I had to touch up the nail holes with a white paint pen where they put the trim around the slider back up. But nothing changed size, all the windows were exact replacements so we didn’t have any extra holes cut or anything.

    2. Slartibartfast*

      I had over half my windows replaced a couple years ago, replacement vinyl made to fit the existing openings. It took one day and all I had to do was take the curtains down, then put them back up.

    3. Reba*

      It won’t be so bad! We had 11 windows done, and the only issue was that they had to reschedule install because they made the things wrong (twice). The service we used technically just installed primed, not painted, window stools, but they are white and I confess that in the rooms where the trim is white…that is still how they are. We had a minor amount of touch up painting to do to the drywall. It was cold while they worked but we were fine in the house. And we learned how little insulation we have :(

    4. well well well*

      We had all our windows replaced and didn’t have to do any repainting. We went with vinyl windows which actually state you cannot paint them or it voids the warranty. If you’re getting wood windows then maybe you have to do some painting? I’m not certain about that but it seems like you could get them prepainted.

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      Not to add to the chaos, but this is an excellent time to check for mold and mildew around your windows–getting that stuff off before you install new windows/doors is paramount if you have any.

  23. Firebird*

    How do you know when you are over your ex? We were married for thirty six years when I found out about his long term cheating and financial abuse. I wouldn’t play the “pick me” game and my therapist said I had already grieved the marriage, because it had been bad for so long. I only stayed because I thought I had to and the cheating finally got me to face it. I have friends and hobbies now, and my health drastically improved after the divorce.
    I’m not sure if I’m being vengeful or merely petty. I have a really good opportunity coming up because of his cousin.
    The petty part is that I’m sure he’s going to be pi$$ed off and it feels very satisfying, because he really respects this cousin and she still likes me and I would be doing something fun that he would never get to do. He never liked it when something good happened for me. If I was over him, would I still be happy about pi$$ing him off mostly by being happy and liked? I’m not going to tell him, but she might.

    1. well well well*

      It sounds to me like you are over him romantically but you hold some resentment for how you were treated by him. If you are still spending a lot of time keeping up with his life, stalking him on social media, or if you are still actively doing things just with the purpose of trying to piss him off, then I’d say you aren’t over him. If you’re just going about your own life and just happen to realize you’re doing something that would make him jealous, I don’t think that means you’re not over him.

      1. Observer*

        If you’re just going about your own life and just happen to realize you’re doing something that would make him jealous, I don’t think that means you’re not over him.

        Agreed. Like if this is just the icing on the cake of a good decision, I think it’s fine.

    2. sagewhiz*

      How long has it been since you left? If fairly recent—say, a couple of years—it seems logical (illogical as that may seem) that you’re still raw enough to feel petty at times. If five, ten years then yeah I’d say there’s probably some unfinished that would be wise to delve into. Time may heal but that scar can stay raw a looooong time.

      But my bottom line advice is to go for the opportunity with the cousin, for YOU.

    3. RagingADHD*

      You are happy, healthy, have a great opportunity, and you’re generally enjoying life. I think that’s as “over it” as you need to be.

      It is not reasonable to expect that you will forget thirty six years of your life, or that it will be like they never happened. That’s a whole adult lifetime.

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

      However you do or don’t feel about your ex, I agree with sagewhiz that you should take this opportunity if it sounds like a fun thing you want to do. Live life for you now and do the things that make you happy, especially since it sounds like you suppressed a lot of your own happiness for so long. Life is too short to agonize about whether you’re 100% over somebody or not.

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      If your only focus was pissing him off, I’d say maybe you weren’t all the way over him. But this is just a happy little gift with purchase, so to speak.

      If he wants to sulk over you being happy and healthy? Than that’s on him. And if you don’t feel bad? GOOD FOR YOU.

    6. *daha**

      My take is that you can allow yourself the schadenfreude without seeing it as a symptom or a warning sign or proof that you’re still vulnerable. Enjoy the fun, and enjoy knowing he wouldn’t approve of your fun at the same time.

    7. anon_sighing*

      You’re over him. But don’t let the resentment eat you up – it’s so easy to stay angry and wish you’d been able to cut them down to size.

      You have a good opportunity. As a bonus, he will be pissed. I think you’re all good, just focus on your health & happiness. :)

    8. PleaseNo*

      it all depends. if you’re looking for a specific date, no one can provide that to you. not even you! work on yourself, giving yourself lots of compassion and patience, and doing things that you find value and meaning in. also, check out chumplady.com for a community of those like you

  24. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

    My deaf cat had to have this ear gel, and would flatten her little ear to her head to avoid it! I cut the fingers off disposable gloves to use as fingercots when I got more used to handling the gel syringe and getting the right amount. I would put the gel on the fingercot, and have her food ready so she was focused on that, and then quickly do the ear rub. Interestingly she worked out that she only had it once a day, and was happy to have her ears fussed and rubbed at other times.
    I also alternated which ear got the gel- if it doesn’t get absorbed properly it’s like a flaky layer of glue- but it rubs off easily. Good luck with it!

  25. MeetMoot*

    How do you cope with friends who are chronic interrupters? Not just talking as you finish a sentence (though honestly, how hard?) but those who will frequently cut across you mid-sentence mid-story to say their piece on the topic (or change the topic altogether). Continuing with what I’m saying doesn’t work, and I don’t want to embarrass them or appear snooty by pointing out that they interrupted me / asking if I can finish what I’m saying. Doing so would become the bulk of the conversation.
    I find it really disrespectful, rude and hurtful when it happens, regardless of their intent. Would love a script on how to discuss this, or success stories of other people who’ve raised it with friends?

    1. Slartibartfast*

      As a chronic interrupter myself, there’s something hardwired wrong in my brain and I don’t realize I am experiencing word diarrhea in the moment. But I also don’t notice or take offense when the conversation is redirected. Hints are invisible to me, you have to hit me upside the head with a clue by four. I drive my husband nuts with it sometimes but I truly cannot help it. So my advice is be kind and patient but also blunt with the interruptor, there’s a good chance they’re unaware.

    2. Ellis Bell*

      Would you consider interrupting them right back? I was raised in a interrupty family culture, and I expect to be interrupted but I’ve had to teach myself not to, because there are people who really don’t like it even if you indicate it’s okay to do it equally on both sides. From the interrupters’ POV, there isn’t anything wrong with it, so you aren’t going to embarrass them! It isn’t snooty either to say you don’t like it. They will save their “OMG that reminds me” enthusiams and riffs for other interrupters and show their appreciation for your conversation in a different way; one that actually communicates enthusiasm and appreciation rather than disrespect. I definitely wouldn’t use that word, though? I would also allow something of a learning curve if you’re the first friend with a different communication style. I would just say: “I love that we have so much to talk about, but I lose all my threads when you interrupt, and I’m not great at interrupting back either. Could we do more of a turn-taking style?” When they interrupt, cross your fingers as though you don’t want to forget what you’re saying, or hold a hand up and say: “you’re doing it again!” Kind tone and humour, etc will go a long way. I am assuming though, that they’re just a bit buttinski and not actually using up all available oxygen; there’s a difference.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Mil-Dred on their channel ThoughtSlime on YouTube had a great post a few months ago about this and being diagnosed with ADHD. He said part of the reason for his interrupting was a panic that the great thing he wanted to say/joke he wanted to make was dependent on what was being discussed RIGHT THEN and if he waited for an opening it would pass and he’d never get to say it.

    3. Gozer (She/Her)*

      You can *try* to raise it as a subject after the effect – but that’s expert level social interaction. Captain Awkward website will likely have something! I’ve learnt so much about boundaries from her and here.

    4. Sloanicota*

      Hmm. If you can’t raise it at all without embarrassing them or “appearing snooty”, that’s going to be an issue because you are already finding them “rude, disrespectful, and hurtful.” They would presumably want to know this. So you do need to tell them more directly! Try to ask for a change of culture before you start. “I know it may seem a bit sensitive, but I really hate being interrupted. Can we try to wait for people to finish a sentence without interrupting today?” Then, when it happens, you’ll have more basis to say “oops, that’s what I was talking about, can I please finish my thought?” Note that if you take this route, you have a particularly obligation not to ramble or take up all the conversational room – try to make it easy on them while they’re practicing a new mode of conversation. Good luck!