weekend open thread – March 30-31, 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: A Beautiful Rival, by Gill Paul. This is a fictionalized account of the professional rivalry between Elizabeth Arden and Helena Rubinstein, and I was strangely riveted.

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

{ 928 comments… read them below }

  1. Ask a Manager* Post author

    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 what happened to me today” personal-blog-style posts are not. The latter have been increasing lately and they will be removed (that’s because one or two on their own aren’t a big deal but as they accumulate they can really change the feel of the threads).

    We also can’t do medical advice here.

    Please give the full rules a re-read if it’s been a while!

  2. Have we been Zucked again*

    Has Facebook stopped sending birthday announcements? I stopped using that accursed platform a few years back but didn’t fully delete for a few reasons, including the emails about people’s birthdays. But I feel I used to get them almost daily and now I can’t remember the last time I have.

    1. DannyG*

      I still get notifications on the platform, not a separate e-mail. But, I’m still a fairly active user. Perhaps that’s what the difference is?

      1. Lucien Nova*

        I also get platform notifications but I do not remember ever having gotten an email. And I’m not a terribly active user since they decided to do away with “most recent” in favour of “top stories” the last time – supposedly they reneged on that but I cannot get my most recent feed *back*!

        1. Goldfeesh*

          Yeah, they claim there is a way to get “most recent” but I don’t have the option to anywhere on FB. So I basically don’t use it anymore. What’s the point of showing me stuff from a week ago?

          1. Squidhead*

            Android mobile app: across the top are 5 icons (home, reels, market, feeds, and alerts). The feeds one is *mostly* reverse chronological. I can then select “friends” in text below it or “groups” and see just those in the feed. However, I still have instances where a post from a friend turns up a day or 6 later and I’ve never seen it before, but it’s better than the Home button which is an absolute hodge-podge.

    2. Writerling*

      I went through a phase of not using it all that much and getting no birthday notifications… I use it regularly-ish and I get notifications now, though I want to say not consistently. Remains a mystery to me.

    3. Not Totally Subclinical*

      I used to see them in my reminders feed all the time, but I haven’t seen them for several months. I need to bookmark the list — I can never remember how to get to it without lots of poking around.

    4. SarahKay*

      I would say dig into your settings. I haven’t used Facebook for about three years but I still regularly get emails about people’s birthdays; also about so-and-so has posted x, etc.

      1. Have we been Zucked again*

        Honestly I probably won’t do anything other than add another tick to the “delete Facebook account yea or nay” list. “Nay” side. At this point it’s the possibility of sometime needing to sell or buy something on FB marketplace that’s keeping me there and nothing else.

    1. RedinSC*

      Oh, it just happened! I was awarded the full amount for a small grant for work! Super excited. My first grant for this new-ish job.

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

      I received a surprise gift of cheerfully patterned compression socks from a far-away friend. They’re adorable. It was so kind of her to get me something pleasant to help me take good care of my health. : )

      Also, the mourning doves were doing it on my fire escape again, the little love birds! They’re too cute.

    3. Lifelong student*

      This ws my saving money week! I saw a dress on line I really wanted- but talked myself out of buying for four days. Then I placed the order- but made a mistake and the order did not go thru. The next day I looked at it again- and had a new coupon. Ended up paying $27 for a dress originally $75. I also found out that another bill I disputed- was around 4800 has been adjusted to 2300. Plus ham was on sale at my local grocer so a 19 pound ham originally over $70 was $17. Cut it up and vaccum packed the parts- will make 11 meals! Feeling rich!

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I finally got drywall de-texturing scheduled on my powder room. Once they smooth out the walls, I’m going to paint them a sort of deep wine-purple, and then we’re going to redo the floors, new baseboards, trim, door, sink, toilet, basically almost a complete overhaul in every aspect, and I am so stoked. It’s a tiny little space and the current vanity takes up half the room and I run into a corner of it trying to maneuver around and open the door at least once a week, so I’ve pretty much constantly had bruises around my hips from it for the last almost nine years. (I am not very spatially conscious, okay? :P don’t judge.)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        No judging here–I’ve got the spatial awareness of a drunk bat on roller skates.

      2. Hotdog not dog*

        My husband jokes that I could shop for home furnishings without needing to measure any existing pieces, since the height of each thing can be determined by where on my body the bruises are.

    5. Dicey Tillerman*

      A not-so-small joy: a long-awaited surgery is over and done with, and I am taking recovery one day at a time (and taking lots of naps!)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Yay! Anticipation is so much more draining than finally getting through something.

    6. anon24*

      I’m going through a very unexpected divorce while living somewhere where I have no family or friends, and while that is not at all happy, I have been blown away by how kind people are and how many people just want to help me. Former co-workers offering to let me live with them until I can find a place to live, people I barely know offering to help with packing/prepping for my long distance move back home to be closer to friends/family, even my current college math instructor telling me that if I ever need math help when I enroll in college in my new home to contact him and he’ll be happy to tutor me. I think I feel more loved than I ever have, and I’ve realized that I am not nearly as alone as I’ve thought, and it is so comforting. I’m not at all the type of person who believes that there is a lot of good in humanity, but right now this is a happy surprise and when the dust settles I’m going to owe some people debts I can never even begin to repay.

      1. Happily Retired*

        Many Jedi hugs for you as you travel this unexpected path. I’m so happy that you’re finding so much kindness along the way!

      2. allathian*

        I’m glad that people have been so good to you.

        You can’t necessarily pay it back, but I recommend paying it forward instead.

      3. PhyllisB*

        This one is from a month ago: our ladies group at church has a meeting once a month where we have a meal, a devotion, a game and give “happies.” (We also conduct some church business, but we have fun, too.) We rotate hostesseing duties each month, a group of three or four do the whole thing. It works out great, no one has the whole burden. Well, the month of February was my turn, with two other people. The other two had to drop out so it was going to be just me. In my usual calm,
        collected manner, I panicked. Then I got myself together and tried to figure out how to make this work. I wasn’t worried about food and decorations, I’ve prepared for gatherings for years, but all the other moving parts…I put out an appeal on our group Facebook page, and y’all, they delivered!! In spades!! Not only did they jump in and take over the parts I couldn’t deal with, when everything was over, they did the cleanup and wouldn’t even let me in the kitchen.
        I was so touched. They told me, “we love you and didn’t want to leave you to do this alone.” I have never felt so blessed. Especially since I was dealing with issues with my mother.
        It just brought home to me how kind people can be.
        I also learned not to hesitate to ask for help when needed.

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Having those kinds of friends is priceless. I’m so glad they were there for you.

    7. Pony tailed wonder*

      My mother and I went out to lunch this week. She lives with my dad who is in hospice care. He is bedridden and has dementia. My mom and I took the time out to just let down our hair and laugh and smile. It was nice to see her relax. We also bought lottery tickets so we could daydream a bit about a different kind of life.

    8. katertot*

      I’ve been trying to run for exercise. I’ve always hated running, and have tried to get into it several times without success. This week, accompanied by my two favorite running buddies— my partner and our dog— I ran my personal best for longest (2.5 miles) and fastest run. But most importantly, I felt pretty good through the whole thing!! Not looking for any speed records and my “run” still involves regular walking breaks, but I’m really pleased with my progress!

      1. TechWorker*

        Don’t knock the walking breaks! There’s a coach called Jeff Galloway who recommends them and you’re still a ‘proper runner’! I nearly exclusively do run/walk. I’m fairly happy with my 10k PB (55min) and that had walking breaks in it :p
        Also allowed me to do a marathon on not-that-much training and enjoy the whole thing listening to podcasts. Enjoy your running!

      2. Amory Blaine*

        Doing great, katertot! My partner just finished a 100 mile foot race and never calls it “run” (I call it a “trudge”). Time on your feet, moving, having an experience. That’s the important part. You’re doing awesome!

    9. allathian*

      Spring has sprung and our 100 ft by 12 ft drive is finally clear of snow and ice. Yay!

    10. Old Plant Woman*

      I got my grape arbor pruned. It’s about 400sf and I have to climb a ladder, weasel up between vines, practically climb on top, cut vines, wrestle them out of the morass etc. My all time favorite garden chore. But it takes me about 20 hours every year.

    11. Cookies For Breakfast*

      Baked hot cross buns for the very first time, and they look gorgeous. Can’t wait to try them later. Years and years of living in the UK, and somehow, I’ve only ever eaten one hot cross bun before, from a bakery. Never too late, right?

    12. Vio*

      One of the few happy memories I have from my childhood was watching the old X-Men cartoon, humming along to the opening music. I logged into Disney+ this week and to my surprise saw that not only were all the old episodes there, but they just started making new episodes to follow on, 30 years later! A nice dose of nostalgia and comfort for my inner child.

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I’ve been afraid to see if they hold up to my childhood memories. Gawd I loved that show as a kid.

        1. AGD*

          I’ve been trying to watch the whole series on Disney+ because I would have LOVED it as a kid but somehow I was only barely aware of it!

      2. carcinization*

        I loved that show too and had such ridiculous tender feelings for Gambit, which made me super-annoyed at his treatment in the live-action films. I should probably check it out on Disney+ since that comes with our terrestrial cable.

    13. Un, Deux, Trois, Cat*

      Two years ago I moved about an hour north of where I was in order to be closer to my parents as they got older. That required a new job because I am a teacher. For the previous 23 years I had been a technology teacher, but the only open position I could find was as an ELA teacher, which I am also qualified for, but nowhere near as pleasurable to teach. Miraculously, there was an opening for a technology teacher at my current school for next year so I threw my hat into the ring and I got it! I’m so excited to go back to teaching my passion, even though I have committed to running a robotics club, complete with competitions, and that is one thing that I have never done. I will get training and I am determined to figure it out. My current plan was to retire in three years (when I’m 65 so that I can get Medicare), but if this position is less stressful, I might stay a few more years!

    14. Retirement Pending*

      I am retiring in a few months from my small business! Just decided 2 weeks ago. Can’t wait to be free of the stress.

    15. fallingleavesofnovember*

      Discovered a band I like (The Staves) just put out a new album, and it’s really good! Now the dilemma: do I travel to another city for the concert in two weeks (but miss other weekend plans already on the calendar?)

    16. Seashell*

      My teenager cleaned their room during school break, and now you can walk in there without being in danger of breaking an ankle.

    17. LizB*

      My baby has started smiling so much!! She was born a month early, so chronologically she’s 12 weeks old, and it’s been a looooong wait for her to hit this milestone (which generally happens around 8 weeks in babies born full term) but it’s so so worth it.

    18. Elle Woods*

      We got a bunch of snow this week (blech!). After it finally stopped snowing, my husband cleared our driveway and sidewalk and then cleared our neighbor’s driveway and sidewalk. The neighbor stopped by yesterday morning with a basket of freshly baked bread along with jars of maple syrup and honey. These neighbors are beekeepers and I’ve had their honey before–it is good stuff. I’m eager to try their maple syrup too.

    19. AGD*

      I coached a wonderful student in her application for a competitive award (Weekday Thing is undergraduate advising) and found out on Monday that she got it!

    20. Elizabeth West*

      Large joy — I got to spend a whole day in person with some online friends from abroad whom I’ve known for years! They’re visiting the U.S. and started off in Boston.

      I took Thursday off work and we went to the Isabella Stewart Gardner museum (the one where the big art heist happened — there’s a show about it on Netflix), had lunch on Newbury Street and tea at the library, and finished up with wine and cheese. It rained the entire time, but we had an absolutely lovely day. <3

      1. Jackie*

        I saw your post and wanted to share my amusing story with you. A very close friend moved to Newton MA with her husband in the mid ‘90s. I flew up for a visit, and we went to the museum. Loved it, and as we moved through the rooms we came upon a professor with his class in attendance. Well, whatever he was saying about the artwork was so fascinating that we sorta maybe tagged on the edges of the group, and tried to “ blend in” with the students-until he finally stopped in mid- sentence and loudly announced “ For those of you who are NOT in my class will you please MOVE along!”
        ( yikes, guess our 30+ year old faces gave us away )

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

          Gee, what a grouch! I think he should have been flattered that he was getting a nice audience.

        2. Elizabeth West*

          Whaaaat?! I’d be happy if people wanted to learn something. What a dink.

          I loved it too — I didn’t know they had that St. George Slays the Dragon piece. We had an old kid’s art book with that in it when I was little. I’d seen it a hundred times but it’s always a thrill to see the real one.

    21. Onomatopoetic*

      My partner and I have hit a rough patch, lots of quarrelling, mostly because we haven’t had any time for each other. Stress and winter, bad combo. Maybe a bit of long time relationship boredom too. Today was a really nice day, we decided to just do nice things. We did a small road trip, a hike with a picknick (the weather was lovely) and some second hand shopping and felt connected for the first time in forever. Especially the nature trail was lovely, the snow is slowly melting and it felt a little like spring in the air. I haven’t really felt joy in a while (I think I have a bit of SAD), but today was a good day.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I love that you decided “nice day, nice things!” People can sometimes shortchange how effective deciding on a mindset can be. Not that it’s a cure all or anything like that, but I’ve had times when I was in a snarly funk and consciously picked “I will not let X bother me as much as it has,” and it did improve my outlook.

    22. ruthG*

      My son’s have provided joyful moments this week.

      My 6 year old choose two toys at the Zoo today which were buy one, get one free. he then gave one to his 2 year old brother completely unprompted, saying “well I can only take one to bed with me anyway. and I don’t want Benjy to be sad”

      And my 2 year old uttered his longest ever sentence “No mummy. I’m building a train track!”

      It feels like we may be doing something right ask parents

    23. goddessoftransitory*

      I made pot roast in Italian wine over polenta and it turned out great! Next time, though; smaller piece of beef and cut the carrots a little smaller.

      Also tomorrow is Easter and Husband can eat his Reeses peanut butter egg instead of gazing at it longingly (and I get my chocolate bunny.)

    24. Might Be Spam*

      I found out marshmallow peep chick’s are only 28 calories each. I’ve been counting calories and lost five pounds and have twenty to go. Because I’m short, in order to lose a half pound a week, I’m limited to 938 calories per day. My diet is boring, but I’m not hungry and little treats like this help my motivation.

      1. Fulana del Tal*

        I bit the bullet and bought tickets to Merrily we roll along and I’m so happy I did. The show is amazing

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

          Oh, I adore the score for that! It’s so gorgeous. : ) I saw the City Center version about 10 years ago, and yeah, totally amazing show.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        Oh, I know this one! I’ve lost three pounds from the beginning of this year. Being short, round and having the Famine Resistant Metabolism doesn’t. I found a big jar of unsalted mixed nuts (I have to be low- salt as well, she whines), and use them to tide me over in the afternoon, when the munchies hit.

    25. Filosofickle*

      As of Friday, I’m on a two month (paid) leave for mental health. I really need this!

    26. Reluctant Mezzo*

      Allowed myself to wimp out and take things easy this week instead of forcing myself ahead when I felt like crap. Progress!

    27. BikeWalkBarb*

      Today I went to see Shakespeare Abridged (Again) with one of my best friends. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Then as I walked down the street leaving the theater two women who had been there caught up with me and one said to me, “The color palette you’re wearing is fantastic.” I thought it looked pretty good when I left the house and that extra endorsement was aces.

      (For the record: Pale green ankle-length denim pants, turquoise top, dark blue Air Runners, dark blue denim jacket, scarf that picked up tones of the green and turquoise with a splash of royal blue in the mix.)

    28. Hotdog not dog*

      My college student kid brought his girlfriend to meet the “new” dog for Easter. Dog is smitten, and I’ve got 2 actual runners to take him for walks for a few days! (He’s a husky, and I’m a middle aged woman, so I can only move so fast!)

    29. carcinization*

      Met up/caught up with some friends for unhealthy food and tequila drinks on Thursday evening… they are very busy folks so we see them quarterly at best. Told them some stories from back in the day that really cracked them up, and enjoyed what they had to say as well.

    30. ST*

      Discovered that I share a somewhat niche interest with an older lady neighbor, so now we say hi and chat when we pass on the street!

  3. Le le lemon*

    I’ve been lax and fallen into staying awake very late, and thus sleeping late. I’d like to switch back to waking 2-3 hours earlier, and would love to hear all your favourite things about mornings, or ideas to make the new habit stick!

    1. Jay*

      My overall answer is nothing.
      Nothing is good about getting up early ;)
      That said, if you reallllllly want to put yourself through that, then try setting your alarm for a few minutes before you actually want to get up. Then put the alarm device far enough away from your bed that you absolutely HAVE to get up out of bed to turn it off.
      Try taking Melatonin a couple of hours before bed so you drift off easily enough.
      No caffeine four or five hours before bed.
      No food, reading, or t.v. in bed.
      The usual advice.

      1. office hobbit*

        I put the real alarm far away from bed, and put a second, earlier alarm close to my bed (it’s my phone but that’s not good sleep hygiene shhh). My phone alarm goes off ~15 min before the real alarm, so I can get some cozy lie-in time. If I don’t do this, I get up to turn off the alarm and then get right back into bed! (I sometimes still do.)

      1. Happily Retired*

        Preach!

        I make sure that the coffee pot and filter basket are clean and ready to go, I load up the coffee grinder, and I get the filter out. If I’m getting up crazy early, I might grind the beans the night before, and all I have to do the next morning is pour in the water, and boom, coffee 2 minutes later. (We have a Bunn.)

        If it’s not 37°F outside, I take that coffee out on the back deck, still in my nightgown, and greet the dawn with the birds. So ready for full-blown spring!

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This– I look forward to my coffee in the morning. I fill my kettle and get my French press and mug all set up the night before.

    2. Zona the Great*

      My favorite thing about morning is watching the animals get their morning stretches and watering the plants! I make the world’s greatest cup of coffee and allow myself two cups in the mornings only.

    3. Busy Middle Manager*

      IMO you gotta get outside and get sunlight on the skin for a few minutes to really wake you up, so build that in. Maybe with a walk. I was googling scientific explanations just now and saw that it resets your circadian rhythm (I guess to not be fooled into thinking that noon is early morning, for example). And it boosts seretonin

      1. little frog*

        my answer too. Animals and morning quiet. In the summer, coffee on the balcony is relaxing, in the winter bundling up and looking through the trees for birds & squirrels.

    4. costello music*

      Breakfast lol. I pretty much only have cereal in the mornings during the work week, but I love it. Sometimes I have waffle leftovers, and that’s great to wake up to on a Monday.

      Also there’s just something about waking up to a bright sun that lifts my mood, even if it’s only for a few minutes.

    5. Rara Avis*

      Quiet alone time with a book or phone news while my family sleeps in. (I don’t get up early by choice — it seems to be a perimenopause thing that I wake up earlier than I would like.)

    6. Nicosloanica*

      If you’re getting enough sleep, I use the idea of a cozy morning to drive me out of bed – going downstairs in my slippers and bathrobe, making a pot of coffee and snuggling on the couch under a blanket for the first 20-30 minutes of the day. My dog also basically ensures I’ll be up with the sun more or less.

    7. just here for the scripts*

      My advice/comments is about falling asleep earlier—I noticed my Fitbit shows that almost all of my deep sleep is around 11-12pm. If I go to bed in time, I get a healthy dose of deep sleep; if I go to sleep early (10 thirtyish), I get more deep sleep; if I go to bed later (1130 or later), I get almost no deep sleep. less deep sleep equals lower, sleep scores – and apparently I become a tad competitive about my sleep scores.

      So, at 10:30 I turn off the TV, brush my teeth, set the alarm for the morning, and crawl into bed. Even if I’m not tired. Even if we’re watching really great series on TV.

      I remember when I was a kid my mom used to say, “you don’t have to sleep when you nap you just need to, close your eyes and let your body rest.” And I do the same thing with going to bed— less pressure to fall asleep, content with just closing my eyes, and “letting my body rest”

    8. LBD*

      I like being able to sit quietly with a cup of coffee and watch the light brighten, and the sun come up. Just be in the moment. If I sleep later, my morning is all about pushing myself to get ready for the day. It is nice to have a chance to pause and mentally prepare. If it isn’t miserable outside, I will sit out, even if it means bundling up.

    9. OhGee*

      Coffee, quiet, time to myself before the day begins. I live with my partner and he’s resolutely not a morning person, so 6 am is a time for me to sit quietly with my thoughts and the cats and the rising sun. I love it.

    10. Rosey*

      I have a sunrise alarm clock. You can set the sunrise to start 10, 20 or 30 minutes before the alarm goes off. I set mine for 10 minutes. The light wakes me up, so by the time my alarm goes off, I’ve already been awake for a little while and it’s easier to get up.

    11. WellRed*

      My phone has a scheduled bedtime wind down alarm I’ve been using. It’s set for 10:14 and then at 11 (bedtime in theory) notifications are silenced. Meanwhile, I’ve done bedtime ablutions (never get to use that word), taken meds, whatever. But I’m focused on getting to sleep, not making lists or playing games or whatever.

    12. JSPA*

      If I want to get up early, And I don’t want to resent my alarm, and thus get deeply sleepy just as it’s about to go off, I set it for the very last minute possible.

      And then every part of me is reminding me that.Of course I want to get up earlier than my alarm, Which works out to me waking up early enough to check the time, hours ahead of time.

      Unless i’m really exhausted, In which case I get one twelve hour night, and then wake up before the birds the next time(s).

      Then once I get used to coffee and fresh air and one of my old CD’s cued up at 5 am (and being able to have coffee before the cat insists on her morning brushing), it’s easier to keep that pattern up.

      In my case the local utility also offers cheaper electricity until 7 a.m., so 5 to 7 is prime time to cook, do laundry, run the dishwasher. Thinking, “wow, I have just enough time to do all of those things today, so the evenings and other mornings will be blissfully free” usually gets me out of bed, once I’m awake. (This is all postmenopausal, though. Before that, my body gave me a hard “no” on early morning wake ups through most of my cycle.)

      So I guess the TL;DR is “make it easy for your body to weigh in on the decision.”

    13. goddessoftransitory*

      What is leading to staying up late? I think this question is a key to the pattern you want to break.

      Is it “finally” getting some me time after a full evening after a full day? Is it streaming a show you really love and keeps you awake (no joke; when BSG was running we’d watch an episode and I’d get so involved I could NOT sleep for hours afterwards, my heart would literally pound in my chest)? Are you scrolling and getting those dopamine hits? Do you eat dinner really late?

      The first thing I’d do is try shifting as much of these routines to much earlier in the evening–instead of starting my show at 10 pm, watch it at 8. Prep dinner in the morning so cooking it isn’t such an ordeal at the end of the day. Disconnect from your phone–put it to charge in any room BUT the bedroom and ignore it.

      Start a bedtime wind down routine: cleaning up kitchen, then nightly ablutions, then turning back the covers, then picking a book, or whatever you do to signal “shhhh” to your brain.

      Personal “works for me” recommendations: Put on your jammies and slippers as soon as possible after finishing your commitments for the day. And keep some kid’s books around for soothing reading: nothing is more calming to me than “Goodnight Moon.”

    14. BikeWalkBarb*

      I’m not crazy about mornings. Almost three years ago I started a routine that involves visiting a couple of sites to read mindfulness poetry (ayearofbeinghere-dot-com and ahundredfallingveils-dot-com) and going to grateful.org to read the thought for the day and answer (sometimes) the QOTD, which has a very warm and welcoming community. Poetry is just right for me for morning reading: Not nonfiction and therefore educational and work-ish, not fiction that might suck me in and slow the rest of the morning. It helps that my husband brings me my first cup of coffee while I stretch out on a chaise and start my brain gently, sometimes with the cat on my lap.

      If there’s something that would be equally appealing for you that isn’t work and isn’t getting ready for work and isn’t you shoulding on yourself (as in, “I should start doing XYZ exercise thing every morning” unless you love that), maybe that could help. I’m fortunate in that I’m 100% telework unless I choose to go to the office so I can make time for this without getting up extra early.

    15. Frankie Bergstein*

      Assuming I have had enough sleep and just need motivation to get out of bed, I tell myself, “hey, you promised me we’d do this.”

      Silly, but it works. Somehow I turned into someone for whom keeping her word REALLY matters.

    16. Quinalla*

      I’m a morning person, so I love mornings, but not everyone is and there is nothing sacred about getting up early vs. late despite society saying it’s lazy or other BS to get up late.

      For me, I love mornings because:
      I think best in the mornings.
      It’s quiet and peaceful and I usually get to be alone.
      I love experiencing the new day coming alive – the sun rising, sky from dark to light, the birds, frost/dew/fog, etc.
      First drink in the morning (usually soda or tea for me, but I know a lot of folks LOVE their coffee).

  4. Teapot Translator*

    In a few weeks, I’ll be travelling abroad. It’s not a direct flight and the layovers are long. Not long enough that I would feel comfortable getting out of the airport and visiting nearby, but long enough that I worry I will be bored. What advice do you have to pass the time at the airport? My ideas at the moment: download movies on Netflix and buy one of those sudoku books (so I don’t spend all my time staring at the phone).

    1. Jay*

      Get an inexpensive but effective tablet?
      That way you can comfortably read books and get a nice Sudoku app, watch some movies, maybe even play a few simple games.
      You can get a new Amazon Fire Tablet for between one and three hundred dollars right now, depending on how much power you want and what you want to do with it.

      1. Teapot Translator*

        Are the Amazon Fire Tablets good? I see that they’re very reasonably priced (particularly compared to phones these days!).

        1. Jay*

          I’ve had mine for years and it still works well enough for books and puzzle games, and it wasn’t the newest model when I bought it.

        2. WellRed*

          My mom has one and while she likes it and it’s relatively easy for her senior self, because it’s Amazon I found it rather restrictive to the Amazon ecosystem. Wanted credit card info just to use it, no google and other apps that I wanted. I mean, maybe a more tech clever person knows how to get around it. Or if you just want it for reading and games it’s likely fine!

          1. Jay*

            You can just download Google Chrome.
            Mine also did not require a credit card to set up.
            Only to buy things from Amazon or to get Amazon services, or to use the App Store.

          2. PMaster*

            There is a way to download and install some more Android OS “guts” to run on an Amazon tablet. You will be able to install more native Android apps from the Google Play Store and it will seem less like an Amazon marketing product.

    2. AcademiaNut*

      Check out the amenities of the specific airport – does it have an exercise space, pay per use showers, a themed museum, chair massages (by a person, or an electric chair), interesting artwork?

      For a long layover, check out the prices for a single use of an airline lounge. If you’ve got a 6 hour layover, spending $50 to hang out in the frequent flyer lounge with a comfortable, quiet seat and free food can be worth it.

      Do a circuit of the airport, check out all the restaurant menus before deciding where to eat, and browse the travel and electronic gadgets stores and local snacks and candies. Find a spot with a comfortable seat, get a beverage and watch videos or read a book. I tend to go for stuff that’s engaging but doesn’t take much brainwork on long trips – I often catch up on Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks fare.

      If you’re tired, set an alarm for when you need to get to the gate.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Under this, if the airport has a hotel within the security gates, renting a room for a few hours can be a godsend. Ours (in Frankfort?) had a bed and small desk/chair combo and a shower. Best indulgence of the trip, in terms of immediate impact on everyone’s well-being.

        1. Teapot Translator*

          I just checked and it doesn’t seem to. :/ Plus, I just realized that I need a visa to enter the country where the layover is, so too much hassle to get access to the hotel just outside the airport.

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

        I really liked the airport lounge thing the one time I paid for a day pass on a long layover. It was so nice and quiet and peaceful in there. 100% worth it.

    3. acmx*

      I walk a lot. I browse the stores especially the ones with books.
      You can check the airport website and see if they have any art installations
      I would also eat at a sit down restaurant.

      I just searched airport scavenger hunt and flyforgood dot com has a checklist lol (it was the top result).

      Enjoy your trip!

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        It’s a great opportunity to pick up some magazines, I find. Stuff you don’t read every month, but would enjoy if plopped down to wait with an array.

    4. RedinSC*

      Watch your movies in the airport massage chairs!

      OR even better, find a massage place, if the airport is big enough and get a nice relaxing massage.

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

        Yes! See if the airport has a spa and sign up for any and every relaxing thing — foot rub, back massage, facial, mani/pedi! I’ve only done this once (and didn’t have time for all these goodies, just a few), but it felt awesome!

        Also, if you enjoy reading, see if you can bring a favorite book to re-read or a book you haven’t read in a series you like.

        1. Falling Diphthong*

          Wanted to add that–as with my hourly hotel example above–the premium price they charge, that you would look askance at in a place 10 minutes from your home, can really be worth it when your muscles are stiff and unresponsive from hours in airplane seats.

    5. Liminality*

      Some airports do ‘self guided tours’. If you check in with the information peeps they can give you a map to their art installations and other cool spots in that airport.

    6. LBD*

      If I have a connection with someone in the area, I would try to set up a chance to have coffee with them. Otherwise, I like to look for artwork. Saw a great mural in an alcove at SeaTac that reminded me of Frank Stella’s artwork. When I looked closer, I could see crisscrossing laser security lights in front of it, and thought, “Oh wow, I am face to face with an actual life size Stella!” And by life size, I mean 27 feet wide. It was amazing to see it as opposed to a picture in a book or online.
      I once had to entertain a child in an airport for many hours while our connecting flight was delayed repeatedly and the gate changed each time. I had scoped out a couple of play areas, and the child was congenial and pleasant, but even still it was a Very Long Wait.
      I hope your time goes quickly and meaningfully.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        A few years ago I had to change plans in Charlotte a day or two after a massive storm. The Charlotte airport was closed for a day and it was chaos. After a few gate changes and delays I decided to plop down in a centrally located seat and stay put, and started chatting with a woman who had been in the airport for 18 hours with a nine-month-old. She was, as you might imagine, deeply frazzled. I must have exuded Mom energy and hey, if you can’t trust a middle-aged woman in Hokas, who can you trust? and I held the baby for a while so she could stand up and walk around unencumbered. Made me deeply grateful for the teenager I was returning home to and the fact that I only had to manage my luggage and cup of coffee.

    7. Cordelia*

      I tend to try to do things I can’t do on the plane itself, so I do less phone/book/puzzles/movies, and more walking about. I usually walk round the whole terminal, people watching and browsing in the shops for things I don’t need and will never buy. I update myself on the latest tech offerings, for example, and look at designer clothes. I’ve been known to try on some very expensive outfits! I look at the new books that are out and note which ones I might want to buy when they are available as paperbacks. I would also buy the sudoku book at the airport rather than taking it with me, as choosing one passes a bit more time.
      I have a slow, sit-down meal in a restaurant rather than buying snacks.
      Often there’s a spa – I’m not personally a fan of chair massages but you could try that, but I did once get a nice manicure
      Of course, all this depends on the size of the airport and the facilities they have, but I’d still walk about a lot even if there was nothing much to look at

    8. melissa*

      Airports actually have a lot of things to visit, as some people mentioned below! There’s often a chapel (which might have interesting art on the walls, historic information, etc), a spa or salon, art exhibitions etc. If you actually walk through all the terminals and look at everything, you can kill a ton of time.

      1. JSPA*

        I’ve had some excellent shoulder / back massages in airports. And international airports sometimes have showers ( From what I remember taipei has some that are very affordable or free? And Seoul has (or had) an inexpensive sleep capsule-shower option…but I don’t remember if that’s before or after security.)

    9. Rosey*

      A travel-size deck of cards to play single player card games if you can find a flat surface to sit at? I’ve played solitaire on long flights before on the tray table.

    10. GoryDetails*

      If you’re into geocaching, see if any of your airports have geocaches or Adventure Labs inside – some do, and it can be a fun way to pass some time.

      In the absence of those – or if I’m at an airport that doesn’t have any – I mainly pass the time reading, sometimes over a drink and a snack at whatever pubs are in the terminals.

    11. AGD*

      I give myself $20 for a small meal (I always resent the cost, but if I have a long layover it’s probably because I booked a cheaper flight), and then go walking to find a nice quiet place to read for a while. Or sort my phone screenshots. There are always too many phone screenshots.

    12. JSPA*

      I pack so I can use my carryon as a pillow, and get proper lie-flat naps (on the ground or on a row of seats at a currently unused gate). A lot of airports also now have mini museum exhibits (art, history) or themed drawings from local schools. Anything that gets either your feet up or your gaze up will help.

    13. Kathy the Librarian*

      I buy puzzle magazines with a variety of puzzles. Penny Dell has good ones.
      I also like to walk the terminal. Not only am I getting in some exercise, I stop and window shop. It’s fun!

    14. nerdgal*

      If you post which specific airports will have your layovers, people can give specific recommendations.

    15. BikeWalkBarb*

      Walk around and look at the art installations if they have them, which you could probably find out in advance from their sites. Really stop and look at them, read about the artists, make a game out of finding them.

      Chair massage if they have a place that does those.

      Look at the other people waiting for their flights and make up stories in your head about them.

    16. WoodswomanWrites*

      Is the airport large? If so, I have done a long aerobic walk. It was great for loosening up after all that sitting and I enjoyed getting exercise. In my case, I had checked my luggage so I didn’t have a bag to deal with. That wouldn’t have been practical if I had my luggage with me.

    17. Sam I Am*

      It’s more looking at screens but if you’re out if things to read check out the collection at gutenburg dot org they have a masdive collection of books to read, all free. I’m in the last bit of the Count of Monte Cristo right now, started it at an airport!

    18. Glomarization, Esq.*

      When I have layovers, I like to head to a bar near my gate and read a novel or work through a few weeks’ worth of Sunday New York Times crossword puzzles. Honestly I love treating a travel day as an opportunity to avoid screen time and catch up on my to-read list. Couple pints of beer and a plate of fries are a nice treat, too.

      I’ve had some interesting conversations with strangers at airport bars, too. Once I was stuck for an extra 12+ hours after cancelled flights, and I was feeling super sorry for myself until I started talking with someone who’d been delayed for over 2 days trying to get home to his kids for Christmas.

  5. munch lunch*

    Summer is coming, and I need lunch ideas for a picky eater (me).

    I’m looking for easy lunches that can either be eaten while walking, or don’t require heating up in the microwave. I want to start walking on my lunch break, but I only have 30 minutes, so I’d rather not waste 5 minutes in the break room.

    I don’t like sandwiches. Not a fan of lettuce salads but willing to be surprised. (I like chicken caesar.) And nothing spicy please.

    1. Jay*

      Depending on how tightly you make them, sushi rolls can be eaten comfortably piece by piece out of a bag/box.
      Chicken/fish/steak fritters/sticks/tenders are a nice hand food.
      Drinkable meals? Like smoothies?
      Burgers and hot dogs or sausages.

      1. Sushi!*

        Or make hand rolls instead of cutting the sushi roll into pieces. Just roll up into a cone shape instead of a log.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Egg, tuna, or chicken salad with crackers. (Bumblebee does tuna and chicken versions in a pre-packaged lunch pack that includes a small container of the salad, a spoon, and a half-dozen crackers.) Salami or deli meat with sliced or string cheese – maybe even Lunchables? Carrots or pretzels with hummus. Apple slices with peanut butter. (These are kind of more like building a lunch plate out of snacks, I guess, but no need to microwave.) A bagel with some kind of schmear might be too close to sandwich, but if not, maybe that. Chips and salsa, depending on your definition of spicy – personally I can’t handle most salsas, but some black-bean-and-corn salsas are not too much for me, as well as being a little more filling. Cold pasta salad?

      1. WalkAndEat*

        You are clearly more dexterous than I am. I wouldn’t be able to eat any of these things while walking.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          Haha, I was literally considering it an “or” and aiming for the “OR doesn’t need to be microwaved” side of things, like stuff that could be eaten at a desk while working before or after a walking lunch. I can’t eat and walk at the same time.

    3. CanadianReader*

      Have you tried Cornish pasties? I’ve eaten them while walking and they travel very well. What about pitas or wraps?

      In terms of food that can doesn’t need to be heated, have you tried tabouleh? It’s a middle eastern salad made with bulgur that’s really delicious.

    4. acmx*

      Does a wrap count as a sandwich? If no, chicken Caesar in a wrap or veggie wraps. Use spinach. Burritos.
      Pizza.
      Stick veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers) and filling/dip (hummus, peanut butter, any dip).
      Couscous or quinoa with veggies.
      Pasta salads.

    5. Jay*

      Oh, now that I’m thinking of it, burritos and empanadas.
      You can put about anything in them.
      There used to be a place nearby that made homemade cookie dough empanadas.
      They were unreal.

          1. Jay*

            The cookie dough was indeed the filling!
            They were also dusted with large crystal sugar and the empanada dough itself was made a bit softer and sweeter than normal.

    6. little frog*

      fav summer salad: white beans, chopped cucumber, tomato, pepper, feta and avocado.
      I also love gazpacho, but you might want some more calories with it. Add a side of mixed nuts?

    7. HannahS*

      How about a hearty grain salad? I do one that’s quinoa, cherry tomatoes, corn (I use frozen,) basil, and sometimes mini bocconcini, with balsamic dressing.

      Another option would be a bean salad. Costco’s is nice, and there are many recipes online.

    8. Not A Manager*

      Frittatas
      Pasties/hand pies
      Room temp pizza
      Hard boiled eggs
      I am completely willing to eat any plain cooked meat at room temp as finger food

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        I prefer grilled meat cold the next day. My husband is the grill chef in our house and he always makes about twice as much steak or lamb as we need because I will happily munch on it for lunch for days.

      2. Reluctant Mezzo*

        If you don’t have to walk, cold Spanish rice or cold spaghetti is quite edible to some.

    9. Cookies For Breakfast*

      The Prawn Mango Avocado Summer Salad from the RecipeTin Eats website. I’m incredibly fussy about salads, and really love this one! (I make it without the raw tomatoes, because picky eater)

    10. LBD*

      Bento box type lunches might be good. Chunks of cold meats, cheese, crackers, veg, fruit, all packaged in a purpose made container, and can be eaten all at once for lunch or a bit at a time through out the day.
      Good luck with finding meals that make walking easier to fit into your schedule; it makes me happy to hear about people doing things like this for themselves!

    11. RussianInTexas*

      Farro salads. Basically as you would make a pasta salad but with farro. Lasts few days in a fridge. Texas caviar – bean salad. Also lasts few days. Can’t really eat whole walking, but both are eaten cold.

    12. Rosey*

      Do you like fruit salads? I like getting a few different fruits, cutting them up, and putting them in Tupperware type containers for lunch in the summer. (Honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, watermellon, bananas, strawberries, blue berries, depending on what I get that week.)

    13. Anonymous Koala*

      Summer rolls? I make them with rice paper lined with lettuce and filled with whatever veggies and herbs I have on hand, plus cold poached shrimp, chicken, or baked tofu for protein. Some people also add cold boiled rice noodles. Shred all the veggies small and wrap tightly and you can eat them cold and while walking. For a dipping sauce I like peanut butter, hoisin, and chili garlic sauce combined to taste (I usually do 40/50/10, but you could omit the chili) and thinned with hot water until dippable.

      1. pls send coffee*

        Seconding summer rolls! If you want to eat them one-handed you can add the dip instead the roll (like a spread) instead.

        Onigiri are also great for eating on the go! You can use any filling you want, but I personally love salmon and scallions in mine.

    14. nerdgal*

      Cottage cheese with canned peaches. Apple with peanut butter. Flour tortilla rolled up with cream cheese, turkey, and thinly sliced peppers. Protein shake.

    15. Lucia Pacciola*

      Trail mix. It’s literally in the name. Kind of a solved problem, in modern civilization.

    16. Onomatopoetic*

      I like slicing tofu and bake it in the oven until chewy. You can put some spices, for instance Kala Namak and pepper. They work well as a to go snack. Combine with eating carrot sticks and peanut butter.

      Another pretty filling meal is overnight oats. Also pretty easy to eat literally on the go. I have peanut butter and protein powder in mine, top with berries.

    17. Oh yeah, Me again*

      Nuts, grape tomatoes, washed mushrooms can be eaten out of a bag while you stroll. And I love those peanut butter-stuffed pretzel nuggets. Kind of high in calories, but you gmdo get at least a little protein. And they go CRUNCH so satisfyingly! Ooh! And hot dogs, cut into little chunks. They are fully cooked, and low calorie if you get theBallpark Turkey Frank’s. not at all bad, even cold!

    18. NB*

      How do you feel about hummus? I love it with pita, pita crisps, or wheat crackers. Some people enjoy it with vegetables, but that’s not my thing.

      Yogurt might also be an option for you–add fruit or nuts to make it more satisfying.

      What do you think about hard boiled eggs?

  6. Busy Middle Manager*

    With a holiday and family time coming up, I need tips on what to say and to hear experiences with people who pushed other (early) middle aged divorcees, or people in general to, well, get a life.

    My sister got divorced over ten years ago already but is the type to act like it just happened. She’s always planned trips and events but lately it’s gone overboard, I am going to have to start skipping some holidays or something because I am getting mentally exhausted from the constant plays, concerts, BBQs, birthdays, etc. especially since they are all a pretty long drive away.

    I’ve been rolling my eyes at it but I’m seeing signs of burnout in my young nieces now, I wonder if they feel pressure to be perfect at school and do all of these extra curricular activities and one of them manages to have a job too. It’s too much! I am wondering if my sister is reliving her youth through them. I see it with the music they listen to as well. My sister is always there chiming in to everything, and I’m starting to see it as a negative. It took a while since she’s generally nice and does hard work in other ways.

    Have you ever gotten someone out and dating and into a group, or something? What worked? Was there some magic phrase that worked? Did you have to cut them off to make them feel lonely? I feel like she is filled with excuses why she can’t go on a date or whatever. But I’m also seeing she has some sort of inferiority complex. She’ll get along with her coworkers but talk about how they’re “so perfect” and have these “perfect lives.” But when she describes them, they sound pretty normal to me. It’s like she thinks average is unattainable? But then I point out guys that are goodlooking and she says they’re not attractive, too soft, too nice. Her ex was a bad boy who literally got into bar fights and I keep saying, that’s attractive in fantasies but not the fodder for long term relationships, but she seems to want to find the magical bad boy who wants to settle down.

    On top of this I have parents getting older and neglecting stuff and my mom had a huge health thing and now holidays are always stressful. I think my sister is trying to plan a family vacation this summer. I….don’t want to go. If I am going to travel this year, I want to do it alone or with a friend. I need to mix with other people. Last time I opted out, she talked about it nonstop and acted like my reasons were fodder to discuss for hours

    1. Maggie*

      If you want to opt out of a vacation definitely do that! I would not give any reason other than it won’t be possible for you, and then she’ll have less to argue with. The other stuff… Well that’s kinda all her deal to handle. Feel free to set boundaries around how long you can hear someone vent on a particular subject or how long you can be somewhere etc but I’d leave the dating stuff and the rest of it pretty much alone unless you feel your nieces are being seriously mentally harmed

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        This! But also be willing to be an ear for your nieces.

        My mother never dated again after my parents divorced. Some people just don’t. (On the other hand, she also would never ever do that level of event planning.)

        1. Rosemary*

          As someone who is single and just not that interested in dating, there is truly nothing more annoying than questions about and pressure to date. Just no. People need to mind their own business with this stuff. If SIL brings it up…fine, talk away. But otherwise STFU already people.

    2. little frog*

      I don’t think there’s a magic phrase that will turn your sister into someone else. However, being there for your nieces could be a thing you do. Can you arrange to have them visit you once a month, or whatever your frequency is, and give them a laid back weekend? And/or a summer vacation where hanging out/movies/popcorn is the order of the day? If they are getting burned out, that could be a good thing for them

      1. Kathy the Librarian*

        This! Offer to host your nieces for a weekend to give sis a break. Sis might see it as a chance to be herself. You might even give her a spa day while you have the kids.

    3. Ginger Cat Lady*

      I know more than a few single moms of girls who won’t date until their young daughters are out of the house. And you know what? That’s a perfectly valid choice, even if it isn’t what you would choose.
      The answer here is NOT to get your sister a man, it’s to learn to say no and set boundaries. Because from what you’ve posted, it looks like you feel obligated to do everything you’re invited to. And an invitation is NOT a summons. You can decline.

      1. Nicosloanica*

        I agree. It’s hard, but you have to focus on what you want to do (stay home some upcoming holidays) and don’t want to do (do all the activities she has planned), and live that truth, not worry about what you think she should be doing. I don’t think anything good will come from questioning her parenting choices, anyway.

      2. Morning Reading*

        Yes, this! I don’t see any indication that sister wants to date. Problem here is that you feel too entwined in sister’s life. You have trouble saying “no” to family invitations. Maybe you are the one who needs a boyfriend, so you have an excuse not to join sister on her events or trips? “Sorry but boyfriend is in town that weekend,” or “I have plans to fly to Toronto then.” (Of course, imaginary bf is Canadian. He’s very shy so he might not meet your family for years.)

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          I find Mister Snuffeluphagus from Sesame Street to be the ideal for this kind of boyfriend.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I think you need to be thousand percent less involved in your sister’s choices. You say she needs to get a life, but it sounds like she has a pretty full life. It’s just not the one you’d choose for her.

      Similarly, you can make your own choices without involving her. You say that she discusses your reasons for hours, but that’s only because you give her reasons. If you don’t want to go on her vacations, tell her that you already have other plans. Be bland. You don’t need to agree with all of her minutia and she doesn’t have to agree with all of yours.

    5. allathian*

      How old are your nieces? Is their father in their lives at all?

      Given your sister’s penchant for dating “bad boys” it’s probably better for her daughters that she doesn’t date anyone until they’re out of the house.

      Sounds like you don’t like your sister much and disapprove of her life choices. I suggest you disengage and spend less time with her.

    6. Cordelia*

      It doesn’t sound like your sister wants to date, so I’m not sure why you think she should? If it’s just so she isn’t taking up so much of your time, that’s not the only answer. You don’t have to do all these things with her, it might be more enjoyable for her to spend time with people who actually wanted her company and weren’t so judgmental about her life choices. Because it sounds like she has a life, just not the one you think she should have.

    7. Morning Reading*

      My other response is less than useful, along the lines of “stop trying.” If you want to keep trying, and you feel your sister needs other friends so that she can be less focused on family activities, I suggest finding something you could do together, book club, crafting group, volunteering, church, etc., then gradually scale back your involvement as she meets new people.
      This might work better once her kids are grown. She sounds too busy to fit in more outings. Good luck!

    8. Irish Teacher.*

      I think all you can control here is what affects you. You shouldn’t have to do things that mentally exhaust you just because she invites you or whatever. You can say no to the vacation and opt out of some of the plays and concerts and so on. The fact that you have a long drive is a good excuse if you don’t want to go to some of them.

      However, just as you shouldn’t have to do anything you don’t choose to, she shouldn’t have to do anything she doesn’t choose to and that might include dating. Yeah, from your description of her, it sounds like she isn’t happy with her life as it is, but if she wants to change it, that’s her decision. It’s really not your problem and no changes are going to work unless she chooses them.

      I definitely wouldn’t cut her off to try and make her lonely so she will make the choices you think she should. Apart from anything else, from what you say about her choice in men, it sounds likely to me that if you did do that and it worked, she would probably choose some “bad boy” type just to avoid being alone. I don’t think it likely she would think, “oh, I’m now desperate enough to date somebody who I wouldn’t have wanted when I had other things to enjoy, so I’ll change my ‘type’ and go for someobdy who’d make a good life partner.” She is probably better off not dating than getting together with another guy who gets into bar fights, etc.

      But even if she was a good chooser, it’s really not your place to decide what is best for her. That’s her decision, though I can imagine it must be frustrating to see somebody you love continually making decisions that appear to be making her unhappy.

      However, I don’t think the issue here is the dating. People of people are happy single. Your sister might even be one of them. The problem is more that she is comparing her entire film to other people’s highlight reels and I don’t think there is much you can do about that.

      Other than making your own choices and opting out of things you don’t want to do, I think the only other thing you can do is be a sounding board for your nieces. If they express to you that they are feeling overwhelmed, you could talk to your sister about that. But don’t try and lead them. Just be there for them and let them see that you aren’t going to push them in any particular direction. Ask questions where it’s clear you aren’t looking for a particular answer like “do you enjoy your job or is it a hassle?” “What’s your boss like?” Try to avoid saying anything that implies you expect a certain answer like “must be nice to have your own money” or “does it interfere with school?”

      1. Busy Middle Manager*

        I feel like alot of her problems would logistically be solved with having someone else around. Between this and my parents, I am completely burnt out from family. They will complain and talk at length about all of this stuff and then when you comment back it’s like they didn’t think there were solutions and their brains freeze or they get insulted. I know online that it’s easy to say that being single is great but then you see people doing all of these things alone and being stressed out, they used to date so can’t be completely against it , but there is a block there now. and when you try to address it they act like it’s this insane thing like you mentioned going on a trip to Mars. I don’t get the line of thinking.

        For example, my mother lived an unhealthy lifestyle that ended her up in the hospital long term recently. But when I bring up food and exercise and clearing out the snack cabinets and such when she is released, it’s like I am bringing up some crazy taboo. I was like, so I give up most of my free time to visit and take care of your house when you’re not there, but heaven forbid I chime in on what caused the situation?

        IDK, I guess the MO here is that you can’t help other people change. But it’s beyond frustrating for example to deal with parents with hoarding tendencies and just say “oh can’t change it!” Was hoping when I commented last year on that that people would chime in with stories about getting their parents to declutter but I got a bunch of “you can’t change people” comments which surprised me. Still hoping someone will say “I did this or said that and something changed!!”

        1. goddessoftransitory*

          Unfortunately, actual change is like a unicorn–vanishingly rare.

          People invest in unhealthy systems and lifestyles because it soothes anxiety and provides emotional nourishment, and quite often those systems feel like the ONLY sources that the person can possibly reach. When they hear “you almost died because of the constant snacking” their reaction isn’t “well, time to change my diet!” It’s “you are trying to take away my reason for living.” And yes, they can be that invested. It may sound silly, but to them it feels very, very real.

          The only thing you can do is change how you react, despite how hard that is. Don’t go on vacations that you don’t want to. Don’t spend all your free time cleaning and decluttering. Don’t commit all your own precious, limited time to family “obligations.” They’ll adjust or they won’t, but you don’t have to burn all your energy on hope and disappointment.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          You’re arguing simultaneously that having another person in her life to worry about would ease your sister’s stress, and yet having her in your life to worry about does not have that effect.

        3. Brigs*

          There is very little about this answer that does not feel icky. Your sister needs to date because that will get her of your back? Ick. Your parents need to change how they want to live so you feel better? Ick.
          All those people telling you you can’t change others only yourself are telling you that because that is the truth you need to hear.
          Stop expecting your family to change just because you feel like they should, because it would make *your* life easier. Maybe spend some of that energy on introspection instead.

        4. Rachel*

          I think your timing here is a bit odd. Let’s say your sister enters the dating pool. She will either find a guy who has kids or who doesn’t.

          If he has kids, it means they merge two households and two custody arrangements. This does not alleviate logistics.

          If he does not have kids, it’s going to take some time until he and they are ready to handle solo drop offs and pick ups. Even if she meets a guy she really likes today, it’s at least a year until he will be able to actually do anything to help with anxiety or logistics.

        5. Irish Teacher.*

          I once read that in order to help people, we have to first accept the issue as they see it and not as we see it. You’ve said that you think having somebody else around would help your sister with her problems, but does she think that? She is the expert on her own life after all.

          It’s not that you can’t help others to change. It’s that the inital impetus has to come from them. If she wanted to start dating and asked for your help, then absolutely, you could help her, by giving her advice or arranging for her to meet people or helping her to create a profile for a dating profile or whatever it was she wanted help with, but it has to be her decision.

          There are a whole load of reasons why it is not a good idea to help somebody to change when they don’t want to or when they don’t necessarily want to change in the way you want them to. For one thing, you could be wrong. Hoarding is a bit different here because that does cause problems, but being single is a neutral choice; it is neither better nor worse than being in a relationship and only your sister can know which choice is better for her. Encouraging her to get into a relationship could lead to her being much less happy than she currently is.

          And even if it was right for her, it’s not going to work unless she is committed to it. If she just decides to date to get you off her back or worse, if you were to cut her off so that she was lonely and started dating even though she didn’t want to because it was better than being completely alone, well, that’s how people make bad choices, either getting involved with the wrong people, the “bad boys” or else getting into a relationship without being committed to it and without being willing to put in the work, which means it is unlikely to work out. Plus it would hardly be fair on whoever she was to date.

          And lastly, for you. This is how one gets burned out, getting too invested in other people’s lives. It’s causing stress for you and it’s hardly surprising they get insulted, if you are offering solutions to different problems than the ones they believe they have. And that’s upsetting for you to deal with too.

          I think most people would get insulted if somebody was pushing them to change some part of their life they were happy with. It sounds to me like you think being single is inherently a lesser choice than being in a relationship. Your comment about it being easy to say online that being single was great sort of sounds that way. In reality, it’s not that being single is great or being in a relationship is great. Both are equally valid choices, neither better or worse than the other. Of course, either could be better for an individual and your sister has experienced both and perhaps, with that experience, she has decided that being single is the better choice for her. If that is the case, then the way to help her would be to support her in this and encouraging her to chance would not be helping.

          It is also possible that she does want to be in a relationship, of course, but is going the wrong way about getting one, but even if that is the case, I don’t think there is much you can do unless she asks for your help.

          Helping somebody to change isn’t about you deciding how they should change but rather about you supporting them to make the changes they decide on.

          And look at your last paragraph. You feel…maybe disappointed? (I don’t want to put words in your mouth) that the advice we are giving is not what you were hoping for. It is quite possible your sister feels the same if you are giving her advice that is not what she’d hoped for. You are still hoping somebody will give you the advice you wanted. Similarly, it’s quite possible your sister is hoping you’ll stop focussing on whether or not she is dating and advise her on whatever it is she is asking for advice about.

          You can help other people change but you can’t make them change or decide what it is they need to change for them. You can only support them when they make the decision to change.

          I do know it’s frustrating when somebody keeps complaining and then won’t do anything to change the situation. I have a friend like that. One time she had to move because of a job and was panicking about what if the house she was viewing didn’t have Wifi because she needed Wifi and it was getting close to the time her job started and she wouldn’t have time to drive down to the town to view more houses if this one wasn’t suitable. I suggested she view other houses while she was down there, but no, she wouldn’t do that. But all I could do was make the suggestion. It was up to her whether or not she took it.

          And for me to get invested in trying to get her to stop putting herself in those situations would only stress me out. I have no control over her decisions. And that is a good thing because if I were to make decisions for her, I would likely make ones that weren’t right for her.

          1. WoodswomanWrites*

            This is all really well said. Busy Middle Manager, I hope you will consider what Irish Teacher is advising.

            I used to be a person who felt like I had to help people take care of their lives when they weren’t doing so in a way I thought they should. While that wasn’t helpful to them, it was actually harmful to me, making me feel substantially stressed. Because I truly cannot control anyone else’s choices.

            I have a friend who is very overweight, even after being counseled by medical professionals about changes he should make to prevent him for developing serious diseases. He now has one of those diseases. He is in a reversible stage for a second one, but only if he chooses to act.

            When he first told me about the medical guidance he received before he was ill, I told him I wanted to share my concern about him as his friend if he was willing to listen. He said that would be fine, I said my piece, and told him I wouldn’t bring it up again now that he knew.

            And I haven’t. Am I still concerned? Of course. But bringing it up all the time wouldn’t help either of us. It’s his life, not mine.

        6. nnn*

          The reason you didn’t get those comments is because it’s very hard if not impossible to change other people. The only thing you can control is your own actions/responses. Focus there. Figure out how to set boundaries for what you are/aren’t willing to do and how much energy (emotional or otherwise) you are/aren’t to invest. That’s all that’s within your control.

          I think there’s a reason you’re avoiding focusing on the parts you do control (meaning your actions/reactions) and it would be interesting to think about why.

        7. vombatus ursinus*

          Busy Middle Manager, you sound burned out and frustrated, which is tough. But I’m wondering, is your family actually *asking* you to do all the things that are feeding that feeling (e.g. taking care of your mum’s house when she was ill, strategising about your sister’s love life on her behalf), or are you just taking that upon yourself because you assume it’s expected? Maybe it would be totally fine for you to just decide to drop the rope a bit and care less?

          Somewhat related, you say that your family complains and then balks when you give feedback or suggestions. This is a really common dynamic and I’m sure you can find a thousand advice columns about the frustration when one person just wants to vent and the other tries to problem-solve instead of just listening. So you could try asking, “Are you looking for advice or do you just need a pair of ears?” and seeing what your family members say. My guess is that they probably do just want the latter. If you get to the point where you can’t put up with hearing the same vent for the tenth time (or even the second or third), then you can communicate, “I’m sorry that’s happening, but we’ve discussed it before and I don’t think there’s anything new to say … anyway, how about that (topic change)?” or something along those lines.

        8. RagingADHD*

          Nobody has stories like that because it is a fantasy.

          People say things that change their relationships for the better or worse. They say things that change family dynamics (“No thank you” can be particularly powerful in that regard).

          But there are no magic incantations that will cause someone to make different choices in their own life. The only thing you can change is your own thinking and behavior. *Sometimes* a shift in dynamics can spark another person to think differently. But it isn’t straightforward, and it can take a long time after you start changing things on your end — like years.

          So what are you going to say to yourself to change your own role in this situation?

        9. Mostly Managing*

          Here’s the thing. You really can’t change other people, but you can change how you react to them.

          I cannot change the choices my extended family have made. But (with a bit of help from a good therapist) I have been able to change how I feel about it and how I handle it.

          Do my family’s choices still make me crazy sometimes? Sure.
          But it’s not mine to fix. I will live my life, love my family, enjoy time with them when it fits, and not feel pressured to be all things to all people.

        10. carcinization*

          There are lots of things I did (enjoyed even!) when I was younger that I don’t do now. Maybe dating is like that for your sister?

        11. Goldfeesh*

          “IDK, I guess the MO here is that you can’t help other people change. But it’s beyond frustrating for example to deal with parents with hoarding tendencies and just say “oh can’t change it!””

          Bob Dylan said it very well: “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.”

    9. Falling Diphthong*

      You say she doesn’t have a life, then that she plans lots of trips and events and you don’t want to go. You’re allowed to not go. But her suggesting going to a play in April and the shore for a weekend in June is not her not having a life.

      There is nothing you can say that will cause another person to date. I don’t think dating would change anything, either, and she shouldn’t date to make you happy.

      You can be a respite for your nieces without even hinting that you are criticizing her parenting.

    10. WellRed*

      I’m with you on most of this but disappointed that you equate having a man with fulfillment. Why is that? I agree with others that it’s just as well while she still has young kids. Definitely feel free to bow out of vacation and anything else ( but not everything). Good luck. People that need to schedule everything perplex me.

    11. Seashell*

      If you’re wondering if your nieces are feeling too much pressure and are burned out, why don’t you ask them? Talk to them how things are going? Depending on where they live and what kind of student they are, they may feeling a lot of pressure about doing all the activities and getting good grade to help them get into college. That’s not necessarily your sister’s fault – it’s tough to get into college, especially these days, and there can be peer pressure about wanting to get into top schools.

      You don’t have to go to every event, but it’s not abnormal that your sister likes to plan things. It’s not my thing, but I know plenty of married people who keep a busy social calendar too. Your sister may feel pangs of sadness when she’s an empty nester, but it’s not your job to fix that. Just support her in what she wants to do. Given how many kids don’t move out immediately in early adulthood, she may have a way to go before the nest is empty.

    12. RagingADHD*

      You seem to be under the impression that dating or having a boyfriend would “fix” your sister and correct the issues you see in the way she parents.

      I urge you to reconsider that perspective. I do not believe that is what would happen. If she is not interested in dating and has a history of terrible choices in partners, then not dating sounds like a healthy thing for her right now.

      If you think your nieces need more support, time, or space, talk to your sister about that as its own issue.

      You are allowed to go or not go on any trip you like. You are also allowed to opt out of discussions you dont want to have.

    13. goddessoftransitory*

      Ugh; it’s one thing when a person’s having a difficult time and another when she deflects it all over you.

      I would NOT go on this vacation; it sounds far too exhausting, frankly. She can conjure up whatever scenarios she pleases but you just have to fall back on the phrase “Sorry, can’t make it this time. Hope you have fun!”

      Obviously this is more difficult than it sounds, because she’s invested in deflection. But you are allowed to say, out loud, what you do and don’t want to discuss, and stick to it. If she wants to talk about it nonstop, say “Okay, changing the subject now,” or get off the phone, or physically walk away.

      As for the rest of her dilemmas: unfortunately there isn’t much you can do. Be there for your nieces if they want to talk, be kind but not indulgent when she goes off on tangents about her coworkers. And do not bother with trying to fix her up, on dates or with groups. She’ll find something wrong with every one and it’s just more fuel for the fire.

    14. CrowQueen*

      Your sister has a life. It’s not the life you think she should have, but I don’t see why that’s her problem.

      You need to learn to set your own boundaries and live by them. Focus on your life, and let your sister do her own thing.

    15. Chauncy Gardener*

      Did everyone “circle the wagons” around her when she got divorced to support her through that tough time? Are you all maybe still “circled” and are you tired of it?
      You can disengage gradually and only attend things you want to attend. I think you need to start getting really busy and not be so intertwined with her life. If she wants to discuss things, you can opt out of that too. “Sorry Sis, not up for discussion. Moving on now….”
      Good luck!

  7. Fit Farmer*

    Is anyone familiar enough with electronic music (EDM, trance, etc) to be able to recommend a particular sub-slice of the genre that has a more of a defined and forward-moving 4-beat phrase (maybe like some house music does), with a super-full sound structured around broad chordal movement (like some trance music)? The closest I’ve found is “uplifting trance” and it’s got its moments, especially with so much going on, but overall the notes aren’t quite locked-in to the groove. House music can have the rhythm, but tends to be not so full a sound, not as much going on.

    It’s a little difficult to describe music, and I don’t have links to great examples of what I’m looking for, because, well, that’s the point! Thanks for having fun with this and I wonder what you come up with. Bonus points for no or few words!

    1. Not A Manager*

      I don’t know much about music either, but would something like Who’s Got The Bacon by Howie B. come close?

    2. Double A*

      I posted something with a link that will hopefully come out of moderation but a couple of bands that might fit the bill maybe? LCD Soundsystem, Cut Copy (try “Need You Now”), Hot Chip (try “Boy from School”). All of these are vocal-centric though.

      I indeed like thinking about stuff like this. If you do find something you like, Spotify is pretty good at recommending other things that are in a similar vein.

    3. BellaStella*

      Do you mean something like Swedish House Mafia, Avicii, Axwell & Ingrosso? Daft Punk? DeadMaus? David Guetta? Try EDM dot com maybe? Youtube has an uplifting trance set of stations too such as The Grand Sound Channel maybe? I will follow this thread thanks!

    4. Deuce of Gears*

      Ben Prunty sometimes maybe has more melody than you’re looking for; best known for doing video game scores for games like FTL and Into the Breach. No vocals. (He’s on Bandcamp.)

      I like Stellardrone for this – just enough in the way of harmonic progression and some melody and timbral/texture automation stuff to keep me interested, while still being lovely to relax to. No vocals except a couple sampled phrases things in one or two songs. (I picked up their albums via iTunes, and Spotify has some of their albums, although I think the last one was years ago.)

      I’m also going to be following this – my usual thing is extremely peppy kpop (for writing/revising to, so I don’t fall asleep) or action soundtracks, so a lot of EDM is a little too static for me in terms of harmony/harmonic tempo, but I’d love to explore more.

    5. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I have no idea how to describe music but when Jorts (and Jean) the cat, on his twitter feed, asked if anyone could identify a song that tonally went honk honk, heek heek, and had some numbers in it, someone immediately identified it as Mi Gente by J Balvin and Willy William. It’s cheerful and drives the sound forward, that’s all I can say, I really enjoy it.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOc51MNT-RI

    6. TPS Reporter*

      sandstorm?? one of my favs for working out or just zoning out

      YouTube music will suggest songs after you find something you like

    7. Forensic13*

      Have you tried the music Every Noise? It has a list of basically every genre everyone’s ever thought of, with sample bands. It’s how I satisfied my music desire essentially for “EDM. No, faster!”

    8. Fit Farmer*

      Wow I didn’t expect this to take off! I’ll try to hone it down a bit. Tl;dr, the link at the end has what I’m looking for more of.

      -“Not Songs”…lots of music is built around a few people being “A Band” playing music built around supporting a vocal melody—not that. (Though if I’ve got to have words to meet the other qualities, I’ll deal. Words can be distracting.)

      -How funk can really lay down a groove—and Daft Punk has some of this—is really compelling, but what goes on top of that?

      -Bonus points for cliche chord progressions comprised solely of some combination of I, IV, vi, V (for the music dorks in the crowd)

      -Here’s a rhythm/phrase example from a House context, with some nice chords too, but not very full. Listen to the first 90 seconds of this opening track (phrase first, then chords come in at 30sec), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBJk0Tq3JDU

      -Here’s a much more full snippet I came across…if nothing else could I have more of this?? But it’s got the trance-style offbeats, they’re not really settled into the groove. And it’s only the instrumental break for a vocal track…starting at 17min, listen for 90 seconds, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BpMo0K3A3Z0&t=17m00s

      Is there some style or artist who combines these two links somehow!

      (Thanks Allison for dealing with moderating the links in this thread.)

    9. Arya Parya*

      Maybe try the music of Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross. They compose soundtracks together that. I really like the Social Network Soundtrack and the Watchmen (tv show, not the movie) one. Those have a nice groove, but also an orchestra, so very full sound

  8. Jackalope*

    Reading thread! Share what you’ve been reading, and give or request recs.

    I’ve been on books 9 and 10 in the Incryptid series, ie the books from Sarah’s POV. I’ve been enjoying them a lot; I wasn’t sure if I’d like them (there was one of Verity’s books that was partly from Sarah’s perspective and I didn’t enjoy it as much), but it’s been fun.

    1. acmx*

      I just finished Everyone on This Train is a Suspect. It was fun.

      I have Thirteen Kinds of Luck, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy and.. Murder in a College Library I think is the name, from the library. Not sure which I’ll start first.

            1. acmx*

              Oh sorry. I was posting from my phone and now realize that sounds different than I meant.

              There’s just a fun little easter egg type “review”. Not a big deal, I just saw it as I was responding to this thread.

    2. Teapot Translator*

      It’s been a while since I’ve commented here. Don’t know where I left off. I read Shubeik Lubeik by Deena Mohamed (liked it!), Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty (this was recommended to me by someone here after I said I didn’t like Chaos Terminal; I liked Six Wakes, darnit, what happened with Chaos Terminal?),
      A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher (did not like it as much as I expected) and Something Light by Margery Sharp (started slow but I ended up liking it!).
      Any other Margery Sharp’s book that I should read? Or it could be, “If you liked Something Light, you might like…”

      1. acmx*

        Did you like Station Eternity? Not sure I’m the one who recommended Six Wakes (which was great) but I did like SE, too just wondering. I haven’t read Chaos Terminal yet.

      2. Jessica*

        Sorry I haven’t read Something Light, so can’t compare, but a Margery Sharp book I found surprisingly enjoyable was The Foolish Gentlewoman. It’s kind of about the emotional life of old age, or at least the second half of life.

    3. Jamie Starr*

      After the End of Art: Contemporary Art and the Pale of History by Arthur Danto. The book grew out of a series of lectures (The AW Mellon Lectures) at the National Gallery in the mid 90s. I’ve always like his writing style – even though he’s a philosopher by training, he writes clearly about art criticism/theory. (Which makes sense since he was the art critic for the The Nation, iirc.)

    4. RedinSC*

      Monk of Mokha – Dave Eggers
      I’ve finished the first 4 Glass Library Series by CJ Archer – cute and fun
      Mother Daughter Murder Night by Nina Simon. It was fun because I know her and learned that she wrote the book with her mother while caring for her mother during her cancer treatments. It, however, wasn’t one of my favorites, but the personal connection made me like it more.

    5. allathian*

      I’m re-reading Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy, almost finished the second book, Assassin’s Quest.

      1. allathian*

        Third book, oops. Just finished it and started Ship of Magic. The Liveship Traders trilogy’s my favorite.

    6. OtterB*

      I just finished Unnatural Magic by C N Waggoner. Trolls and humans coexist, mostly peacefully, but there’s recent violence between them. A half-troll, a former soldier, and a human girl who wants to learn to be a magician end up working together to solve a problem. Interesting world building, detailed and not trite.

      I’ve been re-reading some of the J D Robb In Death books.

      The Hugo finalists were just announced. Of the 6 Best Novel nominees, I have read one (Witch King), I have one on hold at the library, and there are two I have bought but not read. After looking over the list, I put another one on hold at the library and bought another. So lots of reading there.

      1. word nerd*

        What’d you think of Witch King? I’ve loved a lot of Martha Wells books, but a lot of people here didn’t seem to like this one, so I hadn’t planned on reading it.

        1. Shiara*

          Have you read much of her other fantasy? Witch King is less accessible than Murderbot structurally and world building wise, so I think some people who only know her from Murderbot found it hard to get into.

          Personally I really enjoyed it, although I was a little tripped up because I thought the witch King’s imprisonment had been significantly longer than it ended up being.

          1. word nerd*

            I liked her Fall of Ile-Rien trilogy. Feel free to recommend other Martha Wells fantasy that you liked too!

            1. Shiara*

              The Fall of Ile Rien trilogy is my favorite. I think Witch King comes next, the the other Ile Rien books (death of the necromancer and element of fire), then Wheel of the Infinite. City of Bones didn’t click for me personally, and I haven’t read the Raksura books.

            2. AcademiaNut*

              Emilie and the Hollow World and Emilie and the Sky World don’t get much mention, but I enjoyed them. They’re YA-ish books with world building inspired by Victorian and earlier science fiction (the Earth is hollow and contains a civilization). The heroine is running away from home, and stows away in exactly the wrong ship.

            3. Rage*

              I love the Books of the Raksura! Martha’s worldbuilding skills are definitely on parade in that series.

    7. BellaStella*

      Finally was able to buy Jay Kristoff’s second book in the Empire of the Vampire series “Empire of the Damned” which continues the story of the silversaint Gabriel de Leon. I have a few days off in the next two weeks and plan to read all day! Have yet to start reading it as am reading David Mitchell’s “Thinking about it only makes it worse”.

    8. Still*

      I’ve just finished reading Somebody’s Daughter by Ashley C Ford. It was heartbreaking but incredibly well-done. I’m fascinated by the depiction of holding on to family relationships, forgiveness and rebuilding (but seemingly with a healthy dose of boundaries) when she would have been completely justified in going no-contact forever.

    9. Atheist Nun*

      I enjoyed and recommend Honor Cargill-Martin’s Messalina: Empress, Adulteress, Libertine: The Story of the Most Notorious Woman of the Roman World. I can overlook the title’s double colon and hyperbole because the book itself is a well written, balanced feminist critique of imperial Rome, via Messalina as a case study. The author is a classicist who writes in an engaging, conversational style.* She makes a compelling argument that the aspersions cast on Messalina reflect the fears of (male) historians and politicians about the stressors in Roman society under imperial rule.

      *As an aside, I prefer Cargill-Martin’s writing far more than another British woman classicist (not Mary Beard, obviously, she is awesome!) who seems to have made Snark her brand. I hope that Cargill-Martin writes more books about other ancient Roman women, such as Livia or Agrippina the Younger.

      1. GoryDetails*

        The Messalina book sounds intriguing!

        I read Emma Southon’s book “Agrippina” not long ago, about Agrippina the Younger, and while I had some quibbles with the author’s style I found it fascinating.

        1. Atheist Nun*

          Yeah, that is the author whose snarkiness rubs me the wrong way. I read her other two books. I love how she is reclaiming ancient Roman history for the women and enslaved people who had been written out of it, I just find her writing insufferable.

          Guy de la Bédoyère’s Domina: The Women Who Made Imperial Rome was pretty good, too.

    10. Lemonwhirl*

      I’m reading Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. It’s ostensibly a courtroom drama about an explosion in an hyperbaric chamber that was being used to cure or improve people’s medical conditions. Several of the patients are children who are brought there by their mothers, who are desperate to help them. The family who owned the hyperbaric chamber are Korean immigrants. There’s a lot going on and I’m still only about 1/4 through it, but it’s fascinating.
      The author is a Korean-American attorney who took her son to a hyperbaric chamber. I decided to read the book after reading an essay she wrote about trying to find any treatment that would help her young toddler son’s debilitating ulcerative colitis.

      I’m listening to The Bee Sting by Paul Murray. It’s well-read and an enjoyable listen, even though I have such vivid memories of how difficult the economic crash in Ireland was.

    11. Pam Adams*

      I just started reading the Anthony Price mysteries/thrillers. Of course, to find his name, I had to spend a couple of hours cruising Jo Walton’s columns on tor.com.

    12. Falling Diphthong*

      I read The Overdue Life of Amy Byler, in which a single mom who’s been heads-down in the weeds of single parenting for the last three years agrees to let her repentant ex have the teen kids for a week while she goes to a library conference in NYC for the weekend, followed by several days with her old college friend who lives in the city. It gradually turns into more. Interspersed with bits from her 15-year-old daughter, who has the mystical ability to identify good pants.

      I liked this. The main character is a bit of a martyr, something she recognizes, and the book addresses how when a weight is falling toward your young children and you rush to the rescue that is a good and understandable thing, and yet the instinct can be too broadly applied. I particularly liked the detail where she enters a brief funk and spends the day sitting in the apartment reading–which was her original plan for what to do with a week off–and it wasn’t nearly as good for the soul as the various new experiences her friend has been pushing her into.

    13. Dwight Schrute*

      I finished my Empire of Storms/Tower of Dawn tandem read this week and started Kingdom of Ash. I’m looking forward to finishing the series but also know I’ll be sad and heart broken when I’m done.

    14. Charlotte Lucas*

      I am now onto Busman’s Honeymoon in Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey series.

      I’ve also been reading Blood on their Hands: Murder, Corruption, and the Fall of the Murdaugh Dynasty. It’s interesting to see how the story was uncovered, but I’m not sure if the author and I would get along were we to meet.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I love Busman’s Honeymoon – so few works address what happens after the couple has finally gotten married, with the getting-used-to-each-other-all-over-again aspects, not to mention the stress when each wants very badly to protect the other from life’s trials! (I also adore the opening, with all the notes and letters from various characters about the wedding; some are just hilarious.)

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Whee, Busman’s Honeymoon! You get to see them as a married couple and still being themselves.

    15. Mitchell Hundred*

      Birth of an Industry by Nicholas Sammond. It’s about early animation, and how it was derived from blackface minstrel shows. Really good so far.

    16. GoryDetails*

      Recently read:

      WAITING FOR THE FLOOD by Alexis Hall – this is an omnibus edition that includes the original novella “Waiting for the Flood” plus a follow-on story that deals with the ex-lover of the main character of “Flood”, showing how he’s been getting along (or not) in the years since they parted. Both stories involve people having a surprising meet-cute with someone who’s a better match for them, though it’s taken each of them some uncomfortable years before they get to that point. (Also, much snarkery from friends and family. And recipes!)

      THE MOUNTAIN IN THE SEA by Ray Nayler: in a near-future in which the seas are being systematically stripped of fish by huge AI-driven factory ships (which use human slave-labor for some tasks as robots tend to break down more often – and cost more to maintain – than kidnapped people do), an island chain that’s been set aside as a preserve is under attack from those ships. And it’s also home to a species of octopus that seems to be not only intelligent in the way of all octopuses but has its own society, uses tools – and is not best pleased to have these humans poking around…

      1. Nervous Nellie*

        Wow! The Nayler book sounds so wonderful that I will go buy it today, rather than book it at the library. Thank you for this! I appreciate the irony of human slave labor harvesting fish to feed humans. That the robots are keeping humans alive sounds almost more sinister than the usual Terminator scenario.

    17. Nervous Nellie*

      Two for me this week.

      The Come Up: An Oral History of the Rise of Hip-Hop by Jonathan Abrams. I wanted to read more about Roxanne Shante and Queen Latifah, but am finding this is a magic time machine back to the 80s reminding me of lots of club music I had loved and forgotten. It’s a bit disjointed, but it’ll tide me over until Questlove’s book comes out in June.

      Working by Studs Terkel, written in the early 70s. I was given this book by a guidance counsellor in high school when I was unsure of my future. Terkel interviewed hundreds of people, asking them to describe their jobs. At the time, it gave me a closer look at possible career choices. Today, it reminds me that long before computers and the frantic pace of today’s life, a lot of people hated or just tolerated their jobs. Hah! Funny to revisit it and find it once again gives me an insight that gives me greater peace.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I love the Studs Terkel books, and Working in particular. It’s such a slice of a life and time that’s sometimes utterly vanished (like the installment payment door to door salesman) and sometimes still going on.

        1. Pam Adams*

          The books O love for this are the Ernie Pyle collections. He drove around the US in the 1930’s interviewing ordinary people, before he did his WWII writing.

      2. Frankie Bergstein*

        ❤️ seeing this mention of Studs Terkel. Did you see the Netflix documentary that is Working but for the 21st century?

    18. PollyQ*

      The 7½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton. A classic mystery with a sci-fi twist. Very entertaining and satisfying. I also read The Devil and the Dark Water, which is a mystery set on a Dutch ship in the early 1600’s, by the same author, but didn’t enjoy it quite as much.

    19. LizB*

      I read Fourth Wing this past week and thoroughly enjoyed it, although some of that enjoyment came from making fun of it. It is deeply readable and very fun, but I also feel like I could easily recreate the checklist of tropes and plot points the author must have been using to make BookTok’s Next Favorite Series. I immediately put a hold on the second one at the library upon finishing.

      1. Freya's Cats*

        I am very torn on this. There is plenty there that makes it an enjoyable if not spectacularly original read, but the world building is just so inconsistent and, well, bad. She is a lot better at writing human relationships and interactions than at making up a world that makes sense.
        That being said, I liked the second one better, so do if you enjoyed the first I do recommend the second one too.

        mild spoiler
        The biggest plot hole of course being the whole premise of the book. A country in a 400 year long war being callous with the lives of it’s troops. That just does not compute. War is cripplingly expensive, countries have been ruined by the cost of far shorter ones, the land should be depopulated by now and they don’t even care about wasting elite troops… it just does not make sense.

        1. LizB*

          My friend who I’ve been chatting about it with described it as “literary fast fashion,” and I pretty much agree with that sentiment. It’s not built to last, and if you look any closer than surface level it starts falling apart, but it’s definitely enjoyable in the short term.

          1. Freya's Cats*

            Me and my friend call it fast food. Goes down really easy and hits all the sugar and fat spots, but leaves you a bit unsatisfied in the end.

    20. Elizabeth West*

      –How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi.
      –The three autobiographical novels by Judith Kerr that start with When H*tler Stole Pink Rabbit — I’m working my way through my book collection in between Kindle purchases to see what I want to keep. Definitely keeping these (I’m a huge book pack rat).
      –Recently finished Stephen King’s Holly. A damn good thriller! I really love this character, too.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I still think I might pick up Holly for Husband, despite his relative indifference towards later King. I loved Fairy Tale.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          I need to read that one –it’s on the shelf. But next I want to read one a friend wrote.

    21. goddessoftransitory*

      Just starting Fourteen Stories, edited by Margaret Atwood and each chapter is by a different writer (I think I mentioned it a week or two ago.) Then taking another crack at Nicholas Nickleby.

      I’m actually whittling down my bedside pile and hardly recognize myself.

    22. Annie Edison*

      Just finished Starter Villain, which I think may have been a recommendation from here, and found it fun and charming, especially the cats.

      I’m a bit disappointed though because it was a much faster read than I expected and I’d been saving it to enjoy over my spring break from teaching, which started yesterday.

      So now I need to find some more, light, fun, vacation friendly books to download onto my kindle. Suggestions welcome!

      1. word nerd*

        Starter Villain is so fun! It’s like the book version of a popcorn flick.

        The Sweet Spot by Amy Poeppel is light and entertaining.

      2. Falling Diphthong*

        Killers of a Certain Age. A team of assassins (originally overlooked because they were attractive young women; now overlooked because they are of a certain age) goes on a retirement cruise, on which their assassin organization tries to take them out. So they have to figure out who put out the hit and why.

    23. Ali + Nino*

      Request for recommendations: great books about badass Jewish women! (nonfiction)

      Just started All The Frequent Troubles of Our Times (I think that’s the title) by Rebecca Donner about her relative, an American woman who was very active in the German underground resistance against Hitler. Hitler ordered her execution in 1943. I’m not very far in but I’m finding it maddening that there hasn’t been a quick sentence explaining her fluency in German (literally just did she take it in high school? did she learn it from her husband? she was eventually translating German books into English so she must have been fluent! just throw me a bone here! lol) – but this is obviously my own quirk.

      1. Sitting Pretty*

        The Light of Days by Judy Batallion, if you haven’t already stumbled across it. It’s the story of Polish Jewish women resistance fighting Nazis during WWII. Some of it is hard, as you can imagine, but overall worth it. These mostly young women were clever, organized, courageous beyond any imagining. and absolutely unstoppable.

        1. Ali + Nino*

          I read it when it came out – it was amazing (although very sad of course). Thank you!

      2. Bluebell Brenham*

        The Counterfeit Countess has shown up in book suggestions for me, but I haven’t read it yet. One amazing book but the heroine wasn’t Jewish is A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purnell. She was a spy during WW2. And if you are up for fiction loosely based on fact, Elizabeth Graver wrote Kantika about her grandmother, who was born in Turkey, started her own business in Barcelona, then moved to NY as part of an arranged marriage of sorts. I’m about 2/3 done and like it a lot.

    24. Rage*

      The Longest Autumn, by Amy Avery. (Full disclosure, Amy is a good friend of mine, so perhaps I am a bit biased, but she really is a good writer.) (Also full disclosure, the book came out last month and I’m only now just getting around to it.)

    25. carcinization*

      Just finished reading McHugh’s Mission Child, which had been on my wishlist for over a decade… found it at a used bookstore last weekend. I liked it, I hadn’t remembered that it was a book that was progressive about gender, but of course that wasn’t a problem.

    26. Not Totally Subclinical*

      I’m rereading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. I don’t plan to do a full reread, but I’m most of the way through the City Watch subseries and pausing to read The Truth.

    27. NB*

      I’m reading Selling the Dream: The Billion-Dollar Industry Bankrupting Americans, by Jane Marie. It’s based on Jane Marie’s awesome podcast The Dream about multi-level marketing.

  9. Jackalope*

    Gaming thread! Share any games you’ve been playing and give or request recs. As always, all games are welcome, not just video games.

    My D&D group switched back to the other campaign, the one where I’m a PC rather than the DM. It’s a bit odd not running things, but also a refreshing break. We didn’t make it very far since we were regrouping to start our next adventure but it was fun to head off on something new.

    1. Lemonwhirl*

      I know I am late to the party, but we’ve really been enjoying Ticket to Ride. I’d always resisted buying or playing it because it seemed like it could be tedious. (Plus, I like games where I have my own tableau or space and people can’t mess up my strategy – either accidentally or intentionally.) But no, it’s a classic for a reason – easy to understand, fun to play, and hits the sweet spot of being long enough that you feel you’ve done something but not so long that it eats several hours.

    2. A Girl Named Fred*

      Our D&D group is also preparing to switch campaigns! We’ve got one more session in our current one to get us to a good stopping place, then we’ll be switching. So I’m trying to re-familiarize myself with my old character and also build her up a bit more – when we first started that game, I thought we were playing for a couple sessions to introduce some new folks and then would change it up for the “actual” game, so my character was a bit of a blank slate. It’s fun trying to think up some goals for her that match her backstory plus where we’ve already been! (Though it does mean I have to reckon with the fact that I gave her a large family and we’re heading back to her hometown… so I now have to, uh, make the family….)

      I’ve also recently developed an obsession with Power Wash Simulator! I originally got it maybe a year or two ago, guessing I’d be obsessed with it because of the satisfaction aspect – but I hid it from my library almost immediately because they were “so picky” with whether something actually got cleaned that it was frustrating. I was looking for something new to play recently and remembered that game, so I decided to try it again – and now it’s my favorite zen puzzle game! I knew I would love it, I just needed to try again when I was in a better mental health space, I guess!

      OH, and my boyfriend’s combo Valentine’s Day/anniversary present finally showed up – Betrayal Legacy, which he’d been telling me for a while he wanted to play with me and another friend. We played the first couple rounds last week and are going to do another session tonight. He was so giddy while we played, it made the month-long fight with Amazon (and subsequent giving up and purchasing from a different eBay seller) totally worth it. :)

    3. Wordnerd*

      I have fallen hard into Stardew 1.6! Apologies to our mobile/console friends who do not yet have access. So far it’s a perfect amount of new stuff for me – it’s still the same game but with enough new stuff to keep me interested.

      1. Jackalope*

        What sorts of new stuff is there? It appears not to be out for Switch yet so I’ll have to wait to try it out, but I’m intensely curious.

        1. Bumblebook*

          Spoilers ahead!

          I’m usually a switch player but I gave in after 1.6 and bought it on pc. It’s got loads of new stuff, the best of which imo is a new farm type that lets you start with a coop and chickens, along with some new crops, new areas, and some extensions to the skill system! There’s also quite a lot of good quality of life updates :)

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      This is so silly, but a lot of students got into this watermelon game on coolmathgames and now a lot of the teachers at my school are playing it as well. Kind of a combo of 2048 and Tetris – you drop fruits to merge them into bigger fruits and try not to fill the screen. I have the phone app version called QS Monkey Land: King of Fruits and it’s so cute and addicting.

    5. Raia*

      I realized that due to the amazing advice here and plenty of time, I have the cash to really get into FFXIV before the Dawn Trail chapter comes out in summer! I’ve also been soloing the boardgame Empires of the North and found out it’s pretty easy to pack up and take somewhere! Celeste on Switch not so much lol

    6. Jackalope*

      I also started up with Skyrim again tonight. I’m mostly trying to get new quests I haven’t done before; I’ve barely touched the main quest on this new game and I’ve skipped a lot of the others too. But I really like Serana, so I’ve been doing the Dawnguard quest line. I just got started on the Soul Cairn bit which is my absolute least favorite part of Dawnguard; it’s so big and hard to see anything and just not a fun place to wander. Sigh. I’m going to figure it out again but I wish I could skip ahead.

  10. rice*

    Telme all about the different ways you make rice, and what you like about it. I know there’s some who soak the rice first, or fry it for awhile. How do you make your rice, and what’s special about it (even if “easy” is what’s special)

    1. ThatGirl*

      I always toast my rice in a little oil first, with seasonings depending on what the rice is for. Toasting the spices in the oil helps them open up and develop more flavor.

        1. ThatGirl*

          genuinely curious – what does high altitude have to do with it? I know that can affect cooking time or water absorption, but why does that change whether you toast your rice?

          1. RedinSC*

            I don’t know the chemistry behind it, but I was living at around 10,000 feet. I would toast the rice in oil before cooking, so make sure it browned. Then it would cook fine with the normal water measurements. (2:1) I think.

            I honestly don’t remember if it was nice and fluffy, like ampersand is asking about, but it would cook all the way through, at least.

        2. ampersand*

          Please tell me how you cooked rice at altitude!! I cannot for the life of me figure out how to make it fluffy like it was at sea level (I just moved to 6,000ish feet).

          I’ve tried both a rice cooker and on the stove—I added more water (a quarter cup extra) and let it cook longer. It ends up either still crunchy or too mushy.

          I’m on the right track I think but would welcome any advice!

          1. Cormorannt*

            You need a pressure cooker like an Instant Pot (or a boring stove-top) version. That’s the only effective way I’ve found to get good rice at altitude. To the previous poster who was curious what altitude has to do with it, the higher in elevation you are the less air pressure there is. That allows the water to boil at a lower temperature so it takes longer to cook things in boiling water.

            1. vombatus ursinus*

              I’m not the original curious person, but I still don’t get why that would affect whether you toast the rice or not?? Does the toasting step dry the grains out so they don’t get mushy while boiling for longer?

              1. RedinSC*

                The only way I could get the grains to cook through was by toasting them/browning them. It must somehow affect the hull and let the rice cook better.

            2. RedinSC*

              I bet that would work. I was always scared of the stove top ones, so I never tried it, but that was really the only way to get beans to cook at that altitude.

    2. My Brain is Exploding*

      I just use a rice cooker (I bought at Aldi years ago); instead of using water, I use broth (chicken or beef depending on what the rest of the meal is), a bit of garlic powder, and butter. It’s just a bit “extra” and is delicious on its own.

      1. Rosey*

        Seconding the idea of using broth instead of water. I also add olive oil, garlic powder and onion powder.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Not sure if it’s available in the US, but the Knorr brand has a special pasta and rice stock cube, which is good for adding extra flavour.

      2. Quinalla*

        Yes, we’ve been doing this lately too with chicken broth and sometimes adding a little bit of spices. It gives the rice just a bit of extra flavor to make it really delicious!

        Rice cookers in general are awesome, I’ll never go back to not having one and I thought it was going to be so superfluous!

    3. frontlinER*

      I am a big fan of furikake which is a Japanese rice seasoning. Trader Joe’s has a nice everyday one without the sugar, but I do prefer the “real” one with sugar in it for special occasions. Make rice, add furikake, *chef’s kiss*

    4. LBD*

      I use a rice cooker, and add spices such as curry powder, or cumin, or chipotle. I like to add some vegetables, often a grated carrot or thinly sliced cabbage. Plug in, turn on, wait for it to turn off automatically, then eat!

    5. Morning Reading*

      I make it in my breadmaker. Set it and forget it, comes out perfect every time. (In a pan on the stove, I always end up with an overdone layer on the bottom..) The one hour setting.

    6. sagewhiz*

      Easiest best way I learned to make plain ol’ rice:
      2 parts water, 1 part rice
      put in saucepan, stir with a fork & cover,
      bring just to a boil (watch so it doesn’t boil over, ‘cause it happens pretty fast!),
      stir, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 12 minutes, till almost all water is absorbed,
      turn off, stir, cover and let sit 10 min before serving (or up to 30 min will still be warm).

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      I bought a rice cooker for my college student, who could live on chicken with white rice, and it was enough of a game changer that I then bought one for myself.

      I occasionally rinse the rice, but it’s honestly just that food writing makes such a thing about it.

      I recommend Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for risotto, which bakes in the oven rather than being stirred eternally on the stove. Game changer. She does a similar very effective thing with polenta.

    8. Jay*

      I make rice in my rice cooker.
      I’ll often do this in a similar fashion to how I was taught to make Sushi rice, salt, a little sugar, a splash of rice wine vinegar (not enough vinegar to taste, it’s there to break up and soften the rice, making it very soft and sticky).
      The shortest grain rice you can get, although, really, any rice will do.
      I add butter, salt pepper, sugar, ginger paste, and, depending on what I’m making, chimichurri, Italian seasoning, various kinds of pepper, onion, garlic, etc.
      If I’ve got some leftovers I sometimes add those, too. Especially beef or chicken. Cooking them with the rice will make meat that you have over cooked a bit or let dry out tender again.
      Depending on what I’m in the mood for, I will finish by whipping the rice into something like a porridge or risotto. Because of the vinegar this is actually pretty easy.

    9. RussianInTexas*

      Rice cooker, an expensive Zojirushi (Christmas gift). Makes perfect rice every time, and you don’t have to babysit it.

    10. Esprit de l'escalier*

      I always soak rice. However, with brown rice, it doesn’t matter how long I soak it, it will still take the same amount of time to cook; soaked white rice cooks up faster.

      I have two ways to cook (soaked) rice, white or brown. One is pot-in-pot in the Instant Pot, which is a great way to make a small amount and also my best way to cook it in broth when I want to do that.

      The other way is to boil up a fairly large amount of salted water on the stove and cook the rice in that, uncovered, like pasta, 8 minutes for (soaked) white rice and 30 minutes for brown. Then drain the rice, put it back in the pan, and let it sit covered for 5 minutes. Comes out great every time!

    11. Angstrom*

      I’ll use white, brown, red, or black rice — the choice is sometimes for the nutrition & flavor and sometimes for the color. Usually cook in a rice cooker with chicken stock as part of the liquid.
      Just found haiga rice, which is a short-grain white with the germ but without the husk.
      Chili crisp or balachung are always good on rice.

    12. A Girl Named Fred*

      We use our Instant Pot! Usually do a 1:1 ratio of white rice to water, generally 2cups each. I rinse the rice before putting it in the pot, my boyfriend doesn’t. Then we throw whatever spices we feel like on top, plus some butter and some better than bouillon too. Pressure cook on high 3 minutes, let it naturally depressurize for ten minutes, then release the rest/open it and fluff!

      I like the texture of mine better – my boyfriend’s sometimes stays a little crunchy in the center – but I’m not sure if that’s due to the rinsing or if I accidentally add more liquid. Either way, it’s a super simple way to get a bunch of rice made while you focus on other parts of the meal and it lets us use a gadget we already have rather than getting a separate rice cooker.

    13. Generic Name*

      I live at altitude, and I normally make rice in my instapot. It’s the only thing I use my instapot for actually. I got the mini when it was just me and my young son, but now that he’s a ravenous teenager and I have a husband with a physical job, the mini is ridiculously too small now.

    14. Awkwardness*

      I always used to measure the exact amount of water to boil the rice, rinsing only with sushi rice, but after reading about arsenic content in rice I adjusted my method to always rinse beforehand, boil in excess water and drain the rice afterwards.

      1. Esprit de l'escalier*

        That’s when I started soaking rice and cooking it in a big pot of water, when I read that article in Consumer Reports about the prevalence of arsenic in rice.

    15. goddessoftransitory*

      Pilaf, pilaf, pilaf!

      My personal adaptation from How To Cook Everything:

      1 small onion, minced

      2 cups jasmine rice

      4 cups veggie or chicken broth, or water

      2 Tbsp butter

      1-2 teaspoons turmeric

      Salt/Pepper to taste

      You will need a wide, deep frying or saute’ pan with a lid.

      Set water/broth to simmer. In fry/saute’ pan, melt butter. Add onions, cook 2-3 minutes until translucent.

      Add rice. Stir thoroughly until grains are coated with butter. Add turmeric, salt and pepper, stir until rice is coated again.

      Pour broth into rice, let bubble 1 minute. Then COVER, turn heat to low, and let cook 20-25 minutes. Check about halfway through; if it seems too dry add 1/2 cup more water.

      This is a snap to make and the base rice I concoct when making Indian food.

    16. Peanut Person*

      My friend made plain white rice and then added a can of coconut milk and coconut flakes. I loved it with the chicken dishes she paired it with!

      For my day to day rice, I use chicken bouillon powder and a bit of butter. If it fits with the dish, also will add cream, although the starches create a creaminess of their own if I cook it long enough :)

    17. ronda*

      I am terrible at cooking rice, so my sister told me to use lots of water and then strain it when done (so like pasta).
      I only tried it once, but it did work fine for me.

    18. Clara Bowe*

      I am cheap and get free cooking gas, so I always make stovetop rice. As for how I make it? Depends on they type of rice. I tend to stick to lower GI Basmati, short grain brown rice, and California Rose short grain white rice. I have made Jasmine rices, red rices, and a variety of white rices too, but I tend to stick to those three most often.

      Always rinse three times, no matter the type. Otherwise, I tend to stick to a pretty straightforward water (ratio varies depending on rice) + salt + rice pot. I personally prefer having the flavor focused in the dish I am eating with the rice, so I generally keep it pretty bland. Though I love using leftover rice for fried mishnmash dishes.

      Personal faves are kimchi fried rice with a hit of sesame seeds at the end and a garlic-fried spinach mix plus an egg on rice with a sprinkle of Everything Bagel Seasoning. I usually have kimchi and frozen spinach on hand (as well as eggs) so those are simple and quick meals.

    19. SuprisinglyADHD*

      I learned this from my mom: cook the rice like pasta, boiling in a large pot of salted water, then strain and rinse so when you mix it it’s fluffy and not overly starched. Shes had multiple adults tell her they don’t like rice but then genuinely like her method.

    20. NB*

      Just coming in here to add risotto. I find that it does not need constant stirring, but you do need to stay in the kitchen with it. Every so often, give it a stir and add some broth or water. The Spruce Eats website has good instructions for “How to Make the Best Risotto for Beginners.”

      Be sure to use low-sodium broth, though. The flavors concentrate and can become too salty with regular broth.

  11. CuriousLemur*

    Advice on a HEPA filter? I’ve got 2 kitties, one of whom has an allergy we’re still trying to figure out, and it might be good to have something like that. Especially if it reduces the faint kitty odor that sometimes happens.

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I have turned everyone I know on to Winix brand air filters. My husband used to have debilitating allergies and was taking Benadryl every day. An allergist recommended this to him and I was highly skeptical, but we put one on every floor and they have been so effective that he hasn’t had a Benadryl in years.

      1. Annie*

        That reminds me of a comment I saw on another website where someone was dismayed at seeing so many pets returned to shelters/breeders because of allergies, having to move, family changes, etc. Maybe educating people about their options (besides medicine) for dealing with allergies could help with that?

        My other thoughts on possible solutions to the “life changed, must give up pet” problem would be to have the prospective owner application fee cover testing for allergies (useful information even if you don’t end up adopting) and ask about such things as disposable income and air filters and plans for backup pet care.

        Yes, people may lie, and yes, the usual life change reasons may be cover for, “Rover is much more of a handful than I imagined possible!” However, just asking about those things will give people who want to be decent pet owners the tools they need to actually be decent pet owners.

        1. Jackalope*

          I went to the doctor once for allergy testing and was talking to them about options if I was allergic to my critters (thankfully I am not). They mumbled something several times about how people are more likely to ditch their doctors than ditch their pets, and refused to give me advice apparently under the theory that I would drop them as my providers. Which wasn’t my plan, although I did fully intend to ignore any advice about giving said critters up.

          That being said, I would definitely recommend trying to ameliorate the issue if it were the case. To come back to the question above, I do recommend that a good air filter be used (I’ll look tomorrow when I’m not at risk of waking people up to see what brand we have) on multiple floors if you have them. I’d also recommend taking your cat to a feline dermatologist to do testing instead of trying to guess. Our cat is allergic to things that we never would have imagined (including some plants that we were probably tracking in on our shoes), and knowing what the actual issue is can help a lot.

      2. Invisible fish*

        Do you feel comfortable elaborating on what you specifically bought and how much space each covers? I know I can try to math my way into an educated purchase, but it’s been my experience that the “covers y amount of space” changes when one gets a purifier home … or maybe I have too many cats?

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          Sure! It’s this:
          https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01D8DAYBA/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&th=1

          I don’t know how much space they technically cover but we have a fairly roomy three-story house and we just have one on each level. On each floor, there’s one in the area we spend the most time in. And we have seven cats (eight until recently) so don’t really believe in “too many cats” :)         (People who visit us often comment that they couldn’t tell we have that many cats — I think they assumed that many cats would mean litter box smell? — which is probably partly thanks to the air filters.)

          1. Come On Eileen*

            I have that same one and it’s been great. Easy to purchase replacement filters/carbons from Amazon.

          2. Invisible fish*

            We, too, have 7 – until recently, 8 – and while *I* don’t think you can have too many cats, our ceiling fan motors have shared that it’s possible to have too much cat hair! ;) I’m excited at the thought of something keeping the fluff and allergens of the world further at bay! (Now, if I can just find something to put in my classroom to surround me with a shield against all the germs the kids drag in with them….)

    2. Nicosloanica*

      Maybe I’ll try this for my dog. The vet was initially focused on food allergies causing his recurring ear infections, but I didn’t see much difference when we switched to special food; I’m wondering if pollen or dust might be factors.

      1. allathian*

        Indeed, and dogs can be allergic to human dander as well. Most of the dust in a home without pets consists of textile fibers and human dander.

          1. allathian*

            Indeed, apparently the average adult sheds something like 9 lbs worth of skin cells every year. But the cells are so small that people remain unaware of this unless they have a skin condition that causes visible shedding of skin.

    3. Golden Girl*

      I don’t have advice on filters, but in dealing with a difficult cat allergy I eventually realized it was the cat litter! My cat was allergic to walnuts. (and, later, another one to corn) Switched back to clay and it cleared up immediately.

    4. Pucci*

      Talk to the vet about putting your cat on Zyrtec (quarter of a pill per day). It made a huge difference for my cat with allergy-induced IBD.

    5. pls send coffee*

      I swear by my Coway Airmega. It’s quiet, efficient, and the filter is easy to replace. It doesn’t hurt that it’s much sleeker looking than most air filters, too.

    6. Once too Often*

      Love our Intellipure. Cleveland Clinic uses them. Don’t have cats again yet, so can’t comment on that aspect.

  12. LessOCD*

    Lately, I’ve started listening to audiobooks from the library that I can get using the Libby app and listen to on my phone. I’ll have an audiobook playing when I’m getting ready in the morning, sometimes while folding laundry, etc. It has *really* helped reduce OCD for me, mainly the intrusive thoughts.

    I don’t know how much of this is just to have something else to think about or if it helps that I’ve been listening to a fun cozy mystery series. Also, I’ve actually already read the books, so I don’t get nervous about what’s going to happen. I like re-reading good books. Turns out I also like listening to books I’ve already read.

    I don’t know if this will help other people, but I want to put it out there in case it does.

    1. acmx*

      I like this idea! I spend a lot of time alone (WFH a lot without needing to collaborate with my coworkers, don’t live with humans). I have plenty of time to just continually think on things. I didn’t like the one audiobook I tried but maybe listening to one I’ve read will be better!

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        For me, audiobooks are so dependent on the reader. I can love the book or series but if I don’t warm to the reader’s voice or they take a very flat approach, it ruins the audiobook experience.
        Val McDermid had a couple of different readers for the first few Karen Pirie books, but then Cathleen McCarron took over and she was amazing. Such a great reader and really inhabited the character and told the story well.
        Then first Karen Pirie book was made into a TV series, so they got the actress who plays Karen Pirie in the show to read the 6th book in the series. And it was….not great. (The same thing happened when Titus Welliver took over narrating the Harry Bosch books.) It looks like a new book is out this week and Cathleen McCarron is back.

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

          Agree — a good reader can make or break an audiobook. I love Jonathan Cecil reading P.G. Wodehouse.

        2. acmx*

          My one or 2 attempts, I didn’t know about speeding up the playback either. I attempted 2am at the cat’s pajamas I believe it’s called.

    2. Pam Adams*

      I love audiobooks for slowing down to sleep. They must be rereads- I find the voices comforting.

      1. FalafalBella*

        I adore the libby app for audiobooks (and e-books). I drive a lot and find that a light mystery or rom-com keeps me interested but not so focused that I forget I’m driving! Audiobooks on Amazon are expensive and Libby is free (via your public library). I make donations to my local library in honor of friends’ birthdays. etc. to play (pun intended) it forward.

    3. AvocadoQueen*

      Listening to podcasts and audiobooks almost all the time helps me too. I started listening to audiobooks while falling asleep and it’s been a game changer. Way fewer anxiety/intrusive thoughts, and when I have insomnia I don’t get as upset. I’ve been falling asleep faster too.

    4. Generic Name*

      Ooh, this is great. I’m definitely the type of person who likes re-watching movies and tv series because I find it comforting.

    5. Clara Bowe*

      Definitely! I do that and I love re-listening to narrative podcasts and comedy specials for the same reason.

      If you are especially having a thought spiral, I find it helps to focus and think/match your thoughts to the speaker/reader. For me, it helps me focus on being in the minute and the ~2 seconds ahead of the thingyou are listening to.

      I even use podcasts I have relistened to repeatedly to prompt myself to go to sleep at night. It is a good bit of Pavlovian sleep training. If I hear X, it means TIME FOR SLEEP and I just set the sleep timer and drift off.

  13. Old Plant Woman*

    I have an aloe vera that is getting too big to fit in my small house. I was trying to find a new home for it when a delightful teen suggested I harvest it. So I looked up aloe drinks and lotions. Found some ideas that sound good. And some cautions. Have you done that? How did it work?

    1. vombatus ursinus*

      The only thing I’ve tried is getting the aloe vera gel straight out of the plant to put on a sunburn (it worked!) … what kind of cautions are you thinking about?

      1. Old Plant Woman*

        I read that the squishy inside is good in juice drinks. But the rind is bitter and causes digestive upsets

    2. My Brain is Exploding*

      Reading without proper eyewear…and I read it as it was too big to fit in your small purse…was wondering why you wanted to carry it around with you!

    3. Grits McGee*

      My mother has started just breaking off a piece of aloe and rubbing the juice on her skin at night. It’s really most efficacious for wound healing (esp burns), but it certainly won’t hurt your skin. I think it goes bad pretty quickly without a lot of preservatives, so making lotions may not be worth the effort as opposed to just using the gel directly from the plant.

    4. Zona the Great*

      I only harvest as much as I can use right then so I’ve never tried to use it for making a drink or anything. I have one of those face zapper things for aging and I use fresh aloe as the conductor. Works so well. I also whip some into 99% isopropyl and add some drops of peppermint and lavender. Perfect hand sanitizer.

  14. Last Irish River*

    How long did it take you to stop associating particular things with people no longer in your life?

    I had a friend, Ashley, who I had a very bad friendship breakup with. She was a huge part of my college years and is in most of my college photos/memories. It was really hard to cut ties with someone who was a big part of my life but I needed to get out of the toxic friendship. Something I very strongly associate her is Irish folk music, specifically a local band we both adored. We were practically groupies to this local group; saw numerous shows, got their autographs, was invited to dance on their stage, even hung out with them and got dinner after their shows a couple times. I found out that Ashley had hooked up with the lead signer in the band despite a 30-40 year age gap and that he was married. Paired with our bad friendship break up, everything about the band was soured for me and frankly it even tainted Irish folk music because it reminded me of Ashley.

    I’ve been getting back into the music recently and my sister (who knows the details of Ashley and this band) is trying to get me to go to a local Irish music festival. I’m interested but found out the band will be playing there. I said I would still go but I didn’t want to be there when they played; the times of their set are clearly stated so it would be easy for me to figure out when they’re playing and leave the stage area or even the event when they start. My sister rolled her eyes and asked when I would get over this.

    I know I will never be over it with this band in particular because it’s a very personal hurt and ick with the lead singer and my friend hooking up. But I am trying to move past the bad memories the type of music in general brings me, which I’m glad I can finally do. But my sister’s comments made me think it was something I should have gotten over in a snap. So I ask, how long did it take you to no longer associate things with people that you don’t want to remember?

    1. Still*

      Meh. I can’t imagine that that’s something that comes up a lot on the day-to-day basis, so unless it actively bothers you, what’s the harm? You’re allowed to have your bad memories and associations, you don’t owe it to anyone to get over it. Unless you feel that it’s limiting your life and upsetting you on a regular basis… It’s completely up to you to decide if it’s worth it for you to put in the work to try to make peace with it. There’s no timeline. It sounds like your sister thinks it’s silly to be this upset over a band, but obviously it’s not really about the band, it’s about the friendship and the memories, and that whole period of your life. It’s not silly to care.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I agree with this completely.

        It would be one thing if you still couldn’t hear any Irish music at all and burst into tears whenever you heard Enya over Musak or something. But this WAS a big deal. Something you really loved got marred, and there’s no way to pretend it didn’t happen, so don’t.

        It’s not required to get over something that hurt you if you don’t want to.

    2. LBD*

      It sounds to me as though you are working through this in a very healthy way, and making progress, too.
      There are some things that are still linked to people that I had a painful history with, even after a couple of decades, but I can enjoy the things without dwelling on the people now. It took a few years to get to a point that the enjoyment was greater than the uncomfortableness, but I just let it take the time it took. It didn’t impact my career, or my day to day life, or my finances, just some leisure activities that I had enjoyed, and I found new things along the journey, so there was no reason to rush.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Mine isn’t with a person related aversion, but six years ago I was listening to an audiobook in my car when we got smashed by a texting teenager who didn’t notice the line of stopped traffic that he was racing up to at 55+ mph. My car was totaled from both front and back, and nobody knows how I walked away from it with nothing but a single hairline fracture of one rib (probably because I saw him coming and braced for impact but still).

      I worked hard to get over the subsequent panicky aversion to waiting at stop lights, driving in the dark, and driving around silver Nissan sedans, because those were all actually making my life harder. But to this day not only have I never finished that audiobook, but I get panicky any time I think about listening to any audiobook specifically while driving. (I did eventually finish the book as an ebook. It was John Adams by David McCullough.) Audiobooks in the car are not difficult to avoid and doing so doesn’t complicate my life. So I’m not too fussed about resolving that one.

      1. Nicosloanica*

        Oh yes returning to driving after an accident is always terrible. I got back in my car later and the CD was on the same song it was on when the accident happened, and I definitely had to turn it off immediately as I had a terrible sense memory. Luckily it did eventually pass as I actually really like that CD and song but it was a good while of driving before I wanted to try again.

    4. Cordelia*

      I don’t think there are any “shoulds” here – it takes as long as it takes. But, I think if you really do want to get back into Irish music, you could try going to lots and lots of it, and creating new memories and new associations. Because currently, it’s only/mainly associated with Ashley.

    5. Morning Reading*

      I still can’t listen to Hendrix’s “Hey Joe.” The old Darth Vader boyfriend used to sing it at me, when he fancied himself a musician. “where you going with that gun in your hand…” *shudder*
      It’s been 45 years.
      But, I can take other Hendrix, and if I loved to listen to him, I would, and just avoid that song. So I hope you can come back to the music you enjoy, and just avoid that band in particular. (And, given that the musician is so much older than you, eventually, he will join Jimi, and you’ll be able to go to these concerts with no risk of seeing him perform.)

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

        I can relate. There’s a song I remember listening to on CD during some of the days my mom was dying. Never listening to that song again if I can help it, though I can listen to the artists’ other work okay.

        Like many others are saying here, I think it’s fine for us to avoid a specific trigger of very bad memories if it’s not messing up your daily life to avoid it. I’m never using the Aveeno moisturizer in a tub we used when my mom was dying again. It’s a great moisturizer, but it brings me bad memories, and there are plenty of other good moisturizers in the world.

    6. The OG Sleepless*

      I had a friend, “Nancy,” whom twenty years ago I would have said was one of my best friends. Over time I started getting the vibe that she was less invested in the friendship than I was, and about 15 years ago she very nicely started giving me the slow fade, and then just ghosted me. It was so hurtful and I still get sad when I think about it (and embarrassed, thinking maybe I was too awkward, or acted too clingy when I realized she was giving me the fade). In any case, before all of that, at some point she left a Pampered Chef salad dressing mixing bottle at my house and I still use it. It’s a really good design and I make a lot of viniagrettes. The only problem is that I think of her every time I see it and it ends up making me sad while I’m making dinner. Plus, I mean, it’s really not mine. I should probably send it to her and get a new one. So, yeah. 15+ years and I still have an association I don’t want.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        And I want to mention that after I read my own comment, I did a bit of research and ordered a new salad dressing bottle. I’m probably not going to bother sending Nancy a 20 year old bottle; I’ll give it to my daughter for her dorm kitchen since she doesn’t remember Nancy and won’t have the association with it. There. Mentally healthy choice made. Goes along with my recent trend of jettisoning some things that weren’t healthy for me.

    7. Nicosloanica*

      I’m no psychologist but in my own life I have found that I can sometimes deal with things like this by telling myself a new story about the events. It would be nice if you could enjoy the festival, and even if you could watch the band without it being a big negative callback; what would it look like to be at peace with the way this friendship ended? Do you have outstanding feelings that need some kind of closure you could give yourself? What version of events could help you let that go? “I’m glad I had Ashley in my life at that time. We’re not friends anymore, but I will always think fondly of the good times. We were young and it wasn’t healthy in the end, and I don’t regret that it ended, but now that time has passed, she may think fondly of our time together too, and we both probably wish each other well even though we’re no longer friends.” Also, It seems like you have (sorry) a lot of judgement about your friend sleeping with the musician; what if you told yourself that you don’t really know how that went down and maybe it was fine for her?

    8. 248_Ballerinas*

      That’s quite an age gap, even bigger than the notorious groupie scene of the Seventies. I don’t blame you for not wanting to see this old goat perform.

      Full solidarity and empathy for the pain of broken friendships and the things associated with them. Time and distractions help. Maybe see it as an opportunity to learn about a different genre of music.

    9. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Does she want you “over it” for your own health? Or because she wants to enjoy the festival without accommodating you?
      The eye roll makes me think the latter.

    10. Elizabeth West*

      I had some associations to certain TV shows I watched with a man I used to date. In fact, we liked a lot of the same things, which made it kind of difficult. But I found that when I got over the breakup, I was over the association, and I saw no reason to ditch something I loved just because that person introduced me to it or we enjoyed it together, or because he gave it to me. He’s not the only one who likes it, or is allowed to like it.

      I can see where it’s difficult for you because of your personal tie to the lead singer. The knowledge that he’s a gross cheater could sour me on that particular band even if I didn’t know his affair partner. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy other bands in the same genre, however.

      And honestly, don’t give Ashley that power over you. If you like the music in general, then poo on her — go and have a great time. Make a new memory with your sister.

    11. Zona the Great*

      I side-eye anyone who tells you to get over something you clearly will not get over. My sister in law thinks I’m a terrible person and a drama-queen for not forgiving my long-time abuser. The scars from it will never ever heal and I am reminded of the abuse multiple times a day, especially since abuser is still in my life. I often think these events affect us at the cellular level. When hurt goes that deep, it is unlikely to change. I’m very sorry your sister said that to you. She’s very wrong.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        It’s unfathomable to me that when the abuser is unfortunately still in your life, your sister-in-law thinks ill of *you.* I am so sorry you’re having to go through this. Wishing you well through the screen!

    12. Firebird*

      Some people pressure you to forgive and forget just to make their own lives easier. If you never liked the band in the first place, I bet she wouldn’t have rolled her eyes.
      You are entitled to take whatever time you need, even if that means never. The pressure makes it take longer. Also, you can’t choose what the memory trigger will be. It could be a person (the singer), place, or thing. My trigger is a certain chain restaurant.

    13. Ellis Bell*

      Whenever I see that kind of eye roll, it’s just an indication to me that the person is inexperienced, because the person has simply never had the kind of experience they’re criticising. (Or they have, but it’s in a different category like physical safety trauma, or a driving accident and they don’t make the connection that a toxic relationship is equally as traumatic). I had a really toxic relationship and there was a band that reminded me of the person; listening to that band made me feel physically ill, which was honestly a surprise to me when it first happened because I had no idea the brain was so keen on preserving things like smells and sounds to function effectively as time machines. When you see people roll their eyes over it, you feel like saying: “Do you think I would choose to feel this way, if it was possible to shrug it off?” I suppose they imagine they would stop caring once a decision about the relationship has been made. I also think lots of people have a very shallow engagement with music where they don’t think too deeply about what they’re listening to, or how music affects us. In your case, this isn’t just reminiscent music, the person playing the music is someone you’ve met and interacted with on an interpersonal level and then lost all respect for. Does your sister really think you’re going to be able to shelve all that, listen to emotive lyrics being sang by that person, and just go “Oh it’s a catchy beat, though!” Like, I said though, you can’t expect people to know what they don’t know. It’s their lack of knowledge over something intangible at work, it’s not something you’re failing to do. If it were just a genre of music, rather than an actual person who’s part of your past, I would say it’s possible it’s to attach new meanings to the music over time (like, hopefully Irish music will remind you of having a great time with your sister at festivals if you do this together often enough in future years), but I would say attaching new associations to this particular singer overnight would be tough to nigh on impossible. Mere passage of time didn’t do it in my case (I now listen to, and enjoy the band that once made me feel ill). What did it in my case, was new associations which naturally attached themselves to the music (new friends who happened to enjoy it) and an autobiography about the lead singer which gave me a new appreciation for how the band/music had a wider existence than how I was introduced to it; a purpose that had nothing to do with my toxic relationship. That last one is a tougher sell in your case.

    14. Marvel*

      Wow, that’s a really unkind and uncalled for remark from your sister.

      For me it depends. Something emotionally intense like the loss of an important friendship… often 2-3 years, but it’s been 4-5 more than once. It’s actually gotten faster as I’ve gotten older, but even in the fastest cases it’s still several months. Thanks to a great therapist, I’m much more able to process my emotions than I used to be. But it still takes time.

      That said, it sounds like this band is now tainted for you in ways that you may not ever “get over.” I don’t think I could enjoy a band again with that kind of history and close knowledge of the lead singer’s infidelity. The genre as a whole, though… yeah, you’ll probably be able to come back to that after you’ve had time to heal. It’s okay if you choose not to engage with it in the meantime if you don’t want to.

      I find that leaning into the parts of my life that make me happy in the same way, but aren’t associated with the negative experience, often helps. For example, if I lose a friend, I’ll spend more time with my other friends as a way of staying grounded. Just a thought.

    15. make the break*

      There is a certain musical artist my sister associates with a mega Darth Vader ex-boyfriend, and I just support her in that. I don’t roll my eyes, and I don’t put that artist in any of my playlists on my phone so that I can share music with her when we visit.
      I’m just hugely glad that she made the break from that guy.

    16. Not Totally Subclinical*

      There’s a song that I still associate with an awful ex 35 years after we broke up. But after a few years, I could listen to the song without more than a brief thought of “yeah, Ex”.

  15. Vio*

    Reading the latest Captain Awkward, and the links to older articles contained within, got me thinking about how I’d love to know how some of those stories turned out. Does anyone know if any of the letters there ever had any updates? I’d like to think that there’s a lot of happy endings that happened off the page but can’t help but wonder how many weren’t able to take the advice or found that it didn’t work.

    1. Golden*

      I don’t know which ones specifically, but the Captain Awkward subreddit might be a good place to research that. I think some OPs have even interacted there since Captain’s comment section closed down.

    2. Still*

      She doesn’t usually do updates because she doesn’t want to pressure the letter writers, but there’s been an update open thread in the past. Link in the reply.

  16. Eeyore*

    What’s a dysfunctional belief you’ve held?

    For most of my life, I subconsciously believed I wasn’t allowed to feel anger towards anyone as long as there was a good enough reason for them causing me pain. The “good enough” reason included things like they had a bad childhood, they care about me deep inside, they’re family, etc. It led to a lot of unhealthy, suppressed feelings and tolerating of bad relationships before I went through intense therapy and soul searching. I can’t say I’ve let go of this habit completely, but it makes a big difference just to be aware of it and to know when to pay attention to red flags.

    1. anon for this*

      I thought I was being a huge wimp about cool/cold temperatures and needed to learn to be more resilient. Everyone else somehow always just put up with it and didn’t whine, but I spent so much time thinking about how uncomfortable I was when the temperature fell below 70, even when I overdressed a bit. In 2018-2019, amid a cold winter, I found myself buying a high-end sportswear jacket and a pair of expensive ski gloves and still having a hard time when everyone else seemed to agree that it was cold but take it in stride. I couldn’t figure out how to increase my ability to put up with it. I asked my doctor, who recommended that I start intentionally putting my hands and feet in cold water 5-10 times in a row every day for a couple of weeks. I did this; it was unpleasant and didn’t help.

      It turns out that I have Raynaud’s and have been feeling the cold disproportionately. My body just isn’t as good at hanging onto that heat and getting it to circulate, especially in my extremities. I’m sorry this wasn’t worked out decades ago. Assuming that my own needs were the same as those of the population in general caused me a fair bit of needless suffering.

      1. AGD*

        This is me but with my sleep disorder. I couldn’t understand how other people overcame that feeling of waking up feeling horribly sleep deprived and wanting to scream.

      2. Jessica*

        This is petty compared to what you’ve been through, but I’m still catching myself on it: when the weather turns cold, I’ll add clothing that’s Just Enough for survival. Like, it’s chilly so I’m wearing a jacket that’s keeping me from being actively freezing and miserable. But what if I escalated to an even heavier coat in which I would be actively comfortable? I try to remind myself that there’s no reason to be minimalist about this!

          1. Once too Often*

            My mom tells people she wears long underwear for each month with an “r” in it. (She lives in the northeast US.)

        1. Generic Name*

          I wish my mom would get better about this! She’s often cold, but I usually see her with windbreaker weight jackets. She’s got tons and tons of lightweight jackets lol

    2. Nicosloanica*

      I have not solved this one, but it’s basically similar; that my negative feelings are extremely hurtful/harmful/scary/shameful to others, and that it’s my responsibility to deal with those myself by making them go away as quickly as possible (by trying to not feel them, basically, or yes logic them away). This is especially dumb since I also feel that it’s “my job” to make sure never to cause bad feelings for others (guess which gender I am!). So everyone else’s feelings are supposed to deserve a lot of consideration and mine just need to go away immediately, haha.

      1. Cookies For Breakfast*

        I felt so seen reading this, so, lots of sympathy, and thank you for sharing.

        My negative feelings sometimes come up as intrusive thoughts, so I have the added complication of not being able to stop myself from letting them out with the people close to me sometimes, and end up feeling crushing guilt as a result. Fun all round!

      2. fposte*

        Years ago, an old boss I loved said mildly “You always get grumpy on our deadline” and that perspective was mind-blowing to me, that I could feel like this seething ball of dangerous stress and in the world I was just kind of grumpy.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      Goody two-shoes. If I do the correct, kind, good thing, then I should be rewarded–by the universe, or society, or the person I am helping.

      I now view this as much more functional. “I did X thinking that Y would result. It did not. I tried again, and Y still did not result. Since my goal is Y, I am now trying something different, which could be just disengaging. Not only do I not have to keep doing X, but doing X is clearly not bringing the results I wanted and so I should be changing things up.”

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Specific context is mostly that my mooching relative can’t mooch off my parents any more, since they are dead. But never uses the money to actually get to a stabler place.

    4. Irish Teacher.*

      As a teen and young adult, I bought into the whole “nobody can make you feel inferior/unhappy/insulted without your consent” and that therefore, if you were upset by something somebody said or did, it was really your fault for “letting them upset you.”

      Although it is somewhat inherently contradictory, I also felt that I shouldn’t say anything to them because that might make them feel guilty and while it wasn’t their fault they upset me by being rude or whatever, because they weren’t responsible for my feelings, it would nonetheless be my fault if I “made” them feel guilty by holding them responsible for my feelings.

      1. Nicosloanica*

        Yeah, that “consent” theory really only works if you have the ability to maintain boundaries, which you don’t in situations like high school where you can’t really decide to see less of your classmates or the family you live in or whatever, and as a young person I didn’t really understand my boundaries even if I’d been “allowed” to enforce them.

    5. RussianInTexas*

      That forgiveness is a virtue. It is not so for me. How about you (the person who harmed me) just go away and I stop thinking about you? I care not listening to explanations and apologizing.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        There is also always been a big push that if someone sincerely apologize, you must forgive them. No. You don’t get to get off the hook because you apologize. I reserve the right to be mad at you or never speak to you, or plainly don’t like you as long as I find fit, or even forever.

        1. Generic Name*

          Or even worse (in my opinion) that you forgive someone even if they do not apologize and don’t feel any remorse. I see that attitude predominantly in Christian as well as New Age circles. F that noise.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        I like the concept of “forgiveness” as being: I’m dropping my end of this tug of war rope. I’m done. Just not investing hope or pain in this scenario anymore.

    6. A Girl Named Fred*

      Mine is that I don’t deserve to take up space, whether that means speaking up/having an opinion in groups, being “selfish” enough to express a preference when asked a direct question, enjoying the things I enjoy even if they’re a little “weird” or less “mainstream”, etc. Basically just generally being me and not caring if someone doesn’t like that. I’m currently working on this in therapy and it is WILD to me how much of my life that thought pattern dictates without me even recognizing it. But it’s starting to get better and I’m catching it more when it happens. Turns out, I’m completely allowed to say, “I’d rather have Panera for dinner, how does that sound to you?” and have it NOT be a huge deal! Who knew?

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        One of my favorite Deep Thought quotes is from Geneen Roth, who says “we live our lives according to scripts written years ago by people we wouldn’t ask directions from today.”

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

      I thought I wasn’t allowed to break up with someone if I didn’t have a “good enough” reason. Just led to me breaking up with my ex in a cruel, irresponsible way that I am not proud of.

      I thought I was responsible for other people’s feelings. (Still struggle with this.)

      I thought I could control events and outcomes a lot more than I can, that if I just did everything “right,” I could ensure a good outcome. Alas, no.

    8. WellRed*

      It was very freeing to realize that love isn’t finite. That people’s capacity to love expands, it doesn’t stop at the door and there’s no room left.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      That there’s a magic way for me to lose enough weight to make acting a viable career choice.

    10. Firebird*

      I grew up being told that I shouldn’t have money spent on me and what I wanted didn’t matter. I ended up with major issues around money and stayed married way too long.
      I finally realized that I Deserve Boundaries and having boundaries drastically reduces my stress. Also, if I want a robot vacuum/mop, my issue should simply be about which one, not whether or not I deserve one.

    11. Rage*

      That I was supposed to be the person my parents (read: my mother) expected me to be. I was in my 30s before I managed to lose that one. It helps, of course, that I live 1,000 miles away from my parents; I can live my life on my terms, and can dictate what I share. I love my folks, and see them at least 1x per year, but I’m my own person and free to explore whatever I want to.

    12. Unhelpful beliefs*

      Until I was in my 30s, I believed that if someone asked me to do something that I was able to do, even if I really did not want to do it or it would be super inconvenient, I felt that I must do it. Nothing illegal or nasty, just favors that people might ask of you. It was like there was only one possible answer for me to give to such a request, namely yes, unless there was a compelling reason why I couldn’t (which I would apologetically tell them).

      Finally I realized that being asked to do someone a favor was just a request, and that I had the right to say no. What a concept! I still try to do things for people when they ask, but now I feel completely entitled to decline, so if I say yes I don’t feel resentful at them or angry at myself. And I don’t feel obliged to give them a reason for declining, which is also very freeing. Just, “Oh I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that.”

    13. Anon for This*

      There’s no point in telling my partner that I’m not happy about something they’re doing, because they aren’t going to change, and if I end up having to just deal with it anyway, might as well just deal with it without the added burden of an argument.

      Corollary: I only say something when the thing is making me so unhappy that I’m willing to end the relationship over it.

      When I was young I had multiple long-term relationships with people where my saying I was unhappy led to grueling intensive lectures on why I was wrong/my feelings were less important than Thing/they couldn’t do anything about Thing. My current partner is much more reasonable, but after many years together I still have trouble convincing myself that there’s any point to discussing problems.

  17. in law problems*

    Do you have a person in your life where you love them but you really need to limit your time together?

    My MIL is an overly anxious person with a compulsive need for trivial control. Over the years I’ve had her stand over my shoulder dictating how to correctly use toothpaste, pour water into a cup, and so on. Unless I am willing to die on that hill and engage in a screaming match with her, “no thanks” is not accepted – she will hound me until I follow her instructions.

    My husband has spoken to her about this. To her credit she does try to rein in the nagging and interfering each time. But eventually she goes back to her old habits. I’ve come to conclude this is just an aspect of her personality that’s not going to change. As much as I love and care for her I now need to restrict how often we see each other. It makes me sad because 95% of the time we’re good; but that 5% is not worth the amount of stress and resentment that accumulate each time something bad happens.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      My husband and I have to be very careful about how we travel together for vacations. He needs a lot more downtime than I do, can’t do as much walking, can’t tolerate heat, can’t deal with crowds, doesn’t eat enough and gets hangry, doesn’t drink enough water and gets dehydrated. But he also won’t do anything to address these issues until he’s already past his limit and getting snappy and obnoxious, even if I try to catch it early – he’s all “No, no, I’m fine,” until he’s SUPER NOT FINE AND EVERYONE WILL KNOW, at which point he’s STILL INSISTING HE’S FINE. Our (mutual) solution to this the last few years has actually been that he sends me off on my own vacations and stays home with the dogs, the air conditioning, the couch and his video games, which is working ok for now, but still kind of a bummer.

      1. The OG Sleepless*

        I wish I could talk my husband into this. His daily rhythms are just not very in sync with mine and it’s more apparent when we’re traveling. He tries to work on vacation, and if there’s not a good enough wifi signal or something EVERYTHING MUST STOP while we go find a better hot spot or drive all over looking for a store to buy a better charging cable or whatever. Or he will suddenly decide he needs a new swimsuit at 11:30 AM so we have to spend an hour taking care of that, so now I’m hungry, so now we don’t hit the beach until two hours after we intended. I really wish I could just travel without him, or just with my young adult kids.

        1. Pocket Mouse*

          If it’s a permission thing and not a logistical thing, well, I hereby give you permission to travel without your husband.

        2. Falling Diphthong*

          I have travelled without my spouse, and with my young adult kids. You can absolutely do this.

          He’s traveling without me right now, doing something he loves that I don’t enjoy.

      2. Nicosloanica*

        I’ve been stunned by how many really, really great friends it turns out I just can’t travel with. I think of myself as an easy going traveler but I guess as a single person I don’t realize how set in my own ways I am, and I think the disruption to my *own* routine can make me a bit more irritable too. I thought a good friend of mine would be ideal travel buddies as we both wanted to see and not-see the same things (I’ve been burned before as a young person by traveling with people who wanted to go out to clubs at midnight, which is not my dream vacation haha), but it turned out we have very different ideas about how much time is appropriate to transition between activities like “checking into the hotel and then going to dinner” haha. She is a huge putzer. I was going nuts. I don’t know, man, it can be the strangest things sometimes. There’s also “how much activity do you both want in a day, how stressed are you willing to feel” (I’m rarely willing to book like a 6AM bus pick up on vacation even if the thing you’re going to see sounds really cool) “how willing are you to do things separately or is that a big cause of hurt feelings” etc.

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I’ve been much luckier with most of my good friends than with my husband – the “worst” it gets with them is that I don’t get as much reading done when I vacation with them as I do by myself, but that’s ok because I would much rather talk to them :) My best vacation ever was me and four of my dearest friends at Disneyworld; we all left our SOs at home and it was wonderful.

        2. Filosofickle*

          There are people you can work with, live with, be friends/partners with, and travel with. There is not always a lot of overlap!

          Schedules, pace, interests, eating, budget…it’s hard to find good matches across enough of the board. I don’t travel a lot and the biggest reason is there isn’t a good travel companion in my life. Traveling alone is okay, but there are limits to how many days I want to do alone. So I tend to do short trips solo and don’t end up going on the big adventures.

        3. Rosemary*

          I just took a trip with a friend who I otherwise know I would not be able to travel with – we went with a tour group where literally everything was planned. I did not think I’d like that kind of trip, but it made sense for the destination. And it meant that there was zero conflict with my friend about what to do when…because we had no say in the matter.

      3. Jenn*

        My husband and I are “different travelers” and what we will do is spend the first day apart. We get to the hotel and I’ll nap and order room service, shower etc but he’s immediately off to “investigate” the area. This works for us bc he won’t be bored waiting around for me to get it together and I won’t feel rushed when I want to wind down on vacation. The rest of the trip is smooth is typically smooth sailing. We also do separate trips each year so we get exactly what we want out of time off.

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

          This is kind of brilliant — each giving each other a nice dose of what they want so that you can both feel like your immediate needs have been met and then compromise better later on.

          My parents did a lot of splitting up all day and then reconvening for dinner when they were traveling, so my mom could lounge at cafes and write postcards and slowly read every historical plaque while my dad was off hiking around the environs.

    2. sagewhiz*

      OMG do I sympathize! This is my mom! Example: Back in my 40’s, she and my dad came to visit, bringing a wall hutch for the dining room. Dad and now-ex are hanging it while I start dinner. She’s dashing between kitchen & dining rm, telling them how to hang the hutch, telling me how to CUT UP POTATOES!

      My father was a master wood worker. Who’d built the hutch. I’d been cooking since making my first full family meal at age nine.

      She still does stuff like this. Two hours is all I can spend with her before the headache comes on. Deep breathing helps only a bit. A stiff drink when I get home is usually needed.

      So, no solutions, only sympathy…

      1. Nicosloanica*

        I’m always curious what psychology is driving this. I assume it’s anxiety manifesting as trying to control stuff? But they will not accept that if you point it out – no, it really is about the superiority of diced potatoes her way, that’s all!!!!

        1. Cookies For Breakfast*

          My mother is like that too, and “anxiety manifesting as trying to control stuff” sounds spot on. But god forbid anyone point it out to her. Which I’m now fully aware of because I’m working through similar patterns in therapy.

          So, back to OP’s question, no surprise that my answer is my parents. We live in different countries, so making phone time manageable and keeping them on an information diet is fairly easy. That’s probably the main reason we have an okay relationship rather than being upset at each other all the time.

        2. Nervous Nellie*

          My sense of it is that anxious people who are parents, if they don’t notice and address their anxiety, never shake the need to control, which gives them a measure of comfort. When the children are little, the anxious parent’s actions just come across as parenting. As the child gets older & more autonomous (and observes friends’ parents’ approaches to similar things and learns that their parent is extreme), tension begins. And when the child is an adult, they (and their extended family) are really the only people the anxious person can still try to control to get that comfort from their anxiety. You can bet they don’t treat their own friends that way, or really many others in their lives. They likely position it in their minds as sharing parental wisdom, which they feel a right to offer.

          1. RagingADHD*

            In addition to this, they don’t worry about their friends or feel the need to protect and help them as they do for their children. The control comes from anxiety, and the anxiety is about whether or not their kids are okay.

        3. goddessoftransitory*

          I see it as a combination of anxieties: both that they “have” to supervise because anything that goes wrong is somehow their fault, and anxiety that they are not needed and therefore about to be abandoned. (Not that these are logical, conscious positions.)

    3. Nicosloanica*

      Mine is a sad one, but it’s my sister, who I actually love a lot and send good mental vibes to. But she’s a married wife and mother and I’m not, so we’re just hardly ever on the same page about anything, and neither of us really seems to understand each others lives or knows what the other would want to hear or how to talk to each other right now – if I can even catch her ear, as she’s distracted running all over dealing with the kids. I generally come away from our interactions feeling somehow both sorry for her, AND bad about my choices, as well as just generally misunderstood and not appreciated (I would bet she’s say the same). So it’s better to keep expectations low, limit our interactions to holidays, keep it cheerful, and move on. I try to hope that someday after the kids are out of the house maybe we’ll find each other again.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        This is me and my sister: she calls fairly frequently, we have a great time on the phone, and when I hang up I realize the conversation was once again 99% about her and 1% about me.

    4. Alex*

      I have a good friend who unfortunately has a problem with alcohol and some other mental health issues. It’s so sad because she is so smart and fun and generous, but when she gets drinking it is just a spiral of awfulness–meanness, lies, self-destructiveness. I’ve had to take several breaks from her because she refuses to get any help for herself.

      1. carcinization*

        Me too! I’m currently estranged from this friend because communicating with her at all got to be so much work that I just gave up.

    5. Gyne*

      Oh, parents, definitely. We’ve just grown apart in a way that isn’t complimentary to my mental health. A big part of the way my dad “shows love” is by constant small “jokes” about the inferiority of my choices – big and small things, like my career choice (how I don’t work very hard), the kind of car I drive, computer and cell phone I use, etc. And he’ll ask me for things like restaurant recommendations but has to cross check everything I suggest against its Yelp rating. My mom has a similar anxiety response as your MIL and tends to steamroll until she gets her way. She also has some really (in my opinion) disordered eating patterns that manifest in a very performative way (as in, she can’t just do her own food things, she has to announce her plans and explain why they’re The Better Way.) They’re on a very strict information diet now but it’s challenging to maintain low contact when they vacation in my city for months at a time (it’s a popular destination place.) They would very much like to be closer but it’s increasingly clear they’re just not “my people.”

      It’s so wild to me because 20 years ago I absolutely never envisioned a life not living in my home state (both because it’s an awesome place to live and for Faaaaaamily!) and I wonder who I’d be if my life had gone differently in that way.

    6. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’m fortunate to have three fantastic siblings with wonderful spouses. We’re spread across the country and therefor don’t see each other that often. In the case of one brother, this is a good thing because when we do get together he is talking all the time. Nonstop all day long. He is a smart, kind person but silence is not his thing. I’m glad that he and his wife have a dog that I’m allergic to so that I have an excuse not to stay with at their house when I visit.

  18. Bluebell*

    It is looking like I am going to bring home my first puppy this week! My family or origin has always had a dog, but this is my first as a single, lives-alone, WFH adult. I’m looking at lists of things to buy, hoping to get some training, ready for life to change drastically, but would love your favorite tips for new owners! Pup is about 15 weeks and came to her foster a week ago after a puppy mill rescue — she is already learning potty training and some other things well and while understandably nervous she is very sweet and has cuddled up quickly with her foster family and dog foster brother).

    And if my puppy-focused brain doesn’t get back here in time, many many thanks in advance!

    1. Nicosloanica*

      I got a pandemic dog as my first solo adult dog. I think I had a lot of factors in my favor; I WFH too, I have a good-sized fence yard, and I already took a lot of walks daily. Some of this may be different as mine was not a puppy (such as the walking; puppies don’t need hours of walking per day until they’re more like teenagers). The biggest thing I learned is how very dependent on routine they are. I guess like children. My dog clearly feels secure when we’re in the routine because he knows what is expected of him. When we are off routine (which, sorry dog, I can’t promise every day will have the exact same schedule forever) it clearly causes him stress and that causes him to act out. The more I can create rituals to signal to him what is happening, the better. Also, some behavior training we got that really stuck with me is that you basically can’t teach a dog “not” to do something – it’s much, much easier to focus on what you do want them to do. Something like barking all day you’re just really focused on getting them to stop, but you have to flip it over in order to work on it. Have fun! Good luck!

      1. Nicosloanica*

        Oh, and hopefully this won’t be your experience, but puppy blues are extremely common. I think not realizing that it’s pretty normal makes it worse in case you do start feeling it. Knowing it’s normal and typically passes (and doesn’t mean you necessarily made a mistake or got the wrong dog or whatever) is helpful. In my case, it was mostly just about the new restrictions on my life, as my poor pup wasn’t great about being left alone, so suddenly every single errand became challenging and I basically couldn’t see my friends for a while. That plus poor sleep made it kind of inevitable that I had an emotional wobble but it all straightened itself out.

        1. A Girl Named Fred*

          Seconding this! We adopted a rescue who was an adult already (around 3yo), but she was my first dog ever so I got the puppy blues BAD and spent several nights/days breaking down over whether we’d made a terrible mistake. My boyfriend was great about it but it wasn’t until I asked my best friend about his experience and he instantly replied, “Oh yeah, (his beloved pup) was an ASSHOLE, I worried about that all the time! Totally normal!” that I realized it was part of the process and I’d come through it fine.

          1. Rachel*

            So true! I love my girl but don’t know what I’d do without my partner sometimes. When I get puppy blues, we ‘change shifts’ so I get a break and vice versa. If you have family / friends nearby don’t be afraid to lean on them for help!

            1. A Girl Named Fred*

              Yes, this is important! Part of the reason I had it “so hard” was I wasn’t working at the time, so I was home alone with her all day and never had anywhere else to go so I felt very “trapped” in my own home while she was still in her separation anxiety, “I will follow you every step you take in this apartment” phase. When I got the blues really bad, my boyfriend would just be like, “Get out of the house. Go to Target or something; I’ll stay with her. Shoo.” And it would always be exactly what I needed.

              1. Sloanicota*

                Yep as a single dog owner I’d say I tried to find ways to achieve this (in my case it was doggy daycare but I don’t know the restrictions around puppies for that; having a friend or pet-sitter come over would be a good option instead). I did read somewhere that puppy blues are more frequent in single vs coupled owners and I’m sure that’s the reason.

    2. Rachel*

      Congratulations! We have a 17 week old puppy who we adopted at 10 weeks. Something unexpected that saved us were puppy wipes and microfiber towels. Taking her in and out so often equals mud EVERYWHERE! Other lifesavers are her kong and fillers for the crate, and hard chew toys that she can play with unsupervised in there. When I need to do the dishes etc. I give her a yak cheese chew (Mighty Paw brand). I do not let her chew these unsupervised as they can splinter etc. but they give me some time to take my eyes off her.

      There are so many things you can buy but it can depend on the dog. The most helpful thing I’ve learned is to maintain a schedule and use ENFORCED NAPS! Puppies are baby’s and can become angry when overtired. If she won’t sleep and has been up for a few hours, I’ll pop her into the crate for a nap and it always makes her feel better. I use the month to hour rule now for potty breaks. My pup is 4 months but I take her out every 2.5-3 hours during the work day knowing she can hold it for 4 but needs a break outside. Wishing you luck!!

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        I live five minutes from Ikea, so about every year or so I go buy a half-dozen of their cheap scratchy $2 white bath towels – I don’t care if they get mud-stained from puppy paws, they’re easy to wash, big enough that I can put one on the ground inside and get all four paws on it, and if I have to use one to mop up something particularly gross, I don’t care if I have to throw it away.

        1. Shiny Penny*

          I am so with you re the usefulness of cheap white towels with dogs— I get the garage pack of about 50 white cotton hand towels from Costco, and their hotel-pack of white bath towels. The small ones are easier to dry a muddy dog with, for me, because you can use a series of them and not spread the mud around as much (and not accidentally be cleaning the floor). And they are easier to wash. The big ones are great for easy-clean bed-toppers.
          The part I like best, though, is that white towels will instantly reveal lots of data about any bleeding injury or other bodily fluid leakage. Location, volume, shade… And white will show off bugs better, not to mention slugs that have hitched a ride indoors on a wet muddy dog.

    3. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Best tip for any baby animals coming into your house: Begin as you mean to go on! If you don’t want your dog on the sofa as an adult, don’t let them on the sofa as a baby. If you don’t want them sleeping on your bed, don’t let them start. You will never get them out.

      I would strongly encourage crate training – I never did any crate training with my older dog and I’m SO INTENSELY LUCKY that she’s weird and has never been a chewer, a counter-surfer, she thinks litterboxes are gross, but if I left my younger dog unattended and uncrated she’d have gnawed on half my furniture by the time I got home. But it also makes her much more chill at doggy daycare and when boarding, because she’s used to having kennel/crate time, plus she sleeps in it so I don’t have 120 pounds of woofapotamus taking up the OTHER half of my half of my bed. :P

      Likewise, if you can afford it, a day training program – ours was supposed to be a 3-week “puppy kindergarten,” but we actually ended up breaking it into two 2-week sessions a month apart for personal reasons – made SO much difference to how well my younger dog deals with strangers, new situations, and other dogs as compared to my older one. Way less stress and anxiety. We also try to make sure my younger dog spends at least one day a month at daycare to keep up that doggy socialization. If a longer training program like that isn’t feasible or doesn’t really appeal to you, I would at least find a trainer to do some work with on a more sporadic basis rather than trying to figure it out entirely solo. It’s possible — I did it with my older dog and my previous Elder Statesdog Gone Beyond — but I got really lucky with both of their temperaments.

      1. A Girl Named Fred*

        Ooh, not to hijack the thread but is one day a month at doggy daycare a good way to keep up dog socialization? Our girl has been great when she’s at daycare but sometimes gets doggy reactive when she’s on walks with us, so we’ve thought about getting her some extra time at daycare and whether that would help. But we were thinking it’d have to be more like once a week and aren’t sure we can swing that, but once or twice a month might be doable…

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          I mean, it seems to do okay for my woofapotamus. She still is a little reactive on walks, but that’s because her big sister is EXTREMELY reactive, so she’s more reacting to sis getting riled up than to the other dogs, if that makes sense. If I take her somewhere by herself, she’s pretty chill about other dogs, but I don’t know if that’s because of the daycare or just her personality to be honest.

          1. A Girl Named Fred*

            That makes sense, and I appreciate the insight! I think our girl mostly gets protective of me, since my boyfriend can usually get her to ignore whatever she starts to fixate on, but if I’m alone with her she has a higher chance of going into MUST PROTEC mode. I probably just need to do more general socialization with her, plus work on my own confidence (both in general and specifically with handling her) so she can feel like I’ve got whatever’s happening handled.

            The other half of the time, she just really REALLY wants to play, but people tend to see “80-pound dog straining at leash” and assume aggressive no matter what (which I can’t blame them for, but still.) (And a side note, I love that you call your pup a woofapotamus. It’s such an adorable, evocative nickname!)

            1. Sloanicota*

              I don’t think doggy daycare is the answer here, although I have the same dog and I do love daycare to give me a break and give him more exercise and stimulation (and so that I don’t feel guilty always trying to rein him in from “being a dog”). What helped with reactivity was training, with me and him working on skills together and growing a stronger bond and him practicing listening to me. I wish we’d been able to keep it up better but for a while it made a big difference to go to a training class every week.

              1. A Girl Named Fred*

                That’s fair, and definitely on my radar as well. Honestly, I think the training might be more beneficial for me than for her, since she’s my first dog ever. I’ll do a little more research into that and maybe we’ll get that started now that it’s (slowly) starting to warm up!

            2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

              She’s 120 pounds of dark grey Dane, so as she was growing (so fast she couldn’t keep track of where her legs ended) she bumbled around underfoot like a baby hippopotamus and ran into me all the time, so we started tacking “apotamus” on the end of everything we called her. I think her record is “sleepachickachompalopeapotamus” or something like that. But usually she is just my daintiest woofapotamus. :)

    4. Bluebell Brenham*

      As someone who has fostered dogs, the number one piece of advice is to remember that the dog you get on day one is pretty different than the dog you find yourself with a week or two. As they get more comfortable, there’s more of a chance of them testing boundaries. It can be annoying, but it’s also a good thing. I agree with lots of good advice here about crate training, and also the usefulness of puppy kindergarten. Good luck!

      1. Sloanicota*

        Haha yes I totally misunderstood that three days / three weeks / three months advice … I thought the dog would get better and better as he adjusted. Mine started to get more challenging as he got more comfortable!

    5. Shiny Penny*

      Delighted to pass on to you this wisdom from our family vet, who was also one of my livestock 4-H leaders. She gave me a serious lecture when I got my first dog as a college student, about the critical importance of teaching the puppy to be ok alone. She knew I was getting the pup at the beginning of summer and we could conceivably spend ALL our time together— which would of course be a set-up for future epic disaster.
      So she reminded me it was part of my responsibility to teach him to be ok alone, and then to LEAVER HIM ALONE on a regular daily basis. Like, not just when it came up unavoidably, but *on purpose, frequently.*
      (Thanks, Dr. L!)

      1. Dog and cat fosterer*

        I got my pup in 2020, when everyone was forced to be at home. One of the better things that I did was put her in a crate for an hour or two most days, because it forced her to be alone in the home away from humans. I still have some lingering issues, for example jumping up on visitors at the door because guests are still a novelty, but everything is more manageable than severe separation anxiety.

    6. HoundMom*

      We have had many dogs over the years and usually end up adopting dogs from the local shelter, so they arrive housebroken. But the last puppy we adopted came from a foster home that gave us wood chips that their dogs had peed in. It was magic. He never had a house accident.

      The only other puppy we had chewed everything wooden. We had young kids at the time — blocks, drumsticks, etc. and the stairs in our last house. I would recommend having chew toys available.

  19. RussianInTexas*

    This was brought up by a letter from earlier this week. I rutinely get these two anxiety dreams.
    High school exam, but I am aware I am not in high school, got to pass it anyway, remember nothing. But also I am not wearing a bra. I am a rather large chested, and was teased mercilessly as a teen, and have not been out in public without a bra on since I was probably 15. Not even once.
    And another one – I have to use the bathroom, but it’s out in the open. Everyone can see me. I hate this dream.
    Back in school (elementary through high), the girls bathroom had open stalls. No doors. It was as terrible as you imagine.
    What are your anxiety dreams?

    1. The anxiety dreams*

      I used to have that no-toilet-privacy dream, for many years. Reading your message made me realize I haven’t had it for quite a few years, and I hope this won’t bring it back. I was always in some weird location far from home and desperately needing to pee, and the only available bathroom was always a strangely designed public ladies room with only one available stall and it usually had no door, and usually no toilet paper either. Ugh, I too hated those dreams.

      I think maybe I don’t have them now because instead I wake up at 2 AM or whenever and get out of bed and walk to my actual normal bathroom. Then I hope tol fall back asleep afterwards.

      1. RussianInTexas*

        I am kind of glad I am not the only one with the toilet dream! My partner can’t relate because he never gets anxiety dreams at all.

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

          Oh, yeah, get the need a toilet but there’s something wrong with it dream a lot. Usually means I need to get up to pee.

          And as a teacher, before the semester starts, I usually get the “can’t find the classroom” dream.

      2. Double A*

        When I was a teen, I remember my mom telling me about having bathroom anxiety dreams and I was like, “weird, I’ve never had that.”

        Then like the second I turned 30 I started having them. Mine are usually of the gross/unusable stall variety. A lot of flooding is involved usually. When I wake up I need to use the bathroom.

        Good to know they might have a shelf life! They’re very annoying dreams.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      Yeah, the whole having to repeat the Leaving Cert. one (which actually, in Ireland, isn’t all that out there; adults do repeat the Leaving Cert. for all kinds of reasons, like wanting to go back to college and needing better grades than they got the first time around or needing a particular subject, either for college or work, that they didn’t take the first time around). Generally, focussed on the Irish exam and having to write a 500 word essay or whatever it is in my second language. (The essays students are expected to write in Irish tend to be things like well, just googled and some that came up last year were “the cost of living in Ireland,” “the problem of drugs in today’s world,” “the things that affect a person’s health,” a debate on whether “the Irish language is alive in today’s digital world,” so writing one of those in a second language that I haven’t practiced writing in decades would be quite a challenge.)

    3. Rosey*

      One of mine is that I have to take a college exam, but I haven’t attended any of the classes, I haven’t read any of the books or done any of the homework, and I can’t find the room the exam is being held in. I was one of those students that attended every class, did all the homework, and studied hard, so it’s always stressful and bewildering.

      I’ve also had the dreams where I have to pee, but I’m either in a large building and can’t find any restrooms, or the restrooms are full of toilets but no stalls. I’ve never had this issue in real life though.

      The one weird anxiety dream I get is I’m stuck in my bedroom with a poltergeist, but no lights will turn on and my flashlight won’t work, so I can’t see. I know there’s a ghost for some reason though.

      1. GoryDetails*

        I used to get the school-based “just realized I never attended the class” dreams; they lasted for some years after I graduated college, and then were gradually replaced by non-school-based ones. Most commonly, I’m packing to go somewhere – a trip, a move, something – and find myself having to corral the cats at the last moment, with escalating dread as to whether I’ll miss a plane/train/etc. or lose a cat, or just give up and walk out of the room without any baggage at all. [The dreams themselves are more vague than that, but the anxious feeling is clear.]

        Oh, and then there’s the one where I look out my window to find that someone has begun major building construction RIGHT BEHIND MY HOUSE, devastating the view and encroaching on my property. These can get pretty unnerving; had one a couple of months ago, probably due to my procrastination over much-needed house-and-yard maintenance, but I was still wildly relieved to wake up and realize it was a dream!

      2. Jay*

        I’m closing in on 50, haven’t gone to school since I was 21 (when I graduated collage), and STILL GET THAT DREAM. Like, regularly.

      3. allathian*

        My anxiety dream usually involves me trying to find my way out of a labyrinth that keeps changing as I walk.

        When I’m stressed, I sometimes dream that I’m giving a presentation at work, completely naked, and I’ve done all of two presentations in 15 years…

        Sometimes I dream that all my teeth shatter and fall out.

    4. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Mine aren’t situational anxiety, but when I start having a lot of dreams about my husband behaving strangely, especially if he’s being mean to me in the dreams, then I know something is stressing me out and I need to figure out what it is. (It is almost never anything actually to do with him.)

      1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

        Last night I dreamed that he kept putting his bare feet on my kitchen counters, using wrong words on purpose and then gaslighting me that he hadn’t said whatever when I asked for clarification, and for some reason dyed his hair matte grey (like he’d dunked his head in a sack of cornstarch) to “go meet with his informant” because I wouldn’t let him cut up one of my desk toys. I have no idea what is going on in my brain, but his birthday was yesterday so maybe I’m subconsciously worried about what nonsense he and his twin brother are going to get up to when they go out tonight.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        Oh, I hate those! I wake up mad at the poor guy and he hasn’t done anything!

        I also sometimes dream I’ve been married before but forgot about it and have to tell him. I have no idea where this comes from–it took me until I was 35 to even marry the first one!

        1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

          His ex-wife actually used to give him the silent treatment for days on end without telling him why and it would turn out to be that “he” had done something she didn’t like in her dream. It was a struggle for our first couple years together — I’d tell him about it, thinking I was sharing something funny, and he’d just be gritting his teeth waiting for the other shoe to drop, because it took him a couple years to actually tell me about the backstory. So now when I tell him about the dream shenanigans, it’s “He did this and that” and not “you did this and that” and we can both be entertained. (This morning he was like “I don’t even GO barefoot in the house, and how would I get my feet on the counter ANYWAY?!”)

    5. A313*

      I just had a bathroom dream last night! This was at my dad’s house, he was sick in bed, the only toilet is somehow in the room with him, I *really* have to go, and there are workmen installing something a various other people in the room. I often get the “no privacy” but really need to use the toilet dreams. I also get the college and high school exam dreams — never attended class, never studied, but it’s final exam time. I am happy to know, sort of, that others have these, too! I do wonder what they mean.

    6. Alex*

      Mine is a bit transparent but I have various dream scenarios where my mother has manipulated a situation where I have to do something that she says, and it is extremely self-serving and something I don’t want to do, but she has manipulated the situation to make it look like if I don’t do what she wants, I am the bad guy and everyone will judge me. Is this close to real life? Yes. But the dream scenarios are along the lines that she somehow had a baby at age 70 and now I have to move in with her to help her take care of it…

    7. Jay*

      For almost 20 years I did field research.
      Deployments that usually lasted 1-2 weeks.
      There were rules upon rules upon rules, all designed so that the information we collected was legally able to be used and that we were not hurt or killed.
      I’ve been office bound for about three years now, mostly due to the side effects of the accumulation of many injuries over many years.
      Legally, I am no longer able to deploy into the field for safety reasons.
      Well, ever since I stopped going into the field, I’ve been having these dreams.
      I wake up in the field one morning and realize I’m on a deployment. Not only that, but the deployment is about 3/4 over. And I have done NOTHING. Nothing at all. No data has been collected and there is no reason for me not to have collected it. I am also well aware that I am not allowed to be there.
      Because, between the lack of collected data and deploying when I am not allowed to deploy I am in unbelievable trouble. Like, possible prison sentence trouble. At the very least my career is OVER. I won’t be able to get a job pumping gas after this. And there is literally nothing that I can do about it. Nothing can make it better. Twenty years of dedication, of pain and effort, of a sterling reputation and a career that is literally the stuff of legends to the younger folks in the field (I was once greeted with “OH MY GOD, YOU’RE REAL?!?!” when being introduced to a newly hired employee who thought I was a character they made up to illustrate training points). All gone.
      I wake up to that one a few times a year, shaking, sweating, heart racing, in an absolute, blind panic.

    8. Dark Macadamia*

      I often have the bathroom dream – can’t find one, it’s in a weird place with no privacy, it’s flooding – and am sometimes lucid enough in the dream to be like “oh lol I need to pee, time to wake up.”

      As an adult I sometimes have a very specific spin on the school dream that leaves me feeling awful the whole day after I wake up: I realize I’m failing a class *because I knowingly chose not to attend or do the work* and thought I would have time to catch up but now it’s too late. I don’t mind the “I’m in that class?” or “there’s a test today?” type dreams because my brain frames it as an honest mistake, but the ones where I intentionally screwed up are horrible.

      I also have recurring dreams that involve living in a house I can’t secure. Like my home has a lot of doorways with no doors in them, or it’s attached to a huge mall or museum and the door between the two doesn’t lock, or I need to change my clothes and everything is windows, etc.

    9. Pieforbreakfast*

      I’m packing- for a move, a trip, etc…- and running late on time and I keep finding things to pack, usually small random things that I spill or drop than have to gather up to pack. And often people come in to distract me or I get locked out of the house or something to prevent me from finishing.
      My work-based anxiety dreams are based on a career I had over 14 years ago, not my current job which I’m kinda thankful for.

    10. Sloanicota*

      I have heard other people have this exact anxiety dream, so I’ll be curious if there’s others on this thread: in the dream, I have just remembered that I have a small pet (the pet varies – sometimes it’s a rabbit, a hamster, even kittens/puppies sometimes but they don’t act like real kittens/puppies, live in a crate etc) and that I have forgotten to take care of it for some unrealistic amount of time, like weeks. The pet is in some back room or shed out of mind. I rush to the place and the animal is usually on its last legs / near death but mysteriously not actually dead although like I said in the dream its been weeks or months. I feel terribly guilty and great remorse for the animal. Then I wake up and remember I haven’t had any small pets in a long time. This is some form of caretaking anxiety obviously. I don’t even have children (but I do have cats and dogs so I assume that’s the source of the anxiety that I’ve forgotten something they need to do). The other one is usually trying to find a car or something in a winding series of houses / parking lots.

      On the flip side, my positive dream is that I realize I can sort of bounce along the surface of the ground almost-flying. Kind of hanggliding with my body. Those are good dreams!

      1. Gurpy*

        Same! My family raised rabbits when I was a kid and I still dream about going out to the rabbit shed and realizing I’d neglected them for months.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        Yep, I’ve had this one a couple times. Usually it’s something like I find a shoebox in the back of a closet that the animal has been living in and feel horribly guilty.

      3. carcinization*

        Oh, I have the pet dream too (though sometimes with larger animals, even though I haven’t ever taken care of a goat or whatever). I think it might have to do with guilt over not taking care of animals perfectly as a child (we’re talking feeding an animal in the afternoon instead of the morning, not something more serious than that), or over my parent feeling they could not afford to give our animals regular veterinary care when I was a child/teen.

    11. Zona the Great*

      That I didn’t finish grad school and I spend my whole dream trying to convince myself that it’s going to be okay.

    12. Elizabeth West*

      Ugh, the open bathroom dream! I hate that one.

      Mine tend to revolve around not being prepared. When I did theater, I would dream I was onstage but suddenly realized I didn’t know my lines. When I skated, I would dream that it was my turn to take the ice during a show but I didn’t have my skates on. In real life, I always had to put them on early and re-lace because they would loosen as they warmed up and that would make me unstable, which is extremely anxiety-provoking. I never dream that I forget a program in the middle. That actually happened to me once during a show. I improvised until I got back on track and the only person who knew was my coach, lol.

      The other persistent one is missing a plane, or getting on the wrong plane. They’re always tiny rounded planes for some reason, like real life Fisher-Price jets.

    13. RussianInTexas*

      I also get the one when I have to up or down the stairs and they have no railings and it paralyzes me with terror.
      I don’t have the fear of heights in the waking world.

    14. Buni*

      If I have a day ahead of me with a specific (usually not pleasant) task it’s not unusual for me to dream my way through the whole thing that morning.

      And then I wake up and have to do it all over again, only this time with killer deja vu.

    15. Anon for this!*

      Variations of the pee dream (toilet is out in the open, etc.); school dreams (taking a test for a class I didn’t have); showing up for a marching band performance with a saxophone that I just then realized I didn’t play (FYI I never have); driving on a bridge that is practically vertical and having the car start to fall over backwards (this one is the worst); somehow having my pantyhose fall down so that they are mid-thigh, and tight, and waddling around trying to keep them from falling further).

    16. Ratpenat*

      I used to have the exam one or the toilet one weekly. Since having kids, I dream that I‘m on my way to the hospital to give birth but at some point I realise I forgot to get pregnant and there isn’t any baby.

    17. goddessoftransitory*

      Oh God, they come in two varieties:

      The first is being nude/in my underwear, desperately trying to find a bathroom to shower in. The showers are usually disgusting when I find them. I usually wake up having to pee.

      The second kind is trying to get “home” (usually a place I lived in childhood) from an area that seems vaguely familiar but not someplace I really recognize. It usually involves trying to catch several busses and not being able to figure out where they stop.

      Then there’s the one-off nightmares about something with twiggy little arms coming around the corner or trying to grab me through the shower curtain. Those end with my husband shaking me awake because I’m having an asthma attack.

    18. PX*

      Ooof love that I haven’t had one in a while but mine are usually one of these two:
      – running to escape something but it’s like I’m running through mud or water.
      – this one sometimes comes out of nowhere from what seems like a regular dream but I will be on a bike or a penny farthing where I’m really high up from the ground and cycling but can’t figure out how I’m going to be able to stop without falling over. sometimes I’ll be in a city as well and have to be navigating around obstacles and getting more and more anxious. this one is somehow worse than being chased by a murderer!

    19. AlexandrinaVictoria*

      I dream there’s been an emergency – usually a plane crash – and I’m trying to call 911 but I keep mis-dialing or the phone is missing numbers or I can’t actually remember what I’m supposed to be dialing. Hate it!

      1. Liminality*

        Urgh, that one is no fun! I’ve heard that the part of your brain that can read is not accessible to the parts of your brain that dream. So you keep trying, but the buttons/ numbers/ words won’t stay consistent enough to actually do/ read anything.

    20. Liminality*

      If previous lives existthis is how I died in my last one.
      In a car, at night, launching off of a high place/road into a body of cold water.

      I’ve had that dream repeatedly, since well before I could ever drive a car myself.

    21. Squidhead*

      One of mine is transparent (fear of failure, fear of being revealed as a fraud) but always preposterous and always different: the most memorable was the time “I” joined an Italian women’s professional soccer team. “I” was standing on the field praying the ball didn’t come my way because I can’t kick worth a darn and I’m not very good at running and I also don’t know the rules of soccer.

    22. Emotional support capybara (he/him)*

      My stress dreams come in “teeth horror” and “car is overheating/ brakes don’t work” flavors! Two terrible tastes that taste even worse together!

    23. Not Totally Subclinical*

      I also have both of these genre of anxiety dream — the non-private toilet dreams, and the dreams about having to take a final exam for a college course that I’d forgotten I enrolled in and never went to class for and now can’t drop.

      Though the last time I had the college dream, I went “hey! I don’t need this course anyway, so if I fail the exam it’s no big deal”, which was a nice change.

    24. Cedrus Libani*

      I still have the “test I’m completely unprepared for” dream. I’m 38. To be fair, I did that to myself in real life…repeatedly.

      I’ve never had a bathroom dream, at least not in the anxiety dream sense. But then, I’m Californian and grew up in a clothing-optional house, so I’m closing the stall doors for your comfort, not mine. I have the version where I really need to piss…it got me once when I was a teenager, yes I woke up in a puddle, fortunately I learned and have taught my dream-self to wake up before attempting to use any toilet or improvised substitute.

      The weird one that I’ve never heard from anyone else: if I know I’ve got a logistically complicated day coming up, such that I go to sleep ruminating over how it’s going to go, I will often live that day in my dreams. The whole day. I wake up, do the thing, do the other thing, until the day is over and I can go to sleep. Sometimes it’s to the point where I think I’ve actually done the thing and now I’m waking up the day after.

    25. Sara K*

      My anxiety dreams are always the same scenario (with different locations, people, etc): I am trying to get to the airport to catch a flight and there are a million ridiculous obstacles in my way. I don’t know why my subconscious brain has latched onto missing a flight as the *worst possible thing* but it has and as a result I am now a lot more anxious in my waking life about actually missing a flight.

      1. Anonynon*

        I also have this… trying to get to the airport, getting lost while at the airport, getting on a plane and it being… weird. I actually don’t find flying terribly stressful so it’s really bizarre.

        My variation of the showing up to a class you’ve missed all semester is showing up to a theater or swing choir performance and being expected to perform when I don’t know the show at all. Everyone is so nonchalant about the fact that I haven’t rehearsed or even learned the songs/dance/script.

  20. MCL*

    Favorite dessert that is gluten and dairy free? Bringing to a dinner gathering tonight and I don’t usually limit those ingredients. Main entree is salmon if it matters.

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Not terribly fancy but dirt easy if you don’t have any peanut allergies to be mindful of – 3 ingredient peanut butter cookies, 1 cup each of PB and sugar and one egg. Mix together, form into balls, bake at 350 for about 10 minutes. If you want to get a little fancier, press them slightly flattish before baking (they don’t spread out much) and then sandwich them with something – I’ve usually done chocolate frosting but you could also do jam. They also make a decent base for blossom style cookies, if you can think of something non-dairy to press into the top in lieu of Hershey’s kisses.

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

      One of the books for the Dr. Fuhrman eating plan has this great dairy-free chocolate mousse. In a strong blender, you mix up avocado, banana, cocoa powder, pitted dates, and a little plant-based milk or water. You could also add peanut butter or an equivalent like sunflower-seed butter or a another nut butter. The result is not quite as sweet as regular mousse, but it is tasty (and relatively healthy for you).

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

          Oh, enjoy! Some of his recipes are surprisingly delicious. Another one is blending half a frozen banana with cocoa powder and dates to make a vegan chocolate ice cream. Part of the trick to cooking on the Fuhrman plan is having a really strong blender, like maybe a Ninja or something similar.

          My food sensitivities are currently keeping me from doing much Fuhrman-style eating, but I did feel really healthy when I was doing it!

    3. Not A Manager*

      Almond macaroons are super easy. 1 can or tube of almond paste, one egg white, sugar, sometime a dash of vanilla, pinch of salt. Mix it up in a food processor or a standing mixer, then scoop or pipe onto ungreased parchment. Bake in a low oven until lightly brown. Quantities of sugar vary wildly in different recipes. I’d just google them and then take an average, or decide if you like your cookies super sweet or less sweet.

      Serve with sorbet and some kind of fresh fruit.

    4. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Almond cloud cookies from King Arthur Flour – very easy. The NYT has an equally easy recipe for flourless chocolate cookies that are delicious. More ambitious and a more time-consuming: meringues. Either meringue cookies, which can be flavored with any number of things, or a baked meringue like a pavlova which you can serve with fruit. My husband can’t eat dairy so when I make a pavlova I put a bowl of whipped cream on the side for those who want it.

      1. MCL*

        I considered meringue/pavlova but unfortunately I don’t care for it myself. I decided on a tofu based chocolate mousse!

    5. Texan In Exile*

      David Lebovitz’s sea salt brownies with rice flour instead of wheat flour. They’re delicious. (I have also used oat flour instead of the wheat flour and that also works fine.)

    6. Chauncy Gardener*

      Any “meringue” type cookie. These have egg whites, no flour, usually nuts and maybe dried fruit, maybe chocolate. Google “flourless cookies” and a bunch of recipes come up.

      1. ampersand*

        Not dairy–I think the confusion is caused because at least in US grocery stores they tend to be grouped together. And also thank you for the recommendation! Not OP, but I can’t eat dairy and will have to try this!

    7. Cardboard Marmalade*

      Poached pears are surprisingly easy, look fancy, and I think would be lovely after some salmon. I personally like them in their own, but if you want to bring some vanilla non-dairy ice cream to serve them over, I don’t think anyone would complain.

      I also have made almond flour brownies that I absolutely love, I think it’s the one from the Olives & Thyme recipe blog– which calls for butter, but I just use coconut oil anyway.

    8. AvonLady Barksdale*

      Pavlova. Most people serve it with whipped cream, but I find it’s just as good with only lemon curd or some kind of fruit topping, like fresh strawberries or sauteed apples.

      1. MCL*

        Unfortunately I am not a pavlova or any sort of meringue fan. I should have mentioned that up too because that’s the number 1 internet suggestion!

        1. MCL*

          I’m making a tofu based chocolate mousse with chili and cinnamon (NYT Cooking). The person isn’t 100% dairy free, just limiting dairy bit, so I’m not concerned about the chocolate.

    9. Anonymous Koala*

      Stella parks’ vegan olive oil chocolate chip cookies on seriouseats made with cup4cup – taste just like a standard chocolate chip cookie to me (a regular gluten/dairy eater) and use pretty easily found ingredients.

    10. Laura W.*

      I probably missed your dessert making window but if you need a dessert another time, I highly recommend Nigella Lawson’s clementine cake. It’s the first result if you google it. It’s from her cooking show and I was skeptical that you blend the whole clementines together but it works and comes out delicious.

    11. HannahS*

      Amaretti. So easy. Ground nuts, sugar, egg white, vanilla (or rum)–you don’t have to whip the eggs up much. One bowl, by hand. Very easy! It’s just expensive from the nuts, but given the cost of butter these days…

    12. Not Totally Subclinical*

      Chocolate chia seed pudding. While I usually make it with cow milk because that’s what’s in the house, the recipes I’ve seen were originally designed for plant milks (and I’ve found I have to tweak the chia/liquid proportions with cow milk).

      A half cup of chia seeds; a quarter to a third of a cup of cocoa powder; one and a half cups of almond or whatever milk; sweetener to taste (many recipes call for a couple tablespoons of maple syrup, but if you aren’t vegan, honey or sugar works fine too); vanilla or cinnamon to taste. Mix in a bowl and leave in the fridge for several hours/overnight.

    13. NB*

      I love a scoop of raspberry sorbet with fresh citrus zest (usually a little lemon and a little lime) sprinkled on top. It’s light and refreshing–a perfect way to end a heavy meal. Also easy.

  21. Anima/Aniima*

    I know from the older statistics posts that there is a small following from Germany here on AAM. I am nosy, so: where in Germany do you all live? (If you want to disclose, Bundesland is enough if you want!). Why do you follow an American blog giving work advice for American jobs?

    I’ll start: I’m from Baden-Württemberg and I follow AAM for social advice – how to navigate being a human in a corporate job, basically. And kittys, I’m here for the kittys, too.

    1. Forgot my name*

      Bayern :)
      I can’t remember how I found AAM but I stayed for the social advice. I also find the differences between the norms in the US and Germany interesting and I don’t mean the big ones like PTO and health insurance but the smaller subtle ones. And sometimes it’s just nice to see that some problems are apparently universal (e.g. dirty office kitchens)

      1. Anima/Aniima*

        Southern people here, seemingly. ;)
        The subtle differences are interesting to me, too!

    2. Elefantenrennen*

      I’m from the USA living in Germany, does that count? If so, Brandenburg, near Berlin. Moving on Tuesday to a different part of Brandenburg, near Berlin. Greener, quieter, nicer. Very excited, but also the typical mild panic about the logistics of the move. :)

      I got started reading the blog…sometime in college? Not sure if it was before or after I moved abroad to Germany for the first time. My first full time job was in Germany for a German company, so I can say that, although there are certainly US specific cultural things, a lot of the basic job advice is pretty solid for both countries. For example, think about answers to typical interview questions ahead of time, make a resume that shows what you accomplished in a clear way, write great cover letters, etc. Anyway, I have gratefully absorbed a lot of job advice over the years, but I’ve also been thoroughly entertained by cats, drama, good news and the community on the weekend threads. This is one of my few internet haunts, certainly one that has held up over the many many years.

    3. Neurodivergent in Germany*

      Baden-Württemberg.
      I am honestly not sure what brought me here.
      I stay because I miss the work world and am stewing over what direction I should go professionally after my special girl is at school long enough to make that possible

  22. shoe recommendations*

    I’m in search of shoe recommendations! In particular, I’d love to know what works for you if you wear women’s shoes and have narrow feet. I find that most “comfort” shoe brands cater to folks with wide feet (understandable – more people have wide than narrow feet), but wide shoes will not work for me.

    I am going on a vacation in June for which I need two types of shoes: a pair of hiking shoes (not boots, but the kind that look more like sneakers, but with decent tread on the sole), and a pair of sandals. The sandals need to hold in the foot (no slides or flip flops), have good arch support, and ideally a somewhat stiff sole (I’ve had metatarsalgia, so very flexible soles will cause pain in the ball of my foot). Thank you for your suggestions!

    1. fposte*

      Not an answer (I’m a true widefoot) but I have metatarsalgia around an old stress fracture and I find metatarsal pads a godsend. If you haven’t tried them I highly recommend an experiment. really like these little felt carved ones I get on Amazon that I’ll link in followup. Sometimes I just put them in the affected foot and sometimes in both.

      1. OP*

        Oh yes, I love the metatarsal pads! They are so helpful. Thanks for the recommendation of the felt ones. I think I would like that better than the foam ones I have been using.

    2. Rosey*

      I have narrow feet and have always liked New Balance trail sneakers. I also had a pair of their “sport” sandals several years ago (the kind that have a closed toe and straps go around the ankle and and foot…I really liked the toe protection).

      1. OP*

        I’ll check out the NB trail sneakers, thank you! For sandals, I am hoping to find something a bit less sporty so I can dress them up a bit if the occasion calls for it.

        1. Freya's Cats*

          I have sandals of both TEVA and Panama Jack brands that don’t look like outdoor sandals, but do wear like them, I can walk on them all day. They have leather straps, but soles with good support.

        2. The teapots are on fire*

          Be aware the NB uses several different lasts (foot shapes), so if you still have NB you like, look up the last.

    3. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I find Merrells too narrow for me and my feet are not particularly wide. They definitely have the hiking shoes you’re looking for. I have a pair of Arcopedico sandals that I love – the sole may be too flexible for your needs.

      1. Pippa K*

        Here to join in praise of Merrell hiking shoes. I have not-wide feet (narrow but widening over the years to more medium) and occasional foot pain. Love my Merrell trail shoes – I have the Crosslander, which is discontinued (currently on sale at REI!) but the Moab looks similar.

      2. pls send coffee*

        Came here to suggest Merrells too! I’ve heard amazing things about them but they’ve always been too narrow for my feet.

      3. Hmmm*

        My feet are expanding from very narrow as I age to medium, medium+. I’m enjoying the Merrill lined clogs. Shearling lining has been great for warmth.

    4. Chaordic One*

      As someone with long narrow feet I find New Balance and Rockport to be my 2 “go to” shoe brands. I’m certainly open to the idea of other brands, but I just don’t find much else out there. I have completely given up the hope of every finding sandals that every actually fit me. Shoes in hard-to-fit sizes like mine are expensive, and New Balance seems to have discontinued the basic lower-priced (admittedly clunky-looking and unstylish) shoes that I used to buy for like $65 or so for a pair.

      In the past year I’ve purchased several pairs of New Balance shoes at good prices from “Joe’s New Balance Outlet”. (Google them.) Usually they are discontinued styles. Frequently Joe’s doesn’t have anything at all in my size, so I check their site at least once a week or so. If they have pretty much anything in my size for under $100 I usually buy it.

    5. Florence Reese*

      For hiking shoes, I adore Brooks. I’m a lady who needs good arch support for narrow feet, too, and their Adrenaline GTS series is excellent. Mine are several years old now but this is my third pair and I don’t think I’ll ever switch — they have great tread, great ankle and arch support, they’re super comfy even with all-day wear, and all/most Brooks shoes have 4 width options so you can search by that specifically.

      I’m also curious about cute-but-practical sandal options!

    6. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

      I get my hiking shoes from a nice running shoe store and buy trail runners. (Mind you, I don’t actually run in them.) They have fancy machines that measure your feet and give recommendations, plus you can give them a good try in the store. They aren’t any more expensive than regular sneakers but I’ve been very pleased with them.

    7. OP*

      Thank you for all of the shoe recommendations, everyone! You’ve given me a lot of good options to consider.

    8. Hotter shoes*

      Try Hotter shoes from the UK. They come in very narrow to very wide and they’re great walking shoes. There are some “grandma shoes,” but there are some cute ones.

    9. mreasy*

      I have narrow-tending feet and have Merrell “light” hiking boots (with the type of sole you describe) that I love. Not the same but I have plantar fasciitis and they don’t cause aggravation.

  23. Rosey*

    Removed — we can’t give medical advice here. (I know you were only asking what kind of doctor but it turned into a medical discussion I can’t host here.) – Alison

  24. Grits McGee*

    I posted on the weekend thread a couple weeks ago about the tale of two lunches- a volunteer event where there is a very good hot lunch and a very bad bagged lunch, and I was wondering whether to bring it up to the organizer.

    Well, I did- they were very nice about it, though stated that they have receive compliments on the quality of the bagged lunch. (I can kind of believe that, since my fellow volunteers have never said anything when I’ve complained about our stale sandwiches. Most of the other volunteers are teachers, so compared to the average public school field trip lunch, the bagged lunch is probably 40% more edible.) The volunteer coordinator told me that they would make sure I was in one of the buildings that would be assigned the hot lunch, or failing that, I would be warned in advance so I could bring my own food. This is what I asked for, so no complaints.

    Thank you to everyone who commented, and making me feel more reasonable about bringing this up! I am still befuddled that so many of my fellow volunteers apparently don’t care about the lunch quality issue, but I am of Italian/Cajun stock, so the amount of importance I put on food may be outside the norm in the mid-Atlantic.

    1. Jay*

      Happy to hear you got that sorted!
      As someone else of Italian stock who has lived among the Wasps of the world, I understand!

    2. Sloanicota*

      Ha! I usually don’t care about food, but a marked difference in food quality would still twig my inner younger sibling and I would care about that. It’s great that they can easily accommodate those who do care so you can still volunteer!

    3. Generic Name*

      I’m glad you got the resolution you wanted. Strange that they don’t see that there is a huge difference between a crappy sandwich and a nice hot meal.

      1. Patty Mayonnaise*

        Yes I find that odd too! Their response might make sense if it was two sets of bagged lunches but hot lunch versus sandwiches is very clearly an apples to oranges situation. But I’m glad this worked out for you OP!

    4. Awkwardness*

      so the amount of importance I put on food may be outside the norm in the mid-Atlantic

      I love that phrasing!

    5. Dark Macadamia*

      It’s really weird that they have noticeably different offerings without a transparent reason why!! (like some people suggested maybe the hot lunch is for VIP guests or big donors)

      As a teacher, we like our food lol. I’ve done trainings with nice bagged lunches and with hot lunches and been happy with both, but everyone got the same options in each scenario. Also did one where the provided lunch was from the school cafeteria and a lot of us used part of our dinner per diem to buy lunches we could bring.

  25. Hoping to help*

    A friend shared on social media that he has a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. He’s about my age, early 40s and has a wife and 6 year old son. These are friends I love a lot but don’t see a ton; they live about an hour away and with us all having young kids plus the pandemic we haven’t seen each other since pre pandemic. But I reached out directly to as soon as I saw the announcement saying I could help however they needed and gave a few specific offers. They got back to me saying they’d like to catch up but we haven’t scheduled something but hopefully we will.

    I don’t know any details about his prognosis yet, so I’m not really sure what they might need at this point; hopefully once catch up and that can be clearer.

    What are some things that might specifically be helpful to offer? I want help take off the mental load and not just leave them with a, “Let me know if I can help” but to be able to tell them what I could do so if they need it they know they can ask me. I’ve offered:

    -Ordering and delivering groceries/meals
    -Childcare
    -Helping with a fundraiser if they need it

    If you been on either side of this situation, what are some things that might help? Especially things that might not be totally obvious?

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Bringing a meal and hanging out as a way to visit if he’s up for it and while you’re there maybe ask if you can do a few loads of laundry (this is very much YMMV – I’ve done it for people and would hate it if anyone did it for me).
      Gift cards for restaurants that deliver so they can use them on their schedule without coordinating with anyone else.
      Being the person who talks about things that are Not Cancer. Is there a fandom you share? People often appreciate time out from being The Sick One.

    2. Not A Manager*

      I’m sure that knowing about your loving instinct is very helpful to them in itself. Speaking personally, when my spouse was diagnosed with cancer/young kids at home, I just did not have the bandwidth to monitor and accept concrete offers of help from people that I wasn’t already in immediate, daily, and personal contact with. Everyone’s needs are different, but for me I even requested a stop to the meal train because it was easier for me to plan and cook for everyone’s varied tastes/needs than to try to work around whatever some other family had sent over.

      I would (1) pick up some “thinking of you” non-morbid type greeting cards and some fancy stamps, and send them regularly. Be sure to send some separately to the kids/family support as well. (2) Send small, wrapped gifts/toys for the kids. Super small, party store type things are great. (3) Send little pick-me-ups to caregivers as well.

      In terms of concrete support, when things shake out a bit, reach out and see if there’s a peripheral individual who’s been appointed as the coordination person. This could be a friend/neighbor, an in-law, sibling, etc. Not the ill person or their spouse. That person should have a better sense of what’s needed and when.

      If that doesn’t pan out, I would reach out in a bit to the main caregiver and offer help with childcare, as you said, and also driving. There is SO MUCH DRIVING during cancer treatment, along with the regular schlepping of children.

      1. WellRed*

        Unfortunately, Hoping lives an hour away so schlepping children is probably not realistic. I’m unclear if you know these children and therefore could take them on a day outing with your kids to give parents a break.

          1. Not A Manager*

            Yes, I’ve known people who set up a “drive train” for transportation to ongoing treatments. You don’t have to commit to a recurring timeslot, just the occasional one.

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

      Even if they can’t give you a concrete request for meals, maybe at some point, you can send a gift basket of easy snacks — the type with some cheeses, salamis, nuts, crackers, cookies, chocolates, etc. The family is going to be so stressed that it might be nice for them to have some food that’s not too perishable where they can just open it and nosh. Might be good for the kids too to have something to eat they can grab that doesn’t really require prep.

    4. Pocket Mouse*

      Depending on their information needs and your skills/confidence, you could offer to research things for them. This could be outcome probabilities, what various treatments look like, medical/rehab/home health aide provider availability and reputation, legal issues, insurance copay assistance programs, etc.

      You could also offer to pay for childcare, in the event they have a regular sitter and find that a simpler approach than having you sit for them.

    5. Goid wishes to your friend*

      In the past I’ve found that Caring Bridge (on the web) is a great resource. You can set up a calendar with specific requests on it — “shopping” “visiting “, etc and then people sign up for what they can do and no one has to make or field a lot of calls. You can also set up a blog type page to give updates; again saves a million calls asking for info (of course social media works too). This can all be public or password protected for just friends and family. It has worked well for friends of mine. A friend also ran the calendar, taking that off the patient’s plate.

    6. Aria*

      As a caregiver of someone going thru chemo, meals, childcare, chats, and driving to appts are so helpful!! I wish my person had more friends to chat with. Lawn care is real helpful too!

    7. Once too Often*

      What would you be glad to do for them? Actively glad, preferably enjoyable for you. It can be hard to ask for help, worrying that it’s inconvenient for you makes it harder.

      What indulgences do they like?
      Massage can be complicated depending on the cancer, but a gift of a couples massage? Or for the wife to use if she’d love it? Care giving is tiring.
      Can you take the son out for adventures with your crew? Keep him overnight?
      Do they have soft, cozy, washable! blankets/throws by the couch or recliner?
      Lawn care?

      Texting was a great way to keep in touch. I felt cared for but didn’t need to come up with conversation, or could call back for a chat.

      I had company for every single appt. So, so grateful. Others preferred to go on their own, except when treatment made that harder.

      Infusion rooms (for chemo) are on the cool side, & you just sit there. Soft hats are great. (Matching hats for dad & son? Would they like goofy or typical?) Big scarves. There should be blankets – if they offer heated blankets, say yes! Radiation rooms are downright cold, “the equipment requires it.” They let me wear a hat.

      My cancer center offers both social workers & a palliative care team – palliative care is now for helping make things easier, not just for end of life care. They are so helpful. There is also a patient advocate team. They can’t tell you a single thing about your friend & his care. They may be able to give you suggestions for supporting their center’s common care regimes.

      Some cancer patients work through the entire treatment process, others like me could not. Cancer care is expensive. There are some grant sources out there. The SW/palliative care teams will likely know about where to look for grant support.

      Thank you for looking for ways to support your friends & not just rely on them for direction.
      American Cancer Society & other orgs have info on supporting patients.

    8. Once too Often*

      Child care: can you pick up the son & bring him home with you for an overnight? If that goes well, maybe do that monthly?

      Stuff: soft warm hats, maybe a scarf, & a soft cozy blanket for the couch/recliner? (All should be machine wash & dryable.). Treatment often makes one cold, & can damage skin & nails, so soft + warm is useful at home & for treatment. Infusion rooms are cool & with some chemo you sit there all day. They typically have blankets on offer, & will refresh if they have a well stocked warmer. Radiation treatment rooms are cold “for the equipment.” My techs often wore fleece over their scrubs, while I was half dressed. A hat was very helpful.

      Hands/skin: glass nail files. SO much better than emery boards as nails split & tear. I used “hard as nails” as a topcoat around the tips so the tears didn’t get to the quick.
      Look for a rich lotion for skin care. (The one I used was a fluke. Terrific cream, really helped, but it comes with an exfoliant grit. Yuck. The tube I had wasn’t properly mixed, so no grit til near the end. )

      Food: this can be weird. Many people continue to eat as usual. Many people find treatment changes tastebuds so formerly delicious food can taste foul. Many people lose their appetite. (Raises hand.). My body wanted the chemo out fast, so I was on team diarrhea. Accept the antidiarrheals. Use them if needed.
      My body became very directive about what it would accept/tolerate. I was down to single vegetables at a time for most of chemo, with a very slow return to more variety. That said, do you make foods they love/request that freeze well? Could you make single serving (labeled) containers for their freezer?

      Info: There is info on the web for friends & family, eg The American Cancer Society website. Triage Cancer may have some. And your friend’s cancer center/hospital may be willing to chat very generally about resources & info – sometimes there are grants available, particularly useful if insurance doesn’t cover as much as it might or if your friend goes out on disability.
      There is so much to take in with a diagnosis, & it can take a while to see where help is useful. I really wanted a second set of ears (& a “backup hard drive”) at my appts as it’s tons of info up front, & chemo can really eat at your brain.

      Best wishes to your friend, & you as you look for ways to be supportive.

    9. WestsideStory*

      Housecleaning service? Gift cards to local takeout restaurants and grocery stores really help – not having to do all the math in your head about what to buy/what to afford was a big help to my BIL.
      Accompanying a person to their testaments is also a good gift, but it doesn’t sound like you are near enough to help with that. If their local has Uber, maybe fund an account they can use to take them to their treatments?

  26. Cold feet*

    We moved from the east coast to the west (Colorado) pre pandemic. For YEARS we’ve been trying to move back because we just never felt like it was home (and family proximity reasons.) we decided we would wait until we both got jobs to move back. Well, 6 years later, we both got job offers to move to Rockville MD.

    But even after wanting to leave so badly, I feel nervous and sad about leaving! Of course, we’ve made friends here, so that makes it harder. And we know our neighborhood so well. I’m nervous about a few things. Moving in our mid 30s (no kids) makes me feel like it will be 10x harder making friends. I also hear that MD/DC area is very uppity “what do you do who do you know” kind of vibes (at least a friend who lived in the DMV area told me, who moved to Colorado.) They felt like they always had to be done up to feel comfortable to leave the house, but feel more relaxed since they moved to CO. I also know nothing about Rockville, but it’s cheaper to live there than where we currently live! I’m excited about being so close to DC and Baltimore, and to be able to take a train to other east coast cities. Our family will be a day drive away. We have old friends who live in Virginia.

    I guess I wonder if anyone has perspective on my worries? I was not expecting to feel so mixed on it when I’ve wanted to do this since 2018!

    1. Esprit de l'escalier*

      I think it’s very normal to have these worries crop up when this big move is suddenly an approaching reality and not something you daydream about. Any big life change is scary for most of us, and moving from CO to MD is a really big life change. I’d say to accept that you’ll have some level of anxiety about it and to remind yourself about the positives that will balance out what you’ll lose/leave behind.

      I’d also speculate that your CO friend who disliked the social vibe in NOVA might have brought her own issues to that. Surely not everyone she met was all about status and superficial stuff.

    2. Frieda*

      I don’t know that area specifically, but IME moving as an adult involves about an 18 month adjustment period – not that you won’t feel at home, make friends, be happy before that but for me feeling like I have the annual weather cycles down, know my home space, have found the right grocery options and good nearby parks/museums/etc. hits about 18 months in. So give yourself some time to adjust!

      You might also think about what kinds of hobbies you have or activities you want to pursue jointly or individually and find like-minded people soon after you move (climbing gym, book club, local running club, place to volunteer, house of worship, etc.) That will take some of the edge off.

      Good luck!

    3. Nicosloanica*

      I live in the DMV and have found it a relatively easy place to make friends as a childfree adult, compared to the midwest where everything was family and sports. There are lots of transplants and transients here who want to connect. It probably is more status oriented than Colorado and it would help if you were passionate about what you do. I love how intelligent and engaged everyone is here. My observation is that people who move here from CA or NYC don’t like it as much as people coming from other places.

    4. Good luck!*

      Moved to DC at 30 years old from CA and knew only one person. I found friends who were not uppity! Folks who played music or dance groups I went to, book clubs, singing groups — but there are all kinds of other folk there too. Look for Meetup groups that do stuff you like. Or hiking, walking, gardening, gaming…whatever you are into, you’ll find friends. Might take a while but can be done! I had some culture shock for a while but ended up loving it (all but the humidity).

    5. goddessoftransitory*

      Completely normal. That kind of compelling dread is to be expected after something you’ve wanted for a while becomes real, not just a fantasy you can put your anxieties in.

    6. Washi*

      I lived in the DMV for 7 years and it’s definitely not all uppity! I have kids now but if we were child free, the DC area would be awesome, there’s way more people without kids than in my current area. I worked in Rockville for a lot of my time and loved living and working in the suburbs. I had a reasonable commute, less expensive housing, and was still able to take the metro into the city. The DC suburbs can be pretty economically and racially diverse too (I lived in Silver Spring which definitely was).

      Coming from CO, just try not to fall over laughing when people describe going to Rock Creek Park as “hiking.”

      If you’re coming

    7. Frankie Bergstein*

      I feel that the “what do you do?” is maybe certain social circles — I only had this experience once; I had landed at a party with politicos somehow. Typically, if anyone asks, they apologize for being a DC cliche.

      I have found it very easy to make friends here, then connect with friends of friends. Check out City Girls Walk DC and maybe join the discord? It’s women, and there’s a group thread just for Rockville happenings, other for events & ways to meet people, and there are sub threads for every topic I can think of — eg, working from home, roller blading, etc.

      I have found a lot of really down to earth folks to hang out with here.

    8. Marvel*

      I grew up in the DC area, and I’m sorry to say that their description of the vibe is pretty spot on. Generalizations aside, though, it’s a very international, diverse area—whatever kind of people you most get along with, you’ll be able to find them.

    9. Just a name op*

      There was an article about fun things to do in Rockville in the Washingtonian magazine. I’ll post a link below.

  27. Getting rid of things*

    Has anyone ever found peace with getting rid of old sentimental things that no longer serve you. I have several pieces of furniture that I keep all in one room making it look cluttered. For example, several things belonged to my grandmother and great grandmother. I have a child’s desk my dad got me when I was a kid that he refinished and made very nice looking but is too small for an adult. I have another desk my cousin hand welded the frame, but it’s a little small as a work surface. These things are all in one bedroom and I think it looks cluttered and I’d love to make this room look nice. I don’t really have room for them in other rooms of my small home.

    So how do you find peace with getting rid of things like this?

    1. Not A Manager*

      If I’m able to place them with someone who I think will value them, I do that. The child’s desk, for example, might really please a family with a child. Do you have relatives who would value the items that belonged to/were made by your shared family members? I like knowing that the items are being used and cherished.

      If a personal placement isn’t possible, I reach out on Buy Nothing or other local groups. Knowing that someone cared enough to drive over and pick up the item is still helpful to me. Otherwise, if I donate to a charity shop, at least I know that there’s a monetary value on the item if nothing else.

      Other than that, what I try to focus on is the love and the memories, and not the totemic object. The emotions never *really* resided in the furniture itself, they resided in you and they still do.

    2. WellRed*

      Some of it is just realizing the object deserves to be used/loved and if it’s just cluttering your space and your mind, it’s best to let it go. Also, nit quite the same, but when offloading my deceased brother’s things, seeing the joy some if these items brought others was wonderful. Like the young woman who otherwise couldn’t have afforded what to her was a great kitchen table and chairs.

    3. The OG Sleepless*

      Take a bunch of photos. That is amazingly helpful at memorializing an object. And then, think of it as going on to live a better life with someone who can use it. Or if it just has to be thrown out and can’t be used any more, think of it as an object that had a finite lifespan. That lifespan is now over. It had a good life.

    4. My Brain is Exploding*

      Here to commiserate – it isn’t easy. Most of the items we’ve divested thus far I’ve found I’m OK with…except one…which is too big for our house (it was an antique walnut buffet with a light pinkish brown granite top that belonged to my grandparents and was in the family until my last parent died. That one I’m just wistful about. There are still items around here and some tough decisions to make. The ability to do it gradually is helpful, and if we have a list of things we want to get rid of, we always start with the ones we like/want the LEAST. And take pictures so you at least have those.

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

      I think of it as giving someone else a chance to enjoy the thing that I can’t use anymore. When my dad died, I particularly liked giving away some of his and my mom’s things to a charity that helps people coming out of homelessness furnish their new apartments. It gave me great happiness to think that they’d have something nice to use in their new home.

    6. BookMom*

      Highly recommend Peter Walsh’s book “It’s All Too Much.” Very readable, actionable, and he’s compassionate about sentimental keeps.

    7. Chaordic One*

      I don’t think you ever truly find peace in getting rid of the sentimental things that once made up part of your life. You’ll always have a tinge of regret and always miss them. The idea of taking pictures of the items is a good one. Personally, I like the philosophy of Swedish Death Cleaning. You can’t take them with you, although I suppose if you have a pyramid for your body you might be able to have your things cluttering up you pyramid. I would first try to see if other family members might want some of the things, then good friends. If they don’t want them, then feel free to sell them or donate them.

      (A close friend tried to donate furniture belonging to her late parents. The furniture did hold a lot of sentimental value, but it was in poor condition and not very nice. None of the charities she contacted wanted it and she ended up giving some of it away and throwing the rest of it in the dumpster. Not what she wanted, but probably the best thing in the long term.)

      1. ampersand*

        I was just thinking about this recently and arrived at the same conclusion. I have toys from my childhood that I got rid of years ago (they were taking up space and not really serving a purpose). I took photos but still feel ambivalent about my old toys being gone. It’s normal to hold opposing feelings about parting with sentimental items, and it’s okay to say goodbye to them if they’re no longer serving you.

    8. Jen Erik*

      This is a really particular solution, because my husband is good at DIY, but for the furniture, I find repurposing works for me – it just somehow feels that the thing is still living with me.
      So, for instance, if I had a child’s desk, I might just get him to use part of the desktop as a shelf or a bedside table, or plant stand.
      It does feel a little sacrilegious at first, and you mostly can’t use the entire piece (though he spatchcocked an old wardrobe into a beautiful hall stand) but it’s how I’ve solved the problem.

    9. SuprisinglyADHD*

      I’ve had good success on OfferUp, it feels nice to give it to someone who needs it rather than leaving it at the curb and hoping someone takes it before the garbage pickup. AmVets, or Big Brothers/Big Sisters might offer home pickup if donating it to a thrift store works for you. You could also reach out to your local charity/religious institute of your choice and ask if anyone needs specific pieces (like the child’s desk, it might be welcomed in a preschool or daycare or offered to a family in need).

    10. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      Last year when I finally moved into my new house and was unpacking my stuff after it being in storage for 2 1/2 years I thought I had pared down a lot the sentimental items, but I found myself wanting to get rid of some rags dolls and my old Barbie (none valuable,I checked) My sister said “You can’t get rid of these, I still have mine!” and then put them in a bin on the top shelf of my guest room. I had the room and figured since she’s going to be the one to inherit everything, its her problem to deal with it. We are 3rd generation packrats, so I can’t blame her.
      I was recently going thru a box of work mementos that I had from my retirement. I tossed some and I plan to put the rest in a shadow box for my home office.

      When I was packing to move, I was motivated to pare down due to moving and storage costs. I was able to pass on some stuff to a friend who liked it. The rest was donated. It helped to know that someone would get use out of it.

      I’ve kept enough to enjoy the memories of my grandparents and am happy that the rest found a new home.
      And I am happy in my new decluttered home, which is bigger than my last condo. I’m not used to having so much room and am consciously working not to clutter it up (pack rat genes)

      Don’t let the past interfere with your happiness in the present.
      Don’t let a possible future dictate what you like in the present.

    11. NB*

      Sometimes I just can’t part with it, but other times a kind of decommissioning is useful. I recognize that it was important to me and feel gratitude for the place it had in my life for a time. Then I acknowledge that it no longer serves me in the same way. This mental exercise helps me let it go. Marie Kondo suggests a similar thing in her book–holding the item and saying “thank you” to it.

  28. L. Ron Jeremy*

    anyone know sources for extra wide men’s walking shoes? I usually buy shoes from Newbalance online, since they have filters to drill down to my size (11.5, 4E) and in the past they’ve come through.

    I just has disappointing purchase with them, where they placed 2E shoes in a 4E box. so no biggie, must be a mistake. so I ordered a second pair of the same shoes and had the same result: 2E shoes in a 4E box. I’ve now lost faith in them and returned both pairs.

    anyone have a better experience buying extra wide men’s walking shoes? who can you recommend?

    1. Chaordic One*

      Have you contacted their customer service department? What do they say? For a mistake like this to happen twice is pretty egregious and I would think they’d do some internal investigating to see how widespread the problem is and really go out of their way to make sure that you received the shoes in the size you ordered before they shipped them to you.

    2. Jay*

      I love my Redwing’s.
      I have nightmarish feet and am bowlegged on top of it.
      I wear through regular shoes in a couple weeks, tops.
      The Redwings last months. They also really DO honor their warrantees.

    3. Imtheone*

      Hitchcock shoes specializes in wide widths. They have a good selection of men’s shoes and a small selection of women’s shoes.

    4. Seashell*

      I’m a woman with wide feet, so a little different, but I like Rockport’s selection of wide shoes and their arch support. Their shoes tend to be pricey, but they do have sales a lot, especially if you get on their email list. They do have men’s extra wide options.

    5. NewBalanceGirl*

      *waves* Men’s 13EEEE here. And I’m female.

      New Balance is definitely my go to option, but you have to explicitly buy walking shoes as their other shoes are typically too narrow. Most other brands don’t go wide enough. I’ve never had a problem with them, but I’ve also generally bought them in person at one of their warehouse stores (I live in Boston). I have also had some luck with Crocs but they may not provide enough support for serious walking.

      Sorry I can’t help more – please report back if you find something else wide enough.

    6. Cedrus Libani*

      My dad used to get his yearly pair of walking / dress shoes (by engineer standards) from SAS Shoes. He’s a 14 Narrow; they’ll make whatever size you want. I’ve also gotten a custom pair of women’s dress flats from them – I inherited my dad’s feet, there just aren’t women’s shoes in that size unless you want an eight-inch heel or other style choices clearly not intended for…um, leaving the room where you put the shoes on…so I’ve worn that pair to every wedding, funeral, and job interview for the past 20 years.

  29. Bluebell Brenham*

    Casting around for suggestions for late spring/early summer three day weekend destination in US. Each year, my college roommate and I do a short trip together. This years will be later than usual, and I prefer 70s weather to 80s/90s. Looking for at least a few good museums, nice outdoor dining, some shopping, and less than 7 hours plane trip from New England. We’ve been to ATL, Asheville, Chicago, Nashville, Savannah, Richmond, VT, New Orleans, and Santa Fe. Thanks!!

    1. AGD*

      Seattle, maybe? It involves staying far enough north not to need a longer plane ride, but the area really shines in the summer. Unless there’s a heat wave, it should be 70ish and sunny with a nice breeze nearly every day. Long evenings too!

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        I’ve actually been to Seattle a few times to visit a friend who moved there 20 years ago. Haven’t been since June 2014 though, so it’s a maybe.

    2. WellRed*

      Come on up to Portland Maine! We excel in outdoor (and indoor) dining. The PMA is wonderful and you can hit up the Old Port & Freeport for shopping. Weather wise, that should be the temperature sweet spot and you might be just ahead of the tourist hordes.

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        Love Portland, but since I’m in New England, I get there most years. If you have a fave current restaurant, I’d love to hear it!

    3. Elle Woods*

      I’m biased but the Twin Cities checks all the boxes, especially temperature-wise around that time of year. Lots of great museums, outdoor dining, and some great shopping.

      1. Jay (no, the other one)*

        San Diego has a great restaurant scene and you can eat outdoors pretty much everywhere in the summer. Interesting museums, great hiking, and you can’t beat the scenery and the weather, especially in the summer.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          San Diego fits the bill except the “less than 7 hours plane trip”. There aren’t a ton of direct/nonstops and they’re not necessarily daily. Especially depending on which New England airport(s) they’re looking at.

    4. Clisby*

      Mackinac Island in Michigan, maybe? My brother- and sister-in-law visited there last year and loved it.

        1. Bluebell Brenham*

          Madison has intrigued me. Do you think it would be doable to do a side trip to Taliesin on one of the days? I’ve been to taliesin West and loved it.

    5. Jay*

      If Hurricane Season is cooperative, then Key West, Florida at least used to be pretty awesome. In fact, the Keys in general. They have everything you want (or at least used to, when I lived there years back). If it’s still running, stop by Pidgeon Key off of Marathon. It’s a really cool afternoon trip, and make a lunch stop at the Conch Caffe. Try the Conch Steaks.
      They are close to any number of attractions, as well as reasonable day trip accessible to places like the ‘Glades.

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        I’ve done a short visit to Key West and liked it, but temps would be higher than I’d like May/June.

      1. Bluebell Brenham*

        We have been thinking that maybe Montreal or Quebec city might work, but she has gone to Montreal a lot in the last few years. For some reason, Bermuda just isn’t calling to me. Are there other destinations in Canada other than Montreal, Quebec city, or Toronto? Vancouver seems a bit far.

        1. sportdogs*

          The maritimes is perfect for road tripping.. Nova Scotia – Peggy’s Cove, Lunenberg, Cape Breton. New Brunswick and the Bay of Fundy. Prince Edward Island’s red sand beaches. Newfoundland – For hospitality like nowhere else

        2. HannahS*

          Ottawa is lovely. Since it’s the capital, there’s lots to do (except party nightlife.)

            1. HannahS*

              A bit late, but I’ve been many times and here are the things I like:
              Parliament Tour
              Walking along the Rideau canal–it’s really beautiful in many parts
              Seeing the locks (again, canal)
              Walking and shopping in Byward Market
              So many museums! A lovely art gallery, the Museum of Civilization (which is technically in Quebec but you literally just cross a bridge), lots of smaller museums about various points in Canadian history (cold war, aviation, etc.) There’s definitely good dining ranging from affordable to very expensive, given the number of diplomats and lobbyists.
              There’s always one festival or another on.
              I recommend it! I seem to wind up going every 5 years or so, and I always have a good time.

    6. Pop*

      Depending on your airport (if there are direct flights), Palm Springs may fit the bill! Super retro vibes, fun, lots of good dining, very vacation feel. I am not sure about museums but lots of art galleries and similar. Plus some outdoors stuff (an hour from Joshua tree) if you’re into that.

      1. Pop*

        Although just re-read and it may be too hot…but consider it a suggestion for a later year with an earlier trip.

    7. Cicely*

      You might like Birmingham. Parts are very sober, in terms of history, but it’s an interesting city to visit regardless.

  30. StudentA*

    What superstitions do you have? Is it random or do you feel it’s legitimate somehow? How did it manifest? How did your belief come about (tradition, passed down from family, etc.)?

    1. Tired and in Pain*

      I have one about not eating fresh berries after All Hallows and before MayDay, which is a very old familial one, which is probably rooted in seasonality and making sure that the birds/animals got enough / not eating bad ones / reseeding but got taught to me as ‘don’t eat them or the fairies will punish you’ by my grandmother, who’d had it from her grandmother, putting it at least a mid-nineteenth century one. I still don’t eat them after All Hallows, and it’s 50% superstition, 50% they just don’t taste right.

      1. BubbleTea*

        I thought it was don’t eat them when there’s an R in the month because witches urinate on them…

    2. Wordnerd*

      I think one of the ways our culture is totally on board with superstitions is sports – lucky socks, rally caps, “I drank this beer the last time they won so I’ll have one again today”, etc. As a Cubs fan, it’s considered extremely bad form for fans at a game to show the W flag before the actual win is in the books, even if they’re 14 runs ahead, for fear of jinxing it.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        In Ireland, there is the “curse of Swinford.” The Mayo tream hasn’t won an All-Ireland since…I think 1951 (it’s played yearly) and they haven’t had particularly bad teams. They often get to the final (there are 32 counties) and have lost in the most dramatic ways. Recently, they actually got a draw in the final and lost in the replay, that sort of thing.

        There is a story that after their last victory, they were in some way disrespectful towards a funeral or something and a priest cursed them that they would not win another All-Ireland until all of that team had died.

        It’s almost certainly untrue. Versions of the story vary quite a bit, I believe.

    3. Elle Woods*

      I have a completely random one about fortune cookies. I have to break the cookie in half, eat one half of the cookie, remove and read the fortune, then eat the other half of the cookie. I picked up that superstition in college from a friend. I don’t know if it’s lucky or not but I’ve been doing it for years.

    4. OMG, Bees!*

      The only superstitions I can think of are like slapping a strap on a car when carrying a load of items and saying “That’s not going anywhere” or clacking tongs twice before starting cooking. Not doing that will result in the Bad Time (or bad food).

      One more obscure superstition is when building a new computer, you need to cut your finger on something (for a blood sacrifice) or else the new computer will be cursed with problems.

      1. OMG, Bees!*

        Yes this. Or “At least worse (even worse thing) did not happen” cuz then it will happen

    5. Sloanicota*

      A common one: I still knock on wood if I say something that seems like it could evoke bad luck (like “I haven’t had any flooding in my basement this year!”). This thread has inspired me to look up the origins of that, it wasn’t something I got from my family.

        1. Just a name*

          If you spill salt, you must toss it over the left shoulder to hit the devil in the eye, aka warding off evil spirits.

          1. Elizabeth West*

            I know that; I just don’t know why I do it. I don’t even believe in the devil!

      1. ThatGirl*

        It’s funny because my parents were not superstitious, at least not like that, but I often say or do “knock on wood” as an adult. I don’t even really believe it, but I have that little part of me that doesn’t want to tempt the universe.

      2. allathian*

        I do this too, and sometimes an odd variant that nobody understans except my family. I’m in Finland, and the Finnish equivalent of a blockhead (stupid person), is “puupää,” literally wood-head. In my family we’ve always knocked our own heads for luck before something like exam week at school or a job interview. I suspect it started with my dad because he has a quirky sense of humor.

    6. Enough*

      I am not allowed to watch my alma mater’s football games. If I do they will lose for sure. I have literally walked into the room with the game of the television and they have fumbled the ball and walked out of the room and have had them score. The assumption is that it’s because my freshman year they were 2-9. That year they could never score from in the red zone and fumbled the ball on the one yard line to lose the last game of the season 21-22 to an in state rival.
      Rumor had it that when the coach was let go after the season he left in the middle of the night. That was his last coaching job and only one as a head coach.

    7. FACS*

      I can think of a few. I work in health care, and you never say a day is calm or quiet because then it will go wild. You also NEVER say a surgical case will be straightforward or went well because then the OR gods will be furious and then must be appeased. This is just medical tradition.
      There are a couple from a southern childhood. You cover the mirrors when someone dies because if you don’t the soul can become trapped in them and cannot pass on. You also paint the ceiling of the front porch haint blue to keep spirits away. They can’t cross water so it tricks them into going away. These both were from family.

    8. Irish Teacher.*

      I know it obviously means nothing, but runs of luck. If I am awaiting the results of say a medical test or an interview or something, I hate to have things go wrong because it seems like a bad omen.

      As regards how it came about, probably confirmation bias. If you think “everything is going wrong today” and then something terrible happens, you will remember it whereas you forget the times everything was going wrong but it was all just minor stuff.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      I touch wood and toss salt over my shoulder. And don’t walk under ladders if I can help it.

      I have no idea why; I’ve read about these superstitions but no one in my family is particularly superstitious at all.

    10. anon24*

      I hate revealing my plans before they’ve happened because otherwise the universe steals them from me.

      As a first responder, I refuse to use the Q-word or the S-word (q u i e t / s l o w) because even if you haven’t run a call all shift and have only 10 minutes left if you say those words you are going out the door before shift end without fail. I won’t even say those words at home anymore, they’re bad luck.

      1. Lemonwhirl*

        My mom was a nurse and had the same superstition. She also dreaded the full moon because “it brings all the crazy out”.

  31. office hobbit*

    Cat owners of AAM, I seek your tips & tricks! My cat needs to drink more (a lot more) to help manage a medical condition. Left to his own preferences, he would let his water bowl evaporate to nothing without ever touching it.

    He already eats exclusively wet food that I mix a little water into, but the vet says that’s not enough. Right now he’s drinking a packet of the Purina hydrating goo “hydracare” per day, with extra water mixed in, but I’m not sure if he can do that forever (need to ask the vet).

    The vet suggested a bubbler, but knowing my cat there’s a good chance he’d be too disdainful or apprehensive to go near it.

    Seeking: water fountains that work for your unimpressed kitties; tricks to get a cat to imbibe plain water; broths or water flavorings that are cat-safe and tasty; commiseration on these silly furballs.

    1. OMG, Bees!*

      Is the existing water bowl right next to the food? Some cats do not like that and need it away.

      In fact, 1 of our cats suddenly decided the water bowl next to the food was NOT GOOD and only drank out of the bathroom sink (which we had to turn on for him) for 2 years until we replaced that sink. When we moved the water bowl several feet away from the food, he finally accepted it (for now)

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Keeping water bowls around the house also works for Peanut: there’s one by his bowl, but another one in the bedroom. He hits them both regularly. Our vet says that “finding” water may increase the chances that they’ll drink more, since it triggers the “eat/drink when you run across food” instinct.

    2. The happy introvert*

      I keep water bowls on both levels of my home. One is in the kitchen and the other one in the bedroom where she hangs out. I find her drinking out of both of the occasionally.

      I also discovered that she likes to drink out of the bathroom faucet during a really cold winter where I had to leave the faucets dripping for a few days. Now she will jump up on the bathroom counter when she wants me to turn that on. It’s not the most convenient thing though.

      I may need to look into a cat fountain that would drip water similar to a faucet. I have another cat fountain that she just ignores but it just kind of pushes the water up and over a inverted bowl. The thing I hate about fountains is the maintenance. You have to clean them pretty often or they get yucky and I for some reason I have trouble keeping up with that.

      1. A313*

        I had a plastic fountain some years back that got slimy within a few days, even with filtered water, AND it was a pain to clean. I switched to a ceramic fountain that’s a breeze t clean, and only needs cleaning once every 7 to 8 days, or even 9. I do top it off every night with filtered water, but it’s made life so much easier. And the fountains can have different means of flowing, for cats that have a preference. I got mine through Thirsty Cat fountains, and can recommend them (no other connection besides buying the fountain).

        1. Can't Sit Still*

          I second Thirsty Cat fountains! Mine love theirs so much and it’s nice to look at. I have it set up in a corner away from food and litter boxes.

          1. A313*

            A friend needed to replace the pump in her fountain and was struggling to find what would fit (she didn’t get it from ThirstyCat). I recommended she call ThirstyCat, and they helped her determine what the best replacement would be, even though it wasn’t something they sell. She says when her current fountain dies, she’ll definitely buy from them. Nice people!

    3. Flower necklace*

      My cat doesn’t like drinking water, either. I have the NPET WF050 (from Amazon) that I got years and years ago. Not sure how it compares to other fountains, but he drinks from it.

    4. Fantine*

      Try the bubbler or fountain, cats do tend to prefer them and they worked really well for my friend’s cat with kidney issues. Also try having several water bowls in different spots, sometimes they don’t like them being too near food or litter trays but will drink fine from the same bowl moved a few metres.

      I feed my cat the lik-e-lix yogurt treats at my vet’s suggestion, which helps get more liquid in. He also loves drinking from a dripping bath tap so I leave one dripping for a little while every morning and evening for him.

    5. Melissa*

      As a few people have mentioned, some cats like to drink from sinks (mine licked the shower floor). Can you offer your cat opportunities for running water like that to see if he might like a fountain? Some cats also like to find their own water source, so leaving a glass of your water in an odd spot might tempt him. You can also buy cat friendly milk, I wonder if he could have that watered down.

    6. Wireknitter*

      My cat ignored her fountain for a long time, but I noticed the she would bat the lid off and drink out of the taller basin (where the water would cascade out of). I found a small box and put the fountain on it so that the lower bowl and the water stream were higher and she didn’t have to crouch to drink. She uses it all the time now.

    7. SuprisinglyADHD*

      Our cats will drink from a running faucet, or from the Pioneer Pet stainless steel fountain bowl we bought ages ago. The fountain gets so dirty, cleaning it can be tough.
      Our older cat will also drink from a person’s water glass, if it’s established that it is NOT the cat’s and also filled near to the top. My mom leaves a full, wide-rimmed, heavy-bottomed drinking glass on the bathroom counter for just that purpose, if he sees her drink from it he wants some too!
      We also had to move all water sources AWAY from the food bowls, because the cats try to “bury” their food by splashing water on it (and then refusing to eat any of the soggy food).

    8. Pocket Mouse*

      We mix 1/4 cup water into a single wet food meal. It turns into a soup that disgusts me but doesn’t faze the cat. This cat gets wet food once a day and kibble otherwise, if it matters, and does drink from water bowls as well and didn’t care for Hydracare. We used to give soaked kibble on occasion (it basically turns into wet food) but that was more effort than we’re up for now. Basically, I’d recommend upping the water content of things your cat will ingest until you hit his limit, then back off slightly.

      I’ve also heard that moving water bowls around can help – something about finding it makes it more appealing. And, of course, change the water often and make sure the bowl itself gets cleaned at the same time, as a bit of slime can accumulate.

    9. goddessoftransitory*

      Lots of water/tuna or salmon juice in the wet food. This is how we convince Peanut to finish his morning/evening snack that is secretly getting his thyroid pill down his neck. This is, of course, contingent on what kinds of food he’s allowed to eat, but I just keep adding water to the tuna can in order to make more of that sweet, sweet sea meat aperitif.

    10. GoryDetails*

      I’ve tried different styles of water fountains, and they didn’t impress my cats. In recent years I just leave several bowls of water around the house, including a large-ish one (a repurposed small casserole dish) that leaves plenty of room for whisker-clearance. The smaller bowls get emptied more quickly, but I do see the cats using the big one, so in my case they seem to like having options.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        Whisker fatigue is apparently a real thing with cats, so enough clearance for them is a great idea!

    11. Anono-me*

      A friend with a dog that doesn’t drink enough water, uses sodium free broth to keep her dog hydrated. Maybe it will work with your cat?

    12. Maestra*

      We have a Petsafe Drinkwell fountain that our cat likes. He’ll drink both from the bottom basin as well as from the water that cascades out of the fountain. It is kind of expensive and I would have been apprehensive to try it, but my mom gave it to me after her last cat had to be put down and she swore no more cats!

    13. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Try a water fountain. There are different styles, so don’t be afraid to try a couple different ones. If he’s willing to drink from the sink or something – let him. A previous kitty preferred the bathtub or the toilet, and while I winced I just increased how often I cleaned the toilet. And I would turn the shower on for about 20 seconds a few times a day for the silly cat who came running for “bathtub water”.

      If he prefers not to cooperate, then ask the vet to teach you how to do sub-q fluids.

      Sending sympathetic vibes. My IBS kitty doesn’t like ANY of the foods she’s supposed to eat.

    14. office hobbit*

      Thanks for all the suggestions!! I’ve looked up all these fountains and will give the fountain route a shot. A ceramic fountain certainly sounds appealing if it’s easier to clean.

      I’ve moved his water bowl and set up two others for him to “discover”; so far he’s noticed two of them and not drank, but it’s early days. He’s an older boy who spends most of his time sleeping or lounging, so the sink ideas won’t work unfortunately.

      I need to get to the local natural foods store and see if they carry broth with no extra ingredients. I offered him some I’d made myself, but he only drank a tiny amount before losing interest (that was pork and I think he might like chicken better).

      If none of these work and he can’t stay on the hydracare, I’ll look up the yogurt/milk stuff! Hopefully we won’t reach needing sub-cutaneous fluids, but good to know that’s something that can be done at home.

  32. OMG, Bees!*

    Removed since this is the non-work thread but it’s a great idea to post next Friday on the work one! – Alison

  33. Life hacks*

    What is a way you have ‘hacked’ life to improve your life in some way?

    For example: Lately I’ve been trying to drink more water. I was bringing a 40 oz water bottle to work everyday with the goal to finish it while at work. However I never finished the whole bottle. So recently I started bringing a small cup to work too, and pouring water from the bottle into the cup. For some reason this little change made it so that I always drink all the water. I guess I just instinctively drink more often from a cup than from a bottle for some reason.

    So tell me, do you have any tricks like this?

    1. Tired and in Pain*

      For me for a similar issue, I had to give in and let myself have a straw. I can drink water all day with one (160 fl oz, medical reasons); from a regular cup, I’ll maybe manage 16 fl oz then wonder why I’ve just fallen over when I stand up.

    2. Sloanicota*

      My doctor told me to up my fiber to combat cholesterol and I started this supplement you’re supposed to mix into water, but the texture is unpleasant and it wasn’t getting done. Then I discovered if I mix it into applesauce instead, it goes from being a chore to a treat. I had the same discovery about gummy vitamins recently.

      1. talos*

        Try different brands too! I find some supplements have very different textures from others despite being literally the same ingredients.

    3. My Brain is Exploding*

      I stretch my calves while I brush my teeth! I stretch my fingers and wrists while I’m out walking.

    4. Elizabeth West*

      Omg that’s brilliant. My water bottle is intimidatingly large. I need to try that.

      I made travel time reading time. My commute is two hours both ways and eats into the time I have at home to sit and read. So I just do it on the train/bus. It does take longer to finish a book, which isn’t always a bad thing if I’m enjoying it and want to drag it out.

    5. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I’m the other way around: I will drink approximately one container of water a day, most days. So I aim for a big one :) (And a straw helps too.)

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      Finally getting headphones I can wear while riding the exercise bike. I listen to MST/Rifftrax while I work out, but my brain is the kind that can’t stand missing something so I ended up rewinding a lot. Now I pick up all the nuances of Tom shrieking “END! END!”

    7. Clara Bowe*

      I just got a countertop dishwasher! I always thought I couldn’t get one because the water pressure in my kitchen is abysmal, but I found out that they make dishwashers with a refillable tank instead of a hose hookup.

      I am SO HAPPY that I can now just load flatware (which I hate washing) and pet bowls in there for easy sterilization. Y’all, I am GIDDY. I am even ok sacrificing some of my incredibly precious counterspace.

      1. office hobbit*

        omg tell us more!! What brand? I desperately want a dishwasher and it’s the hose hookup that’s been stopping me too.

        1. Clara Bowe*

          I ended up with the Farberware black countertop Portable dishwasher. I got it at Hone Depot because a. It fit under my cabinets and b. has a 192F sanitization setting. I had tried to order the slightly cheaper Comfee one through both Amazon and Lowes, but the azn wine was damaged and the Lowes one was too tall.

          I have done four loads so far and it is a little wetter than I had planned and has a very small capacity, but I think it is meant for like an RV or tiny apartment kitchen, like mine.

          I have only had one dish that didn’t come out clean, but I 100% put it in the wrong spot in the drawer, and the rest turned out sparkly.

          SO HAPPY so far! It solves a me-problem in a lovely way.

          1. Clara Bowe*

            Note: when I say “wetter”, I mean the dishes are fairly wet when the cycle finishes. There is no leaking that I have observed and pouring the water in the top is fine. A few drips, but that is user-competence and not an issue with the machine.

      2. pls send coffee*

        I would also like to hear more about the countertop dishwasher! I hate doing dishes so much, but there’s absolutely nowhere in my apartment to install a traditional dishwasher even if my landlord were on board with it.

    8. Lemon Ginger freezer*

      I freeze ginger root and lemon wedges to add flavor to my water (not usually together). I cut up the ginger into 1/2 inch pieces and put in a baggie or container in the freezer. Same with lemon wedges. Then I pop 1 or 2 into my water.

    9. Anima/Aniima*

      Same here, I had a water bottle right next to me and would have it half full at the end of the day – *opening* the bottle helped a great deal, so I can just grab it and drink. A bit dangerous near keyboards, but so far no mayor accidents.

    10. North Wind*

      Cord management around my bedside night stand – minimal cords on the floor/getting tangled up:

      I bought a bamboo box that sits under the nightstand (designed for this purpose). It has a lid, but holes in two sides of it. I put a power strip inside the box with a short lead that goes directly into the wall. The lamp and phone charger(s) leads then go out another hole in the box to the lamp and phones.

      I got little push pin style tacks, but the heads are hooks rather than flat heads. I put 2 of these on the back of my nightstand, and I loop the phone charger leads on these to keep them off the floor/out of sight.

      I love organized/out-of-sight cords.

    11. carcinization*

      I have a hard time dealing with non-portioned snacks, so they just get stale in my pantry if I buy them. The grocery store chain I go to used to sell a large bag full of snack-size bags of pretzels, but stopped partway through the pandemic, so I stopped being able to have pretzel snacks at work. Finally I looked up how many pretzels were in a serving size (17), and started taking a snack-sized ziploc bag of that many pretzels to to work and then replacing it once I ate that serving. Worked almost as well!

  34. Cicely*

    Why let the positive characteristics of your move be overshadowed by implications of who knows who and “must be dressed to the nines just to get the mail” or whatever. Why care? Just be yourself and make the most of this opportunity you have. Besides, the MD/DC area is so huge. Find a circle of people within who truly care about you and disregard the rest. It’ll all work out!

    1. Cicely*

      Sorry; nesting fail. Was intended as a response to “Cold feet” and relocating to Maryland.

    2. Jean (just Jean)*

      Yes! I live in the DC metro area. You can find ambitious, accomplished-or-working-on-it people (Bright Young Things, Elder Statespeople) but you can also find plain old, ordinary, nice-to-know people. Sometimes the latter are pretty accomplished, but just keep it to themselves. You don’t have to be a horrible person if you’re professionally accomplished. An impressive resume isn’t relevant for pursuing community/leisure/hobby activities unless the person is insufferably pompous. (And if that’s the case, why do you want to get to know them better? Or care what they think?)

      As for getting dressed up just to get to the mall (grocery store, pharmacy, etc): Not necessary unless you want to, or find yourself stuck in a neighborhood or social circle where this rule holds–in which case, change this aspect of your life.

      But there is the usual, related-to-Murphy’s-Law rule that you’ll run into more friends & acquaintances if you look like you just washed the dog, whereas you won’t see as few people if you comb your hair and wear something other than a stained sweatshirt and flannel pajama pants. :-D

  35. Chaordic One*

    We do have a thread about trance music this week, but I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts about more general pop music? To get things started let me say that I’m not really a fan of Beyonce (I don’t hate her or anything, I just don’t really relate to her music and generally think it is overproduced, a bit too slick, too commercial, and a kind of “meh.”). However, I was very impressed and delighted with her cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”. The revised lyrics put an interesting new spin on the song. “I’m warnin’ you, don’t come for my man.” I’m surprised that no one ever thought of it before. It was also something of a surprise that she, and all of the other people involved, managed to keep the song a secret for so long, and that the surprise didn’t leak out ahead of the song release. (At least not that I’m aware of.) Anyone else have any thoughts on the song or on any other recent pop music?

    1. Anon Poster*

      I listened to the Beyoncé album on my walk yesterday out of pure curiosity. I had absolutely no expectations, I just wanted to see what she did with it, and it absolutely blew me away. I’ve listened to Ya Ya about 600 times now, probably. I need to listen to the whole thing a few more times with no interruptions to really process it. It’s been a minute since I’ve been this excited about an album.

      I also listened to the new Kacey Musgraves album and thought it was lovely, I still need to give that one another listen or two. But Beyoncé has pulled my focus for the foreseeable.

      1. Annie Edison*

        I’m on my third listen through so far and Ya Ya is so great! Most Wanted (the duet with Miley Cyrus) is my current fav from the album, and I think Levi Jeans is growing on me a lot? Protector is another fav and the lyrics are just so so beautiful. I teared up the first time I heard it.

        Also, I just love that her response to being told she couldn’t do country was to make an entire freaking album of country, with cameos from Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton. I have so much awe and respect for her as an artist

    2. Freya's Cats*

      I’m not familiar with the Beyonce version of Jolene (like you I don’t have anything against her music but it is just not my thing, likewise Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran), but the live The White Stripes version is a favourite in my playlist.

      1. 248_Ballerinas*

        Beyoncé’s Jolene is confrontational rather than pleading – “I’m warning you, don’t come for my man.”

        My thought is, anyone covering this 50-year-old classic would want to put a fresh spin on it. A respectful cover that doesn’t add anything would not be artistically appealing.

        1. Freya's Cats*

          Artistically appealing huh. Sorry, I just listen to music I like the sound of, I leave the philosophical debate on its cultural merits to others.

        2. mreasy*

          Apparently Dolly has been mentioning in interviews for years that she wished Bey would cover Jolene! I am in the tank for the Queen but even I was nervous about this record. Man, it is weirder and cooler and has more beautiful and more wild moments than I expected. I love that she worked with so many Black country & roots artists on this record. And for the record’s other cover – Paul McCartney has long said that the lyrics were inspired by the oppression and violence Black women faced in the US, particularly the South, so Beyonce and 4 Black women country singers harmonizing on it is incredibly powerful as a concept – and man is it beautiful. And “Ya Ya” (which to me is where space and time start bending) just amazing. No surprise when I found out it was written by Gary Clark Jr!

          I also love the Kacey – her last one left me cold but I’m a longtime fan so I’m SO glad she’s back making songs I love! “Cardinal” (first album track) is especially incredible IMO.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      I don’t feel particularly strongly about Beyonce or the original song, but I came across it yesterday and feel like the rework is kind of … counterproductive? Like bragging about how totally secure and unthreatened you are comes across backwards because people in healthy relationships don’t feel the need to say it. It doesn’t feel empowering/ed the way I think it’s meant to, and the premise of the original song is much more interesting anyway.

      1. mreasy*

        I agree that alone it feels weird! To me, in context of the record it makes a lot more sense because she’s exploring themes of violence (external and particularly internal) throughout the record. I don’t think we’re meant to align with the viewpoint of the song – rather, she’s telling on herself about her own jealousy, which comes up elsewhere in the record. (“Daughter,” a sideways twist on the murder ballad tradition, is where this is laid most bare.)

        1. Chaordic One*

          Very perceptive observation. She’s sort of confessionally revealing her own insecurity. Probably intentionally, but maybe not.

      2. Part time lab tech*

        I respect Beyonce as an artist but find it hard to listen to a lot of her work at once. I find she has a recurring theme of “I’m a strong woman, I don’t need you, don’t you cross me” that that I find combative and defensive in large doses. This album sounds interesting though.

    4. WoodswomanWrites*

      I’ve never been a Beyonce fan either, but I’m liking what I’ve heard so far from the her new country album. My icon Rhiannon Giddens plays the banjo on Texas Hold ‘Em, and wrote about the racist flak that Beyonce is getting for being the first Black woman to top the country charts. She’s been targeted for “claiming” country music when in fact, the roots of country and stringband music can be traced to Black slaves in the US. For instance they invented the banjo. Giddens (Pulitzer Prize and MacArthur Award winner) wrote an excellent article about Beyonce’s album and the roots of country music. I’ve posted the link in the next comment.

      1. mreasy*

        Rhiannon is such an icon in her own right! Love that she is featured, along with a number of other Black artists who have been making American roots music for ages. The folks who have been making public statements in support of the record, and straight up her guests and collaborators, are so unassailable that it’s wild the haters are still trying it. I read that Carlene Carter (of THAT Carter Family of course) made a statement welcoming Bey as another Carter woman who has upset the country establishment!

        1. WoodswomanWrites*

          That is so cool about Carelen Carter.

          I’m a total groupie of Rhiannon. I love everything she does both as a musician and an activist. I’ve got tickets in the first few rows to see her band in April.

    5. PX*

      I had been very ambivalent about listening to this album because country music has never really appealed to me, but this thread has motivated me to give it a listen (also because I love any and all covers of Jolene). So far I’m loving the arrangement but not so sure about the lyrics change. But probably need a few more listens to come to a proper conclusion.

      Daughter is a banger though!

    6. Bluebell Brenham*

      I’ve been making my way through the tracks this weekend. I haven’t closely followed Beyoncé, and I much prefer alt-country to current country. I’m really impressed by what’s she’s done, and my favorite tracks have been Ya Ya, Texas Hold ‘Em, and Protector. I was tickled that I got to tell my daughter about the Miley-Beyoncé collab; daughter loooves Miley.

  36. Can't Sit Still*

    I’m having an outpatient procedure done in July. I can have it with or without anesthesia (twilight or general). The procedure itself is quite painful, but the pain is easily controlled afterwards with an NSAID. Because it’s in another city, I don’t have anyone available to drive me if I were to get anesthesia. So my choices are to either drive myself and have the procedure without anesthetic or hire a medical escort/transport. I’d really rather have anesthesia for the procedure, as it is quite painful. OTOH, having essentially a stranger escort me home is also kind of creepy/scary, since I’d be out of it post-anesthesia. FWIW, pain is about an 8 or 9 on the pain scale, but rapidly diminishes down to 3-4 as soon as the procedure is complete. My doctor would much prefer to do the procedure under anesthesia, but is leaving the decision up to me.

    I can’t make up my mind what I should do. What would you do?

    1. tab*

      Do you have family or friends that would fly out to help you? That’s what I’d do. In the past, the Dr. didn’t want you to be alone the night after anesthesia, so having someone who would stay the night with you is ideal. I hope the procedure is a success and you have a quick recovery.

    2. Maggie*

      I would definitely take the transport. I’d think of it more like I have a nurse or emt taking me home vs a stranger. Although I’d second seeing if a friend or fam will do it. You might be surprised at people being willing to help. I’d do it for pretty much anyone I know if they were in a bind

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        Thirding – if I had the availability, I’d do it for pretty much anyone I know personally and have goodwill toward. Probably even a close friend of a close friend, if you mean that it’s not feasible to drive from your home city to the city in which you’re having the operation in – maybe you have a connection you’re not yet aware of.

        Either way, if you can financially swing whatever method means you get to have anesthesia, I vote for that. You don’t need to invite a traumatic medical experience.

    3. Random Bystander*

      Is there a hotel near this hospital? It’s not uncommon for there to be fairly decent hotels with a pedestrian bridge/other direct access to the hospital. It might be well worth it to go to such a hotel and overnight there post-procedure. Perhaps a friend/family member would be willing to accompany, so you wouldn’t be alone in that overnight.

      1. WoodswomanWrites*

        This is what I would do, spend the night in a hotel and ask someone I knew to come with me.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      This is where it would make sense to pay for someone to help you. There will be less pain, and less stuff to figure out while in pain.

      The medical escort will know what to look out for and how to get you settled at home. They’re no more a stranger than any of the nursing staff who will be doing stuff to you.

      I have driven my kids home after anesthesia. They don’t really recall the journey. I could have had a penguin in the back seat and they wouldn’t have noticed.

    5. office hobbit*

      Something else to consider is whether you’ll be able to drive yourself home and take care of yourself after experiencing a 8-9 level pain for the duration of the operation, even if the pain fades once the operation is over. I suspect I would still be too wobbly and mentally shot after an experience like that and wouldn’t trust my reflexes to drive.

      1. Anono-me*

        What if you skip the anesthesia and afterwards you still need a ride and temporary companion? What are you going to do that day? You will either will up calling for a medical care escort at last minute rates or possibly even have to spend a night in a short term nursing home.

        Good luck on your procedure.

    6. goddessoftransitory*

      I would go with the anesthesia, and research the escort/transport thoroughly; I’m sure the doctor or clinic can recommend a reputable service. You can also request not leaving until you’ve come all the way out of the zonks; when I had a procedure last year I wasn’t allowed to leave until I’d had two rounds of vitals checking and could walk/talk without slurring or stumbling.

    7. Jessica*

      I was just talking with a friend about a similar situation and was surprised to learn that her insurance covers this–that is, paying for someone to be with you during & after. Maybe worth checking if yours would? If so, they also might be able to guide you to where you find a person.

    8. Ilovecheese*

      I’ve had a couple of procedures with twilight anesthesia. My experience has been that doctors are hesitant to offer anesthesia because of the risks. Not sure what your procedure is or if you’re male or female, but I’ve found doctors tend to underestimate how painful something is going to be(particularly women’s pain). I’ve had a number of tests/procedures done for fertility reasons(with and without anesthesia) and have found when I’ve been told I’d be fine with an over the counter NSAID, I really wished I had something a little stronger. If your doctor is offering and encouraging the anesthesia, my guess is that this procedure is going to be absolutely excruciating without it. I would get the transport/medical escort.

  37. Knighthope*

    I don’t have an answer, exactly, but a plan for a “stranger,” or Lyft/Uber driver take you home can be unacceptable to a doctor/hospital because that person mos likely wouldn’t be able to get help or supervise you when you get home.

    1. goddessoftransitory*

      This. I wasn’t allowed to take Uber or public transport like a bus, even with my husband there.

  38. Runner's belt*

    I’m looking for a runner’s belt (though I’m not a runner) to hold my big Samsung phone and my house key when I go out for a walk or to visit a neighbor and that’s all I need to carry. I have such a belt, but its plastic clasp tends to open up, making it not a very secure setup. Is there a belt like that with an old-fashioned buckle closure, or some other design where the clasp wouldn’t tend to slide out of its slot? Or a way to secure the belt to my clothing?

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      If you have a local REI, I’d suggest perusing their “smaller travel bag” section to see what fits well for you.

    2. Freya's Cats*

      can you replace the buckle on the bag you have? maybe just with a better quality clasp, or a different kind such as a buckle or even a karabiner? Or is there a sewing/altering shop nearby who can do it for you?

    3. AnonyOne*

      You can get a stretchy runners belt (no clasp required, you just pull it up to your waist/hips and the stretchy fabric holds it in place). I use a flip belt, it has a small zippered pocket, and a large pocket you can slide your phone into. I think it also has a small clip so you can also clip your keys if you are worried about them. I find it super convenient for running – everything is secure and not bouncing against me.

    4. Sister George Michael*

      I like spibelt. I bought the one with two pockets so my phone has its own pocket away from my keys. My phone fits in both pockets.

  39. Paralegal Part Deux*

    Does anyone one use press on nails and can recommend any? I decided to give up the salon but wanted my nails to still look pretty. I bought some KISS ones and Btartbox from Amazon and liked them so far. Just curious if there are any other brands that are good.

    1. pls send coffee*

      I’ve tried Dashing Diva a few times – the sticker style, not the hard gel ones. I like them a lot!

    2. Anon Poster*

      I also love the Dashing Diva stickers, they are so easy to apply, they look good, they last a long time, and they are budget-friendly. For me, the downside is the damage to my nails when I take them off, but I’m a very low-maintenace nail person. I never do gel polishes or acrylics, just regular polish, and they are more damaging to my natural nails than plain polish + polish remover. But if you’re used to salon treatments that have to be removed from your natural nail, I can’t imagine these cause more damage/breakage than any of those.

      1. Paralegal Part Deux*

        Thanks! Yeah, I was wearing a hard gel on my nails and then acrylic. I had the acrylics removed, and I can’t get over how damaged my nails are right now. I’m hoping this will be somewhat less damaging.

          1. Paralegal Part Deux*

            I haven’t tried that or heard of it, tbh. I’ll definitely look into it. Thanks!

  40. Whistling pipes*

    Has anyone had any success in mitigating mineral buildup in a pipe that is making it whistle?
    The hot water faucet in my shower has what looks like stone built up in the copper pipe around the faucet stem. I can see it and reach it when I remove the hot water faucet. It is making a whistling noise that is getting worse over time (higher pitched and louder), and it is making it nearly unbearable for me to shower (no one else in the house can hear it). For a long time it only happened at low volume and when I turned up the flow it stopped but now it’s at all flow levels, only by the hot water faucet.
    If I can somehow dissolve a bit of the stone, maybe it will stop whistling. Does anyone have any suggestions besides hiring a plumber to cut out part of the wall and replacing that section of pipe?

    1. Maryn*

      There are commercial products made to soften or dissolve mineral build-up on exterior surfaces like faucet connections. Lime-Away and CLR are two popular brands.

      You may be able to do it with straight white vinegar. Soak a rag in it and wrap the mineral-scaled part of the faucet. Wrap plastic wrap or a plastic bag over it to keep it from evaporating. Leave on for several hours, then scrub with a plastic scrubber. Repeat as necessary.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that the entire pipe needs to be replaced. I’d be shocked if the build up was only at the faucet. You could try turning off the water and carefully chipping at the buildup. However, this could break the pipe, meaning you’d need a plumber (and no shower until its fixed).

      Bigger picture though, you need some sort of water treatment. That level of mineral build up will cause major problems through out the system over time.

    3. Not A Manager*

      If this will reach the blockage physically, I would try filling a sturdy plastic bag with undiluted vinegar. Push this around the faucet as far as possible, squeeze out as much air as possible, and tie or rubber band the bag to the faucet. Leave it overnight and then see if you can chip/scrub away some of the deposit.

      If the deposit is too far back in the pipe for that to work, try soaking a rag in hot vinegar and stuffing that up into the pipe. Leave it there overnight.

  41. Cat Executive Officer*

    Has anyone found themselves perceiving a relationship with someone very differently from the way they perceive it?

    There is a girl who I met through mutual friends in college I consider an acquaintance. She lives in the same city as me and we hang out with mutual friends around once every 3-4 months. We don’t really talk in between those times.

    The last time we hung out, she mentioned in passing that she considered me a very close friend. I was surprised and flattered. It was very kind of her to say, but internally I feel like I don’t know her well enough to have been a close friend of hers. Or maybe she was just being nice.

    For context, I have a group of close friends and family members and interact with either in person or via phone calls pretty regularly week to week, and we share a lot of details about each other’s lives, so that’s my benchmark for closeness. Maybe it’s different for everyone.

    1. Maryn*

      My presumption is that your acquaintance has no friends who are closer. Maybe she finds it difficult to meet potential friends (raises hand), or has trouble connecting at that level when she does meet suitable people (raises other hand).

      If you enjoy her company, consider being first to touch base in between meet-ups.

    2. Freya's Cats*

      I see/talk to both my closest friends and family maybe twice a month. I’m a person who does not need a lot of interaction with people and my coworkers fill in my weekly need for human contact on the two days I’m in the office. So yes, I think this could be a difference in need of perception.
      That being said, my friends are people I meet up with one on one, people I only ever see in larger company with mutual friends I would personally consider acquaintances.

      1. allathian*

        Yes, this. I talk to my bestie on the phone about once a month and we text weekly, we meet up either 1:1 or with mutual friends about once every two months. My bestie sees other friends more often than me, so she probably doesn’t consider me her bestie.

        I call my mom once a week and we meet in person about once a month (my parents live 15 minutes away). I text my sister about once a week. She lives within easy walking distance (on the same street) as our parents so she sees them a bit more often.

    3. Maggie*

      Yeah some peoples benchmark for close is just I connect with you and see you sometimes and other people it would be someone they talk to daily. Probably just means she likes you wants to be friends!

    4. BookMom*

      I have put my foot in my mouth and described someone as a “really good friend” which implies being very close. What I meant was, that the person is kind, nonjudgmental, generous, reliable, and all the things that make someone a high quality friend.

      I have also found myself feeling closer to someone than they felt to me, when the other friend is someone who shares a lot on social media. I know oodles about what’s going on in their life, so I feel an artificial sort of closeness.

      As a shy person with a lot of acquaintances, this is hard for me to navigate sometimes.

    5. Zona the Great*

      Unfortunately, I seem to lead a lot of people on in this way. People really like me but it is a mask I wear. Basically I never want deep relationships and I don’t prioritize making friends or maintaining friendships. I don’t get emotionally invested in friends or friendships. I’m what you call a “Dad Friend”. Need a random fix done on your house? You call me. But I’m not hanging around with you after. Need someone to hike with? You call me. But I’m not going to remember you kid’s name or ask about him. Sometimes I feel like I have to say, “I feel like you’re getting very serious about me but I should tell you that I’ll never feel serious about you”. I never would, of course. But I don’t know what I should do differently.

      1. Cat Executive Officer*

        Interesting. I do like forming deep friendships with people, which is why I was surprised she considered me a close friend – we don’t interact as frequently as I do with people I do consider close friends.

        1. fhqwhgads*

          FWIW, the frequency you mentioning hanging out with her, for me, would put her beyond acquaintance. Not necessarily “close friend”, that depends on more specifics of feelings. But you definitely hang out more than “acquaintance” As an outsider, I’d say this person is your friend. Not close friend, not acquaintance. Just plain regular friend.

  42. Sic Transit Vir*

    Similar to a question above about getting rid of sentimental furniture. I’ve separated from my (now ex)husband and am getting ready to move. Going through all my old stuff, I’m at a loss about what to do with things like my wedding dress, accessories and photos and assorted paraphernalia. On one hand, it feels wrong to put things that are that personal into the trash. But donating them also feels weird (and in the case of photos, not something you really can donate). Our breakup was amicable so lighting it all on fire seems overly dramatic. I kind of like the idea of repurposing the dress into something else, but I’m not much of a seamstress. Anyone else been through a similar situation and had creative solutions?

    1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      You could ask a local high school if they would like your wedding dress for theatrical stuff, or for someone to wear for a special occasion. I gave mine to my goddaughter who had it shortened a bit and wore it to her end of school dance; a lot depends on the style of dress! Op shops/ charity shops quite often have wedding dresses for sale. I turned my wedding veil (a big net circle with a ribbon edging) into a bathroom curtain (just folded it over the curtain rod and then bunched it out to the sides in a draped manner). I was always pleased with the curtain as sewing the ribbon onto the netting had taken me many many hours.
      I took my wedding photos out of the album, and kept them and all the wedding memorabilia of cards and trinkets in an A4 plastic box, still have it somewhere. Keeps them contained, and has entertained various nieces and nephews over the years who liked seeing their parents and grandparents young and all dressed up “in the olden days”

    2. WellRed*

      Why not donate the dress? There are multiple organizations that can use them. Check out Brudes for a Cause, Brides against breast cancer and angel gowns for a start.

      1. Sic Transit Vir*

        I didn’t have a traditional white wedding dress, it was more something like what you might see at a renaissance fair. But you have a point that maybe there are other folks out there who might like to get married in something a bit different!

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      I would donate the dress; it’s nice to think it can be part of someone else’s happy day.

      Photos can be easily contained in one box or album and stored. (Any more than that is overkill.) Other things like personalized napkins and such? Maybe keep one if you want, but I’d chuck those.

    4. Anono-me*

      Scan the photos of the people that you love (And a few of you looking fabulous- after all it was a pivotal moment in your life. ) Dispose of the rest. *

      If donating your dress to a charity feels off to you, maybe sell it on CL or FB that way you have some control over where it goes next. (Bride vs Halloween costume.) The othe option is to contact a local house of worship and ask if they have anyone getting married who can’t afford a fancy wedding dress or other stuff and might want yours.

      Best wishes on all your new adventures.

      *Don’t donate old photos as apparently there are people who try to reunite strangers with old photos.

      1. Sic Transit Vir*

        I like the idea of scanning a few nice pictures (you’re right, there are some really nice photos of a few relatives that I would like to keep) and chucking the rest. Thank you.

    5. Generic Name*

      My divorce wasn’t very amicable, but even so, I felt conflicted about just tossing my wedding stuff, but I’m glad I did. My parents still had my wedding gown, as I got married in my hometown. My mom donated the dress to a church garage sale, and she said that the young woman who bought the dress was delighted to get it.

  43. Yoli*

    My husband and I have been married 10 years this week! We’re mid/late ’80s Millennials and were the first of our friend group to marry and have kids, so it’s been an interesting ride.

    What’s the best, worst, or weirdest marriage advice you’ve ever received?

    1. Maryn*

      Best: Put his happiness at a level equal to or higher than your own.

      Worst: Don’t go to bed angry. Why the hell not?

      Married 47 years.

      1. Pocket Mouse*

        If your husband didn’t receive the same ‘best’ advice, that’s suspect.

        I agree about going to bed angry, though. Discussions on an issue will be much more respectful and productive if everyone’s rested.

        1. allathian*

          Agree with both of those. Putting the other person’s happiness before your own only works if both spouses get and internalize the same advice.

          The don’t go to bed angry thing works for some people but not others. My husband has a fairly quick temper but he also gets over it quickly. I’m much more placid, it takes a lot to rouse my anger but when that happens, I can be angry for hours, days, or even a week. I don’t sulk, but if someone tries to talk to me about whatever it was that made me angry before I’m ready, I only get angrier. My husband’s great at compartmentalizing so we can continue talking about other stuff while I’m processing. This way I can be angry without giving him the silent treatment. When I’m ready to talk calmly, I broach the subject.

          But I can’t go without sleep for a week.

          Best advice I got was “don’t take your spouse for granted.”

          Don’t remember the worst, but because we didn’t have a big wedding and told everyone except our families of origin after the fact, we didn’t get much advice.

          We just celebrated our 15th anniversary.

    2. Rick Tq*

      Best:
      – If you are fighting and things start getting heated, pause a moment and ask yourself “Do I want to be RIGHT, or do I want to be married?”
      – Even on a tight budget both of you should have some level of Mad Money you can spend each month without question or comment.

      Worst: I don’t even remember anymore.

      Married 32 years.

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      I really loved my sister’s advice when I was getting married; she already had gone through pledging her troth and was an old hand at it.

      First, there’s only two or three things, looking back, that you will really have CARED about for your wedding; who attends, the locale, whatever. The rest will not matter to you one whit. So focus on those two/three things when money and time issues raise their heads.

      Second, most people tend to be quite practical when registering, for good reason, but put a couple fun, whimsical things you wouldn’t buy for yourself on there, too. As she put it, “Ten years in, those sheets I registered for? As beat up and grubby as any others. But that funny cookie jar shaped like a bowl full of strawberries? Still love it.”

    4. Bibliovore*

      The worst marriage advice is “don’t go to bed angry”
      The best advice- GO to bed! Nothing was ever solved after 9 at night. Declare a moratorium on the discussion. Write about it. Pray about it. Have a hot bath. Have snack. Go to bed.

      1. Bibliovore*

        Married 35 years.
        Best advice- We do things in service to our marriage- Taking out the trash when it is full, unloading the dishwasher, walking the dog in the freezing cold, taking the car to be serviced, waiting for the furnace repair … these aren’t things we do for each other, these are things we do in service to our marriage.

    5. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      The pastor for my wedding talked about how my husband and I were going to need a lot of help for our marriage to succeed in his sermon at our wedding.

      He divorced a few years later. Husband and I still going strong after 30+ years

    6. Cyanotype*

      Worst advice: Just let go and say everything you want to when you are having an argument. (Not for me – I know myself and I know that I can get too irrational. I want to express myself without getting ugly).

      Best advice: Don’t take them for granted.

    7. Frankie Bergstein*

      Best: sometimes the solution to a fight is a sandwich. (In other words, you might be fighting because you’re hungry)

      Worst: honestly, really any mainstream depictions or ideas of marriage. There, I said it!

    8. mreasy*

      “Xiennial” here who is coming up on 8. Our officiant (who is also a friend/mentor to us both), who has been married for eons (and they’re both amazing people) told us that being married is a lot more FUN than you might expect it to be. Even if nothing significant changes about your circumstances, there’s truly something wonderful about having someone on your side who you’ve mutually made this pledge of lifetime support with. And he was right – I love being married to my husband (admittedly he is the best and funniest person I know) in a way I never realized would be different from just being together as a long-term couple. I’ve never really been “into” marriage and we didn’t do a traditional proposal or wedding but I’m so glad we did it. Congrats on 10!

    9. Wow*

      Worst and weirdest: That I should wear a white dress so my future unborn children won’t be ashamed when they look at the pictures later. That was from a coworker, a woman my own age. I was mid twenties at the time.

      I don’t know what I would put as best, but I’ve been married for 11 years now, so I must be doing something right.

  44. So not using my real name for this.*

    Does anyone have any site recommendations for basis off grid or semi off grid living for absolute beginners that don’t assume that their reader is preparing for a zombie apocalypse.

    Mother Earth news is fairly good, but gets a little intense and feels geared to people who are already pretty educated on the topics that they are covering. Most other sites go straight from this is how you set up a rain barrel to this is how you set a broken leg.

    Eventually my spouse and I will be living in in a semi rural area that has mostly reliable electric and running water etc. So we want to minimize our reliance on the systems and have backups in place for when there are problems.

    1. TX_TRUCKER*

      I live in a very rural area and off the grid. I think you are taking the wrong approach to finding information. You need to learn diy basic plumbing and electrical work. Without that foundation, everything else will be too complicated . I love Mother Earth magazine, but I only expect to get ideas from it, and not an actual implementation guide.

    2. I'm A Little Teapot*

      You can be as formal or informal as you’d like, but start learning the basics of a wide range of trades. With your eventual goal, you need to be solid on electrical and plumbing, as well has have a good ability in dealing with storm damage. You’ll also need a good understanding of whatever HVAC you’ll have. Since you’ll be semi rural, you’ll probably also have a variety of outdoor equipment and tools so you’ll need to know how to use, clean, maintain and repair them. Basically, start learning and building your skills so that you eventually can use just about any piece of equipment/tool safely, and have the knowledge and ability to build and repair just about anything, or at least to have a start on it. You’ll find that once you have one basic skill, it will translate over to multiple areas. So there’s a snowball effect.

      If you can fix the washer, you can fix all the other appliances. Fix the lawn mower and you can fix all the other small engines. Learn to paint, you can paint anything. The basic skill doesn’t change, you just need to adjust for the details.

      So: carpentry (framing and finish), small engine repair, appliance repair, electrical, plumbing, concrete, drywall, painting, tiling. That will then allow you to do just about everything else.

      1. Freya's Cats*

        I find this answer very interesting, because if someone in my country talks about getting off grid they mean not getting electricity or gas from the mains but from self generated renewables like wind and sun, and absolutely not fixing their own washing machine if it breaks, or doing their own plumbing (though basic plumbing absolutely is a handy skill to have for anyone).
        This is not a judgement or criticism in any way, just a fascinating difference in culture.

    3. Pam Adams*

      maybe looking for more “emergency ” off-grid living. In my area, having supplies in case of an earthquake is common. in your area, what would you use to replace the electricity if it went out?

    4. Part time lab tech*

      permies.com has a great forum with heaps of info and pretty good moderators. permaculturenews.org has a good archive as well.
      Otherwise go to library. You will find the 10% of related books that suit your needs (clear, climate appropriate) and then you buy those.

  45. Justin*

    I am moving to a more suburban part of the same metro area bc I bought a house. I hate driving, and we were sure to move where we can walk to the train to commute to work.

    My son and I have “transit adventures” every weekend, which is a lot easier in the denser parts. We will still do this, but it’s going to take more intentional planning. I’m a little sad that we can’t just hop on the subway anymore and that he’ll grow up without what I had, but we couldn’t afford the space where we are now.

    Anyway, have any of you moved from a denser area to a less dense one and NOT been a comfortable/happy driver? And thus made a point of being transit oriented? What did you do to ensure you’d find calm?

    1. ImOnlyHereForThePoetry*

      Something to think about is that Lyft is an option to get to places that are not easily accessible by public transport. Using a rideshare or taxi even a couple times a week is so much less expensive than owning a car.

      1. No Tribble At All*

        What do you do for the kid though? Lyfts won’t have car seats, and it’s not safe without one. This is my sticking point for a second car.

    2. Washi*

      Can you bike instead? I moved to a very small city (40k) and don’t really like to drive, and as a result have gotten pretty into biking, which as a bonus my toddler loves way more than the car.

    3. Hyacinth*

      This is me! Just made a move from a dense urban city with great transit to a less dense new city with ok transit. I hate driving. I also go on transit adventures with my kid! I am making peace with more driving for convenience and not being an absolute martyr. But there’s still taking transit or biking or running errands on foot whenever I can, even if it’s not the norm. There are people in my new city who have never rode the light rail, and I hopped on with my family the week we moved here. My husband insists that we will need to consider becoming a 2 car household and I’ve laughed heartily at that.

  46. Bluebell Brenham*

    This can serve as the “watcha watching?” thread. I’m mildly amused/annoyed that The Ten Commandments is always aired around Easter, so it’s tonight, even though Passover is a week away. I wish they’d show the John Legend JC Superstar instead. It’s just so good!

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      Rewatching After Party S1, in which someone is murdered at the after party, and we see the events from each person’s perspective, told in the style of a film genre. So the first guy is in a rom com, the second witness in an action movie, the third is starring in a musical, etc. Meshes being a whole lot of fun with well-executed story-telling.

      1. Goldfeesh*

        “Rewatching After Party S1, in which someone is murdered at the after party …”

        I first thought this was in context with 10 Commandments/JCS, so I pictured a retelling of JCS with the various disciples (rom-com, action movie, Old West, suspense) and I was intrigued. LOL. No Doubting Thomas in the Old West in my future.

    2. GoryDetails*

      Yeah, I always have to watch “The Ten Commandments” when it airs – the mix of spectacle and cheese (and more than a few touches of outright horror) never disappoints.

      On the milder side, there’s a Canadian version of The Great Pottery Throwdown, and I’ve been watching that on YouTube; some amazing creations, and some heartbreaking kiln-disasters. Oh, and Seth Rogen is involved, creating pots himself for the quick challenges.