{ 864 comments… read them below }

      1. the cat's pajamas*

        Aww! A couple more this year, too! Just for fun, if you search “4th of July Open Thread” on this site, you can see the evolution of Alison’s cats.

    1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

      Alison, do you currently have 9 cats?? (I hope so, because that is an excellent number of cats, but any number of cats is an excellent number of cats). Does anyone know all their names?

      1. Ask a Manager* Post author

        We have nine (9) cats. We weren’t supposed to have nine (9) cats. But we do.

        (It’s actually fine. Big house, no kids, no expensive hobbies except the cats.)

        Top row: Fig, Grendel, Wallace, Laurie
        Middle row: Olive, Griffin, Sophie, Stella
        Bottom row: Eve

        1. The Other Dawn*

          Once you get past three cats, it’s really just a straight shot to eight, nine, and ten.

    2. Happily Retired*

      Working off of Alison’s “map” below, is the grey tabby with white paws Sophie?

      Whoever it is, that is hands down the best-ever Photoshop! I love how she’s kind of sinking down into her Own Personal Purple Fireworks.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      *fist bump of solidarity* Grateful it’s just 8-4 with a colleague instead of my previous life where it would have been a 24-hour thing by myself. Also now hourly instead of exempt and not mad at it.

    2. londonedit*

      I’m working, but then it isn’t a holiday here so that’s not surprising!

        1. londonedit*

          Tomorrow I’m MEANT to be working, but that’s if I can stop myself dancing with glee for long enough to sit at the computer…

          1. Lady Knittington*

            From your username, I’m guessing you’re in the UK. I’m just remembering 1997 and hoping the soundtrack is going to be better this time round.

            1. londonedit*

              Did you see Rishi Sunak announcing the election date? In the pouring rain, to start with, but then political activist Steve Bray blasted Things Can Only Get Better from outside the gates of Downing Street so that was practically all you could hear while he was doing his official announcement. Then they started playing the Imperial Death March. It was glorious.

              1. Mighty K*

                says it all really. “it’s raining and none of this plan is going well, but we’re unable to pivot to a better/backup plan”

              2. borealis*

                Radio Sweden’s coverage of Sunak’s announcement included quite a lot of speculation about why he hadn’t brought an umbrella.

                Here’s hoping things will get a lot better!

          2. Mangled Metaphor*

            My husband has specifically taken tomorrow off from work so he can stay up to watch the results come in.

            I’m working from home.
            Sorry, that should say “working” from home.

            Fireworks in the US on our election day, fireworks in the UK on yours.
            Have a happy and safe night!

            1. Hroethvitnir*

              Oh boy. I cannot handle watching results come in! (NZer) I’ll wait until things are confirmed, thanks!

              The one time I went to an election party it was last time we went from Labour to National and the vibe just got slowly more depressed.

            2. Another Use of the Identify Spell*

              Glad to celebrate your news with our fireworks! Otherwise it’s too tempting to see them as our last hurrah. Hoping your new trend catches on over here.

            3. Deejay*

              After 248 years, we decided it was time to join our transatlantic cousins in using July 4th as the date to say a resounding “NO” to a government that definitely had it coming.

          3. Snoodence Pruter*

            I’ve got shitloads to do tomorrow and I’m very sad about it. I might even have to be on Zoom meetings and not wear (one of) my Fuck The Tories shirt(s). Bleh.

            1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

              Weather is due to be pretty chilly for the time of year. Wear it under a jumper?

    3. Tour Guide*

      Wasn’t on the schedule but got an email yesterday afternoon asking me to work. Got a text at 7 pm – sorry, tour was cancelled.
      Text at 7 AM – additional tour scheduled, can you do it?
      Good thing I love what I do!

      BTW…if you go on a cruise and are told it is “all inclusive, including tips” that only counts for the ship based staff! I’m hoping for good tips for coming in at the last minute on a holiday!! No additional holiday pay either.

    4. Melody Powers*

      I’m getting holiday pay and I have barely anything to do because the department I usually work with on Thursdays is closed. I’m not complaining.

    5. anon24*

      Worked 12 hours overnight, 8 hours this afternoon into tonight and 12 hours tomorrow. Getting double time for 16 hours of that and time and a half for the rest because I hit 40 hours sometime in the early hours of Wednesday morning, so no complaints except that I am so tired already.

      1. mayflower*

        Wow! What do you do (if you don’t mind sharing)? That’s a lot of work! Glad you’re getting some double time though.

          1. Another Use of the Identify Spell*

            Oh, hon. Wishing you a night of just the standard stuff, no missing fingers, 3rd degree burns, etc.

      2. PDB*

        I used to be in the TV business and worked every holiday up to and including St. Swithen’s Day. In TV you need 30 years or more of seniority to get them off.

    6. Donkey Hotey*

      When I was working in a call center, I would always volunteer to work today. Working second shift (on the third floor), I had the floor to myself, so i would dim the lights and enjoy the view of multiple firework shows without the noise.

  1. Yetta*

    My company has one major downside, which is that they are very slow to fire people who are clearly too incompetent at the work and/or interpersonally dramatic to function in the job. There is one woman in particular who is convinced I did something wrong to cause the tech issues she has experienced in our joint work (I didn’t, she’s just very bad at required programs) and that I’m actually making fun of her when I try to smooth things over (I think she may be picking up on the fact that I’m neurodivergent and don’t always know what to say in emotionally charged situations, but I swear I’m not making fun of her).

    This person also seems pretty clearly on her way out to me, given her fights with other employees and her very poor skills, and until such time as my senior leadership gets tired of her nonsense, I’ve arranged to have someone else be my department’s official lead on accounts that she touches.

    But I also know she lies about me to others. It kind of drives me up a wall thinking about how she’s going to lie about me to the newer people in her department and my own, and how I may not be on her accounts enough to develop independent relationships with the people she lies to in order to show them I’m not an incompetent bully.

    Any tips on how to deal or reframe this in my mind until such time as this unskilled drama bomb of a coworker finishes burning out? I know the real answer is that our senior leadership needs to stop giving awful people so many chances, but they’re not easy to persuade. I do trust them to get rid of her eventually, at least (or really, I trust her to keep having low tech literacy and ridiculous conflicts with coworkers until they can’t ignore it anymore). I’m just trying not to spiral while waiting for her to go away.

    1. Maple*

      thissss omg. I’ve got one of these, only we sit right next to each other—and up until very recently, did the same work. Mine’s on the way out too, largely because of the stink I’ve made about it to my manager. Taking Allison’s advice to make management’s inaction more annoying for them than it is to actually do something—for a hot minute, I was sending daily, multi-paragraph updates on the bad behavior/attitude/incompetence I saw. It both gave management a thorn in their side, AND direct examples of what was wrong. I suggest you do the same—write an email documenting every interaction. Allison’s answered a lot like this, they’re worth digging up!

      You sound like you’re much more far removed from your Nightmare Coworker, which, good! She can badmouth you and everyone else (because I’m sure there’s more people she Doesn’t Like) to whoever she likes, but eventually that’s going to either A) get her in trouble and expedite her leaving and/or B) stop when she leaves. Badmouthing our remote coworkers was one of the Big Things my Nightmare Coworker has been explicitly prohibited from doing- and could be fired over. (Only reason she’s still around is because I just moved into a new role, and we need at least one warm body at that desk. Whoopie!)

      As for the reframing, I’m ND too and I hear ya. You said you don’t interact with her often, and that you don’t really have the chance yet to work directly with her team. Well, once she’s out and someone new takes over, let your competence and good intentions speak for themselves. And know that the other people on your Nightmare Coworker’s team are probably fed up with her too. If she’s that way to people she only has contact with in your context, what’s she like with the ones she sees even more often? I doubt they take her word without *several* grains of salt. She’s clearly in the minority of How People Perceive You, and sounds to me like she’s being willfully obtuse about it. A Not-Crappy person who picks up on the ND-to-NT Communication Gap would try to find a way to bridge that gap, not hold it against you. Your coworker sucks, and her opinion of you is an outlier adn should not have been counted!

    2. Standard Human*

      Ooof, that sounds frustrating. It’s always hard when people have an inaccurate understanding of who you are, especially if you’re not confident in your ability to step the record straight. (This happens for me as well, I hate it!)

      This person is likely to have SEVERAL irrational grievances, and most of the staff who works with her is likely to discount her opinion on people pretty rapidly. I’m also more likely to give credence to people’s opinions about others if they’re reasonable (e.g. “they don’t have strong tech skills”, “they tend to skim long emails”) and related to the job — which it doesn’t sound like hers are.

      If people ask you about her, you could possibly say “she had some tech issues she felt were my responsibility and things between us have been a little uneven since then.” and then if they press for more details you could say “I’m happy to give an overview of these programs to anyone who wants more information on them.”

      Sometimes I also start infodumping on a tangentially related topic as a means of ending the conversation (and getting to infodump), but that is a personal choice.

    3. Pillow Fort Forever*

      What’s helpful to me is knowing the person will just keep being who they are. If they are badmouthing you, they are badmouthing others, and everyone sees that.

      I also try to remind myself that my work, not others lies, speaks for me – and that this is great practice for rising above the crap and keeping your head held high.

      And it can help to make a mental scorecard and keep a tally of how many times they do x behavior. List them all then makes bets with yourself on how many times they will do x in a day. For one person I hated working with I thought of their 3 worst behaviors and tallied them daily. This somehow helped depersonalize their actions-bc this is all about them and not a reflection on you.

      And good luck to you!!

    4. Double A*

      Don’t underestimate just how much other people see through her. People who badmouth others are rarely fooling anyone. If she’s fighting with other employees and causing other issues, you can be pretty sure most people take anything she says with a grain of salt at best — if they don’t just outright dismiss her.

      Just keep doing a good job, being warm and helpful when you do have a chance to interact with anyone who you think she might be badmouthing you to, and try to detach. You could watch with clinical interest as she ties her own rope.

    5. RedinSC*

      I don’t have a way to reframe, unfortunately. The nightmare coworker I have is just a mess. And since she’s part of a union (we all are) there are so many hoops to jump through and she went on FMLA just as those hoops were being set up. So now it’s a wwaiting game. But I’ve had to pick up so much of her work, it’s just so demoralizing for me, because I’m doing her work, rather than the work that I was hired to do. This has been going on for over a year.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I’m sitting on my screened porch where it is not particularly hot or muggy yet and listening to the birds. At some point I need to go commune with my work laptop. Not yet.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I am at the airport getting ready to go meet my folks on vacation :)

    3. Elizabeth West*

      I slept in today (didn’t mean to since I have to work tomorrow), and am now eating the most insanely beautiful black plum for breakfast. It is a gorgeous deep red color, is perfectly ripe, and it tastes amazing. :D

      1. Hroethvitnir*

        How evocative! I had plums for the first time in a while recently, and I forget how good they are.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          They’re so good! I’ve never had one this dark red before. Usually the inside is kinda boring.

    4. Rara Avis*

      My summer school class is tiny, but the 5 of them are mellow and easy-going, and so it’s so easy to hang out with them and do fun activities.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I found mine at Talbots, and did generally find that a smaller store with a few dresses hit closer to what I wanted compared to the department stores with really big displays.

    5. Hotdog not dog*

      My kid (19) needed to get up crazy early this morning (as opposed to his usual after lunch) and he made us coffee and breakfast. Best breakfast I’ve had in a long time!

    6. Jackalope*

      I mentioned in last weekend’s small joys thread that we adopted a kitten Saturday who’d had a really rough start in life. She went for her first appointment with our regular vet yesterday (for a baseline checkup and to see when she needs her next round of vaccinations), and she’s doing really well. She’s gained weight since we got her, which is important because when she was first found as a wee little thing she lost a quarter of her body weight and almost died (weight when they found her was .98 lbs or .44 kg, for reference). And she’s super playful and lively and definitely no longer failing to thrive.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        Destructobot promises that soon she shall be maintaining eye contact with you while slowly pushing all your nouns off their surfaces.

        1. Pucci*

          Or running around the house at breakneck speed, determined to trip you and knock over all the lamps. I do love kittens though

        2. Forrest Rhodes*

          “slowly pushing all your nouns off their surfaces” … hee, hee, hee!
          That’s my current feline overlord’s favorite pastime, even more so in the middle of the night.

      2. Hroethvitnir*

        Oof, that certainly is very underweight assuming she was 6 weeks+! Great to hear – it can be an intense joy to witness things like this. ❤️

    7. sagewhiz*

      After letting the middle school novel I’d started on three years ago languish for the last two (!) I wrote six pages this morning. Not just a little joy, a huge one! (Now, just have to keep up the momentum.)

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Nice! And remember momentum doesn’t have to be 6 pages every day. (that’s a way to burn out). One paragraph is progress. One *sentence* is progress.

        1. pennyforum*

          And sometimes progress is figuring out whats not working, backtracking, and heading off in a new direction.

          This applys in hiking, knitting and writing

    8. Bluebell Brenham*

      Congrats on the dress! My small joy was watching several different species of bees enjoying my elderberry bushes this morning.

    9. Kiki Is The Most*

      Housesitting for friends at the beach and the quiet, chill vibes here are glorious.

    10. Falling Diphthong*

      Destructobot (who is an all-powerful feline spirit inside a tiny and technically lame housecat body) discovered the joys of ham. I thought she was excited about my borscht the day before (turns out it contains sour cream, which I hadn’t realized, and she loves dairy products and can detect them even when they are bright pink), but last night we had cold ham with dinner and she hopped onto my husband’s lap and wolfed down everything he would give her. (This was a lot, because he is a sucker for Destructobot.)

      It makes up for his grand crime, deciding he should finish off our dairy-allergic son’s soy milk and so at breakfast the dairy has been plant-based dairy which is enraging.

    11. Sled dog mama*

      Took a fall from my horse Tuesday without major injury and was able to get back on and continue my lesson. I am a bit bruised and pretty sore. Was able to get on this morning for my normal ride and work a bit, we stuck to simple exercises that we can can do well. This is huge for me as my last fall took me out for 6 weeks with a broken wrist and many more weeks to get my confidence back.

      1. Pippa K*

        Sympathies! Hitting the dirt always hurts to some degree but it’s a win when you can emerge relatively unscathed and carry on.

      2. Lenora Rose*

        That’s good – both not being injured aside from soreness and also handling the next day in a way that is both gentle and persistent.

    12. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      My backyard has been cleared of bamboo (Yaaa!) and the new fence installed. Spent some time this morning with my sister, (a FANTASTIC gardener) plotting out what will go where.

    13. beep beep*

      Lots of good food today. Fresh and perfectly ripe mango, roasted bell peppers, roasted farmer’s market corn, and a rotisserie chicken because they cook it way better than I can. Perfect tostada/burrito/etc toppings for lunch and dinner.

    14. PX*

      Accepting that I’ve been mentally and emotionally tired the last couple of weeks and giving in to the junk food craving I’ve been having. Mmm, fried things.

      Also ordered my special bread from the bakers and get to pick it up tomorrow instead of Saturday (mmm, fancy bread and butter).

      And this is definitely looking on the bright side, but its forecast to rain, so I dont have to worry about watering my plants (although alas, it does mean summer seems to be even further away than ever this year!)

    15. Elle Woods*

      I ran to the grocery store in my hometown this morning and ran into a high school classmate I hadn’t seen in nearly 30 years. It was so nice to see her in person and not just on social media!

    16. Standard Human*

      I found child care for a destination wedding! Or my cousins found a reliable, local sitter and are happy to let me share!

    17. Jay*

      On occasion the owner of the company I work for will have me pause in my regular duties to do some work on our landscaping.
      Although it can be difficult at times, I consider my company funded gardening therapy sessions to be one of my favorite job perks.
      Well, while going over the office grounds and making a list of everything he needs done over the next couple of weeks (just a few days worth of work, or about a weeks worth of partial days) we discovered that a thriving raspberry bush is taking over a spot that was nothing but horrible thorns and parasitic strangler vines!
      Then I did a bit of research on an odd tree he was unsure of (he might want it gone, or trimmed back, or it might end up the center of the landscaping, it all depended on what it turned out to be).
      It turned out to be a Sourwood tree.
      And it turns out that Sourwood trees:
      1) Have leaves that taste like Granny Smith apples and are just this side of magic for digestive trouble.
      2) Produce pollen that makes the best honey in North America (and possibly the world, although that is up for some debate).

    18. Bookworm in Stitches*

      We make crepes every summer with the tomatoes and basil from our garden and mozzarella cheese. After years of struggling with our own nonstick frypan and looking at Good Wills and yard sales to find a real crepe pan, I finally purchased one. It is awesome!! So easy to make and flip the crepes!

    19. Seawren*

      Please share your secrets, I have at least one daughter getting married next summer and have no idea where to start looking.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I will try!

        Context: Over the past decade my wardrobe has devolved toward clothing that I can wear to type on a computer, then do some yoga, then type some more, then walk the dog, and so on. So I felt like I really needed to try stuff on, since this was so far outside my usual clothing and I didn’t know what would work for my current body.

        Nordstrom’s and Macy’s had large selections but mostly things I didn’t like, which always makes for a depressing shopping experience. However, the sheer range is useful and it did help me work out what would and wouldn’t work in a neckline etc, so I recommend going and trying on some things that seem maybe okay–the goal being to better figure out what you’re looking for, and sometimes a dress can surprise you in either direction.

        Small clothing shops in a town near me had a smaller selection but this was where I found the first “Oh hey that looks quite nice in the window” dress. Not exactly what I was going for (dark navy color rather than a softer shade) but trying it on was useful because it had some very weirdly placed pockets that made it bulge weirdly over the hips. I looked up the designer online to see if the dress came in other colors (no), and every review was about the weird bulgy pockets. Which is only evident on your body, not the hanger or the online photo.

        Ducked into Talbots on my trek through the mall, with vague memories of shopping here when I worked in-house (before the birth of the bride). As with other small shops, smaller range but it was easier to take in. I passed a couple of floral yellow dresses and was like “… well hey, that’s a pretty color–not white, not black, not the dark blues and greens I wear a lot of, would coordinate with the bridesmaids’ various soft tones, and the style isn’t fussy and the neckline is high enough” and tried it on. First striking thing: It was comfortable. Everything else I’d tried on was tight or stiff or binding somewhere; this felt like my existing casual light sundresses for hot humid days. Second striking thing: I felt really pretty in this. (“Something you really like and feel good in” is my daughter’s guidance.) These two together led me to actually feel more confident after the purchase, rather than worried it was probably wrong.

    20. allathian*

      Had a lovely 3-day trip to Estonia with my husband and son. The Helsinki-Tallinn shuttle ferry only takes 2 hours + boarding and disembarking.

      Loved the long sandy beach in Pärnu where we stayed for one night. I was surprised by how quiet it was in Kuressaare where we stayed the second night, the hotel didn’t have AC so we slept with the window open and all I heard was birdsong in the morning.

      I loved the great food, cool sights, pretty landscapes, and the friendly if not over-effusive locals I dealt with. The roads were very good and not too busy, and I don’t remember seeing any litter anywhere. Definitely recommend going if you’re traveling in this part of the world.

    21. Nona Selah*

      My spouse and I ran the Peachtree Road Race and were happy with our results – best part, though, was that the Teenager got up early to drive and drop us off!

    22. BellaStella*

      Ripe cherries! Walks in the forest. A new Kodak digital camera. Continuing to purge stuff I do not need. The new Bon Jovi album. Having tmrw off.

    23. Hroethvitnir*

      I seldom reply to this but I really appreciate it!

      I am slow to pick up new music, and my taste runs to 99% EDM (old school techno) with a bit of classical piano, jazz, and specific older albums (misc).

      I have realised the misc category I like (unsurprisingly music of my teens-early 20s) could be described as “90s alternative”. I’ve been using a YouTube radio and had more than a day with >90% songs I like!

    24. RLC*

      Counted 21 Western Toads in my back garden a few nights ago. Most I’ve ever seen, all well fed from gorging on all the damaging insects in my garden. Natural insect control at its most amusing (toad eating Junebug larger than its own head is a sight to behold).

    25. Harrowhark*

      I sprung for a 30″ fan to make my time outdoors in my yard when it’s 85-105F less painful.

      Spent two hours in front of it this afternoon when it was 101F and, with the help of a cooling towel, never even broke a sweat. Win!

    26. Jay*

      I have discovered that my milk frother is the ideal tool for stirring up the Turkish coffee with cardamom I found at my local grocery store. It gets it smooth and hot-chocolatey without wearing my arm out whisking it.

    27. Clisby*

      My little bog babies – a Venus flytrap and a pitcher plant – have made it through 6-8 weeks of my parentage.

      The pitcher plant is more obviously thriving, but the VFT has grown a couple of new “mouths” or whatever you call the parts that eat insects.

      I got them from the garden center of a local hardware store – apparently they get the plants from somebody in this general area who propagates them, so at least they should be suited to the climate.

      It’s almost like I need to name them.

      1. GoryDetails*

        Congrats on the carnivorous plants! I managed to keep a flytrap alive for several months, after rescuing it from a display of on-sale, clearly-on-their-last-legs plants. It was quite fascinating to see it “trap” and to work out just how to care for it – but, eventually, it either got too cold or too over-fed or too… something, and passed on.

        I haven’t tried a pitcher plant, but they grow wild in a sphagnum bog in the next town over, so I can go visit some in the wild when I’m in the mood. (Still can’t believe they grow in New Hampshire; always imagined them as purely tropical.) There are sundews there as well, sort of like vegetable sea-anemones…

    28. Banana Pyjamas*

      I have bargained with my pipsqueak who has agreed to start toileting independently.

      1. Isabel Archer*

        Even with the word pipsqueak in there, that sounds so much like it was a legal arrangement. It made me chuckle.

    29. GoryDetails*

      Literally small joys: harvested the first fruits from my container gardens: one small purple pepper, and two very small eggplants (one white, one purple). They’re so tiny that I think I’ll just saute them and make an omelet, but it’s still nice to see the plants starting to produce.

    30. RagingADHD*

      I’m not much of a cocktail drinker, but at a Bridgerton themed event this past weekend, they had a drink called Wet Your Whistledown that was absolutely delicious.

      I remember they said it had gin and hibiscus syrup, and there was a sprig of fresh lavender. I think there must have been something else in it – champagne, maybe?

      Anyway, it was altogether a delightful and fancy evening, and I always like discovering something new to enjoy.

    31. Knighthope*

      Re: MOB dress
      Congratulations! The only thing harder is finding a MOG dress. I took my Mom to a mega mall in another state on a Sunday and said, “We are not leaving until we find something!” She did.

  2. Anonynon*

    I know this is for more general topics, but… is there anyone else who is very glad to be in a functional, non-toxic workplace but secretly wish there were a little bit of conflict so that they could use some of Alison’s tips and scripts and feel like a badass?

    1. Mighty K*

      Haha yes, I have this sometimes.

      Mostly I’m eternally grateful that I can’t even imagine most of the AAM content happening at my work, but sometimes it would be… interesting…

      1. R*

        long story short, it took me a long time to find a job that didn’t bore me to tears and make me miserable within 6 months. I finally found one in academic teaching as a visiting professor. however. despite searching really hard, I haven’t found another post-visitorship position (also dealt with the joy of searching all year, getting interviews at 3 schools, and then being ghosted!).
        I took another job to pay for bills while I keep looking and am running a department now and managing several levels of people. and like the job is fine. the coworkers are fine. but I’m so sad I’m not teaching anymore, and have no idea when I’ll be able to teach again, that I’ve been struggling with serious depression issues that sometimes interfere with my ability to function at all. I’m really trying my best here, but I’m just….struggling, being back in a job that leaves me miserably bored when I know things could be better if I could just get another teaching job. does anyone have any advice for dealing with a situation like this?

    2. Rebecca*

      Can’t say that I do, and I would not feel like the conflict was collaboratively resolved if I came out feeling this way. Conflict resolution should not have “feeling like a bad ass” as a desired outcome. Reaching back to yesterday’s letter about interviewers asking about conflict and mistrust, this is why they ask more than one question. They want to screen out any whiff of “bad ass” energy. They don’t want people who try to end conflicts on a “and then everybody clapped” note. They want people who aim to resolve conflicts with everybody feeling heard and agreeing to move forward in the same direction.

      1. Unkempt Flatware*

        Come on, now. The post wasn’t that serious. Let the OP enjoy fantasizing.

    3. Standard Human*

      My workplace norms WERE set in a higher drama place and also I’m an ACoA so I crave it. I can’t handle it, but I do miss it — and miss a world where I could use the skill I’ve developed at being professional in tough circumstances.

    4. Archi-detect*

      I just want it in video game form to try out, way less stressful that way lol

          1. Deejay*

            To any game developer thinking of creating this, I post the SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY meme.

    5. Hroethvitnir*

      Haha, I understand. Honestly, I’ve never worked anywhere devoid of some kind of petty drama so I am absolutely obsessed with only being in healthy environments now.

      TBF I have been very lucky (and also as careful as I can be in choosing) in my academic labs, so that’s pretty amazing.

    6. Lenora Rose*

      Most of the time I read the stories and am glad that in my department and for me at least, this job is functional and non-toxic. However, interpersonal things come up even in non-toxic jobs, so I have occasionally had to borrow remembered bits of advice – aside from the job interview stuff I used to switch departments – just for how to phrase things in general communication. Not enough to feel like a badass – I am miles from a rock star employee, though I am competent – but I will gladly take the trade-off of not having a workplace full of bees, or affairs, or — especially — bigotry.

      I feel a bit badly for my former department, though; it’s supposed to be a department with 2 C-suite staff, 3 clerical/admin roles plus the receptionist. Right now the clerical/admin are staffed at 1.5 due to one person’s health issues (I feel for her but it leaves a practical gap) plus they’ve had a revolving set of terms and substitutes in the reception role for over a year now (most of the substitutes are retired clerks who like to come back and help out for as many hours as don’t threaten their pension, so at least not inexperienced, but still not consistent). Nobody seems to know why they haven’t been hiring for the empty desk, and EVERYONE – except maybe the C-suite folk? – can see that the highly capable senior admin clerk holding it together is already burning out and is going to crash hard if they don’t get her another person (and maybe stop advertising reception as a one year limited term?).

    7. MassMatt*

      More often I realize I had a terrible work situation similar to something in a letter and wish I had the advice from Alison (and often the commentariat) back then.
      “Dang, why didn’t *I* think of that back when someone asked me to leave a work note on someone’s gravestone?”

  3. SarahKay*

    Bananpants. What do sort of pants do you picture when you see that word?
    Are the bananas fresh and slightly green, perfectly yellow, or old bananas, deep yellow with black spots?

    My mental image seems to be of a smart pair of women’s bright yellow trousers with a neat crease down the centre of each leg, slightly tapered to the ankle. Although once we get onto the full banana-suit it’s definitely less smart and with considerably more black age spots.

    1. Unemployed in Greenland.*

      I don’t picture any pants – rather, if someone uses the idiom, I think of a person sprinting in and out of a room, or doing something else chaotic / high-energy, limbs blurring so fast they cannot be seen.

      thanks for bringing this up! bc it never even occurred to me that I do not picture that idiom literally. I was thinking of other vivid idioms for which that’s the case; “raining cats and dogs” is one, “piece of cake” is another. Interesting!

    2. Dawn*

      So glad you asked! My banana pants are perfectly tailored, high end. Black background, perfectly yellow bananas, big green (but not botanically accurate) leaves, in a large bold pattern, slightly shinier than matte fabric, very slightly tapered, high waisted with a few tasteful pleats. My banana suit is simply a pure bright banana yellow, perfectly tailored suit, short-ish jacket, with some metalic buttons and buckles.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I picture the bananas flying around the pants in a chaotic manner.

      They are perfectly yellow.

    4. Catsnotkids*

      First thing that comes to mind is yellow hammer pants to be honest-not sure why.

    5. Spite Sweater*

      I never really thought about it, but now that I have I think regular pants, like jeans, that have smushed banana on them like as if you had slipped on a banana peel.

    6. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      The pants are made of perfectly yellow bananas. The issue is that it does not make sense to wear bananas as pants regardless of the quality of the bananas. They’re heavy and you can’t even sit down!

    7. Elizabeth West*

      I used to have this pair of very casual, loose, cotton capris that was bright yellow — so literal bananapants, lol.

    8. Lenora Rose*

      Somehow I always picture them as big billowy trousers (Clown style rather than harem style), full yellow with brown-black decorative dots and seams.

    9. Bananapant Modiste*

      My bananapants are are bright yollow and oversized, bulging out to the sides, with creases from awkward attempts to walk in them. Add useless fringes of Josephine Baker style little yellow bananas around the waist and both ankles, and large green clown shoes!

      Shoes and fringes constantly catch on each other, making walking absolute H3ll!

    10. Peanut Hamper*

      I always picture very loose, fleece pants. Yellow, with a banana print pattern all over them.

    11. The Dude Abides*

      The only correct answer here is the tuxedo worn by Jesse Cole, owner of the Savannah Bananas.

    12. GlassofMilk*

      I picture more like a costume. so like fluffy holloween costume material, bright yellow, and at the top (waist) there are like the peels flopping down, one on each side and one in the back.
      banana suite – the yellow outfit the guy wears in curious George.

    13. Halia*

      It never occurred to me that anyone would have an actual mental image of bananapants! Hashtag aphantasia things?

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        As anohter aphantasic, I have wondered if bananapants meant pants the colour of bananas or pants with banana print on them, but…the variety of mental images here is amazing. I certainly wasn’t picturing anything.

    14. sb51*

      I don’t really picture anything particularly for this sort of metaphor (I am generally a visual person, just not with metaphors), but if I actually try to make myself do so, it’s either the man in the yellow hat from the Curious George books (the rest of his outfit is also yellow, at least in my memory), or someone in a Carmen Miranda style fruit hat and sparkly over the top outfit to match.

      So… basically my brain mostly rejects the pants part and says BANANA HAT.

    15. sadnstressed*

      smart pair of women’s bright yellow trousers with a neat crease down the centre of each leg, slightly tapered to the ankle
      60’s pants! Perfect

      1. Carol the happy*

        Sigh…My bananapants image is from childhood. And it goes back to a July 4th at a huge swimming party/ cookout.
        One of the “grown” men got very drunk and was obnoxiously pursuing a woman who wasn’t interested. She ignored him, which was obvious even to a 9-year-old. He got more and more desperate, and finally he grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl (doing a stagger-hula.) Then he stuffed it down his swimsuit, kept hula-ing and making odd noises pinching his nose while humming. Finally, he sat down in a lawn chair, but hadn’t arranged the banana for safety. Bananapants was curled up on the ground, fetal position, retching AND WHACKING AT THE BANANA. Retching more. Finally vomiting and (well, my parents got there with extra charcoal and dry ice for rootbeer. I missed seeing the ambulance because they hustled me indoors with the ice.)

        No neat crease in snappy yellow slacks, just a drunk, pathetic nutcake doing the hula. Every time we have homemade rootbeer anywhere, or a banana split, I remember it and since AAM, it’s connected to the (very fitting) word.

        1. Cat Librarian*

          I am dying with laughter! This is the AAM content I come for!! [insert multiple laughing-til-crying emojis]

    16. Jackalope*

      So my images are similar to what others have said – bright yellow clothing with green, grown, and black highlights (but as a part of the fabric, not something extra added). The bit that I see differently is for someone “wearing a full banana ensemble”, I imagine a pair of sunglasses, the cheap plastic kind like what little kids have, only each eye at the corner has a little cartoon banana, maybe dancing or maybe tipping its hat like the Planters peanut rep.

    17. Excel-sior*

      being from the UK, and if a certain age, anything banana related immediately makes me think of Bananaman. in this case, his trousers.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        Bananaman was pretty bananapants wearing at times, like when he created a supervillain because he thought no villains meant he’d be out of a job as a superhero.

    18. Jay*

      I picture a clown in full circus costume and makeup.
      His pants are made to look like bananas with the “stems” poking out from where his pockets would be.
      He is about to be hit by pies.
      A lot of pies.
      ALL the pies.

    19. Phlox*

      I was removing color from a pair of brown sweatpants, and the thread stayed brown but the pants were a light pastel yellow. those were 100% banana pants, but I was planning on dyeing them green because brown sweatpants were not my vibe. I was tempted to keep them yellow because banana pants was a good joke but ultimately green made more actual sense.

    20. Hroethvitnir*

      I *love* your mental image. I would wear those. I imagine literal banana skins as trousers, complete with a sense of the skin being thick and soft/sticky.

        1. Hroethvitnir*

          She is absolutely next level – Asian queens smashing it in general too: currently it’s an All Stars season and Plastique Tiara is incredible (she is Vietnamese-American).

          There are things to be said about the RuPaul-ification of drag and how much money these people sink into it, but it’s still absolutely mind blowing.

          If you’re interested, Googling “Gottmik The Scream” will get you a head to toe rhinestoned dress of said painting, and “Plastique Tiara paint ball” is one of the most stunning outfits I have ever seen. And she made it!

    21. J_crane*

      I remember the show Bananas in Pajamas so I think it would pants that those bananas would wear.

    22. 1LFTW*

      I picture an unimpressive cartoon banana in an unimpressive suit. The banana’s antics are meant to distract people from the fact that bananas are unsuited for most roles in the workplace.

    23. Firefighter (Metaphorical)*

      This is the greatest AAM thread of all time and I thank you for it

    24. Grogu's Mom*

      Huh. I’ve never thought about it too much, but I definitely picture plain black leggings, like what someone would wear underneath a yellow banana costume. But black leggings on their own are not bananapants, only in combination with a banana costume.

    25. Project Maniac-ger*

      It appears I’m in the minority here, but I imagine a banana print, not literal yellow pants. White chino-type pants with bananas all over them and some brown loafers with no socks.

      Lemon prints are all the rage this summer, so maybe fashion trends are influencing me with my banana print pants.

      I have no explanation for the loafers with no socks.

    26. Macropodidae*

      I picture an adult-sized hooded onesie with the dancing Peanut Butter Jelly Time cartoon banana all over them. The banana suit is the same thing but somehow more unhinged. Maybe they’re now barefoot, or ripped off their puffer vest in a rage, or the onesie has a buttflap.

    1. Tradd*

      Right now soaking in a long hot bath with a book on my phone, radio on, tea, and a bagel. Have a bit of work later today. I’ll read and surf the net l day.

      1. Li*

        I tend towards overdoing whenever there is a bit more leisure time. Overdoing food cooking/baking, overdoing doing nothing, overdoing chores. So I’m just making a practiced effort to avoid that. I will try and do a bit of each, which generally makes me feel less miserable and more relaxed. Regular cleaning+ a couple of the more onerous ones. Some reading and napping. Maybe making a new item and/or baking a bit. Going out for a couple of small errands, mostly to go out.

    2. Rara Avis*

      Skipping the parade because it is just too darn hot to be out near asphalt right now. (I’m also worried for the health of the marchers.) going to a party with a pool later.

    3. LemonDrops*

      i’m celebrating my birthday by spending time with fam and friends and i’m doing 1 thing I like on my own

    4. Mitchell Hundred*

      My holiday was on Monday, and I just sat under a tree in the park and read. Finished the novel I was reading and both volumes of My Brother’s Husband. A plus experience, would do again.

    5. Warrior Princess Xena*

      We’ve got nice weather today so I’m going to pull out my inflatable double kayak to make sure it doesn’t have holes in it before heading south to meet up with my SO! If the kayak doesn’t work we’ve got backup plans of crafts and books before watching the local fireworks display.

    6. the cat's ass*

      picking up the house and then the whole fam is making cat toys for a service project.

    7. Serenity by Jan*

      It’s rainy here today, so we went to all you can eat dim sum and took a long nap! Going to either start Ripley or The Acolyte soon. Plus snacks and reading and video game breaks!

    8. Aphrodite*

      It’s almost five now and I have spent the (hot) day indoors with everything shut up so it’s cool. I also decided to use the day to wash ALL the bedding–mattress cover, two sheets, three blankets, a comforter and a summer blanket in order from top to bottom. I’m on my last load and it is going to be so nice to get into a completely fresh bed tonight.

    9. Reluctant Mezzo*

      Was in a 4th of July parade this morning. Loaded up the truck with all the decorative things yesterday, and drove down to the site (no numbers given out, just merry anarchy, so I had to call people on my phone to let them know where I was). We all decorated, went through the parade waving flags and signs, and made it through with losing only one little sign which was inadequately duct taped. Next year we’ll decorate the night before (which will let us know which items are inadequately duct taped etc.) and let me get another hour of sleep.

    1. Apfelmuse*

      I’m right there with you. Listening to the stream now on one ear while working :)

    2. Artemesia*

      That was a surprise wasn’t it? Didn’t think it was possible after he failed to do it last year. Delightful. And they weren’t ‘giving it’ to him. His closest competitor was clearly trying to win it.

      1. My Yo John*

        And what about Germay winning a stage and the green jersey? So nice to see represetation in TdF!

    3. Honor Harrington*

      Loved seeing him get the 35th stage, especially after watching is documentary last week. I’m not sure you can really understand the entire rac watching it on tv, but I love it anyway. Of course, I always wonder if those cyclists have butt calluses from riding so much.

    4. Yorkshire Tea Lady*

      I was prepared to scream him home, but he was so smooth and relaxed – and it was almost like the sprint happened in slow motion.

      Apparently some of the Dutch and Belgian pundits were saying it wouldn’t happen, his metrics weren’t good enough. But with Cav, you can’t measure the important metric – his willpower. Like a mother lifting a truck off her trapped child, the stats would say it can’t be done. But stats aren’t everything…

  4. DogChild*

    UK Peeps – I Voted Thread

    Don’t have to say who for (might be best we don’t) but just throw in an ‘I voted’

    (and say this at a Krispy Kreme to get a free doughnut #notanAd)

    I’ll go first… I voted!

    1. Buni*

      I voted! Alas, no doughnut…

      But I tell you, the polling station (local school) had a big sign on the gates outside that said “Remembered Your ID?” AND there was a official notice on the door AND a big sign as you walked in, and in the queue ahead of me of about 4-5 people three of them got turned away for no ID. I know it’s a pain but I’m honestly don’t know what else they could’ve done…

      1. londonedit*

        AND the top of the polling card says PHOTOGRAPHIC ID IS NOW REQUIRED etc etc.

      2. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I encountered a couple of people arriving at the local school to cast their votes at around 8.45am and being astonished that there were so many children and parents around.

        I’m hearing of people who didn’t realise there was an election until they got their polling cards; and of people who hadn’t retained any of the information and didn’t realise it was today.

        1. londonedit*

          I guess she’s been a bit busy, but apparently Emma Raducanu had no idea the election was today until she was asked about it after her Wimbledon win yesterday. I really don’t understand how anyone could have failed to notice – but a lot of the time that’s how you get people voting for the people I’d rather they didn’t vote for, because they don’t engage with the news at all and just vote for whoever their parents voted for.

          1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

            I know people who might make that mistake, not because they forgot what date the election was, but because they lost track of the current date. One of the odd things about being retired is periodically looking up and saying something like “is it Tuesday?” or “wait, I thought today was the fifth.” I deal with this by looking at the computer on my phone or computer–which highlights the current day–regularly, but first I had to realize it could be a problem.

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          I think people are used to elections being at other times of year – it’s a bit weird to have an election in July, just line it was weird to have the 2019 general election in December. One advantage of the American electoral system is that it’s easier to remember the general election date because it’s always the same month.

          1. londonedit*

            True, and I mentioned on a thread the other day that I’m always baffled by people not knowing when things like bank holidays are, when they happen at the same time every year (Easter notwithstanding, but it can’t just be me who looks up when the Easter weekend is!) and yet I’ve met lots of people who just can’t keep track of it all.

            1. The Prettiest Curse*

              Some people are just really bad with dates. I have to remind my mother of my birthday every year. She only has 2 children, so you think it might be a bit more memorable for her, but no!

            2. Hroethvitnir*

              I never remember! The first fifteen odd of my working life I worked jobs where you don’t get holidays off (in Aotearoa though so always 1.5x and a day in lieu) – and particularly I rather liked working them when vet nursing because it was just caring for the animals and no people with extra pay.

              But yeah, I just don’t have a habit to remember it because it’s not been terribly meaningful.

      3. niknik*

        Huh, do people in UK do not usually carry ID ? I thought that was more of a US thing.

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          Some people will always have their driving license or whatever in their wallet from habit, but there’s no legal or practical requirement to carry ID (and no standard issued ID the way there is in some (continental) European countries). Checks for alcohol sales or whatever is generally ‘if you look under 25’, and if you’re stopped while driving you have 7 days from then to present your license etc at a police station.

        2. londonedit*

          It’s also the first General Election where photo ID has been required at the polling station, and despite there having been campaigns to raise awareness of the fact, you’re always going to have people who remain oblivious.

          1. Project Maniac-ger*

            Pump the brakes – the 2024 election was the first time British people had to show ID TO VOTE?!?!

            I’m internally screaming in American.

            1. Goldfeesh*

              Until just the past decade we didn’t have to show ID in the US either. It’s a new thing here too.

              1. Lady Alys*

                And that varies by state – in my state you need to show ID only if you are registering.

    2. londonedit*

      I sent off my postal vote ages ago – definitely have a bit of FOMO about not going to the polling station and doing it in person but at least it’s done! Sadly I am currently nowhere near a Krispy Kreme outlet, though.

      1. The Magician's Auntie*

        Postal Vote here too. I had minor surgery this morning so it’s not a voting day for me. In bed with Sewing Bee.

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          Ooh yesterday’s sewing Bee was a great episode. Hope the op went well.
          I also sent a postal vote as am on holiday this week. It almost didn’t arrive in time and I had to email the council to check if I could pick up a ballot paper on Friday. I’m in one of the main swing seats so keen to ensure my vote counted!

          1. The Magician's Auntie*

            Thank you!
            Yes, loved Marcus’s weird 6-pack tube!
            Hope your holiday is going well.

    3. Reb*

      I voted!

      It was a bit of a faff because I moved and even though I registered at the new address before the deadline it hasn’t been processed yet, so I had to go to the polling station where I used to live. But I did it!

    4. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I voted!

      I am in a constituency for which the prediction flips between *three* parties depending who you ask. I think realistically it’s between two (the other relies on 2019 which is a very long time ago politically). Whoever wins will be brand new to Westminster. It’s moderately interesting.

      Spouse is planning to stay up to watch the more interesting declarations. I’m going to watch exit polls then go to bed, though I may permit him to wake me at 326 or for any interesting Portillo moments. I will not struggle to sleep through the sound of the TV.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        The boundary changes are the wild card of this election. My mum lives in a constituency that is usually a safe Tory seat, but now includes a different town. The candidates this time include representatives of both Rejoin.EU and the Communist Party of Great Britain. I’m impressed that they managed to find two non-conservatives in the whole local area, so we’ll see what happens!

    5. Audrey Puffins*

      I haven’t voted yet, but I do get to act as a proxy for two family members, so I am looking forward to voting THREE TIMES this evening!

    6. NeonFireworks*

      I voted! Not working today so I went at 11:30am. There was no queue and hardly anybody about. I’ve never had such an easy time of it.

    7. Hornswoggler*

      I voted! Hoping that the minor party for which I’m an activist retains its deposit this time. I was actually the candidate in the 2019 election – a brilliant experience.

      I shall be attending the count tonight and staying up till the result is announced, which was about 5am last time. Going via the Trose to get in some top quality snacks to keep us going.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        The projection based on individual constituency predictions for voting and declarations is that the 326th will be announced at around 4am. I hope you get at least that extra hour of sleep.

      2. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

        Ooh I wonder if that’s the same I or party that I am a member of, we have 4 candidates standing this time.

      3. Jean (just Jean)*

        Off-topic but can you tell me more about your AAM name? I was under the impression that hornswoggle was a term from the rural U.S. (American here). But come to think of it, lots of British, Scottish, and English folk settled in the rural U.S. and certainly brought their language with them. Maybe I need to check the Oxford English Dictionary.

    8. SarahKay*

      I’ll be voting after work.

      I have not one, but two alarms set on my phone to make absolutely sure I don’t forget. Not that I think it’s likely, but I used to vote on my way to work. I’ve now moved and the polling station is in the opposite direct to my bus stop; as I’m very much not a morning person I wasn’t willing to get up the 20 minutes earlier that I would have needed to in order to vote before work.

      1. Buni*

        I did kinda forget, but a) someone put a big notice up on tumblr so I was reminded when I logged on, and b) I’m literally across the road from the polling station so I would’ve seen it when I go to work at 5:30pm and voted on the way back.

    9. No donut for me - yet*

      I tried this morning before work but I’m new to the area and google map does not match the actual polling station location. Google has it back from street and before the roundabout but in reality it’s well past the roundabout. Saw it as I drove to work so will try again tonight. Now I want a donut!

    10. Mitchell Hundred*

      What I’m curious about is: how far away from Wales do you have to get before people start mispronouncing Plaid Cymru?

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        I can pronounce it correctly, even though I’m some distance away from Wales. I did grow up close enough to Wales that our TV aerial picked up Welsh-language TV. However, I’d be hard-pressed to pronounce the name of their current leader Rhun ap Iorwerth, even though I think his name is totally awesome and sounds like it should belong someone defending a medieval Welsh castle from the marauding English instead of a mild-mannered member of the Senned.

        1. Mitchell Hundred*

          I’m not from there, but with my rudimentary Welsh I could take a stab at it. The “Rh” sound, I think, is kind of like a horse blowing air out of its nose. The “U” is like “ee.” “Ap” is like “app”, the thing for phones. The surname I’d guess is something like “Ee-orr-wearr-th.” You’ve gotta roll the rs in Welsh.

          That’s my best guess, from halfway around the world.

    11. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

      I just want to say I envy your short election season and hope you get the best possible results.

      Also, I didn’t know Krispy Kreme had invaded Britain!

      1. londonedit*

        Oh god yes, we’ve had Krispy Kreme for years. They have little doughnut cabinets in Tesco supermarkets even.

      2. The Prettiest Curse*

        We also now have Subway and Wendy’s. There are only a few national American food chains that haven’t yet made it across the pond.

        1. bamcheeks*

          My head absolutely translates Wendy’s to Wimpy. I cannot believe they are anything different.

        2. Seashell*

          I didn’t know about those or Krispy Kreme being there either! I did read that Subway has a crazy amount of total locations, but I didn’t have any idea where they all were.

      3. Storm in a teacup*

        I think Popeyes has even made it here
        Sadly for me no Trader Joes yet or Cheesecake Factory (which I want purely for that rye bread and their carrot cake and red velvet cheesecakes)

        1. londonedit*

          Yep there’s a Popeye’s on my local high street. I don’t eat chicken so I remain baffled by its popularity.

    12. PX*

      Alas, I cannot vote* but have seen lots of pubs offering free pints to voters and did not know getting a Krispy Kreme was a thing!

      Mostly looking forward to the obligatory “dogs at polling stations” article from BBC tomorrow.

      *Taxation without representation truly is annoying. Probably one of the few things I can agree on America’s founding people about. Instead I still make the effort to vote in my European countries elections which make absolutely 0 difference to my life, but y’know, civic duty and all that.

      1. Spartacus Bagel's Wife*

        the Guardian live coverage is almost entirely dogs at polling stations.

        with bonus non- dog animals

        1. Storm in a teacup*

          As an ex-NHS employee I cannot believe I’m saying this, but Jeremy Hunt’s dog is so cute. Just seen him leaving number 11 with the family and the dog is adorable

      2. SarahKay*

        Obligatory ‘“dogs at polling stations” article from BBC’ is already up: the article is titled “In pictures: Snake and a horse join dogs at polling stations”. Plus that page has a link to a previous article, a very sweet story about the time someone’s pet chicken wandered into the polling station.

        1. PX*

          Ahahaha I feel like whoever captioned the article must have been having so much fun :D

        2. The Prettiest Curse*

          If anyone is wondering, our election day news coverage is largely party leaders voting plus animals (and Daleks) at polling stations because there are legal restrictions on what the UK media can report while the polls are open.

      3. Venus*

        I brought my dog to my polling station years ago and made the horrible mistake of tying her up inside while I voted. She was fine, I was fine, but I learned next time that I had robbed those first election workers of dog time because I was told to bring her in and she was so popular that we got requests for visits from around the room. I always bring her now, and I gave them a really good laugh a couple years ago when I showed them my heavily chewed election card.

    13. Ladybird*

      I voted!
      And now I’m really annoyed that my nearest Krispy Kreme is a many-hour drive away!

      Ah well, I’m in a super marginal constituency so hopefully, my vote will actually do some good!

    14. Unkempt Flatware*

      Man…you all are saying so many things I know are English words but…

      1. londonedit*

        Yep, that’s how we feel 99% of the time when Americans are talking about politics.

    15. Yorkshire Tea Lady*

      I voted by post last week.

      I didn’t do a pic of a dog at the polling station, but I snapped my guinea pigs with the envelope!

      1. Storm in a teacup*

        Ooops sorry!
        I think a couple of mine strayed the line (although racking my brains on what else I put on my snacks for watching the results chat). Was already a glass of vino in so who knows!

  5. Miette*

    Today I read the most wonderful July 4 story about the complete joy (/s) of having a neighbor that loves to indulge in fireworks at this time of year. I shall post the link in a reply. I hope it makes it through and that you all–especially the pet-owners–enjoy.

        1. My Cabbages!*

          I’m not a fan of overly obnoxious firework displays myself (especially when someone is being a jerk about them) but having been around Tumblr long enough to encountered Gallus many times—of all the things that never happened, this definitely never happened the hardest

      1. Chauncy Gardener*

        Omg I ADORE this!! I very much wish it would happen to my neighbor, who, year round, decides to let off fireworks on random evenings. This PTSD vet and her dog do not appreciate this at all.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        This honestly cheered me up when I thought nothing could. Maybe Divine intervention can save us yet!

    1. Prudence and Wakeen Snooter Theatre for the Performing Oats*

      I await that link with eagerness, having been woken up by the idiothole who was setting off fireworks at 6am…

    2. Not like a regular teacher*

      PSA for anyone that will be experiencing loud, brightly-coloured explosions today: if you come across a lost pet, your phone can probably read its microchip. Google “your phone type” + nfc tag.

      Love, a Canadian who learned this the hard way last weekend (the pup in question has been returned to her people!)

      1. sagewhiz*

        Thank you for this awesome info!

        Now, anyone want a newborn, def unchipped kitten abandoned by its mom? Had heard it mewing for at least four days from the crawlspace under my bungalow, this morning had come out enough for me to snag it. Barely bigger than my hand. It is obviously the SECOND progeny of a male that moved in, that the Humane Society swore had already been neutered before I took him to be snipped. Thankfully, the other mama is still nursing the two kits she had a couple of months ago so was able to get it to nurse. Humane Society’s going to get an earful after the holiday weekend.

    3. Lenora Rose*

      On Monday (Canada Day, also often Fireworks heavy) I was deeply amused, lying in bed*, to hear the first few fireworks of the night pop off despite the rain… and stop. About 2 minutes later there was a brilliant flash, and near immediate thunder.

      Sorry, fireworks folks, Mother Nature’s got you beat for dramatic lights on this go-around.

      *Sunset is after 9 PM and the sky is light until 10 at this time of year. We live near enough a major formal Firework locale that we get all the sound and some of the light, and it would only take walking a handful of blocks to get a passable version of the show.

      1. AnonInCanada*

        Around where I live, fireworks went off every night during the long weekend. Not like I care, I’m a pretty heavy sleeper and catching the displays from out on my balcony was enlightening, to make a pun out of it. But I’m sure light sleepers didn’t care much for the non-stop boom-boom at midnight or later.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          I know there was some Saturday night, too, but a bit more distant – or smaller – and we were awake anyhow. It did take me a minute to figure out why I was hearing it since June 29th doesn’t come to mind as a Holiday.

    4. Rara Avis*

      People started setting theirs off last night, and when I went to bed it smelled like someone had started a grass fire.

    5. Harrowhark*

      I would love to know if her Cletus of a neighbor learned his lesson. Or even if he actually got fined.

    6. Ghostlight*

      This an absolutely glorious. There’s a chance of rain here in the 8pm and 9pm hours and it will make me so happy. My poor pup was a mess from one of the local legal shows last night but I could do without a repeat. Also hoping for karmic retribution for the folks who set the semi legal and illegal ones off in my neighborhood as well.

  6. Hi from NY*

    There is a teacher in my son’s school that has been a huge positive influence on him and our family. “Jane” has risen up the school’s ladder and despite now has high ranking administrative position she still visits her students.

    We recently heard through a Facebook post that Jane has a serious medical situation and will have a rough remaining 2024. Fyi I became friends with Jane on facebook When she was not my son’s teacher and we used Facebook as a form of communication for a school wide project. I don’t think many know about her situation. We’re good acquaintances but not friends.

    Would it be inappropriate to send a care package to her? If it matters with shipping it would cost around $60. Our family’s only thought is to finally be able to do something nice for Jane. I keep thinking it’s a “gifting up” or overstepping.

    1. Dawn*

      I’m bot sure, but I know what you mean. Maybe something less intensive than a care package? Would a food delivery gift certificate seem less of an overstep?

    2. RagingADHD*

      It’s a lovely idea. Just ask if she can accept it. Some states have limits on the value of gifts that teachers or school officials can accept from families of students, and it may or may not apply in your current situation.

      1. We’re Six*

        I wouldn’t consider it a gifting up situation (and I also think that “never ever give your boss a gift ever!!!” can have nuance). But like RagingADHD said, first find out about any possible rules teachers or school officials regarding gifts from students and families. This sounds like a really sweet idea though. I hope Jane is okay!

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I think it’s a bit odd, though I can’t put my finger on why.

      You could absolutely contact her with your good wishes though, and offer a care package (or equivalent relevant charitable donation) if she would like.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        It’s the shipping cost that’s throwing me. I get the sentiment and I approve whole-heartedly about sending a care package, but I can’t help but wonder why it costs that much. Is this person in a different country now? A different continent? Is this item refrigerated/frozen? I’m trying to think what could be in a care package that could cost that much to ship and my brain is bogging down.

        But it’s a lovely sentiment, and I encourage you to reach out, at the very least. Ask how they are doing and if there is anything they need or would like.

    4. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I think it would be a very thoughtful thing to do. You are good acquaintances and she has serious health issues to deal with over the coming months. Long periods of poor health take their toll, for sure, and it’s nice to use a nurturing gift when you can. Chiller packs/hot water bottles/ ginger tea/ peppermints, fingerless gloves, weighted sleep mask – all useful and comforting!

      1. Hi from NY*

        Thank you for the care package suggestions. We are going to send a lot of things for her entertainment!

    5. Blarg*

      Send a card. Go from there.

      “We were sorry to hear about X, our whole family is thinking of you.”

      If you hear back, perhaps send a gift. If not, she may not be in a spot for it, but she def appreciated the card.

      – cancer patient

    6. Anonymous cat*

      I think it would be kind.

      It might feel a little unusual but you could include a card saying something about how you have a spot in your heart for her because of how she was good to your kid and you’re wishing her the best in these times.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Yeah, I think if you make it about her relationship with your child and how special that was, you’ll feel less weird about it (but I don’t think you have to feel weird about it regardless!).

    7. Rara Avis*

      I don’t see anything wrong with it, especially since she’s not your son’s teacher. There’s someone at my school fighting very serious cancer. She didn’t publicize her go fund me but some parent got wind of it, shared it to various parent groups, and it’s now well over the goal.

    8. Roland*

      She’s not your boss so it’s not gifting up. I think it would be very kind of you to send something if you feel moved to do so.

    9. Carollee*

      As a teacher this would make me extremely uncomfortable, though I’d certainly do my best not to let that show to the giver of the gift. I think sending your good wishes would be fine, but actual gifts would be crossing a line.

      1. Ali + Nino*

        But she’s not the kid’s teacher anymore (if I read that correctly), does that change the equation?

      2. Kiki Is The Most*

        Also a teacher, and respectfully disagree. At least a card (or giftcard?) from the family expressing well-wishes is a most lovely kindness.

    10. just a random teacher*

      I think that $60 is over the gift limit in state ethics code here. (I believe it’s either $25 or $50, but can’t recall because I’ve never had a gift from someone work-related that was more than a $10 gift card.) Not sure if all state have similar rules, but teachers fall under public employee rules here about not being allowed to accept gifts of monetary value. (Technically, we’re not even supposed to accept things like teacher discounts at stores unless they are “widely available to the public” or we’re using the discount to purchase items for our classroom, but I suspect that is broadly ignored given how often I see businesses advertising those in our state.)

      1. Lenora Rose*

        It’s a bit unclear in the description, but I had the impression their son is not taught by this person nor can this person influence grades (depending what level of senior admin; I know here a principal could, in theory, but a superintendent or director could not).

    11. InstructionsNeeded*

      I have gotten several well meaning but unexpected gifts either when dealing with medical issues or deaths in my family. In nearly all cases retrieving the gift and/or using the gift was stressful and either difficult or impossible. In one case I ended up trapped in my apartment until I could arrange for someone to come and move a box that was left in front of my apartment door blocking the doorway. I’ve had people send items I am allergic to and also perishable items I did not receive until they were moldy and gross because of the way accessible access to mailed packages works here. I need to know about packages and be able to tell a person either thank you but no or thank you, send it this way or it will be a stressful mess.

      So at a minimum ask them if they want what you want to send and, if so, the best way to send it.

      1. NancyDrew*

        This is…very odd and atypical. Sorry you had those experiences but I suspect you’re an outlier.

        1. InstructionsNeeded*

          Apartment + disability is not in the 80%, but it’s not insanely rare either. And many people seem to expect that folks gave tracking for incoming packages these days and write that into their processes by doing things like no longer providing arrival notifications. Surprise package may mean package that’s never picked up in many cases. And for folks who do know, having to figure out how to go pick up a package from the leasing office or mailroom or wherever they’re stored while on bed rest or unable to carry any weight or whatever medical restrictions are in place likely won’t happen.

          Surprise packages are just not good idea when someone is dealing with medical issues, even if my exact circumstances which exacerbate this aren’t duplicated.

    12. Storm in a teacup*

      I think a e-gift certificate for something that can deliver and will be practical but a treat like Wholefoods. That way you don’t shell out for shipping and easier for her to use as needed. Maybe check if there is a maximum limit you can spend before she has to declare it (although if your kids no longer at her school you may be ok).
      Most important thing is to include a note of appreciation I think – as others have said

    1. SC*

      I feel you. A student of mine almost collapsed Tuesday afternoon, so I was in her immediate vicinity for an extended period, assessing and stabilizing her. I didn’t think to go grab a mask. She was seen by a provider later that day and yup – her “just a cold” was COVID. Still trying to enjoy the holiday wknd with some family while we’re all masking and I’m quarantining in the guest room. Here’s hoping all the vaccines I’ve taken carry me through!

  7. Susan Calvin*

    Non-Americans working today thread! :P

    What do you all have in terms of national holiday traditions? Are you also celebrating independence from the British (statistically likely) or someone else? Something else entirely?

    1. londonedit*

      Us English don’t really have any national holiday traditions. It’s all a bit messy because there have been times in recent history where anything patriotically English has been co-opted by the far right, so we tend to just keep quiet about it for fear of being thought of as racist oiks (football notwithstanding, but even then we have an image problem despite years of work by football clubs and fan groups and the FA). So that’s not a very positive answer for you! But we don’t really have a day like the US does where it’s about having a barbecue and fireworks and whatnot. Probably because the weather’s rubbish – we do our fireworks in November when it’s meant to be dark and cold anyway!

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        I would suggest that Guy Fawkes (November fireworks) is a very culturally significant festival for many English communities.

        1. londonedit*

          True, I suppose I was thinking of things we get a day off for (what I’d term a proper holiday!) and none of those are for anything cultural, they’re mostly just relics from a more religious past.

        2. tangerineRose*

          I think November is a *much* better time of the year to have fireworks in the upper hemisphere. There must be a lot less fire risk.

          1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

            I mean, we also deliberately have enormous bonfires.

            The Fire & Rescue Service is always busy that night, but not nearly as busy as they would be in July.

            Bear in mind also that it doesn’t get remotely dark until after 10pm here at this time of year, whereas in November you can start fireworks at 5.30pm in pitch black.

      2. Lexi Vipond*

        St Andrew’s Day is technically a public holiday in Scotland now, but no one really takes it, never mind celebrates it – if you want to do Scottish Things, you wait for Burns Night, or just do them. I can’t really see that changing if we were independent.

        May Day might be the English holiday to the extent that there is one – I know some people who get up early to go morris dancing, and there’s whatever goes on in Oxford. But it’s all fairly niche.

        1. EvilQueenRegina*

          The times it fell on a weekday when I was at university in St Andrews, I can remember us getting the day off classes but my ex’s friend who was studying in Dundee still had classes.

      3. DogChild*

        Guy Fawkes/Bonfire Night springs to mind. Love a good effigy burning /jk

        And up in my parts, we celebrate Whit Friday with parades and an international brass band competition.

    2. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

      Canadian here. We had our holiday Monday, and it’s kind of independence from the British but not really? (The King’s still on our money…)

      But I’m a dual US-Canadian citizen. In past years I was pining for the July 4th celebrations of my childhood–parades (our small suburb had/has a wonderful one, and I spent many years helping build neighbourhood floats or being in the parade for various reasons), picnics, fireworks. This year, I’m just sad. And angry.

      1. Caramel & Cheddar*

        Yes, Canada Day is more “we’ve become an official country as opposed to an overseas territory but we’re keeping the head of state” but I wouldn’t call it an independence-from-the-British day either.

      2. Bella Ridley*

        Canada is, of course, a fully independent and sovereign nation, of which the UK holds no oversight. The King appears on our money in his role as king of Canada, entirely separate and distinct from his role as the monarch of other nations.

        1. Lenora Rose*

          This is accurate – but it’s hard to conceptualize when it’s literally the same person.

          1. Lexi Vipond*

            I once knew someone who had recently met the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, who was recognised as a head of state (despite not actually having a state, in any physical sense) by various other heads of state, including (at that point) the Queen of Canada, but not including the Queen of the United Kingdom.

      3. Mitchell Hundred*

        Some people would say that Canada’s true independence day is April 17, 1982 (when we officially got a capital C Constitution).

        1. AnonInCanada*

          Except Quebec, of course. :-(. They have their “national” holiday June 24 (Ste. Jean Baptiste Day), and “celebrate” Canada Day by grumbling about independence.

          1. Mitchell Hundred*

            Oh, of course. I always say “Canada” with the assumption that people know I mean “Canada minus Quebec.”

          2. sunny days are better*

            There are many Quebecers who feel very connected to Canada and want nothing to do with all of the independence nonsense that Just. Will. Not. Go. Away.

    3. Irish Teacher.*

      I think everybody knows Ireland’s national holiday, St. Patrick’s day.

      About two years ago, we added an additional public holiday for St. Brigid’s day/traditional start of Spring, so the first Monday of February. That isn’t really a national holiday though. Just wanted to mention it.

      Interestingly, we don’t really have a national holiday for independence from the British, though the 1916 Rising is commemorated every year on Easter Sunday. The Rising began on Easter Monday and Easter was late April that year, so we actually commemorated the centenary about a month early, but it is very much associated with Easter whereas most people would not know the exact date, plus the headquarters was right on Dublin’s main street so it makes sense to have the commemorations on a day when everything is closed.

      But that is just a commemoration in Dublin, not something individuals necessarily do anything for.

    4. Serenity by Jan*

      I am not non-American, but after the last week here, I’m choosing to celebrate National Caesar Salad Day instead!

      1. CL*

        Agree with the sentiment and appreciate the irony of celebrating a salad invented in Mexico.

        1. Chocolate Teapot*

          Luxembourg’s national day was last month. As in the UK the ruler, a Grand Duke in our case, has an official birthday, so there is always a big party with fireworks the night before.

            1. Chocolate Teapot*

              There’s only one Grand Duchy in the world and it’s us!

              In a shock announcement His Royal Highness decided to make his eldest son Lieutenant-Representative, which is the first stage in the transition to a new ruler.

          1. londonedit*

            We don’t even get a day off for the King’s birthday! In England our public holidays are January 1st, Good Friday, Easter Monday, the first and last Mondays in May, the last Monday in August, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. That’s it! So we’re currently in the long stretch between the end of May and the end of August, and then there’s nothing between the end of August and Christmas.

            1. The Prettiest Curse*

              Yeah, we need more public holidays in the UK. I’m hoping they will make Windrush Day a holiday at some point, not least because it would be a marmalade-dropper for the Reform UK brigade.

            2. Irish Teacher.*

              In Ireland, we have January 1st, the first Monday in February, St. Patrick’s day, Easter Monday, the first Monday in May, the first Monday in June, first Monday of August, last Monday of October, Christmas day and St. Stephen’s day.

            3. Lexi Vipond*

              We’ve got January 1st and 2nd, one of Good Friday and Easter Monday but I can’t remember which (you generally get both or neither regardless), first Monday in May, last Monday in May (unless you’re in Edinburgh or West Lothian or (I think) Dundee in which case you have the third Monday instead (unless you’re one of the West Lothian ex-mining villages that takes the day after its gala day instead of *that* and has a May holiday in June)), first Monday in August, theoretically 30th November (but I’ve never heard of anyone except the courts and Scottish government actually doing it), Christmas Day and Boxing Day. I think.

              1. The Magician's Auntie*

                I’ve lived in Scotland for about 10 years and I am still confused by Scottish holidays.

            4. Tired Librarian*

              August to Christmas always feels so painfully long! Thankfully I have an October holiday planned this year which should break things up nicely…

    5. I should really pick a name*

      Canada does fireworks (though some places are starting to do drone light shows instead).

      I personally don’t do anything (though I’ll tag along if friends invite me to watch fireworks.

      Canada Day is July 1, so July 4 is when we catch up on work for our US customers that fell behind when we were off for Canada Day.

    6. amoeba*

      Switzerland: August 1st. Basically decided at some point around 1900 we need a national holiday, it’s August 1st and doesn’t really celebrate anything in particular! I mean, there’s a letter about the founding of the first union of cantons in the 13th century, but that’s just ‘beginning of August’. It also wasn’t widely celebrated/a day off until the 80s or so.

      So yeah, basically they just wanted a party and I respect that! There’s fireworks, either on the day or the night before, and some official stuff. We also tend to have a quite big and international party along the Rhine at night in my city.
      I love it – great date for a day off, especially as it’s the day after my birthday!

    7. bamcheeks*

      god I wish “independence from the British” was an option in our general election. >_<

    8. BermyBeepBeep*

      Here in Bermuda we live for holidays!
      Good Friday kite flying
      Bermuda Day – May 24 – parade, etc
      National Hero’s Day in June
      Cup Match – ostensibly Emancipation Day and Mary Prince Day, but really it’s a 2 day cricket match between 2 clubs at each end of the island, held the last Thursday and Friday in July. Obviously St. George’s is the best, although we’ve been lulling Somerset into a false sense of security by losing for the past 13 years.
      That’s in addition to Labor Day, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years Day… I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

      1. Susan Calvin*

        Oh I love that, I want to have a kite holiday!

        Can’t say I understand cricket but that one also sounds delightful :)

    9. Janne*

      I’m Dutch. We celebrate our King on his birthday, King’s Day, which is April 27th. We celebrate with free parties in every city center and every neigborhood, with traditional games for the kids and beer and music for the adults. In cities that have canals, we go on boat rides with decorated boats (in orange). Everyone wears orange. And a big tradition is selling all your old stuff on a blanket in a park or just on the sidewalk. My city has a huge “blanket market” on King’s Day. Children play music, sell cupcakes and bracelets, but adults also have blankets with clothes, records, tools, games, and so on. I always find new boardgames and puzzles, often for like €1.

      We celebrate the end of World War II on May 5th with ceremonies and then free festivals. We commemorate all the people who suffered from any war on May 4th.

      Another typical thing is that we celebrate the second day of a couple Christian holidays and most people have a day off: Easter Monday, Pentecost Monday, and the 26th of December. People tend to go shopping for furniture on Easter or Pentecost Monday, and they go visit the in-laws on Second Christmas Day.

    10. Troubadour*

      In New Zealand we have Waitangi Day celebrating the Treaty signed at Waitangi between the British Crown and [many of] the Māori chiefs. Like many treaties with Indigenous peoples it has been largely honoured in the breach, and for some years even Waitangi Day was renamed as New Zealand Day, and the current government is now even trying to unilaterally redefine what the Treaty means, and, well. But at least it’s a day to celebrate the *aspiration*….

    11. Yet Another Traffic Engineer*

      In Australia our national holiday is called Australia Day, and commemorates when the British first landed on Australia to start up a colony. It’s on the 26th of January (which is summer here).

      Traditionally there’s barbecues and fireworks (put on by the city, we can’t buy our own fireworks here) and hanging out at the beach / by the pool and until a few years ago there was a very popular countdown of the previous year’s 100 best songs on the radio.

      As you can imagine, in recent years it’s grown less popular for political reasons, but we should probably refrain from further comment as Alison has asked for no politics.

      1. An Australian in London*

        Some years ago, I was surprised to learn that it is significantly faster, easier, cheaper, and less regulated in Australia to legally purchase, store, and set off 50 kg (110 lbs) of TNT than it is to do the same with a single firework.

        So, for my fellow Aussies feeling some fireworks envy, may I suggest an explosives license instead.

        HOWEVER, be advised that this may result in you being turned away from the USA border, as a standard visa question asks if you have had any “skills or training, such as firearms, explosives, nuclear, biological, or chemical experience”. As with all border security questions, resist any urges to be funny or overly precise.

    12. Zeus*

      In Aotearoa we had a day off for Matariki last Friday! It’s the Māori new year, in relation to the emergence of the Matariki star cluster (also known as Subaru, Pleiades, or Seven Sisters in other places).

      We also have other national holidays such as: Waitangi Day, commemorating the signing of The Tiriti o Waitangi/the Treaty of Waitangi, a controversial founding document; and ANZAC Day, commemorating a specific battle in WWII, which is now used to honour everyone lost in any wars.

    13. allathian*

      I’m in Finland and we celebrate our Independence Day on December 6. Finland declared independence from Russia on Dec 6, 1917. We took advantage of the chaos following the Communist revolution.

      The President holds a Ball to which prominent Finns from various walks of life are invited, as well as MPs, Government ministers, and diplomats. The television broadcast has the highest ratings year after year, last year the top viewership reached 3.1 million, which is a lot given our total population of 5.6 million.

      Many people put blue-and-white candles on their windowsills.

    14. Lucy Van Pelt*

      Here in Israel, the Jewish holidays are national holidays. (Christians and Muslims get off from work and school in their own holidays and the celebrations are felt in towns and neighborhoods with predominantly Muslim or Christian populations.)
      As for secular observances, on Holocaust Remembrance Day and on Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers, a siren sounds and the country comes to a halt as everyone stands in silence for one or two minutes.
      Memorial Day segues directly into Independence Day at sunset, with sad songs giving way to upbeat marches at a televised ceremony where 12 prominent citizens are selected each year to light torches. There is a big dance performance, and the military flag-bearers do marching-band-like formations.
      There are fireworks and in some places, street parties. The following day, which is Independence Day proper, is a time for barbecuing.
      Things were different this year because of the war, but that’s the usual template.

  8. Catwhisperer*

    Hey neurodivergent folks, what’s your preferred way to screen for neurodivergent-friendly management during the hiring process? I’m usually very open about being very direct and needing my manager to also have a direct communication style, but that only covers some of it.

    For context:
    I have specific accommodations around getting feedback, but whenever my manager is frustrated he doesn’t follow them and it ends up triggering a meltdown. This manager has a neurodivergent child and has gone to great lengths to do trainings, etc., so it’s extra shocking and hurtful when he doesn’t follow my most important accommodation.

    I’m currently job searching and am worried that I will end up in a similar situation if I don’t screen future managers better. I’m lucky enough to be in a situation where I can be picky, so I’m fine with asking questions or sharing information that result in me being screened out of the hiring process. I’ve thought about being upfront about my neurdivergence in interviews for that reason, but I wonder if that’s the right approach.

    1. Rebecca*

      No advice, just sympathy. I also had a manager with an ND kid (same diagnosis, but of course all people are different) who didn’t seem to get my ND characteristics or grant me any grace when I was having trouble cosplaying a non-ND person. I get the “dude, you know what’s going on here!” feeling of frustration.

      I haven’t found that being upfront ever benefitted me. My current job, it came up in the interview, but I am pretty sure that my manager has forgotten. I work in cross-functional teams, and I didn’t share with the team. I am anticipating a job offer soon, and I am undecided on how or whether to disclose. I’m leaning toward sharing characteristics (I’m direct, I need you to be direct, I’m literal, etc.) and seeing how that goes.

      Would you mind sharing what you have asked for in terms of accommodation? In the past, I have asked that feedback be shared quickly after something happens and be specific about the problem (wait, you say, that’s not an accommodation, that’s just good practice, and you are not wrong), but I was not successful in getting that in place.

      1. Catwhisperer*

        Sometimes I wonder if my boss’s reluctance to follow my accommodations is actually because he has an ND kid, either bc I have lower support needs so he doesn’t think they’re as valid or bc he really doesn’t want to believe that ND traits don’t just go away in adulthood.

        The accommodation that isn’t being followed is that he’s supposed to provide feedback virtually (we’re hybrid) and send me a written version beforehand, but every time we’re in the office and he’s frustrated he asks me to have a “quick sync,” which inevitably ends up with him saying I’ve intentionally done something wrong (when I haven’t) and me having a full on meltdown. It’s frustrating, because it makes me seem like I’m not open to feedback when I actually do want it, just not in a way that triggers an unproductive meltdown. And since he knows what will happen it’s getting to the point where it feels like he’s doing it on purpose to punish me.

        1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

          Can you interrupt the sequence – when he says he wants a “quick sync” you ask whether this is feedback that should be going through your accommodation process before he continues? Or has “quick sync” already become a triggering phrase?

          1. Catwhisperer*

            I need to practice saying something like that, or learning to decline these ad hoc syncs. I’ve shared with him that I feel uncomfortable declining because of the power differential and asked him to stop, but he believes he has “manager discretion” to do them whenever he wants.

            1. Rebecca*

              What if you brought it up with him outside of a time that he is asking for a quick sync? In the moment, it’s too hard to address, but at a different, calmer time, it might be easier.

              Bc the thing is, he does not have the discretion to ignore an accommodation. It might be his preference to send written feedback, but it’s hardly an undue hardship.

              How did you get the accommodation, that is, did you go through HR? I would loop back to them, or loop them in if you haven’t already. Take a problem solving approach, like, how can we make sure my accommodation is being followed? Don’t go in accusatory.

              I actually asked for feedback to be in writing at a past job. I forgot about that. It’s been so long that I can’t remember how that worked out.

              1. Catwhisperer*

                Unfortunately this has come up several times and I’ve already asked him to stop during calmer moments, but every time he claims it’s “manager discretion.”

                I went through a formal accommodations process with him and HR that was itself a nightmare – HR scheduled me an appointment with an occupational health provider so I could get a referral to a neurodivergence accommodation evaluation service my company paid for, then HR decided that the accommodations the service recommended weren’t “real” accommodations because they were just “ways of working” recommended by the service and not signed off on by occupational health, which I only found out after my boss did this whole “quick check-in” thing the first time (after he’d already agreed to the feedback in writing/virtual feedback setup) and I flagged that my accommodations weren’t being following to HR. Then HR spent weeks refusing to schedule a second occupational health appointment to get the accomodations formalized, so I had to loop in the neurodiversity group at my work and someone in HR several levels above the person who was managing my case. When I finally did get a second occupational health appointment, I showed them the report from the service and a report from my psychiatrist backing it up and they immediately agreed that all the suggestions were reasonable and real accommodations. It took almost a year to get everything finalized.

                I’ve already looped in HR about this happening again, but at this point it’s a clear pattern of my boss only following my accommodations when it’s convenient and I’m currently on mental health leave because of it. I doubt that HR will be any more helpful this time than they were last time, so that’s one of many reasons I’m looking for another job.

        2. Agnes Grey*

          Oh, what a smart idea for an accommodation. I hope you’re able to get him back on track. No suggestions to offer, I’m afraid, just tons of sympathy.

        3. Abigail*

          Respectfully, I don’t think it’s fair to assume his motives to this degree. Deciding that he is doing this because he is actually struggling with his ND child is really unfair to him and to you. It could be an honest mistake or it could be some other motivation unknown to you.

          It doesn’t really matter WHY he isn’t following the accommodations. It only matters that he is not.

          1. Rebecca*

            “Respectfully, I don’t think it’s fair to assume his motives to this degree”

            I agree with this. As ND people, we are also capable of what’s called attribution error, which means we attribute the wrong cause to someone’s actions. I know it’s hard, but try to grant him the same grace that you want from him: assume positive intent and that he’s not doing things wrong maliciously. That’s the case for you, right? So it could be the case for him.

            1. Catwhisperer*

              This is fair. I think it’s that in my mind he should “know better” because of his personal experiences, so my brain wants to come up with a reasonable justification for his actions. But at the end of the day you and Abigail are right, it doesn’t matter why it’s happening, only that it’s happening.

        4. Geoff*

          Have you considered that some feedback is near-impossible to give in written version beforehand?

          Or, thinking how to phrase the problem and what you might have done differently, in writing, in a way that will result in meaningful change – that might just take so long to do that it would cause a problem for the manager to get their own work done?

          They might be doing you a kindness – they are trying to put things in writing, but there are situations where there is a tradeoff.

          If they give you verbal feedback when the cost to write down steps is too great, you are frustrated, but the time is preserved.

          If they give you written feedback, they may have to have a conversation with HR about the accommodation not being reasonable to do (since it affects other work) and start the exit process.

    2. Ms. Murchison*

      What if you framed it around wanting to know how the boss handles giving feedback, without mentioning neurodivergence? Ask the boss how they handle feedback and if they’re open to employees’ requests for specific approaches that they’ve learned best ensure a positive outcome for them personally?
      As much as I wish it was safe to be open about neurodivergence in the workplace, I’d stay away from mentioning it in an interview. As I understand it, some people seem to think ND is fine in kids but still get judgy about ND adults.

    3. VettingAccommodations*

      I would be very reluctant to disclose in an interview. I now have an obviously visible mobility disability, but my primary disability that can cause issues at work is harder to see (I used to disclose it in an obfuscated way buried in a particular section of my resume, and an interviewer who is on the ball or who asks certain illegal questions can figure it out). Every time my interviewer obviously figured it out I got an almost immediate rejection. Ironically, my more visible disability sometimes acts like a shield now because people somehow don’t realize someone can have more than one disability (I have several, but the others have no direct impact on work unless there are formal dress codes or an unusual situation occurs).

      I also wouldn’t necessarily expect that exact accommodation everywhere given the room for negotiations and consideration of other workable options, and the people interviewing you are not neccesarily the same folks who will decide what accommodations are appropriate/engage in the negotiations about accommodations (in fact, in my experience they almost never are when asking for a formal accommodation).

      What you can do is ask about the normal processes for feedback and other things that may need some adjustment. Then you can weigh how easy they are to adjust in your decision making process. If you’re comfortable with the interviewer you could chime back “my current employer does this” and see how they react to it, but that might seem disingenuous later if you ask for it as a formal accommodation.

      Good luck!

      1. Catwhisperer*

        Thank you! This is really helpful insight into how I can expand the scope of my interview questions and hopefully get better data.

  9. Peanut Hamper*

    I have taken some time off from work (I needed to) around the fourth of July holiday, and in light of the “unpopular opinions” thread from a couple of weekends ago, here’s my question:

    When you take time off but stay home, do you turn off your alarm clock? Or do you leave it on and take great joy in the fact that you can just turn it off, roll over, and got back to sleep for a couple of hours?

    1. Mid*

      Alarm clock off for sure. (I rarely sleep more than 15-30 minutes past my alarmed wake up time, but the luxury of waking up naturally instead of an alarm is just delectable.)

    2. Audrey Puffins*

      The latter! My body clock wakes me up at 5am anyway these days so it’s not like the alarm is interrupting what would otherwise be eight blissfully solid hours

    3. Student*

      I have a sleep disorder so I have to go to bed and get up at the same time every day to be functional.

    4. Falling Diphthong*

      In my 50s, my body is just relentless about how 6:30 is when we wake up, and it is not up for negotiating.

      1. Generic Name*

        Yup. I’m in my mid 40s, and I naturally wake up between 6:30 and 7:30. Sigh

      2. Monkey's Paw Manicure*

        I’m with you. I haven’t heard my alarm go off for years. I don’t even bother to turn it on unless I need to go into you-know-what for an early meeting.

    5. londonedit*

      I have two alarms – one on my phone, and then the radio also comes on. Usually if I have a day off I’ll switch off my phone alarm but leave the radio one – it’s less disturbing and it’s nice to be able to decide whether to switch that off as well, get up, or doze for a bit listening to the radio.

      What I also often do is get up at my normal time anyway and go to the gym or for a run as I usually would – I absolutely love getting home and knowing I don’t have to get ready for work, I can do whatever I want, whether that’s having a cup of coffee and getting back into bed, or having a bath, or getting ready to start the day, or whatever.

    6. SarahKay*

      It varies, depending on how much I’ve not wanted to get out of bed and go to work in the preceding days.
      Not just on a booked day off, but even on a Saturday, on a week when every morning has been a ‘just five more minutes… just five more minutes’ I definitely take great delight in setting the alarm clock just so I can turn it off and go back to sleep.

    7. Serenity by Jan*

      I usually wake up for about 30-60 minutes right after my alarm goes off on holidays and weekends and either read or watch tv for a bit before falling back asleep. I call it “first nap.”

    8. The Dude Abides*

      I turn mine off – my partner usually wakes up later than I do, so I’d prefer to let her sleep. This is assuming that our 5yo doesn’t wake up early and jump into bed with us for snuggles.

    9. Come On Eileen*

      I’m rarely able to go back to sleep after the alarm goes off, so on holidays it’s turned off!

    10. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I turn it off because if I’m woken up by it, I’m not falling back asleep. But I’m also now of an age where I don’t sleep in very long anymore anyway, so really I could just leave it on and it wouldn’t be an issue.

    11. ecnaseener*

      I usually set mine for about an hour later than normal — which is what I do on weekends too. It messes me up too much to sleep late one day and wake up early the next day.

    12. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I noticed before the pandemic that I was waking up on time every day without an alarm, so I turned mine off. During the pandemic I eventually adjusted my wake up time a little (15-30 minutes) later, usually 6:30-7, but still wake up earlier than I have to. The downside to this is that I usually wake up at that time on weekends, although I feed the cats around 7:30-8am, so I know I can’t sleep any later than that anyway.

      Before that, usually I’d turn the alarm off the night before a day off.

    13. Claire (Scotland)*

      I turn the alarm clock off – if I get woken by it, I’m not getting any more decent sleep and I need it.

    14. mreasy*

      My alarm clocks are not the type you can turn off. But after I get up and feed them I go back to bed!

    15. Forrest Rhodes*

      I thoroughly enjoy turning the alarm off but haven’t yet had any success explaining to my furry feline roommate the concept of “sleeping in.”

      Funny, we have the same lack of communication regarding seasonal time changes and how they relate to mealtimes. It’s a work in progress …

    16. Dark Macadamia*

      I set it for 9am so I can sleep in a little but not feel like I’ve wasted the day. I basically never would get to actually sleep that late because I have kids, but since they’ve been staying up later during summer break (I’m a teacher so it’s also break for me) they usually sleep until 8:30.

    17. Elizabeth West*

      I set mine for an hour and a half after I normally get up, but today I slept an hour past that. Which sucks because I have to work on Friday.

      I’m dealing with a potential new health thingy (*eyeroll*), so maybe I needed to sleep? Idk. Left to its own devices, my body wants to go to bed around midnight and get up at eight a.m., but that’s not conducive to working, pffft.

    18. Hotdog not dog*

      I don’t set the alarm clock, ever. I have a dog who can apparently tell time and requires belly rubs no later than 6:03 am.

    19. Donkey Hotey*

      If my alarm rings, I can’t fall back asleep, so definitely off. That said, my normal alarm is 5:30, so if i can make it to 7, it’s a miracle.

    20. Harrowhark*

      I have a cat with diabetes and have to give her shots at 6:45 AM and PM, so there’s never any sleeping in for me.

      BUT… I do frequently go back to bed for another hour or two after getting insulin and food into her.

    21. Banana Pyjamas*

      Roll over and go to sleep. I don’t have the executive function to remember to turn it back on.

      1. RW*

        I LOVE that my phone now says “would you like to turn it back on for the next scheduled day” if I switch off the alarm, for the same executive function reasons. Unfortunately, as I had reason to discover two weeks ago, this does not save me if I’m off for more than one day.

    22. ww*

      The latter! I am forever chasing that feeling I’d get as a kid/teenager of dragging myself awake miserably early only to learn schools were closed due to snow and I could burrow back into my nice warm bed and sleep till noon. Happened maybe once a school year where I grew up, just enough to long for it every other day of the year (nightowl problems). It’s not quite the same now because there’s no actual expectation of having to get up early but I do set an alarm just so I can turn it off and keep sleeping, cat depending.

    23. I'm A Little Teapot*

      Depends on what I’m doing. If I schedule something in the morning (dr appt, etc), then the alarm might be on, but I will also change the time. If I don’t need to be up by a certain time then I turn it off.

      However, the cats are also alarm clocks and I can’t turn them off. These two are pretty good about letting me sleep in though.

    24. Lenora Rose*

      My alarm clock is a travel clock my mother bought to take on a trip to Australia and New Zealand when I was 9 years old. It has a quiet but persistent beep pattern that might be ingrained in my bones by now. It doesn’t turn off – that is, I can toggle the on-off switch to make it stop beeping in the morning, but even if left in the off position, it will go off, guaranteed, every single day.

      However, I’ve been dealing with it long enough I am capable of using it as a quick cat feeding note or bathroom run and going right back to bed on days off, and I do take some satisfaction in doing so.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        And related to cats as alarms; I had a cat who understood that pestering me before the alarm was pointless, so waited for it. Until my job changed and I switched the alarm to a slightly later time for a while. Then she would walk into my room a minute after the former alarm time, and Make It Known that I ought to be up. She was Very Punctual for that stretch.

    25. allathian*

      It depends on what the rest of the family’s doing the next day. But generally my alarm is a last resort because I pretty much always wake up before the alarm goes off anyway.

  10. Falling Diphthong*

    Anyone have examples of someone making a simple point and it really changed how you thought about things?

    From Penn Gillette–on the Terrible Lizards podcast about velociraptors and a discussion of humans not being good at big numbers–For most of our time as humans, if we saw someone do something, it was one person out of the hundred or so in our tribe. If we heard of someone doing something, it was out of a thousand or so in the clan. This has really skewed our perception of the frequency of stuff that makes ‘the news.’ We think of this stuff as being common, like 1 in 100 people are doing this, when it’s more like 1 in 100 million people are like this.

    I have found Dunbar’s number (brain size suggests we started out in social groups of around 150*, and that’s how many stable relationships we can track) very useful in looking at social groups and how we establish who to trust if we’re going to try and go big and have a social group of 10,00, or 200 million, instead. But I had never thought of it in terms of how I perceive how common a behavior is. Combine this with how our current media pushes the most extreme takes to be the most visible, and it’s not a good thing for ourselves.

    * The 150 limit includes keeping up with all the other relationships in the group. So for example in a group of four, me plus A, B, and C, I have individual relationships with each (so 3 relationships) but they also have relationships with each other (A-B, B-C, A-C, so 3 more for 6 total) which I also keep track of. Like how I talk to Ann depends on whether or not Brit is also there. If you add 1 more person it’s not just 1 more relationship to track, but 1 direct and 3 side relationships, so we went from 6 to 10 by adding just one more person. And so on.

    1. londonedit*

      That is interesting. It definitely makes me think of the way news (or ‘news’) is often reported these days – the headline and story will make it sound like ‘everyone’ is up in arms about something, but when you actually read the story it’ll be ‘these people on Twitter are up in arms about it’. And with the whole ‘a lie is halfway round the world before the truth even has its shoes on’ thing, and people being less likely to actually interact with the news beyond the headlines, it is a worry.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      This is only sort of related, but it’s also interesting how the way we express numbers can influence how we think of them. If somebody says “only 5% of people will experience x,” it sounds like it’s almost non-existant, even more so if they say “95% of people will never experience x,” but if they say “1 in 20 people will experience x,” that sounds way more likely to happen.

      I notice it particularly with regards to medical issues. If you hear “in 90% of cases, people with x symptom have nothing serious wrong with them,” well, that symptom doesn’t sound too worrying, but if you hear that 1 in 10 people with that symptom have a serious medical condition, it sounds way more worrying.

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        Yes, 1 in 10 people with that symptom have a serious medical condition, but only 1 in 1,000,000,000 have that symptom.

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      I read something adjacent years ago about how humans are bad at estimating crowd size – – 1000 people might as well be a million or vice versa.

      “If we heard of someone doing something, it was out of a thousand or so in the clan. This has really skewed our perception of the frequency of stuff that makes ‘the news.’”

      But also how in the past we’d hear about stuff in our own clan, and now we’re hearing about thousands of other clans too because of the reach of mass media. Stuff that feels like it’s increasingly common is often just being reported on with a greater sample size where, by nature of the size of the sample, you’re going to get more raw numbers even if the proportion isn’t changing.

      I try to keep this in mind every time people say that the human race is somehow worse than ever right now. People have always been “like this” broadly speaking, we just hear about the worst of it more than we would have if we lived in a small village three thousand years ago.

      1. Falling Diphthong*

        I really agree with your last paragraph.

        I find that when you press for a date on these good old days, when things were still hopeful and everything might have turned out okay, it is usually whatever decade the speaker was in elementary school.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          Yes! “Things were better when I didn’t have a mortgage/rent to pay or spend my days at a soul sucking job” is somehow not a clue for these folks.

          1. Harrowhark*

            Yep. When the only thing you’re responsible for is not losing your lunch box on the way to or from school, life is absolutely simpler.

    4. anonymouse*

      Kind of related – the other thing is that for the things that ARE actually very common, we hear about them much more often than we would have before. Like I follow all these cute dogs on Instagram and part of what this means is that I have to regularly find out that a cute dog has died and be sad about it. This happens MUCH more often than if I only heard when my real-life friends’ dogs died and sometimes I think “we are just not built to deal with so many cute dogs dying (or insert your own example of sad, terrible thing)”

    5. bamcheeks*

      I work in an area about which The Media are fond of making Big Doomy Pronouncements, and once I got to a certain level of expertise it completely wrecked my faith in most media, including the supposedly trustworthy broadsheets and BBC stuff. If you’re this wrong about stuff I know a lot about, it’s very hard for me to trust you on the stuff I don’t know much about.

      1. RetiredAcademicLibrarian*

        I remember a lecture by a biologist once talking about his research into the upswing in frog mutations. His research had been widely reported in the media and he said the *only* news outlet that did not screw up the reporting was The National Enquirer (the old tabloid not known for real news).

      2. Doc McCracken*

        You can’t un-see this once you’ve seen that the Great Oz behind the curtain is not all knowing and powerful.

      3. Lenora Rose*

        I think everyone who has ever been an expert interviewed by media says the same. In my case, it wasn’t even expertise; it was hearing a story firsthand from the person it happened to (an incident which led to himself and another person both being hospitalized and a lawsuit for his dumbassery) and reading the news report of the related court case.

    6. Butterfly Counter*

      Something similar happened to me with racism and how truly prevalent it is. I grew up in Texas as a sheltered white girl, so I completely understood sexism. I knew racism existed, but it just wasn’t sticking with how pervasive it is.

      In grad school, I read an article about how men were more likely to survive car crashes than women because car seats were initially designed for the “average man” and didn’t consider women’s dimensions in terms of safety.

      From there, the penny dropped. I could easily understand the world catering to the “average man.” I extrapolated from there that it caters to the “average white, cis, moneyed heterosexual man” in all contexts, and the importance and intensity of what was being catered to depended on those contexts. I had experience with men being catered to over women, and could therefore trust my non-white cohorts in that being white was catered to over being non-white (and trust my gay cohorts, and trans cohorts, etc.).

      If I want people to trust the truths in my experiences in dealing with what is termed as “average,” I need to trust theirs, too.

    7. An Australian in London*

      It’s interesting that you mention Dunbar’s Number because it is one of my two most cherished examples of human cognitive architecture – the other being the Dunning-Kruger effect.

      It wasn’t until 2024 that I encountered scholarly writing that discredited both.

      Dunbar’s Number can’t be replicated in any useful way. Better studies find enormous confidence intervals (4 to 520, for instance), implying that this trait varies between people about as much as does, say, eyesight, rather than a number hardcoded into all of us.

      And my precious Dunning-Kruger, which I have lovingly cited for almost 20 years, turns out to be a spectacular statistics failure by scientists who, in huge irony, were not nearly as skilled at statistics as they thought. Put another way, the only reason there is a theory that unskilled people are particularly terrible at estimating their and others’ skills is because unskilled people said so.

      There are still plenty of well-verified cognitive biases and logical fallacies though, so losing these two still leaves ample grounds for exasperated dismay at how poor our minds are at almost everything.

      1. Lenora Rose*

        I never took the 150 as hardcoded, or definitive; I’m always surprised that people take a number like that, which screams to me “Obviously this is an average or mean” – and assume it’s the same across a species as wildly different in other ways as ours.

        The concept humans as a whole can only track relations in a relatively small group seems sound even if the number varies, though; I swear I know, and marvel at, people who can remember and track relations among 1000s – a whole high school or the proverbial small town – and that is wildly different from the supposed 150. But it’s even less similar to the population of the average modern city, much less country.

  11. Murfle*

    Random question: I noticed that we stopped getting the Friday good news posts at the end of 2023. Did Alison ever comment about why? They were one of the things I really looked forward to. Will they ever start back up?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      This has come up before. I think they were a response to the plague, and the number of views/comments dropped pretty low and so it wasn’t worth continuing. I know I liked them at first but soon lost interest.

      But maybe doing them once a month could be a thing?

      1. Venus*

        There’s a good news post in the weekend thread, so easy to do a good news post in the work one too! All it takes is one person to say “What is your good news this week?”

    2. Venus*

      It did. I can’t remember details but she won’t start it back up and a lot of people mentioned they’d stopped reading them.

      1. Past Lurker*

        I think she wasn’t getting a lot of submissions anymore? And it wasn’t meant to be a permanent feature.

    3. Ask a Manager* Post author

      I ended it at the end of the year last year. I had started it early on during the pandemic when it really seemed like we needed some good news, but my intention was never for it to last as long as it did! (And I do think people lost interest in it after a while.)

  12. Only Bought This Dress*

    Has anyone ever ordered from BloomChic? Is their sizing pretty true to size? I’m looking for a knee-length short sleeve dress to wear to a wedding and so far, they seem to have the most options. Alternately, if you have suggestions on where to look for such a dress, I’d love them! I’m at the top end of standard sizing (16/XL), so finding the right thing has been tricky. My budget is no more than $100.

    1. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

      Haven’t ordered myself, but they are the equivalent of something like Shein. Quality can be really variable, as can sizing. May look nothing like the photos. Or you might get lucky. I believe a lot of their stuff is also on Amazon, so might try ordering through them to take advantage of a better return policy.

    2. BloomChic*

      I have ordered from BloomChic a few times, both dresses and tops. They are pretty true to size, and the quality is good. I’m actually wearing one of their blouses right now! The only thing is that it takes awhile for the clothes to arrive, so if your event is coming up soon then you might need to find something else.

    3. Blank*

      Right now online Lane Bryant has dresses on clearance, between $30 and $50. I love their stuff, but only buy on clearance online, because it is pricy. Excellent quality. Have it delivered to a nearby store (if there is one by you) and avoid shipping. Sizes (for me), run true. Also a 16/XL.

    4. Kristinemk*

      Have you looked at eShakti? I think they are doing a 40% off sale currently, and you can customize both to your measurements and the dress (length, sleeves, neckline and sometimes fabric).

      1. Our Business Is Rejoicing*

        eShakti used to be my go-to. I have so many things I love from them, and I loved the ability to customize. But they have been having real issues in the past year in terms of delivery in a reasonable amount of time, and the quality seems to have dropped a bit. I experienced this one personally, with an order for two items that was delayed for months even though one of the items was supposedly ready to ship. If you have a deadline, I wouldn’t risk it.

    5. CtheRocker*

      JCPenney.comhas been pretty good for me, same size you are. Try also Dillards.com and Macys.com.

    6. HardAgree*

      True to size, yes. Some of their materials are feel weird, even the ones that are mostly cotton. I ordered I think 6 items and ended up keeping two that are still a bit weird, but not weird enough to stop wearing them.

  13. Irish Teacher.*

    If this isn’t too political, then given the election today in the UK, the election in France and the fact that today sort of commemorates America existing and being a democracy, I’m wondering how different countries run their elections and how the “winners” are decided.

    In Ireland, we have quite a complicated system where we can number the candidates as far as we like, so if we want, we can just put the number 1 beside our preferred candidate and no more or we can number all candidates the whole way down or anything in between (once for a presidential election when there was a candidate I really disliked, I numbered all other candidates; I think there were 6 candidates, so I voted 1-5, to vote against him regardless).

    Then the counts take forever, as if your number 1 either gets eliminated or already has enough votes to be elected, they count your number 2 and so on down the ballot papers.

    Think we were by far the last country to finish counting in the European elections because some of the ballot papers had 27 candidates on them and counts had to continue until all were either eliminated or elected.

    1. The Dude Abides*

      I’d love for ranked choice voting to become more commonplace here in the US – given the two-party tribalism and how my views line up with my geographic area, my vote is meaningless outside of local elections.

      I still do it, since I have no excuse (I am a state employee, so I get the entire day off as a holiday).

      1. Mitchell Hundred*

        Just to clarify, the Irish system isn’t only ranked-choice voting. It’s ranked-choice voting plus multi-member districts. The key to getting rid of the two-party system (which is a good idea IMO) is some kind of multi-member element ensuring that one person doesn’t have to represent everyone in a district.

    2. londonedit*

      Wow, that is complicated! In UK general elections we can only vote for one candidate. I think anyone can stand as long as they pay the fee to do so (if you don’t then return a certain number of votes then you lose your deposit, which is seen as quite embarrassing). I think there were eight or ten options in my constituency.

      The UK is split into constituencies, which are smaller than counties/cities etc, so you’ll have many constituencies within one city or county. Each constituency elects one Member of Parliament (MP) to represent them in the House of Commons. It’s interesting this time because a lot of constituencies have had their boundaries redrawn since their last election, so the demographics might have changed somewhat.

      We operate the (somewhat controversial) first past the post system, which means that the political party that ends up with the most MPs, and therefore the majority of the seats in the Commons, is the one that forms a government. If no one party wins enough seats to have what’s considered as an overall majority, it’s a hung parliament, and then the two main parties may try to form a coalition (as in 2010).

      Elections are always on Thursdays here, and polling stations close at 10pm. I think the very first results will be declared by around 11pm, but then they will be declared by all the various constituencies throughout the night. We should expect to hear which party has achieved a majority around 3-4am, but results will carry on coming in right into tomorrow.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        We are also split into constituencies, but generally each constituency elects 3-5 TDs (Members of Parliament; it’s from the Irish).

        Our governments are nearly always coalitions, to the point that if a party looks like getting an overall majority (very rare), the smaller parties will start using that as a campaign thing, “vote for us to prevent an overall majority”. At the moment, our three largest parties are neck-and-neck. I think the last poll had them at 21%, 20% and 19%, so…this could get fun with our next election. The bargaining to form a coalition could go on for weeks.

        There was even one time, back in 1948, when the largest party had just short of a majority – think they had about 48% of the seats – but everybody else got together into a big coalition to keep them out of power. A compromise candidate had to be chosen as taoiseach (prime minister) because the parties had literally fought on opposite sides in a civil war twenty-five years previously and the leader of the largest party had ordered the execution of friends of some of his coalition partners.

        Admittedly, that government lasted all of two-and-a-half years before collapsing in in-fighting, but it is not unusual for the largest party to be in opposition and two or three smaller parties to combine to form a government.

        Our elections generally take place on Fridays, though there have been exceptions. Most cynically, back in 2007, the largest party in government was more popular with older people than younger and they held the election on a Thursday, most likely in the hopes that college students or young people working away from home would not be able to get home in time to vote. But Friday is the norm.

        They never start the count here until 9am the day after the election. The polls also close here at 10pm, but the boxes are sealed and not opened until the morning and there are very rarely results on the first day of counting.

        1. Lexi Vipond*

          Scotland tries to have the best of both worlds, with constituencies which elect a single MSP, but are also part of larger regions which elect extra MSPS in order to get closer to representing the actual vote split across the region (‘list MSPs’, because each party creates a list with the people they most want at the top!). You get one vote for a person, and one vote for a party.

          So suppose 5 constituencies in a region each elected a candidate from Party A, but the party votes across the region were really more like 40% Party A, 35% Party B and 25% Party C – you’d end up adding the first 3 people from the Party B list and the first 2 people from the party C list. It’s more complicated than that, but that’s the idea.

          This was supposed to give us coalition governments, I think, but it hasn’t always worked out that way.

          We have the number anyone or everyone system for local council elections – I’m not sure if that’s also the case in England.

          1. Caramel & Cheddar*

            Do people like this system? I’ve never been a fan of mixed-member proportional because of the “list members” aspect of it — it feels like it gives way too much power to parties to determine who is at the top of that list, and doesn’t do much for the voters other than say “we heard you like this party, so we’ll toss a few more of them your way.” Allowing for a set of MPs to be elected based on proportion always seems good, but I always wonder who they’re beholden to if they weren’t elected in a constituency, don’t have voters to hold them accountable, and are basically “party faves”.

            1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

              No, it’s awful. It allows the biggest loser to win. If you have 40% of people vote party A, then 10% each for B, C, D, E, F, G parties, party A wins. Even though 60% of people didn’t want Party A. We need an overhaul now we have so many parties. It would be lovely to have a mixed government who had to work together.

              1. Caramel & Cheddar*

                No I meant the “list MSPs” part of it — like presumably this means of the “list” folks, Party A gets 40% of the additional seats, with 10% each for B, C, D, E, F, G parties on top of whatever they win directly through candidates. Are the B-G voters happy with that, both in terms of getting additional representation and who they get as their reps?

                1. Yay! I’m a llama again!*

                  Ohhh! Sorry! Good question, because we have to work out what a better option is so good to know the flaws of the others!

                2. Lexi Vipond*

                  It’s top up, so if Party A already has at least 40% of the area’s total MSPs (constituency plus list) from their first-past-the-post constituency wins, they won’t get any more, and the others will be made up to as close to 10% of the total as the numbers allow.

                  It’s not something I’m aware of people regularly moaning about, although I don’t know that much about politics. But the smaller parties are some of the gainers, generally, because people who wouldn’t get a FPTP win do tend to get odd list wins, and so representation in parliament that they wouldn’t otherwise have.

              2. Lexi Vipond*

                That’s hardly a flaw specific to the Scottish system (or to any PR system). In fact it would probably be worse under FTPT, because the party with 40% of the vote share would be likely to win maybe 52% of the seats and form a majority government, rather than a minority government where they had to play nicely with at least one or two of the other parties.

                If B, C, D, E, F and G would really all strongly prefer to have a goverment formed of all six parties than to share in an A goverment, they could consider getting together and turning their six parties into one!

    3. Caramel & Cheddar*

      We have first-past-the-post (FPTP) in Canada for federal elections and in my province. I wish we had ranked voting! It may take longer to collate the results, but I do think it’s a better way to express my “Anything but THAT/THOSE parties” wishes. There is usually more than one party that I’d be fine with winning since almost none of them ever do what I want anyway, but there are some I would definitely never in a million years vote for and I want the ability to choose a second or third backup option.

      1. Mitchell Hundred*

        I’ve advocated for electoral reform on a few occasions (including when my province held a referendum on it a few years back), and in my experience the best and most concise way to introduce people to it is by citing wasted votes. If you point out that half of all votes cast elect no-one, which is the typical result in Canadian elections, people tend to catch on pretty quickly.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          Oh, see, that argument would never get me on side! I don’t consider my vote wasted just because my candidate didn’t win (I’ve voted in a lot of elections where my candidate lost!) and it feels like a very detrimental way of talking about our civic duties to tell people their votes only matter if they vote for the winner. It’s like sports fans who want refunds when their team loses: that’s not how game tickets work. Your vote doesn’t guarantee you any particular result, but you show up to cast it just the same.

          My brain doesn’t see voting as an optional thing you do only if I think my individual vote will matter; I vote because it’s an important way of participating in civic life, and because it’s a right that many have died for and many more still don’t have. I recognize I may be in the minority on this given decreasing voter turnout, the general vibes-based voting most people do, etc.

          1. Mitchell Hundred*

            Oh yes, voting absolutely is a civic duty. But I don’t think that opinion is mutually exclusive with the idea that a vote which elects someone has more effect than a vote which elects no-one . For me it’s less an idea of which party “wins” or “loses” than the notion that people who show up and cast a ballot are entitled to representation (meaning someone in Parliament who is accountable to them and whose values reflect theirs).

      2. Lenora Rose*

        This is where I land; Ranked choice makes more sense to me than proportional, which sounds like it would end up filling in party members with no adequate consideration for geography. If I could vote:
        1: Actually Want this person – but in First Past The Post they tend to come in third.
        2: Tiny party who gets about 1-3 seats per federal election, but actually have decent policies.
        3: The member of one of the two leading parties I can actually stand.
        4: I don’t like this guy but I’d rather see him get in than a member of Big Party X.
        5: The member of one of the two leading parties whose policies I consider terrible and destructive.
        6: Rando Fringe Extremist.

        Then I can trust that even if my vote for 1 and even 2 are eliminated, then at least my vote is NOT going to candidate #5.

    4. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

      Here in Sweden, our elections are held at the national, county and municipal levels simultaneously. Last one was in 2022; next one is in 2026) – not sure if there’s an option for snap elections.

      The ballots are color-coded for each level, and you have the option of choosing either a ballot on which individual candidates for a given party are listed (you can only vote for one candidate; no ranked voting) or a ballot with just the name of the party on it. There are also write-in ballots for individuals and/or smaller parties. The party ballots, if used, help to determine the number of seats that a party holds at the respective levels (Riksdag, county councils and municipal councils) and the party leadership decides which members are given those seats. Presumably, if an individual candidate garners enough votes from the list ballots, they are also given a seat.

      Complicated as it sounds, voting proceeds very quickly and smoothly and, in general, the results are known at the latest by the following morning.

      The criteria for establishing a party and campaigning at the various levels are far less burdensome than in the US. Parties can easily get on the national ballot prior to elections – you only have to register with the Election Authority. Even if you don’t, people can still vote for your party at all levels using the write-in ballots and they’ll count.

      Though I got citizenship only in 2019, I was eligible for listing on the municipal ballots back in 2014 and I got a whopping 2 votes! No idea who the other person was, though the Election Authority website told me which electoral district they were from…

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        That’s interesting as I knew nothing about Swedish elections (we get enough news from the UK and the US to have a general idea of how their systems function and we occasionally hear about France or Germany).

        Here, elections tend to take place…whenever. I think the maximum length a government can remain in office for is 5 years, but it’s not usual for the election to take place a lot earlier, whether because of a snap election or because one of the parties in a coalition pulls out. In the early ’80s, there were three government in 18 months or something like that.

        It’s now 4 years and…about 5 months since our last General Election and it is looking like our next election will be late October or in November, but it could happen any time between well…6 weeks time and next February or March.

        We don’t have any options for write ins, just a list of everybody running, which can include a number of couple of candidates from some of the larger parties and usually includes a large number of independents. Independents currently have 18 seats out of the 160 in our parliament.

    5. Nicki Name*

      Here in Oregon we get to vote in November on switching to ranked-choice voting.

      The most interesting current feature of our voting system is that Oregon has been all-absentee since the late 1990s. You get a voter’s guide with candidate statements and arguments for and against ballot measures a few weeks before the election, then your ballot arrives by mail 2-3 weeks ahead. You can mail your completed ballot back, put it in a drop box, or hand-deliver it to your county elections office. It’s really nice to not have to take time out of a specific day to go stand in line, especially a day that most people don’t get as a work holiday.

      1. Irish Teacher.*

        That sounds good. In Ireland, it’s…not that easy to vote any way other than in person. You can apply for a postal vote, but there are only specific reasons why you can get one, such as illness or disability or studying at a college too far from your local polling station or work reasons and you need to fill in a form and then if it’s for work reasons, you have to get your employer to certify that you will be unable to get to a polling station for work reasons and if you are a student, you have to get your college to certify it and then send it back. And it has to be back something like 22 days before the election. So like, you also need to know a bit in advance that you will be unable to make the polling station on that day.

        1. The Prettiest Curse*

          It’s interesting that they make it so complicated to register for postal voting! I registered as a permanent postal voter in the UK back in 2021. Sending in all the required ID and address verification stuff was a somewhat involved process, but they never asked me for a reason and haven’t since – though I don’t know if that’s because they had more relaxed requirements than usual during the pandemic.

      2. Lexi Vipond*

        Was it usual before to have to wait for a long time, or go during your working hours? I voted at about 7:45 this morning and I think there were 5 workers and 3 voters – admittedly that was probably the quietest time of the day, but I think I’ve only once had to wait more than a couple of minutes.

        1. Nicki Name*

          It varies a lot in states which still have polling places. Most will be open early and late for people who can’t take a couple hours off from work, and the wait may be nothing or literally hours. Factors may include the amount of local interest in the given election, how many pollworkers are available (one of the reasons Oregon switched to all-absentee was it was getting harder and harder to find enough people to staff all the polling places), how easy it is to vote absentee (rules vary a lot from state to state), and how long the ballot is.

      3. Polyhymnia O’Keefe*

        In Alberta, we have an election day for whatever level of government is up, but early voting is accessible and easy.

        I don’t think I’ve actually voted on election day in close to 10 years. One of the biggest benefits of early voting is that you can go to any voting station and not just your designated one, so it’s easy to fit it into your commute or weekend or whatever. I think our last election had 5 or 6 early voting days that ended about 3 days prior to election day. That essentially spreads out election day to election week and removes a lot of barriers to voting. No reason is required, and you can also still get an absentee ballot if needed, but I think that spreading out the in-person voting eliminates a lot of the need for absentee ballots related to the specific day or location itself.

    6. WellRed*

      The bigger problem is that 27 candidates could get on the ballot. We have some ranked choice voting in my state. I’ll sometimes pick 1 & 2 candidates.

    7. I should really pick a name*

      We use first past the post in Canada *sigh*

      You vote for a candidate in your riding, you do NOT vote for a prime minister. The candidate who gets the most votes (majority or not) becomes the representative (MP).
      In practice, the prime minister is the leader of the party who has the most candidates elected (they have the confidence of the house).
      If the ruling party decides to elect a new leader at any point (which for some parties IS actually a ranked ballot) the new leader becomes prime minister.

      Theoretically, we can have coalition governments (other parties could band together and lead instead of the part with the most votes), but any time this is discussed, whichever party would suffer because of this cries out how this would be cheating.

      1. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        There was a fun time in British Columbia in 2017 where none of the parties got a majority. The Liberals (incumbents) got 43 seats, the NDP got 41, and the Greens got 3. They ended up with an NDP minority government, supported by the Greens, and the NDP leader was Premier.

        1. Happy Camper*

          Oh that was a lovely time! /s The way we vote in Canada drives me absolutely bonkers.

        2. I should really pick a name*

          I’m actually okay with that.
          Better than the constant back and forth between the Liberals and the Conservatives that we get in Ontario (except for that brief blip when we had an NDP government).

    8. Storm in a teacup*

      I like the idea of a ranked choice. I think the old London Mayoral system was good (unfortunately changed this time round).
      In the previous system you chose your first and second preference. Then if no outright winner on first preference votes, second preference get counted. It allows more independents through I think

    9. fhqwhgads*

      What you’re describing is called ranked choice, or sometimes “instant runoff”. If ONLY we had those here.

    10. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      The American state of Maine has ranked-choice voting. A couple of years ago, I was phone-banking for a candidate in Maine, and if voters said they were voting for another candidate, we asked them to please rank our candidate second.

    11. Gronk*

      Australia has compulsory voting, which probably sounds terrible for your “right to choose” but has really set us up to avoid the level of polarised politics that you see in democracies where only the people who “really care” vote.

      1. Part time lab tech*

        I like compulsory ticking of your name on the electoral roll. If one has to turn up anyway, one can choose the least worst or donkey vote. Most of us have a least worst even if we think little of both.
        Australia has 2 houses of parliament, one of which represents a geographic electorate with very roughly equal populations, the other is a senate.
        We have a preferential voting system where we can assign a vote to a party, who will then choose your preferences go if they don’t get in. Otherwise you number all the candidates yourself, which can take a while if there are dozens. I order all the candidates and really wish I could do a top 10, or even top 20.

    12. An Australian in London*

      Australians: hold my beer.

      … I don’t know how I can describe the Australian electoral system quickly. Here goes:

      Lower House, which is what forms Government: preferential (ranked) voting. Every candidate must be numbered from 1 to the # of candidates else the vote is spoiled.

      Upper House: preferential *and* proportional voting. *Roughly* the proportion of votes for each party will be the proportion of parties whose candidates are elected. Preferential voting is used to achieve those numbers. It is possible to vote for parties (and have your preferences distributed according to their party ticket), or directly for individual candidates to fully control where preferences will flow. The former is called “above the line” and the latter “below the line”. It is not necessary to number every possible box either above or below the line so long as at least six numbers are given. It matters, though, because due to preference distributions, some Senators have been elected on barely 2% of the primary vote.

      There’s more, but this is already complicated. :) It does mean, though, that no vote is ever wasted as we can vote for everyone we actually like and then preference the candidates needed to stop The Bad People from getting in (whomever we define them as).

      Oh yeah, voting is mandatory. This has a more profound effect than you might think at first glance. For example candidates do not have to campaign to get out the vote, and campaigns are spent more on policy and character.

  14. Never the Twain*

    I was looking through the ‘YOU MAY ALSO LIKE:’ links and found the rage-quite stories, which are always a favourite read. Thinking about the oil-rig quitter (or sackee I suppose) and the debate about whether it was true or an urban legend made me think that maybe there’s some sort of social evolutionary purpose to these stories, especially if they aren’t true. I won’t attempt to summarise the story, because as reported it’s perfectly paced and deserves to be enjoyed in full.
    So, what I’m thinking is that this story is apparently very well-known in oily circles, and if so, then in a similar scenario, it would have to be at least at the back of a manager’s mind when he was about to summarily fire someone – ‘Maybe it’s not true, but there’s no reason things couldn’t go that horribly wrong if I do this right now.’ So the persistence, if not the actual origin, of the story contributes in a tiny way to a more stable work environment.
    But maybe I’m just over-thinking it.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      I like the idea of a midlevel manager coming up with this, as a cautionary tale to any big wigs who wanted to pull a dramatic fit and fire someone, leaving them standing there next to the expensive equipment.

      1000 years later Loki the trickster god will be the one throwing the wrench.

    2. ecnaseener*

      I don’t think you’re overthinking it — it’s a reminder to the workers and managers both that the workers have power to disrupt the system if the system stops working for them.

        1. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

          I have always found it interesting that we have the word sabotage, from the French, and the English version “clog up the works” which has come a long way from throwing an actual clog into machinery!

          1. Sharp-dressed Boston Terrier*

            the English version “clog up the works”

            thousand-yard stare of sudden enlightenment

  15. Travel logistics*

    Thoughts on how to book flights? I (East coast of US) and my sibling (midwest) are planning a trip to a Euopean city. We want to travel together. Our thought it that we’ll each fly to one US airport (neither of us lives within driving distance of a major hub) and then board the same plane to Europe. Reverse & repeat on the way home.

    My question is about the best way to actually book the flights. If I book my whole trip and sibling books their whole trip, we just need to make sure we pick the exact same European flight. But I’m thinking we’re more likely to get split up this way if someone has to get bumped, because we won’t appear “together” in the booking. So we wondered about booking the European flights together (2 tickets purchased on the same card at the same time), and each individually booking the flight from our hometown to the US hub city. (I can’t figure out how to book two round trip flights at the same time with different starting cities but a shared middle component.)

    Either method works for us financially…if one of us pays for all the tickets, the other one will just write them a check. We’re looking at Economy or Economy Plus type tickets, nothing fancy. Arriving at different times to the destination city would be a large inconvenience but not a complete disaster. So, do more experienced travelers have any insight into this? Am I making it too complicated?

    1. ecnaseener*

      I think the benefits of booking your connecting flights as connections outweigh the benefits of booking together on the second flight, especially if you’re checking a bag.

    2. EA*

      Book separately and keep your connections on one ticket. I think a delay is more likely than one of you getting bumped. Maybe look for itineraries with slightly longer layovers than you’d usually do at the hub city. If you can afford Economy Plus I’d do that too, to avoid being in the cheapest range and thus most likely to get bumped.

      1. Stardust*

        I agree, either have a travel agent book it or have one person book all of the tickets so that the connecting flights are together.

    3. Ginger Cat Lady*

      I’d have one person book all of them at once, preferably by talking to someone. So Bob calls the airline and buys tickets like this:
      Bob from hometown 1 to hub
      Dan from hometown 2 to hub
      Bob and Dan from hub to Europe.

      Bob and Dan from Europe to hub
      Dan from hub to hometown 2
      Bob from hub to hometown 1
      Talking to someone can ensure that everyone’s flights are booked as connecting flights, which helps with checked luggage and rescheduling in case of delays/cancellation. Online booking is great, but sometimes humans are better for tricky situations.

    4. Not A Manager*

      I’d call the airline and ask if your reservations can be linked even if they are made separately. Or if they have some other option.

      I agree that if you have to choose between your connection being linked to your international flight, or your two international flights being linked to each other, I’d choose the former.

    5. My Brain is Exploding*

      FYI when we flew from Miami to Buenos Aires last year, there was an issue with the plane and everyone had to get off. We waited a long time until they got another plane. It was smaller. They reticketed people (so, first class people first, then the people that had first class tix but there wasn’t enough room in first class in the smaller plane got tickets for the next-best seats (and a partial refund), etc. They generated tickets randomly after that and definitely broke up at least one married couple…I don’t know what they wound up doing.

    6. WellRed*

      I can’t speak to the arrangements but if you can, I’d buy even slightly better tickets. Cheapest seats means you’ll be the first to get bumped if there’s a problem.

    7. Spcepickle*

      I do this at least once a year with my friends (we all fly from our small towns to the hub and then get the same flight to vacation). We each book our own tickets, way better to have one connecting ticket, then tickets booked together on the “big” flight. If your first flight is delayed the airline must get you on a second flight. If you book separate tickets you could be out of luck. If you are concerned give yourself a long layover at the hub going out (and get global entry! 15 min immigration coming home!). Also figure out how to make your cell phones work in Europe (wifi calling solves many issues), if there is a flight drama having a working cell phone makes coordination way easier.

      We have done the first day of vacation a few times without my friend who lives in rural Alaska, works out in the long run every time.

    8. Persephone Mulberry*

      My mom and I did this last fall for a flight to Australia. She was coming from Florida, I was coming from Minnesota and we were meeting up at LAX to fly to Melbourne. I plugged every possible combination into Google Flights and came to the conclusion that it was actually cheaper (not to mention offered *much* more flexibility) for us to book the international leg separate from our individual domestic flights. (For one thing, we were booking the LAX-MEL flight six months out, and then could monitor the prices for the domestic legs until much closer to our trip date.)

      We opted to each book our own overseas flight, but coordinated our seat choices. ;) I wasn’t terribly worried about one of us getting bumped, but if I were to do it again I would probably have one of us book both tickets together and get reimbursed.

    9. Just a name*

      I’ve called the airline and requested that reservations be linked in the system so we don’t get separated. Especially when my husband was traveling with his father who needed assistance. They were happy to do it and it has worked the few times we tried it. It also helps them not to separate you if if have booked seats together.

  16. Talking to the TV*

    I don’t talk to the TV so I really don’t know: why do people talk to the TV (like yelling at the referee or a player in a sports match?) I do sometimes talk to inanimate objects, like “why are you tangled?!?” to a skein of yarn for example. Is it the same principle? Just curious!

    1. Emmy*

      I have only screamed at the tv the time I watched a very bad adaptation of a beloved novel. The outrage and frustration couldn’t be contained within my physical body, I suppose. I am hardly ever angry so this has been my only experience of that.

    2. londonedit*

      I only shout at the TV if it’s football. If you’d seen the England team play over the last few weeks, you’d probably understand why! Realistically I know it’s not going to affect anything, but it’s impossible to just sit there and watch without celebrating a goal or shouting ‘Offside! Ref!!!’ etc etc. It’s the tension and the emotion of the whole thing.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        When watching football, I mainly yell rude things at any team which scores against my team. I will also yell rude things about the other team if my team scores against them.

      2. Excel-sior*

        kudos to you for only yelling “offside” and “ref” over the last few weeks, although i suspect the actual language used would make a navvy blush.

        1. londonedit*

          Well yes, it’s been more along the lines of ‘Oh FFS why are you passing it back to effing Pickford AGAIN! Get it UP THE EFFING PITCH FFS’…

      3. CTT*

        I do a lot of yelling at the ref and other team, but I’m an Arsenal fan and there was that period in like 2021 when we kept getting random red cards so I was yelling at my own players a lot. But I also engage it the occasional “he’s SO handsome” whenever they cut to Arteta on the sidelines.

    3. FootballFan*

      I’m not talking to the TV, I’m talking to the referee. The TV is merely the conduit by which, if I yell loudly enough, the referee will hear my commentary and get a grip!

    4. Seashell*

      My husband does that a lot (usually with golf, but sometimes with other TV when he finds something particularly amusing or annoying), but I don’t know why. Sometimes it is loud & startles me.

      I sometimes yell the answers at Jeopardy or shame the contestants for getting things wrong, but only when I’m paying close attention.

    5. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I tend to scream when I watch tennis because my mother used to. My daughter screams when she watches baseball more than I do. I’m not screaming at the TV, per se. It’s my way of feeling involved and connected with what’s going on.

    6. Trixie Belden was my hero*

      I only shout at the TV while watching (American) football.
      And then only teams I care about.
      It’s genetic, my dad and entire family did while growing up.

    7. Falling Diphthong*

      For your examples, I think that’s just a reflection of being engaged in the story being told. A story that is being told with sound, so adding our own sound via comments feels normal.

      1. Writerling*

        Yeah I was gonna say usually I’m talking/reacting to characters/actions because I’m so engaged in the story (say, a horror movie and shouting at characters not to do the dumb thing they’ll 100% do lol).

        1. Past Lurker*

          Me too, I’m like “Are you really going into the abandoned murder house? Really? Then you deserve whatever happens next!”

          1. Isabel Archer*

            Me, during the season 2 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale: WHAT?? WHAT?? OMG, GET ON THE TRUCK!!! WHAT ARE YOU DOOOOOOING?? GET ON THE F*ING TRUCK!!!!!!!!!!

            I’m sure I could be heard for blocks.

    8. RadioGal*

      I am a fan of the sportsball, husband moreso as his part time job is to talk about sportsball and what’s happening within that game. It’s definitely yelling at the ref/ump for getting a call wrong (in your, the viewer’s, mind) or being inconsistent. (Oh, so THAT was a strike last half inning but not now?) For fans of sports, I think it’s just engrained. I don’t think I could watch one of my favorite teams’ games and not yell at a bad play or call, or for that matter, not cheer when they score or make a spectacular play.

    9. SarahKay*

      I tell (and sometimes yell at, if the tension is high) people not to do stupid things. Mostly when Neighbours (Australian soap opera) was still on terrestrial TV, or during police drama shows.
      On one occasion I also yelled at the screen in a cinema; specifically “Don’t stop there!!!” during a showing of ‘What Lies Beneath’. My boyfriend at the time said he would have been embarrassed, except that a good third of the audience did exactly the same thing. If you’ve seen the film, you probably know the moment I’m referring to.

    10. Peanut Hamper*

      Our brains did not evolve to see things that are happening in a different place or a different time. I don’t think they’ve evolved enough to understand at a neurological level what television actually is.

      As a result, when we see someone about to miss an obvious shot, our brain sees “No, they’re breaking the other way! Get to the other end of the goal!” not much different than it sees “Glug! Get out of way! Mammoth gonna trample you!”

    11. Unkempt Flatware*

      Hmmm….I’m not sure I do this to the TV but I talk out loud to the ether all day long. I live alone with three animals and they know when I’m speaking to them or when I’m speaking to the ether. Do others do this?

      1. Hroethvitnir*

        Absolutely. Not just vet nursing, but in particular being the main person running our boarding cattery, the hours I spent with cats and no people every day just removed any amount of caring about how it looks to talk to animals (or objects or yourself).

    12. Jessica*

      I say it’s different. I do talk to inanimate objects, not constantly but occasionally (oh no you didn’t! why you gotta do me like that? stop malfunctioning! thank you for your service, etc.), and I do “talk to the TV” (also sometimes), but when I do the latter, I’m not talking to the TV itself in its capacity as an inanimate object. I’m talking to the person, real or fictional, whom I’m watching on the TV.

    13. Nancy*

      Because people talk to inanimate objects all the time: TV, computer, car, yarn, etc.

    14. PMaster*

      My wife and I don’t watch sports, but if we did, we wouldn’t be so invested that we’d yell (I mean, you really have to be there in person to yell something creative and helpful like “go in the hole!”) But we will watch years-old reruns of The Great British Bake-Off and yell at contestants who fail to grease their pans, don’t know how to make choux, or try the butter-on-the-outside puff pastry. Having baked extensively ourselves, and knowing how hard it is to get on the show, I guess it’s just cathartic in an insufferable know-it-all way.

  17. happydog*

    We adopted a shepherd dog a few weeks ago. He is kind and lovely, about 4 years old, our first dog. He is my partner’s biggest fan. He listens to me, likes me when I walk around with food, likes going on a walk with me better than not going on a walk, but not better than being home with partner. I read a lot of advice online and I think we’re doing the right things (like me doing things he loves and giving food and high value treats). So advice is welcome but my main question is: any experience with if this gets better? I know some dogs are really more one-person dogs and it is clear ours is, but I wonder if part of this is still getting used to the new environment, and that it will balance out a bit more, or if this is just how it will be forever. I know nobody can answer that, but experiences are welcome!

    1. LNLN*

      I think it is early days. Our dogs always favored my husband over me, as they usually spent the day with him (he was a self-employed carpenter). But some dogs came to rely on me for different things (being attuned to their needs, taking them on walks, cuddling in bed) and things changed over time. Give it time; your dog is still settling into your household.

    2. Siege*

      Every dog my parents had that I remember well (5 dogs) has always loved one parent more. Three preferred my mom and two preferred my dad. They didn’t dislike the other person, they clearly liked both my parents and there weren’t any behavioral or disciplinary issues with the less-favored parent, but none of them ever changed their preference one bit.

    3. Falling Diphthong*

      I have been married 30 years.

      From our dog’s attitude, you would imagine that I had just shown up to ruin her idyllic bachelor existence when it was just the two of them. She’s 12 and we’ve had her from puppyhood. She’s pleasant with me but adores my husband.

      The previous dog was devoted to me, though. He would go walk with my husband, and accept treats, and when he came home would immediately count me. (Herding dog.)

      Actually we have kept up the tradition and the current dog (who was a puppy when the above dog was 5, and so trained by him) will return from walk, come and count me, and then get her final treat.

    4. anonymouse*

      A few weeks with a new dog is nothing, it can take more like months for them to really settle in enough for the personality to come out. There’s no way to predict but it’s way too soon to tell. Keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing the right things. Maybe go to a good positive reinforcement training class together also? That can be a real bonding experience. And remember that even if you are eventually only the dog’s second favorite person, that is still pretty good.

    5. Narwhals are real*

      It is likely that the dog will always favour your husband, as I am sure you already know, but also it’s true that your dog really hasn’t had time to settle in!

      Shepherds are really sociable and smart and bred to protect the herd. You are part of the herd. My parents’ German shepherd clearly favours my father, but any members of the family are part of the herd, even if they don’t live at my parents’ house. She loves each and every one of us but my mother (who is the only other family member who lives with her) is her second-favourite person.

      Keep doing things with him that he likes, and maybe start being the only person who does certain things that he finds positive, like fills up his treat ball or plays a certain kind of game he likes or something like that. As I said, he will likely always prefer your husband (that’s just dogs, they usually have one ‘person’) and that can kind of feel crappy but he’ll definitely love you too.

      Congrats, shepherds are awesome!

    6. Dog and cat fosterer*

      First: it takes a few months for things to really settle. The rule of 3s says that it takes 3 weeks to get familiar with a schedule, and 3 months to start feeling like you’re their home

      Second: your dog has years of experience prior to you and that often shapes who they like now. I had one foster dog who had clearly been cared for by a young woman with dark hair because those were her favorites on walks. That changed over time based on who fed, trained, and cuddled with her so she’s equally comfortable with everyone.

      There is also a randomness factor. A friend commented that years ago his wife really wanted a dog so they picked out a pup, and then she did everything for that dog. Yet that dog loved my friend, despite the fact that he wished the dog preferred his wife. Sometimes that’s just the way it is!

    7. Terri E. Rathburn*

      Have read many times that it takes six months for a rescue to settle in, more if they had a hard life before. I have had mine for 8 months and he is pretty comfortable, but just recently amped up the playing and goofiness so he was still holding back some even after several months. He had some hard times but not as bad as many do so I can’t imagine how long it could take. Just love him a lot and he will get there but will probably always be more of a daddy’s dog.

    8. Pretty as a Princess*

      Dogs are social climbers and work to figure out where they are in the pack and who is in charge of the pack. They want to position themselves appropriately in the social order they perceive.

      Your dog will probably have a primary person, will have different things they associate with each person, but still rest assured will be a devoted companion to you both:) It sounds like you are doing all the right things to have you both build a wonderful and devoted relationship with your dog, and you’ll all enjoy a long fluffy relationship together:) Basically, keep doing what you are doing so that you don’t wind up in a situation where the dog thinks he only has to listen to one human.

    9. Chauncy Gardener*

      Early days for sure. Our rescue, who we’ve had for four years now, was ever so clearly most in favor of my husband for the first couple of years. He really liked all of us, but husband was His Person for sure. Now it’s me. Still still loves husband, but really pings on me. We can’t tell what happened, but it did.

    10. happydog*

      Thanks everyone! I hear you about being their second favorite person, but honestly, it seems like random strangers are more interesting to him than I am! I laughed at Falling Diphthong’s response about feeling like you’re the one who just stepped in to ruin the awesome relationship between dog and partner because that rings so true! But I am also happy to see how much the dog likes partner. It is kind of awesome that they were able to bond so quickly. But I also think the dog would be happier himself if he let me in just a bit more too. Your timeline responses are a bit encouraging for that. I also hope we can indeed do a training together.

      1. Butterfly Counter*

        I got a dog when I graduated from college. He was mine from being a 10-week-old puppy and I took him to grad school with me. For 6 years, it was pretty much just me and him against the world. (He did love my Grandma more than me, but all she did was love on him when they were together, but we didn’t spend a long time with her. It made sense he would adore her because she just spoiled the heck out of him.)

        Anyway, after 6 years as a duo, I met and moved in with my husband. It took two weeks, but my dog, my constant companion since puppyhood, my ride-or-die, was my husband’s dog from then on. It stung a bit, but I realized that I knew he was a smart dog and he was just showing me how incredibly smart he was. We both picked a good guy!

        1. Butterfly Counter*

          Adding in to say that it’s just about the dog, not about you.

          My husband and I have had 2 other dogs. One loves us exactly equally. The other one is pretty much all mine.

    11. Harrowhark*

      My ex and I had several [big] dogs over the course of our 20-year relationship.

      All but the last one (who came from an abusive hoarding situation where the abuser was a man) loved my ex more than me when we first got them.

      BUT… when they got old and infirm, I was the one they came to for comfort, the one they let give them meds, and the one who got up at 2:00 AM to let them outside (or carry them outside and then hold their rears up with a specially designed harness) to go potty.

      My ex’s energy is frenetic and chaotic; my energy is calm and soothing. So they loved him more in their younger years because he’d throw the ball longer, chase them around the yard, wrestle with them, etc.

      But when their wants/needs changed, they switched to being by my side 24/7.

    12. HardAgree*

      I think it depends on the dog. Our dogs have a clear preference, but I am the primary feeder/treat giver. One dog follows me no matter what; the other one has a clear preference but is starting to choose my partner to hang out with more for reasons unknown. I’ve also had roommates who had a sweet dog, and during a period of unemployment for me, she switched allegiances to me because I was the one who walked her the most.

    13. Goldfeesh*

      My husband and I live in a duplex, our longtime upstairs tenant has a dog, Arya. When the dog was a puppy she’d be downstairs with us (mostly my husband since he’s retired). She loved my husband, slept on the couch with him, etc. She also loves her owner, who takes care of her and all her vet bills and expenses. Then there’s me, I like dogs but am a bit meh about them. I definitely love my rats more. This dog *LOVES* me. I am her favorite person in the house by miles and miles. Both my husband and the tenant are like “What the hell, dog?”

      1. Goldfeesh*

        Arya started coming downstairs when she was a puppy because she’d hear us downstairs and cry when her owner was at work. After a day or so of this we asked if we could bring her down to hang out with us.

  18. New kitten and resident cat*

    I have a 7 month old new kitten who has been residing in my bedroom for the last 10 days. She wants out, understandably, and I’ve taken her into my home office a bunch of times for a change of scenery.

    However, my 3 year old cat shows no interest her, to the point of not even investigating the noise and smells from the other side of the bedroom door.

    I’ve tried the feeding on opposite sides of a door: no go; neither would eat their treats. I later tried the option of them seeing each other through a gate with treats: no go again; resident kitty just left the area. I put resident kitty in my bedroom for a bit while kitten was in my home office.

    I want/need for this to go well, and I’m so scared it won’t!

    Right now, kitten is exploring the whole house (under supervision) and I’m in my home office with resident cat.

    Suggestions for next steps would be so appreciated!

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      If the older cat is well aware and hasn’t shown aggression, I’d let them have some supervised time together and see how it goes.

      1. Siege*

        Definitionally, the older cat is aware. I read somewhere that even indoor cats know all cats in their block.

        OP, how’s the kitten taking the presence of the older cat? It sounds like neither cat is bothered by the other one, just uninterested. I’d try supervised time together and let them start working out their relationship. It’s possible they won’t have much of one, and that’s okay.

        1. New Kitten and resident cat*

          Well, I have tall gates now in front of bedroom door, and kitten is in the doorway. I tried to hold resident cat on my lap a few feet away, but she wasn’t happy. I let her go, and she went up to the gate and hissed and went downstairs.

          I am aware this has to go correctly, or it could cause a permanent problem between them, but it’s hard being patient and not seeing any progress. Patience is NOT one of my virtues, that’s for sure!

          Hopefully, it’s just a matter of time before we are all integrated in the house, even if not best friends.

          1. Siege*

            “Has to go well” is hard to place. I have, at various points, had two cats that never “got along”, per se – the closest I’ve come so far is with my current cat, Apollo, and my previous cat, Dante, who would sometimes hang out on the bed together and often cuddled with me at the same time. They weren’t friends, but Dante accepted Apollo’s dominance and would proactively seek ear-grooming. Apollo and Loki, my current second cat, haven’t fully worked out dominance and spend so little time together it’s notable if they’re both napping in the same space. But there is no fighting between them anymore, and it was never violent fighting. (Loki came to us with an entire subscription we’ve been working on.)

            I tried doing slow introductions both times but functionally the only room in my apartment I can fully segregate and preserve Apollo’s territory is the (windowless – it doesn’t sit right to keep a cat in that space very long) bathroom; with Dante I think I let him out three days in, and Loki was so destructive and awful I held out a day and a half, so I can’t speak to how soon is too soon, but it feels like you’d know by now if there were likely to be serious aggression issues?

            So when you say “has to go well”, what are you envisioning? Do you need them to do more than coexist, if that’s the level they settle at? (If you’re about to pack up and move into an RV, I can see where you’d need a stronger bond!)

          2. I'm A Little Teapot*

            Hiss then retreat isn’t actually bad though. I’ve introduced a lot of cats, and I can’t remember a single intro that had zero hisses. Even the 2 kittens. Its communication. I would keep the gates in place and just let them have the opportunity to see each other. Make sure the older cat is getting sufficient attention from you too.

            Remember, 7 months is a teenager and your adult cat is likely going to be annoyed by them simply because of the age.

    2. The Cosmic Avenger*

      They might do OK together, but I’d try it a few more times, to see how they react when they interact. If that doesn’t work, maybe put the resident kitty in a carrier (if she tolerates it well), and let the new kitty approach, so they can get used to each other in a more controlled way first.

      That said, it sounds like it would probably go fine if you just let them out, as the older resident kitty probably knows all the good hiding spots and can probably jump higher.

      1. Multi cat household*

        Putting a cat in a carrier and letting a strange cat approach them is not a good idea. First, most cats do not like their carriers. And second, they have no control or ability to leave if they feel threatened (this is also a reason even friendly dogs can be reactive on leash).

    3. Multi cat household*

      I used a screen door for introductions and I really like that method. Not everyone wants to install a screen door and the tension ones are pricy, but using some kind of separation for the first visual is helpful.

      Play is also a good way to meditate a first meeting, using a wand toy for each of them so they are not hyper focused on each other.

      If the cat is disinterested, that’s certainly a better sign than being hostile right off the bat, but you want to make sure the kitten isn’t bothering them to the point they react. Kittens are more socially motivated so she’s going to want to interact with the cat. Allow your cat to make choices and dictate the pace.

    4. Girasol*

      If there’s no fighting, why not let them explore the same area? I was under the impression that all the tricks for letting them sniff one another underneath a door or see one another on opposite sides of a glass, with treats, was for introducing cats that fight if introduced face to face.

      1. Multi cat household*

        A slow introduction is recommended for ALL cats. The point is to *prevent* fights. If you throw cats together right away and they fight, in many cases the damage is permanent. Trying to repair that with a subsequent slow re-introduction can sometimes work, but is often too late.

    5. TPS reporter*

      one of my cats really does not care about the presence of other cats, unless the other cat starts getting really close to her. it’s a great personality to have when I have brought in multiple new cats. some are just super chill although that doesn’t seem to be a common cat quality.

    6. Stardust*

      I would say my order for introducing cats is:

      First, put the kitten into a bathroom or other small room so they can sniff each other under the door.

      Next, put one into a carrier or something similar and in the same room for a small visit to see how they are doing with adjusting to each other.

      Then moving to short supervised visits together where you bring out cat toys to get both to play.

      Each cat is different so how long you stay at each level of increasing contact is variable, but watch to see how the cats are adjusting before giving them more together time.

    7. New Kitten and resident cat*

      Thanks for all of the suggestions! I knew the AAM universe would have ideas. I might put a harness on the kitten and control the interaction that way. I don’t need them to be best friends, but distressed tolerance would be ok!

        1. TPS reporter*

          that sounds really good! your adult cat might react if a kitten was jumping on them, but could be totally fine if the kitten keeps it’s distance. and you can harness train the kitten early

      1. Another Lawyer*

        I am late to this thread but I’ve done dozens of cat intros (I have 3 and foster so there are always cats coming in/out). Honestly at this point I would let them explore the same space (ideally a space where there’s nowhere they can get to but you can’t, like under the bed), giving them high value treats like Churu, or engaging them with a wand or other toy at the same time. If they start staring each other down, growling, airplane ears, etc break up the line of sight and distract with a toy or treat. Keep it short to start, even if it seems to be going well. I would not advise putting one cat in a carrier or restraining one as that is likely to stress them out more as they don’t have an escape.

        Hisses/swatting to set boundaries, and even growling are totally normal. One other thing I’d add to the other advice you’ve been given is that cats can absolutely tell when you are stressed/anxious, and it will stress them out. Try to relax! And if the intro does go south, just quickly separate them, don’t scream or yell, and start over.

  19. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

    I (63F) am having challenges dealing with being retired. I seem to have no reason not to spend all day in front of TV News Commentaries and computer games (along with some intermittent AAM and gossipy blogs).

    I have been retired for 19 months now and got a good checkup from my oncologist after recent cancer surgery (Nov 2023) & radiation (Apr 2024). I’m financially okay, as I received a 6-figure inheritance when my mom passed a few years ago, and I invested well from my engineering job. I had negotiated paying only 5 years of spousal support when my husband & I divorced 6 years ago, no kids, so that’s over with. I have a reasonable mortgage; my three vehicles (2010 Subaru, 2012 motorhome, and 2019 Polaris Slingshot) are all paid off.

    In 2001, I took yoga teacher training, and taught for a couple of years as a side-hustle to my full-time job, but I am just getting back into my practice. I’m thinking of investing money opening a yoga studio with a friend, but it seems to me that my city has become saturated yoga studios.

    What are other retirees doing? Do you have a passion? Are you following it? Any yoga students/instructors/studio owners out there who can give me advice?

    1. Ali + Nino*

      Have you considered volunteering? I think it could be a great way to establish a regular schedule (or at least reason to leave the house), socialize, and gain a sense of purpose for part of your day.

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        I’m an introvert. I can’t imagine walking into a non-profit and volunteering. I haven’t found a passion in anything in a loooong time. I even belong to a service organization, but everyone seems to have their own service project that their supporting at such a high level and I don’t see myself wedging myself in to volunteer/help them.

        1. Seashell*

          My introverted kid volunteered at a pet rescue. I’m guessing it involved limited conversation with humans.

          1. Student*

            When I volunteered at the animal shelter, even though I didn’t want to do adoptions, I ended up having to because I was on the floor so I was who was available for the public to talk to. For awhile fostering was a better fit because I could do it from home. But I would just be clear about expectations when approaching any volunteer role, especially one in animal welfare which isn’t known for having good boundaries.

          2. I'm A Little Teapot*

            You can often volunteer at shelters to do behind the scenes type work. Laundry, dishes, etc are endless in a shelter.

        2. Girasol*

          If you like the outdoors, there are planting and pruning opportunities with city gardens, BLM, Fish and Game, and such. It’s nice work for introverts.

        3. The Prettiest Curse*

          Some organisations have entirely virtual volunteer opportunities which don’t involve speaking to anyone in person, ever. You search for virtual volunteering + your area or look on idealist.org or your local Craigslist. There are also projects like the (now defunct) Rainfall Rescue that involve digitising old records, for which you don’t even have to sign up or fill in a form. You can definitely volunteer if you’re an introvert!

        4. Vampire Meal Transport*

          I’m an introvert, and I love my volunteer gig of transporting blood from satellite donor locations to the central blood bank. It gives me a nice stretch of alone time on the drive; I can be as chatty or quiet with the staff on both ends as I like; I’m helping in work that keeps people alive.

          If you’re able to lift a fully-loaded large picnic cooler, I heartily recommend checking whether your local blood center has similar volunteer needs.

            1. Vampire Meal Transport*

              In my case, I was looking at the blood center’s IG feed and saw a post asking for volunteers. It was the middle of lockdown and I was desperate to get out of the house, but I ended up finding it very satisfying.

              In the generic case, I’d check the blood center’s website and see if they have a page about volunteer opportunities.

    2. anonymous anteater*

      I recently went to a company picnic where I ran into a retired former colleague. She works part time at Trader Joe’s to get out of the house. She was radiant and enjoys it big time. I think she’s a people person overall, so that was a good fit.

    3. Jay (no, the other one)*

      I retired at the end of 2021. We have enough money to live comfortably without either of us working. I worked very occasionally until last February when I went back 2 days a week to keep my brain ticking over and earn enough money so I can travel the way I want to (frequently and with a bit of luxury). I need a routine on the days I don’t work and I need to put things on my calendar: standing appointment with my trainer, standing breakfast with a friend, regular exercise on my own. I started piano and voice lessons after decades of not doing either and I love it. I didn’t want the commitment of starting a business, especially not with someone else – I want my schedule under my control. Work is per diem so I work when I want to and take off as much as I want.

      The travel is both big trips (three-week road trip to the American Southwest last year, New Zealand in February) and long weekends to various places. I’d say I’m packing a bag and heading out at least once every six weeks, sometimes more often. Hubs comes with me for some of it and some is on my own. My idea of heaven, so maybe travel is a passion!

      All that said…you’re less than three months out from completing cancer treatment. That’s a lot. I haven’t been through it myself; I work with a lot of survivors and have a number of friends as well. They mostly say it takes a year to really re-emerge into themselves.

      Good luck and I’m so glad for the positive medical news!

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        Thanks for the inspiration. Maybe I do need more time before committing to anything. I bought the motorhome after my first (completely different) cancer treatment concluded 8 years ago. I then trained and walked a half-marathon 6 months later.

    4. ronda*

      I retired in 2020. I dont have any passions that I want to pursue. but I do recommend finding somethings you can commit to , to give you a little bit of structure.

      I currently volunteer with TaxAide and do peoples taxes 2 days a week for Feb to Apr 15.
      Do water aerobics 3 days a week and yoga on zoom 4 days a week. I attend a yarn group 1x a week. And go to restuants every day.
      whatever things interest you, schedule doing them on a regular basis.

      I hear statistics that most small businesses fail , so that would not be something I would do. It seems like a lot of responsibility and possible loss of money. If I wanted to teach yoga, I would ask at local gym or studio if they want an instructor and start a class.

      I do remember when I first was laid off at a job and out of work for a couple years, I was really nervous about it. I really felt like I was supposed to be doing something (ie conditioned to going into work every weekday). I got over that eventually.

      1. ronda*

        you mentioned being an engineer. So maybe you would be interested in this volunteer opportunity:

        my engineer friend is the coach of a robotics team. It is from January to April each year for build and competition. If you want a lighter commitment : on competition weekends they need lots of volunteer for judging/ referee ing. He works with high school students, but they also have programs for younger students. he is in GA and they have about 8 qualifying competitions around the state, then a state-wide competition. These are mostly at colleges and convention centers. Nationals is in Houston this upcoming season.

        Google First Robotics and the website for them should come up.

    5. Skates*

      If you have a Y or another non-profit community center type gym, they may have some yoga-lite classes in need of teachers that might be a good middle step as you get back into your practice. (I took a class last summer that was just called STRETCH lol). And I know the retiree yoga teachers at my local Y are always my personal favorites.

    6. Student*

      Last summer I did a free, weekly yoga class at the veterans garden and it was lovely. Very accessible “for every body” type yoga. If you don’t need the money and are just getting back into practice, volunteering to teach at a community organization could be a good fit.

    7. Cacofonix*

      For me, I did a number of things – took up a hobby that is often good to do in a studio or workshop in the company of others but individually focused. Think painting, woodworking, pottery. But not knitting where it’s more social.

      Also volunteering, chosen carefully to my introvert but want to get out their personality. And learning- language, activities, courses for a bunch of interests I didn’t have time to try in my career. Mentoring in my profession via a non-profit. I love your yoga background. No advice but I have seen freelance yoga instructors, including seniors, who start a small company and contract with community centres to offer classes to adults and seniors. One I’m thinking of got quite a following from students this way so it was a natural progression for her to first rent time/space at an existing studio and eventually open a small neighbourhood studio. Not sure if that would work in your area.

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        I took a digital photography class with the parks & rec, but I’m not inspired to go out and take photos.
        I would like to have a studio with discounts to cancer survivors.
        My almost-passion is music. I play several musical instruments (folk guitar, some piano, flute, oboe, etc.). I’ve joined a group which is teaching ukulele at a retirement community. I want the yoga studio to have space for group music classes and kirtan, to combine the two.

    8. Rick Tq*

      Why do you have to open your own studio? That a lot of expense for rentals and effort to manage your customers once you have them. If the market is nearly saturated you may have a hard time getting enough students to break even.

      An existing studio may be looking for another paid instructor to expand their class list and customer base.

    9. Spcepickle*

      my local parks and rec is always looking for teachers. the classes where I am are always really small (6 or less people). one yoga class I take is an advanced class with a certified teacher, but one was just really calm with a lovely teacher who I doubt knew more then a single YouTube class.
      also every pool I swim at is desperate for lifeguards. not a career or passion, but does not require talking to many people and would give you a set schedule.

    10. Just a name*

      Stealing a line here.. I like to do nothing in the morning so my afternoons are free…

      I am 2 years retired and feel a bit that I am still decompressing from work and a series of unfortunate family issues. I am now just feeling as if I should (or could) be doing something more.

      The problem is that I don’t want to commit to something that requires me to be somewhere at some particular time (or ever set an alarm). I do have some family related work to do (wrapping up loose ends) but I’m not terribly motivated.

      I assume I will figure it out eventually. Although I think it drives my husband nuts (also retired but doing 4 volunteer things).

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        Maybe I do need to decompress a bit more.
        My mom passed 5 years ago, after a stroke a year prior during which time I had her living with me. I had daytime caregivers and I reduced my hours at work so I could take care of her nights & weekends. It seems like I’ve been on a treadmill since I was 17 in college.
        Good luck on your journey.

        1. Just a name*

          Exactly true about the treadmill thing. Plus I was in charge of my dad’s life before he passed. I think now is the time to have a little grace for yourself while you recover from (what feels to me like) traumas.

    11. GoryDetails*

      Can’t help with starting a yoga studio, but for introvert-friendly, non-time-specific hobbies, I recommend geocaching (though the availability does vary by location). It’s a kind of treasure-hunting game – people hide containers, from teensy magnetic ones barely large enough to hold a paper log to boxes big enough to hold entire books, toys, games, etc. The coordinates are listed online, and people can search for them using GPS coordinates. Sometimes there are puzzles to solve or on-location tricks to work out; other times the location has no physical container at all, but involves interesting geological formations about which you must answer some questions online to log the find. Lots of variety, and the hobby has led me to many fascinating places – including some local parks that I’d never been aware of despite living in the same town for decades.

      It also fits in with other hobbies; there’s an app you can use to see if there happen to be any caches near you, wherever you happen to be. I’ve been retired for some time now, and I enjoy things like road-trips to favorite food places or new brew-pubs or museums, etc. – but wherever I go, I check for geocaches. [Or I’m hunting geocaches, and check to see what other sights/foods/microbreweries are close at hand!]

    12. Goddess47*

      If you’re looking for something to do, a couple of suggestions to check out:

      –meetup.com has a lot of groups that you might want to join. Especially if you’re looking into doing more of a hobby thing… it’s a simple way to meet new people (which is hard as an adult) but lets you schedule it so if you’re an introvert, you can pick and chose as much or as little as you like.

      –as an engineer, your local 2-year college would likely hire you as a tutor in a heartbeat. Where I used to work would kill for a math tutor for even a few hours a week. It’s paid, someone else does all the scheduling, you just show up… so it’s low-pressure and you get all the school holidays… if not the 2-year college, check the local schools…

      Enjoy your retirement!

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        I was software engineer. Software Quality for government contracting companies for the last 20 years. I’m not up on current software languages enough to teach. Thanks.

    13. EA*

      I think getting back into yoga would be great for you! But I strongly urge you to consider not opening a whole studio, but rather starting by pitching a class to an existing studio, gym or community center. Running a studio is hard work and also not great for introverts because you need to “sell” your studio, esp if the market is already saturated.

      My mom’s friend retired and took a PT job at an airport checking people in. She gets free flights and has traveled all over. I always think about that for my own (very far away) retirement!

    14. ELF Cage*

      The library I retired from had a volunteer yoga teacher lead a free class once a week. Patrons and staff were encouraged to participate.
      Would you ever consider volunteering your skills to library, children’s after school center, or elsewhere to introduce yoga to those who cannot afford to pay?

    15. Cwaeth*

      Volunteer as a yoga instructor at your local library! Libraries like to offer no cost classes for the public, but do not often have the funding to pay an instructor for more than a couple of classes per month. Staff and patrons would be thrilled.

    16. Turtle Dove*

      I’m also a retired engineer who spends lots of time online. And I like yoga, although I’m pretty new to it. I take two free classes at my library, and the instructor also teaches at the senior center. Could you teach at places like those as a step toward opening your own studio?

      I have loose structure to my days. I waffle between doing whatever I please and assigning myself projects like cleaning out the garage. (All projects are tackled in baby steps because nothing else works for me.) I’m introverted but enjoy time with friends a few times a week, and in-person exercise classes usually scratch that itch. My passions are reading and writing, and I make time for those most days.

      It took me a few years after retiring not to feel adrift. At first I helped out family members who needed a hand, and I enjoyed feeling useful. Those commitments ended, and I was ready to face empty days and fill them. Mostly it’s been a slow journey of discovering my dreams and personal goals. After decades of work and responsibility, I love that I mostly get to do whatever I want.

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        Thank you, Turtle Dove, for reminding me that I can move forward more slowly. I need to get out of the “all or nothing” mode. I’ve got time. I make a list and get depressed because the list is so long, so I don’t start anything. I’ve got to get out of the “instant gratification” mode.

        1. Turtle Dove*

          Yes! I struggle with that too. I often feel overwhelmed by the lists I make and shut down. I’ve learned that if I just do something, even if it’s just ten minutes of effort, I feel proud and motivated. Afterwards I go read some more (my favorite pastime!). I’m just not a marathoner on projects like some people I know. But taking small steps over time works for me, and I do reach my goals. I bet you’ll get there too!

    17. Yes.*

      I’m 65 and been retired about 2 1/2 years and I’m still figuring it out! I’m FINALLY getting comfortable with it and slowly finding things to do (hello, painting class). When you’ve been working so long it’s a jolt to the system (a good one, but still a jolt) to suddenly have all this free time. I’m not complaining! But I hear you and you will figure it out. It’s honestly still early days yet.

    18. Doc McCracken*

      I’m not retired, but do struggle when my routine is disrupted or we go through a change and I have to find a new one. And the kicker is after a while, I resent the confines of a routine! lol
      I find the concept of scaffolding helpful. Scaffolding is structure that is supportive, and that shift in thinking is super helpful to me. Start by thinking of the things that you crave and enjoy in life. I need a slow wake up. I need time to come online in the morning, so that builds my wakeup time. As an introvert, I need time to decompress after lots of people-ing. So that means I build in long transition times between work and home. Since my commute is a flight of stairs, I sit and stare at the wall for a while before closing down the office for the day.
      And on the yoga studio front, start small like teaching a class. My dear friend had a studio for 18 months and closed it. The overhead for a space that is empty most of the time didn’t make sense. She now teaches a few days a week at a small community center. They don’t even charge her rent but she makes a monthly donation. She also teaches a yoga class one time a week at an addiction recovery center for those in treatment. Her yoga side hustle has never been more profitable.

      1. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

        Thank you. My commute of 30 minutes was always a transition between home/work/home for me to reset (and lunch alone either outside or away from work). But now I sit down in front of the TV & mindless computer game and don’t find anything that I want/need to transition to!

    19. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

      After the comments so far, and discussion with my roommate, I think I’m developing a 2-year plan. My house has a separate door to the master bedroom suite, and I can use that as a future yoga studio/music teaching area, once my roommate is moved out and settled somewhere else. So, in the interim I will be finding a yoga teacher training in the style I prefer and start taking ukulele YouTube courses to where I’m comfortable teaching. Also looking towards having drum circle and kirtan in the space.
      Thank you!!!

  20. Ali + Nino*

    Can we do a reading thread here? I am halfway through The Poison wood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver – slow start but I had wanted to read it for a while after hearing such good things for so long. glad I stuck with it!

    1. Autumn*

      I read The Husbands by Holly Gramazio yesterday (had the day off and needed a day of just reading and goofing off). It’s fun and engaging, and I’m still thinking about the ethical implications, probably partially because I coincidentally re-watched the Janet creates Derek Good Place episode last night.

          1. Not Totally Subclinical*

            As long as you don’t dislike fantasy, probably. The series has interesting characters, a fascinating theology, and a variety of local cultures. They’re very much Bujold books.

            Her novels The Curse of Chalion, Paladin of Souls, and The Hallowed Hunt are also in that universe (and were written first), but you don’t have to have read them to understand what’s going on in the Penric series. I enjoy the Penric books, but I think The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls are some of her best work.

    2. GoryDetails*

      I just started reading Human Resources: A Corporate Nightmare by Floyd Kemske, a novel in which a man who’s rather content with his job as a middle manager in a megacorp – until he meets the new boss, who’s been brought in to conduct a massive reorganization, and who prefers to meet after dark. (The hints of possible vampirism – plus the alternate interpretation of “human resources” in that context – intrigued me. Talk about a toxic workplace!) I don’t know if this was among Alison’s book-recommendations, but it does seem like a perfect choice for workplace-themed fiction!

    3. Bluebell Brenham*

      Reading Your Utopia by Bora Chung, a Korean author. Wild sci fi stories that rely a lot on technology. Not my usual genre but I like it.

    4. Siege*

      I’m 7 books into my library system’s book bingo and I’m off for the next ten days. I’m reading Trouble The Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson and want to finish another five books during my vacation. Tentatively I’m looking at:

      – The Selected Works of Audre Lord
      – Nonstop Metropolis, Rebecca Solnit & Joshua Jelly-Schapiro
      – Kim Jiyoung Born 1984, Cho Nam-Joo
      – The Color of Law
      – Mediocre, Ijeoma Oluo

      But I have most of my books picked out. I’m hesitating to leave the denser books till later but if these don’t hit I do have options. I just want to get the numbers up.

      1. Bonnie in Colorado*

        I read The Color of Law several months ago, and it made me aware of just how badly our system has treated people of color. So very many parts of our nation’s guidelines around housing and finance have been deeply discriminatory, and some still are. It’s enlightening but not uplifting – still, now I understand how much we still need to fix. I recommend highly.

        1. Siege*

          Yeah, I picked it up several years ago and read the first few chapters but it was too dense at the time for the things I was dealing with to finish it. It’ll be a great read to fill the Housing/Poverty Justice square on the card.

      2. Dark Macadamia*

        I think we’re either in the same library system or they shared ideas making their bingo squares :)

        I LOVE Ijeoma Oluo’s writing. Mediocre was excellent (lol) and I’ve been thinking I need to check out Be A Revolution.

        1. Siege*

          Seattle Public Library? What are you reading?

          So far I’ve read:
          – In translation: The City of Mist (eh; not very strong)
          – Something that scared you: The Dead Take The A Train (highly recommend; extraordinarily gory)
          – Short Story Collection: A Stroke Of The Pen (I think I just don’t like same-author short story collections; they end up being Too Much)
          – Sky Creatures: Daughter of the Dragon (very good, about Anna May Wong)
          – Black Art/Artists: The Queen of Sugar Hill (very depressing semi-fictional account of Hattie McDaniel’s life)
          – Cozy: The Kamaguro Food Detectives (cute and a great idea but arranged as short stories…)

          I have no ideas yet for Queer Joy, Retelling, or BIPOC Romance. Borrowed From A Library is iffy given the hack; I can’t tell if you can actually check books out, though I could go to KCLS in a pinch. I’m sweating 400+ pages; I’d like to finish In the Spirit of Crazy Horse but I’m barely a third through it and it is DENSE. The Devil Us Here In These Hills is very readable, about the mine wars in West Virginia, but not quite 400 pages.

          1. Bluebell Brenham*

            Alison recommended A Love Song for Ricki Wilde a few weeks ago, and it’s a very sweet BIPOC romance. If you want a nice LGBTQ romance Alison Cochrun’s Here We Go Again happens during a roadtrip.

          2. Dark Macadamia*

            Yep! I honestly looked at it and felt like it would be too hard so I haven’t really tried yet. I’m not really into essays and short stories, and there are some specific topics that I wouldn’t typically read for fun. Maybe I’ll prioritize my to-read list based on which ones do fit the categories, though!

            Daughter of the Dragon sounds cool.

            I could put Starling House in Scares Me or Fantastical (or maybe Housing Justice actually since that’s not one I’d be likely to hit again). Parable of the Talents in Scares Me or Environmental, Sabriel in YA. Amina al-Sirafi in 400+ pages. Maybe I can do this after all!

            Queer Joy ideas – What If It’s Us (YA)

            Retelling ideas – Circe or Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller, Thorn by Intisar Khanani (YA), The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey, The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

            BIPOC Romance ideas – The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (YA), Permanent Record by Mary HK Choi (YA)

          3. Rose is a rose is a rose*

            The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo is a supernatural retelling of The Great Gatsby with a bisexual Vietnamese protagonist.

    5. Elizabeth West*

      I recently finished Tananarive Due’s The Reformatory, a scary novel about a 12-year-old boy who gets sent to a reformatory in 1950s Jim Crow South and holy crap, was it a nail-biter! Read it!

      Now working my way through Scalzi’s essay book Don’t Live for Your Obituary. It’s hilarious and I actually burst out laughing on the bus yesterday. Love him.

      1. Forensic13*

        The Reformatory was so good. So well-written and harrowing, and all the more harrowing because it mostly reflects real history.

    6. Dark Macadamia*

      Poisonwood Bible was one of the first adult books I read as a teen and it really stuck with me. I read it so many times back then that I’m afraid to revisit it and not feel the same!

      I’m currently reading Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi and rereading Sabriel.

    7. Lizard*

      You should check out The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver if you haven’t read it yet!

      I’ve spent the day finishing The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I read it about 5 years ago and absolutely loved it, but I couldn’t remember enough of the plot/details to tell people why. It wasn’t as perfect the second time through, but it definitely held up, and I still really enjoyed it.

    8. Semi-retired admin*

      I love Barbara Kingsolver. My favorite books so far this year have been American Dirt, Demon Copperhead, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, No Two Persons, The Seed Keeper, Tom Lake, The Midnight Library, Remarkably Bright Creatures, They Both Die at the End.

    9. Sitting Pretty*

      I just finished a short story collection called Temple Folk by Aaliyah Bilal. The stories are about Black Muslims in the US, mostly women though not all. And they take place in different time periods from the early civil right era to now, giving each story a different context for the issues of race, class, and religion that weave through the various plots. All the characters are compelling and there’s this sense of everything being slightly haunted by unspoken/unrecognized forces. Really great writing!

    10. Semi-retired admin*

      I should have added that I’m currently reading Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow.

    11. Butterfly Counter*

      I’m currently reading Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock. He’s the author of Head Full of Ghosts that was quite popular.

      I’m about 1/3 through the book and like it! Very spooky! I’m also on the library list for his Horror Movie which I’ve heard good things about.

    12. Honor Harrington*

      I just finished Penric and the Bandit by Lois McMasters Bujold. Really enjoyed this one. I’ve liked the whole series, some more than others, but the main character has grown into himself and is comfortable with himself in this one, and that was really nice to see.

    13. Liane*

      About a month into our library’s summer reading program, I finished the adult reading challenge (1800 minutes).

      Partial list: The Lord of the Rings (re-read); The Fall of Numenor; two Cyberpunk 2077 graphic novels (I Gave You My Word and Blackout); finally finished All the President’s Men (took me several months of on & off reading, unusual for me); The Rise of Kyoshi (an Avatar: the Last Airbender novel); and several Mercy Thompson novels (re-read to get in the mood for release of the latest entry).

      After I finished the challenge, that new Mercy Thompson, Winter Lost, was released and I read it in less than a day. It is a good book, but I didn’t like it quite as much as some of the others. Patricia Briggs changed up her style for this one. Earlier books are Mercy’s first person narrative, sometimes with a few third person chapters from Adam’s point of view. I did love that the Winter Lost “guest stars” included folks from a favorite Mercyverse short story.

      1. Liane*

        (Where did my sentence about how Winter Lost differs go?) Anyways, Winter Lost is still mostly Mercy’s narrative but there are assorted chapters plus shorter “interludes” written from various characters’ points of view.

  21. Elenna*

    The speaking English only at work letter from a couple days ago mentioned something like “I know it’s wrong to force people to speak English only” and I’m curious about people’s thoughts on that in a non-work context?

    Specifically, a lot of Twitch streamers I watch have an “english only” rule, or sometimes a “only languages the streamer speaks” rule. The reasoning is that streamer/moderators can’t effectively moderate the chat if they can’t understand what’s being said.

    1. The Cosmic Avenger*

      I see it like owning/managing a website, you’re free to run it however you want, and people are free to do the same if they don’t like how you’re doing it. However, it does strike me as a bit xenophobic, considering how good automated translation tools are. Does Twitch not have the kind of “Translate comment” function that Farcebook does? I can do easily and quickly anyway, but it does add a bit of labor otherwise, so while I don’t like the idea, I can’t blame someone else for cutting out excess labor like that.

      1. PandaMae*

        Chat on Twitch generally moves WAY too fast to be able to spot comments in other languages, translate those comments, and ensure they aren’t violating the rules, community standards etc. It can be hard enough for mods to just keep up with comments in their own language. Facebook comment sections are much slower paced and easier to moderate as needed.

        1. anon24*

          Also, I havent been on Twitch in a long time, but from my understanding if things are posted in your chat that go against Twitch’s community terms and you fail to moderate it, your stream and account can be shut down. There was an issue a few years ago where a group of people went around to everyone who followed certain people and went into their channels and filled their chats with hateful comments and got them shut down. Even if you don’t stream you technically have a channel and if you don’t change your settings anyone can go post in your empty channel and so they would go post in the blank channels and no one would have a clue someone was posting in their chat and their accounts would be banned. So if what someone is posting in your chat has the potential to shut down your account, it makes sense to say they can only post in a language you can read.

      2. Elenna*

        Twitch doesn’t have an automatic translation function as far as I know, and many chats (such as the one I moderate for) move fast enough that you would miss a fair bit if you were often copying messages to another translation site (particularly on mobile, although twitch mobile sucks anyways)

      3. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

        To do a good job at moderation, you’re probably looking at things like tone, profanity use, and dogwhistles as well as just the topic of what was said, though. If someone says something like “that’s terrible and I hope you get crabs” in English, I know they’re probably not expressing sympathy with what I just said and suggesting I go get some tasty seafood to console myself. Who knows how that sentence would get translated into another language and what a non-English-speaking mod would think the intent behind it was? Every language, culture, and subgroup will have statements like that where you need nuance and context to get a sense of what’s happening. (This is particularly an issue where a “normal” word gets used to refer to a minority group or similar depending on context or in slang.)

        In practice, it’s also an anti-spam thing. If 20 people are having a conversation in Language A and no other languages are being used, and someone who no one knows joins and their first comment in chat is in Language B that is not a language the streamer or the chat generally use, a non-trivial amount of time it’s actually a spambot that doesn’t tune the message to the language used in a given channel (or blog, this certainly predaters streaming being a major thing) and just goes around merrily posting its comment wherever it lands.

      4. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I mod for a friend’s twitch chat – very very small streamer. While they don’t have that as an official rule and we’ve never had a problem with it, I would have 0 qualms about instituting English-only (my native language) if we were having a lot of problems. Modding in one’s native language is challenging enough, modding in a secondary a lot harder, and modding in a language that I have to run through translation tools is basically impossible.

        Even if translation tools come up I’d be hesitant to rely on them. They can catch direct attacks but not dogwhistles, loaded phrases, and other similar issues. The flip side of course is that if a phrase translated into English is nonsense then it loses its original sting significantly, but it’s also behavior I don’t want to reward.

    2. Irish Teacher.*

      Hmm, this is interesting because it doesn’t bother me for online stuff like that in the way it would for anything in the physical world. Perhaps because people have the option of watching stuff online in their native language even if they live in other countries.

      There are non-work contexts where such a rule would bother me, such as schools, universities (yes, those are workplaces but it would also bother me if the rule was for the students), libraries, healthcare centres, pubs, etc.

      But for some reason, online doesn’t bother me in the same way.

    3. ecnaseener*

      Like the quoted comment says, it’s wrong to force people to speak a certain language without good reason. Twitch streams are entirely voluntary, you don’t have to watch or comment if you don’t want to use the designated language. Your livelihood won’t suffer if you leave.

      1. Elenna*

        Possibly I’m reading too much into your tone, but just to be clear: I’m asking this from the perspective of a) being a moderator in one of the streams in question and b) generally agreeing with the english-only rule! Was just curious what the AAM community thought.

    4. Warrior Princess Xena*

      Outside of work, there’s also a number of reasons why it would be unreasonable to force someone to speak a specific language in a situation where it’s still rude of them to not switch over to the main language. If you’re in a friend group and two or more people switch to a non-commonly-held language (among the friend group, specifically) it can be exclusionary. Or it comes across as wanting to talk *about* someone in front of them without them knowing.

      Things like that are situational enough that while making a rule about it would be bad. But the mentality of “it’s not disallowed so it’s fine” isn’t always the best one.

    5. RagingADHD*

      The main difference to me is that the Twitch streamer isn’t any kind of official forum for public discourse, nor the commenter’s job, nor an essential service. It’s entertainment.

      The streamer is essentially a busker trying to get people to throw money in their hat. They get to busk however they want that doesn’t get them thrown off the platform, and if the audience isn’t happy, they stop watching and move on to watch something else.

      Commercial entertainment like TV or streaming services don’t provide captions for some kind of ethical principle. They are expanding their audience. They have the resources to hire professional translators. And the translators aren’t working in real time.

  22. radish*

    I was wondering, does anyone think Gordon Ramsay’s behavior is unprofessional? Or even unacceptable?

    1. Emmy*

      I think of him as a showman. Granted, I haven’t seen a lot of his stuff but apparently he was very kind on some sort of children’s cook show/competition and otherwise rude to people who don’t take food safety seriously.

      1. Zephy*

        A lot of the “Gordon Ramsay” you see on TV is definitely a character, played up for the cameras, and more specifically for an American audience – watch any episode of the UK Hell’s Kitchen in comparison to any US episode. And yes, he’s capable of talking to children in a kind manner, both as a judge on a kids’ cooking competition and on, like, Twitter. A lot of that character, I think, grew out of the reality TV era of 15-20 years ago, and at this point Gordon “IT’S F***ING RAW, IDIOT SANDWICH” Ramsay is what the people expect – there is a segment of the viewing public that will tune in to a show with Ramsay on it because they like watching people who are supposed to be good at something get insulted for it, not because they care about travel or cooking or whatever as such.

        1. Zephy*

          Correction: UK Kitchen Nightmares, not Hell’s Kitchen, that’s a different show and I think Alton Brown hosts that one. If Alton Brown is playing a character, he’s lost in the sauce and fully committed to the bit at this point.

          1. Persephone Mulberry*

            Your comment about Alton Brown made me laugh so hard my cats are looking at me with concern. XD

    2. RagingADHD*

      You mean his regular TV persona, or has he does something in particular lately?

      The last thing I saw from him was a social media reel urging motorcyclists to wear a helmet, because he’d just been in a bad accident that would have killed him if he weren’t wearing one. That seems like a good thing to me.

      His shouty / sweary demeanor on his TV shows isn’t usually my cup of tea, but it’s part of the show and the people he’s dealing with signed up to be on them. If he treated actual employees that way it would be abusive, but IDK whether that’s the case.

      1. Elizabeth West*

        I heard that shoutiness is for the show, because that’s what people watching it expect, and that he’s actually a pretty good guy.

        I found his restaurant here and I plan to go. It’s a little pricey but not totally out of my reach for an occasional splurge. There’s also a burger place of his I want to check out. The only Ramsay restaurant I’ve been to so far is Plane Food at Heathrow (very tasty).

    3. I should really pick a name*

      I’d only really have an opinion if I knew what his behaviour is like when he’s actually working in a restaurant and not making TV.

    4. Rick Tq*

      TV ‘Reality’ shows may not be fully scripted but they are staged, rehearsed, and directed….

      Ramsey is playing a character: the hyper-demanding Chef…

    5. ecnaseener*

      The behavior he’s best known for is on Kitchen Nightmares and similar shows, where he often has reason to be angry (eg restaurateurs knowingly serving unsafe food to the public). Obviously it’s turned up to eleven for TV, but the restaurateurs know what they’re signing up for.

      In other contexts, like Next Level Chef, he’s perfectly nice. A little intense, but not outside the bounds of restaurant-kitchen!professional.

    6. Spartacus Bagel's Wife*

      I think his Hell’s Kitchen stuff is definitely ramped up for TV.

      Even in Kitchen Nightmares he’s relatively more chilled and his often has to deal with objectively more upsetting things.

      His stuff with his kids, his mum and on the kids MasterChef (or was it bake off?) is lovely.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Yeah, I love watching him when he’s with people who aren’t in some sort of competition or reality show. He’s actually quite supportive because he loves food and he wants people to succeed.

        That said, my favorite episode of was when he was helping Momma Cherri develop “Soul in a Bowl”. That was a simply lovely episode and you could see how much he wanted her to succeed, even if that meant he had to give her some very bad news.

    7. beep beep*

      I don’t watch his shouty screamy shows because I’m just wired not to respond well to that kind of thing, but I watched a few seasons of Masterchef Kids and he was very constructive with them. I’ve heard anecdotally across the internet that he’s very courteous if you meet him off set as well, but grain of salt on that, of course.

      1. radish*

        That’s true! I was thinking of his Hell’s kitchen type behavior. He was super sweet to the kids on that version of Master Chef. I think I just remember generally angry behavior from working in restaurants, and his behavior sets me on edge sometimes.

    8. GoryDetails*

      I’ve stopped watching Hell’s Kitchen because I don’t care for all the yelling – or for the deliberately-antagonistic setup re the candidates themselves. But Ramsay does come across as a much more reasonable, affable, even kind person on his other shows, so I gather he’s tuning his persona for the chosen audience.

      I admit I was vastly amused when an episode of “Shakespeare Re-told” was set among competitive chefs in modern times, and they made a reference to “the Scottish chef” as if fearing saying his name aloud. [Yes, it was a riff on “Macbeth”!]

    9. fhqwhgads*

      Professional kitchens are notoriously not remotely what office workers would consider “professional”. So in terms of context where “no jeans and t are unprofessional attire for a banker job” but “totally fine and professional fort a software engineer” comparing him to other kitchens…probably would have to say “professional”. Should it be acceptable? No, but in the industry, it is.
      Separately from that, his TV persona is totally a character he’s being paid to play.

    10. Hroethvitnir*

      I find it horrendous, and it’s a step more abusive than the average kitchen IMO. (Never had any interest in watching but you get exposed to bits and pieces.)

      I appreciate he seems like a decent person outside of that reality TV and was probably broken in by toxic workplaces, but I’m still not actually OK with it and wish we didn’t act like actions don’t count if they’re “fake” (but widely televised and accepted).

    11. The teapots are on fire*

      I think it’s unacceptable and I don’t like the idea of even a reality show promoting or endorsing that sort of abusive behavior. I’ve seen a few professional chefs speak out publicly about Ramsey specifically and about the kind of swearing and screaming that used to be (and in some places still is) “normal” in a restaurant and I like to think you can be clear and efficient without being nasty.

    12. No longer single and alone*

      I’m not a huge fan or his ragey stuff either, but he seems completely different on his Gordon Ramsey: Uncharted show. He is more down to earth and polite to every one. It’s a nice change from many of the cooking shows out there.

    13. londonedit*

      If you watch the actual cooking programmes he’s done (not sure if they’re shown in the US or just in the UK) he comes across as much more down-to-earth and normal. He’s also completely different on the US versions of his Kitchen Nightmares programmes, because US television seems to expect a lot of shouting and huge characters and big drama, whereas that’s all a bit too much for us.

  23. Anon21*

    Resume advice question. I found Allison’s previous post about different roles during a continuous period of employment at a single company, but this is a little different. I worked at Org A for four years, then left and worked at Org B for two years, then returned to Org A in a different role.

    Would you list that as:

    Option 1

    Org A
    New Job Title (2024-present)

    Org B
    Job Title (2021-2023)

    Org A
    Old Job Title (2017-2021)

    Option 2

    Org A
    New Job Title (2024-present)
    Old Job Title (2017-2021)

    Org B (2021-2023) etc.

    1. Rick Tq*

      I’d go for Option 1. It shows your first departure from Org A was because you were hired by Org B and you were eligible for rehire since you came back to a new position.

      Highlight the changes since they show significant growth. Option 2 hides that.

    2. ecnaseener*

      Option 1. I don’t see any real benefit to option 2 other than saving a line or two of space.

    3. Siege*

      I would probably do the latter just to make it clear that yes, Org A is the same and there’s not a weird typo. It also probably strengthens your resume by being clear that Org A found you desirable when you went back.

      Of course, the flip side to that is that you might find Org A appealing if you don’t like my job, so definitely explain in your cover letter why they aren’t your escape hatch if my job turns out to be awful.

    4. Not A Manager*

      Option 1. It might be different if you’d returned to the same/similar role after a hiatus, but in this case you got two different jobs at two different times, just at the same company.

    5. But not the Hippopotamus*

      I would say it depends on. the roles you were in and how different they were. for instance, if you were a Jr. Llama groomer at A, left to get experience in Alpaca grooming, and came back to A as a Senior groomer, I would definitely do the first option because it shows the progression of your career. If you are doing more or less the same things, just at different levels, and need space, I’d try option 2.

  24. Anonforthis*

    What do you do when you have a day when various friends/family seem to all be in a venting mood? I have a friend who is really struggling with a new jerk boss, a relative who is super unhappy with a different relative, and another very needy relative who was about to have a beloved pet euthanized. And every one of them decided to call me the other day. I care about them all but it was a lot! And I’m not really ready to have follow up conversations with any of them except the pet owner. Thanks for any advice.

    1. Jay (no, the other one)*

      Yup. I can’t always be available for those calls. I used to be for everyone and it wasn’t good for me. Now I am always available for my closest friends and family and for the rest it depends on how I’m feeling on any given day. When it piles up like that I know I need to be very attentive to my self-care: sleep, water, real relaxation, journaling, social connection that fills my cup. And I stopped worrying about following up. I’m not their doctor or their therapist.

    2. Gyne*

      I’d let their calls go to voice mail for a while! And then depending on the message they leave, call back soonish or not at all.

    3. Hroethvitnir*

      My advice would be to send the people you need a little break from some sort of message saying you’re sympathetic/whatever appropriate but you need a break from venting for a while.

      You’d know how well that’s likely to go down though. I have a very small number of friends, I like to be direct, and we only talk my message or voice message fwiw.

      I think reasonable people should understand! Love to the person losing their dog. :(

    4. Pillow Fort Forever*

      Go to Captain Awkward and search on friendship boundaries. She’s fantastic about providing conversation frameworks and just generally setting boundaries without losing friends.

  25. AnonymousOctopus*

    Anyone have a budget (below $200) walking pad they like? I’m overwhelmed by the number of brands on Amazon, and most of the lists of best models are tailored to runner and cost $300+. Any suggestions?

    1. Accidental Itinerant Teacher*

      My sister got one off Amazon from UREVO that she’s been using for about a month and she likes.
      It was about $250 when she got it but the price may have changed since.

  26. the cat's ass*

    retirement account question! i think i need to talked down off the ledge. I left my Oldjob last September and didn’t go to roll over my 401k (crazy busy in Newjob, my bad) until the company went out of business in April of 24. I’ve been trying to roll my retirement account over since that time, but keep being told that they are in the middle of ‘compliance testing’ and my funds won’t be available until that testing is finished-with no timeline. Aside from filing a complaint with the DOL, what is my recourse? Thanks in advance.

    1. ronda*

      have you tried:

      Contact EBSA electronically at askebsa. dol gov or call EBSA toll-free at 1-866-444-3272 to speak to a Benefits Advisor if you have questions about your options during a bankruptcy. For more information about your rights, visit our website at dol gov/agencies/ebsa.

    2. Dancing Otter*

      Sometimes the receiving institution (where you want to roll over your 401K) will contact the old plan administrator on your behalf.

      A 401K ought to have an administrator/custodian other than the employer. (Their name should be on your quarterly 401K statement, if you don’t remember it. Too many people think they have to go through their employer’s HR, which isn’t true.) The employer’s bankruptcy (or uncooperativeness) should not affect that third party. Compliance testing, like any other audit, should not preclude your access to YOUR OWN MONEY. Frankly, this is giving me flashbacks to Enron freezing ESOP withdrawals as the stock crashed.

      Mind, sometimes employers with cash flow problems will not transmit withholdings promptly, so you should have both your latest 401K statement and the YTD info from your final paycheck handy when you talk to the new investment company.

      1. Snow Angels in the Zen Garden*

        Yes, this! The investment company I formerly worked for initiated everything from their end whenever possible.

  27. Rick Tq*

    Talk to a lawyer tomorrow about your options. This does not sound good from the information you shared.

  28. Tradd*

    I am on a massive decluttering kick! I have always tended towards minimalism for years, but I got off it the past 6-7 years. I’m doing Swedish Death Cleaning. Basically, it’s getting rid of the stuff you don’t use and not leaving all your junk for your heirs or executors to clean out. There is a charming book by an older Swedish woman on this. Anyway, I was already doing this and a massive purge last week. Gave away tons of housewares on local Buy Nothing group.

    Then I go to gynie on Monday and find out I have to go for a biopsy in a few weeks to make sure I don’t have a gynecological cancer. I’m in my mid-50s, no kids, single. My executors are a married couple who are good friends. This kicked my butt into gear. I already had the forms for medical POA. Just have to sign it in presence of two witnesses. I wrote up all info about my finances, online passwords, etc. My two retirement accounts already have named beneficiaries. Have to get a will done or do one of the online ones. My stuff is simple. I was already thinking about getting all this stuff done, but having to go for the biopsy just lit a fire under me.

    I LOVE having so much empty space around me. I wasn’t a hoarder, just a lot of clutter in a small space. Decluttering makes me feel SO much lighter and less stressful.

    1. Chauncy Gardener*

      Fingers crossed for good health news for you!

      Also, I’m in exactly the same purging mode. It’s the absolute best! My house feels (and looks) amazing.

    2. HannahS*

      Good for you! I am trying hard to stay on top of the clutter and move stuff out. I’m not a minimalist by nature and neither is my partner, but we we’ll be moving again in 2025 (fourth move in five years,) I refuse to move things AGAIN just because it would be nice if we were the kind of people who needed them…goodbye white tablecloth, goodbye glass pantry-storage canisters, goodbye steamer-basket.

    3. Dark Macadamia*

      I hope your biopsy ends up only being a cleaning motivator and nothing more!

      I love the feel of decluttering. I just tidied up the storage room recently – it’s not too bad but we tend to get into phases of just tossing stuff in there instead of putting it where it belongs, and now there’s actually floor space again! I have kids who refuse to get rid of anything so I have to target areas that aren’t shared/theirs, lol. The other day my 9yo looked around her room and said “I think I have too much stuff, maybe I should get rid of some of it” and I wanted to throw a parade (of course, she hasn’t actually gone through and done it yet, but it’s huge progress from the usual “what do you mean my room still looks messy, all the piles are exactly where I want them”)

    4. Resentful Oreos*

      Fingers (and paw pads) crossed for a benign result.

      I have the Swedish Death Cleaning book and I love it. I’m also single with no blood family (or at least none that I’m on any terms with), so I don’t have children or whoever to leave heirlooms to. My friends are welcome to a couple keepsakes each, and I have arrangements made for my cats’ care.

      Decluttering is good no matter what. It’s not just about “your heirs will thank you,” your dwelling and your life will thank you. My cats LOVE that I’ve decluttered, and are even now chasing each other through the condo with abandon.

      You get to see and use more of what you do have, which is nice. I just found a favorite cookbook I thought I had lost forever (but had packed away with some stuff I want to donate). I’m so glad I found it; it still has all the little Post Its marking my favorite recipes.

      And – as I get older I think of this – if I do ever need home health care, or have major surgery – which I did a couple years ago – an uncluttered environment is so much safer. It’s also easier to find and corral cats who do not want to go to the vet, when there are fewer places for them to hide, or piles for me to trip over.

  29. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

    Does anyone have suggestions for how to get better at lots-of-little-bits-spread-over-time-and-medium-and-some-of-them-later tasks? I have always been much better at the go-somewhere-and-do-something-and-now-it’s-done-and-I-can-go-home task flow, and fewer and fewer services will let me do it that way any more.

    My current breaking point is that my vet just switched from selling meds in-office to an online pharmacy. This means that The Task has gone from “pay for medicine at the front desk and pick it up as you leave” (easy! I already am paying for the visit then anyway and I’m actively thinking about my dog right now!) to “go home, get on email, locate email from portal, remember password, deal with website, and then remember to check the mail/porch every day for the next several days/weeks until the package arrives” (terrible! I’m probably going to take the dog for a Consolation Walk, go out to dinner, and generally live my life and not deal with the email for several days, then have the low-grade hum of “keep an eye on the mail for a package” chewing at the Task List for days or weeks).

    Anyway, I resent the heck out of this and am probably going to switch vets if I can find one not doing it, but I hit versions of this with a lot of different things and it’s not always avoidable.

    1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      (I was already at “argh, I should really get a new vet” for a couple of other reasons before this, but this thread is more about my general problems with this type of task flow than Reason #7 Why I Am Calling Around To Find A New Vet.)

    2. NobodyHasTimeForThis*

      Have you seen if your vet has the option to just hand you a paper prescription? We stopped getting pet meds from our vet and started going to a local pharmacy that carries pet meds much much cheaper. Also a surprising number are available on Amazon.

      But to the bigger question. I have to keep a list. If it is something that I know will occur, like if I know that when I go to the vet I am going to likely have to (go online/go to the pharmacy) I build that into my schedule. e.g. Get the vet portal on your phone and place the order from the parking lot. If it doesn’t happen then I have free time. I am pretty strict about scheduling my dr. appointments as early in the day as possible so that I can swing by the pharmacy on the way home and they will be ready.

      But overall I tend to schedule 1 day a week for in person errands and 1 day for online and just accumulate a list

      1. Resentful Oreos*

        I used to get my elderly cat’s meds at my local in-store pharmacy. The vet faxed or emailed the prescription (not any controlled substances) but I was able to pick up her meds when I got mine, easy-peasy. Many pharmacies are now happy to dispense meds for pets.

    3. Dog and cat fosterer*

      Might not work for you, but some human pharmacies fill pet prescriptions. I’d ask your local pharmacy if they can do this, then get the prescription from the vet.

    4. Doctor is Out*

      I feel your pain. Our vet does this now. I never can remember the password. Then the charge shows up as something weird on the credit card bill.

    5. Hroethvitnir*

      Wow, that’s bizarre. I actually love getting scripts to order online for recurring drugs, but not even carrying the most common drugs is crazy. What do they do for acute infections? Presumably they have injectables but that only covers 24-48 hours which is presumably not enough to get the remainder by post!

      They’re going to have a terrible drop off in compliance I’d think. :/

      No advice, just sympathy!

    6. But not the Hippopotamus*

      I am having similar feelings about our pediatrician. They decided to get rid of paper billing entirely. So, I get an email notification on my phone, it gets marked as read, I have to remember that I saw it until it’s time to pay bills, log into their portal after figuring out which kid it’s for, click through to find the bill, then go pay it.

      I would leave if my neurdivergent kid didn’t love their provider. Now I’m just counting the days to I cam cut them out of my life. I wouldn’t mind if it was a regular monthly bill, but they are like one every 4 months and always show up 1-2 months after a visit.

  30. Warrior Princess Xena*

    Sticker question!

    I have been finding the cool die cut stickers you can get at Ren fairs/craft booths/online, but I never know what to do with them once I receive them. I’ve never really liked the overcrowded water bottle or laptop look, and I don’t have either of those anymore in any case. Any suggestions as to other hard surfaces that could benefit from some cool decor?

    1. beep beep*

      Honestly, if you have some plain furniture, especially flatpack stuff, I started putting my stickers on my furniture in my room as a child and never looked back. I bought a Kallax storage unit from IKEA a year or so ago and I’ve had a lot of fun theming each of the empty cubbies.

    2. GoryDetails*

      If you’d like to expand your hobbies a bit, use the stickers to make/ornament tags of some kind, to be used as keychains or ornaments – or, if you’re into geocaching, as travel bugs (items with unique IDs, to be left in caches where people can find, log, and move them). The unique-ID tags can be purchased from the geocaching site, and I often look for interesting/amusing items to add to the tags to make them more eye-catching. I’ve taken stickers and attached them to heavy-duty card-stock or flat pieces of plastic or wood (craft shops have things like that in various shapes and sizes).

    3. Claire (Scotland)*

      I decorate my teacher planner with them. Also use them on mirrors, to cover the brand logo on my Glossybox boxes for reusing as storage, and to “label” folders etc.

    4. Just a name*

      I attach them to plain magnets and put them on the refrigerator or a magnetic board.

      1. Warrior Princess Xena*

        I think this is the one! My fridge is very empty right now and could use some color. Thank you!

    5. Accidental Itinerant Teacher*

      I’ve done the turn them into magnets thing and turned them into coasters.
      I also keep a couple of notebooks (knitting patterns, d&d, paperwork, etc) with hard plastic covers that I put stickers on.
      They also make little notebooks just for putting stickers in that have coated pages so you can remove and restick them.

    6. MissCoco*

      I put them on the inside covers of planners or notebooks, use them sparingly on my things, turn them into magnets, and mostly store them in a little binder with pouches. A few years ago I made my mother a notebook to take with her to cello lessons (where she writes down what to work on each week and any important feedback she wants to remember) that I decorated with stickers every few pages and little collages, so if you have some kind of notebook or record-keeping like that it could be a fun way to use them?

    7. Rara Avis*

      I put mine on a clipboard I use at work and on my list notebook. My kid does water bottle and side of the desk that is visible from the bed.

  31. Ali + Nino*

    Any advice on meal planning/prep to incorporate more fruits and veggies into a diet? If I’m cooking I’d rather make a big batch for my family for the week. Frozen is fine. thanks!

    1. beep beep*

      It’s not in everyone’s budget, but I buy a lot of precut fruit and bagged cut veg that’s easy to add to a meal. Sliced apples to go with peanut butter, bagged salad to toss to go with pasta, prechopped broccoli to roast in the oven or braise in a pan, stuff like that.

      1. beep beep*

        (Of course, this effect can also be achieved by doing the work yourself, but my crisper drawers are black holes in my fridge and I know this about myself, so I don’t use them very often.)

        1. Ali + Nino*

          Thanks! I have been on the lookout for a big beautiful fruit bowl in hopes that seeing the fruit will help me eat it more often…

      2. Resentful Oreos*

        Agreed on the precut fruit and/or veggies. It really makes life easier. And it’s not that much more expensive, at least where I live; the grocery stores have a great selection. The saving of time is worth the extra money.

        An easy way to incorporate more fruit and vegetables is to use them as snacks. Apple slices with peanut butter, sliced vegetables and dip of your choice (hummus, dill dip, ranch). It’s a great healthy no-cook option that also has that satisfying crunch factor.

    2. WellRed*

      I’m not quite clear on what you’re asking but. I find stir fries, soups and chilis to be an easy way to incorporate all kinds of veggies. As to fruit, I’d love ideas. One thing I ve found helpful is smaller cut up fruits, a few apple scales and nuts for a snack, a few banana slices at breakfast.

      1. Ali + Nino*

        Thank you! Yes, the idea of smaller cut up fruit and veggies at every meal is the kind of thing I’m thinking – easy ways to add it in. For instance I like the idea of fruit and yogurt smoothies but I would want to make a big batch and keep other smaller servings on hand for the following days. Making the smoothie once a day is too much cleanup for me, just being honest!

        1. Csethiro Ceredin*

          I have a smoothie for breakfast every workday and I make them in my full size blender. The full blender gives me 3 days’ smoothies (I have big glasses), and so I make that Sunday night, blitz it Monday morning, then fill it 2/3 on Wednesday night and blitz in Thursday morning.

          I use frozen fruit and those pucks of frozen spinach (one puck per day). Personally I don’t want a frozen smoothie in the morning, so leaving the assembled jug in the fridge overnight means it’s cold but not in brain-freeze territory.

    3. Narwhals are real*

      – Make a habit of doing a weekly/twice weekly chop. Or maybe thrice weekly, whatever works for you. It’s a pain to chop and prepare veggies and fruits, but a lot of us are more likely to eat them if they are chopped and easy. So I just get out the chopping board and knives a few times a week and chop up the things that are chopable and store them in the fridge. Apples, cauliflower, celery, broccoli, peppers, citrus fruits, whatever. Even a head of lettuce for salads. Most of these things will last just fine for a few days to a week.

      – At all times keep a little chopped fruit and tasty chopped raw veg out on the table or kitchen counter for snacking. Staying out of the fridge for a day or two should not affect most things.

      – This is a know yourself point, but it works for me: don’t go crazy with too many choices at one time. Decision fatigue and overwhelm can make it more difficult than it needs to be, for adults and for kids, and sometimes if there’s too much choice you’ll choose nothing at all. Change things up, especially if things are seasonal or on sale, but no need to have twenty different fruit and veg available at all times. Of course if you have several people in your household you want to make sure there’s always things that everyone likes, but try to keep it as minimal as possible.

      – Frozen and canned veggies still count as veggies! Don’t hesitate to use them. They are easy and almost as nutritionally sound as fresh, though you do have to watch for sodium and preservatives in canned things. Still, canned veggies with added salt are still better than no veggies at all (barring certain medical conditions.)

      1. Narwhals are real*

        What I mean by the decision fatigue point is, when you do your shopping, don’t feel you need to buy a whole bunch of different things for variety. Buy a few, and then next time switch it up. Or don’t, if you like what you got the time before and wish to repeat it!

        But if you are not a person who is often overwhelmed by choice, disregard!

        1. Ali + Nino*

          Definitely get overwhelmed by choice – thank you! it’s a good reminder that we don’t have to and actually can’t have all the good things at once.

    4. Decidedly Me*

      I try to make veggies my snack by having a homemade dip (like hummus, baba ghanoush, white bean, etc.) and cut veggies (either purchased that way or by doing a bunch in a batch) available. Makes it a really easy choice.

      1. Ali + Nino*

        Yes thank you! My kids also like this tzatziki style yogurt dip I’ve made so I would like to have that ready and waiting with some veggies for an after school snack for them (and me!).

        1. Resentful Oreos*

          Veggies and tzatziki is a great combo! Of course Trader Joe’s carries the tzatziki! (Along with just about everything else.)

          I have an old recipe for dill dip that I also like for sliced veggies, especially celery and cucumbers.

    5. HannahS*

      OK so I’m in a similar boat–it’s hard because we have so little time to cook. My saviours have been:
      -one raw vegetable on the side: cucumbers, baby carrots, or snap peas (you can also make a big tupperware container of sliced raw veg at the beginning of the week but rest assured that to me, a sliced up cucumber with salt on it totally counts as a side dish)
      -frozen veggies: frozen peas with butter, salt and pepper, frozen corn with butter, salt, and pepper
      -applesauce, sliced cukes, raisins, or dates at snack time

      When my life was more conducive to batch-cooking (as opposed to now, where quick meals each night work better,) I had the following tricks:
      -make a big batch of simple pureed vegetable soup; like butternut squash soup, or tomato soup, or zucchini and beet–think almost as simple as baby food; serve a few times over the week
      -make a giant French-style shredded carrot salad and serve at multiple meals (carrots, parsley, vinaigrette)
      -make a big coleslaw (vinegared, not creamy) and serve over multiple meals

      When I was single and trying to incorporate more veggies, I enjoyed eating dried fruit (sweet!) crispy roasted chickpeas (crunchy!) and made dinners that were veggie heavy in non-obvious ways (lentil soup, chili, bulked up pasta sauce with shredded zucchini)

    6. Not A Manager*

      At this time of year, I almost always have some ratatouille around. It’s easy to make *when* you’re in a cooking/meal prep kind of mood, it lasts fairly well, and it’s super versatile as a side dish or added ingredient. I put it into omelettes, serve it as a pasta sauce, add it to a composed salad, and just eat it as-is.

      I also make soups that are basically chicken broth, a whole bunch of veggies, and any kind of random meat or tofu. Again, they last well, are an easy snack, and they’re versatile to bulk up with a pasta or grain as a main course. The packaged cheese-filled tortellini are especially good additions.

    7. Fellow Travellwr*

      If I’m grilling, or roasting vegetables, I will make an extra large batch and use them 1) as a side with dinner, 2)in grain bowls for lunch, 3) in a pasta salad for a second dinner.

    8. Fellow Traveller*

      Oh also- kale salad lasts me a few days, so that’s another thing I might prep a big batch of as well.
      I do massaged kale base and add roasted sweet potato or butter nut squash. Then when I’m packing lunch, I thrown in pepitas, cubed cheddar cheese and apples.

    9. Part time lab tech*

      I’d like to eat more vegies too. I keep frozen mixed vegies (broccoli, beans, peas) for steamed and stir fried.
      If I make a salad I make more than I need and either take it for lunch or have it with dinner the next day as well. If I’m cutting onions or leeks, I will prepare the whole thing and freeze what I don’t need, same with dried beans.

  32. NYC healthcare adventures*

    Does anyone have any tips on navigating FMLA leave? My friend was recently hospitalized for mental health issues and will be out of work for about 3 weeks. How can she make sure all her i’s are dotted and t’s crossed around her taking leave?

    Her company policy is after 7 days, she must take the rest of the leave as FMLA, paired with STD + a top-up policy so she will still get her full paycheck. I believe her insurance plan is still fully active during this time. Also, she is not a US citizen but is on a work visa sponsored by this company.

    Is there anything else she should make sure to look out for or ask about?

    1. CoffeeIsMyFriend*

      I can’t speak to the short-term disability or not being a citizen but overall the FML paperwork isn’t too bad. your HR fills out a portion of it and then you take it your doctor and then return it. the things to keep in mind are to make sure you know your doctor’s turnaround time, how soon the HR wants it back and to check in with HR after they got it to make sure that it all makes sense for them.

      1. UsingShortTermDisability*

        Hmmm, short term disability was designed to be used outside of the FMLA. When I was on short term disability, I used short term disability and that was my “time off” designation as long as I qualified for it (qualifying is usually a combination of a determination of medical need + how long you’ve been paying into the system; when I used it I had a maximum coverage length of 7 weeks – my earned time based on how long I’d been with my company/paying into the system but I did not automatically get 7 weeks of leave. Medical folks at the insurance company evaluated my medical records and determined how long I needed. In my case, I was given all 7 weeks, but let’s say they’d granted 3 weeks. In that case, additional time needed prior to returning to work would have to use some other type of leave be it FMLA or something else. But short term disability and FMLA timelines should not overlap.

        1. TX_Trucker*

          FMLA and disability “should” not overlap, but it’s legal and common for them to overlap. The good thing is that’s it’s incredibly rare for an employer to terminate someone on disability even if their FMLA coverage has expired. Not because the employer is good, but because they fear a lawsuit for a potential ADA violation.

          1. UsingShortTermDisability*

            How would that even work? FMLA is unpaid leave, but the company typically pays you (with reimbursement from the insurance carrier) while on short term disability.

    2. UsingShortTermDisability*

      had a nesting fail – please see my reply under CoffeeIsMyFriend

    3. TX_Trucker*

      If the leave turns into longer than 3 weeks, she needs to make sure her insurance is paid for. If her insurance is normally paid for through payroll deduction, that may or may not be happening if she is receiving a paycheck through a disability policy.

      1. UsingShortTermDisability*

        Yes, check, of course, but short term disability typically pays to the employer. The employee stays on regular payroll with their normal deductions, but the underlying money funding this comes through the insurance.

        Long term disability is a different beast that pays directly to the former employee (typically it kicks in only if the employee is no longer able to work because of their disability).

  33. ADHD is real*

    I’m a 45-year-old woman and I’ve just received an official diagnosis for ADHD. I have suspected this for years and it feels really good to have a diagnosis. I am not sure if the next steps will be very drastic for me – I really struggled when I was younger, but at this age I have learned and developed strategies to cope as well as figured out my niches where I do well (professionally and other). I do think I’ll go the next step and try out medication. I have tried ADHD meds from friends and family (I know this is not what you are supposed to do and it is bad and wrong and am officially Not Recommending It but…it really does seem to help, so…)

    I do feel that my ADHD has held me back in life, though. I am excited to think that with knowledge, support, and maybe medication, I might be able to do more with my than I had long thought. I have seen friends thriving by just being able to do things that seemed easy to them (like put their heads down and complete projects, mostly, either personal or professional, without losing interest and not finishing) and had wished I could be like that. So maybe now I can.

    Would love to hear from others in similar circumstances. Advice, anecdotes, insights.

    1. Fellow ADHDer*

      When I first started medication, it felt like it was a fairly dramatic jump in brain function, then as my body adjusted to it it became a more subtle, but still very noticeable, (compared to not taking them), change. It didn’t change me into a “do ALL THE THINGS” superhero but it became drastically easier to initiate and complete boring, multistage tasks, and stick with things beyond the initial hyperfocus. As far as medications go, I tried a couple of non-stimulant options before going to the amphetamines (Wellbutrin, Strattera) and they were kinda ok for a bit but the stimulant ended up working best for me. Strattera started out fine but after a while of being on it, it started making me increasingly nauseous when I took it. Wellbutrin’s most noticeable affect for me was that it made me more anxious and didn’t seem to do much else. When I first started taking the stimulants their appetite suppression side effect was pretty strong, I didn’t feel hungry very often and was “full” after only a few bites. I got used to it over time and don’t notice it anymore. I’m also very aware of any additional caffeine/energy drink/vitamin B intake, as if I have too much of that on top of the meds I’ll pay for it with a “brain hangover” later, where I just feel like a lump and can’t get my brain to do anything, whether or not I have meds. If I’m on a road trip or had a late night and need to get up early and be productive I either don’t take the afternoon pill and rely on the caffeine/energy drink to carry me through or I plan a rest day where I laze in bed and don’t make any decisions the entire day to give my body a chance to adjust back down to my baseline.

    2. anon24*

      Diagnosed last year at 31. Ive known for awhile, but thought I could push through on my own. I wish I would have done it years ago. My entire life would be different now. I had such shitty self esteem because I struggled so hard doing basic life tasks and couldn’t understand how other people managed to hold down a full time job and run errands and have hobbies and keep their home clean. I was majorly depressed and hated myself because I felt like a failure at life. Why could I not even do the basics?

      I started right onto Adderall and holy shit. No wonder I couldn’t do anything. My brain is LOUD at baseline. And the funny thing is, I don’t even need to take the Adderall every day. sometimes I go a week or more without taking it. But knowing I actually do have ADHD has helped so much and the Adderall helps an incredible amount with calming my brain and helping me function. Taking it has also given me the calm and focus to implement other coping techniques like getting incredibly digitally organized and setting up things like a well organized notes app that syncs with my phone and computer, a budgeting spreadsheet to keep me on track, and constant reminders and a phone calendar. I don’t have social media but I’m literally glued to my phone because it’s my brain and it’s super helpful.

      I’ve gone from barely able to function and barely able to focus to having coping skills, the tools I need, the Adderall to help me calm down and focus, and I’m doing so much better. My husband left me a few months after I was diagnosed and I truly think I would have lost my mind trying to navigate it all without being medicated. I’m now working 2 jobs, about 60-80 hours a week, keeping on top of having a clean apartment, errands run, and am signed up to continue college part time in the fall on top of it all. I’m stressed and overwhelmed but it’s a realistic level, not the crumple to the floor level that I used to feel when I only worked 40 hours a week. I truly regret not doing this years ago. All this things I thought I wasn’t capable of doing I am excelling at, I just needed to be able to calm my brain enough to think.

      1. Persephone Mulberry*

        The “loud brain” thing was SUCH a revelation (after I started meds). Like oh, this is how NT people’s brains naturally are? Fascinating.

        1. Peanut Hamper*

          Hold on….you mean….you can have a quiet brain, instead of a beehive, with meds? Is there a way to do it without meds? The signal/noise ratio in my brain has always been high, and I’ve always assumed that’s normal. I’ve never heard it put in these terms before.

    3. Persephone Mulberry*

      Diagnosed in 2021 at age 41. Realized in 2023 that all the “ADHD life hacks” weren’t quite cutting it anymore and reached out to a psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD about medication. My experience has been a lot like Fellow ADHDer’s except we skipped over the non-stimulant meds and went straight to Adderall.

      I did go cold turkey on caffeine after the first week – for me, caffeine on top of Adderall made me incredibly irritable. I’ve always been resentful of being *reliant* on caffeine to function anyway, so it wasn’t a hard choice. If I miss a day of meds, it doesn’t hit me nearly as hard as skipping a day of coffee used to. /Shrug/

    4. Hroethvitnir*

      Not the most helpful anecdote but I’ve been where you are, so sharing.

      I was diagnosed last year at 38. However, while I am pretty sure it’s been a significant contributor/exacerbator for some of my struggles, the largest part for me is C-PTSD (mostly resolved) and the mood related issues springing from it (life has ramped those up).

      Unfortunately I responded little to stimulant medication. It’s very hard to parse out executive dysfunction from ADHD from depression, especially because being very down/foggy masks the brain over-activity (in the worst of both worlds).

      I think it has helped a little? The non-stimulant medication I tried didn’t do anything. I hope you have a more dramatic response!

  34. General von Klinkerhoffen*

    You can batch cook soffrito (finely diced onion, carrot and celery) then freeze in cubes and put it in as a base to almost anything remotely wet. I also used to add frozen broccoli rice to many dishes but it was discontinued here.

    The chief way I get enough vegetables is to make sure I buy them and have them easy to use – frozen diced onions, sliced peppers, peas, sweetcorn, etc. I also have green onions, leeks and often pak choi on the kitchen windowsill (buy once, put in a small amount of water in daylight, cut away green regrowth as needed, leave to grow).

    Anything using ground meat can be reinforced with lentils or beans. You may also have success with finely diced eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms.

    Shredded carrot is very versatile. I have a special peeler that peels and shreds in one, but you can use a grater. Great in salads such as slaw but also stir-fries, chilli, etc. Shredded raw (not pickled or boiled) beetroot also works well but is less discreet!

    Having a prepared container of snack plants in the fridge helps. Chopped cucumber, sliced melon, carrot sticks, etc. Make it as easy as grabbing pretzels.

      1. Peanut Hamper*

        Lol, I noticed that. But honestly, that idea behind shredded carrots—I’m going to start adding them to my chili. That sounds like a great idea!

        1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

          They just kind of disappear, but add some sweetness and umami.

  35. CzechMate*

    My husband works for a small US branch office as part of a larger company based in the UK. Today one of his British coworkers said, “Happy Fourth of July to our friends across the Atlantic. You may have gotten rid of the King, but you’ll never get rid of us!❤️”

  36. I'm just here for the cats!*

    Does anyone’s family have weird superstitions around holidays or odd things. For example my family never does much on the 4th. maybe go to the fireworks and grill but we don’t go anywhere. Why? for a stretch of years in the late 70’s and 80’s we had a lot of weird car accidents

    my uncle’s got into a bad accident where one person was pinned. another time my grandpa got hit by the neighbor. My cousin was in an accident and almost killed.
    when my mom was a teenager her friends dad drowned, and she was supposed to go with them. there’s other odd things that happened that I don’t remember.

    Does anyone else have any odd superstitions?

    1. fhqwhgads*

      That might feel like a superstition but I think “avoid driving on days a lot of people are likely to get drunk” is fairly prudent. We don’t go anywhere for the 4th either but it’s an intentional choice to avoid the drunk drivers.

      1. Not Totally Subclinical*

        This is also why I avoid New Year’s Eve parties unless they’re someplace I can stay until morning.

  37. Invisible fish*

    How do you get over the guilt of throwing away old VHS tapes and DVDs? I haven’t had anything that will play either in a decade. The movies I have will never be watched again in this house. Trying to find a place that will take either to be recycled has been an exercise in futility. Arghhh. I just want to declutter and clean my house.

    1. Kathenus*

      I was in this situation too, had dozens of VHS tapes. So one year during the holidays I took advantage of a 50% off sale by a company that digitizes them, and picked a set number that I was willing to pay to get done. Then I went through my tapes (they were personal recordings not commercial/entertainment ones) and picked out that many to have digitized.

      For those, once done, and for all the rest I paid one of the companies that you can send them in to for recycling – it was basically a small fee plus shipping. That way I felt good for recycling versus trashing, but it wasn’t a huge cost. And some areas have recycling options more locally.

      I had carried around boxes of these for years through multiple moves, and it was worth every penny to finally get a resolution.

      1. Invisible fish*

        So I would just google “Recycle tapes via shipping” or some such to find a company that will take them for a fee? Or can you recommend a service?

        1. Kathenus*

          I can’t remember who I used for recycling, but some quick Googling depending on where you live there may be dropoff options, but there are also different mail order ones, so I’d just do some searching for what’s easiest/cheapest near you.

      2. Hatchet*

        If you were happy with their work, do you mind sharing the name of this company?
        I recently came across a number of vhs recordings of family and need to get them digitized. Thanks!

        1. Kathenus*

          I used Legacybox, and was happy with them. If you check around the holidays they have really good sales, or just get on their email list, wait for a sale, then unsubscribe from the emails in the future if you want. They offer different ways to get your digitized content, I got the flash drive and the download options.

    2. Narwhals are real*

      Not specific to VHS and DVDs, but just in general about things that cannot be easily donated or recycled, I have had to change my mindset on this. There is so much energy expend in feeling guilty about something you can’t change because it’s a systemic issue.

      It does feel really bad to think about these things going into landfills, but I try to see the bigger picture. There is so much plastic and waste in the world that is not being recycled, either by individuals or larger bodies like corporations and governments, so while I try to do my best, I sometimes need to just throw things away. It is a drop in the bucket compared to the systemic issue of overconsumption etc, and my quality of life will be better if they are gone. Using my space as storage for them isn’t really solving the problem.

      So that sounds a bit depressing, but honestly the energy and stress expended on personally trying to make sure things don’t go into landfills could be better put to use trying to change the system as a whole. Like, you tried, it’s not possible, so throw the things away, don’t think too much about it. Instead write an email to your local council member asking for better waste facilities, or tell three people about the programme in your area that tries to discourage food waste, or send some money to a politician or organisation that is on the right side for this.

      But also, for the DVDs, I think there might be some market for them. People are getting so sick of streaming services fragmenting and making things suddenly unavailable, or paying for a digital copy of something only to have it disappear, and so some are going back to physical media. I think there may be a bit of a DVD resurgence on the horizon.

      1. Dark Macadamia*

        Yeah, I tend to feel like… the garbage is already in the world. My home is not a landfill. Probably the biggest impact my individual garbage has on the world is how it affects me and my space, so there’s not really a benefit to keeping it.

        I do try to donate anything useable rather than throwing it away, though, by posting stuff cheap or free online or bringing it to a donation site. VHS is probably best to just toss unless it’s like some really rare one in great condition (maybe?) but someone will definitely be happy with your DVDs!

        1. ampersand*

          As someone who feels bad throwing out stuff I can’t otherwise donate, sell, or recycle, I really needed to hear “my home is not a landfill.” It’s both funny and so very true. Thank you!

    3. OaDC*

      Library sales will often take DVDs. I donated a TON of DVDs and CDs to the Friends of the Library, and they were happy to get them. A treat awaits fans of 80’s music in my neighborhood!

    4. First Time Caller*

      I did an Int’l Move 10plus years ago and had to dump all kinds of things I couldn’t bring with. I used Green Disk’s Techno Trashcan box. They take all of your old computer tech, audio and video tapes. It was pricey since I got the bigger one, but it was prepaid shipping and I could just put things in as and when. I just had to eventually take it to be shipped (which was the hard part since it was heavy) but all in all it was great. They even will provide a secure recycling certificate if you need it for business.

    5. Anonymous cat*

      Do you belong to any kind of local community group? I had a bunch to get rid of and didn’t want to deal with the whole world on freecycle so I posted to a large local community group.

      I said I had X to get rid of and figured there were people in the group who still had equipment to use them. I’d give them all or half of them to anyone who wanted them. (So this would be one or two drops and then done.)

      And several people did! Even came to my work with a rolling suitcase to pick them up.

    6. The Other Dawn*

      Honestly, I don’t waste any time at all feeling guilty about throwing things away. I don’t go overboard, but I also don’t feel guilty when I throw away certain food containers, like gross cat food cans, or other items. So much of what we throw into a recycling bin isn’t actually being recycled. I’m pretty sure you’re not filling three dumpsters with DVDs and VHS tapes, so why not just toss them?

    7. NotSoRecentlyRetired*

      We have a large “used bookstore” that includes sale of used professional (not self-recorded) DVDs and VHS, so I assume that they’ll buy them from you. Otherwise see if any thrift shops will take them as donation.

    8. Maggie*

      Just donate them, there are people who will buy them because they want to hold onto media vs allow companies to just erase it from streaming and then it’s gone

      1. EllenD*

        In UK most charity shops won’t take VHS tapes, as no-one buys them and they’re bulky to store. However, many will take DVDs in small quantities (eg no more than 20-30 at a time), as these do sell. People are looking for specific DVDs when they disappear from the streaming services. However, some do have too many so do check before donating.

  38. Ellis Bell*

    What kind of recipe do you really need a cast iron pan for (I have the enamelled cast iron Le Crueset kind). We used to use it for the basics like steak and vegetables, but then we were gifted a non stick ninja pan that does the same job on the basics but is easier to use. I feel like we are just letting this expensive pan go to waste that can go from stovetop to oven; but genuinely don’t know what it could be particularly good for?

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      The stove to oven thing is key. Anything that requires being fried first and then baked (i.e., casseroles, pot-pie, cottage pie) is a great fit for cast iron.

    2. Clisby*

      I use cast iron pots/pans far more than any other pans, but mine are just the regular cast iron, not enameled (no idea if that matters). I have 3 cast iron skillets, a cast iron dutch oven, and a cast iron griddle/grill (you put it over the burners of the gas stove). None of it is expensive, and it’s easy to use.

      Granted, I’ve never had a non-stick ninja pan, but I’ve had a couple of others, and didn’t see that they were any easier to use than cast iron.

    3. Samwise*

      I have a nonstick pan for eggs. I use my cast iron skillet for almost everything else that doesn’t go in a pot.

    4. ThatOtherClare*

      One of the main reasons for the non-stick vs cast iron divide is whether you’re worried about ingesting Teflon. Those who aren’t concerned about ingesting Teflon will benefit from the convenience of non-stick cookware. Those who are, are the ones sacrificing time and money to avoid it by using cast iron instead. Personally, I’d like to go cast iron, but I have neither the time nor the money to spare, so non-stick it is. There’s no way to avoid every modern carcinogen. Teflon is one of my compromises, I cook with it multiple times per day. But that’s definitely one of the main things cast iron is ‘good for’ – just simply existing as a cookware option that’s not coated with Teflon.

  39. Peanut Hamper*

    I was saving this for a weekend thread, but this post might be around for a while, so I’ll post here.

    I have two YouTube channels. The first is a standard cooking channel where I do recipes. I have about 430 subscribers. The second one is where I talk about pencils, pens, manual typewriters, and zines. I have exactly 20 subscribers.

    The odd thing is that I have the same amount of interaction with subscribers on both channels. Roughly the same number of comments, replies, likes, etc.

    When I pointed this out to a friend, they said that this seemed normal to them because my second channel is more “spectrummy” (their word) than the first one. I wasn’t sure what they meant, and they said that it’s like how people on the autism spectrum or people with Asperger’s can really get into something (i.e., trains) and get enthusiastic about it. They added that a lot of those 20 subscribers are probably, but not definitely, somewhere on the spectrum. (If I could add an image, it would be me with a WTF? look on my face.)

    And now I have two questions.

    First, I know that second channel is very niche. I’m surprised that I have any subscribers, to be honest. But are people now using the word “spectrummy” to mean “niche”?

    Second, is the trains example actually a thing with autistic people, or is this just an idea that the movies have foisted on us? Are wooden pencils especially attractive to people on the spectrum? Is this even a thing? I have no idea. Are people who like pens and pencils and typewriters just…people, some on the spectrum and some not? (I know exactly one person with Asperger’s and he and I have the same fondness for smooth-writing pens. But I know a lot of people without Asperger’s who like smooth-writing pens.)

    (And FWIW, I’ve had a few friends suggest that I may be on the spectrum because I like “niche” things. There are other signs, which they’ve also pointed out, and which actually make sense. I’ve considered getting tested, but it’s never bothered me enough that I’ve taken that step. I think I’m doing okay.)

    1. Ellis Bell*

      Do any of these friends have any neurodivergency experience or training at all? No?! Why, how odd, that they would armchair diagnose based on the entirety of one characteristic!! I work in the educational field specialising in neurodivergency and I wouldn’t be able to diagnose you, or any of your subscribers because it takes a lot, lot more than “likes pencils”, to get you that diagnosis, and although I refer concerns to professionals who diagnose, I can’t do it myself (even when I have been ready to eat my hat if someone wasn’t a particular type of neurospice). Fixed and specialised interests are a feature of some autistic people’s experience, but it’s not necessarily going to be trains, it could just as easily be a different type of interest like gardening…but it’s probably more noticeable if it’s not a common interest. Also, I’m not autistic and I would be all over your less subscribed channel because I hate scratchy pens.

    2. Dark Macadamia*

      I think it’s most likely that your more niche one fills a space that doesn’t have a lot of options! If you’re really into cooking you have a LOT of choices for channels to follow and could narrow it based on type of cuisine, specific gimmicks, etc. There probably aren’t many manual typewriter channels and yours may be the one that is most engaging, updates most frequently, etc.

      I think people associate autism with offbeat interests because it’s “weird.” Like, how many people are super fixated on football or skincare or whatever and it’s considered normal even if that’s their whole personality? People might assume dorkier or less mainstream fixations are autism because it’s like, those people aren’t hiding their enthusiasm regardless of cool factor? It’s not really based on anything more than “autism is related to atypical social behavior and obsessing over this random uncommon thing is atypical compared to other interests” – I’m sure there are plenty of neurotypical train and pen enthusiasts, and plenty of autistic Taylor Swift fans.

    3. Irish Teacher.*

      I have never heard “spectrummy” used to mean “niche”. I guess it’s possible people might be using it that way but it is quite possible it’s just something one person said or that they meant it seems like something somebody autistic might be interested in or maybe they just know somebody autistic who has that special interest so they associate it with autism.

      I think that an interest in trains is more common among autistic people than non-autistic people, but…that doesn’t mean all or most autistic people are into trains. Nor does it mean that somebody who likes trains is likely to be autistic. The school I teach in has an autism class with 18 students (technically, it’s three classes) and we have at least one student in mainstream who is autistic and I think one is big into trains.

      I never heard anything about autistic people being into wooden pencils. The only example I’ve seen of that is an autistic girl in one of Torey Hayden’s books.

      And as somebody else who may or may not be autistic (I recently took 6 online tests and three said autism likely and the other three said probably not, so…who knows?), I personally have never felt any need to be tested. I don’t think it’s really necessary if you don’t need support.

    4. Resentful Oreos*

      There seems to be an urge to label just about anything and everything that is not blandly mainstream. I think that if a label and category help you (like getting an ADHD diagnosis is helping one of the commenters upstream) then great, a label or diagnosis is useful. Otherwise – why bother? We’re not all the same. Neurotypical people have offbeat and/or niche interests, too. Being neurodivergent is a *lot* more than the stereotype of being fascinated by trains or anything else.

      Sometimes a wooden pencil is…just a wooden pencil. I myself find zines interesting simply because I was around for the golden age of zines in the 80’s and 90’s – I even contributed to a couple – and talking about them makes me feel nostalgic.

      (As for trains being a stereotypical neurodivergent interest – I am not sure. I wonder if it’s because model trains *were* a big thing among men who are now in their 70’s and older, and people have a belated recognition that Bachelor Uncle John who had the reputation of being a little eccentric, and lived alone all his life with his dog and cat, and loved model trains, might have been on the spectrum?)

    5. RagingADHD*

      The relationship to ASD traits is in the realm of having a “special interest,” which the person studies in great detail and never tires of discussing. A special interest can be anything, but stereotypical ones are things like dinosaurs, trains, and other hobbies we associate with smart/nerdy little boys – since that is the stereotypical association with who is on the spectrum.

      NT people can have special interests, too, because one single trait is not representative of anything. But any group of collectors / enthusiasts devoted to discussing minute details about a single subject is bound to have a disproportionate number of ND people compared to the general population.

      I haven’t heard “spectrummy” being used to mean niche, but from my experience with my and my husband’s youtube channels, online communities in general tend to be more welcoming to ND folks, and ones about niche interests in particular are good places to congregate.

      ND people don’t get a lot of opportunities to discuss their special interests without fear of judgment IRL, so naturally they will be glad to find Pencils R Us (or whatever) so they can relax and really enjoy themselves.

    6. MissCoco*

      To your first question, I have never heard anyone use that term before, and IMO it would not make me think “niche” necessarily, so much as “something that the person saying it thinks of as a stereotypically autistic special interest.”

      I am not autistic, but I work with children (some of whom are neurodivergent and/or autistic) and I am an adult with special interests (including stationery!). My husband is possibly autistic, but like you is not interested in testing or a diagnosis right now.
      To answer your second question, in my experience I would say trains are a somewhat common special interest amongst the autistic children I know, but none of the autistic adults in my life (which is just a few) have that special interest. A common adage is that if you know one autistic person, you know one autistic person, and I do think that is true.

      I do think the engagement on the channels might be different because stationery is a more niche interest though. I feel like the percent of people watching cooking videos who have cooking as a special interest or passion is WAY smaller than the percent of people watching stationery videos who have stationery as a special interest. Lots of people just watch cooking videos so they can find new recipes or because they kind of enjoy cooking (but it is not a passion of theirs), whereas people who just mildly prefer a smooth writing pen are probably not going to search up videos about pens before they go to the office supply store, so probably a higher percent of the audience on your smaller channel are people who are very excited about that content specifically.

    7. Hroethvitnir*

      Yeeeeah, I’m with RagingADHD in that ND people are overrepresented in having *enough* of an interest in something that’s regarded as not very important/niche by most to watch a channel on it.

      But that phrasing definitely makes me uncomfortable, honestly. It sounds othering, even though I assume they didn’t mean to be ableist.

      I also do think this need to label everything outside of the very peak of the bell curve as ND is reductive and not terribly helpful to anyone.

      1. Resentful Oreos*

        Thank you, that’s what I was trying to get at – the whole need to label everything outside the peak of the bell curve as neurodivergent is reductive and unhelpful. What is neurotypical and what is not can’t be defined so narrowly, or reduced to one thing like “niche special interests.”

        1. Hroethvitnir*

          Yes, I liked your comment! Wish we had upvotes (no down pls).

          The world is in a weird place right now where the moderate voices and good educational content is overwhelmed by old-school ableism and the tendency to label everything as a divergency (often going all the way into the soft ableism of low expectations).

          I love that my GP is like “yeah, ADHD just seems to be a very common way for human brains to develop differently” and acknowledgement that it’s (like most nd and many mental illnesses) a spectrum that doesn’t stop at “not ADHD/austism” but “not enough to be a problem”.

          I worry so much for young people growing up in this no-privacy, constant judgement, misinformation saturated era. The increased awareness of neurodivergency will absolutely save and make lives! But I also think you have kids who are attributing normal emotional pain to a disorder and potentially developing major depression and/or anxiety out of it. Or within-normal social anxiety as Anxiety or just introversion (where that means you can’t learn social skills) and just kneecapping themselves.

          I have many thoughts on this, clearly. But I’ll stop. Thank you anyone who reads this, haha.

    8. NancyDrew*

      I have an autistic 7 year old. He is currently — this very moment — watching train videos on YouTube. He has been obsessed with trains since he was about 3. The joke in the autism community for boys is “trains or dinosaurs”? :)

    9. Dancing Otter*

      Oh, please!
      I have a relative with Trisomy 21 who is really, really into Jaguars. I sincerely doubt everyone who drives a Jag has Down’s syndrome.
      Having an interest in something not currently “in” does not mean someone is neurodivergent, any more than not giving a hoot about the latest fad does.
      Would your friend say that anyone passionate enough to devote 1000+ hours to becoming good at a musical instrument or dance or painting or any art form MUST be neurodivergent? A dedicated scientist or physician or athlete? Anyone who aspires to more than ignorance and mediocrity?
      Your friend is just showing their own ignorance.

      1. Resentful Oreos*

        Until I read “drives a Jag” I thought your relative was into the big cat variety of jaguar. Which would be pretty cool!

    10. Donkey Hotey*

      To your question: no, “spectrummy” (first I’ve heard of it) is not a synonym for niche. Niche is generic, the other sounds judgemental and casually using mental illness as a designator.

    11. ThatOtherClare*

      More likely scenario:
      – People subscribe to cooking channels to ‘bookmark’ recipes and techniques for next time they cook. They’re not looking to interact any more than I am when I open Wikipedia.
      – People subscribe to channels about writing implements because they’re writing implement geeks and want to feel like part of a community with other writing implement geeks.
      – Your friends only have limited experience with real-world neurodiversity.

  40. The Prettiest Curse*

    Events folk of AAM, do any of you use a membership management tool that has an events registration function, and would you like recommend it? We’re looking at new event registration tools and were wondering if it would make sense to have one with membership management too. Thank you!

    1. Caramel & Cheddar*

      What do you currently use / are there any that you’re already looking at that people could provide feedback on? And what types of registration do you do, i.e. is it strictly things that would be classified as having a registration fee or something else? Are you doing big conferences, small festivals, etc.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        We are currently using Eventbrite for registration and are currently tracking our membership (organisation-level, not individuals) via an Excel sheet, both of which are pretty awful but not my decision. We’d mostly be interested in using membership management software to automate renewals and track engagement.
        Our events aren’t ticketed, but only members and folks who fall into specific categories of non-member can attend. Biggest annual event is a conference with around 750 registrations.

        1. Caramel & Cheddar*

          Gotcha. I’m in arts and culture and a lot of organizations across our sector use a software called Tessitura, but it may be way more robust (/expensive) than what the scale of your needs might be. It’s essentially a ticketing platform, but is also a CRM and fundraising tool, so functionally it could handle all the things you do. But like I said, it’s a very large and robust system and is potentially very overkill for your needs. I haven’t used it in years myself, but I do love what my colleagues can get out of it. One of the only downsides is that you almost never make full use of its full capabilities because your end users are almost always never people who are deeply curious about maximizing this sort of usage.

    2. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

      We also track our membership in an Excel spreadsheet (and are debating ways to do that better…I’ll be following this thread for ideas!). For our convention registration, we use RegFox or TableTop Events depending on the nature of the event. One of the other conventions that I talk to these things about uses Convention Master by Civet Solutions for their convention registration. I wasn’t involved with the decision to use RegFox instead for ours so I can’t speak to how to pick between them.

  41. Invisible fish*

    Furniture advice: cats have clawed at a section of chaise lounge to the point it it’s a passel of threads sticking out mixed with some fluffy white cotton stuffing. (They managed yo dislodge the no scratch plastic stuff on just this one little part! Arg!)

    I’m trying to decide how to push the white stuff back in and make the threads lay down, so that this defect doesn’t jump out at a a casual observer. Is there such a thing as … fabric tape? I’m clueless. All suggestions welcome, since I’ll be keeping this chaise for quite some time.

    1. Just a name*

      I used a felting needle. It took time but worked really well. If you do a search, you’ll find more detailed instructions. I just got inexpensive felting needles at Amazon and spent a few hours stabbing my chair with them.

    2. Peanut Hamper*

      I have seen a number of posts on Instagram where people repair holes in knitted sweaters. I’m thinking you might find something there? Maybe search for “woven upholstery fabric repair” or something similar?

    3. Accidental Itinerant Teacher*

      Fabric tapes and glues exist but I’m not sure they’ll work the way you’re wanting to use them
      I’ve have seen some really lovely repairs where people got large embroidered patches and glued/ironed/ stitched them over the damage

      1. GoryDetails*

        I’m thinking of using the “large patch” method on the cat-shredded arm of my comfy-chair. Maybe look for some cheap cloth placemats or table-runners at local thrift shops – something in a pattern/color that works for you?

        As to how to keep the cats from shredding the replacement… not sure. I have cat-trees and smaller scratching posts and those cardboard scratchers, and they love them all, but they STILL go after the arm of the chair. Just this chair, not (so far, knock on wood) the sofa or the guest-room sleep-sofa, so maybe it’s this chair’s position/upholstery-style. Or that it’s my main seat and the whole thing’s a power play among my three guy-cats… Hmmm.

      2. Dancing Otter*

        Look up “visible mending” or boro.
        Though a patch would have the advantage that you could replace it as often as your little darlings destroy it.

    4. ThatOtherClare*

      If you’re hoping for invisible mending, then looking up videos on ‘how to darn’ might help. If you want to put in the work to re-weave the fabric into exactly what it was (or as close as you can get), you can do that. It just takes a little time and patience.

      If you’re keen, learn a little about how woven fabrics are made with a loom, what ‘warp’ and ‘weft’ mean etc. Then you’ll watch a darning video and go “Oh! Is that it?! Wow I thought it was way more complicated.”

      Neatly darning it is the ‘right’ way to do it. Of course there’s no real ‘right’ way, but that’s the way your great grandmother’s posh best friend ‘Betty the pro housekeeper’ would have fixed it.

      Good luck with whatever approach you choose!

    5. Aspiring Chicken Lady*

      I am of the opinion that every “flaw” in a textile is an opportunity to add flair. Go to a fabric store, find a remnant of something complimentary, maybe cut out a funky shape based on the pattern. Glue down to hold if you want, and then use strong thread and stitch down as well as you can. Curved needles can be very handy.

  42. Nilsson Schmilsson*

    What’s your go-to salsa recipe? We prefer it smooth, like a lot of restaurants provide. I just can’t get it there. Not a cilantro fan, but can just sub parsley.

    1. Catherine*

      My basic at-home red salsa is 4:1 guajillo:arbol chillies (i rehydrate the dried ones in hot water), garlic, tomato, onion, blended until smooth.

  43. Sitting Pretty*

    I like the roasted kind. So I roast a couple tomatoes, jalapenos, onions, and sometime garlic in the oven at 375 for about 15-20 mins then move them up under the broiler and roast until the skin is black and papery. Then I blend it all up in the food processor with lime, salt, cumin, and cilantro (or no cilantro depending!) Mmmm, I so love that smoky flavor!

    1. Hroethvitnir*

      Yum! This made me realise why I always prevaricate on whether I like smoke or not. Because I love me some char like this – but am not at all a fan of super smokey whiskies or anything where concentrated smoke flavour has been added.

      1. Sitting Pretty*

        Huh I’d never thought of that but I think my taste is similar. If there’s some crispy black on the kabobs from getting grilled over open flame, it’s a big yum. But “smoke” as a flavor in sauce or chips or something doesn’t appeal to me at all.

  44. Ants!*

    For the past few days I have been finding single medium size ants in random places throughout our 3500sq ft house.

    They are not tiny sugar ants (over the years I’ve had those on occasion and can knock the out by figuring out what they are after, removing it, then using Terro traps). They are not big carpenter ants. I can’t figure out where they are coming in or what they want and it’s making me crazy!

    They have been spotted, always solo, across all 3 floors of the large house:
    – in the 2nd floor laundry room
    – walking up the handrail from the finished basement to the main floor
    – on the floor in our living room
    – on the wall in the kitchen
    – on a piece of window casing in the primary bathroom

    I sprayed the entire perimeter of the home/foundation with ortho home defense yesterday and since then have found 2 dead ants sort of near a door (about 15’ away) and 2 more live ants.

    Any ideas? I will call an exterminator if I am still seeing them on Monday but I feel like if I can figure out what type they are and where they are coming from I can DIY.

    1. Unkempt Flatware*

      On top of what you’re doing, I would also try to find their most frequented locations and sprinkle some diatomaceous earth. They will track it back to their nest and it will help kill them. The DE will dry out and cut up their exoskeletons and they suffocate/dehydrate to death. It’s safe for pets and humans (unless you stick it right in your eye or huff a load of it).

      1. Rebecca*

        Make sure it’s food grade DE, and wear a mask when you put it out! A large bag will probably come with a distributor that is not very effective and leaves clumps. Spring for a better one with a good nozzle.

    2. Jay*

      Check around electrical sockets.
      Sometimes ants are attracted to them, for some reason.

    3. Dancing Otter*

      If you can catch one without smashing it to unrecognizable mush, try the county extension agent for help identifying the variety.
      Can’t remember the brand, but I had good results with a powdered perimeter insecticide in the past. Any ants that were already inside when you applied the stuff won’t be affected until they try to leave, obviously. Also, are there wires or pipes entering the house above ground? Those can be alternate entry points bypassing a perimeter treatment.

    4. Peanut Hamper*

      As a child, I had an ancient relative who swore by cucumber peels. She would leave them in the toe relief under cabinets, where they would eventually dry up and be swept away, only to be replaced by fresh ones. I don’t know that it works, but I don’t remember seeing ants in their house.

    5. ThatOtherClare*

      Sometimes ants are looking for water, not food. Hence bathroom and laundry. I’ve had success in the past by leaving a few water dishes outside for the ants and misting the ground around the dishes to lead them to it. A moat is much cheaper than an exterminator, and if it doesn’t work you can always escalate. You just have to be patient for a few days while they decide that yes, this really is a good, safe, and consistent water source, and pass the message around to the whole nest. After that, they’ll stick to their favourite bowl/s.

    6. Lizzie (with the deaf cat)*

      I am guessing there’s a bug identification app available somewhere- possibly you could take a pic and identify them in that way.
      Here in Australia (of course) we are starting to have big problems with fire ants (that’s not what you have!) and it is interesting how the changing climate changes the environmental range of bugs generally – we don’t tend to think much about them.

    7. Part time lab tech*

      Well, in Western Australia I would recommend downloading ” Mypestguide” from the department of agriculture and asking them to ID it :)
      If I remember correctly from the last Biosecurity Blitz event I took part in, they recommended asking your local extension office or state agricultural office to the occasional US blow in.

    1. Burnt Toast on Davenport Street*

      Depends, are you rallying other people to be mean to that person? Then yes.

    2. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Define “standing up to a bully”
      If that means literally telling them to knock it off, defending the subject of the bullying, and working the system to end the bullying (like reporting to HR), then no.
      If that means bullying back, giving them “a taste of their own medicine”, or trying to make the bully a social outcast, then yes.

      1. Jay*

        Absolutely not.
        All of those are COMPLETELY justified.
        All actions not significantly in excess of the bullies own are justified.
        Destroying a bully’s life for being a bully is a GOOD thing.
        It’s the least they deserve.
        The fault in ANYTHING that happens to them is wholly and completely on the bully themselves and the authority figures who were not doing their jobs by putting an end to it.
        Hard stop.

        1. Not A Manager*

          “Destroying a bully’s life for being a bully is a GOOD thing.” Wow. That’s… a lot. Do you have any room for, idk, proportionality?

        2. Zeus*

          Are you perchance a Reddit user? I see a lot of that “eye for an eye” “ruin someone’s life if you perceive them as having wronged someone” “bullying is the worst thing someone can do to another” over there. People here tend to be more restrained.

      2. Jean*

        He makes arbitrary decisions when the boss isn’t around…giving me a hard time. In the first specific instance boss found out and defended me. No apology from bully. No worries; I never expected one.

        A second instance I’m 99.9999999% certain he intentionally set me up…set a trap. I followed the crumbs and got fired for cause….

        I’ve learned what a hostile working environment feels like; the guy is not only a bully; he’s an emotionally immature fellow who has issues with women. My boss said “I made a mistake. “ (In hiring me, he is implying.)

        He didn’t make a mistake, he just didn’t know I was gonna stand up for myself.

        1. Ginger Cat Lady*

          But HOW did you “stand up for yourself” in this situation? You’re asking us to make a judgement about your behavior, but you’ve only described what he did, and all you say about what you did is that you “stood up for myself” and honestly the fact that you’re being cagey about your own behavior tells me all I need to know.

          1. Jean*

            I caught him in a lie. He got all belligerent and angry ….. No apology. And the boss knew this and at that point had my back….

          2. Jean*

            I’m considering my options… legally. Are you an attorney? I’m looking for a good reputable, hard working, honest one. Please let me know!! .the fact that you are judging me without all of the details is troublesome. Thank you for your opinion of me!

    3. Angstrom*

      If you are establishing and defending reasonable boundaries, no.
      One can stand up for oneself without putting anyone else down..

        1. Jean*

          Just standing up for myself and yes, setting boundaries for how he should NOT treat me. (Condescending, arrogant, non responsive and non-helpful. Working with new employees who don’t know anything is not in his wheelhouse.) He’s a moody narcissist around whom several of my coworkers tippy toe around so as not to provoke….I will not abide!

    4. Anon for this*

      Like others have said, context really matters here. Once I pushed back against someone who had been making bigoted comments about my religion by saying “Okay” in a harsh tone of voice and I’m pretty sure he told everyone I was bullying him because of that. I do think I could have handled it better and I’m working on that, but I don’t think I was bullying him. It was one instance of conflict.

      I do start to suspect someone is not a reliable narrator if they constantly have “enemies.” If you find yourself escalating and prolonging conflict on a regular basis, it would be worth considering where that is coming from – and if that mindset is really helping you in the long run.

      It’s also worth considering that often “hurt people hurt people.” Often lashing out feels good but does not actually do anything but continue the cycle of “hurt people hurt people.”

      In general, I don’t think it’s healthy to think of people as all bad or all good. Or bully or not bully. If you feel bad, I would reflect on why you feel bad or talk to a neutral uninvolved party about it. Feeling bad doesn’t necessarily mean you did anything wrong, sometimes conflict is just going to feel bad. Or maybe you could have acted better, but you don’t have to beat yourself up for it, you can just work to do better next time.

      Sorry for the ramble. Hope that was helpful. It’s something I’ve been thinking about, too.

      1. Jean*

        The fellow is quite surely, at the very least, an emotionally immature person. I told the boss I was gonna have trouble with him…he reminds me of my father, who is a narcissist, with whom I never stood my ground. I should have left the moment I came to this realization. I thought the life lesson I was supposed to learn was how to deal with that sort of person. It was not. The lesson is as soon as you recognize the problem, move on. Quickly. I tried to push through and stand up to him….it didn’t end well for me.

        My therapist said “You will never win against a narcissist.” She’s prolly correct….

      2. Jean*

        Hurt people…. Yes. A friend suggested I ask him “Who hurt you so badly that you feel so compelled to belittle and intimidate everyone?” A perfect question I will never know the answer to….

      3. Irish Teacher.*

        That really doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. If anything, it sounds like you were very gentle with him. Reporting him would have been the norm or even telling him that what he said was completely unacceptable. It sounds like you gave him a good way to save face. Quite the opposite of bullying him.

        If he told people you were bullying him, it wasn’t because of anything you did, but because you made him feel guilty and he had to turn it around in his mind – “she made me feel bad; therefore she was bullying me” instead of “I behaved badly and now I feel bad about it.” I don’t think you could have handled it any more gently really.

        1. Jean*

          Aw, thanks. I had said to the boss within the first two weeks of working with this person I was gonna have a problem with him; I recognized the personality type that quickly. And the owner/boss admitted to me that he knew this person was a problem…. My mistake was not leaving on the spot.

    5. Irish Teacher.*

      Probably not, but it really does depend.

      Speaking up for yourself, reporting the bullying, documenting, setting boundaries (such as “I cannot help you if you continue to speak to me like that. I am walking away now and will not discuss this with you unless you start speaking to me politely and treating me with respect”)…absolutely not. “Bullying” doesn’t mean “doing anything another person might not like.”

      You would only be being a bully too if you started bullying him, eg setting him up to take the fall for something he didn’t do, in retaliation, intentionally humiliating him in front of coworkers and the boss, starting false rumours about him…that sort of thing.

      Standing up to a bully can feel like you are being mean since you have to respond in a way that would not be normal with most people. “I am walking away now and will not engage with you until you speak to me respectfully” could be manipulative if it were something you did with everybody whenever you started losing an argument and you meant “I won’t talk to you until you agree I’m right/do things my way,” but if the other person is berating you or using abusive language or telling lies, it is appropriate.

      1. Jean*

        Irish teacher. Thank you….. I have not intentionally set him up or been unkind or anything that would knowingly irritate him….he is very clearly an emotionally immature person and I was the target of his insecurities….

        You have set me on solid footing. Thank you….

  45. Burnt Toast on Davenport Street*

    I had forgotten a good friend’s birthday. She said to me,” Could you put it on your calendar for next year. I’m not expecting a parade but some acknowledgment would be nice.”
    I feel bad but also a little cranky.
    We are both in our 60’s. We have never made a deal about birthdays. I personally do not celebrate mine but will if someone else wants to. (no feelings one way or the other) If someone else wants to celebrate, I feel like it is their responsibility to advertise that in advance.
    Am I an outlier?

    1. Ginger Cat Lady*

      Your friend wants to be remembered. She wants to feel like she’s worth a little effort. So trying to place responsibility for that on her instead of making the tiny effort to put it on your calendar is…not great.
      I feel that your crankiness comes from being called out for forgetting her birthday, and you’re just blameshifting.

      1. IT Manager*

        I mean, the friend’s wording would leave me a bit flummoxed too – totally fine to ask for future acknowledgment but her wording seems a bit blame-y.

        As if, in this world where people celebrate birthdays differently and Burnt Toast is not one of the birthday-celebrating people, they should have known that the friend would appreciate acknowledgement and were wrong by not doing so.

        I’d be put off too.

    2. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I mean, what did she just do, if not give you advance notice that she would like her birthday acknowledged next year?

    3. Sitting Pretty*

      There is such a wide (and wild) range of thoughts about how birthdays “should” be handled. And also so many feelings! It can be a little tricky to navigate when friends have different approaches. I have one friend whose birthdays (in her mid-30s) still involve a party with an actual public-gift-opening portion like we’re all at a baby shower. I don’t even give my friends birthday gifts so I’m at her parties standing there empty-handed feeling miserly. But oh well.

      Anyway, I think it’s great your friend feels comfortable enough with you to ask you for what she wants. And if she’s someone you care about, hopefully you can do it the way she likes, at least a little. To me it’s not that different from remembering that a friend can’t eat nuts and so not bringing nut-based treats to their house, or remembering that one friend’s mother died a few years ago so checking in on her one mother’s day.

      Captain Awkward had a good post a few years ago about how we can all extend a little more grace to each other around birthday expectations. I’ll post it separately.

    4. Dark Macadamia*

      I mean… she did advertise what she wants in advance. She’s giving you a whole year of notice that she would appreciate having her birthday acknowledged.

      It’s okay that you didn’t know this year if it hasn’t been something you two did in the past, but it’s also okay for her to communicate her wishes clearly (and better than like, being passive aggressive for months before/after, or ending the friendship, or accusing you of ignoring her birthday on purpose to hurt her, etc).

    5. Fianne*

      How lucky you are to have a friend who so clearly states their wants and needs like that! Since you want to know what your friends want, and will celebrate when you know in advance that this is wanted, that seems like a great gift she has given you, one of honesty and clarity.

    6. Not A Manager*

      “If someone else wants to celebrate, I feel like it is their responsibility to advertise that in advance.”

      “Could you put it on your calendar for next year. I’m not expecting a parade but some acknowledgment would be nice.”

      Problem solved.

    7. Donkey Hotey*

      I’ll point out that your friend asked for acknowledgement but you said celebration. Those are two different things. I’ve received text messages on my birthday that mean more to me than some presents.

    8. Burnt Toast on Davenport Street*

      When I said advertise, I meant tell me on Sunday that your birthday is Wednesday then it is on my radar. She knows me well enough that putting anything on my calendar is meaningless as I am one of those people who is not a consistent calendar looker.
      What I did do was put a Happy Birthday message on her facebook page. Buy her multiples of her favorite treats and wrote a card about how much she meant to me. Today we had a short conversation and I let her know that I don’t want her to ever think that I take our friendship for granted. We both feel much better.

    1. Cracked rib*

      Ironic mistake, let me add some context!

      this is meant to be in response to the above question about whether standing up to a bully makes you a bully.

  46. Rain*

    Something I’ve been curious about – how many people here use their real name (or some form thereof) when they comment?

    Why or why not?

    1. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      I don’t use my real name as a username, but I’m pretty sure I have referenced my real first name in comments while telling a story, without really thinking about it. (Hi, I’m Ginger :) )

    2. ThatOtherClare*

      It’s so statistically unlikely that anyone would be able to identify me by first name alone that I don’t care.

      Sometimes I will change my name when I talk about more personally-identifying things, although I always use the same name for any one question page to respect Alison’s request that people don’t try and make their opinion seem more popular by commenting with multiple names.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      I used to use my real forename but there was another and it got confusing. I don’t use my full name because sometimes I’m talking about work stuff and I wouldn’t want it to be easily googleable.

      I’ve been using this name here for several years and it amuses me. I think it’s helpful to the AAM community when regulars are consistent.

    4. allathian*

      No, never. As a matter of principle, I don’t post anything online anywhere that requires my real name to be visible. I first went online when forums with anonymous users were the norm and that’s what I’m comfortable with. I never even considered signing up to any social media. The only one I use is Whatsapp, and that mainly with people who are already in my contacts, as well as the groups for parents with kids in my son’s class and extracurriculars.

      I have used the Gmail address that includes my full name to sign up to forums when I trust the admins to keep it confidential.

    5. Irish Teacher.*

      I originally did (my first and middle name, I think) but it seemed like most people did not use versions of their name so I just sort of thought a change would “fit the vibe here” better. And because this site is predominently US based and seems to have a lot of people from a corporate background, I found I was often prefacing my advice with either “I’m in Ireland, so not sure if there are cultural things that might prevent this from being as effective elsewhere” or “I’m a teacher, so some of this may differ in the corporate world,” so I just decided to put my disclaimers in my username and make it clear that this is the context I am speaking from.

    6. Hroethvitnir*

      Nope. I’m actually not too bothered about it but I’m old enough that I was grounded in never, ever sharing details like that online.

      So apart from anything else I’ve had a name derived from Fenris-wolf since 1999 and it feels like my name now (I got it by looking up mythological creatures and finding one that sounded cool… mixed feelings about Marvel making it cool, haha.)

  47. R*

    (ugh I think I double posted this somewhere weird and don’t know how to remove it. sorry!)

    long story short, it took me a long time to find a job that didn’t bore me to tears and make me miserable within 6 months. I finally found one in academic teaching as a visiting professor. however. despite searching really hard, I haven’t found another post-visitorship position (also dealt with the joy of searching all year, getting interviews at 3 schools, and then being ghosted!).
    I took another job to pay for bills while I keep looking and am running a department now and managing several levels of people. and like the job is fine. the coworkers are fine. but I’m so sad I’m not teaching anymore, and have no idea when I’ll be able to teach again, that I’ve been struggling with serious depression issues that sometimes interfere with my ability to function at all. I’m really trying my best here, but I’m just….struggling, being back in a job that leaves me miserably bored when I know things could be better if I could just get another teaching job. does anyone have any advice for dealing with a situation like this?

    1. Irish Teacher.*

      Sorry to hear this. I don’t know what the situation is in your area or subject, but it took me 13 years to get a full-time teaching job. One principal during the recession told me he’d had nearly 100 applications for a 6 week substitution job. Just to say that a year and 3 interviews isn’t necessarily too bad and doesn’t mean you will never get a teaching job.

      Some thoughts. Could you do tuition, even online? My brother works nearly full-time giving online tuition. It does mean he is usually short of work during the summer months and possibly September and October, but as the school year goes on, he is strugging to find time for all the work he has. You could even start it, just offering a couple of classes a week while doing your current job.

    2. anonymous academic*

      If you’re in the US, university teaching jobs are very difficult to find and application success often depends on skills outside teaching (research) and/or outside of your control (fit with the department’s long-term goals). You may want to look into teaching at a private high school, if the teaching part is enjoyable to you; a lot of academics end up there. You may also want to look into jobs that allow you to put what you like about teaching to work outside of the classroom –– for instance, a lot of staff jobs in universities can involve working with students, developing presentations, etc.

  48. bad at existing*

    I was actually excited for the 4th- I’m federal and I was going to get double holiday pay- but lo and behold my chronic illness flared up TERRIBLY. So much for holiday pay…

  49. EllenD*

    In UK most charity shops won’t take VHS tapes, as no-one buys them and they’re bulky to store. However, many will take DVDs in small quantities (eg no more than 20-30 at a time), as these do sell. People are looking for specific DVDs when they disappear from the streaming services. However, some do have too many so do check before donating.

  50. River*

    It’s Friday and it feels like Monday I think…..or it feels like I shouldn’t be here. Yesterday’s 4th of July festivities kept me thinking it was Saturday but then I remembered I had to come into the office today LOL!

    1. Bookworm in Stitches*

      Glad I’m not the only one who can’t keep the days straight at the moment.

  51. Nightengale*

    Trains are definitely a thing with some autistic people (and some non-autistic people) so I would say the stereotype is rooted in some truth. I’ve always been pretty train-y (although not as train focused as people who know the number of the specific engine of the 7:38 train that comes through every morning.) And as a professional who works with many many autistic children, I find trains are a pretty common interest including in many children who have never seen or ridden in a real train or who only rode on a special tourist train because they were so train-smitten.

    In generally, really strong interest in niche things is often an autism thing but is not exclusive to autistic people. Although I tell the story of having lunch with two friends. I’m an autistic doctor, one was an autistic teacher and one is a non-autistic speech therapist working with children. The speech therapist said that some of her autistic students were really into these quirky videos like someone pouring out a whole container of candy. She was less commenting on their interest than that these videos existed in the first place. “Who MAKES those?”

    Our other friend answered immediately, “other autistic people”

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